Thursday, 7 March 2013

Rhyl Seaquarium

Today was a filthy day, grey skies and rain. 
Mel had to complete two assignments, so, I thought it best to take Mya outside otherwise by 11am she'd have destroyed the house and decided the only fun room to be in would be the office where Mel was working.

I felt my options were either the Welsh Mountain Zoo or Rhyl Seaquarium, things to keep Mya occupied and some learning in the process.
We've done the zoo on numerous occasions, so, I opted for Rhyl Seaquarium.

The Seaquarium sits right on Rhyl seafront and a short walk from where we parked. 

On arrival I asked the lady on reception whether it was going to be busy? She took a sideways glance past me outside and then said "it might be a little quieter than usual as people may not bother coming in this weather".
Children under 3 years of age get free entrance, adult entrance is £8.75
We bought the Seaquarium programme which cost £2.00 and entitled me to a free pot of tea.

Now the under the ocean world awaited us. To my surprise it was better than I imagined, though by no account is it the best aquarium in the world/Britain.

First we saw some freshwater fish! and then we started to see some genuine sea creatures, which included lobsters, crabs, starfish, eels, tropical fish, rays, little sharks, seals. They are in the process of creating a jellyfish display too.

Mya especially liked the stairs and we spent lots of time going up and down them, she also liked splashing in the feeding pools which I don't think is allowed, however, as we were the only people in there I didn't see any harm in it.

To end the experience we walked through the under water tunnel into the cafe.

Here I redeemed my receipt for my pot of tea, Mya had a juice and we shared some biscuits.
It was from here I saw two other customers (another dad and his daughter) come through the door to experience the delights of Rhyl Seaquarium. 

I hope that during the summer the Seaquarium isn't like the Marie Celeste as although it's not the best facility it is a facility in Rhyl and Rhyl needs places for families to go.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Back to the beach, Wed'ze ski jacket

Well today is my birthday the big 43!!

Unfortunately, Mel had to be out all day, so, post the in bed card opening (Mya not me, I didn't get a look in) and the lovely Black Farmers' sausages and eggs for breakfast the day was all me and Mya.

As the sun again graced us with it's presence we decided to hit the beach. There's still a nip in the air and I wanted to try Mya in her new ski jacket and she already loves wearing it.

The jacket is from Wed'ze - read the bumf below - official sponsors of the European Winter X-Games basically it is one of the brands considered to be a Decathlon own brand check out

Decathlon being a French brand (first store opened in Lille) promote French companies and over the years have worked with brands who see the value of being associated with such a large organisation. Others include Quechua, Simond, Tribord, Geologic, Domyos.
Their products are all really good and offer great value for money with some great materials and styles.

Mya's jacket is made from the material "stratermic" which is thermal, windproof and waterproof.
It comprises a hood, powder skirt, one internal elasticated pocket, two velcro closing waist pockets and one velcro closing breast pocket, zipped front with velcro wind stopper and velcro cuffs. Inside there's also a label for name, address and phone number.

Mya loves wearing it already even though it's still a little big for her. So far we've only tested it against the cold and slight icy breeze and it performs really well.
We remained outside for about an hour with no complaints about being cold. Once back inside and with the jacket off Mya was still very warm.
So, we both think the jacket is a roaring success.

We'll definitely be buying more Wed'ze products in the future.

The word Wed’ze originates from the dialect used in the Savoie region of France meaning to "slide, skid, jump". In keeping with the meaning of this expression, the brand and the products that bear its name retain a sense of fun, entertainment and skill.

Created in the winter of 2006, Wed’ze is one of the Oxylane network's 19 Passion brands. Its aim is to develop new products in the area of winter sports: skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and snow-based games. The brand designs practical, high-performance products aimed at winter sports users from the beginner to the most experienced.

From its global design centre located at the centre of the Mont Blanc valley (Alps, France), Wed’ze is in permanent contact with these surroundings and the users that inspire these sports. Consequently, the Wed’ze team, composed of winter sports enthusiasts, thinks up the products of the future, including the equipment and the clothing as well as the accessories and the related services.

Known for its bold attitude and its cooperative and simple values, Wed’ze aims to enhance the feelings, emotions and pleasure of all those who take to the slopes!

C├ędric Burel
Wed’ze International Director

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Chill Factor, bad belaying, the Trafford Center and the Beach

Last weekend we decided to go to the Chill Factor in Manchester. Primarily the reason was to get my ski and Mel's snowboard legs ready for our trip to the Porte du Soleil, however, it also seemed like a great idea to see how Mya took to the white stuff.

The Chill Factor opens at 10:00hrs on a Saturday, we arrived at 10:30hrs and the near car park was full. So, numerous trips back and forth with baby and kit ensued.

Once inside things improved - we got good service from the booking staff and were booked in for 11:00hrs. That left us 20mins to get ready, my mistake.

The Chill Factor is really very well set up and all equipment comes included in the price of the lift pass. 
We took our own as we wanted to get it serviced at Snow and Rock, however, they have a 2 week waiting list as they service all the Chill Factors equipment, added to this no ski technician is available on a Saturday!

To be able to take Mya into the snow play area we were told we needed to
have their boots on and a pair of gloves. We left Mya's gloves in the car, so, I opted to buy a pair for £5 (the only bit of kit that isn't free) rather than run back to the car again. 
I was told that the reason you can't wear your ski boots in the snow play area is in case you slip over (this is a place where people are learning to ski, this normally means people fall over at speed!) Heath and safety gone crazy again.

I then joined the queue to get some snow boots, while counting down the valuable seconds to 11:00hrs when our time started.
As those who already know me well, I'm not that good at queuing and this part was frustrating to say the least. Watching my snow play and ski time rapidly drift away meant that Mya is now versed in the Ditchfield method of queue dodging, which I'm sure will stand her in good stead later on in life.

To others who would prefer to queue my advice would be to give yourself an hour to get yourself and child ready, especially on a Saturday. 
Once in the snow play area I saw many children and parents wearing their own footwear. Mya decided not to wear her gloves, so, overall I was a little bit disgruntled thinking about how I'd queued to get boots I didn't need and buying gloves Mya didn't wear.

We did have fun though once on the snow which was the important part.
We played on sliding penguins, bum boards, doughnuts and scrambling under the ski queue barriers!

Once finished in the snow Mya and I took a look at the climbing wall and I was horrified to see some potentially dangerous belaying by one member of staff. 
This involved him belaying a young child up the wall while spending time typing something into the cash register not looking at the child and then crime of all crimes he placed his hand firmly over the top of the GriGri2 (effectively preventing it form working) while the young child struggled to make his next move.

If anyone senior from the Chill Factor reads this please implement an observation system for the climbing staff if you don't already have one.
Apart from this exception all the Chill Factor staff were really friendly and helpful.

After we'd finished at the Chill Factor we headed to the Trafford Center for some lunch and a shop. 
We ended up eating at Zizzi which was great. They gave Mya a set of wax crayons and a picture to colour in. We all loved the food too even if mine was highly spiced.

A week has gone by since our trip to Manchester and today I took Mya to our local beach in Pensarn.
We were blessed with lovely sunshine and a decent low tide. It actually felt like spring was eventually gracing us here in North Wales.
Mya loved running on the sand and also her visit to the cafe afterwards.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bird Watching, Forgotten Passwords and Melbourne

Well after spending an inappropriate amount of time trying to log into my account (I started when Murray had just gone 2:1 down in Melbourne it's now over!) Mya has gone for a nap and I'm updating you all on our experience of The Big Garden Birdwatch #birdwatch.

We decided that today would be a better day than yesterday to take part, however, mother nature has a funny way of putting you in your place. 
Yes, we've got the sunshine, but, along with that we have gale force winds that would normally mean we should stay in doors and it definitely meant that the garden birds should stay in the nest, remain safe and not bother taking to the wing.

Our count was pretty dismal:
1 x Seagull
2 x Magpies
1 x Goldfinch
1 x Robin
1 x Blackbird
1 x Sparrow

Mya did enjoy filling up the bird feeders though, so, all wasn't lost and while I had one eye on the birds I had the other eye on Andy Murray hoping he'd take another Grand Slam victory. Watching the tennis brought back memories of 1992 when I went to see Midnight Oil perform at the same stadium during my year in Australia. A great night and a great adventure.

We're going to try another bird watch another day and hopefully we'll see more birds next time and maybe Murray will win another title.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Tuesday - the worst day of the week!

I thought, I'd write a few lines while I take some time for my dinner. I don't want my blog to turn into random musings of everyday existence, it has a purpose, but, because it's all new to me I thought I'd practice the art by writing some more drivel.

Tuesday is the worst day of the week for me. Why?
Well, Tuesday is the day we put Mya into nursery and I hate it. As soon as I drop her off I start counting down the hours and minutes until I can pick her up.

Do any other dads feel like this?

I know it's good for her as it helps build her social skills and sooner or later she's going to go to school everyday of the week, but, for now I wish I didn't have to. I guess I'm selfish I want her to spend her time with me.

Tuesday is the day I set aside to work in the office, so, like many people I know my mind has time to wander and my fingers more so across the keyboard finding things on the internet rather than working. This post being a case in point.

I feel that I could do my office work with Mya here, but, I know that's not true, we'd just end up doing something else less boring instead.

When my work takes me outside then the day flies by, I still miss her, but, it's different.

Well I've eaten my dinner now, so, it's back to the grindstone for another 3 hours.

Then, the best part of the day, picking Mya up and having fun together.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Well here goes my first blog. It will probably take me a little time to get used to what I'm doing, but, I'll get there.

My blog is called "The Daddy of all Adventures", why? 
Well the title can be read in a number of ways. 
Fatherhood is one massive adventure and I'm fully immersed in that. I also want to be the daddy who gives my daughter the best adventures of a lifetime, experiences and memories that will stay with her forever. Who knows maybe it will be my epitaph!

I've had loads of experience with kids, I've instructed activities to thousands of them, I operated one of the Uks' largest activity centers and I oversaw a global creche and kid's club operation.

I like to think I know what I'm talking about in this area, however, I get new surprises everyday.

I count my responsibility of providing my daughter with positive experiences of the outdoors, our natural habitat and fun activities as one of my most important.

I believe she should start young. She's not two years old yet, but, we try and spend as much time outside as we can, be that at the beach, up a mountain, in a forest, on a bike, at the zoo, on a farm or simply in the garden.

So, that's me and my first blog.
I hope to provide accurate and honest descriptions of the things we do, the clothing she wears, the equipment we use, the places and attraction we visit and if they worked for us.

I'd love you to join me on this DADDY OF ALL ADVENTURES!