When we were in Vancouver, I went along for a few of Tom’s warmachine tournament trips – it was an opportunity for a mini break and chance to explore somewhere new. Doing this, I went to Bellevue/Seattle and also Victoria. Tom had a tournament coming up in mid-May in Cardiff so I thought it’d be fun for Maisie and I to join him and have some days out!
Amy, my sister, used to live in Cardiff so I have visited the city many times in the past. She lived there in the midst of Doctor Who’s big reboot so a lot of my trips included little location visits or going to the official exhibit and looking at loads of props and costumes. But I also really enjoyed Cardiff as a city – it’s got lots of good food places, things to do and the people are lovely.
Travelling of any kind takes a lot more planning now that we have Maisie, and road trips are still a bit of an unknown because of how bad she was in the car as a baby. When she was tiny she would just cry in the car, literally for hours, until she wore herself out or we stopped. Then she started being sick in the car on trips any longer than an hour. When we went to my grandmother’s funeral down south in October we had to make it into a week long holiday to break up the journey into Maisie-friendly chunks! (And avoid the other kind of Maisie chunks…)
Since we turned Maisie’s car seat forward facing, she’s been a much better traveller. She’s rarely sick now and will either happily play with a few toys or “chat” and dance in the back, or if timed right, she’ll sleep. So we planned our journey around places to stop and let her run around and nap time!
We had asked Amy to join us, but between our meticulously planned journey, her university schedule, a train strike, and an air bnb booking mishap, it didn’t work out for her to join us.
Friday we arrived around 5pm, unloaded the car, settled into our air bnb, and ordered poké. Tom took Maisie for a walk to the tournament venue and registered for his event, so I set up the air bed for Maisie in our bedroom.
Saturday Tom was out from 8.30am-7.30pm, so it was a purely Maisie and me day! Maisie loved the air bnb yard so spent the morning going in and out, and collecting stones while I made us a packed lunch.
We were so lucky with the weather on Saturday, it was gorgeously sunny and warm too. Maisie and I went to Sain Fagan’s – a big outdoor museum where they’ve dismantled buildings from across Wales and reassembled them there to explore and walk around. I’ve been a couple times before and knew it’d be a great toddler friendly place to go to. We spent about three hours going in and out of buildings, picking up stones, and running around (the latter two were more Maisie than me…). Maisie loved the village green outside the shops, and was fascinated by the paintings in the medieval church. I really enjoyed the row of terraced houses that take you through the decades – each one has a living room decorated as it would have been in the 20s/40s/50s/60s/70s – very cool!
Maisie fell asleep on the way home from the museum, so I stopped by a trusty old Starbucks drive through and drove around a little bit drinking a fruity refresher until she was due to wake up. We spent the afternoon hanging out in the sunny yard, I even had to fashion a sun shade!
I bought supermarket Chinese food to eat while watching Eurovision after Tom got home, so that was our Saturday evening!
Sunday, Tom was out at 9am. After a not so great night’s sleep and a very full on Saturday, Maisie and I stayed home til after lunch. She continued playing in the yard, watched some cartoons, and played with some toys.
Tom was due to finish up at 4pm, so I decided to take Maisie to the Bay after lunch and go to Techniquest. It’s an interactive science museum, so I figured it’d be a great place for her to burn energy and me not to have to worry about sunburn! All good in the ideas, but Maisie fell asleep in the car on the way there and didn’t even wake when I transferred her to her stroller! So I had a coffee and cake at the museum cafe waiting for her to wake up! Tom called to say he was done at that point so changed plans – we went to pick him up then returned to the Bay for a stroll!
We headed home and ordered pizza, then went for a wander around the neighbourhood we were staying in and made a plan for our journey home.
We left Cardiff at about 10, got coffee on our way out of the city and then stopped at Skenfrith Castle just outside Abergavenny. We all enjoyed wandering around and looking at what remained of the castle before heading home.
Overall we had an excellent weekend in Wales. It was very different to previous gaming weekends away but still thoroughly enjoyable – previous trips were more centred on food and coffee, whereas this one shifted to open spaces to enjoy with Maisie. Good thing is that Maisie is a good companion for exploration – she doesn’t require much to have fun and I love seeing things through her eyes (so much joy can be found picking up stones and sitting on tree stumps!). Cardiff remains a great place to visit, and is pretty child friendly too, so I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s thinking of going.