Once we managed to all get ready (Our Sidekick had a 30 minute shower which threw everyone out of sync!) we headed for Cardiff. We had a rough plan of what we were going to do but once Chris realised that today was the kick off of the Olympics (because of the way the football is ran it needs to start before the Opening Ceremony and because of a IOC rule that event can’t be in the host city so England vs New Zealand women’s football kicked off in Cardiff at 4pm) We had a fairly brief visit to Cardiff in the end but it was lovely to be in the city on the day of the first Olympic event. We were going to park in a multi storey but realised that it was exactly right next to the Millennium Stadium and there was like zero chance of us being able to get a space or the fee would have been hiked up being that close. So as it was about to get super crowded in Cardiff we didn’t really want to be around longer than really was needed and the police and security was getting tighter ready for kick off. If the Kiwi was still living with us we would have been a house divided as to who would win! I texted my Dad the above picture of the Stadium to see if he could identify it. We saw a lot of TV crews on our way round, at one point we were walking past the gate for Cardiff Arms Park and I shouted at our Sidekick – I then looked up and there’s a guy doing a report or link to camera for the coverage of the event. I think he might have been from Sky Sports as I didn’t recognise him from the BBC Sports coverage but having seen a truck from ITV Wales and heard there was a crew from Japan he could have been from anywhere that would be presenting in English. We did a lap of the stadium – well it was kind of a lap, but in places had to be the next street over because of security and things like that. From the car we started to head towards Barry when my Dad texted me and asked if I’d been to see the Torchwood bits at Cardiff Bay. Chris read the message out to me and asked if I wanted to go there. Well I did but I wasn’t sure how far the Millennium Stadium was from Cardiff Bay. I briefly looked at the map, and to me, we seemed too far away to turn back to the bay. Chris decided otherwise and directed me back to the Bay (as I was driving). We went past the Millennium Centre, but didn’t really stop – thankfully there was a red light at a set of traffic lights and no traffic behind me, well long enough for me to stop and look across to the Centre. I don’t think Chris had realised there was more to see (and a whole walking tour) that could be done. We set back off again and headed for the main beach at Barry Island. When we got there, we tried to park in the car park, but it was absolutely heaving (and we didn’t have any change for the parking ticket), so we found some free on street parking and walked down to Jackson’s Bay. It was really busy, but we found a bit in the shade.
Our Sidekick started to bury his legs in the sand. I joined in at first, then Chris took over and our Sidekick ended up with his feet and his legs up to his knees buried in the sand. After recovering our Sidekick from the sand, we followed the walkway round to the main beach (which is called Whitmore Bay). On the way round there were some rocks that Our Sidekick had fun climbing along. At one point, Chris turned around and took my shoes from me and a bit later when Our Sidekick had finished climbing he took my bag from me. My boys are so lovely “sometimes”. We followed the path to the main waterfront, Chris parked me and Our Sidekick in the shade under the bandstand while he went to sort out some food. He managed to find a chip shop along the seafront however it was also really busy (lunchtime and glorious sunshine of course it would be busy!). The signal in the chip shop wasn’t very good so Chris was struggling to let us know that he was still waiting and each time I tried to call him the call wouldn’t connect. We sat at the bandstand and ate our chips. Chris had joked about getting cockles with his chips while we walked to Whitmore Bay but I told him if he did he’d be sleeping in the bath or on the floor lol. Following our chips Chris and Our Sidekick went to the ice cream stand we were sat near to get ice cream. Chris got me a bubblegum ice cream it was bright blue like paint and was melting far too quick so it went everywhere! I had it all down my right hand, dripped on my left ankle and the right leg of my shorts, I also got some on my nose and that wasn’t taking into consideration that my tongue was bright blue and the ice cream was all round my face! I felt like a three year old or something lol. While I ate my ice cream Chris and Our Sidekick went to get the car. I though I could wait for Chris to get back but the ice cream was getting stickier on my hand and the ice cream was so messy that I really couldn’t eat any more. I binned what was left and went to buy a bottle of water to rinse off the worst of the ice cream. We headed to Bridgend next to meet Freya from Ella Riley’s Sweet Shop. Now I’ve known Freya via Twitter for over a year now. Back in April/May 2011, Freya sent me a package of lots of little bags of sweets. My family and I worked our way through a lot of them while watching the Royal Wedding. You can read the post here. I think back then we discussed about how if either of us was in the area we had to come say hi. Well I think I sorted that one first and we went to meet Freya at her shop in Bridgend. We walked into the shop and Freya welcomed me with a big hug like we’d been friends forever! (i love how Twitter seems to do that to people! What do you think?) We stayed for like 45 minutes to an hour and chatted about sweeties. We got to try some and me and Chris had sweetie milkshakes. I had Strawberry and Apple Bon Bon milkshake and Chris had Lemon and Blue Bon Bon milkshake. I expected mine to be a slightly crazy colour but it was kinda pale. We tried various different toffees including Scottish Tablet (which I think is my favourite) and butter toffee. There was also a special themed one in honour of the local Bridgend football and rugby teams. It had white chocolate on the outside but one side is coloured blue. There is vanilla toffee inside which looks almost like amber or crystallised sugar – its amazing! This is me and the lovely Freya. We snapped this picture and then had to leave to make sure we were back in time for Our Sidekick to speak to his Mum. I think if we’d though about it we’d have taken the phone with us so that we could have avoided rush hour traffic. We had tea at Frankie and Benny’s, I had my favourite which is New York Pasta without chilli. Chris had a battle again with the whole Gluten Free thingy. Does anyone know if there are gluten free only restaurants in Bristol that don’t break the bank? We’re off to the zoo for Our Sidekick’s choice. I’m rather excited but have the feeling it will be really busy.