Merthyr Mawr Dunes provided the setting for parts of Lawrence of Arabia, they are one of the largest groups of sand dunes in Europe and their remarkableness will not disappoint you, they are fab for dune surfing!  

Take a picnic and make a day of walking around the dunes and exploring the ruins of Candleston Castle and taking a small hike over the dunes to Ogmore beach (approx 20 minute walk) 

The dunes are full of small wildlife and beautiful foliage and flowers…snails and butterflies are in abundance.

Location- Merthyr Mawr, Bridgend CF32 0PA car parking was £3 for the day.

It’s a lovely walk….

Here’s how our walk looked…  



We went for a walk at the beach and picked up a handful of small pebbles, when we got home we searched out an old picture frame & removed the glass. We then cut out a piece of paper to fit in the frame and set about making some pebble pictures.

You could alternatively glue your pebbles to a piece of card and frame them to last forever..

Here’s our pictures…  













The kids loved doing these (& so did I!) & it was a perfect way to use up our collected beach loot 😊 


IMG_5333.JPGWe started our walk outside Shepherd’s shop on the main road (A4188) next to the Gower Heritage Centre and followed the signs for Three Cliffs bay. You’ll need wellies as it was quite muddy in places.
There was a small charge for car parking which was payable inside the shop.
Penmaen Woods
Our walk took us along the river through woodland and over marshy sandbanks until we came to Three Cliffs Bay. The beach was a beautiful cove with some awesome stepping stones but was quite difficult to navigate yourself and the kids over the muddy banks and water ways, the sand was very soft in places and left me feeling a bit uneasy with the the children….but they had a fab time exploring their surroundings.
We’ll definitely return when the weather is drier and would expect it to feel a lot safer in the Summer months.
There was plenty of opportunities to explore with a Pennard castle ruins overlooking the valley and access to adjoining beach coves.

Here’s how our walk went..








IMG_5328.JPGthe big kids loved rolling down the huge sand dune!

IMG_5342.JPGwhilst the little ones were content with beach combing..




IMG_5325.JPGand splashing…

It was extremely quiet and we were almost the only ones on the beach

IMG_5324.JPGif we had more time we would of ventured over the sand dune hill to explore the castle ruins and the adjoining cove that was beyond a fab arch in the cliff..

IMG_5341.JPGbut the day caught up with us and we headed back as the light started to fade..



IMG_5124.JPGFor todays festive adventuring we decided we were going to become outdoor artists specialising in sculpture and portrait painting.
What better way to try our hand at sculpture than involving an essential of christmas…Toblerone….but on a giant scale 🙂
Our aim was to take our prebuilt 8ft chocolate bar to the top of a hill as a team building exercise for the kids…they built it, they carried it and they tussled with it in the wind until we were 4 triangles down and a roll of tin foil lighter! (Which we did retrieve)
We then headed to the beach for the afternoon laden with paintbrushes and paint, we had a quick stop off at The Works for an easel & an artist pad…(£9.99 for the easel but money well spent as it folds down flat for the car and will be used again & again in future adventures….perfect for the mountains!)

Here’s how we got on…

We used sheets of cardboard to make our triangles which we then wrapped in paper ready to paint brown..IMG_5138.JPGwe attached our triangles to a piece of board (an old cupboard backing) using a glue gun and duct tape. Once secured we painted brown and wrapped a few triangles in tin foil…

IMG_5139.JPGso we were ready! We woke up to a cloud of misty rain and wind but decided to brave it and headed out with our Toblerone in tow..

IMG_5121.JPGThe big kids bonded with no option whilst carrying the bar whilst the smaller kids carried their own triangles..

IMG_5122.JPGIt took us 20 minutes to reach the top of the hill, we had a few cross words which were amusing to watch happening underneath a giant chocolate bar but ample giggles as the wind nearly took them off a few times 🙂
But we made it and worked up a big appetite…

We kicked about up the top pleased at ourselves for our chocolately achievement whilst the wind battered us and the rain came in..


IMG_5127.JPG…before deciding to head back down whilst we still had a few triangles left..

IMG_5128.JPGwith a good bit of excercise partaken in our sculputre mission we took our Toblerone back home and grabbed some paint supplies and a flask of hot chocolate and headed to the beach for some seaside chippies, some sea air and a spot of portrait painting…
With a quick stop off in town we picked up some squirty cream for our hot chocolate and a nice sturdy easel to stop our art blowing away from The Works.

IMG_5136.JPGand after a car journey of bickering we set about painting each other in a good light….in fact it was a beautiful light as the sun went down 😉


IMG_5130.JPGMila painted Eden..


IMG_5131.JPGwith the rosiest cheeks…


IMG_5133.JPGshe was a very proud artist 🙂

IMG_5135.JPGthey all did a fab job and produced some beautiful original works that will hang well on the wall and last a lifetime in the memory bank…



We headed to the beach for a magical adventure searching for lost mermaid jewels..
Before we went I had been given some decorative plastic diamonds which can be bought in home ware stores or eBay. I placed them secretively in rock pools & wrote a message on a rock for the kids to find…

I wrote a message on a rock when the kids weren’t looking to install a magical element of mermaids…

IMG_8457.JPGThe kids then scoured through rock pools..

IMG_8461.JPGand then the first jewel was found..


IMG_8460.JPGfollowed by the discovery of a mermaid sponge made out of rock..

IMG_8456.JPGthey looked to the sea in the hope of a glimpse of mermaids playing in the waves and we’re sure we saw the tail of one disappearing beneath the rolling waves!

IMG_8454.JPGNoah even spent some time calling out to them..

IMG_8453.JPGthen we found some more! 5 altogether!!

IMG_8459.JPGour loot bag was full of shells, pebbles, driftwood & diamonds!

And then the most amazing and unbelievable thing happened which threw me….one of the children came to me with a jewel they had found but this time it was not a jewel I had secretly dropped!! On the vast stretch of beach whilst searching for mermaid jewels the children had ironically and crazily stumbled upon a diamond amongst the rocks that I definitely had not placed!! A million to one chance finding of a truly magical gem 🙂
(Not sure if it’s real but the magic most certainly is & maybe it’s just a case of believing!)



We discovered sea dragon eggs once before and couldn’t believe our luck when we stumbled over them once again!

Here’s how we got on…

I secretly painted a hard boiled duck egg with sparkly nail varnish and when the kids weren’t looking I placed it in a nest made of seaweed in a small cove along the coast…


I made some dragon footprints leading from the sea shore to the nest..


I then sat on the picnic blanket whilst the kids set out to beach comb…


And then they reappeared from the rocks clutching something…

It was a dragons egg!!!

We examined it…

20140728-123238-45158897.jpgand sniffed it…

20140728-123301-45181502.jpgand Mila took me to see the dragon footprints they’d found..

20140728-123338-45218000.jpgNoah gave the it once over too…


Who’d of thought that we’d stumble over dragon eggs again 😉


20140721-165021-60621220.jpgDid you know that sea dragons come from the sea on beautiful summer days hiding in the haze of sea mist? They lay their eggs upon the crests of waves that lap against the shore.
These eggs are elusive, and if you are lucky enough you may stumble upon them.
If you are lucky enough to find these elusive and sparkling eggs treat them with care and throw them back into the waves….

We found some sea dragon eggs.

(Shhhhhh… I made our dragon eggs using Jawbreakers and nail varnish and with a dose of slight of hand bought the magic alive)

Here’s how I did it….

I started by given a few jaw breakers a few coats of sparkly nail varnish…


20140721-165407-60847490.jpgwith the aid of a cut sponge and slight of hand I made some dragon tracks…

20140721-165511-60911967.jpgI told Mila about the sea dragons, their elusiveness & how if we looked really carefully we may find traces of them…she picked out things she thought may be evidence…

20140721-165641-61001801.jpgand sure enough with a little gentle guidance she stumbled upon dragon footprints…

20140721-165735-61055434.jpgI lay our eggs in wait as everyone played in the sea with an underlying hope of glimpsing a sea dragon..

20140721-165837-61117355.jpgThe eggs lay where the crest of the waves meets the sun kissed shoreline…

I waited and watched as Mila came out of the sea…

20140721-165955-61195259.jpgand then she stumbled upon the strange sparkly blue eggs…



20140721-170108-61268393.jpgshe listened to them and said she could hear popping…. DRAGON BABIES LEARNING TO SPOUT WATER!!…

20140721-170219-61339165.jpgI lay some more but they were left undiscovered…

20140721-170305-61385316.jpgwe made pictures in the sand of what we thought a water breathing sea dragon would look like..

20140721-170453-61493235.jpgwe kept our sea dragon eggs for the afternoon and then decided to return to the shore and throw them back into the crests of the waves….

It was a magical find and we’ll remember our discovery of sea dragons forever…


After returning from a week at a festival we decided we needed a little restoration & recovery time, so we collected up some things to make our own treatment couch & beach spa & headed for the ocean to cleanse & lift our souls…

We used two strong plastic storage boxes to carry what we needed and once at the beach we lay these side by side and covered them with towels to make our spa couch, we set up next to a sea water rock pool that would act as one of our treatments.
With a quick stop off at Tesco for supplies we headed on down to Rest Bay with a cool box of yummies & ice….

Here’s how we got on.

First we made a treatment sign..

20140701-203630-74190283.jpgthen we found a beautiful spot to set up..

20140701-203706-74226820.jpgwe used some pebbles which we wrote on with sharpie marker pens that were warmed by the sun, we placed them on our muscles and relaxed to absorb and top up our zap, enthusiasm, sparkle, flow, energy and get up and go..





20140701-204034-74434433.jpgwe placed refreshing cucumber on our eyes..

20140701-204112-74472889.jpgwe made some refreshing lemonade with sparkling water, lemons & sugar.




20140701-204409-74649734.jpgwe had bubble gun splash treatments to gentle tingle our senses


We treated ourselves to some deep cool sand body wraps..

20140701-205045-75045944.jpgwe turned a rock pool into an invigorating ice cube deep chill auto awakening pool..

20140701-205252-75172989.jpgwe put our feet in and filled it with ice..

20140701-205338-75218646.jpgeveryone took turns to have a treatment..


20140701-205418-75258312.jpgwe finished wish plenty of refreshing paddling in the sea and some fruit!

20140701-205521-75321228.jpgeveryone loved the outdoor spa and we all returned home refreshed by the sea breeze and cleansed inside and out 🙂



So with the lurgy being in the house for the past few days we decided to take our sickbed to the beach! After all fresh air is the best medicine of all…

It worked a treat.

We took two storage boxes, a piece of wood, some bedding and an air bed….

With a spot of reading, some snoozing in the sea air & lashings of chicken soup everyone felt well rested and a lot better so we finished the day with a pillow fight.


20140527-194149.jpgIt’s surprising what a bit of bed rest can do…before long we were feeling fighting fit again…

We did some rock pooling and found some false teeth!



20140527-194356.jpgAnd what slumber party would not be complete without a pillow fight?
So that’s what we did…



20140527-194553.jpgIt was a fab day and we left with plenty of sand between our toes and in the bed 🙂




We headed out to Brean Down on the Somerset coast line. The down is 1.5 miles long and 100m above sea level at its highest point and nestled between two beautiful beaches, Weston Super Mare and Brean Sands.
Our adventure was to walk to the end of the Down to visit Brean Fort, built in 1870 as part of a chain of Forts along the Bristol Channel to protect against the French invasion. The Fort is steeped in history and the the kids loved exploring it’s well intact remains including the site of a Roman Temple, an Iron Age hill fort and WW2 machine gun emplacement point.
Best of all… It’s free to explore!!
We visited at the end of May and the Down was carpeted in Bluebells and seemed to be a haven for caterpillars and birds.

Our starting was the National Trust carpark (£2 parking and cafe/shop/toilet facilities) overlooking Brean sands beach,
Brean Down Road

Our walk took us a leisurely 2.5 hours, here’s how we got on ….

We started in the car park and headed up the steps to the top of the Down…

After a steep climb we stopped to look back at the view..

We came across a WW2 machine emplacement..

We discover the Down carpeted in Bluebells..

and we headed off to the furthest point out to sea in search of the Fort…

We took time to look back at the view back over Somerset.

The flowers were beautiful..

It was an ideal place for a bug hunt..


We then found the thought and explored..



There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore..

Or just to sit and contemplate..


We then discovered the remains of the search light tower at the very tip of the down..


We scrambled across the rocks for a closer look..

We climbed up into the search light tower and looked back at where we had came from.

After eating our picnic we headed back across the Brean..


Our walk was a beautiful one and full of exciting places to discover and explore, we finished our walk where we had started and bought ice creams from the shop and played on the beach..we will most certainly be revisiting this gorgeous spot to spend more time there…