I’m an auntie to some adorable nieces and nephews, so when I get the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with them I try to make the most of it. I don’t want to watch them playing on their tablets or phones; I want to use our rare day out together to build memories!
We had a fun-filled picnic to look forward to and an adventure to go on – we packed our wellies and raincoats. Off we went!
Our picnic was no ordinary picnic… it was a quirky dining experience nestled on a side street in Sketty, Swansea. As we walked into The Picnic Bench I immediately felt relaxed. It felt casual, and having two kids in tow (that can’t talk quietly or sit still) I knew I would feel comfortable here.
There were lots of little touches that made this place special. The wall of pastel prints was a favourite! It reminded me of the 50’s American pastel colour schemes with pastel pink, mint green and pale blue retro colours. I especially liked the eat cake. It’s somebody’s birthday somewhere quote and thought this is my kind of place!
Their feature wall was a floor to ceiling chalk board with hello written in different languages linking to the different picnic benches they offered. Children could write their own messages or play games on the chalk wall too.
In the middle of the wall was a collage of miniature sized polaroid photos pinned up of customers who had already dined there. I was beginning to notice a miniature theme – the benches, the milk bottles, the salt and pepper cellars, the polaroid photos – it was all too cute. Sure enough we got our 5 minutes of fame and sat for our very own retro picture which was immediately pinned to the wall.
There were two picnic bench options offered to the kids:
The first one had cod cubes, baked beans or peas and a cheese sandwich on the lower tier. Fries, a fruit pot, chocolate cookie, mini cupcake and a milkshake on the upper tier.
The second choice had meatballs in tomato sauce, mini cheese and tomato pizzas and fries on the lower tier. Jelly and ice cream, a fruit pot, mini cupcake and a milkshake on the upper tier.
Both sounded delicious but I think the sound of pizza and jelly and ice cream sold it to the kids – they both chose the latter.
Adults were definitely spoilt for choice! I really found it difficult to make a decision as the options available sounded amazing! It was a unique menu with each bench offering a different theme. You could choose from Italian, American, Mexican, Vegetarian, British and of course Welsh! I loved that they included a very patriotic Welsh bench on their menu called Welsh Dragon.
After much deliberation I chose the American Dream – a classic cheeseburger, hot dog, fries and onion rings on the lower tier. BBQ wings, cheesecake, apple pie, mini cupcake and milkshake on the upper tier, my mouth was watering by this point!
We had our meals set out before us on miniature wooden picnic benches. As soon as the kids caught sight of their colourful meal and milkshakes making their way over to them they squealed with excitement and their eyes were as big as saucers. That was definitely an ‘ahhh’ moment 🙂
I am going to admit here that I am a bad Auntie… I know all kids just want to dive in recklessly but I wanted to get some shots of their picnic benches before they demolished it so yes! I made them wait :O They were quicker than me and plucked their milkshakes from their top tier and even started to ogle my picnic bench!
Needless to say our picnic really did the trick. It was an experience of its own and it helped the kids enjoy meal time.
The kids loved it and even said so on their mini feedback form.
Now that we all had full bellies and smiles on our faces it was time for our outdoor adventure.
We drove about 45 minutes to a part of Wales known as Waterfall Country Sounds magical already right? Waterfall Country can be found in Brecon Beacons National Park where a large number of waterfalls are quite close together. It generally includes the Four Falls Trail, Henrhyd Falls, Melin Court Falls and Aberdulais Falls.
We were visiting the Four Falls Trail today and parked up at Gwaun Hepste (CF44 9JF) near Ystradfellte which led us to the beginning of the trail. Please use this post code as I have heard plenty of people getting lost! There had been a few days of rain so we changed into our wellies and raincoats and set off to discover some of the most stunning waterfalls in Wales.
There’s something surreal and magical about waterfalls. Watching the power of the water plunge off a rocky ledge somehow clears my mind and relaxes me. I love the smell of the forest, I love the roaring sound of the water and I love admiring its beauty. Yes I am in awe of waterfalls.
I read somewhere that there is a scientific reason why we love waterfalls. Something to do with moving or rushing water giving off negative energy – which weirdly gives us positive vibes!? It’s one of the reasons why we feel good after a shower.
So here I was sharing my love of waterfalls with the little people in my life; I decided to show my niece and nephew two out of the four waterfalls on the trail. You can actually follow the rough riverside path if you want more of an adventure, but there are moments when the path hugs the cliff on one side with a scary drop on the other – the kids are pretty young and the trail can take a few hours to walk so I stuck to the marked trail on the higher ground which is a lot safer.
As we eventually approached our first waterfall Sgwd Clun-Gwyn (translated from Welsh as fall of the white meadow) we could hear the thundering roar before we saw it. There was a rocky viewing point to admire the impressive and dramatic two tier waterfall. A few dare devils walked dangerously onto the cliff ledge in a similar spot that can be seen in the photo above. The kids asked if they could do the same – but if I wouldn’t let them walk along the rough riverside path, what do you think my answer was to that request? 😉
The second waterfall – my absolute favourite did not disappoint! Because it had rained for a few days prior, it truly looked spectacular. Sgwd-yr-Eira (translated from Welsh as fall of snow) looked like something from a movie it was that beautiful it could take your breath away. This particular waterfall does get crowded but we were lucky enough to enjoy it with little interruption.
We followed the natural path that led right behind the curtain of water. We had the waterfall mostly to ourselves except for a little boy who followed us underneath. His Mum didn’t want to climb across the slippery rocks to reach the path, so he followed us through the tunnel of clear gushing water. It felt incredibly forceful and completely drenched us all. I could hear the kids shriek with laughter; it was ‘so worth it’ they howled as they were soaked again and again by the spray as they got so close to this hidden gem.
This photo was taken as I stood behind the curtain of gushing water… it looks so powerful!
I think my mission was accomplished – the kids didn’t mention once that they were missing their screen time and we all made some special unforgettable memories.
I would love to return in winter and hopefully see the ground covered in snow and see glistening icicles form over the rocky cliff ledges. I will of course be back then, but for now; I’m still exploring #thisismywales
Top tips: I would recommend visiting after we’ve had some rain so you can see the waterfalls in full flow… be warned though as some of the steps and rocks can be slippery. And like any other tourist attractions, avoid during bank holidays as it can get too busy!
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