It’s only the good on here, not the bad and the ugly…

We’ve been busy lately playing around with maps and thought we could do something that’s useful for you, our guests. It would be rude not to! So, we’ve just launched a new map on the Milkwood House website that is very simple, it allows us to ‘pin’ the places that we want you to visit in Swansea and beyond. After all, we wouldn’t send you anywhere where we haven’t been ourselves, and would only dream of sending you where the quality of these businesses matches that of Milkwood itself. That way, we know you’ll have a good time.

Here’s the map below. It’s called our ‘Eat and Do Swansea’ map. Early days yet but we will be adding to it and let us know too if you know of any places that have excelled. In fact, post a few places on the Milkwood House Facebook page if poss. It’s only the good on here, not the bad and the ugly. Thanks guys. Enjoy.

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the Grape and Olive: 51.614046, -3.943276
National Waterfront Museum: 51.616791, -3.938942
Pen Y Cae Inn: 51.810105, -3.677787
Dan Yr Ogof Showcaves: 51.831293, -3.684781
The Sleeping Giant Mountain Walk: 51.801933, -3.706367
Swansea Beach: 51.612527, -3.948298
Swansea Marina: 51.616857, -3.934007
Surfing: 51.566878, -4.033576
Hansons @ the Chelsea Restaurant: 51.619725, -3.941211

Milkwood Sponsors Tour of the Welsh Rugby Regions

Liberty Stadium

(Originally uploaded to flickr by www.abayoflife.com)

We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Tour of the Welsh Rugby Regions cycle ride on 17th August this year. Ystradgynlais Hooker (that’s a rugby player for those of you not into sport!;-) Gareth Thomas is organising it to raise money for two local charities and has over 30 riders taking part some travelling from as far as Maidenhead just to do their bit!

This ride is 70 miles across South Wales and will be passing right outside Milkwood Jouse en route but I wont be there, against my better judgement I’ve decided to ride myself! Anyway, proceeds raised go to Golau Cancer Foundation http://www.golaucancerfoundation.wales.nhs.uk/home and Glantawe Gulls Swimming Club. (A local club for swimmers with disabilities, who need funds to stay afloat)

Many of the riders have had cancer affect their close families and friends, which makes this bike ride even more special. Some riders even have parents currently battling cancer so its going to be difficult in more ways than one.

Please help us raise as much as we can as it’s a long way, but not as long for those battling. You can donate via:

http://www.justgiving.com/Gareth-Thomas25 or text to TJDO71 £5 to 70070

Thanks – Andrew

 

 

Walking in Welsh (and English!)

Stinky Boots

(Originally uploaded to flickr by Janet Ramsden)

This weekend its the start of the annual Gower Walking Festival, great to see how this event has grown over the years and it has a cool website for the event too!

One of the walks is a bilingual one, and there are still spaces left according to the website.  It starts in Southgate and takes in the spectacular Three Cliffs Bay. For people learning the language like me (I have to learn it now since both my kids are fluent!), this is a great opportunity to practice our proud language. It’s also a chance for visitors to experience our language too.

Interestingly, Gower has its only dialect but I’m not sure how much that’s spoken today. Be great to see more bilingual walks in Wales and in future, who knows, even a Gower dialect one!

 

Milkwood House self catering now available this Summer!

Owing to a sudden last minute cancellation of an extended booking throughout the Summer, Milkwood House has just become available for the rest of July and August 2011. So if you’re looking for a last minute self catering holiday in Wales, there’s now a rare chance to stay in one of the top self catering properties in Wales, overlooking the beach in Swansea. Ideal for families to play on the beach, even better for early morning and evening strolls. A very quiet and exclsuive part of Swansea Bay.

Close to Mumbles and Gower beaches, Milkwood House, which sleeps between 4-6, even provides you with free adult bikes to explore the area – the Celtic Trail cycle path and Swansea to Mumbles coastal footpath runs right passed us.  Week long lets at our last minute deal rates from £650, or 3 night short breaks from £350 are aboth vailable. Call or txt us on 07747866052.  See www.milkwoodhouse.com for additional information.

You can also follow us on twitter @trutourism, see our pics on flickr or join the Milkwood House Facebook page

An Idiot at Home Day 6: Wheels, Feet and Huts

Beach-Huts by TruPlaces
Beach-Huts, a photo by TruPlaces on Flickr.

Yep, this was certainly a day for wheels, feet and beach huts. Wheels first, and the cycle ride from Milkwood House along the coast to Mumbles, those of you who know it, will know how pleasant this is. Sun shining, hungry bellies, my eyes were firmly fixed on our destination in the distance, ‘Verdi’s for lunch’ (a very frequent phrase used in these parts).

Verdi’s is probably one of the most popular stops along the West Wales coast, great coffee, Italian food and commanding views over Swansea Bay. Before getting there though, we had to stop at every piece of outdoor gym kit that’s dotted along the route, and of course, at the outdoor Lido at Blackpill. Took us 2 hours to finally arrive at Mumbles, park our bikes up and attack Verdis.

Great lunch, and decided to do another section of the Gower Coastal path, this time from Mumbles Pier to Langland Bay, so off we set. Boys not that happy until they spotted the seals on the rocks just off Mumbles Head. The walk was a little more challenging that the day before but still very easy with once again spectacular views. Arrived at a great cafe in Rotherslade overlooking the beach (that’s right next door to Langland) and stayed there for ages – it started hammering down, but there were far worse places to be. Kids had time to fuel up and half a chocolate muffin each later, they were mental, and gave us a break because they practically ran the whole way back to Mumbles. Picked up our bikes that were waiting for us (thankfully) outside Verdis, and after a 4 mile round walk, the thought of another 3 miles on a bike didn’t excite me too much I must admit.

Kids were shattered, Michelle was shattered, and I was….. dead. Could barely pop over the shop across the road from Milkwood to hire a film, which I fell asleep watching and way before the end. This was another great day on holiday in the Bay, and one without the car too!

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We’re staying at Milkwood House a five star luxury apartment overlooking Swansea Bay in Wales.

Follow us this week in real time on twitter @trutourism or #idiotathome

View our pics from this week on our #idiotathome set @ Flickr

An Idiot at Home Day 5: A new pair of slippers

Sunset over Swansea Bay by TruPlaces
Sunset over Swansea Bay, a photo by TruPlaces on Flickr.

There was always going to be one day. One day that meant we were going to be dragged around the dreaded shops. This was it.

After an extended period of listening to the sea from my pillow, some TV watching, kids buzzing around your feet with remote control cars (you know the sort of mornings!), it was lunchtime. Thought we’d try the Grape & Olive at the top of Meridian Tower as it’s just across the road from Milkwood and we haven’t been there since Brains Brewery took over it. It’s extremely popular, it should be, the views alone from the highest building in Wales are worth paying for. Not today though, its graduation week in Swansea and places like this are full so a bit disappointed, we dared to head for a Chinese buffet in the Marina, and surprisingly it was pretty good. Needed as much energy as I could to tackle the inevitable sortie to M&S that awaited me.

Hadn’t been in to the town centre in Swansea ashamedly for about 5 years. It’s an average place but has all the usual names, a few indies and to be honest, quite a good buzz about it today. You can get everything you need which for us today meant replenishing some crockery and utensils for Milkwood so it was worth doing. M&S, I have a serious problem with though. As a young child I remember what was surely my first ever encounter of stress, over heating and being frightened to death at the sheer abundance of the Blue Rinse Brigade.  They were everywhere, and its lived with me ever since. I nearly fainted in there yesterday. My thoughtful wife though, as a reward for my effort, bought me a new pair of slippers. Delighted. I didn’t even know that you could buy slippers in the middle of Summer, I thought they were only available at Christmas.

Next stop Gower. Couple of stops in some surf shops on the way and we were soon in Langland Bay, and specifically the Langland Bay Brasserie (I apologise now for the appalling sound effects when you visit their website. It’s meant to be the sea I think, but it does sound like a toilet flushing!) . What a great place for coffee right on the beach, very impressive. These days you can walk all the way round the Gower Coast and one of the most popular sections is the 15 minute walk between Langland and Caswell Bay and it starts conveniently just outside the Brasserie. Stunning, reminds me of Pembrokeshire but without the extremity. This is ‘walking for softies’, great for families and again a must-do thing during a holiday in the area. Loved it. The view of both bays either side of this walk is worth it in itself.

The evening was rounded off nicely with a gentle cycle ride along the prom to Swansea Pier to hopefully catch the Swansea-Cork Ferry leaving, but we didn’t. Someone had to fiddle with his breaks and tyres before heading off, but in my defence, the bike hadn’t had some air for a long time. Being a bit later than expected though allowed us to watch the impressive lock gates in action at the entrance to Swansea Marina, and to catch the sun going down behind the Tower, where we should have eaten some 8 hours earlier. Nevermind, I have a new pair of slippers.

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We’re staying at Milkwood House a five star luxury apartment overlooking Swansea Bay in Wales.

Follow us this week in real time on twitter @trutourism or #idiotathome

View our pics from this week on our #idiotathome set @ Flickr

An Idiot at Home Day 4: It’s days like this that make holidays

Surfing lessons in Gower by TruPlaces
Surfing lessons in Gower, a photo by TruPlaces on Flickr.

What an amazing day. Our requests via #idiotathome on twitter led us to booking a surfing lesson on Gower. Gower is known for its surfing and not its over commercialised cheap-seats surfing too, so this is undoubtedly one of the best quality places in the UK to do it. So off we set to Caswell Bay. Spent years as a kid down here, always nice to go back.

Gower Surfing Development (GSD) is a company I’ve known for many years but never actually used them, in fact the last time and only time I had ever surfed previously was in Byron Bay in Australia, 13 years ago, and that was a 1 hour lesson! The boys had surfed on simulators before (including the one at LC2) but this was a new experience for them too. I knew if I was ever going to do this again it was always going to be with GSD, you trust them immediately when you meet their owner Simon Jayham, and you know you are going to be in safe hands.

We were met by Tom, our instructor for the day, squeezed into our suit (some did this easier than others!). Following an appropriately pitched safety briefing, we were off and in the sea. The apprehension in doing anything like this for most adults is probably ‘the cold’ (are we going to be freezing?). There was absolutely no cold, no initial shock, no immediate thoughts “what the hell am I doing”, this was brilliant from the moment we hit the water. The waves were just right and Tom our instructor was very good. So good, that my two sons before the end of the lesson were standing up on their boards and surfing into the shore as if they had been doing it for years. That’s it. They’re addicted.The cost was £20 per person for 2 hours but this is well worth it, and a must for all kids and able adults holidaying in our area. This is something I highly recommend in Gower, I only wish I had done it years ago.

Before returning to Milkwood, went for a brief walk through Bishops Wood which starts at the back of the Caswell Bay car park, a quick 10 minutes walk through the wood, and you arrive at the Roundhouse, a traditionally built replica of a Celtic roundhouse which is worth a quick visit. So, it was back to Milkwood House, shattered and time to catch some zzzzzzs before the inevitable requests “Dad, can we go down the beach please?”. That started at 5 pm, by 7pm we had build a replica of the sorting hat in Harry Potter (no doubt inspired from yesterday’s film), by 8pm it had been demolished by the tide. 9pm, all ready for bed. Shattered.

It’s days like this that make holidays.

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We’re staying at Milkwood House a five star luxury apartment overlooking Swansea Bay in Wales.

Follow us this week in real time on twitter @trutourism or #idiotathome

View our pics from this week on our #idiotathome set @ Flickr

An Idiot at Home Day 3

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Another wet wet day on holiday in Wales, but lovely waking up to the sound of the sea. Can he quite used to this, the boys want to move here!

Mother and father in law joined us today, brought our bikes down so we can peddle along the prom outside Milkwood. In one direction, the Celtic Trail takes us to Pembrokeshire (and the Irish ferry); the other direction to the Severn Bridge (and England). Maybe Mumbles is far enough for us, but maybe tomorrow.

So, the rain made our minds up. It was Harry Potter day at Vue Cinemas in Swansea. Now, I sleep everytime I watch a film, but these seats were like beds and I can’t blame the long walk, it took us 5 minutes from Milkwood through the Marina during a break in the cloud, so it was hardly tiring! I did see most of the film though, including the bit filmed in Freshwater in Pembrokeshire. We could pop down there if we fancy it, I understand there’s a Dooby cache there to find which has been planted to celebrate the launch of the new film. Dobby is buried there of course, well, put it this way, his geo-cache is anyway.

After the film, just across the road next to the LC2, my much anticipated visit to the National Waterfront Museum. Now this place was superb, a must day out in Wales. Loads of meaningful interactive things for the boys (see pic above) and loads for Mum and Dad to reflect on too. Absolutely loved it, it’s an incredible building with an incredible story to tell. It’s all based around Wales and it’s journey as a nation from the worlds first industrialised country in the world to the current day.

TFI Friday’s across the road in Wind Street for some refreshments (less said about that the better, but ideal for the kids!) and then a nice stroll through SA1 over the 2 bridges, and along the coastal path back to Milkwood. Took in Swansea Pier too, a great vantage point to view the whole of the bay to Mumbles, stunning. Disappointing though, a lot of litter all along the pier.

Kids invented a great game on the way home called ‘plant some driftwood in the sand and wait ages for the tide to come in to knock them down, whilst annoying Daddy who wants to get home to open his chilled bottle of wine’. It’s a fine game, tad time consuming though (again, one for the kids!).

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We’re staying at Milkwood House a five star luxury apartment overlooking Swansea Bay in Wales.

Follow us this week in real time on twitter @trutourism or #idiotathome

View our pics from this week on our #idiotathome set @ Flickr

An idiot at home Day 2

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First proper day had arrived. Weather wet. Mood surprisingly upbeat. Realised that Milkwood should have a funky coffee machine (yep, and that is for my benefit, well for this week anyway!). Nice to have in front of us what my brother calls a ‘no deadline day’, the thought that I could have 7 of them on a row immediately made me a better person……then the kids got up!

Waves were crashing in, it had been a pretty rough night, but I slept like someone who needed a holiday. Wasn’t really sure what we were going to do so asked twitter. ‘Jump in the sea in Gower, it’s warmer when it rains’, said one; ‘Dan Yr Ogof Caves in the Swansea Valley provides good shelter’ said another (thanks, but that really is taking the Mick, I worked there for years- great place though!); ‘visit Swansea and pop into the travel agent’ said a third (ha, bloody, ha!). So, the committee met (Michelle and the boys) and I was told we were going to the LC2, Swansea’s amazing leisure centre and waterpark. Off we went.

Been to the LC2 loads of times, the thing that strikes me is that it doesn’t feel like a local authority run attraction, there’s no shackles on this place. Very modern, welcoming environment, incredibly well planned layout, great coffee and friendly staff. Family ticket for the waterpark, a bargain at £18, and an extra £3.50 to use the surf machine, the first of it’s kind in the UK. The kids absolutely loved this, but the problem is they want to go back, every day if it was up to them!

It was great for me too, I coincidentally bumped into Flexi, one of my best friends from school, (it always happens on holidays doesn’t it!) and I hadn’t seen him for…..it must have been at least………hours! Yep, that’s holidaying at home for you.

Rest of the day was spent sleeping back at Milkwood, (the LC2 killed me, I so need to get fit!) and then a highly charged adrenaline filled game on the beach outside. Dodge the wave. The kids were hysterical, I’ve never seen the coastline get a battering like this in July before, they were wetting themselves (in more ways than 1!). We also found what looked like a baby shark on the beach and even a message in a bottle too. Despite all the laughs we had had today, the thought that someone may have been stranded on a remote sun drenched desert island in the Tropics wanting to swop places with us was quite tempting and very ironic. Maybe I’ll get back on twitter, ‘where was that travel agent in Swansea again?’. (Only kidding, wouldn’t have changed yesterday for the world.)
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We’re staying at Milkwood House a five star luxury apartment overlooking Swansea Bay in Wales.

Follow us this week in real time on twitter @trutourism or #idiotathome

View our pics from this week on our #idiotathome set @ http://www.flickr.com/#/photos/truplaces/sets/72157627215666412/

An Idiot at home Day 1

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Woke up and finally accepted that this years Summer holiday was going to be in Swansea, precisely 17 minutes away. Dont get me wrong, I love our place Milkwood, we’ve put a lot of love and attention into it, but that wasn’t supposed to be for us, oh no, but this year I find myself not only a tourist in my own town, but a b***** tourist in my own house!

Anyway, woke up this morning feeling fine (sorry, couldn’t resist the annoying song reference!) & ‘my little piranha fish’ was already packing, and my god, was she packing! Now there is only one thing I hate more than packing for a holiday, its the pre-holiday ritual of sorting your inbox out so when you come back you only have what seems like 5 thousand to tackle rather than 10. Why we do this I have no idea. So spent 4 hours of my life attacking the screen, and did I feel better? Slightly.

Ok, arrived in Milkwood and did absolutely nothing, nothing at all. Brief walk, 2 pizzas, stroll down the beach to get the kids wet, row from Michelle (for getting the kids wet), discovered how good the Playsation 3 is when it connects to the net and watched Harry Potter on Blue Ray. Oh yes, and scoffed all the kids sweets when they went to bed. This could be a good hol after all. See you tomoz.

We’re staying at Milkwood House a five star luxury apartment overlooking Swansea Bay in Wales.

Follow us on twitter @trutourism or #idiotathome