As much as I love being a mum, life with three children is certainly busy. Juggling work, their after school activities, play dates, birthday parties and the rest of it, it sometimes feels like we’re on a treadmill that just won’t stop.
At this time of year in particular I find things go into overdrive, with half term, Halloween, Bonfire Night and the hectic run up to Christmas. It can be overwhelming.
In the midst of all the chaos it’s so important to slow down and to spend quality time with the people who matter the most – my family.
Sometimes this can be a cosy afternoon of playing board games or a walk in the countryside.
Other times it’s a special treat day such as a game of bowling or a trip to the cinema followed by a family meal where we can sit back and enjoy each other’s company while someone else does all the cooking and the clearing up.
The Red Dragon Centre is great when it comes to the latter – and you can do it all under one roof too. Plus there’s also on-site parking for free (up to six hours subject to minimum spend and ticket validation; T&Cs apply).
We’re loving the newly-refurbished Bella Italia. They have a great children’s menu with the Piccolo menu for smaller children costing £5.95 for three courses and a drink and the Grande menu for older children costing £7.95.
Visit before Sunday 4 November and kids eat for £1 when purchasing an adult main course. Sign up for the offer at their website (T&C apply). My children also love the all you can eat buffets at Spice Route and Oriental Garden. These self-serve meals are great for hungry children who can’t wait to be fed and also for getting them to try new things.
We are big fans of Hollywood Bowl – especially their family fun fests. They’ve got one coming up on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November between 12pm and 4pm where you can expect glow-bowling, face painting, balloons and a treasure hunt in addition to all the regular bowling fun. It costs from £4.95 for children and £5.95 for adults. On other days you can take advantage of the Family Happy Deal for £19.09 for a family of four if you book online or over the phone in advance (not always valid during school holidays or bank holidays) or head for an after-school bowling session where children can bowl and dine from £6.79. Check their website for details of all their special offers.
The ODEON Cardiff – home to South Wales’ only digital IMAX® screen – is a great place to watch all the new release films.
We especially love the ODEON kids screenings where on Saturday and Sunday mornings and daily during school holidays families can grab a bargain with £2.50 tickets. The films are a few months old but it’s a great and affordable way for little ones to enjoy the cinematic experience.
When it comes to the big film releases, we’re all really excited about Mary Poppins Returns (released on 21st December). It’s set in 1935, 25 years on from the first film. Jane and Michael are now grown up with their own families. Following a tragic event, Mary Poppins comes back into their lives and injects a much needed dose of happiness into the world.
Other family films we hope to see include The Grinch (9th November; PG) based on the classic Dr Seuss book and featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role; and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (12th December; PG) where Peter Parker discovers he’s not the only spider-person.
At the ODEON adults pay child prices for children’s films meaning a family ticket for four costs from £20.
As if that’s not enough there’s plenty of free family fun at The Red Dragon Centre in addition to all of this.
The next RDC Eco Kids Club takes place between 12pm and 4pm on Wednesday 31 October with Eggseeds and Pedal Emporium hosting free eco-friendly activities including creepy crafts and Halloween-themed pedal powered fun.
December is Fantastic Beasts season to tie in with the release of sequel Fantastic Beasts – The Crimes of Grindelwald. Magical creatures will be visiting The Red Dragon Centre on the first three Sundays of December. You can meet Bjorn the Polar Bear on Sunday 2 December; the Christmas Reindeer Elf on Sunday 9 December and the Snow Lion on Sunday 16 December. On each date they will be making appearances at 12.30pm, 2pm, and 3.30pm with each appearance lasting around 20 minutes.
And if that’s still not enough reason to visit then don’t forget that The Red Dragon Centre is perfectly positioned so that you can explore the sites of Mermaid Quay and the Barrage with some beautiful views across the Bay.