Wembury rock pools – #CountryKids

Last week I wrote about our trip to Mothecombe beach in Devon when we were on holiday. That’s a mostly sandy beach on an estuary with lovely shallow water until quite a way out from the shore. Another day of our holiday we went just 5 minutes drive down the road from the edge of Plymouth to Wembury beach. Since the great storms that hit the south west coat last year, this has been a very rocky beach, and when it’s low tide, it’s perfect for a spot of rock pooling.

Andrew had spotted the old net in Grandma and Pop’s shed with the other beach toys earlier in the week and was desperate to have a go with it. So we’d promised him a morning at a rocky beach to try his hand at rock pooling. Unfortunately the net that was once Daddy’s had seen better days, so we treated him to a brand new one from the cafe on the beach, and it was very reasonably priced considering we were a captive audience.

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When we arrived it was pretty much bang on low tide and there were lots of fantastic pools. We all set out across the rocks, wearing sensible shoes (wellies for the boys) and carrying our net and buckets. Joel is a keen climber, so was also in his element, even though he wasn’t in the least bit bothered about looking for animals. Andrew wanted to use his net when we spotted a few things, but the kinds of creatures that we saw really needed an adult with a faster hand and a better eye for catching them as they were too quick for him. We didn’t actually catch much in the end – this shrimp was the highlight really, and we let him go back home after a few minutes.

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We did see lots of limpets clinging to the rocks, and barnacles, and anemones which I said looked like shiny cherries on the rocks. We saw lots of little crabs too, but they were too small to catch in our net.

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Joel was a bit of a handful really, and soon got tired so had a tantrum about not being able to go it alone across the rocks! It’s an activity that he’ll need another couple of years to appreciate fully. Andrew was keen to give it a go though, even if he couldn’t do lots himself. We’ll definitely be back here in future years. There is also a fantastic marine study centre just off the beach at Wembury, which is open to the public and you can have a look round at the exhibit telling you all about the sea plants and creatures of the area. Again, a bit lost on our boys for now, but give them a few years and I’m sure they will be very interested.

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Linking up with the fantastic Country Kids linky over at Coombe Mill’s blog.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Mothecombe beach – #CountryKids

The weather forecast for the week that we were on holiday in Devon wasn’t as amazing as it had been earlier in the summer, so we decided to go to the beach on our second day there, the best looking day of the forecast, just in case we didn’t get another chance.

Grandma and Pop had recently invested in a new blow up dinghy, since the one that Daddy and his siblings used to uses kids finally bit the dust last year when we were on holiday. One of the best beaches for small children that we’ve been to near their house is Mothecombe – the beach on the Erme estuary is fantastic, because it’s so shallow, you have to go out a long way before you can’t stand up any more as an adult, and at low tide, you can walk across the estuary so it’s not even deep enough to swim in. This makes it ideal for a row in a dinghy with little ones.

We got there quite early and were the first ones on the beach. Not surprising given that it was spitting slightly with rain, though was fairly warm still. We found a good spot and got our various bits of entertainment out – buckets and spades, bats and balls, football, kites, sand castle flags, and of course the boat with pump and oars. Pop and Daddy set to and blew up the boat, while the rest of us played in the sand and paddled in the sea – it was high tide so there wasn’t as much beach then as there was later in the day.

Once the boat was in working order, the boys both went out a few metres from the shore with Pop rowing, They absolutely loved it, and wanted to keep doing it several times for the rest of our time on the beach that day. Most of us adults had a turn to be in the driver’s / rower’s seat with either one or two boys with us.

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We had lots of fun doing all sorts of activities on the sand and in the water. Joel was quite happy to sit and play with the sand, putting it into buckets with his hands and throwing it about. It’s the longest I’ve seen him sit doing something for a while. Of course he did get up and play too, and also destroy Andrew’s sand castles, as is typical behaviour for each of them.

We had the obligatory British picnic lunch on the beach too, although at that point it was clouding over and just after we’d eaten we had a short and light rain shower, similar to a few that we’d had earlier in the morning, but it was the kind of shower that by the time you’d got a coat on, it was over and sunny again. The boat came in useful as a shelter for the boys though, with an adult at each end holding it up!

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Joel was getting tired after lunch, but we’d decided to see if he would have a nap in the buggy as everyone else was having a lot of fun. And he actually did fall asleep during a short push in the buggy. That gave the rest of us a chance to have a rest too, except those who were taking it in turns to row Andrew in the boat.

By about 3pm, the tide was about half way out and there was much more beach, not that we had to share it with many people because it wasn’t very busy at all. Andrew and I went on a walk along the estuary shore, and got to the bit where you can walk across at low tide. We could have walked across then, because there was only a shallow bit of water to walk through, but we knew there wasn’t too much time left on the beach because we had to get back home for 4.30pm. So we walked back across the beck, following the footprints that we’d made on the way. Except when we were not quite back, we saw a sand bank higher than the water level out to sea slightly. So we waded through the shallow water, and came to our very own ‘island’ that had no footprints on yet. Then it was just a short walk back through the water to the part of the beach where the others were sat.

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Gradually we packed up all our stuff and set off up the hill to the car park. Joel stayed asleep until we got to the car, and Andrew fell asleep in the car! It’s the sign of a good day when Andrew naps these days. I’d definitely recommend Mothecombe beach for little ones. It’s so quiet, not many people seem to know about it, or would rather not have the walk down (and up) the hill to (and from) the beach, but we think it’s worth it.

Linking up with the fab Country Kids linky over at Coombe Mill’s blog
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Southwold – #CountryKids

At the weekend we had a very special occasion – the boys’ uncle and aunt (Daddy’s brother) got married in a lovely village in rural Suffolk where the bride is from. We had a fantastic day, the boys did very well in their roles – the 2 little ones as page boys and Daddy as best man – and it was a really lovely opportunity to catch up with family whom we know and meet those whom we didn’t know already.

The wedding itself was on the Saturday, and then on the Sunday we decided to head to the coast, only 10 miles away, to Southwold. Most of our immediate family were either heading back on a long journey straight away, or going to the church service, but as the boys had already sat brilliantly through one service the day before, we thought that a trip to the beach would be better for them. We too didn’t have masses of time before the journey home, but enough to have a paddle and a walk along the pier.

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When we got there just before 10am, there were hardly any cars in the car park and the place seemed quite empty. We parked right behind the row of beach huts, the iconic feature of this region of English sea side. As we walked to the end of the row, we saw the steps to get down onto the beach, not that there was a slot of beach at that point because it was high tide, but there were only a few other people there so we still had lots of space to ourselves. We took off shoes and had a little paddle. The water was cold but it was such a nice warm day that we didn’t mind. The boys enjoyed letting the waves chase them up the beach as they crashed in, though Joel was less sure about getting wet than Andrew was.

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Both boys were most interested in throwing pebbles into the water, or sometimes more like big rocks compared to their size! Both have a pretty good throw on them, better than mine I’d say. It was lovely to be able to run about on the sand, an experience that they don’t get very often living nowhere near the seaside. Daddy doesn’t get as excited about visiting the beach as I do, because he grew up with a sea view from his bedroom window, and I think the boys will be like me in this respect.

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After we’d finished having fun on the beach, we headed over to the pier and walked along the length of it. The whole town and especially the pier had a very classy and not at all tacky appearance, which is what I tend to associate with piers and traditional British seaside resorts. The pier was very tastefully done, with a cafe and a couple of shops along the length. There was a weird clock halfway along it, which was once a temporary exhibit somewhere but now lives here permanently. It’s driven by water and does a little ‘performance’ on the half hour and hour. Andrew thought this was hilarious. We stopped and had a drink at the cafe, and sat on an ingeniously designed bench that acted as a wind break from the fairly strong wind that was blowing across the pier.

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After our refreshment break, we walked back along the pier and crossed the road to the park. Unfortunately the playground equipment there was a little old for our boys, so we just walked on a bit further and watched the boats on the boating lake for a little while. That was about as much time as we could spend as we had to head back home which was a good 3-4 hour drive with a stop. We very much enjoyed our little trip to the seaside, and were so pleased that the weather was lovely enough to have a good walk and play on the beach.

Linking up with the fab #CountryKids linky over at Coombe Mill’s blog

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Devon holiday – part 2: Fun on the beach

Last week I wrote about the fun we had at some National Trust properties when we were on holiday in Devon with both sets of the boys’ grandparents. This week I’ll tell the tales of our beach days on holiday.

Our first day at the beach was the Tuesday, and the destination was Looe in Cornwall. Of course we had all the inevitable jokes about needing the loo and so on, much to Tom’s annoyance! The sky was quite overcast, but it was fairly warm and there was no rain forecast, so we’d decided that a beach day was worth a try, and this location was good for the other family members that we were going to meet there.

Looe 1

It wasn’t too far a drive, and when we got there it wasn’t too busy, with plenty of space to find a good spot to put down all the paraphernalia that between us we’d lugged from the car park through the town and onto the beach. Andrew was keen to get playing straight away, and wanted to put his little swim/wet suit on, which was definitely worth having so that he could flit between the sea and the sand without getting his normal clothes wet or getting chilly from having just trunks on.

Looe 2

The first activity of choice was building sand castles with the substantial range of buckets and spades that Grandma and Pop have – some left over from the 1980s-90s and some more recent acquisitions. We even had little sandcastle flags to complete the works of art. Joel also joined in, though probably destroyed more castles than he helped make, and he loved the texture of the sand, playing with it in his hands and feet. It came as quite a shock to him that he couldn’t eat it!

Looe 4

After a little while, Andrew wanted to go in the sea, so down he headed with Pop and his little dinghy. Andrew absolutely loved the sea, which was good to see because last year he wasn’t so interested in it. He was happy to ride in the little boat and then get out and splash in the waves which were just the right height for him. There weren’t too many other people braving the sea, which wasn’t surprising given that it wasn’t amazingly sunny to dry off and warm up when they got out. Joel had a little dip too, and was more keen on it than Andrew had been in previous years.

Looe 3

Other activities that we got up to during the day included eating a picnic and playing frisbee. Andrew was quite skilled at throwing the frisbee….backwards behind him! That caused a few near-miss incidents with the people located near us – thank goodness for the Great British windbreak! At about 4pm we headed home and the two boys fell asleep almost instantly as we got on the road.

 

Nearer the end of our week away, on Friday, we had another beach day out. The weather forecast said overcast in the morning but brightening up later in the day, so we thought we’d believe it and head to the beach. This time we chose a more local beach called Mothecombe, just along the coast from Plymouth heading eastwards. The main reason we went there is that it’s perfect for little ones because it’s on the estuary of a river (The Erne) and is therefore very shallow and sandy. Even at high tide, you have to walk out quite a way before you can swim properly as an adult, so it’s just the right depth of water for little legs to paddle in or get a dinghy in.

MC 1

We arrived at about 11am, and the tide was coming in and almost at its highest. So there wasn’t much beach at that point, but we were the only ones there, so we picked a nice spot and put all our paraphernalia down. The same kinds of activities as at Looe were requested by Andrew and suggested by the adults. This time we’d also brought the body board, another throw back from yester-decade. The waves were just right for giving Andrew a bit of a go on it. At one point he got carried along by a bigger wave than he expected and he came off, but when he resurfaced he was laughing, which was good to see. Joel had a bit of a dip again, and enjoyed sitting in the dinghy, though not so much being sprayed with water by Andrew.

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Joel’s favourite activity was trying to eat the sand, and he got annoyed whenever a well-meaning adult, who was put in charge of watching him, stopped him! We all also enjoyed flying or looking at the kite, which again had stood the test of time from Daddy’s youth. I even had a dip in the sea, though had to walk out quite far before I could swim properly. I’m not a big fan of swimming in the sea, despite loving swimming in a pool, mainly because I don’t like to think about what’s in it – jellyfish are a particular worry.

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The tide started to go out from about lunchtime, and gradually the beach got much bigger. At the same time, the clouds started to part and the sun came out in force. We walked over the sand to where the river was much narrower than it had been – at low tide it’s actually possible to walk to the other side as the river is so shallow and narrow. There were some rock pools, and the grandfathers had managed to find a net in the beach shop when they went to get a coffee for everyone after lunch, so Andrew had a go at finding some treasures – a sea snail was his best find, and it lived in a bucket until we went home and it got put back in the sea.

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When the time came to head home because the tiredness signs were coming thick and fast from the boys, Andrew wasn’t impressed and screamed all the way back up the hill to the car that he wanted to go back down to the beach. We tried to convince him with various reasons why we were going home and that we’d come back another day, but in the end the promise of an ice cream from the grandparents as he’d been such a good boy all day won him over. Again they fell fast asleep almost instantly on the way home – the sign of a great day out!

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Linking up with the fab Country Kids, as always!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Pregnancy diary: week 28 – holiday

This week we’ve been on holiday! And what a well-needed holiday it’s been. With all this being pregnant, looking after Andrew, working, editing, blogging etc. I was feeling very much in need of a rest. We’re very blessed to have Tom’s family living in Devon, so we can go and stay with them for holidaying down in the South West of England. This means it really is a holiday, as we get looked after, for example meals get cooked, washing gets washed, tidying up gets done, and Andrew gets entertained by people other than us, which is always a novelty for him. I think with very small children, it’s less of a holiday when you still have to sort things out yourself, and still do the cooking, cleaning, and even travelling around once you’re there.

Change of background from normal as we're not at home yet, though back soon. Looking very bumpy in this summer dress, about to head out for the day, and it looks like it'll be lovely weather again 🙂

I’ve never been into holidays where you just sit around or lie around – I like doing something for at least part of each day. When I was younger, most years we went on holiday to France camping as a family, and would spend the morning out and about exploring the local area, and then come back in the afternoon to the campsite where I would spend the rest of the day in the swimming pool. Since Tom and I have been together, our holidays have mainly been in the UK, all in places where there’s plenty of outdoors to explore, like Devon and the Lake District. Although it’s been restful this week, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been out and done lots of activities as well. We’ve been to the beach and played with a kite and sandcastles, done lots of walking (Andrew sometimes on the dinosaur reins, sometimes in the back carrier, sometimes in the buggy) and been swimming. Generally the weather has been just right – not too hot, but also dry (apart from the odd shower) and only one really wet day (which we spent at the swimming pool and visiting family).

Collecting stones at Wembury beach. It turned out much better weather that day than we were expecting, so Andrew had joggers on instead of his swim stuff - it didn't seem to bother him though!
Trying to keep him out of the sea as he didn't have his swimming stuff on at that point, and it wasn't a particularly hot day!
Stuffing a jaffa cake, whole, into his mouth. Jaffa cakes are clearly the best part of any picnic!

The general routine has been to get out and about in the morning, have a picnic lunch somewhere, and then head back in the afternoon when Andrew naps (either in the car on the way back or at home) and we rest, and then do something locally in the late afternoon before dinner. This has been just right for me at this stage of pregnancy. I know that keeping active is really good for me, and I always feel much more energised when I’ve done some activity, even if I feel low on energy beforehand. I think that keeping fit in pregnancy was a big factor in how smoothly labour went with Andrew, and I’m determined to do the same this time in pregnancy. It has of course been lovely to have times of rest, when I can really rest, have a snooze, do what I like, rather than doing housework (or feeling bad about not doing housework because I did have a rest!)

A spot of croquet on the lawn at Saltram House. I don't know, we come all this way, and Andrew wants to play what is everywhere in Cambridge!
Daddy and Andrew having fun on a rope swing at Saltram House.

Andrew seems to have enjoyed his second holiday in Devon too. We came last summer, but he was only 6 months old, and didn’t really have much of a clue what was going on. This time he’s been able to take part in all we’ve been doing, and he’s pretty flexible with things like eating and napping, so we’re not tied to very strict timings in his routine. It’ll be even more fun this time next year, when there’ll be two little ones to entertain on holiday! Baby will be about 9 months old, so a bit older than Andrew was on his first trip down to Devon. I think that’ll be even more of a great reason to holiday in a place where we all get looked after!

Andrew enjoying a dinghy ride at Mothecombe beach.
I know it looks like he's running out to sea on his own, but it's shallow for miles as it's a river estuary, and we were just behind him in case of tripping up. He loved it in the shallow water with few waves.

This week should have been my 28-week appointment with the midwife and also my glucose tolerance test (to check whether I have gestational diabetes). But as we’ve been away all week, that wasn’t possible of course. So next week I’ll write about how those went, as I’ll have them at 29 weeks instead. I don’t think it really matters if you don’t have them bang on 28 weeks, because, after all, babies aren’t all born exactly on their due date, so mums don’t all end up being checked-up/tested at exactly the same stages of pregnancy. It seems like ages ago since I last saw the midwife – 16 weeks I think. But time is flying, and we’ll be into the thirties weeks very soon. There must be more posts on preparation that I’ll write, although I don’t think I’m half as aware of preparation for this baby as I was with Andrew at this stage in pregnancy, mainly because there is a lot less to do, as we have lots of ‘stuff’ for baby already this time. There are still a few things that I need to get organised with though, and I’ll let you know when I’ve done something about them!