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
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Abbey Fields park – #CountryKids

I started writing this post for last weekend’s Country Kids linky but it got forgotten about – I know I keep saying it, but with everything else going on, this poor blog is being neglected a little. But at least I’m still keeping some kind of record of what life is like during the move so we can look back on it and see that we still did fun stuff too. So here it is this weekend instead.

Last week when Granny had a day off work, we were thinking about where to go on the lovely sunny day that it was. We knew we’d like to take Andrew’s bike so he could have a good ride, and also a good park for both of them would be nice. I haven’t been to Abbey Fields park in Kenilworth for a long time, though we used to go to the swimming pool there quite a bit as children, but recently I’d been talking with a lady at a toddler group who had just moved back to the area and was raving about how great the new playground was there. So we decided to go and try it for ourselves. And it turned out to be a fantastic place for the two of them, and although there were 2 of us adults that day, it seemed like a good park for when I’m on my own with the boys too as it has a good fence and plenty to keep them both amused.

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Joel particularly liked the small climbing frame which is a perfect size for him, not far off the ground but with various challenges for him to have a go at walking/climbing over. There’s a tunnel, a rope bridge and 2 wooden bridges as well as a slide and a few different styles of steps/ladders for him to get up and down from it. The whole thing is on that squashy astroturf type ground that is great for if they fall over on it too. Joel loves to jump – I call him jumping Joel quite often – so he was pleased with the little trampoline in the ground which is just right for him. He had a go holding onto Granny, and then had goes on his own too. Another feature of the park that he liked was the stepping log line – a series of tree stumps/logs that he could walk over and jump between.

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Andrew was mostly fascinated by these hand powered diggers in a large sand pit. They were obviously designed for kids a bit bigger than him who could put their feet on the ground, but he was determined to do it himself after some initial help from Granny when he first had a go. He got the hang of what each handle did – one moved the scoop up and down and one pulled it in and out – and by the end he was very successful at scooping sand, the only problem was he needed my help in swivelling him around to dump the sand in a different place because his legs were too short to swivel himself. Joel was interested too, until he realised that he couldn’t do it himself, he was definitely too small, so off he went and left the sand pit.

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The other part of the park that Andrew liked was the older kids bit which is outside of the fenced bit with most of the equipment in it. He’s very into ‘tubey’ slides and enjoyed the challenge of climbing up the ladder and across the rope bridge to it. Joel also wanted to have a go, but of course was way too small, so Granny took him into the basket style swing that was just opposite this rather large climbing frame. But soon Andrew was bored of the slide and wanted to go back to his digger!

Once we’d had a good amount of time on the playground, we found where the path was to go on a bike ride (well, Andrew rode, we jogged!) around the rest of the park. It took us on a route around a small lake and then up a hill. I didn’t get any photos of this – I was too busy keeping up with Andrew and Granny at the front and had Joel on my back in the sling. When we got to the edge of the park, we headed into Kenilworth town centre for a quick bite to eat and well deserved cool drink. Andrew walked once we were out of the park, but got back on his bike when we returned to the park where the car was parked after our snack – he enjoyed riding down the big hill, controlling his brakes very well, also with a little speed control help from Granny!

It was a fantastic morning out and we will certainly be back here again soon!

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

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Water park fun – #CountryKids

Last Sunday morning we went to our local park – the War Memorial Park in Coventry. Andrew had been a bit sick earlier in the morning, but he wasted to go out and get some fresh air, so we thought a trip to the park would cheer him up rather than our usual Sunday morning activity of going to church, where anyone sitting in the pew in front of us may have ended up being showered in sick – at least in the open air such an incident would be more easy to deal with! Anyway, he was generally ok, if a little slower and less bouncy than usual, and he slept for quite a while in the afternoon when we got back, so he must have been ill.

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Andrew was happy to play quietly in the huge sand pit that is the playground, burying Daddy’s legs and then having his own legs buried, while I ran around after Joel, who allowed his legs to be buried just the once.

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Joel was all over the place, as usual, on the slide, the round about, climbing up the grassy mound to the slides, running down it, sieving sand, lifting it up in buckets etc. etc.! He even had a go at pushing Daddy around on the round about. Then another family noticed that there were a couple of guys in council uniforms opening up the water park area next to the sand park. This has been there for a while now, but I’ve never seen it open. There is a sign on it saying that it’ll only be open in school summer holidays, so I thought maybe they were just cleaning it or preparing it for the summer holidays in a few weeks. But before we knew it, there was water shooting up all over it and the other family were in and splashing about. So we followed….

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This really cheered Andrew up. If I hadn’t have seen him more ill in the morning, I would never have known! He was running about all over the place, splashing in the water, getting very wet. He particularly liked running under the fountains that made arches up and over him. Joel, on the other hand, was a little scared of the shooting water, so preferred to run around on the bits that weren’t working yet – about half the water features were working and half weren’t, but as it was only us and one other family there, there was plenty of space for us all to run around in the wet bits.

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We’d taken a change of clothes, so when Andrew decided he’d had enough of the water, I stripped him off and put on his dry clothes. He’d also spotted and ice cream van by that point and asked for an ice cream. I told him that an ice lolly would be ok (sugar and water was probably just what he needed), so he happily munched on that. Joel doesn’t like ice cream – I think it’s too cold for him – so I got a soft ice cream in a cone and he ate the cone for me (which I’m not fussed about!) Considering the morning had started so miserably, we were glad to have had such a fun morning out, and see this water park that has been shut so many times before.

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Joining in with the fab #CountryKids linky over at Coombe Mill’s blog

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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The sand park – #CountryKids

Whilst we’ve been living at Granny and Grandad’s house, we’ve done lots of park trips, just like we used to back in Cambridge. The nearest park to us here in Coventry is the War Memorial Park, which is the biggest in the city. In fact, considering it’s only a 10-15 minute walk from the city centre, it’s easy to forget you’re in a big city whilst walking through its green fields.  We love it because it’s perfect for bike riding and getting a good walk in the open air, and yet it’s so close to home. Not to mention that it has an aviary, a skate park, and a couple of nice cafes.

Right in the middle is Andrew and Joel’s favourite bit: the ‘sand park’ as Andrew calls it. This is a play area that, unsurprisingly, has sand on the ground. It hasn’t always been like this – I remember playing there as a child and it was bark chipping underneath the climbing frames etc. The sand means that it’s almost like a mini beach, which is a nice idea for kids living in one of the most central cities of the UK, miles from the actual beach.

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Andrew in particular likes to play with the sand in the main bit of the park if we remember to take implements or if he finds some there. There is also a smaller section to one side, also with sand on the ground, that has buckets and pulleys, so you can lift sand off the ground and transport it around the climbing frame and do various things with it like put it down chutes, through a mill and through a colander. This provides lots of entertainment, and is just the right size for Joel to climb on too.

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It’s not quite like the beach in that there is no water most of the time. During the school summer holidays they open up a water area that has fountains another water features that the kids can run through and play in. I don’t think we’ve ever actually seen this working though!

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Generally the boys really enjoy this park, but I tend only to go there if I’m with another adult these days. The trouble is that most of the equipment is a little too old for them apart from the one section with buckets, and they both try to climb on the sections meant for older kids and teenagers, which I find stressful on my own. So we usually go to another park when it’s just the 3 of us. I’m sure this phase will pass, and we can go back there the 3 of us when they’re older. The sand is a lovely feature though, even if it does get everywhere – including all the way home!

Linking up with the fab #CountryKids linky at Coombe Mill’s blog as usual.

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Toddler fun at the skate park – #CountryKids

Just a quick post from me this week about our outdoor adventures. I’m still not finding loads of time to blog in amongst the boys not napping consistently and trying to sort out house things plus finding out about the local area of where we will (hopefully, if the sale goes through) live. But I had to share this outing that we had to the local park one bright and crisp morning this week. We’ve been here a lot, as it is rather handily just a short walk from Granny and Grandad’s house, and is perfect for bike riding.

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One part that we haven’t been in for a while is the skate park. As there was nobody else there, Andrew was keen to go in. At first I thought he wanted to ride his bike in there, and so I was hesitant to agree to this. But then he told me that he wanted to play with his ball in there, which sounded like a much safer idea! So we went in, and he absolutely loved it. I couldn’t believe how much fun he had with some concrete ramps and a small yellow ball. This free form of entertainment kept him busy for ages – placing the ball near the top of a ramp, watching it roll down and up the opposite side, and running after it – again and again and again! His giggles were amazing, he clearly enjoyed himself a lot.

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We did have to watch out for a few icy patches, but we just kept to the ramps that we could see had been in the sun longer and therefore the ice on them had melted. It was me who had to drag him away, because we needed to get home for when a work man was coming to fix a window, but we will definitely be back for some more toddler-suitable fun in a place that generally lies empty when all the big skateboarding and bmx-ing kids are at school (though I’m sure Andrew will love to do that himself one day, if his current love of bike riding is anything to go by).

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I also can’t forget to share a couple of pictures from elsewhere in the park that morning. First up is the ‘sand windmill’ that he is fascinated by – the sand was particularly hard and crunchy with the ice, so a great sensory experience for him as he picked some up to make the wheel go round and round (Joel was too tired to be out with him here, so was snuggled in the sling on my back).

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And second is the ‘numbers snail’ that he likes to walk around, starting at number 1 and counting up as he goes around the spiral up to 25. So being outdoors can be just as educational as staying at home with books and toys (though of course we like doing that too once we’re home). I love the shadows in this picture too – little Andrew, tall Mummy, and Joel’s head peaking over my shoulder 🙂

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!
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