Author

I'm a part-time writer, full-time mother and dog-walker living in a small English village by the sea with my husband, daughter and a dog named Doc.

All posts by Dean B

Easter Break: Two Little Girls and a Beach

On Monday, T and her friends go back to school.  This Easter break was all about visiting and spending time with family up in the Midlands for us.  We also had a lovely short city-break at Birmingham where we were lucky enough to watch the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain perform at the beautiful Symphony Hall in Birmingham.  T was absolutely enthralled just watching them play, especially the cellos.  We think she was very much inspired by them.

And so we’re back in the sticks, where our life consists mainly of play-dates and impromptu trips to the beach after the husband is done with his work.  It’s lovely now because Spring seems to have sprung out of the depths of wherever it was hiding when Winter overstayed its stay.  Temperature has risen and it’s possible once again to walk on the beach without looking like an Eskimo or a North Pole explorer out for a ride with his wolf-dogs.  And so the husband went out with shorts and sandals …

I must admit.  I wasn’t as brave as him.  I still came out with a coat (although to be fair, a much lighter one), and the kids were also in hoodies and wellies.

And so we found ourselves on our favourite local beach, Sandymouth which I’ve mentioned more than a dozen of times on this blog.  I can’t repeat myself enough, it really is a must-visit beach if ever you find yourself in North Cornwall, especially with kids in tow.

The two girls decided that it was way more fun to walk around in bare feet even on a pebbly beach, so they plonked themselves on a drift-wood and took their wellies off, before deciding to try to climb the many interesting rock formations found on the beach.

Why do kids never listen to you when you tell them not to do something?  I told them not to climb higher, they ignored me.  And so I said, “If you get stuck, you’ll have to spend the night there, because I’m not climbing up there to get you down”.  Thankfully that worked and they slowly made their way down again and joined the husband exploring by the rock pools.  He found them a little crab to play with before setting it free.

We love it here.  It’s perfect for a long walk on the beach, especially when the tide is low. There are lots of rock pools to discover which both my husband and T love.

We ended the day with the two girls, walking back with their beach find of the day …. driftwood.

What about you?

How was your Easter break?

Country Kids
 

Little T’s First Ever Cross-Country Run

“Go for it” one parent said to his eight-year-old little girl – a lovely, shy, blonde girl who is a year older and at least a head taller than T.

“You can do this!”  another one prompted her daughter.

As for us?  All we said to T was “Enjoy the run and it doesn’t matter how long you finish, as long as you finish it”.  We also told her to stick with her best friend F who was nervous about it.  To be fair, T was also a bit scared but she’s known to be one of the fastest in her class.  In fact, she surprised everyone by coming in first in last year’s sports day.  We thought if they stuck together they can prod one another if the other falls behind.

A day before the visit of the mini-beast from the East, little T and her friends from school participated in a cross country run.  This happens yearly when Year 3 students and above are invited to do the run.

It wasn’t just the kids who were nervous.  We, the parents were also the same especially since the kids who joined from T’s class was their first time in joining too.  No one (apart from the older kids who’ve joined last year) were familiar with the track and what to expect.

And then they were gone… all 800 kids from all over Cornwall participated, some had their parents run with them as well.  My husband and I joined the other parents from T’s school.  We chatted as we waited and then after a while, some kids were already coming in.  We were impressed with their speed.  Then kids from T’s school started running past, we all cheered for them of course, even the ones who were from other schools.

Small kids, older kids started running past, even a man in a dinosaur costume sped by.  Still there was no sign of T and her best-friend F.  I was starting to worry and then I spotted her from afar.

My camera didn’t focus.  She’s the girl in blue behind the blonde little girl.  I called out to her, she saw me and didn’t even blink and sprinted past us, who were cheering loudly.

All the of the kids were covered in mud.  Now I understand why they had to tape their shoes on, some kids ran holding their shoes, they must have gotten stuck in the mud.

We were so proud of our little girl as she came in at 545.  Her other friends came in way before her, but it didn’t matter.  She said she stuck with her friend F, but got separated from him by the river.  When she couldn’t see him, she decided to ran as fast as she could.  That’s her waiting to see if F came in.  He wasn’t that far off from her.

All of them did really well actually, although later on, I did wonder whether we are teaching our daughter to be mediocre?  Is it bad that we don’t push her?  We never say “Go for it!”.  We never push her to win.  We always say – have fun, enjoy it.  As parents, we don’t like putting pressure in anything that little T does, especially since we know some parents in her school do that to their kids.  We may not push her to win, but we do encourage her to always do the best that she can.  Isn’t that enough?

What about you?

Do you tell your child to go for it, or to have fun and enjoy the experience?

Country Kids
 

The Beast Returns! (A Delayed Post)

Well, they called it the mini-beast-from-the-East.  While it wasn’t as bad as the first one, we still had a lot of snow – pretty snow, everywhere you looked it was covered in white.  It gave the light a weird, eerie but beautiful and unusual glow.  Sometimes, it looked more like silver and not white.  T loved it of course, by Monday though we (not my little girl) were all a bit fed up with this winter wonderland and wanted it to be Spring.

When you’re little though, snow is still fun and magical, especially when it happens so rarely in the place where you live.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, it never really snows here in Cornwall, we usually get blasted by heavy wind, not blizzards, so when it happens, it’s the kids who really enjoy it, not the adults, although admittedly, we did have some fun too, even Doc did!

Snow fights, making snow angels, sledding, or just trying to slide down a snowy hill, is so much fun, if you’re a little child like T, especially if your school announces a free day, what’s not to like?

On the third snowy day though, we were just a little bit fed up with it.  I’m wondering how people manage in colder countries where snow is but the norm?  I guess, you do just get used to it – as for the rest of us, we’re really not equipped for snow, when it happens, everything slows down just a bit which to be fair isn’t really a bad thing.  But really, snow in March? I pity the daffodils that were squashed by the snow, I think they were a bit confused too.  Who wasn’t?

Even Doc seemed fed up with snow too.  Thank goodness, it’s all gone now.  Spring I think is finally here.

***

Incidentally, apologies if you’ve been trying to access this little space of mine. I’ve been offline for a few days due to problems with my domain.  But all is sorted now thanks to good friends of ours who happen to be web developers.  If not for them, I’d be thinking of quitting blogging so if you guys are in need of a good team you can trust, do check them out here.  I owe them big time.

Country Kids
 

Cross country training, the promise of spring & a snowy surprise

While the Beast from the East is but a memory now, you’ll still find traces of his visit in the fields and on the side of the road as you drive along the A39, only they’re looking more like cement, a murky brown, or more like mud actually.  And we wonder if he’ll ever visit again?  We promised T that next time we’d be ready and buy a sled if we see one on sale, although I honestly doubt if this rare occurrence will happen again… but you’ll never know and it’s best to be prepared next time.

T together with some of her friends and other schoolmates will be doing the cross-country run together with other schools this Friday.  We’ve been helping her “train”… I’m using the word “train” really lightly here, because it’s nothing hardcore at all.  The Historian does run with her when he has the time, but since he had a lecture in Exeter last Saturday, T was stuck with her mum who has a weak knee and so I just walked behind her.

We were doing rather well.  She’d run ahead of me and I’d walk briskly behind her.  Admiring the promise of spring – the daffodils were out again. Before the Beast’s visit, lovely Spring flowers were slowly coming out and then they were blanketed with a thick layer of snow.  It’s nice to see them out again.

T ran past the small barn and into our neighbour’s farm.  We’re lucky we have lovely neighbours who let us roam freely around their farm.

We passed the other outbuildings  and still she kept running, occasionally checking whether her poor unexercised mum was still behind her.

And into the small woods, past up the hill and then that’s when she saw it.

I saw her stop on her tracks.  She looked back at me and smiled and went for it.

T giggled as she got stuck in the thick snow.  I was really amazed to find this much snow on the side of the lane.  I’m sure it will melt soon especially since temperature has been slowly rising. I let her play in the snow for a while. After all thick snow is rare on our side of the UK especially in March, before reminding her to go back to running till at least the end of the lane and then she can play in the snow again.

After running around in circles and getting stuck in the snow, T and I decided that it was time to head back home…

… for a lovely treat of Oreo Ice-cream.

Isn’t life just sweet? 😉

Hello Beast From the East

The first day of March is “officially” the first day of Spring here in the UK, but because of the Beast from the East, instead of warmer weather, it was bitingly cold.

It was also supposed to be World Book Day, T got up excitedly, wanting to get into her Tonks (a minor character from Harry Potter) costume.  But then we received a message from her school saying that school was cancelled.  While it was cold, there wasn’t any sign of snow till around 2pm and then it never stopped.  T wanted to go outside as soon as it started, but I told her that we’d go out once the snow has settled.  But the snow just kept falling, and falling, and falling….

As you can see, it took only about a couple of hours for the snow to look like this.  T was absolutely delighted.  It has never snowed in North Cornwall like this before.  We’ve had a few dusting, but never as thick as this.

And since we didn’t have any sled, we had to quickly improvise and found an old Ikea shelf that was light and yet sturdy enough to slide down the very icy and slippery road in front of our house.

At first, T was hesitant to use it so her dad had to show her how. Soon enough she was going up and down that icy road, laughing and having so much fun.

I’m amazed with how much snow the beast from the East managed to dump on us within a few hours.  It was absolutely beautiful though …

Everywhere you looked, it was covered in a soft blanket of snow…

And of course, you absolutely have to build a snowman when there’s that much snow on the ground.

T named her Billy, an artist visiting from the East.  As I type this, I look out my window and can still see a mound of snow where Billy used to be standing.

And yes, we had snow-fights too.

At the end of the day, we were all wet and cold, but T had the biggest smile on her face and the snow just kept falling as T watched from the window.

We had two lovely, magical days of snow.  At night, it was lovely to look out the window and see the snow glistening, it actually gave it an eerie glow and as much as I enjoyed it too, I was actually glad to see it melting by Saturday afternoon.  If I look out my window now, I will see patches of snow in the ground and in the surrounding fields too.

If you live in the UK, did you enjoy the visitor from the East?

Country Kids
 

This Is The Life

Lately I’ve been missing the madness of city living again and if T didn’t love her school and her friends so much, we’d move in a heartbeat.  The yearning comes and goes but on a day like this particular one also reminds me to be thankful of where we live right now especially with a little child in tow and as the ever wise Dr. Seuss once said:

Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky.”

And indeed we are lucky to live where we live.  Beautiful beaches are within a ten-minute drive from our house.  If we wanted to venture out just a bit further, like a thirty-minute drive to our current favourite beach, we’re there soon enough.

Sandymouth beach in North Cornwall is our current fave.  We first discovered it last year.  It’s a lovely beach owned by the National Trust, some may find it a bit rocky, but it has many beautiful features like this lovely waterfalls.  If you’ve been reading this little online space of ours, you might have just read about this slice of heaven in past posts.  It also has a lovely National Trust cafe, so yes, a must-visit if you’re in the area.

It was summer the last time we were here.  Imagine T’s surprise when we came back and found the waterfalls over-brimming with water.  Last time we were here, it was a mere trickle.  Just look at these photos:

i just love the expanse of this beach.  It was nearing high-tide when we arrived, so we couldn’t really venture out further, but there was still enough beach for a lovely stroll.

From where we were walking, you could see people up in the headland enjoying the view.

After walking around, we spread our picnic blanket on top of the rocks and just enjoyed the scenery before us.  This is the life.  This is all you need.  The people whom you love the most and a flask of tea.  What more can you ask for?  Okay, maybe enough money to buy a house in the city 😉

“The beach is not a place to work, to read, write or to think”

  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Poor Doc – we weren’t able to let him off leash since there were a few families around with little kids.  Sadly, he still hasn’t outgrown the “jumping on strangers” with an eager beaver face.

After having our fill of quiet solitude and hot tea, we decided it was time for cake at the cafe.  While demolishing a lovely piece of chocolate cake, we noticed this really brave Blackbird perch itself up a few tables from where we sat outdoors facing the sea.  It didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence at all.

And then it was time to explore that headland, which we’ve never had the chance to explore till now.

That’s the National Trust cafe and parking lot (above photo).

Waterfalls seen from above.

What do you think?

Would you exchange all this for city living?

Country Kids
 

And Just Like That…. Half-term Break is Over

Photo above is what the weather is currently like at the moment.  We are enveloped in a sea of mist that really looks like a set in a movie based in one of Stephen King’s novels.  I’m just really glad that the weather wasn’t like this during the half-term break.  We had a few days of glorious sunshine it almost felt like spring has sprung.

February half-term is only a week and we didn’t really do or go anywhere special but at least we managed to visit the beach a couple of times.

Went to Widemouth, our go-to-beach when we want an easy stroll on the beach.  I’ve mentioned this beach a lot of times on this blog, maybe because it’s such a short drive from where we live.  It has a nice long stretch of beach even when it’s high tide.  Perfect for a lovely stroll to blow off some cobwebs.

Was it cold?  Yes, it was.  But we were dressed for it.  After all, winter isn’t really gone yet.  We stayed till it started to rain before heading back home again.

Do you like going to the beach in the cold?

Country Kids
 

An Up-date on decluttering: I did a Toy Story 3!

Last week I finally started to go through T’s toys in her room,  I actually went through them one by one.  If you have a child in primary school you’d understand how tedious this is.  Why do kids love small itty bitty toys?  I also wanted to make sure that I didn’t throw away her favourites.  I did bin a lot of heads, limbs, arms (probably from her old monster high dolls), lots of plastic crap from Happy Meal toys.  It’s amazing how much rubbish our kids accumulate over the years.

Let’s just say by the time I was going through the big box in the conservatory where she keeps some of her toys,  I wasn’t as keen to go through them as thoroughly as I did hours ago.  By this time, I tipped the remaining rubbish (or so I thought) in the bin bag.

Later on though, my husband told me that he managed to fish out a small Woody and Jessie, and Ham (from Toy Story).  Back story:  my husband and T absolutely love all Toy Story movies.  They used to watch it back to back together.  T has all the toys from that movie in all sizes.  She has a big Woody and Jessie safely sitting on one of her shelves in her room.

My initial reaction when my husband told me that he fished out some toys was “Oh you just want to keep them for sentimental reasons!” but then I realised. OMG (as my seven-year-old) would say, I just did a toy story!   He replied, don’t worry.  I’ve rescued them.  If you’re a Toy Story fan or your kids love them too, you’ll be familiar with the dumpster scene from Toy Story 3:

 

Darn it.  Too much watching children’s movies!  I really need to watch more grown-up movies, preferably without toys talking and having adventure after another.

Do you throw out old toys too?

***

I still have more de-cluttering to do.  I’m going through all my crap things little by little.  I’m sure I’ll get there eventually 😉

Uber Sonic Electric Toothbrush, A Review

I’ve been using my old electric toothbrush for a few years now and when it packed up (refused to charge), luckily for me, before I managed to buy a replacement, the lovely folks at Uber Sonic (a British Oral Care subscription service), got in touch and asked whether I’d sample their new product.  I said yes, of course.  Here’s what I think of their Award Winning Uber Sonic Electric Toothbrush:

What I like about the Uber Sonic Electric Toothbrush:

  • I absolutely love the unique aluminum design.  It’s so sleek and looks ultra modern and stylish,(not that a modern and stylish looking design should factor in when looking for an electric toothbrush to buy).  But I must admit, it certainly caught my attention!
  • I also like that it’s really lightweight.  I’m used to my heavy toothbrush, so was really surprised when I picked it up and found it so light!  It makes brushing your teeth even easier to do.
  • I like that it’s less noisier than my old electric toothbrush.
  • I also like that it has a 30sec buzz function which reminds you to change from one jaw to another.
  • I’ve only been using this Uber Sonic Electric toothbrush for over a week now and so far haven’t had to charge it again.  It boasts of a long-lasting charge, but I haven’t had the chance to prove that one yet.
  • It has a really soft brush which I wasn’t really sure of when I first tried it.  Perhaps it’s because I was used to my old one, which seemed to have a “harder” and sturdier brush.  But then again, this only made me more aware to brush my teeth “longer” and “harder” to make up for the “soft brush”, so it really depends on you whether you’d think of this as a positive or negative.

What I don’t like about the Uber Sonic Electric Toothbrush:

  • It has a soft brush.  (See details above), as mentioned not really sure if this is a negative, but still worth mentioning.

My box also came with two refill heads and covers, at least I won’t have to worry about purchasing replacements.

If you’re on the look out for an electric toothbrush, why not give Uber Sonic Electric toothbrush a try?  Uber Sonic Brush sets from £19.  With a refill plan of two brush heads from £9 every 2 months and all members receive a free Ubersonic toothbrush and whitening kit every year.  I think that’s a fab deal, you won’t have to worry about having to replace your toothbrush!

What do you look for when searching for an electric toothbrush replacement?

Do you go for design, trusted name or price?

Do share.

*I was kindly sent the Ubersonic Electric toothbrush for the purpose of this review.  However, all photos and opinions are by yours truly.

A New Year’s Resolutions: Declutter!

I only have one new year’s resolutions this year worth mentioning, admittedly I do have a few, but I don’t plan to even write them down.  They will remain in my head, but to me the most important one is to declutter.

My one dream is to live in a minimalist house and have a minimalist lifestyle. But I know that won’t happen. Why?  My husband and I are both sentimental creatures, him more than me actually.  We keep things that have sentimental value even though they really ought to be thrown away.  And we have too many books, we buy too many books, we love books too much to stop buying them.  And that’s precisely the reason why I’ve long accepted that we won’t ever have a minimalist household.

I also have to go through all of our books.  We somehow manage to duplicate our books.  I have two books of Letters of Ted Hughes.  One was given to me by my lovely in-laws.  Any takers?  My husband and I used to dream of owning our own bookshop.  It’s a lovely dream which won’t happen unless I win the lottery.

My desk as always is a mess.  But I’ll do my best to declutter and get rid of unnecessary things like Folio Society book  catalogues I’ve already looked through numerous times.  I don’t know why I even bother to keep them when their website is already bookmarked in all the gadgets I use.

T’s toys are also on the list.  She has too many toys she doesn’t even play with anymore.  Before her birthday, I did manage to either throw or give some of her toys away.  Toys she’s outgrown and since Christmas has just happened, it means more toys.

And lastly, clothes.  I’m going to go through all our clothes and get rid of or donate clothes which don’t fit us anymore.  Who am I kidding?  I’m never going to be a size 6 again, so why keep them?

This holding on to too many material things is actually weighing heavily on me now.  I can feel the physical heaviness on me as if I’m literally carrying all these clutter in my arms.  Isn’t that a bit strange?  Maybe because this whole decluttering business has been on my mind for several months now and I really just need to do something about it.

What about you?

Do you also have the need to declutter?