Tag: country kids

Finding the Beauty in Ordinary Days

It definitely felt like spring has sprung over the weekend which lasted till Monday.  Never mind if it’s looking grey again today.  But a few days ago, our little family had a lovely time as we worked in the sunshine, trying to reclaim our garden back from the remnants of winter.

T and I started with raking the leaves which should’ve been raked ages ago, but it was always too wet and cold to do it.  But over the weekend it was bliss.  We were all in our element, including Doc and Boots who loved basking in the sun and running on tree branches.  Hopefully she didn’t find any bird’s nests!

For some time now, the husband has been talking about wanting to put wooden borders with shingles for our pots of plants to rest on.  But like I’ve mentioned, the weather hasn’t been really conducive to do anything outside, he finally had his chance!

He started this on a Saturday, by Sunday he had all the wooden boards up, but found out that the shingles he bought wasn’t enough.  We managed to buy more yesterday and it’s all up:

I think he did a grand job!  We’re excited to buy more bedding plants, since the ones in our pots need replanting and even new ones.  There’s still obviously much to do in the garden.  I need to repaint our garden furnitures and hopefully we’ll manage to put up some swings and tick off some of our plans which we made last year when we first moved into the house.  It does take time, doesn’t it?

But over the weekend, it was one of those lovely ordinary days where I savoured each and every single second, bit by bit.  There’s beauty in ordinary days like these.

Relishing the ordinary, the way the sunshine poured through the window making beautiful patterns against our curtains.  The sound of Boots’ bell coming from the trees, hopefully loud enough to warn any birds that a predator is coming.  Little T sitting on the concrete steps eating her little picnic exclaiming “This is the best lunch ever” which consisted of a jam sandwich, apple slices and her a pear flavoured drink.

The way the husband frowned as he hammered a piece of wood into the ground missing his foot just inches away.  Even the sound of Doc’s faint barking which meant he was somewhere in the 500-acre farm land that surrounds our house.

And then later on, the sound of T practicing her cello and my husband and I both smiling, so proud of her, that what our little girl is playing is beginning to sound like good music.  These are the moment I want to freeze forever.

Reality sets in again, and it’s a Wednesday, our house at the moment is surrounded in mist.  Ah well…

A Visit to Wrest Park

It’s been a while since we’ve used our English Heritage membership, but when we visited my in-laws over the half-term break, we finally had the chance to use it.

Wrest Park is a lovely Grade II listed country home in Silsoe Bedfordshire.  The facade actually reminded me a bit of Napoleon’s ostentatious Château de Compiègne in France which we visited a couple of years ago, although of course, not as grand and garish, the gardens though is equally beautiful.

Since it was half-term break, we took little T’s cousin K with us so they could spend more time together.

The girls were not as impressed with the staircase as they were with the painting on the ceiling.

The sitting room, although they really should’ve called this the cherubim room, since you could find them in every corner.  I’m not a big fan of these chubby little angels, so I zoned out when the guide started pointing them out to the girls.  Surprisingly, T turned out to be disinterested in them too.

I found the Victorian conservatory really interesting though, too bad it wasn’t open to the public.

During World War II, Wrest Park was used as a convalescent home for injured soldiers.  I can imagine this was one of the rooms used for their patients.  Can you imagine recuperating in a room with such big windows and lovely views from outside?

The girls of course were itching to go outside.  It was a lovely day and almost felt like Spring has come and so we decided that the day was too beautiful to spend it indoors.

The grounds did not disappoint …

So much to see and do.

After walking for at least an hour, we decided it was time for some lunch at the cafe via the orangery.

The girls went wild inside the empty orangery, running around and shrieking like loonies …

I laughed when I saw these two statues on the facade of building.  They look like they were actually holding their heads as if they have a headache.  I don’t blame them, the girls shrill voices must have done that to them.

It was fun though.

Do visit Wrest Park if you’re in the area.

It’s so worth it.

A Country Kid’s Post: Winter on The Beach

This is actually a late-post.  Like most people who live by the coast on Boxing day, we found ourselves blowing cobwebs at our go-to-beach, Widemouth Bay which is a mere ten-minute drive from where we live.

And of course, it being a holiday, there were a lot of people on the beach although they aren’t shown in the photos.  T also took her Baby Alive doll on the beach with her, a present she asked from Father Christmas.

Are you familiar with Baby Alive dolls?  They are a bit freaky.  I ought to write about them on a different post and you’ll know why.

T gives Holly, her doll, a piggyback ride all the way back to the car.

Yes, it was time to go home.

Have you visited the beach lately?

A Country Kid’s Post: Beachcombing on an Autumn Day

It was a beautiful late autumn day, not wanting to waste it, our little family decided to head for the beach in Polzeath after little T’s ballet a few Saturdays ago.

When we arrived, there were people getting ready to go in the water in their wet suits, there were dog-walkers around, and people, who were like us, not wanting to waste the lovely day indoors. Here, let me share some photos with you:

It was a lovely day of walking on the beach and just breathing in the cold autumn air.  T and the Historian had fun doing a bit of beach combing and exploring the few caves dotted around the cliffs of Polzeath.  We ended the visit with ice-cream – as it should always be.

A breath of fresh air on the beach, with lovely weather, ending it with ice-cream, what more can we ask?  Bring it on winter, we’re ready for you!

Have you visited the beach lately?

Here’s a little shortie of what the day was like…

A Country Kid’s Post: Planting for Spring

I know it’s barely Winter and here I am talking about Spring.  But you see, it’s all about focusing on small joys, and doing things that makes me/our little family happy, and planting for Spring makes us happy bunnies!

Last Sunday was a quiet day of doing chores, homework and planting for us here at Small Hill Cottage.  My husband bought some bulbs for planting and he and little T had fun doing it in the garden.  They planted crocuses, irises, daffodils and trilliums.

I reminded him though that when our garden is in full bloom, it is dotted with loads of daffodils, snow-drops and other lovely spring flowers.  “Yes”, he replied.  “But not where I want them to be”.  Off he went, planting them down in the garden, where he wanted them to be.

Silly flowers indeed, not sprouting from where he wants them to grow.

As for little T, my little gardener, she was blessedly content with planting the bulbs in her chosen pot.  There, she said, as she pushed the last bulb in the soil and asked me to help her cover it with compost.

We were all out in the garden, enjoying the fresh air in spite the dull weather.  Well, except for the cat who opted to stay in, sleeping by the fire.  Doc was busy running around and barking at imaginary shadows.  T and the historian with their bulbs, and I, as always, was busy raking the leaves.

Safe in our little bubble of country living.  The world and all its absurdities can all happen without us and we’re fine with that.

What about you?

Have you done any spring planting too?

A Country Kid’s Post: A Not So Hidden Valley

Train Station at Hidden Valley

Just before the school term started, we visited Hidden Valley which isn’t too far from where we live.

The first time we went, was probably two years ago.  We thought of doing little T’s fourth birthday party there. In the end though opted to go somewhere else since we weren’t sure of how the weather was going to hold.

It’s a nice little place to go to, especially for younger children.  There weren’t many changes since the last time, although what used to be the “Haunted House” was now a Sherlock Holme’s trail which had clues you had to find and riddles to solve, perfect for kids older than T.  She and her friend didn’t bother to do the trail, but they had fun going in and out of the doors complete with hidden rooms.

We had a picnic after and was pleased to see a designated picnic area complete with wooden benches and tables, though it was a bit tricky to eat with chickens around.  One even tried to peck the sandwich of my friend’s little girl!  As expected, little M cried!

After lunch the kids, decided to head for the maze, but not before visiting the “Hobbit’s House first.

Then the animals …

T stood awhile, hoping that this sleeping pig would wake up.  But I guess it was too tired to even bother.

And of course, there were ducks in a pond.  There are always ducks!

I’ve always liked the idea of having a pet donkey.  But I’m afraid we don’t really have the space for one.  Aren’t they the cutest?

And then it was time to take the little train back home.  Well not really.  It actually went around the Hidden Valley.  A nice treat for the kids, as well as for the adults.

They are currently building a Japanese garden there.  I can imagine how beautiful it will be in Spring.  Can’t wait to see that!

Hidden Valley is located at Tredidon, St Thomas, Launceston, Cornwall PL15 8SJ.  This isn’t a sponsored post by the way, it’s just nice to be able to help support local businesses.

Have you visited any fun place lately?

A Country Kid’s Post: All About the Outdoors

This move has always been about space and the outdoors.  More space for little T to have, especially when she has her friends over for play-dates.  A bigger garden for Doc and Boots to explore without any hissing and yowling happening and an office for my husband.

Ever since we’ve moved, little T has had playdates after another.  At one time we had more than six kids in one go.  It was maddening, but the fun kind.

When she has friends over, they have picnics outside, with toys scattered all over the front garden.  It’s easier to clean-up too. I tell T to chuck all her toys back in those Ikea storage boxes.  Don’t you just love them?

I’ve helped her build DIY teepees with old curtains from the old house we won’t be using again.

When her friends are over, they have one teepee or tent each.  Thank goodness we have loads of old fabric we can use.

She hardly every plays inside the house, only when it’s raining.  She doesn’t watch much television anymore or doesn’t use her Ipad much, which is great.  I want her to play like I did when I was her age.  There wasn’t much technology back then.  All we had were our toys and imaginations.

We haven’t had the time to buy the much coveted trampoline yet and also want to hang up wooden little swings by the tree down in the garden.  Her new paddling pool is still in a box.  We have yet to find an even ground in the garden (it mostly slopes you see).   Need to get that sorted out soon, especially since we’ve been having such glorious weather at the moment. A friend mentioned the use of ply, the husband thinks he might also try sandbags just to even a corner space for the paddling pool.  I think a little tilt isn’t that bad.  But we’ll have to see.

All those little things-to-do have to wait till the summer when we have all the time in the world to do just that.

What about you?

Have you been spending the lovely warm weather in your garden too?

Do share.

A Country Kids Post: An Afternoon Spent at Crealy Adventure Park

On the last week of little T’s Easter break, we met up with some friends over at Cornwall’s Crealy Adventure park near Wadebridge.  I think the last time we visited was about a year or so ago.

We arrived in the early afternoon since T’s dad had some work to finish before heading off to Crealy.

It doesn’t look really different from the last time we were there.  Same rides, same animals, since there were rain clouds hovering above, they actually put giant tents over the Pirate Ship where kids can play in the open.  It’s more or less like a giant sand-pit.  Luckily the day stayed dry.  They also seemed to have the same restaurants and snack shops you can buy the usual kind of food one gets at an adventure park.

T and her friend enjoyed some rides together.

She and her friend F enjoyed the tea-cup ride so much they actually went on it twice!  Just watching them made me even feel dizzy!

The giant slides were her favourite.  She and her friend with their respective dads did the slides again and again.  It was actually funny watching grown-men go down the giant slide and laughing loudly like little boys.  I guess they never really grow-up, don’t they? 😉

The last time we went to Crealy little T loved the water slide, thank goodness she didn’t seem to remember it, while it was a lovely dry day, it was not warm enough to do a water-slide especially since you really end up getting wet afterwards.  She was happy doing the dragon roller coaster instead.

T also had fun looking at the different animals, but I’ll save that for another post.  And before we knew it, it was time go home.  I was expecting some tears, but little T was happy to be led home, though I have a feeling it had something to do with a toy she had eyed at the gift-shop.  Luckily for her, she remembered to take her money from her piggy-bank with her.

What about you?

What’s your favourite adventure park?

Do share.

Country Kids: A Chocolate Egg Hunt

I know Easter is finished and everyone has moved on, though we still have loads of chocolate left-overs since we’ve been rationing them to T, we don’t want her to over-do it like she did on Easter Sunday.  The down-side is, it’s taking ages to get through them.  I know, some of you may think I’m nuts for complaining about having chocolates around.  Is it me, or do you also hear a tiny voice that says “Eat me?” every time you see one lying around?

A few days ago, little T had some friends over and since we still had loads of chocolate, even a tub of chocolates for an Easter egg hunt we planned to organise in the new garden.  But since the move hasn’t happened yet, a friend and I decided to do it in the playground.

The trick was, how do we hide the chocolates with the kids around?  Luckily, there is a skateboard ramp near the playground.  When we arrived, we suggested to the kids, why not play at the skate-ramp first which thank goodness, they happily obliged us with nary a complaint.

They didn’t suspicious that we sent them off and were happily playing on the ramp while their mum and I quickly “hid” a bunch of chocolates around the playground with little clues arrows pointing on where to find them.

We didn’t really hide them of course, after all they are only five and one three-year-old little boy.

On the merry-go-around.

Under the see-saw and a few other visible places.

The biggest eggs we put on the fort, but since there were only two big ones, we told them that they all had to share it.  Was a bit worried that it might end in tears, thankfully they were all happy about sharing.

Once my friend M and I were done with the dispersing of chocolates, we called the little rascals in.

Of course it is was easy to find …

We told them though that they had to hop to where the chocolates were, but I guess they were too excited and ended up hopping-running-jumping like little loonies.

Then they sat down to eat some of their chocolates.  I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t gobble them all down in one sitting.  I guess it was because they were after all in the playground.  Who wants to eat more when you can play with your friends and run and jump around like a pair of little monkeys?

Do you still have left-over East egg chocolates?

A Country Kids Post: Climbing Trees and having fun at Lanhydrock

Lanhydrock is an elegant Victorian country home owned by the National Trust here in North Cornwall.  This is our go-to place when we have visitors.  They have a lovely garden and of course the stately home is well worth a visit too.

In the spring time, around April – May, I like to go and see the lovely bluebells scattered all over the pretty gardens of Lanhydrock.  It was too early for that, when we visited last Sunday and was struck with the changes since we last went.  They seemed to have had a major renovation of their grounds, a bike trail and another cafe near the parking lot had been newly erected and also a fun play-ground which wasn’t there when we last visited.

Before we even got to the house, the children spied this enormous tree and all ran up to it and quickly climbed the tree with its huge branches and roots on the ground.


As you can see, little T and her friends had a lovely time climbing up and down the branches like little monkeys.  Poor Doc had to watch all the fun happening around him while tied to one of the branches.

He wasn’t a happy dog.  He wanted to play with the kids, but sadly, dogs aren’t allowed to go off leash on the grounds.

After a while, we finally convinced the kids to leave their beloved tree and go and explore the rooms in the big mansion since they haven’t been inside it yet.  T led the way since she’s been to it a dozen a times already.

We went inside the house while T’s dad walked the poor Doc around the grounds, to make up for having to watch all the fun while tied to a branch.

Once we were done in the house, the kids of course wanted to play in the new playground near the parking lot.

After a little picnic, it was time to go home because Doc wasn’t too happy tied to a fence watching everyone have fun except him.

Doc has perfected his “Disney Dog look” making people stop to pet him.  He loved all the attention he got from people passing by.

I used to love climbing trees when I was a child.

Do you have memories of climbing trees when you were little?

Do share.