Tag: places

Five Reasons why Widemouth Bay is a Fave

There’s no doubt summer is fading and it’s happening really fast!  In spite of that though, it still manages to show up once in a while as if to say “You haven’t seen the last of me yet!” And last Sunday it definitely felt just a little bit like our favourite time of the year was still hanging around with us.

One of our favourite jaunts here on our side of England, especially when the weather is good is a place called Widemouth Back, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably heard me mention the name in past posts.  It’s a place where we like to go to, especially since it’s only about a 20-minute drive from where we live.  Why do we keep coming back, you may ask?  Here are a number of reasons:

A Long Beach

Perfect for walking the dog and for little ones to run around like loonies since it has a long stretch of beach, regardless of whether it is low tide or high tide.  You see, there are some beaches here in Cornwall that disappear as soon as the tide comes in.  You’ll need perfect timing to visit those beaches.

Here at Widemouth, it doesn’t really matter what time of the day you come.  You’re guaranteed to have nice long walk in the sand.

Rock-Pools

And when it is low tide, it has the most interesting and massive area of rock pools to explore, not just for children, but for rock pool aficionados just like my husband.  He and little T can spend hours and hours exploring every nook and cranny much to the annoyance of the little creatures who call it home.  I can imagine an emergency siren going through all the rock pools announcing T and her Dad’s presence.  Ugh.  Them again!  Apologies creatures of the sea…

A Headland

Once you get tired of mucking about in the beach, there is also a headland nearby to walk the dog or do a little bit of hiking.  The views up there are breathtaking. And there are a few dotted benches around, where you can just sit, rest and take in the lovely picture-perfect view of the ocean like this couple I spied on our walk:

The last time we were here, this touching memorial bench wasn’t even around:

I can imagine why her mother loved this spot.  One can just spend hours staring out to sea, provided of course you’re dressed for strong winds, especially when the weather isn’t cooperating.

Cafe

And if that isn’t enough reasons, there is also a nearby cafe where one can order delicious hot chocolate, ice-cream and other snacks like this yummy waffle T had fun devouring.  A great place to seek refuge especially since the Cornish (or should I say English weather) drastically changes from good to bad within minutes.

Public Toilet

And lastly, all parents with young children will understand why I included this on the list:  Widemouth Bay has a nearby public toilet!  Perfect for those emergencies that often come with spending long times on the beach.  There are loads of lovely beaches here in Cornwall, but sadly most of them have toilets that are very far from the beach and when you’re running with your child about to do a number two, a nearby toilet is heaven-sent!

So if you’re visiting down here in North Cornwall and want a little bit of everything, chances are Widemouth bay might just foot the bill.

Have you been to North Cornwall?

What’s your favourite jaunt in the area? Do share.

Little T the Thrill Seeker

I’m a big wuss.  I don’t like adventure parks and while there are a number of things I still seek in life, thrill and adrenaline rush isn’t on my list.  I’m not proud of this, but neither am I embarrassed about it.  I’ll happily watch and take photos of everyone having fun.  I’m glad though, that little T isn’t a wuss like me.

It was the birthday of little F’s dad (T’s best-friend), and he wanted to celebrate it at Crealy Adventure Park here in Cornwall, so off we went to enjoy the day with them.

As you can see from the photo above, the day didn’t start out well.  It was actually raining, but it stopped as we arrived at Crealy’s, though the rain clouds did hover above us all through out the day.

First stop was the enormous sand pit, complete with buckets, spades and a child-size tractor.

And that was only the beginning.  Next the little ones moved on to the mini-race-track.

We had a bit of  melt-down here when the ride was over.  She wanted to ride it again and again and again, not knowing that there were many other rides she still could have.  It took awhile to convince her that this wasn’t the last.

And here are the best-friends enjoying another ride on a tractor.  Aren’t they the cutest?  I love this photo.

This was little T’s first ever roller-coaster.  I was half-expecting her to be scared, but she actually giggled the whole time.  I could even hear her chortling away from where I stood.

Tea anyone?  I think she was actually bored with this ride.  Her expression read:  Is that it?

And here’s my little adventure-seeker.  You’d have to pay me millions to get on this one!  Yes, shame on me.

This she absolutely loved.  She and her dad went on it for more than a couple of times.  We actually had to convince her to try the next!

Which was another wet-ride, needless to say, she also loved this one.

To calm these little adrenaline junkies, we took them to the petting centre where they had some queit time just stroking the rabbits.

And then it was time to run around like loonies again.

This little one fears nothing!

They were like the energiser rabbits, going on and on and on and on.

I guess you could say their motto is:  Play till you drop.

And that’s what they did!

What about you?

Are you an adrenaline junkie?

If you live in Cornwall or visiting and looking for a place to take your little ones for some adventure, fun and play.  Take them to Crealy Park!  It’s a lovely place with lots of age-appropriate rides!  They also have a mini zoo and petting area and if it rains they have an indoor castle where the kids can play to their hearts content.

Linking-up with #CountryKids.

Hay-on-Wye – A Book Lover’s Destination

As I’ve mentioned in many blog posts, my husband and I love books so it seemed only natural that we would end up “honey-mooning” in Hay-on-Wye in Wales, which is located just along the English border and is also known as the town of books.

After getting married in Bristol, the next day we hopped in our car which we found decorated with lipstick drawings of hearts …

and the obligatory “just married” words  on our car windows.  I remember some cars honked our way, which we translated to ‘Congratulations’, or on hindsight, could’ve also meant ‘Get out of our way!”

So off we drove to Hay-on-Wye with the Blackdown mountains as backdrop, made famous by Tolkien in the Lord of the Rings.  We arrived well before sun-down into the little town that’s known for its two dozen bookshops dotted all over. It is also actually famous for its literary festival in June that brings over 80,000 visitors hoping to catch their favourite authors/personalities or just to browse through its bookshops.

Among my favourite was the poetry bookshop, I was hoping to get a copy of Nika Turbina, the Russian poet known for her haunting poems penned when she was  just ten years old, but sadly, they didn’t seem to have any copy of her books.

And there was also a Murder and Mayhem bookshop, perfect for people who love mystery or crime novels.

As for bibliophiles, they can browse through hundreds of books to their heart’s content at the Richard Booth bookshop.  Incidentally, Richard Booth is also known as the man who wanted Hay-on-Wye to be an independent kingdom, and even declared himself the monarch.

Then there’s the Castle Bookshop that is difficult to miss because it is in the centre of the town and has shelves upon shelves of books in its garden.

And if you can’t find the book you’re looking for at the castle bookshop, you might just be able to find them in the bookshop next door, or the next.

Don’t be surprised to see your favourite characters in the shop, they’re just browsing too and it would be nice and polite if you just left them alone and not ask for their autographs or worse, have your photo taken beside them.  Remember, they value their privacy too 😉

My husband and I left with our pile of books.  We’ve been wanting to go back and introduce little T to this town of books, do you know I don’t even remember seeing a Children’s bookshop there.  But I’m sure they do, there you go, I’ve just found another reason to go back 🙂  And if you haven’t visited, you absolutely have to put Hay-on-Wye on your  list!

This post is linked-up with PODcast’s What’s the Story.

And the Oliver’s Madhouse

Hope everyone has a lovely week ahead of them!

And the Tour Finally Ends

All tours of Britain MUST begin or end in London.  So after about ten days of showing our close friend J around Cornwall, a bit of Wales and a bit of England, we ended our trip in London.

This is T gazing at the London Eye as we waited for J at the Tattershall Castle restaurant, a lovely boat moored along the Thames.  When the weather is good or during summer, I can imagine this place packed at night.  It has lovely views of the Thames, Big Ben and of course the London Eye as seen above.  Just make sure that you don’t get too tipsy and fall over-board – the water will be cold!

A little bit of history:  It was built in 1934 and was used to ferry passengers between Hull and New Holland.  According to their website, the boat was also used during the war and was the first civil vessel to carry a radar which was crucial in the foggy Humber.

By the time we’ve finished our drinks with our friend, it was lunch-time already.  So we decided to head off and eat at the famous Sherlock Holmes restaurant.  Yes, I am a fan.

The restaurant used to be an Inn called the Northumberland Arms and tourists visit not only because of the name, but mostly I can imagine to see the replica of Holme’s and Watson’s study in the famous Sherlock Holmes series.

The study of the famous duo:  Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson

From there, we went inside the palace of Westminster. As expected, security at the House of Parliament was like airport security, but I have to commend the staff, they were all nice and friendly, nothing like the brusqueness sometimes security people are known for.  They were all ever-so-helpfull, especially when T needed to have an emergency wee inside.  Without any hesitation, they took T to an off-limits passageway to get to the toilets.

Take a look inside the historic Westminster Hall built during the middle ages (1097).  This gothic hall has witnessed many famous coronations, and trials of Kings over hundreds of years (i.e. Charles I).  The centuries old beamed roof are still very much intact.  Since T was only three, she wasn’t allowed inside the House of Commons to see how the MPs do their debates, so our friend and the husband went in without us.

Diamond Jubilee Stained Glass window.

Big Ben as seen by T who was by now sitting on her dad’s shoulders.

Sight-seeing around London is not for the faint-hearted.  You have to wear the right comfortable walking shoes and must also ensure that you are geared-up for rain.  We didn’t have much time to go around, especially since we had a late start.  Good thing J was able to do some sight-seeing on his own the day before, so we only covered what he hasn’t seen or been to yet.  By the time we arrived in Buckingham palace, it was late afternoon and drizzling.

T posing infront of Buckingham Palace.

By now we were utterly exhausted and decided to ride the tube back to Leicester square.  We cut across Green Park where you could see deck-chairs scattered around for weary tourists to rest on.  If not for the grey clouds hovering, I would’ve loved to have taken a seat and just watched the crowd.

If you look harder, you’ll see the deck chairs I’ve mentioned above.

And all sight-seeing tours must end in a lovely nice cozy-cafe.   Here’s T having her own baby-cino, (which really was just milk with froth), before we hugged our friend J goodbye and jumped on a train back to my in-laws.

It’s been a blast going on this mini-tour around bits of the UK with our dearest friend J who is really more like family to us.  But it was also lovely to head back home to our little bubble by the sea.

Exploring an Ancient Village

If we see men and women dressed all in white, I’m out of here!  

I said to no one in particular as we got off the car in the early evening of the first few days of September.  It wasn’t warm, and it wasn’t really cold either, but the temperature definitely dropped so I wore my cardigan and zipped up little T’s hoody as she asked me –

Why mummy?  

I wondered then how could you explain the wicker man to a three-year-old?  So I just said that mummy is just being silly.  But there was certainly a bit of an eerie and mysterious air in the atmosphere as we trundled along to find the ancient village of Carn Euny.

After the hunt for the Merry Maidens, we decided to do more exploring, so  J armed with a map and a book of Cornwall’s archeological heritage directed us on our little quest.  Don’t ask us how we managed with an American guide, let’s just say, we didn’t exactly end up where we wanted to, but the final destination proved to be even better than the original one.  After all, stumbling upon an old hamlet of the Iron Age and Roman-British period isn’t exactly a regular occurrence  in one’s life right?  I didn’t think so at least …

There is still a lot visible in Carn Euny, you’ll find lots of remnants of ancient house walls in a circular and a window like this one:

See how thick the stones are?

I wonder though if it was thick enough to protect the inhabitants from whatever harsh weather conditions they had at that time.

Is this where they grind their corn?

Entrance to underground stone-chamber, T not sure whether she wants to go in.

I guess the most remarkable structure that can be found in this Ancient village is the underground stone chamber which was probably used as storage.

In the end, she couldn’t resist her curiosity and happily went in.

and out, in and out.

Can you imagine what it must have been like in the Iron Age?  I’ll tell you what it was like, peaceful.  Imagine the absence of the sounds of technology, transportation and other 21st century noise pollution.

Bliss.

That’s what it must have been like.

So if you’re in Cornish countryside, come around and visit Carne Euny, an ancient village.  For directions on how to get there, click here.

This post was linked up with Coombe Mill’s Country Kids.

The Hunt for the Merry Maidens & other news

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but one of the good things about having visitors, especially visitors from abroad is that you have an excuse to turn into a tourist too.  After visiting St. Michael’s Mount (will save that for another post), we went on the hunt for the Merry Maidens.

The Merry Maidens is like a smaller version of Stonehenge.  I’m not sure if they are older, but these ancient stones go back to the Neolithic period (starts at 10,200 BC and ends at somewhere between 4,500 and 2,000 BC).  These mysterious stones can be found near St. Buryan in Cornwall.  Thanks to our American friend, we finally had the chance to hunt for it.  So if you find yourself in this neck of the woods, it’s certainly worth visiting!

Legend has it that nineteen maidens were turned into stone all because they decided to have a little fun and dance on a Sunday.  And there’s my little girl, doing a little dance … thank goodness we didn’t go on a Sunday … or did we?

This post, by the way has been sitting on my draft box for weeks now.  I’m so late with my posts but things are slowly settling down a bit in our little cottage by the sea.  Thankfully T’s cough is better and for those who were asking about how it went yesterday…. Things went very well, thank you!  When we arrived to pick her up, she was playing and didn’t even notice that we were there.  E, the lovely woman in charge of her, said she was fine.  We’re trying her out two mornings a week and then when she’s really settled, maybe stay for the two whole days.  She also has her rugby sessions every Thursday with her best friend F.  It’s really mostly running around, with a bit of rugby lessons (how to hold a ball etc…) all fun!  Let’s see how that goes tomorrow.

For those who are reading, hope all is well on your side of the world!

Shabby Blogs Link Party: Top Ten Places You want to See before You Die

I wasn’t able to join last week’s Shabby Blogs Link Party, so I better not miss this one, especially since it’s all about travel!  At the moment, my wings are clipped, but as soon as it gets un-clipped we are going to fly, or drive, or take the train, depends where we are going.  Here’s my list!

1. Machu Pichu, Peru

Photo credit here.

Who wouldn’t want to visit a 15th century Inca site up high on the mountains of South America?  I would.  Though admittedly it’s not a place where you would take a two-year-old turning three with you.  Perhaps when she’s older, although preferably not when my husband and I are too old to do all that hiking.  Besides – if Machu Pichu isn’t reason enough to visit Peru, perhaps, visiting the place of origin of one of the world’s famous bears would tempt you.  Who you may ask?  Paddington Bear of course!

2. Kathmandu, Nepal

Photo credit here.

I don’t know why, but for the longest time, I’ve always wanted to visit Katmandu.  Perhaps because the name itself sounds so exotic and mysterious.  It’s like going on a perfect adventure.  No, I’m not going to say part of the dream is to take a trek to Mount Everest especially since I’m probably the most un-exercised mother in blogosphere unless chasing after your two-year old daughter screaming How many times do I have to tell you not to go around without any knickers on?!  I would rather explore the streets of Kathmandu and find an open cafe (if there is one) and admire the Himalayas from afar.

3. Tibet, China

Photo credit here.

Same as above, Tibet has always been on my list and same as above, perhaps, it’s the thrill of adventure.   Once again, I’m not talking about hardcore adventure like trekking into the mountains, more like a gentle meander among Tibetan lanes, visiting 1300 year old temples like the Jokhang Temple or the magnificent palace of Potala and eating in a Tibetan restaurant.  Yes, that’s it for me.

4. Japan

Photo credit here.

Lovely Japan with its National Cherry Blossoms Festival held between March to May, a feast for the eyes indeed!  Japan has such a lovely landscape, if you’ve seen the film version of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian wood, you’ll know what I mean even if you haven’t visited Japan yet.  I would so love to visit, preferably in the spring to see all the lovely flowers and colours.

5. Havana, Cuba

Photo credit here.

What to do in Havana?  Explore Old Havana with its architectural heritage and step back into time.  Listen or dance the Rumba?  Maybe not for me, since I don’t really know how to dance but it would be lovely to see the locals do it.  Drink cuban coffee and go to a Cuban bar and offer a toast to Hemingway.  Lastly, roll a cuban cigar and try to smoke it.  I don’t smoke, but it would be nice to say Oh yes, I’ve smoke a Cuban cigar and it was lovely/awful.

6. Bulgaria

Photo credit here.

If you’ve read the book The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, you’ll know why I want to visit Bulgaria and Romania.  Admittedly, it was a bit of a crappy book.  But I loved the way she described the places!  It makes you want to jump on the first train and travel to Sofia with its 900 year old churches, or the fortress in Tsaravets.

7. Romania

Photo credit here.

And of course there’s Romania with Count Dracula’s famous castle, old churches, towns, museums, food!  What’s not to like about Romania?  And the good thing about Bulgaria and Romania, I can imagine travelling there with a two-year-old will be relatively easy.  She’ll love it too.

8. Moscow, Russia

Photo credit here.

Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Puskin anyone?  If that’s not enough reason to visit, then standing in front of the St. Basil’s Cathedral might just do it.  Imagine seeing the cathedral built by Ivan the terrible up close!  Wouldn’t that be something?  Or the Moscow Kremlin, or even the Red Square.  So many reason to visit Russia!  If only money and time weren’t an issue, we’d be there in a heartbeat!

9. Alaska

Photo credit here.

I want to be awed by nature but I’m not a big fan of cruises.  However, if it means seeing a glacier up-close, count me in!  Not to mention seeing naturally made ice-sculptures or whale watching, the list is absolutely endless!

10. Maldives

Photo credit here.

And lastly, visiting Maldives before the sea swallows it up is a definite must.  Of course, this might not happen in our lifetime. But the threat is there and for me, that is reason enough to visit, oh and did I mention the lovely beaches and resorts?  But then again, I’m from a county where we have lovely white sand beaches, so it’s not really much of a novelty for me.

That’s it!  That’s my list.  Like I mentioned if only time and money weren’t an issue, then I’d be able to click off the places to visit on my list soon.  But you’ll never know right?  There is still time.  What’s on your list?

Picnic at Bedruthan Steps

The BBC weather forecast predicted lovely sunshine weather last Friday and I’m glad to say that they did not disappoint us.  Indeed, the sun was up and shining when we woke up and managed to stay radiating with all its glory all through out the day.  A picnic was definitely in the offing.  One thing I’ve really learned about living here in England is to grab these moments by the neck.  You’ll never know when the sun will be out again, not even in the summer, or might I say, especially in the summer.

Bedruthan steps like all coastlines here in England is rugged, wild, dramatic and beautiful.  It is located within the parish of St. Eval in North Cornwall and is partly owned by the National Trust and has the expected tea shop and National Trust gift shops perfect for tourists looking for some souvenirs to take home with them.  The shop and cafe were actually used as mine offices since there is evidence that the place had mining activities in the early 19th century.

This is a definite visit for enthusiastic hikers and country ramblers who will enjoy the lovely coastal walk. However, if you’re the laid-back kind of person, the Bedruthan steps is also a perfect spot for a picnic especially on a sunshiny day like we had last Friday.  It was absolutely perfect.  The view was breathtaking as we sat and soaked up the sun and ate our impromptu picnic which was really just a few sandwiches, cookies and doughnuts bought from the Co-op.  The cliffs are steep and dangerous, so there are warnings to take heed, especially if you have small children in tow.  T obediently sat on our picnic blanket ate her doughnuts and marvelled at the airplanes passing us by.  We live by the ocean you see, so seeing it won’t excite her as much as kids who live in the midlands, as for airplanes, that’s an all together different story.

T is probably thinking, I wish there were more days like this one, I’m with you on that, little one.

To know more about Bedruthan steps and how to get there, click here.