Science scarecrow trail

IMG_0097IMG_0105A town not too far from us is having their annual festival at the moment. There is a mixture of science, art, music and sport on over the next couple of weeks. Most of the events are aimed at older children however for the whole of the festival there are a number of scarecrows and art exhibitions & open studios dotted around the town open on the weekends.The scarecrows are themed around 50 years of biomedical science. IMG_0096


This was one of my favorite scarecrows – human genome sequenced.

IMG_0101It was a gorgeous, hot and sunny day last Sunday. We packed a picnic and decided to head over and have a bit of a look round. We had a lovely walk around the town spotting the scarecrows and visiting a few art exhibitions. Poppet enjoyed her first picnic in the park. Not that she ate much. I wasn’t sure if it was because there was too much going on around her or if she just doesn’t like sandwiches (she never eats sandwiches if I try to give her them). You can imagine my surprise when I pick her up from nursery the following day to be told they had a picnic in the park and Poppet ate plenty of sandwiches! Anyway back to the festival (although if anyone has any ideas for picnic food for a 12 month old I’d be glad of some more ideas).

IMG_0122 IMG_0103I love visiting this particular town, even when there isn’t a festival on. It’s just such a lovely, pretty town with lots of nice walks. There is the park in the center of town, several nice playgrounds, a canal and several other walking routes such as a former railway.

Scarecrow trails are great for families. Walking is much more enjoyable for children when they are distracted. Children will love spotting the scarecrows and trying to identify/guess what they are. Older children can practice map reading (if there is a map of the scarecrow trail, like there was in our case) to locate the scarecrows. Younger children (like Poppet) will just enjoy the colours and being out in the fresh air (Poppet also enjoyed an hours nap in her pram).

Below are a selection of photos of some of the scarecrows. Most of the scarecrows were made by local children, from primary school up to high school age but a few were done by local artists.


First heart, lung and liver transplant. First functioning laser.


Artificial heart. Beta blockers used in cardiovascular medicine. Prions discovered to be the cause of mad cow disease. Molecular structure of insulin discovered.


First test tube baby born


First test tube baby born

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



Outdoor play – water tables

IMG_0062Poppet’s first birthday was at the end of April so she got a number of outdoor toys which I am really looking forward to using over the summer. I wrote about her smartrike for country kids last week and this week is all about the fun we had with her water table. She also got a ball, a ride on and some foam matting. We don’t have a big garden (in fact it’s more of a yard really and there is no grass) but I am determined to make the most of what we do have. We are very lucky to have two nice parks in walking distance of our house but it is also nice to have a bit of outdoor space that we can use as well. We are lucky that Poppet will only be in nursery two days a week so I know that the garden will get plenty of use by her.

IMG_0060After three days back at work, I woke up on Thursday excited to spend the day with Poppet. I was also pleased to see that the weather was gorgeous. I took her to the park on her trike after breakfast where she enjoyed the swings, then we popped in to the supermarket on the way home to pick up some fresh fruit and other bits and bobs. After lunch but before her nap I decided to put together her water table for the first time. I put water in one side and put all the toys in for her and then brought her out. I wish you could see her face, she loved it. There was lots of smiles, giggles and splashing too. She loved playing with the various toys and I used the scoop to fill the funnels so she could watch the water wheels move around. Yes her clothes were soaked after just 15 minutes but we had fun. So much fun that I let her play in it again yesterday morning too and we’ll probably get it out later today to show daddy how much fun it is.

waterplayI hope we will use this table lots over the summer. It is a sand and water table but for the moment we don’t have any plans to put any sand in. Right now Poppet is happy enough with just water but when she is a little older I hope to put things like cloud dough and other sensory materials in it for her. It’s lovely to see her so happy and excited as she plays with the water toys or just splashes in the water (and rides on her smartrike). I have to be honest, all the toys she has inside rarely get played with, they just don’t seem to hold her attention and she prefers to crawl or cruise around the furniture. These outdoor toys however really make her smile, laugh and hold her attention.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


My little water baby

IMG_0075Last friday I took my daughter to her last water babies swimming lesson. As we climbed out of the pool for the last time, I was a little bit sad. Not only did this class mark the end of our water babies journey but also the end of my maternity leave (I started back at work on Monday). I’ve taken my baby to a number of different mum and baby classes over the past year and water babies is the one I have enjoyed most (and the only one I have done more than one term of which says a lot). Apart from all the numerous benefits of swimming (which are well written about on the internet so I won’t repeat them), I’ve found swimming to be the class where we have both truly enjoyed every class and where I have noticed the most development in Poppet.

We’ve done 3 terms with them (10 weeks each) and loved every lesson. I started taking Poppet last September when she was just 4 months old (you can start classes sooner but they do not run over the school holidays). Our local class is in a school pool and it is a hydrotherapy pool so it’s lovely and warm. So warm in fact that babies only need to wear happy nappies. Poppet seems to really enjoy the classes too. As soon as she is dressed and we are sat on the steps of the pool waiting for the last class to finish she is trying to get in to the water. Once we are, she has a great big grin on her face for most of the lesson. She loves to splash the water in excitement too.

I’m not particularly a strong or even confident swimmer myself which did put me off taking her at first. My husband was more keen than I was that I took her, as he felt it is such an important safety skill to be able to swim that introducing her to water at a young age would be beneficial. I hated swimming lessons when I was a child and I want my daughter to be more confident around water than I am. I also feel that these classes have improved my confidence in the water a little bit too. If you’d told me back in September that the classes involved me having to go under water too, I think it may have put me off. Now I love going under water, to see my little ones smiling face, as she swims through the water towards me.

I still remember how worried I was about submerging Poppet on her first lesson and being totally honest it took me some time to feel confident letting go of her under water. Poppet however has never been bothered at all. She has never once cried in the pool. The instructors are lovely and reassuring and always happy to give you extra guidance if needed. The lessons are well structured and progressive so that you & your baby learn new skills gradually. There is lots of singing and various water toys are used to aid teaching skills such as bubble blowing, reaching out in front of them etc. I’ve looked forward to our weekly lesson too. As well as seeing how much Poppet enjoys her lessons, I have enjoyed the opportunity to spend 30 minutes in a lovely warm pool with Poppet and a number of other mums and babies who I have come to know well.

unnamedThree terms in and Poppet regularly swims short distances under water, is not bothered at all when the instructor drops her in to the water (and she goes under the surface), kicks her legs when in the swim position, holds on to the rail at the side of the pool (& has started reaching out for it as we get close to it) & is strong enough to push herself up on the bar.

We’ve stopped now as I am back at work and although I do not work on the day of these classes we would have had to miss a fair few of the classes next term for various reasons. Plus I’m assuming that starting nursery might mean Poppet will get more bugs, meaning more missed lessons. You have to pay for the full term and lessons are not the cheapest (but you can understand why the classes are expensive). Water babies are only able to offer classes for the first 4 terms of their course here, so we could have only done 1 more term anyway (without having to travel to a different town).

I’m going to miss our regular swimming class and hope that I find the time and motivation to take Poppet to our local leisure center regularly. After seeing how much she loves swimming and the skills she has developed I know I have to keep taking her. I’m going to see how I get on over the next few months taking her myself but already I’m thinking about the possibility of taking her to swimming lessons with a different swim school in my town from September.

Disclosure – I have not been paid to write about water babies. We have paid for all our classes and loved them so much I wanted to write about them.

Bank holiday fun in the park

IMG_9955Don’t you just love a three day weekend? After a busy Saturday and Sunday we decided a quieter bank holiday Monday was in order. We decided to leave the car at home and have a simple day close to home. Poppet tends to have a big nap after lunch so we decided to make the most of this and take her to the park in the morning and spend the afternoon at home.IMG_9966The weather was cool, breezy but dry so we decided to treat Poppet to her first proper outing in her new smartrike which she got last week for her first birthday. We are very lucky to live walking distance from 2 parks. The closest park has a bigger play area but is smaller and has no duck pond. The park furthest away I think is that bit nicer, it’s bigger overall and although smaller, the play park is better maintained and for Poppet’s age there is about the same amount of suitable equipment anyway. Plus Poppet loves the ducks so it was an easy decision.IMG_9958

The park is about 20 minutes walk away but the bonus of her new ride is that the fun starts as soon as you leave the house. She was making happy noises and smiling a lot more than she does when she is in her pram all the way there and back. We had to cross a couple of cobbled roads and we were just saying that they weren’t the best roads for the trike when Poppet start giggling. Clearly she thought they were the best roads for the trike! IMG_9954

IMG_9970Once there we showed my husband round the park (turns out this was the first time he had been to this park), watched the ducks, Poppet had a snack and we let her have a turn on the swings. I hadn’t been to the park in a couple of weeks and I was pleased to see all the blossom out on the trees, I love blossom. Poppet really seemed to enjoy everything in fact she had a smile on her face the entire time she was on the swings for the first time ever! I think my husband may have been pushing her faster and higher than I do!IMG_0002It was a lovely family morning in the park. I love bigger trips out but sometimes smaller adventures are just as fun and you don’t get stuck in bank holiday traffic!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Easter weekend

IMG_9412What gorgeous weather we enjoyed this Easter weekend. It was Poppet’s first Easter and what a lovely one it was. We are very lucky that my husband’s parents have a lovely static caravan on Anglesey & we spent Easter weekend with them there. Planning to make the most of my husbands 4 days off work we got up and set off as early as we could manage (8:30am) hoping to miss the traffic and get there before lunch. Half way there we stopped at a services to stretch our legs and have a quick drink/snack, only to return to the car to find we had 2 flat tires! One call to the AA, a detour to the nearest tire garage and a few hours later (not mention the number of times we had to empty the boot on to the side of the road to access the spare) and we were back on the road. The weekend got much better once we arrive on Anglesey and the car dramas were soon forgotten.

IMG_9273The weather was sunny and fairly mild Friday and Saturday so we took Poppet to the beach for the first time. We took her down to the sea (too cold for a paddle though) and also let her feel the sand which she loved. We set up a beach tent to create some shade for her and she seemed to enjoy it. The tent stopped her from eating sand too which is always a bonus. Ice creams were enjoyed and we had a quick trip to the swings on the way back to the caravan. My nephew was also there on Friday, so we had an Easter egg hunt a couple of days early. He’s 4 and loved it. Next year I look forward to Poppet being able to take part in too.

IMG_9318 IMG_9324 Easter basket2 easterbasket1Poppet was completely spoilt on Easter Sunday with chocolate and other gifts. I shared some details of her Easter basket last week and I can confirm it was a hit. She loved emptying the basket and the Happyland animals were well received (she still carries them around with her a lot). The basket was from Sainsburys and in it I put some decorative Easter eggs that I bought a few years back, some plastic eggs (most were empty but a few hid some of the animals), a packet of Cadbury’s buttons, a set of Happyland farm animals, that’s not my lamb board book and a cuddly rabbit. She is a very active baby and rarely still but she sat in one spot for quiet some time, taking the items out of the basket and examining them carefully before moving on the next one.

easter2 easterOn Easter Sunday the weather was not quiet as nice but we did go for a bit of a walk near Holyhead mountain and took Poppet to see the ducks. All too soon it was Monday and after enjoying a walk to the beach and back before lunch, we headed home.

IMG_9361This last photo is just because I love these curls! Poppet’s hair seems to be getting curlier by the day. As you read this we are getting ready for her first birthday party this Sunday and her birthday on Monday. I can not believe she is almost 1!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Dear baby…

Dear baby,

IMG_8472You are now 11 months old and the countdown to your first birthday has started. I’ve just read back your 10 month letter and I have to say that not much has changed in this past month. You’ve had a bit of a rough time this month really. You caught a stomach bug and a respiratory virus in the space of a couple of days just as you turned 10 months. After a difficult few days you started to feel a bit better but you understandable weren’t quiet yourself for a few weeks. During this time you went off your food and became very unsettled at night. It took you a good few weeks to fully recover your appetite and go back to sleeping well. Now that you are fully recovered you are back to your usual happy and active self. Once your appetite did recover it also seemed to increase as well so you are eating a lot more at meals and also having two snacks a day. Breakfast rarely goes well, you just don’t seem that interested in eating most mornings but your appetite soon picks up mid morning.

No new teeth have come through this month and I wouldn’t say you are teething at the moment. When I went to the dentist this month he had a look at your teeth for the first time. You still wear a mixture of 6-9 months and 9-12 months which is all still too long in the arms and legs. It doesn’t surprise me that you don’t seem to have grown much this month but now that your appetite is back I’m sure you will make up for it soon enough.

Dadda is still the only really word we can make out at present but we are getting more certain that you are now saying this and meaning your daddy rather than just practicing d sounds. You seem to have started to copy us sometimes, like you are replying to us when we talk to you (but obviously we have no idea what you are saying). You still love to initiate peek a boo with us lots. You are never still! I used to think that it was just a normal phase that all babies go through when they discovered the ability to move but many people have told me that not all babies are on the go quiet as much as you. You have just mastered the ability to climb on to things that are about your waist height (so a bit higher than steps which you mastered last month). You still pull yourself up to standing a lot and are continuing to show a bit of interest in walking with a walker. Your crawling seems to get faster by the day. I think now that you are fully recovered from those nasty bugs you are going to start doing new things more and more again.

Your naps are another thing that has altered this month. The week before you turned 11 months you suddenly started staying awake for longer in a morning and then falling asleep anywhere between 11 and 1. You nearly always have 2-2.5hrs. After nearly 11 months of no routine what so ever it was a bit of a shock to me to suddenly have you so predictable. I’m enjoying it though as I now know we can go out and about in the mornings, have lunch and then I have a couple of hours to get things done before you wake up and we play for an hour or two before daddy gets home. The only difficult bit so far is making sure we are home and you have had your lunch before you fall asleep (as you fall asleep in cars and your pram very easily).

I can’t believe the next time I write to you, you will be 1 year old! As always it has been a pleasure being your mummy this month. Even the hardest days are all worth it for just a glimpse of your beautiful smile or lots of cuddles whilst you recover.

All my love mummy xx

Living arrows 14/52

IMG_8898living arrowsYesterday we had a joint first birthday party for all 8 of the babies from my postnatal group. I feel so lucky to have met this group of mums and stayed in contact so much after our 4 weeks of nhs classes. We continued to meet up most Mondays until very recently when the majority were back at work (I’m the last one to go back in May). We still stay in touch and go out for meals (leaving the babies with their dads) every couple of months and I hope these new friendships last for many years to come. Yesterday we gathered together (and introduced all the dads to each other for the first time) to celebrate our babies turning one. There was soft play, finger food (which was practically messy play) and pass the parcel. Much fun was had by all and we all left shattered and ready for naps (not just the babies!). I still can’t believe my baby is one in three weeks.

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