“I’m not going to win the race mum”

Little T announced this when she woke up on Sports Day.  I replied, “It’s okay sweetie.  As long as you do your best and have fun with your friends.  That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?”  She nodded her little head.  Later on I wondered, should I have told her to aim to win?  I remember one of the mums last year told her kids “It’s alright to want to win you know”.  And she’s right.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to win.  But at the same time, I didn’t want to pressure little T, she’s only six for goodness sake.  And in my opinion, she has too much after school activities.  She does ballet, gymnastics and swimming.  I’m not even including her cello lessons which they do in their school.  The thing is, she loves her ballet, gymnastics, although I suspect she loves her swimming class only because most of her close friends are in the same class, so it’s really like an extended play-time for all of them.  But who am I to complain when she loves and enjoys all of them.

We never tell her to aim for the gold, or aim to win.  We always say “have fun”, because to us, that’s all that matters.  We want our little girl to enjoy and have fun.  The pressure goodness knows will come soon, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, so why start now?  Like I mentioned, she’s only six.

And that little girl who doubted herself, but did her best, and not to mention is the youngest and shortest  in their class won the race and not because we told her to win –  it was all her doing.  She didn’t aim to win.  But as her dad said, she ran as fast as her little legs could carry her and won the race.

At the end, I didn’t even know she won, I thought it was E, who is a year older than T and has really long legs, and was leading the race at the beginning.  Her dad said “No, T won!”  I said “Really?  Not T with her short legs”.  He said, “Yes T won!”.  I walked back to my husband and said “Did you see that?”  He said “Yes, I’m so proud of her”  And when I looked at my husband, he was all teary-eyed. I guess my little T did win after all.

Later that night, we looked at the photos and the video I took and my husband gasped.  He explained that he told her to not clench her fist, but to relax and open her palms up and then lunge forward when nearing the finish line.  If you peer at the photos I took (although those were taken not in the actual race that she won, but the relay race of her entire team), she actually listened to her dad and relaxed her hand instead of clenching it.

My little daughter, she’s astonishing, isn’t she?  She certainly is.  We are so proud of her.

Little Hearts, Big Love

Country Kids

Eddie, The Premier Inn Teddy

* This IS NOT a sponsored post.

As mentioned in my previous post, we had a quick city break when my husband did a lecture in Bristol a few weekends ago.  We stayed over at the Premier Inn on King St which has the perfect location for us since it’s very central and most importantly close to The Old Duke, even though I didn’t really get a chance to drop by (we walked by it though), the husband did manage to join some of his colleagues after reading to T, for a pint or so.

The hotel wasn’t anything fantastic.  The room we had actually very basic.  The bed I thought was too small for the three of us, but luckily it actually was bigger than it really was.  We all had a lovely good sleep.  I jokingly looked for slippers and bathrobes and those little bottles of toiletries we all love to nick, but didn’t find any.

Like I mentioned, the room was just a place to sleep-in and when you’re there for just a night, what else would one need right?

The next morning, the man behind the desk kindly took our luggage for safe-keeping before we headed out and spent the whole day walking and mooching around Bristol.  T was absolutely knackered by the end of the day and tearful.  Truth to be told, the tears were not just because she was exhausted but we promised her a side-trip to Toys R Us, since she brought the contents of her piggy bank with her, hoping to buy a toy with it.  But we realised it was just out-of-the-way and we didn’t want to get stuck in the weekend traffic before driving all the way back to Cornwall.

Being little T (emotional and all), her tears silently fell all the way from Mackenzie cafe, over the bridge, and back to the hotel.  She sat on the armchair crestfallen with a tear-stained face.  The lovely woman behind the counter asked after her.  My husband explained the situation and when she came back from collecting our bags in the storage, she had something behind her back.

The kind Premier Inn staff asked T for her name.  She whispered it back, not even looking at the woman.  The next thing we knew, she was handling this big white teddy bear to T.  My husband and I were really surprised.

It’s lovely when staff go out of their way to make their customers feel really special, isn’t it?  While my husband and I weren’t impressed with the room, we said “Oh we’re definitely coming back to stay at this hotel!”  I’m just really annoyed with myself for not asking her name.

To the lady behind the counter at the Premier Inn in King Street, Bristol, thank you so much!  T named him Eddie.  We tried to convince her to name him Lennny, but she prefers Eddie.  He sleeps with her every night and is a very much-loved Teddy.  Thank you for being a lovely person.

To Premier Inn, I hope you cherish this employee of yours and treat her well, the way she treated us.

A Country Mouse Roams the Streets of Bristol

I think Bristol is my favourite city here in the UK.  I like the way it doesn’t really feel like a city in some parts, and it somehow makes you feel that you also live in the countryside.  I love the restaurants and pubs, especially the Old Duke and of course, this is also the place where the Historian and I got married many moons ago.

Before T was born, we used to come here a lot, especially since once of our oldest friend lives there.  That didn’t change when she arrived.  But of course all that stopped, when she became of school age.  Occasionally, the Historian still has scheduled lectures for the OU in Bristol and when that happens, T and I usually tag along and that’s exactly what we did last weekend.  It was a chance for a brief city break for the country mice.

We left Cornwall right after picking up T from school and drove straight to Bristol.  That night, we had a lovely dinner with our friend and strolled a bit around The Old Duke before heading back to our hotel.  It was absolutely packed.  The next day, we strolled by the quayside and had a lovely breakfast at Mackenzie’s restaurant before my husband headed off to his lecture and T and I met with our friend.  We decided to visit the Bristol Aquarium.

And I’m glad we did.  T enjoyed it so much as well as the adults too.  The place isn’t too big, but we spent more than a couple of hours just watching and looking at the different species.  We were also in time for the feeding, which was really interesting to watch.

After a quick-lunch at the very busy Stables, we decided to mooch around the city just to kill time before it was time to meet T’s dad.

Since it was a Saturday, there were a lot of stalls in the streets and T had fun just looking at all of the knick knacks on the tables.  We went to our favourite St. Nicholas Market and just poked around the stalls not really buying anything, but just looking.  We also stopped at a bookshop and just looked around.

I think T is planning a holiday on her own 😉

Not long after this.  I received a text from the Historian saying that he was done and will meet us back in Mackenzie’s.  Let’s just say we were a tad bit late 😉

We did enjoy our trip and we’re hoping to be back soon.  This time with some family members in tow 🙂  What about you?  What’s your favourite city here or elsewhere?

Country Kids

Dog Stories: Growing up together

While doing a paid Instagram post a few days ago, I’ve unearthed dozens of photos of T and Doc, growing up together.  It was touching and moving to see them both get bigger.  I couldn’t use most of the photos, so I thought I’d share them here instead.  If you’ve been following my blog or on IG for some time now, you might have seen some of the photos already.

Doc was T’s birthday present when she turned three-years-old.

They love going to the beach …

taking long walks …

over the headlands and fields …

But most of all, even when they were both little, they just liked hanging around together …

Playing …

watching TV …

And just mucking about …

or having a cuddle.

Doc’s most favourite place in the world is …

by little T’s feet.

Always, even as they both grow older.

They are the “bestest friends” in the world.  T says “I love him mum, even when he rolls on cow poo”.  It must be true love then.

I’m leaving you lovely folks with this quote:

All his life he tried to be a good person.

Many times however, he failed.

For after all, he was only human.

He wasn’t a dog.

  • Charles M. Shulz

ANIMALTALES

The Ever Changing British Weather

“It’s hailing and the wind is howling!”  T exclaimed emphatically a few days ago while eating her breakfast.  “Why is this happening?”  She added dramatically.  From upstairs, I shouted back “because we live in England that’s why!”  Isn’t it ironic that I titled my last post as “Winter is dead?” and yet it feels its back again with a vengeance.  Serves me right for being too optimistic.

As I was helping her get ready for school that day, she announced she didn’t want to wear her summer dress.  I took a skirt out and her school jumper which she normally only wears in “colder” weather and asked if she wanted to wear knee socks.  She shook her head and requested for tights.

This little girl of mine seldom complains about the cold.  I’ve caught her running around and doing somersaults topless on her trampoline with her friends, she must have been really cold this morning to request for tights. I don’t blame her.  We’ve been having such glorious warm(ish) weather lately, this cold snap must have been a shock to her this morning.

Also woke up to a grey and cold day yesterday, I decided to write that one-off too and spend the day catching up with Grey’s Anatomy.  Yes, I’m probably the only one who still watches that show even if most of the characters annoy me, I still want to know what’s happening to Meredith Grey.

Last Tuesday, a friend picked me up in the morning and we spent some lovely time just mooching around,having a coffee and lunch in the town nearest to us.  The sun did eventually come out in the afternoon, but the wind was still bitter cold.  I looked around and everyone seemed to be wearing their winter clothes too.  And here I was thinking I’d add “Put away thick jumpers” to my list of things to do this week.  Thank goodness I haven’t done that!

This week, I’ve been cursing the mad British weather and it wasn’t just me.  My husband was the same too.  I glared at him at one point and said “Hey!  You were born here!  You ought to be used to this.  Whereas I come from a tropical country, I have the right to complain!”  He glowered back at me and said, “Complaining about the weather IS our national sport!”

Winter is Dead …

thank goodness for that.  Up country, the trees have fully regrown their leaves.  Down here in Cornwall, even though Spring happens early, the trees are still recovering from the “deadness” of Winter.  Some of them are still bald, some are slowly sprouting tiny leaves, pert against the blueness of a Spring sky.  I understand why this is my husband’s favourite season.  He says he likes it because there is hope in the air.  I like it because it is beautiful.  Suddenly the greyness is gone and there is an abundance of colour.  What’s not to like about Spring?  You must be really dull or hate life not to embrace everything about it.

Spring break has also come and gone.  We spent the first week pottering about, mostly gardening, although there is still a lot to be done, we are slowly getting there.

We also visited my in-laws in the second week and did a day trip to the bustling city of London.  It was nice to spend time with the family, but it was great to drive back home to the country again.  I think I also understand why some people don’t like leaving their place.  It can sometimes be a bit cumbersome and I’m not alone in feeling this.  My husband heaved a heavy sigh as he stepped on the gas to make that long trip back up-country.  We haven’t even left and yet we were already longing for home.

Ah home.  At the moment, home is this 400-year-old farm cottage surrounded by cows and fields.  The house gets mouldy in Winter, I have yet to repaint the walls.  There are still remnants of mould even though we’ve tried our best to wipe them away, you can still see them on the walls like scars that haven’t healed.  I’ll get down to doing all that, hopefully this week.

Hope and Spring, such a lovely combination, don’t you think?

Fun in the Sun at Crooklets Beach

We’ve been lucky to have good weather this week.  Managed to spend some time on Crooklets beach last Monday along with one of little T’s friends.  We brought their scooters with us, so while my husband and I were sipping our lovely cappuccinos at Rosie’s kitchen outside, the girls were having a lovely time riding on their scooters.

And after a quick snack of cheesy chips and fruit shakes, the girls were ready to have some fun on the beach.

And yes, we did go away with soggy bottoms, the kids that is.  The grown-ups were dry, but I don’t think we had as much fun as they did.

What have you guys been up to this Easter break?

Country Kids

Have you planned your Summer Holiday?

I’m sure by now a lot of families out there have planned if not booked their summer holiday already.   If you’re one of those lucky/organised ones, well done, you guys.  When going abroad, we like to book ours well ahead of time too.  As you know, it’s cheaper that way.  Sadly, we haven’t done any bookings as I type this all because little T and I have to renew our passports, which we hope to get sorted out next week.

As for plans, oh we have loads of those!  After all, planning is free right?  At the moment, we have a few choices up our sleeves.  It’s nice to have alternatives, in case, the first one doesn’t pan out right? Here’s ours.

PLAN A: Spain-Portugal

Go on a road trip again.  The first time we ever went on a road-trip as a family, was when we drove all the way to a remote cabin in Scotland and absolutely loved it.  The second one was a road trip to France (with a day-trip to Belgium).  We stayed in a Eurocamp and did day-trips to Disneyland and Paris, as well as  trips around the beautiful French countryside.  Ah, that was bliss.

This time though, the plan is to drive to Plymouth to catch a ferry to Santander and drive all the way down the Spanish coast to Portugal – doesn’t that sound dreamy?

We love doing road-trips.  I guess one of the reasons is that you can stop anytime, especially if you see something that catches your attention.  It’s easy to just stop and roam around and experience the local culture without having to worry about your schedule too much.  And if that doesn’t work, there’s ….

PLAN B: Train-trip to Eastern Europe

Ever since reading “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kustova, I’ve longed to travel by train to Hungary and Romania and yes, visit Count Dracula’s castle in Bran.  I would love to watch the beautiful countryside/mountains of Eastern Europe.  When I mentioned this to my husband, I was pleased  to know that he’s always wanted to do it too.  But I’m wondering though whether T is too young to appreciate a trip like this one, though I’m sure she’ll enjoy travelling by train.  And then there’s …

PLAN C: Homegrown

This is the easiest and if I’m honest, the most feasible plan.  I have family from the States who might come over this summer and of course, it’s only right that we show them around the UK.

I’ve always wanted to explore Wales, since we’ve never really had the chance apart from staying in Hay-on-Wye and doing day-trips from Bristol.  A close friend who regularly camps in Wales has been inviting us to go with her, so this might just be our chance.

And of course, there’s still so much of the UK that I haven’t explored.  What better way to do it when you have guests right?

As you can see, our plans are still up in the air and I know that time is indeed running out, hopefully we’ll be able to finalize our plans soon.

What about you?

Have you booked your summer holiday?

*This is a sponsored post.

A Whiff of Summer

Could it be true?  Could summer really be near?

The clocks moved forward last Saturday and it definitely felt like we are not that far from everyone’s most favourite season – summer.  Well obviously, coming from a tropical country, it is my favourite, although I do love the golden colours in autumn too.

I love summer here in England, especially when the weather cooperates.  I love the long summer days especially, sitting out in the garden at 9 pm and it is still light.  We like to sit around in the fire-pit waiting for the dark, the barbecue long gone and drinks have been passed around and little T ready for bed, but refusing to go.  What’s not to love?

Obviously it isn’t summer yet but Spring has definitely sprung. We found something in the small outbuilding we have, down in the garden.  It was a hammock we bought on sale last year.  I think we got in the end-of-season sale in our favourite garden centre.  I remember thinking we must be mad to purchase it, especially since it was the beginning of winter, but I’m so glad we did.

T was delighted when we called her over.  And being a kid, she insisted that we used it right away.  After searching for a piece of rope and two trees that would be strong enough to hold the hammock, we set it up.

And as soon as it was up, little T plunked herself down with a book while her dad mowed the lawn and Doc was busy chewing on a stick and I went on with my chores.  I looked back as I walked back to the house to do my chores, and right that very moment, that instant, it felt like we’ve fast forwarded to summer.  Funny how a hammock can magically transport you into time.

Sadly, as I type this and look out the window, a different scene unfolds before me.  It’s rather a dreary one actually.  T has been wearing her summer dresses to school two days in a row now, even though yesterday, it was hardly sunny.  But as I helped her get ready today, I suggested maybe it would be best if she went back to wearing her grey skirt and tights instead.  She agreed and said “It’s like winter again, isn’t it mum?”  I sighed and said yes.  Her father grumpily added “Yes, that was it.  We’ve now gone back to winter!”

I’m in need of something more magical than a hammock, one so strong it will somehow bring the sunshine back and will it to stay.  Know of any?  Do share.

Dentastix: Dental Care for Dogs

Admittedly, we haven’t done much about Doc’s dental care.  Not because we don’t care about it, I guess it’s because we assume that his teeth are alright.  As far as we are aware, he doesn’t have any problems.  How do we know? Here’s our checklist.

  • His breath doesn’t smell.  Granted it doesn’t smell like toothpaste or that you wouldn’t want to lock lips with him, but if you did, but I’m happy to share that he doesn’t have dragon’s breath.  Knock on wood.
  • His teeth appear to look healthy with no broken teeth.
  • Gums also appear good.  They don’t look swollen or inflamed.
  • And most importantly, he doesn’t have trouble chewing at all.  His most favourite thing to chew is sticks.  As soon as he’s off that, then I’ll start to worry.

And thanks to Dentastix, Doc has been getting excellent dog dental care.  What makes Dentastix perfect for dogs?

Pedigree Dentastix has a unique X-shape and when fed daily has been scientifically proven to help reduce the build-up of tartar by up to 80%.

It also contains two active ingredients (sodium tripolyphosphate and zinc zulphate), which bond with the calcium in saliva and slow down the build-up of tartar. This helps plaque stays softer and makes it easier to remove with Pedigree Dentastix.

As for us, we like it because it’s a treat and at the same it, it’s caring for Doc’s teeth.  And Doc? He likes it because it tastes yummy!  He’s been happily chewing on Dentastix for more than five days now and absolutely loves it.

What about you? Have you tried Dentastix?

Do you have tips on how to care for your dog’s teeth?  Do share.

“This post is a collaboration with Pedigree, but all thoughts are my own. For additional dental care information you can read the following Pedigree Reviews article for tips and advice.”

ANIMALTALES