Tag: nature

A Country Kid’s Post: Underneath the Cornish Sky

The weather did improve over the weekend, but it was only for one day.  Thankfully we managed to spend some time of it outdoors, if only to walk the dog in our usual jaunt, up the headland.

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Let’s have a race, says T.  Even before her dad and I could answer, she was up and running.

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 I’m glad I managed to grab the camera before heading out, the colour of the sky and sea was absolutely amazing.

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I think Cornish skies are one of the best!

Then again I know I’m biased because we live here.

What do you think?

Do share.

A Walk in Photos

St. George’s flag was flying proudly up Forrarbury church as Doc and I walked towards it last Sunday.  Oh yes, I remembered, it was after all St. George’s day the day before that.

The last time we were out, I noticed some lovely bluebells strewn all over the grass near Forrarbury church.  I made a mental note to come back with my camera, but never did.

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Luckily when we came back, the bluebells were still around.

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Aren’t they the loveliest?  After a few snaps, Doc and I went ahead with our walk and found this bunny rabbit on the cemetery grounds.

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Someone must have left it there for a love one.  Doc and I went to our usual jaunt on the headland at this point, I had to put my camera back in my bag.  It was a weekend and there were a lot of dog-walkers out and this meant, I couldn’t let Doc off his leash.  He gets too excited when there are others, especially since some of them had their little toddlers in tow.  I didn’t want to frighten the little ones with an over-excited friendly dog running up to them, even if it’s just to say hi.

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Once back on the road, I did manage a few measly shots.

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When we first moved down to Cornwall, I used to wonder why some of the trees were odd-shaped looking, as if they were slanting.  Then I realised the trees are slanting because of the harsh Cornish wind.  I find it fascinating.  You’ll find slanting trees  dotted all over the Cornish coast.

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Have you ever seen trees slanting trees in your area?

Do share.

A Cloud Gazing Kind of Day

We’ve been having really good weather lately and last Tuesday, as T walked out of the house for the school run in the morning, we noticed Toy Story like-clouds hovering above us.  It was beautiful. Temperature has also improved, but since we live by the coast, it can still be chilly especially when there’s a breeze.  But I’ve been defiant and have been wearing my sandals to do the school run.

A few days ago, before heading off to pick up little T from school, I stood in our little back garden enthralled by the clouds.  On one side it was the bluest of blue, on the other side it was blue with puffy white clouds, and if you just moved your head a bit you’d see a combination of blue, puffy white and grey clouds.  Look another way, you’d see the grey clouds closing in.  Another turn and all you’ll see are grey clouds in a span of a few seconds.

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Aren’t they just amazing? I can spend the whole day just cloud-gazing and it was the same yesterday afternoon, as we drove off to T’s swimming lessons, everywhere around us we saw lovely fluffy white clouds against the bluest of the blue skies.  And it looks like today is another good day.

Now if only this lasts and that tomorrow or everyday we wake up to just blue skies and puffy white clouds.  I know, I might as well ask for unicorns too, because we all know that’s just not going to happen, well at least here in the UK.

Have you been noticing the clouds in your area too?

Do share.

Us by the Sea in Photos

The weather is lovely today.

Come and have a walk with Doc and I.

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Last time we took you along the coast, this time we’ll take you around another path.

Don’t worry, you will love it too.

Now let’s start our walk by the church.

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But before we go through that gate, let’s stop and see if we can find some flowers.

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Ah, there they are.

Lovely crocuses, aren’t they?

I love its purple colour, looking so vibrant among all that green.

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Now let’s go through that gate and step into the graveyard.

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Lovely blue sky, the bluest of blue.  Now if only the sky stayed that way, all would be lovely.

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Little T loves it here.  She likes to wander around and inspect the different graves and likes to have a little poke around.

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And through that gate, you’ll see the ocean.

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And the wild expanse of headland which Doc loves.

Now you see why we call it doggie heaven.

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And there’s the coast-guard’s hut, its white building against a shade of blue and brown.

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See that bit of rock, I like to sit there and watch the sea when it’s calm like today, or even when it’s raging as if in torment, although the wind can be rough, sometimes it scares me, and I wonder if I’ll get blown away.

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My first sighting of tourists, you always see them up there, especially in a lovely day like this one.

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You’re lucky it’s low-tide and you can see the blow-hole in all its glory.  When the sea is mad, you can see the waves thrashing against the rocks and making a loud bellowing noise in and out that hole, like a dragon puffing out steam.

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And there’s our little village nestled against the valley.

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On this side, you can see the 15th century harbour wall, during peak season, you’ll see the tourists enjoying the sun in all its glory.

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I’ve never seen that small truck in the water before, I’m not sure what it’s doing there.

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The trees are slowly beginning to show some leaves.

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Little T’s school is somewhere there.

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And now we’ve come full circle.

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And Doc is waiting for us by the church.

But before we end this walk, I have one more beautiful sight to show you.

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Yes, the snowdrops are here.

Does it really mean that spring has sprung?

What do you think?

Waiting for the Starlings

When you live in the country, it’s lovely to be able to lead a spontaneous life, like hopping in your car when the weather is good and heading to the beach or some place else, so when one of the mums in T’s class asked if we were interested in watching the starlings over at Rough Tor, we said yes!

Tor is a Cornish word for hill and we’re lucky to live not far from it.  After the school run last Thursday, we headed there to see if we could see some starlings. You see them a lot down here while driving home, especially in the afternoon, swarming down in flocks like bees, diving up and down like a graceful dance or an exhibition of synchronised swimming.  It’s a bit eerie actually, like a bad omen, or as my friend Kate said, the beginning of a horror story.

IMG_0109We bundled the kids in wooly hats and scarves ready for a short hike in search of starlings.  I was expecting them to be whingy and tired.  After all, it was after the school run.  But they were all excited and up for the adventure.

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We weren’t planning a long hike, just far enough to be able to spot them from afar.  It was winter after all, the days are short, not to mention wet.  But we were lucky it stayed dry that afternoon.

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Rough tor as always was looking beautiful, in spite the grey clouds surrounding it.

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The woods nearby looked serene and breathtaking.

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It was cold, so we got the kids moving to keep them warm.

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Up they went like a small group of hobbits heading for the Black Mountains.

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We decided this was far enough to wait for the starlings.  The kids got impatient and decided that it was more fun to run around and chase each other than wait for the birds to appear.

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“Where are the starlings”  They cried.  Just wait patiently we answered.

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“Where are the starlings”  They cried again.  “Look kids!”  We said, pointing to the sunset, trying to distract them and also hoping that it would take their breaths away like it did with ours.  “Oooh” they said.

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“Look the starlings came!”

And there they were, dancing before our eyes.  For a while we all stood there, transfixed, just watching the appearance of thousands upon thousands of starlings hovering above the trees like bees.  It would’ve been nice to stand there longer, but the kids snapped out of the magic of the birds earlier than the adults and demanded that they wanted to go home.  So we did.  It was nearly time for tea.

Do you like bird-watching?

ANIMALTALES

November Chat with a Mum: Kriss of Wild About Here

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year.  It’s almost as if time crept up behind us so fast and went boo in the night, just like the way little T and her friends did last night as they went trick or treating around our little village.

It’s the 1st of November and I’m happy to share our last 2015 Chat with a Mum with you lovely folks,  and as they say, I’ve saved the best for last.  Kriss’, the lovely woman, mother, wife, photographer and former journalist, is the writer behind the beautiful blog “Wild About Here”.  She’s one of the few bloggers I really, really admire and probably aspire to be like.  Let her words and photographs speak for itself:

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones (age & sex)

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I’m a mum and a mom of twins Luce and Theo, photographer and blogger. They actually do call me both Mummy and Mommy, not just because we’re dual nationals, but after two years living in the Hamptons in New York State. They’ll be celebrating their 8th birthday this month.

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Now our home is in a rural valley in Sussex surrounded by woods. It’s like being in the middle of a nature reserve! It’s ideal for me too as Wild About Here focuses on learning about nature, photography, outdoors adventures, books and slow seasonal living. It used to be called Over There to Here when we lived in the Hamptons.

Basically I went from war zones to play zones after having Luce and Theo. Previously I was head of the Middle East and Asia as well as global news planning editor (all at the same time!) for AP television news. My years as a journalist involved escapades such as driving around with gun men in Somalia, having coffee with a head of Hezbollah in Beirut after a night out dancing, spending a day on a blockbuster film set or interviewing a huge variety of people from A list celebrities, people in the street to heads of state. I thought you might like to know Dean that I had an exclusive one on one interview with former President Cory Aquino! (Cory Aquino was the first female President in the whole of Asia.  She became our leader from 1986-1992, after winning over President Marcos which ended his long-cruel dictatorship.) 

What were your children’s birth stories like?

My belly was so huge with twins that I started scaring people in the supermarket by the time I was six months pregnant! My twins were born a month early because I was showing signs of pre-eclampsia.

The London hospital theatre was like a party room as there were about a dozen present for the caesarean birth as the twins were officially considered premature: my obstetrician, the anaesthetist and his assistant, two neonatal doctors, two teams of midwives and my husband. It took over an hour and eight attempts before the spinal jabs worked. Unbelievably I was very calm despite this! I only started crying, that is with happiness, when Luce and Theo were delivered. They were beautiful and perfect and healthy and weighed almost 6 pounds each. If they were almost 12 pounds in total (5.3 kg) a month early, just imagine if they had made full term!

What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

The beautiful feeling of unconditional love.

The nightmare of packing so much stuff for two babies whether just to go on a shopping trip or a weekend away.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Is there such a thing as ‘me’ time? Maybe when they go off to university… On their first day at nursery I cried. Now I smile when a school term begins.

Actually I focus on my photography, seasonal projects, blogging and social media during the day. I’m lucky as my husband and I enjoy working or reading in the sitting room together in the evenings. We do also try to make sure we have some fun nights out as well!

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Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

Of course, life with little ones is filled with amusing anecdotes. Recently they announced that they planned to marry each other so they didn’t have to worry about asking someone else. I had to diplomatically explain that wouldn’t be a good idea!

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

I regularly go on long walks with just Luce and Theo. One moment they’re making a racket and climbing trees, then the next moment they’ve quietly sidled up to me and I feel them each reaching for my hand as we continue our walk. Oh these moments are pure joy for me as a mother!

On the one hand, if there were anything about motherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

How stressful mornings are leaving in time for school!

What’s a typical day like for you and your little ones?

The mornings begin peacefully with a big sit down breakfast then the chaos begins. After I’ve dropped them off at school, I’m off somewhere taking photographs or working at my desk at home. I keep one afternoon free after school, otherwise I’m a chauffeur taking them to some activity such as Beavers, karate, riding, ballet and so on. During school nights Luce and Theo are not allowed to watch television. As a result their imagination goes wild and without prompting they make up ‘stories’ to play together or devise some incredible craft or building project. I have to admit it’s impossible to ever get them to go to sleep early.

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Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Ask your mother for advice when you need it.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one,
what would it be?

Don’t get so stressed in the mornings. But also don’t worry – you’re not the only parent freaking out about getting your kids to school on time!

How do you manage your time, blogging/work wise and time with your
little ones and other activities as well?

It’s a moveable feast. I have to adapt to the time available. I’m currently working on a time consuming photography commission so I don’t have as much time to spend on my blog.

Thank you so much Kriss!

If you haven’t discovered her blog yet, you’re certainly missing out on something.

Click here if you’ve missed out on last month’s chat with a dad.

And there’s also plenty of time to catch up with the other chats as well.

Remembering Summer

It was a lovely windy summer’s day when I took that photo.  The sun was at its best, shinning and making everything look doubly beautiful.  The colours were absolutely stunning.  It’s one of those days where everywhere you look, your breath is stolen away by the sheer delight of witnessing such splendour. I want those days back!

There was a soft breeze blowing against the blades of grass and the lovely wheat stalks were happily swaying along.  Everything about that day was in perfect harmony.  Vibrant colours, warm weather and stunning surroundings, these are what summer days are made of.  A complete contrast to what is outside right now.  From where I sit and as I’m typing this, at the corner of my eye, everything is grey.  Grey, greyer, greyest.  The dullest of grey, can it get any worse than this?  Oh yes it can.  I guess we should be thankful that although it is dim, at least the day is dry.  There’s nothing worse than a gloomy and wet autumn day.

I’ve been staring at the photos I took last summer.  This particular one was taken in June.  A few days ago, I decided to make a VSCO account, so if you also have one, do follow me there and I’ll follow back too.  I haven’t really uploaded much photos yet, but intend to do so.

Now excuse me while re-live my happy summer memories of lovely days like this one.

What about you?

Do you have any favourite summer photo?

What sort is it?

Do share.

How to make a Miniature Garden

When our close friend S was up for a visit a few weeks ago, she taught little T how to make a miniature garden.  This by the way, is a great activity for your little one to get to know wild-flowers and also to be out and about, discovering nature in the open.

Collect Wild Flowers:

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Luckily for us, at this time of the year, the headland is abundant with wild-flowers.  But of course, only pick the ones that are not rare and aplenty.

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Watch out for bees, if not disturbed, they won’t disturb you either, like this bee who was so busy collecting nectar, it didn’t even care when we fussed around it.

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Little T absolutely enjoyed collecting flowers with her Auntie S.  Too bad I was too busy taking photos that I didn’t even pay attention to their names.

Things you’ll need:

Once you’ve collected enough wild-flowers for a small little garden, make sure that you also have the following:

  • Rocks of different sizes to decorate your garden.  After all, a garden is not just all about flowers too, right?
  • A plastic tray that’s deep enough to hold everything.
  • A little bit of compost/garden soil.
  • And lastly, ask your little one to choose some of their small toys/little people (if they have little toy fairies and other woodland creatures, all the better) to decorate their pocket-sized garden.

Arrange and have fun!

  • Put the soil in first.
  • Then arrange the stones and flowers the way you would arrange plants in your garden.
  • Then put the toys in to make it look like it is indeed a miniature garden with little people living in it.

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Here’s what it looks like up-close.

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And here’s little T so pleased with the finished product, she’s actually doing her silly-face.  She spent hours playing with her little garden and little toys.  A word of warning, explain to your kids that this won’t last.  T’s garden is still outside, already wilted.  But she had about three fun-filled days with it!

Do you think this is something your little one will enjoy?

February Chat with a Dad: Laurence of Chasing Wilderness

January is finally over.  Sadly, winter isn’t.  Thank goodness February only has 28 days!  Spring will be here soon and hopefully more brighter days which will mean more chances to do outdoor fun and activities for the little ones.

Laurence the dad behind the blog Chasing Wilderness, certainly knows about outdoor adventures in nature.  Come and have a little read:

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

My name is Laurence and I live in Bristol with my wife Adele and my two girls Ophelia who is nearly 1 and Talitha who is 3 and a half.

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What was your little ones birth stories like?

Gosh. That could be an essay. Two very different births. One hospital. One at home which went much more smoothly and was more how we wanted it. Suffice to say I now know that if your first birth doesn’t go according to plan, there is no reason why the second one can’t.

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

It’s not all about the birth. I was too focused on that and not enough on the rest of my life after that.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

I recently became freelance with the aim of not having to work all the time to earn the necessary bacon. We’re trying to live on the minimum we need so that I can spend time with the family here and there. Sometimes it’s enforced when the work doesn’t come in, but I try and stay relaxed and enjoy time with the family.

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How do you manage child-free time with your wife? Do you have date-nights?

We go through spurts of doing this for a few weeks, then it falls by the way side. So the answer is no, but we ought to.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?

I’m not great with anecdotes. The almost one-year-old is going through a huge developmental spurt right now and it’s amazing how relatable she’s becoming. Every morning she shuffles over to the door to wave me goodbye as I leave for work.

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

Discovering new things about these little people I have in my care. Teaching them things. I really want to impart an outdoorsy spirit, love of nature, the land, origins of food, active lifestyle and love seeing them start their journey in this. I love it when the older one wants to re-examince a plant we were looking at even a few weeks back.

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If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

Not having enough time to do pastimes and sports. I’ve not been surfing in ages, which is criminal.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home-Dad would you take it?

No way. Far too much like hard work.

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

I can’t really think of any. I guess I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can now. Not work too hard and find time to be with the kids. Everyone always says it goes by too fast, it just always seems to coincide with peak moments in people’s careers. Balancing work ambition and fatherhood ambitions is what I’d like to try and do.

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

Don’t do it! No, do do it! It’s a strange thing… it’s such a roller coaster of good things, amazing cuddles and play fights, laughter and joy at seeing first steps etc, coupled with immense frustration at them not sleeping, crying and pouring salt everywhere in cafes while I’m trying to enjoy a coffee.

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Thank you so much Laurence!

To read more about this lovely family’s outdoor fun and adventure, do head over to Chasing Wilderness.  You can also follow him over at twitter here.

Click here, if you’ve missed January’s Chat with a Mum, she also happens to be the wife of February’s Chat with a Dad 🙂

Down in the Valley

Little T goes to a small play-school/nursery here in our little village by the sea.  It’s a lovely play school and when the weather is good, they take out the kids for some fun in the sun and the outdoors. They also have their own little vegetable garden where the little ones learn how to plant and care for their vegetables and flowers.  And last Wednesday, that’s exactly what they did.

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There’s little T having fun with her wheelbarrow.

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Little T with a young friend.

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And one of the reasons that makes this play-school special is that just below, is what makes up a child’s paradise, complete with a make-shift bridge made up of a fallen tree and a tire swing over a body of water.

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See Little T walk cross the make-shift bridge with the help  of Auntie L.

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The kids had so much fun taking turns in the tire-swing, there’s little T with one of the lovely play-assistants in the nursery. One little boy tugged on my trousers and whispered “If you shut your eyes, it’s like riding a roller coaster!”  He looked barely two-years-old and I wondered “Does he even know what it feels like to ride a roller coaster?”  And then remembered how powerful a child’s imagination is.  Indeed, it must have felt exactly like riding a roller coaster.

Looking at these photos I am affirmed that we made the right decision in raising our child in the country, though admittedly, time and again, I miss the city.  But this is the place where our daughter makes magical memories every single day.

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