Tag: summer

National Trust Beaches in North Cornwall: Blue Skies at Northcott Mouth

Part I:

Now that we’re finished with our Norfolk mini series, I’m going to do an even shorter series, this time closer to home.  As mentioned, we are National Trust members, and even though we’ve lived here in Cornwall for almost a decade, there are still places, especially beaches where we haven’t visited yet.  Shameful really.  Like I’ve mentioned in the past, when you live here, there are moments, when you take the place for granted and only remember when we have visitors down and wonder where to take them.

Last summer, gasp, do I really dare speak of it in past tense?  Whatever happened to my hope of an Indian summer?  I think that’s all a dream now especially since the temperature seems to be going nowhere but down.  I digress, last summer indeed.  When a friend visited, we decided to explore three of the National Trust beaches which we haven’t been to, considering they are not a long drive from where we live.

The first is the Nortcott Mouth Beach in Bude, the nearest town to us, about a 30-minute drive from our house.  We went there the last week of August.  Families were getting read to wind down from their summer holidays and go back to the routine of work and doing the school run.  But that day on the beach, no one really thought about it, or maybe, tried not to think about it, especially since it was one of those perfect days on the beach.  The sky was blue and the temperature was just right – a good combination of not too warm and not too cold.

And there she is, T the Cornish mouse, very rare and absolutely local to Cornwall.  You’ll find her mostly on the beach with her orange net, either in her swimsuit or wet-suit with bedraggled hair.  She loves going crab-hunting with her dad.

Catch of the day: a very sad looking crab.  I don’t think it was pleased to be caught by little T.

=

And when she got tired of looking for poor crabs and fish, she decided that the water beckoned her.

Yes, it was indeed one perfect day beach day.

And after a turn on her bodyboard and letting her catch go, it was time to pack up and leave. Click here for directions on how to get to Northcott Mouth Beach.  Parking is free for National Trust members.  This beach has a cafe nearby, and seasonal lifeguards and of course, lovely headland walks too.  This is after all Cornwall 🙂

If you’ve missed our Norfolk Mini-Series, click here for a little read.

Have you ever been to a National Trust beach?

Country Kids

Waiting for the Sunset at Widemouth Bay

T indeed went back to school last Monday.  Went home with a heavy heart after the school-run. The house just felt so empty without the little madam.  While working on my laptop yesterday, I glanced at the clock and it was twelve, my initial reaction was, better save this so I can do T’s lunch.  Then I remembered, she’s in school!  Sigh.  Life in our little household is indeed slowly going back to term-time routine of getting up early, helping the little one get ready for school and  once she’s gone, the house becomes suddenly too silent.  Only the occasional barking of a numpty dog disturbs it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m still suffering a very serious summer hang over.  Maybe because the weather has also been really bad lately.  Waking up to grey skies and mist, no wonder, I’m still praying for summer to last just a little bit.

While admittedly, we didn’t really do anything exciting like go abroad this summer, we did however see family and managed to spend some time with them, not to mention close friends, which is really nice.  In fact the weekend of little T’s birthday, we had a close friend visit.  And on a Sunday, after mass, we headed off to the beach to for a bbq and to wait for the sunset.  That’s one of the perks of living by the coast – spontaneous trips like this one:

It was probably after seven pm when we got to the beach, but as you can see there were still a lot of people there and we weren’t the only one having a bbq too.

You’ll notice when the tourist season is almost over here in Cornwall.  Dogs and other animals are not allowed on some of the beaches here during the summer for obvious reasons.  But in the late summer, they are slowly allowed back in, which is lovely to see like this horse and it’s owner just enjoying the sea and sun.

While waiting for the bbq to get ready, T, the historian and our friend were brave enough to go into the water for a little dip and some fun with the board.  I wasn’t surprised to see them back even before the food was ready – the water was getting too cold.

After our meal of chicken skewers, Chinese flavoured steak, potato salad and gritty sand, we all just sat down and watched the sky do its magic.

And then after a while, the beautiful orange ball was gone and out came the most beautiful pinkish and blueish sky.  We stayed sitting there just watching this glorious scene unfold before us.  Others didn’t seem bothered much and went on surfing.  They were probably trying to enjoy as much as they can while on the beach.  I don’t blame them, especially if they were just down here for a few days.

Reluctantly, we gathered all our stuff while there was still enough light and as we loaded up our car, within minutes it was dark, except for the headlights coming for the cars and a few night lamps. We came away with our hearts full.  Years from now, I’m hoping little T will remember this day with fondness and we can say to her “Remember when we stayed on the beach till sun down?”  And she’ll smile and say Yes!

No, I’m definitely not ready for summer to end just yet.  Here’s hoping for an Indian summer!

Norfolk Mini-Series: Visiting Oxburgh Hall

This is the 5th post of our mini series during our visit to Norfolk in early August.  Today is little T’s first day back in school.  I can’t believe the holidays are over, it’s certainly the shortest she’s ever had.  Let me take you back a few weeks earlier, when the sun was bright and the days were warm and long … 

The next day, we had two destinations in mind.  The first was a visit to Oxburgh Hall (you’ll hear about the second one in the next post), a late medieval country home in Oxborough.  It was built during the War of the Roses, not as a castle really, but more as a family home for Sir Edmund Bedingfield.  This magnificent house is a must-visit for all, you don’t even have to be a lover of history to appreciate this grand country home. You’ll be amazed to see how well-preserved, not just the house, but as well as what you can see inside the house.

Can you imagine this as your family home?

And yes, it has a beautiful moat surrounding this grand country home.

This moat is home to a family of pike and dragonflies.  Little T and my husband crouched down to try to see as many pikes and dragonflies as they can before entering the house, although I’ve only managed to take a couple of photos, there were actually loads of them!

Front of the house is certainly one grand entrance. I can’t believe that this was actually a family home and not a castle.  It has the opulence of one!  Don’t you agree?

Little T trying to take a photo of the sundial (photo above).  As you can see, at the time we visited, the place was going through some minor renovations.

Inside one of the many grand rooms in the house.

Everything about the house was grand, even this old chess-set.  If these pieces could speak, what would they say?  Do you think they’ll tell us stories about who played with them, what the conversations were said during the game?  Any secrets?

One of the most interesting facts about Oxburgh hall is that the Bedingfields were Catholics during the time Elizabeth I first became Queen in 1558.  She was a staunch Protestant who was determined to continue with her father’s reformation of the Church of England and because of their faith, the Bedingfield family was ostracised and also suffered sanctions.  It was also around this time when they decided to have a priest hole built beneath a  bricked-top door in the garderobe (a storeroom for valuables).

As you can see, it is a tiny space,my husband could barely fit in it as he tried to slide into the priest’s hole.

And this is how small it was inside that little hole.  Can you imagine being stuck in here for days with no window and fresh air?

We were only in that hole for a few minutes since there was a long queue to get in. I was certainly glad to be out in the open once again, definitely not one for the claustrophobic!

Visiting places like these, teeming with history and magnificence, makes me and my husband happy to be members of both the National Trust and English Heritage.  It’s nice to know that our membership fees helps in restoring and taking care of all these important historical places.  If not for them, I honestly doubt these places would be well taken care of, or may not even be standing here today.  I’ve mentioned this in past posts, being members is so worth it, especially when you have kids – you’ll always find something to do especially when the weather cooperates.

What’s your favourite historical place to visit?

Click here if you’re interested in visiting and want to know exactly how to get there.

Polzeath in the Summer

We don’t go much to Polzeath, even though it is a lovely beach.  Perhaps, because we live by so many other beaches equally as lovely as the said beach.  Yes, admittedly, we are a bit spoiled when it comes to beaches all because we live in North Cornwall.

A few weeks ago, we had family visit, even though we knew it was going to be a bit crowded, we thought it would be nice to take them there since they’ve never been.

And I’m glad we did, even though it was busy, it was still a beautiful day to be out on the beach along with the holiday makers.

Before T and her cousin hit the waves with their bodyboards, they had fun burying each other in the sand, as you do when you’re on the beach.

And when that was done, they hit the waves, along with many, many, people.

After enjoying the waves of course, we all had some Kelly Whip ice-cream – summer wouldn’t be complete with that.

And then it was time to go, even then, the beach was still busy and there were lots of surfers enjoying the waves in Polzeath.  Perhaps, that’s one of the reason why this beach is so popular?  If you wonder what it looks like when it’s not busy, you can have a little peek here.

It’s lovely to see Cornwall busy with tourists.  Once the summer is done, a lot of the small villages here become like a ghost town.  It’s the first of September while a lot think that summer is over, I don’t think it is gone yet.  Yes, T will be back in school on Monday, but if we’re lucky, we might have an Indian summer only then will I feel that it is indeed over.

Have you been to Polzeath?

What’s your favourite beach in your area?

Norfolk Mini-Series: By the Seaside in Sunny Hunny

It all began in Sunny Hunny.  Apparently, it isn’t always sunny in Hunstanton but we were lucky enough to be blessed with glorious weather the few days we were there.  We used the lovely seaside town Hunstanton as base for our trip.  For those who don’t know, “Hunny” as some fondly call the place, is a lovely seaside town in West Norfolk.  It’s one of the few places in the West Coast where the sun can be seen setting over the sea.

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon.  After some tea and cake, we decided to take a walk by the pier.  Was really impressed with the lovely flowers by the promenade.

We knew there was a seaside carnival, not surprisingly T wanted to head for there as soon as she could see it from afar but first my husband tried to convince me to try out the jellied eel.

I took one look and politely declined (did have a taste though) and instead enjoyed a small pot of mixed-seafood.

Not to be left-out, T all ready for the seaside fair asked for some cotton candy.

And then she was all set for some serious fun in the fair.

Sadly, T wasn’t tall enough for some of the rides.  To cheer her up, we said yes to a temporary tattoo.

Her first choice was a sugar skull (she loves them), but then decided on the grim reaper.  Yes, my daughter is a bit “dark” that way.

The woman doing the temporary tattoos tried to convince her to add some colour and perhaps even some glitter.  But T knew what she wanted and politely said no.  I don’t blame her.  I don’t think the the grim reaper will be pleased to be dusted with glitter and colour.

And here’s my little goth girl, proudly showing off her tattoo.  The woman said it will last a week and she was right!

We enjoyed the lovely picturesque scenes on our way to the flat.

It was a beautiful end to our first day in Sunny Hunny.

Where are we off to tomorrow, mum?  T asked.

Off to the Norfolk Lavender Farm.

Wait for it!

Summer = Paddling Pools

The word summer equals to paddling pools, especially when you have a little one.  I can’t even begin to count how many little T has had since she was a toddler.

When we moved into our new house last year, my husband bought T a big pool especially since we finally have the space for it.  Sadly, we kept the said pool in a small outbuilding in the bottom of our garden.  Even though I packed it securely (or so I thought), the mice still had a go at it.  I found this out during the “heat wave” about a month ago when T invited a friend over for some paddling pool fun.

Imagine my annoyance when I found out after cleaning the paddling pool, blowing it up only to find out that there were holes in it. I panicked and thankfully, my husband willingly (minus the grumbling) drove me to the nearest shop and bought the biggest paddling pool we could find.  Sadly, it wasn’t as big as her previous one, but once blown up, it wasn’t that bad at all.

This was T’s paddling pool last year.  The three of us could fit in it comfortably with enough space for other kids as well.

This is the new one, not as big, but it didn’t seem to bother the girls at all.

These two girls are really sporty.  They enjoyed running towards the pool and just jumping into it and having lots of giggles.

It was one of those perfect long summer days, lovely and warm.  The kids having fun in the garden, while mum can have a read in the hammock and maybe a cheeky g&t.  And the husband in the study…… Ah bliss.

And this being England of course, everything went downhill from there.  The next day, it ended with a mist.  The temperature dropped and then it rained for days.  Story of our life eh?  Here’s hoping the warm paddling pools will come back.

What about you?

Did you enjoy the heat-wave too?

Or was it just too much?

What we did on a Summer Solstice …

If you follow me over on Instagram, chances are you’ve probably seen these photos already.  It was the summer solstice last week.  We planned on having a bbq just for the three of us and my husband had this grand plan of waiting for the longest day to end by reading Harry Potter to T on the hammock.  We also knew that it was also going to be the last day of the “heat-wave” (at least for now) and that by nightfall, the weather would turn, although we were hoping that it wouldn’t.

Little T re-reading one of her Ottoline books just before the sun hid behind thick clouds.

And sure enough, by the time our bbq was ready, the temperature dropped and the sun disappeared and I could see the mist appearing over the fields, it was like a scene from a scary movie or a Stephen King novel.

Mist descending, it actually looked really eerie.  

But my husband was still determined to go through with his plans especially since he promised T that she could stay up late(ish).  By the time I cleared our dinner away, he had somehow managed to dig out our garden lamps from the shed and made us a lovely cosy nook in the garden.

As soon as T saw this, she plonked herself down on the hammock as we finished our chores for the night.

I loved the little tea lights hanging on the tree and our big hurricane lamp which my husband laid on the garden wall.  It does give it a lovely ambiance, doesn’t it?

Once we were done with our chores, the Historian started reading to T, as I sat beside them on a lounge chair, sipping my tea also listening to the story.

It’s a lovely memory.  I hope T remembers this.  The sound of her dad reading to her on a hammock one summer solstice, amidst the mist, with just light coming from the garden lamps. We stayed on till it was too dark to read and our solar lights have lit up.  T wanted to see the owl light she got for her dad on Father’s Day lit up.

There’s her owl, surrounded by her dad’s flowers.  It’s the best Father’s Day present her dad exclaimed when he opened it.  Apologies if my photos are all blurry since I only used my phone to take photos.

What about you?

Did you celebrate the summer solstice too?

What to do on Widemouth Bay when the Heat is On …

We’ve been experiencing some really lovely heat the past few days in the UK.  I know some may be struggling, finding it too hot.  Was chatting with a Spanish friend last Sunday and she asked me if the heat is too much for me.  I laughed and said, no!  Where I come from, this is the norm and some days, especially in the summer, it can be even hotter.  I asked her the same question.  She laughed too, and gave me the same answer.

And what better way to enjoy the heat, but to go to the beach!  I’ve mentioned this several times on the blog before that our go-to-beach is Widemouth Bay since it’s only about a ten-minute drive from where we live.  This is where T and her best-friend F love to go and do …

Body Boarding

And here they are, the two best-friends resting before having another go on the beach.  It’s a very safe beach to visit with little ones, since there are always (especially during peak season) life guards on duty complete with speed boats ready to use in case of emergency.

The waves though can be a little bit harsh, but all the better for the body-boarders and surfers of course.  It’s best to still keep a close eye on your little ones by being in the water with them too.

Rock Pooling/Climbing

Towards the afternoon, we decided to pack up and head for the lovely interesting rock formations found on Widemouth bay.  Apart from the long stretch of sand, those rocks and boulders is one of the reason why we love that beach.  When you’re done playing in the sand and waves, there are other things to do like climb over rocks that have been around millions of years.

And there she goes …

Just look at how unique they are… It almost looks a face is etched on the rock.

Nature never ceases to amaze me.

And when you’re done marvelling over rock formations, one can always go exploring over rock pools too. This is one of T and her dad’s favourite activity to do on the beach.  What better way to end a lovely day, by doing some exploring?

Have you been enjoying the heat too?

Or is it just a bit too much for you?

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.

A Shortie By Little Steps

No, I’m not talking about me.  I’m talking about a recent video I re-edited into a short film, hence, the word “shortie”, although to be fair you can call me that too.  I don’t mind really.

If you’ve been following my little online space regularly you might recognise some of the clips used in this little shortie from a post I wrote in the late summer of this year which I called “What was your Sunday like?”  It was a beautiful late summer day, when the day was long and the sun was glorious.  It was a lovely lazy day etched in my memory, where I actually relaxed while my husband cooked (he loves cooking on a Sunday), in between doing chores (changing sheets for me, mowing the lawn for him) and T doing her homework, and the Doc being a dog, and Boots, napping as always, basking in the sunshine streaming from the window.

When the weather is grim and I’m feeling a bit sad, I think about that particular perfect summer day.  I’m glad I have it in film, when memory fails, I will always have this.

If you have time, do have a little peek and tell me what you think.

Thank you!