Tag: summer

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?

Country Kids

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?

Country Kids

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?

Country Kids

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!

A Summer Hangover in Photos

O, sunlight!  The most precious gold to be found on earth.” – Roman Payne

We woke up to autumn shaking us with its dreary, wet and cold hands yesterday.  While it isn’t wet today, it’s still the same overcast morning, I’m still suffering from a terrible summer hangover.  The kind you wouldn’t necessarily want to shake off.  In that note, I’m heading off to lala land courtesy of the photos I took of those glorious days of summer.  Come and join me!


 Buckfast Abey in all its glory.


Little T saying a prayer/wish.  I bet she was praying for more toys 😉

lavender lavender close uprosepink rose close upwild flowersWild flowers on wallbrixhamthrough_an_ancient_window

And just like that, summer left us through that ancient window …

Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist so sad? – Dodie Smith

The Last Summer Barbecue

It was a bit of a mix this week, weather wise, that is.  The first two days felt like autumn has finally come and then on Wednesday, the sun suddenly came out and it was warm again.  Warm enough to have a barbecue outside, our last one for 2016.


I find it a bit dispiriting that this will be our last barbecue outside.  Even Doc seems to agree with me on that one.  While I do like autumn, the changing colours of the leaves, even the dip of the temperature is kinda of nice, especially since it isn’t usually that cold here in Cornwall compared to the other parts of the UK. But somehow the idea of not being able to dine outside dampens my spirit a bit.


My last Pimms for 2016.  Okay, I’m lying.  I still have half a bottle left and strawberries and all the other goodies that this drink is made of in the fridge, so I might just be able to have a glass or two before I call it my last.


In other news, little T has been unwell since Monday night and has been off school for two days now.  She was back yesterday and is feeling so much better apart from the usual cold that comes with the changing of the seasons.

Also, a close cousin of mine is here in the UK for the year.  Sadly, as much as I would love for her to stay with us, we drive her off to the University of Reading for her post grad studies on Saturday.  The good news is that she’s spending Christmas with us and hopefully she’ll be able to come and stay every chance she can get.

My word of the week is “last”.

What about you?

When was the last time you had a barbecue?

The Reading Residence

A Country Kid’s Post: A Day Out in Dartmouth

Dartmouth along the river

As mentioned on the previous post, we arrived in Dartmouth via the ferry from Totnes on a camping trip a few weeks ago.  It actually felt like we’ve gone abroad and weren’t in England anymore.  It felt more like we were in the South of France, or somewhere else in Europe.  For one, the weather was absolutely warm, don’t remember how high the temperature was, but it didn’t feel like the UK at all.

Another view of DartmouthDartmouth3

Little T and I enjoyed looking at the colourful houses across the river.

Blue Victorian house

Loved this big imposing blue Victorian house in front of the river.  Look at the intricate design by the door, and the lovely big windows.  They must have stunning views of the river.

 Cobbled Stones and a boat

I love cobbled streets although they aren’t exactly easy to walk on.  I’m glad I was wearing sandals that day.

We headed for Darmouth castle.  It was a bit of a walk from the quay, but the views were stunning and in spite the heat, we really enjoyed just walking and stopping, taking photos or just breathing in the air.


The view of the river Dart was just amazing.  Who wouldn’t want to stop for that?

a variety of flowers on a wallred_flowers

I just loved the abundance of colour whether it was found in the flowers around or the houses. Everything just seemed so vibrant and teeming with life that day.  Wouldn’t it be great if everyday life was just like that?


We finally reached the 13th century castle and church, although it really looked more like a fort than a castle.  The oldest part dates back to 1380 and was built to protect Dartmouth harbour from a French attack.

Dartmouth cemetery

I love old cemeteries by the river.

Entrance to Dartmouth Castle

Entrance to the castle.


T and her Dad inside the castle.

There really wasn’t much to see inside, although I can imagine it would appeal to young children, especially the long dark corridors and rooms.  If not for being English Heritage members, I probably wouldn’t think it was worth it, unless I guess you’re a historian like my husband.  T wasn’t really into it.  Thank goodness we found a small beach near the castle and she had a chance to have a little dip and play in the sand. By then it was lunch time, we took a small boat back to the harbour to have a very late lunch.


 Dartmouth castle as seen on the boat.

We asked the guy who was manning the boat for some recommendations of where to eat in the area.  He recommended the Floating Bridge for seafood which we were all craving for, I guess i had something to do with being so close to the river.  And I’m so pleased that we asked even though it was a bit of a walk from where he dropped us off, it was still so worth it.


While waiting for our food, we enjoyed sitting by the river and I managed to take a photo of the steam train running across the river.


That sea food platter was just absolutely delicious and it disappeared not long after it was served.


 After licking our plates clean, it was time to head back and wait for the ferry back to Totnes.

Have you been visited Dartmouth?

Do share.

A Country Kid’s Post: Camping Unplugged


While we’ve had camping on our bucket list for some time now, we somehow didn’t manage to plan it, so when a friend phoned us and asked if we wanted to go camping a few weeks ago, I said yes right away.  While planning is great, there’s also something exciting about going on a spontaneous trip, don’t you think?

We almost didn’t go actually since T went down with a temperature the night before, in fact, I sent a text message to our friend to warn her that if T wasn’t feeling well, we’re going to have to cancel our trip.  Luckily for us, T woke up feeling so much better.  Not wanting to test fate, we quickly loaded our car and drove off taking Doc with us on our little camping trip.  Boots stayed at home to watch over the house.

girl sitting in a car

Little T relaxing while we packed as much as we can in our little car.

Luckily we found a lovely campsite just outside Dartmoor that had space and wasn’t crowded with campers.  Granted it was just a site with basic facilities like toilets, hot shower and sinks for washing-up, which we actually liked.  Besides, “going rough” is what camping is all about isn’t it?

As we left, little T asked if we were going to take the iPad.  I said, what’s the point in going camping if we were going to take it?  No, we were all going to unplug our devices for the duration of the trip and guess what?  It was absolute bliss!

little girl

There was so much empty space in the campsite as you can see, Doc and little T had so much fun, although he wasn’t allowed to roam on his own.

little girl and her dog

To top it off, the weather cooperated and we managed to stay up late the first night and just watch the sky change colours.  When it got too cold, we went inside our friend’s tent (which was bigger and had more space) and just sat there, sipping wine and just chatting.  Little T was also with us and had her head on my lap, listening and occasionally piping in to join the conversation.


It was lovely to catch the sunrise and wait for the sky to do its magic…


The next day we got up when the tent got too warm and headed off to catch a ferry in Totnes that took us to Torquay which we enjoyed (will save that for another post). and spent the following day in Dartmoor, had a brief play at the beach on Paignton and ended the day in Brixham.  On the third  of our camping trip we headed back home to Cornwall.  And just as we crossed the border, the sunny weather was gone and we were welcomed back home with rain.  Whoopie-bloody-doo-dah.

It was a little unplanned holiday, but sometimes it’s the spontaneous ones that really count.  I didn’t switch my phone back on (and neither did my husband) and checked my emails till we got back on Wednesday.  As mentioned, it was heaven.

Do you like spontaneous trips or prefer planned holidays?

Do share.

Ticking off our Summer Bucket List

Before the summer holidays began, I wrote a bucket list of things I wanted done during the break and I’m pleased to share that we are slowly ticking off that list (especially after last week’s panic), although admittedly I still feel like September is creeping fast behind us – I’m okay with that too.

Here’s a recap of what was on that list:


Sadly we haven’t managed to do much apart from mow our enormous lawn. A close friend said that it’s actually better to begin gardening in the autumn, if that’s true, then having nothing done in the garden suddenly sounds alright.  What I’m loving though is that we are still discovering what’s in it.  Flowers are still budding out of nowhere as if to surprise us.  This time we’ve been seeing lily-like flowers in bushes – lovely really.

Play Area for T

While there aren’t any home-made wooden swings hanging from our tree yet, we did finally manage to put up T’s much-awaited trampoline.  I’m still hoping to nudge the Historian towards making those wooden swings, I love the idea of having them in the garden.


Get Organised

Slowly getting there, although admittedly there are still lots to do especially in the conservatory and the boot room, though as mentioned in past posts, we’ve managed to put up pictures/paintings (though there are still more to be put up) and also managed to buy another book shelf which is also now filled-up with books.  Hopefully before the summer ends, we’ll get more things done.

Host BBQs and Pool Parties

Done that, but want to do more.


Yes! After a short notice, we’ve managed to find a campsite in Devon (I know, we just went over the border from where we live) It was bliss, especially since the weather was just perfect.


Walk on the beach and Woods

We’ve been on the beach more than a couple of times (still intend to do more), we haven’t done any walks in the woods yet, but managed a lovely one in Dartmoor.


And there’s little T with our friend S, enjoying the walk the National Park.

Road Trips

As mentioned in a recent post, we did manage to finally visit Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park and the kids absolutely loved it.  Hopefully we’ll be able to do another one before the school term begins.

Visit London and Watch Matilda

We haven’t ticked this one off yet, although we’re booked to watch Mary Poppins, sadly not in London, but in Plymouth where it’s nearer.  We still want to watch Matilda and visit the capital, but I’m not so sure we’ll manage to do that this summer, but you’ll never know, we might just do it too.

Not bad at all, this I say to myself. We’re slowly ticking off that list, hopefully by the time summer ends, everything is ticked off.  My word of the week is – ticking.

What about you?

Have you managed to tick off your summer bucket list?

Do share.

The Reading Residence