Fun in the sun

Wow hasn’t it been a hot one this week? My social media feeds have been full of sunny scenes; blue skies, paddling pools, ice creams and lots of smiles. There has also been plenty of moaning about the heat which amuses me given that a week ago many of us were moaning about our lack of summer. But hey, we’re British and moaning about the weather is just what we do. Plus it has been seriously hot!

So what else to do than to try and find ways of keeping cool. Fans in bedrooms, ice on temples, ice lollies, oh and of course playing with water in the garden. I love our garden, we’ve put in a tonne of effort to get to this point and now it just such a lovely place to be. I also really love our gazebo as it provides us with some much needed shade on these hot hot days. Because pictures speak louder than words,  instead of rambling on, I will show you how much fun we’ve been having outside this week.PhotoGrid_1468993911685PhotoGrid_1468995883162PhotoGrid_1468994909082PhotoGrid_1468995676426

So at the end of a summers day this is what my garden should like. Covered in abandoned toys, with sand and water everywhere. Miscellaneous items of clothing and towels strewn across chairs to dry and just general detritus left about. Evidence of a lot of fun had outside, and evidence that I have enjoyed it as much as my kids have rather than constantly cleaning up after them.


Are you enjoying our little heatwave?

Best of Worst
Monkey and Mouse

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Lots of fun outdoors in the sun.

I am so British and I talk about the weather far too often but hasn’t the weather been glorious this week? So nice to finally feel the warmth of the sun and we have spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying it.

Last weekend we spent a lot of time outdoors doing some gardening. We were due to have some friends to visit but their little girls came down with a nasty stomach bug poor things so that had to cancel at the last minute. We thought we would take the opportunity to do a few bits on our front garden as we have finally had the driveway finished and it was time to lay some turf and do a bit of reorganising out there.PhotoGrid_1462451960395

Bank holiday Monday we went to meet some friends at NT Stowe for the day, I will share more about that in a separate post but we had a lovely day and were lucky to get a bit of sunshine!PhotoGrid_1462452168928

Tuesday Monkey and I were both feeling full of cold so actually spent most of the day indoors, but we did go for a walk and a scoot and I am so proud of Monkey as he is amazing on his scooter all of a sudden. He’s not been keen on this new one and really hasn’t wanted to learn how to do it, but he has finally got it and looks so grown up scooting down the path.

I was also proud of myself as even though I wasn’t feeling great I got out for a run. It’s my latest thing in a bid to get healthy and so far I really am enjoying it even though I’m not very good at the moment!

Wednesday my mum and I took the kiddoes to our favourite local farm Park and the weather was amazing! So warm and sunny and just lovely so we had such a wonderful day!PhotoGrid_1462452395775

We spent more time outdoors at home that afternoon too watering the turf we have just laid and our little lady discovered she loves running through the spray of water from the hose. Shouldn’t be surprised really given how much she loves water!PhotoGrid_1462452801654

I was also really proud of our Monkey who wanted to get on his bicycle. He’s had it nearly a year but we always struggle to motivate him to have a go. But one of his friends has recently got a bike and is already riding without stabilisers so his has definitely been a motivating factor for him! He has still a way to go but is definitely improving and his Uncle Marky popped over to borrow a ladder so he helped him out a bit too.

Thursday Monkey went off on a coach trip with playgroup, eek! Made me nervous but he had a wonderful time. Meanwhile LM had a little play with her friend (and I chatted with my friend) then we had another good friend pop over with her gorgeous little man, we went for a walk then enjoyed sitting out in the sunshine.PhotoGrid_1462477006763

Finally this afternoon when Monkey returned from his trip we got some water in the tuff spot and had a play outside. Monkey wanted to take a picture of his baby sister and I and I was quite impressed with he got! Budding photographer. LM of course adored jumping and splashing in the water haha. Love this weather!


My word of the week is outdoors.

The Reading Residence

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Gardening with the Poundland Charlie Dimmock range

We love spending time outside with the kiddies, and not just on days out, but also out in our garden. Some readers may remember that we had a project a couple of years ago to completely renovate our garden. We have been so pleased with the results and spend so much time out there.


It doesn’t usually look as tidy as this, normally there are toys everywhere but we are getting ready for my birthday bbq this weekend!

It takes maintenance though so there is a lot of time spent gardening which so far the kids love being a part of. So when Poundland got in touch about their new range of gardening tools, the Charlie Dimmock range, I was immediately intrigued. To be honest I was surprised initially as Poundland is not the first place I would think of to buy gardening tools, but the selection they have looked great. We chose a few things we thought we could put to good use and test out then got out in the garden.


Monkey loves digging and his grandparents recently bought him a plant with his name so he and Daddy set to planting.PhotoGrid_1461244669904

Monkey and I then did some necessary, but let’s face it, unexciting weeding together.PhotoGrid_1461245017185

Even LM got involved and did some digging with her big brother.PhotoGrid_1461244750282

So how did the products do? Pretty good actually considering the price of them. The gloves are a good size and definitely do the job of protecting your hands from the dirt and prickles. The stitching on them isn’t amazing so I can see they probably won’t last you years and years, but then I don’t expect anything I can buy for a pound to last that long and spending £1 on a pair of gloves every now and then wouldn’t be too much of a hardship.

The scoops were really good for digging loose soil and will be very useful for all sorts of things. The brush is just what we needed for cleaning the weeds in the block paving. We had previously bought one from a leading diy chain for around £5 which snapped in two. This much cheaper version is already doing better than that one.

The trowel and other tools do what they say on the tin. As with the gloves the quality may not be amazing, the trowel is a bit bendy in hard earth or when digging vigourously, but again, for the price you really can’t complain and they do the job. There are a couple of bits that we are yet to try out but they see, to be of a similar standard and no doubt they will come in useful.

On the whole I am really impressed with the Charlie Dimmock gardening range from Poundland and am pleasantly surprised. I will definitely consider Poundland next time we need some gardening supplies.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallWe're going on an adventureLife Unexpected

A colourful week!

My word of the week this week is colours, as I have been enjoying all of the colours of spring.

At the weekend we popped over to one of my favourite spots, our local bluebell woods. I love going at this time of year to see the gorgeous carpet of blue up the slopes of the hillside in the woods. Monkey enjoyed exploring and so did LM though there was some big muddy puddles we had to keep her away from!PhotoGrid_1460552808015

Afterwards we headed to my mother in laws for her birthday celebrations, and Monkey and I had made her a rather colourful cake! We had a lovely time with family.PhotoGrid_1460552905975

We also did some gardening over the weekend and it is so lovely to see so much colour appearing in the garden and out and about!PhotoGrid_1460553012830

I’m also a little in love with my new bright yellow coat from Trespass… Review coming soon! It is not a colour I would usually go for but I am loving it so far!PhotoGrid_1460573962618

Finally you may have seen my recent post about bubble painting with Monkey… Well we have been at it again this week as he loved it so much. He was enjoying mixing the colours this time by blowing two at once! Such fun.PhotoGrid_1460574008936

How has your week been?

The Reading Residence

Hello Spring

On a beautiful crisp day recently hubs said he thought it felt like autumn because of the clear blue skies, cool air and bare trees all around. But I disagreed. To me it feels like spring is really here, and when you look closely there is life all around. There are buds on the trees and blossom starting to bloom. There is colour coming back into the world.PhotoGrid_1459412901470

I have so enjoyed seeing the sun this week and feeling the slightly warmer air, and that is why my word of the week this week is spring.

We have been out and about a lot enjoying the spring and the start of the easter holidays. In truth I was concerned about the holidays. Because of chicken pox and tummy bugs Monkey has been off pre-school for weeks already and after a difficult half term in February I was apprehensive about another couple of weeks at home together. But the change in the weather really makes it easier.

Plus because lots of friends are off school too it means we get to catch up with lovely people that we don’t get to see so often. On Tuesday we met up with my best mummy friends and their kiddoes. We all worked together pre-children and have gotten even closer since they all came into our lives. The kids all get on so well together too which is wonderful. We all got together at our favourite local farm and really enjoyed all the signs of spring. One minute it was sunny, then pouring with rain then warm, then chilly as the sun went behind a cloud. In essence a classic spring day! We saw lambs and piglets and peacocks and played pooh sticks and in general just had the loveliest day together.PhotoGrid_1459412528962

Monkey, LM and I have also been out on lots of little walks this week enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. LM’s little legs are getting stronger all the time and she loves a good run and play with her brother,and on her own of course being as independent as she is!PhotoGrid_1459412758774

We’ve been out in the garden a lot too doing some gardening and tidying and for Monkey ‘digging for treasure’ hehe. They’ve even played outside with no coat on, imagine that eh? I also got the sandpit out earlier for the first time and both kids adored it. This week is the first time LM has enjoyed playing with sand, she’s always hated the feel of it previously but not anymore! I can see us having lots of fun with sand over the next few months/years! Such a lovely simple activity for them so I love it.PhotoGrid_1459426217779

We’ve had a bit of a bonus too this week in that the spring clock change has changed LM’s sleep patterns a bit and she is sleeping until 7am now. Hooray! Not sure if it is just because it is darker till a little later and so she will wake earlier again soon but for now we are loving the 7am lie ins haha.

We have lots more lovely days with friends planned over the rest of the holidays and I am looking forward to what next week brings before we get back to a normal routine.

How has your week been? Are you feeling like spring has sprung?

The Reading Residence

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Life Unexpected

Loving our Garden

I have never been much of a gardener, and in all honesty have been pretty uninterested in becoming a gardener. That is, until we renovated our garden. Suddenly I really enjoy it! I don’t like weeding and I still don’t really know what I am doing but I do enjoy choosing plants and seeing them grow. Luckily hubs knows a bit more about gardening than I do so it is very much a joint effort.

Renovating our back garden was such a good decision as we spend a lot of time out there and it really is looking so lovely out there now. We just bought some beautiful new plants to inject some more colour and texture. We like to try and mix up things that flower at different times of year and are different colours to keep a nice bit of variety. (You can see the before and afters of the renovation here.)

garden aug 2015

Monkey loves the garden and he loves gardening too. He is great at watering the garden, with the hose or a watering can and he just loves to dig. We do have to stop him digging up plants as he can be a bit overenthusisastic sometimes! He loves helping though and is always happy to push bits around in his wheelbarrow too, little love!

Monkey Gardening

I’m also really proud of him as lately he has gotten so inquisitive with bugs and beasties that we find when gardening. He so so loved finding some wiggly worms when we were digging at the weekend.  just love seeing how happy he is to touch and explore them. He has picked up woodlice, ants, ladybirds and all sorts too.Monkey and worm

I’m proud of myself too as I hate all these things and don’t like touching them but I try really hard not to share my fear with him. I really don’t want him to learn to be scared of things because they scare me, if that makes sense.

We really enjoy all of our time outside together and hope we can continue to for many years, and get LM involved too when we are less concerned about her eating mud and worms :).

Do you like gardening with your kids?

My word of the week is gardening.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallMy Bored ToddlerThe Reading ResidenceMammasaurus

A Spot of Gardening

It seems that Spring is springing into action at the moment doesn’t it? We have had some lovely sunny days and some have actually been really quite warm too which makes a lovely change. Saturday was one of those days, and with the sun shining, Monkey’s Chicken Pox clearing up and some bluebells to plant from Hub’s Dad we spent some time enjoying the sunshine in the back garden.

Monkey loves a good dig in the mud and Daddy likes to put him to work… though unfortunately he always ends up targeting plants rather than weeds and there is one that we are hoping has survived being attacked by Monkey’s trowel…

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While Hubs and Monkey were planting I was doing a bit of pruning, dead heading and leaf raking that we didn’t get round to in the autumn (we aren’t the best gardeners in the world!) and enjoying the signs of spring. The crocuses and daffodils blooming in the front garden..


and the buds on one of our new trees (we got these in the sale in August, already marked down to £15 which we thought was a bargain they actually only cost about £8 each), this one looks like it is going to be beautiul once it is in bloom!


Then we had a lovely moment watching some Bees collecting Nectar from the crocuses talking about how Bees make Honey, was very cute!


With yet another week of illness (my turn now) I am hoping that Spring will bring some better health along with the sunnier weather so this week my word is Spring.

How Does Your Garden Grow
The Reading Residence

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Playing outside in the Winter

Monkey, like most toddlers I imagine, seems to have boundless energy. He is always haring about the place so we try to get out of the house as much as we can. Last year we started our “operation garden renovation” to turn our mess of a garden into somewhere he could play without us having to go anywhere. This was aimed at being ready for playing outside while I was pregnant, and it was amazing. It is still amazing now, as when LM sleeps upstairs, Monkey and I can get outside and burn off steam – even in the middle of winter!

We don’t very often get snow where we are but we have been enjoying running around on frosty mornings. He loves legging it round the garden, pushing his buggy around, and of course Mummy has to run too.

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Mummy getting told off for not running!

Mummy getting told off for not running!

And we finally got our first smattering of snow last week, which Monkey was HUGELY excited about! We thought this may be the extent of what we would get this year so we were out there making the most of it.

 first snow

Then, much to our surprise, a few days later we got a proper covering! So Monkey and I went out while LM was asleep and had some more fun. I have to admit, I love snow. I am a big kid and love building snowmen and snow just makes everything so pretty and white (until it turns into slush anyway, yuk!) and I was determined to build a snowman. I tried to get Monkey involved but he was too busy stomping around making footprints and was more keen on knocking over my snowman mid-build. “Twease, twease, knock it down, twease” um no.

snowy fun

I managed to fend him off and here is the finished result, thankfully he loved it when it was finished and even gave him (apparently it is a Daddy snowman :)) cuddles!

We love playing outside, even in the winter, do you?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Our Mini Helper – 26 months

I’m not sure if it is toddlers in general or just him, but Monkey loves helping. He can be getting in the way and under my feet but if I give him a job to do, he is so excited. He doesn’t always actually help that much but it certainly keeps him busy while I am getting something done, and he does look cute while he is helping! Plus I figure it helps him learn life skills. For example he likes cleaning up after himself when he has spilt something on the floor or on the table.

So anyway we were doing some tidying in the front garden last weekend, which involved a bit of chopping but mainly weeding. Rather than Daddy doing it all and me trying to entertain Monkey elsewhere, we figured we could get Monkey involved. His Granny & Granddad bought him some gardening bits for his birthday, which have mainly been used in the sand pit so far, and it felt like the perfect opportunity to do some gardening with them!

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Adding some colour to the garden

A big project for us this year has been our garden. Regular readers will know all about Operation Garden Renovation and the time and effort we have put into turning our garden from this:


(although at this point we had already removed the approx. 15 conifer trees that covered the perimeter of the garden) to this:


The work is still ongoing though and we have started planting the garden… and we have been looking at some other ways of adding some colour to the garden! There is a trend at the moment for using some non-traditional colours to paint fences and woodwork, and, well, both hubby and I love it! So we decided we would go for it and add some colour to the garden.

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