My must-haves for getting out and about in winter

Brrr! Winter does feel a long old time doesn’t it? Dark mornings, dark afternoons and some days so grey that it barely feels like it gets light at all. So easy then to just stay indoors in the warm, but I’ve written before about how much we like to get out, even during the winter months as it really does us all good! (and, random timing, but I’ve just read an article in the news about how much kids need outdoor time for their development!)

But how to make sure that it is a successful trip? With happy little people throughout? Well I have a few suggestions of things to have with you to help keep the smiles despite the cold.

  1. Warm clothing. Lots of little layers and for us it often includes waterproofs and wellies. Waterproofs mean puddles are no bother and wet slides at the playpark don’t result in soggy bottoms! They also work as an extra layer and can help with windy days as well to stop the chill permeating.PhotoGrid_1486126285252
  2. If it is a fairly dry and mild day and we forego the waterproofs I try and remember to take some old tea towels with us instead. Just in case any of the swings or slides are still soggy!
  3. Food and drink. A bottle of water and some healthy snacks. LM is at an age where I am wary of her snacking too much as it stops her eating her dinner, however some dried fruit or cheese can prevent a full on meltdown on the way home! Biscuits work well too of course but I try and encourage healthier options as much as I can.
  4. Spare clothes. Depending on waterproofs etc. and I don’t worry about these on a short trip to the park but on a longer trip out we have spare clothes, socks and even gloves in case the first pair get wet or overly muddy!
  5. Something to inject some fun! Regular readers will probably know that I rarely leave the house for a walk without taking a ball and some bubble mixture. Kids love bubbles and a few mins of bubble chasing can (not always mind you, but most of the time) avert let downs or persuade little legs to walk the direction you want them to go! We also recently did a bit of a nature hunt with Monkey, which is great for slightly older kids and definitely kept him entertained while we were out! Fun can be impromptu though too as hide and seek around trees always goes down well, or a simple game of chase!PhotoGrid_1486126054629

That’s probably about it really, other than a camera to capture all the smiles and fun you have :). What are your must-haves for getting out and about in the colder, wetter months?

Country Kids

Babyfoote

Getting outside in the Winter months

It’s really turned a lot colder here lately and winter is well on the way. My little toddler can be inclined to laziness and would probably be happy sat in front of the telly all day long (I say sat but she rarely actually sits still, she climbs and fidgets and wriggles and goes and potters and comes back again) but she likes the tv on and she likes to be inside. While that is all well and good some of the time, I don’t like that much TV time for her, and it does both of us good to get out and about.

Fresh air is good for her and there is so much to see and explore outside of these four walls… Plus I go a bit stir crazy indoors. A change of scene and some fresh air really refreshes me and makes me a better mummy the rest of the time, so I definitely need to get outside, whether madam likes it or not.

It can be tricky to persuade her though, especially now it is cold and wintry out, and the more she says no the harder it is to motivate myself when it is cold too, but still, it is necessary. So I have a few tricks to tempt madam out the door even on the cold days.

Bubbles

I’m yet to meet a child who doesn’t like bubbles and they are used regularly in our house to get us outside. A wand is my preferred tool as it is easy to get big bubbles, but I will use whatever we have. photogrid_1480488042325

Both kids enjoy a good chase of some bubbles and I must admit I think they are so pretty… I may have 1 or 2 (thousand) pictures of them!

A ball

Simple choice but again it works, both my kids like a good chase of a ball and giving it a good kick about. We have had some lovely sibling moments out with a ball too. (and some less lovely moments in truth, they are siblings after all!)

My bike

Thankfully LM loves a ride on the back of my bike and even seeing her little helmet will get her racing to get her shoes on. We are lucky to live very close to a country park with gorgeous views and lovely play parks. The other day LM didn’t want to get down and play, but she loved seeing the ducks on the lakes, shouting “choo choo” near the train tracks and neighing at a horse in a field, and I got a bit of exercise too.photogrid_1480487652791

Friends

One thing LM is, is sociable, and our girl loves seeing our friends and family. One sure way to get her out the door is the promise of seeing some of those. We have some very good friends who live close by. Their eldest is at school with Monkey and their youngest is a little older than LM. Add the promise of meeting them for a bike ride and well LM is literally running for the door (seriously she did this yesterday, I have never seen her move so fast as when I suggested we get on my bike and go out with them ha). The kids have a lot of fun together and LM adores their Mummy the most of all I think haha.photogrid_1480515042662

Food

I don’t use this too much but there have been a couple of times recently where I have persuaded LM outside with the promise of a treat. Bribery I know but sometimes the end justifies the means and we ended up having a lovely time in the garden, away from the tv, all thanks to half a mini twix bite (I may have eaten the other half haha) !photogrid_1480487761201

Winter can absolutely be a time for snuggling up in the warn with a hot soup of a warm drink… But it’s even more fun to snuggle inside when you’ve had lots of fun outside first. You can see a few more simple ideas for playing outside in the Winter here.

Do you like getting outside in the Winter? What are your top tips for getting the kids outside?

My word of the week, is “outside”

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Mummascribbles

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Run Jump Scrap!
Monkey and Mouse

Me and Mine Sept/Oct 2016 – an autumn walk

I’m a bit late joining in with the fab Me and Mine linky this month. In fact I wasn’t planning on joining up at all as the only shot I have of us as a family this month is one on our bikes, which isn’t the best.img-20160924-wa0000

But then today, after a slightly odd morning with ratty kiddies who are coming down with colds (and therefore slightly ratty parents too) we decided to get out and get some fresh air on a little autumnal walk. We found the most conkers I’ve ever seen in my life and had a good old nature hunt in general.photogrid_1475411475375

Then during a little game of family hide and seek we managed to grab a few very happy family selfies.
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We had a lovely walk and as always a bit of fresh air did us all the world of good. So this is us, at the beginning of October, enjoying autumn.20161002_123809_000-268

The Me and Mine Project
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!

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My word of the week is outdoors.

The Reading Residence

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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

Sunny Spring Days

This last week has seen some glorious weather hasn’t it? Signs that winter may finally be over, so we did the only thing possible and got put there and enjoyed the lovely sunshine and warmer days.

On Saturday we headed to Sacrewell Farm, which is such a lovely place, not too far from us, and one of our best Christmas presents as a family was a yearly membership for us all there. It is such a lovely place and we all enjoyed seeing all the animals – especially some of the newborn lambs!PhotoGrid_1457950886140

We had a good wander round enjoying the signs of spring and threw some pooh sticks in the river. I tried to get some good family shots but sadly they weren’t the best haha. Ah well.¬†PhotoGrid_1457951089605

Of course it wasn’t long before the kids found some muddy puddles… and LM once again fell in and needed cleaning up!PhotoGrid_1457951631435

We also had a little play in their wonderful soft play barn.PhotoGrid_1457951147414

On Sunday we went swimming (more on that to come in another post) and then later that afternoon went for a country walk with my big brother and his lovely wife. It was a glorious day but there was still a definite chill in the air despite the sunshine. It was lovely to get out and enjoy the fesh air though and LM walked for miles, it was amazing! Oh and yes, once again the little ones were drawn towards the muddy puddles.PhotoGrid_1457960447097

As the sun started to go down it was getting colder and there was just time for some bubble chasing on our way home in the glorious afternoon sunlight.PicMonkey Collage

Simple pleasures but so lovely to be out enjoying the sunshine – and we are all so so looking forward to spring and summer and many more lovely sunny days to come.

Life Unexpected

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A bonus afternoon walk with Daddy.

It’s been a funny couple of days here that have ended happily with a bonus afternoon with Daddy.

Monkey has been a little poorly this though not too bad and I thought it was just a cold. Then he had one spot in his mouth that concerned me a little so I kept him off preschool that morning and spoke to a Dr who thought it was just an ulcer. As he seemed fine in himself he was back to preschool that afternoon.

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This was my attempt at taking pics to send Daddy but he would not stand still! Haha love him!

Then I noticed a couple of spots on his back. And one on his front. I mentioned them to hubs and he felt they were unrelated as he had had chicken pox before. I wasn’t convinced and then over the course of the afternoon more and more appeared and they started to itch. Chicken pox it is! Fun! Though honestly he is still fine in himself so is handling it really well.

Hubs had to stay away that night. They were taking a customer to court for not paying their bills and to avoid rush hour traffic in Birmingham decided to stay overnight. Though bless him the m6 was closed so I ended up on the phone directing him round to avoid the closure bless him.

The next morning LM gave me a delightful 5.20am start. Yawn. And with yet more spots I knew it was going to be an indoor day for us. It wasn’t too bad and the brilliant news was that hubs’ company won the court case and he was able to come early. Bonus!

After chatting to some lovely people online I was already planning on a little afternoon walk with the kiddies (to help dry out Monkey’s spots and give us all some much needed fresh air!) and when daddy arrived early and wanted to stretch his legs after a long drive we all headed out together.

The little ones adored having daddy for a bonus walk and LM even walked in the right direction and held his hand. Doesn’t happen for me haha.PhotoGrid_1457112172119

Both kids had a lovely run around.PhotoGrid_1457112279135

And we all enjoyed the fresh air and exercise. Daddy had to step in a couple of times to prevent a very determined LM from running into puddles! Love the shot of her swinging through the air after grabbing her.PhotoGrid_1457112426666

So not very exciting and just a local walk but it was lovely and did us all good. There was also bubble blowing, hide and seek and lot of other running about but for once I kept my phone in my pocket for the majority of the walk and just enjoyed the moment.

Just a little note regarding the chicken pox, there is a chance that it was misdiagnosed when we thought Monkey ¬†had it before because he only had a few spots but the Dr thought that was what it was. Or it could be that he just had a very mild case and therefore didn’t create the antibodies for it.. He only had a few spots that time, whereas this time he is covered so no doubt in my mind he has it this time!¬†

“Walk this way…” or how to persuade your toddler to walk in the right direction!

I love it when little ones start to toddle about, they are so cute wobbling about and of course they want to walk everywhere. It is lovely… But it does mean it takes a long time to get anywhere! I remember going through it when Monkey was little and LM is exactly the same.20160211_122839-1

They get so easily distracted and very rarely want to walk in the direction you need to go. Because obviously it is more fun to walk the opposite way and have you chase after them! So what can you do about it? There are reins, which while I can see the point of, I have never been a huge fan of and neither of my kids have been that happy about wearing. There are other ways too, that take a bit of effort but that can help persuade them to walk the right way without tantrums or having to wrestle them back into the buggy.

N. B these are all safest on paths well away from roads and where they are safe to roam, otherwise reins or buggy it is, like it or not!

1. Playing hide and seek.

Kids love hide and seek, so while I may feel a bit daft hiding behind a tree or the buggy shouting “where’s mummy gone?” it works and it is lovely seeing LM run towards me with a huge smile on her face rather than cheekily running away from me! Especially good when there is an older sibling who can do the hiding :)PhotoGrid_1455205768266

Yes I am taking this picture while hiding behind the buggy shouting “where’s mummy gone?” ¬†haha thank goodness Monkey loves hiding so much and is happy oblige when he is with us!

2. Chasing a ball

We also have a ball on the bottom of the buggy these days, and rolling a ball for a little one to chase along the path is a brilliant way to get them going in the right direction! Sometimes it feels a little wrong, basically playing fetch with your toddler… But it works so hey ho! Plus they have fun too.

Less good with a sibling around as they tend to take over haha

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3. Bubbles!

Kids love bubbles don’t they? So this is a lovely way of tempting kids to walk towards you or in the right direction. It works with older siblings around too as they enjoy it as well.PhotoGrid_1455220601995

The only downside is when the bubbles blow the wrong way and the little ones follow them in the opposite direction….

So there we have it, my go to methods to help persuade LM to walk in the right direction. They don’t walk every time but more often than not thankfully! Do you have any tips for persuading your little one to go the right way?

Learning to draw at 15mths and 3 3/4

My word of the week this week has to be drawing, as both kiddies are making leaps and bounds with their drawing abilities at the moment.

LM has well and truly discovered drawing now and would love to be doing it all day every day at the moment. I have held back from letting her have crayons for a while (for fear of her eating them) and she has amazed me with the magna doodle things. Then lately we got a couple of crayons out and she was in her element.PhotoGrid_1454505406334

She does pop them in her mouth from time to time but is gradually learning not to I think. She loves it though and often takes herself off to the little table in the conservatory and sits swinging her legs. She has fallen a couple of times bless her but she just wants to get right back up.

She doesn’t distinguish that much between paper and table though and I have to control my feelings about this and remind myself that it doesn’t matter if she draws on this table. I am still trying to keep the crayons contained though as I really don’t want find her drawing on a wall or sofa one day!¬†So it was lovely at the weekend when we got out in the garden with the pavement chalks as I could really leave her to do as she pleased. Again it ended up in her mouth once or twice but only very briefly and on the whole she was absolutely loving drawing on the pavement.PhotoGrid_1454505585883

Monkey was loving it too and it was lovely seeing them do it together.

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His drawing is coming on leaps and bounds lately too. There is still a lot scribbling going on but they are usually something, at least in his mind, and are often roads. I was dead impressed a few days ago though when I was doodling while they were drawing and drew a tree with some grass by a river… And Monkey copied me! He did so well and it was lovely to see him create an actual picture of something.

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He’s also coming on really well with his writing. He has been writing his name for some time now but it has definitely improved and then the other day he wanted to draw numbers so he was again copying what I did, and did such a brilliant job! I was so proud of him! (excuse the bag of clothes in the background ready to go to the chairty shop!) Of course some aren’t perfect but who cares, what a brilliant effort, such a clever Monkey :).20160202_091315So as you can see there has been a lot of drawing going on in our house. Do your kids love to draw?

The Reading ResidenceCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall#ToddlerApprovedTuesdayEthans Escapades
Life UnexpectedNot My Year Off

National Trust Stowe Gardens in Winter

We love a good day out, and that is one reason why we love being members of the National Trust. There are so many places to go that are great fun with kids. It is even better when you have friends who are National Trust members too as you can combine a lovely day out with having a good catch up with friends.

Last weekend was one of those days as we met up with our lovely friends Chris (who hubs has known since he was a kid)  and Sarah (who blogs over at runjumpscrap) and their little Gremlin at Stowe Gardens. The weather was thankfully kind to us and we had a really great fun day.

Enjoying the gorgeous sceneryPhotoGrid_1453804146597

Climbing the monumentsPhotoGrid_1453804408566

Puddle splashingPhotoGrid_1453804604030

Chasing bubblesPhotoGrid_1453804937962

Generally having a nice time running about and catching up.PhotoGrid_1453805129858PhotoGrid_1453805260393

Important things to note if you plan on visiting Stowe.

  • There is quite a walk from the entrance and visitors centre to get to the actual gardens. They reckon 10mins at adults pace (if that) but with little legs this can take a lot longer so it may be worth taking a buggy, that way you can conserve their energy for when you are actually in the gardens rather than just getting there and back.
  • The paths are very accessible for buggies which was brilliant.
  • The cafe itself is at the visitors centre so bear that in mind if you are planning on eating lunch there and maybe think about eating at the start or end of your visit. Otherwise you will do as we did and basically get to the gardens then turn back again to get lunch then get down to the gardens again!

I think next time we will actually take a picnic (weather permitting) as there is so many lovely spots to have a picnic throughout the gardens and then we could spend more time exploring.

We really did have such a lovely time and the kids enjoyed having a good run about while we were nattering and it was nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air. It was so peaceful there too and really did me the world of good. I look forward to visiting in the summer as I imagine it will be stunning!