A wintery family walk

Friday night was a particularly rough night with Little Miss so on Saturday morning both Daddy and I were feeling shattered. But the thing is that when you also have a toddler to look after, life must go on. We still had to be up at a normal time and find ways to entertain Monkey.

Tired Daddy

Tired Daddy

So after a bit of back and forth about what we should do, we decided to wrap up and go for a little walk to deliver some thank you cards locally to some of the people who had generously given gifts on the birth of Little Miss.

Little Miss wasn’t keen on the idea of being in her buggy so after a false start Daddy popped her in the carrier and we headed out. It was seriously cold and wet and misty but we had a lovely walk and it did us the power of good. That’s the thing about getting out of the house sometimes, just a change of scene and some fresh air can really improve your mood. Especially when you have a toddler who is thrilled to be out for a walk and who takes pleasure in the simplest of things.
Continue reading

Autumn Walk and Leaf Painting

Friday morning, to give me a bit of a break, Daddy took Little Miss to the office with him for a couple of hours in between feeds. At that time of day she is happiest snoozing in the baby carrier so Daddy has become quite the baby wearer! It felt a little weird for her to be away from me for so long but what was really lovely was that I got to have some good quality time one on one with Monkey. Daddy has spent most of his paternity leave focussing on Monkey and they have got even closer lately and while Monkey has seemed ok with me being with the baby most of the time, I have wanted to get back to doing some nice things with him.
Continue reading

Out & about in his new hat!

Monkey’s favourite colours are Red and Yellow. Wherever we go, whatever we’re playing with – he always makes a beeline for all things red and yellow, it’s very cute though ever so slightly repetitive!

His lovely Granny, on seeing some colourful wool recently, decided she just had to make Monkey a red and yellow hat! He’s never really been one to be persuaded into wearing a hat, unless it is absolutely freezing outside, but she thought it may be worth a go! It’s not really the time of year for a wooly hat, I know, but she thought if all goes well we can try in the winter.

WP_20140510_18_10_56_Pro WP_20140510_18_11_14_Pro

Anyway, she is a genius, because he loves this hat, literally LOVES it. The hater of hats loves wearing this hat. Even in the current warm weather. We went for a walk around the local area last weekend and he insisted on having the hat on pretty much the whole time. He seriously loves this hat!

WP_20140511_13_34_49_Pro WP_20140511_13_35_09_Pro

We had a lovely walk (You’d be excused for thinking it was mid winter but it was just a break between downpours so everywhere was wet and though a little chilly, it was not cold enough for wearing a wooly hat lol!) and Monkey spent some time on the trike..


..some time walking with a big stick he found..

WP_20140511_13_46_44_Pro WP_20140511_13_48_16_Pro WP_20140511_13_46_54_Pro

…and we had fun running up and down and around big tree on a slight slope. We walk past this tree all the time but I’ve never really shown him how you can run around it playing peepo, and well, he loved it so we were there for a while!

WP_20140511_13_41_17_Pro WP_20140511_13_41_30_Pro WP_20140511_13_41_53_Pro

We had a lovely little walk and the hat is a definite success! I am now on a mission to find him a red and yellow sunhat as clearly the favourite colours override the dislike of hats!!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monkey’s day out with Daddy & Family

After a few busy weekends and a difficult week I was in need of a bit of a break this weekend so Daddy very kindly agreed to take charge with Monkey on Saturday. After a conversation with his mum on friday night it was agreed that they would go to a lovely country house – Burghley House near Stamford.

WP_20140322_11_53_03_Pro WP_20140322_10_57_33_Pro

I stayed home but Daddy and Monkey went, along with Granny, Granddad and Uncle Simon, and they had a lovely time!


Monkey climbed on some fab logs and trees that are there for the purpose,


WP_20140322_10_04_52_Pro WP_20140322_11_19_40_Pro

Some have had steps cut into them for kids to climb up, which is perfect for our little climber.


Monkey had so much fun running around everywhere,


and knocking on trees (of course)


Come with me Grandma!

WP_20140322_11_00_31_Pro WP_20140322_11_00_42_Pro

I love this shot of him amongst the Daffodils!


And they ended the day with some lovely lunch and a cup of tea 🙂

WP_20140322_12_40_22_Pro WP_20140322_12_42_02_Pro WP_20140322_10_32_46_Pro

So I got to have some lovely me-time while Monkey ran his daddy, grandparents and uncle simon a bit ragged! They all really enjoyed themselves though!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

The Stick Collector

We were out and about on Saturday. We popped to a local garden centre where we are members so get offer on lunches etc. After lunch we started to walk home but our bossy little Monkey kept disagreeing with us about which way to go. As we weren’t in a particular hurry we let him be in charge for a little while so we headed in the direction of our local country park, Ferry Meadows, which we go to a lot because it’s close and there’s lot to do.

Anyway we were walking along (thankfully the rain had passed for a bit) and we suddenly realised that Monkey was carrying a lot of sticks. Now he loves sticks, it’s not rare for him to get quite attached to sticks. They are regular companions on walks, they are a great motivational tool if he doesn’t want to walk any further (wow, come look at this stick!) and I constantly seem to find bits of stick at home, in our shoes, down the back of the sofa, etc.

What was unusual though was the quantity of sticks. So we watched for a bit and realised he was collecting them. Every time he passed a stick he picked it up! With the crazy weather of late (especially the mental winds on Friday night) I’m sure you can imagine there was a loooot of sticks about! It was so cute to see him problem solving with each new one, finding a way to keep hold of them all while picking another one up. Daddy and I thought it was brilliant 🙂

sticks 1 sticks 2


The funniest bit was when all of a sudden he sort of looked at the sticks as if to say to himself “What AM I doing?” and then dropped them on the floor and continued his walk. So funny.


A little while later he started collecting again, and the same cycle continued. He then tried to pick up a huuuge stick, then found one that was about his size and was content to use just that one for a while.





Daddy thinks he looks like Moses in this pic! he he




We went all the way to Ferry Meadows but then the winds were getting up, the clouds were starting to look a bit foreboding, it was nearly naptime and Monkey had done a poo. Despite all of this Monkey still didn’t want to go home so we had to strap in the buggy (with a lot of protesting) and thankfully a couple of little sticks kept him entertained most of the way home 🙂 Just in time as the heavens opened within a few minutes of getting home! Monkey was obviously very tired after all that problem solving and stick collecting as he slept for 3 hours and we had to wake him up! 🙂


Wot So Funee?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monkey met some Monkeys at Hamerton Zoo park

Not far from us there is a lovely little ‘zoo’ called Hamerton Zoo Park. Opened as a conservation centre it’s not as as big as you think a zoo is but they have so many lovely animals in big enclosures and it’s lovely having it practically on our doorstep. Neither hubby or I had been in years but have wanted to take Monkey to meet some real Monkeys for a while. So with a let up in all the rain we headed out there.

What we hadn’t thought about was that even though it was dry, it was insanely windy – especially being out in the middle of the countryside. So many of the animals were hiding in their little homes rather than enjoying being out in their enclosures. So if it looks in my pictures like the animals haven’t got much room to roam around, believe me they do, but are sheltering from the wind!

They do a year season ticket for the price of 3 visits, so we decided to buy that which means we can go as often as we like this year without worrying about how long we stay (we only go anywhere for a couple of hours at a time with Monkey). Because of the weather there was a lot of animals there that we didn’t get to see.. but here are some of the ones we did see! (The photos aren’t great, I forgot to charge the battery for my good camera, d’oh, and my phone isn’t so great at these kind of shots, will try better next time!)

zoo 2

and yep, Monkey saw some actual Monkeys (and marmosets) for the first time and they were definitely his favourite animals of the day.


It was also massively muddy there because of the recent weather so Monkey had a great time stomping in the mud! Honestly it was so windy I thought he was going to get blown over at one point, he definitely got pushed about a bit! He had a lot of fun though.


I took this photo of him and Daddy having a little rest and I thought it was lovely, so I am linking this up with the lovely Mama H at Thursday’s Child, Friday’s Thoughts for Family Photo Friday.


The Reading Residence
Family Photo Friday @ Thursday's Child, Friday's Thoughts
Mud Mud Marvellous Mud - Outdoor Play Party

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Puddle Splashing and a new furry friend – 20 mths old

We regularly see both sets of grandparents each week and they try to look after Monkey for an hour when they can so I can do some cleaning etc. without interruptions. Last week though unfortunately on the day we were due to see his paternal grandparents, my poor mother in law came down with a nasty migraine! So Monkey and I had to re-think our plans. I was a bit concerned as it was pouring with rain first thing, but thankfully the sun came out and it was actually quite a lovely morning.

The wellies and waterproofs came on and we went on a little walk to a play area at a nearby school.


It was absolutely sodden, as I guess you would expect with the weather we’ve been having! Monkey had a bit of a climb on things but mainly wanted to splash around in the puddles – though he likes to make sure it’s safe so he likes Mummy to splash in them first. It’s quite funny as he won’t go in until I’ve been through it first! haha He did enjoy a swing on the huge swing thing though too.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

As he wasn’t that interested in the actual park we started to wend our slow way home, chasing the ball, waving at buses, pushing the buggy…

WP_20140207_10_49_21_Pro Created with Nokia Camera

Then a very friendly cat appeared! Monkey loves cats, almost as much as he loves buses.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

He’s very good at gentle stroking bless him!

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

They very much enjoyed each other’s company, until a dog came and the cat ran off!

Created with Nokia Smart Cam Created with Nokia Smart Cam

More puddle splashing and then home.

Created with Nokia Camera WP_20140207_11_18_05_Pro WP_20140207_11_18_09_Pro

Not a very exciting outing or anything but nice to record the simple pleasures of a little walk filled with lots of smiles



Wet walks and squirrel watching

What a wet and miserable week it’s been! We’ve been doing a lot of indoor play at play centre but we have managed to get out and about a bit to make the most of the dry-ish patches whenever we can!

With all this wet weather we have been making a lot of use of Monkey’s wellies and waterproof trousers – he loves puddle splashing and I don’t have to worry about him getting soggy when he’s all kitted out!

WP_20140128_12_19_29_Pro WP_20140128_12_19_23_Pro WP_20140128_12_19_17_Pro WP_20140128_12_24_20_Pro WP_20140128_12_24_14_Pro

It’s also a good motivator to keep him moving when we have a stubborn moment – let’s go find a big puddle! Soon gets him moving again 🙂

There’s a lot of squirrels around at the moment and Monkey loves watching them scampering about.


There is a squirrel somewhere in this pic,  I think it’s climbing down a fallen log… as it was running off Monkey waved goodbye (bless him!)


(There’s a grey blur on the fence that I think is the squirrel! My phone is ok for close ups but not so good for longer distance pics!)

Yesterday afternoon’s walk to the post office took forever as Monkey just wanted to spin and dance around – and there wasn’t enough puddles around to persuade him to move!

WP_20140131_12_40_03_Pro WP_20140131_12_39_57_Pro WP_20140131_12_41_55_Pro


It started to rain on the way home so he was back in his buggy, and to my surprise sat there chuckling the whole way home – apparently Monkey loves the rain!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Struggling with Shyness – 18 months old

I’ve written Monkey’s current age in the title but this has been going on for a while really, on and off. At the moment though he does seem to be going through a particularly shy patch. It seems strange as he is quite brave in many ways, he’ll go down pretty big slides by himself, likes climbing and doing all sorts, but for some reason he is just really shy of people at the moment.

For quite a while now if we bump into someone when we are out, or a new person comes to the house, or even if someone just walks past us when we are out he will run to me, cuddle in close and bury his head in my neck. If he can’t get to me, he will absolutely bawl until I come to him and then he does the head bury. He hasn’t always been like this, he has come in and out of shy stages but it’s not been as bad as this before. I realised that it was particularly bad this time, as this morning, while we were out on our walk, I noticed that when he is in his buggy and sees a person (and they can be pretty far away) he will lean as far back in his seat as he can and scrunch his eyes as tightly closed as possible! Or sometimes he will cover his eyes with his hands for ages, sneaking the occasional peep to see if they are still visible.

He’s always been slightly wary in new places, staying firmly at my side, and has definitely been a clingy boy. He is definitely wary of older children too. I have read some people say their shy toddler is fine with other children, but not Monkey. He is better with children he knows but even then he tends to back away of they get to close or try and engage him but I’ve figured that most of this is just down to his age.

He is much better with family, we have made a conscious effort to make sure he sees both sets of grandparents once a week and his uncles and aunts as often as possible to make it easier on all of us! And it definitely has worked, thankfully he is happy to be with all his grandparents without me or daddy, and he even played with two of his uncles the other week while hubby and I did some jobs. But, my aunt was out of the country for a while and when she came to visit again, even though my mum was there too, I popped out of the room and he screamed his head off. It took him ages to warm up to her. She stayed with us most of the day and he was fine in the end, even giving her lovely cuddles but it took some time.

To help with this, especially in the run up to Christmas he has a little photo album of family and friends we see regularly. He loves this album and can spend ages poring over it. He loves pointing at all the pictures while I say each persons name. It definitely does help as he hadn’t seen my older brother for a few weeks, but after seeing pictures of him in the album he was really happy to play with Uncle Paul and even be left alone with him for a short while so that’s good. Helps with people he sees intermittently.

But it can be so hard. I have read that you shouldn’t label them as shy or make a fuss out of the behaviour or say they are being silly. While that makes sense, it is also is more difficult than it sounds. When I can, whilst he has his head buried I try and tell him that it’s ok, that there’s nothing to be scared of, that mummy isn’t going anywhere and the people aren’t scary. I can’t always do that though if we bump into people who want a conversation, because of course they notice and often ask if he is a shy boy, or I find myself saying he is in a shy stage, almost defensively as I don’t want them to think badly of him. Likewise when people walk past and coo over him or just say good morning, when he is sat in an awkward position with his face all scrunched up, they give him such a funny look that again I want to come to his defence.

Apparently his daddy was shy as a child and never wanted to be left at birthday parties or anything, yet now he is a hugely confident adult so I know it is probably just a phase that he will grow out of. I can’t help but wonder what he would have been like had I gone back to work and he had had to go to a nursery or child-minder, whether that would have helped with shyness, or made it worse? I am a big believer that obviously you can try different things and we shape a lot of the way our children turn out, but that there is also an element of kids just being who they are. They have their own personalities that we cannot, and therefore shouldn’t try to, change.

I guess I will just have to be supportive and accepting and see when/if he grows out of this shy stage. Any of you have shy little ones? Any tips?


Battling boredom and keeping busy

As I have written before, being a stay at home mum is the right decision for me at the moment, because I am lucky enough that we can afford it, and because I like being the one to teach Monkey and to watch him grow. Even though I am confident that it is the right decision for me, it isn’t always easy and some days are definitely more difficult than others. Boredom is one of weirdly hard things about it. We live by a routine as it is the best way for Monkey to be happy and healthy and therefore the best thing for me. But  as with any routine, this can lead to monotony. Particularly as Monkey gets older and needs my constant attention a lot less.

Playtime with friends

Playtime with friends

With the grandparents

With the grandparents


I’ve known for a while that one of the key things to do as a stay at home mum is to get out of the house every day. To get some adult company where possible, to help Monkey burn off some energy, to get a change of scene, you get the idea. This helps with boredom somewhat as it keeps us busy. We go with friends and other kiddies to parks when the weather is good, and indoor soft play places/cafes with play areas etc, when the weather is not so good. We visit relatives and have relatives round. We go to the shops, shopping centres, garden centres (he particularly likes fish and pet areas) or sometimes just for a walk round the block.

Playtime with friends

Out for a walk







This does help a lot but doesn’t really solve anything, and on days where we have nothing planned and the weather isn’t great for getting out…. I can get quite moody and irritable. I just don’t always know what to do with him to burn off some energy and keep him going. We could obviously always go to a garden centre or shopping centre, but I am also not a huge fan of wandering aimlessly with no purpose so if I don’t need (or can’t afford) to buy anything then I don’t like going. So that is when I come up with all sorts of playtime ideas, but even those don’t keep him occupied for that long.

Yummy Red Velvet Cake

Yummy Red Velvet Cake


Having fun with crochet

Having fun with crochet

Even when we do keep busy  together, it’s not usually very mentally stimulating. I can absolutely understand why some mums want to go back to work, because they need something else for themselves. I understand that completely and because of this I do question my decision at times, though for me all of the reasons I chose to stay at home, outweigh this one thing. But I do also recognise that I need some mental stimulation. This is why I crochet and do other crafty bits. It’s why I bake and cook to challenge myself (when I am not on a diet at least haha). I think a lot about home improvements and do all the household budgets, manage hubby’s business account. I also read a lot and I do most of the housework too but that doesn’t stimulate my mind! haha


If we didn’t know we wanted baby number 2 within the next year or so, I think I would be looking to go back to work now, but as it is there isn’t any point trying to find a job at the moment so I will just have to keep busy and find new ways of battling boredom until number 2 comes along, and then we will just wait and see how I feel after that. I think about studying something or even doing some work from home part time, but again I am not sure that I am ready to commit to anything like that when I know we hope to have another baby at some point, as I am sure I will have much less opportunity to get bored with 2 little ones in the house! At least until number 2 is a bit older.

Any other stay at home mums get bored sometimes? How do you keep yourself going?