Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jumping in Muddy Puddles

If you allowed the rain to dictate your summer activities, you would be spending an awful lot of time indoors. It has rained a lot recently, but I didn't want to let that dampen our spirits. I love to get out and about with the kids, and I wasn't going to let a bit of rain stop us, so after a particularly heavy spell of rain last week we decided to channel our inner Peppa Pig with some muddy puddle jumping.

So after getting dressed up in our wellies and raincoats, (please don't ask why I thought a white raincoat would be a good idea for Caitlin) we headed out on to the lane in search for some nice big pubbles.

Of course, when we do something, we don't do it by half measures, and so a bit of puddle jumping turned in to a full on mud fest, and everyone (except me, you can't soak the camera woman) was absolutely soaked from head to toe.

The lane houses some of the biggest puddles I have ever seen, in fact I was half expecting a Vicar of Dibley moment to happen and find one of my kids neck deep in a puddle!

The kids weren't impressed at first, I don't think they were expecting to get so wet. But what started out as screams of horror soon turned to sequels of delight as they soon embraced that they were going to be soaking, and just forgot about it and had fun.

The lane leads down to the beach, where Neil found a 'dinosaur'.

After a small stroll along the beach we headed back up the lane towards home, making sure we were all fully soaked before we finished.

We arrived home and had to pour water out of the kids wellies, and wring out their socks. My kitchen looked like a wet room!

After a quick clean, we were all changed in to our onsies ready for a well deserved hot chocolate in front of the heater.

We had a fantastic afternoon, it's amazing how much fun you can have when you just embrace the rain!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monday, August 11, 2014

Love2Read Personalised Book Review & Giveaway!

A few weeks ago we went on our first holiday as a family. We didn't go far, and we weren't away for long, but it was our first time away from home so it was quite exciting for us all.

We had a fantastic time, and naturally I took a ton of photos so we could look back at the photos and remember our first camping trip. Of course, I take photos of almost everything we do as a family, and most of them end up in a folder on my laptop, and they are rarely seen again, which seems like such a waste. 

When I was given the opportunity to create a personalised photo story book from Love2Read, I couldn't wait to get started.

There was a huge list of titles to choose from, but I knew instantly that I wanted to create a book about our trip, so the kids would have a keepsake our our little holiday.

I've always loved reading, and I have been reading with the kids since they were babies. Bed time stories is one of my favourite moments of the day!
The trouble with children sometimes is that they can have a pretty short attention span, and if my children aren't interested in something, it's hard to keep them engaged. Some nights they are hanging on my every word, while other nights I feel like I'm talking to the walls.

The creator of Love2Read, Caroline Edwards, recognised that by creating a book which focuses on your child and their experiences, you can really engage the child and inspire their love for reading. 

The website is very easy to navagate. You can select a title for a special occasion or person, or you can browse all titles in the 'create' section. Once I had chosen my title from the list, I was given an option to view a demo or create my book. The review option is handy if you are stuck for ideas.

The book creation page is simple and easy to use. There are plenty of opportunities to personalise your book, and it's all very self explanitory. The whole process took me about ten minutes, but the majority of my time was spent deciding which photos I wanted to add. There are nine photos in the book in total, each with a space for a caption underneath, and the beauty is that you can tailor the book to the reading level of your child.

I wasn't really paying my full attention when I was completing my book, and had picked the 'My Holiday' title, yet inside all of the captions started with 'We'. Later in the evening I received a private message on Twitter from Love2Read asking if I would like the title of my book to be changed to 'Our Holiday' instead of 'My'. I felt a bit foolish that I hadn't noticed my mistake, and was very greatful that they had taken the time to correct it for me.

Two days later I received a lovely email about my book being on it's way. I don't want to give too much away, if you order one you will see what I mean, but it was very sweet. The email said that I would receive my book soon, so imagine my surprise when I arrived home to find my book had already been posted through my letter box.

I'm very impressed with the quality of the book. It is made from a good heavy duty card, which is perfect for my little messers. I don't know how many pages my children have ripped in thwir story books because they can be a bit rough sometimes, but I can't see the pages of this book ripping any time soon!
The front cover has a high gloss finish to it, which I think looks pretty sleek.

I personalised the inside cover with my children's names, along with the location and date of our holiday. The quality of the print is fantastic, the photos are really crisp and clear.

There is a page at the back with a little collage of all of the photos used in the book, which I thought was quite cute.

The book is a good size, perfect for small hands. It is quite similar in size to the reading books that Neil has been bringing home from school, which is great. Because Neil is still learning to read, I tried to choose words that he could easily read, although I did throw in a few to challenge him.

When the kids read the book for the first time, they were totally amazed that this was a story about them. Usually I have trouble getting Neil to read at home, but he was keen to read this as soon as it arrived, and managed most of the words quite well.  It's become one of the children's favourites now, and they ask to read it every night, so it has certainly impressed my little monsters!

The books cost £14.99 which I think is reasonable for a fully personalised product. I've already got my eye on a few of the other titles, and think I will be making a photo story of Caitlin's first day at school when she starts in September. There really is a story book for any occasion, and I think they would make great gifts.

You can see a little bit more of our Love2Read story book on my youtube review:

If you wish to purchase your own personalised photo book, you can do so at here. You can also find them on twitter and facebook.

The lovely Caroline at Love2Read is offering one of my lucky readers their own personalised photo book.  Please enter via the rafflecopter below. Winner will be chosen at random from all of the valid entries. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was sent a Personalised Photo Book for my honest review. 

Friday, August 08, 2014

Word of the Week - Absent

Things have been very quiet this week on the blog. I haven't posted anything for a whole week, and that has been playing on my mind a bit, so my word this week is...

I'm definitely finding it hard over the summer to remain present in the blogging community. I have been struggling since Neil broke up for school almost 6 weeks ago, and really haven't been posting as much as I used to.

I have been getting up early to do some writing, but staring blankly at the blank page for a little while then getting distracted by something and spending an hour browsing the web, looking at things I can't afford or hairstyles I will never get. My head just hasn't been in the right place. I have had time at night, but after a long day with the kids I'm usually ready for my bed.

I can't really complain too much, we have been having fun together as a family, and I've managed to get my house in to some sort of order, so I think the week off has done me good, but I'm keen to get back in to the swing of things and get posting again.

I have a lot of posts that I need to do, but after a week of absence I'm feeling a bit rusty. I think sometimes, when you take a break from something it is hard to get back in to it again straight away. It is like going back to work after a week off, you almost feel like you don't know what you are doing and it takes a day or two to get your mojo back.

Hopefully I'll find my mojo and be back with a bang next week!

The Reading Residence

Friday, August 01, 2014

An evening run with Caitlin

I've recently started trying to be as active as possible and have been exercising regularly. I usually get up 10 minutes before everyone and do a quick morning workout before breakfast. While the boys lie oblivious to this, Caitlins spider senses start tingling the second I step out of bed, and she's usually up within 30 seconds of me getting up, and will follow me downstairs to wait for breakfast.

She has been watching me do my workout for a while, and more recently she has been trying to join in. She obviously thinks this is great, doing the same thing as mummy. I was doing a kick boxing workout a few mornings ago which she tried her hardest to replicate, and then went round showing off her skills for the rest of the day, she was loving it!

This week I set a goal to go out for a run every night. I usually go out at about half 8 or 9, after I have put the kids to bed. On Wednesday everyone was quite relaxed at 7, so I announced that I was going for my run. Caitlin jumped up and asked if she could come, flashing me her 'pleeeease' face which is a cross between a smile and a pet lip. It's impossible to say no to that face, so I agreed, though I was wondering how the hell I was gonna run with a 4 year old in tow.

I got her dressed in her best running gear, which was basically just a pair of leggings and a t shirt, and we headed out. We ran down the lane, which I think is about 1/4 of a mile, and she was like a little bolt of lightning. I can see a future sports day star in the making for sure. When we got to the end of the llane I was puffing and panting a bit, but she seemed to have limitless energy and was keen to keep running.

I persuaded her to have a rest, and we sat down at the damn at the bottom of the lane.

The dam is a lovely little place, surrounded by farmers fields. It's so peaceful, and makes for a lovely place to relax.

I had planned on just turning back and heading back up the lane towards home but Caitlin had other ideas and wanted to explore. There is a footpath which takes you through the fields and on to another quaint lane at the top of our village, so we decided to go that way. We were no longer running at that point, the pathway is quite small and there is a stream running alongside and I'm always worried about someone falling in when we walk that way, so we took it slow and steady.

We climbed over the stiles in to one of the fields, which was filled with sheep. Caitlin stopped to get a good look.

After a slow walk through the field admiring the sheep, we climbed back over on to the next lane. Please don't think we we being a bit naughty here and trespassing on some poor farmers land, the footpath leads through the field and out of the other side.
Usually the sheep don't even notice you are there, although there was a time we walked through when there were cows in the field. It must have been close to feeding time because the cows all started heading towards us. Being a city girl, I got a bit scared of all of these creatures heading towards us and started to run, which was a bad idea because they started running to. I screamed my whole way through, and genuinely feared for my life! Honestly, you can take the girl outta the city...

Anyway, we headed back on to the lane where Caitlin found a dandelion clock and sat down to see what time it was.

After another wee rest we headed for the road, where we started to run back home. When we got back home I was dying, but Caitlin wasn't even breaking a sweat. It is amazing the amount of stamina and energy a child has!

You can view more of our little evening run/ cross country trek in my new vlog:

She is already asking when she can come out for another run with mummy. You have to love her enthusiasm, and I think it's great that she is so keen to be active.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teddy's Little Adventure

Last week I made myself a list of goals that I wanted to achieve for the week. One of those goals was to get out and about with the kids for at least half an hour every day.

Caitlin enjoys going out and having a little scoot around the estate on her scooter, but there is only so many times you can scoot around the block before it gets a little bit boring for her. Last week she decided to spice things up a bit by bringing Neil's Teddy in her bag, so she could take photos of Teddy's adventure so Neil could see what they had been up to. If you are wondering why Neil didn't come with us, he has a real heat intolerance and avoids going out on the really hot days, so we left him at home in front of the fan.

 After going for a little scooter ride around the estate, we took Teddy to the park.

He had a little turn on the swings.

Then he braved the climbing frame, before having a little rest at the bottom of the slide.

On his way home, mischievous Teddy decided to climb a tree. It was all fun and games until he got stuck on a branch on his way down... silly Teddy!

After his big adventure around the village, Teddy needed a rest, so Caitlin popped him in her bag for the journey home.