Valentine’s Cupcakes topped with Devon Fudge

Valentine’s cupcakes topped with Double Chocolate Fudge from The Devon Fudge Company are the perfect indulgence for this time of year.  Enjoyed by couples, families and kids alike, it doesn’t matter who you make them for, you know they have a versatile appeal and if you have kids they can be part of your Valentine’s celebrations.

For simplicity I just used the basic sponge recipe my mum taught me many years ago when I first started baking, 2 ounces of butter, sugar and flour to each egg.  This is a simple one for kids to follow too and my two love mixing it up in a bowl for me with a wooden spoon (whereas it’d be straight in my stand mixer if I was doing it!).

So here goes to make a batch of 10 generously sized cupcakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 4 oz butter
  • 3 oz self raising flour
  • 1 oz cocoa powder

Simply cream the butter and sugar together before slowly adding the beaten eggs, then fold the flour in to make a rich, chocolately batter.

Bake for approx 20mins in a 180c oven (test with a sharp knife to ensure cooked through in centre)

Then for the frosting I used a simple buttercream:

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 160g icing sugar
  • a tablespoon of milk
  • small blob of red gel food colouring

Simply beat all the ingredients together, pipe on top of each cake and then decorate as you like, obviously here we have added small chunks of the utterly delicious Double Chocolate Fudge from The Devon Fudge Company along with some small pink chocolate hearts to add to the feel of  upcoming Valentine’s Day.

The Devon Fudge tastes utterly delicious.  We did taste test it before adding it to the cakes and didn’t want to lose the flavour in the cakes so put the pieces on top.  As you bite down into the cake you really taste the fudge in the icing and it makes a delicous addition to what otherwise would be a standard chocolate cake.

For a quick a simple homemade treat this Valentine’s why not make a batch of these cupcakes and don’t forget to add some Devon Fudge for that extra special touch and flavour!

 

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

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Satori – Plymouth’s Premier Beauty Salon

Located in the Upper Mall of Drake Circus shopping centre in Plymouth lies Satori, a beauty haven which offers a wide variety of premier beauty treatments from simple manicures to more advanced procedures such as microblading.  I was invited to a demonstration evening to find out what they have to offer and see what I thought.

satori-2The salon has a modern, sleek feel to it with appealing decor.  The staff were all very friendly and welcoming along with the owners who were highly approachable and lovely to meet.  I always knew they offered nail services as the manicure tables are in view from the glass windows but I was intrigued to see what else was available.

I started off by trying an increasingly popular eyebrow treatment, threading, and have to admit I am a total fan.  I did try this once before many years ago and having it done reaffirmed that this is my eyebrow treatment of choice.  It is quick, effective and has minimal pain and leaves you with shapely brows free of any redness at the end.  satori-3

I then peeked in on a live microblading demonstration.  For those who haven’t heard about it, it’s the latest eyebrow trend and consists of semi permanent results that look natural and is maintenance free.  If you have thinning, overplucked or want a more defined shape then microblading uses a special pen to add very fine strokes of pigment just under the skin that can last up to two years.

Delilah cosmetics is a new brand for me but the instore display stand at Satori shows a stunning looking range of cosmetics in both packaging and product.  The range focuses on having a boutique feel packed full of English influences in it’s design.  I love the array of smoky coloured eyeshadow, all in the range of colours I wear.  It’s a capsule collection but contains everything you need including brushes but importantly the colours and textures are really appealing and suit most skin tones. satori-5The Elemis SkinLab offers state of the art skin mapping along with a consultation to discuss your lifestyle and then considers skincare solutions for you to maintain a healthy and youthful glow to your skin.  A small camera takes a photo of the side of your face which the computer then analyses before giving you a printed copy of the results followed by a discussion with the consultant.  As you can see below I have rather sun damaged skin, but I put it down to my 40+ years and negligence to sun block in my early 20’s.  I did try but often forgot it, unlike these days when everyone is hot on it, even to the point that I have SPF in my moisturisers and foundations now days.  With two young children I’m pleased to say that school has instilled in them the importance of skincare and they need to wear sun protection to school everyday in the Summer before they are allowed out to play!

satori-4The results of my consultation suggested that the Elemis Pro Collagen range would be perfect for my ageing skin to aid hydration and fine lines.  I got to smell and touch the products and was also shown the amazing gift ranges that are available on the run up to Christmas.  These are all boxed and cost considerably less than if you were to buy the products individually.  The SkinLab travels around the country and will be back in Satori Plymouth from the 23rd to the 29th November 2016, so I’d highly recommend you visit then as you’ll get a consultation for a £20 fee but this is redeemable against 2 or more Elemis purchases.satori-6Satori Plymouth is definitely the modern high end beauty salon and whether it’s just for occasional use (like myself with a busy lifestyle and two young children but do enjoy a beauty treat every few months) or for a regular salon user, then it’s well worth checking this place out.  Luxury in the heart of the city makes it easy to fit into your routine and is accessible to all for even if it’s just a Christmas treat!

I was invited to Satori salon for a promotional evening and received complimentary samples and treatments but my opinions are all honest and my own.

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Tree Surfing at the Tamar Trails Centre – Review

The Tamar Trails Centre is located on the border of Devon and Cornwall just a short drive from the town of Tavistock.  The centre covers over 25km of trails with stunning scenery over which you can walk, bring you bike to cycle or even ride a horse along and enjoy at your leisure.  There are also some chargeable activities such as tree surfing and archery which we were invited to try out and share our thoughts with you.

6B7339DD-AE59-4D54-877C-EEEE3AA28DFENot being particularly keen on swinging through trees myself, I seem to have produced a rather adventurous 8yr old daughter who loves nothing more than being outdoors or playing sports.  Being in the house for more than a few hour invokes cabin fever so the Tamar Trails Centre is right up her street and I couldn’t wait to see what she thought.  I also have a 5yr old son who doesn’t have the same outgoing nature and I was a little sceptical as to how well he’d fair, but knew this would be a great opportunity to expose him to something new and in the end, I needn’t have worried in the slightest.  After an initial nervous five minutes he became fearless zipping down the high wire and didn’t want to go home at the end of our trip!

tamar trails 1

First up was archery, something my eldest has done before.  Both children were totally engrossed in sitting the arrow across the bow and firing at the target.  They only had a few goes but really enjoyed it.  The archery is set amongst a clearing in the trees, hence the photos are a little dark but it was a sunny day and there was plenty of light to see what you are doing.

Tamar Trails

Then we moved onto the even more exciting stuff… Tree Surfing!  The children were very eager to try this out and couldn’t wait to get their harnesses on.  The staff assist and check the harness is secure before briefing the children on safety and what to do.  The tree surfing course consists of wooden bridges of various designs high up between the trees and ends in a zip wire that brings you to the ground.  The circuit doesn’t take too long to go around and once you’ve completed it, you can climb the stairs and start again.  In fact you can complete this as many times as you like for an hour session and by the end my children were whizzing round, having heaps of fun, not wanting the excitement to stop.

tamar trails 2

8yr old Miss M had no hesitations and was straight up the stairs and venturing across the course.  She loved it and had a huge grin every time she looked down at me.  She was full of concentration and soaking up every minute of the fun.

tamar trails 3

The pictures above give you a perspective of how high up the course is and as you can see there are platforms at each tree where you step off one obstacle bridge before starting on another.

tamar trails 4Mister B was really quite nervous crossing his first bridge, but as he moved around the course his confidence grew until he finished down the zip wire and ran straight back to the start again eager to do it again.  The zip wire at the end was a highlight for both children.  They just loved it and each time they zipped past me they tried to create different poses in the air!

There is an extra high zip wire available as an extra activity which my two did also experience.  They had to climb small rung like steps built into the tree to a super high height, I could hardly see them amongst the tree canopy.  They then came flying down through the trees and thought the experience was totally amazing and exhilirating, wanting to do it again but unfortunately their thrill seeking time was up and it was time to head to the Beech Tree Cafe for some refreshments.

beech cafe 3I’m sure the pictures above of Beech Tree Cafe speak for themselves but the outside looks fresh, inviting, friendly and clean, somewhere I’d want to chill out in for a drink and snack after spending time on the outdoor activities.  I tend to find that cafe’s on days out can be very hit and miss, especially when there’s no competition around, but I can safely say that the Beech Tree Cafe was a hit!  With it’s relaxed interior, friendly charm and pretty bunting it was a joy to sit in and enjoy some refreshments.

beech cafe 4The menu is on a blackboard on the wall beside the counter allowing you to easily view the options available which are simple but contain a good choice of interesting sandwiches, light bites and homemade cake.  Being vegetarian I opted for a cheese and onion pasty which was served deliciously crisp and hot.  The children went for cheese and ham fillings, one had a sandwich and the other a toastie.  I have to say they were impressively filled and freshly made up while we waited.  They were a decent size which the children needed after their mornings activities and they both devoured them immediately satisfying their hungry appetite.

The cafe is known for it’s particularly good coffee although not being a coffee drinker myself I chose a hot chocolate which was perfectly served and tasted just as it should, frothy, rich and chocolatey!

beech cafe 5It’s fair to say that the children had an awesome trip out to the Tamar Trails Centre and equally enjoyed refueling at the Beech Tree Cafe.

I hadn’t heard of the Tamar Trails Centre before visiting, but realistically it’s only a half an hour or so drive from where I live so a very viable option for a few hours out.  For me it is a hidden gem in the Devon countryside with it’s great views, beautiful scenery, fun activities and friendly cafe.  The facilities ares well maintained and clean making the centre an inviting place to be.  If you are visiting the area and looking for something to do then this should definitely be on your list for fun and adventures in the great outdoors!

If you want to see the children tree surfing then check out this short video of them in action!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received complimentary activities in order to write an honest review.

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Marsh Mills Beefeater Restaurant – Review

Beefeater restaurants are somewhere I remember fondly from childhood.  It was often somewhere we went for a family meal when I was a child and over the years even though I now live on the opposite side of the country, my local Beefeater Marsh Mills is somewhere we go to from time to time with my own children.

With a newly refurbished restaurant and revised menu in place, I was offered the chance to review the Marsh Mills branch of the popular restaurant chain, which I was eager to do and knew my children would be keen as they love eating out.

We headed off for a 5pm booking, quite early as my children prefer to eat earlier and it tends to be less crowded at that time of day.  We were greeted with a modern looking reception area and a nicely styled restaurant.

beefeater 1We were handed menus and given a few minutes to decide our drinks order.  I loved the kids new look brightly coloured Mr Men menus.  My two children both enjoy the Mr Men characters and this certainly engaged them in looking through and picking their choices.  I was disappointed though that there was no kids activities provided as usually with Beefeater and similar style restaurants the kids look forward to doing some colouring in or puzzles but nothing was given to us which did leave the children a bit fidgety whilst waiting for food.

The kids menu is £4.49 for a main course and drink of squash, with an added course making it £5.49 or 3 courses for £5.99.  Usually I just make the children have the included squash but as we haven’t been out for a while and having spotted a rather yummy looking milkshake on their menu, I let them order the “handmade to order” chocolate milkshake with Beechdean icecream.  This was an additional £1.99 each on top of their meals, I have to say I was rather disappointed when a small carton arrived at the table for each of them as below!!  I had been tempted to order the adult milkshake for myself as I am a bit of milkshake fan but got swayed into having a glass of vino instead.  I do wonder if at £3.99 for the larger adult milkshake, would I have been presented with two cartons instead of one??

beefeater 2Starters soon arrived, of which we’d all chosen nachos, a family favourite.  The kids enjoyed theirs with a small dish of salsa to dip their tortilla chips in, but the adults version just didn’t do it for me.  I often have nachos when out and about and I have to say this was one of the poorest versions I’ve encountered.  Large lumps of raw spring onion scattered across with a sparse sprinkling of cheese and a rather unappetising looking dip in the middle.  It tasted ok, the tortillas were crisp and tasty but not a starter I’d come back for which is not normally something I say about nachos.

beefeater 3With the restaurant fairly quiet and my husband sitting facing the kitchen, he did notice a couple of meals which looked suspiciously like our main course order sitting on the hotplate while we were still enjoying our starters.  Needless to say as our starter plates were taken away, the waiter came immediately back to the table with our main courses from the hotplate meaning the fries were only lukewarm rather than piping hot and we didn’t even get a few minutes break between courses.

For main course I had a Quorn burger which came with fries and a pot of coleslaw, which tasted fine and was what of the standard I’d expect and the kids also enjoyed their chicken, fries and baked bean dinners too.

beefeater 4Desserts were also fine, I had the chocolate brownie which was served with icecream and the children had the mini chocolate challenge which they loved as all the bits came in separate bowls for them to build up themeselves.

beefeater 5So it came to the end of the meal and we paid, I did have a quick scan through the bill and it didn’t seem quite right but we paid anyway.  On returning home I checked it out and it seems the kids meals aren’t charged quite as the menu suggests.  The mains were £4.49 each but the other courses were an additional 99p each which brings each childs meal to £6.47, not the £5.99 for 3 courses that we saw on the menu.  Normally I’d expect to see a discount at the bottom of the receipt as we ordered 3 courses but not in this case.

After we paid the bill, the kids were offered a balloon and a small plastic Mr Men toy which was nice, although maybe if the toy was handed out once we arrived it would have given them something to play with rather than the cutlery.

Our overall experience of the Marsh Mills Beefeater was slightly disappointing, especially as we had all been looking forward to going.  It hasn’t left us with a feeling of rushing back there next time we are going out to a restaurant, although it’s a shame as I think it could so easily be improved and isn’t like the standard of Beefeater I’ve come to know over the years.  I do hope the points I’ve raised are taken on board and make it somewhere I’d want to visit again.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received some vouchers towards the cost of our bill (and we paid the rest) in order to write the review.

 

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Theatre Royal Plymouth Back Stage Tour

Last week I was lucky to be invited for a tour around the backstage of my local theatre, the Theatre Royal Plymouth.  I’ve visited the venue several times over the years since living in Plymouth with the last show I saw being the spectacular stage production of Wicked earlier this year with my daughter.

theatre royal 1

Entering through the stage door, I was greeted before being shown through to the wings of the stage and seeing the lights come on and the safety curtain lifted.  This enabled me to walk on and take centre stage looking out into the auditorium, somewhere I never, ever envisaged me being privileged enough to stand.  Fortunately the seats were empty, as I certainly do not confess to owning the amazing acting and singing skills like those that the cast of Shrek have, having experienced some fantastic rehearsals from them a bit later in the day.

theatre royal 2With Shrek currently touring the UK, their current run is here in Plymouth, so we were fortunate to see the stage set up with all their backdrops, props and wardrobes.  Firstly we went upstairs backstage to where the numerous backdrops hang and are operated using a counterweight fly system, using many ropes to pull each one in to place.  It was fascinating to see the technical side of the theatre and gain some knowledge of how productions comes together.

theatre royal 3We also walked through the main wardrobe area backstage which consisted of rails and rails of costumes, many more than I envisaged.  Within the show of Shrek, each person plays many characters, and each have understudies, so each person has their own costume for every part they play.  There were also make up stations, wigs hanging up and props galore!

theatre royal 4And finally we went down into the orchestra pit, somewhere I imagine very few people have been.

theatre royal 6We finished the day by taking a front row seat and watching the Shrek cast rehearse which was both enjoyable and interesting.  It’s amazing watching the technicians pushing the various stage props in and out of the wings as well as the various cast members change parts, coming on and off stage as different characters.  As they weren’t changing costumes for the rehearsals, I could easily tell the same people, whereas in a live show, you probably don’t realise how few cast there are playing all of the parts!

Backstage in the theatre is a maze of corridors that go round and round, up and down, through one door, out the other and to be honest,  I didn’t have a clue where I was most of the time but one room I did spot that we got a peek in was The Green Room.  Not anywhere near as exciting as you might imagine but I can now say I’ve been in “The Green Room”.  Unfortunately there were no exciting guests or actors in there at the time as it was during the day, but hey, I’ve been in there!

theatre royal 5Well I think that just about sums up my exciting day in the Theatre Royal Plymouth, obviously we couldn’t photograph everything and it was pretty dark inside.  Meeting the Shrek cast was really interesting and has definitely inspired me to get to the theatre more either with or without the children (I do need a break from them sometimes!!).

Keep your eyes peeled for more exciting collaborations with the Theatre Royal Plymouth in the future!

Diggerland Devon – Review

Diggerland Devon is somewhere I’ve been thinking about taking the children for a while so when the opportunity came up to visit I didn’t hesitate.  I never told the children where we were going so after an hour long car trip that morning they were eager to see where we ended up.  And what a warm welcome we got as we drove into the carpark!

diggerMister B was a little shy and stayed in the car but Miss M was keen to jump out and meet Duggy and Dotty, Diggerland’s own mascots that wandered round the theme park all day saying hello and posing for pictures

The park is very well laid out with a simple path to follow round to each of the activities.  It is very clean and tidy and you won’t get muddy (as I thought we might), the only mud is on the tracks you drive the diggers through.  When the children saw the real JCB diggers lined up in a row their eyes lit up and they couldn’t wait to have a go, to be honest I was incredibly impressed and hadn’t realised that they would actually be able to operate these themselves unaccompanied being only 7 and 4 years old.

digger 4The mini diggers were great fun, with three different activities available, digging for gold, dippy ducks where you had to hook the ducks out of the pool and skittles.  My children went on these constantly rotating between which activity they did.  I have to say the bonus of visiting just after the half term holiday did mean it was pretty quiet meaning we didn’t have to queue for anything!

Miss M was an expert on the skittles as you can see here:

When I saw these giant JCB’s, I never thought Miss M would be able to control one, but she did and she was amazing!!  What a fabulous opportunity to be able do this, one of the unique things about this theme park is that most people will never operate a JCB like this in their life, and here is my 7 year old having the time of her life digging up mud!

digger 1As an alternative to digging, there are several driving activities that proved a big hit with my two, particularly 4 yr old Mister B who can be shy and has never really attempted driving before (he won’t even ride a bike!).  I was a little nervous about him trying a go-kart alone, but I have to say he took to it like a duck to water and was absolutely brilliant.  In fact he went on it numerous times over and over, in his words “I loved them”.

There were also mini Landrovers to drive around in a lovely setting which Mister B also loved.  Miss M thought they were a little slow and was eager to get back to driving her diggers! lol

digger 2The highlight of driving for Miss M was the JCB bobcats!  I have to say I went round the thick, deep, muddy track with Mister B on my lap and they weren’t the easiest to control.  Miss M however drove one as if she did it everyday.  I was honestly stunned at a) a 7yr old controlling one alone and b) how well she managed it!   She thoroughly enjoyed herself and it gave her a great introduction to controlling a vehicle by alone (I can see her passing her driving test first time in 10 years time, although I’d expect her too, following in the footsteps of her mummy! Ha Ha!!)

digger 5Not only did she drive bobcats, but also dumper trucks and mini tractors.  What a fabulous experience for a 7yr old!

In total there were quite a lot of rides and activities  to occupy your day including the Ground Shuttle, a ride for multiple people that did figures of eight across the dirt throwing you from side to side.  Also a giant JCB which you could ride with supervision and a Landrover which took you on a “Safari” of dirt mountains and “wooden animal” spotting.

digger 3The digger swings and Diggerland train also proved a lot of fun!

digger 9The Skyshuttle looks a little scary but raises it’s height really steadily and slowly with you being totally secure inside.  It does go exceptionally high but the view is quite fascinating and doesn’t feel half as scary as it looks.

digger 8

The biggest, scariest ride has to be Spin Dizzy!  Miss M braved this multiple times with daddy although did drag me on once, which involves sitting in the scoop of a large digger and being spun round in the sky.

I must give a mention to the kids play area which is fabulous, four zipwires to play on plus a super high wooden construction with various slides and shutes coming off to play in.  My children loved it and being a grassy area we used this area to have our picnic at lunchtime, leaving the kids to play for a while before heading back to the main digger area.

digger 6For us as a family, I have to say we had a super day out, the weather was glorious, and the children went on what they wanted numerous times from 10am when Diggerland opened until 5pm when it shut!!  The children were rather pleased with their certificates they received on leaving the site and left with huge smiles on their faces.  We certainly made the most of the day out and it proved a bigger hit than we expected!

digger 7

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received tickets in order to write the review.

Easter Fun at Saltram House National Trust

For us as a family, Easter wouldn’t be the same without a visit to one of our favourite national trust properties to follow an Easter trail.  The children love them, it’s great to be out in the fresh air and there is always a pleasant atmosphere at the national trust properties.  We visited Saltram House in Plymouth last weekend for the children to follow their Easter trail.

saltram 1Once the children had their maps they were off, running along the paths looking for the clues.  It didn’t take long for Miss M to spot the explorer hat hanging from a bush and Mister B found the magnifying glass hanging from a tree on the lawn.

saltram 4On the lawn we spotted a small marquee tent and ventured inside to find a couple of sand pits arranged as an “archaeological dig”.  Each sand pit had the pieces of a puzzle which we needed to find and then complete the puzzle.  My two couldn’t wait to start digging and were soon passing me pieces of puzzle – a really fun activity!

saltram 3Back onto the Easter trail and Mister B was the first one to spot the spade stuck in the ground.  He loved looking for the objects and carefully marked them off as he found them on his trail map.

saltram 5I just love the beautiful plants and flowers that can be found in National Trust gardens and here are just a few that I saw here today.

saltram 2And this tree was simply stunning!

saltram 6We had a wonderful day wandering round and the children loved the trail, especially at the end when they collected their chocolate eggs!

saltram 7

Woodlands Devon – A Family Day Out

With the half term nearly over, we have barely spent any time as a family, due to the husband being on a course and working long hours throughout the week.  So with the weather looking dry and a hint of sun looming we decided to something that the children would enjoy and get us all out for the day this weekend.  Having a little Google last night I thought we’d give Woodlands a try, not somewhere we’d been before and the winter prices were very reasonable and even cheaper by booking your tickets online!

We took a chance on the dry weather warning and I booked some tickets this morning, we set off and 50 minutes later we arrived.  Glorious sunshine and an empty carpark – just what I like!  We passed through the entrance gates and the look on Miss M’s face said it all – she was full of grins, overwhelmed and couldn’t wait to explore.  The first place she found was this amazing wood and rope castle which she dragged Mister B through even though he was scared, but being quiet and not many people about, he braved his way through with Miss M’s encouragement

woodlands 9Before long Miss M spotted a digger sand play area and rushed over to have a go!woodlands 1Then Mister B caught sight of the Wild West village and had fun exploring the many buildings including the bank, church, jail and even the stable where he fed the horse leaves from the ground – bless him!

woodlands 2Miss M was keen to have a dig and ride the tractor until she noticed a zip wire and eagerly climbed aboard.  With it being so quiet there were no other children around so she happily zoomed up and down for a good ten minutes.

woodlands 3Next it was time to wander over and see the animals – lots of rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, pigs, goats etc and a great little play area full of toy tractors with trailers and pretend logs to put in and move around.

woodlands 7After playing in and out of pretend houses, Mister B getting banished to prison and Miss M riding down a huge bumpy slide, we saw in the distance a huge rocking pirate ship, one that Miss M was desperate to go on.  I decided it was best if daddy accompanied her as I just don’t enjoy big rides these days as much as I did 20 years ago! lol  She chose to sit at the very back and due to it being quiet went on the ride three times continuously enjoying every moment with a huge grin across her face.

woodlands 8Meanwhile Mister B wanted a go on the swings and have a play in the nearby play area.  I have to say I couldn’t believe how many little play areas there were dotted around – so much to keep little ones occupied although we spent the latter part of the day in some of the many indoor soft play and ball pool areas.

woodlands 6One ride they were both determined to go on was the water bumper boats!  Unfortunately Mister B got scared when we reached the front of the queue so Miss M went on first with daddy while we watched.  He soon regained his confidence to go on and went with daddy whilst looking very cute in the little life jacket.

woodlands 4We had a thoroughly entertaining day at Woodlands, one I’d highly recommend particularly at the fantastic price we paid.  There is so much to keep little ones entertained and at this time of year there are no queues.  Some of the bigger rides are closed but my children are generally to short for them anyway.

The day was about the children having fun, getting out and being somewhere they loved and could be free.  I loved to see my children running around, out in the fresh air, seeing the animals, giggling as they played both indoors and out but for me I just adored the peacocks wandering around freely.  I’ve always had a fondness for them and for many years when I was a child I had a peacock’s feather displayed in my bedroom.  So to see a peacock come to full plume was amazing!  The perfect end to a perfect family day!

woodlands 5

Cockington – A Romantic Place to Visit in South Devon

Back in the days before children came along, we used to enjoy days out and about each weekend visiting new places and discovering new areas.  We’d heard of a pretty little village in South Devon called Cockington, and decided to try it out one weekend.  The quaint little streets are car free to visitors, you have to park in a carpark just outside, then walk through the narrow streets.  There are horse drawn carriages if you wish to take a ride through the village to view the picturesque thatched cottages and stunning scenery.

Cockington Court is at the heart of the village, a historic manor house with over twenty craft studios, tea rooms, the Walled Art Garden, a Tudor rose garden, contemporary art gallery and a popular children’s play area.  It was the Tudor rose garden for me that was absolutely stunning.  It was a beautiful place to walk around, with a romantic feel to it.  You can walk hand in hand around the walled garden, sit on the benches in the peace and quiet and take in the beautiful smell of fresh roses that fills the air.

CockingtonDIGITAL IMAGEIf you are ever in the South Devon area, I’d definitely recommend a visit to Cockington for a romantic stroll followed by a sumptious cream tea in one of the many tea rooms.  Why not check out Coast and Country Cottages for somewhere to stay?

coast and country cottages

This post is written for the Valentine’s Day Blogger Competition in association with Coast and Country Cottages.

Wembury Beach – family fun in the January sun!!

Waking up last Saturday to the glorious sunshine, we just knew it was a day to take advantage of.  So we decided to head over to the beach which turned out to be packed, not a carpark space in site!!  The tide was in, the beach was rocky, the few sandy spots were murky grey, gritty sand – but the children didn’t care!!  Dressed in their rain suits, wellies and accompanied with buckets and spades they were in fresh air heaven, digging away, building dams with the rocks across the mini rivers than emanated down from the rocky cliff face, finding rectangular ‘car’ shaped rocks to drive through the makeshift sandy roads, braving the shallow waves hitting the shoreline to fill their buckets with seawater, they were in their element playing as the bright sunshine hit the beach for the afternoon.

Wembury 1Buckets and spades at the ready, Miss M and Mister B couldn’t wait to get digging.  With the tide in, there was little sand to be found amongst the rocks but this didn’t deter them one little bit.  There were squeals of excitement as they dug in,  trying to build the biggest hole they could!

Wembury 2Mister B was excited by a rectangular shaped rock he found and decided it was a car.  He then made a sandy track with his hand to drive his ‘car’ through.  He was absolutely thrilled with his little road and just loved the freedom of the beach and fresh air to play in.

Wembury 3Miss M was keen to have a little paddle and fill her bucket with water to fill their freshly dug hole.  She loved waiting for each wave to come in although had to keep emptying her water filled wellies!!  Not that it bothered her, it just seemed to add to her fun!!

Wembury 4They then decided to venture over the rocks at the back of the beach and Miss M was eager to climb, while Mister B was desperate to copy.  I wasn’t too keen so they posed for a couple of photos and came back down.

Wembury 5All in all we had a fantastic afternoon at the beach.  The children loved being outside, the thrill of the beach, however small and stony kept them entertained for hours and they were sad to go home, but after some dinner and a warm bath they were soon tucked away in their beds fast asleep for the night and mummy wasn’t far behind after spending time in the fresh sea air!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall