Sefton park Palm House #countrykids


I may have written about this before. But we have this beautiful victorian palm house near us. It is a favourite visit and has such a lovely history. I think one of the reasons that it has such a lovely feeling is that there is a lot of love gone into this building. It is a grade 2 listed building and was built back in 1896. After being bombed in the war and then re-built a little, it ย fell into disrepair and by the 1980’s was closed to the public as it was deemed unsafe.

In June 1992, a public meeting was held highlighting the dereliction and calling for restoration. A petition was presented to the City Council by what had become the “Save the Palm House” campaign. A public fund raising campaign was established, with a “sponsor a pane” programme generating over ยฃ35,000. This led directly to the conversion of Save the Palm House into a registered charity (Friends of Sefton Park Palm House). The Palm House was partially repaired and reopened in 1993. It was fully restored at a cost of ยฃ3.5 million with Heritage Lottery and European funding and reopened in September 2001.

It is now simply stunning and is often used for events and weddings. It is so pretty and one of my favourite places. One of the things about the people of this city is that they love their city and they will get behind something that is important to them.

The palm house is evidence of that, that is for sure…

I have photographed it SO many different times. One of the first professional jobs i had was in the palm house, in the evening and with not much light. yeah was a baptism of fire. I climbed the little staircase that takes you up to the top of the palm house to try and get an overhead shot. There is a little gallery at the top of the dome. But the ladder started to wobble and got the best of me!! It was an evening ill not forget.

This is one of my shots from that night:

Ha! looking at those images now makes me realise how much i have changed as a photographer. I wont forget that fully grown angel statue and his hairy legs though!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

We often just nip out to the park and the palm house at the end of the day and before the kids went back to school and all the christmas decorations came down we did just that and it was all pretty and lit up with fairy lights and a jaunty little christmas tree in the doorway (that was actually tied down- bit windy i guess!) It was getting very dark as we left the park and i only had my little camera with me and i fiddled with the setting so that i could let in a max amount of light to get the blue in the sky. It could really do with a tripod to be honest because the shutter was slow and really it was beyond a hand hold but they kids were already yelling at me to hurry up…they get quite used to mama dragging her feet and taking lots of shots!!

Then we played a little with some ‘fill-in’ high sync flash techniques….the kids always come back on side when they are in the pictures!! (btw for the photographers out there, this image below is just taken with a entry level DSLR and the little on camera flash that it has!!)


Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Santa at the Dock #countrykids

I know, i know christmas is over but this little outing happened just before the big day and so now is my chance to blog it. So hang in there for the last little remnant of christmassy-ness ๐Ÿ˜‰

We are family members of the local canoe and kayak club. It is a fabulous club that is SUCH incredible value for money and puts on some fab courses/events and challenges throughout the year. The kids, in the winter, are often in the pool with the club and their kayaks practicing all sorts of techniques and drills. They really do love it and for what they charge ( a minimal once a year fee) for the whole family. It is probably the best value thing we do.

On the sunday before christmas (which happened to be our wedding anniversary) the club held their santa paddle in the docks. The idea for a fun and social paddle up and through the docks for mince pies and hot mulled wine and then return to the marina bar for some hot chocolate and cake. The kids were keen to have a go and we ventured off with our santa hats.

The problem was a little that my OH, who is normally super prepared, had under-estimated the weather, which whilst was glorious sunshine was really really cold! So they were a little unprepared for an hour and a bits kayaking in cold water! As i watched them go off i did wonder how long they were going to cope with being so cold!

But they did pretty well, apart from my eldest girl who ended up taking a swim! eek! and so got a ride in a long boat wrapped in the coats of some generous other rowers. They all really enjoyed it. it was fun to get down there myself and see them row. Often the events are in the evenings and so the OH, who is the keen rower, takes them and i stay at home with the younger ones.

It was lovely to see it for myself. The little girls and i wondered along the seafront, bracing ourselves against the cold before we retreated to the boat house for some lovely hot chocolate and warm up.

We spied them returning under the bridge and ran out to shout and wave at them. My boy had managed the row completely , something he was really chuffed about but both the girls had ended up hitching a ride, our youngest daughter managed to row half the distance to the mince pie stop but i think after that the thought of rowing all the way back was too much for her. I have to say i was really proud of how well they did. Im not even sure i could manage it!!

They got to get into their warm clothes and then sit snuggled in the clubhouse, hands clasping a large, frothy hot chocolate with marshmallows on top. Rosey faced, they told me their stories of the trip including the ‘swim’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

We had just enough time to see the last of the sun setting on the boats in the marina and then we headed home to really get ready for the big day!!



Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


A bit of a dis-aa-ster #countrykids

Its that time of year isnt it when there seems like an endless list of things to do and none of them are remotely interesting to a bunch of lively little over excited kids. This week at school has been a whirlwind of trips, nativity plays, gymnastic displays and parties. It seems like we have been rushing from one event to another. So we thought it was really important to get the kids out of the house for a bit of a run one afternoon. It was starting to get towards dusk a little.

I cannot wait until the evenings get longer!!

But we headed out and it was one of those occasions (that im sure we all have) when i thought it might have been better off staying inside! We had planned to go to a local forest but it is a bit of a drive and it wasn’t going to be doable with me needing to get back to work so we had to go for a local park that we don’t often go to. When we got their, within a couple of minutes, I remembered why we didnt go there very often!

The park is very close to a large housing estate and so get a LOT of dog walkers. Which whilst i have nothing against dog walkers, unless they don’t pick up their dog’s mess then i have a really BIG problem with them. No, we have a dog and to be honest he isnt the best with other dogs. He is fabulous with the kids and people in general but with other dogs it is all a bit handbags and whilst i dont think he would actually fight another dog..what inevitably happens if things it a bit agro with another dog is that my kids in their well meaning ‘lets help the dog’ way start to run up to him, especially my three year old who has NO fear of dogs at all.

I have told them all so many times the dangers of getting in between dogs that are going for each other. But they seem unable to help themselves which properly freaks me out.

So…we started out trying to head round the park and we ran into a whole bunch of dog walkers and one particularly snarly dog that wanted to have a bit of our dog…once we got past them we then headed to a hilly part of the park. One of my girls decided to roll down the bank and came back to me a few minutes later saying she thought she had rolled in dog muck…!!!

It started to rain and so we decided to make a u turn and head back to the car..we spied a pretty little plant on the way back and ventured into the leaves to see it when … guessed it..more dog muck and our three year old fell over in the dirt just missing it.

A little frayed around the edges..and angry at people who don’t pick up their dog’s mess. We headed back to the car and then home to recover with a movie, pyjamas and tea.


A bit of a country kids dis-a-ster..but we made it out there!!



Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Autumn with a hint of winter #countrykids #fridayflashback

It is getting colder isnt it? That snap of winter is in the air and the gloves and scarfs are starting to litter the porch and the shoe cupboard. It is no use trying to hold it of. I am not a massive fan of winter but im trying to embrace it a little and not grumble too much.

So in a bid to enjoy some of the first frosts of the season, i went and took some autumnal pictures!! ๐Ÿ™‚ lol

Catching the colours before they really do change!

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Bubbles, flip flops and windfalls #countrykids

This week has been a strange one, the come down from a crazy run up to the girls ballet show, a horrible flu like cold thing and our car needing some attention ‘dans le garage” ย ๐Ÿ˜‰

We scheduled in the car for its day of treatment on a day when i didnt have quite so much to-ing and fro-ing. Me and the littlest one got on with getting used to a day at home. Which is not something that happens very often. We have visitors this weekend so we did some baking and she did lots of ‘helping!’ We did some washing (yeah exciting stuff for a toddler) and i got her to help me sort out clothes into piles. It is amazing how well she knows everyone’s clothes!! Then we made ourselves some toast and jam and headed out into the garden.

Our garden in the winter is a bit of sorry state of forget…its not a whole lot better in the summer if im honest (sshhh) but at least spring and summer getting her glad rags on and giving them a bit of a shake covers up our ever-so poor horticultural skills!

But anyway we had about half hour of bubble blowing and digging in a random, bucket of earth before she discovered the hose and it all went a little down hill quite quickly! You will notice that she has the completely appropriate footwear for November…as always ๐Ÿ˜‰

I did do a bit of a dizzy dance this day though…as you might notice she is wearing a cute little dress…which she has refused to wear for months and months. I had lost the receipt and resigned myself to the fact that i would just have to hand it down to someone else and ta-dah..she appeared wearing it!

Thats worth a celebratory piece of cake!!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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the ordinary moments