My Sunday Photo: Horsing Around!



It may not be immediately obvious from this photo, but this is from Jake & Ellie’s first horse-riding session!

We have been taking them to dance (ballet & tap), gym & music classes. They went over the age limit for Monkey Music, they seemed a bit bored with the gym classes as they didn’t seem challenging enough, & although Ellie enjoyed the dancing Jake seemed less keen.

So when they turned 5 we decided that they were old enough to decide what they wanted to do, rather than what we thought they should do.

Jake chose Tae-Kwon-Do! I’m not sure how we found out about it, but there’s a great session at our local YMCA, & they’re both loving it. (There’s a funny story about that: ask me later…)

Ellie was mad to do horse-riding. So we did.

It was great! Sadly my ‘phone’s battery ran out just before they got on their horses, so I couldn’t get any more photos.

It took a long time to get going, which is OK as you’re dealing with animals & you have to get the health & safety right. Then they all lined up in the field on their magnificent ponies, our 2 first-timers especially looking very pleased with themselves.

We thought they’d just plod around the field, but they took to the streets! They all rode around country lanes for nearly an hour, & even broke into a trot!

Jake & Ellie both loved it; they were so happy when they came back!

We’re definitely planning to it again; the main problem of course is that it’s not cheap. Great fun though 🙂


Music Appreciation

frozen_ver8_xlgIn December we took Jake & Ellie to the cinema for the first time: we saw Disney’s ‘Frozen’ & they both absolutely loved it!

I was impressed as well. Although it’s a children’s film I thought everything about it was top quality: the voice acting, the animation & visuals, the characterisation, the dialogue, its humour were all outstanding. I also particularly liked the way it dealt with quite heavy themes in a way that was palatable even to 3-year-olds.

Then of course there’s the music. It was excellent – in a Disney context of course –  & unsurprisingly the musical is already being planned & is heading to Broadway, then presumably here as well.

Music plays a major part in my life & it has in Jake & Ellie’s too. I love to play music for & enjoy it with them, & have a collection on my ‘phone of 100s of songs that they like. I knew they’d love the music from ‘Frozen’ so I bought the soundtrack album for them.

I wasn’t wrong! 

We listened to it for the first time in the car on the way back from ‘Monkey Music’ last week: they were ecstatic, especially Ellie! When ‘Let It Go’ came on they were  singing along with utter abandon at the tops of their voices, heads raised, gesticulating wildly, arms waving about as if in a manic West End musical!

At home we played the songs in order; instead of the usual TV or tablet games – which sadly has become the norm in the new house while our unpacking has been delayed – they just sat listening on the sofa. While listening they were talking together & with me about the songs, remembering what happened in the film when a particular song was sung, talking about the characters & the story, enjoying the pictures in the sleeve notes & trying to read the song titles & lyrics there.

The power of Music!

It was wonderful

For more Magic Moments just click the pic:






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Tired, scared, sore, smelly & frozen!

An Active Weekend

I’m joining in with this week’s ‘The Gallery’ on Tara’s ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog, as well as Fiona’s ‘Country Kids at Coombe Mill’ blog-link. The Gallery’s theme is ‘The Weekend’: it was a long one, & we had an active one!

We’re quite an active family. When the twins aren’t at pre-school we try to get out & about to do something active at least once a day, & often on school days too.

This last weekend was of course a Bank Holiday Weekend. And just to make it more interesting we made it a 4-dayer, starting Friday!

We’d both managed to make ourselves available all day &, after a great Monkey Music class, took them off from their afternoon pre-school. Why? There’s a fantastic place in Cardiff called Techniquest: basically a 2-storey hangar-sized space full of fun, interactive science-based exhibits.

Once a month they have a Toddler Day, each with a different theme, where they also have arts & crafts play, water-play, story-telling & the like. They love it! There’s so much to see & do, so many buttons to press, dials to turn, balls to throw: it’s always a fight to get them go home! And this time we had another first: face-painting!

Ellie was very pleased


Jake however didn’t seem so sure


Saturday, the Mummy took them to the excellent nearby soft-play place. I was very pleased to hear that Jake had made friends with a couple of boys there; usually it’s Ellie who does that, often finding a little gang of girls to run around with.

click to enlarge

On Sunday, as the weather was getting progressively better, it was our favourite country park again. We went to a different part of it this time: past the 12th-century Monastery ruins & church & the 18th-century Orangery, & to the fairy-tale themed playground.

Throwing stones into a fountain by the Orangery

The playground not only has the usual swings & slides, but also little houses each with nursery-rhyme themed exhibits, plus a child-scaled castle – complete with secret passages, moat & drawbridge. Needless to say, they love it there!

Monday was almost a scorcher! In the morning I took them on their scooters to the local playground, & for the afternoon we had planned to go to an indoor swimming pool but ended up in a nearby water-fountain & adventure playground instead. It would have been a shame to waste all that lovely sunshine! It was great to be able to go there again for the first time since last summer & they had a great time, even though it was very crowded.

The weekend ended with big ice-creams all ’round, & with everyone going to bed having been stimulated & exercised, tired but happy.

And that’s what this parenting thing is all about really, isn’t it?

For more ‘Gallery’ or ‘Country Kids’ posts just click the pics: 


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



We’ve had a few lately!

They seem to come fast & furious & excited within a child’s first year or so. Grabbing, sitting up, the first crawl, the first word, the first step, the first sentence.

Now that Jake & Ellie are 3 firsts may be less frequent, but they’re still there.

Perhaps they’re just less noticeable, & so seem less momentous. After all who, at any age, doesn’t have firsts? None of us have done everything, not even Keith Richards.

The twins do however seem to have spurts, & I think we’re in 1 of them now. I’m sure also that they spur each other on: if one sees the other doing something cool, especially if it’s something for which we praise them, they naturally will want to do it too.

Ellie’s getting pretty good at dressing herself. Recently she insisted on trying to do up her own zip; I tried to do it for her as usual, but she wouldn’t let me. Then only went & did it herself perfectly: a first!

Last Friday at Monkey Music we found that Ellie knows left from right: a first!

This week Jake has been speaking in rhyme, & using rhythm. “Red & bed: that’s a rhyme!”, & “Ellie & belly: that’s a rhyme!”. A first!

Ellie can do forward rolls, Jake hand-stands. Firsts!

Then, after pre-school today, this:




Jake saw an older boy climbing & wanted to join in, then Ellie did the same.

Jake was actually very pleased with himself, believe it or not, & did a little celebratory dance, shouting “I did it!”, when he came down! Although they both got stuck & had to be rescued they really enjoyed it & kept going back. We eventually had to drag them away with a bribe promise of ice-cream at home.

I was very pleased! Many of my happiest childhood memories involve climbing trees.

I assume it’s allowed…

If not, don’t tell anyone, OK?


We were at Monkey Music on Friday. It was noisy, but then it’s supposed to be.

Ellie said something to the Mummy, & they then started to make their way out of the room together.

As she headed out Ellie went up to the group leader & in her piercing little voice, loud enough to be heard clearly over the singing, music & various assorted percussion, shouted “I NEED A POO!”.

To her great credit the group leader managed to keep on singing while trying not to fall about laughing.

You may laugh – I did – but actually she was just excusing herself. Walking out on a group without a word? That’s just rude isn’t it?

She was just being polite!

Makes me kind of proud.