The Gallery: Animals

We’ve had a lot of sun here lately. In fact over the last few days it’s been a bit too hot! I had trouble sleeping last night & had to keep the fan on, & I almost dread getting in the car for fear of being turned into a roast dinner!

And in case there are ever any doubts about my Britishness – I was after all born in New Zealand – here we are in the middle of a blazing sunny heat-wave, & I’m complaining about the weather!

(I love it, really…)

This being Wales though rain is never far away & this summer we’ve had our fair share.

Going outside in the wet stuff seems to bother me, & most adults, a lot more than it does my children!

During a recent shower Ellie insisted on going outside into the garden. And I insisted that she put on her raincoat.

Another creature who’s very fond of wetness is that little slimy thing beloved of all gardeners everywhere: the snail. We found millions of them! Mostly on the flowers, busily munching away of course.

We decided then that we would find as many of them as we could & put them in their new home.


We ended up having a lovely time! Ellie was giving each of  her new pets their own names: first Daddy Snail, Mummy Snail, Jake Snail,  then her friends, teachers,  grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles – anyone we could think of. It was a great little game!

She seemed really pleased with her little snail-house, full of her new pets!


I was also pleased that they were there & not eating up all the garden plants…

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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The Gallery: Adventure

They’re 4.

I still don’t know how that happened; it doesn’t seem so long ago that they were cute, gurgling, helpless little babies.

And yet it seems a lifetime ago.

But they’re 4.

Their journey into childhood, on life’s great adventure, continues.

click to enlarge

Continue reading “The Gallery: Adventure”

The Gallery: Something Beautiful

A lot of it is a blur, but I still remember the moment.

My wife had survived what was a very difficult delivery & was still in recovery.

I was alone with my newborn twins, besotted.

Jake was sleeping, Ellie was crying.

Then she reached out & wrapped her tiny little fingers around my finger & stopped crying, held on as if she would never let go & went back to sleep.
Continue reading “The Gallery: Something Beautiful”

The Gallery: New


Where do I start?

We’ve had lots of ‘new’ here lately!
Continue reading “The Gallery: New”

The Gallery: Play

This is part of the climbing area of our (new) local playground.

It’s “the spinny thing”.


The bars are off-centre, so you can hang on to them & use your own weight to spin yourself around its axis.

Ellie has got quite good at this; she’s learning, as with the rings & ropes at the gym, to use her arms & legs to propel herself about.

Jake doesn’t need to so much; being heavier his main concern is that once he gets going he can’t stop!

That, of course, is when I step in.

They’re at their best when they play together, as they are here.

They both discovered that they are able not only to push each around but also to stop the spinny thing if needed.

And that’s the best kind of play isn’t it? Co-operative & social, educational, & above all fun!

I’m joining in with Tara’s brilliant ‘Gallery’ linky today; for more posts like just click the pic:


The Gallery: Drink (Pretty in Pink)

Have I got you singing now? I hope so!

That song is a big ‘ear-worm’ with me. Every time I hear the phrase: bang! There it  is, stuck in my head.

“But what the Furs has that got to do with drink? Isn’t that what this silly post is supposed to be about anyway? Get on with it, man!” I hear you cry. Or words to that effect. Probably.

Alright, since you asked so nicely, this:


This is the source of much of my drinking activity. During the day, at least, especially mornings. I pretty much chain-drink coffee ’til lunchtime, then often indulge in 1 or 2 more in the afternoon.

My old cafetière broke, OK? Our kitchen is very small, we don’t have a dishwasher, so accidents happen. I needed my caffeine fix, & this was the only one I could find in town. Also: it was cheap. Which probably explains why it already has a crack at the top.

It’s my story, & I’m sticking to it.

Now I’m off to drink my pink brew and put on my Borat pinny* & marigolds to do the washing up while singing very loudly & very badly to Adele.

I am MetroDad, hear me roar!

* It was a gift, honest

This post is for Tara’s terrific ‘Gallery’ on her ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog.

It’s also for Emma of ‘Crazy With Twins’ who is having a hard time right now as she’s in isolation & away from her family while having treatment for cancer, so is in need of some cheering up.

To read more & to join in just click the pics:


Shoulder to Shoulder to Day

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

The Gallery: Expressions

I love how expressive Jake & Ellie are.1-DSC00626



3 photos – 2 from a country park on the weekend, 1 from after their first day of pre-school – 6 different facial expressions.

I love that they seem to have bags of personality, & are able to express themselves in this way.

With their faces they can express so many things: cheekiness, concentration, joy, thoughtfulness, sadness, anger, frustration.

I love that they are so able to be free with their faces, to not feel confined, to feel able to be themselves. I’m convinced that being this way makes for a happier life: reduces frustration, allows joys & sorrows to be shared: not locked up, or trapped inside.

Expressive children! Long may they be so.

I’m linking up with Tara’s ‘The Gallery’ feature on her ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog. For more, just click the pic:


The Gallery: Together

Jake & Ellie


Conceived Together


Born Together1-DSCF2720DSCF2772


Babies Together

Learning Together


Christmas Together

Um, I'm pretty sure it's cars you're meant to put in there, Ellie. But sure: we could try the big squeezy ball!

Crawling Together


Shopping Together

Holding up the wall TogetherDSCF5016 (2)Laughing Together

DSCF5333, Babies riding in laundry basket

Exploring Together


Being happy Together


Playing Together


Eating Together

IMG_0181 (2)

Plotting Together


Cooking Together


Not moving Together


Kissing Together


Perching Together


Holding hands Together1-At Peter's

Being serious Together


Being silly Together


Cwtching Together


Best Friends Forever Together!1-DSC00456


This post is part of  ‘The Gallery’ at the ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog. For more Togetherness click the pic:

Fun & Walks in a Country Park

We went to one of our favourite places on Friday. We try to go there nearly every week, in all but the worst weather, & we never seem to tire of it. My ‘Silent Sunday‘ photo was from there.

It’s a nearby country park, & it’s huge. It has a big stately home (with a cafe) which looks like a castle, a lake full of ducks & swans, a playground with a castle & little houses that recreate nursery rhymes, monastery ruins & a church that date back to the 13th century, a Victorian Orangery, an adventure playground, farm animals, a little child-friendly train & more.

click any image to enlarge

The train was always the first thing: it runs between the entrance & the Castle. They were always so excited wanting to get on on it, & were really upset in Autumn when it stopped for the season, especially Jake.

It’s started again, & yesterday they finally got to go on it again!

But you know what? They didn’t even seem to remember it! I know they were only 2 1/2 when it stopped, but given how much they loved it I was very surprised that they seemed to have forgotten about it.

Once on, Ellie at least seemed to enjoy herself. Jake: apparently not.


Although there was a very cold wind I think he liked it really, & was probably just being a bit silly.


With the train running we went back to our warm weather (ha!) routine of train, cafe, playing on the grass, feeding the ducks & swans, adventure playground, farm animals & walking back.

The walk back is great. The path winds & gently slopes downwards though beautiful woodlands & a over a lively stream. On the way there are wood sculptures made from tree-trunks, & trees sculpted into mushrooms that are perfect for hiding in or jumping on.

This gruesome one is a favourite:


And is very useful for ‘Saturday is Caption Day‘ posts!

Jake & Ellie somehow decided that the croc was very thirsty & spent a ridiculous amount of time pouring the contents of their sippy cups into its mouth, eventually having to be dragged away protesting loudly!

While propping Ellie up there I managed to get in a good photo of the silhouetted trees:


Then the bubbling brook from the bridge:


All in all, a great day: and they both slept like babies in the car on the way home!

This post is part of these great blog links, just click the pics for more:

TheGallery Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life