Tag Archives: Cornwall

On the road

The unschooling diaries: weeks twenty-seven and twenty-eight

To celebrate Leigh’s graduation (and to maximise the time our family had together before we were hit with the schedule of a junior doctor) we headed off for ten days or so in our campervan.

We have always loved camping as a family, but recently succumbing to the dream of having a van has taken things to a whole other level. It makes it so much easier (and more comfortable) to hit the road – particularly with a little person.


Arthur had an awesome time, and learnt so much. Travelling is always so inspiring, but there is something very grounding about being together in a small space surrounded by nature, and something strangely mindful about the repetition of all the little tasks that need to be done to keep our little camp ship-shape.

Most of the time of course we ventured out together to explore.


We were generally retreading familiar ground, but even then (and particularly with Arthur leading the way) there was always wonder to be found: from breathing in spectacular views to examining the insects we came across along the way.


We swam in the sea most days, despite the fact that there were rather too many jellyfish for my liking. There was one particular day when the sand was strewn with them, and we spent a fascinating couple of hours identifying different types and working out which ones would sting and which ones (the vast majority) were harmless. Still, neither Arthur or I were all that keen on sharing the sea with them, and we were glad to see that the shift of tides the next day had left the shallows at least much clearer.


There were other animals to bond with too: we gravitated back to Arthur’s Field, a lovely campsite in Cornwall that we discovered last year, where Arthur spent his mornings collecting eggs, and fed the guinea pigs before bedtime.



Arthur also loved the fact that there were lots of kids around. I do still worry sometimes that because he’s not at preschool (apart from a few hours in the forest) that he’ll find it hard to make friends when the opportunities arise, but watching him fearlessly approach other children to play as soon as we pitched up reminded me that I really don’t need to.

He especially loved hanging out with his cousins for a few hours when they came down to visit, and we spent an idyllic evening by a fire pit overlooking the sea listening to stories and poems and music. I might not have quite plucked up the courage to join in, but it was still lots of fun.



And then there was of course the quality family time. The opportunity to touch base with Daddy, who has been crazy busy in pursuit of his medical degree and is about to get even busier.



All three of us really benefited from that time to be honest: I guess the enforced proximity of the campervan could become claustrophobic, but actually it meant we had to focus on each other, on listening and understanding and cooperating.


We’ve come back stronger as a family, and whilst Arthur is desperately missing his Daddy who is nervously donning his scrubs for the first time, he is also super happy to be home.

He has been doing some seriously good playing over the last couple of days with all the toys he’d almost forgotten about – and, as he always seems to whenever we go away, has levelled up yet again.


C is for Cadgwith


A captivating cove in a hidden corner of Cornwall, Cadgwith has hardly changed in the thirty something years I’ve been visiting my family there. Thatched cottages nestling in the hills that roll down towards the shingle beach, fishing boats pulled up high on the pebbles out of reach of the sea or battling the waves to bring in their daily catch. C is for Cadgwith.

Joining in with The Alphabet Photography Project over at PODcast.

Kynance Cove

view of kynance

Continuing the themes of exploring and beach fun that ran through our trip to Cornwall last week, we spent a fantastic afternoon at Kynance Cove. It’s not an easy beach to visit. To start with you have to get the tides just right: at high tide there’s no beach at all, just the waves crashing around the serpentine rocks. Then there’s the walk down from the car park – incredible views but steep and slippery. There is a route that’s apparently suitable for pushchairs but I was very glad of my Connecta! Once we made it down, though, it was clear it had been worth the effort: turquoise waters, white sand, and dramatic cliffs rising high above us.

The timing of it all meant we were well overdue lunch when we arrived – there was no doubt Arthur was hungry but it was definitely a challenge getting him to sit still for long enough to eat a sandwich…


He was much happier once we’d stripped him off and put him in his little wetsuit – raring to go and explore!


Another layer to protect him from the sun and he was off – running towards the sea with us following in quick pursuit.


He loved sitting in the sand with the water swirling around him, but even though I was right there this did begin to make me nervous – there are some pretty vicious rip tides at Kynance at low tide, and even in the shallows things looked a little unpredictable.


We managed to distract him for a while with the pools that formed by the rocks. He was curious about the seaweed strands that hung down and tickled his toes, and spent ages flicking sand onto his legs to watch the patterns that it made.


When he was ready to head back towards the sea we managed to divert him into a larger pool that had formed in the sand. He loved splashing around at its edges, and a couple of times tried to fling himself in for a swim!


After a while even Arthur began to get chilly, but soon warmed up with an impromptu game of football. He loved chasing around after the ball, and even managed to kick it a couple of times! He hasn’t managed that before, and was almost as impressed as me with his new skill.


He was less impressed when we told him it was time to go – I swear my little boy would happily live his life on the beach if we let him! But he soon began to realise the appeal of being warm and dry and was all smiles again before too long.


Tropical Trebah

As well as catching up with family and enjoying the beautiful Lizard, we managed to fit a bit of exploring into this trip to Cornwall. There are so many brilliant places to visit nearby, and one of them is Trebah Garden.

We set off from Cadgwith to Helford Village, getting the ferry across the river for a quick lunch at The Ferryboat Inn. Arthur had his usual fish and chips, particularly enjoying dipping the chips in the mushy peas – a new and vitally important skill!

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We decided to take the scenic route to Trebah, walking alongside the river until we got to the tiny village of Durgan – so unspoilt and picturesque it’s like stepping back in time. It wasn’t an easy walk though, and by the time Arthur had nodded off as we followed the path up to the gardens I was certainly feeling like I’d had a bit of a workout…


When we actually stepped into Trebah, though, there was no doubt that it had been worth it. The gardens sprawl over a valley, lush vegetation lining the paths which lead back down towards the river and massive trees towering above it all. Some areas had been carefully crafted, others appeared much more wild – the overall effect was of a tropical paradise rather than an English garden.


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As Arthur continued his nap we were free to wander for a while, and I found myself seeking ideas for our garden at home. The flowers were so beautiful that even I, notoriously not green-fingered, couldn’t help but be inspired!

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When Arthur did wake up, he was blown away by the place he found himself in. He pointed all around saying ‘Rose! Rose!’ (his universal word for ‘flower’ at the moment), and was thrilled by all the birds he could see and hear enjoying the gardens too.


He was even more excited when our meandering took us to a little play area where he rode a horse and became the captain of a ship. He was so taken in fact by that little red wheel that I thought at one point we’d never be able to lure him away…

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We did have to move on eventually, but fortunately Arthur’s disappointment was short lived as there was still plenty more to keep him entertained. He was fascinated by the tadpoles in the fountain pool, and when we slipped into the cafe for a much needed cup of tea he was kept busy by the toys he found there.

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It was so lovely to find somewhere different to explore, especially somewhere that had so much for all of us to enjoy. We’ll definitely be back – I’m intrigued to see how the gardens change with the seasons – and I would very much recommend a visit if you ever find yourself in that part of Cornwall. You can find out more about it here!


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


The wonderful wedding of Non and Ash


Since I was little I’ve been going on holiday to glorious Cadgwith Cove, a truly idyllic little fishing village on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. Not only is it stunning, but it’s also home to much of my Mum’s family – and on Saturday it was the spectacular site of the wedding of my cousin Non.

The ceremony took place in the beautiful tin church that sits at the bottom of my Nanny’s garden. From there it was a bit of a challenging walk to the reception: we set off with my brother and sister-in-law, Arthur dozing and feeding in the sling.

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We arrived to find two geodesic domes in a field which sloped down towards the sea. Arthur woke up almost immediately, and was desperate to get down and start to explore.

He braved the bouncy castle first with the help of my mum – he wasn’t too sure what to make of it but at least he had a chance to try it out before the older kids (and adventurous adults) took it over!


Then he was off across the field, calling out ‘water’ as he pointed at the sea. Fortunately he was intercepted by the bride and groom’s dog, Poppy, before he managed to get that far…

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He made it back up to crash a couple of wedding photos before heading off to enjoy the view again with dada. It really was quite a view, and the weather could not have been more perfect.


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When it was time to head inside the fun continued as Arthur split his time between the kids’ table and the various grown ups keen to keep him entertained.

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It was such a lovely occasion for all of us – surrounded by family in a gorgeous setting with so much creativity and attention to detail. As the meal came to a close we spilled out on to the grass to soak up the last of the sunshine and recharge ready for an evening of dancing: the perfect end to a perfect day.



Poldhu Cove

I love Devon, but one of the great things about living there rather than London is how much closer we are to Cornwall. My Mum’s family live down here and we’re visiting for a few days. And with the weather being as glorious as it has been we thought we’d better make the most of it and head to the beach!

Since we got back from Cyprus Arthur has been dying to get in the sea again. We’ve managed a couple of little paddles in the beaches near us, but we haven’t quite had the time or the weather to get stuck in with some proper beach action. So today we got Arthur layered up with his swim nappy, wetsuit and uv top and set him free at Poldhu Cove.

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He headed straight for the sea, running over the golden sand and not hesitating for a second as the cold water lapped up over his ankles. I was impressed with his bravery, and relieved that last summer’s enthusiasm for the English sea had not diminished with his new awareness. It definitely bodes well for the rest of the summer.


He enjoyed playing on the sand too. He seems to have moved on from eating it thankfully, and with the little bucket and spade set my mum picked up from the beach shop he sat transfixed as I had a quick (chilly) dip. He was fascinated with the way the sand behaved in the water, beginning little experiments which I’m sure will get more complex as he gets older.


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His enthusiasm seemed to go on and on, long after I thought the shivers would have set in and much to the amusement of the watching lifeguard. He was clearly in his element, loving the space to run, the sea to splash in and the sensation of the sand between his toes (and pretty much everywhere else too).

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Needless to say, by the time we did manage to distract him for long enough to get him dry and warm he was exhausted, and very ready for a nap the moment we got him to the car. All in all a highly successful beach trip – the start of summer, and the first of many more to come.




Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall