Fossil hunting and rock pooling in Lyme Regis 

In my Summer Bucket List 2017, I mentioned our planned holiday trip to Lyme Regis where we would spend lots of time relaxing, building sand castles and admiring the views on The Cobb beach.

Well we’re here and we’ve been having a fantastic time.  Our cottage – an old shipman’ cottage – is a 2 minutes stroll down to the East Cliff beach and a short walk into the main town and the bustling Cobb area.

Lyme Regis holiday review
The view by our gorgeous ancient mariner’s cottage

There’s so much to do here. Sunny days can be spent on the beach, taking in the breathless views towards the Golden Cap, finding shrimps and crabs in rock pools, fossil finding and strolling along the seafront with its many bars and cafes. For rainy days, there’s so much to do; in the town itself there’s the Town Mill museum with it’s working watermill, the Lyme Regis Museum and the Dinosaur Museum to name a few attractions. 

Lyme Regis holiday review
The beautiful East Cliffe Beach- great for fossilling and rock pooling

The beach areas are great for families.  The Cobb is where the main events and activities take place, with lifeguards stationed at the Sandy beach area, plenty of amenities and cafes, the obligatory English deckchair for hire and so on.  It feels safe for the kids, which is all the more relaxing for the parents. 

Lyme Regis holiday review
Lots of rock pools!

We’ve never been rock pooling or fossil-hunting before. I was a little dubious we would find anything at all. Not naturally outdoorsy-type people, it makes our brains hurt to think of what equipment we would even need for such activities. 
As it turns out, no equipment is needed whatsoever.  Although I believe you have more success with lines and bait for the crabs and shrimps, when the tide is out a simple bucket will catch many tiny shrimps. It’s easy to spot the crabs dipping in and out of the shady rocks.  It’s a fantastic children’s activity; a good hour or so at a time can be spent pottering around the rocks, in sunshine or drizzle (we did both!).
Lyme Regis holiday review
Success! A fossilised ammonite.
Over at East Cliff, you can see many tourists with hammers and chisels, busting away at the grey Jurassic rock in their fossil hunts.  The tools are sold in the local shops, but you can simply use another big stone to tap along the strata of the rocks, as we found to our success!  Ammonites are most commonly found – a type of marine mollusc.  However, head to one of the museums to see some unbelievable examples of fossils found and read the story of Mary Anning who made some of the most significant geological finds of our time.

Lyme Regis town museum review
Fossilised Ichthyosaur in the Lyme Regis Museum

 At the Town Mill Museum, our two girls learned from one of the best volunteer guides we’ve seen how the working watermill worked and even had a try at milling their own flour.  We really enjoyed our afternoon here, topped off with a beer at the Lyme Regis Brewery across the way. 

Lyme Regis town mill
Learning the daily grind!

It’s important for us as parents to chill out on holiday and I can report that it’s been relaxing so far mainly due to the children being occupied…and helped by the discovery of a handy flask in our cottage.  Perfect for beach-coffees!

Lyme Regis holiday review
Solitary coffee on East Cliff Beach- great for rock pools and fossils

We’re only a little way into our holiday so more beach days to go.  I haven’t even mentioned the restaurants we’ve visited (separate review of River Cottage to come!). Lyme Regis is famous for the 1981 film version of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, so this evening we’ll be visiting the aptly named  French Lieutenant’s Bistro

Later this week we’ll be following in my pal Hodge Podge Days‘ footsteps and moving across to sunny Devon for more fun and adventures! 

Summer holidays begin here…a trip to Dunham Massey

I can’t believe my eldest has finished her preschool year and will start Reception class in September.  Everyone says it…but it has gone so fast! I think it’s only really just sinking in as we begin…the Expression and Confession Summer Holiday Adventures 2015!

I want to make summer holidays as special as I can for my girls, with lots of activities both outdoor and in and some robust recording mechanisms so they’ve got something to look back on in future years.

I’ve bought a simple scrap book with plain paper pages so my eldest (who’s progressed so much in writing and drawing) can draw pictures of what we’ve been doing from week to week, seeing her and her little sister’s summer story developing from week to week.  I’m also adding photographs which I’m determined to diligently print each week (thank goodness for the IOS Freeprints app!).

Last Friday my nearly 5 year old finished preschool at lunchtime, so right away we began our fun stuff, with lunch out at the Home Community Cafe in Didsbury, followed by an afternoon of baking delicious goods (er…no diets here this summer!) and playing in the local park.

dunham massey
My youngest and I at Dunham Massey

This weekend, we took a picnic to Dunham Massey park in Cheshire and spent the afternoon with some good friends.  Dunham Massey is one of my favourite National Trust attractions.  Whether you have children or not, there’s a great deal to do and see in a fantastic environment that seems to enhance your wellbeing as soon as you step out of the car!  The new visitors centre (recently renovated) is great, with a lovely gift shop, restaurant, ice cream parlour and garden shop.

If you do have kids, you can take bikes, scooters or outdoor toys and just let them run wild amidst the huge deer park and check out the resident wildlife.  There’s also a great wooden play area with picnic tables just near to the entrance – my two girls spent hours here with their friends this weekend.

The beautiful flower gardens are also huge and so well cared for.  My two love running around in the gardens and naming the many different plants and blooms.

I’ve yet to brave taking a nearly 5 and nearly  3 year old into the house, but it’s on the agenda for the summer.  Currently, it’s the First World War Stamford Military Hospital, demonstrating what life was like for patients and members of the Grey family who lived on the estate and helped care for them.  I think the girls would enjoy it – we’ve recently been to the Imperial War Museum together and it amazed me how much they engaged with the stories and artifacts.   It’s a great way to involve them in culture and social history, but also to awaken their imaginations.

We’ve recently renewed our National Trust membership so there’ll be more local attractions on the agenda this summer: Lyme ParkTatton Park and Quarry Bank Mill to name a few.  We also have zoos, the Lake District and animal farms lined up so we’ll be busy! Plus, of course, baked goods are always a winner for a rainy afternoon…

rasberry cheesecake jammy buns
Baking wares…rasberry cheesecake and jammy buns

 

 

Blog every day in August: A summer memory

This month I am taking part in Yummy Mummy in Training’s ‘Blog every day in August’ challenge. Read all my posts to date here.

Day 18 is ‘a summer memory’.

I recently blogged about childhood summer memories as part of a #bloggirls linky. So for this post, I decided to go for something more recent.

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Here’s a selection of photographs taken this summer. I think I’ll have lots of great memories from this summer – it was my eldest daughter’s 3rd summer and she really took great delight in the many trips to parks and time spent in ours and friends’ gardens just playing and enjoying the outdoors. For my youngest, it’s been her first summer, and she has particularly delighted in swings and shuffling around the garden!

Summer isn’t quite over yet – it’s been a lovely day today and hopefully we’ll squeeze a few more nice-weather-days in before Autumn makes an appearance.

Read day 19 here.

Summer memories: a #bloggirls Thursday link up

The recent sweltering hot summer days have been bringing back lots of memories of my childhood summers, back in the early 80s (yes, I’m that old).

It seems I keep having sudden flashbacks to memories of these hot, childhood summers, to the extent that I thought I’d better write them down. Being a geek, I note that this topic lends itself to bullet form (you’re lucky you didn’t get a spreadsheet).

Before I commence with the bullets, can I just ask, is it me or were all our 80s childhood summers extremely hot?! That’s the key point I seem to remember. Please feel free to comment!

So here goes – memories of summer:

  1. Heat.
  2. I distinctly remember ALL childhood summers being hot. Is this a false memory I wonder? It must have rained sometimes!

  3. Fried eggs on pavement fun.
  4. Yes, you read correctly. I remember watching a Blue Peter episode where it was so hot, the presenter cracked an egg on the hot pavement and it fried. I then went to get an egg from the fridge and tried it myself in front of our house. Sadly, it didn’t work. Plus I got told off by my Mum for stealing an egg.

  5. Playing out.
  6. My best friend (who lived just around the corner) and I used to meet after breakfast, go home for lunch, meet again after lunch, go home for tea, then meet again after tea briefly before we were hauled back for bedtime. I think 8:30pm was the curfew. This was all in the summer holidays of course. We played out – parents could be more trusting of course in those days and they ‘let us off the leash’ as it were and we would go off to the local fields totally out of sight. What a shame we can’t do that with our children today.

  7. Make believe games.
  8. We would amuse ourselves for hours on end on the local fields. We had a number of ‘treehouses’ and ‘dens’, and I remember one game which involved the two of us finding a dog’s head skeleton (bear with me) and pretending we were ace child detectives who were about to uncover a worldwide plot to kidnap and destroy all dogs. We pinpointed a particular neighbour’s house and decided it was him. I think we may have even attached a note to his house saying “dog murderer” or something.

    I still to this day don’t know where the dog’s head skeleton came from.

    Despite this weird example, I believe make-believe play is so important in the development of a child’s creative imagination!

  9. Days out with the parents.
  10. We had many days out – Bolton Abbey, Whalley Abbey, Lytham St Anne’s, Blackpool, countryside walks in rural Lancashire villages such as Sabden. It was a lot of fun.

  11. Being sick in the car.
  12. This wasn’t quite as much fun. A day out invariably involved me vomiting in my Dad’s car. I was very travel sick, and to be honest I’m still not that great.

  13. No school.
  14. Well I couldn’t end on a point that involved vomit so I end with the happiness I felt at the end of the spring term. I was lucky enough to enjoy school throughout childhood, yet I still felt the same sense of elation as everyone else as term ended and the summer holidays began.

So there you have it – my most vivid summer memories. Please feel free to add your own – I would love to read them.

#bloggirls
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This is a #bloggirls link up! Each Thursday, #bloggirls (@HodgePodgeDays, @A_ZMummy, @mumofz and @megster8) will be hosting a link up, based on themes which we simply feel everyone could write about, with potentially many different blogger interpretations!

If you want to join in of a Thursday, simply follow these steps:

1. Write your excellent post.
2. Copy the badge code above (or on the Thursday link up post) and paste into your post.
3. Click the ‘get the code’ link at the bottom of the Thursday post.
4. Copy the appropriate code for your blog, and paste to the end of your post.
5. Publish your post as usual.
6. Click the ‘add link’ link on the Thursday #bloggirls post, add your unique url and you’re away!

All we ask is that you spend some time reading and following the other blogs who post.

Enjoy!

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Summer is here (but for how long?!)

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This photo was taken during a day out at Dunham Massey. To me, this highlights everything children enjoy about a good old summer’s day – sunshine, laughter and wellbeing, fresh air, vibrant colours, play and the opportunity to run around and practice some new skills (in this case, catching and throwing a ball).

Mint choc chip ice-cream also featured, of course.

This week’s heat wave has been bringing back some great memories of childhood summers for me, but more on that in a later post…

For now, enjoy the summer, and let’s hope it lasts!