Tag Archives: Enid Blyton

Recycled craft – little places for little things

18 Oct
Little places for little things

Little places for little things

My daughter has a lovely collection of little fairies, trinkets and other ornaments that she has been given over the years. They take pride of place on her shelves, along with a vast selection of aged Enid Blyton books and dusty cuddly toys. This means the ornaments often get knocked off the shelves and also they are within easy reach of her younger brother’s sticky little fingers. I decided she could do with somewhere special to keep these ornaments, to free up space on the shelves and keep them safe.  Being a thrifty mum, I didn’t want to spend much money on this and I turned to shoeboxes for a space-saving solution!

This is what I started with. Basically a collection of shoeboxes and cereal boxes.

start-boxes

I glued some of the boxes together using a hot glue gun. I also used some white masking tape to add a little more stability. The next stage looked like this.

boxes

I then used pieces of quite thick cardboard to make some dividers for the shelving. Again, I secured these with white masking tape. I also used the masking tape to make sure that there were no gaps between the shelving. When the shelving and dividers were all in place I used papier mache to cover everything. I did about 3 coats of papier mache (the children enjoyed helping with this). I started off using a traditional papier mache paste. To do this mix one part of flour with one part of warm water. When it is smooth and you have got rid of any lumps you can pour it into another four parts water.  Heat the mixture, stirring constantly until it boils and thickens. Leave it to cool before you use it. You can store this for a couple of days in an airtight container.

The children didn’t really like using the papier mache paste so I did the last two coats using a watered-down PVA mix.  This was much less messy for the children and resulted in less complaints about having sticky, gooey fingers!

without paint

Completed shelving, just waiting for the paint!

Finally, I applied three layers of paint. This was just a normal matt emulsion which came from our shed. The remains of some decorating project years ago.  I left each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next one. I’m quite happy with the finished result. It looks a bit wibbly wobbly,  (due to the fact I didn’t have boxes of the same size) but I think this is part of it’s charm.  This custom storage basically cost me nothing… result!

Little places for little things

Little places for little things

Do you have a favourite recycled craft you can share with us? We love to see what people have made and are always looking for new ideas!

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Our review of Trevella Camping and Caravan Park, Cornwall

9 Jul

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We were so excited when asked to visit and review Trevella Park in Cornwall. When we checked out their website it sounded just perfect for us.  It is a Five Star Caravan and Camping Park and also has newly erected Safari Tents if you are a fashionable ‘glamper’.  There is no noisy clubhouse (been there, done that, never again!), loads of space for children to run around and they actively encourage children to enjoy all the space on the site and in the local area.

Trevella has been awarded the David Bellamy Conservation Gold Award for the last 15 years and when we arrived on site we could see why. The park is immaculately kept, whilst still allowing areas of wild grass to encourage wildlife. There are two man-made fishing lakes which have been planted as a nature reserve and look like they have been there forever! We walked around both lakes and were amazed by all the wildlife we saw.  The staff actively encourage ‘green’ travel around the area. A bus will pick you up right outside the gate and there is also a local taxi service which is very easy to book. You can recycle your waste at Trevella although I did think specific instructions for doing  this could have been given to us on arrival. We are very pro-active in doing this but I think a little more encouragement would not go amiss, for those families that may not think of doing so.

During the summer season (July 26th to August 30th) they also offer Ranger Activities and Campfire Storytelling which sounds just perfect for children with a love of the outdoors. The Ranger Activities includes:

  • Spooky night-time walks to spot moths and bats
  • building animal homes and feeding stations
  • discovering underwater insects
  • exploring underground mammal burrows with tiny cameras
  • catching bugs with pit-fall traps
  • survival skills including shelter building and map reading
  • freshwater fishing for beginners

As we visited out of the summer holidays we were not able to try out the ranger activities but I know my children would have just loved to try out everything on this list! We were at Trevella for 3 nights and we tried to cram in as much as we could but there is SO much to do in this part of Cornwall.  The first thing we wanted to do was to check out the outdoor heated pool. We’ve tried a fair few supposedly heated outdoor pools only to find that they are more like jumping into a freezing cold bath. Thankfully, the pool at Trevella really is heated to a good temperature and despite it being a very cloudy day we still managed to enjoy having a good swim. Well, when I say ‘we’ I mean Daddy and the children as I had an important job of  reading the paper by the pool taking photographs.

trevella-parkNext up on our list of ‘must do’ activities was to try out the walk from Trevella down to Crantock Beach. I am from Cornwall and have visited so many beaches and coves up and down the coast and Crantock has always been one of my  favourites. At low tide the tidal river leaves a multitude of warm pools which are perfect for small children. Be warned though you should definitely not venture into the river at high tide as it is very dangerous. The walk down to Crantock takes about half an hour with small children (or a lot longer if like us, you stop to play on the robe swings that can be found along the way). It is a beautiful walk, just head to the bottom of the park and find the ‘kissing gate’ and start your walk here. Initially the walk is through farmland and then it follows the beautiful Gannal Estuary. As a lover of Enid Blyton adventures, this walk has it all. Hidden coves, secret dens, bunnies and butterflies galore.  The children absolutely loved it!

Crantock-walk

If visiting Trevella with young children I would highly recommend a trip to The Lappa Valley Steam Railway. We LOVE it here and it is perfect for pre-teenage children. In addition to the lovely rides on the miniature steam trains, Lappa Valley is full of good, old-fashioned fun. There is a (very safe) boating lake and 3 lovely playgrounds, a brick maize and a great little cafe which sells good, healthy foods and some not so healthy but very yummy cakes! The gift shop on site is filled with gift ideas which are all surprisingly good value for money and we came away with quite a few purchases for our ‘Christmas drawer’.

There are too many other fantastic local attractions to mention in this post but if I had to suggest more then I would have to say Dairyland, Newquay and of course The Eden Project. If you want other ideas of what to do when visiting Cornwall then take a look at Trevella’s own 50 Great Adventures in Cornwall which is full of ideas that will keep you busy year after year. There are some great suggestions on here, many of which you can do for free.

So would I recommend Trevella to other people? Yes, most definitely! In fact I have been ever since we got back. It is a perfect setting for Cornwall family holidays and also great for couples or those with a passion for fishing. We saw a massive carp being landed from one of those lakes! If you do visit the park, please pop back here and share your holiday tips too!

A few more miscellaneous snaps from our Cornwall Adventure!

A few more miscellaneous snaps from our Cornwall Adventure!

Disclaimer: Trevella  provided me with a free 3-night break in a luxury caravan in return for an honest review of their Camping and Caravan Park. All comments and opinions are my own.

Another gorgeous day at Bigbury

18 Jun
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Photo taken on Burgh Island. You can see the hotel ahead and Bigbury beyond that.

Bigbury is one of our favourite spots in Devon.  We have had some gorgeous days out here.  Lucky for us it is only about 45 minutes from our house.

Bigbury is located near Kingsbridge in Devon. It’s official location is ‘The South Hams’ which is the part of Devon that everyone would love to live in but few of us can afford. The beach at Bigbury is gorgeous and has that perfect kind of sand that you always long for on a family seaside holiday. Perfect for making sand castles, digging holes, even for making sand sculptures.

The waters around Bigbury slope very slowly out to sea, so it is very safe for children. Head further out though and thrill seekers can often catch some good waves for surfing and other water sports. There are lots of opportunities for rock pooling here and caves that children can explore.

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Looking for secret tunnels in the caves!

We don’t mind remote beaches that have no facilities but sometimes you just want to know that everything is on hand. I think this is especially important if you plan to stay all day. Bigbury does have EVERYTHING! They have ‘award winning’ toilets (there’s a handy plaque outside informing you of their credentials!), there is a car park right next to the beach and there is an amazing Venus Cafe. The Cafe serves very good, reasonably priced foods and (this is the exciting bit….) you can get ice creams with gluten-free cones and gluten-free chocolate brownies too. There is also a small shop selling beach goods.

Picnic on the beach or if you want to get away from it all take the little cliff path just before the beach and you can usually eat in solitude whilst enjoying the glorious views (Just watch out for the Adders that can be found here).

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This little fella decided to join us for our picnic!

When you’ve had enough of sunbathing and making sand castles, there is a wonderful island to explore. Burgh Island can be accessed by foot during low tide or via sea tractor at high tide (current cost is £2 per person). The island is privately owned but you are allowed to walk around the western side of it and up to the summit. This is well worth doing as you can really escape the hustle and bustle of the beach and ‘get away from it all’. The path to the top is rugged and definitely not for the infirm. Do keep a close eye on children at all times as there is nothing to separate them from the cliff edge. Apart from the numerous butterflies and the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks below, you will find the island very peaceful and you can imagine some real ‘Enid Blyton’ adventures here! Lily and Thomas have renamed it ‘Kirrin Island’ for just this reason.

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If you need some refreshment after your walk you have two options on the island. One is the expensive but ‘oh so tempting’ Burgh Island Hotel.   A glamorous Art Deco Hotel with a very interesting history. Agatha Christie and Noel Coward are just two of the celebrities that stayed here pre-war and it now has its own helipad for visits from the rich and famous. Non-residents are welcome to Sunday lunch at £48 per person. All ingredients in the restaurant are carefully sourced from local producers. 80% of the ingredients come from within a 20 mile radius.
Pictures of Burgh Island Hotel - Hotel Photos
This photo of Burgh Island Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Right at the bottom of the island is The Pilchard Inn.   A ‘proper olde worlde’ little pub with a roaring fire and slate floors. Well worth a visit, just remember to keep an eye on the tide whilst you enjoy your drink or you could be faced with paying for the tractor to take you back to the mainland – that would make it a pretty expensive pint!

sea tractor

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