PIRATEY EXPLORATIONS AT WORMS HEAD..

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We decided to have a piratey adventure & go off in search of pirate loot & treasures, with a jar if chocolate coins and broken necklaces in my pocket we headed out… On this occassion we did not make it over to the island but we did return and carry out our adventure again at a later date…
Here’s how we got on…

Our adventure took place looking out to The Worms Head… Rhossili Bay. This was our intended island to explore, when we got there we had to wait until low tide to be able to cross the causeway, our window of opportunity was late in the afternoon so did not give us enough time to explore fully before the sunset and darkness descended so I decided to do our pirate treasure discoveries on the coastline side of the causeway. Once you establish what time low tide is you have 2.5hrs either side to cross the causeway without being cut off.

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The causeway path covered in ocean at high tide…

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Because the tide took its time to recede (tidal times are still a dependant on mother natures plans, today’s given tide was at least 45 minutes off predicted times) we sat and watched the seals and dolphins circling the island, these were the guardians of the islands treasure

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We made our way down to the start of the causeway that heads out to the island, once there the kids set off to explore the rocky beach and rockpools given me chance to secretly place chocolate coins in rock crevices for the kids to stumble upon. (Budgens, 2 bags for Β£1)

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I placed some coins and pearl beads off of a bracelet into a jar and used my permanent marker to draw a pirate skull on the lid…

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Mila discovered the loot!!!

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I bought a giant chocolate coin that coincidently had a pirate ship design on it, available in Sainsburys as part of their Christmas range, Β£2 each

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The beach was littered in ankle deep amounts of shells, discarded by mermaids…

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Mila spotted the loot glinting in the sunshine….

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TREASURE!!!

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We found a shipwreck sticking out of the sand. The ocean-stripped oak carcass of the Helvetia shipwreck is today an easily located wreck, swept precariously around Worm’s Head into the shallow waters of Rhossili Bay…. The kids preferred it to be a prehistoric sea serpent looking over the pirate island..

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We thought the shells looked like butterflies so we made a flower..

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As the sun went down we took some time to sit and reflect on our day and write a poem as we looked over to the island where Dylan Thomas had sat and wrote many of his looking back at the shoreline for inspiration.

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We didn’t make it over to the island on this occasion (but we did return!) which made the mystery and enchantment of it’s closely guarded secrets a good old piratey tale to tell…. As the sun went down we ate our chocolatey loot and reflected on a good day and made plans for our return πŸ™‚

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If you would like to follow more our daily, fun, frugal & magical memory making activities & adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can also find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=tn_tnmn

BUTTERFLY HUNTING

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We decided to embark on our own butterfly hunt, we made butterflies to lay along our route & gathered up our nets, magnifying glass and a book to identify our discoveries. Our hunt took place at the beautiful Heddons Mouth in Devon, a beautiful walk through a wooded valley to an idyllic picturesque beach cove. I even managed to buy some chocolate butterflies and bugs at the National Trust shop at the beginning of our walk to have as a surprise once we got to the beach..
Here’s how we got on…

We started by making our butterflies which I would then secretly place in the bushes along our route..>

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With our nets in hand we set off..>

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I hid our butterflies along the way..>

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and the kids found them..>

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along with lots of real butterflies..>

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20140330-112904.jpg we even caught some in our bug observatories to get a closer look..>

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We carried on the marked route and made our way down to the beach..>

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It was a beautiful pebble beach..

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And once we arrived I carefully placed our yummy chocolate treats whilst the kids carried on with their search..
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They soon discovered the chocolate butterflies!!>

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As we headed back through the woods we looked out for signs of butterflies and found evidence of hungry caterpillers..>

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Finally we collected leaves, petals and twigs to make our own beautiful butterfly!!>

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MAD BLOG AWARDS 2014

20140329-135143.jpgHow did we get here…

2 years ago I’d never even heard of blogging, my only form of social networking was a personal Facebook page, twitter evaded me (& still does) and anything else with more that a few channels or Apps on would completely drift over my head, I knew how to log into Facebook on my iPhone but was lost if I needed to navigate my way to finding my own phone number, and nothing has really changed or moved on much, I daren’t try changing the radio station in the car as I struggle to return from the white noise back to a decipherable tune. I have a love for photography but do little else than push a singular button and hope for the best…. To be fair I’m pretty crap with technology all around, a cashpoint machine is probably my most adventurous, eligible & successful technological achievement even though not losing my card or remembering the pin are a whole different struggle. I try over & over again to make myself learn this new era, the way forward, but simplicity swamps my head & I often give up before I’ve even started, then my failings in not seeing things through after promising to force myself to learn make my head hurt. I want to learn, more than anything I want to learn but the whole process of being able to do what the rest of the online world seemingly seems to be doing with ease makes me feel defeated. I want to be a confident, able & successful blogger…
So I continue to try, blindly, without knowledge or understanding of what I’m doing, pretty much like clicking the button on my camera & hoping for the best…. This is how I blog, I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t got a blumming clue, I struggle to organise myself or dust up my memory enough to remember what my passwords & user names are, I don’t know the basics, the jargon is like a foreign language, simple things like replying to comments muddle me & I’ve more chance of picking winning lottery numbers than explaining to you what a widget is, the water seems deep & as long as I tread it then I’m hoping that that’s enough…. But I want to learn, I want to swim in an ocean of bloggers, ideally I would like to sail in tranquil waters in a sea of crystal clad blue… I’m just learning, & thankful for being afloat.

My taste for blogging really started on Facebook, my comfort zone & security blanket. Almost two years ago just after our 6th child, baby Noah, arrived in the world, we set off on an adventure to inspire others to make magical childhood memories regardless of amenities, abilities, location or finances by posting what we do as a family, and it’s been a truly beautiful journey so far & continues to be so. I’ve shared stupid amounts of good stuff, bad stuff, highs, lows, up & downs, I’ve laid bare our everyday lives & never been ashamed of the lack of money in our pockets or unfortunate situations life has thrown us, I’ve shared smiles, laughter, milestones & life changing events in sickness and in health, happiness & sadness, I’ve shared our dysfunction as a family… But our real aim has been in sharing the little things that tick over a fleeting childhood & make it enchanting, the magical ability that we firmly believe we have as parents to install memories, I’ve shared the effort and the enthusiasm of our actions as parents & the joys in reaping what we sow, I’ve shared my belief that parenting has no wrong or right way, no mapped out suggested direction,nobody is perfect, we make mistakes, i’ve shared those mistakes….we’ve shared adventure & explorations, blue skies & mountains, waterfalls & the oceans, we’ve shared our love for the outdoors & eating cake on mountain tops, we’ve shared slight of hand, illusion & many discoveries of fairies & natural beauty…I’ve shared with you almost everything that parenting throws at me, Family Days has shared the love that exudes from our hearts..
…..and it appears to have been gratefully accepted and returned to us in the form of inspiration to make more memories, keep dancing through the rain & the confirmation that our page & blog confirms that dysfunctional is indeed an accepted normality, we all journey in the same direction…

Rest assured we still continue to adventure & are just embarking on a truly beautiful, scary & magical exploration, shortly to be revealed & shared….very soon.

My reasoning for this post.

Ultimately it’s a thank you…
I don’t often write much on my blog, trying to gain advice within the bloggers community It was once suggested to keep things short & sweet should I ever want to become a successful blogger, so that’s what I started to do, I steered away from long winded and became… Short. Sweet. Basic. No blabbering on…I reserve that addiction for Family Days on Facebook…
Unlike the essays & rambling I first started out with on my blog, it seemed a strange direction to move from because I enjoy writing, I love to babble, so for today it’s your choice if you’d like to read on & my hope that you’ll continue.
I can’t really tell you what a tough couple of weeks we’ve had in the Family Days household, it’s been a bumpy ride that our followers may be a little familiar with, a 5 year old with a dodgy heart has certainly tested us recently (but not grounded us!), the loss of a dear friend, a health scare & circle of life situations have all come rapping on our door at once…but we’ve smiled, faced reality, never hidden the children from the everydayness of life that will ultimately round them as people & we’ve cracked on appreciating the good & eating cake….but from out of our darkness came an unexpected & incredibly bright light! A pat on the back for the last (almost) 2 years, a high five, for me…a huge achievement…

I AM A FINALIST IN THE MAD BLOG AWARDS 2014 FOR BEST FAMILY FUN!!!

Dysfunction is what we do best with family fun coming in at a close second πŸ˜‰

Obviously I would like to win but that’s enough for me, I felt a sense of specialness to learn a few weeks ago that Family Days Tried & Tested had been nominated and to since add to that glorious cake and find out we’ve become finalists….I have to admit it’s made my head dizzy. Which doesn’t take a lot. It’s made all the times I’ve sat at the computer wondering if I could cut it as a blogger & if blogging was a place for me seem an answerable question. I think I’m swimming.

Over 200.000 nominations were received in the Mad Blog awards! That’s insane. 75 blogs reached the finals. That’s ludicrous. 5 blogs became finalists in each category. Just 5. We are one of those 5 & I really can’t explain how ridiculously humbling that is. Does that make me a successful blogger? In my heart, that’s more than enough & I am excruciatingly proud of myself…

Apologies for babbling, but Eeeeeeekkkkk πŸ˜€

If you fancy voting for us to win then that would be lovely, you can do so by following the link below, look for ‘Family Days Tried & Tested’ in the ‘Best Family Fun’ category.
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.the-mads.com%2Fawards%2F&h=bAQETnRbhAQGNeplmxztBdzYUXFnzus-qpdGmnX3IR90Kig&enc=AZNRw8TekSq0hzFCN4tay0sybzSFamWNXGSLTkB9HdMMiyEp0BfOiT9Aaxs1xKVhgM19jdUrbOEOFoZeq9Hne-JW&s=1

Good luck to everyone in the running and if ever there was an excuse to eat cake then now we have one πŸ˜€

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If you would like to follow more our daily, fun, frugal & magical memory making activities & adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can also find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=tn_tnmn

SEARCHING FOR RAINBOWS

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We decided to go on a search for the colours of the rainbow! We choose a day where the weather was forecast for sunny spells and showers in hope of finding a rainbow… We did indeed find a rainbow on our adventure and even a pot of gold at the end!!

Here’s how we got on.

We headed out under a beautiful BLUE sky…

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We headed towards a Lavender PYO farm but kept our eye out for colours on the way…
We found a field of GREEN..>

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and a field of PURPLE..>

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We ate RED apples, found ORANGE flowers, PINK flowers & glorious YELLOW sunflowers..>

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We embraced all the colours we could find..>

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And then it started to rain!!! And we embraced that too..
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And with the rain we found our RAINBOW!!!
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And of course whilst the kids danced in the rain it gave me ample opportunity with slight of hand so lay a pot of gold for them to discover πŸ™‚
Our colour was a great success made even more beautiful by the luck of ending the day under a rainbow πŸ™‚ >

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MAN V FOOD THEMED DINNER

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We decided we wanted to do our own Man V Food challenge…. So we set about turning the kitchen table into our Family Days Diner…
Here’s how we got on…

We started with an empty table space..

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I hung some wallpaper on the wall with drawing pins..

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I then used black paint to make our diner tiles..

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We then painted and hung our banner and some mega burgers..

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I went to the supermarket & bought, onion rings, fries, cheese, a tin of chilli, coke & mince to make our burgers….
We mixed the mince with breadcrumbs, egg, onion & some salt and pepper to season…
The kids mixed the mixture together..

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And then formed the patties..

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We made labels for our vase of coke..

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and our burger tower..

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We painted a piece of card black to use as our menu board and stood it up by pushing it into a potato..

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We made certificates for the winners and losers..

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And we set about cooking our food..

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We had stacked onion rings and burgers, I pushed skewers into potatoes to use as our stackers..

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and a vase of coke..

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We also had cheesy chips..

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We battled through our dinner and ate till our bellies could take no more…in the end the food won…

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If you would like to follow more of our daily, fun & magical memory making activities and adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can find us on Facebook for more https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=hl

FEATHER HUNT ADVENTURE

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We decide we were going to embark on a feather hunt! A few weeks before I had managed to find a peacock feather in a charity shop along with an old straw hat that we would use to display all our collected finds, I hid these from the kids as they were to be the basis for our hunt. (You can buy peacock feathers very cheaply on EBay or in craft shops)
I gave the children the straw hat and told them we were heading out on a search, I hid the peacock feather carefully up my sleeve ready to be placed when they were but watching….
Then we headed out…
Here’s how we got on….

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Our hat started looking wonderful!!>

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And then we found a peacock feather!!! The kids though it was glorious, it was beautiful..>

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Our hat looked awesome!
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A simple walk was turned into a magical adventure with just a few feathers πŸ™‚

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JUNK BAND

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We decided we wanted to make our own instruments with things we had around the house..
Here’s what we did…

We used some balloons which we’d cut the neck off and stretched over beakers to make our drums…

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We used the neck ends of our balloons to make our duck quaker kazoos, we cut a piece of lollipop stick to approx an inch and stretched the end of the balloons over them..

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We put some uncooked rice in a dry bottle to make our maracas..

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Our square guitars were made using the lid from a Ferraro Roche box which we stretched elastic bands over..

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Finally, all good bands have a leader so we made a loud speaker for them using a milk carton..

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Our instruments were really simple to make and very noisy and we had lots of fun…

If you would like to find more daily frugal & fun memory making activities & adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can follow us on Facebook, come Take a peek https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=hl

BEACH ACTIVITIES & FUN. FAMILY DAYS TOP 30 TRIED & TESTED.

Sunbathing & paddling, sandcastle building & salt n vinegar chippies, ice creams, rock pools and rubber rings…gotta love them all.
But here’s our list of alternative things to do at the beach…

No 1…Fairy shell houses. Decorate shells with permanent marker pens to make your own seashore fairy village.

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No 2…Driftwood bridges. Use string to tie together collected driftwood to make bridges fit for the rockpool trolls.>

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No 3…Beach operation. Out take on the traditional board game, we used a rake to create out patient and dug holes to represent the operating locations, we then used pebbles to throw into the wounds.>

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No 4…Rock pool viewing bottles. We carefully cut a slot from the side if an empty pop bottle to enable us to push it into shallow pools to view the sea life..>

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No 5…Cork sail boats. Use bottle corks and elastic bands to make your boats, finish with paper sails secured with a cocktail stick.>

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No 6…Finding treasure. This can be done many ways, bottle with messages, pebbles that mark the spot, maps with clues…
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No 7…Rock painting. Simply take a paintbrush to paint the rocks with water.>

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No 8…Rock cakes. Take pens to make your own cakes.
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No 9…Sea life viewing bottles. Wash out bottles & then fill with things you capture from rock pools, ideal to watch sea snails crawling about.>

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No 10…Posh tea party. Have a look in charity shops for fine china oddments & then take them to the beach for a sandy tea!>

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No 11…Punch & Judy. Use a cardboard box to make your Punch and Judy theatre and socks with laminated characters to make your puppets.>

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No 12… Raft building. Take string and use driftwood to build a raft.
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No 13…Imagination, we used out imagination to make an istone iPhone.;

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No 14…Discovering pearls. I used an old broken bracelet and secretly placed the pearls in shells within rock pools for the kids to stumble upon.>

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No 15…lollipop stick puppets.>

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No 16…Picture frame art. I took a small amount of plaster of Paris & a photo frame to the beach, we mixed the plaster of Paris and poured it into our frame glass before pushing in our beach treasures.>

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No 17…Tin foil boating lakes. Build trenches and line with foil, fill with water & sail til your hearts content.>

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No 18…Ocean in a jar. Fill a jar with sand & shells and listen closely to the sounds of the seaside when you open it. (The same concept as listening to a seashell) >

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No 19… Seaside sand play dough. We took some flour & a small amount of cooking oil, we mixed it together with sand to form our dough.>

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No 20… Beach comb boat building. Simple, beach a boat from your beach treasures.>

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No 21…beach side artists. Take your paints to the seaside.
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No 22…Ocean sensory bottles.>

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No 23…skim stones.>

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No 24…Tic Tac Toe pebbles. Take paint to make your own fishes & star fish game.
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No 25… Simply sit and watch the sun disappear..>

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26..Body Part Identification. Draw a person and write body parts on pebbles, ask the children to place the pebble where the body part is located..

IMG_5667.JPG27…Sand sculptures…don’t just make sand castles…

IMG_5664.JPG28…Dune Surfing…

IMG_5663.JPG29..Targets..

IMG_5668.JPG30..Inflatable boat paddling pool….simply fill your boat with water..

IMG_5666.JPG31..Sundial…make your own sundial

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SUNDAY MORNING SUNRISE ON TOR Y FOEL

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Making the effort to venture out to watch the sunrise can be beautifully rewarding, our favourite place to watch the sunrise is from Tor Y Foel mountain in the Brecon Beacons National park, it lied adjacent and overlooking Talybont reservoir. The parking spot is high enough to be able to take in 360 panoramic views with very minimum effort, with a little effort thrown in & a 15 walk you will be treated to a sumptuous outlook over Brecon & Abergavenny….
Here’s some of the beautiful sunrises we’ve captured…

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Marked in the photo below on a map taken from google images, the address if this spot is…
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BAGUETTE BATTLE PICNIC COMPETITION

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With a love of Subway in tow we decided to head to the forest for a springtime picnic with a difference… We were going to have a baguette battle & compete in making our own deliciously filled baguettes.
We had a few other activities on the agenda including duck feeding, fairy door building & searching for signs of spring, but first and foremost was a visit to the supermarket for yummy supplies… Our budget was Β£10 to share between 4 children & 2 adults.

Our adventure took place at Cannops ponds in the Forest of Dean…
Here’s how we did…

We made a simple sign with our white board..

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And we set up our table with everything we needed to fill our baguettes..

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And the kids cracked on with making their delightful creations..

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We made simple chef hats by putting together two pieces of paper and folding like a concertina fan, we then put sticky tape along each end and opened up to fit on our heads…
Even Noah had a go at a chocolate spread & banana baguette…

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Ever one was very proud!

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After we had finished we cleared away our picnic table ready to make some fairy doors..

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We placed our doors in the tree bases..

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We then headed for a walk around the duck ponds… Noah got weigh laid with puddles & his sisters welly…

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We found mythical water tree dragons that we climbed on and tamed….

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And headed deeper into the forest to explore…the girls searched for secret places….

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But most often ended up at the waters edge..

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I hope they were contemplating the day & appreciating being sisters…

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As we headed home we stopped of at the arboretum to search for signs of spring and found some beautiful blossom…

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We had a really good day and with full bellies we headed home to decide who was to be awarded the coveted & prestigious golden baguette award πŸ™‚

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If you would like to follow more of our daily, frugal & fun memory making activities and adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=hl