Thursday, 6 August 2020

Days Out in Kent - Reculver

Lockdown has made me realise how much there is to do in our local area.  We are so used to spending the school holidays and weekends exploring further afield when really we could spend more time discovering local gems and making the most of the landscape.  This week we visited Reculver, known mostly for the ruins that can be seen from miles away along the coast.  It is easy to reach by road (not so much by public transport) and we spent a long afternoon enjoying the sunshine and the park.

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

The ruins of the church are set on a small hill and are free to visit.  The children love climbing all over the walls and the sea is fenced off around.  There are plaques with more information and the views are spectacular.  Just down the hill from the ruins is a lovely playground surrounded by picnic benches.  All four of the children aged 4-9 loved the playground.  There were swings, slides, roundabouts and see saws as well as disabled swings which you need to bring your own harness for.  There was plenty of seating and the area is kept really clean.  There is a toilet block and two cafes on the site that serve ice cream, drinks and cakes as well as chips and basic food.  

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

Reculver connects along the coastline to Minnis Bay and you can walk or cycle along the promenade from here.  The car park for the ruins is spacious enough and costs £1.30 per hour.

My children loved exploring, they were fascinated by the ruins and they enjoyed the variety in the playground.  They are is part of a bigger country park and there are lots of walks and trails to discover more of the area as well as little pubs.  If you are looking to spend a day outdoors it is worth a visit and the children are looking forward to going back.


Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent

Reculver ruins, reculver castle, days out in Kent, days out with kids in kent


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Saturday, 1 August 2020

Nun Night Eight Year Old

The countdown started earlier than ever this year, I think with every passing year the excitement grows and unfortunately you will always be the last of your friends to have a birthday.  We are here though, I have just tucked you in for the last time as an eight year old and you will wake up nine, probably another inch taller and a little bit more grown up again.

Over lockdown you felt a bit younger again, you played more with toys and with your siblings once we took away friends and the social normalities but as things start to lift, as you find a social side of your gaming, as you went back to school for a few weeks, I saw you grow up again and we are caught in the middle now, two sides of you, the boy who is still my baby and the child who is racing towards independence and maturity.  


Eight was the year you seemed to learn more about the world, to understand things a bit better and to ask interesting questions.  It was the year you gained such amazing confidence skiing and I have seen recently how much you have progressed in swimming as you finally choose to swim in the sea after years of rarely going in past your ankles.  Eight was the year you started to think more about your future and your school report shows me how much you have been trying at school.  I still haven't managed to get you loving books but I will never give up trying.

This year your birthday is a bit different.  Lockdown is lifting and we can do much more than we could, but we still can't celebrate in the same ways and you are happy with a smaller party and a special family day out.  You have asked for a gaming headset so you can talk to your friends as you play on the x-box and you can't wait to connect.


These photos are from yesterday, we went to the beach after dinner and you wanted to go swimming in the sea and practice treading water.  You weren't that deep when I took these but you are turning into such a water baby and I love that.  You were so happy.  I find it hard to capture photos of you as you get older but I see you so clearly in these.  You are my son, my baby boy and my friend and I love getting to spend time one on one and learn more about you.

9 is going to be a big year, school is going to be different, everything will be different and year 5 is important in an area where you are expected to sit the 11+ in the first week of September (when you will have only just turned 10).  I know you are strong enough to cope with everything, you have a brilliant attitude to life and you can't wait to get stuck in to learning again.


Eight was full of fun but I think nine is going to be an exciting new adventure for you, I can't wait to be part of it.

Sleep tight my gorgeous eight year old, for tomorrow is a big day 

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Monday, 27 July 2020

Camping at Bedgebury Campsite

After months at home, we have been desperate for a change of scenery and decided to book a campsite in Bedgebury, Kent for a weekend alongside some friends.  The site came highly recommended and camping in its essence is outdoors and usually away from other people.  The site at Bedgebury was even bigger than we expected and we were allocated a wonderful field called 'Plum' with so much space to set up camp far from other families. 

The check in process was easy and we stayed in the car throughout whilst the staff in masks took our details and gave us directions.  The field we were assigned was surrounded by forest and had so much space we set up our camp far from other groups.  We were camping with some friends who also had children the same age as my older boys and it was nice to leave my little ones at home with Daddy and spend time with just the big ones.  

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

The site has many different areas but our field seemed to consist only of families.  There were several compost toilets which were kept clean, well stocked with sawdust and had sinks with anti bacterial soap.  There were washing up stations and showers too in each field.  It was a 5 minute walk to get to reception where there was a shop selling essentials and there was also a coffee truck there.  On the Saturday night there was both a pizza truck and a fish and chip van and you ordered food between 4 and 5 for collection that evening.  Unfortunately after queuing for 20 minutes we were told the only slots for Pizza were at 9pm so I would advise getting in the queue early (we got there at 4.03). It probably didn't help that it was raining and so campfire cooking was less appealing.

Our stay was wonderful and wild.  It rained from the early hours of Saturday morning into the early hours of Sunday without a single break but the children were unphased by it and continued to run free and barefoot, finding sticks, playing on the tyre swings that hung from many of the trees and tending the campfire.  The grounds are so well maintained and clean and the forest surrounding our field was perfect for little explorers.  

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

We cooked on the campfire the first night and toasted marshmallows both nights, trying to make the perfect smores.  The children forgot about everything and enjoyed just being there, we all did.  The feel of grass under foot, the smell of the air, the sound of light rain on the tent roof as you fall asleep, the exhaustion from spending all day outdoors (coming into the tent reluctantly to eat as it was raining being the only exception) and spending time with good friends.  It was exactly what we all needed and reminded me how we don't need our big travels all the time to get away from real life for a bit and relax.

There were some great sounding local places to explore but as we only had two nights booked, we were keen to slow down the pace and just enjoy spending time on the campsite.  It is definitely somewhere we plan to return to though and next time we hope to check out Bedgebury Pinetum and Scotney Castle.  At Bedgebury campsite you really feel miles from anywhere, immersed in the countryside and it is a brilliant place for families.  

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog
Perfecting my Smores

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog
The toilets were clean and well maintained 

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog
The fields were all spacious and easy to camp away from others

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog
We did eat in the tent due to the rain

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog, eurohike air tent

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog
I look a little frizzy after being rained on all day

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog
The entrance to Plum field

camping with kids, bedgebury campsite, family travel blog
The showers
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Wednesday, 22 July 2020

What the Kids are Wearing - Reima Sneakers

(Ad- Press Samples)

All 4 children ended up going back to their schools for some time at the end of term.  Dylan had 4 weeks of full time, Finn 3 weeks of part time, Archie got 4 days and Cora had 6 hours a week for a few weeks.  It has been difficult but they were all desperate to go back and it did them good.  Today is the last day of term though and the summer holidays is officially beginning for us.

After a strange few months, I think this summer is going to be quite different for us too as many of the things we usually do, like festivals are unable to open this year and we don't have many travel plans but we are looking forward to spending lots of time outdoors and getting as much 'normality' as we can whilst the sun is shining.  Some things have changed temporarily over this lockdown period and some things permanently. I hope that we continue to make the most of the beautiful area we live in and explore it further.


Reima let the children all pick some new trainers and it was no surprise to me when two of them went for pink.  For these mini explorers shoes need to be above all else practical, suitable for climbing and running and they don't want anything 'boring'.  I love the fact the same style crosses sizes so they all have matchy shoes, but the boys all have elastic laces and Cora has velcro.  The velcro sizes go from a  UK 6 to a UK 11 and the elastic sizes from a UK 11 to a UK 6.  As Dylan's feet grow at an astonishing rate it is nice to have easy shoes that fit him whilst most shops have moved on to a grown up style and real laces.  We also love that they are all machine washable!


I took a few photos of the children playing in their favourite place the other day, we met a friend there and the little ones loved borrowing her dog and taking him for walks.  (It is still a firm no to having our own though).  If you want to check out the Reima Sneakers then click through here

Now to look forward to an extra six weeks with these special little people of mine!








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Sunday, 5 July 2020

An Evening at the Beach

The sun has been shining and our little corner of the world is surrounded by beaches so we are usually able to find a quiet one.  We decided to head there on the afternoon of the Summer Solstice and celebrated the longest day of the year with a BBQ on the beach and a swim in the sea.  The children all chose some new sun wear  which was gifted from Reima and it was one of the best evenings we have had in a long time.



It was 9pm before I could peel them away from the water.  The beach had lost its appeal a bit in the past but I think the lockdown and the closing of a lot of places has made us all appreciate the nature around us a bit more.  I have seen people get more involved in their local forests, discover new fields and footpaths and get to know their areas more.  For us we have tried different beaches to normal to avoid any crowds and the children have rediscovered the love of the sand and the sea.  They have been much more confident in the water than before and I love watching their imaginations as they play in the sand.

Archie managed to find a dead fish which provided a lot of entertainment and discussion (basically a science lesson?) and they were all fascinated to prod and poke it and ask about how it had washed up here.  Finn and Cora loved climbing all over the rocks and Dylan wanted to be in the water all day and refused to take his shoes off.

The Reima swimwear is all UPF 50+ protected and I like the long sleeves option to know the boys are more protected.  All 4 children chose their own and Finn was so excited to see his pink top when it arrived.  Dylan is easy to spot in his bright orange and I love how you can see their personalities through their choices!

For my family, this is what this section of lockdown is all about.  Spending time together, enjoying each other, staying outdoors and in our own space but having the freedom to be here.  I have got into better habits of bringing all our own drinks and snacks after everything shut and it means we are spending less and have more freedom on where we go (the main sands have ice cream huts and chips etc but this beach doesn't have any food or drink ammenities).  I hope that when the children and I look back on this time, these are the memories that last.















Reima swimwear is available on their website and the sizing is best to base on their heights rather than ages.  (All the children are wearing the correct sizes for their height bracket but only two are in the correct age)
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