National Bird Watch

Last weekend was Big Garden Birdwatch Day from the RSPB and we decided it would be fun to join in and see what was happening in our garden. We gave our bird table a good clean and set to work on making a range of delicious tempting treats to see what we could entice into our garden. I have enjoyed several bird food making posts on Country Kids this season and remember the fun we had making and filling our table last year

We set to work out on our garden bench with some cereals and raisins, a pan of melted lard and a ball of wool. I was delighted at how enthusiastic the children were happily threading cheerios onto lengths of wool. Even a teen came to join in, always a bonus!

Birdwatch making cheerio chains

Next the children crushed up bran flakes and added them to the melted lard together with oats and raisins and gave them a good stir to combine.


 Birdwatch making cereal balls

It took a few minutes for the lard to begin to solidify leaving just enough time for a quick game on our Christmas trampoline which is still in daily use. They have developed a game of their own involving a football and much bouncing and shouting. I am so glad we have a good safety net which is needed rather too often as they reach for the ball.


Trampolining kids


As the mix began to set I called the children back over to get their hands stuck into the mix and make it into balls. They then placed their bird balls on the table and hung the Cheerio chains around the edge.

 Bird Watch - Hanging up the homemade food


Satisfied with their efforts they retreated to watch and they weren’t the only ones!

Bird Watch - Ready & Waiting


It wasn’t long before their efforts were rewarded. Well once they stopped jumping on the trampoline and playing football in the garden I mean. We saw blackbirds, a magpie, a cheeky robin that collected the fallen pieces from the garden bench as well as from the bird table, a pair of blue tits and a chaffinch However whenever I had the video running there was nothing to see just a beautiful bird song against the backdrop of the river.


Bird Watch at Coombe Mill


We will be keeping our table topped up until spring when nature brings its own food once again for our two legged friends.


Bird Watch Rewarded

Joining in with Country Kids.

Country Kids is all about enjoying the outdoors. It is so easy to stay inside on these winter days, relax in the central heating and watch something on television. However children have energy to burn and they settle so much better to the comfort of indoors after a blast of fresh air. So grab your wellies, wrap up warm and have a little outdoor fun. Take a camera with you and come back and share your adventure. Whether it is the garden like us this week, a day out, an interesting walk to school or a play in the park I love to see what you have been doing. Please grab the badge code below and be inspired by the others who have linked up here too. There are always some great ideas.

A few of my favourite posts from last week: 

Wild Women Wear enjoys the local nature reserve in the evening light.

Podcast discovers the wildlife trail at Clandon Park

Diary of the Evens-Crittens supports the Team Honk Relay with some adventure park challenges

I love the “just do it” attitude to the weather with these muddy walks from Mummy of Two and Redpeffer

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Top 10 ANNOYING things my Dad does!Clio & Dad

By Clio Cambouropoulos

To you my Dad is known as Farmer Nick. You will think he is the smiley, chatty and jolly farmer on his tractor. I’m going to share another side of Farmer Nick (My Dad.) These are the top 10 annoying things my Dad does to me and my brothers. I am going to start at number 10 and work my way backwards to number one; number one being the most annoying in my view.



Whenever he goes shopping about 99.9% of what he buys is Asda smart price, Tesco value or a special offer. I find this embarrassing as all my friends seem to come to school with cool brands.

 Smart Price and Value goods


Whenever we play a song he will always say “Is this Justin do dah?” and we reply “no Dad it is not Justin do dah the singer is …!”I think he knows really but he loves to wind us up.


 Clio listening to music


My Dad is always calling people nicknames he calls me “Elle Lazo” but I say “Dad I am not lazy, I help Mum with her blog actually!”


 El Lazo


Dad listens to his horrific and annoying 1980’s music like punk at max volume. We all HATE it!


 Dad's 1980's music



My Dad will start a sentence and then 30 seconds later he will finish it. Often we try to finish it for him but then he gets annoyed when our guess is wrong!


 Dad talking to me



Dad only ever wears his famer clothes; he wears them if he is in town or if he is in Asda or even on holiday.

 Dad the farmer at the Olympics


Whenever Dad see’s a frog he will say “Clio kiss it, it might become a prince.”


 klissing a frog to call a Prince

And now we have got to the top 3 ANNOYING things my Dad does to me and my and my brothers.


To my Dad every after school club is “dancing club!” Actually I go to Gymnastics, ballet and tap dancing and they are not the same.


He cuddles me so, so, so hard and I have to squeal in return, which I think annoys him quite a lot too!


Daddy cuddles


This is most certainly the most annoying thing my Dad does:

He snores through every program and when he is asleep on the sofa we try and steal the remote to change channels but as soon as we try he will wake up and say “Oi I was watching that!”Then he will fall straight back to sleep! So we send him to bed. Unfortunately he often does not go to bed when we send him to bed so we have to put up with it, or we will go down stairs to watch our program in the kitchen!     


Dad asleep in front of the TV


Does everyone have a Dad who is as annoying as mine? I’m sure my friends Dad’s are much more normal and far less embarrassing than mine. Don’t get me wrong, he is funny and loving too and I wouldn’t swap him for the world, but changing a few of his ways would be cool. Next time he takes you on a farm tour to feed the animals, watch out for the jokes if you see a frog! 

Dad and Clio

To Dad with love from Clio 


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Coombe Mill Fallow Deer Stag




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The prospect of a sunny weekend fills me with hope and the love of life; I just have to get out in some form and enjoy that fresh air. This was one of those days. We have had such a long stretch of wet winter weather it was wonderful to see snowdrops appearing and a properly sunny day and we all agreed to leave our various chores for a stomp up Rough Tor.

Snowdrops for Spring

Rough Tor

Pronounced ” Rou Tor” is a collection of rocky granite outcrops high up on Bodmin Moor. At only a fifteen minute drive from Coombe Mill it is perfect for a Sunday afternoon walk.  I hadn’t realised until we parked up in the free car park that it is part of the Forestry Commission. We weren’t the only ones with this idea; the car park was full to overflowing with everyone wanting to enjoy the sunshine.


The Forestry Commission Car Park at Rough Tor

My children are growing tweens and teens, yet still they have a young child’s approach to clothing. If it is warm when they step out of Coombe Mill they can’t imagine that fifteen minutes up the road it might be very different. In reality we are tucked away in a lush warm valley and Rough Tor is high up and exposed to all of natures finest weather. Guy had seriously under dressed and it wasn’t long before he had persuaded Clio to lend him her coat while I lent Clio my gillet; just as well Mum had layers to spare! Anyway the explanation is necessary for Guy to agree to photos in a purple coat! He had at least worn his wellies, Clio her trusted Muck boots & me my Rockfish Wellies in anticipation of a few puddles along the way. 


Puddles Galore


Felix, Theo and Jed set off at breakneck speed on some sort of race to the top and I had no chance of catching them. The rest of us took it at a more leisurely pace, chatting, admiring the magnificent views and debating our route.


Enjoying a winter walk up Rough Tor


Clio, Guy and I were last to the top after taking the hardest route up the face of the rocks. At times I felt I was back at Go Ape in France but without the safety harness! 


Rough Tor - a Tricky climb

We made it safely to the top and joined the others who were hopping from stone to stone and suggesting I could do the same. I think I am relatively fit but there is no way I am as agile as my children or have their head for heights. It was more of a careful climb for me just to say I stood on each summit! 

Rough Tor - at the top

I love this photo with them all looking so carefree.

Rough Tor - On top of the world

There is an impressive cast iron memorial plaque on one of the highest rock faces in memory of the 42nd Wessex Division who lost their lives serving in the war between 1944 and 1945. A little Google research suggests these men were ground troops in Germany creating a route out for paratroopers who had evaded capture along the river Rhine and heavily involved in missions to capture German crossing points. Reading these accounts make me very glad we live in the modern day.

 Remembrance plaque on Rough Tor Summit

I remembered there were some fun caves and tunnels between the rock formations; of course the children had already discovered these and lead me down to see. As they clambered through the tunnels I realised how much they had grown since I last watched them scamper through these tunnels three years ago!


By the time we had finished our hilltop play and wound our way back to the car we had whiled away the whole of the afternoon sun. It was an afternoon I was so pleased to have encouraged everyone out, all bar farmer Nick who we left sorting out the problems of waterlogged drains back on the farm, well that wouldn’t have made for nearly such a fun post now would it?

 A beautiful walk to Rough Tor


Joining in with Country Kids

I hope the January blues haven’t kept you indoors. Take those opportunities for some natural outdoor fun when you can, grab a camera and enjoy the fresh air. The forestry Commission has some real gems with plenty to stimulate young minds. If you want to find your nearest site there is a map on their website. Otherwise, parks, beaches and even the garden can be perfect for a little outdoor fun. Please grab the badge, link up and check out some of the other lovely ideas here for outdoor fun and learning.  

A few of my favourite posts from last week

Stick Man rules at the Forestry Commission sites this season as enjoyed by Lakes Singles Mum and Over 40 & Mum to One

I love the adventure in this walk from Over There to Here which reminds me of our trip this week making the most of the natural beauty around us. 

The Project Lab combines castles and beaches in a winter weekend away.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

For ladies who lunchA salad to share with girlfriends

January blues have hit and I’m feeling the effects of one too many Christmas chocolates around my middle. I can’t bear the thought of diets, but am very happy to indulge in some fresh and tasty alternatives to the cold weather winter stodge. Nick came home with a couple of packs of reduced to clear figs, knowing that I adore them and would put them to good use. I have made cakes and ice cream with them in the past, but I fancied a tasty healthy supper to accompany my white wine, I know, not great on the calories, but some things I am not prepared to give up! This dish is perfect for lunchtime or a late supper as it is not too heavy yet surprisingly filling, it also has a sweetness to it to take away my need for chocolate. I am going to cook this for a girl’s night as I know all my friends would love it, Farmer Nick on the other hand took one look and was glad to be off to the pub with his friends for dinner! 

Ingredients for 2 to 3 people

1 medium butternut squash

4 ripe fresh figs, skinned and quartered

Small bunch of spring onions choppedbutternut squash & fig salad ingredients

3 sticks of celery chopped

1 red pepper cut into large chunks

Lettuce leaves 

100g dried noodles cooked and drained

Feta cheese chunks

Black olives

Oregano, salt and pepper

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar 



Heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Peel and chop the butternut squash, place a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil in a roasting tin and add the chunks. Scatter with sea salt, black pepper and oregano and roast for 15 minutes.

Remove the veg from the oven, shake and add chopped celery and pepper pieces, return to oven and cook for a further 10 minutes until all the veg are just soft.


Roasted butternut squash, celery & peppers


Meanwhile make the balsamic glaze by placing 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons water and a teaspoon of olive oil in a saucepan. Simmer for about 3 – 5 minutes to reduce and reserve for serving.


Balsamic glaze

Cook the noodles on the hob in plenty of fresh boiling water for 3 minutes and drain.

Prepared ingredients ready to assemble & Serve

Place the lettuce on the base of the plate, add the warm noodles, then roasted veg. Scatter the feta, olives and chopped spring onion over the top and place the fig quarters round the edge. Finish by drizzling the balsamic glaze over the top.

Enjoy your healthy feast with friends and a cheeky glass of wine!

Finished butternut Squash Salad


I’m linking this recipe with these lovely linkys. Why not pop over and see what others have been creating?

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