Athens Acropolis by open top bus

Posted on July 27th, 2018 - Fiona

We had visited the acropolis with our older boys in 2016 and were keen to return with the triplets on our 2018 holiday to Greece. Staying in Vouliagmeni, in our cousin’s holiday apartment, for the week was a perfect opportunity. May half term was very hot by English standards and the triplets at 14 were not best pleased with the suggestion of a sweaty bus ride followed by hiking up some ancient ruins. However part of the deal was that the holiday would be more than just sitting on a beach plugged into WiFi and so we had a truce. To all our delight we found a tourist bus service with open top buses running across the coast road where we were staying and up to Athens.

 

Athens Acropolis by Open Top Bus

Our bus line terminated at the acropolis and covered a very pleasant 40 minutes with the wind in our hair on the top deck . There were free personal headsets for everyone with Greek music and a tour guide in 7 languages. We tuned into the English and found the journey very informative. We realised the stretch of coast we were staying in was developed as an upmarket holiday resort from the 1960s which explains the hotels, apartments, tavernas, shops and harbours with magnificent boats.

Open tour bus to Athens Acropolis

We also passed a ww2 cemetery beautifully maintained with foreign, unnamed graves, many of whom are believed to have been English. This may help explain why the Greeks are welcoming to the English.

Athens ww2 Cemetery

The final stretch inland to the centre of Athens is busy with traffic, horns, heat and typical city scenes of shops and cafes.

Central Athens in an open top bus

Finally we reach our destination and prepare for a trek up the acropolis. I have been many times but the sight never fails to impress. Even in the heat of the day it is worth every step. We noticed the queues to pay for tickets were much less than in July, when we last visited, but May is early summer season Greece. Kids go free which is always a bonus with triplets. Students are also free with a valid student card and OAPs have a reduced rate but again you need ID, even my 82 year old Mother in Law needed to prove she was over 65! As we climbed, the kids took in their surroundings and began to take photos and selfies, a sure sign they were secretly impressed.

Walking up the Acropolis

Even though virtually everything has been or is being restored, it still gives a huge sense of history. Replicas of the Elgan Marbles were in place, the originals were pinched by the Brits and our in our National History Museum! Hopefully one day we might return them. The size and scale is immense and how it was originally constructed is still a mystery with the lack of machinery available. We enjoyed a good hour looking round from every angle and out at the vast sprawl of Athens below.

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By the time we reached the bottom we were all in need of a drink and a rest and sort out a pretty relaxing lunch spot.

lunch in Athens

Re-fulled, we headed back towards our tour bus, but not before Clio and I were taken in by a lovely Greek making named jewellery in Greek letters. Clio and I couldn’t resist a necklace each. This is her name in Greek.

Clio Necklace in Greek Letters

The streets up to the acropolis are beautiful bordered with tall buildings, trees and flowers.

Streets to the Acropolis

We sunk into our open top seats to enjoy the return journey and a late visit to the beach. Apparently site seeing isn’t so bad after all!

Recent Events

I can’t end this post without a mention for those effected by the tragedy there earlier this week. The fires were round the coast from where we were staying and my heart goes out to all affected. Our own family are safe but so many are not, a disaster this wonderful country should never have experienced. 

Country Kids


Country Kids 21st July 2018

Posted on July 20th, 2018 - Fiona

Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:

“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”

Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the National Trust #50 things along with all other ideas for family fun outside.

And the heatwave goes on…….

The farm is looking more brown by the day but our holiday makers are having a wonderful time while the animals are happily lolling around under the shade of the trees. Our kids have just broken up for the summer holidays and we are all looking forward to enjoying some family time outdoors. Whatever your plans for the week ahead I hope it includes some outdoor fun and as always please come and join me with your adventures on the link up below.

Guidelines for Joining in:

  • Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
    • Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
    • Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
  • Please comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
    • If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
  • Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
  • Linked posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
    • I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
  • There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.

My top commenters from last week:

  1. Joy from Pink Oddy and Melinda from Glimmer of Hope with 9 comments
  2. Helena from Queen of Collage with 8 comments
  3. Becky from Lakes Single Mum and Sara from West Country Mum with 7 comments

Thanks to all of you who joined in last week and for the comments you took time to leave, we had a week with no link dumpers so a pat on the back to you all!

Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids

Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly

You Could Win with Rockfish Wellies and Country Kids from Coombe Mill

I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.

Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here, will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!

For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.

Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the July Rockfish Wellies:

Top commenter: Pink Oddy and Glimmer of Hope

Little Hearts Big Love enjoyed school Sports Day. Something I really miss with older kids.

Check out the lovely Port Bonaire with Keithas Chaos

Country Kids Communities

I’d love you to join me:

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too.

Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.

Join the growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.

I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. We crossed the 10.000 post mark with outdoor fun in this community today which I find really exciting. Thank you to all who join in.

My featured photos from the week came from @dearlittledaisy @me_and_b_make_tea @elizabeth_trevett and @kippersandcurtains . Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following.

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Vouliagmeni Beach Athens Our Verdict

Posted on July 20th, 2018 - Fiona

We were lucky enough to be offered Nick’s cousin’s summer flat for our summer holiday with the triplets in Greece. Vouliagmeni is one of the desirable suburbs of Athens down by the coast and popular with Athenians for beach days and holidays. The flat was just one block inland from the beautifully maintained private Vouliagmeni beach and needless to say we spent quite a bit of time here during our week away.

Vouliagmeni Beach in Athens

A Gramable Underpass

The beach may have been just a few minutes walk, but it involved crossing the main coastal dual carrigway road and I didn’t trust the kids to look the right way for oncoming traffic. Thankfully there was also a subway which to the kids delight was covered in Graffiti and in their words was “gramable” for their Instagram profiles so they were happy to cross this way and we were happy for them to come and go from the flat on this basis.

Grammable Graffiti underpass

Vouliagmeni Beach

There is everything you need at the beach for a day there without leaving if you are visiting from further away. You have to pay to enter but it is only a few Euros and so worth it. Once inside the sun loungers and umbrellas are free, the whole place is clean and litter free and  there are many more facilities including cafes, loos and showers. With large open grass areas, flower boarders and even courts for ball games it is a very comfortable day in beautiful surroundings.

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Safe swimming

Vouliagmeni beach is very gently shelving with little wave typical of the Mediterranean. In early June the water temperature was perfectly warm and my kids spent hours in the sea just throwing a tennis ball to one another and keeping cool. There are lifeguards at either end of the beach for added safety. 

Vouliagmeni Beach

Anyone for Bat Ball?

Their other great love became the Greek Bat Ball. After watching the locals all play we bought  a set and had a go. It is so much harder than it looks and we were so obviously the clueless foreigners. The locals managed to keep rallies going for minutes while we only managed seconds. Jed is my naturally sporty one and he spent most of his time perfecting his technique on each one of us.

Greek Bat Ball in play

Not completely unplugged

The flat had no WiFi and very little mobile signal so the kids were truly unplugged most of the holiday. That said there was beach WiFi, all be it with a very limited signal strength, this kept the kids up to date with their friends at home via Snapchat from their sun loungers. After catching up on the chat there was always time for more swimming and a little siesta.

Kids on Beach wifi and soaking up the sun at Vouliagmeni 'beach

The Free Beaches

There are many free beaches in Vouliagmeni and all along the coast to Glenfada. Here you pay for the loungers and umbrellas or sat on the sand for free. However by the time you paid for our loungers and umbrella the price is much the same as the one we used. Most beaches were supported by tavernas, which we made a point of trying each night.   

Beaches around Vouliagmeni by day and evening

The Verdict

We all had a lovely relaxing week in Greece and were very grateful to Nick’s cousin for the use of their flat. We wouldn’t hesitate to go back, there are plenty of hotels in the area and it all felt so clean and safe. The beaches themselves are still not a patch on our Cornish beaches, but we can’t compete on water temperature and guaranteed sun and it was blissful to swim without a wetsuit; something I rarely do in Cornwall. 

 Tips for visiting Vouliagmeni Beach

Entrance price is 4 euro kids, students and OAPs.  6 euro adults. Payment is for a full day and their is no late admission discount. OAPs and students need to supply valid ID, even my 82 year old Mother in Law was not trusted at face value as being old! 
Prices go up at the weekend (8 Euros for adults) and the beaches are overcrowded with Athenians as are the carparks and local streets. There are not enough sun loungers to go around on Saturday and Sunday, these days are best avoided. 
Toilets and open showers are free
2 cafes stock drinks, ice creams and hot snacks. There is seating there or you can take away.
Across the road from the beach is a supermarket if you’d rather take in your own picnic
Bat ball courts are provided though they are very busy at weekends and any spare space is used.
The Beach has 2 Lifeguards all day.
Free beach wifi but very patchy to actually use as demand way outstrips supply.
The beach is litter Free with plenty of bins and staff to tidy each day. In fact this was true of all the beaches. 

 

Country Kids


Country Kids 14th July 2018

Posted on July 13th, 2018 - Fiona

Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:

“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”

Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the National Trust #50 things along with all other ideas for family fun outside. 

 

Country Kids 14.7.18

End of term draws near. 

It’s nearly the end of term and it feels like it in our house. With exams over for my eldest boys they are already working over the summer while the younger ones are doing precious little in lessons with under 2 weeks to the end of term. I’m already looking forward to no more school runs and a few weeks chill out time with some family fun. Until then we are making the most of the summer sun, light evenings and weekends. Whatever your plans for the week ahead I hope it includes some outdoor fun and as always please come and join me with your adventures on the link up below. 

Guidelines for Joining in: 

  • Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
    • Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
    • Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
  •  Please comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
    • If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
  • Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
  • Linked posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
    • I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
  • There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.

My top commenters from last week:

Thanks to all of you who joined in last week and for the comments you took time to leave, we had a week with no link dumpers so a pat on the back to you all! 

Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids 

Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly

You Could Win with Rockfish Wellies and Country Kids from Coombe Mill 

I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.

Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here,  will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!

For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.

Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the June Rockfish Wellies:

Top commenter:  

Country Kids Communities 

I’d love you to join me: 

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too.

Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.

 

Join the growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.

I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. We crossed the 10.000 post mark with outdoor fun in this community today which I find really exciting. Thank you to all who join in. 

My featured photos from the week came from  @carahutchisoncrane@mylittlebabog, @_country_momma_ and @born.voyage.  Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following.

Subscribe to the Country Kids email

To get reminders for the Country Kids linky as well as who the top commenters are each week straight to your inbox subscribe below. You can opt-out at any time. 

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Learning Shapes with books, nature and paint

Posted on July 13th, 2018 - Fiona

I love to build on an educational theme for our activity hour on the farm. This week was all about shapes with a group of children age 2 to 5. I had some fun ideas prepared to make learning shapes fun. After all, the children were on holiday and coming along for some creative fun and not to feel like they had started school.  

Learning Shapes with books, nature and paint

Learning shapes and counting

I had a beautiful book on counting, colours and shapes from Phaidon I had reviewed on my Facebook Page and dug it out of our library collection. As we all sat down on my colour in picnic rug I began the book. The children were instantly drawn to the quirky opening of the book and soon they were all helping me turn the pages to identify and count the shapes revealed.

Reading shapes book

Printing shapes

It was clear the children had a good grasp on basic shapes and only a couple of the higher sided shapes were new to them. Everyone loves a little painting fun and while I read the book Clio was setting up paint at the craft table. We gathered round and used potato stamp shapes to print onto corresponding shape worksheets. (These can be found on the education pages of my website).

Potato print shapes

Circle Rolls

Re-gathering on the rug the children settled down to listen to a fun story of a circle who took on a life like character and rolled into his fellow shapes creating quite a commotion. This light-hearted tale had the children laughing and totally engaged.  It is another gem from Phaidon I can totally recommend.

Identifying shapes in the fairy garden

After sitting so well, the children were more than happy to be on the move for our next task. We were off to the fairy gardens to identify shapes on the fairies new dancing carousel. This was one I had been making in Farmer Nick’s shed from an old chain real painted and wrapped at the middle with Duck Tape Colours to avoid any splinters.  I had chosen to decorate it with different coloured painted shapes so it was perfect for today’s theme. The children spotted it as soon as they ran into the gardens and began shouting out all the shapes they could recognise.

Fairy Carousel

Creating Shapes with Nature

While we were in the gardens I showed the children the magic sticking property of sticky weed. They each collected and piece and hunted for colourful flowers for our shapes craft.

collecting nature in the fairy gardens

Back at the table and rug I handed out cereal boxes cut to size and invited the children to choose some fabric to cover their boxes. We simply cut and stapled the material around the boxes to make a base for the sticky weed.

Fabric base for nature fuzzyfelt

Then came the fun part; the children created their chosen shape from stickweed and stuck it to the board. If it didn’t work the first time, the stickweed just peeled off and could be stuck down again. We used double sided tape to fill the shapes with the collected colourful flowers.  The children loved making them and seeing their shapes take form. The results were colourful and pretty and the shapes clear.

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Extra time and extra activities

That was the end of my organised learning shapes activities but the children took things further rolling down the bank like the circle in Circle Rolls. Then they asked for long rectangular strips of material to add to the wishing tree.  They made their wish as they hung them and enjoyed a play with the wishing well before feeding the ponies that had come to watch us.  

 Hill rolling pony feeding wishing Well

I don’t think anyone left thinking they had been learning anything, but they certainly had!

Country Kids


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