Bodmin Moor

The Bodmin Moor Chapter: Back with a Brand New Mission

So I kind of broke up with my blog for a while, quite a long while in fact.  Long enough to go through a second pregnancy and give birth to the gorgeous fiesty Maia Arian who is turning one next month, move to an old farmhouse in the middle of Bodmin Moor, start preparations for our wedding and a move to New Zealand and complete another module of a digital marketing diploma.

I think it's safe to say, I've been busy... so although my days are pretty full with my precocious young ladies and planning the above milestones, I have missed having an outlet to record our somewhat chaotic lives. It's just finding the time to do it that has proved a little challenging.

Our lives have turned a corner since moving to the countryside, it's only now we realise just how much difference the natural energy of a place can make in daily life.  Whilst our old place left us feel rather low and constantly exhausted, here on the Moors the fresh winds and wild vistas are very Wuthering Heights (in a good way) and have had a significantly more positive impact on my mood.

Bodmin Moor

The driveway...

Bodmin Neolithic Stones

The family complete with Koru cat exploring the neolithic stone structures

Even during the particularly ferocious weather the UK has had over January and February, which being in a rather exposed area felt like a hurricane at points and nearly blew the door of our van, I have loved every minute of our new rural existence. Out of interest, I googled Leylines and other supposed mystical power sources around the local area, and it seems that our little hillside is awash with monolithic magic and ancient monuments, which is kind of cool even if you're not into druidic folklore.

As a New Zealander many people assume I was raised on a farm and therefore completely at home with livestock, mud and generally being practical and whilst I have spent chunks of my life in very isolated and primitive places whilst travelling, I am ashamed to say it doesn't come naturally, although I am adapting quickly.  For a start, my wellies had huge holes in them which I had tried to patch up with gaffer tape in a 'make do and mend' moment but the sheer amount of ground water soon put paid to that cunning scheme. So fully aware of the potential ridicule I might encounter from Io, I grabbed the cheapest and least garish pair I could find from the local discount shop, bright pink polka dots with blue soles. Not exactly country chic but then I gave up obssessing over any coherent fashion ensembles with the arrival of children.

Although there were many wonderful spots within a short drive of our old place, I already adore this part of Cornwall with it's narrow winding tree-covered lanes and chocolate box cottages.  People are friendly in an unreserved way, taking time out to chat to strangers and say hello in the school playground when new faces appear in the community, such as ours.

The squigglet has settled into her new nursery at the local village school and I am almost adept at negotiating the school run, via two farm gates and across the moors, where wandering cows or wild ponies are the only traffic jams.

Cornish Lanes

Cow-jam on the school run

We're all looking forward to exploring Cornwall as much as possible this summer as if our plans are realised, we should be heading off to New Zealand at the end of the year, so the girls can get to know their Kiwi side of the family and we can hopefully work towards our housebus and glamping aspirations.

Although it's an exciting prospect, the thought of uprooting the life we are just starting to forge here to move to the other side of the world is a little intimidating for us all, as whilst Io and myself are both nomads at heart we also crave stability as much for the girls sake as ours.  Still, we are committed to trying it out for at least 2 years as we're well aware that the grass is not always greener elsewhere but it does take some time to get established and into the groove of a place.

I sound as if I am speaking of a country that is completely foreign to me, obviously I consider New Zealand my 'home' country but after almost 15 years living abroad it might be more of an adjustment for me than the rest of the family.  I'm not sure I know how to be a  Kiwi anymore, and on previous stints living back there, I honestly found it hard to relate to people sometimes as my set of cultural reference points also includes elements of Japanese, Middle Eastern and British culture.

Anyway, this is getting rather long-winded and I better wrap things up or else I'll never get around to posting anything.

So here goes....

Koru the Crafty Cat

Crafter Disaster and Other Hormone Related Fails

So ages ago when I first started this blog I had an aspiration to crank up the creative gene and try out some new crafts, after the initial burst of inspiration and bunting-induced satisfaction my enthusiasm or more the to point, patience, waned a little which is why there has been a suspicious absence of craft related posts since then.  It's not that I don't have the materials and equipment to get on with things, in fact the £19 sewing machine I snapped up with dreams of Kirsty's Vintage Home-style applique cushions and other such delights is still sitting untouched in it's box and my half finished bedside table project is awaiting it's final transformation into a decoupage masterpiece, but as of yet everything remains annoyingly incomplete.

In my defense I only have certain windows of opportunity to work on these projects without the helpful assistance of a 2 year-old and now that Koru kitten has joined the family, she is equally as keen to be involved by way of crazed claw-sprung ambushes and frenzied attacks on the scissors mid cut.  By the time the evening rolls around and the toddler is in bed, the couch is looking pretty inviting and my works of art sit forlornly awaiting attention for yet another day.

Crafting with Kids and Kittens

I know that this pattern of infinished business runs deeper than just the distractions of everyday life, I'm pretty sure that when it come's to personality type I am classic 'starter' but not such a great 'finisher'.  I love the initial spark of ideas and accompanying passion that comes with getting into a new project but as a lifelong avoider of routine and repetition I find it difficult to complete things.   I've had to learn to get better at finishing tasks for professional reasons but personal pursuits are a different ball game, so when I got a rare child-free morning recently with renewed vigour I decided to crack on and finish a button name picture I started for Squigglet some 7 months ago.

Koru the Crafty Cat

All was going swimmingly, I sat listening to loud Kiwi music whilst gluing coloured buttons on a canvas to make up squigglets name and fended off the curious koru who was excited by this new game until she tired and fell asleep directly on top of my button bag (what is it with cats and items you are using?).  I had just plotted out my button postioning for the last letter when I took a tea break and surveyed my handywork.......only to discover than in my haste and apparent baby brain fog, I left the 'a' out of Rhiannon and had no room to squeeze it in. Bugger.  I now have to wait for the glue to dry and pull off most of the buttons to try and reassemble the whole thing, I think it'll have to wait for another day.

As is evident from my Chaos Cooking posts, the kitchen has never really been my domain either but not one to give up without a fight, I've been tackling culinary competency head on with a frenzied bout of baking.  The whole idea was to involve the squigglet as a way to fill up days at home but also to save money on shop-bought baked goods, so far so good.  However my slight control freak tendencies have emerged and I get a little panicky when the flour starts flying and the eggs are being cracked willy nilly so the experience is less than relaxing for both of us.  Still we've managed to knock out some pretty decent bread, banana and choccie muffins and some delicious ANZAC biscuits in the last week until suddenly the magic went away and the last 2 batches of bikkies are soft in the middle and burnt at the edges, urgh!  I think I'll stick to bread and muffins.

Rhinno? Crafting Fail!

As Squigglet loves 'doing making' as she calls it, we've started creating our own home-made xmas cards which have been a reasonable success but can only manage 2 in one sitting before the toddler and her attention span wanders off to another corner with gluey hands after unravelling entire rolls of ribbon and attempting to gift wrap the cat.  If we manage to beef up production a little and actually get around to sending any, watch out for these in a post box near you soon. It's a wonder I am capable of anything requiring brainpower at present as I find myself wandering into other rooms with a purpose which I promptly forget as soon as I arrive, leaving me standing there glazed-eyed and starring into space trying to recall just what the heck I was going to do.  I blame the hormones.

Still I haven't tried to freeze the car keys, cook the remote control or flood the kitchen yet as I believe one of my sisters did when she was preggers...Shell?  But there's still 4 1/2 months to go, so anything could happen.

What are your best hormone related fails??





The Princess and the Pet

The Errant Blogger

I know it's been ages since my last post, I've dabbled with a few drafts here and there but didn't seem to have the energy and willpower to follow them through after being pretty much obssessed with updating it for months in a row. But I've been diverting most of my energy that doesn't get used up on the Squigglet, inwards to create the next Kiwelshling which is now 17 weeks into it's in-utero life.  I was pretty relieved to confirm my pregnancy, as for a while there my hormones were making me a little more crazy than normal and I was prone to mecurial mood swings and unexplained bouts of crying, I seemingly had no control over this and thought I might have to medicate myself if it got any worse. But nope I wasn't mentally ill, I was just knocked up. Phew!

Things have mostly settled down with the onset of the second trimester, although I can still be found bawling at childrens stories, news stories, movies, in fact quite a number of things that wouldn't normally set me off but I can cope with that.  Luckily, although she is mighty hard work sometimes with her inherited willful ways and random strops, the Squigglet is an absolute delight with a fast developing vocabulary which has resulted in her shouting 'shit' during playgroup today (as I went bright red) and warns Io when he's driving to 'watch out there's a strawberry there' as if they are some perilous road hazard to be avoided at all costs.

It's hard to believe she's just turned 2 years old and we have another on the way, eeek.  Panic did set in for a short while as we considered revisiting sleepless nights, teething, even more pooh and vomit and the slightly scary financial implications of a second child and an extended period of family life on a single income, but considering the Squigglet is such a joy in our lives who could resist another?

The Princess and the Pet

For her birthday the Squigglet got a gorgeous part bengalese kitten who we've named Koru, a Maori word for spiral (symbolizing new life, growth, strength and peace) based on the New Zealand silver fern frond which is spiral in shape and matches the markings along her side.  As expected the kitten gets some rather enthusiastic attention from said toddler at times and is frequently interrupted from blissful slumber by being carted off to the kitchen and unceremoniously dumped in her food bowl with an exclamation of 'it's time for your milk' or 'let's go and pop some clothes on you'. The kitten is kind of akin to smaller sibling awareness training, as being gentle, considerate and sharing loved ones doesn't usually come readily to toddlers, evidenced by this morning's antics of picking the bewildered kitty up by her tail and pushing her off my lap if I'm lavishing too much attention on puss. With any luck by the time baby number 2 arrives Squigglet will have gotten all the mischef of terrorizing little creatures out of her system and will happily accept the new addition to the household. Yeah right.

What has us chuckling at the moment is Squigglet's original lyrics to well known children's songs.  She loves singing and is constantly chirping away to herself around the house and usually gets all the words pretty spot on but lately she came out with 'wind your bottom up' (wind the bobbin up) and 'hi ho the dairyo the farmer wants a life' (instead of wife).....which I personally think are much better than the original versions, but then I'm easily amused.

I had forgotten how tedious pregnancy can be, with so many restrictions on eating and drinking the things I love accompanied by a ridiclous number of toilet visits every 20 minutes as my bladder gets hammered by hormones and growing baby.  I soon begin to despise the reduced range of clothes I am able to wear and generally feel like a grumpy frump. This coupled with Squigglets recent refusal to take afternoon naps and therefore absolutely no time in the day to divert to non-child related activities except for some frantic bouts of cleaning or cooking with toddler and kitten in tow, has me feeling in desperate need for some mental stimulation and personal development which is one of the reasons I started blogging. Still I know I'm lucky to be able to spend these precious years with my children, all too soon they'll be at preschool and school and I'm sure I'll be pining for the days of endless playdoh, sticking and tea parties...........actually maybe not the sticking.

Anyway, I better stop blathering now and just post before I procrastinate for another few weeks.

It's nice to be back.


Upside down ice cream

Silent Sunday

friends in the playground

Making Mummy Friends at the Playground

It's been a case of digital silence for me over the last few weeks, my normal thirst to blog, tweet, facebook and generally consume social media evaporated momentarily and I just didn't want to share anything with the outside world, mostly because I was feeling sick and generally rubbish and any energy I did have went into trying to keep the Squigglet entertained on a daily basis.  I think I've bounced back now, certainly feeling much healthier again but quite out of touch with all that's been going on!

Still during all this, I've been on a quest to rid myself of my 'Billy-no-mates' status and integrate a bit more with my new community and the people in it, now that the school holidays are over and playgroups etc are back on this may prove a bit easier, but it has been a fairly lonely few months since we arrived in Cornwall.

I've been a bit slack on the friend-making front since moving to the UK 3 years ago, perhaps it's because I already had a few long time friends living here and didn't feel the immediate urge to make new connections and admittedly once I met Io, I kind of retreated into a loved up bubble of bliss for quite some time and pretty much neglected everyone else, yes I was that girl.  As you'd expect some of my friendships suffered from this lack of nuturing and there now exists an awkward distance made wider by both geography and the stark differences in our current lifestyles, single & city-living/globe-trotting vs small town stay at home mum.

I'm very proud of my friends and what they are doing with their lives in all sorts of exotic locations and professions all over the world, but compared to their dynamic and exciting lives I don't feel like I have anything to contribute at the moment, and whilst I can live vicariously through their adventures, what I really need at the moment is some other mummy friends to hang out with.

The problem is I think I've forgotten both how to make friends and how to keep them, I'm just not very good at it anymore.  I'm sure there was a time when I would acquire a new pal every other week, but over the years my energy and enthusiasm has somehow petered out and I find it difficult to muster up the courage to chat up other mums in the playground.

friends in the playground

© Rabbitsfoot | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

It's partly a symptom of having been such a gypsy for so many years, moving from one country to another and having to make a new set of friends each time and subsequently say goodbye as each of us moved on.  I met many people, some became lifelong buddies, yet other friendships fell into oblivion after a few months of sporadic communication.  Also as the years have gone by, I've gone from an extrovert that needed to be around people all the time to an introvert who's just as happy passing time alone if it means I can avoid awkward small talk.

Thats the crux of it I think, I hate making meaningless small talk in social situations, it always feels so contrived and I quickly get bored of it.  I'm similarly disadvantaged when it comes to British popular culture as I simply don't get some of it and don't watch any of the long running TV series such as Coro or East Enders, they're too depressing.  I'm not really the type to join the W.I either, sponges and crochet have never and probably will never feature largely in my life, so the prospect of conjuring up some new mummy acquaintances had left me in a bit of of conundrum, until I remembered the wonderful powers of the internet.

Whipping through the forums and noticeboards of a few of the UK mum's and parents networks, I discovered I'm not the only one feeling a bit bored and isolated living in a new community or even just looking for like-minded souls, so I'm putting myself out there and have joined an online meet-a-mum group as well as a local facebook page for nearby mums to meet up and have some integral social time for both us and the kids.  This approach has had mixed results so far, as the first meeting neither of the two ladies I'd chatted to made it although on the plus side I did manage to meet another local mum whilst waiting around the playground with a little girl around Rhi's age, so all was not lost.

The second attempt was more fruitful and after a pleasant chat and stroll (or rather dash after our children) around the Gardens of Heligan, I am now acquainted with a lovely mum of 3 and we have plans to meet again soon. So I guess I am still capable of making friends after all, I've just got to be braver than I feel sometimes and adopt a trial and error approach, I don't expect everyone I meet to be a bossom buddy and some will likely not blossom into anything more than polite acquaintances but I'm sure now there will be a few kindred spirits in the bunch, the kind of friends you can genuinely cackle with just from a mere glance or gesture.  I know this because in various parts of the world, I have those kinds of friends but falling short of them re-arranging their lives to move to Cornwall, I'm just going to have to find their local equivalents.






Vintage wrapping paper

Treasure Box Tuesday Linky/Bloghop 28th August

The recent bout of atrocious weather has been getting to me this last week, after all when we moved to Cornwall at the beginning of summer we had visions of balmy days on the beach and brilliant sunshine, gale force winds and torrential rain - not so much.  So it's no wonder that my mind has been wandering to the distant shores and tropical hideaways I visited in my gypsy years and when I spied this fab vintage travel inspired wrapping paper in a little store in Truro I just had to have it.  Not only does it remind me of those halcyon days of globe-trotting but it also makes a groovy wall poster or decoupage paper.  So my treasure this week is reminiscent of a time gone by.......

Vintage wrapping paper

Loving all the old-stylee signs and stamps


Thanks to Rachel from Corner by Corner for taking part in last weeks linky with her lovely post about her daughter's bedroom, if you missed it you can see it here.  So here we go for another week, join in if you feel like it or spread the word about Treasure Box Tuesday's linky to your blogging pals.

Sarah xx




A-Pirating We Go! The Swashbuckling Charms of Charlestown, Cornwall


Pirate attack imminent on the Cornish coast?

Cornwall has so much to offer that it's difficult to decide where to base yourself when visiting this beautiful South Western County, or rather the Duchy of Cornwall as it will soon be officially referred to in tourism campaigns. The historic port town of Charlestown is just one of hundreds of quaint seaside settlements, but well worth making a stop for during any family vacation as there's plenty to keep both adults and kids enthralled.

The first thing you notice as you drive down towards towards the small sheltered harbour are the lofty masts of tallships moored within the inner basin. Run by Square Sail, these stunning ships are in full working order and the company offers coastal sailing trips for the whole family and longer one way voyages to maritime festivals throughout the year.There's something majestic about these tallships and it really makes you want to don an eye patch and climb the riggings, I can certainly see the attraction of pirating, on a sunny day at least.

Tallships pirate ship Charlestown Cornwall

The Square Sail Tallships.....if you look closely you can see some pirates on the quay!

The Cornish coast was notorious for privateers and smugglers way back when, and after exploring a bit of the rugged rocky coastline and little secret coves it's no surprise this was a rather popular trade. You can get your pegleg fix by attending a performance by local re-enactment group the Pirates of Piran, who put on swashbuckling shows and demonstrations in Charlestown Harbour with proceeds going to local charities.

Another fun family attraction is the shipwreck and heritage centre which has exhibits of the many vessels that came to grief off Cornish shores a well as special featured exhibits on famous wrecks such as the Titanic.  Kids under 10 are free with accompanying adult and the museum has created an i spy trail and colouring sheets to keep everyone entertained.

Charlestown beach Cornwall

Tides out on Charlestown Beach....perfect conditons for paddling

On sunny days the small beaches either side of the harbour are ideal for paddling, swimming and exploring numerous easily accessible rock pools and as there's no huge trek over sand dunes or rocks, refreshments and lunch spots are only a short walk away.  If you're into souvenir and gallery gazing, Charlestown offers a small but interesting cross section of stores, all tucked into various nooks and crannies around the harbour area and offering the traditional favourites such as Cornish fudge through to quirky antiques and local artworks.  For lovers of local flavours, there's a distinctive orange ice cream float that is often found parked up down on the quayside selling not ice cream but a wide array of Cornish produce and deli goods to take home.

Orange organic farm shop  Cornwall

Fresh local produce and goods....

Aside from all the obvious natural and tourist attractions, the township itself is brimming with character. Beautifully kept fishermans cottages painted in soft pastel shades line the main road and the harbourside hills, creating an idyllic scene.  These sought after houses are often let out to visitors during the summer and long-term lets come at a premium, but somehow I think it'd be worth it just to get a taste of that vintage sea-side life.  Interestingly for any fellow Kiwi's reading this, there are heaps of Cabbage Trees around Charlestown and Cornwall in general, I was delighted and surprised at this poignant reminder of home until I rather bemusedly spotted a sign at a garden centre advertising them as Cornish Palms! The cheek! But obviously somewhere back in history these have been imported from our fair NZ shores, perhaps along with a shipful of returning Cornish miners and have become popular and widespread in the mild South-Western climate.  I've also spotted a few flax plants in the more coastal areas so I'm feeling right at home. For keen walkers and nature spotters, the South West Coastal path links up just West of the township so it would make a lovely lunch stop or starting point for a leisurely day walk.

fishermans cottages holiday lets cabbage trees

Foodwise, our favourites so far are the freshly made crayfish and lemon mayo sarnies from the little courtyard cafe half-way down the port road for a bargain £2.90 and most definetely the amazing ice cream from the Tall Ships Creamery near the small roundabout.  We're slowly working through the flavours but so far the ginger & pear, peaches of eight, peanut butter & banana and of course chocolate have met with resounding approval. Charlies Cafe further up the main port rd as you drive in, is our family favourite, serving proper espresso coffee, home-made cakes, gourmet sandwiches and hearty breakfasts (also has a toilet and baby changing facilities). There are also a few decent pubs with outside seating that do fairly decent food and it's always a good idea to sample a few of the local ales and ciders to support the local economy ;-).

A visit to Charlestown would make a good 1/2 day outing enroute to some of the other nearby attractions such as Pinetum Park, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Eden Project (although you'd probably want a whole day for that one) and the port towns of Mevagissey and Fowey.  There's a decent range of reasonably priced hotel and B&B accommodation in Charlestown, Carlyon Bay and St Austell and camping facilities around almost every corner which would sit families on a budget.

eating ice cream in Cornwall

Ahh me hearties, this peaches of eight ice cream be worth more than gold

Sea glass from Cornish beaches

Treasure Box Tuesday Linky/Bloghop: 20th August

Join in! Thanks so much to Maria@Feisty Tapas for taking part in my first linky/bloghop last week for Treasure Box Tuesday, if you missed the lovely post about her wedding memory box you can find it here, it's a great idea so drop by and check it out! If you'd like to join in this week, just link to your post via the tool at the bottom of this post and spread the word to any other bloggers you think might like to take part.

Here in Mid Cornwall it was pretty much raining and blowing a gale non-stop all last week and so there was ALOT of time spent indoors,  so whenever I've gotten the chance to go outside in the sunshine I've been hunting for this weeks treasure.....

My treasure for this week is something recycled :-).  Sea glass can be found washed up on many of the Cornish beaches and although it's most likely the by-product of seaside booze-ups from holiday makers, I like to think that some of it is left over from the days of pirates and smugglers as it's often found around old harbours and ports.  Whatever the origin, there's something really beautiful about the transformation from ordinary glass to sea-worn, softly hued opaque gems and it makes a lovely table centre piece or in fact piece of jewellery if you're crafty like that.  My collection is still small, but it's a wonderful way to spend a peaceful hour on the beach, pottering about in the sand and stones looking for buried treasure!

Sea glass from Cornish beaches




painting toddler messy

Silent Sunday

painting toddler messy


Love All Blogs


The Battle of the Bare-Bummed Ranger: Potty Training

I'm not usually the kind of mum that spends hours obsessing over my toddlers toilet habits, in fact if anything as a second time parent that has always been Io's domain as he's had more practice than me.  So the whole potty training thing is something I never thought I'd be writing about, because if one day the Squigglet becomes a prominent public figure, some pesky journo may well dig up embarrassing tales of mishaps in her big girl pants.

But here I am about to disclose details of our current battle with the bare-bummed ranger aka Squigglet who unlike many toddlers out there apparently cannot be bribed with chocolate buttons or in fact any kind of treat as apparently she has inherited an especially stubborn trait of point blank refusing anything she doesn't feel inclined to do.  Must be from her dad's side ;-)

Now normally, I wouldn't see this as a problem and just let her get on with it until she's good and ready to use the potty but she has also recently developed a fervent wish to be sans nappies, in fact sans clothing at all times and will fight tooth and nail if anyone should suggest or attempt dressing her. As it's sort of summer, I don't have a problem with this too much except that despite asking numerous times if she needs the potty and trying to get her to sit on it, she will immediately wander off and end up peeing on the floor whilst engrossed in play.

No big deal really, but if she suddenly stops stock still and starts pointing dramatically at someone in the room or off in another direction we have to scramble into action as this is apparently her 'Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's Squigglet sneakily trying to poo whilst you all look where I'm pointing' distraction technique. At least she signals.

The other reason I'm keen to get this whole thing over with, is her sudden and extreme terror of changing tables. It started about 4 months ago for no apparent reason, she just absolutely freaked and screamed blue murder when laid down on a restroom baby change area, clinging to me and hugging the wall and making it blooming impossible to effectively finish the job.

We have a couple of theories about why, as she had never fallen from anything in her life so possibly its some deep memory of her sort of traumatic caesarian birth and the bright surgery lights that would be startling to a newborn or maybe she's just become aware of heights and feels unstable in this position, either way it makes nappy changes whilst out quite a mission.  I now tend to use pull-ups and stand her up the whole time so as to avoid a complete melt-down and everyone in the vicinity thinking there's some emergency.

So we're trying the big girl pants, we're trying the bribery, we're trying the over-enthusiastic encouragement and the copy me luck so far.

What are your best potty-training tips and tricks?  Advice is appreciated!
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