Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Things To Do In Essex - Burnham On Crouch

Visit Essex are currently running a campaign called 'Rural Escapes' to highlight the beautiful rural Essex. They have a facebook competition which asks users to explore a map of Essex and answer a super simple question about rural Essex. The prizes include luxury short break in Essex for up to 10 people, Osprey backpacks, designer sunglasses and more. Enter the competition Here.

Burnham On Crouch is a hidden Essex rural gem. A quaint coastal town that sits on the bank of the River Crouch in the Maldon district of Essex, it is a lovely place to visit if you are looking for a relaxing day out with the family.

Full of charm and history this little seaside town has lots to offer it's visitors, including Mangapps Railway Museum and The Burnham district museum which exhibits maritime, industrial, agriculture and the social history of the Dengie area. There is a lovely park, picnic area's, a little man-made beach, jetty's to crab fish, good fish & chips, ice cream, a cute retro cinema and you might even spot a seal basking in the sunshine.You could quite easily waste a day chilling out here.

There are loads of good places to eat from shabby chic tea rooms and pub grub to recently named Best Small Restaurant in Essex, The Contented sole. The High street boasts quirky gift shops, cafes and friendly pubs all offering a warm welcome to visitors.

Visit the retro cinema 'Rio', its dirt cheap and the minute you walk through the front doors you are transported back in time. Excellent value for money, even the snacks are kind on the purse and if you are lucky you can plonk your bum on one of the comfy leather sofa's on the back row.

Take the kids crabbing along one of the jetty's. It's free and they love it. All you need is a bucket, a net, a crab line and some ham. There is a maritime shop along the quay that sell crab lines and nets for a few pound.

The park is really lovely, very clean with lots of play equipment (even a zip wire), a sand area, picnic benches and a skate park. Across the other side of the park along the river, beside the pretty houseboats is a tiny man-made beach, just large enough to build a few sandcastles and dip your toes in the water. A nice spot to eat lunch and watch the kids play. Burnham on Crouch is well worth a visit.

Visit Rural Essex over the summer, You will have a blast!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Garden, Full Of Bloom.

The garden is blooming this time of year. Everything is at it's best. The hanging baskets are full, petunia's overflowing, lobelia trailing gracefully and the geraniums are still vibrant. My big purple clematis has bloomed for the second time this year, such a pleasure to see a plant burst into colour twice in one season. The hydrangea's are in flower, although not quite to perfection but they improve with every year. The summerhouse has become camouflaged by a self seeded Himalayan honeysuckle and a stray bright blue Buddleja, both surprises, both welcomed. Really, I should cut everything back but I like how they have become so jungle like, cocooning my summer hideaway. My lavender has thrived in pots this summer, brought back to life after I almost lost them last year. I adore their scent, it instantly calms me, as I inhale their rich aroma. 

Yes, the garden is blooming even though it is still halfway through a makeover, but that doesn't stop it from providing relaxation and pleasure to all who enter.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

What We Like To Do To Be Active With The Family

As some of you already know we love to be outdoors as much as possible.  Our favourite thing to do is walk and as we are lucky enough to live a two minute walk from the coast, we walk our coastline daily. Walking is something we have always done together as a family, even when we lived in London I would pack my two eldest into their double buggy and walk to the city farm almost everyday. I just have to get outside and enjoy some greenery. It helps me to relax and gives a great opportunity to have real conversations with the family, away from any distractions.

As the kids have grown we still do everything together, even the older kids that have flown the nest still enjoy spending time together, active as a family. 

Nature is special to us, and we have always appreciated our local environment, so wherever we are, we enjoy our landscape, whether we are living in the countryside or the city, everywhere has something to offer for families to be active together.

                                     What do you like to do to be active with the family?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Summer On A Budget With the Kids

So the summer holidays are upon us and we are starting to plan our summer activities with the kids. When my four were small the summer holidays had to be done on a budget because having a brood in tow can end up costing a small fortune. We would plan at least one 'BIG' day out for the summer that we would save for, like a theme park, trip into London or the zoo but most of our amusement for the holidays was free or cost next to nothing. Here are a few ideas for summer activities on a budget.

1. Crab Fishing - All you need is a bucket, a net, a crab line and some bacon or ham. I have never known a kid not to like crab fishing. Even if they are a little spooked by the crabs, they still like to watch and join in. We have wasted many hours crabbing, it's great fun and free to do.

2. Look For A Sunset - Head for the coast if you can or even the top of a hill somewhere and watch the sun setting. Its a really relaxing activity and makes for some super photo's. Maybe take a flask of hot chocolate with you and totally chillax.

3. Picnic In The Park - When my lot were small I would pack a huge bag, like a big Ikea bag and fill it with a blanket, a ball, a rounders bat, tennis ball & rackets and loads of food and drink and head to a country park. We would stay there all day long while the kids run wild, then by around 6pm they were all totally knackered. I'd get them home, feed them dinner and by 8pm they would be in bed, soundo!

4. Rockpooling - Another family favourite. If you can get to a coastline that has safe rockpools then this is a must do free activity. The kids (and even the teenagers) love this because it can become a bit of a competition to see who can find the most wildlife. Loads can be found like tiny fishes, baby crabs, mollusks and shells. Go at low tide with a bucket and carefully use your hands or a net (don't leave it behind as they can damage the ecosystem) to catch your sea life. Be gentle and carefully return whatever you catch.

5. Nature Hunt - Make a list of things to collect like certain leaves, tree's, pieces of bark, acorns, certain birds, spiders web, insects, squirrel, mushrooms, berries etc. You can even find free scavenger hunt printables online.

5. Festivals & Carnivals - Look online for local free festivals & Carnivals. These can be a great way to pass a morning, afternoon or in some cases a whole weekend. They usually have loads of free activities for the kids to try, free shows, music and interesting people.

6. Build a go-cart - Kids rarely do this anymore but its a great way to teach kids how to re-use and recycle stuff that gets thrown out. Spend a few weeks collecting stuff for your go-cart like old wheels, wood, baskets, rope, steering wheel, handlebars etc. Look online for ideas for homemade go-carts and get creative.

7. Camping in the garden - Set up camp in the back garden, its free and the kids love it. A cheap tent will do, you can pick up a small 2 x man tent from about £12 if you shop about. It keeps the kids occupied in the garden all day as they set up camp. Spend some time making the garden a fun place to be, you wont regret it.

Have a great Summer!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Great Outdoors

Every evening Hubby and I walk the coast. We love it and if I don't get my daily fix of the water and the wildlife I find myself getting cranky. I have always enjoyed the great outdoors, from as young as I can remember I wanted to be outside. My Mum once told me that even as a baby I would scream the place down to go outside. I was born in East London, so not a lot of countryside on our doorstep but Mum would put me in my pram and walk for miles, which always included a trip to the park to feed the ducks.

Luckily, Mum loved the outdoors too and she was always meeting us from school on a Friday afternoon with the tent in the car boot, and off we go for some wild camping for the weekend, quite often in the middle of a field where we would wash in a stream and cook on a campfire, or we would spend every single day during the summer holidays sitting on Southend sea front eating bolied eggs and playing in the sea. I'm exactly the same now, I crave the outdoors and I love nothing more than to deeply breathe in the country/sea air...and just totally relax.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Pinks And Purples For The Passers By

My front garden is full of flowers at the moment, especially lots of pinks and purples. I have a white picket fence and my aim is to create a cottage style garden. Each year I add more and more plants like Rambling roses, Hollyhocks, Foxgloves, Lavetera, Lobelia, Hydrangea's, Marigolds and Geraniums. Hopefully within the next couple of years my garden will be full of blooming cottage delights for passers by to enjoy. Here are a few of my blooms.


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A Younger Me

A younger me loved her Sindy doll, her Tiny Tears and her Chopper bike. She loved to climb tree's, make mud pies and rose petal perfume in lemonade bottles. She liked to watch Wonder Woman, Scooby Doo and the Fall Guy on a big square telly. She fiercely protected her little Brothers, adored her cousins and was in awe of her Auntie Jilly (Jolly Jilly). She loved her Grandparents garden, thought her Mum was beautiful and her Dad was cool. Her knees were always dirty, her hands muddy, she wanted to be a boy and dreamt of one day becoming an insectologist or a fashion designer. But most of all she enjoyed a happy childhood. What fun it would be to return to that childhood just for one day.


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