How Our Garden Grows - April

When we returned from our first family camping trip the recent weather conditions meant that we returned to an explosion of life in our garden. Last year we just about managed to grow tomatoes so we're making much more of an effort this year. Some plants we have started from seed which the kids helped out with. We've seeded aubergine, mangetout and spinach. The kids filled the pots with compost before squashing in the seeds and watering. We can also get really good starter plants from the local markets at the moment so our tomatoes and butternut squash came from Jardin Noble-Val in St Antonin, aubergine and beetroot from a local garden centre, and potatoes from the supermarket. We've also started a herb box and we're going to move our strawberries as last year we didn't get a good crop and we think they need more sunlight.

It's so great to see it all take nicely in the newly organised veg patch. We still have a bit of space left so we're deciding what to plant. I think we need more lettuce but we've never tried cucumber before, and I'm think maybe peppers?

Have you planted any seeds recently? What crops are you planning this year?
Mammasaurus How Does Your Garden Grow

Camping - The Alphabet Adventures

Camping!! So much fun! Our first family camping trip has been a success and we came home exhausted, a little bit damp, with shoes full of sand and a ton of washing after just 4 nights away! Camping Panorama du Pyla is a campsite just south of Bordeaux at the foot of magnificent sand dunes and views of the Atlantic. We awoke to the sound of paragliders flying above us and before bed watched the sun set over the sea and tucked ourselves into my crocheted ripple blanket for bedtime stories. We had one day of glorious sunshine before the rain descended sending us out on a mission to find things to do in the local area.

Arriving at the campsite we were allowed to camp anywhere on the site so we found a spot to pitch our tent that gave us a good view of the sea and the beach. We unravelled our tent and tried not to look like total novices putting it up whilst families with swish campervans overlooked us. I had dinner all ready to heat up which was a lifesaver as the boys ate whilst we set up. By the time we had finished it was getting dark and we settled in for the night ready to explore the next day.

We spent day one at the beach. The sun was hot and the sea was cold and the boys were more than happy making sandcastles, digging a paddling pool, finding jellyfish, and splashing in the water. When we'd had enough we climbed back up the sand dune which was no easy task as every step you took you slid half way back down again. We explored the campsite which had a kids play area, heated pool, bar, restaurant and (expensive) shop. We had a game of mini golf before another meal back at the tent.

With a drizzle of rain throughout day two we stopped at the campsite information desk where we picked up a handful of brochures of things to do in the local area and decided on Kid Parc. Here the boys were free to go on any ride they wished and drag us on with them. We drove cars, boats and trains, they got lost in the ball pool and bounced around in the fun house. We watched a show of a woman making just about anything from balloons and Jacob won a bag of sweets in the tombola.

By the time we arrived back at the campsite the rain had stopped and we climbed the sand dune to watch the sun go down. Andrew tried to get the ultimate sunset picture as the kids rolled around in the sand. We attempted a family photo but I seem to be a master at anticipating the flash and managed to have my eyes closed in just about every picture apart from the one above.

More rain the next day so bowling it was. Jacob's first try at bowling was hilarious. He slid about in his bowling shoes and stood with hands on hips as he watched the ball painfully slowly roll down the kids alley. He squealed with delight when he managed to knock over any number of pins. Andrew and I got a few games in too in between making sure the kids took their turns. I lost 2 games to 1 but then the kids were pretty distracting and interrupted my flow...that's my excuse anyway!

We had originally planned to stay 5 nights but we didn't fancy a final night in the thunder storm that was forecast. Before we left however we had to make a trip to the Grand Dunes of Pyla. They are a pretty amazing sight. We climbed up to the ridge at the top and looked out over the forest and sea. I'm not going to write too much now as the Dunes will be our next Alphabet Adventure post!

This trip has made me long for more travelling and to show the boys more of the world. I can't remember the last time we all really took the time to stop work/school and just enjoy being in each other's company. We're hoping to plan a European trip before the end of the year but for now we can enjoy the French countryside more as Spring awakens villages, towns and local attractions.

What adventures have you been on recently? Have you ever been camping with kids?

Seychelles Mama

Letting Go...

Do you ever feel like you're constantly telling your kids what they can and can't do? Eat this...drink that...come here...don't go can all get pretty tiring. Today we're going on our very first family camping trip. It's all pretty exciting! We're heading here, just for 5 nights. Apart from Summers spent here in France it's one of our first family adventures. I've meal planned the entire week (breakfasts and dinners), cooked up batches for the first couple of days, and scouted out day trips in the local area. But it looks like there's lots we can do at the campsite.

This holiday I've decided to exercise the idea of 'Letting Go'. I want the boys to have fun without their parents voices in the background telling them what they can and can't do. I've decided to switch off from devices. I'll be taking a camera but I'll be without my phone for the whole time we're there. So when we get back I'll be bombarding you all with pictures!

This holiday will form the third installment of our Alphabet Adventures as 'C' is for Camping (of course!!) But I may also go back to 'B' for Bordeaux as we're so close we're hoping to spend a day there as well.

What adventures have you been on recently?

New Chickens!

Today we're linking up with Eco-Gites of Lenault and their 'Animal Tales' to introduce our new chickens! You may have read about our last disastrous attempt at keeping chickens but we were undeterred and we now have a lovely new set of hens at the back of our garden. I missed out on chicken buying last time round so I made sure I was available one Monday morning and we headed off to Caussade market.

There weren't quite as many stands as I thought there might be and in the end we bought our hens from the same person we bought from before as he had what we thought were the best looking ones. We decided on two marans (the black ones) and three sussex (the white) and were initially also going to get a cockrel. However, the more I've read the more I don't think we really need one. For starters I'm not keen on the idea of loads of baby chickens (as cute as they are) and apparantly the cockrel could be quite aggressive towards small children in protecting the hens. Jacob loves to hang out in the coop so I don't like the idea of that much. So for now we'll stick to the girls.

Unlike our last bunch who fought all the time this lot are quite happy in each other's company. We've already had a couple of eggs and we're hoping they will all start laying regularly soon now that the days are longer and brighter. We're not going to make the same mistake we made last time, we're going to make sure they are always locked up at night!

Do you keep chickens? We'd love to hear some of your chicken keeping tales!


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