Let’s Be Secret Detectives

It can sometimes be difficult with Mia and Joe’s five year age gap to find an activity that captures both of their imaginations. Luckily a very exciting parcel arrived just before the half term holidays from the lovely people at BEAR nibbles. After much excitement unwrapping the parcel (always half the fun!) they were delighted to find a secret spy and invisible ink kit…complete with disguise of course!

It was so good to see how they both wanted to dress up, get into character and create some top secret messages straight away. Written with a paintbrush and lemon juice and then dried over a radiator until the secret message appears. Mia was a too impatient to wait for the radiator to dry her message and so (carefully supervised!) used a hairdryer on a low setting to dry her paper.

It worked quite well…although I suspect a little more patience with the drying process would have been rewarded with the lemon juice ink drying darker. But hey, it was about the fun of enjoying the activity rather than perfection!

As well as agreeing on how much fun it was to dress up like secret spies, Mia and Joe always agree on how yummy BEAR nibbles are. I am so glad that they love them, as they are such a healthy and convenient snack. I pop a couple in my bag for days out, and they are great for lunchboxes. They view them as a treat, the mango yoyos are a favourite with both of them, and I’m happy for them to have them as they are pure fruit without added sugar. It’s actually surprisingly difficult to find snacks, even for really young children, without any sugar or other nasties added in.

BEAR describe how they make their goodies as “real ingredients that grow on trees and fields and bake them gently. If anyone tried to sneak sugar, concentrates or any other nonsense into our foods, we’d bite their heads off.” I love this, it sums up their tasty, healthy snacks so well!

BEAR have recently launched Super Spy cards, which are perfect for collecting and swapping. I love the artwork on them too, so cute. If your little ones collect the cards they can send them to BEAR’s Super Spy Cave to receive a free Spy Kit…how exciting! More info is on their website and twitter:  http://www.bearnibbles.co.uk/ and @Follow_The_Bear

Happy faces on both of my little BEAR cub detectives, who are convinced now that they are super spies…MI5 watch out!


BEAR kindly sent us a box of pure fruit yoyos and a secret spy disguise. All opinions given are my own…and my two little secret spies!

10 Reasons To Be Excited About Visiting Cornwall


It’s only eight days until we pack the suitcases into the car and head off to the wild depths of rural Cornwall! Summer just isn’t summer without a trip to the far west of Cornwall. I feel such strong ties to the place, and have been visiting every year for longer than I can remember; I have such happy childhood memories of holidays with my extended family in Mousehole and the surounding villages.

Travelling there now with my little family follows it’s own pattern; we begin the long drive south from Oxford to Cornwall at the break of dawn, always hoping to reach the coast in time for a late breakfast on the beach. As we get closer to our destination, and the main roads become country lanes, with Cornish stone walls and ferns on each side, everyone in the car is looking out for the first glimpse of the sea. Whatever the weather that first sight of the sea, sparkling in the morning light, is magical. I always feel myself relax slightly, breathing out, and willingly letting go of real life for a little while.


So, here are the moments I am most excited about during this year’s visit. Some of these places I visit every year without fail, some are more recent discoveries, and others are brand new experiences just waiting to be discovered.

One: Newlyn Fish Festival – by amazingly good luck this annual festival just happens to be taking place during our stay. There are fish auctions, cooking demos, live music and even trawler boat racing!

Two: Visits to our favourite beaches – to name just a few, Porthcurno, Kynance, Church Cove, Poldhu Cove


Three: Seeing a show at the open air Minack Theatre – I have visited serveral times before, but never seen a show there; we are just trying to decide between a daytime family show, such as Storytelling – Tales from the Trees or an evening show…or maybe both!

Four: A Slice of Cornwall– one of my favourite cafes in the country. Lovely simple local food, amazing cakes and plenty of edible flowers.


Five: Dinosaur Uprising at the Eden Project – this one is mainly for Joe, who is dino-obsessed, but Eden is great for everyone! Mia was only a toddler last time we visited, so has no memories of it; I’m sure she will be really impressed by the amazing biomes.


Six: The Newlyn Filmhouse – I had no idea that this tiny little fishing village was home to an independent cinema, but I will definitely be making time to visit one night.

(how were they ever this small?!)

Seven: The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives – two years running I have attempted to visit the studio, and due to a combination of missed buses and rebellious toddlers I have missed out…this year I’m not going home until I have!

Eight: Dinner at the Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn – the combination of Michelin starred chef, Ben Tunnicliffe, village pub and an adjacent fish market sounds like a pretty amazing combination to me.


Nine: No. 56 Penzance– a beautiful homeware/interiors type shop on Chapel Street. Perfect for a little holiday gift shopping, and maybe one or two treats for me too…candles, weck jars and linen tea towels are all household essentials right?!


Ten: Roskillys Farm and Tearooms – the ice cream at Roskillys is served throughout Cornwall and is delicious; it’s available at the farm in a cone, tub or (huge) ice cream sundae, or to take away in litre containers for home! Roskillys also have a cafe on site with great food, especially the burgers and lovely fresh salads. And there are farm animals too, great for a little wander in the fresh air after too much ice cream…the perfect stop on the journey home.


And there are so many more not included in this list of ten…second hand bookshops, National Trust gardens, honesty boxes by the side of the road, beach barbeques, late nights playing board games…and of course, more than anything else, just spending time with my family.