Journey into Unschooling

End of Year Adventure

January 9th, 2018 by becki

The end of 2017 has been as full of adventure as all the rest. The change and development in all three children is astounding. Amber is progressing really well with her reading and writing. Poppy is rarely without a book and her artwork is developing amazingly. Alfie is developing in confidence and skills. What an amazing bunch!

Here are some highlights from the last two months of the year 🙂

We had a wet but fun walk in Sutton Park with friends and the dog that they were looking after for a friend.

We went to the cinema with friends to see The My Little Pony Movie.

We went to the Quentin Blake exhibition at Walsall Art Gallery, then to Parkfields Central to celebrate Daddy’s birthday. We also made him a big chocolate cake.

We had great fun making Halloween themed crafts

We enjoyed a session at our favourite HE group building with Lego and making and decorating 3D card Lego people.

We had fun completing the Harry Otter trail at RSPB Coombe Valley with friends

We had fun at the library and park.

We also enjoyed the bat trail at RSPB Sandwell Valley. So much wildlife and nature too 🙂

We carried on with our monthly volunteering at the animal care centre

And had fun at gymnastics and in the park with friends.

We also carried on with our weekly swimming with friends. All three children are developing their confidence and skills in swimming enormously.

We enjoyed a pumpkin trail on Halloween at Wightwick Manor National Trust with wonderful friends, followed by a visit to Friendly Foods and the pet shop.

We had a lot of fun during our monthly HE trampolining meets at Jump In

Our monthly Home Ed Explorers meets were as full of outdoor fun and adventure as ever.

We enjoyed our fireworks in the garden at home, and also got to have bonfire fun with our friends in the woods.

Poppy and Rich went to see Fantastic Beasts as part of the Into Film festival, whilst the rest of us met lovely friends for a day of fun at Oak Tree Farm. Alfie fell in love with the emu 🙂

We had fantastic fun ice skating with friends at Webb’s of Wychbold. Poppy also bought some candle wicks for her recycled candle making.

The girls had an amazing birthday meet with all their friends at the National Forest Adventure Farm. They were spoilt with so many amazing cards and presents.

Amber and I went for a birthday trip to the cinema to watch Paddington 2, followed by a visit to Nanny and Grandad.

The girls chose to go into Birmingham on their actual birthday, for a lunch in Zizzis and some shopping.

We met up for a friend’s birthday meet in the park

We had a fun session at our favourite HE group making mosaics

The next session was all about the Victorians. We had fun making timelines, practicing cursive writing and playing Victorian games.

 

Our next session was making suncatchers. All three children made some masterpieces to hang in their windows.

The final session of the year was our Christmas party 🙂

We had great fun at Conkers, learning all about forest life in the Discovery Centre and completing the assault course.

We watched the Lego Ninjago movie with friends after a yummy lunch out.

Poppy and her best friend had an amazing trip to the Harry Potter Studios for her birthday treat with Rich. The rest of us went to Ash End Farm and the Big Play Barn with a voucher I won.

We went for lunch at Cherry Reds with friends then to see Awful Auntie at the New Alexandra Theatre. It was an amazing production.

We had a wonderful day at Thomasland Magical Christmas with friends.

We met Uncle Steve, Aunty Andy and cousin Toby for an early festive lunch.

Amber and I met our best friends for a Frozen cinema extravaganza, complete with free Lego.

We had fun with Christmas crafts and making Christmas presents for friends.

We had fun at Rosliston Forestry Centre with friends.

We went rock climbing with lots of HE friends at Rock Up.

We met Granny and Grandpa for a festive lunch and charity shop trawl.

We had fun in the snow.

We had fun at the Adventure Farm with friends

We had a wonderful time at Come Into Play with friends.

We enjoyed the Xmas Vegan Fayre.

We had a lovely time building wooden models at one of our best friends’ houses. Since then more models have been built and painted at home, and Poppy made clay models for her Chinese Tea House.

We had a fun and educational trip to Think Tank science museum.

We enjoyed the advent trail at Calke Abbey NT.

We had a great vegan afternoon tea at a local artisan bakery with friends.

We spent lots of time cooking and baking for Christmas, and enjoyed our Christmas Day at home and with extended family.

We enjoyed festive walks at Chasewater and at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. We experienced Christmas from the 1980s at Hanbury Hall NT

We enjoyed watching The Star Christmas story with friends at the cinema, followed by Mr Singh’s pizza.

Autumn Adventures

October 19th, 2017 by becki

September is our favourite time of year. The schools go back, the weather is lovely and Autumn is just starting to add her beauty to the world. As usual, we made the most of this wonderful month with adventures both at home and away.

We started off with a fantastic trip to Liverpool, staying in the great YHA there courtesy of a partial refund from the Eden Project youth hostel. We spent an amazing day at Formby, a National Trust owned stretch of coastline. We rolled down sand dunes, walked on the beach, explored the asparagus fields and, most exciting of all, saw lots of red squirrels in the woodlands.

We went into Liverpool for dinner at Zizzis to celebrate our wedding anniversary and had a wander around the Albert Docks

The next day we explored the World Museum. What an amazing place! The children all loved it and we learnt so much.

Back home, we had a lovely day at our nature explorers group at Wolseley.

It was great to start back at our gymnastics class too.

Our favourite HE group, Chase, carried on all through the summer luckily. Our first Autumn session was about the Vikings, which we all enjoyed. Making Viking bread, writing our names in runes, Viking quizzes and puzzles, and playing with friends 🙂

We all really enjoyed our Hama bead key ring and jewellery making session too. The children made some amazing creations

We loved our Jack’s Wood meet too – cooking and marshmallow toasting on the fire, and Autumn crafts.

It was great to get back to our regular swimming session too 🙂

We enjoyed our Not Back to School picnic with lots of friends in the beautiful Arboretum.

We had an amazing time with friends at Witley Court,catching the refurbished fountain, learning about the house and playing in the woods.

We started volunteering at a local animal sanctuary.

We had another lovely trip away to celebrate the 4th birthday of Amber’s best friend, Violet. We spent a fabulous day exploring the gardens of Belton House, and playing in the enormous adventure playground.

After a lovely pub dinner together, and a night in a Premier Inn, we all headed to Twin Lakes theme park for an amazing day of adventure

After another busy week, including a trip to Flip Out with lots of HE friends, and an afternoon with Uncle Matt visiting from Singapore, we headed off on our “big holiday” to the Isle of Wight.

After a stop enroute to visit The Living Rainforest, we reached our Ibis Hotel in Portsmouth.

The next day we headed across on the ferry to Fishbourne, then onto Thorness Bay holiday park, our home for the week in Oaklands 28, a caravan nestled amongst the oak trees. We explored the beach at Thorness Bay and settled into our caravan. We never knew that acorns falling onto caravan roofs were so loud!

The next day we went for a swim in the holiday park pool (and for some rides on the flume!) then headed to Carisbrooke Castle. We had a great time exploring the castle and museum.

The next day we spent an amazing day at Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s summer home. The children were awestruck that the Swiss Cottage, play house to the 9 royal children, was as big as our actual home! The big two enjoyed completing the trail around the house, and we all enjoyed ice cream on the queen’s private beach 🙂

We spent two awesome days at Blackgang Chine. There was so much to explore! The Water Force ride was a big hit with everyone!

Our friends joined us partway through the holiday and we had great fun together. We went swimming twice, played in the arcade, walked to the local beach, and spent an amazing sunny day on Sandown Beach. We paddled in the sea, made land art, built sandcastles, walked down the pier and ate seaside chips 🙂

Back home, we arrived just in time to celebrate Grandad’s birthday with him, before returning to our normal routine of gymnastics and groups.

Our fourth and final trip away was to Alton Towers to celebrate Amber’s upcoming birthday. She decided a year ago that she wanted to stay in the beautiful woodland lodges there. So, after a day at Peak Wildlife Park, we checked in and explored before dinner with friends at the Crooked Spoon.

The next day we met more friends for a day of adventure in the theme park 🙂

The adventures just keep on coming!

Come Into Play with wonderful friends

Jump In with yet more awesome people. Alfie was very proud to be the first to climb the ladder and ring the bell. The determination of all the others who found it more difficult was humbling to see and there were lots more successes 🙂 The jumping pillow and battle beams were great fun too, as well as the trampolines!

We had a lovely time at the wildlife trust with more awesome friends.

And playing at Crash Bang Wallop with more friends.

So many amazing autumn adventures. So much learning and fun 🙂 What a wonderful life we lead 🙂

 

Sensational Summer

September 19th, 2017 by becki

We have had an amazing summer. The six weeks holidays normally strike dread into our hearts as our favourite places become so crowded. We made the most of it though, and managed to find our own quiet corners to be in fresh air and nature. We enjoyed seeing schooled friends, and keeping in touch with our home ed friends. Our favourite home ed group luckily continued throughout the summer too 🙂  Oh how lovely it is to have our quiet world back again though 🙂

Here are some of the highlights of our summer of 2017.

We spent the day with Nanny for her birthday, visiting with perfume gift and home baked goodies 🙂

We had a lovely day at Aston Hall with wonderful friends. Spotting Big Sleuth bears, playing with buddies, blowing bubbles and playing games.

We attended a memorial for an old friend in Cannon Hill Park.

We went on a train ride adventure to spot the Big Sleuth bears at Resorts World and the airport

We had fun picking fruit with friends, and making blueberry muffins with our haul when we got home.

We were very glad that our lovely HE group carried on through the summer, meeting fortnightly at Redwood Park and community centre, and monthly for forest fun at Jack’s Wood.

We had a lovely day at Lickey Hills with friends.

We spent a couple of days on a mini break to YHA Sherwood Forest with friends. We had a sunny picnic at Clumber Park and had fun completing the bugs and bees trail in the beautiful walled garden. An evening of board games and makeover fun in the youth hostel followed 🙂 The next day we were deluged with rain, but still managed to enjoy Sherwood Forest and the major oak.

We spent a lovely day with friends at Blakesley Hall. We weaved rainbow fish in the craft room, completed the scarecrow trail in the garden, and the bear trail in the hall

We spent fun days tracking down all 237 Big Sleuth bears and exploring the museum and art gallery.

We had fun in Solihull and Tudor Grange Park with friends.

We had two fun summer play dates with friends in Beacon Park.

We had a great time hunting for fossils with friends at Wrens Nest. We found some amazing and fascinating fossils, as well as having lots of fun on rope swings and with Sidney the dog.

A trip to Lapworth Museum of Geology was a great way to find out more about the fossils that we had found. They have an amazing collection of minerals too. Amber loved it so much that she asked to go back on her birthday 😂

We went fruit picking with some lovely schooled friends.

We had a great time at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. Willard Wigan’s amazing miniature art on the eye of a needle, on beard hairs and eye lashes was fascinating. We also enjoyed our tour of an abandoned jewellery factory. Amber got to be the jeweller’s apprentice!

We met friends at a local playground after our Jack’s Wood meet.

We had fun at Sarehole Mill with friends touring the mill and doing the craft activity.

We had a lovely day at Baddesley Clinton National Trust with schooled friends.

We had a great time at Boarstall Duck Decoy with our extended family.

We enjoyed seeing the Emoji Movie

We had a great time with lovely friends at Wolseley nature reserve.

We had a great day at Shugborough Hall.

We spent lots of time cooking, crafting, gardening, reading, playing games and looking after the chickens.

Summer Spectacular

July 26th, 2017 by becki

It has been an amazing summer so far. The weather has been a curious mix of scorching hot, wet and cold, and somewhere in between! We have been on two trips to youth hostels, lots of amazing days out with friends, several theme park visits, lots of time spent in the great outdoors and a sprinkling of craft and art 🙂 Here are some of the highlights 🙂

We have had lots of trips to the swimming pool, where all three children have made great progress with their swimming, as well as having fun playing with friends.

We have been to gymnastics many times, usually following it with an afternoon’s play in the park with lovely friends.

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We have been enjoying our fortnightly home education group, where subjects have included cake designing, mosaicing, a session on science where we were in charge of a slime making stall, and the Tudors.

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We have also been enjoying our monthly woodland meets, with cooking over the open fire, tree identification, dog cuddles, rope swings and bark rubbings 🙂

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Our monthly nature explorers group has included hape zome and lots of fun and exploration with friends.

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We have been on an exciting trip to YHA Hartington Hall with friends, where we explored Dovedale one day, then spent a fabulous day at Gullivers Kingdom the next. The boys had great fun playing board games in the evening whilst the girls all played.

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We had a lovely day with friends at Wonderland in Telford.

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We had two fabulous trips with different friends to Tettenhall pool.

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A lovely day with friends at the Arboretum splash pad.

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Two lovely lovely day with different friends at Sherbrook stepping stones

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We met up with some friends from Australia that we hadn’t seen for 5 years!

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We had a great day learning all about animals at Peak Wildlife Park. A lady told us so much about the deer, and let us feel some discarded antlers.

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We also learnt lots at Gentleshaw Animal Sanctuary.

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We learnt all about the Victorians at Blists Hill Victorian Town.

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And did some Victorian (and other!) role play of our own at home.

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We had a great day at Think Tank science museum, especially exploring a fantastic disco ball constructed of hundreds of tiny mirrors each representing drawings and photographs of different stages of an eclipse. The man was very informative explaining it to us.

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We had a great time at a home ed session at Flip Out trampoline park.

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We spent a great day at Shugborough National Trust.

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A lovely day with friends at Kedleston National Trust

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Meeting with relatives at Stowe National Trust

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A lovely day at Trentham Gardens with friends

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We had great fun at a friend’s birthday party at Wildwood park.

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We went to a lovely park with Granny and Grandpa

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We have begun our Big Sleuth bear hunt, which will be carried on through the summer holidays.

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We had a lovely day den building, picnicking and playing with lovely friends at Hartshill Hayes.

 

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A lovely time with friends at Elvaston Castle.

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We have played board games.

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Alfie built his own flat pack shelving unit for his Lego Dimensions.

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We have done lots of cooking. We have harvested lots of fruit and vegetables that we have grown ourselves in our veggie patch too.

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We welcomed four new chickens into our brood and have spent lots of time outside caring for them and gardening, as well as playing outdoors.

 

 

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We have had some science days.

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We have done lots of crafts, sticker books, reading, drawing, playing and watching documentaries too. What an awesome summer so far, full of learning and fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Springtime Adventures

May 28th, 2017 by becki

What a lovely spring we have had 🙂 The weather at the moment is hot and sunny, but we have had plenty of fun come rain and shine. Here are the highlights 😉

We have been swimming to our local pool many times. All three children have improved their swimming immensely. Poppy can now swim two widths underwater. Alfie has progressed in both his style and distance. Amber is working towards swimming unaided. We have lots of fun playing with friends in the pool too.

Alfie had a lovely birthday meet at Tamworth Castle Grounds with lots of lovely friends. The sun shone and he had so many lovely cards and gifts.

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The next day was a good opportunity to explore new presents – Lego building, chess playing and crafting 🙂

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We took in 5 very elderly chickens from a lady who can no longer look after them, and spent lots of time in the garden looking after them and introducing them to our existing ladies.

 

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We also went to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast.

The Easter holidays were great fun. We met up with lots of friends, made vegan creme eggs and saw an amazing animal man at our HE group. We learnt so much about lots of different creatures.

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We had a wonderful day out at Calke Abbey NT with the lovely Elliott family, plus Bex and Violet.

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We had a lovely doing scooting, playing and doing gymnastics with Evie and Finn in the Arboretum.

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We made yummy vegan creme eggs and chocolate eggs 🙂

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We had a lovely time with friends at our HE group.

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We had a great day at Plantasia with Sarah and Alice. We conquered all the mazes, built a den and had lots of fun playing in the woods.

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We found all the Easter bunnies hiding around Croome Park NT, and found all the ingredients he needed for his baking.

 

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Alfie built Minecraft Lego, we sowed lots of seedlings and did lots of space related science experiments.

 

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We went to the theatre to see an amazing one man show all about science – the Ensonglopaedia of Science. The kids had great fun.

We met lovely friends for a play in the park.

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We had a great time cooking outdoors at our woodland bushcraft meet.

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We were lucky to have an amazing trip away with friends to Windsor. We had a lovely day at Cliveden NT, then spent the night at our favourite YHA, Jordan’s.

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The next day we had a fantastic day of fun at Legoland, culminating in a stay in the fab Legoland Hotel.

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The next day we made great use of their splash pad, swimming pool and Lego pit 🙂

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Back home, we had a lovely day at Rosliston Forestry Centre with Charlotte, Katie and Bella.

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We had a great time junk modelling at our HE group.

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And an amazing day at Trentham Gardens for our good friend Francis’s 11th birthday.

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We had a lovely time bug hunting at Wolseley Explorers (despite a tyre blow out – just another learning experience for our HE kids as they watched the AA and mobile tyre fitters at work!)

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We had fun at the library, choosing lots of new books and audio CDs.

Poppy and Amber made some amazing lemon cake and hummus.

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Poppy was glad to be back at her gymnastics class after the Easter break. She has enjoyed going every week, often playing in the park with friends afterwards.

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We had a wonderful day learning all about animals at Peak Wildlife Park.

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We had lots of fun at home after swimming with marble runs.

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We visited the animals at Brockswood Sanctuary with lovely friends.

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We had a great time at Emberton Country Park cycling with Uncle Steve, Aunty Andy, Toby and Bunty 🙂

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A lovely time painting canvases.

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We had a lovely time at our HE group making HAMA bead creations.

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Sadly we lost our chicken, Bob, but Amber was a wonderful veterinary nurse.

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We were lucky to have another adventure away with friends, staying at the awesome YHA Ilam – a mansion house set in beautiful NT grounds.

We visited Sudbury Hall Museum of Childhood on the way, learning lots about life for children over the years, including climbing a chimney.

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We walked to Dovedale and the stepping stones, and the big kids climbed Thorpe Cloud.

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We had a great time at a triple birthday bash with so many lovely friends.

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An amazing vegan curry night with lots of friends.

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Another lovely session of our bushcraft meet.

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A great time with friends at The Big Play Barn.

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An amazing day outdoor swimming at Bosworth Water.

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Looking back it is amazing how much fun and learning has been going on. So much time spent with friends playing, discovering, growing. These are just the photograph worthy highlights too. Unseen are all the books read, visits to grandparents, imaginative play, crafting, trampolining, animal caring, gaming, and generally learning and growing every single day. What an amazing spring it has been. Bring on the summer 🙂

 

Cornwall 2017

April 4th, 2017 by becki

We had a lovely break in Cornwall 🙂

We stopped off at Killerton National Trust in Devon on our way down, for a fun but drizzly walk.

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We stayed in a shipping container at YHA Eden Project. It should have been an epic adventure, but was marred by noisy Belgian students causing chaos into the wee small hours, culminating in us shivering on the car park at 1.30am when they set the fire alarm off 🙁

Luckily, we all enjoyed a great day at the amazing Eden Project the following day.

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We then travelled to Perran Sands holiday park, where we stayed for a week. It was lovely! We had a brand new caravan (free upgrade!) and were right by the beautiful beach. We had great fun in the pool and flume – and did well in the arcade 🙂

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As well as lots of time on the beach, exploring caves and climbing rocks, we went to both an owl sanctuary and  a seal sanctuary.

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