Exploring Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall

Holidaying in Cornwall late January, we knew we were bound to get a lot of rain. It's not something that particularly bothered us, rain doesn't stop us getting out and about at the best of times - we just looked for some activities we'd be able to do whatever the weather and one of those was a visit to Carnglaze Caverns!

Carnglaze Caverns is an underground slate mine, consisting of three man-made caverns. Located near the village of St Neot in Liskeard, it was just a fifteen minute drive from our accommodation at Forest Holidays Deerpark. It sounded like a really interesting and unusual place and we thought exploring caves would be something Arthur would love.

Photo Credit: Smithy.1990
On arrival, it was throwing it down with rain and with a very sleepy toddler in his pushchair, we weren't sure how successful a trip it would be. However, after popping into the ticket office to pay, we were told we'd be able to take the pushchair into the first cavern and start looking round there until Arthur was awake enough to walk through the next two caverns. The lovely lady in the office also gave us some information about the history of Carnglaze and equipped us with three yellow hard hats and a torch! I was happy to hear that we could do an unguided tour (and be able to look round at our own leisurely pace - much easier with a toddler) but I believe they do offer some guided tours in the busier, summer season.

Entering the first cavern, we were surprised to see a licensed bar, stage and seating area! Yes, the Rum Store as it's known (because The Royal Navy stored their rum there in the Second World War) has been turned into a very unique and unusual venue for both music events and weddings. Inside we found a collection of the different minerals that had been mined in the South West, a long with information points with lots of interesting facts.

Once Arthur had woken up, we popped on his hard yellow hat (he was thrilled to be just like Bob the Builder) and made our way down the sixty-or-so steps to the next cavern. As we were the only ones in the caverns at the time, we were told we could leave our pushchair in the Rum Store and collect it later, which was really handy! In the next cavern we found more information points, which told the story of Carnglaze and the skills of the miners who worked there.

The last cavern was particularly interesting as it held a large pool, with crystal clear blue water. Arthur was fascinated by it all and loved listening to the echo of his voice. We were mindful of the bats living in the cavern and therefore weren't too noisy but it was a great place to take some really interesting photos! 

Carnglaze Caverns are set in 6.5 acres of ancient wood and had it not been such poor weather, we'd love to have had a walk round. The Quarry Wood Walk is designed for children too (with fairy statues and wood carvings to spot) and takes around twenty five minutes. In Spring the woodland is said to be full of bluebells and other wild flowers, which I imagine are beautiful to see (and photograph!)

Photo credit: Smithy.1990
If you are looking for something a little different to do on your trip to Cornwall and enjoy learning about it's history, then Carnglaze Caverns will make a great place to visit. We really enjoyed exploring the caves as a family and only wish the weather had been a little better so we could fully appreciate and explore the woodland walk too - maybe next time!

More information about this Cornwall tourist attraction and ticket prices can be found on the Carnglaze Caverns website.

Read more of my Cornwall Diaries:
Forest Holidays Deerpark - The Perfect Family Getaway
A Winter Visit to the Eden Project
Golitha Falls - A Mini Adventure for the Family

Megan x
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Alternative Easter Gifts for Toddlers

Easter is coming up and whilst I'm personally happy for Arthur to receive a chocolate egg or two, not every parent will feel the same for their own child and that's absolutely fine - 'you do you' and all that. However, seeing as grandparents, aunties, uncles and close friends often like to treat kids to something special at Easter, I thought I'd share a few budget-friendly, non-chocolate ideas from a great site called What2Buy4Kids...

Bathtime is Arthur's favourite time of the day, especially when he's got a bath bomb or bubble bar to make it that little more exciting. I think this sweet little bunny hop bath bomb (£2.75) would make a lovely alternative gift to an Easter egg for toddlers and it's still on-theme!

Sticking with bathtime, these lovely farm animal squirters (£6.99) would also make a great alternative Easter present. Squirters are still Arthur's favourite thing to play with in the bath - there's all sorts of games you can play with them to keep baby and toddlers happy and entertained in the tub.

Spring is the perfect time to get toddlers into gardening and it's something we're keen to do with Arthur, who has already taken an interest in watering plants and watching them grow. I think both the Grow Your Own Sunflower Kit (£5.99) and Little Pals Watering Can Kit (£8.99) are the perfect alternative easter gifts to get started!

We've long been Peter Rabbit fans and seeing as the new movie is coming out soon, I had to include this gorgeous alphabet jigsaw (£19.99). I love the toddler-friendly illustrations, which give a nod to the original Beatrix Potter characters and with the alphabet pieces, it's an educational easter gift too!

Last but not least, we have the Easter Finger Puppets, which at just £1.99 are a real budget-friendly option. I imagine most toddlers will absolutely love playing with these, after a little grown-up help assembling them. They're great for imaginative play and with lovely easter characters, they're the perfect gift for the upcoming holiday.

If you fancy treating your toddler to an alternative easter gift from What2Buy4Kids, you can get 10% off using the code SMSCRIB218 at the checkout. Full disclosure - I'll receive a small percentage of any sales made using the code, as I'm a What2Buy4Kids affiliate.

Will you be going down the alternative easter gift route or sticking to a more traditional chocolate egg?

Megan x
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My NameTags - A useful product for parents!

Every now and then I come across a product and think yep that'll be useful for other parents - let's share it on the blog! The latest product is these lovely personalised colour sticker nametags* from My NameTags. Ideal for sticking in clothing, shoes, as well as on lunchboxes, snack boxes and drinks cups, My NameTags can prevent kids' stuff from going missing at pre-school and nursery, so you're not constantly rummaging through lost property or having to re-purchase misplaced items.

Although Arthur's not yet at pre-school, My NameTags wanted to send us some name tags to try out, as we may need them come autumn time! Their website is really straightforward to use and allows you to completely personalise your name tags with your child's name, favourite colour, font type and even a little picture. I decided to go for a tractor design as Arthur's really into his vehicles! You can also add another line of text, for their last name or perhaps even their class number.

The colour sticker nametags are easy to peel off and place onto clothing wash labels. They stick really easily and are even waterproof, so you don't have to worry about them disappearing in the washing machine! You can also stick them on items your child may take with them to pre-school, nursery or school, such as a lunchbox, drinks cup or pencil case. The colour sticker name tags are made to last and have the added benefit of being both dishwasher and microwave safe.
I think My NameTags are a great idea and will definitely be something I use when Arthur goes to pre-school. They're fuss-free, time-saving and no sewing is required (phew!) They also have a fun element to them with lots of lovely personalised designs for you and your kids to choose from.

Megan x
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Learning Outside the Classroom

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Although Arthur's not yet in school, his education is something I spend a lot of time thinking about. Like any parent, I want the very best for him and I'm also one of those people that believes education doesn't begin and end solely in the classroom. Alternative learning environments (like taking the classroom outdoors) can be really beneficial to children and I'm all for exploring innovative ways for making education more exciting for kids today.

How can you extend learning outdoors past the classroom?
When you think of a classroom, what springs to mind? Most likely it is a room, indoors, with desks and chairs facing a whiteboard on the wall. It’s important to remember, however, that this isn’t the only environment that a child can learn in and, as research has shown, it may not be the most effective.

Many children are going home after school and spending time on their tablets and devices instead of playing outdoors like previous generations. Introducing outdoor play at school provides them with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and engage with nature.

Together with Infinite Playgrounds, creators of sensory playgrounds, we look at the benefits of learning outdoors and how to adapt lessons to teach outside. 

What are the benefits of learning outdoors?
In addition to encouraging children to appreciate the outdoors, there are many benefits of learning outside of the traditional classroom.

One benefit is the opportunity for children to exhibit some physical activity that wouldn’t be possible indoors. In the school yard or in a sensory playground, there is lots of space for the children to run around and play — raising their heart rate and keeping them active.

Another benefit is the encouraged use of imagination. There is plenty for children to discover outdoors; from plants they may not have seen before to mini-beasts that catch their eye. Before the children learn what these are, they might use their imagination with their peers to guess what a certain animal is or what one of the plants is called. This stretch of imagination will become useful when they begin to write creatively or during drama exercises.

When children are learning about how plants grow, for example, it will make the lesson much more memorable for them when they can touch the plants and the soil. 92% of teachers surveyed said that their pupils were more engaged with learning when they were outdoors.

85% of teachers reported that they saw a positive impact on their pupils’ behaviour when they were being taught outside. This could be down to the children finding more enjoyment in outdoor classrooms — 92% of pupils said that they preferred their lessons outdoors. It is possible that the introduction of outdoor classrooms could improve school attendance rates, too. If children are enjoying their lessons more, it is likely that they will have more motivation to come to school.

How can you adapt classroom teaching to the outdoors?
Teaching outdoors does not have to massively disrupt your curriculum, there are many ways that you can alter your lesson plans so that you can take them outside. The main thing about outdoor teaching is that it shouldn’t be overly teacher-controlled — it is important for children to be aware of the safety hazards outdoors. But apart from this, they should be encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones.

There are many new resources that become available when a lesson is taught outside, as well as all of the extra space. Teaching outside can be beneficial for the teacher as well as the children, 90% of staff found that outdoor teaching was useful for curriculum delivery.

Depending on the age group of your class, there are many ways that you can teach maths outdoors. For the younger children, consider bringing shapes and counting outdoors and asking some of the following questions: How many petals does this flower have? How many circles can you spot? How many legs does the picnic table have? You could take pictures of the shapes to have a look at when you get back into the classroom. For an older age group, encourage them to measure each other doing the long jump or provide stop watches and let them time each other running a certain distance. When you get back to the classroom, teach the children how to plot these numbers on a graph.

For English, consider allowing the children to explore the area around them and draw some minibeasts that they can see. When you get back to the classroom encourage the children to write down a short story involving their pictures. For younger children, they could colour in the pictures when they get back and talk about a made-up story.

There is lots to do with science outdoors. You can teach children how plants grow and even allow them to plant their own seeds, visiting them regularly and explaining the scientific processes behind the plant’s development. Children can also learn about heart rate through exercising outdoors. It appears that most lessons can be taken outdoors and the benefits are hard to ignore, the next time you are planning your week ahead consider taking the class outdoors and allow your pupils to push their boundaries.


Megan x
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Golitha Falls | A Mini Adventure for the Family

Golitha Falls is a hidden gem, a photographer's dream and a great place for a mini adventure.

Photo credit: Smithy.1990
Arriving in Cornwall on a rather rainy day, we looked for things to do before we could check into our accommodation at Forest Holidays and came across Golitha Falls. Described as 'a series of spectacular cascades and waterfalls' flowing through ancient woodlands, it sounded like the perfect place for a rainy afternoon stroll. Being January, it was certainly welly weather and the only really suitable footwear (apart from walking boots) for the 'woodland trail.' I say 'trail' but there were a few times where it was more 'make your own path' with some small water-crossings. As far as I can remember there weren't any sign posts once on the trail and there were a few hard-to-avoid boggy bits. It definitely made for an exciting adventure but if you were wearing anything but wellies, you'd have pretty soggy feet.

Golitha Falls is a walk you could do with an active toddler but I wouldn't describe it as pushchair-friendly. There's a lot of fast flowing water, so obviously you have to keep a close eye on little ones - we were lucky that Arthur was in a stay-close-hand-holding mood! Still, it's a walk toddlers can really enjoy, especially if they're looking for bears (as we like to do) or muddy puddle jumping.

Photo credit: Smithy.1990
There was something so enchanting about the wild woodland with the River Fowey dashing through it. It was breathtaking in parts and felt like a really special place to walk through. My partner had great fun photographing the water and trying out different effects on his camera. I've actually pinched a few of his photos for this post, as me and Arthur were more concerned with taking silly selfies and welly pictures!

I think what made our Golitha Falls walk even better was that it wasn't overly busy. We only saw a few people out and about, though I imagine it may be more of a tourist hotspot in the summer time. It wasn't the easiest place to find (we struggled even with a Sat Nav) but were pleased to find a free car park with toilet facilities (I'm one of those people that has to wee before they walk) on arrival. There was also a quirky looking restaurant called Inkie's Smokehouse in the car park, which looked great but was unfortunately closed on the day we visited. I believe it currently opens Wednesday - Sunday 10-4pm and looks well-worth a visit.

Photo credit: Smithy.1990

We really enjoyed our walk through the woodlands, despite the wet weather and would definitely recommend it if you are in the area and looking for something outdoorsy to do. Just don't forget your wellies!

Read more of my Cornwall Diaries
Forest Holidays Deerpark - The Perfect Family Getaway
A Winter Visit to the Eden Project
Exploring Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall

Megan x
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Shaken Udder Milkshakes for Kids Review

As a parent, I'm mindful of the foods I give to my son. I do my best to make sure he gets plenty of fruit and vegetables in his diet and I try to offer him varied meals (though at this fussy  toddler stage it isn't always as easy as it sounds!) I personally don't think there's anything wrong with children having treats in moderation, so when Shaken Udder got in touch to see if Arthur would like to sample their kids milkshakes I was happy to give them the go ahead!

Before accepting the products, I did a little research and was pleased to see that Shaken Udder use fresh British Milk (a great source of calcium) and do not use any artificial colours, preservatives or flavours in their milkshakes. The Strawberry Milkshake is made with real strawberries and the Chocolate Milkshake is made with Belgian chocolate. I was also reassured to see that with less than 5% added sugar, the Shaken Udder Kids Milkshakes are school-approved.

The kids milkshake cartons are a great size, suitable for popping in your handbag when you're out with your little ones. Both flavours are also suitable for vegetarians and gluten-free.

But I guess what you really want to know is, what they taste like?
Well I'm pleased to say that the Shaken Udder Kids Milkshakes* got the thumbs up from both me and Arthur. We tried the strawberry milkshake first and both thought it was delicious. It's sweet but tastes of strawberries, unlike some other milkshake brands, which tend to have an artificial and almost powdery taste to them. The chocolate milkshake was also a big hit with Arthur. I'm not as fond of chocolate drinks in general but it definitely got his seal of approval. He says they're 'belicious' (that's his version of delicious) and taste like ice cream (one of his favourite things ever) so I think that's a pretty good review for Shaken Udder!

Seeing as we loved the Shaken Udder Kids Milkshakes so much, I'll definitely be picking some up for Arthur and maybe even some of the 'grown up' milkshakes for myself. After all, we all deserve a treat every now and then!

Megan x
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Cold Weather Skincare Favourites

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It's been a little chilly here in the UK hasn't it? Yes, despite March usually marking 'the start of spring' we were hit with a ton of snow and the aptly named Beast from the East. Instagram was rife with beautiful snowy scenes, cute kids building snowmen and fashion bloggers braving the cold in outfits you definitely wouldn't wear in the snow...erm where were your big coats and wellies guys?! We had our own snow fun and built Arthur's very first snowman but I have to say, the cold weather has left my sensitive skin feeling a little worse for wear. With this in mind, I thought I'd share some of the skincare products that  have been helping me to battle the cold and soothe my skin!

Sanctuary Spa Therapist's Secret Facial Oil
I really enjoy using healthy oils as part of my skincare routine. The Therapist's Secret Facial Oil from Sanctuary Spa is great for adding moisture to the skin, which is something I've really needed this past week or so. I usually apply it after I've cleansed (and toned - depending on whether I've been lazy or not) both in the morning and the evening. It's definitely helped to keep my skin hydrated and gives it a lovely dewy glow. You only need to use a couple of drops at a time, so it lasts a good while and can be applied under makeup.

Botanics All Bright Hydrating Day Cream
Botanics is a brand I'm really quite loyal to - I've been using their skincare products for years and find they really suit my skin. Their skincare is reasonably priced and there's different ranges to target different skin issues. The All Bright Hydrating Day Cream is a lovely light moisturiser that hydrates the skin and leaves it feeling silky smooth. It contains hibiscus extract, known for skin brightening and also has added UV protection. I love applying this over my Sanctuary Facial Oil and also use the night cream, which is slightly heavier, in the evenings.

Soap and Glory Hand Dream Super Cream
My hands definitely suffer in cold weather so I've been taking extra care to apply hand cream and keep them soft. I was never a huge fan of Hand Food by Soap and Glory but I love their Hand Dream Super Cream. It's really moisturising without being overly greasy (the problem I had with Hand Food) and has a lovely light scent. It's described as an intensive hand cream and seems to last a good while on the hands, though I do like to top it up throughout the day. I'm not sure why I can no longer find this on the Boots and Soap and Glory websites? I've had it a fair while, so I'm wondering if it's been discontinued, which is a shame. Having said this, I think it's available on Amazon, so worth having a search for!

Burt's Bees Baby Bee Multipurpose Ointment
I've also been mindful of the cold weather's affect on Arthur's skin and have been using this multipurpose ointment from the Burt's Bees Baby Bee range to keep him soft and smooth. What I like about this multipurpose ointment is that it actually creates a barrier on the skin, which is particularly effective in cold weather conditions, as it helps to prevent dryness. I find that it has instant results and feel confident using it all over his skin, as it's 100% natural and doesn't contain any nasties. In the past I've also used it on his nappy area to prevent nappy rash and find it works a treat.

Do you have any cold weather skincare favourites of your own?

Megan x
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Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day is just around the corner, so if you haven't already, now's the time to start shopping and spoil your mum! If you're looking for a little gifting inspiration, I've shared a few ideas below, with something every mum will love...

 A personalised gift
Personalised gifts are always a winner and if you're looking for something a little unique, Funky Pigeon have a lovely Mother's Day gifting line for you to choose from. The Little & Brave Son Photo Cushion* pictured above is so beautiful and I love that it features one of my favourite pictures of me and my son. Arthur loves it too - he gasped when he first saw the picture of us and calls it our 'special pillow' - it's adorable. The quality of the cushion cover is great and even better, comes with an inner so you don't have to go hunting round the house for a spare one!

A fancy fragrance
If you have the budget and your mum loves perfume, why not treat her to a bottle of her favourite fragrance? I always see perfume as such a luxury gift - it's always received with a big smile! I highly recommend Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb. It's such a beautiful sweet, floral scent, packaged in an elegant and classy bottle. 

Something for the home
Picture frames, plants and candles are perfect Mother's Day gifts and suit a range of budgets. The little Mason-Jar style candle pictured above was only £1 from The Range but would make a lovely token gift or you could add it to a Mother's Day hamper.

Mum's favourite drink
A bottle of their favourite drink is bound to go down a treat! I like a glass of rosé and this one from I heart Wines* is a lovely fresh and fruity choice. Again, if you're creating your own Mother's Day hamper, a mini bottle like this would make a nice addition. 

If your mum doesn't drink alcohol, why not consider a tea or coffee gift instead? 

Bath treats
Who doesn't love a Lush bath?! Lush have a gorgeous Mother's Day collection, which includes the Incredible Mum Bath Bomb, Madame President Bath Bomb and Mother of Pearl Bubbleroon featured above. They also have a selection of gift sets ranging from £10.95 - £43.95. I don't think you can go wrong with bath treats - especially ones as beautiful as this. They not only create picture-perfect baths in a rainbow of colours but smell heavenly too.

If your mum's the baker in your family, gifting is easy! Mason Cash bakeware is a real favourite in our household. I love using these little food prep bowls. Sass and Belle also have a gorgeous bakeware range and I believe I bought my mum these retro pastel measuring cups one Mother's Day. An Egg House for the kitchen is also a lovely idea and there's some really reasonably priced ones on eBay.
Positive Mum Book Enamel Pin // MOM enamel Pin
Something a little unique
I'm all for supporting independent businesses like House of Wonderland, who have a gorgeous selection of quirky gifts, perfect for Mother's Day. I love these enamel pins* in particular and think they're really fitting for this occasion. They're something a little different and as a mum myself, I'd be proud to wear one!

What are you buying your Mum for Mother's Day?
Megan x
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The Childhood Tag

It's been a while since I did a blog tag here on Seek My Scribbles but when Emma got in touch about The Childhood Tag she created with Mulberry Bush, I thought it was the perfect one to share. So here goes...

1. What were you not expecting or not prepared for before becoming a parent?
I honestly don't think anyone can prepare you for the newborn days. There's such a flood of emotions and I remember feeling so overwhelmed with love for my son but also more exhausted than I've ever been in my life. Still, you somehow manage to keep going! As a first time mum I felt completely unprepared for that first night in hospital, where it's just you and your baby. Despite reading books, leaflets and blogs, I felt so clueless but there comes a point where it all clicks and you think, I've got this!

2. What is your main advice for new parents?
I was going to say 'don't get hung up on other people's advice' but then I thought of something and that's to set your own visitors rules for those first few days. If you want every single member of your family and friendship group visiting you, then go for it (just make sure they know it's them making the drinks and snacks). But if you want some time for you and your partner (or whoever you're sharing the experience with) to bond with your baby privately that's completely okay and no one should tell you otherwise. You set the rules and don't feel pressured.

3. How do you encourage family time?
We make the effort to have fun days out at the weekend, whether it's a walk in the woods, a trip to the beach or going for a picnic (though we've not really had the weather for that recently!)

4. How do you balance being a blogger with parental duties?
That's a question I should really be asking someone who's mastered it better than me! I think it can be hard to find the balance as a working-from-home parent. I don't blog or freelance full time at the moment as it's just not something I'm personally able to do as Arthur's sole parent. I do however take my opportunities when they arise - I'll blog or write if Arthur takes an afternoon nap and I'll spend my evenings writing or doing something blog-related too. I'm also lucky that my mum gives me a hand looking after Arthur a few hours a week. I think it's all about finding the balance that works for you and your child.

5. What was your favourite toy growing up?
I was a typical girly-girl so really into my Barbies and I also had an adorable Cabbage Patch Kid called Brandy-Polly who I adored. I loved Sylvalian Families and had a horse stable too. I wouldn't say I had one particular favourite toy as like with most kids, it changed all the time!

6. Have you kept any toys from your childhood?
Apparently Brandy-Polly is still in the garage but I've not seen her myself for years! We've also got all my Beanie Babies, which I forgot to mention above! Everyone kept hold of them thinking they were going to be worth something someday (remember the tag protectors you could buy for them?!) but I'm almost certain it's never going to happen. I think I'll be getting them out for Arthur soon, if they're still in a good condition.

7. What are your child's favourite toys?
Arthur's really into vehicles - trains, cars, tractors and planes. I've also noticed he's started enjoying his jigsaws a lot more recently, as well as playing with Play Doh and doing other crafty bits with me.

8. Do you actively limit the amount of screen time your kid has?
Ah such a controversial topic and a conversation I avoid at the best of times! I think in this day and age it's very difficult to go completely screen-free - after all devices are everywhere. As a parent I think it's your job to be mindful of what your kids are watching, how much they're watching and find a balance.

9. How do you reduce plastic waste in your home? - Reusable bottles, buying wooden toys, avoiding excessive food packaging, etc.?
Me and Arthur currently live with my parents and my mum (who takes charge of the food shops) has excellent values when it comes to looking after the planet (including the people and animals living on it). She's therefore very mindful of the products we buy and as a family, we recycle as much as possible.

10. What advice would you give parents that want to start blogging?
Find your voice and go for it! I've made some great friends through blogging and still enjoy doing it all these years later.

Tag, you're it! Since Mulberry Bush created this tag and Emma passed it on to me, I am going to continue the game by passing it on to Abbie from A Beautiful Delight and Sophia from TattooedTeaLady. Feel free to join in if you want to!

Megan x
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