Fungi Facts – #30DaysWild

I received an email from Grow Wild (Kew Gardens) recently all about fungi. There are free downloads on their website with lots of interesting information and even a fun(gi) quiz to do too! So I decided my challenge for today would be to do a mini project on fungi, then share with you some of the fascinating facts I learned!

So here are 5 cool things you might not have known about fungi…

  • Fungi is closer to a creature than a plant.
  • Fungi can be found in space!
  • We depend on fungi to survive.
  • Fungi has been around for millions of years; it preceeds dinosaurs.
  • Chocolate, amongst other food and drink, contains fungus!

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    Here is an ode to fungi too…

      Gobions Wood, Hertfordshire: A Magical Place To Explore

      Today we visited Gobions Wood in Hertfordshire for the first time, which we discovered from a useful list of local nature reserves on Herts Wildlife Trust website. 

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      The first section of our walk took us past beautiful meadows, where moths and butterflies fluttered around us as we walked. 

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      The Wildlife Trust, 30 days wild, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, nature reserve, nature, wildlife, natural environment, woodland, outdoors, get outside, childhood unplugged, visit Herts, places to visit, Gobions Wood, Hertfordshire, things to do, family fun, explore outdoors, Living Life Our Way

      We then reached the entrance to the wood…

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      Honestly, I have never felt quite so overwhelmed (and almost intimidated!) walking into a wood. I literally got tingles down my spine and a surge of excitement in my tummy. 

      Two huge ancient trees guard either side of the path as you enter, towering above everything, watching over the rest of the woodland…

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      It looks like something out of a film; like walking into a Lord Of The Rings set or somewhere…

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      The Wildlife Trust, 30 days wild, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, nature reserve, nature, wildlife, natural environment, woodland, outdoors, get outside, childhood unplugged, visit Herts, places to visit, Gobions Wood, Hertfordshire, things to do, family fun, explore outdoors, Living Life Our Way

      I love the colours and the way the lower leaves create a whispy appearance, almost motioning to the path…

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      Squiggle found this and asked me to take a photo…

      She loved exploring…

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      It is a magical, enchanting place to explore and we hope to return soon! 

      How Your Garden Transforms Through The Seasons 

      We often think of spring and summer as being the only seasons during which time our garden is active but, as this infographic from Rattan Direct shows, the garden is alive with growth and bugs in every season.

      garden, seasons, our world, #livinglifewild, environment, gardening, Rattan Direct, infographic

      The Garden in Winter

      Winter is the time when the garden slumbers but, as a gardener, you will need to take good care of your soil and plants that are sensitive to cold, rain, ice and snow. But your garden isn’t completely asleep. Small bugs still roam your garden, laying eggs for spring hatching and your plants are gathering strength and nutrition from the soil ready for a surge in spring growth.

      The Garden in Spring

      A spring time garden is a delight to see as it slowly wakes from its winter slumber. Bright green buds can be seen on trees and shrubs, and there is usually the first growth of spring-flowering bulbs to look forward to.

      The Garden in Summer

      Now at its peak, the summer garden is lush and green, full of colourful dancing flower heads. Insects and wildlife enjoy the bountiful supply of food in your garden during the warm summer months. And you can sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your gardening handy work.

      The Garden in Autumn

      Cooler days and evenings signal the end of summer, ushering in the fiery reds, bright yellows and deep orange colours of autumn. Now is the time to cut back some shrubs, gather the fallen leaves for leaf mulch for use next season, and the time to clear the garden ready for the cold depths of winter.

      *Disclosure: This post has been written in collaboration with Rattan Direct.

      Pick Your Own: Fruit Farm Visit #30DaysWild

      Today we visited a local pick your own fruit farm. We love growing our own food at home of course, but we also love the fun of visiting the PYO fruit farm too! It had only just opened for the season so there were quite alot of people there, but there was an abundance of delicious fruit that was ripe for the picking! I took some pictures of the fruit, which you can find in my photo gallery. And here are some of Squiggle collecting various fruits…

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      childhood unplugged, fruit farm, pick your own, PYO, places to visit, Herts

      childhood unplugged, fruit farm, pick your own, PYO, places to visit, Herts

      childhood unplugged, fruit farm, pick your own, PYO, places to visit, Herts

      childhood unplugged, fruit farm, pick your own, PYO, places to visit, Herts

      By the way, does anyone else see a smiley face strawberry with a big nose…

      strawberry, smiley face fruit, fruit farm, pick your own, PYO, places to visit, Herts

      What have you been doing so far this weekend, and what plans do you have?

      Star in the Night Sky #30DaysWild

      In the early hours of yesterday morning, around 3am, I stood in the garden and looked up at the night sky. There was a bright light flashing, at first I thought it was a plane. After watching for several minutes though, it was definitely not moving and I realised it must be a star. But it was genuinely – by a million fold – the brightest, twinkliest, most magical looking star that I have ever seen. It made every other star in the sky look practically invisible because it shone so bright and twinkled so much. I know that this probably sounds silly, but honestly I cannot emphasise enough how mesmerising it was. 

      I tried to get a decent shot of it but it just doesn’t even in the slightest tiniest way begin to do it even a miniscule amount of justice. You can only just see it as a small white dot in between the trees (to the left in the photo above, in the very middle of the photo below).

      I started thinking; I wonder how many other people have ever looked up at the night sky and spotted that same star? I wonder if they had the same thoughts as me? I wonder if anyone else is out there looking up at it right now, this same moment? Truly amazing when you think about it. The universe is so huge, and we are all just a small dot in comparison. Yet everything is connected. And each one of us has an impact and can make a difference. Incredible.

      The Secret is in the Soil: The Importance Of Healthy Soil

      ​It’s All in The Soil

      We don’t give much thought to the soil under our feet but without it, we wouldn’t have the landscape that is bountiful or food on our plates. It takes a lifetime to create the ideal soil conditions for plants and crops to grow, but no time at all to destroy it.

      The Importance of Soil

      For every plant to thrive, it needs nutrients. And these are found in the soil. With the right nutrients in perfect balance, a plant or tree thrives. Too much nutrition causes growth that is too quick resulting in a poor quality plant, but not enough and plants and trees fail to thrive. Fertile soil needs nutrients, as well as air and water.

      Healthy Soil = Healthy Planet

      Soil is essential for humans, as it is for insects, animals, birds and rodents. Different types of soils are needed too. Sandy soil is great for some plants and insects, whilst heavier soils are needed for other flora and fauna.

      What Shape is Your Soil in?

      By looking after the soil in your garden, keeping it well fertilised, aerated and watered, you are taking an important ecological step to protect the planet.

      Take a look at this infographic and find out more about soil composition, and its importance, as well as hints and tips on what you can do to create your own blossoming mini eco-system!

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      *Disclosure: This post has been written in collaboration with Rattan Direct. 

      Where’s Wildlife – The Close Ups! (With #30DaysWild Linky)

      Last week, I posted some photos of the wild area in our garden to play spot the nature/ wildlife. I promised I would share the ‘answers’ i.e. close up pictures in a future post. Well, here they are!

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      30 days wild, wildlife photography, minibeasts, nature photography, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, photography, nature, wildlife, natural environment, get outside, outdoors, stay wild, macro photos30 days wild, ladybird, wildlife photography, minibeasts, nature photography, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, photography, nature, wildlife, natural environment, get outside, outdoors, stay wild, macro photos

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      30 days wild, wildlife photography, minibeasts, nature photography, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, photography, nature, wildlife, natural environment, get outside, outdoors, stay wild, macro photos

      30 days wild, harlequin, lavae, wildlife photography, minibeasts, nature photography, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, photography, nature, wildlife, natural environment, get outside, outdoors, stay wild, macro photos

      30 days wild, ladybird, larvae, wildlife photography, minibeasts, nature photography, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, photography, nature, wildlife, natural environment, get outside, outdoors, stay wild, macro photos

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      How many did you spot? Did you find any others that I didn’t see? I would love to know how you got on! 


       

      Our Latest Wild Adventures – #30DaysWild

      Ok, so I got abit behind in blogging about our 30 Days Wild adventures. We have still been very much taking part, and I have posted on social media about a couple of things, I just hadn’t got as far as writing about it here! So I thought I would do a quick round-up post instead to catch up!

      30 days wild, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, stay wild, nature, wildlife, natural environment, childhood unplugged, get outside, outdoors

      On Friday, we went for a lovely family walk through a local nature reserve called The Wick. It is a lovely area of ancient woodlands that local residents are working hard to protect and preserve. 

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      The highlight was when we came across this old log and Squiggle looked at it and declared it looks like a rabbit – which it really does! I love her creative mind.

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      Squiggle exploring…

      30 days wild, nature reserve, Hertfordshire, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, stay wild, nature, wildlife, natural environment, childhood unplugged, get outside, outdoors

      30 days wild, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, stay wild, nature, wildlife, natural environment, childhood unplugged, get outside, outdoors, Wick, nature reserve, ancient woodland

      I also paused to grab a few photos during our walk too…

      30 days wild, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, stay wild, nature, wildlife, natural environment, photography, get outside, outdoors

      30 days wild, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, stay wild, nature, wildlife, natural environment, photography, get outside, outdoors

      30 days wild, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, stay wild, nature, wildlife, natural environment, photography, get outside, outdoors

      On Saturday, we took a day trip to Whitchurch for the annual Sylvanian Shopping Weekend. It is a pretty village and the event is surrounded by beautiful natural settings with lots of wildlife. We had a wonderful time!

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      On Sunday, I planted a virtual seed on Grow Wild UK. Squiggle also took this photo in a local park…

      30 days wild, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, The Wildlife Trusts, stay wild, nature, wildlife, natural environment, childhood unplugged, get outside, outdoors, photography

      Also on Sunday, one of our furbabies went off exploring and hadn’t returned for several hours. By evening I was wondering where he had got to, so I went out to call him. I heard a high pierced sound and when I looked up there was a bat circling right above my head!!! I have seen lots of bats round here before, but I have never heard one – to be honest, I didn’t think humans actually could hear them! I thought their pitch/ frequency was out of the range of human hearing… but I know what I heard; I was shocked, but very exciting!

      Earlier this week, I spent time looking into more sustainable products to help us progress with our journey towards a more plastic- free and less waste, green living, lifestyle. I am hoping to collaborate with some brands soon to write an essentials guide – so more on that soon hopefully!

      Today Squiggle enjoyed splashing around in the lake at Ruislip Lido

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      (Please note: swimming not allowed!)

      And that brings me up to date with our wild adventures!

      What adventures have you been up to recently? Tell me in comments or leave your posts in my linky! 

      Omlet Eglu Go: Rabbit Hutch and Run Review 

      We have three rabbits; two are paired up and I will be writing more about their enclosure soon, but the third is a smaller breed who lives alone. Having chewed through the wood on his previous enclosure, it was time for a replacement!

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      We wanted a home for him that provides freedom to be inside or out at all times, gives him plenty of space, and allows him to graze without fear of him digging out. (After all, this is the bun who was once found by a neighbour in the middle of the road after he dug a hole and escaped!) After some research, we decided that the Omlet might be a good fit for him, and they kindly agreed to let us review the Eglu Go hutch and 2 metre run.

      Omlet, Eglu Go, rabbit, pets, hutch and run, review, furbabies, furry family, bunny, enclosure

      The Omlet took quite a while to assemble! The instructions were not as clear as they could be, but there is a YouTube video to watch, which makes it clearer. We made a couple of minor mistakes, which added to the time it took. Plus we had to take a section of the hutch apart because one of the pre-fitted internal nuts had come loose. It was easy enough to sort that out ourselves though without any major hassle. It was fully assembled and ready to use within 3 hours, so I guess that’s not too bad in the scheme of things.

      Once put together though, it is low maintence, easy to clean and it is obvious that it is very durable. There are lots of little features that I really like, such as the hay rack and bottle attached to the door and slide out tray for easy cleaning. I also like the attached floor to ensure nothing can dig in or out.

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      Patchy, our bunny, is given access to both the hutch and run at all times (personally I feel it would be far too small to ever shut him in the hutch alone) and he has free-range access to the garden under supervision sometimes too. He has plenty of space to hop, stretch and periscope!

      Omlet, Eglu Go, rabbit, pets, hutch and run, review, furbabies, furry family, bunny, enclosure

      Omlet, Eglu Go, rabbit, pets, hutch and run, review, furbabies, furry family, bunny, enclosure

      Squiggle and one of our cats also demonstrate how much space there is…

      Omlet, Eglu Go, rabbit, pets, hutch and run, review, furbabies, furry family, bunny, enclosure

      Omlet, Eglu Go, rabbit, pets, hutch and run, review, furbabies, furry family, bunny, enclosure

      We have been using the OMLET Eglu Go hutch and run for over a month now and it has been thoroughly tested in that time. After just a few days of Patchy moving in, we discovered a fox trying hard to get into the Omlet. Given that my daughter had commented that she heard a banging sound quite a while beforehand, I suspect it had been trying for quite sometime. We even spotted muddy paw prints on the hutch roof!

      We were relieved it withstood this assault without any sign of weakness, but we have made a few extra safety modifications since them to improve security further still. This includes a padlock on the run door, cable ties on the joints and a couple of bricks at the back. We also throw a blanket or two over the run at night as well.

      Omlet, Eglu Go, rabbit, pets, hutch and run, review, furbabies, furry family, bunny, enclosure

      In Summary – Eglu Go hutch and 2m run

      • RRP £360
      • Pros: durable, easy to maintain, secure.
      • Cons: ease of assembly.

      Aside from the difficulty with assembly, we really like the Omlet Eglu Go. I think it is a good investment that is best suited for smaller breeds of rabbit, ideally with regular access to the garden too. To purchase, visit the Omlet website. There are also various useful accessories, such as full length clear cover (£24.99) and extreme temperature liner (£34.99).

      Omlet, Eglu Go, rabbit, pets, hutch and run, review, furbabies, furry family, bunny, enclosure

      Omlet also sell a range of other pet enclosures. See the website for their complete range of products and accessories.

      *Disclosure: We received a free Omlet Eglu Go for the purpose of review. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

      **This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small amount if you purchase through my website. This does not cost you any extra.

      Cycling Adventures: Exploring St Albans 

      Now, I am the first to admit that I am not a regular cyclist. However, I do love being outdoors and I also like a challenge! So when Inntravel set a cycling adventure challenge; to explore our local area by bike, creating a cycle route, then share what we discovered, I was more than happy to take this on!

      Inntravel are a holiday company that have been offering cycling holidays in Europe since the late 1980s. They arrange the hire of a high-quality bike and you cycle self-guided from one welcoming hotel to the next, following detailed maps and route notes while your luggage is transported ahead. Inntravel plan all their biking holidays carefully, making sure that each route is tried and tested, preferably using quiet roads and country lanes. They try to ensure the routes are enjoyable and interesting, giving you the chance to take in the beautiful scenery and gorgeous views.

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      Our cycle route went from London Colney (Hertfordshire) across St Albans to Verulamium Park, via Highfield Park then onto the Alban Way. This is a fairly short linear route that covers approximately 5.5 miles each way, so only about an hour or so of cycling in total, but with ample opportunity to pause and take in some of the nearby attractions, or stop for food and/ or refreshments.

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      Heading from London Colney high street, the route takes us over a fly-over, which cyclists need to dismount for, onto Nightingale Lane then into Highfield park. The park is a lovely place to explore or have a picnic. There is a tree trail and history trail, as well as a maze.

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      Highfield Park
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      Highfield Park (with maze to the left)

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      Leaving the park, the next step of the route takes us down bike lanes until we reach the Hill End Garden of Rest that leads onto Alban Way. Alban Way is a cycle path that has been created from an old railway line that joins Hatfield to St Albans.

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      Alban Way cycle path

      The Alban Way disjoints briefly at Orient Close where we cycle down a quiet street. There is generally very little traffic though so it is a peaceful ride back onto the Alban Way again.

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      Alban Way by Orient Close

      Just past here is an opportunity to dismount if you wish to and follow the footpath along a small section of the River Ver Trail to discover the wildlife and explore Sopwell Nunnery. We loved doing this! Alternatively you can stay on the cycle path until you get to Cottonmill Lane.

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      At this point there is some road cycling including crossing a fairly busy intersection (there are traffic lights though). On the other side of the road, is Westminster Lodge and the entrance to Verulamium Park using the cycle path that runs from the athletics track, through the park – where we take in the beautiful views of the Abbey Cathedral in the distance, as well as the scenic views and historical attractions across the rest of the park – onto the Roman Verulamium museum at the other end.

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      Views of Verulamium Park (from Roman Hypocaust)
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      Cycle path near The London Gate

       Verulamium park has a wealth of Roman history to enjoy, including the mosaics/ hypocaust, remains of the Roman wall, theatre and the museum. If history is not your thing, you might enjoy a walk around the lake or visit the Wildlife Trust centre instead.

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      Before heading back home along the same route, you can also stop for refreshments at the Inn on the Park, nip into Ye Olde Fighting Cocks (rumoured to be the oldest pub in Britain) at the other end of the lake, head down past the museum to pretty St Michaels Village that has a selection of delightful pubs, or grab a bite at the well-known Waffle House.

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      After our local cycling adventure, I really the idea of a cycling holiday. Slow paced and relaxing, yet active, with plenty of time to be outdoors and a chance to enjoy exploring new places; that all sounds ideal to me! Plus I like the fact that with a cycling holiday, you don’t need to stick to circular routes or have to turn around and head back to your original destination because your luggage is forwarded onto your next destination. Also as they are not groups cycles, they can be personalised with your choice of selected routes for the day and travel at your individual pace. It sounds great for any level of cyclist, including very occasional complete amateurs like myself!

      Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Inntravel.