Bluebells: Spring Woodland Walk #LivingLifeWild 

We went on a lovely walk to explore a local woodland that we have never been to before. It is a great time of year to visit because the bluebells are in bloom, so much of the area is covered in a gorgeous sea of blue. There are lots of beautiful spots to see them around Hertfordshire, and no doubt the rest of England too. The National Trust has produced a list of places to see bluebells near you.

Here are my photos of our walk around Bricket Wood…

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

The Woodland Trust are holding their Big Bluebell Watch so don’t forget to add your sightings to their map! 

Remember to link up your outdoor, nature, wildlife and green living posts over at my #LivingLifeWild linky. 

Term Wellies Review 

From splashing in puddles and paddling in streams, to squelching in mud and wading through the wilderness (well ok, exploring the local woodlands anyway!) we spend a huge amount of time outside. With all our outdoor adventures, good footwear is a must; so wellies are an essential item for Squiggle!

Term wellies, footwear, outdoors, review, Living Life Our Way, get outside, #LivingLifeWild
I am sure her new wellies won’t stay this shiny for long!

We received a pair of wellies by Term footwear to review. This is a small UK company who have been selling children’s shoes for 7 years. The husband and wife team began by importing and selling a variety of footwear brands in the UK, and have now partnered with some great suppliers and designers to launch their own brand. The wellies are manufactured in the EU and conform to EU standards.

Term wellies, footwear, outdoors, review, Living Life Our Way, get outside, #LivingLifeWild

The wellies come in a variety of colours so I showed Squiggle the website and let her pick out which colour she preferred. The wellies come with thick removable roll top socks, so they are sold as dual EU sizes (because they are an EU size bigger with the sock removed). It was easy to figure out what size to choose though because the website gives clear information on this. Once we had ordered, the wellies were delivered within a few days.

Term wellies, footwear, outdoors, review, Living Life Our Way, get outside, #LivingLifeWild

The wellies are really flexible and lightweight, and Squiggle reports that they are very comfortable. They retail at £21.99, which is more than I usually spend on wellies, but these will be likely to last much longer probably, especially with the removable sock/ dual size and also in terms of actual quality too. Squiggle loves them!

Term wellies, footwear, outdoors, review, Living Life Our Way, get outside, #LivingLifeWild

Term wellies can be purchased here.

Follow Term footwear on social media: 

Twitter @termfootwear

Instagram @termfootwear

*Disclosure: We were sent a pair of Term wellies free for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

March Outdoor Adventures Round- Up and #LivingLifeWild April Linky

Hi everyone! 

How was your March? We are really enjoying watching Spring blossom and flowers develop, and have started to spot ladybirds, bees and butterflies around too. We have been on lovely countryside walks, wandered through parklands, hunted for minibeasts in the garden, had fun on a Spring scavenger hunt and climbed trees, amongst other things! 

Here are some of our photos from our March adventures…

Living Life Our Way, #LivingLifeWild, Spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, green living, outdoors, wildlife, photography
Walking in the countryside
Living Life Our Way, #LivingLifeWild, Spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, green living, outdoors, wildlife, photography
Spring Scavenger Hunt in a local park
Living Life Our Way, #LivingLifeWild, Spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, green living, outdoors, wildlife, photography
Aquadrome
Living Life Our Way, #LivingLifeWild, Spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, green living, outdoors, wildlife, photography
Cassiobury Park
Living Life Our Way, #LivingLifeWild, Spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, green living, outdoors, wildlife, photography
Climbing trees
Living Life Our Way, #LivingLifeWild, Spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, green living, outdoors, wildlife, photography
Mini creatures in the garden

I have also added some more of my Spring photography to the Signs of Spring Collection.

Living Life Our Way, #LivingLifeWild, Spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, green living, outdoors, wildlife, photography
Signs of Spring Collection

The #LivingLifeWild IG hastag is still going strong, so nip over and check out all the gorgeous photos there as well! 

Living Life Our Way, #LivingLifeWild, Spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, green living, outdoors, wildlife, photography
#LivingLifeWild

Thank you for reading about our adventures, and hopefully sharing with us your own ones too. Please feel free to drop your links to any relevant posts below, and take a moment to show the other linkies some love too. 💚 Looking forward to reading your posts!


All- Weather Camping: Why You Should Get Outside (in any season!)

We love being outside, whatever the weather. It is a wonderful way to relax, a natural stress reliever; great for mind, body and soul. It feels good to connect and engage with our natural environment, and the fresh air certainly blows the cobwebs away! As this article from The Independent explains, going off-grid i.e. turning off devices and relying on natural light, combined with staying outdoors can really help sleep too. And we all know how enough good quality sleep makes all the difference to everything! So it really is true that any and every season is the perfect time to go on outdoor adventures.

From motorhomes to caravans and log cabins to pop-up tents, there are a huge range of options if you want to plan for a more natural outdoor getaway. Whether you will happily pitch up on any basic available space, or you are more of the glamping type, you will find a selection of sites to choose from throughout the UK (and elsewhere!) open all year round. 

camping, Living Life Our Way, #livinglifewild, childhood unplugged, get outside, green living, holidays, nature, our world, outdoors, places to go, places to visit, travel
Stock image

For example, there are lots of lovely places to camp via Camping and Caravanning Club, such as this wonderful Tavistock site in Dartmoor National Park, Devon – which is somewhere I haven’t been to since I was a child myself, but I would love to return and take Squiggle too. 

More locally, this campsite in Hertford is very popular amongst our local home ed friends! Also closer to home, we really love Aldenham Country Park, which also has camping facilities on-site too. 

Another area we have passed through briefly but would love to stay longer is the New Forest. I spotted this fab place called Setthorns Campsite that has a stripped back, closer to nature feel about it. For somewhere a little more luxurious, Sandy Balls Holiday Park has been recommended to us by various friends numerous times. 

Or check out this eco-friendly campsite, Skyside, set in a gorgeous spot of Penrith, Cumbria. Situated in the valleys of the stunning Lake District, you can use this base to explore (in my opinion anyway!) some of the most scenic parts of the country. It has been years since I last visited this area, but I can assure you it is absolutely beautiful at any time of year! 

camping, Living Life Our Way, winter camping, all year round camping, #livinglifewild, childhood unplugged, get outside, green living, holidays, nature, our world, outdoors, places to go, places to visit, travel
Stock image

We firmly believe that there is no such thing as the ‘wrong’ weather for spending time outside, all you need is suitable clothing and the right equipment; be prepared with the necessary gear and there is nothing stopping you! Oh and don’t forget to grab yourself some insurance before you head off, such as Camping and Caravanning Club insurance for example. Now, what are you waiting for?!

Do you have any top camping tips? What are your outdoor essentials? Where is your favourite campsite or overnight outdoor spot? Share in the comments, thank you!

*This is a collaborative post.

RSPB #BigGardenBirdWatch 

We took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch organised by RSPB last weekend, which is a huge nationwide survey carried out by roughly half a million people across the country to help gather a picture of garden wildlife in the UK. Carrying out a citizen science project is not only a really valuable form of research to take part in, it is also a really fun real-life educational opportunity too! 

So Squiggle and I had already prepared our garden for winter, and ensured it is welcoming, with a bird feeder. So we simply added some fresh sunflower seeds and peanuts right before we begun our bird watching then made ourselves comfortable by the patio door.

Rspb, big garden birdwatch, #BigGardenBirdWatch, birdwatching, wildlife, nature, citizen science, home education, living life our way

It didn’t take long for a couple of birds to fly over and land in our little tree. 

Rspb, big garden birdwatch, #BigGardenBirdWatch, birdwatching, wildlife, nature, citizen science, home education, living life our way

Over the course of an hour, various types of birds landed in our garden. We were pleasantly surprised how many we actually spotted in that relatively short time frame.

Squiggle used the RSPB sheet to help her figure out the difference between great tits and blue tits, which we both found really fascinating, and were excited to spot both types in the garden during our birdwatching! We also discussed the difference between crows and blackbirds because Squiggle was abit confused. We also saw pidgeons and magpies too, which Squiggle was able to recognise immediately.

Rspb, big garden birdwatch, #BigGardenBirdWatch, birdwatching, wildlife, nature, citizen science, home education, living life our way

We then analysed our data by discussing how many different types of birds we saw, how many of each type, which was most common etc… Then we submitted our results to RSPB and looked at the visual results chart too.

Rspb, big garden birdwatch, #BigGardenBirdWatch, birdwatching, wildlife, nature, citizen science, home education, living life our way

Squiggle would like to thank the RSPB for organising this and sending us the pack! 

Rspb, big garden birdwatch, #BigGardenBirdWatch, birdwatching, wildlife, nature, citizen science, home education, living life our way

#BigGardenBirdWatch

How To Protect Garden Wildlife This Winter

As the weather turns colder, the trees grow bare and frost lays on the ground, it is time to start thinking about how to protect the wildlife in our garden this winter. The main thing we can do is provide safe shelter and food. One of the simplest things that anyone can do is to let grass and hedges grow long and wild over winter. This provides a natural place for a variety of wildlife to hide. But there are also lots of other ways we can help too.

For example, we spotted this hedgehog hideaway at a local garden centre recently, which we thought was a great idea! However, if you do see a hedgehog out during winter when they should be hibernating, it is best to contact your local hedgehog hospital or other experts for advice.

garden centre, protecting wildlife, winter, Rattan Direct

Another popular idea is a bird house or feeder. Squiggle attempted her own DIY version; it is rather on the large side but a very interesting design and all her own work of course! She is going to try making a smaller feeder next, using a carton with entrance hole cut out and stick perch. I’ll post the results when it’s done! Remember to keep bird feeders away from anywhere that predators can easily reach them, but still near shelter if possible.

Bird feeder, protecting wildlife, winter, Rattan Direct

For our tiny members of wildlife, we have a couple of thick logs in an overgrown section of our garden. They provide a great place to hide during anytime of the year, but it is especially helpful in the winter months.

On the subject of wildlife, Rattan Direct are holding a wildlife photography competition and currently have a poll running to choose your favourite photograph from the final selection. There are some really interesting, and cute, pictures included. I have picked my favourite one, but I will let you look and decide for yourselves of course! The poll is here:

http://www.rattandirect.co.uk/blog/wildlife-competition-poll/

I’m looking forward to finding out the winner, it was a tough choice! In the meantime, remember those tips for keeping a wildlife-friendly garden this winter, and do let me know if you have any other suggestions too. Stay wild everyone!

This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Rattan Direct.

Stay Wild: Fun Family Activities For Autumn

The evenings are getting darker and there is a crisp chill in the air. There is no doubt about it; autumn is well underway. So grab your coats and get outside to do these great autumn activities while you still can!

Living life our way, autumn, family fun, educational ideas, outdoor activities, autumn activities, get outside, nature activities, seasons, autumn leaves, nature art

1. Use the natural resources to create some temporary art. Be inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy and other artists who use nature to create temporary art. Autumn is the perfect time for this fun creative activity, because there is an abundance of natural items laying around ready to use. So just grab some natural resources and let your creative juices flow! This is a fun activity that can be as quick or long as you wish and is suitable for all ages.

Living life our way, autumn, family fun, educational ideas, outdoor activities, autumn activities, get outside, nature activities, seasons, autumn leaves, nature art
Nature art

2. Catch the falling leaves from the trees. A simple concept but challenging game that is best played on a windy day! It is harder than it looks, so time to get energetic; who will catch the most?

Living life our way, autumn, family fun, educational ideas, outdoor activities, autumn activities, get outside, nature activities, seasons, autumn leaves
Squiggle catching leaves

3. Go on a photography walk. Autumn has so many beautiful colours so why not grab a camera and take some seasonal shots. Even young family members can join in the fun with the help of an older sibling or parent/ guardian. Share your favourite pictures and make sure you tag me so I don’t miss it! I shared mine in a prevous blog post called Autumn colours.

Living life our way, autumn, family fun, educational ideas, outdoor activities, autumn activities, get outside, nature activities, seasons, autumn leaves, autumn colours, photography walk
Autumn colours from my photography walk

4. Go on an autumn themed scavenger hunt. Autumn scavenger hunts are great fun because there are so many interesting things to find at this time of year. I created a free printable to download or you could make up your own!

Living life our way, autumn, nature, home education, childhood unplugged, scavenger hunt, outdoor activities, educational ideas
Squiggle on a scavenger hunt

5. Make a bug hotel. Bugs are much harder to spot at this time of year, but make a bug hotel and you will realise how many are still around!

Living life our way, autumn, family fun, educational ideas, outdoor activities, autumn activities, get outside, nature activities, seasons, bug hotel
This wonderful bug hotel is at Littlesea Haven Holiday Park.

6. Make a DIY bird feeder. Let the local birds know where they can find food over the winter months by getting prepared now. Build or make your very own bird feeder; it can be as simple or advanced as suits you! Squiggle made a simple one from cardboard.

Living life our way, autumn, family fun, educational ideas, outdoor activities, autumn activities, get outside, nature activities, seasons, bird feeder, DIY bird feeder, creative activity
Squiggle made this DIY bird feeder

7. Go on a bug hunt. Whilst the bug hunt I wrote about recently was an organised community event, the idea can easily be adapted to do in the garden or at a local park with family or friends. For inspiration of how to go about it, check out my Bug Hunt post. Another variation of this is to go on a real bug hunt of course, it is more difficult at this time of year but that can be part of the fun!

Living life our way, autumn, family fun, educational ideas, outdoor activities, autumn activities, get outside, nature activities, seasons, bug hunt
Squiggle writing down what creatures she spotted on our autumn bug hunt.

Do you have your own favourite autumn activities? Share your ideas, we would love to try them!

Monkey and Mouse

Stay Wild: Bug Hunt

Last week, we went on a family bug hunt organised by Highfield Park Trust.

Nature, outdoor activities, family fun, things to do, educational ideas, get outside, our world, bug hunt, home education, living life our way

It was a lovely morning; the hunt was well organised, fun, engaging and informative. We both learned lots of new things!

Nature, outdoor activities, family fun, things to do, educational ideas, get outside, our world, bug hunt, home education, living life our way

There were 17 questions, which could be answered by finding the different information cards hidden around the park.

Nature, outdoor activities, family fun, things to do, educational ideas, get outside, our world, bug hunt, home education, living life our way

For example, did you know ants use their head to block the entrance to their nest to keep intruders out?

Nature, outdoor activities, family fun, things to do, educational ideas, get outside, our world, bug hunt, home education, living life our way

Squiggle found out that a male wasp is called a drone.

Nature, outdoor activities, family fun, things to do, educational ideas, get outside, our world, bug hunt, home education, living life our way

I had no idea that a praying mantis only has one ear and Squiggle was very surprised that woodlice has 14 legs.

There were sweet prizes for everyone who completed the quiz, which Squiggle was very happy about! But not as excited as she was when she spotted that they had some of their delicious apple juice for sale, made locally from apples collected from the park orchard.

Nature, outdoor activities, family fun, things to do, educational ideas, get outside, our world, bug hunt, home education, living life our way
She polished the bottle off very quickly!

The bug hunt also inspired her to create one of her own back at home, in the garden for her toys.

Nature, outdoor activities, family fun, things to do, educational ideas, get outside, our world, bug hunt, home education, living life our way

Even a cat came to join in the fun and followed her around finding them all!
Nature, outdoor activities, family fun, things to do, educational ideas, get outside, our world, bug hunt, home education, living life our way

Great family fun, big thumbs up from us.

Stay Wild everyone!

Stay Wild: Autumn Colours

I love all the gorgeous autumn colours, they are one of the main highlights of our nature walks at this time of year. Here is a collection of photos I have taken recently of the beautiful colours…

Living life our way, autumn colours, nature photography, seasonal pictures, photographer, natural environment, our world, autumn, seasons, colourful, art, photography, nature

Living life our way, autumn colours, nature photography, seasonal pictures, photographer, natural environment, our world, autumn, seasons, colourful, art, photography, nature, Stay Wild, 30 days wild

Living life our way, autumn colours, nature photography, seasonal pictures, photographer, natural environment, our world, autumn, seasons, colourful, art, photography, nature, Stay Wild, 30 days wild

Living life our way, autumn colours, nature photography, seasonal pictures, photographer, natural environment, our world, autumn, seasons, colourful, art, photography, nature, Stay Wild, 30 days wild

Living life our way, autumn colours, nature photography, seasonal pictures, photographer, natural environment, our world, autumn, seasons, colourful, art, photography, nature, Stay Wild, 30 days wild

Living life our way, autumn colours, nature photography, seasonal pictures, photographer, natural environment, our world, autumn, seasons, colourful, art, photography, nature, Stay Wild, 30 days wild

Happy November everyone!

Sylvanian Families Trail, Hatchlands Park (Guildford, Surrey)

Recently we visited Hatchlands Park, which is a beautiful National Trust site in Guildford, Surrey. Being a huge fan of Sylvanian families, Squiggle was keen to do the Sylvanian Families nature trail, open until the end of this year.

National Trust, days out, places to go, things to do, family fun, outdoor activities, living life our way

There is a small charge to enter the park, including the Sylvanian Families Trail, of £6 per adult and £3 per child, or £15 for a family ticket (these prices are for park only, cost to enter whole site including house is extra. Prices are on the website here). National Trust members get in free.

National Trust, days out, places to go, things to do, family fun, outdoor activities, living life our way

The trail has a series of signs as you walk through the wood, each with nature questions and clues from members of woodland Sylvanian families. There is a more difficult question at each stop, making it fun and informative for all ages.

National Trust, days out, places to go, things to do, family fun, outdoor activities, living life our way

We did get abit confused when we reached the end because there was no obvious finishing point. We probably should have realised from the number of clues but even so, a clear indication, such as a finish sign or message from one of the Sylvanian families, would have been a nice additional touch.

National Trust, days out, places to go, things to do, family fun, outdoor activities, living life our way

Regardless, we really enjoyed the trail and the wooden sculptures were lovely. Squiggle got so excited each time she spotted one and loved cuddling them!

National Trust, days out, places to go, things to do, family fun, outdoor activities, living life our way

For more information see their website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatchlands-park/features/sylvanian-families-trail-at-hatchlands-park

Whilst we were there, we also went to Hatchlands Park playground. It has lovely natural play features, including a wonderful treehouse. Squiggle really enjoyed playing here and it fitted in beautifully with the surrounding natural environment.

National Trust, days out, places to go, things to do, family fun, outdoor activities, living life our way
Treehouse
National Trust, days out, places to go, things to do, family fun, outdoor activities, living life our way
Balancing
National Trust, days out, places to go, things to do, family fun, outdoor activities, living life our way
Den seating
National Trust, days out, places to go, things to do, family fun, outdoor activities, living life our way
Climbing

All in all, it was a fun day out!