Home Educating The Mad Lads by Victoria Musson – Jones: Review and Giveaway

Home Educating The Mad Lads is written by Victoria, who is mum to 3 (very soon to be 4!) young children. She started home educating in 2015, when her eldest would have been due to start primary school. You can read Victoria’s previous Q&A with me here.

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Victoria decided to write the book because when she was first considering home education she didn’t really know anyone who was doing it and was surrounded by people telling her how mainstream school was the best and only way. This caused her to doubt herself and led to indecision and heart ache. She looked online at books on the subject but she felt that they were all written by ‘experts’ which she found both intimidating and unhelpful. What she really wanted was the advice and experiences of a real life home educating parent. So she turned to reading blogs and found the real life reasoning she was after; in fact she found them so useful that it inspired her to start her own blog. When she begun receiving messages from other parents saying her page had helped them decide to home educate she thought a book might be helpful too. Plus she generally enjoys writing and blogging too!

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Home Educating The Mad Lads is a down to earth, honest and raw story of this home educating family. Victoria writes from the heart and shares her personal story of her own school life, recounts her eldest’s preschool and nursery experiences and the many reasons that led them to decide on home education. 

The book is a quick, easy read that features snippets from her blog, useful information about home ed and glimpses into their lives. It is very relatable, and I think is especially handy for people who would rather read print than screen; I know there are certain members of my family who I struggle to persuade to even read my own blog simply because they have such a strong preference for the printed word, so I think a blog style book is a great idea! 

Home Educating The Mad Lads book can be purchased through Amazon (RRP £5.79). You can also find their blog over on facebook.

Victoria has kindly also offered the chance for one lucky reader to win a copy of the book. Enter via rafflecopter below. Competition closes 2nd August 2017. UK only. Other T&Cs apply. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: This book was sent to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. This post also contains Amazon affiliate links. This does not cost anything extra to anyone purchasing through these links.

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…

      Learning About Bees #30DaysWild

      As I mentioned briefly in a recent post, I started reading abit more about bees – initially beekeeping in particular. However, I then found some lovely resources that I wanted to share with you all about bees. After all, these hardworking pollinators are vital to us yet are in need of greater understanding and protection!

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      This short blog post by Raising Little Shoots has some great YouTube links. One of them demonstrates how sometimes tired, thirsty bees are in need of some sugar water to help revive them/ give them the energy needed to fly off. We did this ourselves recently, with a few drops of sugar water on a spoon for a little bee in our garden who was crawling around but was clearly exhausted. Afterwards, he went on his merry way!

      Global Guardian Project also have a special edition capsule all about bees, which you can read more about on this blog post.

      Do you have any bee facts? Please share them, it would ‘bee’ lovely to read them! 

      Where’s Wildlife: Nature’s Version of Where’s Wally! (Post includes Linky) 

      We have a wild patch in our garden. I love it because from a distance it doesn’t look like there is much there but the closer you get, the more you spot that there is actually an abundance of wildlife. So I decided to turn it into a 30 Days Wild activity; nature’s version of Where’s Wally? 

      How many minibeasts can you spot in each of these photos? 

      What about this one?

      I was going to share some closer up pictures as part of this post, but I have just decided that on second thoughts, rather than give away the answers too quickly, I will post my close up photography in a separate post later! So look out for that coming soon!!! In the meantime, how many things have you spotted? Tell me in comments! 

      Here is week three 30 Days Wild/ #LivingLifeWild linky,remember you can link up as many posts as you want! I will read and comment on them all 💚


      Wildlife in Our Garden: Hedgehog Sighting

      Early this morning, just after dawn, this little fella made his way across our garden and into our bushes. We have never seen a hedgehog in our garden before – infact I don’t think any of us have seen one in the wild ever full stop! SO excited!!!!

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      This is Squiggle’s photo, she was thrilled to see him, she was the one who spotted him first!

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      It would seem to be the day for spotting these adorable little creatures for the first time! Over on instagram, The World Is Their Classroom posted this…

      It is so wonderful to see British wildlife making an appearance up and down the country! The Wildlife Trusts website has some useful information and fun activities about hedgehogs, including a handy PDF download too. Squiggle made a hedgehog hideaway today to encourage and protect our new friend!

      DIY Seed Bombs – #30DaysWild

      Squiggle and I made seed bombs, as a more unique way of planting the wild flower seeds we were sent from The Wildlife Trusts in our 30 Days Wild pack. It is a really simple, fun activity… and all you need is clay, soil and seeds! 

      Firstly, get a small lump of clay and flatten it out.

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      Next, put some soil on top…

      Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, seed bombs, grow your own, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors, freedom to learn, home education, get outside

      Then add some seeds on top…

      Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, seed bombs, grow your own, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors, freedom to learn, home education, get outside

      Mix it all together…

      Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, seed bombs, grow your own, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors, freedom to learn, home education, get outside

      Roll it into a ball…

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      Now you have your own DIY seed bomb!

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      Throw the seed bomb into your designated area to plant it! 

      Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, seed bombs, grow your own, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors, freedom to learn, home education, get outside

      If you don’t have any clay, alternatively you can also use flour instead. I tried this method by myself just out of interest. Begin by mixing the seeds into the soil. Then mix 1/3 flour with 2/3 soil/ seeds, using a small amount of water to make it ‘stick’, and roll into balls. 

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      Have you ever made a seed bomb? If not, why not give it a try! 

      #30DaysWild #LivingLifeWild

      World Environment Day 2017 – Connecting People To Nature 

      Today, 5th June 2017, is World Environment Day. The aim of this campaign is to connect people to nature. Of course, for those of us who are taking part in 30 Days Wild, this is something that we are already doing throughout this month anyway!

      However, I would like to set everyone a challenge to do today. As suggested on the World Environment Day website, share a photograph of your favourite nature spot using hastags #WorldEnvironmentDay and #WithNature to celebrate this event. Let’s create the world’s biggest nature photo gallery!  

      World Environment Day, #worldenvironmentday, #withnature, Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors, freedom to learn, home education, get outside

      There is also an excellent app – inaturalist– that is using photos to carry out citizen science research. So do consider sharing your photos with the online community there too; you can learn something new whilst also taking part in this important research.

      Do you have your own event planned for World Environment Day today? I would love to hear about it, please share in comments!

      #WorldEnvironmentDay #WithNature #30DaysWild #LivingLifeWild 

      Nature Walk – #30DaysWild 

      Squiggle and I regularly go on nature walks. Being situated in an urban location doesn’t mean we have to deprive ourselves of nature. Despite living on the outskirts of a city, we are lucky enough to have parkland and green spaces on our doorstep. Natural environment is essential to our wellbeing. I feel it is therefore important to take the time to appreciate the natural world around us – perhaps even more so because sometimes we have to actively seek it out. 

      So we slow down, we pause to observe, we talk about what is around us, and use all our senses to explore. We emerse ourselves. That sense of wonder and curiosity that young children have, that excitement of a new discovery – find that within yourself again!

      I love looking at things close up or from different perspectives. I also really enjoy taking photos, and I feel it helps me to do this. Some people say taking pictures distracts them from being in the moment, but I feel the opposite; photography helps me to connect further – deeper – and keeps me focused, in the moment for longer.

      On that note, I’ll leave you with some photos from our latest nature walk the other day…

      Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors

      Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors

      Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, ferns uncurling, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors

      Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, lambs ears, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors

      Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors

      And one from Squiggle too…

      Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, nature, wildlife, environment, green living, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, childhood unplugged, outdoors

      Remember, you can link up your 30 Days Wild posts here, I love reading them!

      And if you are stuck for inspiration, as well as looking at 30 Days Wild website or app, check out Grow Eat Gift‘s post with 30 brilliant wild ideas!

      #30DaysWild #LivingLifeWild

      AniMalcolm: Book Review

      AniMalcolm is the latest children’s novel by comedian and author David Baddiel, who already has two previously published bestsellers; The Parent Agency and The Person Controller. It is aimed at ages 8 – 11 years old and is the perfect book for any child, especially animal lovers!

      The story of AniMalcolm centres around a young boy called – you guessed it! – Malcolm. He comes from a family of animal lovers and has a house full of pets… but the problem is, he doesn’t like them. However, when he attends his Year Six school trip to a farm, Malcolm changes. In many ways. As the blurb says:

      He learns what it’s really like to be an animal. A whole series of animals, in fact…

      It does make him think differently. And speak differently. And eat differently. And, um, smell differently. But will he end up the same as before?

      Because sometimes the hardest thing to become is… yourself!

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      Behind the light-hearted humour and imaginative storyline that had us giggling out loud at times, there are hidden depths. The story teaches empathy and demonstrates beautifully how putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes can really change our perspective towards them. The down to earth writing style is wonderfully descriptive with quirky footnotes that really draws the reader fully into the story and keeps them right there throughout.

      The story touches upon some insightful points like how one ‘traumatic’ incident in childhood can actually deeply affect how we feel about something and can cause a disconnect. It also highlights how understanding and empathy is essential in creating an emotional connection, which then fosters positive feelings and actions towards them. These underlying messages may not be explicit or obvious to children whilst reading the book necessarily but nonetheless it will help build the right foundations for them.

      In conclusion: I adore this book!

      AniMalcolm is available to purchase now in paperbook for £6.99 RRP. You can buy it via Amazon here (affiliate link).

      *Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I was sent the book for purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

      How Well Do You Know Your Flowers? Take This Fun Quiz To Find Out!

      With only a few days left until The Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild challenge begins, this is a great time to brush up on your knowledge of all things nature! Rattan Direct have created a fun (and educational!) quiz to find out how well you know different types of flowers. You can find it here:  Can You Guess The Flowers?

      #livinglifewild, 30 Days Wild, Rattan Direct, flowers, nature, flower identification, garden, nature activities, educational activities, freedom to learn, Home Education, Living Life Wild, outdoors, stay wild

      I took the quiz by myself and to be perfectly honest, I was quite embarassed by my lack of flower knowledge! I know full well that identification is not my strong point, even though I love nature and spend alot of time outdoors I definitely still have much more to learn, but even so I had thought I might do abit better than I did! Oops!!! I did get a few right, although I admit they were mostly only educated guesses too really 😉

      The quiz is very simple to complete and it only takes a short amount of time. The aim is to try to identify the flower by matching the name given in the question to the correct flower photo from four multiple choice answers. At the end of the quiz you then receive your results so you can see how well you did!

      If you wanted to turn the quiz into even more of an educational activity, you could find out the names of the other flowers using an ID app or google to learn more information about the flowers. You could then extend this even further by going out for a nature walk to see how many of the flowers you can spot! This quiz would be great to do as one of the challenges for 30 Days Wild, or generally fun any other time too!

      *Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Rattan Direct.