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.
We don’t give much thought to the soil under our feet but without it, we wouldn’t have 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. 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.
Healthy Soil = Healthy Planet
So how is Soil Made? And why do we need to keep adding organic matter and other nutrients to get the best from it? Does it mystify you as to why soil in one part of the garden is fine and dust-like but in another part, heavy and dense?
The soil is made from the earth’s crusts and its deposits being ground to a finer powder over thousands of years. The type of soil created, depends on the deposits that created it. The quality of soil also depends on how much life is in the soil. Worms, for example, are essential to mixing the soil as well as aerating it. Other soil-borne life forms are important too. Soil needs plenty of nutrients and water to offer the best growing medium, an increasing problem in a world with an increasing number of mouths to feed.
Do you know how to look after soil?
From adding organic matter to understanding the type of soil and what will grow best, this infographic has it all. Find out more and truly understand the ground beneath your feet.
*Disclosure: This post has been written in collaboration with Rattan Direct.
Firstly, yes this is still a family blog! So, what am I talking about? The answer is the environment and our oceans of course! More to the point, this post is about all the single-use plastics that get dumped into the environment every single day – polluting our oceans and harming our wildlife – and what we can do about it.
Lonely Whale Foundation recently launched their Strawless Ocean campaign asking everyone to pledge to #StopSucking by refusing plastic straws and either go straw-free or use more sustainable alternatives. Between Brits and the US, we use 550 million plastic straws every single day. Each single-use plastic straw takes 200 years to break down into tiny toxic particles. Alot end up in the ocean. That is a huge amount of plastic pollution.
Share the video and pledge to ditch plastic straws!
Another great charity, 5Gyres, have also launched a campaign to address the use of disposable cups. Ideally the best thing to do is to take a reusable cup with you to cafes and coffee shops. However, if you don’t have a reusable cup available (and why not? There is no excuse – lots of places sell them!) then at least go topless, so that is one less piece of waste!
Did you know in the UK only one in 400 coffee cups are recycled? It is too difficult to separate their plastic coating and cardboard to recycle the card. Yet, as reported by Telegraph, half of people believe their disposable coffee cups are being recycled all or most of the time. As many as 2.5 billion paper coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year – again, that is ALOT of waste. Invest in a resuable cup and remember to take it with you as a small commitment to protecting our oceans, and our planet.
If you would also like other ideas about actions you can take, check out Clean Seas to see what others are up to and join in with their existing campaigns – or start one of your own!
For my own favourite nature spot, I was torn between green and blue, so eventually decided I simply had to choose photos of both!
The first photo is a local park that is one of my very favourite nature spots, largely just because I spend alot of time here. The tree in the photo is straight up one of my absolute favourite subjects to photo because it is so photogenic- it always comes out looking so magical!
The second picture was taken at Donna Nook in Lincolnshire last November for our annual visit during pupping season. Whilst not recent, or the best photo ever, it is one of my most favourite spots on earth for feeling truly connected with nature and wildlife. It is an amazing experience.
The final photo was taken a few days ago at Southend-on-Sea. I didn’t feel that I could possibly post about my favourite nature spots without listening to my #BlueMind and therefore including the beach that we visit most regularly! This isn’t my favourite capture of it if I am perfectly honest, there are more striking photos of it on my blog photo gallery, but this is the most recent so I stuck with that!
Where is your favourite nature spot? Share it today to be part of World Environment Day!
For my challenge yesterday, I went for a walk at sunset. I didn’t go far; I simply walked up and down my street infact – admiring the beautiful flowers in a neighbour’s front garden, enjoying the wild flowers growing along the verge, looking up at the sky and feeling the rain on my skin. However, the absolute highlight was actually before I started my walk; the gorgeous sky view from my garden that I stood and watched for a few minutes as it turned redder. Stunning.
Woohoo, day one of 30 Days Wild! Who is excited? I am, can you tell?!
Throughout June I will posting regularly about our wild adventures and activities, and I look forward to reading what others are doing too. Below is the linky, as promised – feel free to include any posts you wrote from last year’s 30 Days Wild challenge in this week’s linky too… Let’s all share our ideas and help to inspire each other further!
So today, day one of the challenge, for me is about connection. After all, that is what this challenge is really about; connecting to the natural world around us. And I feel that an essential part of this is connecting with each other too; through discussing ideas and actions, sharing inspiration and mutual interests, working together to protect our wildlife… that is an important part of the challenge. Hence my linky idea! Feel free to drop me a comment or find me on social media to say hi too, I would love to connect with as many like-minded people as possible!
Today is also about reflection for me as well; as we are right at the beginning of this year’s challenge, I will be spending time today (in the garden!) looking back over my 30 Days Wild posts from last year and thinking about the journey that the challenge took us on. I will reflect on what we learned, how we felt and, moving forward, what I hope to get from it this time.
Last but not least, I would also like to share with you another challenge that is also happening this month: Plastic Challenge by Marine Conservation Society. I am sharing it here because the purpose of this campaign is about protecting our oceans and the rest of our natural environment; therefore it fits in perfectly with 30 Days Wild and could be done as part of that. Even though we have been on our own plastic-free journey for sometime, I have signed up for this challenge too, which I will write more about during the month.
Anyway, here is the linky… I look forward to reading your posts. And remember to tell all your friends about it too!
Today is Earth Day. So here are some lovely ways you can celebrate, either today or any other (because really, everyday should be Earth Day anyway!)
Nature art. There are lots of fun nature art activities that you can do as a family. One that is particularly great for Earth Day is to collect some large pebbles, arrange them in a solid circle, then paint them with a map of the world (I decided to add a peace sign too!)
Make an Earth Pom Pom. Check out this super cute creative activity over on Monkey and Mouse!
Sign up to Global Guardian Project to get their monthly digital multi-media resource (learning capsule) full of stunning pictures, useful information, inspirational ideas and activities, and wonderful facts about the amazing world that we live in, and how we can care for it. This month the focus is on Israel. Use my affiliate code LIVINGLIFEOURWAY to get 10% discount off subscriptions. (Usual price $14.99 per month). This discount code can also be used for their new special edition National Parks capsule too.
Go on a nature walk. Use all your senses to explore the natural environment around you. Stop for a few moments, be still and listen. What do you hear? What do you see? What can you smell? Touch the bark of a tree, go barefoot on the grass. Take it all in and connect with our earth.
Make a paper mache globe. This project takes several days but is lots of messy creative fun! Head on over to The Crafty Classroom to for a detailed tutorial.
Give the earth a helping hand. Do something that helps protect our environment. Small changes can have a BIG impact. Maybe a 5 minute litter pick in your local park? Find ways to reduce energy consumption in your home? Pledge to say ‘no thanks’ to plastic straws with your drink? Or perhaps buy yourself a reusable cup rather than using disposable coffee shops ones? You could even try to give up single-use plastics completely! The possibilities are endless and remember, every small change helps. Other ideas can be found on my previous Make A Splash blog post.
What are you doing for Earth Day? Tell me in comments, I look forward to reading about it!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
The world is in shock; Donald Trump defied the odds to be elected as the 45th US president. A businessman and TV personality, he has no prior political experience but has made some extremely controversial statements before and during his hate-fuelled campaign; blatent racism, trivialising rape culture as locker room talk, sexism, accusing China of making up climate change and some of the least environmentally-friendly opinions in the history of candidates. He has the potential to undo all of the progress made by President Obama during his term in presidency. As warned by Professor Michael Mann, Trump could well be a “threat to the planet.” There is no denying it is a dark and scary time right now.
Trump has promised that he will be “president for all Americans” and declared that “now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division” stating “it is time for us to get together as one united people.” There is some chance that he may not intend to do much of what he has previously said; he often seems to speak on impulse then later goes back on what he has said. Which is just as well considering some of the vile comments he has spewed out and damaging things he has proposed. However, he has already caused division and there has been an increase in hate crimes before Trump’s presidency has even begun, and his future actions remain to be seen. So the hope that he might not act on his hate and bigotry is of very little comfort. We all need to look out for each other, love and support one another, and remain united. Act in love, not in fear.
And what about the future of our planet with Trump as president? He has threatened to pull out of the Paris Agreement, which would be a disaster for climate action. However, in reality, he most likely cannot actually do this because there is three year minimum period plus one year notice. But he is also a huge supporter of fossil fuels and doesn’t seem to hold much regard for cleaner energy alternatives. In short, he hasn’t so far shown much interest in the environment or protecting our planet, to say the least. A worrying future indeed.
So what can we do about it? Now is the perfect time to support the charities, organisations and individuals who are dedicated to creating impactful change throughout the world. There are of course many of these to choose from; such as 5Gyres, Turning Green.org and The Wildlife Trusts to name just a few. Now more than ever, we need to stand up, speak out and take action. We need to use our voices, loud and clear, to make ourselves heard. We need to fight harder than ever before. Trump may soon be in charge of what is arguably the most powerful country in the world, but we can ALL still make a positive difference. Together we WILL continue to be the change. We must remember that. Now is the time that we all need to make an even bigger conscious effort to take both individual and collective action to protect and heal our planet. The future is still in our hands.