Fun Family Activities To Celebrate Earth Day

​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!)

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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    • 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.  

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    What are you doing for Earth Day? Tell me in comments, I look forward to reading about it!

    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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    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!

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    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. 

    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. 

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    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! 

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    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.

    Trump President: What does the future hold for our planet? 

    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.

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    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 5GyresTurning 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.

    Turning Green, Erin Schrode, Election 2016, US President, President Trump, Climate Change, Green Living
    turninggreen.org

    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!

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    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?

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    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.

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    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!

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    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!

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    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.

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    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!

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    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.

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

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

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

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    Even a cat came to join in the fun and followed her around finding them all!
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    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…

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    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!

    #Blogtober 2016 – Day 28: Favourite Instagram Photo(s)

    I am quite selective over what goes in my IG gallery, so I really like pretty much all of the photos in my collection tbh. But of course for this post I am going to pick ones of Squiggle and not just use it as an excuse to showcase my photography lol 😉 So I do have five favourites that stand out as I scroll down my feed. Here they are in no particular order…

    "Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time" ~ Katrina Mayer 🌳💚

    A post shared by Katie (@living_life.our_way) on

    When it's 15°C and raining but you're so happy because you really love water… 😊💙 #bluemind #MakeASplash

    A post shared by Katie (@living_life.our_way) on

    “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.” — Edward Abbey

    A post shared by Katie (@living_life.our_way) on

    #Blogtober16

    #Blogtober 2016 – Day 23: Favourite Time of Year and Why

    When I first read this theme, my mind automatically jumped to seasons and I spent ages trying (unsuccessfully!) to pick my favourite. Then I re-read the title and realised it could be any time of year, for any reason, not specifically seasons. But then I figured my mind actually translated it into that for good reason; we spend alot of time outdoors in nature, absorbing our natural environment, observing the seasons and appreciating the ever-changing beauty of our natural world throughout the year. So for me personally, my favourite time of year would be based on that, rather than a special occasion or anything else. 

    But which is my favourite season then? I genuinely love them all for different reasons. When (and if!) it snows in winter it is so much fun, plus I enjoy the peaceful silence on winter walks. Spring is beautiful, so filled with new life, and brings with it hope for our future. Summer fun, splashing around in water in warm sunshine, it so therapeutic; and the nature all around is so easy to spot too. And then there is autumn, with its beautiful colours and refreshing sense of change. Each is so important to me in its own unique way.

    If I really had to pick one? I guess I would go for autumn. I love the changing of the season from summer to autumn, when some days it is warm and others there is a distinct chill in the air. I love the stunning autumn colours and the sound of crisp leaves underfoot. I love hunting for conkers, acorns and sweet chesnuts. And I love how nature teaches us about the beauty of change, to accept so easily when it is time to let go and get ready to embrace the new! 

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    Autumn colours at the park

    Aside from the seasonal aspect, I admit I do also love it when the schools go back and our favourite spots become peaceful again! But also, last but not least, I choose autumn because I try to live in the moment, and that is where we are at right now. Ask me at a different time of year and you may well get a different answer!

    #Blogtober16

    Project Green Challenge 2016: Aiming For Zero Waste

    As part of Project Green Challenge by Turning Green, I have been collecting all the waste I have produced for the last 24 hours.

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    Waste produced in 24 hours

    I do aim to refuse, reduce and reuse; and feel I have done quite well with this! BUT there is plenty more to be done and there are a few things this challenge has taught me…

    I never thought about the cat food! I didn’t even check to see if the fish is from a sustainable source let alone consider the packaging it comes in. This is now a top priority on my to do list.

    Obviously some things took more than 24 hours to become empty and therefore become waste (ie plastic film toilet paper packaging and handwash bottle), so it just so happened they fell into my waste pile during the challenge. But this led me to think what would have mounted up if the challenge had been over a week, or a month? 

    Aside from the plastic film packaging around the toilet paper (I wonder if there are paper alternatives to this?) the main culprits would be household items (handwash, shampoo/ conditioner, deoderant and washing liquid containers) and plastic fruit containers, so I need to take a closer look at potential alternatives to these. With the exception of the plastic film wrap, the other plastics do all get recycled locally, but this is not ideal and is a last resort. Refusing, reducing and reusing is better if possible. 

    Last but not least- crisp packet and coke cans- I really should cut out the junk food and drink! The packets end up as landfill. The coke cans are recycled and are arguably much better than getting a plastic bottle version, especially if the cans are packaged in cardboard, but cutting them out completely would be better for a multitude of reasons of course!

    So, you’ve opted for reusable carrier bags, you say no to straws, you have a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, you take food in reusable containers and you refuse plastic cutlery, taking your own reusable version instead (or just do without!) You have come along way in reducing your waste, which is great! But what are the next steps in aiming for a zero waste lifestyle? Here are some more things to think about…

    Look at your household items. Handwash, washing liquid, cleaning products etc… Can you find alternatives that have less packaging, or is more easily recyclable materials at least? Or buy in bulk- bigger versions mean waste less often at least! 

    Check your beauty and hygiene products. Shampoo and conditioner, soap, deoderant, wipes, scrubs etc… Can you find a reusable substitute for some items, such as wipes? Are there alternatives that come with packaging, such as shampoo bars? Or could you even try making your deoderant or face scrub? I had a go at making my own coffee face scrub as part of 5gyres #beadfree campaign about banning microbeads (tiny toxic plastic beads). It worked really well! Oh and don’t forget to look out for those pesky microbeads too! 

    Choose food products with less packaging. Buy fruit and vegetables loose if possible. Look out for paper or cardboard alternatives to plastic. If unavoidable, choose bigger packets so less waste overall. And remember to take reusable packaging, containers and bags with you to use whenever you can! If you have pets, remember to consider the items you buy for them too. 

    No doubt there are lots of other ways to help achieve zero waste, I would love to hear your tips too!

    For more information watch this video: storyofstuff.org

    Also see these websites for more information:

     www.5gyres.org

     www.trashisfortossers.com

    For reusable products (US) check out: www.ukonserve.com