Highlights of 30 Days Wild

So, it’s now July and therefore 30 Days Wild is officially over. It has been loads of fun! There have been so many wonderful adventures and activities that I could not possibly name them all, but here are some of the highlights:

My Top 3 Random Acts of Wildness:

Visit to Gobions Wood, Hertfordshire

Rock hunting

Seeing a hedgehog for the first time ever

Other Peoples’ Highlights:

Wildlife cocktails, mud masks, building wildlife hotels, nature picnics – can’t pick one! Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Litter picking jumps out. Spending time with someone I love in nature + art inspiration = idyllic. In fact, community would be joint first favourite thing. Really hoping lots of people #staywild. Going to miss everyone! ~ Grow Eat Gift 

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Loved doing 30 Days Wild for the first time this year. It has helped my daughter greatly; she has Autism and we have been out and about together with her camera. She is very happy to have been chosen as the first person to take part in a new project by wildlife.net She is thrilled to have a slide show on YouTube featuring her wildlife photos and they have given her her own page on their site. I am very proud of her and thanks to 30 Days Wild for helping her and giving her lots more confidence. She has even sold one of her owl paintings- awesome. ~ mum of Emilived 


The kiddies really enjoyed making ice bird feeders.
The World is Their Classroom

This is my favourite, my son catching newts. Happy Handley 

Being chased by a crazy chicken on Day 25 was the funniest moment but having a reason to get the family outside and spend time together has been the best part. croftie goes wild

What were your highlights? Tell me in comments! 

Don’t forget that just because 30 Days Wild is over now, it doesn’t mean your ‘wild’ adventures have to end! Carry on your wildness and share using hashtag #StayWild 

For my first #StayWild act, I have signed up for family membership of our local Wildlife Trust. Have you joined yet? Find your local trust.

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And if you are looking for a new challenge, it is now Plastic Free July too! #PlasticFree 

Our (Sub)Urban Nature Walk #30DaysWild 

To mark the end of 30 Days Wild, Squiggle was given the choice of what nature activity to do. (Making it a totally random act of wildness for me!!!) She chose to go on a nature walk to the ‘burbs, so we set off on our ‘final’ adventure (of course it isn’t really – we will #StayWild and continue #LivingLifeWild as we always have!) 

We took our time, stopping to take photos and study the beautiful plants, flowers, insects and other nature along our way. We then stopped for a quick play in the park, which we were delighted to find had been left overgrown and wild, before heading back.

So I will leave you with a small selection of the photos we took…

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Nature Photography (Taken During Rock Hunting)

We took a few nature photos during our rock hunting, and I just couldn’t resist posting them as I do love to share! Enjoy…

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Soldier beetle
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Fungi on tree trunk

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#30DaysWild  #StayWild  #LivingLifeWild 

Rock Hunting: Nature’s Answer To Pokemon Go! #30DaysWild 

Have you heard of the new craze? Painted rocks have been hidden all over our local area to encourage people to get outside and explore to find them. And to spread some love and positivity around; like a little act of kindness for the person who finds it. What an amazing way to put a smile on peoples’ faces! Of course, we could not wait to go out on a rock hunt to see what we could find!

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It turned out to be much harder than we thought! We knew very rough locations, and had vague picture clues, but looking for small rocks in a very large area is… well… abit like looking for a needle in a haystack! But that just encouraged us to look more closely, stay out longer, walk further and explore different areas – which is great!

Just a little note to anyone considering doing this as a set activity (e.g. home educators or organised groups for example): it would be easier, and an awesome educational activity, if they were mapped out in advance. Great for developing old school map reading skills too! (I guess this would make it more of a geocaching style activity). Of course this would rely on people not removing, or relocating, any of them. (Hopefully no one will remove them anyway though obviously, as it is meant to be an activity for everyone to enjoy!)

Also, if you were doing this, a handy suggestion might be to map them out with a small circle radius rather than a precise location, so that it still gives abit of freedom to rehide them elsewhere – as long as it is within close proximity to the original spot. I say this because Squiggle was really keen to move one to a new hiding place so we compromised and she hid it right by the next tree instead, less than a metre away!

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Anyway, they are just little tips if anyone is thinking about doing it as a home ed activity or setting it up as an ‘organised’ event. But back to our fun of rock hunting…

We were incredibly lucky to find not just one, but two painted rocks! Squiggle was delighted that she spotted them!!! The first was a beautiful heart rock…

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The second was a pretty colourful rainbow…

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We had so much fun! It is such a lovely activity and a brilliant, creative, inspired idea – love it!!! Thank you so much to the wonderful people who came up with this initiative and organised it in our area. We are so grateful! For more information, check out St Albans Rocks UK.

We then also painted our own rocks when we returned home, so we will be hiding those in our local park soon too! Thanks again!!!

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Happy rock hunting! 

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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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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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! 

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!

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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…

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

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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…

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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! 

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.

Nature Printing Pebble Art #30DaysWild

Inspired by The Pinterested Parent, I sat in the garden yesterday afternoon and tried to create some beautiful nature printed pebbles. I say tried, because it turned out to be harder than it looked – or at least for me! 

However, this didn’t bother me in the slightest. Just as I teach Squiggle, it wasn’t about the finished result, it was for the sheer enjoyment of doing it. Plus it is relaxing. I love to be artistic simply for pleasure not gain. Sure, creating something that looks pretty at the end is very satisfying, but if it doesn’t work out, it is no loss. 

I found the painted leaves and grass quite interesting, and photography is my favourite creative outlet, so I decided to compose a couple of photos. However, regardless of how the original idea turned out, this was a really fun creative activity!

Remember this week’s linky is open to share your ‘wild’ adventures too! 

Camping Guide: Get Organised With Halfords

We have been on many outdoor style holidays, staying at campsites or holiday parks. We tend to be caravanners and often, but not always, opt for locations by the beach. We have had lots of precious moments from waking up to see rabbits hopping about outside our window, to exploring Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door for the first time last year, and discovering adventurous nature paths from our holiday site to the beach.

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Dorset

However, I reflect back on our very first holiday as parents – a caravan trip to the seaside – and we were so unorganised and unprepared! Don’t get me wrong; there are lots of special memories from the trip – Squiggle’s first touch of sand, putting her toes in the sea for the very first time, sleeping away from home with her for the first time ever. It was wonderful in so many ways.

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First paddle in the sea.

But the caravan was basic with no heating, so it was very much like camping in a tent. Plus it was out of season too, so not very warm- and as new parents we forgot so many camping essentials! We even had to dash out in the evening to get supplies; we were literally banging on the window of the nearest store just as they closed up, begging them to let us in for 2 mins to make a quick purchase – cue a supermarket sweep style grab for blankets and extra thick sleeping bag! Oops!!!

Halfords have created a useful Guide To Camping with lots of helpful essential packing tips, so luckily you don’t have to make the same Rookie mistakes as we did! There are also suggestions for campsites; from beach lovers to cycling and outdoor adventures, wild camping, and caravanning sites, plus other camping ideas too – there is even a playlist if you need some musical inspiration!

What are your top camping tips? I would love to read them! Leave me a comment.



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

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…

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Then add some seeds on top…

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Mix it all together…

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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! 

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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