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

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!  

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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 

30 Days Wild: The Fun Begins! (Linky in Post)

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!

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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.

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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!


 #30DaysWild #LivingLifeWild 

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?

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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.

#LivingLifeWild – The Missing Link(y)!

So, as you may have noticed, I missed this month’s linky. May 1st came and went, and it just didn’t happen. I then kept meaning to write the post but everytime I thought about doing it, other stuff just seemed to get in the way. I think on reflection maybe somewhere in my subconscious I kept putting it off, or at least not prioritising it, because I felt a little frustrated that we actually hadn’t been outside in nature as much as usual, or as much as I would have liked. We had been pretty busy doing other stuff and I guess life had just got in the way.

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Earlier this month at Cassiobury Park, Hertfordshire

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It probably sounds silly, but I have been feeling really bad about the missing linky! I hate saying I will do something and then not see it through; I usually carry out whatever I commit to and like to be reliable. So if anyone was wondering why the linky didn’t happen this month, I am sorry!

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Anyway, as there are now only a few days left of May, I feel it is time to move on from the lack of linky this month and look forward to next month instead! Throughout June, The Wildlife Trusts hold their 30 Days Wild campaign to encourage people to get outside and closer to nature. We loved taking part in this last year and I am really looking forward to doing so again this year!

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If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late to take part! You can still sign up to join the challenge here:

Get started!

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I’ll be posting about our challenges as often as possible – ideally daily, but I also do need to be realistic about it! I am also going to run a weekly #LivingLifeWild linky every Thursday throughout June – starting on 1st June – so that we can all help to inspire and motivate each other by sharing our posts.

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Even if you are not actually taking part in 30 days wild, I would still love to read your posts about outdoors, nature, wildlife and green living so please do stop by and add any related posts. You can also link up any posts from the last couple of months in the first linky too! I hope as many people as possible will take part in this, so please remember to tell everyone else about it as well! Thank you!

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#LivingLifeWild

Is Your Garden Dog Friendly?

As you all know, we love being outdoors, including spending lots of time in our garden. We enjoy growing a good selection of plants, flowers and food each year. However, we also have various pets so need to be aware of what we are growing that they might try to eat! 

If you are a dog owner you might find this infographic by Rattan Direct useful. There were a few that I wasn’t aware of to be honest. It particularly caught my attention that daisies, which are of course such a common garden flower, can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Hopefully most dog owners are already very aware of these poisonous plants, especially the deadly ones, but it is handy to have a visual reminder and this information could certainly be very helpful to new owners.

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www.rattandirect.co.uk

Both my brother and my dad have pet dogs, and we had a beautiful King Charles Spaniel called Cindy when I was growing up. I remember she would eat absolutely anything she could get her paws on! I think my dad’s dogs that he has now are pretty well trained in comparison, although they do seem to enjoy picking up the odd bit of litter off the street, and they chase all the leaves blowing around in autumn! But as far as I know, hopefully, they aren’t partial to munching on plants and flowers – especially not any on this list!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Squiggle is a big fan of dogs, so she loves spending time with them. She did actually ask again recently if we could own a dog, more specifically a Dalmation. I honestly would love to, but unfortunately a dog is not an option for us at the moment. One day maybe though!

Anyway, I’ll leave you with these adorable photos of Squiggle with our family’s furbabies…

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What pets do you have? Tell me in comments!

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