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!
How was your March? We are really enjoying watching Spring blossom and flowers develop, and have started to spot ladybirds, bees and butterflies around too. We have been on lovely countryside walks, wandered through parklands, hunted for minibeasts in the garden, had fun on a Spring scavenger hunt and climbed trees, amongst other things!
Here are some of our photos from our March adventures…
The #LivingLifeWild IG hastag is still going strong, so nip over and check out all the gorgeous photos there as well!
Thank you for reading about our adventures, and hopefully sharing with us your own ones too. Please feel free to drop your links to any relevant posts below, and take a moment to show the other linkies some love too. 💚 Looking forward to reading your posts!
November Rain is an awesome stylish brand of poncho that launched back in November 2016 in USA, and are now available in the UK too. I was kindly sent one of these funky ponchos to review and also have a giveaway for one lucky reader to win one too! (See further down to enter).
November Rain ponchos come in a choice of three lovely designs. I admit I deliberated for sometime on my decision before opting for the plain Ocean Blue design (because I have lots of patterned tops and figured this would be more versatile if I might want to wear it partially unzipped anytime!) I was genuinely really drawn to both of the patterned designs too though; love them!
The poncho comes in a little pouch so it is easy to keep it in your bag then throw it on quickly when needed. (Make sure it is dry before you pop it back in the pouch though of course!) It is made with enough room that it can fit any size and shape, and will fit over layers too. It was abit shorter than I imagined; given the fact that I’m only 5 ft 1, I was surprised it didn’t go at least to my knees to allow for taller people. At least that meant Squiggle could also use it too if really necessary lol!
They are very well designed, with poppers to make ‘sleeves’ and a zip fastening at the front, plus a detachable hood too. The ponchos are printed using sublimation, which is an eco-friendly waterless method of printing. They also have reinforced stitching and heat sealed seams, meaning they are heavy duty and fully waterproof. It feels comfortable and lightweight to wear though, and looks stylish compared to most!
The poncho retails at £49 in the UK but, as I said, it is great quality and is intended to be quite the opposite of the cheap disposable ones you usually find; this eco-friendly poncho is designed to last a lifetime. This is one of the main reasons I like it; it is much better for the environment to invest in one that will last, rather than create more waste using disposable or short-lived versions.
But my absolute favourite thing? The brand pledges a full 10% of all turnover to water projects in developing countries. And November Rain is not limiting the resources given to just clean drinking water, they are also funding irrigation projects for crops in areas where water can be the main limiting factor for people being able to put food on the table. Thanks to their popularity, the company has already funded a hydroponic vegetable growing system at a children’s rescue mission in Northern Thailand valued at $3,000USD.
November Rain ponchos are born from Belinda Coker, the same founder of Envirosax – the original designer reusable bag. She explains: “After the success of Envirosax, I realized the importance of sharing the wealth created with those not so fortunate. It’s not all about the money, it’s about creating something that people love with benefits that keep flowing to those in need.” It is so important to make conscious choices, and I totally support brands who actively protect the environment, especially when they also give back in some way. So I am really impressed with this brand!
It’s that time of year when people all over the country are getting involved in The Great Daffodil Appeal for Marie Curie. Marie Curie is a wonderful charity that supports people with terminal illness, and their families. The funds raised from the appeal help to pay for nurses to provide care to families during this most difficult time.
If you want to take part but haven’t already registered, it’s not too late! Here are some of my favourite fundraising ideas to get you started. And if these don’t inspire you, make up your own instead!
Make and sell handmade cards, crochet daffodils or origami daffodils.
Hold a creative workshop and charge an entry fee to raise money.
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!
On Friday we took Squiggle to the athletics track to do some races. This reminded me that I never actually properly wrote up our fantastic sports challenge (100 days of sports) last year!
I had started out by doing regular round-up posts about it but then for one reason or another, I decided to just do a big summary post at the end, once we had actually finished. But it never happened! We successfully completed the challenge, and had a great time doing it – I just didn’t get round to writing the post to share all the sports activities we did and brilliant fun we had! Oops! So I figured better late than never; Squiggle and I are excited to finally share this post with you… at last!
During the sports challenge, Squiggle took part in a wide variety of sports. Some activities we arranged ourselves, often with her home ed friends, whilst others we attended were organised sessions. I was pleasantly surprised during my research for this challenge at how many inclusive sports sessions are available, including some aimed specifically at SEND children.
This has also led me to reflect on the great importance of sports being accessible to everyone and the huge value of disability sports for both physical and invisible disabilities. I think back to London Olympics and Paralympics 2012 and how we opted to take Squiggle to watch the Paralympics specifically, as not only is it truly inspirational and an incredible honour to watch live generally, but we felt it particularly important for Squiggle to have such role-models from a young age.
I am thankful that there is such a great awareness within the sports sector and for the investments that have gone into disability sports and developing inclusiveness. Bristol Street Versa have also created this infographic to celebrate the pioneers of disability sports; because without them, of course, probably none of this would ever have been achieved.
So anyway, back to the sports challenge! Here are some of the sporting activities that Squiggle took part in as part of 100 days of sports…
Athletics (long jump, hurdles)
Sports day (including flat races, relays and fun races e.g. egg and spoon race, beanbag balancing race, sack race etc…)
She invented her own sport too; a game she called ‘Round and Round Tennis’. She also acted out sports with her Sylvanian Families and played indoor versions of games; such as finger tennis, desktop table tennis and blow football.
We had a fantastic time doing this sports challenge and there are still plenty more ideas that Squiggle is keen to try out sometime in the future too! Such a great experience and very motivating!!!
What is your favourite sport? Let us know in the comments section!
I loved reading everyone’s posts from last week, and seeing your pictures too. Thank you all so much for taking part! Even when it’s cold and you feel reluctant to venture outdoors, it can turn out to be lots of fun, can’t it Eps and Amy?! lol! (Check out the blog post to see what I mean!)
I have chosen the following instagram photo to share by Mammas School but it was a tough choice! I particularly loved this photo because I never would have thought to do pond dipping at this time of year, but it’s a great idea!
All of the photos are fab though, I really loved seeing all of your adventures and look forward to seeing more this week! Don’t forget to use the hastag #livinglifewild and also tag me too so I don’t miss it!
This week we are preparing to do some citizen science for the Big Garden Birdwatch with RSPB. We have got our pack and made sure our garden is inviting and bird friendly! The Big Garden Birdwatch takes place this weekend from 28th-30th January. If you want to take part you can apply for your pack and download it here.
Share your posts (old or new) via the linky below. If you need further information about #livinglifewildhashtag and linky please check out the introduction, or contact me if you have any questions. Lastly, apologies again about the badge (teething issues!) – I am trying to work out how to resolve it, but have removed it temporarily until it is sorted. Please feel free to text link to my blog instead if possible, thanks.
Maintaining your garden to a high standard so that it gathers admiring glances from all quarters is high on the list of serious gardeners. Take a look at these gardening hacks from Rattan Direct and make your neighbours green with envy at your gardening prowess.
1. Know your garden, the soil and the climate
Cacti survive in arid desserts for a reason, which is why having them in a garden in a wet and windy corner of the UK will not see cacti thrive. Knowing your patch of soil, whether it is acidic or alkaline and how you can change this, as well as making the most of the climate, will help in deciding the best plants to buy and plant, as well as the best spaces in your garden for these plants to flourish. Camellias, for example, prefer a north-facing wall in a court yard and an acid soil, so there is no point planting them in water-logged, alkaline soil with continuous cold draughts irritating their tender stems.
Water is not a sustainable resource. But one of the key elements that turns drooping pansies into a flowery mass of colour is water. Whilst your neighbour’s lawn and borders become ever more parched during a drought, carry on watering your luscious blooms with water butts catching rain from all your down pipes.
3. Remove pesky weeds as soon as they pop their heads above the soil
They are a nuisance. They are everywhere. One minute, it is a tiny head, just popping above the soil surface. Next thing, they are running rampant across flower beds, anywhere they can get enough of a foothold with their shallow roots. Weeds are not a gardener’s friend. But the good news is that it takes only a few minutes to whip these pesky weeds out of the soil before they not only get a chance to become established, but turn to seed and spread across your entire garden.
4. Complimentary accessories
Many people are used to thinking of gardens as place to be admired – from the house. They look out, admire the dancing blooms in the summer breeze and yet, spend little time actually enjoying the fruits of your gardening labours. But gardens can be made comfortable enough for everyone to enjoy, and at any time, not just until daylight fades and the temperature drops. Make your neighbours green with envy with not only beautiful plants, but fantastic accessories;
Garden seating – from a practical garden bench to functional outside sofas, there are all kinds of options when it comes to garden furniture that suit all tastes and budgets.
Rugs, throws and cushions – ramp up the style and add splashes of fantastic colour with rugs, throws and cushions made from special material for the outdoors, which won’t fade, shrink or spoil in the occasional rain shower or bright, bleaching sunshine.
Lighting – solar lighting has come on leaps and bounds since the first dim, last-no-more-than-30-minutes solar powered fairy lights from decades ago. There are all kinds of solar lights that make for a bright, romantic garden when the sun drops.
Water – gentle running water caresses the soul. After a busy day at the office, talk a walk in the garden and sit by your water feature, enjoying its soothing tones as water trickles down, playing its soul-soothing tune. Or build a full-scale pond and welcome a whole new raft of wildlife in your garden.
5. Plant in pots
Planting in pots is the perfect way to add colour, form and texture to a garden, softening corners and adding interest. Keep garden pots of similar colours and shades to get a coherent colour palette running through the garden. Take time to consider the plants you will use in these pots too. Potted plants will need a little more attention, including a daily water (twice daily if the summer is hot) and bedding plants should be regularly dead headed to keep them putting their energy into flowering and not making seeds.
Rattan Direct have a range of garden accessories and furniture, perfect for dressing your garden and accentuating its glorious plants and design.
Last month we went to Weymouth for a mid week short break to Littlesea Haven Holiday Park. This was our second trip to Littlesea and, given it was one of our favourite Haven sites, we were very keen to return! It certainly did not disappoint.
Littlesea is a lovely site, with scenic views and nice little ‘Tiger Trail’ nature walks. Squiggle really enjoyed following the Rory footprints on our map, so good for developing her map reading skills too!
There are also several playgrounds on-site, with a variety of equipment suitable for a range of ages. It is great that there are different play areas dotted around the park, as it encouraged us to explore further to find them all!
The holiday park is set next to Fleet Lagoon nature reserve, with pretty nature walks and coastal paths. We did find that some of the paths were abit too overgrown (and that is baring in mind we often explore wild overgrown areas!) and it was not always clear where to walk next, so better signage might be useful. However, I am not sure how much of this belonged to Haven, as it wasn’t clear at what point we left the site. Regardless, we had fun exploring and enjoyed a wonderful walk to Chesil beach.
The caravan itself was clean and spacious, with everything we would need for our stay. We were also very kindly upgraded, which meant the quiet but central location of the caravan suited our needs perfectly. (A quiet area of the park is absolutely essential for Squiggle).
There is a good range of on-site amenities and facilities including; a Spar shop, gift shop, coffee shop, take aways, restaurant, bar, arcades, soft play, pool, golf, sports courts, entertainment venue and multiple play areas, as mentioned.
The swimming pool was newly refurbished last year and is lovely, with fun water features that Squiggle loves. Both indoors and outdoors there are shallow paddling pools, as well as the deeper family swimming pools. The changing rooms are quite small but adequate. There is also a separate pool for water sports and activities, for an additional charge, which we didn’t personally take part in but they do seem to be well recommended by others who have, and having a separate area dedicated to this is a great idea.
The showbar has been refurbished even more recently, just this year. It is a spacious venue with a good size stage and dance floor. The entertainment held in the showbar is a fun mix of discos, shows and competitions. Squiggle adores the Seaside Squad shows and she loves to meet them for cuddles; this is one of her highlights of Haven Holidays. Because of the nature of her needs, it is important that she feels unhurried during these meetings (otherwise it triggers her severe anxiety and OCD), which can be difficult during busier times or with certain members of staff present (and is difficult for me because I can’t mention it around her, as that also makes it much worse!) However, the majority of the team seem very understanding of SEND in many ways, and do a wonderful job generally. And Squiggle had a fantastic time meeting several of the characters!
The characters also give some great positive messages through their songs, shows and activities, for example about exercise, healthy eating and taking care of our environment. Squiggle often sings lines from Greedy’s songs such as ‘pick up all the rubbish and put it in the bin’ and dances around to keep fit like Rory. These are great role- models for children!
This emphasis on healthy lifestyle and environment etc… runs throughout many of the daytime activities on offer too; with plenty of sports and games, and outdoor activities such as den building, exploring nature and wildlife spotting. I also really liked the information displayed in the corridor between Reception and the entertainment complex too.
Overall, this was an absolutely wonderful holiday and we would highly recommend it. Thank you Haven for another brilliant time!
(Photos of our previous trip to Weymouth are here).