#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.


Perfect Glasses: Review 

It had never occured to me to shop online for any type of glasses before, so when perfectglasses.co.uk got in touch with me, I was quite intrigued and keen to give it a go! As I don’t need to wear prescription eye glasses personally, and summer is (hopefully!) on its way, I opted to review a pair of sunglasses for myself.

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They offer an excellent selection, including various designer brands, and have options across a range of prices. (Prescription glasses start at just £9!) The sunglasses can be ordered as non-prescription but are also available as prescription sunglasses too. I decided to have a little nosey at how this would work and it looked really straightforward; you simply enter the specifics of your prescription and they take care of it… so easy!

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The website sells lots of different styles. If, like me, you aren’t sure what shape will suit your face, there is a handy feature where you can take a selfie then look in the virtual mirror to see what they would look like. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this made it to decide, without needing to actually try them on. There are also clear accurate measurements in the descriptions, which is helpful to note when making your choice. As with any sunglasses, some styles/ brands are smaller than others, so this information is useful to help pick a pair suited to you.

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The website itself is easy to navigate. There are different categories, and the results can then be filtered based on materials, size, colour, type and shape, and can be sorted by price. In my opinion, I think there seems to be a bigger range than you would find in most stores. I am sure there is something to suit everyone!

I specifically wanted a metal frame as I personally prefer this over plastic, so I searched under this filter. (I probably would have opted for a wooden pair if that had been an option!) I had alot of fun ‘trying on’ the different styles and looking through all the various options. I found it far more enjoyable than going into a shop to buy some! Once the frame has been selected, there are various options depending on the type of lenses needed.

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The service was excellent and delivery very quick. The glasses came via a carbon neutral courier and were well packaged with enough packaging that they were secure and arrived undamaged, but without unnecessary packaging (which is a good thing of course!) 

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The sunglasses are exactly how I expected them to be, the virtual mirror and accurate description meant there were no surprises there. They are good quality; they feel nice and sturdy. They are also really comfortable. Ordering the glasses online was convenient and easy – I’d definitely be happy to order from the website again. 

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*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Bluebells: Spring Woodland Walk #LivingLifeWild 

We went on a lovely walk to explore a local woodland that we have never been to before. It is a great time of year to visit because the bluebells are in bloom, so much of the area is covered in a gorgeous sea of blue. There are lots of beautiful spots to see them around Hertfordshire, and no doubt the rest of England too. The National Trust has produced a list of places to see bluebells near you.

Here are my photos of our walk around Bricket Wood…

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Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

Living Life Our Way, bluebells, Bricket Wood Common, photography, spring, seasons, nature, landscape, environment, photographer

The Woodland Trust are holding their Big Bluebell Watch so don’t forget to add your sightings to their map! 

Remember to link up your outdoor, nature, wildlife and green living posts over at my #LivingLifeWild linky. 

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. 

March Outdoor Adventures Round- Up and #LivingLifeWild April Linky

Hi everyone! 

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…

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Walking in the countryside
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Spring Scavenger Hunt in a local park
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Aquadrome
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Cassiobury Park
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Climbing trees
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Mini creatures in the garden

I have also added some more of my Spring photography to the Signs of Spring Collection.

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Signs of Spring Collection

The #LivingLifeWild IG hastag is still going strong, so nip over and check out all the gorgeous photos there as well! 

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#LivingLifeWild

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 Poncho: Review and Giveaway 

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).

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November Rain poncho – Ocean Blue design

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! 

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Squiggle wearing the poncho.

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!

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With and without the detachable hood.

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!

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You can also purchase these ponchos from Amazon UK or via the November Rain website for USA. 

Last but not least, one lucky reader can win a November Rain poncho! To be in with a chance of winning, enter my giveaway via Rafflecopter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Open to UK and USA residents. Competition closes on 2nd April 2017. Other T&Cs apply.

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Disclosure: I received a poncho free for the purpose of this review. Thoughts and opinions are all my own. 
*This post contains an Amazon UK affiliate link. 


The Great Daffodil Appeal – Marie Curie 

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.

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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!

Get creative:

  • Make and sell handmade cards, crochet daffodils or origami daffodils.
  • Hold a creative workshop and charge an entry fee to raise money.

Get baking:

  • Make some delicious cakes to sell.
  • Have a bake-off challenge.

Find some yummy celebrity recipes here.

Get active:

  • Hold a charity sports match.
  • Have a sports day (charge for people part in the races).
  • Do a sponsored run or swim.
  • Set yourself a walking, cycling, running or swimming goal to achieve by x date.


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Find out more information and sign up for fundraising here: 

The Great Daffodil Appeal Fundraising Page.

The Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie, fundraising, charity

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.

Sports Challenge: Celebrating Sports For All

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! 

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Athletics track

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. 

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Netball

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. 

(By the way, if you happen to be looking for a wheelchair vehicle, check out their website bristolstreetversa.com/new-wheelchair-vehicles)

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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)
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Beach tennis
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Beach tennis
  • Cricket
  • Football
  • Foot golf
100 days of sports, childhood unplugged, freedom to learn, Home Education, outdoors, PE, physical development, SEND, sports, Sports Challenge
Foot Golf
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Netball
  • Rounders
  • Sports day (including flat races, relays and fun races e.g. egg and spoon race, beanbag balancing race, sack race etc…)
100 days of sports, childhood unplugged, freedom to learn, Home Education, outdoors, PE, physical development, SEND, sports, Sports Challenge
Sports Day races
  • Table tennis
  • Tag rugby
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

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!

*This is a sponsored post.