Earning by the Sea: 30 Days Wild Guest Post

My last 30 Days Wild guest post is by
Kaya La Roche, 34 years old, from Margate Kent. She blogs at earningbythesea.co.uk

Guest post 30 days wild. Image Kent castle

What is your favourite nature activity?

We really enjoy woodland walks as a family and walking our dog Lola on the beach. I feel really lucky to live a five minute walk from the sea.

Where is your favourite wild place?

Blean woods near Canterbury in Kent. The woods are beautiful and there are lots of tree carvings and dens for children to explore.

Who or what inspired you to take part in the challenge?

Our local Forest school is taking part and my daughter Willow used to attend there so I saw a picture on their Facebook page.

Where are your favourite outdoor places? Which nature activities do you most enjoy? I would love to hear from you! Tell me in comments.

Becky the Traveller: 30 Days Wild Guest Post

Only a few guest posts left to publish now as we near the end of #30DaysWild for this year. But we do still have one whole week left yet to go – yay! I am really enjoying reading these guest posts and I hope you are too!

Today’s post is written by Becky Angell, 41, from Nottingham…

Becky the Traveller - 30 days wild guest post

What is your favourite nature activity?

Hiking is one of my favourite activities, because it combines my love of nature, wildlife keeping fit and being outdoors (yes even in the rain!)

Where is your favourite wild place?

Can I pick two! Peak District National Park – closest national park to my home, it’s beautiful and great for hiking. Attenborough Nature Reserve, as an avid birdwatcher I love visiting here and seeing the birds but other insects. It’s generally a very peaceful place to be.

Who or what inspired you to take part in the challenge?

I love promoting the outdoors to my readers so why not take my own advice.

Find Becky at the following channels:

Becky the Traveller Blog

Becky the Traveller Facebook

Becky the Traveller Instagram

Life in Rose Tinted Glasses: 30 Days Wild (Guest Post)

Today’s guest post is by George from Gloucestershire, who is completing the 30 Days Wild challenge for the first time. They write over at Life in Rose Tinted Glasses. Read on…

30 Days Wild guest post - life in rose tinted glasses

What is your favourite nature activity?

We love walking the dog up the local hills. They’re easy to access, free to park at and have a play area as well so we all have fun. We love the fact that you can go to them all year round and the views from the top are worth the effort.

Where is your favourite wild place?

Wenchford in the Forest of Dean. It has a little stream that you can paddle in, lovely trails to walk along and a great picnic area. It’s beautiful there, even with the crowds in summer it always feels peaceful and relaxing. We’ve spent hours there and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody moan they are bored!

Who or what inspired you to take part in the challenge?

We need to get outdoors more. We’ve not got out of the habit of staying in since winter and we need to get out and enjoy the little bit of summer England gets.

Hannah Elizabeth – 30 Days Wild – Guest Post

Today’s 30 Days Wild guest post is from Hannah Elizabeth, aged 21. She is currently studying at university and shares her time between Nottingham, Leeds and London. You can find her over at Hannah Elizabeth.

30 days wild guest post

What is your favourite nature activity?

My favourite nature activity is walking the dogs around new parks, especially ones with wildlife and art because I also love taking photos and it’s the perfect opportunity.

Duck and ducklings in a lake

Where is your favourite wild place?

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of my favourite wild places. I love the art and the mixture of wildlife. Now that I’ve been so many times, I feel comfortable going off the path a little and into the woods for the slightly more wilderness side of things.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Hannah at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Who or what inspired you to take part in the challenge?

Honestly, I’d never heard of the challenge before but now that I have, I’m definitely going to do a post about it. It’s such a great and meaningful challenge to be involved in so thank you!

Sheep in a field around a picnic bench

What has been your favourite random act of wildness so far? Tell me in comments!

The Dozy Owl – 30 Days Wild (Guest Post)

Today’s guest post is from Kieran, aged 24, from Glasgow. He really loves sleep! (Don’t we all?!) You can find him blogging over at The Dozy Owl.

30 Days Wild Guest Post text, Scottish Highlands image

What is your favourite nature activity?

Walking around the local park, it gets tough in a big city trying to keep in touch with nature so it’s important to do it when you can!

Where is your favourite wild place?

The river where I grew up in the Scottish highlands, a long winding river with a great natural pool for swimming in. You can see fish swimming around if your lucky!

Who or what inspired you to take part in the challenge?

I’m always trying to improve my sleep and wanted to find out what effect going outside would have on it. It helped massively! Slept like a baby after getting into nature for a day.

I agree getting outside in nature helps with sleep, and overall wellbeing? Do you agree? Let me know in comments!

Beginners Guide To Mountain Biking with Halfords

When it comes to mountain biking, are you more likely to go shredding, or end up OTB? (Hint: if you don’t know what these terms are, check out the guide below!) If you are a novice, or are yet to try it out but are keen to have a go, then this is the post for you!

Mountain biking is an excellent way to get outside and enjoy spending time outdoors. It is an excellent way to keep fit; fantastic for health and wellbeing. Not only that, with so many tracks to choose from throughout the UK, it can also inspire and motivate people to see more of the country too. Plus it is a lovely clean, eco- friendly hobby (or is it a sport?!) as well. So basically, it is pretty much perfect!

Whilst I am somewhat of a beginner myself, I do have some excellent expert tips to get you started, thanks to this very handy Halfords Beginner’s Guide to Mountain Biking, and also with the help of some very experienced fellow bloggers too…

Beginners Guide to Mountain Biking

Choose The Correct Bike

There are several factors to consider when choosing a mountain bike; style of frame, wheel size, type of tyre and what type of mountain bike itself. The Beginner’s guide talks you through these considerations, so check that out for further details. Halfords stock a great range of mountain bikes, so you’re bound to find the ideal one for you!

With regard to the type of bike; there is front suspension, full suspension and electric. I have noticed that electric mountain bikes can sometimes get negative press, as they are seen as ‘cheating’ or somehow missing the point. However, there are also benefits to them, as this article explains. I particularly wanted to give them a quick mention though, because I believe they might potentially make mountain biking more accessible for some SEND people, so that is certainly worth noting.

Get the Gear

Any experienced mountain biker will tell you, having the right equipment is absolute key! Safety gear – helmet, elbow and knee pads, and gloves – are essential. Welsh Mum also suggests mudguards so your legs don’t get covered, waterproof gear, a comfortable backpack, and the right shoes and socks all make a big difference. Check out the gear list in the Halfords guide.

Chronicles of Theo mountain biking

Image: Chronicles of Theo mountain biking.

Bike Trails

There are trails all over the UK and they are helpfully colour coded to a standard grading system, so you can pick the right level of difficulty. Green is the beginners route, if you are just starting out. You can find out more about locations in the Halfords guide. (Told you, it’s super useful!)

Expert Advice

Miss LJ Beauty spends a huge part of her life mountain biking, and has been lucky enough to travel the world. Here is her advice:

Why not join a local mountain biking group? To find like minded people of all ability’s The key to learning is have fun! Mountain biking is progressive sport there are always new things to learn. No matter what level you are. Also don’t be afraid to ask someone on a trail! We are a friendly bunch And are more than happy to help!

Get on your bike and come shredding!

Miss LJ Beauty Fort William down hill

Image: Miss LJ Beauty on Fort William down hill.

Have you been mountain biking? Why do you love it? Where is your favourite trail? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Halfords.

30 Days Wild: Guest Post – Butcher Baker Baby

As promised, today is my first 30 Days Wild themed guest post. This one is written by Jules from Derbyshire. It is her first year taking part in the 30 Days Wild challenge! Here is her post…

30 Days Wild guest post. ilam peak district image

What is your favourite nature activity?

Woodland walks particularly when they are full of snowdrops/bluebells. It reminds me of the change of seasons and that spring/summer are not too far behind. I’m lucky to have a stunning snowdrop wood (Dimminsdale) and bluebell wood (Serpents Wood at Calke Abbey) on my doorstep. We make sure every year we visit to take the beauty in.

Where is your favourite wild place?

Ilam near Dovedale in the Peak District. A beautiful valley that can be popular with walkers but it’s still possible to find pockets of calm. The drive down to the village provides stunning views across Dovedale/Manifold/Thorpe Cloud and the riverside woodland is a haven for plants. Late spring the wild garlic takes over. Come autumn the range of colours from the trees in the valley is stunning. Truly a beautiful place throughout the seasons.

Who or what inspired you to take part in the challenge?

Some friends did it last year.

You can find Jules over on Instagram: @butcherbakerbaby

What Random Act of Wildness did you do today? I would love to read about it in comments!

Forest Holidays: Our Winter Retreat to Forest of Dean

Back in January we decided to book a last second escape to the Forest of Dean for a winter retreat at Forest Holidays. This was our first time visiting but it came recommended from friends who have stayed at a different location on one of their other sites. Squiggle’s anxiety was high, so we figured some extra time relaxing outdoors might be just what we all needed. It didn’t work miracles in that regard (but then again, I am pretty sure they don’t claim to either though!) but it was still a lovely holiday! Here is our review…

Title written on image of Forest Holidays cabin.

The Cabin

There are three main styles of cabin; golden oak, silver birch and copper beech. The main differences between them are that silver birch has a hot tub, and golden oak has both a log burner and a hot tub. We intentionally wanted to avoid having a log burner for personal reasons, and silver birch was fully booked, so that made it pretty easy to choose!

Despite copper beech being their cheapest (and most basic) option, we were absolutely amazed by the size of the cabin! The whole place had a wonderful air of luxury about it, whilst also feeling very homely. I loved how beautifully in keeping the decor is; very natural. I was very impressed! And everything is eco- friendly wherever possible too, which we were really glad to see.

Eco friendy kitchen kit

I was quite worried that it might be chilly in winter but the underfloor heating took care of that! If anything, it was actually abit too warm when we arrived but the thermastat was easy to use and had separate settings for each room too, so that was soon remedied. I don’t know how hot the cabins might get in a heatwave with all that glass though! But given that they seem very well designed overall, I am assuming there are measures in place to maintain optimum temperatures. We were certainly able to do that during our winter stay anyway, despite having both sunny days and snow in the time we were there! They are really cosy and it is easy to feel right at home there.

Here is my video tour of the cabin…

The Setting

The cabin we had was in the meadow so it was very open, whereas some of them are tucked away amongst the trees. Honestly, in my opinion, regardless of where your cabin is situated, you can’t go wrong.

Our view from the cabin. A meadow with cabins spread out.

The site is in a beautiful location, in the Forest of Dean, with stunning scenic walks all around. Regardless of the time of year we visited, even in Winter, we couldn’t fail to be in awe of the forest setting. Here are just a few of my pictures taken, the first onsite and the others literally a few moments walk off the main site…

Stunning forest setting of the Forest Holidays site.

Beautiful views at the Forest of Dean

Winter scenes at Forest of Dean

Forest of Dean

By the way, the sheer drop on the above photos is less breathtaking and more heartstopping when your autistic child suddenly bolts!!!! Especially if you happen to suffer from vertigo as well, like I do! So I recommend if you explore this area with a young child, or one with SEND, that you not only have nerves of steel, but a very tight grip of their hand!

We don’t have a dog personally, but the site is very dog- friendly and it would be the ideal holiday to take a dog if you are an owner. This is probably also worth noting though if you are nervous around dogs though I guess! Squiggle loved seeing all the dogs about going for walks, she was delighted!

Facilities

Forest Retreat

The Forest Retreat is the main hub where you check in and book activities, and is home to the shop and restaurant. It also has pottery activities for children.

The shop sells a lovely range of gifts, books and activities that are carefully chosen to be perfectly on theme for the nature of the holiday. It also sells a wonderful selection of food and drink; including an extensive range of cider, wine and beer, fresh produce and a range of Cook meals for easy self- catering dining options.

Forest Retreat photo strip showing selection in store.

Food

The menu has plenty to choose from, to either eat in the restaurant or take away. The food was consistently good and service was prompt.

Bike Hire

Bike hire is available onsite from £28 per break per adult or from £25 per child. It is recommended you book these in advance. We didn’t hire bikes on this occasion but Squiggle did ask about it (towards the end of the holiday!) so we would definitely consider it next time.

Cycle Hire building from the outside.

Play Area

The play area was sectioned off during our visit as they were carrying out work on it. It looked more suitable for younger children, but Squiggle would have had a quick go if it were available no doubt!

Bug Hotel

Granted not really one of the facilities per se (at least not for humans!) but I wanted to mention the bug hotel anyway. We have seen these in many places but this one is particularly well made!

Large bug hotel with information sign. Squiggle is stood next to it.

Activities

There are a range of forest ranger led activities available for various ages. Some are shorter at 90 minutes in duration, whilst one survival course is half a day. As well as daytime activities, there is also a night-time ranger adventure so you can spy on the nocturnal forest inhabitants after dark! Dogs are allowed on some of the activities but not all courses, and some have a minimum age for children, so do check details before booking. There are also a selection of activities off- site that can be booked through Forest Holidays as well.

Squiggle on the winter trail.

Squiggle wasn’t up for any of these due to her anxiety, so we opted to do their self- guided seasonal trail instead. This cost £6.95 and she got a prize at the end for completing it. This was a really engaging activity. She started off reluctant to join in but as soon as we got to the first few stops and solved the clues she was hooked! We really enjoyed it and it was definitely one of the highlights of our holiday.

Seasonal trail clue

Local Places To Visit

There are numerous walks nearby surrounded by beauty and tranquility. Aside from that, there are several local places to visit that might be of interest. Forest Holidays have some suggestions of what’s nearby. I would really love to visit Clearwell Caves and also Puzzlewood sometime in future.

We did go to Beechenhurst, mainly to go on the sculpture trail. However, Squiggle was very near tired and nearing meltdown, so we didn’t actually find any sculptures and ended up just having a quick wander instead. I would love to return when it is better timing for her though; it looked like a lovely place to spend a day and I really want to see the sculptures – from the photos they look brilliant!

One thing I will remember from our trip though was that, as we drove up into the carpark, something moving in the forest caught my eye. As I turned to look I thought at first it was dozens of rabbits scurrying into the bushes. But then I realised, whatever they were, they weren’t hopping – they were running. It was a huge group of baby wild boar!

Now I know they are very common to the area and especially at that time of year, but I had never actually seen any before. I was so excited! They were gone in a flash; no time to grab a camera or even point them out to Squiggle, but that was a personal highlight that I will always remember.

We also visited Symonds Yat briefly, on the bank of River Wye. I took a few photos, but I could have taken many more of these stunning scenic views…

River Wye

Stunning scenic view of river Wye

Symonds Yat

In Summary

We really enjoyed our stay at Forest Holidays and loved exploring Forest of Dean. We are very keen to return here sometime in the future, and also would like to try other Forest Holidays locations too. We would definitely recommend it – at any time of year!

Last but not least…

Here is a video clip I put together summarising the highlights of our holiday:

*Disclosure: I was given a discount when booking this holiday in exchange for a review post. However, as always, I have expressed my honest opinion and all thoughts are my own.

A Day Out in London With Kids: Guest Post by Emma – Wanderlust & Wet Wipes

I love London. I loved living there when I lived there (even though I was always ready to leave for our next adventure). Now that we live away, I especially love going back there to visit. It really is a city with something for everyone with millions of outdoor and indoor options for every eventuality.

There are museums and parks, soft plays and cafes, buzzing restaurants and historic sights, shopping galore and sniff new buildings…. Not to mention the ever popular riding public transport (true story – we actually did this one afternoon)! You could spend a couple of crazy busy weeks there and still not do everything! If you’ve only got the one day, here’s what I would do for a day out in London with kids…

A Day Out in London With Kids - a guest post by Wanderlust and Wet Wipes title with faded image of London background

Early morning
We’re usually pretty jet lagged when we arrive so the kids wake up crazy early. A cup of tea on the sofa while they watch CBeebies makes me feel right at home! Since we stay in Putney, I usually try to go for a walk or a run along the river. The views are stunning across the water and you can usually watch rowers skimming along as you run.

Breakfast
Back home and we are ready to go pretty early having been up with the birds. Living the Middle East, we always go for big breakfasts with lots of pork products! My current favourite places are Muriel’s Kitchen and Carluccio’s.

Morning
There’s so much to do in London with kids, it’s ridiculous. I’m a huge fan of the museums partly because they are free but mostly because they are such amazing resources for parents. Our favourites are the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum which are conveniently right next to each other and down the road from Muriel’s Kitchen! I really want to try out the Transport Museum next time we are home as I think the kids will be the right ages for it by now.

Lunch
If the weather is nice, I say you can’t beat a pub lunch in a place with a really nice beer garden. Sitting in the sun with a proper pub grub type of meal is one of my ideas of heaven!

Afternoon
In the afternoon heading to the Tower of London is always a winner. You can download their app and complete a digital mission or you can do one of their activity trails. Alternatively head over to the London Eye for spectacular views of the capital. If the weather is nice and you want to make the most of being outside, take advantage of one of the many hundreds of parks (1700 apparently!) and let the kids run off some energy.

Dinner
There are literally so many options if you’re just coming off the Eye. The South Bank is packed with family friendly restaurants like Wagamama, Giraffe and Ping Pong. My kids can be quite fussy eaters so it’s great to have a place where I know there’s somewhere that we can all eat something!

Head home via public transport (to keep the kids happy) for a well earned, good night’s sleep.

Aerial image of London river Thames

About Emma
Emma’s a pushing 40, travel-mad mum to 2 young kids (aged 6 and 4) and a crazy dog. Originally from the UK she’s lived in 10 cities across 5 continents all over the world. She currently lives in Doha, Qatar. Emma started blogging about her family travels in 2017 when she had an epiphany about how to have successful adventurous family holidays.

You can follow Emma at:

Blog: wanderlustandwetwipes.com
Twitter: @wanderwetwipes
Facebook: facebook.com/wanderlustandwetwipes
Instagram: instagram.com/wanderlustandwetwipes
Pinterest: pinterest.co.uk/wanderlustandwetwipes

Essential Trips For All Music Lovers

Everyone says that they like music, but then there are people who LOVE music. For those people, music is life; their existence would be a little emptier without it. But music doesn’t just have to be something that you listen to and from work; you can make it part of your travels! From the history of music to today’s biggest players, there are destinations across the world that have music running through their veins. We take a look at some of these destinations below, which might just inspire your next trip…

Essential Trips For All Music Lovers title record image above

The Home of The Beatles

Where would music be with The Beatles? It’s not worth thinking about. The Fab Four from Liverpool changed the course of music forever. Listen to their records today, and you can still hear their influence in modern culture. To see where it all began, take a trip to Liverpool. There, you’ll be able to see the homes where they were raised, the areas that influenced some of their most popular tracks (specifically, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields), explore the Beatles Museum, and visit the famous Cavern Club, which is where they perfected their sound.

Modern Music Makers

People have the idea that music was better in the past, but is this true? It doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Today, you can hear music from any and all backgrounds; music hasn’t gotten worse, there’s just more of it, and it’s more diverse. To hear the latest and best sounds, take a trip to the cities where all the best new music is developed. In places like London, New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin, you’ll be able to see the artists paving the future of music. And trust us, it sounds pretty good.

Through History

If you love music, then you’ll be aware of all the big movers and shakers throughout history. Virtually every big player has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and did you know that there’s a museum dedicated entirely to these musicians in Ohio? Book yourself into the nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites Akron Stow, and pay a visit. There, you’ll find a grand museum divided into seven sections outlining various aspects of music, from one-hit wonders, songs that shaped rock and roll, and special exhibitions devoted to inductees, among others. For music lovers, this museum will function as something of a pilgrimage.

Other Languages

We tend to focus on music that’s in the English language, but if there’s one thing that music has taught us, it’s that music is global. For your next trip, why not think about visiting a place with a rich musical heritage, even if it’s in a different language? Cuba’s music scene is a knock-out, as is the Spanish cities where the Spanish guitar still reigns. Desert Sahara bands and artists, such as Tinariwen, have also been increasingly popular with western audiences in recent years, too. Travel the whole world, and dig deep to hear the sounds they’ve been creating – it’s sure to be good.

Do you have a favourite place to go for the musical connections? Let me know in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.