All posts filed under: The Great Outdoors

3 Benefits of Gardening

Gardening can enhance many different aspects of life for different people; for some, it’s an opportunity to get some fresh air and exercise, others may use it as a social tool (allotments lend themselves to this aspect rather nicely).  In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about encouraging children to grow their own food to educate and promote healthy lifestyle choices; this also comes under the gardening bracket.  Here are three major benefits of gardening: Health benefits The physical health benefits of gardening have been publicised at length for a number of years now, and are just as relevant as ever, while the mental health benefits are lesser known. Gardening is proven to lower stress levels, which can aid sleep, reduce the effects of anxiety and depression and can even help lower the risk of dementia by 36%! Saving money Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs can save a lot of money and is also a healthier option as you know exactly what you’re eating.  Cooking from scratch is a great way of …

Camping with Kids – the Essentials

Camping with kids can initially sound like a crazy thing to even attempt; I mean, several days spent in the countryside with zero screen time, a bed filled only with air, reduced meal options and potentially questionable facilities – why would you? Well, it’s cheap and cheerful, for starters, and there are a thousand stunning places to explore in the UK alone.  Getting back to nature is proven to help children learn and focus, lots of fresh air means they are more than ready for bed at bedtime, and spending quality time as a family, without the distractions that are abundant at home, provides an excellent opportunity to bond as a unit. To make the whole camping process run as smoothly as possible, it is important to do like the Scouts and be very well prepared.  Here, I have collated a number of essential items as well as a few extras that can make a whole World of difference: SLEEPING A good night’s sleep, I’m sure we can all agree, is a must for any …

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Truly Lovely Potions

When my children were smaller, largely before Miss J started school, we spent a lot of time engaged in messy and sensory play activities. I invested in a Tuff spot not only to try and contain some of the mess but also to invent small world scenarios. We had such fun, making moon sand, conducting simple science experiments, painting with trains, tracing letters in all sorts of substances (our favourite being Angel Delight powder), and so much more. With the boy not so keen on getting wet and messy, once Miss J was spending her days at school, the fabric of our play changed. The boy and I would mostly play with trains, with a few diggers, dumpers, and wild animals thrown in. I tried to introduce messier aspects, hiding his trains in jelly and ice, but this more often frustrated than delighted him. One activity that really did work for him though were our autumn tracks in the Tuff spot.   We spent the morning collecting colourful fallen leaves at the park then constructed …

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YHA Eden Project

For the latter part of May half term, to incorporate James’ birthday, we travelled to Cornwall to stay in a Snoozebox at the Eden Project’s very own branch of the Youth Hostel Association. Our journey from West Sussex began fairly early and was unfeasibly long; I’m unsure where we went wrong but instead of arriving around 2pm, as expected, it was closer to 7pm.  Having driven for hours through mist, drizzle and cloud, we were pleasantly surprised to find Cornwall cloaked in a microclimate of sunshine and warmth. We checked in with the friendly staff at the YHA reception desk then dragged our bags to our Snoozebox before heading back to the communal area for a well earned drink and rest.   I think my favourite part of our trip was watching the children make friends so easily; within minutes they had found other children to play with and could be heard laughing and having a great time. They ran off to explore and found a rope swing, which was the height of excitement. It …

A Rainy Day at Drusillas Park

My kids have a love/hate relationship with animals or, more accurately, love/fear – my daughter adores them whilst my son is rather more apprehensive around them. Prime example; during a visit to a local farm, we walked through a field of animals where Miss J tried to ride a goat whilst the boy was running away from a goose. Still, we find Drusillas to be quite a good compromise as there are enough animals to keep Miss J happy, and there is also plenty for the boy to do as well. Cuddling Meerkat statues, for example.    And logging stamps in the spotters book.    Of course, for the train enthusiast, Drusillas also boasts a Thomas train that will take you right the way round the park, as well as a few other characters to spot throughout the day.    As mentioned previously, there are enough animals to keep Miss J happy, with meerkats and flamingoes being highlights for her.    And what I quite like about the attraction is the opportunity to do something …