Easing the strain with Hippychick at Silverstone F1

 

A little bit of back story

My back has been one part of me that I have never had problems with. Well, that was until I was into my second trimester of pregnancy when I started with lower back pain. Following the rather long labour, which included an epidural and trip to theatre for a forcep delivery where they may or may not have dislocated my hip (there’s no mention on my notes but I have never got my leg at that angle before and the doctors were overheard discussing how they had popped it back in, and I’m 100% sure they didn’t mean the baby) I suffered agonising back and hip pain for months after, even with physio.

So now back ache is part of my life, most of the time its fine and I don’t really notice it, but every now and then something happens, like the most recent slip in a supermarket, annoyingly just before I was to spend a weekend at Silverstone F1, which I knew would involve a lot of carrying our rather heavy little Monkey.

Thankfully, I had been chosen to test out the Hippychick Hip Seat from a call-out on Facebook. I have read so much about these hip seats and I kept wondering if they really did take the strain from carrying a toddler.

 

Silverstone F1 Grand Prix

We wondered how Monkey would last with 2 or 3 days of racing to watch, she’s at an age where she’s interested in everything, but not for long. With this in mind and a late start on the Friday we decided that 2 good days would be better than 3 potentially testing days and skipped straight to the post racing entertainment of Scouting for Girls and Texas on the Friday evening.

On Saturday my parents secured us a great place for our camping chairs, but even thought we were up on a hill we still needed to stand when the Qualifying started. This is when the Hippychick Hip Seat became invaluable. Normally we are only able to carry Monkey for fairly short periods, even Mr TH finds it hard on his back and arms if he’s carrying her for too long, so as soon as the qualifying started he strapped on the Hip Seat and encouraged her to sit on it with her legs wrapped around his waist.

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Sitting pretty with Daddy

One of the great things about the hip seat is that you don’t need to use your arm to support your toddler, which alone helped with the length of time we could carry her.

The other is the fact you don’t need to stick your hip out, you stand up right and the seat acts as your hip. When I carried her on the Sunday, I found I was still sticking out my hip, just out of habit. When my back started aching because of the bend, I straightened up and the feeling of release was fantastic.

As it was so much busier on the Sunday, we had to get to our spot quite early (although not too early as my lovely parents left at 7am to secure us another great spot opposite the podium) By the time it got to the race Monkey was getting a bit restless, even after many walking trips around. Having given my back a rest on the Saturday, during the race on the Sunday we took it in turns to hold her and use the Hippychick.

As mentioned above, once I got out of the habit of sticking my hip out, I found I could hold her quite comfortably, even with a really sore back. Monkey also found it made a great vantage point in which to stand and try and be centre stage. Not sure this is actually in the how to use manual, but it meant we got to watch a few more uninterrupted laps of the race.

 

 

Were there any negatives?

I found it hard to find any real negatives about the seat, our only issue was child related. After about three quarters of the race, Monkey got bored and decided that she didn’t want to sit on the seat. She still wanted to be held, but only on the opposite hip to the one the hip seat was on! As only a toddler can explain, she decided it was the work of the devil for a short while and did all she could to make sure her bum didn’t touch the seat. That was when she found she could stand on it and realised it wasn’t too bad.

Me with Hippychick

Toddler Logic – Monkey deciding that she might die if her bum sits on the hip seat!

Would I recommend the Hippychick Hipseat?

Yes! I would definitely recommend it for anyone attending an event like we did with a toddler, even if you have a bad back.

Since Silverstone we have also used the hip seat on a walk when Monkey decided she didn’t want to be in the back carrier, then after 3 steps decided she really didn’t want to walk either. To reduce the tantrums of getting her back into the carrier we used the hip seat for the rest of the walk and we were all happy.

I was very kindly given a Hippychick Hip Seat to try out and keep, but all my thoughts and opinions are my own and I write honest and unbiased reviews. If you would like to purchase your own hi seat, visit the Hippychick website 

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Antenatal group forever friends

 

I really enjoying the first two series of BBC’s In the Club. I loved watching series one while I was pregnant but never thought a group of people who met at an antenatal group could become such good friends.

Fast forward a couple of months after the end of series one and I was sat holding a newborn baby, drinking coffee and discussing leaking boobs, stitches down below and poo issues (both adults and baby) with a group of women I had only met a couple of months earlier.

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Over the first few months of my newborns life these ladies kept me together, were there for coffee when I needed to get out of the house and were an ear to listen to when I needed a whinge. As I mentioned in a previous post, there were things I didn’t feel I could tell them out of fear of being thought crazy, but we talked about most things and tried out lots of baby groups together.

Then we decided to move and I lost this close group of women. I live nearer to my family and to old school friends now and I love spending time with both. But I miss my mummy group. I’ve met a couple of other mums down here and we’ve done occasional play dates and coffees but we just don’t seem to have that bond.

When my cousin’s girlfriends recently asked on Facebook if antenatal groups are worth going to, lots of the responses were that the classes aren’t worth it. But I tried to stress that if nothing else you could meet the people who will keep you sane.

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So why do antenatal group friends go from strangers to someone you can discuss bowel movements with in such a short period of time?

Well, for one thing they are on maternity leave at the same time as you. So while other friends are at work they are around for coffees, lunches and baby groups. Or just on the other end of the phone for moral support.

You’ve all been through it together. Maybe not in hospital at exactly the same time, but close enough to remember just how awful contractions are, how good tea and toast post labour is and just how little sleep you are getting right at this minute now. Even a year down the line those things tend to be a bit blurred.

There’s a good chance your kids will be growing up together. Unless, like us you move away, there’s a good chance they will be in the same school/ out of school groups if they live close by.

I realise not everyone bonds quite so well with their group, or they don’t get chance to attend an antenatal group at all, or they don’t want to. But if you get the chance do try and go to a group and be brave, say hi to the person next to you. I miss my antenatal friends desperately. I know time has moved on for all of us and most of us are back to work. We still chat online and we have visited them a couple of times, but I’d love to go back to those hazy, blurry days of maternity leave, endless coffees and countryside walks. I couldn’t have done it without them!

30 Days of Wild – The Final Week and Reflection

So that’s the end of 30 days wild challenge and surprisingly I have found it a challenge sometimes! Our lives are going through quite a big change which has all happened very suddenly and hasn’t helped but the main thing I’ve come away with from this is that even though we get outside everyday as a family, we don’t always appreciate nature.

Heart hands @Dani Cox

I’ve really enjoyed the little things; noticing bird song during a lunch time walk, dancing in the rain and eating carrots grown in our garden have been highlights. Of course our stay at North Star Club and being surrounded by woodland, birds and wild animals was amazing too and we have the lasting reminder of our bug hotel which I’m hoping has some residents in it by now, although we’ve not seen any.

We’ve missed most of this final week which is a bit disappointing, but other weeks we’ve done loads so I’ve taken a flexi- time approach and not felt too bad. We’ve been nursery hunting before I go back to full time work and so we are prepared for when Mr TH finds work and have found it really difficult, especially with the wet weather, to get out.

 

So on the last day of the challenge Monkey made a piece of wild art with some treasures picked up in the garden and along the way during this month. We’re going to keep it on the fireplace as a reminder of our month and that just getting outside doesn’t necessarily mean we are appreciating nature- but that we should.

 

If you’ve enjoyed reading about our 30 Days Wild Challenge, why not find out more about The Wildlife Trust and the work they do protecting and reviving nature in the UK.

Going wild in the garden, at work and in the countryside

 

Since coming back from our week away I have to say I have struggled to squeeze a bit of wild into every day, but I think we have even if it’s not a new experience or it’s just getting into the garden and tracking how our veggie patch is coming along.

Days 20 – 22 Enjoying wild in the back garden

The first day back to work from holiday was hectic so on Monday afternoon we took time as a family to relax in the garden which included introducing Monkey to cloud watching. Obviously trying to keep a 20 month old toddler still for more than 2 minutes was never going to happen but Mr TH and I enjoyed seeing crocodiles and elephants in the clouds and it was a nice way to relax for a couple of minutes.

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Until I go full time in a few weeks I’m lucky to only be in my part-time work on a Monday then off on a Tuesday. Having been away from the world of Wi-Fi for a week I had a lot of freelance work to catch up on followed by post holiday washing and food shopping so I didn’t get out until later on in the day. I was stuck for something to do, so I used the 30 Day Wild app for a Random Act of Wildness and got walk in the grass barefoot. It was lovely and I’m pleased to have kicked off my shoes and felt the warm earth beneath my feet. We even persuaded Monkey to give it a go, she seems to be coming round the idea at last!

Another thing we have really been enjoying since we moved to this house earlier this year is our veggie patch. We are so lucky to have a section at the end of the garden where we have put in a raised bed, have a green house and a couple of fruit trees and raspberry canes. We’ve left a corner of this area wild and we watch the bees busy with their work, it’s also a good place to relocate snails and slugs we find munching on our vegetables. This week we harvested the remains of our carrot crop. They are so sweet and tasty, can’t wait to plant some more, but for now we have planted peas in their place, so hopefully we’ll be as successful with them!

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Day 23- watching nature in a lunch break

I’ve mentioned before that I am really lucky that my current place of work is located in a park by a river, so I try (and often fail) to fit in a lunch time walk. Today was a glorious day so not only did I take a walk, but I also took my sandwiches and sat by the river, watching it meander by. On my way back to the office I spotted a couple of squirrels scurrying around at the foot of the trees. I love squirrels, they are always dashing here and there, being mischievous or looking really cute. I stopped for a while and watched their antics. Unfortunately my attempt at capturing them was thwarted by a finger smudge over the lense!

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I promise there is a squirrel in there!

24 and 25 what happens in the night garden?

Our lounge is at the front of the house and I often wonder what wanders around the back garden when we’re not there. One evening we were lucky to see a beautiful red fox slink across the garden, through the hedge and into the veggie patch.

On Friday night we decided to set up our waterproof camera in the veggie patch and set it to capture a picture every 30 seconds.

On Saturday we were very excited to find out what we had captured… well after scrolling through several hundred photos we found we had captured a bird hopping around the raised bed and a whole army of slugs eating their way through our veggies. But then it got darker and we hadn’t turned the flash off, so that’s all we captured. I guess a flashing light wasn’t going to attract night time wild life- oops!

Another disappointment was seeing a dead hedgehog on the road outside our house on Saturday morning. We live in the suburbs, on a well-lit, very wide street with a 20mph speed limit. How someone failed to miss a hedgehog I do not know. As I was wondering what exactly to do with a dead animal, Mr TH shouted through to quickly look out of the window. As I did a Red Kite swooped down and picked up the hedgehog before soaring back up and flying off. I was pleased that even though the hedgehog was presumably killed by mankind, at least it was made use of by nature.

26 Pooh sticks and country walk

By Sunday I needed to get out and into the countryside. I often get cabin fever if I don’t get away from the house enough, so we headed out to the Yorkshire Dales straight after church.

As a child we spent almost every weekend in the Yorkshire Dales, on the East Coast or on the North Yorkshire Moors and I have very fond memories of being about run around, exploring rivers, fields and trees. I hope Monkey grows up enjoying and appreciating the outside as much I as have.

One of my favourite places growing up and now is Bolton Abbey. We were just going for a short walk along the river, but realised it wasn’t actually too far to walk down to the Cavendish Pavilion from where we were parked at Barton Bridge, so we ended up enjoying a good 5 mile walk, with Monkey alternatively in the carrier rucksack and walking. Apart from one tantrum and one fall, which resulted in her first plaster, she seemed to really enjoy it and managed to walk over a mile.

We made it fun by playing Pooh sticks, watching the ducks on the river, playing hide and seek and sniffing flowers. We also took the chance to practice animal names, noises and Makaton signs when we saw dogs, cows, sheep and rabbits. A good fun and educational Sunday afternoon!

 

Review: Surrounded by Nature at the North Star Club

I am typing the start of this review whilst sitting on the veranda of the Moon cabin at North Star Club. The only sounds are the birds singing and the occasional drip of rainwater off the trees surrounding the cabin… oh the occasional whining of an over tired toddler (sorry other North Star Club guests)

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When I saw on Facebook that they were looking for people to review the North Star Club, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to write the review as part of our Wildlife Trust 30 days wild challenge. Situated in woodland teeming with birds, deer and even a couple of peacocks we were definitely going to spend some time getting closer to nature.

As we drove down the single track lane, the sky was darkening across the Wolds and occasional splashes of rain hit the windscreen. I was starting to wonder if staying in a woodland in a storm would be a good idea, but apart from a little bit of rain the storm never materialised. Although it’s not far from the A1079, by the time you drive down the single track lane and along the track you feel a million miles away from civilisation.

As we pulled up David came out to meet us, along with a very excitable spaniel Eddie. Monkey was in her element as Eddie tried to climb into the car to greet her and all the way to the cabin, and for a while after we had repeated requests of ‘more dog peease’.

David was friendly, welcoming and very relaxed, which really reflected the whole vibe of North Star Club. He gave us a quick show round and all the important information then we were left to settle in.

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Sleeping and Splashing

The Moon cabin is one of 5 at present, although they are building at least 3 more. Each of the cabins are secluded almost entirely from each other and are well spaced apart by 25 meters so you can forget you’re not alone in the woods. The décor inside the huts is a reflection on owners Christian and Carolyn’s, designer past. They may look like fairly unassuming cabins from the outside, but on stepping through the double doors from the veranda you are transported into a luxurious hideaway.

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Fur throws covered the bed and chair, tree trunks made up the four posts of the bed, a wood burner in the corner of the bedroom was wonderfully romantic and candles adorned the bedroom and bathroom. In the latter room a roll top bath sat down one side of the room and a rainforest shower was tucked neatly behind a slate wall. A long wooden bench with candles and another fur throw made the room feel the most luxurious bathroom I have ever been in. Both rooms were big enough to hold a substantial party in.

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Monkey actually looked like she could swim in the bath, she loved the space to splash around and as soon as she was out, I lit the candles, filled the bath with the fabulous smelling Sedburgh soap company bubble bath and soaked in there until Monkey was in bed and Mr TH had lit the wood burner in the bedroom.


Eating

In terms of dining, the North Star Club says it’s not self-catering, but in the living area there is a small fridge/freezer, kettle, small table and crockery, glasses and plates. On the veranda is a gas BBQ that also has a gas ring and a washing up tub and liquid is provided. No food, other than squidgy to die for brownies, is offered on site, so there is a self-catering element to it. There are some fabulous looking places to dine nearby.

On the first night we decided to BBQ on the veranda. Had we been organised enough to plan two days in advance, and had it not been a Monday when they are closed, we could have ordered a BBQ pack from The Star in the nearby village of Sancton. As it was, we picked up supplies en route and enjoyed a wonderful meal alfresco.

The second night we decided to try the pizza oven at the communal Woodshed. I can imagine curling up on a winters evening in the Woodshed with the fire lit, a good book and glass of red wine. As it was, we spent very little time in here as the weather was so lovely on the second night, but we loved the covered campfire area.

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We picked up supplies in nearby Market Weighton and Monkey loved putting the pizzas together and watching them go in the oven. After dinner we lit the campfire and toasted marshmallows, another hit with Monkey as it was her first campfire experience.

Out and About

We decided to take the chance to just unwind and mainly enjoy what the North Star Club offers, peace, quiet and relaxation. We did go out for lunch and to visit a local nature reserve, but spent a lot of the time reading, playing Pass the Pigs and just listening the sounds of the woodland. There is also a marked walk around the woodland, where I imagine without a rowdy toddler you would see quite a lot of wildlife. I wrote a full round up of our time at the North Star Club and the rest of the week here.

There is lots to do nearby, their website gives lots of great suggestions.

 

Overall Impression

We loved it and cannot recommend staying here enough. It’s such a wonderful blend of being in nature but staying in luxury. We love nothing more than camping or staying in a Woodmans Hut, but this is a completely different experience.

I have to say though, I wish we had left Monkey with her grandparents. It’s not that the North Star Club is unprepared for children, there is a smaller second bedroom with bunkbeds and they provided a cot and a highchair. It’s just I don’t feel we managed to truly experience the wonderful get away from it all feeling as we spent most of our time chasing after her. I also felt very sorry for the couple staying one cabin down for us, because Monkey is definitely at the terrible two stage (several months early) and nothing can be done without whining, crying or a full on tantrum. Maybe in a couple of years it would be fine to bring her, but we are definitely returning at some point in the future just as a couple.

We stayed on a complimentary basis but our midweek, two night stay would normally have cost £340. Is it worth it? Yes, I believe it is. Ok you can choose to cook your own food and do your own washing up if you wish, but there are also plenty of places to go out to eat if you’d rather not. You are though paying for the location, the fabulous interior and the chance to switch off from your hectic world and recharge.

A week of wild

What a week we’ve had to blog about. I’m going to write an overview here and then over the next couple of weeks write in more depth about some of the places we’ve been as I can’t do them justice in a shared post.

We were lucky enough to stay at the North Star Club last Monday and Tuesday evening. A full review will be posted later this week, but to give a brief idea, this is luxury glamping. In fact, it’s not really glamping, but luxury woodland cabins that offer fur throws, a roll top bath, rainforest shower and total peace and privacy surrounded by woodland teaming with birds.

Adding nature into our days during our stay here really wasn’t difficult, we were surrounded by it. On arriving on Monday we enjoyed cooking and eating dinner alfresco on our veranda, while listening to beautiful birdsong. In the evening we took a stroll through the woods on a specially marked out trail. We spotted deer tracks, although no deer (could be to do with the noisy toddler) but saw pheasants and heard lots of birds we couldn’t identify.

After a lazy start on Tuesday of breakfast on the veranda and reading curled up on the bed by the log burner, we headed out to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve at North Cave Wetlands. Once a sand and gravel quarry, the area is now a succession of lakes, full of birds including swans, moorhens, gulls as well as butterflies and dragonflies. We were lucky enough to spot a Barn Owl flying over the fields. There is something rather peaceful about sitting in a bird hide just watching nature get on with life. However, Monkey didn’t share this feeling and was only appeased by watching the diggers and lorries working at making the reserve bigger.

That evening was more alfresco dining, we made pizzas in the outdoor, wood fired pizza oven and Monkey toasted her first marshmallows on a campfire! We were even visited by a lovely hedgehog scurrying around in the undergrowth.

It was a sad goodbye to North Star Club on Wednesday after a fabulous BBQ breakfast on the veranda. But, we had decided to extend our time away and stay in my parents holiday home in Filey. We quickly dumped the bags and headed off to one of my favourite places on the North Yorkshire Moors, Goathland and a little spot I used to play at as a child. It was wonderfully nostalgic seeing Monkey run around as I used to do. The weather was pretty miserable so wrapped in rain jackets and wellies we explored the river with a fishing net, seeing what was in there. We mainly caught mud, but we did spot one lone tadpole wriggling around before it hid under a rock. We then took a short walk and we’re rewarded for our damp efforts with a steam train chugging past.

The weather was pretty miserable the following day too, so we packed up the waterproofs and wellies again and headed to the pretty fishing village of Staithes. Those of you with pre-school children who have a love of CBeebies I’m sure will know of Old Jacks Boat, which was filmed here and we loved doing the sticker trail. Our little bit of wild today was a wild and windy walk along the beach, watching the power of the waves as they crashed onto the cliffs and harbour wall.

The power of the ocean never fails to enthral me. I love it and am terrified all at once. As the second part of our holiday was by the coast, we decided that the wild in the remaining days we had there were all going to be about the sea and beach. On Friday Mr TH had to return home for a couple of hours for an interview, so it was up to Monkey and me to entertain ourselves. Even though it was yet another pretty grim day we headed to the beach anyway. We spent some time looking at all of the pretty pebbles found along the tide line and it was a great chance to teach her colours too as they were beautiful. Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo as she was getting very grumpy, we’d had so much fun I hadn’t realised it was past lunch time and into the normal nap time.

Mr TH got back later on Friday evening while we were swimming in a lovely pool at a nearby holiday resort and the next day, with the promise of some sunshine we were off to the beach again. Even though the weather was great today, my tide timetable reading skills weren’t so good. I had managed to forget in the 4 years I’ve lived away from the sea that the beach is covered for a good 2 hours plus either side of high tide, so when we arrived at the bottom of the hill the tide was already almost in and it had covered all of the rock pools we had planned to explore! We had a quick dig on the beach and paddle in the sea before sitting on the seawall enjoying the sound of the crashing waves. This was my Random Act of Wildness today, just sitting and listening, enjoying the ebb and flow of the waves as they receded before surging forward and crashing with all of their might.

We finished our week on Sunday by finally getting into the sea and feeling the power and strength of the waves we had been watching and listening to for the last few days. Mr TH and I used to be regular surfers when we lived in Jersey and I certainly have lost a lot of technique and strength, but it was wonderful to feel the cold water wash over my face, get that salty tang and the thrill when I managed to catch a wave (finally!) and ride it in, even if I was just laid down. Our dreams of Monkey being a little surf dudette have been put on hold for now, as she decided that she was cold, she didn’t like the surfboard or the sea and spent much of the time whining. Ah well, there’s still time yet!

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Squeezing in nature even in a hectic week

I have always been keen to get outside and enjoy fresh air and nature, although I am a bit of a fair weather person which can make this tough living in Britain. But, the 30 Days Wild challenge has been great at making us a family get out whatever the weather or however little time I have and I feel it’s having a really positive effect on us.

This week has been rather stressful as I have decided to return to work full time. Mr TH will be looking after Monkey whilst searching for a job as he lost his a couple of months ago. We have loved the family time together, but now it’s time to think about our finances. I’m writing another post on the full time working mum guilt I have been battling with, so for now I’ll just leave it as a stressful week of interviews, presentations, notice handing in and guilt.

Making time to get outside and connect with nature has made life feel just that little bit more balanced and relieved a tiny bit of that stress. We’ve not had chance to enjoy days out, but it’s been lovely just connecting with nature in our own back garden or near my work place. Monkey also seems a lot happier for being out in the fresh air, I guess she is picking up on the tense atmosphere, even if we try to stay relaxed around her.

So here’s our 30 Days Wild round up for days 8-11

Day 8

Today was the day I found out I had been successful in my application for a full time job and it was an office day, so I was struggling to think of something wild to do. My parents invited us round for a celebratory dinner so we spent time in their garden while it cooked, watching the fish, frogs and tadpoles in their pond. Monkey loved watching the fish nibbling at the pond plants and the wriggly little tadpoles.

Day 9

Another full day at work in the office for me and typically it turned out to be a glorious one! My current part time job is located in an old hall surrounded by beautiful grounds and the river Nidd. I am very bad at not taking lunch breaks or making time to get out side, but having just handed in my notice I decided I really needed a break and to clear my head.

I took my sandwiches down to a picnic bench by the river and just sat there watching the water slowly drift by and feeling the sun on my shoulders.

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By the time I got back to the office my foggy head had cleared and I had a really productive afternoon.

Day 10

I have already admitted to being a fair weather type of outdoors person, so when it started bucketing down with rain I had to really convince myself that being outside was a good idea. And it was! We grabbed our wellies and headed out in shorts and t-shorts to dance on the grass. I’d forgotten how lovely warm, soft summer rain was.

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Day 11

Another damp day but I didn’t think twice about getting outside this afternoon as we had finally got round to sorting out the green house and I wanted to get some more veg seeds down after our delicious dinner of wonky carrots a few nights ago.

We also took the chance to have a mini beast hunt, and we found plenty of slugs, snails and a very weird looking thing we later found out on Google is a Horse Hair worm. It freaked me out a bit, so Mr TH had to do the research as I really didn’t want to look.

In the back part of our garden it has suddenly got very overgrown and we were planning on clearing it. But having seen the number of bees buzzing around in the flowers, I think we’ll leave that little corner just for nature.

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Catching up on days 4-7 of 30 Days Wild

While I haven’t been short of things to blog about over the last few days of 30 days wild, I have been short of time. So I have decided to so a round up our last few 30 Days Wild activities.

Days 4 – Making a bug hotel

We chose to spend the very hot and sunny weekend at home in the garden allowing Monkey time to just play, sleep and do activities when she felt like it.

Saturday our 30 days wild activity was to build a bug hotel. I had envisaged this as a lovely family activity, but after sticking a couple of twigs and bamboo sticks in Monkey got bored, so I spent the morning sawing down hollow bamboo sticks and break twigs and sticks to fit the frame Mr TH had built for me.

We were really pleased with the finished product and have hung it on a tree stump. We’re hoping the leaves will grow around it and encourage more bugs to live in there.

Before we built it I wondered why bug hotels are important?

I found the answer to this question on the BBC Wildlife website. There are over 2,000 different species of insects in an average garden. Very few of them will eat our veggies and plants and lots of them will actually help protect against the ones that do!

 

Day 5- Wildflower planting

After morning service at church we decided to have another sunny afternoon in the garden, just relaxing and making the most of it. While Monkey napped and I worked, Mr TH tidied up the spring bulb border and painted some old bamboo canes we had laying around.

When Monkey woke up we had fun sprinkling wild flower seeds in the border so we should have some lovely late summer flowers. We also planted some sweet peas we had started growing on the kitchen window ledge. They are now in a big tub with the painted canes so they can grow up them.

 

Day 6 – Wild art and a visit to a SSSI

Unfortunately I was at work, but a perk of my job is that I get to go to meetings in beautiful places. As today was a scorcher I was delighted to be going to a meeting at the National Trust site Brimham Rocks. We decided that Mr TH and Monkey would come in the afternoon and meet me after my meeting too. They had great fun scrambling around the rocks and I had a wonderful tour, learning about the history of the rocks and site, some of the problems they have with bracken and silver birches.

After my meeting we met up and enjoyed a bit more rock scrambling before taking Monkey to the Wild Art table. She’s still a bit small to make an actual picture, but loved feeling the textures of twigs, moss and bark. It was a perfect evening and lovely way to enjoy nature after a day at work.

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Day 7- a visit to a Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

I have visited Golden Acre Park several times since moving back to Yorkshire and countless times before I moved and didn’t know there was a nature reserve attached the end of the park!

Unfortunately we didn’t get to stay too long, we had taken her ride on trike and while the paths were wide enough for wheel chairs so suitable to push her around on, they were also very bumpy and her trike rattles so there wasn’t much chance of us seeing any wildlife with the noise we were making. We also didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s chances either so had a quick walk around and decided to come back another day with a carrier.

We still had a great afternoon out, feeding the ducks in Golden Acre Park, cooing over the cygnets trailing around after mummy swan and eating ice cream quickly as a storm was fast approaching and we could hear thunder in the distance. On the way back to the car we were also treated to couple of squirrels running around in the grass and up trees much to Monkey’s delight.

Scaling New Heights

Today was one of Monkeys firsts- her first taste of rock climbing! A couple of miles from where we live is Almscliffe Crag. It’s basically several lumps of rock on a hill which overlooks Wharfedale, Leeds and Harrogate and on a clear day you can see for miles from the top.

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She love scrambling around at home and has started climbing on top of tables and chairs, so we hoped she was going to be keen to put these skills to good use.

As we walked up to the crag we could see a couple of people bouldering and she took a keen interest and what they were doing. We chose a nice simple rocky path to start with so she could mainly walk but would have to use her hands to get over some small boulders.

Having achieved this and her first topping out, we moved onto a nice big slab of rock that would mean she would really have to use her hands and feet. Monkey doesn’t really like getting her hands dirty, so even though it didn’t bother her with the first climb, we had to convince her she couldn’t climb without her hands. Finally she got up, I think this photo shows the sense of achievement she felt.

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We celebrated her first bit of climbing with a snack stop at the top and pulled the My First Petit Filous out of the cooler bag. In case you haven’t read my first post about our #PetitFilousFirsts challenge, these are low sugar fromage frais from Petit Filous that have a nice subtle vanilla taste and are suitable from 6 months plus, so ideal for weaning or more active toddlers.

Snack over and done, we headed off to explore some higher rocks and snap a family picture.

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We then descended to some lower rocks to let Monkey do some climbing by herself. We were always within catching distance, but as climbers Mr TH and I were extremely proud at the skill and enthusiasm she has for the sport.

As well as a Petit Filous first challenge, it is also day 3 of the 30 Day Wild Challenge. Not only did we have a great time scrambling around the rocks, spending several hours outdoors, but we also loved watching the red kites circling above our heads and swooping down very low to check us out. It’s also amazing how peaceful and remote you can feel just 20 minutes’ drive away from Leeds city, with just the sounds of sheep bleating, bird singing and the wind blowing.

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This post is an entry for BritMums #PetitsFilousFirsts Linky Challenge, sponsored by Petits Filous

30 Days Wild- Day 2

Day two of 30 Days Wild and I am already loving how this challenge is making me so much more aware of nature.

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Today I have again deviated from the planner, but seeing as it’s not even reaching double figures out there (just what you would expect in June- right?) I couldn’t bring myself to sit by the river and have lunch. I did however take my favourite post lunch stroll through the woods and by the river near to where I work.

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Normally, I spend this walk checking up on Facebook, calling someone for a chat or reading personal emails. Today I had my phone with me, but instead I used it to record the bird song. Something I am not normally really aware of, but it’s beautiful!

I also noticed lots of little birds are hopping around in the undergrowth and in the trees. I spotted a blackbird looking for lunch amongst the leaves and a robin hiding in the ivy on a tree branch, singing a melodic tune. There were a few tiny brown coloured birds hopping around but I’m not sure what they are. I tried to snap a photo but apart from being camouflaged against the soil and leaves they were also very quick hoppers.

I came back to my desk, cold, but feeling like I’d had a true break for a change. I was also dying to write this blog as it just shows that five minutes in a lunch break can introduce a little bit of nature into your everyday.