Go on an adventure in the rain to find a Fairy Door

FairydoorLast week we were blessed with fabulous sunshine and amazing temperatures, this week we weren’t (unless you’re a duck or plant starved of water). But rain doesn’t have to mean the end of outdoor fun and games if you have some wellies and a decent waterproof coat. There’s nothing better than getting out into the countryside and experiencing some nature close to home. Sure you might need a shower or three when you arrive home caked in mud but getting outside is good for the whole family. You could even add some magic to your trip and go on an adventure in the rain to find a Fairy Door!fairydoor5

We did just that a short time ago and found this amazing fairy residence nestled in a pretty little woodland quite near to us.

fairydoor2
Inside the fully working door there were instructions on the kinds of gifts the fairy likes to receive. These messages change throughout the year depending on the seasons and the fairy’s mood!

This particular Fairy Door is located in a private woodland in Derbyshire which the landowner graciously allows the public to visit all year round. Thanks to all the extra touches I’m convinced the owner must love housing this magical little cottage and seeing just how much pleasure it brings to local children and adults alike.fairydoor3

Aside from fairies though we found a wonderful small stream and had a great time looking for birds and squirrels hiding in the trees. We’ve been somewhat inspired by watching Springwatch!

By far the muddiest member of our family was our pet Dalmatian who turned almost completely brown after he rolled around on the ground, but muddy footprints aside he had a great time too :)

fairydoor4
There’s actually quite a few fairy doors located across the country, so why not ask around and see if there’s a local one you could visit for a magical rainy adventure!

Walk at Cromford Canal for the #Walk500 challenge!

cromfordcanalWalking is good for you! Whether you’re skipping the car on the way to work or walking in the countryside, getting up and out on your feet has a whole host of benefits both physical and psychological. But incase that isn’t enough motivation to get your walking shoes on, then how about walking for charity instead! Walking holiday provider HF Holidays recently launched the #Walk500 challenge to help raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

It’s pretty simple, grab a camera or smartphone and get out walking. Whether that’s in a city, the countryside or just to post a letter, get out and document your walk. Share your attempt on HF Holiday’s Facebook page or on Twitter mentioning @hfholidays with the #Walk500 hashtag, then tag three or more friends to help spread the word. HF Holidays has committed to donating £5 for every mile walked up the 500 mile target. You can also make a donation to The British Heart Foundation via www.justgiving.com/walk500withhfholidays or text HFHW50 £3 to 70070.

Now I’m no master rambler (I get tired and quick!!) but eager to join in for an admirable cause my family and I took a trip to Cromford Canal in Derbyshire. I don’t have an accurate measurement of how far we walked but it was at least a leisurely mile. I should also note that my husband and Mr Dog walked significantly further (because they’re tough like that) and so the family total was probably more like 7 miles!!

doghatMobile in hand I recorded our walk (don’t worry I sped it up!) so please do take a look below. If you watch to the very end you can see just how much our dog enjoyed it!!

It would be great if more people could get involved to raise much more money for the British Heart Foundation.

For more information about HF Holidays and the #walk500 challenge please visit www.hfholidays.co.uk/news/2015/5/walk500

To find out more about The British Heart Foundation please visit www.bhf.org.uk

Music for the video kindly provided by Sean Eskimo.

 

 

Autumn Musings

 

Many people seem to feel a kind of displeasure when summer gives way for autumn. Certainly many of my own friends see long nights, rainy days and umbrellas in the months ahead. But I’m actually quite excited to see it making an appearance.

There is just so much to admire about the season as a whole. Fabulous shades of red and gold adorn the trees and bushes, it’s also the perfect time to go exploring and foraging, whether you live in the countryside or city. You just need a little green patch or park and you’ve got a wonderful family day out.

Raincoats and wellies at the ready, my children and I set out for a nature walk in the Derbyshire countryside. We were on a very simple mission, my children were searching for any signs that confirmed autumn was on the way. With a bucket in each hand and free rein to leap in puddles or collect fallen leaves, they had a wonderful time.

I adore these festive Hawthorn Berries, which were liberally scattered along our route. There was also the easily missed but just as beautiful raindrops clinging to a blade of grass . It’s so small and simple, but this patch of humble grass was my daughter’s favourite find. She thought they looked like miniature glass beads and insisted on touching them to check they were water.

We also uncovered an abundance of Elderberries. They poked through hedgerows, twisted through branches and generally made their presence felt. My husband makes wonderful Elderflower Champagne but the berries are always reserved for baking.  As long as they are ripe and de-stemed, cooking thoroughly renders them safe and delicious to eat. They are particularly good mixed with some Bramley apples in a crumble.

Our walk was not confined to wild plants and trees. We also met several cows, a horse and this little cat. Perched on an old wall and watching something moving on the ground intently, she looked as if she’d jumped straight out of a Beatrix Potter book. I don’t think she even noticed her photo being taken!

When we finally arrived home I had a new stash of Elderberries and the children had lots of acorns, leaves and Blackberries (we avoided Toadstools).

Autumn Craft Project

For a quick Autumn Craft Project ask your children to collect fallen leaves in a variety of colours. The flatter the leaf the better! Then pull or cut off the stalks and arrange inside a laminator sheet. Once laminated they look fabulous hung on a window. The sun streams through and almost ignites the jewels shades.

You can also carefully cut out each laminated leaf and make a mobile or garland, the only limit is your imagination. If you don’t have a laminator at home most good stationary stores can laminate in a variety of sizes for a small fee.

So while it’s sad to turn our backs on the summer, autumn has an awful lot of pleasure to offer. At the very least it’s a wonderful excuse to break out your Autumn wardrobe…

This post was originally written by me for the Boden Community.