30DaysWild: Wildlife Watch with Sussex Wildlife Trust

#30DaysWild

When we moved out-of-town a couple of years ago, before Noodle started school, we discovered Woodsmill: the HQ of Sussex Wildlife Trust and a stunning nature reserve with lovely woodland, a big lake, a perfect stream, big sumptuous meadows and the incredible wildlife that comes with all of this.

At the time we discovered Nature Tots, a fun workshop for kids under 5 to get involved with nature. Noodle loved it and so did I! Now that he’s at school we have discovered Wildlife Watch, which is aimed at children between 5 and 8. The sessions take place on a Saturday once a month for 6 months. I just had to sign him up; and after our first session recently, I can say we were not disappointed.

Our leader introduced himself as Bruno which Noodle found hilarious; and to my slight embarrassment he blurted out that our cat is called Bruno. We all had a good giggle when he also mentioned that Bruno, the cat, was ginger and white, to a man who is, you’ve guessed it, a redhead. I love Noodle πŸ˜€

The kids were captivated right from the start.

Bruno, the leader :), was extremely knowledgeable and fantastic with the kids. On our way to the meadows we stopped on several occasions with him pointing out the smallest creatures, explaining what the were, like ladybird larvae which doesn’t look anything like a ladybird! The kids were captivated right from the start.

Once we arrived at the meadow, the kids ran around with nets, encouraged to catch anything they could to then place in a white plastic tray to admire and identify. We caught so many creatures! We caught crickets and grasshoppers, and learned what the difference is. Did you know? Crickets tend to walk and have long antennae, grasshoppers have short antennae good for jumping as far as possible. We also caught shield bugs, caterpillars, a million of the tiniest crawlies and even butterflies!

#30DaysWild

Later we headed into the woods to make fire! We got handed our very own flint stone fire maker and learned how to make it spark. It was Noodle’s and my first time doing this and actually surprisingly easy. Bruno talked us through how to stay safe around a fire and how to make sure the fire stays contained. We then lit our very own piece of charcoal cloth which simply smouldered away without a flame. Bruno then collected all of these and lit the fire with them. He had showed us how lay different types of wood and eventually some hay on top, so that we could do it ourselves at our next session.

Once the fire got going, we made toast. We held our slices of bread over the fire, spread jam on top after and drank hot chocolate. Noodle loved it. We both did. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! We can’t wait to come back for more.

I have noticed a real change in Noodle since we started our #30DaysWild challenge and even more so after this workshop. He has grown in confidence and is developing a great love and understanding for nature and the environment. He is not afraid to pick up a spider or any creature to help it off the pavement to safety. Long may it continue πŸ™‚

If you’d like to find out more about Wildlife Watch or Nature Tots, visit the Sussex Wildlife Trust website.

*I have not been sponsored for this post in any way.

#30DaysWild
Enjoying his toast & hot chocolate

 

Bridie By The Sea
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Total Chill-out Weekend at Sumners Ponds, West Sussex

Last weekend we got away from it all. Roo had been working away on freelance contracts in Bristol for a few weeks and we felt we needed to have a proper family catch-up. Just us three, a couple of fishing lakes, a good book for me… It was pure bliss. I have honestly not felt so chilled in years!

The week previous was incredibly tough. I had a fall and sprained my ankle, badly. This also coincided with have a rather high dose of steroids for 5 days to work on a potential relapse I was having. The steroids are just the pits. Only now, after coming off them and them leaving my system, I realise that the week was a complete blur. Night sweats but feeling freezing at the same time, insatiable hunger, a bitter taste in my mouth 24 hours no matter what I ate, tiredness beyond belief, my face flushed and puffed up, back pain, sore skin all over and a general brain fog that made me feel as if I wasn’t really present, everything muffled and the world miles away. My dose finished Wednesday and I finally felt it lifting on Saturday afternoon. It was like being high, I swear I felt 10 kg lighter!

At Sumners Ponds we stayed in little Shepherd’s Hut. It was magical! Right by the lake, one double bed, a word burning stove and just the bare essentials. We spent Saturday by the lake, boys doing some fishing and me reading, putting up my foot. We had a couple of BBQs in the evenings and ate at the cafe on-site on Sunday night. Noodle made a few friends which reminded me of those special summer holidays when we were children ourselves, we barely saw our parents all day, playing out with other kids who had travelled from all over the country. I cannot believe he is old enough to do this himself now and make all these amazing memories.

We took small (and slow!) strolls to the local pub in the village, had picnics, watched the bats darting over the lake in the evenings, reading, drinking wine and then cozied up in our little hut for the night, sleeping tops and tails in the small double bed. It was the relaxing break we all needed.

 

If you’re interested staying there yourself, or just visiting for a day’s fishing, here’s their website:Β http://www.sumnersponds.co.uk/

frau naish

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Take back the kitchen campaign

Take back the kitchen

Recently I was contacted by Wren Kitchens as part of their campaign to get families back into the kitchen together.

As part of this ‘Take back the kitchen’Β campaign they conducted a study on 2,000 parents with children aged 0-16. The study showed that nearly 3 in 4 parents admit their family could be eating better, with nearly half acknowledging it is a daily struggle to get their families eating healthy and nutritious meals. The poll also reveals that 1 in 10 British parents admit to cooking from scratch and sitting down as a family ONLY once or twice a month.

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Local hidden treasure Highdown Gardens

I have lived in Worthing for about 15 years but it was only a couple of years ago that we discovered a little gem, a hidden treasure: Highdown Gardens, Worthing.

Our neighbours suggested to take Fin there and until then we had no idea that it existed.

Highdown Gardens is just behind the Highdown Hotel off Littlehampton Road. It’s a stunning garden stretching over more than 8 acres that has existed since around 1909 and is now maintained by an amazing group of volunteers. Apparently it used to be an old chalk pit but you would never know these days.

When you go there for the first time, it is like entering a new world with its many hidden bays amongst a maze of stunningly maintained flowers, shrubs and trees. There are countless lush corners perfect for a lazy sunday afternoon picnic.

It’s quiet and romantic and especially in spring with the strong floral scent everywhere it feels like a real treat. There is a rose garden, which I have been told they read Shakespeare on warm summer evenings, and a couple of small fish ponds with a tiny waterfall to explore. And amazingly, all of this is completely free!

Highdown Gardens Fish Pond

When you’re all explored out, you can head to the local cafΓ© or carvery just below the gardens. But if the garden has awoken the rambler in you, then you can enjoy the stunning views of the Sussex coastline just outside of the gardens with loads more walking at the edge of the Southdowns.

But shhhh! It’s our little secret, right?! πŸ™‚

 

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