Thursday photo #248

Unless we’re away in the camper van, our weekends tend to follow the same sort of pattern. Saturdays are spent outdoors. Usually visiting a National Trust property, the children often ride their bikes. It’s a day of freedom and fresh air and I know they always feel better for it. Being outdoors in Winter I sometimes feel a bit guilty for dragging the girls outside when it gets really cold. On Friday, the girls played in the snow twice. Once before school on the decking, then we went up the Malvern Hills for a walk at the end of the…

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National Trust membership to combat Winter blues

What is it about Winter that makes it so miserable? Is it the dark nights and cold days, or is it the way we deal with it? This is only the second time in my memory when I haven’t found Winter completely joyless. The first was when I spent the start of the season in New Zealand and Australia, coming back in Mid-December. This year though, we’ve stayed put and still managed to enjoy the colder months. I’ve been wondering why that was, and I think it might be down to our National Trust membership. Getting outdoors with National Trust…

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Murmuration of starlings UK

For the past few months, there have been some incredible photos on social media of the murmuration of starlings around the UK. So last weekend, I did some research to find out what the murmuration is all about and when and where to see it. What is the murmuration? Every day at sunset, the murmuration takes place as starlings come in to roost. Flocking together in their thousands, the birds perform a breathtaking aerial display.  At first glance, a few starlings swoop around the sky. Then moment by moment, they are joined by more birds. Gathering momentum, they form a…

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7 tips for family mountain bike adventures

This is a collaborative post.  We’ve had a bit of a breakthrough over the past fortnight. After eight months of riding a bike, Lia has finally mastered starting and stopping. Being unable to do so didn’t stop her cycling, but it stopped me. I tended to run alongside her bike to help her rather than cycling myself. But now, we’re ready for proper cycling. So, here are my top tips for family mountain bike adventures. 1. Get the right bikes A good bike makes all the difference for a child who is learning to cycle. I personally swear by light…

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12 things you need to know about cycling in the Forest of Dean

Two seasoned mountain bikers stopped beside the trail for a drink. Covered in mud and exhausted from pushing themselves, they watched as a tiny tot pedalled past. The beauty of the Forest of Dean cycle tracks is that they really do cater for everyone. Here’s what you need to know before you pump up the tyres and head for the hills. 1. Where to start There are various locations in the Forest of Dean to pick up the cycle trails. Head to the tourist information website for links to the different routes. Alternatively, you can pick up a cycling guide…

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Stargazing with the Forestry Commission

When I was a child, stargazing was of little interest to me. I don’t recall any lessons at school that sparked my interest, although I did find it fascinating that a friend had perfectly accurate constellations on her bedroom ceiling. This was courtesy of her incredibly clever dad and some fluorescent stickers. Stargazing in the forest Fast forward to today, and my four year old daughter is already fascinated by stargazing. Even my two year old always looks out for the stars and the moon when it gets dark. For my girls, this has a lot to do with Tim Peake’s trip…

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50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 3/4

For the last couple of years, hubby and I have been National Trust members. We love the fact that there are so many different places to visit for the cost of a membership fee.  The other advantage is that many National Trust places accept dogs, at least in the grounds. One such place locally is the beautiful Brockhampton Estate.  And it’s a sign of Libby growing up that today when we went to take back the map from our walk, she was offered a scrapbook to record her 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4.  I’ve been vaguely aware…

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