Category: On Tour

The Wildlife Trust #30dayswild Days 1-5

If you’ve been following me on social media, then you will have seen an increase of posts about the great outdoors. That’s because I’m taking part in The Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild. You can find out more about it in this post here. So far it’s been so easy to do, as the weather has been pretty decent and it’s been the half term holidays. We’ve done some epic dog walks in a bid to enjoy the best nature Oxfordshire has to offer. So far, it hasn’t disappointed! Take a look.

Spring growth on treesRainbow Trout in the OckBlue DragonflyLadybird couple and bumble beeSpeckled Wood butterflyApart from a walk in Oxford, all the other pictures are from Abingdon. It’s fascinating to see wildlife all around you, whether you’re looking for it or not. We also did the Oxford Wildlife Trail on Sunday, which was fascinating and took me to parts of Oxford I never knew were there. I recommended it to a friend at work too and she said she loved it, as it showed some of the best parts of Oxford, without the rubbish shopping bit in the middle! On Saturday, I planted up some sweet peas in the garden and just stood and watched. There were bees buzzing around, birds swooping onto the bird feeder, little bugs exploring the flowers in the garden  and Poppydog keeping on cat watch, which is a good thing as the local cat/pest took a baby starling last week. Annoyingly, the cat doesn’t wear a bell on it’s collar so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to keep any eye out for it so we can protect the birds!

I’m hoping to see some more butterflies, wild flowers and birds over the next few weeks. If you’ve got any tips of great places to see them, let me know.

Bank Holiday at Stowe Gardens

After many weeks of being busy with school work and sorting out the redecorating of our bedroom, we were finally able to leave all of that behind and head out into the spring sunshine for a much needed breath of fresh air. We decided to head back to Stowe Gardens, as we really enjoyed our last visit there but wanted to see it in spring.  We packed our bag, forgetting much needed binoculars and camera, and headed off towards Stowe Gardens.

We arrived early, while there was still a chill in the air but that soon disappeared. It was fairly quiet, though busy enough for Poppy to enjoy a few rubs from other people. You could hear the sheep and their little lambs bleating away in the sunshine. They were so cute!

Sheep at Stowe GardensThe gardens were really gorgeous in the spring sunshine. Everything looked so bright and fresh, what a change from the misery of winter!

Spring at Stowe Gardens Stowe Gardens in the sun Memorial at Stowe GardensPrimroses at Stowe GardensThe gardens were packed by the time we were coming to the end of our walk. We tried to head in directions and along paths we didn’t go down last time. It was so busy that we couldn’t get into the cafe for lunch as they were queueing out the door! Next time, I think we’ll pack a picnic, as there are so many great areas to sit and watch the world go by.

We did over 10,000 steps and were thoroughly pooped by the time we got home. It’s a great place to go for walks, as you can do as much or as little as you like. I like it because while you’re looking around at the flowers, the buildings and statues and the wildlife,you don’t really notice the length of the walk. It was the perfect way to relax over the bank holiday weekend.

Holiday Ideas 2016

There’s nothing like a ever growing to-do list to make you dream of your holiday. Last year, we were a bit slap dash about holidays and didn’t have an overall plan of where we wanted to go so everything was last minute and we didn’t plan them well, with the exception of my birthday holiday to the New Forest. We didn’t spend long enough in Copenhagen and we didn’t go away during the summer holidays, which meant I spent most of them watching Netflix!

This year, I’m torn between going to new places and revisiting a few favorites. I know I should probably explore new places, but we’re lucky in that we’ve been to some fabulous places that almost feel like home. Here are the top three places I’d like to visit again:

Cornwall

Poldhu

It’s been over a year since we last visited Cornwall and I miss it immensely. The Lizard, which is my favourite part, is like no where else I’ve ever been and I could happily spend days walking along the coast, rain or shine, heading back to a cosy cottage for a cheeky Cornish cider and chips.

The New Forest

New ForestI was well and truly spoilt with my glamping birthday present last year. We spent a lovely few days walking along the coast and through the forest before heading back to our little hut. I’ve never walked so far in my life but I enjoyed every single moment of it, even if I needed to climb down a ladder for a wee in the night! Even though we walked a lot, there are still plenty of lovely places that I’d like to explore.

Iceland

IcelandIceland is PCC – Pre Crafty Chai! We booked our holiday about 24 hours before their economy collapsed, just under 10 years ago, but that didn’t deter us one little bit. We visited over Christmas and spent a wonderful few days in Reykjavik. The highlight for me was visiting the Blue Lagoon and experiencing hail while floating in warm and cosy water. There’s a lot of Iceland that we didn’t explore and I would love to go back to see more of the island.

Having said that, visiting new places is always such fun so on my travel wish list are:

  • Berlin – the best place to be a vegan Europe
  • The Lake District – so many great dog walks to be had here
  • Sweden – We were so close to here when we were in Copenhagen and I do regret not popping over to Malmo while we there.

I still can’t make up my mind about where to go, though I do need to see what the budget will stretch to. Doubt it’ll stretch to all those places, eh?!

The Cosmonaut Exhibition at the Space Museum

One of the perks of being part time, especially with a day off in the middle of the week, means that little jaunts into London don’t have to wait until busy weekends. The last Wednesday before school broke up, Phil took a few extra days off and we popped into London for the day.  We took the train from Oxford Parkway and headed to Kin for breakfast. We’d been before so knew that there would be lots of healthy veggie and vegan food available. I opted for a juice and the millet porridge. I also got some muffins to take away for later. It would have been rude not to, right?!

Kin millet porridge Kin vegan muffinsNot only were we planning on indulging in some delicious food, but we’d also bought tickets to go the Cosmonauts exhibition at the Space Museum. We’d seen Kim from Finest Imaginary tweet about it a while ago and Phil has quite a keen interest in the space race, having read a number of books about it. Off we went (Via Planet Organic, which, in case you didn’t know, label all their food so any dietary choices are really clear! Yay!), stashing our bag in the cloakroom in the basement of the museum and headed to the exhibition. It was fascinating. There were models of space ships, as well as real ones that had been up in space. There were space suits, worn by the astronauts and different items used by them while they were orbiting earth.  It was really interesting, though it was much shorter than I thought it was going to be.

Russian space race Russian space travel Space suitsWe then headed over to Neal’s Yard as we’d planned to have lunch at the Wild Food Cafe. Phil had discovered it while doing a search of places that wouldn’t be too far away from where we were. I had never been to Neal’s Yard before. It was amazing, such a lovely place. The cafe was full when we arrived, but they took my number and said they’d text when a table became available. We didn’t have to wait long at all. We both decided on the Wild Burger and we weren’t disappointed. It was such a delicious healthy meal in a funky environment. We both had pudding. I opted for the banoffee pie while Phil had the chocolate torte. Both were amazing. Who knew vegan food could be so delicious?!

Wild Food cafeCoconut milkWild burgerBanoffee pieWe made one final stop on the way back to the train station – Whole Foods and managed to buy a few bits. I’d never been before and wanted to see if there were any vegan goodies I could buy. It was good, but I think I prefer Planet Organic, if for no other reason than the clear labelling that Planet Organic puts on everything. It’s not until you can’t eat something that you really appreciate clear labelling!