The Wildlife Trust #30dayswild Days 18 – 24

When I signed up to #30dayswild, I didn’t expect June to be so wet or so busy. I’ve probably been out and about nature less this month than I normally do. Despite that, I’ve been looking for nature as much as I can, wherever I can and that’s what I’m taking from this month. Regardless, I’ve been able to see some gorgeous and amazing things over the last few days. Here’s a little snapshot.

Canada Goose Dragonfly Common Spotted Orchid Pyramid Orchid Bee Orchid at Radley LakesStag BeetleScarlet Tiger MothRabbits Raindrops on a leaf Moth I
Hoverflies Heart petal on a nettle leafI love how nature always helps put things in perspective. When the whole world looks like it’s falling apart, a walk with Poppydog, using all my senses to seek out nature, really helps. Which is good, seeing as we’re really making a mess of everything at the moment. I just hope that we wise up, sort it out and make sure we don’t damage our planet any more in the process.

Vegan food at Bitten Street

A few weeks ago, before the heatwave and following deluge of rain, Phil, Poppydog and I headed into Oxford to visit Bitten Street. This is a street food event that happens monthly and is run by Bitten Oxford. We’ve been before but haven’t been in ages, mainly because I became vegan and there was very little on offer for me so we didn’t bother going in. However, we noticed that Rupert’s Street was going to be there and everything they due is suitable for vegans. Finally, I could eat something! So we planned a little walk that would mean we could arrive at Bitten Street in time for an early lunch, and I’m glad we did, as Rupert’s Street did sell out. We parked at Hinksey Park car park and walked along the Thames into Oxford to Oxford Castle. It was a lovely walk, tired Poppydog out and avoided the hideous car parking charges.

 Rupert's street at Bitten StreetRuperts StreetVegan food at Bitten StreetPoppydog at Bitten Street

We headed straight for Rupert’s Street to check out their vegan offerings. I had the tofu salad, which was amazing, and Phil had the beetroot latke, which was really delicious. The food was healthy, tasty and reasonable. It was so nice to see vegan food on offer and I really hope that it’s the start of things to come and that there will be many more vegan offerings. To see what’s coming up at the next Bitten Street event, check out the Bitten Oxford Facebook page. If there’s vegan food to be had, then you might just see me there!

The Wildlife Trust #30DaysWild Days 11-17

Between taking part in #30dayswild and watching Springwatch, it has been all about nature here at Crafty Chai towers. We’ve been obsessed with the starlings on the bird feeder in the garden, watching fish in the Thames, counting bees at every chance we get and tried to catch glimpses of bats at sunset.

That being said, this week has been crazy.  With a few early dog walks before work, late nights thanks to book group and watching John Grant (with a special appearance from Kylie!) at the Albert Hall, there hasn’t been much time for getting wild. However, I’ve still been watching and managed to see lots of red kites circling above the M40 and little bunnies at the roundabout joining the A34. I’ve also managed to photograph these little beauties:

Grey squirrel Fledging jackdaw Oxeye daisy Woodland fungus

Even as I walk about school, I try to keep my eyes peeled to the nature around me. Wagtails bobbing about after lunch, huge raindrops during thunderstorms causing lots of squealing in the classroom next door and basking in sunshine as I walked between buildings. The weather has been really weird in the last few days. I’ve never known there to be so many thunderstorms so close together. Am really hopeful that the weather next week will be more settled, if for no other reason than to help the bees and the butterflies!

Hydrotherm Massage at Utopia Beautique

For me, there’s nothing more relaxing than a bit of pampering. If I want some ‘me’ time or need to relax, then a back massage is what I go for. I’m a huge fan of Fawsley Hall, but it’s not close to where I live so I need to find somewhere good that is within a walk or short drive from home. Nothing tenses my shoulders up more than traffic! I’ve tried a couple of places in Abingdon, but nothing really suited me. Thinking about where to do, I realised that I’d never been to Utopia Beautique, despite having lived in Abingdon for years. I had a quick look on their website to see if a back massage was on offer, which is was, and contacted them for a suitable appointment during half term and to find out if their products were suitable for vegans. I secured an appointment and the products Utopia use are suitable for vegans. Fantastic!

Utopia beautique Abingdon Hydrotherm massage I’ve had a number of back massages but this was the first time that I lay on my back for my massage. There were two water filled cushions on the table, which I lay on and they were warmed to body temperature. I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first, because I didn’t think it would be possible to apply enough pressure to my back, neck and shoulders if I was lying on my back, but thought I’d give it a go.

I’m glad I did. While it was different and took a little while to get used to, it was a much more gentle approach. I can tell when a masseur gets to my shoulders and feels the humungous knots in them. Usually, they go to town on my shoulders, which in lots of cases, means my shoulders can be painful for a few days after. Not exactly the result you want. However, this did not happen at Utopia. While the masseur could feel the knots, because I was on my back, she dealt with them in a different, more gentle way. It was so relaxing and my shoulders felt relaxed and stress free, without any discomfort. I can heartily recommend it and would definitely go back the next time my shoulders are up around my ears!