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!

The Wildlife Trust #30DaysWild Days 6 – 10

Between watching Springwatch and taking part in 30 Days Wild, I am all about nature right now! Whether I’m driving to work, walking Poppydog or washing up and looking out at the garden, I’m busy spotting birds, bees and wildlife. I know that it’s all around, but sometimes it takes something like 30 Days Wild to remind me of this.

LaburnumIris Caterpillar Coot family with chicksPoppy with poppies Flowers in the wall

Have you been watching Springwatch? This week was really brutal, with three out of the four remaining great tits being fed by their adoptive blue tit mother, being eaten by a jay and a stoat climbing a tree to kill all of the chicks in a woodpecker nest. I have to admit, I did cry at that. It was one nest attack too many. Don’t mistake this for naivety. I know the jay and stoat have lots of mouths to feed. That is nature. It just puts into perspective, for me, the way humans impact on nature, whether it’s through what we eat, where we build our homes or how we consume this planet. Watching the stone curlew getting drenched night after night last week was truly heartbreaking and the thought that our actions can make the lives of these little but vital creatures worse make me feel sick to my stomach. I really hope that we as a species stop looking at money as the most important thing ever, but at our home and act accordingly.

TV Recommendations – June

How fast is this year going? Here we are, in June, half way through the year! Did life always fly by at break neck speed? Recently, we’ve been recovering from finishing decorating the bedroom and enjoying some decent TV, though we are facing quite a dry spell. If you’ve seen anything good lately, let me know!

TV Recommendations_June

[Togetherness – NOW TV || Bosch – Amazon Prime ||
Orphan Black – Netflix || Grace & Frankie – Netflix]

I stumbled across Togetherness on NOW TV one day and recognized a couple of actors in it so thought I’d give it a go. I hadn’t heard anyone talking about it, either in person or online, so wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved it from the very beginning. It focuses on quite a normal young family and their friends and how they live their lives. I thought it was hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. There are two series available, though only series one is currently on NOW. It hasn’t been renewed for a third series, which I was quite sad about because I wanted to see how things progressed from the tumultuous second series. Still worth watching if you want something quick and easy to watch.

I had seen Bosch advertised on Amazon Prime for some time, but honestly thought that it looked awful. Plus I find the way that Amazon advertises its shows so forcefully on their websites so offensively that I was kind of determined never to watch it. However, out of sheer desperation of nothing else to watch (seriously people, make some more TV!) Oh my god, I was hooked so much so that one afternoon when I was at work, I caught myself thinking I couldn’t wait to get home to watch some more Bosch! It’s so good! It’s police drama set in LA and it has a number of ongoing stories woven throughout each series. There are some great characters in it, many of watch you’ll be able to spot from other series, and some shocking twists and turns. There are currently two series on Amazon Prime and if you’re missing Line of Duty then Bosch is a pretty good substitute.

When we first watched Orphan Black I thought it was awful. Cheesy, over the top and unrealistic. By the end of the first series, Phil had given up on it but I was hooked. I watched the rest of the series on my own and I think it has gone from strength to strength. I don’t know how much longer it can keep going, or how many more clones are going to appear out of the woodwork, but so far it has been imaginative and gripping. My favourite clone is Alison and her husband, Donnie. They are hilarious and will stop at nothing to keep their perfect Stepford world in one piece, even if that means burying a dead body in their garage floor or dealing some drugs! Netflix has the first three series and is in the process of showing series four, one episode a week, which frustrates me no end! I do love me some binge watching!

While I love dark and disturbing TV shows, every now and then, even I need a break from walkers and the apocalypse. Step in Grace and Frankie, which is one of the most light hearted and hilarious TV shows I’ve ever seen! When I first saw it advertised on Netflix, I wasn’t particularly interested, but I saw quite a few good thing about it on Twitter so thought I’d give it a go and watched series one over the Christmas holidays. Series two is not on Netflix and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s hilarious! Grace and Frankie are up to their usual antics, including arguing over lube, drinking too much and arguing with pretty much everyone they come into contact with. I am envious of their retired lives and their beach house, which is pretty awesome! If you need a bit of cheering up or some feel-good TV, then check out Grace and Frankie. It won’t disappoint!