If you've been reading this blog for a while then you'll know this nature-love story well, but if you haven't, here is the short version. Moving closer to the countryside, leaving my job and having Frankie meant spending more time outside just sort of... happened. Without all the usual baby groups and galleries and coffee shops we had in London, we instead ended up in the woods or at the beach. And something rather profound shifted in my psyche as a result of being open to what was happening outside, and rooting myself more in each season. I found it incredibly grounding and healing, essentially learning to slow the f*ck down. Celebrating each season with Frankie is one of the ways we encourage her already boundless love of nature and wildlife, so I thought I'd share some of the simple ways we have been celebrating Spring in our house.
A Spring display/Nature table
We recently cleared everything off this chest of drawers in Frankies bedroom to create a permanent nature table, inspired by the sweet seasonal displays at her Steiner school. It features some of her Spring books, some of the (edited!) treasures she (obsessively) collects, and some gifts she was given over Easter (a wooden egg, some crochet egg covers, a couple of sweet little flower fairies) She'll jump up here to play most days, and loves collecting things to display here.
Kinda an obvious one I realise, but for the last few weeks we’ve spent lots of time outdoors; either in the garden or out and about. We love a picnic in our house so end up having them in the garden most days. We've also been to the beach and the woods and we've dipped for frog spawn at our local Physic garden. If it wasn’t for Frankie I wouldn’t be outside half as much as I am and I shall be forever grateful to her sprite-like energy for requiring this.
We love reading in this house. It’s our primary tool of choice against the ever alluring screen, and thankfully, it mostly wins. Dave and I make sure we only have kids books on our shelves that we actually enjoy too- that way I never mind reading to Frankie. (Theres nothing worse than reading a kids book that makes you want to poke your eyes out or weep with boredom! - "Thats not my monkey/train/penguin/dog/cat/"....gin, pass me the gin. The exception would be if Frankie truly treasures it, but thankfull she hasn't treasured I book I hate so far!) I mostly buy nature and wildlife books and I rotate them seasonally- a great way to keep them fresh and exciting for all of us. Some of our current Spring Favourites are Pelle's New Suit, Flower Fairies of The Spring (I learn so much from this one!), The Root Children and What To Look For In Spring. (Seasonal kids book Instagram account is in the works, watch this space!)
Frankie helped to make our Easter wreath, diligently using my flower snips to shorten the stems, then poking them in the base. She single handedly decorated our Easter tree (with a biiiit of rearranging afterwards by me- but only a bit!), and we have done a lo-oooot of Easter baking. Its the perfect 3pm feeling cranky antidote. Lastly, we have been working through some of the lovely suggestions in Born To Be Wild, the new book by Hattie Garlick. It's great! It's split into seasonal activities anyone can do, and some of the ideas are so sweet- WHY haven't I made a birds nest out of grass before? We're always looking for an abandoned one for our nature table, but now we're going to make our own! This book is firmly geared toward normal working families who crave a bit of wild- the ideas are simple, mostly free and things that children actually like doing. I am a fan. (At the end of the post there is a little giveaway of 2 of the books)
So- how are you feeling about Spring? Having spent more time indoors over our winter 'hiberation' we're all feeling a bit colliedog-ish in our longing to be outside. Dave and I are trying to run as much as possible (my injury has healed enough for my do a hilarious shuffle-run round the park; good enough for me!), and Frankie wants to eat every meal in the garden and seems to have boundless energy that requires a regular run off. Going outside is often the answer to her high energy/feeling unconnected/challenging behaviour, and going to the woods or beach is now the very first thing we do if we have any time off together. In short, the more time we spend outside, and the more we bring nature into our daily rhythm, the better we all feel.
To celebrate this lovely season, I am giving away TWO copies of Born To Be Wild, hurray! To enter, simply leave a comment below telling me your favourite things to do outside. The competition will be open for two weeks; until midnight (British time) on the 21st April and I'll draw a winner at random the following day, and update this post with the winners (and I'll announce on social media too). Good luck!
UPDATE! The winners, chosen by Dave choosing random numbers, are Lucy Stendall and Rosey! thank you everyone for your brilliant contributions, I loved reading all the different ways you love being outside! get in touch with me Lucy and Rosey and I'll send the books to you.