Our final week of 30 Days Wild here in Northern Ireland was absolutely wonderful! We have been well and truly spoilt with great weather for most of the 30-day June challenge which has made getting out and about, exploring, enjoying our natural surroundings so easy and enjoyable. We are beginning to get so used to blue skies and balmy days that I am not sure how we will manage once the grey clouds and chilly temperatures return!
We do love to be outdoors as a family whatever the weather, but we have definitely been determined to make the most of the super weather we are getting. The challenge has made us really think about how we were spending our time each day – our time is precious after all! Screens were switched off and looking for moments to connect with nature in our everyday routine became our focus. Being intentional about making space for wild time in the day and daily, whether it is for 5 minutes or an hour, is a good life habit to incorporate as we all know the many benefits of time spent outdoors, exercising, taking in our natural surroundings and engaging mindfully with our planet as well as one another.
Being outdoors regularly has been massively healing in my own life through 3 difficult pregnancies, post-natal depression and dealing with the debilitating illness, Endometriosis. I know when my anxiety levels are high that I need a good dose of nature therapy and knowing the rewards I have reaped in my own life from being in the great outdoors I have been intentional about ensuring my kiddos spend time outside every day, come rain or shine, and so the 30 Days Wild challenge is a great support network, as I endeavour to raise my family as close to nature as possible. What’s really super about the challenge is the social interaction online, where people share their own inspiring daily acts of wildness, and so a special community is formed where people can find a sense of belonging and connectedness that keeps them motivated throughout the month.
During the last week of June we savoured small moments of wildness, some grand adventures and all sorts of outdoors fun in-between! Being city dwellers, we took an evening urban stroll around Belfast to see what nature we could find on our own doorstep. The idea was inspired by Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion Splodz whose Twitter chat ‘On your doorstep’, gave me food for thought and made me consider the possibilities of appreciating nature found close to home.
The next day we also took a walk around our local park, spotting some cute little froglets, the resident heron and some gorgeous plants along the way.
On Sunday we headed off for a grand adventure in the Mourne Mountains with some friends and family members – something we like to do as often as we can. We trekked up Hen Mountain in the scorching heat, picnicked at the summit where there was barely a breeze, then enjoyed a refreshing paddle in the river following our descent. It was an all-round spectacular day away from our busy lives in the city and the kids were delighted to spot lots of insectivorous plants!
Monday – back to work and what was the final week of term for the boys! Yee-ha! The weather this week was so scorching hot we sought out shade in the evenings to play Deadly 60 Top Trumps, colour-in pictures, read National Geographic Kids and make a bee feeder for any bees that are struggling during these boiling temperatures. We mostly spent our free time and evenings in the garden as it was simply too hot to go anywhere! This was great fun though, there’s so much to appreciate in your own outdoor space – birds, bees, butterflies and even lying back watching the cloud formations can be extremely soothing and joy-filled. A favourite, calming past-time of mine when life just gets too much! It’s a good way to slow the mind, take a deep breath and put everything into perspective.
On the final day of 30 Days Wild my husband took the 3 boys to our local library where the Big Summer Read was kickstarted with an interactive Sea to Shore talk organised by the RSPB. I was given the low-down in great detail when I returned from work, apparently it was ‘AWESOME’ and the boys learned loads of cool facts about local bird life in a fun and interesting way. Events like this are so crucial in informing children as well as their parents about local wildlife, engaging them in a way that encourages them to care for animals and plants that they encounter and hopefully instil a life-long commitment to caring for their planet.
So now, with 30 Days Wild over, what next?! Well, of course the aim is to #StayWild! To get outdoors as often as we can in our daily lives and continue to appreciate the amazing plants, creatures and natural wonders that are all around us. There is so much to see, so much to learn, so much to enjoy that it would be a shame to miss out don’t you think?! With 8 weeks of summer break ahead of us and a weather forecast that looks promising, our outdoor adventures will continue out and about in Northern Ireland until we take off for some family time on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. We look forward to exploring a new terrain, seeing different plants and wildlife and generally being outdoors together as a family. Outdoors is the best place to make lasting memories I reckon…how are you planning to Stay Wild this summer and beyond? I’d love to hear!