Friday, 30 August 2013

Made friends with this sheep on my way to Chastleton House, Oxon, yesterday.

via Instagram

#50things Friday - The end of our #wildtime challenge

Enjoying what we've grown
Well this is the last week of our summer hols and Big Tot, Little Tot and I have been busy readying ourselves for Big Tot’s first day at school next week. We have explored the countryside, gone on long walks and generally tucked into a lot of yummy home-grown and wild treats!  

Sharing the bounty
 There is something about foraging for food….it tastes so much better and keeps us going as we trample up those big hills on our walks!  This week, we ticked off No. 9 Eat an apple straight from a tree, No. 21 Pick blackberries growing the wild and No. 41 Plant it, grow it, eat it!  A hat trick of #50things – and very proud of ourselves we were too!  This summer has seen us complete of all these challenges too and we have enjoyed every minute, even No. 6. Run around in the rain!

No 1. Climb a tree

No 2. Roll down a really big hill

Right before we picked them!
No 4. Build a den

No 6. Run around in the rain

No 7. Fly a kite

No 9.  Eat an apple straight from a tree

No 12. Make a trail with sticks

No 16. Make a daisy chain

No 18. Create some wild art

No 19. Play pooh sticks

No 20. Jump over waves

No 21.  Pick blackberries growing in the wild

No 22. Explore inside a tree

No 23. Visit a farm

Our tree elephant
No 24. Go on a walk barefoot

No 26. Hunt for fossils and bones

No 31. Hunt for bugs

No 34. Track wild animals

No 37.  Check out the crazy creatures in a rockpool

No 41. Plant it, grow it, eat it

No 42. Go swimming in the sea

No 44. Go bird watching

No 48. Learn to ride a horse

You lot have been pretty busy too!!! We love your #50things adventures almost as much as our own!

Loved this little video of discovering what’s under the water Have you tried No. 35 of your #50things - Discovering what's in a pond?  What did you see?

Some serious adventurers here!  Very committed even in the rain!  We salute you @krens28!  Great fun at Ightham Mote Den Building yesterday! Even in the rain!! @southeastNT @NTIghthamMote

A bit of messing about on the river here – looks heavenly! @lucycdavies Messing about on the water (in Rudyard Kipling's old boat) @batemansNT @ Bateman's NT

Lovely share here from @heidi_smart: Tasting, smelling and identifying herbs @polesdenlacey and planting cress #50things Her little ones have been busy this summer!

@ljbarton #39 catch a crab! #wildtime #50things :D

Wild-Time may be over but there are plenty more #50things adventures to be had as autumn makes us reach for wellington boots and coats!  Big Tot is already talking about No.10 Play conkers and I am pretty sure that No. 33 Catch a falling leaf will shortly follow.  Who knows, we might even manage to get to 25 out of 50things with #No3 Camp out in the wild, No. 47 Cook on a campfire and No. 27 Go star gazing this weekend as the finale to our summer adventures?!  For now though, thanks so much for sharing all your #50things adventures this summer…….make sure you carry on ticking off all 50 of those fantastic challenges!  DO send in your pictures, tweets and shares on Facebook and @southeastNT.  The lovely National Trust ladies and gents love hearing about your NT adventures.

Friday, 23 August 2013

#50things Friday and Taking the Wild-Time Challenge No.23 - Visit a farm

A post from Rebecca, our volunteer member blogger, about trying our 50 things Wild-time challenge. She's going writing about our adventures with her family all summer. 

This week, Big Tot, Little Tot and I decided to take a little trip to the farmyard to complete #No23 - Visit a farm.  We had lots of fun running after free range chickens, watching the late spring lambs bounce around the fields and even had a ride on a tractor, well a wooden one at any rate!  We were all in agreement that the piggies were our favourites and we spent rather a long time watching them having a mud bath before the little porkers took themselves off for a little nap!

Big Tot then spent most of the evening trying to persuade her father that our garden really needs a pig and I am sure that I could hear Little Tot counting sheep in her sleep!  A cracking day out!   
What have you been up to this week?  Who has managed to tick off 25 of the #50things list as part of the Wild-Time challenge?  Thanks to so many of you who have tweeted @southeastNT, linked up on Facebook and sent in lovely pictures.  Keep going…not long left now!
To kick us off this week, something very sweet! Thank you to @heidi_smart for these: our hedgehogs made from clay and twigs found in the grounds and made @KnoleNT today #50things

Big Tot is extremely jealous about this tweet…..#50things AND a tour of the lighthouse! Wow! @heather_ht113 flying kites at White Cliffs of Dover. Fab place, fab weather, fab tour of lighthouse. Thanks Derek!

Feeling like a bit of al fresco cooking, then off you trot to Holmwood Common in Surrey today where there will be den building, craft activities and camp fires where children will be able to cook their own lunch. Dress for mess and bring a drink along. Tickets are £20 per child (aged 7 +), 10.30am - 3.30pm. Booking on 01372 220649.

Here’s a lovely blog post here from Rebecca Wallace at Rollercoaster Mum about her recent trip to The Vyne We love it at The Vyne too – so much to explore in their Hidden Realm and we still haven’t made it into the house yet either!!

#No41 Plant it, grow it, eat it…..have you ticked it off the list yet? @southeastNT have been busy in the Micheldever office with their beans.  Take a look!

And on that note, this wild crop was certainly all gobbled up on the spot as I can’t see any left! @ljbarton My entry to @nationaltrust #50things & #wildtime eating Blackberries from the wild! No.21! Join in folks!!

An extra day this weekend so off you pop and have tick some more #50things off your list please!!  Lots of wonderful places to choose from…….I agree with @iheartmuthahood ‘the list is too long! Nymans, Chartwell, Polesden, Hatchlands, Emmetts Gardens - all gorgeous places to visit! :)’
Don't forget to log in to Facebook and share your pics  or tweet us @southeastNT to be included in our Friday round up! We love hearing your #50things tales!


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Taking the Wild-time Challenge No. 44 - Go Birdwatching

A post from Rebecca, our volunteer member blogger, about trying our 50 things Wild-time challenge. She's going writing about our adventures with her family all summer. 

 Osterley Park is one of the National Trust’s hidden gems in West London.  It is so well hidden that you feel as if you are entering another realm as you leave the hustle and bustle behind you and are greeted by a long driveway with fields of cows on each side and a lake on the approach to the house.  Big Tot, Little Tot and I ventured there one afternoon to take part in a spot of birdwatching.  Kitted out with binoculars which the Osterley rangers had left out for children and grown-ups to use, we set off to complete No. 44 - Go Birdwatching.  

BT really enjoyed spotting different kinds of bird and jotting them down in her little notebook with a sketch so that we could identify them later using another of our new #50things books.  What we didn’t know though, was that we were in for a real treat as The Hawking Centre were also at Osterley Park and were holding a falconry display as part of one of the #50things Challenge events.  Well, that took our ornithology knowledge and skills up a notch! Wonderful flying demonstrations and talks on owls, a hawk and even a Peregrine falcon.

It was amazing to watch these birds of prey in flight and to learn more about how they are trained, their day to day living and their favourite tasty morsels.  Big Tot was a little concerned when the birds were flown that they might spy her and her sister and decide that they would make the perfect bite right there on the spot.  However and rather fortunately for us, the birds had already had their mid-morning snacks so little girls were firmly off the menu.

We came away with some amazing bird knowledge that afternoon.  Did you know that Peregrine falcons can reach speeds of up to 200mph in one of their high speed dives? Very impressive! Little Tot was mesmerised by the owls and we were lucky enough to be able to get really up close and personal.  I came away wishing that I could have a pet owl of my own to train so that I could join Hogwarts as a mature student…….do you think that they would have me?!  

Fantastic how these #50things challenges and events can help find that bit of hidden magic and explorer in us all! Many thanks to The Hawking Centre for their kind permission to use (and participate) in a bit of Big Tot’s filming!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Taking the Wild-time Challenge - Ticking off 5 and bit #50things in one go at Birling Gap!

 A post from Rebecca, our volunteer member blogger, about trying our 50 things Wild-time challenge. She's going writing about our adventures with her family all summer.

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside…..!

What a fantastic day we had at Birling Gap!  The smell of salty sea air, the waves crashing against the shoreline, rock pooling, fossil hunting….I could go on and on and on…  The views alone had us all in awe!  On a special seaside mission to complete at least 3 of our #50things list, we were determined to enjoy every bit of the late August sunshine. 

First stop after a long journey: the new NT café.  Trying it out was a delight.  Of course, what could be set us up more for an afternoon of #50things adventures than that British seaside classic, fish and chips?  Tasty and all locally sourced too.  I am sure you can tell from the expressions on Big Tot and Little Tot’s faces that it was a winning choice!  Perhaps one of the best things of all about the café was the fact that dogs are made to feel so welcome….a rarity these days and brilliant if like us, you want to take the whole ‘family’ out.  Our puppy, Monty, was very happily installed in the conservatory with us and his bowl of doggy nosh as well as a few cheeky chips to keep the ‘wolf’ from the door.  Of course, after the fish and chips, it was only polite to sample some of the freshly made cakes on offer too!!! 

Next stop, the fantastic shop to kit ourselves out with all the necessary seaside explorer gear: buckets and spades, nets for rock pooling and a bouncy beach ball which LT bounced right out of the shop door.  The shop has everything one might need for rainy or fine weather and the staff are some of the friendliest and most helpful we have ever come across at a National Trust place.  There was even someone to help get us started on our exploring.  Lee, one of Birling’s fantastic rangers was on hand to give advice to little (and BIG) people about what to look for when hunting for fossils and bones on the beach and to show us what had already been found on the shoreline.  

Once on the pebbles, our #50things adventures began.  Ticked off the list in one visit alone: No. 7 Fly a kite, No. 20 Jump over waves, No. 24 Go on a walk barefoot (although a bit tricky over the pebbles so we didn’t manage very far!), No. 26 Hunt for fossils and bones, No. 37 Check out the crazy creatures in a rockpool.  We found a cuttlefish bone, made seaweed wigs, built a castle from stones, used out nets to scoop out rock pool sea monsters and generally whooped with delight at being so close to the sea!  Where else could you cross off so many #50things?  With No. 42 Go swimming in the sea, BT and I managed to brave the chilly water up to our knees until a warm hot chocolate called us back to the café! Surely that still counts?! 

A truly brilliant day - Birling Gap definitely gets the thumbs up from all of us.  Check out some of our seaside #50things adventures!

Taking the Wild-time Challenge 50 things No. 41 - Learning to ride a horse

 A post from Rebecca, our volunteer member blogger, about trying our 50 things Wild-time challenge. She's going writing about our adventures with her family all summer.

 Here's Rebecca and her daughter trying No.41 of our 50 things - Learn to ride a horse:

Even the grown ups are enjoying the Great Ball Run at Basildon Park

via Instagram

Friday, 16 August 2013

#50things Friday and Taking the Wild-time Challenge No. 18 - Make some wild art

Summer hols are very nearly over…..where has the time gone?! Well, for Big Tot, Little Tot and I it has been filled with #50things and discovering lots of new Nation Trust haunts.  So far we have completed 17 out of 25 of the #50things as part of our #wildtime challenge.  We need to get cracking as there are only 2 weeks left of the challenge and we are determined to get to 25!  In fact, Big Tot has been hounding me on a daily basis for all the camping related ones on the list! Looks like I had better pack up my tent and camping stove…

I leave you with a little photo of the week - No.18 - Create some wild art.  Probably not what most had in mind for this one but BT had fun posing as a mermaid on a recent visit to Birling Gap (look out for our next post about our day at the seaside on this blog).  LT had no time for art and was far more interested in listening to shells or talking on her ‘stone phone’!

Some fabulous pictures and blog posts this week so thank you again for sharing them with @southeastNT.  If you haven’t caught the fantastic pictures from Scotney Castle on the NT London and the South East’s Facebook page, then you must! Senior Ranger, Ross Wingfield, had a lesson in how to be a kid with help of one of the National Trust's’s Kids Councillors, Iona Howells.  I spy a budding ranger in the making there!

Free range children?!  Now Amy has the right idea! Let’s get them busy with #50things and the #wildtime challenge! @amy78amy #Claremont today. Making the most of my #NationalTrust membership this week, so nice to be able to let kids run free! 
Don’t forget to look up as well as all around.  The night sky has been pretty spectacular of late for completing #no27 Go star gazing! The Perseids meteor shower and moon setting over Polsden Lacy @southeastNT #skyatnight
Nothing like a bit of making and growing your own- thanks @heidi_smart: Fun @KnoleNT @southeastNT today making instruments and planting lettuce in our decorated pots
Now this is our kind of day… many of the #50things can you jam pack into one visit to an NT London and South East venue?! Vanessa and her children have been very busy indeed – go and see all their photos
Couldn’t leave the round up before sharing this one with you….PLEASE get yourselves this weekend to @SissinghurstNT #Smallholding Fair this weekend. Alpacas, piggies, cows, chooks.  Sounds like the whole farmyard will be down there!  A real taste of the good life!

Friday, 9 August 2013

#50things Friday and Taking the Wild-Time Challenge No.34 - Track wild animals

This week Big Tot, Little Tot and I had great fun using another book we found in the shop at Osterley Park: Animals and their Tracks. Luckily for us, sunshine and showers provided the perfect opportunity to see some of the tracks on our adventures really clearly. In fact in some cases it looked just as though the creatures had stepped in wet concrete the night before!  I had dearly hoped to spot a badger and Little Tot was brimming with excitement in anticipation of tracking a 'wabbit'. However it turned out that the best we managed to spy was the rather commonplace domestic dog!   

Still, we had great fun identifying some of the bird tracks in the squelchy mud and the book proved to be a fount of knowledge on all types of animal dung too! Hilarious! Another tick off the list!

Now over to you and how you have got on with the Wild Time challenge this week and your #50things lists:

It would appear that Heart Radio have been ticking #no34 off their list too this week! Check out the video they sent us as they filmed some #‎50things fun - Here's No.34 - tracking wild animals

I LOVE the seaside and there is nothing like a bit of jumping over waves and rock pooling to give you an appetite for fish and chips! Here is a lovely post on enjoying a day at the seaside – thank you to Vanessa who shared her #‎50things adventures with her family at Birling Gap

A wonderful picture here of Uppark and great to here that a good time was had by all @LovingOurPics Glorious day at Uppark today, staff v fun esp w kids.

So wonderful to see all the family enjoying Bodiam Castle in this post, especially the little tots!  Thanks to @SweetenerSpice for tweeting us her post this week A fab family day out at @nationaltrust Bodiam Castle 

Up for a spot of bug hunting…get yourself off to Mottisfont this week with your bug boxes and magnifying glasses @MottisfontNT: The bees and butterflies are enjoying our lavender boarders

With only 3 weeks left of the Wild Time challenge, it will be a race to see how many more we can tick off our #50things list!  I feel a trip to the seaside coming on….!  Don’t forget to tweet us @southeastNT or come and share your stories, pictures and adventures with us on Facebook at

Friday, 2 August 2013

#50things Friday and Taking the Wild-time Challenge No. 1 - Climb a tree

 A post from Rebecca, our volunteer member blogger, about trying our 50 things Wild-time challenge. She's going writing about our adventures with her family all summer.

This week No.1 - Climb a tree.  I think that this has been one of Big Tot’s favourites so far!  She was mightily proud of herself for getting to the top of this obliging old tree.  Nothing like feeling you are on top of the world! Pretty glad she didn’t ask me to have a go though….I am terrified of heights!  Still plenty more #50things for Little Tot and I to get our teeth stuck into!  

Well…what have you been up to this week?

Celebrating achieving #no1 too is Charlie – he looks very pleased with his tree climbing experience!  ‏@RachelBosanko Had a brilliant afternoon @TheVyneNT with friends. Charlie particularly enjoyed the zip-wire!

For more tree fun, visit @SissinghurstNT: Treemendous Thursdays start this week at Sissinghurst, lots of fun for all the family between 2pm and 4pm. 

Remember the WildTime challenge and #50things project is NOT just for children…the whole family can join in.  Helping all you grown-ups to feel like one of the Famous Five again is @KnoleNT with their Family Mondays at #Knole! Join us 11am-3pm - get into the park, explore & tick off some #50Things

Family fun is what it is all about in this tweet @Kev_McLoughlin: A windy picnic locally at @ClaremontNT a good day out Pity they didn’t have a kite handy to complete #no7 Fly a kite…maybe next time?

Walking on the wild side this week is the lovely Alex from @southeastNT who went ‘au naturel’ with her barefeet # no.1 of Alex T's #wildtime challenge

For a bit of Grow Your Own, Mottisfont down in Hampshire have been busy! @MottisfontNT We have no.41 for the kids to do here @NewForestShow :)

Those of you who enjoyed an unexpected summery splash in the puddles and had a chance to tick of #no6 Run around in the rain, did you remember these little rainy day fellows?  Come on snails!! @ fi_dean On your marks, set go! Great snail race #50things #naturalchildhood

If climbing up and rolling down big hills is on your list, then take a leaf out of this family member’s book! @jillhilton ‘King of the Hill at Box Hill @AndyBoxHillNT @southeastNT’ 

Can’t wait to see what you all get up to next week – remember to tweet us your #50things pics @southeastNT.  Go on, go WildTime with your family this weekend!  Download your WildTime pack here