Latitude Love

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It’s taken a little while to post this as I’ve been busy unpacking utopia (& hoovering up glitter). However, people made lots of fab art in the Garden of Love at Latitude Festival and we had a wonderful time working with the @HomeLiveArt team.

It was a joy working with two of my favourite artists. @Leilartlove spent many hours making decor, to help me grow the Garden of Love. When she asked if I’d like her to make a sign, I envisaged A3 calligraphy, maybe with a touch of illuminated manuscript. I got this.

I love working with her. She’s been involved in the Forest of Thoughts since its early days and is always a creative joy to work (well, play) with.

Joining the team for the first time was @@HannahSilversmi. She’s a fabulously talented silversmith who writes wonderful stories to go with her (largely nature and science inspired) jewellery.

She’s also a dab hand at crafting (we thought blow-torches and hammers a tad risky to bring to a festival).

I’ll be posting more about Latitude Festival on The Forest of Thoughts site but here are some of the pictures.

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Utopia took so many forms for so many people. I was particularly happy when we were given the seal of approval from a lovely pair of smiley people.

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Utopia was a dinosaur for another lovely person who radiated good vibes. I am very grateful we were allowed to keep it. The dinosaur is settling in nicely.

Was utopia created? Well, it was for me. Thanks to HomeLiveArt for helping make out dreams come true.

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Latitude 2016: The Magic Continues

Latitude Festival at night is a particular joy to behold. The magic twinkles from every tree.

Nature is providing its own light show.

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And then there is fire.

Latitude is bliss.

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Latitude 2016: Utopia Starts Here

I’m crafting at Latitude Festival this weekend, creating utopia in the Garden of Love, as part of the wonderful Home Live Art shenanigans in the Faraway Forest.

The location could not be more perfect. And there is crafting inspiration everywhere.

And of course, there are the sheep…

But now, Latitude awaits, with arts, science, music and fairy dust galore. I may be some time…

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Time for a Wild Night Out?

If you took part in 30 Days Wild, there’s every chance you may be missing it (unless you’ve gone #365DaysWild, like I have). But never fear (a good general life guide), the RSPB has come to the rescue with the Big Wild Sleepout from 29-31 July.

The RSPB is offering free packs to help with your wild night out. There are loads of great ideas for things to do in the ‘passport’ they sent out, along with excellent stickers and bunting that apparently glows in the dark.

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I haven’t decided where to go yet, but bat-spotting appeals, as does wild camping. I’ll be investigating  more once I’m back from Latitude Festival, which I’ll be writing about soon. In the meantime, here are a few teaser shots of the Garden of Love I’ve been creating from recycled materials and glitter. There are still tickets to Latitude available, so if the idea of creating utopia (& going to arguably the best arts festival in the UK) appeals, get yours now.

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365 Days Wild: A New Beginning

I am not documenting my wild adventures in the same way that I did during 30 Days Wild. Lovely as it is to have memories in story form, it takes time to write detailed posts and I have a host of reviews, competitions, crafting guides and recipes I want to write for GrowEatGift.

I also need to write about Jurrassic Jim, and then there’s the Garden of Love installation I’m putting together at Latitude Festival. In short, I have too much going on to write about every wildflower (though I’m still taking time to admire them).

I got the photography bug during 30 Days Wild. I’ve spent hours picture editing and art directing over the years but I’ve never been a photographer. Now, I have to fight the desire to document every moment (because, ‘Life is for living so live it or you’re better off dead.’ as Passenger so wisely sang.)

So here’s a summary of July so far in pictoral form. 365 Days Wild is starting well…

I’ll be posting about exciting developments with The Crop Club soon too.

In the meantime, if you feel like celebrating nature, spread the word about #rainbowblooms this Sunday 11-6pm (BST)  Post pictures of flowers in every colour of the rainbow, in order, one colour per hour and use #rainbowblooms so we can all share our floral pictures. Let’s turn Twitter into a rainbow of flowers.

 

 

30 Days Wild: Days 28-30

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And so, the end was near. 30 Days Wild was drawing to a close. Except that for me, it wasn’t. Over the 30 Days of June, I’d become hooked on nature and glued to my camera. Walks along the canal – or further afield – had become a daily treat. The ducks were getting used to me by now, & didn’t fly off as I knelt to take pictures of them.

I’ve been a writer for years but I’ve never enjoyed writing about anything as much as my 30 Days Wild adventures. I’ve loved the stories that have been waiting for me: double rainbows on the beach and flower-filled meals by the sea.

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Who knows, I may have even discovered a fossil, though I’ve yet to get it identified, despite asking Twitter. I’m hoping it’s some kind of plant or coral.

My love of growth, wildlife and wildcrafts is a big part of why I set this site up in the first place: as an outlet for my inner nature-lover. I didn’t want 30 Days Wild to stop. And so I decided it wouldn’t.

On the final morning of 30 Days Wild, I woke up to a glorious sunrise, knowing my adventures were far from over.

Over the course of  June, I’d decided to turn Groweatgift into a company (with social enterprise leanings though the details are yet to be honed) to run alongside my writing and consultancy, so that I can make nature more central in my life.

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I’ve been having exciting talks with The Crop Club, about getting more people growing, and have a host of wildlife events and organisations to contact to find out how best we can work together to look after the world.

I’m crafting a Garden of Love for Latitude Festival and am bringing the outdoors indoors more and more. And I’m hoping the garden will grow into other festivals and spaces too, getting people growing along the way.

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Now that my eyes have been opened to it, I can find beauty in the seemingly mundane.

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It may be the end of #30DaysWild but for me, it is just the beginning. I’m going to let things develop naturally, of course. But I’ll always be grateful to 30 Days Wild for helping the seed to grow.

30 Days Wild: The Full Story (or 1st chapter)

  1. Find a bird family.
  2. Collect feathers.
  3. Explore urban wildlife.
  4. Do some nature themed crafting.
  5. Introduce a friend to #30DaysWild.
  6. Go on a nature walk.
  7. Take a closer look at the garden.
  8. Learn more about a plant.
  9. Turn the office green.
  10. Feed the ducks.
  11. Make a natural collage.
  12. Craft a flower.
  13. Make micro-gardens.
  14. Find out about nature volunteering.
  15. Visit an open garden.
  16. Get involved with a community garden project.
  17. Admire nature-inspired art.
  18. Write a poem.
  19. Get grounded.
  20. Encourage a friend to do gardening.
  21. Create (OK, find) flower peg dolls.
  22. Tend plants.
  23. Eat foraged food.
  24. Hug a tree.
  25. Take a closer look at the beach.
  26. Stargaze.
  27. Admire the moon.
  28. Promote a marine life charity.
  29. Bring the outdoors indoors.
  30. Talk about growth.
  31. Add nature to my art.
  32. Study nature art and research William Morris.
  33. Recycle.
  34. Listen to birdsong.
  35. Spot a snail.
  36. Visit an area of outstanding natural beauty.
  37. Beachcomb and litter-pick.
  38. Admire the sunrise (and kiss a frog, but not sure that’s a good recommendation.)
  39. See a dinosaur
  40. Breathe in sea air.
  41. Go fossil hunting (old nature).
  42. See newborns (new nature)
  43. Make a nature themed playlist (post coming soon)
  44. Make friends with a thrush over afternoon tea.
  45. Look a duck in the eye without making her fly away.
  46. Stare into the water.
  47. See the sunrise.
  48. Learn about the weather (I learned that you can trap lightning in a glass box forever)
  49. Set up a wild business.
  50. Craft your own utopia.

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30 Days Wild: Days 25-27

The end of #30DaysWild was in sight. However, instead of feeling relieved, I had become entranced by nature. Suddenly, I could see the magic that surrounds us. I didn’t want it to end.

It seems only apt that day 25 bought rainbows galore, which my partner and I admired from the comfort of a pub table under an umbrella, on Shanklin beach.

The rain had been heavy, but my partner’s excited cry of, “Come here,” will forever live on in my memory as the start of something wonderful. I followed his summons and was rewarded with a rainbow.

I’ve seen rainbows before but never one that stayed so solidly in the air, light glowing from it; and never one that decided to turn into a double rainbow to show that it still had more rainbow to give.

The light was magical. The atmosphere was smile-soaked. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. And I was sharing it with someone I love – and had introduced to 30 Days Wild.

Maybe we’d have seen the rainbow anyway but I like to think it was nature’s way of saying thanks (because I sometimes have an overdeveloped sense of whimsy. But you’d have been awed too.)

Day 26: 30 Days Wild

After the rainbow, afternoon tea for breakfast in fairyland seemed like a natural start to day 26. We didn’t mean to find fairyland. It just appeared in the back garden of the Old Thatch tearoom as we walked outside to enjoy the sunshine. The deeper into the garden we walked, the more magical it became.

The lovely owner told me the secret of the waterfall, which I would later put to good use.

And then, it was time to see the Needles, make a heart-shaped stripey sand ornament together then head to the ferry to feel the spray on our faces on the way home.

Day 27

We returned home, wishing we could stay longer. I would happily move to the Isle of Wight. It’s my idea of utopia: full of glorious gardens and wildlife – though we didn’t see any red squirrels.

There’s affordable rent, fossil hunting (Jurassic Jim is a whole other story but I’m saving that for a post all about him), seaside like it used to be with rock pools and multi-coloured seaweed, the natural (beautifully lit) Shanklin Chine and the educational, inspirational and eccentric  wonder of Blackgang China.

I’ve fallen in love. I plan to develop the relationship further as soon as I can afford another holiday.

But it was nice to come home, see my plants (all survived though one needed removing outside) and walk along the canal.

We saw baby moorhens for the first time this year but they were too small to photograph. Here’s a parent getting them dinner though (we didn’t give them bread: I take bird seed).

The last days of 30 Days Wild were dawning. I was going to miss it.

Days Wild: The Story So Far…

  1. Find a bird family.
  2. Collect feathers.
  3. Explore urban wildlife.
  4. Do some nature themed crafting.
  5. Introduce a friend to #30DaysWild.
  6. Go on a nature walk.
  7. Take a closer look at the garden.
  8. Learn more about a plant.
  9. Turn the office green.
  10. Feed the ducks.
  11. Make a natural collage.
  12. Craft a flower.
  13. Make micro-gardens.
  14. Find out about nature volunteering.
  15. Visit an open garden.
  16. Get involved with a community garden project.
  17. Admire nature-inspired art.
  18. Write a poem.
  19. Get grounded.
  20. Encourage a friend to do gardening.
  21. Create (OK, find) flower peg dolls.
  22. Tend plants.
  23. Eat foraged food.
  24. Take a closer look at the beach.
  25. Stargaze.
  26. Admire the moon.
  27. Promote a marine life charity.
  28. Bring the outdoors indoors.
  29. Talk about growth.
  30. Add nature to my art.
  31. Study nature art and research William Morris.
  32. Recycle.
  33. Listen to birdsong.
  34. Spot a snail.
  35. Visit an area of outstanding natural beauty.
  36. Beachcomb and litter-pick.
  37. Admire the sunrise (and kiss a frog, but not sure that’s a good recommendation.
  38. See a dinosaur – and a fossil.
  39. See a rainbow (after facing the rain – and loving it).
  40. Breathe in sea air.
  41. Find the magic in nature.
  42. Go fossil hunting (old nature).
  43. See newborns (New nature).
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