- Environmental Education and Wildlife
- Sled Dog Racing
- Community Farms and Small Holdings
- Camper Van Adventures
- Sailing Adventures
- Shetland Islands
- Cumbria and the Lake District
- Republic of Ireland
- Northern Ireland
- South West
- South East
- Channel Islands
- East Anglia
- North West
- North East
- South Wales
- Mid Wales
- North Wales and Anglesey
- Scottish Highlands and Islands
- Mainland Scotland
About Me & Mine
At the moment we live in the north of Italy with our son Arlo who is 16 months old. Me, Amy and Daddy, Simon are biology teachers and love wildlife. Simon teaches at a European school here and I make the short hop over the Swiss border every day where I work part-time in an American boarding school. With 5 clear months of school holidays a year we have lots of fantastic adventures and the whole of Europe is on our doorstep for weekend trips.
Favourite place in the world:
It would be impossible to name just one place but to narrow it down...
Lago Maggiore (Italy and Switzerland) where we keep our little motor boat.
Monferrato in Piemonte and Montalcino in Tuscany (Italy) - great views, great waking, great people, great food.
The New Forest and the Bournemouth coast (UK) - this is where we spend most of our time when we're not in Italy.
Lathkill Dale in the Peak District (UK) - before Simon became a teacher he used to work here for English Nature, and we love to check out how the wildlife are doing
Snorkeling the Red Sea Coast (Egypt) - as soon as things settle down, expect some great adventures form here. At 16 months, Arlo is already a pro at putting his head under the water and he's brushing up on his identification skills at aquariums across Europe.
Favourite things to do outdoors:
Expect to see losts of skiing, sledging, walking, swimming, snorkeling, picnicking, exploring, wildlife spotting, growing our own veg, and travelling. Sometimes the journey can just be as exciting as the destination. We love planes, trains and automobiles, with boats, funiculars, cable cars, sledges and bikes thrown in for good measure.
The trouble with having two biology teachers as parents is that Arlo gets roped into lesson planning on the weekends. Yesterday we went down to our local river to see what we could find in preparation for some fieldwork. Arlo got stuck in having mastered his skills in the rock pools of Cyprus a couple of weeks ago.
Like many toddlers, Arlo is a fan of In the Night Garden (or ‘the evening horticultural programme’ as is its code name in our house!) His favourite character is Makka Pakka, and Makka Pakka’s favourite pastime is collecting and arranging stones (he also like washing, but somehow this has failed to rub off on Arlo!)
This weekend we went to the ‘Festival delle Sagre’ in Asti, the Monferrato region of Italy. The festival celebrates the life, traditions and food of rural Italy. It begins with a parade involving around 3,000 people and showcases their traditional clothing and farming equipment together with lots of livestock.
Even on holiday in Italy, the sun doesn’t shine every day. So on a gusty, damp day we headed to Genoa. Our first stop was the aquarium, which was brilliant (and as a biology teacher I’ve been to a fair few aquariums in my time)! Arlo particularly loved stoking the rays, although there were a few times when I thought we might lose him in the tank!
Moors Valley is a country park and forest in Dorset. I was a frequent visitor there when I was a child and I absolutely loved it. On a visit back to the UK this Easter we decided to take the next generation. To be honest, I was afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the amazing memories I have, but it exceeded all my expectations.
On our recent trip back to the UK we visited St Catherine’s Hill (or Grandma’s back garden as it is otherwise known!) It’s a beautiful area of heathland and coniferous forest in Christchurch. It is home to loads of wildlife including sand lizards and adders, and the Friends of St Catherine’s Hill run various events throughout the year if you want a helping hand spotting wildlife.
This week we’ve been out and about in the vegetable garden. This year we’ve decided to try and create raised beds, which are just perfect for a toddler who wants to copy mummy in the garden. Faced with such enthusiasm, there was only one thing to do, buy a very small watering can and set him to work!
Flying with babies and small children – a sentence that all too frequently strikes fear into the hearts of parents. Arlo’s at that awkward age where he doesn’t want to sit on my lap for 5 minutes let alone a two-hour flight, and is partial to wiping soggy biscuits on men in smart business suits! 16 months and 16 flight segments later I’ve got it down to a fine art so I thought I’d share my tips with you.
I guess we are an unusual family in that we spend part of our time in the UK and part of our time in Italy. This means that every product we buy for Arlo has to make the grade if it's going to take up precious luggage space on one of our many adventures. In the last year Arlo has been carried around The Peak District, sledging in the Italian Alps, and sailing on the Italian lakes.