Gender neutral, fun, organic clothing celebrating outdoor adventures and the magic of childhood

We are open as usual, but due to the Covid 19 crisis, we are experiencing longer than usual lead times. Please allow extra time for us to ship your order. Thank you for your patience.

Gender neutral, fun, organic clothing celebrating outdoor adventures and the magic of childhood.

Guest Blog: The Therapeutic Effects of Nature

We’ve teamed up with Nicola Taylor, founder of of WalksFar Woman, specialising in outdoor and walking therapy in Abergavenny and the surrounding areas. Here Nicola talks about the therapeutic benefits of being outdoors and how we can continue to love it, even as we approach the colder months of the year.

Discover the therapeutic effects of nature and don’t be put off by the cold!

As a walking therapist I can’t emphasise enough the powerful effect that spending time outside has on our mental health and wellbeing. I also know how difficult it can be to motivate ourselves to leave our cosy homes to venture out into the cold, wet and fading light during the Autumn and Winter months.

Lack of light can contribute to low mood which is why it is even more important to spend time outdoors at this time of the year. Have you ever noticed how the world can look very dark when you are inside looking out but once you are outside it is lighter than you realise? I have often noticed when coming in from a Winter walk that once inside it seems really dark outside even though I have been out and about and even taking photographs! I made a particular trip out late one afternoon to take pictures of a tree. It was amazing to just spend time being with the tree, studying it in detail and really appreciating its beauty. As the light began to fade the automatic flash on my camera helped me to capture some beautiful images. Walking home I felt so positive and uplifted and couldn’t wait to spend time looking at the photographs I had captured. And there is science to support this! A growing body of research into the effects of spending time with trees shows that anxiety and depression are reduced, especially when combined with exercise.

If you are parents of young children you have an advantage! Little ones often seem immune to the cold and wet and you can bet that if there is a puddle to be splashed in or mud to be messed with, they will find it. Watch your children as they embrace being outdoors and learn from them. They live in the moment. They are not worrying about last week’s botched meeting or forthcoming presentation they are experiencing the pure joy of what is happening in the here and now. Rediscover the child within you; the freedom of splashing in a puddle, swinging on a branch and scrambling on rocks. As you do this you will be releasing serotonin and reducing levels of cortisol so you will feel more positive and less stressed. Think about the message you will be sending to your children too! You are their most powerful role model and the lessons they learn in their early years will continue to influence them as they grow. Teaching them resilience could be their most important weapon against anxiety and depression as they grow.

If you think you need to learn how to do this first why not try walking therapy? In my work as a walking therapist it is a joy to spend time with adults and watch the healing effects of walking in natural surroundings. The combination that walking and positive questioning has on clients is amazing. Watching clarity of thought emerge, posture become more upright, the number of smiles increase and problems become lighter.  Dr Thomas Frieden* has described walking in nature as ‘the closest thing we have to a wonder drug’ and I am inclined to agree!

*Former Director for Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Feed the Birds: How to Make a Pinecone Bird Feeder

As the weather turns colder, we need to start looking out for our feathered friends. During the winter months, birds thrive on seeds, as insects are harder to find naturally during this colder time of year. And, because natural food sources are scarcer, more birds are attracted to back garden feeders in order to find their meal.

A simple and easy way to create a basic natural bird feeding station for your garden is with a pinecone. Here’s how:

  1. Simply tie a length of string around the top (thin end) of an open pinecone.
  2. Using a spreading knife, smear the pinecone with a thick layer of unsalted peanut butter.
  3. Scatter birdseed into a shallow dish and roll the pinecone around in it until it is coated in seeds.
  4. Hang it from a tree or shrub in your garden and wait for the birds to come!

If you are feeling ambitious, why not string several cones together and use different seeds for each one, attracting different type of birds.

You can use any kind of birdseed mix for this project, but if you’d like more information about the best types of birdseed for feeders, take a look here: https://www.thespruce.com/types-of-birdseed-4122052

Autumn Leaf Suncatchers

The weather may be warm and sunny, but look closer and you’ll notice that the leaves on the trees are beginning to change from fresh green to yellow, red, russet and brown as Autumn develops.

Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year and there’s lots of fun to be had outside in nature. Who can really resist the temptation of kicking and stomping their way through a heaped pile of autumn leaves?

Our Autumn Leaf Suncatchers are a lovely way to celebrate the season and a simple, low cost project for children of all ages. Hang them around your home as beautiful autumnal decorations that will last throughout the entire season.

Autumn Leaf Suncatchers

This is a lovely craft project as it’s simple, low cost and looks really lovely. What more could you want?

For our Autumn Leaf Suncatchers you will need:

  • A paper plate
  • Contact paper
  • A piece of string or ribbon
  • Foraged Autumn leaves
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch

 

Before you begin you will need to go out and collect your leaves! This is the fun part and involves getting outdoors into the fresh air and in amongst nature. Try to get a good selection of leaves in different sizes and colours.

Begin by cutting out the centre of your paper plate so you are left with a ‘frame’. The frame itself can be decorated by drawing a design, writing a name or other message around it, or you can simply leave it blank.

Measure the amount of contact paper you will need by using the cut out piece of paper plate as a guide, cutting your contact to a slightly larger size so it will fit over the hole. You will need 2 circles of contact paper.

Stick one of your contact paper circles to your plate on the underside, so that the sticky part is facing up: where you would typically place items onto the plate.

Gather together your leaves and arrange them in a pretty design on the sticky part of the contact paper. Pressed flowers, petals and flat seed pods also look lovely. You can even cut up leaves to smaller pieces for more intricate designs, or leave them complete.

Once you are happy with the design, use your second piece of contact paper to make a ‘sandwich’, sticking it so that the two sticky sides of contact paper are stuck together to form the window of your suncatcher.

Using a hole punch, make a hole at the top of your plate and thread through with your piece of string or ribbon and hang it somewhere light – ideally in a window – so you can appreciate the beautiful artwork you’ve created!

Moth Trapping

Trapping sounds a bit cruel doesn’t it? But it really isn’t. Moth trapping is just the name given to the activity of simply attracting moths to a light source or food source so that you can take a closer look at them, and with 2500 different species of moths in the UK, you’re sure to find something interesting!

You can get some very elaborate and expensive equipment for moth trapping, but it really isn’t necessary, and for a beginner there are a few simple things you can do to get going.

This helpful info graphic from Wildlife Watch explains how you can use a simple white bedsheet as a dazzling canvas that moths cannot resist. Hang the bedsheet from a washing line or fence and shine a torch on it, or lay it on the lawn with a bright garden lantern in the centre and wait for the moths to arrive.

If you don’t have a white bedsheet to hand, try simply going out into the garden when it’s dark with a bright torch. All moths are attracted to light, although it’s not fully understood why, so will find your torch light hard to resist. You can buy a butterfly net fairly cheaply and try to capture moths in order to identify them. Carefully place captured moths into a jam jar or pot to study, identify or photograph them, but remember to be extra careful, and always release them afterwards.

Finally, a very simple way of trapping moths is to open your bathroom window at night and leave the light on for an hour or so. Moths will fly in and you can check the bathroom later for winged guests!

What moths can you spot? Look out for the pink Elephant Hawk-moth, green Large Emeralds or yellow Brimstones. There are literally thousands to discover and, with plenty of online identification resources as well as books on the subject, finding out which moth you’ve trapped shouldn’t be too difficult.

Happy mothing!

An Emerald Moth

A Brimstone Moth

An Elephant Hawk Moth

Competition Time!

Wild Things have teamed up with Konnie Huq to bring you a chance to win some great prizes!

Konnie Huq is Blue Peter’s longest serving female presenter (1997-2008) and the author of the Cookie series of books which were inspired by her own London Bangladeshi upbringing, her love of science and her unashamed nerdiness.

Konnie is publishing her latest book today; (6th August), Cookie and the Most Annoying Girl in the World.

Cookie is back – and this time she’s ready to save the planet!

Cookie, Keziah and Jake are best mates and life is good. Cookie’s birthday party is coming up and she has had the most fantastic idea for a Save the Planet party where everything is recycled, and no plastic is used.
Before long, Cookie is buzzing with plans. But then disaster strikes – Suzie Ashby totally swipes Cookie’s idea and sends out invitations for her own Save the Planet birthday party.
Worse still, Suzie seems to think Cookie is her new best friend! Grrrr! Suzie is officially the most annoying girl in the world!

We pride themselves on our eco credentials of using fairly traded, organic clothing, vegan inks and plastic-free packaging, so Wild Things is a great match for Cookie’s planet saving adventures!

We’re giving away hardback sets of Cookie books, together with a Wild Things organic t-shirt of choice to three lucky winners.

To be in with a chance of winning simply log on to Facebook and follow @WildThingsAreHere! Good luck!

Elderflower Cordial

Every year in the five years since my daughter was born, I’ve been meaning to make another batch of elderflower cordial. You know how it goes, though – time runs away with you and before you know it, those beautiful lacy, creamy blooms have turned brown and withered and you’ve missed the window of opportunity for another year.

This year, thanks to lockdown, I’ve had a little bit more time and a little bit more space to do those smaller things that bring pleasure. A week or so ago, we went out foraging for elderflower, which were just coming into flower from tiny bud. If you look closely at elderflowers, you’ll see how beautiful they are: a filigree of tiny star-like flowers. When the wind blows them from the bush and scatters them on the grass or pavement, it’s like nature’s own wedding confetti…and beautifully fragranced to boot.

There’s a lot of stuff you can do with elderflower, but cordial is, I think, my favourite. It’s so versatile. My dad likes a bit of elderflower syrup poured over a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. It’s also great to add to strawberries (leave them to steep in the syrup for a little while and you’ll discover a taste sensation). Add to prosecco for a grown up taste of summer, splosh a bit in with lemonade or fizzy water, or just plain old water from the tap. Anything goes.

Strictly speaking this is a Mary Berry recipe, but I’ve tweaked it to maximize the elderflower flavour. You’ll need to act pretty quickly on this because the elderflowers have almost finished and before you know it, they’ll be elderberries. And that’s a whole new post.

This makes about 2.5 litres of syrup, remembering this syrup/cordial will want diluting if you’re drinking it with water, and a little goes a long way.

You will need:

  • 1.5kg sugar
  • 3 lemons
  • Approx 50 elderflower heads
  • 50g citric acid*
  • 2 campden tablets*

*available online. I got mine in Wilko

  1. Start by giving your elderflower heads a wash. Fill a washing up tub with cool water and dip the heads into the water, giving them a gentle swish to rid them of any bugs.
  2. Put the sugar into a large pan with 1.5 litres of water and bring it to the boil until the sugar has dissolved. It will look clear and you won’t be able to see any grains of sugar on a spoon when you dip it in and lift it out again. Remove it from the heat and cool completely.
  3. Slice the lemons thinly and throw them into a large bucket or plastic box (preferably with a lid) along with the citric acid, campden tablets and elderflower heads, making sure you trim off as much stalk as possible from the elderflower. Be careful with campden tablets as they release a gas which is an irritant if you inhale it, so stand back).
  4. Add the cooled sugar syrup, cover and leave for a minimum of 48 hours and up to 72 hours for a stronger flavour.
  5. Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth or a clean tea towel into steralised bottles and store in the fridge.

 

 

Nettles – 2 Minute Forager

Whenever we go out for a walk, almost always I can be heard calling out ‘mind the nettles’ (usually 4 or 5 times). When you have an adventurous five year old who likes climbing trees and discovering new plants, ferns and mosses, it’s an occupational hazard.

The all-knowing Adele Nozedar from Brecon Beacons Foraging teaches us more about the humble nettle and its history.

Be sure to look up recipes at www.breconbeaconsforaging.com

 

Create a Bee Friendly Space

Did you know that a third of the food you eat relies on pollination – mainly through bees? That means one in three mouthfuls of food that you eat relies on a bee! Incredible thought, isn’t it?

Bees are a vital part of the food chain, but are under threat of extinction for lots of reasons including habitat loss – wildflower meadows have all but disappeared in recent years – climate change, toxic pesticides and disease, which have all led to nearly one in 10 of Europe’s wild bee species facing extinction.


Wild Things LOVE bees, which is why we’re giving 5% of our profits to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. You can help bees as well by following these 7 simple steps.


1. Plant Bee-Friendly Flowers – Avoid modern ornamental hybrids or cultivars, bred for their large blooms and colours, as most produce no nectar or pollen. Instead, focus on flowers bees love, including lavender, alliums, honeysuckle, heather, buddleja, foxgloves and snapdragons.


2. Plant through the seasons as bees need nectar throughout the year. Small trees like hazel, holly and pussy willow will help and ivy is a top bee food in Autumn.


3. Grow fruit, vegetables and herbs – Friends of the Earth suggest growing French, runner and broad beans, aubergines, onions and peppers, as well as apples, pears, plums, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. The more variety, the better for the bees. And a herb border of thyme and rosemary will help too.


4. Create a bee hotel – You can buy these or make them out of short lengths of bamboo canes tied together. Place on your wall or fence for a perfect nesting shelter for our black and yellow friends.


5. Have a hive in your garden – Not possible for everyone, but if you have a larger garden consider giving over some space to a hive or two. Contact your local beekeeper association for more information.


6. Don’t cut your lawn as often – The Royal Horticultural Society says it can help bees if you allow lawn ‘weeds’ to flower by cutting the grass less often. It can also help to mow grass in the evening. Cutting less often and less closely will help give pollinators places to feed and shelter among the grass.


7. Avoid pesticides – To keep your garden as welcoming as possible to bees, gardeners should also avoid using pesticides wherever possible, and according to the RHS, never spray open flowers.

 

Woodland Wand

We ventured into the woods today, the scent of wild garlic that grows on the banks of the stream was heavy in the air. We were on a mission to create a magic woodland wand.

Wands are deeply rooted in ancient symbolism and believed to be instruments of powerful magic.

Creating a magic wand is a great activity for children as it builds identification skills of trees, leaves and plants. It also encourages fine motor skills and fires the imagination. They’re also lovely living mementos of a walk in nature.

All you need is some twine and some scissors and the rest you can gather for yourselves.
Let your child select their perfect wand from the forest floor. They might be looking for something gnarly and knobbly or sleek and smooth – the choice is theirs. Then gather fallen leaves, seeds, feathers, nutshells etc from the forest floor, being careful not to pick any rare or poisonous plants (if in doubt, leave them!)

Next, wind your twine around your wand, securing it at each end with a knot and leaving a length to tie around your bunch of decorations. Once you’re happy with your arrangement, secure it with the hanging length of twine and let your imagination run wild as to its elemental powers!

Have fun!

Cloud Gazing

Look up. Look at the clouds, the way they gather, morph and scud across the sky. There are few things that rival the simple beauty of a cloud and, of course, each one is completely unique.

Have you spent car journeys cloud spotting, picking out shapes in the sky and watching them hold that shape for just a few moments before changing again? The sky is like a canvas on which clouds appear as an ever-changing painting.

There are lots of different types of clouds: stratus, stratocumulus, cirrostratus, cirrus, altostratus, nimbostratus, cirrocumulus, cumulonimbus, cumulus and altocumulus. Some herald good weather and others bring storms and showers.


From an early age, when we begin to draw pictures or do paintings of the outdoors, we typically depict clouds as cotton woolly, candyfloss objects. Picture a cloud and the chances are, you’ll be thinking of a cumulus cloud – the most common and distinctive of clouds. In fact, the graphic designer who imagined the now iconic weather symbols for the Met Office during the sixties also had a cumulus in mind when creating a recognisable shorthand for cloudy weather.


Cumulus clouds – meaning ‘heap’ in Latin, are known as fair weather clouds and often pop up on sunny days. Along the coastline, cumulus clouds often form over land as the sea breeze brings in moist air. Chances are, then, that when you’re lying back on a picnic blanket on a warm, sunny day, picking out cloud shapes in the sky, you’ll be cloud spotting cumulus clouds.

What’s the most interesting shape you can find?