Here’s how to have a stellar spring weekend. Stick on wellies. Fill car with friends of the two and four-legged varieties. Go on a windswept walk somewhere suitably bucolic and then warm up with a cider by the fire in one of these lovely pubs, which are all very happy to have your mutt mates come too.
In 2015 veterinary surgeon Sophie Wilford took on the toughest horse race in the world. Modelled on Chinggis Khaan’s postal route across the Mongolian steppes, the Mongol Derby, run by the crazy cats at The Adventurists, involves navigating 1000km of wild grassland with no set route and spending nights with local families in traditional gers. She tells me about the incredible people, epic landscapes and painful nether regions that made up her race.
The first post from my adventures in Kenya this summer – photos from a game drive through the wonderful Oj Pejeta wildlife conservancy. This amazing wild place is home to some of the mightiest and yet most vulnerable species on the planet.
For the second of my adventures with Jeep to celebrate their Renegades Wanted campaign I to learnt to shoot arrows from a cantering horse. When the zombie apocalypse comes you’re going to want me on your team.
Chilly weather and long dark nights can make you feel a bit tetchy, especially when you’re saving all your dosh for Christmas/just a little bit broke. Conquer your cold weather blues with these three seasonal ideas that’ll cost you very little indeed and you’ll have more money left for important stuff. Like chocolate santas.
On Friday I’m giving in to wanderlust and heading to Thailand for a few weeks of elephant cuddling, under water exploring and jungle ziplining. I’m flying with Emirates to Bangkok – here’s my list of the gorgeous things I plan to see and do.
In honour of Richard Peter’s gorgeous jumping fox photo, one of the winners of the Wildlife photographer of the year competition, and my favourite book of all time, Roald Dahl’s lovely Fantastic Mr Fox, here’s a moodboard of my favourite vulpine pieces to make and wear for autumn. Because they make me feel all cosy.
It was spellbinding to wake up on a sunny Sunday at my aunt’s house and open the curtains on this beautiful russet-coloured fox having an nap amongst the ivy. What made it more surprising was that my aunt doesn’t live in a tranquil corner of the Cotswolds but bustling, lively Brixton in South East London. My fantastic Mr Fox wasn’t unique, either – walking home at night over the last month I’ve seen more than 20 of the animals out on the streets and in gardens, on the hunt for their urban foodstuffs of choice – rats and rubbish.
I think a small part of me wasn’t quite sure reindeer were real until we visited Napapiirin Porofarmi Reindeer Farm. The farm’s reindeer are friendly and come up for a cuddle, which I enjoyed immensely, as their horns feel amazing – like the softest velvet. Lappish people are completely used to seeing reindeer wandering around in the forests, but for me it was like getting to pat a unicorn. Amazing.
In honour of Finland, which I am calling home this month, Finnish reindeer, which are both beautiful and tasty, and the now defunct student magazine Buck, which my journalism class edited our fingers to the bone over, I have purchased possibly the most lovely necklace in the world ever from Accessorize.
The Painted Lady, the Red Admiral and the Grizzled Skipper may sound like characters from a sea-farin’ fairy tale, but they are actually the common names of three of the UK’s 50 varieties of butterfly. Each year, the first brightly coloured specimens of Lepidoptera are hailed as a sign of the beginning of the holidays.
This is essential knowledge for the outdoorsy type as you never know when you could come across a Grizzly up a mountain. Unfortunately, opinions seem to vary on what to do when there’s a big bear snarling in front of you, quite possibly because some do not live explain their failed methods to pacify their fuzzy attacker. I have, however, compiled for you an extensive list of advice and know-how, so at least you’ll be spoiled for choice when faced with something that does not in any way act like Yogi Bear, Paddington Bear or, indeed, the Care Bears.
Snow is brilliant, I think you will agree, when you are on a country walk that you know will end with a glass of mulled wine by a fire in a cosy country pub. If, however, you are a small bird, then snow is confusing white stuff that hides all your food, freezes your feet to your favourite branch and generally is to be avoided. Help out our feathered friends by making an eco-friendly birdfeeder using bits and pieces you’ll have in the house – it’s also a fantastic way to use up mushy or old apples.
Video edited by my fantastic housemate Florence Brockway, future documentary star and David Attenborough lookalike.
New figures demonstrate that, despite the Hunting Act now having been in force since 2005, fox hunting convictions are rising yearly, with 57 people found guilty in 2009, compared to just 5 in 2006. Although animal welfare groups welcome notice of more convictions, it is clear that a rising number of hunts continue to ride out in search of foxes, despite the practise now being illegal and the official stance of a hunt usually being that they are hunting an artificial scent.