Crackling logs, the smell of canvas, charcoal-like marshmallows burning your fingers… camping is pretty great, isn’t it? If the weather’s looking on the clement side and you’re itching to run for the hills and set up a tent in the wilderness, here’s a handy checklist of all the essentials you need to stay warm and dry. Plus whisky. Don’t forget the whisky.
Taking portrait photos is one of my favourite things about my day job, so I had a very nice time writing this beginner’s guide to reportage-style people pictures for issue 26 of N-Photo magazine and for digitalcameraworld.com. These shots are of the lovely baristas at the Society Cafe in Bath, but environmental portraiture is perfect for the great outdoors too – try shooting surfers with their boards, climbers gearing up or just your mates on a country walk.
I’m off to the French Alps this weekend, and in the process of getting out my favourite ski gear for another snowy adventure I’ve made a guide to layering up properly for the pistes. Plus you get to see me in a bra, so everyone’s a winner.
It’s cold and miserable outside. It’s dark by the time you get home. You ate whole herd of Lindt chocolate reindeers over the Christmas break. I feel your pain, but I also have five ways to help you get through the chilly winter and stay happy and healthy till spring. Because I’m helpful like that.
A vibrant city may seem an unlikely place to go foraging, but if you know where to look, Dublin’s bursting with edible goodies. So Visit Dublin asked foraging expert and restaurateur Paul Quinn of Nádúr Collective to share his foraging secrets on how to find everything from scurvy grass to elderflower in the city, and then super-talented artist Katt Frank turned his advice into this beautiful illustrated guide.
Feeling a little bit saddle sore? Total Women’s Cycling have just finished a new video series of yoga moves specifically for biking that will show you how to keep flexible and strong – perfect for training during the chilly winter.
It’s time for chilly autumn evenings! And cuddly knitted jumpers and leaves the colour of sunsets and crackly campfires and all the other lovely things that make poor old unappreciated autumn my favourite season. Celebrate by wandering into the woods this weekend, fixing up a crackling fire and cooking my five favourite zero-fuss camping recipes with some of your nice mates.
Squeeze the last out of the Indian Summer by using the golden light of the evenings to beautifully backlight outdoor portraits. I wrote this guide for issue 23 of N-Photo magazine and digitalcameraworld.com.
If festival-going, carnival-dancing, fields of pollen-frolicking and other summery gallivants (or just a few too many cups of Pimms last night) have left your peepers looking puffy and bleary-eyed, follow these tips for beautiful bright eyes. What hayfever?
Get inspired by my new girl hero, the rather amazing Rebecca Cork of Honeywoods Camping. She chucked in her day job to set up a pop-up camping company, and just hosted her very own mini festival, Feast in the Woods. We had a lovely chat about cider barns, campfires and compostable bogs.
If you’ve ever fancied chalking up your fingers and teaching your body to defy gravity, watch inspiring UK champ Shauna Coxsey talk about her love of climbing, plus tips on warming up and improving your footwork, in these videos from Adidas’ All In campaign.
I started last year and am addicted, despite my constantly blistered fingers.
We spent last weekend at a cottage on the Dorset coast enjoying the sunshine, and gorgeous gift website www.dotcomgiftshop.com sent me the loveliest gardeny things to take – some dinky coloured jamjar tealights, fun spotty bunting and a recycled picnic mat – Just add cider and good company.
I am beyond excited about January. Four days in Verbier followed swiftly by a week in Val Thorens means I can finally stop pretending that riding my bike really fast down hills feels a bit like skiing and actually SKI!
Travelling will give you an incredible insight into new cultures and people. It’ll give you a tan, an open mind and permanent wanderlust. But it can also leave you in debt or stranded without money, if you aren’t careful. Here’s how to sort money, plan costs and figure out international money transfer so you can get on with the important things, like moonlit beach parties and turning a lovely shade of brown.
If you’re about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, it’s easy to forget about health and safety in the excitement of planning bungee jumps or deciding how many pairs of flip flops to pack. But it’s worth sorting out the less thrilling bits of your holiday well in advance, as a few quick precautions can save you from such unsavory mishaps as holiday illness or injury abroad. Make sure you’re properly prepared and protect yourself for your next big adventure with our guide.
If you’re as much of a fan as I am of going off on adventures down rivers in wooden canoes, Famous Five Style (lashings of ginger beer optional), you may have used a storm kettle before. If you haven’t, it’s going to be your new best friend, and we’ve got one to give away, too!
Not all country social occasions can be dressed for in my comfort-blanket outfit of wellies and a waxed jacket, but luckily, New Look have come to the rescue with a gorgeous new collection of formal wear that takes all the hassle out of dressing up beautifully for autumn weddings, Christmas parties and winter balls.
Leaky tents, muddy fields and tepid baked beans do not a happy weekend of camping make, but tend to be the inevitable reality. Luckily, the discerningly stylish outdoorsy enthusiast can now enjoy the great outdoors without getting her designer Hunter wellies dirty via the genius of glamping.
No longer must Glastonbury festival involve babywipe showers, or communing in nature mean chilblains and nettle rash, opt instead for a cosy yurt, some posh picnic food and a gang of friends for the ultimate in hippy chic weekends away.
After sustaining more than 70 mosquito bites on one leg in the depths of the Bolivian Amazon, I feel authorized to advise on these matters, and so I present you with a handy little guide to packing for South America or planning what to take travelling in hot countries.
The phrase “road trip”, in true Kerouackian style, always conjures up images of wide-open spaces and the freedom to roam. Whilst a driving adventure with a motley crew of mates is always a great idea, what can be even better sometimes is a female-only version. This doesn’t have to be as pink and girly as it sounds – learning to change a tyre yourself and getting to sing along to cheesy 80s hits without insulting your i’m-too-cool-for-abba boy friends can be the best way to travel ever, if you prep properly.
Waxing guide! That’s boards and skis, not legs. Snowboard wonderkid and fellow seasonnaire Simon Andrews kindly took time out of shredding the crap out of the Cervinia backcountry to compile this fantastic guide to waxing your snowboard or skis for The Girl Outdoors.
After many many years as a bit of a tech-phobe, I’m finally learning the ins and outs of photography, mainly because pretty much any time I am outdoors I spot things that I want to shoot (foxes, landscapes, umm, interesting leaves…). My trusty compact digital cameras have served me well when taking photos for the blog, but in my current incarnation as assistant on the launch of shiny new Nikon magazine N-Photo , I’ve made the (huge, scary) leap to DSLRs.
Lucky enough to have a Glasto ticket? Planning on moshing at Reading or Leeds? Taking the sedate path at a family-friendly shindig? Wherever you are heading, take heed of my definitive list of what to take, which I have compiled from bitter experience.
I am definitely not the most chic person in the world – I can’t walk in heels, hair accessories scare me and I’d rather wear a fleece than Fendi. But even I want to wax lyrical about Mulberry’s new fashionable take on the outdoors, as seen in their Autumn/Winter 2011 collection at London Fashion Week.
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.
You know the deal: the apocalypse has been and gone, the population has been decimated and now you must survive off grubs and the occasional squirrel in the woods. This is when hours watching Ray Mears and endless episodes of Lost pays off big time.
One of my favourite writers, the hilarious Tanya Gold, would not do well left to forage for herself – Bear Grylls she ain’t. Watch this video for The Guardian as a guide on how not to attempt to live off the land (although there is a half-decent explanation of how to skin a pheasant) and also because it is funny in a car crash kind of way.
And now to the beautiful and relentless icy enveloping the British Isles. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across most of the country, and news is pouring in of closed airports, stranded motorists, temperatures as low as -20 in Altnaharra, Scotland, closed schools and worried farmers.
It is, however, hard to be too sad when the world looks like this.
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.