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.
If you’ve been as obsessed with picking the glut of blackberries currently growing down country lanes as I have, these cute mini pies are the perfect way to use them up.
I’m a sucker for a nice little waterproof number, and it doesn’t get much more cheerful than the bright spotty lining and cheery cherry red hue of Target Dry’s new waterproof jacket, the Olivia (£59.99), which came with me on my recent 90 mile cycle from Bristol to Oxford, through wind, rain, hail and glorious countryside.
The Girl Outdoors has been a bit quiet recently, mainly because the only downfall of actually being out and about outdoors is a lack of internet connection on remote beaches or in pineforests. Now that I am back in civilization and in posession of a laptop and WIFI I can actually start blogging about said beaches and forests, namely in Nova Scotia and Finland, starting with a review of the bit of equipment that actually got all my stuff from place to place – my gorgeous new Gelert 55l rucksack, courtesy of the friendly people at Outdoor Look (£48.15). The Gelert Wilderness is one of those backpacks that looks great and allows you to laugh at people with wheelie suitcases in a hardcore traveller kind of way, but does it do the job as well as look the part?
It felt like spring today. I actually had lunch outside (admittedly in my jumper and coat) and sat on the grass (which was wet but come on, this is Wales). This is a good sign since I am going slightly mad waiting to wear flipflops and my skin is crying out for vitamin D.
Rose hips are abundant in British hedgerows in Autumn and early winter, and are easily recognisable – fat, bright red buds with spiky black ends. They are a bit of a wonder food – high in vitamins C, A and B and rich in antioxidants, they are used to make syrups, jams, jellies, even bread and pies. If you’re a bit of a beginner in the foraging stakes, start off with some healthy and delicious rose hip tea, which is fantastic for beating winter colds.
This weekend I decided to practise what I preached earlier on in this blog by going out foraging, also known as ‘seeing what wild goodies I can collect to feed myself with’. Foraging scares a lot of people – it sounds difficult, time-consuming and frankly, dull. To these people I say, you are incorrect, sirs.
Obviously if you’re a ready-meal enthusiast, picking your own is not for you. It does require going out, finding some tasty leaves, gathering them up and bringing them home. However, as well as usually getting to go on a nice walk, it’s surprising how much you can gather in a small amount of time. In a ninety-minute walk from Combe Down in Bath to the charming Tucking Mill (victim of many a name-alteration), on Sunday, I collected a huge bag of green things to take home, including these beauties below.