5 articles Tag outdoor

What Was Your Favourite Part of the Playground Growing Up?

Remember running out to the playground at break time after lessons, or a walk down the park, as a youngster and getting all excited because your favourite spot was free? For some, it is the slide, while others immediately run over to the bars.

Not all playgrounds are created equally, with some encouraging more play than others. Yes, you may have loved playing hopscotch, but did anything really capture the imagination like an all-singing-all-dancing structure filled with endless possibilities?

It probably depends on what type of child you were. Here, we take a look at some of our favourite parts of any playground.

Slide

What young child didn’t love the slide? Of course, some slides were better than others – there was nothing worse than getting stuck halfway down the slide, only for the next child to dislodge you on their way down. The best slides were, of course, the slides that had a spiralled design, rather than a straight slope down.

You might also remember the unfortunate discovery of a landing pad that wasn’t quite padded enough in parks that hadn’t been maintained as well as they should be. It was all good fun, though, wasn’t it?

Seesaw

The seesaw could be a lot of fun, as long as you had someone to actually go on it with. If you were something of a loner, the seesaw only served to compound your loneliness. But it was okay, because you could make friends on the playground and jump on the seesaw with them – after all, you are in a social setting.

This was a very simple piece of equipment that would keep us entertained for a long time. Of course, if you would get a little overzealous, your parents would get a little twitchy, but that was what the rubber matting was for.

Field

Is the surrounding field technically part of the playground? At school, everyone would be excited when they could play football on the grass, so for that reason we are saying yes. When we were at school, the grass field was used almost exclusively for sport, especially football.

Do you remember sliding around in your new school trousers and seeing your mum’s face drop when you returned home? Now we know how mum felt because, as any parent will tell you, grass stains aren’t fun to get out of clothes. Especially whites…

Rocker

Going back to those that loved to play on the seesaw, anyone that couldn’t find a friend to participate with them could jump on the rocker. This is a one-man seesaw, if you will, where the child can swing backwards and forwards or side to side to their heart’s content.

The best part of the rocker was that you were not reliant on another’s momentum (or lack thereof) and could go as fast or as slow as you wanted. The simple things always made for the best park equipment when we were young.

Swing

A staple of the playground, the swing was the reason for many a bump and graze when you fell off. You would always hear fables of how one kid managed to swing all the way over the bar (almost always when no one else was present, funnily enough) and foolishly try to replicate the feat yourself. It would never end well, or you would chicken out at the point your body would become inverted.

Looking back with an adult’s perspective, playground’s seem such a simple concept but, through the eyes of a child, they really do represent a world of opportunity.

Creating a Kid’s Wardrobe for Bad Weather

There’s nothing like a sudden-onset Snowmageddon to make me realise how woefully underprepared we are for cold weather. The girls both have decent winter coats, as do Husband and I, but in terms of proper cold weather gear, it’s only Husband who was sorted. Not only does he have water-resistant jeans and gaiters to protect his lower legs, he also has all-weather boots and merino layers for his top half. As you can tell, he spends a lot more time outdoors than the women of this household do!

We went out sledging on Wednesday, and it was so wonderful and fun, but we had to go home after an hour as the cold started to seep in and Sausage’s legs ended up damp after she decided to cheese-roll down a hill! I’ve been looking at kids winter clothes on the internet, in the spirit of being a bit more prepared if more snow turns up and thought I’d share some of my favourite items with you:

Didriksons 1913 Moarri Overall

Aside from the fact that this base layer is SUPER cute, I think both girls could really benefit from a proper thermal base layer to wear when it gets cold. We’ve been layering with wooly tights under their trousers but it’s not very comfortable or practical, so something like this would be properly fit for purpose.

Color Kids Tudo Pants

These fleecy pants would be so much better for outdoor fun, because they’re nice and loose fitting, unlike jeans which can be really restrictive and hard to run around in. These would make an excellent mid-layer over thermals and under a snow suit and the girls would find them super comfortable.

Isbjörn Panda Sweater

As well as being water-repellent, this fleece protects against sharp wind and is a brilliant mid-layer for wearing under waterproofs. Layering like this would give the girls the ability to still move around and either add more layers or take some off, depending on their environment.

Color Kids Klement Overall Children

This waterproof overall would be absolutely perfect for cheeserolling down hills in! The girls could play in the snow for as long as they want witout ever having to worry about getting wet, and the bright colours mean they’re really easy to see on a background of pure white. In fact, I love this overall so much that I wish they also made it in my size!

Sorel Whitney Short Boots

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my very outdoorsy Husband, it’s that good footwear is VERY important. Having the right pair of boots for your environment is basically the most essential part of any outdoor wardrobe, and these snow boots look as though they’d be perfect for the girls. They have a decent sole, are lined with microfleece and are waterproof – ideal for afternoons gadding about in the snow.

Are you regular outdoorsy people? Do you have a favourite selection of clothes that you wear when the temperature plummets? Leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear from you.

Outdoor Living for Any Weather

Here in the UK, we all seem to love the idea of spending more time outdoors, but the reality is that our unpredictable weather doesn’t always allow it. Wanting to get outdoors and being able to (without the use of dry bags!) are two very different things when there’s a threat of rain or it’s just too chilly, but there are things that you can buy from Cox and Cox which mean that your gardens don’t go unused all year round. Here are some of our favourites:

Outdoor Large Brazier

Sitting around with your friends, sharing a bottle of wine and putting the world to rights is a simple pleasure and this brazier will not only keep you warm while you do so, it’ll help to keep away unwanted bugs AND give you somewhere to toast marshmallows if that takes your fancy.

LED Jar Lantern

Sitting outside is all well and good but when it gets dark, you need to be able to see! These LED jar lanterns are battery powered and ca be placed anywhere that you need light, or even strung up in a group to give you all the light you need to continue enjoying your evening’s festivities, even after the night has drawn in.

Porto Lounge Set

No-one wants ti sit outside if your patio furniture is hard and uncomfortable, which is why this lounge set would be an excellent investment. The padded seats are warm and comfortable, allowing you to take a little bit of indoor luxury outside with you, giving your guests somewhere to sit for as long as they want.

Soft Wool Throw

One simple way to keep your gusts more comfortable if you’re spending an evening outside is to keep a stash of hardy blankets which they can use to keep themselves warm! These beautiful soft wool throws will feel great wrapped around your shoulders to keep out the cool evening breeze and will allow you to carry on your alfresco socialising well into the night.

What would you chose from the range to keep you warm and happy for outdoor gatherings? Take a look at the site and leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

So You Can’t Have A Conservatory…

Conservatory’s have always been desirable additions to make to a property. They add extra space, they connect the house to the garden, they are lovely to sit in in summer in the sunshine, or in winter listening to the rain and wind outside. They also let a lot of extra light into the rest of the home. The problem is, there are several reasons you might not be able to have a conservatory including:

  • The necessary means to actually have one built.
  • The ‘right to light’ law means your planning permission has been turned down.
  • The design of the conservatory may not be deemed acceptable to neighbours and may therefore be turned down.
  • You may be trying to build in a protected habitat, so you can’t build because the habitat is protected by law.
  • The building may count as an environmental issue and so, planning permission may be turned down.

There are lots of current laws and legislations surrounding planning permission, and unfortunately it may be that the property you are in cannot be extended in that way.

So what now?

First and foremost you need to let go of the idea of a conservatory, because that simply isn’t the destiny of your home. It was most likely a big dream for you, because it isn’t cheap so you’re likely to have really wanted it to put plans in to make it happen, and that is really hard to digest. But, there are other options for you, that can give you many of the positive points of having a conservatory, without the extension itself.

Light, Light, Light

One of the biggest aspects of a conservatory is the light it brings in. You get to sit in a lovely light room, and the connecting room benefits from this addition of natural light as well. One easy way to get around this, is by investing in bifolding doors. Just think about it. Instead of a big, dark wall cutting you off from the garden, you might not have a conservatory but you will have a big beautiful set of doors that let light in and connect you to the garden.

A Lovely Outdoor Space

You may have nicely trimmed grass, some well kept flower beds and perhaps a table and chairs outside, but you don’t have an outdoor space that is essentially another room. A space you can relax in, do work in, entertain in, during all weathers. If you can’t get a conservatory, why not use that garden space to make a ‘garden room’? The key to this room being multifunctional is weather control. Whether it is decking or concrete you’re sitting or standing on, you should have adequate weather protection above you so if it rains, or if the sun is really hot, you have protection. Other ideas to make the perfect garden room are:

  • Adding heating gadgets like an outdoor heater so you can enjoy the space no matter what the weather
  • Adding seating you absolutely love, so you feel comfortable in that space
  • Adding lighting like outdoor fairy lights so the space can be used after dark
  • Adding gadgets like a pizza oven or chiminea (with adequate ventilation) so you can have fun cooking outside as well

Add A Sun Room

A sunroom is often mistaken for a conservatory, but it is not the same thing. A conservatory is often fully glazed, whereas a sunroom has a roof with tiles and offers more protection from the sun. Your sunroom should be OK under Permitted Development laws as long as it hits certain rules such as:

  • Not being bigger than 30 metres square
  • To be single story and no higher than 4 metres
  • To not extend out further than 6 metres on a semi-detached property, or 8 metres on a detached property
  • To be completely free of any porches, verandas or balconies
  • To stand lower than the existing roof of the property

You can check the criteria on the Government’s official planning permission website. This could be the perfect second option for you if you can’t have a conservatory because of planning permission.

See If You Can Get Round Planning Permission

Usually the only rules you can get around when it comes to planning permission relate to when neighbours disagree with your proposed plan. With the right to light law, you would probably need a specialist lawyer if you wanted to contest it as the rules around it are very blurry. If the neighbours are unhappy for any other reason, then you may well be able to adapt your plans to suit. If your heart is set on a conservatory, it may be worth the hassle of changing the plans to make the neighbours happy, and get planning permission.

Add A Summer House

A summer house is a building you have in your garden, but it is not attached to it. A summer house will usually fall under the ‘outbuildings’ category which means it should come under permitted developments. However there are limitations with wildlife conservation areas, listed buildings and other laws and legalities – so always check before you build. If you are able to have one, although not attached to the house, this could be the perfect way to have an additional leisure space on your land.

Hopefully you’re feeling a little more inspired to move forward with your plans to have the home you really want. Remember, whatever puts a stop to your current plans, can always be manoeuvred around or worked with to create new plans, or get your current ones going again, you just need to do your research, make compromises and be persistent.

 

My Dream Shower

As you may or may not know, Husband and I eloped and got married on the tiny, tropical island of Vakarufalhi in The Maldives. We spent two weeks living in a beach-side bungalow, surrounded by white sand, reefs filled with tropical fish and sea that closely resembled bath water. The island was as close to paradise as I could ever hope to witness and our accommodation was seriously swanky, too. My favourite feature was our bathroom – accessed through a door in the bedroom, it actually only had three walls; part of it was entirely outside! We had the normal bath/shower/toilet/sink combination, but then in the outdoor section we had a shower that, although closed in from prying eyes by a tall wall, was completely out in the open! You don’t know liberation until you’ve walked out of the sea, across hot sand and then stood completely starkers in your own private tropical garden having a shower under the sky!

Outdoor showerNot hugely clear, but this is the view from the shower in our bungalow!

I’ve been a bit obsessed with ‘The Perfect Bathroom’ since then and Eau Couture have got some fixtures and fittings which come pretty darn close. I’ve accepted that, in a UK climate, I’m never going to get my open-air shower, but I do love the idea of a huge rainforest-style shower head which is less luke-warm trickle and more full-on waterfall effect! There’s nothing worse than a shower where you have to choose between allowing the water to get really hot but coming out like a dribble, or proper powerful jets which you can only ever have lukewarm.

I’m generally more of a shower girl, but that’s because our bath is too damn small to allow for proper soakage. If money were no object, I’d have a tub like this:

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In fact, I’d probably never get out of the bath at all if I had a tub like that, however I’d have a fight on my hands as both Husband and Sausage LOVE the bath!

What would your dream bathroom look like?