The OLPRO Rambling Blog
The Outside Is Yours
The Outside Is Yours
|Have you ever noticed that if your children or grandchildren are grouchy, you take them outdoors and they almost immediately relax and start to enjoy themselves? This is 'biophilia' - the theory that by nature, human beings are naturally drawn to nature and natural things. |
Whereas most of us grew up exploring our outdoor surroundings, today's kids are being brought up with 'nature deficit disorder' where they are kept indoors for fear of danger, abduction, injury - and where they spend far more time in front of a screen than they do building dens or playing in streams.
It's no wonder that children's mental health is on the decline - surely the two correspond?! So what can be done to counteract this childhood travesty?
Make the most of your free time. In today's world, both parents often work and this can leave little time for outdoor exploration and adventure such as walks and camping trips. However, it doesn't have to be much - even walking to school, heading out to the park, taking the dog out - or even playing in the garden - will all help to feed the need for the great outdoors. If you have more time, of course, then planning in camping trips or walks in national parks, forests or beside beaches is and ideal (and affordable) way to spend more time outside with your whole family. You may be exhausted on evenings and weekends but we promise, if you ALL get outdoors and enjoy nature, you'll feel the benefits for everybody's mental and physical health.
Join a forest school group or outdoor playgroup.Take the play outside - there are many groups now where you can sign up with like-minded families and spend dedicated time in the great outdoors come rain or shine. Just search online for one near you - and if you can't find one, set one up yourself! The one we attend is in a local woodland and involves plenty of fun activities such as fire building and cooking, den building, and of course jumping in muddy puddles.
No Wasted Weekends
No More Wasted Weekends
Have you ever got to the end of Sunday and realised that you've spent all weekend procrastinating? Pottering about the house, lying in bed, binge watching Netflix and eating snacks? Do you look back with regret at another weekend lost? Here at OLPRO we want you to start making the most of the free time you have, and taking yourself into the outdoors for some wonderful mini-adventures.
There are many ways to bring the wild into your spare time. Take your lunch outside and enjoy a picnic in nature. Take a colleague and walk around the block - discover some local footpaths. Get up early and head up a hill for a dawn walk before work. Take the kids wild camping - even if it's just in the garden. Find a nearby campsite and visit just for a night or a weekend, stargaze and roast marshmallows. Micro-adventures that will leave you with a sense of time well spent.
What with prices rising, Brexit looming, and the environmental crisis, it's easy to get bogged down in the national gloom. However - we only get one life. One life, with a UK life expectancy of 81 years. 81 years, 52 weekends a year - it's vital that we don't waste them on screen time and the sofa. Mini adventures benefit the local economy, your health and well-being, and the environment. Holidaying closer to home is great for cutting down your carbon footprint, and your physical and mental health will thank you for getting more exercise and Vitamin D (proven to help boost your mood naturally).
The mental health charity Mind recently commissioned a report which has shown that being outdoors, whether it be growing food, gardening or undertaking conservation work, has a hugely beneficial impact upon mental health. Camping, hiking, picnicking and walking are some of the best ways to get outdoors and have fun whilst easing mental stresses and strains.
The Guardian says that ‘we are twice as likely to be emotionally distressed if we are urban rather than rural (and four times more likely to suffer schizophrenia). Part of the reason for this is estrangement caused by lack of exposure to natural sights, sounds and smells, to dislocation from the natural rhythms of the seasons, of night from day. Ecotherapies work because they reconnect us with nature; its external reality but most fundamentally, our inner natures.’
Obviously, we're not suggesting that you give up your medication or therapy - but by adding in more time outdoors, you're sure to feel a little (or a lot) better.
Find the time to get outside more - and never regret your weekend again.
Camping at Bestival
Shell is a mum of two littlies Rocco and Valli, and lives on the Cornish coast. She's an instablogger and creates beautiful images and shares awesome products on her profile, @shellandthelittlies over at Instagram.
So it seems some of you feel exactly the same as I did and think you’re not campers...well if I can do it you can!
When friends and family heard we was doing @campbestival this year some laughed and the frequent response was ...”You? Camping?”
I have to admit myself it’s never been something I thought I’d want to do but having kids and growing up caravanning I know the fun I used to have and the experience it would be for us as a family so I wanted to give it a go!
And....I loved it...we all did! Thanks to our friends @olproeverywhere who arranged our home from home the Wichenford 3.0 which is such a fantastic tent!
It was easy to get up and down literally taking us about 25 minutes and I’m sure the more we do it the quicker we’ll get! There was plenty of space for us all, the kids loved their bedrooms and Valli even slept until the morning in her room which is unheard of at home! They currently have great offers on tents, campervan awnings and camping accessories, and always offer free delivery.
A few things I was worried about were
1 - feeling the cold, thankfully the weather was good but it did go colder at night, however the tent was lovely & cosy so I didn’t feel the cold at all (coming from me who is always cold that means a lot!)
2. The shower/toilet situation - I had lots of messages about this! We stayed in Camping Plus which is still standard camping but means you are allocated a larger pitch closer to the event. I was pleasantly surprised there were plenty of showers & toilets that were cleaned regularly. The showers were warm and we showered everyday which just makes the whole experience better!
It was lovely to wake up to the sounds of nature and just so exciting for the kids so we’ve definitely caught the camping bug!
We’re planning some weekends away down here in Cornwall at campsites with good facilities so even though I live here you guys probably know better than me the best campsites to visit...I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments please!’
Hot Weather Camping
Coping with Hot Weather Camping
Resident OLPRO writer, social media queen, and avid outdoors expert.
Everyone loves a hot and sunny camping trip. So much better than a washout - but it still comes with its hazards. Sunstroke, warm beer, insects, and being too hot to sleep all get in the way of a good time. So what can you do?
Make the most of natural shade
Steer clear of the sunniest parts of a campsite and any open ground, and try to camp under the shade of a tree or hedge. There's a chance that you might end up with some falling twigs or bird poo on your tent - you could always rig up a protective tarp above it - but it'll be well worth it given the cool, shady air that you'll experience as the rest of the site fry out in the blazing sun.
If there are no shady spots, work out where the sun is going to rise, and pitch your tent with the 'foot end' pointing towards the sun - that way at least you won't have your bedroom hit by the blazing rays at 4am, giving you a few extra precious minutes of shut-eye.
Make sure your tent can handle it
Get a tent with a decent fabric and a double skin rather than single. This will give you additional insulating properties as well as extra darkness. The darker the tent fabric, the darker the tent - many tents now even come with darkened bedroom compartments or even full blackout technology.
Ensure that your tent has plenty of ventilation. Fly mesh on ALL doors and windows is a must - you want to be able to open the doors to let the breeze through, but simultaneously excluding any pesky bugs.
You'll become dehydrated a lot faster in hot weather. There are a few steps you can take to keep yourself cool and avoid heatstroke and dehydration.
- Avoid the midday sun. Try to rest during the hottest part of the day, and save hiking and other camping activities for later on when it's cooler. It's the ideal time to venture into a shady forest rather than a blazing clifftop walk.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat, and loose, thin cotton clothing. Sunburn makes it harder for your body to regulate its temperature, so prevention is better than cure.
- Drink plenty and eat lots of watery foods. Watermelon, grapes, peaches, ice lollies, and plenty of water will keep you chilled.
Head for the wilderness
Find yourself a forest or seaside campsite. The shade of the trees will keep you cool, and walking in the forest is several degrees cooler than in open ground.
At the beach, the breezes and surf will help you to cool off. Rockpooling, cave exploring, and surfing will all ensure that you, and the whole family, are fresh and chilled.
Some of the best we've found are Whitemead Forest Park in the Forest of Dean, and Whitesands Bay Campsite near St Davids in Wales. One shady, one right on the beach - ideal for keeping cool while you camp.