Caring For The Great Outdoors: Invasive Species & Litter Bugs

The Great Outdoors might not stay ‘great’ for long, unless you do something about it…

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise for you to hear that we’re all rather passionate about the environment here; in fact, an undying passion for the great outdoors is something of an occupational hazard for us here. As a result, we’ve all got our fair share of ‘dos and don’ts’ that make up our everyday milieu and although they might seem a little extreme to some, we feel that if more people adopted these minor lifestyle changes then the world would be a much better place!

If you love the great outdoors as much as we do then you then why not considering making one of these lifestyle changes?

Beware of Invasive Plants!

Whilst 52% of the country might be living in fear of foreign invaders, these people are no doubt blissfully unaware of the thousands of organisms that are spreading unchecked throughout the UK and, unlike the European immigrants that they fear, could quite seriously ruin the value of their home.

Plants such as Giant hogweed, Rhododendron ponticum and Himalayan balsam all have a negative impact on the environment, not to mention house prices, and should be dug out or destroyed if found. Other plants have even got legislation that punishes those who negligently spread fragments of invasive plants, indeed if you happen to fall foul of a Japanese knotweed law then you may be heavily fined or even imprisoned!

Recycle, recycle, recycle

For thousands of people around the world, recycling has become second nature, but that doesn’t mean that our work has been done just yet! In order for the world to thrive it’s important that everyone pitches into the global recycling effort, which means that you should always be paying close attention to what you’re throwing away.

Sorting out your glass and tins might be a firm part of your routine, but are you as vigilant when you’re getting rid of your plastics and cardboard too? Many plastics can be recycled, so it’s a good idea to take a close look at any packaging that comes your way (especially food!) as you might find that you could be recycling more than you already do!

Buy locally sourced food!

This one can prove to be a little tricky, especially if you’re living in a built up area. The carbon footprint for many groceries that are now considered ‘everyday’ is extortionate; in fact some of the UK’s favourite fruits and veg, including bananas, tomatoes and oranges, have to travel thousands of miles to reach their destination before making their way into our mouths. There’s no easy way to say this, but these are luxuries that we should no longer indulge in!

You can help improve the environment by choosing to only buy foods that are produced in the UK. Whilst you might find that your meals start to resemble War-time rations (expect to be eating a lot of meat and two veg) at least you’ll be able to be satisfied knowing that your food hasn’t damaged the environment on its journey to your mouth.

4 All Natural Alternatives To A Traditional Theme Park

The theme park is a time-honoured go-to for thousands of parents looking to entertain their tiresome tots for the day, but although your kids might be getting their fill of fresh air and thrills whilst they’re getting whizzed around on a rollercoaster, it’s questionable how much value for money you’ll be getting as a full-paying parent.

Let’s suppose that even if you miraculously manage to wangle 2-for-1 tickets into one of the few well-respected theme parks in the country, the grim reality is that you’ll be spending a good chunk of your time stood in a queue playing repeat games of ‘I spy’. Factor in the spiralling costs of food, drinks and other treats that are casually inflated beyond any normal price in these places, and you’ll find yourself tragically out of pocket, as well as invariably bored.

Our recommendation? Avoid these places at all costs and opt for one of these ‘all natural alternatives’ that off a more wholesome day out with much shorter wait times:

Mount Stewart House, County Down

As long as you haven’t made the mistake of indulging in one too many of these already, a visit to this spectacular stately home should prove just as thrilling to you and your family than a long day at a busy theme park. Although you may find yourself occasionally queueing for the loo here (Mount Stewart is very popular with the older generations), unless your family is from a particularly well-monied background, there’ll be no shortage of ‘oohs and aahs’ as you explore the exotic gardens in these lands.

Zip World Fforest

If you’re determined to get your dose of high-speed thrills and spills, but aren’t keen on queuing, then Zipworld Fforest boasts some of the best in the UK. All activities at this revolutionary outdoor adventure park are booked ahead of schedule and whilst we wouldn’t describe any of them as cheap, the fun on offer here is second to none for all the family, no to mention rigorously tested (for those concerned with safety). Choose from exhilarating zip-line rides and gigantic swing, all set within this lush green Welsh forest.

Bodnant Garden, Conwy

Whether in Winter or Summer, Wales’ Bodnant Garden holds some truly spectacular sights for young and old. Your kids might well yawn when you tell them you’ll be spending a day at a garden, but the sights on offer here will soon have them eating their hats (not literally though). During Winter you can take the kids (and the dog!) through the rather stunning Winter Garden Trail and finish up with a well-earned slice of cake and cup of tea in their quintessentially decorated cafe – a decidedly more wholesome alternative to a burger and chips.

Whipsnade Zoo

Finally, as long as your ethics agree, a trip to Whipsnade Zoo is well-worth the admittedly high price of entry, especially if your little ones are as as ours are. There’s a lot to get excited about here too, as Whipsnade is the largest zoo in the UK, covering a jaw-dropping 600 acres, it’s also one Europe’s largest wildlife conservation parks. There’s a big selection of animals on offer here including Sudan cheetahs, elephants and rhinoceros.