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Forestry Commission – Colour me Happy Trails

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Japanese maples displaying stunning autumn colour on Pheasant Ride, Alice Holt Forest.

I love everything about Autumn, I love the nights drawing in, the colder weather but I especially like the gorgeous colour of the leaves changing on the trees.  I think the picture above absolutely sums up how vibrant and wonderful the leaves are starting to become.

In a recent survey carried out by Forestry Commission England a staggering 96% of people said that beautiful autumn colours improve their mood, but why do the leaves change colour? What makes a maple leaf turn fiery red, a beech become golden or an ironwood transform through a rainbow of colours to deep plum purple?

To help you understand the science behind the forest’s most vibrant season, Forestry Commission England has put together a simple colour guide:

Green
During the spring and summer months, leaves are filled with green chlorophyll which helps trees to harness the sunshine and turn it into sugars (plant food).

To survive the winter, most trees will shut down to store their sugars. A cork-like membrane develops between the branch and the leaf stem, depriving the leaves of nutrients and breaking down the chlorophyll.

Yellow
The yellows of autumn leaves come from xanthophyll pigments and can be seen throughout autumn in a variety of trees including birches, beeches, ashes and field maples. Egg yolks are yellow because of the xanthophyll in plant products, eaten by the hens.

Orange
Orange comes from beta carotene – one of the most common compounds in plants. One of the best trees to see carotene in action during autumn is sweet chestnut. Carotene, as its name suggests, is also the chemical responsible for giving carrots their bright orange colour.

Red
The red colour is unlike other leaf colours as it hasn’t always existed in the leaf. The colour is caused by anthrocyanin pigments which are formed by a reaction between sugars and certain proteins in cell sap.

If the sap is quite acidic, the pigments impart a bright red colour. If the sap is less acidic, then the resulting colour is purple. Japanese maples produce plenty of anthrocyanins and have very bright red leaves.

 

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With a number of fantastic forest sites displaying the sensory delights of autumn, Forestry Commission England has named its top ten walks to boost your mood before the winter months.

From the lovely autumn colours which are set against the stunning lake at Bedgebury Pinetum to the amazing views from the new Tree-Top walk way at Westonbirt Arboretum, we have something for everyone. Our top spots are:

  1. Forest of Dean, Symonds Yat
  2. Grizedale, Carron Crag trail
  3. Westonbirt, Silk Wood
  4. Delamere, Blackmere Trail
  5. Bedgebury, Seasonal Trail
  6. Hamsterley, Bedburn Valley Trail
  7. Salcey, The Church Path Trail
  8. Wyre, Giants Trail
  9. Alice Holt, Habitat Trail
  10. New Forest, Tall Trees Trail

Now you guys know how much I love our local Forestry Commission site which is Haldon Forest in Exeter we try and visit as often as we can, it is great for H to run free and burn off some energy, well there are plenty of activities at your local forestry commission sites this autumn from activity trails to woven woodlands, check HERE to see what is on at your local forest.

You can also sign up for the free autumn learning activity pack, inside you’ll find some great activities to bring the forests to life for your children:

  • Hunt through the forests looking out for autumn minibeasts.
  • Make a mini woven woodland, or a leafy bookmark.
  • Play sound bingo and identify the wonderful sounds of the forest!
  • Design a leaf rainbow snake, an autumn bonfire picture, and blackberry art using the natural forest colour pallette.
  • And more..

 

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So remember to check out the Forestry Commission website and get some colour in your life #colourmehappy #weloveforests

 

 

 

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Back to it…

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Ok so many apologies for neglecting the blog over the last couple of months, H started Primary school a couple of weeks ago so time was precious over the summer months, it really felt like the end of something special and the beginning of the unknown!  Couple this with some illness for me and a very poorly horse it has been a trying time and something had to give!

However I am back and please stay tuned for some great reviews, posts and giveaways I have lined up, it’s good to be back and it would be great to hear what people have been up to?

 

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Corbico Jewellery – Love you to the moon and back bracelet review and giveaway

 

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So the last review and giveaway I did was so successful the wonderful team at Corbico Jewellery have asked me to run another giveaway for a piece of their gorgeous jewellery.

As mentioned before Corbico Jewellery are an independent online fashion jewellery boutique, including the latest catwalk and celebrity trends in fashion jewellery, there are so many wonderful pieces that you simply will not find on the high street.

As many of you do H and I use the saying ‘I love you to the moon and back’ regularly in fact he is now digressing into saying he loves me to the stratosphere and back but the meaning is the same, so the bracelet I received really does have some meaning to the both of us.

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It is so nice to be able to find something that little bit different and that actually means something, you will find many different choices from the inspirational bracelet collection on the Corbico Jewellery website

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Also if you post a review on any product on the Corbico Jewellery website you buy, along with also uploading a picture of yourself wearing any item of jewellery purchased you will get 20% of your next purchase from the site another great offer from Corbico Jewellery! I really cannot recommend them highly enough and watch this space for some great giveaways from them.

Once again my wonderful followers have the opportunity of winning their own choice of bracelet from the Inspirational Collection courtesy of the very generous team at Corbico Jewellery by completing the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer – I received an inspirational collection braclet for review but all opinions are my own

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The Hummingbird Bakery – Life is Sweet Book review

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Life is sweet so very sweet in my household since this gorgeous book dropped through the door.  You will all know I have a sweet tooth, a very sweet sweet tooth, this recipe book from The Hummingbird Bakery is like heaven on a page!

Over 100 different recipes to try you can choose from recipes for cakes, cupcakes, layer cakes, pies, cookies & candies, traybakes, pancakes, ice cream, puddings and bread & savouries.

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Now I am no master baker but there are loads of recipes in the book which even I can make and intend to try over the next couple of weeks with H – blog post to follow!

How gorgeous are these turtle cookies?

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The chocolate brownie pudding will definitely be a hit in our house!

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I could go on and on, how about red velvet brownies, black bottom pancakes, toasted marshmallow cupcakes, tunnel of fudge cake, buttermilk pancakes? There is something for every single person’s capability.

I really highly recommend The Hummingbird Bakery Life is Sweet book, you can buy your copy HERE, I promise you will find something absolutely delicious to make!

Watch this space for some posts showing myself and H making some scrumptious bakes from the book soon!

 

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Forestry Commission – Stick Man Games

Stick Man Get ReadyMy followers will know that we as a family love to go to our local Forestry Commission site which is Haldon Forest, in fact you will remember that I had the fabulous giveaway of a Forestry Commission Discovery Pass not so long ago so I just have to let everyone know about the Stick Man Games which are currently taking place across various Forestry Commission sites.

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The Stick Man themed games give families the chance to take part in a range of forest fun sporting activities with the wonderful stick man character.

At selected sites you can have the opportunity of being able to meet Stick Man and take part in an action packed sports day including everything from a twig baton relay race to a fantastic obstacle course!

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Alongside the Stick Man Games there is also lots of stick-themed excitement in the self-led activity arenas such as giant pick-up sticks to noughts and crosses and a ring toss!

You an also go online here and get your hands on a copy of the downloadable Stick Man Games activity pack and imitate your sporting heroes this summer. The pack is full of fantastic games and activities that kids can do with sticks and includes top tips to help you become a sporting champion as well as cut-out medals and certificates. You can also invite all of family and friends along to join the party with the downloadable Stick Man themed invitations!

So check out your nearest Forestry Commission site, some events are still to come and running into July so there is a chance for everybody to enjoy the Stick Man games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lost Smile – Book review and giveaway

20160612_180416Book worm alert again!  You will all know that I am a book worm and I am pleased to say that H is too, so any opportunity to read new books then you will know the answer will always be yes!

What does a smile bring to your day?  I always find that a smile from H can brighten up any of my days even the really bad ones.

The Lost Smile is the first children’s storybook to be released by Wrigley’s Extra as part of their Extra Smile back charity campaign (more about that later).

The story is about a little boy who realises his family are not smiling anymore and goes on a smile hunt to find them. This raised a good deal of conversation with H about where we would hunt for a smile if it went missing and what we could do as a family to discuss why a smile might disappear and how we as individuals could help get the smile back. The answers from H were very interesting and highlighted some of the things that children find important that as adults we may just not consider.

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The illustrations are so good and easy for little ones who cannot read to understand, it really is a lovely little book.

Interestingly Wrigley’s research has shown what we all know really, the simple pleasures in life make our children smile such as pulling silly faces (44%), reading stories (28%) and hide and seek (27%) being the best and simplest way of putting a smile on a child’s face.

The Extra Smile Back Project aims to protect children’s smiles by donating money from every pack of sugarfree gum sold during the promotional period to charity partner Action for Children. The monies will be used to create and run oral health workshops, endorsed by the Oral Health Foundation. With this activity Wrigley aims to protect the smiles of over 10,000 children and 5,000 parents across the UK, see the following Wrigley’s smileback link for more information.

If you would like to win a copy of the Lost Smile, please enter my Rafflecopter giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer – I received a copy of the Lost Smile for review but all opinions are my own

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Wax Melts – by Simply Flowers review and giveaway

You should know me by now I do like to find wonderful things that are different for both myself and also to give as presents so I am more than happy to tell you about the beautiful wax melts by Simply Flowers.

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So much nicer than a candle the wax melts are handmade from Soy which is natural and environmentally friendly they come in such a huge variety of fragrances such as Sweet Pea, Sloe Gin and Blackberry, Rainwater, Melon and Cucumber to name just a few.

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The melts are placed in a warmer and melted by a tea-light placed underneath, such a novel and beautiful way to fragrance your home.

You can pick and mix your melts to make it personalised for you, if you check out the Soy wax melts by Simply Flowers website you can see for yourself the amazing selection there is of fragrances, you will find something you love.

These wax melts are so different and would make a lovely alternative present for somebody and they won’t break the bank either with costs from £1 for 6 melts or a 20 wax melts selection pack for £3.00.

Courtesy of Simply Flowers one of my very lucky followers has the opportunity to win a Simply Flowers Gift Box which includes a selection of wax melts plus a burner and 3 small votive soy wax candles.  You can do so by entering the Rafflecopter competition below, please note by entering the competition your email details will be collected and passed to Simply Flowers who will contact you with a discount code and obviously one of you will be the winner!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer – I received some wax melts for review but all opinions are my own