Want to encourage children to go walking? How about child-friendly map reading?

Walking with children can be enormous fun but often also includes an element of determined reluctance, particularly as the day goes on or the paths turn uphill. Here at Fi Darby Freelance we’ve been busy creating some downloadable child-friendly maps for our local area. We’re very pleased with the results. If you want a few more tips on how to encourage children on a walk, read on!

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Why do women worry about being outdoors?

Sweeping gender-based statements seem to be in so I don’t feel too bad suggesting that in general we women worry more than our men. The science agrees with me but (like me) doesn’t really understand why. Suggestions include hormones, cultural burden, and our tendency to look after ourselves better than the chaps.

Being outdoors helped my anxiety

Whatever the reasons, I do know that my levels of worry (already excitable) increased as I approached menopause. Despite loving the outdoor lifestyle, it took me a while to register the soothing effects of being outside. Whether it was outdoor swimming, walking, wild camping, or (a new addition) running, experiencing intimacy with the outdoors had the ability to calm my concerns.

This is ironic because we women worry about being outdoors.

I know women worry about being outdoors because, in various guises, I’ve spent a big chunk of my life helping them gain outdoor skills. I’d like to add at this point that I’ve done the same for men and that they have worries too. But not always the same ones.

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Should we be applying permaculture principles to our outdoor writing?

Over the last 12-months. I’ve been enjoying finding out more about the principles of permaculture. I’ve also been trying to apply them to my own life. Developed in the 1970s from a sustainable agriculture movement, permaculture offers an exciting incentive towards positive change.

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The final push? Ten of the best ideas for local lockdown exploration

Local outdoor exploration has been on the uptake since the first lockdown in March 2020. We now all know, and appreciate our local areas. This doesn’t mean of course that we aren’t all longing for the opportunity to explore further afield but that time isn’t quite with us yet.

With the prospect of ‘somewhere else’ just around the calendar corner, these last few weeks of ‘stay local’ restrictions, might perhaps be the most tricky. To keep us all outside as spring unfolds, I’ve done some research and put together ten of the most interesting and creative ideas to help us get outside and explore locally for this final lockdown push.

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Observation affects reality. Even when we’re outdoors.

With all beasts banished back to the East, and the sniff of spring in the air, it should be no surprise that the nation’s thoughts are once again turning to outdoor activities. The reduction in activity and visitor levels of the 2020 spring lockdown were quickly followed by a visitor surge to our outdoor spaces. There is no reason not to expect the same as our current set of lockdown restrictions ease.

This is news to be celebrated but also planned for. As an outdoor writer and influencer, I’ve been thinking long and hard about my future writing strategies and how these can have a positive effect on both my readers and the natural environment.

I have given myself a three-point eco-friendly outdoor writing plan.

Continue reading “Observation affects reality. Even when we’re outdoors.”

Don’t mince your words. But don’t waste them either.

The twelve permaculture principles  offer a sensible, environmentally-friendly blueprint for life but are more often applied to growing food. I can recommend them for both; especially to those seeking to lessen their impact on our planet.

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Desperately seeking wilderness. We outdoor writers have a responsibility.

The holiday chips are almost down, the travel cards have nearly been dealt, and it would appear that the most likely scenario for the 2021 UK travel season is the staycation.

Our empty places are at risk

Whether our staycations end up being hyper-local or UK-wide will be up to us (or perhaps Boris) but one thing’s for sure; after all that being cooped up together, the vast majority of us will be looking for opportunities to find a bit of empty space in the good old British countryside.

This is ironic because our rush to find space is going to result in a lack of it in many areas. Continue reading “Desperately seeking wilderness. We outdoor writers have a responsibility.”

Five things they don’t tell you about freelance work

According to the government definition of self employment, self-employed people are those who define themselves as working for themselves, rather than receiving a wage or salary from an employer.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

The freelance life definitely brings freedom, and decision-making power but just as with any other lifestyle, there are drawbacks to being a freelancer. Your income will be less certain, you won’t get sick pay, and you’ll have to work hard for every penny of profit you make.

Don’t give up on the idea yet though. We have five disadvantages of being self-employed below but we also explain how to deal with them. Continue reading “Five things they don’t tell you about freelance work”

Sunrise Sunset

‘One season following the other, laden with happiness and tears.’

So go the lyrics from Fiddler on the Roof. And we’ve all certainly experienced the happiness and tears over the last year. Some things don’t change though, and it is nature’s constancies that have helped keep me going during the coronavirus pandemic. The seasons, the tides, the phases of the moon, all these patterns help me remember I’m part of something much bigger (and far more important) than myself. Continue reading “Sunrise Sunset”

On the topic of adaptability – moving life outside

Written prior to the start of the January 2021 national lockdown

During the spring lockdown of 2020 many of us initially found ourselves inside far more than we liked. With outdoor exercise limited by both time and destination, we did something impressive. We adapted.

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