Nina A Spencer – The Chaotic Mum Mentor. Mum Of Twins Twice! Placenta Accreta Survivor, Mental Health Champion, Wild Swimmer, Allotmenteer, On a simple living Journey filled with adventure and travel . Embracing The Imperfectly, Chaotic moments of motherhood.
The heatwave is on its way for the weekend which means families all over will be trying to find ways to keep their cool. Recently online I have seen many families taking up water based hobbies like Kayaking and paddle boarding. Some like me and my friends have even started Wild swimming Or river swimming. However how many times have you heard horror stories about people getting into difficulties in and around the water. Here are some tips for River Swimming – Keeping Safe.
Water based hobbies in uk waters although a great way to exercise and cool off can however be dangerous if you dont respect the water.
I have complied a few tips that I have learnt along the way.
River Swimming Keeping Safe Tips
Before you start make sure the water you have found is clean and safe to swim or paddle – Stagnent water can carry disease. In summer blue/ Green Algae can form and after heavy rain some rivers can get a discharge of sewerage in them.
Always know your limit. – If you are not a confident swimmer stick to shallow water where you can touch the floor. Even seemingly shallow waters can drop off into deep pools in places.
Be careful of currents, tides and waves. water is such a powerful element, waves have the potential of pushing you over.
Check the flow. Rivers can be deceivingly fast flowing. Throw in a leaf or stick and see how fast it flows down stream.
Cold Water Shock – Most accidents where people have become ill (Or died) from the cold water are because they just jump straight in. Take time to get your body acclimatised. The best way is to paddle and put in your wrists for a while then gently lower the rest of your body in the water. Its not so bad once you’re in!
Slipping – River beds can be very rocky so its often best to wear some kind of non slip swimming shoe or sock. Never run near or around the water.
Always take a swim buddy. _ If you get in to difficulty a swim buddy can help. Imagine you slipped or needed help to free you if you head wild swimming alone it could be ages before you are found by a passer by. Hyperthermia could have well set in by then and you may not make it out at all.
Stay Sober – alcohol and water do not mix unless you are drinking the water! So dont swim drunk!
Respect others – Many rivers have boat users or fishermen using them so be conscious of them when looking for somewhere to swim!
Easy Exit – Its all very well jumping in the river to cool off but if you cant get back out what are you going to do? before you head into the water look around for where you can get out. River swimming can make you tire quicker and the cold water can impair you swimming ability.
Never leave children unattended. This really goes without saying but it only takes a second for a child to drown. even in shallow water.
Buoyancy aid – If you want to feel that bit safer while playing at the river banks you could always wear a buoyancy aid. There are some pretty cheap ones out there but make sure they fit well and can tke the weight of the wearer.
IF IN DOUBT STAY OUT!
As always when having fun in and around the water make sure you take home any litter. Imagine turning up next week and having to swim through crisp packets and soft drinks cans. Try and use reusable items and take home any litter.
I hope these tips will help keep you a little safer. Then you can enjoy the many benefits from river and cold water swimming. Just remember to keep within your limits. Even if friends think they can manage something doesn’t mean you can!
Lockdown has seen some crazy purchases happening. Remember the days when amazon carts were filled because you couldn’t sleep, 4 well in 2020 they are filled and bought due to being bored in lockdown! Keep reading to see what some other blogger bagged during lockdown! We bought a canoe. A 3 person Canoe! If like many others I’ve seen also bagged a canoe you may need to read this. So You bought a canoe but now what?
Bought A Canoe But Now What?
Well we really fell into an amazon hole this time. I have fancied a kayak since our trip to Norfolk and heading out on the kayak and coffee trip with Norfolk outdoor adventures. Then during one of our family exercise walks we spotted a couple of people on inflatable kayaks paddling down the canal. We have been totally influenced. We came home and straight away started googling inflatable kayaks. First one person kayaks than 3 person as We thought maybe we can get 2 and head out as a family if we like it.
Add To Basket
We eventually found a 3 person Kayak within our price range and clicked buy. So we bought a canoe but now what?
Having had a boat some time ago on our local canal we decided to find out if we need anything to play on the canals or rivers with our inflatable canoe.
Can we just stick it in the water?
Chances of being caught on the waterways are slim. If you are heading out on your new Kayak often though you need to purchase a couple of things.
Insurance – What if you had an accident on the water and needed towing in or damaged someones property while paddling your new canoe?
Canal & River Trust Boat licence – Yes even for an inflatable canoe
You can buy a boat licence through the canal & River trust website. however if you head on over to British Canoeing you can obtain a waterways licence and insurance for one yearly payment. This will save you loads. I paid £45 for the year! There are loads of benefits to becoming a member of British canoeing too. Access to competitions and money off at cotswold outdoors.
You also need to think about safety while enjoying your new hobby.
One thing to think about is a life vest or buoyancy aid. I would do your own research here. Some vests will be restricting and may result in not being able to paddle or even see as some tend to ride up when you are sat.
Dont go out alone – As with all water activities its always best if you can head out with another person. Canoeing would be a great activity for a socially distant catch up if you both have a canoe.
I am a feet can touch the floor wild swimmer. Which means I very rarely swim out of my depth. The same goes for canoeing. If I think I wouldn’t make it the the river bank or tow path should something happen to my kayak, I wouldn’t go there in the first place. Stay within where you feel safe.
Things to note!
The waterways are an amazing community of people. From fishermen, to live aboard barge owners. It should go without saying respect others around. Keep the noise down, and keep a distance from others and their boats.
The best thing for me when we head out canoeing is the cuppa and snack at the end. I hope I am teaching my kids to respect the environment enough so they know not to litter when we are out and about. I always take my rubbish away with me as often riverside bins are left until the last minute which means they overflow. Never leave litter just on the ground. Not only is it harmful to the environment and wildlife living by the river but it doesn’t make a nice place to spend time if there are crips packets, and pop bottles floating along side of you.
This is by no means an extensive list however this is what we try and take on our trips on the canal
Canoe – Obviously! We have a Tahiti plus two person plus child kayak.
Paddle – Ideal ones would be a two piece so it is easily dismantled for travel and storage.
Dry bag/Sack – Best thing for storing your phone and keys and obviously you picnic.
Flask & Snacks- Really important for that well earned cuppa at the end of your voyage.
Rope – It is a good idea to have some rope to tie your kayak to the side of the canal this make it easier to get in and out and you are less likely to get wet and or lose your canoe.
NonSlip wet shoes – We already had these for our trips to the seaside but they are so handy for the canoe. There are no buckle or metal that could puncture your inflatable. They are super grippy so you wont slip while manoeuvring in and out.
Buoyancy vests – Mine is currently on order and the kids ones are not really right for what we need as they are just too big so they make it difficult for them to see and paddle. However they are a necessity for our kayak kit to make our hobby safe. So if you have an ideas please do let me know.
Compact Towel – You are bound to get a little bit wet during kayaking. We have been Carrying a microfibre compact towel on every trip just incase.
Changing tent – Spare clothes – Well you just never know! We leave these in the car just incase.
Go-Pro The amount of times I’ve wanted to take a couple of photos but not wanted to get my phone out just incase. Im known for dropping my phone like a-lot! So taking a go-pro or similar waterproof camera is handy!
Phone in a waterproof pouch – You can get some decent waterproof pouches to put your phone in. Im still in need one one but I wouldn’t leave without my phone just incase of emergency.
Now Get paddling!
I hope this post is a little bit of a help for your kayak adventures. if you have any tips why not leave them in the comments below!
I can see a few more kayaking related posts appearing on here as it really is our new favourite hobby. If you are interested in kayaking or being on the river/ canals dont forget to follow along. I also post our kayak adventures and other daily adventures over on instagram daily.
What did You Buy?
I mentioned at the beginning a-lot have purchased random things during lockdown. I asked a group of bloggers what they had bought during the 2020 pandemic here is what they said!
Another Canoe Purchase
It (Canoe purchasing) must be a thing because my brother bought an inflatable kayak. Fine for living by the sea whilst he’s staying with my parents during the pandemic but less useful when he returns to his ‘normal’ flat and life in London!
I bought a mini polaroid camera, several packets of (very expensive) polaroid film and a scrap book to stick the pics in. It was going to be a project that we could do during lockdown. We were going to take a pic each day, stick it in the scrapbook and get the kids to write a little description. So far it has barely been out of it’s box! Too many different priorities…At least the intentions were there!
We decided to bite the bullet and buy an emperor sized bed. One of the boys always ends up with us at some point between 7pm and 7am and we are sick to death of having rubbish sleep because we are being kicked or rolled onto. Seemed like a really good idea mid-way through lockdown, now I’m thinking how is it gonna fit up the stairs?! We will find out tomorrow when it arrives!
I bought a sewing machine because I thought I could fix some old clothes during lockdown. When it arrived, I remembered that I hated sewing in school. Needless to say, the sewing machine hasn’t seen much use.
We have bought the ‘Fermzilla’ (think Godzilla of homebrew fermenting containers!). You can brew up to 50 litres of wine or beer in it at once. We thought it was a fun new hobby to start, with the benefit of booze at the end of it – but it is absolutely enormous and there is no room in my house for it. At the moment it is towering in a sinister manner, taking up a complete kitchen worktop!
With only two weeks left of school whatever that looks like for you at the moment it’s time to think about our summer school Holiday. Time to dust off the note pad and write out a summer bucket list. It’s time to do some Summer School Holiday Planning!
Summer School Holiday Planning
I’ve said before I love a bucket list. A little bit of a plan for the holiday period. It’ s the best way to make the most of our holidays and not have to think of things to do or places to go on the spare of the moment.
This year summer may look a little bit different with social distancing in place and the threat of local lockdowns looming. However I’m not going to let that stop us making memories and having a summer of mini adventures.
Summer 2020 Bucket List
So what is on our Bucket list for summer 2020? Or Summer no 9 In our 18 summers countdown!
BBQing is a given over the summer weeks isn’t it? Those nights spent in the garden while the kids play and the adults chat with a wine or two. I’m hoping that we will be able to have friends over a few times also.
I would love nothing more than to spend the whole summer exploring new places. Taking a road trip in a motorhome like we did last summer. I do have a couple of road trips in mind even if they are only short ones here and there.
Heading to the seaside has to be one of my favourite road trips to take whether thats to stay overnight somewhere or just to head out for a day beach life adventure are some of my best memories from previous summers.
We have for the past few months been spending Saturday nights having movie night. Setting up our big screen and projector in our front room or sometimes even out in the garden. as a family we all look forward to movie nights though I think the kids look forward to the snacks more than the actual film watching.
A global pandemic calls for creating new hobbies. Our new family hobby involved a bit of an impulse buy from amazon (The lockdown place of wonder) Yup we are the family that bought a canoe! Though I have to say ever since myself and SpencersARC Daddy went on a coffee and kayak trip on the broads in 2018 I’ve thought it would be a great hobby I could do. Little did I know that the big kids would love it too. So one thing I’m sure we will be doing over the summer is getting out onto the water and canoeing.
One hobby we have had for some years is Geocaching. We love it and this year especially during those weeks in lockdown where we were allowed out for exercise we have really got back into it. The kids love grabbing a map and searching in trees and bushes for those little pots of treasure.
When I was a teenager one year (for about 2 weeks) I had a job strawberry picking for a local farm. As an adult though I have never been to a pick your own. The kids have requested they want to go strawberry picking even though grandma has a patch that we pick from I think they fancy seeing how many strawberries they can eat when there is a whole field full of them!
There are so many little pleasures in life and seeing the sunrise over the sea has to be one of my favourite things. Living so far away from the seaside and not getting up very early its not really an option right now. Though watching the sunrise and the sunset over a nice landscape and not just from our garden has made it to our summer bucket list. now if someone can just point me somewhere fantastic within the east midlands to do so I would be eternally grateful!
The last thing on our Summer bucket list is toasting marshmallows. We often light a fire on a sunny evening and get out the bag of giant marshmallows to toast. The kids love it and thanks to their love of watching vlogs they have now discovered s’mores too! (Alexa add s’mores kit to the shopping list)
I hope our simple Summer bucket list has filled you with some more inspiration. Hopefully to fill your summer with memories and adventure.
It has been a strange year so far hasn’t it. But better days are coming. Days without fighting with “Home schooling” days where hopefully if we are all careful we can explore what the world has on offer once again.
This was going to be an instagram post but I went over the letter limit so here we are A new blog post! Today we head into a new normal. After weeks and months of lockdown shops and restaurants and pubs are reopening. Returning to a new normal – Life after lockdown. Was it a waste?
Returning to a new normal – Life after lockdown. Was it a waste?
I know the epidemic is far from over but today we are heading back to some kind of normal. Most kids are still off school and some business are still not allowed to open up yet (I want my gel nail fix damn it!!) and It still looks like my 40th will be spent without a big group of friends but instead be lots Of little celebrations. But a new normal non the less.
During this strange time I have been feeling like I’ve missed the opportunity to change/ improve/ learn during lockdown. Like I’ve missed moments that could have been great memories made. That my house is still too cluttered, and worn out. However it’s not until you look back you actually see how far you’ve come.
Some days may feel hard, and long and you may feel broken by the end of the week. But memories have been made, the kids I’m sure will still look back at those walks around the block, the nights spent playing uno, the movies & box sets we’ve watched. That time when daddy was home every day, those times when they played hide and seek over a video call. The festival we had, the stay at home road trip we didn’t go on. The lazy mornings without me hollering about finding shoes, homework books and pe kits.
I may not have decluttered very much in fact some would argue our house looks fuller than ever, I may not have redecorated the kids rooms like I’d hoped, I may not now know Swahili or the full Latin alphabet. Or lost 4 stone or found myself.
I’m living through a pandemic. I’m bringing up 4 kids, one has potty trained himself. I’ve “taught” and learnt about angles, verbs, white privilege, black history. I’ve planned meals, cooked meals, ate meals. I’ve found places to visit, activities to do and planned events at home.
I’m not rushing out shopping any time soon nor am I planning to visit our lovely lanzarote for this year at least. But new adventures are coming. New places are going to visited and my hair will be less grey this time next week!
What I’m trying to say in this post too long for instagram is..
You do you!
Know that looking back you will have made some good memories, you will have achieved something! Ok you may not come out of lockdown with a degree in astrophysics and you may still be baffled as to what a frontal adverbial is. But you are alive! There is a whole world to explore and opportunities are out there. Now it just a case of looking in the right place and taking that step.
You do you!
There is no harm in taking baby steps back out in the world as Ive said earlier on in this long winded rambley post. I wont be heading to a shopping centre any time soon. I’m not sure how long it will be before I feel comfortable heading to the airport again. But baby steps to our new normal.
No Judgement (Unless you are a covidiot)
Some people will be heading out today. Rushing to the pub, heading to primark, let them! as long as they are not putting other people lives in danger by doing so let them. they may need that bit more normal in their life! You do you!
Go make some memories , Go be You!!!
If you have got this far well done you’ve earned another brew!
How many times do you hear Can I have a snack during the day? Especially since the kids have been off school. My four love to grab a yogurt for a snack. Ive never really thought about making our own as it seemed too much of a faff. Then I came across the EasiYo! EasiYo! – Making yogurt at home easy!
*This post is a a gifted review meaning I was sent the product free of charge to complete an honest review of the item. The post may also contain affiliate links *
With 4 children to entertain and home school it can be hard to fit in time or find headspace to make anything some days. However the EasiYo! arrived and my big girl (8) asked straight away to make some homemade yogurt.
So we set to opening the box and choosing which flavour we wanted Obviously we chose the banana and strawberry!
EasiYo Is branded as a stress free yogurt maker and I can tell you that even with a million things on my todo list the easiYo really lives up to its claim.
It was designed by a school teacher from New Zealand with 8 children of his own. And I thought I was busy with 4 running a-mock around the house!
He was looking to feed his family something nutritious. Yogurt is a firm favourite the world over but shop bought versions often have preservatives and additives. Looking for something a little more fresh and natural he set about making his own and EasiYo was eventually created.
EasiYo! – Making Yogurt At Home Easy!
It couldn’t be simpler to use. There is a simple 3 step process.
Easiyo! A Healthy treat
There are no artificial colours or flavours and no preservatives in the EasiYo products. They are packed with good bacteria to help those gut bacteria which is thought to help boost our immune system!
Final thoughts on EasiYo!
I was sceptical at first, as to if this was as easy as it claims but honestly it really is. Even my little twins (almost 3) can get involved in making this yogurt. M (8) managed to do most of it on her own.
The yogurt is super think and creamy and it taste delicious! We often have yogurt and fruit on the breakfast table and I think the EasiYo homemade yogurts could be our new go to yogurt of choice.
We have so far tried the strawberry flavour yogurt which is delicious but I’m going to be looking at buying some more at just over £3 a packet this is a super affordable healthy treat.
I can’t wait to grab a few more flavours.
EasiYo starter kits and yogurt mix packs are available from lakeland, amazon, and The Range .