Stepping Away From The Tech

For the last two years, I’ve been working for The Outdoors Group, an amazing company the delivers outdoor education across five sites around Devon from toddler groups and home education sessions to specialist 1:1 intervention for those struggling to thrive in mainstream and adult training to send more Forest School Leaders into the world. We also host birthday parties and team building events. And excitingly, this year we are opening The Outdoors School, an independent special one-of-it’s-kind outdoor school, especially for ASD and SEHM learners.  I work in an administrative capacity, sat behind my laptop or on the phone, either at home or in our cosy office at West Town Farm. I never thought I’d enjoy doing admin so much but I think it’s a combination of loving being organised and being passionate about the business that means that I really do love my job and mostly find it a pleasure, rather than a chore. I like problem solving and I like helping people, both important parts of the role.

However, I’ve always said to folk when talking about what I do that I’d love to do the Forest School Leader training itself one day. ‘One Day’ was a vague concept, some magical time in the future when it would be appropriate and I’d found the courage. But excitingly/nervewrackingly, ‘one day’ has come sooner than I anticipated. At the end of February I’ll be joining a bunch of other aspiring Forest School leaders at our site just outside Exmouth for a week’s practical course to kick off the year of training required for this qualification. I am equal parts thrilled and terrified. I love learning and I love being outside but….after many years of living in houses with stoves and open fireplaces and having attended Forest School with the kids for the last 6 years, I still can’t reliably light a fire! Hopefully this week will solve that…

I’m also feeling rather nervous about the concept of actually running sessions. Sure I run activities at our Home Education group nearly every week but I’m not technically in charge there. I can corral a group of rowdy children aged 2-11 and get them involved in a structured activity but that is indoors, without the added factors of everything that the outdoors brings, including the health and safety element of it. Folk aren’t paying to be at the Home Ed group and if I muck it up, it matters not one jot!

It’s a bit of a moot point though at the moment as I’m not actually going to be in the woods doing delivery for the forseeable future I think but I like to think ahead to when that day comes. I know really, that the whole point of doing the training is to equip the learners with the skills, knowledge and confidence to be able to successfully plan and deliver sessions but still, eep!

Turning off the laptop, putting on my boots and waterproof trousers and stepping outside feels like a bold move. But one that I’m looking forward to. And even if I don’t use the training in the woods for a while, I’m hoping that it will better inform me for my role within the metaphorical ‘office’. However, even in order to make the week’s training happen has been a bit of an undertaking in terms of childcare and I owe a huge thank you to one particularly special friend and my Mum and Dad for helping Dan keep the kids occupied that week whilst he’s working from home. It really does take a village and I’m so grateful for my little one.  So here’s to stepping out of my comfort zone of inboxes and spreadsheets and entering a whole new world of outdoor learning and adventure…I’ll keep you updated as to how I get on!


Cutting bits of string, I’ve got that. Fire lighting, watch this space…


Tongue Tie Release at 13 months

In all my life I never went to hospital except to give birth but since having kids I swear it’s becoming a regular occurrence! We’ve been to A+E four times with Sophia (bumped head, drank guitar cleaner, broke finger, possible concussion), one of which resulted in minor day surgery (the finger!) and had an ambulance called for Isaac after the out of hours doctor was concerned by a very high temperature and slight issues with breathing (he didn’t have to go in and was fine).

But today as I type I’m sat waiting to be called to recovery as Isaac is having a tongue tie release which has to be done under general anaesthetic due to his age. I know he’ll be fine but I can’t help feeling nervous and having…
…I got called to recovery in the middle of typing! I was feeling nervous as holding your child whilst someone uses gas to put them to sleep is pretty unpleasant. I got a bit teary but am told this is normal!

Anyway, he was fine, it all went well and he seems delighted with the new movement of his tongue, has been waggling it all over the place. In fact, the worst bit was the fast before-he was fitful and crying from 2am until 7am as he wasn’t allowed breast milk-not fun!!

I’d like to say I have some deeper insight in relation to this morning but unfortunately I don’t, I was just blogging to relieve anxiety. The only comment I really have is that I wish it had been caught sooner.

I’m a breastfeeding peer supporter so feel quite embarrassed that I didn’t realise until he was 9 months old but really I think I was too proud and dismissive of the problems we did have.

I had an attitude of ‘there’s no normal feeding pattern’ and ‘every baby is different’ and whilst that may be true to a certain extent, I definitely should have had a slice of humble pie and gone to see someone much earlier when he continued his excessively frequent feeds, slipping off the breast, dissatisfied crying in the evenings and refusal of my inverted side.

So my only take home advice is that if you have even an inkling that there may be something not quite right or if feeding isn’t comfortable for you or your baby, even if it’s your 7th baby, suck it up and go find some support!!

I found this article just the kick I needed to go and see a doctor about it (his weight gain was so good I didn’t think it could be tongue tie at first) so would recommend reading it if at all concerned.

The look on his face when he had some food afterwards and realised he could manipulate it in his mouth in a way he never could before was just priceless, what a smile!

And just a quick aside to end, staff at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (Brighton) were amazing, as always. Props to them and thanks!

Exploring before his trip to theatre

Sleeping soundly afterwards