Becky Types

How your Instagram photos are killing off the bluebells

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Bluebell Season, a truly magnificent sight to see at least once in your life and the smell is just incredible on a warm day - unless you suffer from hay-fever like me!
But before you read on and I explain why I'm writing about this wonderful flower,  I want to ask you a question:

You and your friend are walking through the woods which is covered with a sea of bluebells as far as the eye can see. 
For that perfect blogger photo, you want a picture of you in the bluebells, do you: 

A) You come off the path and walk through the flowers until you come across a log, you get your friend to take some photos. This will look great on Instagram!

B) You stand on the thin path while your friend stands behind you to take the photo. One of those, follow me down the path photos you see on the traveller blogs.

C) You see about two foot in that there's a patch of flowers that have been disturbed, you decide to go over and lie in them. The flowers surrounding are still standing, so this will be perfect!

Which one did you go for?
If you went for A or C, then did you know that you would be contributing towards the decline of the native bluebell and you're actually killing the protected spring bloom?

There are two types of bluebells, the English which is a native species and the non-native, evasive Spanish.
You can tell the difference with the below picture. While the English has a droopy stalk because the flowers form on one side, the Spanish stalk is a lot firmer and stands tall with flowers covering all areas.

Source of photo

Each year hundreds, if not thousands of people descend on their local woods to visit the blue carpet that appears for a short period of time. If you haven't experienced this, I would highly recommend going and you can find a link to the best bluebell walks at the bottom of this post.

English Bluebells

One of the most important jobs of the English Bluebell is that they, along with other flowers are a good indicator of where ancient woodland stands. However, due to the increase of the Spanish Bluebells invading the English and to the amount of people standing on them this indicator is dwindling and soon will vanish in years to come, despite the English Bluebell being a protective species.
I'm afraid that some people think that even if it is a second that they are standing on the flower, that no permanent damage is caused, but they're wrong.

Unfortunately the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 only protects the bluebells from people digging them up with the idea to sell and not from people choosing to walk, sit, lie or even pick them.

So why are you making such a big song and dance about it?

Because once a bluebell is damaged, including its leaves the bluebell will struggle to grow back. Even research studies have shown at Moulton College, that once damaged the flowers will need around five years to recover as long as they are not continually damaged. Around 96% of bluebells are damaged from trampling and it stops the species from spreading their seeds and ruining a habitat.

The below photo has been taken from the Heartwood Forest Blog which is updated by the volunteers. Owned by the Woodland Trust, Heartwood Forest can be found on the outskirts of St. Albans and is a mixture of newly planted woodland and pockets of ancient woodland. Every year, those areas of ancient woodland are covered in bluebells, mainly the native English.

The below photo is just one of the few paths that have been set in Heartwood, a nice narrow path that winds further in. The second photo is a photo of a different path which is a lot wider but would have been a narrow path a few years previous.

Over the years, the increased amount of people standing on the edge of the path for just a second has resulted in the path getting wider and wider. As you can see, ropes have been installed to stop any further damage occur.

A narrow path through the woods
The result of many years of damage, the path widens

People still feel the need to make their own paths (the browning of dead leaves) despite a rope stopping them.

If left to their own, the bluebells will be visible for all future generations

A path which has been made over time. This would have been covered in bluebells.

The next two photos were taken from the Heartwood Forest Blog and is evidence what trampling can do to the woodland grown. Even after two years of recovery by stopping visitors walking this route, the ground is still full of great leaves and not the purple flower as the bulbs are still recovering from damage and will need more time.

Heartwood Forest Blog

Every year Woodland Trust volunteers take shifts, come rain or shine, throughout the Bluebell Season to speak to visitors and educate them into how and why we should preserve them. This is called SOB or Save Our Bluebells campaign.  If people continue to trample on them, the bluebells will continue to deteriorate and eventually disappear all together.  This is an English beauty that we should be saving.

Wow, I didn't realise any of this. Is there anything I can do?

Yes, carry on visiting the woods and take your photos but stick to the paths that are already set, don't make your own. 

As much as the photos of bloggers, models, children and dogs are lovely all I ask along with many others, is to leave only footprints on the paths provided and don't stray.

If you find a log within the bluebells and also a log that's on the edge of the path, chose the latter. It has probably been put there for that very reason, a photo opportunity.

If you are walking dogs through the woods make sure they stick on the path too or put them back on the lead until the bluebells are gone.

Recently I've also seen photos of horse riders taking their horses through the bluebells, this will equally damage them more! Again, stick to the paths.

If you see someone doing something they shouldn't don't hurl abuse, just politely inform them that what they are doing is actually damaging the woodland floor and they should stick to the paths. Remember, not everyone is aware of how delicate and short numbered these flowers are. 

Finally, Bluebells are actually poisonous to humans and animals if eaten and also cause a skin irritation to some, so I really wouldn't recommend lying in them.

Remember, if we keep damaging the bluebells year by year, they will disappear.

Each year, the Woodland Trust hold a Bluebell watch on their website, this is a place to record where you have spotted the Native and Non Native species. Join in with the Bluebell watch and find out more on Bluebells

Looking for a bluebell woodland walk near you? Check out this link here.

**If you enjoyed reading or learnt something new, please do share this post. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram anyway to raise awareness. **

Becky Types

How To: Get out of a blogging rut

Saturday, April 28, 2018

I think it is safe to say that we have all been their at least once in our blogging lives.
The moment where we have all these wonderful ideas to get down on the screen, but when we return home from work we just want to relax in front of the TV or even have an early night.
And on the very rare occasion, you have all the motivation in the world but with no idea what to write about.

As you may have realised, I've not exactly been the best or most consistent blogger in the world. I kept my blog running in the background just incase I got the push I needed, and I did - two years later!

Since 2016 I was visiting all these places, taking photos and wanting to post but I was getting in from work so tired or not having time to write. As well as feel scared that no one would read or like the content.

Until this year, I made that all change.

Here are my tips on how to get out of a blogging rut.
**I'm not an expert in this field, but this is what worked for me.**

Get Reading

This could be books, magazines, news articles, anything that will get those writing juices flowing.  Reading other people's posts is also a great way to get inspiration. I'm not saying copy content, far from it, but maybe you have a different view on a makeup brand, book or location.

Comment, Like, Share

Once you've read a bloggers post, do your bit to share it even more or comment on to praise the writer.
Just like you will one day, they have spent potentially hours researching, visiting, writing and editing posts and accompanying photos. Even if it is a simple 'I love this post, great work', I guarantee the blogger will be smiling.
Before I got back into my writing, I would read lots of posts and them comment, like and share. I still aim not to read at least three posts a day. Let's support each other.

Got the motivation; get typing

Isn't it funny that motivation or ideas to write come at you in the most inconvenient times?! At work, in the shower, even when I'm trying to doze off. Because of this I now keep a notepad next to my bed just so I don't lose the idea. I can then quickly jot it down and take a look at it later on, when I'm slightly more awake!
When I'm on my laptop and an idea comes to mind, I will now open up Blogger and pop the idea down as a title. I don't publish (obviously) but it's there, just like the notepad to remind me.

Write, but don't publish

When that motivation hits you, let it flow. Get writing whether that be on a laptop, notes on your phone or an old fashioned pen and paper. Don't fight it.  I have lots of draft posts which have bullet points for my to expand on at a later date. I will even look at two or three posts within my drafts at the same time, because that's the way my mind works.

Don't give a fuck

I'm still finding this the hardest thing to do, but I'm getting there. The main reason I stopped writing was due to the pressure that appeared within the blogging community. The pressure to create amazing content for someone to even acknowledge my post, was incredibly high.
It soon upset me that no one would comment, like or share my posts. Posts that I had spent hours writing.
But not anymore, I've decided that if I don't get any of that, it doesn't matter.. as much.
If I get one like, I will be happy.

Finally, just remember that Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was engagement on a blog.
Just keep at it and if you want a break from blogging, then do it. Sometimes a break is all you need and you may just get your mojo back.

Do you have any great tips to get back into it? What has worked for you?

Becky Types

What I want to achieve in my 27th year!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

On the 20th April I have been on this planet for 27 years. Can you believe it?!
I don't think I do, nor do my parents!
I really do wish I was seven again, having no cares in the world except which Spice Girl doll I wanted - I opted for Posh in the end, FYI!
Now, I'm 27 and having to budget every week, pay bills, pull weeds up in the yard. Adult stuff.

Every year on my birthday, I guarantee I will take a couple minutes to reflect on what I have achieved in my life, and to be honest it always gets me down because I feel that I haven't managed anything. Anyway, enough of that because this is why I am creating a list of things I want to achieve before my 28th birthday, a whole 365 days to go!

Being consistent on my blog

Even though I rebranded my blog (new name and all) in 2016, I had actually started four years ago this month! Back then, I was pretty consistent with my writing and would just talk about anything and everything, right up until I got a 9-5 job. Soon I found myself coming in from work, plonking myself in front of the TV and occasionally fall asleep.

If anything, since being with Andy and telling him how I use to love writing on my blog, it was he and my mum who told me to get back into it. I'll write another post about how I got back into it, as I hope it will help others.
This year I want to post every Saturday and at this present time I have more drafts than published, so I think that's a start and this will be my third consistent post!

Get back into Yoga

One of my New Year's resolutions was to start Yoga at home. Previously I had experienced Yoga within a field surrounded my trees and the rain and also at a staff conference.
At the moment, I feel much more comfortable in my own space following a YouTube tutorial. However, I have this feeling that sometimes I have no idea whether I'm doing it right, so eventually would like to join a group once I've mastered the basics.

Throughout January, I managed to do unwind for bed every Tuesday by completing five minutes of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. When the cold weather in February arrived, I was choosing the warmth of my bed over a yoga mat on the cold floor and by March I was on the road for work.
My aim for this year is to get back to doing my Yoga Tuesdays.

Go on Holiday 

Even though I've had mini city breaks (York, Bath, London) with Andy, a true holiday is one abroad, right?  The last time I was in a hot country, relaxing by the pool was to Ibiza in 2015, before that it was 2009! I very rarely go away.
I would love to go abroad somewhere warm this year, even if it's for a couple of nights in Europe. Money is a bit tight at the moment for me, so this isn't a priority on my list of achievements at the moment.

I can only yearn for this type of view again - Ibiza, Spain.

Learn a new craft

I like to think I'm a creative person - drawing, pottery, traditional stain glass, sign writing (not blowing my own trumpet or anything), but there is one craft I've not quite grasped the love for. Knitting/crocheting.
Last time I attempted to knit, I tried to make my own chunky snood with the help from mum. However, I was getting frustrated when I kept dropping a stitch but not realising until it was too late...

Last weekend, Andy's sister-in-law was showing me the blanket she was crocheting for her lounge.
I was fixed and she made it look so easy! Didn't help that she had never crochet in her life and simply watched a video on YouTube! I've been looking for a blanket for my lounge recently, which is chunky knit and in a certain green which will tie in with the curtains.  I've looked at every shop I can think of and some of the prices of the blankets are... high.
Do you have any recommendations on guides I can follow?

Finish reading at least one book

For a book lover like myself, I'm incredibly bad with not finishing a book. I suppose it's because if I like a story so much, I just don't want it to end so I stop reading.
But when I've counted at least 14 books which have book marks in the middle, it's quite silly and I've not even counted the books on my Kindle!
My aim this year is to finish these books, even if it means starting again and for every three finished, I may treat myself to a new book that I can stop in the middle of.

Get back into my photography

As well as my blog taking a hit since leaving the hotel industry (I loved having the odd days off rather than a weekend), my use of the camera slowly deteriorated to a point that the camera spent more time in its bag than out of it!
But I want that to change and recently my confidence has increased for me to feel comfortable in using it in public, even Andy tells me to bring my camera if we're going somewhere for the day.
Now that my mojo for blogging has returned, I will need to use the camera more for the photos.
A win-win situation!

Get one room finished in the house

I've lived in my house for five months now, owned for over a year and there are still small things to do. Painting the kitchen table, put in a shower curtain so I don't flood the bathroom and change a door which has the bottom missing, amongst a few others.
I want to aim to get at least one room finished this year and it shouldn't take that long as there are only three rooms in this tiny home!

There we have it, have you got anything you want to achieve this year? Maybe you have recommendations for some more books I can add to my collection.

Becky Types

National Trust: Southwell Workhouse

Saturday, April 14, 2018

As you slowly walk up the path towards this baronial building within the town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire it's hard to imagine how the people who lived here felt. Imagine walking through the doors, knowing that you would never be able to speak, see or hear from your family members again.
Mothers separated from their children. Wives separated from their husbands, including those who were elderly and infirm.

Southwell Workhouse, Nottinghamshire
Southwell Workhouse, Nottinghamshire
Southwell Workhouse, Nottinghamshire
In 1824, local parishes surrounding Southwell sent in funds to build a workhouse which would house the destitute rather than each parishes providing individual support for the poor.  The Workhouse  then in turn influenced the New Poor Law of 1834.

It was built for around 160 inmates where they lived and worked in a strict and segregated environment. The workhouse founder, Reverend J.T Becher, ran the rural workhouse to run a harsh regime which was aimed to act as a deterrent. However, Becher also had in min the moral and temporal welfare of the community and therefore helped them equip themselves, the inmates, for a better life outside.

The New Poor Law was disbanded in 1929 and the workhouses were handed over to the local authorities, subsequently Southwell was used to house the poor, homeless and elderly. It was then used as a residential home for the elderly until the National Trust took ownership.

I'm currently in the process of tracking the history behind my cottage. I discovered that when the prison at the village I live in closed, the inmates were sent to Southwell.

When you first walk round and see the empty, cold rooms it really makes you sad that there were no comforts. No pictures, blankets or personal belongings. Inmates even had to share bedrooms, up to 20 per room. Inmates had a bed and a peg for which they hung their uniform on and that was it.

Daily chores included laundry, stone breaking and string pulling to name a few and you would not get paid for this.
If you were caught playing cards, you would miss out on a meal of gruel and bread.
It sounds incredibly tough but if anything, they were teaching you skills which could in turn help you gain employment in the world. That was the aim of Southwell Workhouse.
They would take the destitute in, train them and send them back out for a second chance, even children.

We all know the Victorian era where children were sent to work in the mills, collecting scraps under the chunky machines, to me the workhouse at Southwell would be much better than that.

Within a dormitory at The Workhouse

The Kitchen within the Women's quarter

Throughout the rooms, Southwell currently have a display on. Struggle for Suffrage: Workhouse Women and the Vote, is on display until Tuesday 30th October 2018 and is celebrating Women and Power and is a textile response to the stories of women who lived and worked at The Workhouse and the Suffragettes 1918 Votes for Women. The pieces were created by the local community textile group. Some of the pieces were incredibly moving, my favourite was the one in the laundry room.

Old fashioned laundry mangle

Textile piece for the Struggle for Suffrage display
I would really recommend visiting Southwell Workhouse if you're in the area. Just like any other National Trust house, they also have a children activity so that they can understand what life was like in the Workhouse, including a dressing up room.

Tips for visiting

If you do visit, don't forget to visit the coffee shop which can be found round the back of the Workhouse. They do a range of cakes and sandwiches and you can also purchase The Workhouse crockery.

Enjoying a cuppa
The first room you go in a video plays, this will help explain the New Poor Law of 1834 through the eyes of The Workhouse owner. Your journey will then continue to the Laundry room where a volunteer will explain the layout of The Workhouse.
Take your time with your visit and never shy away from asking the volunteers questions, they have a passion to be there and stories to share.

Have you visited Southwell Workhouse, what did you think? You can find more information, including events happening at the property on the National Trust website.

Becky Types

First Spa Day: My Top 6 Tips

Saturday, April 07, 2018

A spa day.
A well deserved, in my case, relaxing day. A whole day to sit back and let someone push the knots out of your back. No stress, no interruptions.

However, when you haven't been to a spa day before, i.e. me,  you end up stressing prior to going because you have absolutely no idea what to expect or take.
So you end up turning to your good friend, Google. You know that despite you being in your 20's, the internet won't know that this is your first time. It won't judge you, but my God was it useless!

I searched for absolutely hours, nothing.
In the end I turned to someone I trusted and knew, who had been to spa.

Once I had gotten over the initial nerves, which was helped by the copious free servings of mint tea (this is the only tea I know which calms me right down) it was such a lovely experience.

In all honesty, when we arrived it wasn't as bad as I thought but while lying on the bed it made me think. Let's make a list of everything I wanted to know, to help others and put them at ease.

What to wear
This was the first on my mind and actually it's quite easy.
A swimming costume or bikini will do, as long as your comfortable and you're given a robe when you arrive. You will need some flip-flops or sandals to walk around the building, and some places sell these if you don't have any.
I noticed some people had a spare costume to change into, which I would highly recommend. You don't want to be lying in a wet costume on a massage table.

Don't take a big bag
Because I had no idea before hand what to take and I also had this brilliant idea that I would go to the gym, I took a huge bag with me.
This wasn't a problem for me as I like to be prepared for all eventualities, but what I did't think about where the locker sizes.
Imagine, a huge bag (one you would use for an overnight stay) stuffed, along with boots, a big handbag and my coat and scarf... I felt like I was stuffing a sleeping bag into a small hole. Playing Tetris with my things.
So, do think about what you will need and pack light and small!

Do a tour of the Spa.
You may not want to do this when you first arrive. You just want to get into the day, but I would highly recommend this especially if you've never been to the spa before.
This was an option for us but we didn't go for it nor was it offered on our arrival. However, just as we were leaving our last treatment, the therapist pointed out an area of the Spa we didn't even know existed! We were honestly gutted as it had heated pool beds, warmth!
Take that quick tour so you can get the most out of your day.

Stay hydrated
This may sound like an obvious one, but it is so easy to lose track of how much you drink especially in between treatments.
When you go from sauna to pool to treatment, your body is losing a lot of water due to the sweating.
Yuck I know, but it's good to sweat!
Some spas will have water available, maybe even some fruit tea and water on hand but take a water bottle with you.
We noticed that the water coolers in the spa where incredibly warm and not refreshing in the slightest.

Take a book
In between treatments, this is your time to relax even more.
Leave your phones locked away in your bag and take a book or a magazine. Something to take your mind into another world.
I've been struggling to get back into reading recently and I knew that if I had time by the pool, I would use this time to read.

Stay over
When you find out you have to be at the hotel for 9am, it's a good idea to book a stay the night before especially if you have a long way to travel.
I would also recommend seeing if you can stay either at the spa or locally. When you're that relaxed, you will feel incredibly tired as well as refreshed. Also, if you're a resident you can stay long in the pool!

Well, that's all that I have to share.
Now that I have been and experienced a spa, I would love to go back and I feel that I now will be more prepared for it.
I hope you found this useful, do you have any tips for a spa day? I would love to hear them!