This week Family Days were contacted by the RSPB…which is fantastic to of been thought of.
We were asked if we would do a ‘Big Wild Sleepout’ specifically for the RSPB & post how we got on. We accepted this with pleasure….Eeeeeek.

We were not given any specific guidelines or needs, the only ask was that we have a ‘Big Wild Sleepout’…. So, how we did this, was entirely up to us.

Apart from checking what I was getting myself into I didn’t do much homework for the job, but it was decided that it should signify a lovely time that is achievable, affordable & reasonably effortless & something that would show what we have under our noses when we think about it a little…
I could of chosen the location as the mountains, a field or wood, or just generally somewhere beautiful but I wanted to show what can be done in your own back garden and more so to the point in a small back garden with limited shrubbery & astro turf…wildlife is everywhere, & here at FD we are no strangers to making use of our surroundings whatever they may be we always find nature.
I didn’t weigh too heavily on my plans of what we were going to do and wanted to keep it simple but very effective both in memories, a little educating & the adventure….. our ultimate goal was family fun.

Initially I decided to throw up the pop up tent but after putting more thought into it I also wanted to show that you actually don’t need a tent….. We used the kitchen table to show versatility and fun in den building but also at the same time used it as a tool to open discussion with the kids about animal homes, our kitchen table then became a ‘snug as a bug lair’…..(the table, a curtain thrown over, an air bed underneath, cushions & blankies)….we did throw a pop up tent next to it as rain was forecast for the early hours of the morning….our kitchen table tent was by no means waterproof.

We used a sheet blacked out with paint just leaving a moon which we hung on the washing line to become a ‘moth attractor’, it also doubled up to play a game of shadow charades and dancing in the moonlight… I painted this myself purely to save on time because our sleepover was on a school day……A simple sheet hanging & backlit by a window was so much fun, versatile and mega effective once it got dark but also great in the sunshine!
We made a Moth restaurant using a water filled milk carton and a torch, we watered down treacle for the moths to sup on but you can make a really delicious treat for them with a moth food recipe and make your restaurant a’la carte (Details on the RSPB website)…we also hung jars in the trees with battery operated tea lights inside to attract the moths, you could spend more time decorating these.
We made some simple bird feeders by hanging pretty porcelain cups from the charity shop with string in trees and filling with bird seed or water, we went on a twilight & nocturnal bug hunt, read stories & chilled. The smallest members of the family were fooled into thinking an owl was in the garden whilst mr FD stood outside the tent throwing his voice with owl hooting hands.

For food we cooked pop corn inbetween two sieves over the fire using kernels and had the obligatory cheese and pineapple hedgehog….. along with a takeaway curry 🙂

It was a good evening, everyone went to sleep and the rain came around 3 in the morning, this didn’t really bother them much as they were all still sleeping like babies but the kitchen table tent was not designed as a boat and feet were sticking out of the end too so I woke them up and moved them to the living room inside.

After a couple of hours kip I relocated the pop up tent into the living room in time for them to crawl back into when they awoke to eat breakfast.

As part of our ‘Big Wild Sleepout’ we’d intended to go for a walk as the sun came up to watch everything around us waking up & enjoy the dawn chorus. As there was no sun to keep us company we plan to do this when the sun returns.

We would like to thank the RSPB for contacting us & we hope they enjoy our FD Big Wild Sleepout as much as we did….

We would very much appreciate to hear any thoughts, comments or views you have regarding our camp out, and I’m sure if the RSPB are sat on the sidelines they would like to see what you guys think too.

That’s our exciting news, & is certainly a step in the right direction for us and makes us feel proud that we’ve had the opportunity to inspire more people with our grasping what’s around you & making simplicity magical ethos.

Sleep outs rock, raining, cricks in the neck, slugs and all…

Anyway…here’s how we got on…20140607-201101.jpg20140607-201114.jpg20140607-201124.jpg20140607-201134.jpg20140607-201146.jpg20140607-201201.jpg20140607-201215.jpg20140607-201224.jpg20140607-201237.jpg20140607-201244.jpg20140607-201252.jpg20140607-201318.jpg20140607-201332.jpg20140607-201343.jpg20140607-201353.jpg20140607-201415.jpg20140607-201425.jpg
After our bug hunt we made our tea cup bird feeders..20140607-201558.jpgAnd then gave the popcorn a go..20140607-201630.jpg20140607-201637.jpg20140607-201651.jpg20140607-201657.jpg
Mila read wildlife stories to the dinosaurs..20140607-201805.jpg
20140607-201855.jpgThen we had tea in our snug as a bug lair..20140607-201943.jpg
We put out our moth attractors20140607-202025.jpg20140607-202107.jpg20140607-202114.jpgInvestigated a rustling in the bushes..20140607-202223.jpg
Once it started to get dark we played shadow charades..20140607-202421.jpg

After playing charades it was time to with hot chocolate..


Before climbing into our outside lairs to settle down..



We had loads of fun and can’t wait to do it again!

The RSPB Big Wild Sleepout takes place from the 16-22 June & anyone can get involved. #BigWildSleepout
Find more info at



Everybody loves dens!!
We decided to transform the kitchen table again and this time our mission was to head to space in an under table rocket with our toddler spaceman….

Here’s what we did…

Our prep started with making some alien sensory specimen bottles, we filled bottles with water & added a few drops of food colouring and some play dough outer space snakes..

20140512-175654.jpgwe bought some yummy Milky Way stars and some flying saucers to snack on as we headed to the moon…


20140512-175823.jpgwe made our own solar system using ball pit balls and a football covered in tin foil..

20140512-175933.jpgwe then set about building our rocket… I used a large piece of cardboard covered in wall paper for the flight deck & cut out a circle for the port hole..

At the other end I made the rocket entrance using a large box, I also covered this in wall paper and cut out a door, I only cut three side to the door to still enable us to open and close it..

20140512-180328.jpgI covered the table with an old black duvet cover and lay a blanket on the floor..


20140512-180438.jpgI then cut out two circles in the duvet to make our spec rocket windows, I cut out some rings using silver card and stuck them to the duvet..

20140512-180645.jpgfinally I made a NASA sign 🙂

We then set about making our space outfit with a roll of tin foil…
We covered some wellies and added liberal amounts of tape around and around them…

20140512-180916.jpgwe used a cardboard box covered with tin foil for our space helmet..

20140512-181011.jpg our space suit was simply a white babygro with a printed NASA sign stuck to it..

20140512-181147.jpg I put the table by the window and closed the curtain, I then added some cut out moons and stars to the curtain

Once we had finished our space walk we headed back into the comfort of our rocket..

Making sure we left our moon boots outside 🙂

20140512-181734.jpgwe played inside whilst we whizzed through the stars…

(I used sticky tape to attach some battery operated fairy light to the under table ceiling)


We had an out of this world time!!



Noah is nearly 2! His birthday is tomorrow so the kids & I spent the afternoon putting together a special circus themed party table with an undertable den for him…
We all helped out, I made the cake a couple of days ago and we used what we already had in the craft box to glue, stick, cut out and paint till we were happy, we even had Noah’s approval.
All that’s left to do now is laden it with scrummy party food, turn the music up, open presents and eat cake!

Here’s how we did it…

We started by putting a piece of material on the table securing it with tape, our material was a fleecy blanket from ikea for a few pound.. I then marked up the bars with a pen ready to cut out.

We pinned some wallpaper to the wall that would be the canvas for our circus scene.

Eden set about making the bunting by using sticky tape to attach coloured triangles to a length of wool (because we had no string)

Everybody helped draw and colour our ringside circus scene.

The backdrop turned out well..

I made a circus parade sign for our circus cage..

We started to lay the table..





20140510-173954.jpgNoah tested out the under table den..

20140510-174027.jpgSo did Mila


20140510-174339.jpgWe used water balloons to fill a basket and stick to the walls, we found that once blown up if we rubbed them on our hands it created enough friction to keep them stuck to the wall..

20140510-174505.jpgWe filled a truck with sweeties.

20140510-174604.jpgAnd wrapped some presents

20140510-174633.jpg everyone did a fab job!!




We decided we wanted to go camping but didn’t fancy pitching up in the rain so we had an indoor campout instead..

Here’s what we did..

We made our camp fire using marshmallows, chocolate logs, chocolate fingers & boiled sweets, we lay it all on a piece of cardboard that we cut to look like logs..

We got out some camping accessories..



We had hot dogs got tea, a camping essential…

We got together all the ingredients for a campout breakfast and cooked it on our camping stove on the porch… We headed back indoors to eat it..


Who needs worry about the weather!!!



We found a length of material at a car boot sale and decided to head out to try our hand at tipi building…

We took some string and found an open spot to build, we gathered some long strong branches and began putting it together…

Here’s how we got on..






Looking good….





For first time teepee builders we did a good job 🙂



Our plan was to make a yellow submarine under the table but due to having no yellow paint I started by making the ocean viewing window that lets us see out from within our submarine. In addition to our under table submarine we now have an adjoining ocean den too, simply made by wrapping cling film around the table legs and adding paper fishes & fairy lights.
Here’s how we did it…


I cut out paper fishes..


I wrapped cling film around the table legs & stuck the fishes to it.


I placed the table a few foot from the wall so we could make an ocean den beyond our table.


Our ocean den that joins onto the table..


The table will be transformed into a yellow submarine with a view to the ocean outside which will double up as an additional den.


I placed battery operated fairy lights between the layers of cling film.


Our aquatic undertable scene which will be the view from inside our submarine.


Then we set about making our submarine using a cardboard box with fold out sides…

We placed our yellow submarine ready to be boarded submerged within his under table ocean….

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