As a blogger, I get to do lots of interesting things, but I can’t say I ever expected anyone to ask me if I wanted to learn how to throw an axe. To be honest, I’m not even sure why you throw an axe, unless you’re a Viking or something. I imagine them chucking axes about and roaring ferociously. 

I have been challenged by the National Trust though, to do something outdoorsy – something that I might not normally think to do, and you get to choose what that is. 

NT SWOF Jo Middleton Adventures 1

It’s to celebrate the South West Outdoor Festival, a totally new kind of festival, being held in Devon from September 23 – 25. It’s being hosted by The National Trust, together with Cotswold Outdoor, Panasonic, Exmoor National Park and lots of local outdoor experts. It’s a festival for people who prefer rafting to raving, and who’d rather been foraging for wild food than queuing for a burger. View Post


I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise. I particularly like the idea of a cruise around the Norwegian fjords. They just look so beautiful, don’t they? But then, what do you pack for a cruise?

pack for a cruise

Weirdly, I feel a little ashamed to admit it, because when I picture a stereotypical cruise goer, I tend to picture a woman in her late sixties, who is widowed but who has found, now that she doesn’t have a husband to look after, that actually she loves to go salsa dancing and cruising and to wear animal prints. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don’t quite see myself in that category while deciding what to pack for a cruise. Yet. (Give it a while. I already like animal prints.)

I know it’s not like that of course, and cruising actually has a lot going for it. Some of the benefits as far as I can see:

  • You get to see a lot of different scenery, within having to move off your sun lounger.
  • All you can eat buffets.
  • Falling asleep to the soothing swoosh of the sea.
  • Did I mention the buffets?
  • Knowing that you won’t get roped into a trek up a mountain or anything like that.
  • The chance that a murder might happen on board, which you will be called upon to solve, Agatha Christie style (this also applies to long distance train journeys).

This is the sort of train journey I’m picturing:

pack for a cruise

To prove that your cruise wardrobe doesn’t have to be totally animal print based, and to help you pack for a cruise, JD Williams have put together an infographic to help you decide what to wear while cruising. Obviously for the murder mystery scenario you’d need something a little more 1920s-inspired, ideally involving a matching hat and gloves, but this infographic is a great place to start should you happen to be planning a cruise wardrobe anytime soon.

You’re welcome!

pack for a cruise

Cruise Packing Guide by Collaborative post. Images – Zbynek Burival and Serjio74, both from shutterstock.


This is going to be a post about two of my favourite things – travel and Disney. In particular, the DisneyLife app. (A new branch of the ‘favourite things’ tree.)

If you’ve read even a handful of my blog posts before, you’ll know that Belle and I are pretty much permanently on mini-breaks, holed up in some caravan somewhere, and in case you were in any doubt at all about the Disney element, here’s what hangs, pride of place, on the wall at home. I’m not sure whether Bee was more excited in Disneyland Paris, meeting Stitch, or at Camp Bestival, where she met Seth Lakeman. It’s a tough call.  

DisneyLife app

The DisneyLife app

We are all very excited though about being part of the team of bloggers working with Disney to help people discover the DisneyLife app. And honestly, when I say I am excited, I really mean it. Not like when I say ‘I’m excited to be working with this new brand of high fibre cracker!’ (Although you know, it’s always nice to have work). This is proper ‘I might get to work with Disney! I can’t wait to hear from Disney!’ type excitement. Ask my fiancé, he’ll tell you how annoying I’ve been in the run up to this project going live. View Post


I don’t think I’ve ever really watched surfers. (Unless you count watching Point Break about 27 times as a teenager.) I’ve seen them, but I’ve never really watched them, and appreciated the dedication and passion that’s at the heart of surfing. That is, until I visited the Esplanade Hotel in Newquay. 

As I sat in the big windows of The Esplanade Hotel, looking out over Fistral Bay, the sea looked like it was covered in birds – little black blobs bobbing up and down on the surface of the water. They were surfers though, lying in wait for waves. As I watched, I realised just how much lying in wait is actually involved. For minutes on end they bobbed, watching the waves, waiting for the one that would be worth it – all of that time for just a few seconds of adrenaline. 

Our bedroom was pretty much directly above the big front windows, so we had a similarly lovely view to wake up to:

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Before we arrived at Nozstock festival at the end of July, I don’t think I had done quite enough to prepare my fiancé for an authentic festival experience. Until last summer, the only festival experience he had had at all was The Proms, and I really don’t think that counts. As far as I know, Prom goers don’t tend to wear revealing mermaid costumes or walk around during the concert, kicking up hay with their bare feet.

Nozstock festival

Last summer, we eased him in gently with Wychwood Festival, but that’s so small and family friendly, and essentially in a car park, with tarmac floors, that it’s more like a large church fete. 

“Is this what all festivals are like?” he asked, as we arrived at Nozstock, and passed a group of people with blue dreadlocks, holding cans of cider.

“Um, yes, pretty much,” I said. He has led rather a sheltered life, (until he met me), and sometimes funny coloured hair makes him nervous. I think he worries that he won’t know what to do, or how to behave properly, and that he will end up looking silly. 

“Should I wear my hat?” he asked anxiously. “Will people laugh at me?”

I assured him that the beauty of a festival is that you can wear whatever you like, and no one will laugh. It’s just about having a good time, and escaping from real life.  View Post