Five Things I Love About My Work...

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Social media is still quite a new area of work. When I tell people what I do, I occasionally get this reaction: “What? That’s a job?”

So I thought I would write about my work, and more importantly, what I love about it!

1.     Variety

I work with several different clients who all have very different businesses. No two days are the same, in fact, no two hours are the same!  Switching between work for different clients keeps me on my toes.

 

2.     Meeting my clients

I am naturally curious and I love finding out about my clients – learning about their customers and their services, and turning all that learning into a social media strategy that works for them.

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3.     Writing

I’ve always loved writing, and words, and there’s a lot of that in this job!  When I’m writing social media posts for my clients, I’m trying to use the right tone that matches their business and that will appeal to their customers, as well as keeping the posts interesting, and short!

 

For some of my clients I also write blogs for their websites. This gives me the chance to explore a topic in more depth, because I have more space to write about it.  Blogs are a great for showing your customers “behind the scenes” of your business, or giving them useful tips on how to use your product. And blogs are really shareable on social media platforms too.

4. Creating  

As well as writing, I love taking photos and creating graphics to use on social media.Using images that are in line with my clients’ branding are an eye-catching addition to a feed – great for quotes, or customer testimonials.

 
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5.     Results

I can be a bit of a geek when it comes to numbers!  I collect data for all my clients to see what’s working, and what we need to change.  I’ll be looking at which types of content get the best engagement, or which posts lead to the most clicks through to the client’s website, for example It’s all about testing, and learning from the results, to get the most from my clients’ social media budget. . And of course, it’s really satisfying to see when content does well!

Contact me to find out how I can help you with your social media presence.

It’s time for a change…

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blogs and social media posts about “Raising Wilder Kids” - sharing ideas and inspiration for getting kids and families outside and active in nature.

It all  started back in 2017, as part of my Digital Mums Social Media course, and it’s been lots of fun! We’ve had lots of adventures and learned about lots of new things to do - as well as learning all about managing social media.

 

Exciting times ahead…

As 2019 begins, my social media business is up and running. It has a new name and a new website. So now seems like a good moment to rebrand my social media platforms too.

Now seems like a good moment to rebrand my social media platforms, too.

So, if you are following me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you’ll see my new name “A Social Nature” and my lovely new logo!

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I’ll still be talking about why I love to get outside, and sharing things to do and places to go. I’ll also be sharing my journey in my work – the things that have inspired me and discoveries I’ve made, as well as tips for getting you noticed on social media.

I hope you will join me!

 

If you would like to more about how I can help you with social media, get in touch here. I would love to hear from you! 

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P.S. My lovely logo was designed by Stacey Ward - contact Stacey on LinkedIn.

 

Making Wildlife Moments

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Autumn is a great time for wildlife watching with kids. There are fewer leaves on the trees, making birds in particular easier to spot. Plus, many animals are busy gathering food for the winter, and so they are more active.

This half term we went to Scotland, to an area we have visited many times. One afternoon, we called into a wildlife hide overlooking a loch. We have been there several times before; it’s great for spotting seals.

Otter! he said.

As we entered the hide, a man looking through some binoculars pointed over towards some rocks. “Otter!” he said.

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We watched the otter for over half an hour as it fished in the loch, diving under the water and returning to the surface to crunch its catch. We passed the binoculars between us, whispering to each other as we spotted it again and again. It was a rare and magical moment, that I hope the boys will remember for a long time.

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When to Start

Our boys are ten and twelve, and we have been involving them in wildlife watching since they were very small.

You might think that trying to watch wildlife — usually involving being very quiet — would be impossible with young children! But actually it’s not. By starting when children are young, you are giving them an appreciation of nature that hopefully will last a lifetime. They may not become the next David Attenborough, but you might be surprised what knowledge they pick up!

I don’t know my warblers from my wigeons!

You don’t need to be a wildlife expert. There are loads of great resources online — try Wildlife Watch for free, printable spotting sheets. Learning alongside your kids is a great thing to do together.

And remember, it’s not about being able to name every species you see. Marvelling at a brightly coloured butterfly, or a fungus, or spotting a squirrel scampering up a tree are all great nature moments to share with your kids.

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Where to Go

Your own back garden is a great place to begin. Put out some bird seed and get the kids to watch from the window. At this time of year as the weather gets colder, birds are on the look-out for easy sources of food so it won’t take long for them to find your garden!

There’s loads to see when you are out and about too. What can you spot on the way to school or nursery? Take the long way round and walk through the park or the woods. Pick up some brightly coloured leaves along the way, for crafty fun when you get home.

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Try a Nature Reserve

You might imagine that nature reserves are full of serious spotters in camouflage clothing, with huge cameras and binoculars. But most reserves welcome families too! The RSPB reserves often have a family friendly hide. Our local reserve, at Old Moor in Barnsley, has a family hide over-looking a lake. Inside there are colouring activities, lots of child-friendly pictures of the birds you might see, and a blackboard to draw what you have spotted. And there’s no pressure to be silent!

We have found that other nature-lovers are really helpful, pointing out exciting things to see and telling us the names of birds. They are pleased to see the kids and want to encourage them and share their knowledge.

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Tips for Successful Spotting

  • Short and Sweet — start with just a few minutes so the kids don’t get bored.

  • Get the kit — Pick up a cheap pair of lightweight binoculars for the kids to use. Having something new to try out will get them interested. Older kids will love taking photos, so let them loose with your camera!

  • Share the experience — talk about what you have seen, use spotting sheets or books together.

More Information

The RSPB have lots of information on family-friendly reserves.

Wildlife Watch has nature-based great activities for kids.

The Wildlife Trusts have family events to get kids involved in nature.

Why We Love Family Camping

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If you’ve never tried it, it would be easy to find camping totally baffling.

Why would you want to leave your centrally heated, spacious home, with all your labour-saving appliances, to go and sleep in a field?

And worse still, why would you want to do it with kids?

So here’s a run-down on why we love it, and some tips on how to get the best from your trip.

Different Rules

There is a slight sense of anarchy about camping. The kids stay up later, because it’s still light. We light the barbeque to cook bacon for breakfast. They are allowed to ride their bikes in their pyjamas. Being a little bit muddy is encouraged.

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For the grown-ups too, it’s time to switch off. There are no chores to do, no over-flowing ironing basket to make you feel guilty about sitting down with a book. Meals have to be simple, because the cooking arrangements are limited (two gas rings and a barbeque, a small fridge in the campervan). We try not to over-plan our camping time. It’s lovely to have time when you don’t need to be anywhere. The kids can play and explore, and you can relax.

Back to Basics

It’s true, even the fanciest, “glamping” set-up is unlikely to have a dishwasher. But here’s the funny thing — while washing up at home is not something I look forward to, there’s actually something quite nice about gathering up the pots, the sponge and the a tea-towel and wandering over to the washing up sinks. The kids dry (slowly), and we all chat about our day, and our plans for tomorrow.

Outdoors Life

Some campsites have WiFi but generally it’s not great, so the usual electronic distractions are out of action. Now at home we have the same battles as everyone else over the amount of time the kids spend plugged into a screen. When we are camping, they spend most of their time outside. They play football. They make friends with other kids on the site and disappear to explore with them. In the evenings, we watch the sun go down, and the stars come out. We might see the odd bat fly past. We play board games together.

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Our Top Tips for Camping with Kids

1. Do a Bit of Research

Camp sites vary a lot. We have stayed in a tiny site with four pitches that only had one portaloo, no showers and outdoor washing up sinks. It was a great adventure for one night, but for more than that I would have struggled (the kids loved it!).

Some sites have larger family bathrooms which can be a real bonus if you have small children, with space to get them washed and dressed without getting yourself soaked in the process. Some even have baths.

Sites which are mainly for caravans may not have washing up facilities. We have been caught out by this in the past and had to improvise with a large pan as a washing up bowl. Some of these types of sites may assume you will have an “on board” loo, so the site toilets may be miles from your pitch (again, we learned this the hard way!) Definitely worth asking about when you book.

2. Be organised

In most tents and caravans, space is at a premium. Take what you know you will need and use. We find packing cubes really useful for keeping each person’s clothes together — it makes finding things in the morning much easier. We each have different coloured cubes!

Collapsible plastic crates or even sturdy shopping bags are useful for storing food in the tent or awning. Everything is packed very tightly in our campervan and it gets annoying if you have to take everything out of the cupboard each time you want to get out a tin of beans.

3. Limit the kid’s stuff

Our kids have a small rucksack each which they can fill with their “essentials”. This helps them to focus on what they really want to take, rather than packing absolutely everything and spending the whole trip falling over it all.

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4. Plan Meals

It’s great to be spontaneous, but we find it really works to plan our meals before we set off. We often take something pre-made for our first night, like a tub of Bolognese sauce or a chilli, which we can just heat up once we’ve pitched. We always have a couple of emergency meals packed in case the planned pub meal doesn’t work out — a tin of salmon or tuna to make fishcakes, soup, or beans are always handy.

5. Camp with Friends

Some of our best camping trips have been with other families. The kids have their friends to play with, you can share the planning and the cooking, and the washing up! It’s lovely relaxed time together.

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If you haven’t tried camping with the kids yet, give it a go. It might be the best adventure ever!

In Which We Are Properly Introduced and We Begin A New Adventure….

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Hello and let me properly introduce myself…

I’m Clair — Mum, outdoors fan, and now about to embark on an adventure of my own…

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I started Kirklees Wilder Kids as part of my training to become a Social Media Manager.

I knew that the training was going to be pretty intense, and I was going to be posting, writing, photographing and videoing a lot for my campaign. It needed to be something I was passionate about!

As a family we spend a good deal of time outside, but sometimes life gets in the way. I think a lot of families are in the same position; we want to get out with the kids, but homework, housework, or just work, can mean a whole weekend has passed by and we’ve not been further than the supermarket.

We all need a bit of outdoors inspiration sometimes. I decided to use this as the starting point for my campaign, and Kirklees Wilder Kids was born.

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So what have I learned in the last few months?

I have learned a lot about social media, that’s for sure! Running Kirklees Wilder Kids over FacebookTwitter and Instagram , and here on the blog has been a great experience, and I’ve loved creating new content and discovering interesting and exciting content to share.

But I’ve learned a lot too about the importance of getting outside.

I have read a lot about the benefits of kids spending time outside. I have read some frightening statistics about how little time some kids spend being outdoors and active.

I have made connections with fantastic people who are passionate about getting kids outside and active.

I’ve learned about new places to explore, and new activities to try.


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I have learned that being outside is so important for our family — to the kids, but to us adults as well. It relieves our stress. It improves our mood. When we are outside we talk, we listen, and we have fun, together.

And I am more passionate than ever about getting kids , and families, outside.

We have got wet, and muddy. We have sledged in the snow and cycled in the rain. We have foraged for fossils and hunted for bugs. We have built dens, laid trails, and flown kites.

We have had a fantastic time! Thankyou so much for following us!

I hope you have enjoyed sharing our story, and joining in some of our challenges.

What’s Next?

Kirklees Wilder Kids is part of the family now! There are still lots more fun to be had.

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Cannon Hall Farm with Pre-Teens

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Cannon Hall Farm is always very popular with families with young children. But does it have enough to appeal to older kids?

In the Limelight

Cannon Hall Farm near Barnsley hit the headlines recently when it hosted the week-long “Springtime on the Farm” on Channel 5.

The nation fell in love with the farm and the Nicholson family, and watched as lambs and piglets were born right in front of their eyes.

We visited this week the wake on its TV stardom with our 9 year old and 11 year old, and friends who have kids the same age. Would it keep these pre-teens entertained?

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Lots on Offer

When we arrived we received an impressive list of highlights taking place during the day. Ferret racing, “Meet the Meerkats,” small animal petting, milking demonstrations, tractor rides — there were new things to catch every half hour or so. How would we fit it all in?

Amazing Meerkats

The meerkats were first — these engaging little mammals have lots of space to run around in their enclosure. We loved seeing them disappear into their tunnels then pop out again to keep watch from their look-out rocks.

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Riveting Reptiles

Next we visited the newest addition to the farm — the reptile house. There is a fascinating range of reptiles and insects to see — from a huge, albino python, to a colourful chameleon, to tortoises, crabs, and geckos.

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Most fascinating of all, perhaps, were the leaf-cutter ants, running along ropes strung along the ceiling. We watched, amazed at the strength of these tiny ants carrying pieces of leaf many times bigger than themselves back to their nest.

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The reptile house was a big hit: “Hey Mum, come and look at…”

We visited twice during the day — they couldn’t get enough! They particularly enjoyed getting chance to stroke a giant cockroach, almost the length of a hand (Eek!).

Farmyard Favourites

As well as the exotic reptiles, there is no shortage of traditional farm animals to see. The kids loved the new-born lambs and we watched the expectant ewes for quite a while, hoping to be lucky enough to see a birth, but no-one obliged!

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We watched a milking demonstration, and saw piglets from tiny new-born litters through to weaned young pigs. This raised some interesting questions and discussion about where our food comes from — especially as we had already agreed we would visit the farm shop to buy something for tea!

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Sheep Shenanigans

The kids played at being racing pundits for the Sheep Race — pick your favourite sheep, collect a free raffle ticket of that colour, and the winning sheep’s tickets are entered into a prize draw to win a family pass to the farm. The racing commentary got us into the spirit, and we all cheered for our sheep as they ran around the course. Great fun!

Play Time

Cannon Hall Farm is almost as popular for its adventure playground as it is for its animals. Here again, there was plenty for older kids, with tower slides, a zip wire and a challenging ropes trail which stretched even the eldest’s nerve!

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The rain in the afternoon meant we had no excuse not to visit the Hungry Llama — the huge and exciting indoor play area. Luckily they serve good coffee (and food if you want it). We had chance to relax and chat while the kids hurled themselves down the drop slide, returning red-faced and sweaty half an hour later.

The Hungry Llama claims to be one of the biggest indoor play areas in the North of England, and it is certainly very popular with kids of all ages. Ours loved it, although with an age limit of 12, they don’t have that much longer so they had better make the most of it!

To sum up:

Cannon Hall Farm is a great option for a day out for kids of all ages. Our children loved it when they were little, but there is still lots to keep pre-teens interested, entertained and busy for a full day. We didn’t manage to fit in all the activities on offer, so we will definitely be back soon. Recommended.

Admission Charges

Adult — £8.95

Child: £8.95

Family Ticket (4 people): £34.00

Cheaper on a weekday until May 25th.

We had a voucher from Yorkshire Attractions which got us £10.00 off a family ticket.

Food Options

Hungry Llama — Eat whilst the kids play. Good quality food and a varied menu — not what you might expect for a soft play!

White Bull — Farm produce, lots of choice, gastro-pub style.

Farm Shop — Take something special home for tea!

If you want to take a picnic there is usually an indoor picnic room available.

For more information visit the Cannon Hall Farm website.


Kirklees Wilder Kids — The Back Story

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Discovering ways to get kids outside, active and a little bit muddy in beautiful rural Kirklees.

Welcome!

I am a Mum of two boys aged 9 and 11, married to Richard. We love being outdoors, and we are trying to encourage our kids to love it too! We are always looking for new things to do and places to go locally. We hope you will join us in exploring what our area has to offer for outdoor adventures

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Our Story

Richard and I both came from the kind of families that liked being outdoors. Our parents weren’t mountaineers or adventurers, but weekends and holidays were often spent walking in hills, or splashing around on the shores of lakes. We did our fair share of complaining, as our parents will testify. But somehow, we came to love the outdoors and to feel at home there. This is what we want for our kids too.

But it’s not easy. Mention the word “walk” to our boys and something strange happens. They become limp, as if all their bones have dissolved. “Not a WALK!” they moan. We cajole, persuade, and turn off every electronic device in the house. Still grumbling, they emerge, blinking like moles, into the daylight.

This is when the miracle takes place. Perhaps it is because they are infuriatingly contrary, or perhaps it is the effects of the fresh air. But suddenly they are off, running ahead, picking up sticks, poking in ditches and splashing in puddles. They are busy, curious, and, most importantly, they are active.

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Wilder Kids

Being outside has so many benefits for kids.

  • Time to play and imagine

  • Time to learn about their environment and nature

  • Time to take risks and explore

  • Time to get muddy!

Family Time

When we spend time outdoors, we are together. We are away from work, from the phone, and the dreaded screens. We talk to each other. We share experiences. We all feel fitter, healthier, better.

  • Most outdoor activities are free or low cost.

  • In Kirklees, we have lots of beautiful countryside on our doorstep.

  • Nature-based activities can reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

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But how do we do it?

Kirklees Wilder Kids is all about finding new things to do and places to go, to get our kids, and us, outside and active. Why not join in?

We will be talking about:

  • getting motivated to get outside

  • new ideas for outdoor activities

  • places to go locally

  • useful stuff for outdoor adventures.