The Finnish Candle

I love making tea outdoors (it always tastes better) and last week in Sweden I got to learn a new method.

Usually we use Adam’s pocket rocket and gas canister or we boil water on a campfire or suspended from a tripod. Adam has shown me a Finnish candle before but I hadn’t tried it myself…. until now.

To get us started he canoed over to the shoreline, leaving me marooned on our little island and felled a dead pine tree, bringing back a seasoned log and some small twigs and birch bark.

He split the wood in quarters lengthways and positioned the four pieces together with a small gap between each.

I placed little amounts of birch bark in the gaps at the base

and fine then slightly thicker twigs towards the top.

The whole point of this Finnish candle was for me to learn and it took me eight matches to light (because of lots of heavy winds and my general bushcraft inadequacies).

Once it was going though, there was no stopping it and we had hot tea in no time.

Sitting there chatting and eating lunch I noticed how long the candle continue to burn and give out heat with just one log.

It lasted long enough for us to enjoy our engagement chocolate which took……well, not very long at all actually!

Packing for an unplanned trip

Tonight I will board a flight to Stockholm Skavska Airport to meet Adam after three weeks apart. I’m sure he will be extra hairy.

Adam recently built a wood and canvas canoe – a lifelong dream for him – and he drove it out to Sweden to test.

In his car I packed a bag of clothes (3 jumpers, 1 fleece, 4 base layers, one summer playsuit and bikini just in case 😬, a pair of shorts, two pairs of leggings, waterproof trousers, 1 towel, underwear and my toiletries) so I wouldn’t need to take them on the flight.

The bonus for me is a cheap £31 flight with just a small bag.

When I say small bag I really mean it. My friends tease me for my small cases but I really can’t be bothered with carting tons of clothes and things around.

We don’t actually have any plan for our trip other than knowing what time and day our Eurotunnel crossing is. Everything else is yet to be decided 🤗

Adam already has our camping equipment so we have what we need wherever we end up;

– two person tent

– double sleeping bag

– camping stove and pots etc

– roll mats

That’s about all we need I reckon. Simple is best. Back packs and jumpers are also pillows don’t you know.

I stuck to the minimal theme when packing my teeny weeny case and day pack.

I loathe going on trips with tons of stuff – it’s just more to organise and more things to lose if you’re anything like me. Adam and I are trying to declutter our lives too so this is all good practice 😁

As I have warm clothes already out there, all I have packed is my favourite boots ever (which I’ll just wear to travel), my Rab Gillet which is so cosy, and my waterproof Mountain Equipment jacket which I got for a real bargain.

Food and drink is just the ‘essentials’ of course

-I love peppermint and liquorice tea and no milk is needed – just add water. Adam will probably also make pine needle tea or something wild.

– Jumbo marshmallows because it’s not camping unless you eat at least five of these toasted to perfection.

Home made fruit leather made from apples and damsons and designed to satisfy our sweet cravings in the middle of nowhere

In terms of bits and bobs, I don’t need a lot.

– A hot water bottle is my treat item in case it gets chilly – for me the most important thing when camping is being warm.

– A head torch is a must for hands free light.

– Sunglasses. I haven’t checked the weather but I’d hope for a little glimmer of sunshine over the next week.

– Power adaptor. Shouldn’t need this as we have portable phone chargers out there but you never know and we might need to charge them when we stop at cafes etc.

– A selfie stick of course, there’s only the two of us so if we want any photos together it’s a must 🤓

– Vaseline because I hate having dry lips but it’s also a useful fire lighting item

– A metal straw cause I certainly won’t be using a plastic one and you never know when a straw may come in handy.

– A whistle because you should always be prepared 😇

– Playing cards for when we run out of things to talk about around the campfire😝

– A brand new 16GB memory card for our camera because I’m trying to learn photography and this trip should provide ample opportunities 🤓

And then the flight. This is actually my first time flying alone so I’ve got to make sure I’m entertained.

– The essentials of course are in my Travel wallet which my lovely friend Amy got me. My passport is hopefully tucked safely inside

– A huge tub of chewing gum cause I might be a little addicted

– Four Chunky Kitkats. I actually only packed one for my hand luggage but I’m sure no one will believe that

z- A book of puzzles and pen to keep my brain active and delay the onset of dementia 😎

– A book on wildlife photography (a birthday gift from Adam) so I can swot up on the plane

– A pair of earphones in case I’m seated next to someone who breathes or eats really loudly!! 😂

What would you pack for such a trip? I’d love to know 🙂

Bushcraft Romance on the River Wye

1 year married already…. where has that time gone?

For our first wedding anniversary I set Adam a challenge because I always have to arrange everything; trips, days out, meals etc. So… we agreed some time off and a budget and then it was over to him.

I was thinking he might book us a spa break or something luxury and when he told me to catch the train to Gloucester and meet him there I had no idea what to expect.

He’d booked us a nice hotel and surprised me by having our dog Tilly with him (it’s ok the hotel allowed it at an extra charge) which was the best surprise ever! We spent some time in the pool and spa area and then had a nice dinner. So far, so good.

Over our evening meal he revealed the plans for the next 2 days which were…. canoeing the River Wye and camping overnight. Luckily for Adam I was half expecting something outdoorsy and even luckier I was up for it!

We had a good night’s rest and Tilly made the most of the King/queen size bed


Our trip on the Wye was great, Tilly loved it


and Adam even packed us some prosecco and smoked salmon to have on the river. I was truly impressed as we bobbed away eating, drinking (sensibly!) and chatting, feeling that my husband had done well. I then heard the beginning of what I thought was going to be a heart felt and romantic sentence on our one year wedding anniversary…

“For the rest of my life I want to…….study nature”

Haha what did I really expect?!