Issue 104 is out now
Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

20th October 2021

Find free half-term fun across the country, go wild mushroom hunting, try apple crafts and fruity parties, take a walk for nature before COP26! Plus how to make your own juice and coping with an empty nest.

Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

20th October 2021

Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

20th October 2021

This half-term feels like the first ‘normal’ holiday for events since the lockdowns, so make the most of everything that’s going on.

Take a Weird Walk, try creepy crafts, or meet a science busker as part of their Making Waves: A Festival Of Sound season at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum,

Explore the principles of non-hierarchical play environments in the most practical way via artist Albert Potrony’s Baltic Gallery commission Equal Play. There will also be five free days of play for families of all ages including workshops and a pop-up gameathon

Follow a self-guided Terror Trail in the wooded grounds of Edinburgh’s Lauriston Castle
See gigantic bubbles, a cloud factory or find out about freaky food at Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum; part of the super-fun Swansea Science Festival
Learn about rewilding and upcycling at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh; go fishing for rubbish and find out how long it takes to decompose. Ick!
Bloomsbury Festival continues with parties, workshops and events at the area’s museums, universities and libraries; find the full line-up here
Listen to live stories, celebrate Diwali through paintings try sketching, or join an online musical tale-telling session at the National Gallery. Find out more here

Little Amal continues her trek across the country making her way through London and heading north to Manchester. Her appearances have so far been quite incredible and moving. Find thought-provoking and uplifting art created in her honour here


Thursday 21 is Apple Day, a celebration of the most English of fruits. Apple Day is both a celebration and a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing, not simply in apples, but in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too. There are parties across the country this weekend, including music and dancing in Wisbech, apple pressing at Dudmaston Hall in Shropshire and Standen House and Garden in West Sussex – among other National Trust venues – and a fun mix of crafts, tours and folklore at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket. Find ten more places to juice up your weekend here or find out about the joy of pressing your own apples here


Continuing the apple theme (yes, we’re hard CORE), this is a good time to try some fruity crafts. Crack out the paint and recreate Van Gogh’s Starry Night with twinkly apple prints, or make a super-cute apple tote bag. Our favourite spooky craft has to be these dried apple witches; make yours now in time for Halloween. Find more sweet apple crafts for preschoolers and older kids here.


Ramble for red squirrels, amble for avocets or hike for a hedgehog! The Wildlife Trusts are asking people to stride out before COP26 and take part in the Big Wild Walk for nature from Monday 25th October to Sunday 31st October. As we all know, UK wildlife is in big trouble and people can help by raising vital funds to further the charity’s vision to restore at least 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030. Create your own challenge, or use the number thirty as inspiration. Perhaps you might walk 30km in a week, three days, or even one day! Or maybe you’ll aim to spend 30 minutes walking each day. Sign up here for free autumn nature spotter sheets, a Big Wild Walk tracker sheet and certificate.


Wild mushrooms are bursting from our forest floors and meadows. You should swot up before you forage, and be wary about what you pick, but free-range fungi are some of the most delicate-tasting treats you’ll find in the wild. If you’re confident in identifying and picking them, this season will be filled with free and oh-so-delicious dinners. If not, there are mountains of them on greengrocers’ shelves.

We have recipes for Wild Mushroom and Creamy Spinach Filo Tartlets, Seasonal Veg Frittata and soothing Seaweed and Mushroom Broth

Alternatively, there’s a mouthwatering selection of recipes here - the wild mushroom and mozzarella risotto cakes and wild mushroom and walnut pasta are out of this world, while Stevie Parle’s simple wild mushroom and mascarpone omelette is a Sunday brunch classic-in-waiting. Get up early, take a wander in the mist, and create a breakfast of dreams.

These ideas from Brit + Co are mouthwatering; Lentil Mushroom Burgers, Mushroom Hummus and Roasted Mushroom and Brie Soup, or go really far out and try making this sweet and earthy Mushroom Cake.

If you have any left over, why not dry them to use through the winter, or even use them to try spore printing – a way of identifying and cultivating fungi as well as making art.

BONUS: Get prepared for clocks spinning back an hour on Saturday October 30 now! Five Ways To Cope With Clocks Going Back

As teens start university for the first time, many parents are feeling bereft. A psychotherapist explains the best ways to deal with an empty nest.​​ “This is the beginning of something exciting for your child, but it’s the end of an era for you, and it can bring feelings of rejection and a loss of identity and feeling that you’re no longer a mum or a dad and your child will no longer need your advice. There can be really big fears about being irrelevant,” Read more here

Fancy becoming a walrus space detective? Join the WWF and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in a citizen science project that aims to track these hulking, beautiful creatures.

Even just thirty minutes spent poring over satellite images will help the scientists map the population and spot changes in their behaviours. Find out more here