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Thank you everyone!  What a wonderful last-session-of-the-year we had.

I had so many enquiries, sadly turning many families away, as our numbers are limited by our insurance.  If you were one of these families, please do sign up to our facebook page and our mailing list to make sure you are kept up to date as the sessions come online next year.

In case you didn’t make it this year, I wanted to write up our wonderful, fun session, so you know the kind of thing we get up to at Wildplay.  If you did make it – Thank you.  I really enjoyed my soggy Saturday this weekend!

As ever, we started our Wizards and Woodland magic session with our friend Acorn the Elf talking to us about the hazards in the woodland and what had changed since we were last there.  Acorn told us all about what we could expect from the day and all the fun we were going to have.  We then all donned our Hi-Vis Wildplay jackets, grabbed the collecting bags and magnifying glasses and went off into the Secret Garden’s woodland to collect natural goodies to craft our Wizards.

Yes, it was drizzly.  Sometimes even properly, dropperly!  But we didn’t care – we just got a bit wet on our lovely, muddy adventure!

Milo found a fascinating animal’s skull that he used in his Wizard.  Kitty used a swirly-whirly snail shell for her head and a beautiful leaf-skeleton for her delicate cape/wings.  We had a Indian Brave Wizard, and lots and lots of real magic going on craft-wise.  We used clay and my big box of natural stuff, some wool and feathers, along with the treasures we found.

The rain by this time, was really pelting, so when we were done, we put our Wizards in trays and headed into the Wildplay Tepee to try the nutmeggy nettle soup I brought along for our snack.  Nettle soup?!  Is it stingy?  Only the really brave could try it, and we had some real food tough-nuts this weekend!  Delicious!  I couldn’t believe how many of you had a go!  Some liked, some didn’t, but almost everyone had a try.  Your grown-ups really liked it and lots of them had more.  The recipe was included in the handout – but I added nutmeg too, so if you do, do it, season-up as you like.  Here it is again, in case your spell-book handout got damp (like ours did)!

A quick and delicious nettle (or any veg) soup.
1 small onion
1 stick of celery
1 carrot
1 heaped tablespoon of leftover mashed potato
1 vegetable or chicken stock cube made up with 500ml boiling water
1 chunk of butter – about an ounce/30g
150g of carefully collected, washed and wilted nettles (or broccoli or whatever you like really)

Finely chop the onion, celery and carrot; then fry gently in the butter until the onions are see-through.
Chop the wilted nettles and add to the veggies alongside the stock, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Whizz with a stick blender.  Add the mash and stir in well (or give a very short whizz – too much whizzing makes it gluey) to break it up.
Always serve with lots of crusty, thickly buttered bread.

While we ate, I told the scary, spooky story of the Giant Hogweed, and read our jumpy poem.  We talked about a Hogweed Hunt and how we could track this terrifying Giant, the King of the Nettles!

After the last of the soup had been shlurped, we moved on to the Smelly Spellies!  I think this was probably my favourite bit – what about you Wildplayers?  We had rose petals, cloves, cinnamon, hibiscus flowers, fenugreek seeds, kaljoni, cumin, rosemary, lavender, rosewater, lemon juice, orange peel and fizzy bicarbinate of soda.  We chopped, ground and mixed and imagined what our smelly Spellies might actually do.  Magic-wise.  Some spells were pink, some purple and even black.  Some smelled of perfume and flowers and others of spices and curries.

Once we had decided what each spell was for, we offered them to the fairies, and in return, the fairies gave us all a magic ring to take home, along with our Wizards.  We also played a ring game, with a magic ring on a magic rope.

After we had thought about our Smelly (but nice) spells, we thought about some yukky ingredients and completed the ‘Halloween Potion’ part of the Wildplay spellbook handout.  Some of you had truly disgusting stuff (sparrows knees and badgers eyes for instance) and planned to spell with your grown-ups at home.

We finished with a Giant Hogweed hunt.  Harrison wanted to know what Hogweeds eat.  Just to reassure you – it’s definately not humans and they can’t leave the forest either (it’s unclear whether they move independently, but thought likely that they pull up their roots and walk only at night)!  Remember, look for their nettle footsoldiers in the deepest, darkest woodland, but never touch a Hogweed!  They really are real and really do burn.

Despite the weather, we had an absolute scream.  It was a lovely creative, fun and wet group.  I am so blessed to do this as my job (and can’t quite believe it)!  Sadly, its going to be a few months until the next session, as we don’t run through Autumn/Winter.  However, we have all sorts of plans for 2014!  Seriously, it’s going to be such an exciting year.  We’re looking at more sessions, after-school clubs, a pre-schoolers group and even more top-secret excitment.

If you loved Wildplay this year please do tell us and all your friends.    Please let us have your feedback, ideas and thoughts about what we could/should do as we’re small enough to flex and still learning and growing and want to hear it all.

Lots of love and thanks for all of your support!

I’m going to miss you Wildplayers – see you in Spring.

Nancy

For more information about Wildplay, to come along or to get involved please email me on wildplay.info@gmail.com or see our website

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