The Girl Outdoors in Company magazine

November 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

Wahooo the December issue of Company is finally out and I am in it! If you fancy spending your hard-earned £2 on a magazine this month, may I suggest it be this one, and that you closely peruse pages 56 and 174, which I wrote (and which Company then heavily edited). The first feature is ‘Taking off and landing’ and features one girl (my lovely friend Olivia) jetting off to work in Geneva for a year and another (my lovely friend Donna) coming back from her awesome adventures in Mexico. The second is a page of travel bits and pieces: a round up of my favourite winter destinations, namely Lapland, Rome and Nova Scotia, and reviews of cool websites WWOOF and Spotted by Locals.

Full page of travelly bits.

And interviews with the lovely Olivia Maddocks and Donna Jenkins on their travels.

Guest Post: 5 breathtaking views from around the Great British Isles

November 16, 2011 § 4 Comments

Countryside fan James Agate rounds up the most beautiful vistas in the UK for your viewing pleasure.

If you’re looking for stunning views and breathtaking scenery then you really look no further than the shorelines of good old Blighty. Here are, in my opinion, some of the best views in Great Britain.

THORNHAM, Norfolk

By Martin P

Thornham is a sleepy village on the North Norfolk coast. The last time I visited there was really nothing more than some great country pubs and restaurants and for me this was part of the charm. Thornham and in particular the harbour and surrounding marsh area is unspoilt and quintessentially coastal.

The scenic walk between Holme nature reserve and Thornham harbour culminating in a local ale at The Lifeboat Inn comes highly recommended.

BEMPTON CLIFFS, Yorkshire

By Tom Tolkien

The home of over 200,000 seabirds, Bempton Cliffs is easily the best place in the whole of England to see some spectacular wildlife sights not to mention the stunning views across the North Sea.

LEITH HILL, Surrey

The second highest point in Southern England, from the peak on a clear day you can see right the way across Surrey into Central London and in the distance you can make out the English Channel. Well worth the somewhat strenuous walk to the top.

LLYN CRAFNANT, North Wales

Easily one of the most serene and tranquil parts of the British Isles. Llyn Crafnant is nestled high in the Snowdonia National Park and is quite simply an unspoilt haven for scenery and wildlife.

LOCH VENACHAR, Scotland

A real haven for wildlife enthusiasts, you’ll likely stumble across superb view after superb view as you explore the area around the loch.

Contributed by James from Wish.co.uk – click to learn more about their short-break experiences.

REVIEW: The North Face Women’s 100 Glacier 1/4 Zip Fleece

November 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

In preparation for my epic ski adventure, coming soon to The Girl Outdoors (well, once I actually hit the slopes), the amazing outdoorsy peeps at Webtogs have sent me a lovely North Face fleece to test out in chilly Britain before I wear it whilst falling over a lot on an Italian mountain. Read on to see how it measured up, or get your own here for £34.

The product description:

“The all new Women’s 100 Glacier 1/4 Zip fleece top from The North Face is now constructed from the soft, thermally efficient Polartec Classic Micro fleece which has the added bonus of being resistant to the sun’s harmful rays. The Glacier is a brilliant fleece which can be worn as a top layer or part of a layering system in colder climates.

If you’re after a quick drying, lightweight and value for money fleece then the Women’s 100 Glacier 1/4 Zip fleece is the one for you.”

Test 1: Walking up hills and running along paths

The Glacier has achieved a happy medium – thin enough so that you don’t overheat, easily layered over long-sleeved tops and under coats, yet warm enough to keep you mega toasty. I wore it under a waxed jacket on a walk on a chilly morning and felt so warm I had to take my coat off. If you do exert yourself enough to sweat, such as when jogging, then the fast-drying mechanism wicks water away and keeps the fleece material from getting soggY – perfect for snow wear.

Test 2: Getting muddy, wet, washing and other abuse

The Glacier takes a remarkable lot of wear and tear in its stride. After a rainy, muddy cycle along the canal I shoved my liberally besplattered fleece into the washing machine and withdrew a pristine-looking and fluffy version of it 90 minutes later. Easy peasy. The same mechanism that wicks away sweat makes the fleece dry mega fast as well – an hour or two on the washing line and it was ready to go. In summary, it was a bit like being in a Persil advert.

Test 3: As a sartorial style statement

I don’t think there is any getting away from the fact that this is an incredibly, unbelievably pink fleece. In real life it looks even more neon than in pictures, emitting a slightly radioactive glow. This has the plus of making you easy to spot in deep dark woods, but it does get less positive reactions in city settings, where my friends decided I emitted a definite vibe they summed up as “Malibu Barbie goes hiking”. Not a good look.
However, once the fleece is on it’s so amazingly cosy and duvet-like that fashion goes out the window, and anyway, once I get this baby on the slopes under my black ski jacket I think it’ll look pretty damn cool.

Verdict:

Consider your colour choice carefully if you plan to wear this where other people may see you (as it also comes in a more subtle black or blue), but otherwise these fleeces are a fantastic choice for warmth without heaviness at a very good price. Ideal for layering on for winter sports or keeping camping cosy.

xx Sian

HOW TO: Beginner’s guide to DSLR photography

November 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

After many many years as a bit of a tech-phobe, I’m finally learning the ins and outs of photography, mainly because pretty much any time I am outdoors I spot things that I want to shoot (foxes, landscapes, umm, interesting leaves…). My trusty compact digital cameras have served me well when taking photos for the blog, but in my current incarnation as assistant on the launch of shiny new Nikon magazine N-Photo , I’ve made the (huge, scary) leap to DSLRs.

Perhaps sensing that my ignorance was so great that if I can understand this stuff, anyone can, I was tasked by my editor with writing a five-part ‘getting started’ guide to using Nikon DSLRs. If you fancy being told in idiot-friendly terms what does what on a DSLR and *gasp!* how to actually take a photo with one, check it out.

PART 1: The Basics

PART 2: Taking a photo

PART 3: Camera settings

PART 4: Essential kit

PART 5: Different lenses

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