Lucie Loves… Travel // A #TasteForAdventure in the great outdoors

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*Sponsored post in partnership with Mud House Wines*

JMG and I recently took a few days out of our busy schedules to spend a long weekend in the Forest of Dean. Being a blogger means that I get to travel quite a bit - and whenever I can, I usually take JMG along with me. Having a taste for adventure is one of the things that makes us, us. 

From the outset of our relationship, we knew that getting out, trying new things and exploring is something that means the world to both of us. 

We took a road trip a few years back to California. Driving up the glittering coast from San Diego to San Francisco. We stopped wherever took our fancy; usually when the scenery was so awesome that we had to pull over to take a photo - and there were many of those opportunities.

One of the main reasons for having that particular adventure is that I’d always wanted to follow in the footsteps of one of photography’s famous adventurers: Ansel Adams. He of the sublime landscape. I wanted to visit Yosemite National Park.

“The whole world is, to me, very much “alive” - all the little growing things, even the rocks. I can’t look at a swell bit of grass and earth, for instance, without feeling the essential life - the things going on - within them. The same goes for a mountain, or a bit of the ocean, or a magnificent piece of old wood.”
― Ansel Adams

As a kid growing up in the 90s, I remember the adventures I had running through the long grass, making daisy chains, birdwatching and finding dens to hide in. It was bliss! It was time to do some more of it.

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When Mud House got in touch and offered us an amazing opportunity to stay in the heart of a beautiful forest - it was hard too resist. It was a great way to reconnect with one another amidst the craziness of planning for our May 2015 wedding.

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Long afternoon walks through sun-lit tree-lined trails were a rather nice substitute for endless emails and office admin. 

Picture evenings curled up on the sofa, toasting tired feet in front of a roaring log fire, with a large glass of Mud House red  - and you’ve got a perfect way to unwind.

They say each and every bottle is filled with a little New Zealand adventure. Incredible things come from a little adventure: it’s good for the soul. 

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“Both the grand and the intimate aspects of nature can be revealed in the expressive photograph. Both can stir enduring affirmations and discoveries, and can surely help the spectator in his search for identification with the vast world of natural beauty and wonder surrounding him.”
― Ansel Adams
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John and Jennifer, the founders of Mud House, set sail from the UK to travel the world; only to fall in love with New Zealand. After buying land and planting vines, they used local earth to build their home and start their business. Mud House was born and now produces some of the finest wines that New Zealand has to offer.

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Being outside and exploring somewhere new, meant that I could bring my camera along with me and take beautiful photographs of our surroundings.

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We started talking about the next steps for us as a couple – after the wedding day has been and the cake has been eaten. The beautiful cabin we were staying in made us get excited about our long-standing dream of creating our own Grand Design: we’re now lusting after a self-build with double-height ceilings and vast picture windows with gorgeously green forest views.

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“There are no forms in nature. Nature is a vast, chaotic collection of shapes. You as an artist create configurations out of chaos. You make a formal statement where there was none to begin with. All art is a combination of an external event and an internal event… I make a photograph to give you the equivalent of what I felt. Equivalent is still the best word.”
― Ansel Adams
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We happened upon a local dog walker and stopped for a chat. He told us that the beautiful cabin we stayed in hadn’t been there very long, but that the profits tourism brings to the local area is quite significant. He implored us to tell people to chat to the locals when they visit the Forest of Dean – whether that’s to ask for the time, get directions or even find a good local pub – they are more than happy to help.

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“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.”
― Helen Keller
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Standing amongst giant oak trees you feel in awe of everything that Mother Nature has given us.

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One day we hired bikes and attempted to find our way to Symonds Yat – a breathtaking little village situated on the River Wye. Unfortunately, our map skills weren’t quite up to it and instead we followed a rather picturesque cycle route which led us up to a small farmstead at the top of the hill.

JMG loves cycling and has been desperate for me to get on a bike and go for a ride with him. However, my Pashley Princess isn’t quite cut out for long rides or rough terrain – it’s so heavy!

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Our mountain bikes meant that we were whizzing past ancient oak trees in no time, catching glimpses through the tree tops of small babbling brooks and looking around to try and identify which birds were serenading us as we cycled along. It really was quite breath-taking – especially as it hit the magical Golden Hour.

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Once we in a while we all need to add a little adventure to our lives.

We’re definitely going to be adding a drop of adventure into the mix when we head on our honeymoon.

When planning your next trip look for those places on the map that tickle your curiosity, get muddy on long walks, tell each other stories whilst sitting on a rock or a moss-covered fallen oak tree. Feel the wind in your hair, hold hands and talk about the future. But most of all have fun and look upon it as a real adventure.

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Check out the Mud House facebook page to enter their competition to win your own #TasteForAdventure.

** This post was sponsored by Mud House Wines, who enabled us to have our very own #TasteForAdventure break by putting us up at Forest Holidays in the Forest of Dean **

Photography © Lucie Kerley