Friday, 12 May 2017

An Exciting Festival in the Heart of the Gorgeous Ashdown Forest

I have been sent tickets to a new festival for this summer! I am really excited as it sounds fabulous and so I felt the need to share it with you in case you were free, and in possession of a tent, on first weekend in June to come along to Byline Festival 


Actually you don't even need to have a tent, as like many festivals these days there are pre-pitched tent and glamping options which mean you can rock up and have all the hard work done for you! I quite like pitching my own tent, it always feels like I deserve the beer then, but each to their own and I guess it is pretty sweet to just be able to stroll away from a festival on the last day without a backward glance, and with nothing to stuff into the car for the return journey except the faint whiff of herbal cigarettes and the memories of brief love affairs...wait..where was I?

Ah yes! A festival. This will be my first of the season and while it has music, it is not primarily a music festival, much like the literary festival I went to last year in The New Forest. Though Curious Arts is a bookish festival and this one, Byline looks more news and comedy based (and if you don't laugh at the news right now, you'd cry, so it seemed appropriate.)

Byline Festival is described as "A riot of free speech, a protest against fake news and alternative facts", and I have browsed the acts and the shows that were promised and have decided it is right up my street! Right up DD's too as you will recall that we like the comedy tents best at most of the festivals we attend.

Tickets are from £110 for the weekend, including camping, Under 4s are free and older kids are £12. Huge Discount for students too. Check out the Byline Ticket Prices here. 
60 Live Music Acts Including Dj Nihal, The Blow Monkeys, Department S, The Members, John Ellis (The Vibrators) And The Priscillas
Topical Comedy From John Cleese, Lenny Henry, Hardeep Singh Kohli And Others. Workshops. Screenings. Activism.
Speakers Include Frances Barber, Heather Brooke, Catherine Mayer, Hugh Grant, Bonnie Greer, Luke Harding, A.L Kennedy, Tom Watson, Martin Bell, June Sarpong. 
BylineFest brings together a riot of journalists, bloggers, commentators, satirists, analysts, lawyers, musicians, actors and activists to mix and chat. Here are a few.
BylineFest brings together a riot of journalists, bloggers, commentators, satirists, analysts, lawyers, musicians, actors, activists, and you.

I'm really looking forward to the 2nd June, grabbing the tent and heading down to Pippingford Park for a weekend of thoughtful but funny festival fun. There will also be wine. I'll let you know afterwards what it was like - do drop a note into the comments if you are planning to attend.

Disclosure : I am on the festival guest list so that I can review the festival - stay tuned!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Enjoying walking the dog by the river Adur

As the spring weather is here, I'm making more of an effort to get out and about, I'm also nagging myself to blog more!


I am still 'iffy' about using my stick when I walk - despite falling an impressive 3 times last week - because I worry it makes me look old. Obviously I don't worry that I'll look a prat if I fall over.



So a plea to other mildly disabled or wobbly folk - and to stick suppliers everywhere - what's a good stick to use that will still look cool? Feel free to let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter (links in the sidebar)


Anyway - on with the walk. Mr TS and I decided to take her ladyship Fizz the border terrier for a stroll along the River Adur. We only walked from the airport at Shoreham as far as the first car park but it was a nice meander, the weather was lovely as were the views and Fizz enjoyed herself.

Lancing College
Lancing College

dog walking by a river
Fizz, mistress of all she surveys

dog watching another dog while out on a walk
The mix of excitement and disappointment when a dog you want to play with is separated from you by a deep stream
 Despite the lack of rain and the ground looking parched, Fizz, of course, managed to run through the gloopy silt and mud minutes before getting back to the car.

On the whole though it's a good walk for dogs, minimal livestock on the west side of the river, and good views so that if there are sheep you have plenty of time to get the dog back on a lead. No roads nearby and a river for getting muddy in. Not too many walkers but enough to be friendly and enough dogs that Fizz had a nice play too.

dry parched soil
Dry April

Have you been out walking lately? 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A dog walk along the Rife stream at Ferring in West Sussex

It's rather nice having a dog again and now that Fizz is old enough to come out on a proper walk with the family it makes us all feel quite complete.

We are just back from a lovely walk along a local stream, where there are managed ponds and plenty or wildlife. It's a great place to walk dogs, away from the hustle and bustle of the town and yet not a long drive away. There are no roads really near and the paths are easy to walk.

Despite that I managed to take a tumble 3 times! Prompting Mr TS to demand I take a walking stick next time. I hate walking sticks. Although as I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (a neuropathy, affecting muscle strength and balance) I guess it's inevitable that a walking stick will be needed soon.

Of course delightful teen daughter found it hilarious when I fell in the mud, I think Fizz just thought I was unleashing my inner dog! And while it was messy I wasn't hurt.

South Downs in the distance
South Downs to the north

The walk has some lovely distant views of the South Downs, and had we walked along to the end of the stream we would have reached the sea, and a pleasant dog friendly cafĂ©, but we turned back at the half way point.

family and dog walking in the countryside
Towards the sea


wheat field
Across toward the farmland

The blossom was out on the blackthorn and we saw several butterflies. The ponds were full of plump tadpoles, which may grow up to be newts as there are newts, frogs and toads in the ponds.

blackthorn blossom
Blackthorn Blossom (sloes in the making!)

river bank

peacock butterfly on nettles
Peacock butterfly sunning itself on the nettles

Fizz spent the time discovering that water (if shallow) is fun.

border terrier on a walk
Fizz relaxing

border terrier in action
Action Shot

border terrier running
Fizz racing about after getting a cold tummy

border terrier leaping in water
Leaping

border terrier in water
pretending to be an otter

Monday, 3 April 2017

Win free tickets for an amazing Medieval Festival!

If you had a TARDIS where would you go? Not just in space, but in time?

Last year I went back in time for a weekend to a festival in the grounds of a castle and I lived the life of a medieval peasant for a few days at Englands Medieval Festival at Herstmonceux. Maybe I was a bit of an historically inaccurate peasant to be fair, I had elastic in my underwear, but it was a fun weekend!

win family tickets to england's medieval festival

I learned lots about weaving and wool dyeing. I was thrilled by the battle reenactment (seeing arrows raining down was pretty dramatic!) I drank mead and watched hogs being roasted, my daughter and I laughed at the mud theatre and were in awe of the knights at the joust. And of course I loved dressing up to fit the part.

herstmonceux medieval festival

If you love to dress up, like history (or have kids that like horrible histories), camping, food, festivals or fun this is the festival for you! You can join in as much as you like, dress up and wander the encampments, chatting to the vikings, or just lay in the sun with some cider and a magazine while festival drums and music play around you, the choice is yours.

children at a medieval festival learning sword skills

And if you think that sounds like your tankard of ale then you can win tickets for the entire family here on the blog! (camping included - bring your own tent!)

Yes I am providing you with your very own TARDIS (It's faulty obviously - you can only go to Herstmonceux , and England's Medieval Festival in it, but beggars can't be choosers!) so grab the family and get your medieval 'glad rags' on. Good Luck!

The family weekend festival tickets are worth an amazing £250
The Festival dates are 26th - 28th August so if you are free then - why not enter the giveaway!


2017 will be the largest event the castle has ever seen and will celebrate 25 years of England’s Medieval Festival. To share in this special silver anniversary the festival are offering 25 couples celebrating their own 25th wedding anniversary free festival tickets so spread the word.

‘Step back in time and join the spectacular celebration’

And if you just can't wait (or only want to pop in for a day) you can also get 10% off your England's Medieval Festival ticket price using the code MUMS10 at the checkout 

young girl dressed as a princess with sword at a medieval festival




Disclosure : I will be attending the festival as a guest. But all words and thoughts about the festival are my own

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The female traveller, menstruation, and the Mooncup


I admit I toyed with Enid Blyton style titles for this blogpost. Five Go Camping with a Mooncup. Secret Seven and the Mystery of the Perfect Sanitary Protection. Third Form at Mooncup towers.. yeah I know, I'm losing the plot.

But! The mooncup is the perfect sanitary protection for the female traveller.


The mooncup has many benefits. If you need to deal with monthly bleeds, then you will no doubt be aware of  some of the options around. They are mostly disposable like tampons made of cotton or rayon/cotton mix or sanitary towels made of paper and chemical gels, etc.
There are also reusable towels, but these, while very enviromentally friendly, are a pain to wash and dry when travelling, especially if you are camping and it's raining.

women menstruating do not attract bears
Note : Menstruation does not attract bears according to science

The mooncup is an environmentally friendly option, not adding to landfil, and it's a cheaper option, needing only a single purchase. It's internal sanitary protection too, so there is no odour (that might attract those pesky bears) . Use of the mooncup has no risk of toxic shock syndrome and can be used when you have the contraceptive coil in situ as well. The mooncup is simple to clean, needing only a rinse with water.

So for the menstruating traveller the mooncup is really the only choice. You pack it and forget it, until you need it, it's the size of a small eggcup and lives in its own little cotton pouch until mother nature comes a'calling. Then it's easy to insert (wash your hands first, no one needs a fanny full of ferns) and it can be emptied and rinsed and reinserted as required, with no danger of TSS you can happily leave it in for several hours.

curled fern

The mooncup sits low in the vagina, not high up near the cervix like a tampon does and so you may need to snip off a bit (or all) of the stem before you use it. The act of insertion and removal takes a bit of practice too, both to get insertion right and to ensure you've got a safe 'seal' once it's in. I recommend practicing at home especially in the shower. There is a knack but once you've practiced it becomes a very simple, quick easy procedure.

For long trips it's great, no need to learn to ask for sanitary protection in foreign languages if you are travelling around Europe, no worries about running out of supplies halfway up a mountain, and no problem disposables to dispose of in the wild, just a little blood to empty and bury along with any other body wastes (not near the camp! Think bears!)

If you think the mooncup could be just what you need, I have an affiliate link here where you can buy one. Let me know how you get on!