A quick "pre- review" - Solar power, lights, charger, action!

This is a very short review based on a weekend away, a fuller review will appear after I've tested these lights and charger at festivals over the summer,

I was lent a SunBell light/charger by the rather lovely Solar Light Company. They are superbly green and sent me  (as they send all customers) a little tin of seeds to plant to offset the carbon used in delivery of the product! Which was a rather nice touch.

The SunBell sounded so good on the write up I was sceptical...but it is as amazing as it sounds! A full charge on 3 hours of bright sunlight (we've had plenty of that) and it had power to light my tent and recharge my phone!

The ability to pop the solar array outside the tent and leave the battery etc inside due to the 3m cable was excellent.
I might be a bit in love, and I heartily recommend it. My parents. who camped with me were also impressed, enough to add it to the'Christmas wants' list! So that's one Christmas gift sorted. They fancy a yellow one. Did I say it came in various colours? It does, I'm testing a red one.

I am also testing the adorably cute Little Sun (perfect for kids and no danger of them wasting the battery!) and the Nokero Start (rather wittily shaped like a lightbulb, the old fashioned sort)

More news as it happens! Stay tuned...

A newbie to Camp Bestival speaks!

So having already heard from a festival virgin (Mamafurfur here) I thought we'd see what a festival goer was expecting from their first time at Camp Bestival. I have the pleasure to introduce you to @MyGorgeousBoys

Tell  me a bit about yourself...

My name is Louise and I am mum to boys aged 7 and 5. I have recently returned to education and am training as a primary school teacher. Before children I worked in IT but didn't go back to it after as wanted to make the most of them when they were little. I discovered the wonderful world of blogging when my 2nd son was around a year old and love it so much!
Do you think of yourself as a country or a city sort?

I love the city but since having children I have become more of a country sort - my kids love the great outdoors and anything that makes them happy is good. 

Have you been camping before? If so where and what did you like/dislike about it?

When I was little we did lots of family camping, always in the UK and I loved it. I liked best the idea of creating a little home from home in a field I think! 

As for camping with my little family we bought out tent when our 2nd son was a baby and have camped in the UK several times a year for the last five years. I like the fact camping offers us a fairly cheap short break whenever and wherever we want (weather dependent of course!). We camp with friends, family and on our own and camping has offered us the chance to explore a bit more of the countryside and extend a day out into a bit more. 

I don't dislike anything about it really but it is hard work getting everything organised before going but always worth it.
What was the best Music gig you've been to? 

The first one that springs to mind is Billy Idol at Rock City in Nottingham around eight + years ago purely for phrroar factor! I was a HUGE Billy fan as a teenager and he was amazing live in such a fantastic venue. I have seen lots and lots of brilliant gigs though - The Pixies, Elbow, Primal Scream and The Killers all spring to mind.
What made you consider a festival this year?

Now the boys are getting older I would like them to appreciate live music and festivals are a great opportunity. Camp Bestival is a family orientated festival so you feel reassured it will be a safe environment for everyone to have fun, learn new skills and relax together.
Will you be going to the festival alone? With family? With friends?

With hubbie and children. Hope to meet up with, and make some new, friends. 
What sort of tent/camper/yurt option have you gone for?
We have our 5 year old tent (pictured). We are looking to upgrade and get a new one but haven't found anything quite what we want yet!

What are your packing essentials?

Apart from clothes and bedding we always take things for kids to play with like a football or bubbles, tea bags, baby wipes, cereal and snacks. We don't want to take too much as I don't think we will spent that much time in the tent really.
Have you been to a festival before?

Yes I have been to Reading and Leeds festivals as a teenager and as a family we went to Jimmy's Harvest two years ago. I blogged about it here. http://mygorgeousboys.com/harvestatjimmys/
Why did you choose Camp Bestival this year?  Did you consider other festivals? Are you going to any others?

We chose Camp Bestival because of all the fun things that are going on for kids and for adults. The location sounds amazing and we are tagging on an extended stay in the area afterwards.

Did you read blogs/media about festivals before you decided?

Yes absolutely - I have been reading lots of blog posts about the festival and getting very excited. 

What are you looking forward to? What are the positive things about Camp Bestival you hope to enjoy?

We have booked onto the National Trust stargazing night which sounds brilliant (though I am not sure i will manage the whole night!). I am looking forward to chilling out, watching the kids have fun and seeing all the live acts.

What are you dreading? Are there any things you worry about at Camp Bestival?

I can't think of anything although the bit where you have to drag tent, sleeping bits etc from car to campsite is never pleasant!

 Will you be blogging about your experiences?

Yes absolutely!

I'll look forward to catching up with Louise afterwards to see what she thought, and maybe meeting for a Pimm's at the festival!

Louise can also be found at



Camp Bestival - Disney (and Firefighters)

The last movie that DD and I saw at the cinema was Maleficent. It was a Disney movie and we loved it. In April we even went to the home of Disney, in California.

We may not be fans of the princesses , DD favours Belle - as (and I quote DD from a few years back) "She is not a princess and she doesn't need rescuing, she rescues the Beast" , but we love a bit of Disney, who doesn't?!, some escapism, some fun animation and some comedy, a smattering of morals....

And while we haven't really got into the Planes movie I'm still a teensy bit excited to tell you that there will be a Disney area at Camp Bestival. With an interactive Fire Engine! (there may be firefighters...I'm saying nothing and this has no bearing on my excitement*) Because the new Disney movie is Planes 2: Fire and Rescue

When Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he joins forces with fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his team, The Smokejumpers, to battle a massive wildfire....


*There will be real firefighters, and games, fancy dress, and all sorts of amazing shenanigans and fun! If you are at Camp Bestival make sure you pop along!!

Planes 2: Fire & Rescue blazes ahead with innovative virtual reality experience touring the UK this summer!

Disney’s highly anticipated new comedy adventure Planes 2: Fire & Rescue flies into cinemas in Scotland on August 1st and across the rest of the country on August 8th - and to celebrate the release, Disney is giving fans the incredible opportunity to ‘Save The Day’ and experience the thrill of being a member of the Piston Peak Air Attack Team. 

The ‘Save The Day’ virtual reality game uses Microsoft’s ground breaking Kinect for Windows v2 technology to put fans right in the middle of the airborne action by becoming firefighting characters Dusty and Dipper, as they race to protect the Piston Peak National Park. Players can take off and enter the heroic world of aerial firefighting as they scout the Park for signs of fire. 

Fans will get an exclusive insider look at all the action of the upcoming film by performing the vital manoeuvers necessary to extinguish blazes, including daring water collection and exciting drops! 

And even if you won't be at Camp Bestival you can join in the fun at other limited venues across the UK -

The ‘Save The Day’ virtual reality game will be placed in foyers of selected ODEON Cinemas and Disney Stores across the country. 

It will also be touring the UK this summer in a special Planes 2: Fire & Rescue fully interactive fire engine which will be visiting airshows and festivals, educating children on the importance of fire safety and featuring a host of fun games and activities for fans to take part in. 

The ‘Save The Day’ Virtual Reality Game will appear in the following locations: 
ODEON CINEMAS (from 21st July): Kingston, Southampton, MetroCentre (Newcastle), Braehead, Trafford (Manchester), LiverpoolOne 
AIRSHOWS & FESTIVALS:: Sunderland international Airshow (26th- 27th July), 
Camp Bestival (1st–3rd Aug) 
Bristol Balloon Fiesta (9th Aug) 
Blackpool Airshow (10th Aug)

Top 10 essential things to know, do or bring to, Camp Bestival

Top 10 essential things to know, do or bring to, Camp Bestival

With just over a week to go I realise the blog tips have become rather large and unwieldy for the novice festival goer (eg my brother, who is accompanying me this year with his family - an entire family of festival virgins!) So here is a mini list (with links to more detail where necessary) of the actual vital stuff you need to know.

crowded festival tents at camp bestival

  1. First off. While Camp Bestival is a music festival that is far from all it is. It was begun as a spin off of Bestival as a cross between a Holiday Camp, and a festival. They even have their very own Blue Coats! Of course this means there is loads to do, plenty of comedy, films, shows, circus acts, craft
    areas etc for children from as young as babies to teens. This year there is also a teen Den, just for those 13 - 17 to hang out. Perfect for the festival goers of tomorrow to get a feel for festival life away from their parents. As the site is a castle they also have a jousting area and the knights joust for your pleasure at various times during the weekend. On the last night there is a spectacular fireworks finale.
  2. Camp site. It is hilly. You will probably need a trolley to transport all your stuff from the car park. If you don't own one you can hire them at the festival. Take the tent and minimal stuff on the first trip, find your spot (it gets crowded) and pitch the tent. Be polite to your neighbours, make friends, share a glass of wine, you never know when you may need their help! Tents can end up very close together, consider earplugs if you are a light sleeper, I also take an eye mask as my tent lets light in very early! The walkways between the tents are well lit with suspended lights and these stay on nearly all night, it makes a trip to the loo relatively easy but can keep you awake if you pitch near them.
  3. Hygiene and Toilets - everyone panics about festival loos and while they can be bad, they are usually OK - Camp Bestival has very well organised toilet facilities. There are portable chemical toilets in the main camping
    area (these are often emptied, but in the early morning, don't camp too close or you'll be woken by the trucks arriving) They are kept pretty clean. There are washing facilities near them (cold water only). There are also showers and posh flushing loos that you can pay to use. And in the festival site itself there are compost loos, daunting at first (they have a long drop under the seat!) but actually pretty nice to use. Bring your own loo roll, wet wipes and hand sanitiser - make a small pack of these items to carry with you. Personal chemical  toilets are not allowed in the camping areas as there is nowhere to empty them. Ladies may like to consider buying a Shewee. While there are showers they often have long queues and cost extra. For 4 days I tend to just shower before I leave home, use wetwipes at the festival and shower when I get home again. Take lots of wet wipes.
  4. Do buy the programme, spend some time planning the stuff you really can't miss, try and spot times
    that you will be free for meals etc. leave space between acts if you can (unless they are on the same stage) as you need to move around the site, use the toilets and get drinks too! If you are a family, ensure everyone gets to see at least one thing they really love each day. Consult the map to plan travel between the tents/stages. Some tents get filled early so consider that in your plans, if you arrive late you may not get in.
  5. Food. There is lots to buy but it's not cheap. Balance meals out with meals at the tent and take snacks. You can cook on small portable gas cookers outside. Take things that are quick to heat to save time and gas, tinned food is a good idea, baked beans, hotdogs, chilli etc (remember a tin opener!). No glass is allowed on site so no jars of pasta sauce, baby food, or bottles of wine etc. Bringing your own alcohol is allowed in the camping area only (there are bars in the festival site) and not in glass, think bags of wine, tins of G&T and cans of beer. Take snacks (especially for kids)  eg individual cartons of juice (there is drinking water available at lots of locations) packets of biscuits, apples, dried fruit, croissants, cakes (individually wrapped are great!) packets of crisps etc. Don't forget to visit the WI tent for a cheap and cheerful cup of tea and a piece of cake, or maybe a sandwich.
  6. Weather. Most years it has been sunny. So come prepared. Bring light clothing and suncream, sunhats and flowers for your hair too (yes even the men). But be prepared for rain, bring wellies and a waterproof jacket. As it's a festival wellies, especially funky coloured ones, have become ubiquitous, many people wear wellies everyday regardless of the weather. This year with The Wild Things project there may be opportunities for messy play and tree climbing so you may want to bring suitable clothing for that too!
  7. Lulworth Camp Weather forecast © weather-wherever.co.uk
  8. Money. There is loads to spend your money on at Camp Bestival, from bubble wands to vintage
    fashion. Flower hair garlands and fancy dress. Try and stock up with the sort of things that will be popular with children before you arrive, it will save you £££s. Things to buy before you go include; glowsticks, bubbles, furry tails, flower hair bands, fancy dress, balloons, diablos, hula hoops, frisbees (soft ones!) and sponge balls. If you run out of cash at Camp Bestival, there are cash machines, they will charge you a fee and there may be queues. Lots of the shops will take cards though. There are both camping supplies shops (for when you realise you forgot the tent pegs) and basic grocers (selling fresh milk, fruit, bread etc) onsite too - they are cornershop prices rather than supermarket prices, but handy if you forget things or run out of anything
  9. Fancy Dress. This years theme is Circus. So anything from clowns to popcorn sellers, bearded ladies to elegant horses, the fancy dress ideas are numerous. You could even dress as a big top! Most people make some effort to dress up a bit. It needn't be elaborate, a red nose, a funny hat, but you may regret it if you don't join in. Some families go to extreme and amazing lengths with their costumes!
  10. Rubbish. There are lots of bins onsite, in the festival itself and in the camp site. Take some binbags and keep your rubbish in it, keep your space tidy. On the last day check you leave your space clean and tidy. It will take you 5 minutes to clean your area up and chuck the bin bag in the rubbish area, Don't leave it for someone else to do. Paying rubbish clean up crews puts festival costs up, help keep prices lower (and animals safer) by leaving just a patch of yellowing grass behind.
  11. Be flexible. Sleep when you are tired, eat when you are hungry. Wee when you are ....needing a wee! Don't stress over healthy food, or washing, or bedtimes. It is (sadly) only 4 days, just go with the flow and have an awesome time. 

See you there - say hello, you can buy me a Pims!

Don't forget that while there is a medical tent if you need antihistamines, Calpol or any other medicines it's wise to buy before you travel and bring them with you. Illegal drugs are of course still illegal - even at a festival

The surprising joy of peeing and pooping at a festival

I already talked toilets at festivals here

But I'm revisiting with a few top tips.

Ladies, take a shewee (or similar - there are a few on the market) and you can (with a little practice) pee like a boy ie standing up! This doesn't sound exciting now, but when those loos start to get ... full, it will be more useful. Some portable toilets have a urinal in them and more and more festivals provide a 'female urinal' for those of us short on penises. It's lovely not to have to sit on a messy seat or hover over a heap of yesterday's curry.

row of brightly painted compost toilets at a festival

The top tip for Shewees (and their ilk though I only have a Shewee - with extension tube! size matters) is that you should practice before you need to use it - you'll need bladder control so you can pee slowly into the funnel to avoid overflows, and also carry a wad of tissue to hold where shewee meets flesh, just in case, you don't want a trickle down your leg because your 'seal' wasn't quite right. Practice in the shower.

But men, ladies and small children alike will not be able to get away with only peeing. So at some point there shall be a number two. Try and use a compost loo if you can as they seem to be not only more eco friendly, but more pleasant than the enclosed chemical plastic space of a traditional portable toilet

Late at night, in your tent, why not use a potty? Yes even the grown ups! Line the potty with a plastic bag, lay a cheap nappy in the bottom to absorb any wee and then do the deed, tie the bag and bin the lot. I purchased a ShitBox a few years ago which is a cardboard box with a hole, to use bags and cat litter in a similar manner! But I don't think they are still in business. There are similar ideas on the market though, such as these

Don't take any form of chemical toilet to a festival. There are no emptying points.

Take tissues/toilet paper, wet wipes and hand gel.

Happy pooping!

Not a sponsored post - seriously - no one is paying me to talk poo and pee!

Camp Bestival 2014 and The Teen Den

young teen girl in shorts and sunglasses with festival trolley
DD and I have been 'doing' Camp Bestival since she was 10. As a ten year old she was near the top of the 'kiddie' age group but still found plenty to enjoy. Last year we were worried that she was really 'getting on a bit' in Camp Bestival years and maybe we had outgrown it. Secretly we both still wanted to go but now she is 14...surely too cool to want to see Mr Tumble .. (obviously I want to see Mr Tumble, let's not discuss that further)

As if Rob Da Bank himself had been reading my blog and answering our wildest wishes, this year Camp Bestival is having a dedicated Den for the teens! Specifically designed for those aged 13 to 17 its a dream come true for DD.

I'll let Camp Bestival explain

"This year in conjunction with The Roundhouse, Camp Bestival is creating a first of its kind area for ages 13 to 17, curated by a small team of young festival producers. Our genre-spanning line-up won’t disappoint - whether its contemporary folk, live drum and bass or house you like, come prepared to hear next year’s top artists. 

Coco & The Butterfields and the folky Nathan Ball are not to be missed. Andy Robb; author, actor and all round hero will be talking about his novel 'Geekhood; and we’re also lucky enough to be playing host to an award winning selection of Associated Roundhouse artists including Poetry Slam winner Antosh Wojcik, the insanely talented Fran Lobo and Karyma Ellis. 

If you want to hear about Fashion Journalism from The Editor in Chief of TheCool Fashion, see 21 Ukuleles play simultaneously or try Yoga with a disco twist; The Den shall be playing host to a range of bizarre and wonderful things. 

We’ve hand picked some of the best bits of the Guardian Literary Institute, Rob da Bank’s Music Club and special guests from around the festival exclusively for you. To top all that, The Amazing Corner will be spreading their positivity over the area; screening films, main stage takeovers and hosting open mic performances. If that’s not enough, we’ve also thrown in the 10 piece Roundhouse Brass Band for good measure. 

So head over to the The Den to lose yourself in new music and try something life changing!"

Find out more about the acts and how to get tickets for Camp Bestival at http://www.campbestival.net/line-up/2014-line-up/the-den/

Camp Bestival - Lazy Camping

Some of the readers of this blog, while keen festival goers are not that keen on camping (you know who you are!) But fear not. Camp Bestival (and most other festivals) have other options to you pitching a tent in a crowded muddy field.

You could opt to take a camper van of course (if you have such a beast), or, at least at Camp Bestival (and this is new this year!) you could take a caravan! A caravan, talk about home from home and all mod cons!.

But as well as these slightly wimpy DIY options there is the ultimate in wimpy camping...turning up to have your tent all ready for you! From the basic 'just a ready pitched tent' (handy for the disabled as well as the lazy) to the ultimate in luxury in the form of gorgeous bell tents, or even little pod houses! I confess I have never had the money for any of these options, but if it could sway you to risk a festival, I'd say go for it, I'll convert you to  a 'proper' camper later.

Hotel bell tent camp bestival luxury camping

Oh and they are rather fine for a special occasion treat like an anniversary or a birthday too.

How will you be camping?

See all of the Camp Bestival options here.

Camp Bestival - The Insect Circus

This year the entire theme of Camp Bestival is Circus. That means that I can dress up, so can everyone else - including you! I love the Circus acts that Camp Bestival haseach year and somehow, being dressed for the part makes them look even better this year.

My absolute favourite is the Insect Circus. If you get a chance to visit their caravan at any festival, do, it's well worth the small admission fee. The Insect Circus itself is fantastic! See some of my pictures below. I challenge anyone not to be amazed and moved by the May Fly, terrified by the Wasp Tamer or impressed by the Lady Bird.

The Kawa Circus is rather impressive too, and seems oddly lacking in health and safety, thus appealing to the brave and the blood thirsty. Do try and catch one of their displays.

And why not try some circus skills of your own  in the Kids Garden. 

Don't mention the mime.

Have fun!

Snoozing at a festival

wellingtons on dry grass
My favourite things to do at festivals include: sleeping, listening to music, dozing, eating, snoozing,  listening to comedy, napping, drinking beer, resting, drinking Pimms, dreaming...

Well you get the picture, I like to relax at a festival. I tend to get tired during the day and the ability to just lay on some grass and snooze is just bliss.

I hope that the sun shines and we all have time to relax and recharge at festivals this summer. I'd say 'I'll see you there.' But I suspect I may have my eyes closed...

Mr Tumble at Camp Bestival

mr tumble surrounded by bouncers at a festival
Yes he had bouncers on his walk-a-bout, yes I got past them.
For some years now Mr Tumble has wowed audiences at Camp Bestival. As Camp Bestival is family festival there are many acts and activities for littleones, and Mr Tumble has proved to be a huge hit!

It seems many of the mums on twitter have secret desires on Mr Tumble too! Maybe it's the fact that he gives them some peace while the children watch him, maybe it's his cuddliness, maybe it's the fact he doesn't really speak much! But whatever, he's surprisingly popular with the ladies(and anyone that tells you that I once pushed to the front of a group of small children and grabbed Mr Tumble's hand is a liar! A big fat Liar*)

He's back again this year of course, and I'm sure he'll be just as much fun as on previous years.

*actually there may be a shred of truth....ok ok it's true...what of it?!

Outdoor fun with the National Trust!


I have blogged excitedly over at my other blog. So I lazily give you a link. Go and see. so much extra outdoor fun awaits you at Camp Bestival this year - including tree climbing, mud pies, rolling down grassy hills...go look!

Camp Bestival - Extreme Sports Park

One of our favourite places to do nothing while watching others show off and risk their necks, is the Free Sports Park at Camp Bestival.

I love to watch the skills of some of cyclists and skaters as they fly, loop and whirl at breakneck speed often upside down!

Apparently you can take part! But DD and I tend to lay on the grass, drink in hand and just watch the young handsome guys take their shirts off as they get hot perform amazing stunts.

Camp Bestival - Jousting

Jousting, actual jousting, on horses, at a castle, armour and muscular knights...

Have I got your attention? I should think so!

Fun for all the family, Camp Bestival hosts actual jousting tournaments!

"The Knights of Middle England are a team of professional horsemen, jousters, stunt riders and actors who bring the much fabled sport of Jousting into the 21st Century. This Warwickshire based team bring with them over 15 years of both equestrian and showmanship expertise providing a high-octane action packed show - true great British family entertainment at its best!"

It's excellent, and all included in the price of your festival ticket! So fair maidens, bring a trinket or a spare pair of knickers to give to your chosen knight, and let the contest begin!

"Bold and bright costumes accompanied with stunts such as saddle falls, drags and rearing horses make this a show to remember! No show would be complete without the traditional evil Black Knight (Le Chevalier Noir) who will try and win the tournament by any means necessary against the gallant Earl of Warwick and his team of chivalrous Knights as they try to rescue the Princess from the Black Knights clutches!"

two knights at a jousting tournament

a knight on a horse at a joust

Shop til you drop

Most festivals have shops. Camp Bestival is no exception. While you knew you would be able to buy beer, wine, cocktails, pies and fish and chips did you also know you could buy ice cream, smoothies, pancakes, sweets? pay for fairground ride? Of course you did!

and plasters? suncream? eggs? bacon? spare gas for the stove? camp beds? TENTS?! Camping chairs? Cups? Plates?

OK maybe you guessed those..

But what about clothes, both new and upcycled, what about fancy dress? tails? flower garlands? balloons? toys? Bubbles? more clothes? hats? sunglasses? Books?

By now (should that be Buy now?) you will be staring into the depths of your almost empty wallet in a panic! But do not panic! Many shops take plastic in payment thanks to the wonders of modern wireless technology, and if they don't Camp Bestival has cash machines handily available to enable you to cheerfully spend your last penny! Hurray! (or not...maybe don't tell the children)

big ferris wheel

Camp Bestival - Please state the nature of the medical emergency

Only 30 days to go? Is that countdown clock accurate? Wow!

In case anyone was panicking about breaking legs, being skewered by falling jousters or crushed by a tumbling Mr Tumble, fear not. Camp Bestival has a rather fine Medical Tent with all the injured/hungover/sunburned festival goer could possibly require.

I had mentioned the medical tent in a previous post when I talked sex, but here they are again, happy to help those parents (and others) that need to store medicines at a cool temperature, on hand for advice, simple first aid, and triage and organisation for anything more serious.

Don't panic. Take care. Festimed have got your back.

Night night, sleep tight - Camping sleep mats review

For a long time I have searched for the perfect comfy night's sleep when camping. As I'm in my 50s the simple thin foam mat favo...