Dressing up for festivals

I love dressing up for festivals. As a teen I loved fancy dress parties, toga parties were a popular diversion when I was at school, tarts and vicars was another. I once held a garden party where everyone had to come in the national dress of a country and bring a plate of food (and some booze) from that country - all great fun.

As I got older the opportunities to dress up seemed to lessen, and while I plan on ballgowns and tiaras when I'm 80ish, in my 40s I fear it would either get me arrested or ensure that the teen and Dear Husband would disown me forever.

How lucky then for festivals! Festivals are well known for funky wellingtons, girls in short shorts wearing feathers and flower head bands, and for groups of young men in onesies. They often have a theme and a specific fancy dress day (not that you can't dress up every day!) and many people go to amazing lengths with their costumes.

This year I'm excited for the 'Wild' Theme at Camp Bestival


The usual mayhem and Fellini style glamour that is Wilderness

The new and exciting fun at Elderflowerfields Festival
( grab tickets with £10 off the ticket price with this code : ao24sm)


And the literary and sci fi festival Wadfest (theme this year - The Library)
So to give you an idea of what I wear at these events. Here are some costumes past...also starring DD








So if I'm dressing up (and making an arse of myself) this year, will you be too? What costume plans do you have? I have a Pinterest board with some ideas..



My Favourite Place

There are lots of places I like, there is a country road near my house that follows the sweep of the valley and the view is lovely, proper English countryside, mixed farms, sheep downs, little copses of trees. It's beautiful, but it's not my favourite place.

 I also love California where I've visited a friend twice, gorgeous weather, skies that stretch for miles, water lapping on sandy beaches, but that's not my favourite place either.

My very favourite place, the place where I'm happiest is a moveable one. My happiest place is in my tent.
I have three tents. One is Nylon, it was free and while it's better than no tent, it's not that great. It's just a tent. But my other two are canvas and they are both beautiful. I'd be hard pressed to pick only one.

I like being in a tent for so many reasons, it usually means I'm on holiday and when I camp I can let time pass, I don't check my watch, I eat when I'm hungry and start drinking whenever I feel the urge.  Being only the width of a piece of material away from the outside world is oddly liberating too, I love to hear the sounds of nature, the wild as I jokingly call it. The rustle of mice (and this summer, twice! the sound of voles nibbling holes in the ground sheet! I even managed to photograph one of the little buggers!) the padding of passing foxes, the odd screeches of night birds, the wind and even the rain pattering on the canvas. Peaceful.
My tent has been home to much giggling too, many a drunken evening when I've fallen off of the inflatable mattress, legs in the air, unable to get in or out of my sleeping bag. Waking in a panic in a storm and rushing outside in the lashing rain to tighten guy ropes or pound in tent pegs in my underwear...

The best place for my tent to be is at a festival. Laying in the tent late at night listening to the beat of distant dance music at 3am, hearing the merry revellers staggering back to bed, stumbling and giggling in the dark is a fabulous peaceful time. All seems so happy and I can lay and let time pass.

 I cannot think of a place I'd rather be than in my tent.
My husband doesn't camp, so I'm often only with my daughter, but even my husband feels the benefit as I always return happier and relaxed, more saucy too for the self imposed break *wink wink*
So yes. My favourite place, the best place, is lying in my tent, looking up at the glow of the canvas as the sun comes up.

The Essential Item that can save your life

Once upon a time I went camping, I thought I'd packed everything. I had food, tins of beans, soup, noodles, sachets of sauce, a block of cheese, bread. I had beer, wine, all the essentials.

I arrived at the campsite. Pitched my lovely tent. Sat for a while in my camp chair to rest and take stock. Then I realised a beer would be nice. I took a bottle from the cooler and...yikes! No bottle opener! Panic...then the decision to move to wine and seek the bottle opener later...but wait..no corkscrew! Lordy this day was going from bad to worse! I made a cup of tea and decided to have some bread and cheese...but what's this? only plastic cutlery? Nothing to slice with? Grrr I shall have to warm a can of beans and ...NO CAN OPENER!!!

That's it! This has gone far enough! This camping lark will be a disaster unless someone has a device that can open beer, wine bottles, cans, slice cheese..

and so ladies and gentlemen of the camping world may I present...the Swiss Army knife(aka penknife). I had previously had no idea this item had a purpose beyond being on the wish list of 8 year old boys for the mysterious purposes of whittling and possibly, skinning rabbits (yes the 8 year old boys I know are pretty blood thirsty)

So I immediately bought myself a Swiss army penknife, I paid huge amounts of money for it in a camping shop...and lost it one day later. Luckily I found a replacement in Asda for a pound. Yes really - and yes I was furious at myself for a) spending fortunes on the first one and b) losing the first one. I promptly attached a long colourful lanyard to the replacement knife. (a similar knife is currently £3.73 on Amazon)

If there is one thing I advise you to take camping, it's a multifunction penknife. They can be bought cheaply but you won't regret the purchase...I have scissors on mine, a tooth pick, tweezers (great for splinters) a tiny saw (for cutting twigs for the fire) a knife - for whittling marshmallow sticks, as well as booze opening essentials, a screwdriver and a can opener, and probably a thing for getting stones out of horses hooves. There is nothing more vital for the camper.

Oh and saving your life? well wine obviously - but also I sleep with it in the sleeping bag next to me, in case I need to escape from the tent in case of bear attack and need to cut my way out.(Unlikely in the UK but you can't be too careful, now pass me that beer)

Picture credit Woodland Park Zoo

Amazing Giveaway! - Elderflowerfields Festival Tickets

Festival season is coming and first on my list this year is a bit of a 'spring fling'. A new festival for me so I'm quite excited! Here is what I know so far...

This year (2015) Elderflower Fields will take place from Friday 22nd to Monday 25th May (which is a bank holiday and the start of summer half term for most schools).

It is going to be held in Pippingford Park, in the heart of the Ashdown Forest. Pippingford is big, beautiful and wild! It’s got loads of space to run around in and stunning views across rugged heathland and ancient woods. Is also really easy to get to from both Brighton and London...




The tickets are currently at Early Bird prices and are

Adult Weekend –  £95 + booking fee
Child (5-16) Weekend –  £45 + booking fee
Under 5 Weekend –  £0 + booking fee

But I have some tickets to giveaway! (Do I hear you squeeeeee? are you excited yet?)

For nervous festival goers this could be a great first festival, they have flushing loos! and free hot showers (wimps) and while fires are not allowed there will be a communal camp fire where you can toast marshmallows and sing. (I don't think the singing is compulsory)



It's a family festival so expect fun but not too much drunkeness (just the odd stumbling mummy) and the lineup is already looking rather swell with my personal favourite Chap-Hopper Mr B the gentleman rhymer on the bill, along with Big Fish Little Fish, Mr Marvel, and a bit of Cajun music from Rough Chowder, but don't take my work for it, check out the lineup here


Watch the video (above) of the previous fun that was had at Elderflower Fields and ask yourself  'Isn't that what I should be doing in May?' if it is then use the RaffleCopter malarkey below to enter (check the T&Cs too) or if you simply cannot wait ...

then grab tickets with £10 off the ticket price with this code : ao24sm


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure - If you buy enough tickets via my discount code I get free beer.   :-) But I bought my own festival tickets. See you there!

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