Showing posts from July, 2015

Outdoor Food on Friday - 31st July 2015

This post will be appearing as if by magic while I am actually eating food outdoors! I am at Camp Bestival this weekend. Looking forward to lots of eating outside and drinking of course. I shall look forward to sharing my photos when I get back next week.

As I set this to go live on the blog at 9am I'm going to assume I just woke up in my tent and I'm either

Boiling water for coffeeWandering about to see if anyone is selling baconEating a pot of instant porridgeDrinking a breakfast drink of vodka and cranberry. It probably depends on the weather to be honest!

But hopefully whatever else I get up to at the festival I will have time to meet some other bloggers and online friends, sharing some proper quality time chatting, eating and drinking together.

I'm also hoping to catch a talk about food for camping by Genevieve Taylor author of How to Eat Outside because if that doesn't sound like my sort of thing, then what does?!

Have you been cooking or eating outside this week…

Painting a tent - Take two

Once upon a time I bought a tent (by mistake - I know - who'd have thought) on ebay. And because it was cheap and old and tatty and canvas, I decided to try painting it, as a test. It turned out brilliantly (read all about that here) and so I was keen to try it again with a better tent. I sold my lovely painted Barry and decided to paint up Wilfred, while leaving the new 'Lord Lichfield' bare. (Lords like that sort of thing I think)

I allowed DD to choose the theme this time. And she chose Japan. It's not perfect, but we are not artists! We opted for a panorama of snow capped mountains, a cherry blossom tree and a pagoda. A general consensus decided we needed some swallows too.

We painted everything free hand, no stencils. And we used fabric paints from YellowMoon and some Fabsil to double check it would stay waterproof (this worked brilliantly last time.

The tent had it's first post-painting outing at the Curious Arts Festival, where it withstood a small shower wi…

Tuesday Tip - Phone Charging at a festival

Ah Tuesday. Time for a Tuesday tip.

This week I'm off to a festival and so are many others so I thought I'd refresh your memories about electronics in fields. We all love to get away from it all, when 'all' doesn't mean our mobile phones! I'm as addicted to the online world as the next person and so when I camp I have several options to keep my smartphone charged up (and my tent lit so I can read after dark)

An alternative to using apps and smartphones but still having the ability to stay in touch is of course to take a cheapy phone with a new preloaded SIM (no panic then if you lose it or drop it into the toilet)

For example the Samsung E1200 is available on Pay As You Go (PAYG) for just £5 (when you top up £10 credit) on Virgin. The 800 hours of standby battery life will probably last longer than you do and losing it won’t ruin your whole weekend. It’s the ideal festival phone!
Available from:

The Curious Arts Festival - Hampshire

I was lucky enough to win some festival tickets (I know!! massive thanks to Camp Fire Magazine) and so last weekend I went to the Curious Arts Festival in Hampshire.

It was all my favourite things in one, as I'm a self confessed 'Author Groupie' a literary festival is right up my street. My daughter simply adores comedy and loves stand up. We both love camping and I love gin! All of these things and more were catered for.
The festival allows dogs which made for a delightfully friendly and tail-waggy time, we made friends with one cute little fellow based on our mutual love of fried haloumi.
The sun shone, the decorated trees, scattered deckchairs and classy furniture in the grounds of the beautiful Pylewell Park just finished the delightfully upper class feel. I managed a little poetry writing, DD and her friend took a stroll to the lake, there may have been snoozing in the sun and icecream (there was)

I was thrilled to finally meet an author I've chatted to for year o…

Outdoor Food on Friday - July 24th 2015

This weekend I'm at home, but last weekend I was in a field with gin and literature at a rather fabulous festival in Hampshire (more of that later!) The food as it happened was not a highlight of the festival unfortunately, as while it was very nice, it was quite limited, and possibly due to that some stalls ran out of food on Saturday night leaving us with only a 'take it or leave it' option. Luckily the option was hummus in pitta with salad, and haloumi fries! so not all bad. And of course there was always gin.

Until the other week when I had a lovely vegan recipe linked up I hadn't considered the way a festival can restrict your choices. I shall be looking out for vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free offerings at Camp Bestival from next Thursday and shall report back. I'm lucky enough to have no allergies, and as I eat meat I confess I've not thought about this before, but at this recent festival we took one of DD's vegetarian friends and it…

Festivals as a summer holiday?

It seems that what was once the destination for young late-night music lovers has grown up! British festivals are now becoming a hot spot for families, (maybe as those once young ravers just refuse to give up), fast overtaking the traditional summer holiday, according to new research carried out by ticketing agent Skiddle.

Their survey of over 1,000 Brits revealed that 68% of respondents had either taken their child to a festival or knew someone who had, while 53% had been to a festival with their parents or knew someone who had. As you know I take DD to several festivals a year and I have met lots of other families that do the same, there are more and more festivals that include 'kids fields' that are more like the old holiday camps than a music festival!

Nearly half (44%) of respondents stated that they attend festivals for a new experience, with 48% attending because family and friends are going, or as a break from work and everyday life - similar to the reasons many peopl…

Outdoor Food on Friday - July 17th 2015

It's Friday so it's time for an outdoor food linky.
This weekend (actually later today) I'm off to a festival so I'll be eating outdoors for the next 3 days. I'm hoping for some excellent festival food. I am taking my daughter and her friend. Her friend is a vegetarian, so I may be having to try some options I don't normally look for.
I am a fan of the falafel, partial to a pizza and often crave a curry but what other vegetarian options are good for festival food and camping in general? I know on last week's linky there were some great vegan vege parcel recipes, but there will be no camp fires at a festival. I'll let you know next week what I discover - until then I look forward to your linked posts, or ideas in the comments below.

To link up you don’t need to be a camper or have a camping blog, or a food blog, you just need a recipe or story on a blog post that relates to food eaten outside.
Please link and try and visit and comment on at least one …

Workforce socks, for walking and working - review

I don’t do much walking anymore, but when I do I like to wear proper walking boots and thick socks. Getting out into the countryside needs to be a comfy experience, no one wants blisters! And without proper foot wear you can risk, wet feet, sweaty feet (yuk), cold feet and just general discomfort. Especially important if you are walking each day over a period of time too as your feet have no time to heal. Most walkers spend a fair bit on boots and waterproof clothing but can be less discerning when it comes to socks. I have been reviewing some Workforce socks and not only do they look the part, they are nice and thick and comfy too. Sized correctly they don’t bunch up in my walking socks and give great cushioning support when I’m walking.

If you are looking for a comfy, soft and cushioning walking sock with a classic look, that is also hardwearing, you could do a lot worse than Workforce socks

Workforce also have socks designed specifically for wetter working conditions. The Classic Th…

Top 10 essential things to know, do or bring to, Camp Bestival - UPDATEFOR 2015

A mini list (with links to more detail where necessary) of the actual vital stuff you need to know.

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 in the tent cinema, shows, circus acts, craft areas etc for children from as young as babies to teens. 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 main festival site is a castle they also have a jousting area this year (NEW!) there will be displays by Wild Warriors of the Cossack!  Also this year Dick and Dom are back with their zany sense of humor and fun. On the last night there is a spectacular fireworks finale.Camp site. It is hilly. You will probably need a trolley to transport all your …

Tuesday Tip - getting a warm night's sleep

This week’s Tuesday tip is about sleep again! No one is on good form unless they sleep well. So today I’ll give you a few tips on staying warm.
Staying cool is easy, you open up as much of the tent as you can and lay on top of, not in, your sleeping bag, wearing as little as possible. Staying warm is trickier. So here are my top tips.
Even in summer it can be cold at night so don’t assume you won’t need these tips just because you are camping in August

Use a quality sleeping bag, not the cheapest one you can get at the supermarket. Down is (apparently) wonderful if you can afford it. If not do unroll the bag early and give it a good shake to give it time to puff up. (air your bag during the day too to keep it dry and fresh) At home you are toastily sandwiched between an insulating mattress and a duvet. When camping it’s easy to forget that camping beds/inflatables/roll mats etc have little in the way of insulation. On a chilly night try adding something (blanket, silver sided roll mat)…

Outdoor Food on Friday - 10th July

It's Friday so it's outdoor food time again! What have you been eating or cooking outside?

WorldVision have declared today Floral Friday and are encouraging garden parties and flower themed events for charity. I baked an decorated cakes for us to eat at work. But wouldn't a summer garden party be lovely? I'm tempted to organise one. Tea, cucumber sandwiches...some cake, Pimms in a jug, bunting in the trees. Have you had any outdoor parties yet this year? I'd  love some party picnic themed food ideas!

Do grab a badge for your blog and join up using the linky below and spread the word!.

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Tuesday Tip - eye masks and ear plugs

Sometimes sleeping in a tent can't be tricky, both at festivals, where it can be extremely noisy at night, or in a campsite with crying babies (not yours!) or lowing cows, assorted wildlife screeching or rowdy tent neighbours.

Nighttime needs to be peaceful and if it's not then a set of soft earplugs are your friend!
Do not use earplugs if you have children that may need you in the night, obviously, you need to hear them, but you don't need to hear the man in the next tent snoring like a dying hippo (this actually happened at Glastonbury and I've never been so grateful for earplugs).
So assuming you can safely be deaf overnight earplugs are excellent. I favour the soft ones that are disposable, you squeeze them and insert them and they expand into the ear canal, deadening all sound, they are great.

The second thing that can cause lack of sleep is at the other end of the day. Canvas (and nylon) can be pretty poor at keeping light out on a bright sunny morning, so in the…

HeatHolder Socks, a warm feet review

When I go camping one of the things I like is laying in my bed at night, snug and warm, listening to rabbits and foxes and who knows what snuffingly about around the tent. Some evenings it’s harder to feel warm and snuggly than others though. If you’ve spent a day in rain on a windswept hillside, or in a chilly lake water skiing (I have never done that so I’m guessing) or wandering about a festival, scantily clad in fancy dress on a drizzly British summer day (I have done this one) it can be hard to get warmed up again. As I have poor circulation due to Charcot-Marie-Tooth my feet are often freezing even on a warm day, on a cold day you could use them to chill champagne.

So I was pleased to be asked to review some HeatHolder products, including some simply super socks! They are so warm and snuggly and fluffy inside. I tried them on on my cold feet and really felt the difference almost immediately. They are really soft and thick, the inside brushed layer is like candyfloss (less sticky…

Outdoor Food on Friday - July 3rd 2015

Sometimes eating out is a more enjoyable experience thanother times. At the weekend DD and I went to the Bristish Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park. I had won some tickets in a competition so only had to find the train fare and the cost of food. We ate Fish and chips and to be fair they were really good, a smallish bit of fish but really nicely cooked, hot and tasty. The size of the chip portion was good too, and even though the portions were £7 each at least we weren't fleeced extra for ketchup (a practice that annoys me).

But if the food was slightly pricey...the drinks!

I like to have a drink on a sunny day at a festival and often I'll take my own can or two of gin in a tin or similar, I usually buy a drink or two as well. We weren't allowed to take drinks into the festival so I was forced to buy from the bar. I chose a gin and tonic. It was served from a can, ready mixed, I was not offered any ice, let alone a slice of lemon. I was charged £6.50

I had to have another …