Showing posts with label Camping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camping. Show all posts

Eco Packing for a festival

Every blogger that does festivals has blogged about what to take. I've done it myself because it's a thing that newbies, festival virgins, the uninitiated, always ask. But the more I think about the planet, the irony of banning plastic straws but taking wet wipes in your festival kit, the more I thought I needed to 'eco up' my game.


Now festival going is never going to be all holy. You'll have to buy stuff, and travel(I'm trying the coach to Boomtown this year!). But here are some ideas to make it a little more environmentally conscious, a little more eco friendly, a tiny bit better for the planet we not only profess to love, but actually live on.

You'll need a tent, try not to buy cheap to bin later. It's tempting, you might even kid yourself that 'the homeless' will use it or it will be recycled into clothes. In reality very few tents that are binned are reused, most end up in landfill. If you don't want to buy a tent to reuse year after year, consider borrowing a tent from a mate, hiring one from the festival, or buying a cardboard one you can recycle. And don't be scared to buy on eBay - my 3 favourite tents were all second hand from eBay!

Bottles for water (and anything else). Festival sites rarely allow glass onsite for obvious safety reasons and because many sites are farms when they are not full of us lot partying. But that doesn't mean you need to bring plastic...or buy plastic. Try bringing a metal bottle, there are lots available now with insulated walls, so you water keeps nice and cool in the sun. Buy cans of pop (and alcohol) as metal is almost endlessly recyclable. And there are now companies that have eco friendly water cartons too!


Wet wipes? I've been a slave to them for years, perfect for the morning freshen up and useful throughout the day. But really why? Why not pack a flannel cloth each and just use a bucket of water back at the tent. Cool and fresh you can still have  arub down, rinse your flannel and peg it up to dry, or carry it with you to moisten at a festival tap for a 'back of the neck' cool down after a sweaty dance off with Mr Motivator.


Food. Just try to use smaller packaging, tins are great, dried food is good but can be a pain to keep dry unless it's in plastic.

Ponchos. I do still pack a rain poncho or two. But it was starting to make me feel guilty - let's be honest, it often rains at a UK festival, we all grab a flimsy single use poncho, we all bin it after a day. So I was delighted to find these! Cornstarch biodegradable festival ponchos! No excuse now! Feel dry AND eco smug.


Plates and cups and .... If you must take disposables (and many do because who has time to wash up! Especially if you have a large family group) go for paper and card. (and wooden knives and forks)  And try to ensure they go into the correct bins for recycling. If you have space to bring them to the festival, you should have space to take them home. If you can't find the correct bin on site- pack up and take home.

Glitter. Glitter is just sparkly micro-plastic. So make sure you take a responsibly made biodegradable eco glitter. You may be able to have glitter applied at the festival, always check they are using eco glitter - the more people that ask, the more likely it will become the norm.

For other toiletry ideas avoiding plastic (did you know toothpaste tubes can't be recycled?) check out this blog post with links to sun screen in tins and shampoo bars.

Bags. Some festivals provide rubbish bags, some don't. Pack a roll of eco friendly bin bags, you can use them just the same as regular plastic bags (to protect your clothes in the rain for example) but feel happier knowing your biodegradable plates are in a biodegradable bag for the bin.


 Fashion. Slow fashion is a new buzz for  some, reusing items you bought years ago, keeping a set of 'funky' clothes just for festivals, buying second hand, pre-loved clothes from charity and thrift shops, and of course at the festival itself. Try to keep the 'new' clothes that you just must have, to a minimum, and like the tent, plan to reuse them.

There is nothing wrong with plastic, if it's got a proper long term function. It's light and can be really useful as buckets, wellies, air beds, umbrellas, and coats. But if there is the option to use something more eco friendly, go for it! And if you buy plastic, keep using it.

The very last thing on my eco list is not a packing item at all...unless you count packing up to go home. Don't leave your trash. Don't throw your beer cup on the ground (not even if it is biodegradable), don't leave your discarded balloons and nitrous oxide canisters laying about, don't leave your tent (even if it broke) . Clear up, bag it, bin it.

I dream of a day the festival site looks as clean at the end of the festival as it did at the start.

This post contains Affiliate links, if you make a purchase it won't cost you any extra, but I will get a tiny percentage of the sale.

Life and death in a tent

Life and death? Bit dramatic, we are only going camping. 

Every year there are one or two stories in the news about people that die, actually die, in their tents often while asleep. But what is killing them I hear you ask? The invisible killer is carbon monoxide.

If you cook in your tent, if you use a heater in your tent, if you use a barbecue near to your tent, you are at risk. Carbon monoxide is a weird gas that can drift about, and being heavier than air can gather in an invisible layer in a tent and suffocate you as you doze. You can't see it or smell it and worryingly the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache and drowsiness, the very things that might tempt you to lay down inside the tent!

But don't worry. All you need to stay safe is to ensure you either don't cook or heat the tent and stay far from barbecues (including other peoples!) or have a CO alarm in the tent.

A CO alarm will detect dangerous raised levels of carbon monoxide and alert you to air out the tent. And I have the perfect portable alarm (RRP £24.99) to give away. The FireAngel CO-9X Carbon Monoxide Alarm is a small and portable alarm, which is perfect for travelling. The alarm has a 7-year battery life and features clear LED indicators for power, fault or alarm status. And when you are not camping, you can use the alarm at home.


Project Shout is a national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. The vision is for everyone to be talking about the effects of carbon monoxide.


 Project Shout want people to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the importance of regular maintenance on all fuel-burning appliances such as gas cookers, gas grills and boilers, in addition to encouraging people to get their chimneys swept annually and to buy carbon monoxide alarms. Find out more about Project Shout and buy CO alarms here 

To be in with a chance to win the alarm just enter via the Rafflecopter thingy below. UK only. Giveaway ends June 15th 2019

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Camping, the cheap hobby with the option to spend!

I recently wrote about my number one camping essential over on The Mediocre Dad, and that made me think. If I had some spare money and wanted to treat myself, what would I add to my camping arsenal? Which extra bits and pieces would I buy? So I had a little hunt about the internet, and asked a few companies what they thought I really 'needed' to add to my kit. Here are some of the things I found, and some things I was sent to test out!
First up, a bit of comfort. I usually either have no pillow, or an inflatable one. Inflatable pillows are small and light and can be easily packed, but they are not always the most comfortable. I'm getting on a bit so was very happy to try out a new camping pillow. The Hippy Chick memory foam pillow packs easily into its own travel bag (it really does roll up small and go back into the bag easily!), is covered in soft Tencel, and is gorgeously supportive. The Hippychick Waterproof Memory Foam Travel Pillow is the perfect pillow for campers. Measuring 44cm x 25cm when out of the case and 30.5cm x 19cm when packed away, it fits easily into a rucksack or camping kit. The Tencel pillow cover is a naturally hygienic fibre made from 100% biodegradable wood pulp cellulose which acts as an excellent anti-allergy barrier and is 100% waterproof (safe from your drool and and late night beer spills). The memory foam filling is extremely ergonomic and adapts to the contours of your neck, head and back allowing you to sit or lie in complete comfort. When you're ready to put the pillow away, simply roll it up and tuck away in the handy travel bag. It will always bounce back to its original shape when taken back out. Buy your own Hippy Chick Pillow and find out more at: www.hippychick.com


Next I wondered about things that I had needed in the past but had foolishly not packed. Travelling light last year to Boomtown, disaster struck when a drunk guy fell onto our tent in the night in a rainstorm and ripped the nylon. We managed to fashion some repairs the next morning using black bin liners but I think a decent tent repair kit would have been far superior. And I feel even sillier when I realised the pack from Storm is smaller and lighter that a black bin bag! Small enough to fit into a pocket but strong enough to repair my tent in an emergency sounds like the perfect thing to pack next time. Storm’s Tear-Aid Patch Pack is ideal for both on-site immediate repairs and for more permanent repairs when you get home. The Tear-Aid Patch Pack makes clear and flexible air tight and water tight repairs easy. All you need to do it clean and dry the area, cut patch, peel and stick! As well as tents, the patch is suitable for clothing, inner tubes, wellies, kites, outdoor gear and more. For more information about the STORM range visit: www.stormcare.co.uk


I was also sent a wee pot of Sudocrem. Something I haven't really used since my daughter was a baby 18 years ago. I was intrigued by the idea of its extra uses (above and beyond nappy rash prevention). Now available in a tiny flat pot (22g) small enough to fit into pocket or handbag, and marketed as My Little Sudocrem, its a versatile skin care cream that helps to soothe dry skin & calm redness.  Its clinically-proven formulation soothes & protects delicate skin, forming a barrier which protects against irritants, allowing the skin to maintain its natural and healthy condition. It is perfect for campers and festival goers and can be used by all ages, great to apply to grazes, burns, bites and stings (perfect for clumsy campers and tipsy festival goers who can't see a guy rope in the night). I do like Sudocrem but it's packed in plastic, and since I have taken a vow to not buy toiletries in plastic any more, it won't be on my shopping list until maybe they manage a formulation that can be stored in a tin. Find out more and check the ingredients at: www.sudocrem.co.uk


One thing that is a real must now at festivals is a water bottle. Gone are the days we can just buy plastic bottles and bin them, the eco aware traveller now knows that to be sustainable we need to be reusing things much more. I have a lovely metal water bottle that keeps water cold all day even in the heat of a festival. For those that don't want to carry a bottle all day you can look for a cute bottle carrier like this jute one or a recycled plastic one like the ones from Care4Basket. Many festivals this year are going plastic-free so now is a good time to think about which sort of bottle is best for you, I like the metal as it stays cold, is very robust and looks good too.


Talking of festivals, you know that sluggish "what was I drinking last night?" feeling you get as you wake in a hot tent warmed by the suns early rays (or a cold one with the pitter patter of rain drops) and you are thinking that getting a coffee is the only answer and yet, the coffee stand is so far away. Well it seems that Zingershots might just have got your back on this one. With their intense and refreshing taste Zinger shots are a great, healthy way to start your day. (They really do wake you up!) Zingershots are a perfect caffeine alternative! Packed full of natural ingredients and free from preservatives or artificial colours Zinger shots come in four lively flavours that will give your day a ZING whichever one you choose!


The ginger shot is made simply with real pressed ginger, organic apple juice and water. Beautifully spicy ginger fused with organic apple, our original ginger shot makes a delicious wake up drink for early starts or mid-afternoon pick-me-ups. The turmeric shot is made from pressed turmeric. Packed with an abundance of health benefits, turmeric (which was first used a dye) has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.  The Turmeric Zinger is the perfect way to build curcumin into your diet, without staining your hands (and your clothes) yellow! Zinger add a little black pepper to the recipe (to aid absorption of curcumin), with a dash of lemon and chilli flavouring to give the unique golden drink a little extra zing. If ever you needed a wake up drink, this little lime bomb might just be the answer. This isn't just lime juice – it's lime juice and chilli. It's a wake up drink with a difference! Sharp lime at the front, hot chilli flavouring at the back. The only downside is that once again it's a product in plastic. But maybe you could reuse the bottles for sneaky shots of something else later... Find out more about Zingershots and where you can buy them at: www.zingershots.com

 I was sent some items free of charge and this post also contains Amazon affiliate links.



Cornbury Music Festival 2019

#AdGifted 

Summer is the best time of year. Summer is full of sunshine, beer, relaxing, big skies, music on the breeze and the gentle tickle of drying grass underfoot.

Of course being Britain it's also muddy, grey, dreary, windy, cold, full of umbrellas and it smells of damp tent.

But one thing it is always full of is festivals. Some years it can be hard to choose which ones to go to!


Festivals are excellent value for money with 24 hour (almost) entertainment, camping included (bring your own tent) , excellent food choices, music and glorious fields in which to roam or snooze.

I like a medium sized festival. large enough that you won't be bored but small enough you don't feel you have missed half of it on the last day. Big enough for some well known names on the set list but small enough that new bands will get a look in, some of my favourite music discoveries came from festivals.
“Large enough to get the big acts, small enough to enjoy them” Jools Holland agrees with me!
Cornbury is one of those festivals, I discovered the festival by accident last year when I was asked to review it for the blog and I hope to be reviewing it again this year. It is set in a beautiful park, with minimal hills (important for anyone carrying a tent or dragging a trolley) enough trees for shade (vital last year when it was so hot) and with plenty of space for camping.


The line up last year was great and this year it is looking good as well,and like all festivals, the line up is always expanding, at the moment the 3 days look full of great music:

  • FRIDAY  The Specials, Echo & The Bunnymen, Beverley Knight, Gaz Coombes 
  • SATURDAY  Keane, KT Tunstall, Elkie Brooks, The Shires, Trevor Horn Band, Billy Lockett.
  • SUNDAY  The Beach Boys. Paul Carrack, Alfie Boe, Hothouse Flowers, Steeleye Span.

I'm really looking forward to it again. A perfect break with the one you love, a family or a group of friends, and a good festival to take your teens, large enough for them to feel the freedom but small enough you won't be worried about losing them.

"Cornbury Music Festival is a lovingly crafted, top-notch open-air party held in the stunningly beautiful Great Tew Park near Chipping Norton in the heart of the Cotswolds. It’s a unique hybrid of premium music festival and quintessentially English village fete. There is always something for everyone with a fantastic line-up over four stages, a comedy stage, fantastic food offerings, a creative kids zone, a traditional funfair, an exclusive VIP area and beautiful campsites nestled in the estate’s rolling hills.
The Festival is very much a family affair. The Kids’ Zone is right in the middle of the festival, in sight of the main stage, so families can drop in and out whilst seeing all the festival highlights; and, unlike other festivals, all activities are free with something for all ages on the go all the time. Entrance for under-threes is free, and quieter camping options are at the same price as general camping tickets.
Cornbury Music Festival runs from 5-7 July at Great Tew Park, near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. For tickets and more information go to cornburyfestival.com"
I'll be at the festival as a guest and will be reviewing it during and after the festival, follow my twitter for live tweets from the event.

Exciting bucket list news

As you may (or may not) know, while I am a tent enthusiast, my teen daughter is less so. For years she has craved a camper van, but at over £10,000 for even a tiny second hand one they were never an option for me. After all, I'm a 'grab a second hand tent for under £30 on eBay' kind of girl normally. (i.e. cheap)

But then last year it rained at Camp Bestival and we spent more time in the tent and were wetter and colder and muddier than normal.

Now don't get me wrong, a festival in the rain is still a festival and still awesome. I still loved the bands and the drinking and the mooching about. Even the mud is a fun experience, but as I am getting older I need to sit more and to sit comfortably and while we did have the 'sofa' I sometimes crave a 'proper seat'...if only it had been drier the Caravanserai would have been perfect!


Last year I had actually had a hunt around for a camper van, but most companies wanted you to rent for at least a week, and also they had set changeover days (which is fine of course and makes perfect sense for a holiday business) this is useless for a festival, many festivals start midweek or near the end of a week and yet finish on a Monday, so a Saturday - Saturday rule would mean hiring for two weeks! and some charged £800 a week...so...back to then tent.

And then I found Leisure Rentals Direct, a bit like AirBnB but for camper vans. A perfect place for camper van owners to make a little money renting out vans that might otherwise sit idle, and a great place for me to hire a camper!

Not all of the vans are privately owned, but many are and most have really flexible hiring terms, with minimums often only a couple of days and totally flexible start dates. They are listed all over the country so that you can choose one near you, or drive to your chosen start point and collect the camper there! (a brilliant idea if collection and drop off times are tight, as you can collect near to the festival) There are all sorts of rules along with the hire of course, being over 25, having been driving for over 2 years etc etc (ah finally a perk to being old!) But these rules rather reassured me that the whole thing had been thought through.

And so this year, for Camp Bestival, DDs dream has come true and I can cross 'driving and camping in a VW camper van' from my bucket list.

Introducing ...Molly, a cute pink VW camper! Watch out for plenty of photos!


Guest Post from Wilfred...my tent


Hi all, I expect you are wondering what a tent has to blog about. Well I have some exciting times you know - I travel to all sorts of exotic places (ok ok the Isle of Wight is the only time I have travelled 'overseas'  but still...) and I attend lots of festivals each year, I don't get a wristband but that's OK as I don't have any wrists.

To introduce myself, I am Wilfred. I am a canvas Cabanon tent, a Dutch pyramid style, slightly retro and very storm resistant. In 2015 I had the equivalent of a tent tattoo, and was painted with a fun Japanese design. I'm well used, well loved and unique.

This year I went to The Byline Festival and had a lovely time in a nice grassy field with well spaced tents. There were lots of new tents there who told me that their owners had never even taken them out of the bag before! I felt a true 'old hand' with my merry bunting and flags, my extra tarpaulin and my solar lights. The festival itself seemed very genteel. Lots of clever people talking about clever things and drinking posh drinks. There were very few children which I liked as it meant I didn't have to worry about bubbles and the damage bubble liquid and bubbles can do to the waterproofing on my canvas skin. There was no rain and it was a fun weekend. The travel in my own personal trolley was fun, up and down a steep hill, lovely views from the top and a slow trundle up it - but I didn't care, I can lay back in my bag and let other people worry about hills.

When we got home it seemed like a very long snooze in the garage, though at least I was dry and snug, until I was wanted again.

Next we set off for the fields of Dorset and Lulworth Castle. I have been here many times before and it is always sunny and lovely (despite the children and bubbles) The children always like my painted design and my flags and I often hear them talking about me.

But this year at Camp Bestival was rather odd. After the usual trip in my trolley up and down the steep hills, and having been set up in a nice spot by some little trees, something very strange happened; it started to rain.

Camp Bestival is always sunny! Those are the rules; so I was more than a little shocked when  not only did it shower a bit on the first evening, but it continued to shower and then...and then...it rained! No more did small children stop to admire my pictures of Japan, no, now they scurried by in waterproof ponchos (like little tents all of their own). Everyone arrived back to me in the evening covered in mud! With muddy wellingtons and wet socks. Everything became messy with the mud and the damp clothes. I, of course, was waterproof as usual and even a storm and strong winds (which knocked down and broke some of the other nylon tents) didn't phase me. I stood strong and kept everyone safe for the whole festival.

On the last day of Camp Bestival, due to the mud, and the slippery grass, my owners decided to make an extra trip with the trolley so that they could load it less. That meant I was left until last. I stood proud, perfect in my uniqueness, watching the rest of the field slowly emptying of tents and patiently waiting for my owners to return and pack me up, snug in my bag for the next festival. Imagine my surprise when a total stranger appeared and started to pull out my pegs! He roughly undid all of my guy ropes until I fell down and then he grabbed my poles and bundled me up, shoving me into my bag with no care, but much speed!

Where were my owners who had so lovingly painted me only 2 years ago? Just as he set off, dragging me behind him, I heard a familiar and very welcome shout! "Oi! Mate! That's OUR TENT!" I was saved, and just in the nick of time. He mumbled something about thinking I had been abandoned (as if!) and handed me back to my owners. Phew! I was nearly tentknapped!

And so I returned home again, dry (it stopped raining the day we went home of course!) but badly packed (and not a little shaken). I was carefully checked and repacked at home, just in time for my next outing to Wilderness Festival.


Wilderness Festival is lovely. We stay in the family camping field and the children love me, and as before they often tell me how pretty I am. There are lots of bell tents there and even lotus tents so we canvas chaps can feel part of a nice family. This year I noticed lots of a new sort of tent too, large and with inflatable 'poles', what next I wonder!

At Wilderness there was less rain but a thunder and lightning storm! Which was super fun, I did not even wobble. The trip to and from the car on my trolley was short and over flat ground. Space was pretty tight in the camp site but everyone was very friendly. Unlike Camp Bestival, Wilderness saved some rain for the last day, so I had to return home all soggy and be pitched up in the garden to dry myself out. Now I'm back in the garage again, waiting for England's Medieval Festival. I have only been there once before but they have so many old and canvas tents there I really enjoy it - we can exchange stories and moan about bubble mix together!


Thanks for reading, maybe you could read this to your tent? And let me know what he/she has been up to this year. I hope everytent is keeping well and no one has broken a pole






Family Festival Food Ideas

Having come back from one festival I'm feeling like I'm back in the swing of things and so I'm planning what food and drink to take to my next festival, which is Camp Bestival at the end of July.


We will eat out a lot I'm sure as there are loads of food stalls to choose from and I cannot be bothered to trek back to the tent most lunch times, nor cart around warm bananas and beer. But breakfast is a lazy time and wandering to the food stall and then queueing for ages while looking rubbish is not my idea of fun, so I shall be planning 4 breakfasts and probably 4 dinners, with a few additional snacks. I always over pack for food and I'm trying really hard not to this year. There are only 2 of us yet I seem to pack enough for 5 people for 10 meals and then I bring it all home again!

Luckily while buying some beer to take to Byline Festival I spotted a packet of potato and bacon brunch in Sainsbury's that is for 2 people and designed to be fried (no oil etc required). It's in a pouch not a tin and while it looked vile when first put in the frying pan it later amazed us by cooking to look exactly like the photo on the box AND more importantly, tasted delicious. So we have planned fried potato for breakfast every morning, I may also take eggs.
 

Also on my list of morning essentials is coffee. Not any of that instant  rubbish either, I may be unwashed and in a field, with a hangover and wearing a tutu but that is no reason to behave like an animal. So I will be brewing a fresh coffee for myself each morning (and also in the process saving £££s on festival coffee purchases) using the simple convenience of the Lyon's Coffee bag! Yes ladies and gentlecampers, no reason to lug your espresso machine up the hill or risk the mess of a (plastic) cafetiere, no! A simple coffee bag is your friend, at only £2.60 for 18 bags that's less that 15p a cup! and you can avoid the queue. Perfect. Available in three different strengths, plus a decaf option, there’s a coffee to suit everyone: No.4 Dark and Intense, No.3 Rich and Full Bodied, and No.2 Light and Smooth. (I'm rich and full bodied ...but enough about me...) 


For dinner we will be having Meatballs and rice ( for DD - she dislikes spicy food) and chilli and rice (for me - I love spicy food) at least once. Using pouches we found at Poundland (they are also available at other supermarkets, but then they are £1.69) The brand is 'Look What We Found' and they are really tasty. We use pouches of part cooked rice for speed and to save on gas. Good old Uncle Ben. 


I am also going to take some buns and some hot dogs (remind me not to forget mustard and ketchup or I'll be in trouble) another food that can be bought in a can or a pouch and will keep cool enough in a cool box for a couple of days (canned will keep at any temperature), easy to heat up, easy to eat.

Photo Credit : Nigel Smith (Twitter)
 Another good meal is a stir fry, whether with veg you brought along (carrots, cucumber, green beans, mange tout, baby sweetcorn etc all keep fairly well if kept cool for a few days) or a can of mixed stir fry, tuna fish, some sauce and some noodles.


And one must not forget the humble baked bean! Perfect simple camping food, great on toast, with sausages, or on its own. Chance to use my favourite cooking gadget the camp toaster! A simple design and far superior to others I've tried (especially the, frankly useless, 4 slice pyramid toaster) This little gem cooks toast faster that you can say, 'is it browned yet?', never take your eye off of the toast! and take care when turning not to burn your fingers!


Extra food options include the simple Pot Noodle, Cup soups (or cans of real soup) and tins of spam etc....

and for incidental snacks (and to throw at your offspring who have woken at silly o'clock demanding breakfast while you are still all sleepy and cosy) some breakfast bars, and some juice cartons too.


For booze, remember to check the festival booze limits, and decant any glass bottles into plastic ones. G&T in tins, is a popular choice, as are cans of lager and wine boxes.

Let me know what festival food you'll be taking.

Disclosure : I was send some Lyons Coffee bags to try. They are excellent ;-)

How a new camping table has changed my (camping) life


I was sent a table by Millets recently. They asked me to share with you what I thought of it and to see if it could make camping a real home from home.

Now as you will know if you are a regular reader, I am a 'bare minimum' sort of camper. No electric, not fussed about flushing toilets and shower blocks, happiest in a wood or a field just me, my tent, some beer and a book (and DD of course, my regular camping companion) so how would a table work for me?

Well I picked the rather super looking table with storage under it, and to say it changed our camping lives is not an understatement. One of the reasons Mr Tentsniffer doesn't camp with us (along side having a bad back, and preferring an evening in front of the TV to one trekking across a field to the loo,) is that he hates mess and when DD and I camp, we are messy.

I'm messy anyway, chucking things down and leaving them where they land, and in the tent that soon becomes a royal pain in the bum!
"where is the hairbrush?"
"have you seen the matches?"
"wasn't the kettle here somewhere?"
"are there any apples left?" cue staring at vast pile of 'stuff'...

So could a table save us? Amazingly yes it could! The camping table is 7kg in weight and has a handy carry handle for transporting it when it's folded up - and it folds up so neatly! It opens up into a spacious table and the legs extend to give it height. Underneath are two large storage 'cupboards' with solid flat bases, perfect as a larder for our new 'kitchen diner'. At either end of the table are pockets for anything you fancy, cutlery, magazines, hairbrushes, matches...'stuff'...



The table fitted perfectly in our Cabanon Pyramide IV tent and the best bit was that our storage boxes slid in beautifully underneath it. Sadly these boxes are old and cracked, but I searched around and found some 50L boxes on Amazon that are just the right size to slip under the table, so we have all our regular bits and bobs safely under the table, extra cupboards and a table top too! We managed to keep everything so neat and tidy on our jaunt to the Byline festival that I think even Mr Tentsniffer would have been proud. Just take a look.


Disclosure I was sent this table (and a fabulous box of goodies - see the unboxing video here) by Millets to review but all the thoughts about the table are my own!

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!

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

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 lower 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!



25 Amazing Years

Yes I've been married 25 years this year! I know, I don't look old enough etc etc

Unfortunately Mr Tentsniffer is more of a Hotel-lover than a tentsniffer and so while we share a marriage we rarely share a tent! Which just goes to show that time apart is at least as important as time together.

But whether you and your beloved camp together or spend weekends apart, and even if you have no significant other, if you like festivals, fields and fun of a historical nature you need to be thinking about England's Medieval Festival who are also celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year! (and if you are celebrating 25 years of marriage too - click the link as there are some FREE tickets available for you!)

England's Medieval Festival

So an extra special festival of historical fun and frolics in the English countryside is planned in August and it's not something you should miss. I went for the first time last year, and can vouch for the relaxed nature, the wealth of shopping experiences, the delicious mead and the excellent entertainment for kids and adults alike!

The more warlike of your kids may enjoy sword school or archery, or even axe throwing! While the gentler children can watch puppet shows, magic shows, and laugh (from a safe distance) at the mud theatre.


England's Medieval Festival 2017 from England's Medieval Festival on Vimeo.

Tickets are available for weekend camping,  (and I advise this as there is lots to see and do and you really need more than one day, plus it's camping!!) glamping, and day visits. Use my special discount code MUMS10 to get 10% off your ticket price! (enter the code at the checkout) and if you book early you will get early bird discount too! (early bird prices valid until 31st March but 10% off code works anytime)

Dogs are allowed and medieval dress is encouraged.

dog dressed as a jester

Top 5 Tips for Camping at Download Festival - Guest Post from Tattooed Tealady

Today on the blog, a beauty blogger gets down and dirty at Download festival and gives us the benefit of her experience. Much of her advice applies to all festivals, not just Download

Camping isn’t my usual topic when it comes to writing blog features, instead opting for beauty, lifestyle and parenting features over on my blog, Tattooed Tealady, but today I’m quite looking forward to being able to share something different, and what better place than here!

Today I’m going to run you through my Top 5 Tips for Camping at Download Festival, a metal festival held in the East Midlands at Donnington Park and the festival I have frequented the most over the past 8 years.

First things first, plan where you’re going to camp. Of course, you can’t guarantee you’ll end up in the camp site you want, but Download Festival does have a handy map which shows all the campsites and the earlier you get there, the more likely you are to land the spot you want. There’s different areas for different campers including standard camping, quiet camping, family camping and disabled camping, all situated generally in the same area, whilst disabled is right next to the arena. The space for Download Festival is huge, so you’re best off aiming for a camp which is closer to the arena and won’t take as long to walk back to after a long day of mosh pits. Blue Camp is a firm favourite, right near the walkway to the arena and next to the village and food stalls; it’s also one of the loudest and busiest camp sites at the festival, so don’t count on getting much sleep.

They don’t call it Brownload for nothing. Download Festival is becoming notorious for heavy rain and flooded camps over recent years, mainly down to the time of year the festival takes place and I don’t see the organisers changing the dates any time soon! Be prepared. Take waterproofs, take extra waterproofs, get your tent and belongings as secure as possible and be prepared to get wet. The last thing you want after an entire day in the arena standing in the rain, is to go back to a wet and soggy tent.


Whilst we’re on the topic of being prepared to get wet, make sure you pick a decent tent that will survive the weekend, because you don't need a collapsed tent and nowhere to sleep. As well as the rain, you’re set to have a windy few nights, with most of the main camps set out on open fields. Trust me, I’ve tried the bargain tent buys that I told all my friends would save me so much money to spend on alcohol, food and merchandise, to have it be completely useless at keeping me dry, keeping me warm or even keeping upright! Go for something that’s going to stand up to a bit of wear and tear; when festival season rolls around all the big brand names reduce prices and put on amazing sales, so you can always pick up a bargain buy.


Follow the rules. Oh, I know, rules were meant to be broken, right? Some are there for the benefit of everyone though and there are certain items, objects, drinks and whatnot that Download Festival simply won’t allow. Yeah you could risk it and see what you can sneak in, but it’s better to go with the guidelines and don’t risk taking anything you wouldn’t want to be confiscated or thrown out.
Always check the rules for any festival, as they usually have a full list and all the information you need about what you can and can’t take, which is particularly handy if you’re planning on providing your own food over the weekend.

Finally, make a tent a home. I’m not saying take the kitchen sink and your favourite childhood teddy, but festivals can be exhausting and sometimes making things a little cosier inside your tent and a nice little area to sit and relax before heading out to see the bands can make all the difference when it comes to the experience you have at a festival. Some of my fondest memories are sitting around a (safe and contained) camp fire with friends, drinking and getting ready for that night’s line-up, or coming back to the campsite after the bands have all gone home and having starting a party with all your neighbouring campers. Your camp is your base, your home for the weekend, so make it count.


If you’re heading to a festival this year I hope you have an amazing time! In the meantime, you can catch up with me over on www.tattooedtealady.com as well as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, all under the username ‘TattooedTealady’.

Happy camping!

No Fridge Required

Maybe you are off to a festival, maybe you are a minimalist camper who doesn't use EHU, but either way there may be times you are away from home, away from the power to refrigerate things, but you are not quite rich enough to eat out for every meal. What options are open to you?

As a camper that uses a cool box occasionally but never uses EHU I have a few ideas.


Let's start with breakfast.

On the first day you could splash out with a fry up of bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomato and potato. These things will keep for a day if you can keep them cool - but I tend to just bring enough for day one.
Other things that you can pack for breakfast include lots of things that are individually packed, many bread based things go mouldy quickly in the moist summer heat inside a tent, so things that are packed singly are a good way to keep things fresh. The pound shop is a good source of camping food. My personal favourites are brioche, croissants, breakfast biscuits and cereal bars. It's worth taking some of the original 'individually wrapped food' though, bananas are great for breakfast and an any time snack. Oranges are also good here, and of course for drinks there are lots of individual juice cartons, and even flavoured milk and soya drinks or iced coffee cartons. Don't forget to pack tea and coffee bags and some longlife milk.
Copyright: seralexvi / 123RF Stock Photo

For lunch you might be out and about.

Why not look at taking some snacks like crisps, babybel cheese, mini cheddars, nuts and fruit. Drinks could include juice or water (water is readily available at all festivals - so just bring a refillable bottle) and maybe a gin-in-a-tin or a can of beer. Some festivals won't allow you to bring your own food or booze onto the site, but most kid's festivals allow snacks, and a single can of beer is usually allowed.

For dinner.

You'll probably want to pop back to the tent and maybe cook something. Tinned food is great for storage and there is a huge choice, from soup and the ubiquitous baked beans to more exotic examples like full English breakfasts and curries. My favourite is chilli (extra hot Stagg is just amazing) but as rice takes a long time to cook (and therefore a lot of gas) I tend to favour the almost ready pouch type of rice, you can mix it with the chilli - add a little extra water and cook it all together in one pan, real cowboy food! A can of  sweet and sour chicken would be nice with some noodles (also available in pouches). And of course, for noodle lovers there is always a pot noodle. If you packed some buns then you could have some hotdogs one evening, easy to cook and easy to eat - remember no glass on the festival site, go for the hotdogs that are vacuum packed.



So there are some tasty 'no fridge' meal ideas for you. You can also store eggs, potatoes (slice and then fry) and lots of other tinned foods (fruit and custard for example!) and carton foods too, but try and plan ahead - no one wants to carry more than they need and you might end up with a lot to cart back to the car if you over pack.(I'm speaking from experience) Some festivals now have places to leave unused food for the local food bank at the end of the festival.

Don't forget to take things like oil, tomato ketchup, salt as well.

Are there any great meals for a festival or no fridge camping that I've forgotten?

Ten Years of Camp Bestival

DD and I started our festival forays with Eastern Haze in Suffolk in 2007. 



Sadly that year Eastern Haze suffered dreadfully from bad weather and the organisers wound it up, never to return. But DD and I were hooked. Hooked on the mud, the toilets, the late nights, the friendly festival goers, the laughter and the music. So I looked about for a new festival, suitable for an eight year old and her mum to attend and I found Camp Bestival. Billed as a cross between a festival and a holiday camp, with a mix of music and kids activities it sounded perfect, and so it turned out. 



We went to the 2010 festival, and have been to every Camp Bestival since.

This year is the tenth Camp Bestival and the headliners have just been announced. (and yes I'm going to save that for later) It made me think back to previous year's headliners and who I would have picked for this year if I was asked to choose (I wasn't)



The first year of Camp Bestival 2008, which we didn't attend, was by all accounts a bit of a steep learning curve for the organisers. But the headliners that year included Chuck Berry, Flaming Lips, and Kate Nash.

In 2009 the headliners included Florence and the Machine, PJ Harvey, Will Young, Tinchy Stryder,  Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and Goldie Lookin' Chain, I confess I'm rather sad I missed 2009!

In 2010, the first year we attended the headliners included Madness, Calvin Harris, Billy Bragg, The Human League, Ellie Goulding, Tinie Tempah (who swore hilariously)  and The Cuban Brothers and it was brilliant! Madness were so much fun, my favourite memory of the festival was dancing with the kids, in the dark, with glowsticks all aglow



In 2011 we saw Blondie, Mark Ronson and the Business International, and Primal Scream. Other performers included ABC, The Wonder Stuff, House of Pain, Eliza Doolittle, Bad Shepherds, Easy Star All-Stars, though we missed a secret performance in the woods by Ed Sheeran!

In 2012 the headliners were  Kool and the Gang, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Hot Chip, The Happy Mondays, and Rizzle Kicks, and again we had a fab time dancing the night away.

In 2013 headliners included Levellers and Labrinth, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, The 1975 and Clean Bandit. But for some reason I recall less about the music that year - maybe we spent longer in the comedy tent.

In 2014 headliners James, De La Soul, and Basement Jaxx, were joined by Sinead O' Connor, The Cuban Brothers, Chas & Dave, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Wedding Present, and Charlotte Church. DJs include Boy George.

2015 saw us boogying to headliners Clean Bandit, Kaiser Chiefs (just loved being part of a huge festival singalong to Ruby, Ruby, Ruby) and Underworld. Also featuring were Ella Henderson, Professor Green, Wretch 32, Kate Tempest, Bob Geldof, Soul II Soul, Level 42, Alison Moyet, Ella Eyre, George The Poet, and Slaves, (who I hadn't heard before and they were great).

Last year, 2016, was one of DD's favourites, Jess Glynne, and we both loved Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim on Saturday night an amazing DJ set. Sunday's headliners were Tears for Fears. We had plenty of old school tunes too with Bananarama, DJ Yoda, The Cuban Brothers, & Rob Da Bank's Prince tribute, And of course every year that is any good features Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer.

So who do I think should headline 2017? Madness of course! And lucky me, because they are indeed going to give us a reason to don baggy trousers and dance in a field in 2017





Trust me - you really don't want to miss this. The lineup is spectacular as always and great value for money. I've seen Bootleg Beatles before too, lovely to feel part of the swinging sixties(I was born in 1965 before you ask)  And Mark Ronson is always entertaining. Arrive on Thursday, leave Monday and spend all the time in between relaxed and being entertained by the stars.



This years fancy dress theme is Popstars and Rockstars. I'm having a think...but feel free to add suggestions in the comments! 

Ticket Info:
Camp Bestival 2017 Weekend Tickets are on sale now via: Ticketline / 0844 888 4410
WEEKLY PAYMENT PLAN
The Camping Bestival 2017 Weekly Payment Plan is on sale now. Use our 30-week payment plan from £5 per week. Book online via Ticketline only.

CAMP BESTIVAL 2017 EARLY BIRD WEEKEND TICKET PRICES
Adult Weekend Ticket - £175*
Student Weekend Ticket - £165* / Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket - £105*
Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket - £80* / Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket - £30*
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket - £10*
Babes in Arms (1 & Under) - FREE (but ticket required)*
*All tickets include camping from Thursday / Please refer to the Camp Bestival Ticket Terms & Conditions below

Car Parking - £20 in advance / Campervan Ticket (Field A) - £90
Caravan / Trailer Tent Ticket (Field A) - £100
T&Cs here before booking

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...