Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts

Looking back over the camping and festival summer

Early autumn and yet already I feel the gloom of the colder weather affecting me. Partly due to the weather and partly due to the lack of annual leave left to me I have packed up the tents until next year and that always makes me sad.

I had a fabulous summer though, with awesome festivals. I went to the Curious Arts Festival to grab some culture in a field, Camp Bestival (as always - and I enjoyed it all over again), Wilderness, where I gazed once again on glorious countryside filled with glitter, music and nudity, and even a Medieval festival at a castle!

I was not alone in having a great summer in the outdoors and so to help us all cope with the darker mornings, the rain, and the cooler nights here are some other great camping and festival posts to read. ..

Samantha at NorthEastFamilyFun was letting her kids have a taste of freedom at the Corbridge Festival

"I'm a bit of a free range parent and I'm keen to give Harry some extra independence this summer. He is going into Year 5 in September and when I remember how much I did at his age it was a lot more than he does now. The festival wasn't too busy through the daytime so Steve and I found a spot next to a noticeable landmark and let H&H have some freedom to explore with the instructions to check in regularly. The festival is in one field and has a big fence around it, plus they had our phone number on their wristband so I was confident they wouldn't get lost." Read More

While Meg was experiencing what it's like to be a new mum at a music festival when she went to the Secret Garden Party without her baby!

"My festival experience has changed slightly since having a child as I’m sure you are all aware, as a parent your priorities change. But what’s funny is that it’s carried over into everything that you do….including going to a festival even when the baby is left at home with the grandparents! So here is what it’s like going to a festival as a new mum……" Read More

Not everyone was at a festival though, there was plenty of glamping and yurting (can yurt be a verb?!) to be had too.

Naomi at Life by Naomi was thrilled to stay in a yurt with family and friends.

"We cooked all out meals on site – it made sense with so many children around. We had a barbecue one evening and a chilli on the other, which I had made in advance. The electric cookers were really efficient, and all the yurts were really well equipped with cooking equipment and utensils. Washing up was easy too – and there was so much hot water! (That was a glamping bonus for me.)
We had an absolutely brilliant time from start to finish. Yes, it rained. But, we’re British, so we just got on with it. The kids had an absolute blast, and were completely exhausted from running around outside all day" Read More

Erin at Yorkshire Tots was glamping in Yorkshire.

"Our home for two nights was Jolly Day’s signature Woodland Tent.  Spacious and charming, it had everything we needed for a very comfortable stay.  Outside our tent was a large veranda and right off our front steps we had our own BBQ and picnic table." Read More

And Kate loved her stay in a yurt so much she now wants to live in one!

"the unadulterated joy of just rocking up and not having to deal with that. Also the yurt has proper beds. And a wood burning stove. And a hob. And a bottle opener and all sorts of useful, good and pretty things that frankly won’t fit in the back of my car any more because of the level of ‘stuff’ that leaving the house with the kids seems to demand. It was bliss." Read More

Hope you enjoyed the foray back into warm summer nights. I have some more 'back to nature camping trips to suggest you read next time. Until then, keep in touch via Twitter and Facebook.

Let me know how you cope with camping withdrawal...or do you snow camp? I'd LOVE to hear about that (it's on my bucket list)

England's Medieval Festival

Close your eyes wait, don't, you need to read this ...OK just imagine (really clearly in your head but while still reading) a distant past, the thud of horses' hooves, the smell of hog roasting over an open fire (feel free to imagine an apple baking if you are vegetarian) the sound of cheering, of metal on metal, shouts, music played on a mandolin, singing and the squeal of excited children, the slosh of ale into a tankard.....

medieval festival england jousting

Now see the sunshine, the green grass, tents with the canvas door flaps cracking in the summer breeze like whips, flags fluttering, horses standing resplendant in red and white livery, shining armour glinting so you have to blink, and when you open your eyes again, a princess in flowing gown and pearls is laughing and dancing by you...

medieval festival england

and now stop imagining!! You can experinece it all! You can travel back in time for a weekend and live relaxed, your day managed only by the height of the sun in the sky and your desire for your next cider. Your children (and you and even your dog) can learn archery (ok the dog can't do all the stuff but you get the idea) , watch falconry, battle reenactments, jousting, listen to music, dance, eat, relax, at a truly medieval festival.

child in stocks medieval festival england
Not sure the childcare is particularly safe!

And you can WIN TICKETS!!

Yes you read that correctly - I have a set of Weekend Camping Tickets  (2 Adults/2 Child or 3 Adults) worth £250 including up to 4 nights camping from 26th August and entry to every day of the festival for a lucky person (and friends/family) and all you need to do is enter via the RaffleCopter thingy below. (UK only - ends 2nd July 2016 full T&Cs in the giveaway box)

If you win you can add even more excitement to the day with extra events - more info here - including things like VIP seating for the jousting and banqueting!

Festival Planning - How very Curious

The sun has been shining for 10 minutes so I'm instantly planning for festivals I'm off to this year. Starting with The Curious Arts Festival in the lovely New Forest. Running from Friday 22nd July until Sunday 24th in the grounds of Pylewell Park, I cannot stress strongly enough how lovely this festival is. It's not a full blown music and drugs affair, more a gentle meander though fields to some melodic relief as you sip a G and T.

Rather than a rush of sex starved groupies to the back of the tents for a grab at a pop star you'll be more likely to see people wandering unhurredly over to the ice cream van, glass of bubbly in hand, hoping to chat to their favourite author who is lounging in the sun on a deckchair.
Books hanging from a tree by ribbon curious arts festival
 For this is a polite festival, a festival of art and culture. With deckchairs strategically placed around the grounds of a gorgeous stately home and snail races on the lawn. A festival where you can share a fried haloumi snack with an author and his dog chat about poetry, read, snooze...
dog sleeping on the grass festival
But this is not to say it is a posh festival, or a boring festival (after all, they let me in!) it is full of comedy, both in the tents and about the grounds. There is madness and mahem a-plenty, also fancy dress (or a slightly refined air it's true, grab a ballgown chaps and join us!) lots of alcohol, and of course music and dancing.
festival tent bunting music dancing
It's a lovely relaxed festival where you can decide to take in as much or as little culture as you please (the same goes for ice cream). Camping is included in the ticket price and last year there was loads of room, on flat, unhilly terrain, close to the car park. Children under 13 can attend free with a paying adult so it's a perfect place to bring the family. You can even bring dogs as long as they remain well behaved and on leads. With activities, art, book readings, author talks, camping, fields, walks, snail races (they were a real thing!) music, comedy, drinks and food there is no real reason NOT to come to this super festival. I'll be starting my festival season with it and I can't wait. The line up is unfolding here and you can buy tickets here

Ticket Prices:
  • Friday Day Ticket (includes evening) – £40
  • Saturday or Sunday Day Ticket (includes evening) – £45
  • Evening only Ticket – £20
  • Full weekend ticket – £120 (only £95 until 31st March - quick, save money, buy early!)
  • Family Ticket – £300
  • Children under 13 – Free
Disclosure - I've been invited to attend the festival as a guest, but I have not been paid to write this post, and it's all my own work.

Should you go to a festival?

People sometimes show some surprise when they hear that a 50 year old woman goes to festivals.
They show even more surprise when they hear that while I take my daughter and sometimes a friend, that I would still go to festivals if I had to go alone. My husband is not a festival goer.

 I have been going to festivals since I discovered them relatively late in life. I was 41 when I attended my first festival, on a whim after seeing a flier, using a very basic tent I obtained via freecycle and really making it up as I went along.

festival trolley
I would suggest that everyone go to at least one festival in their life. you may hate it (my husband is not keen, though that's mainly health related) but I suspect you won't.

Festivals give you the ultimate excuse to be you. To wear what you like, to wake and sleep when you like, to eat and drink what you like, to be free for a couple of days in the semi wild of a field with only some material between you and the elements.

children playing with bubbles at a festival
The very things that people fear at festivals (toilets, noise, crowds, weird food, not being able to sleep, weather) are the very things that make it such a special and magical place (OK, festival toilets may not be magical, I might have to concede that point, but they can be funny, and playing 'toilet roulette' gives the whole thing a sweet frisson).

festival compost toilet loos
If you have children then festivals are the best place on earth. They have all the fun of camping (small children usually love camping, no worries about dropping food, or muddy feet, no baths, no bedtimes, lots of space) with the added excitement of fun things to do, music to dance to and the odd drunk adult sleeping in the mud to laugh at.

If you have never been to a festival before then 2016 is your year! Check out e-festivals for a small cheap festival near you for a taster. But if you are feeling braver and are flush with money despite the Christmas excesses, try Camp Bestival. Billed as a family festival it's a great medium sized festival to start with, whether or not you have kids. Due to the larger number of babies and toddlers (and thus parents) there is very little criminal activity, or drug issues and it feels very safe. The crowds do not feel scary (and you'll see over the heads of most of the kids!). They have some great retro bands, as well as new ones (Tears for Fears are headlining in 2016) And there is so much to do and see (for free) that you will have to work at it to be bored! The Camp Bestival theme for 2016 is Space and I think the fancy dress costumes are going to be out of this world!

I hope to see you at a festival in 2016. Look out for my tent.

painted cabanon tent at a festival with bunting

Camp Bestival - my review of 2015

I’ve been quiet on the blog lately. It’s summer time (yes really, despite the weird weather) and so it is my favourite time, Festival Season. I started in May of course, then there was a long gap  (picture my sad face here) but then it was July and at the end of it there was Camp Bestival!

Yippee! This year the headliners were the Kaiser Chiefs so with a huge dose of over excitement I had bought my tickets as soon as they were available. I once thought DD had grown too old for Camp Bestival, after all it’s Bestival’s younger sibling; a festival that caters for breastfeeding mums, tiny babies, toddlers, and over excited 4 year old Mr Tumble fans. But since the arrival of the Den and this year a really excellent lineup (my teen demanded a T shirt with the band list on the back this year, a sure fire way to check if your festival is ‘cool’) we are both back in love again, in fact DD has declared it once again has the top slot in her ‘favourite festivals’.

We arrived on Thursday and pitched up on a rapidly filling camp site. I love the main camping fields, the boutique and glamping fields always look a bit regimented to me. I love to look at the various tent styles, the mix of colours and shapes, the way everyone squeezes their tents into each gap, I imagine from the air it would resemble a vast game of Tetris as we all set up.

The weather was perfect, I suspect Rob Da Bank is in league with mysterious powers as he seems to always have perfect weather for this amazing festival. DD enjoyed just roaming the site, meeting up with one of her teachers (what are the chances!?) who was leading nature walks down to the lake, of course we had to go, and it was lovely. I wore my ballgown (of course) and rabbit ears…and now DD is dreading the next parents evening.

We really enjoyed the comedy which was back this year. Plenty of vulgar jokes, swearing and general rudeness, totally unsuitable for children, as the signs outside the tent demonstrated. It was a little strange therefore to find it in the Lower Kid’s Field…(best part was one of the comedians asking a ten year old what the worst swear he knew was, so we could know how rude to be, after checking it was OK to answer with his mum, he blurted out C*NT into the microphone and the tent erupted! hilarious)

We watched movies (Madagascar, yes I've seen it before - I still cried) in the morning in the Big Top, while eating bacon sandwiches and drinking cranberry and vodka, my festival breakfast drink of choice.

We also enjoyed watching the stunt riding at the jousting arena, this year 'Cossack' themed, excellent riding and stunning horses.

One of my highlights was The Jam Jar Cocktail bar again, not just the bearded guy mixing my drink, but the drinks themselves, a delicious margarita and a suitable spicy Bloody Mary, complete with celery (two of my 5 a day right there!)

Talking of food, I was able to lose my Nandos virginity this year at Camp Bestival, I opted for a ‘hot’ wrap while DD went for ‘no sauce, milder than mild’. I rather enjoyed it too, cheeky.

The Insect Circus had some new acts and was as much fun as always. Listening to The Kings Parade at the bandstand in glorious sunshine, while I lay on my blanket (I was just resting my eyes!) was so lovely and relaxing and Dd loved hearing Ella Henderson on the main stage, though a set change meant we missed a food talk I had hoped to attend.

A surprise favourite for me was a band I had previously never heard of (spookily we heard their latest track on Radio 1 as we drove to Camp Bestival!) Slaves, very fun and punk, and energetic, I still think that’s one of the best things about festivals, the random discoveries.

The Kaiser Chiefs were excellent, despite a packed field so we didn’t have a great view it was fun to join in the massed sing-along with Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby! (ahaaaaaahahaaahaaa) And the fireworks that close the whole thing were as good as always.

So much more to see and do than I've mentioned here - a real 'week's holiday in 4 days' - do check out the slide show below.

Can't wait for next year now - the countdown has begun.

Grab you tickets at where you can sign up for a weekly payment plan to spread the cost at no extra cost to you!

*PS yes I can say and write the word, I just favour not having the blog found via it as a search term! I'm not a prude, honest!

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!

Flower cakes for #floralfriday with Worldvision

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

Outdoor Food on Friday

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. Maybe you had a family barbecue? Maybe you have a great one pot chilli recipe, or a cool new way to make s’mores. Did you have a picnic? Or have a great sandwich recipe that travels well? We need to know! Please link and try and visit and comment on at least one or two other blog posts. Thank you

Camp Bestival News

And I thought the long wait for festivals would be boring over the winter. Not So!!

Because I had forgotten the excitement of hearing about who will be at the festivals I'll be going to.

Imagine my overwhelming excitement at finding out that (award winning) duo Dick and Dom will be returning to Camp Bestival in 2015. They were absolutely hilarious last time, encouraging misbehaviour and mayhem, causing the entire campsite to play 'Bogeys' well into the night... I simply can't wait! (my dubious claim to fame? Dick spat on me in the literary tent at Camp Bestival)

And then there is the Cat in the Hat! How do I love Dr Seuss? Well lets just say I love him here and there, in fact I love him anywhere! And the cat in the hat knows how to have fun, look at him! Look at him! Look at him now! It is fun to have fun but you have to know how....(Camp Bestival can help with that if you are stuck!)

And could there be anything I would like more than being in a field with Ricky Wilson singing "RUBY RUBY RUBY RUBY!" at the top of my lungs? well I don't think there could be! (I predict a riot if they don't sing Ruby - see what I did there!) So the Kaiser Chiefs at Camp B? Well I don't mind if I do! I also predict DD will be most excited as she is a Ricky Wilson fan since watching him on the BBC show 'The Voice'.

Other acts announced that I'm less familiar with (but have been listening to and am keen to hear more!) Include Clean Bandit and Underworld (who's music appeared in the film 'Trainspotting' among other things)

I'm filled with Camp Bestival Fever! It's going to be WILD!!

It might be cold outside but things are really hotting up at Camp Bestival HQ! It’s all coming together for what is destined to be the wildest Camp Bestival yet, and boy do we have a gargantuan line-up announcement planned for early January. But because we’re just a bit too excited, and because it’s Christmas, we want to give you a tempting taster of what’s to come announcing two pretty special headliners and just some arts fun that will be gracing Camp Bestival Goes Wild this 30th July – 2nd August at Lulworth Castle on Dorset’s stunning Jurassic coast.

Tickets for Camp Bestival 2015 (July 30th to Aug 2nd) are on sale now via: Ticketline / 0844 888 4410

You can use our 30 week payment plan to purchase your tickets meaning that an adult ticket can now be bought at a payment of around £5 per week over 29 consecutive weekly payments following an initial deposit payment. Book online via Ticketline only: select 'Camp Bestival 2015 - Weekend Payment Plan'.

Once you have signed up to the payment plan, which basically means giving your agreement by ticking the bank mandate form on Ticketline’s website, they will automatically debit your card on a weekly basis. More info here .

NB: Booking fees and a deposit (£25 per adult ticket) will be charged with your initial transaction.

Adult Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) - £195*
Student Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) - £180*
Age 15 to 17 Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) - £113*
Age 11 to 14 Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) - £88*
Age 5 to 10 Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) - £20*
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) – FREE (but ticket required)*
*NB: please refer to the Camp Bestival Ticket Terms & Conditions
Car Parking - £15 advance
Campervan Ticket - £72 per vehicle - please read Campervan T&Cs here before booking
Caravan / Trailer Tent Ticket – £83 (One car only per caravan/trailer tent – no exceptions) (available via Ticketline only) - please read Caravan / Trailer Tent T&Cs here before booking
All Tickets - will incur a booking fee.

CAMPING PLUS: Camping Plus plots cost £125.00 (max of 2 adults and 4 children per plot) and are perfect, not only if you know you won’t be arriving as soon as the gates open, but also if you just want the comfort of knowing that you’ve got your camping space sorted. Book now.

HOSPITALITY CAMPING: Hospitality Camping offers luxurious creature comforts in a beautifully designed, spacious campsite with fast access to the heart of the main Castle Stage arena. With premium toilets, hot showers, free yoga sessions, private parking and a meet and greet concierge service, Hospitality Camping is the place to stay for the ultimate high-end family festival experience. Head here for more info

Where do campers go in winter?

Well I'm sure some of us fly south and continue camping...a bit like swallows, but with more tent poles. Some stay in chilly UK and still camp - after all, you can get all season tents and sleeping bags! (top of my bucket list is snow camping)

But I suspect more of us do what I do, pack up the kit until spring and just snuggle down by a fire to read their camping and caravanning magazines and plan next years camping.

I have already booked a few festivals too, nothing like reliving last summer and dreaming of the next to warm you up.

So far I'm going to a local (to me) and early Festival (in May) called Elderflower Fields, I've never been to this festival before, and it hasn't been going long. I'm hoping it's big enough to be fun but small enough to be friendly. It bills itself as a family festival,

and I have to admit it does look amazing! Rather glad to see that the theme will fit in rather nicely with another festival I'm off to Wilderness! I've been to wilderness a few times now after winning tickets some years ago and getting hooked.

Wilderness is a festival for older folk, but families still attend and it has a friendly feel. DD enjoys it as it's a bit cooler at her age.

See more about Wilderness on their Youtube Channel, including the now infamous Secret (naked) Swim.

And of course I hope to be off to Camp Bestival next year too - a perfect family festival, you have a baby? toddlers? This festival gives you no excuse not to attend, it's designed around children, with plenty of things for adults to enjoy too. Not least the fact that your kids are entertained, and then are tired at bedtime! This years theme is GO WILD so I'm especially excited for fancy dress ideas - can I recycle my green ballgown for a third year? Well yes, I think I can! Watch this space!

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