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!

Big Fish Little Fish take raves on tour with Camp Bestival

New Year new festivals! Well yes, but some old favourites too of course. And this year to whet our appetites Camp Bestival are touring around with Big Fish Little Fish the family rave experts in a series of fun (and very reasonably priced) events.

Even if you can't be at Camp Bestival (and there is still time to sign up to the ticket plan) you can pop along to a rave! (or go to one as a festival taster?)



Long-term Camp Bestival consorts, Big Fish Little Fish are finest purveyors of quality raves for all the family. Enlisting big name DJs that mums and dads love from days of yore and mixing them up with fabulous fun and games for all the family, they’re everyone's kind of party people and the perfect hands of decks for Camp Bestival's ‘…sets sail’ theme.  So why not join in and get jigging in the rigging with amazing DJs including 2 Bad Mice, Chad Jackson Aphrodite, Slipmatt, Alex Paterson (The Orb) and many big names, with Big Fish Little Fish residents and classic Camp Bestival family entertainment galore for kids of all ages.

With ticket prices ranging from free for babes in arms to £13 for adults, check the tour dates, and don’t miss out on the combined magic of Big Fish Little Fish and Camp Bestival and our life on the ocean rave.
Tickets and more information via www.bigfishlittlefishevents.co.uk and on facebook at  www.facebook.com/bigfishlittlefishevents

Camp Bestival with Big Fish Little Fish Tour Dates:

Vauxhall                      Fire & Light Box                                  27 January
Reading                       Hexagon                                             04 February
Brighton                       Proud Stanmer House                        18 February
Farnham                     The Maltings                                       24 February
Bristol                          Lakota                                                 25 February
Hackney                     The Hangar                                         25 February
Exeter                         Phoenix                                               04 March
Southend-on-Sea        Cliffs Pavilion                                       04 March
Chippenham                Neeld Community & Arts                    10 March
Grays                          Civic Hall                                             25 March
Southampton               Engine Rooms                                   25 March
Margate                       Dreamland                                          31 March
Bath                             Komedia                                              15 April
High Wycombe           Old Town Hall/Wycombe Swan          28 April
Tunbridge Wells          Groombridge Place                             12 May
Plymouth                     Venue & Date TBC
Bournemouth              Venue & Date TBC
Kingston                      Venue & Date TBC

And don't forget The Main Event!
Check www.campbestival.net and Facebook and Twitter for all the latest Camp Bestival info.

Camp Bestival Ticket Info:

Camp Bestival 2018 will take place on July 26th - 29th. Early Bird tickets are on sale now. BookTickets here / 0844 888 4410

The Camping Bestival 2018 Weekly Payment Plan is on sale now. Use our 30-week payment plan from £5 per week. Book online via Ticketline only.

Adult Weekend Ticket - £180*
Student Weekend Ticket - £175*
Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket - £111.20*
Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket - £84.75*
Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket - £31.75*
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket - £10.60*
Babes in Arms (1 & Under) - FREE (but ticket required)*

*All weekend tickets include camping from Thursday
*Please refer to the Camp Bestival Ticket Terms & Conditions

Car Parking - £20 in advance 

Campervan Ticket (Field A) - £90 - please read Campervan T&Cs here before booking 

Caravan / Trailer Tent Ticket (Field A) - £100 - please read Caravan / Trailer Tent T&Cs here before booking 

Festival Programme Pack - £10 (reserve your festival programme pack to collect on site at the festival)

Love it or hate it - we need to change the way we use glitter

You can't have escaped the news lately about microplastics and their effect on the planet. First we were told about microbeads in cosmetics, now it is the turn of glitter to be in the spotlight. First a school was reported as having banned glitter and while, like many people, my initial thought was 'what on earth?' I realise now that glitter is small but deadly. In fact as far back as last summer I had been thinking about glitter.

While it hadn't really occurred to me that all glitter use was bad, I was aware that flinging glitter (tiny non-biodegradable pieces of plastic) into the environment was bad, so I didn't hold with the ridiculous idea of 'magic reindeer food' at Christmas time, and I had started thinking that festival body glitter would have to go.

Each year I marvel at the beauty of the young people at festivals covered in body paint and gorgeous glitter and sequins and the last few years I have taken my own to wear too. But it did occur to me that this was washed off in a field....and then what? Eaten by animals, invertebrates, birds, irritating their stomachs and surely doing no good at all.

Even before the glitter problem had hit the news I had been hunting around for some biodegradable glitter so I was thrilled to find a supplier with reasonably priced stock that also looked gorgeous. Next year I will going to a few festivals (Camp Bestival is a certain, others yet to be confirmed) and I will be glittery but hopefully, especially as Camp Bestival is sea themed, I won't be polluting water sources or damaging wildlife. Amazon has biodegradable glitter too (affiliate link)

Will you be changing the way you use glitter both at home and at festivals? I'm already looking at Christmas cards and rejecting glittery ones.

Photo Copyright: january89 / 123RF Stock Photo and mrakor / 123RF Stock Photo

England's Medieval Festival in East Sussex

Have you got plans sorted for the weekend?

It's a Bank Holiday in the UK (for those of you that live in foreign climes that equates to a day of rest for many of the people that usually have a 9-5 toil) and I am one of many that will be enjoying a long weekend. In the UK it is also tradition that Bank Holiday Mondays are wet.

However as we have seen from previous festival news, this year has been one of broken traditions, it even rained at Camp Bestival! (unheard of in it's previous 9 year history) so it's no surprise to see that the sun will be shining all weekend at Hersmonceaux this weekend.

If you live any where near Herstmonceaux (it's in East Sussex) and you are not planning a trip to England's Medieval festival for at least one day (camping is available and camp site opens at 2pm today!) then you are missing out!

 Tickets are available at the gate and the festival is open Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Last year I was glad I camped as there were so many fun things to do that invariably some clashed, as the program was repeated daily, I could be sure to fit everything into a busy schedule (and repeat the things I really loved!)

Do pop along, fancy dress is optional (but fun) and children of all ages can learn sword skills, jousting, bread making and a thousand other medieval skills!

You can even bring the dog.

 I hope to see you there for mead, singing, mud theatre (don't worry - it's mostly mess free!), and hog roasts..oh and shopping...

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

Camp Bestival 2017 Review


Where to begin.

Camp Bestival. A fabulous festival of fun and frolics for young people, kids and the young at heart. It is always full of laughs, and some surprises.

The regular fun things include the awesome Insect Circus, the worlds largest bouncy castle (only a regular since last year), Mr Tumble, Dick 'n' Dom, kids garden fun, crazy bikes, sticker crafts, retro 80s bands, the Blue Coats, the inflatable church, the WI tea tent, the Feast Collective, and the jam jar cocktail bar.

This year surprises included...rain.

It never rains at Camp Bestival. No seriously it doesn't. DD and I have been going since 2009 and it really never rains. It is sunny, hot, you need sunscreen. This year, Camp Bestival's 10th Anniversary, the rain we had never had...all came at once. And so, suddenly, Camp Bestival resembled Glastonbury.

For families that were not used to camping, or had small kids I imagine this was horrible. Muddy tents and wet clothes are no fun; but for DD and I, hardened festival goers and owners of a rather fine and storm/rain proof canvas tent, it was at least bearable.

We bought some cheap plastic ponchos, donned our wellies and ventured forth regardless. Camp Bestival managed the mud fairly well, with extra 'road' panels on paths that were well walked (though a bit of extra hay/straw would have been welcome) and on the whole it was gateways and small areas that become swampy, the main site stayed pretty walkable and the camp site itself was fine.

Highlights for me this year included Right Said Fred on the main stage, and a surprise 'lock in' due to the storm, with the Scummy mummies and copious amounts of gin.

Camp Bestival might be a family and children's festival but there is still plenty of 'mother's ruin' to be had. Due to queues I sadly missed the Jam Jar cocktail bar this year, that and the sad lack of a bloody Mary on the drinks list. But I managed to consume a fair bit of lager and Jack Daniels (not in the same glass)

We didn't see the Insect Circus because... yes you guessed it...it was too wet. And there were other things I missed too - no clay modelling this year, and the rain did slightly dampen my fancy dress on Saturday. But the musical acts were all great. I stumbled upon Los Pacaminos, and they were great fun. The comedy tent was small but perfect this year, not in the kid's field and full of genuinely funny people.
World's Biggest, and saddest, Bouncy Castle

DD's highlights were Louisa Johnson, and Anne Marie, both in the big top and so out of the rain, though not the mud as it was a well-travelled area.

My good deed for the festival was to lend our trolley to a tent-neighbour when the festitaxi was cancelled due to the weather and the Mr Trolley hire was cancelled too, which enabled them to get their stuff back to their car and thus escape on Sunday. And as no good deed ever goes unpunished this meant we missed a birthday party in the dingly dell for the 5 year old son of Kirsty and Clara (My Two Mums) . And then on the last day, during pack up, we very nearly had our tent stolen....

But on the whole Camp Bestival, though wet, was joyful and fun as always. But a wet festival is not for the faint hearted!

Were you there? and was it your first festival? I'd love to know how you coped!

If you haven't been put off (honestly we've had all the rain for the next ten years) you can grab early bird tickets on a payment plan here.

Disclosure : DD and I received our tickets as part of the Official Camp Bestival Blogger team. 

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 ;-)

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...