Food and Hairy Men in a Field - The Hairy Bikers are coming to Cornbury Festival

Guess what! Food and Hairy men!! Yes! Britain’s favourite cooking duo The Hairy Bikers are roaring into Oxfordshire this summer to whip up a feast at The Cornbury Music Festival.

The Hairy Bikers Festival Feast - A pop up Wood Fired Restaurant Adventure will be at the heart of this year’s Cornbury Festival, at the stunning Great Tew Estate, offering restaurant-quality festival feasting over the weekend of 13-15 July. As well as enjoying a delicious menu based on recipes from the pair’s BBC TV series and best-selling book The Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure, the bikers will be cooking and sharing their stories for guests throughout the three days.

‘We’ve always prided ourselves on providing a great food offering throughout the festival so we’re obviously thrilled that The Bikers have chosen us to host their world exclusive pop up restaurant’ says festival organiser Hugh Phillimore. ‘If there were any foodies that fitted our particular festival “vibe” it would have to be The Bikers – very English, rather eccentric and particularly delicious’.

If you already have Cornbury festival tickets (and if not why not!?) you can add a meal with the Hairy Bikers to your weekend by booking here

Hairy Bikers Si King and Dave Myers have been cooking together for more than 20 years, travelling the world in the pursuit of great food. The stars of a string of hit television shows, and regulars on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen, they are also the UK's most popular cookery writing duo – their book The Hairy Dieters: How To Love Food And Lose Weight even toppled 50 Shades Of Grey to top the Bestsellers chart in the summer of 2012!

For more information on The Hairy Bikers go to 

Alanis Morissette, Pixie Lott, UB40, Stereo MCs, Zucchero, Deacon Blue, Jimmy Cliff, Marc Cohn, PP Arnold & Squeeze are just a few of the other great names joining The Hairy Bikers for their Cornbury Festival Feast on the Gt Tew Estate, Oxfordshire 13th – 15th July 2018.

PDSA Petlife Festival 2018

Having told you about the festivals I'm off to this year I thought you needed a quick look at each one.

First up is the PDSA PetLife festival at Cheltenham. 

PDSA petlife festival

Founded in 1917, PDSA is the UK's leading veterinary charity. Operating through a UK-wide network of 48 Pet Hospitals, PDSA provides veterinary care to the sick and injured pets of people in need and promotes responsible pet ownership.

The Petlife festival is a one day affair held at Cheltenham racecourse, and featuring Jessie J, Kaiser Chiefs and The Vamps. Gates will open at 11am on festival day with main stage entertainment drawing to a close at 10pm.
Tickets are £38 for adults and £15 for children, and you can take your dog too! (Disabled visitors can take a carer with them for free, and their dog(s) of course) and a family ticket for four is £95. Your ticket also includes on-site parking close to main entrance and entry for your dog(s) - don't forget to register your dog on the website when you buy the tickets.

There are loads of other things happening as well as the music (like at most festivals) there will be famous animals to meet such as Finn the hero police dog, countryside dog walks to stretch your pooch's legs, the Paws for Thought dog agility team will be showing off their skills, while the Dog and Duck Show will provide superb family fun while educating the audience about dog behaviour. For younger visitors there will also be the chance to take part in some of the action! And there will be shopping opportunities too.

Grab your ticket's now and we'll see you there!

border terrier

Festival Round up

Quick recap as to the festivals I'm off to this year. Please add the ones you will be attending, and why, in the comments as I love to discover new festivals.

The first festival I'm off to is a one day affair, so sadly no camping or tent sniffing. The lovely smell of warm (or even wet) canvas will have to wait a while. But we will be taking Fizz the dog because the first festival we are off to is the PDSA Petlife festival at Cheltenham in May. Live acts are The Kaiser Chiefs, The Vamps, and Jessie J. My teen is extremely excited as she loves Jessie J, I love the Kaiser Chiefs and recently have developed a soft spot for The Vamps so we are both catered for. I just hope Fizz enjoys it, I'm not sure how she will cope with the noise and crowds but she adores meeting other dogs so that should cheer her up.
Tickets are available here, if you like music and or dogs, this is the place for you.

The next festival we are off to is not exactly a festival, but I get to dress up so it's as good! There is less music but plenty of cosplay, fun and shopping. Yes we are off to ComicCon in London in May and I'm still working on my Deadpool outfit, hoping for a slight move away from the Morphsuit this year. Watch this space.

After that there is a little break until July and the Cornbury festival. I'm so looking forward to seeing Alanis Morrissette live, and exploring a new festival. There are some excellent acts on the bill, and a new festival is always fun for discovery. It has been a while since I tried a new festival so I'm especially looking forward to it.
Tickets are available here

At the end of July we collect our home on wheels, Molly the VW Camper for a weekend of silliness, dinosaurs and dancing at Camp Bestival, an old friend that we have been to for the last 10 years this almost feels like coming home. I cannot wait for the lazy days in the shaded woodland and the warm evenings by the castle. There will be no rain this year. 
Tickets are available here and if you have small children it's a perfect starter festival. Also good to take younger teens to, as you can let them have some freedom without the worries of a big 'adult' festival.

August sees us at BoomTown, a local-ish festival to us that I have driven passed a few times but never attended. It always looks amazing. I have no idea about most of the acts on the lineup but that can be half the fun. The festival itself relies a lot on atmosphere and location, so we will be chilling and soaking in the vibe while discovering new music we like. It does look a tiny bit hilly though...
Boomtown is now sold out

And last but not least is England's Medieval Festival! We discovered this a few years back and have enjoyed it ever since. Fans of history and real ale will love it, but so will jousting enthusiasts and those that enjoy dressing up and behaving foolishly, there is dancing and singing late into the night, those medieval chaps knew how to have fun. We will be taking Fizz as dogs are allowed, but we will try and keep her away from the fighting during the battle reenactments as the gunfire can be loud.
Tickets are available for the weekend or the day. Bring the family (and the dog)

Festival News and Excitement

This year I'm off to some new festivals to expand my festival range. While there is much to be said for a familiar festival year after year, I think I should also look outside of that comfort zone and look at some other sites.

I also wanted to wait to see some of the line ups this year before deciding and then...

I was told about Cornbury Festival. I'd heard about it of course, but had never been before. The Cornbury Festival is in Oxfordshire, not too much of a drive for me and looking around to see what other bloggers have thought of it, it looks amazing. Travel Loving Family had nothing but great things to say about Cornbury Festival, not least a reminder that it is known as 'Poshstock' due to the number of celebrities that attend!
Cornbury festival july 2018
And the line up!! This year the lineup just looks amazing, several of my absolute favourites and Alanis Morrissette headlining on Saturday night! In fact Saturday is all about the women! Where other festivals are being slated for having too few women on the lineup, Cornbury Festival are going all out and having all women on the Saturday with Canadian Headliner Alanis Morissette, Mavis Staples, Amy MacDonald, Nina Nesbitt, Pixie Lott, P.P.Arnold, Grainne Duffy and Megan McKenna amongst others.
cornbury festival all female saturday lineup july 2018

UB40 will be topping the bill on Friday and Squeeze will be closing the festival on Sunday night.
cornbury festival july 2018 lineup

The International festival flavour will be carried throughout the weekend with Dutch Jazz singer Caro Emerald ( I totally love her - check her out on YouTube) , Jamaican Reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff, Italian chart topper Zucchero, American Folk, rock singer (Walking in Memphis) Marc Cohn, Israeli starlet Irit, Memphis Soul five piece Southern Avenue, Chicago soul sweetheart Mavis Staples, LA Soul Sista PP Arnold, Hawaiian son of Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real and all the way from Rick Island Illinois comes the remarkable Lissie.

Representing home grown talent from the British Isles a strong Scottish contingent is headed by Glaswegian pop-rockers Deacon Blue, Cornbury favourite Amy Macdonald and Edinburgh’s Nina Nesbitt. Breaking blues girl Grainne Duffy and hotly tipped Catherine McGrath bring their songs from the Emerald Isle.

Amen Corner frontman and guitar hero Andy Fairweather Low will ably represent his Welsh countrymen, whilst a few Londoners will be popping up for a weekend in the country. Deptford royalty Squeeze will lead the home counties pack, with Bromley girl Pixie Lott, Essex star Megan McKenna, currently smashing the country music circuit will be bringing some TOWIE glitz to this year’s festival, joined by North London 80’s queen Mari Wilson & The New Wilsations, whilst South London hip hoppers Stereo MCs will be keeping it real and getting connected with the country folk.

Local Oxfordshire blues band Danny & The Champions of The World and house band STAKS with a very special local guest (if he’s not been caught by the fuzz!) complete this year’s unique line up!

I have to admit I'm really excited about the lineup - and I'm normally more about the festival than the music, though the idea of being posh in a field certainly appeals too! So I will be donning my ballgown and swanning about in July in Oxfordshire, will you be joining us?

Cornbury Festival is 13th 14th 15th July at The Great Tew Park Oxfordshire
Tickets and full line up information available via 
Day tickets (from) - £75 Adult, £40 young person or over 70, £15 Child 
Weekend tickets (from) - £180 Adult, £215 with camping, £95 young person or over 70, £125 with camping, £30 child, £35 with camping. 
VIP options also available.

Disclosure - This year I will be attending Cornbury Festival as their guest - look out for my review later, and tweets from the festival.

Monday Camping must have - a penknife

Every camper needs a penknife. A good penknife is a knife of course, fun for whittling sticks and making them sharp to use for skewering marshmallows or sausages to toast over an open fire, but a Swiss army style penknife is so much more.

Many is the time my penknife has sliced cheese when I forgot to take a decent sharp knife, or has been used to slice open a tough plastic packet.

But much more importantly my knife has a beer bottle opener, and a corkscrew so alcohol is never denied me when I have finally pitched up. No longer am I rummaging about for a tin opener either as while basic, my penknife has that too.

Tweezers are in a secret compartment at one end, excellent for splinter removal and then there are screwdrivers, and spikes to make clean holes in tarpaulin or wood.

A file for when you break a nail....or possibly for more rugged uses such as smoothing rough edges on pole repairs or fishing rods you have constructed from willow branches might be included, and scissors of course, it really is amazing all the tiny and useful gadgets that can be squeezed into a pocket sized knife.

I have not yet used the mysterious tool for removing stones from horses hooves, but there is a serrated knife/saw type attachment which is good for cutting fresh green wood.

So this week's 'must have' is a penknife. A nice gift for a child too and a good way to learn knife safety. Remember that a safe penknife has a sharp blade, but one under 3 inches long. I attach a lanyard to mine so that it's easy to carry and hard to lose.

Read last week's 'must have' post here

Links are Amazon affiliate links, they will not cost you extra to use, but I will make a few pence form any purchases you make via them. Thanks

Image Copyright: steveallenuk / 123RF Stock Photo

Monday Camping Must Have - Multi purpose trugs

Number one in a series.

My camping must haves are many and various, but for versatility there is not much to beat a trug. These flexible buckets are great for carrying stuff, from muddy boots, wet washing, dirty crockery, and water, to dog food, toys, and packets of food they are simply the most useful thing.

Able to hold water, they are great for carrying it back from the tap to the tent. They can be used as a washing up bowl, as a bath for small children, as a sink and as storage for both dirty and clean plates. I always have a few of the small size (they stack easily too) and have a 'dirty' and 'clean' one colour coded for ease in sorting stuff after meals.

If you don't yet have at least one, you can grab them here,

Choose small (14L) for carrying water and using as a bowl/sink. Use a large(38L) one for bath and welly storage. (I have 4 small ones at the moment, and one large)

All sizes are good for transporting bits and pieces, and for storage.

Links are Amazon affiliate links, they will not cost you extra to use, but I will make a few pence form any purchases you make via them. Thanks


Going back into the past again this year

A couple of years ago my daughter and I were invited to England's Medieval Festival in East Sussex. Since then we've enjoyed visiting each year. I was wondering if a medieval festival would have much to offer, as I'm mainly a 'chill, listen to bands and have a drink in a field' sort of festival goer normally. But I was very pleasantly surprised.

Ways that England's Medieval Festival is like all other festivals

  • Camping. There is a nice campsite, with options of family camping, glamping and normal camping. The car park is close to the campsite. 
  • Portable toilets. Yes, sorry folks, there are plastic portable loos on site and in the camping area.
  • Food. Plenty of excellent street type food is on offer, and it's not all medieval hog roasts (though they do usually have a hog roasting by the beer tent). Food ranged from vegan curries, through chips and sausages, paella, seafood, and waffles. They had fried potato swirls on a stick! And the castle tea rooms are open too, serving cream teas, sandwiches and jacket potatoes.
  • Drink. Your medieval crew drank more beer than water, so you are on to a winner here. Plenty of real ales and a lager or two on offer along with wines and soft drinks at the many beer tents, bars and taverns around the site. And of course there is plenty of mead, almost certainly made by monks (may be a lie) and delicious over ice on a hot day. For those that don't like an alcoholic drink there is a fresh lemonade stand too.
  • Entertainment. While there were fewer rock groups and boy bands in medieval times, they make up for it with mud theatre (as messy as it sounds), jousting, hawking displays, story telling, and some gentle lute playing. And of course the foot stomping folk bands each evening. (perfect with a real ale and the dance partner of your choice)
  • Shopping. An entire shopping village awaits. Everything from mead to take home (or to drink back at your tent) to suits of armour, archery kits, pots, clothes, and even furniture! Be prepared to buy a few things, lots of great medieval toys too for the kids.
  • Fancy dress. Many people at the festival will be in medieval dress. From nobility to peasant and visitors are actively encouraged to join in. Embrace your inner princess or knight, your damsel or rogue, grab your drinking horn (or buy one at the festival) and participate in the medieval merriment.

Ways that England's Medieval Festival is different to other festivals

  • There are actual indoor rooms and bed and breakfast options onsite! Stay at a festival with the luxuries of home.
  • There are free indoor shower and toilet facilities. They are a fair walk from the main campsite, but there is a sports hall type shower and toilet area so you can have a nice hot wash and feel much fresher than your medieval ancestors ever did.
  • Living history. There is a fabulous living history village on site, wander among the tents of vikings and medieval Britons alike, discover wool dying methods, taste bread baked fresh in old fashioned ovens or attend sword school to learn to be a knight.
  • Plays. There are lots of plays taking place at the medieval festival, wandering players and minstrels and also staged tales. Well worth a watch.
  • Kid's Kingdom. Mini versions of the adult fun. Learn archery, watch a dragon puppet show or try your hand at making a medieval crown or dagger (only wooden!) Various crafts and games are available all day.
  • Parades. Watch the King and Queen parade through the castle grounds.
  • Battle reenactments. Watch a battle featuring a trebuchet and real arrows at the gates of a real castle! Hang onto your hats as cannon fire and gunshots ring out, watch the dead dragged form the battle field (to miraculously fight another day)
  • A real castle and gardens. Only Camp Bestival can compete with a castle, but even at Camp Bestival you cannot venture into the castle, or explore a delightful walled garden with giant sundial. Drift around in your finery and imagine you are royalty...
So I shall be going back again this year, and once more, I'll be hoping for sunshine, and a chance to lay in a field, sipping mead, listening to the sound of hoof beats on sunbaked grass while watching handsome knights fight for my pleasure. I hope you can join me!

The festival takes place at Herstmonceaux, East Sussex over the weekend of August 25th, 26th. 27th.

Grab tickets online , day tickets available, but to fully experience the festival I advise staying onsite. 

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