Cornbury Music Festival 2019


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"
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.

Looking forward to Camp Bestival 2019


Regular readers will know that I'm a regular at Camp Bestival, the fun, family, festival held in Dorset each year.

Last year the fun was slightly dampened by such dreadful storms on the last day that the festival had to be closed early. But better safe than sorry! 

Seeing Mary Berry on the TV the other week brought back all the memories of the sunny days before the last day! And totally made me crave cider and feasting in the sunshine while watching other people doing energetic stuff! (there was a high wire trapeze and people could have a go! madness, and yet it was booked out early everyday!)

One of my daughter's favourite bit's of any festival is the comedy. So I was pleased to read about Camp Bestival's comedy line up. 
"We're excited to reveal the 2019 belly-busting comedy headliners heading to Camp Bestival’s Big Top at Lulworth Castle, July 25th - 28th. Leading the laughs will be award-winning comedian and actor Omid Djalili who joins the inter-stellar festival bill taking over this summer, as well as funny-man Boothby Graffoe and comedy compere Andre Vincent, ensuring the best of British stand-up for all the family throughout the weekend."
Andre Vincent is just hilarious (based on previous years) and I cannot wait to see Omid Djalili live. It seems Boothby Graffoe  is particularly known for his surreal sense of humour and work with Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, so he should be fun too!

Some of my daughter's best memories of Camp Bestival have been the bizarre comedy moments, such as hearing some pretty raunchy 'adult' jokes., and seeing a comedian stop his act to dance with a  small boy in a sleeping bag (the child was in the bag, not the comedian).

This year there is even a special 'Parenting Program' for ...well, for the parents!
“Josie and I are so blimmin' excited about launching the Parenting Programme at Camp Bestival. Nearly everyone who comes to Camp, who isn’t a child, is a parent so there’s a lot of us and a lot to learn! But this isn’t some fuddy-duddy university of boring! These are the hottest potatoes in the parenting oven - funny, irreverent, stylish and occasionally musical. From Mother of Daughters vs. Father of Daughters DJ Set, to Clemmie Telford’s Lists Live and the amazing Pizzup we wanted to recruit the damn finest from the Instagram parenting community to help bring their stories and experiences to the festival. See you there parenting types!" Rob Da Bank

So if you like camping, love music and a bit of a giggle. Grab a ticket! And we'll see you there.

and until 22nd April 2019 get a taste of the fun with Camp Bestival at Margate Dreamland!

My daughter and I hope to be attending the festival again this year as guests in exchange for telling you what we get up to! Any questions? Just ask!

Iceland - My Favourite Day

My daughter and I had an amazing time in Iceland last year.

My highlight of the trip though was not the northern lights (we went in September - right at the start of the season and we were too lazy to go out late at night to search for them) and it was not the Blue Lagoon (neither of us are spa fans, and the price and the man made aspect of the place put us off - I'll never make it as an instagrammer)

No, the thing that I loved the most was the ice.

Iceland is mostly green and Greenland is mostly ice, that's just one of those odd things. But there is ice in Iceland, even in the warmth of the late summer.

Somewhat scarily the glaciers are shrinking though, far too quickly. But for now, we can still visit them and marvel at the chunks of ice falling into the sea and washing back up onto the black volcanic sandy beach at Jokulsarlon.

You can even watch for yourself via a live webcam! 

The day was long, up early and then a long coach trip - but lovely to be able to just sit and gaze from the window, to see the lava fields, the steam leaking from the earth, the cliffs and the seabirds. Then lastly the gorgeous ice lagoon itself. I could have stayed all day. Watching the seals, the ducks, the creaking ice...

I can't wait to go back.

Cornbury Festival 2019

Last year I discovered a new festival and it was great. I don't know why I have only just found out about Cornbury as this will be its 16th Year! I love a grown up feel to a festival, neither a kids's festival (though I do love those for being silly, it's also nice to sip a glass of chardonnay in a deckchair while listening to something 'mummy likes' once in a while), nor a teen festival (I'm all for the odd late night rave and drunken stagger back to the tent at 4am occasionally but sometimes I like to be more...refined) The Cornbury Festival at the Great Tew Park turned out to be just lovely.

The flat ground meant that we could easily get all the tent things to our pitch. There were comedy tents, a vintage cinema, a helter skelter, even a 2p arcade, candy floss, a WI tent and local children performing on the smaller stages. The whole glorious relaxed vibe was ably assisted by perfect English weather.

I can recommend Cornbury festival to older couples and families, maybe not those with very small children, but children are welcome and there was a funfair.

The best things about Cornbury were the food choices, the excellent lineup, the weather*, and the location.

This year's lineup has just been announced and like last year it doesn't disappoint.

I'm looking forward to The Specials, on Friday of course, and Keane on Saturday (claim to fame, I once worked with Tim's mum)

and then the sound of the summer with The Beach Boys on the Sunday. Start your summer with a glorious festival in the Oxfordshire countryside.

Tickets are available with or without camping. Prices for adults start at £35 for children including camping, and £215 for adults with camping for the weekend. But you can also buy day tickets. Find out all the prices and buy tickets here

I was gifted tickets to attend and review the festival in 2018

*I can't promise the weather will be as perfect in 2019

Camp Bestival 2019 - What's On?

#AdGifted What's that about? As you know each year I'm an ambassador for Camp Bestival and 2019 will be no different. I am here to tell you all you've ever wanted to know about Camp Bestival and share my past photos and fun stories from past years in exchange for gifted tickets to the main event.

I've been attending Camp Bestival since my daughter was little and she's grown up in the embrace of one of the safest festivals I know. Over the years she has braved climbing walls, made sticker models and flower crowns, eaten pies in fields and watched brave wasp tamers. I'm hoping that 2019 at Camp Bestival will bring more of the same. This year the festival is being held over the weekend of the 25th -28th July.

Camp Bestival is family festival. I cannot stress that enough. It is the perfect festival for the 'new to festivals' type and still excellent fun for the festival fan. Safe to bring the entire family, including babes in arms, and an excellent festival to allow young teens some freedom while knowing they will be safe. Going to Camp Bestival is one of the reasons I'm now happy for my daughter to attend festivals alone, she knows how they work. 

Camp Bestival is a mix of all things British and fun. Camping, beer, fancy-dress, tea tents, and organised games. Circuses, barbecues, and holiday camp Blue Coats...and of course music.

This years acts are still being announced (Camp Bestival like many festivals, keeps adding new stars to the enormous lineup almost until the day of the festival!) but the main headliners for Friday are The Human League, a huge blast from the past for me! Saturday sees Jess Glynne on the main stage, my daughter is very happy about this, while Sunday headliners closing the festival are yet to be revealed! Who could it be? 

I'm going to confess right now that I'm pretty excited to see some of the other acts, Mr Motivator is excellent (even though I spilled my beer during his set in 2017 I still love him) The Cuban Brothers are always hilarious and of course there is the chance to hear Napalm Death, yes that's right, Napalm Death and Mr Tumble on the same stage (maybe not at the same time...although last year saw Mary Berry drumming for Rick Astley so anything is possible)

If you think a weekend of merriment involving dressing up as a superhero, climbing a giant tree and bouncing on a bouncy castle (this is also available for the children to do) then Camp Bestival may very well be the place for you.

You can find out more on the Camp Bestival website and grab tickets here.

Adult Weekend Ticket - £180*
Student Weekend Ticket - £175*
Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket - £114*
Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket - £90*
Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket - £31.50*
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket - £11*
Babes In Arms (1 & Under) - FREE (but ticket required)*
*All weekend tickets include access to the general campsites from Thursday to Monday

Car Parking - £20 in advance
Campervan Ticket (Field A) - £90
Caravan / Trailer Tent Ticket (Field A) - £100
Festival Programme Pack - £10 (reserve your festival programme pack to collect on site at the festival)

Next Camp Bestival post - we'll talk Fancy Dress!

Packing for Iceland and the cold outdoors

I booked the bucket list holiday of my dreams this year and at the beginning of September my teen daughter (DD) and I set off for Iceland for 6 days. I had decided to not bother with the Northern lights or the Blue Lagoon as neither really attracted me. I did want to see all the usual touristy things near Reykjavik (where we would be based) though, and I lazily didn't want to hire a car.

So our holiday was a relaxed affair, with tourist buses, no camping, no hiking, and a fair bit of city walking. We did squeeze in a whale watching trip.

With that in mind I looked at weather forecasts and made clothing plans. Because as we all know, there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

Icelandic weather in September isn't cold, but it can feel that way due to wind chill (very strong winds) and lots of rain. So I looked for wind and waterproof clothing and some new walking boots. I also made sure I'd got enough pairs of Heat Holders socks because if I know one thing about the outdoors, it's that warm feet are essential for happiness.

I didn't have an unlimited budget though so I used discount stores, sales and the old faithful, eBay, for my purchases.

DD needed some new walking boots and as she's vegan leather was out of the question. That's a shame as leather boots are really good for protection, waterproofing, warmth and durability. Finding boots with no leather was tricky but Amazon was our friend here and we found some excellent boots from a Chinese seller, I used a waterproofing spray on them before we left and they were comfy and waterproof and are lasting well.

I plumped for some simple leather boots with as few seams as possible.

We both needed water proof and warm trousers so I risked a purchase from a Chinese eBay seller, the trick here is to always leave plenty of time and to measure yourself accurately. The trousers we ordered fitted well, were thermal, and when tested proved to be waterproof. A bargain at just under £15 

Along with snoods, hats and scarves we felt pretty prepared. I bought a lightweight rucksack which proved really useful and we both took flasks and cup soups for our trips out (to save money, beat the queues and keep warm). So off we went.

Find out later how it went (in case you missed all the tweets)

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Boomtown Fair 2018

Where to begin.

What an incredible festival.

Before going  to Boomtown, but after I had, on a whim, purchased tickets, people were keen to tell me what to expect. To be fair to them, some of these people seemed to assume that a 52 year old woman would be shocked by drug taking and horrified by a festival loo. And on the whole, the reactions I received upon mentioning 'I'm off to Boomtown next year' were those of shock and horror. I was variously told :
"you'll hate it, it's a full on festival"
"Rather you than me, it's not a family festival"
"People die there you know, it's all drugs and gangs"
"The music isn't anything you'd like"
"It's a lot of walking, really hilly"
and my favourite :
" 'king hell, rather you than me, you'll die"
Reader I did not die. It is true that a lot of drugs are consumed at Boomtown, keys of ket seem to be as much currency as the great British pound. It is true that it is hilly and that there are many young people, it is true that people have died there, but it is also true that young people can be extremely nice and helpful, that walking is good for you and that the art and the stages and the music are amazing.

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

And that the actors and the sets are absolutely out of this world.

The festival itself is half the size (in ticket sales) of Glastonbury and twice that of Camp Bestival. It has a kids field - and you could easily spend all your time there - but it is not (imo) a kid's festival, or even a family one. Similar to Glastonbury the camping areas are within the main arena area itself, there is little demarcation and it is possible to camp very close to main stages.

Boomtown fair Festival 2018 lion's den stage

There are so many stages I cannot begin to list them. Check the Boomtown website for details. The music is varied but never pop. We camped by a reggae stage and enjoyed that into the wee small hours. Being an old person (!) I did not always stay up late, laying in bed as the festival beats around me is one of my many festival pleasures.

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

There is a theme to each year's festival with a story line and actors, you can play along, interact and become part of the story...or the mood takes you.

I watched a mechanical freak show, I chatted to a nurse at the asylum, I watched shows at Paradise Heights, I wandered through woods, watched films outside in the rain, climbed hills , watched fire jugglers, and danced to Bosnian bands in the market square.

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

I have never enjoyed a festival more.

If you are brave, if you can carry all your stuff on your back and march for miles, can bear to listen to loud bass tones late into the night (and early into the morning) if drug chat and drunken teens and compost toilets don't fill you with terror...Boomtown may be the place for you.

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018 fire show

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018 parade
 I was also very pleased to see The Loop on site, helping to keep festival goers safe where saying 'don't take drugs' has failed, The Loop step in.
 I can't wait for next year.

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