Camp Bestival 2018 Highlights

All I can really say about Camp Bestival this year is, “you’ve done it again”.

Despite being battered by 50mph winds and torrential downpours Camp Bestival still managed to keep shinning and gave everyone a weekend to remember.

I’m not going to give you a blow by blow account of the whole weekend, as to be honest there is way to much to cram into one post, so instead I will give you the highlights of my amazing weekend and will have more posts to follow.

Food Glorious Food – When we first visited Camp Bestival three years ago now one of the biggest surprises for me was how amazing and varied the food on offer there is.

The moment we leave the car Izzy is on a mission to have her first Nutella and cream cover waffle whilst Darren finds it hard to move away from the Paella UK stall the entire weekend.

I however like to try something new each time we visit and for me it was DJ BBQ that tempted me this year with his woody flavoured pulled pork, crispy rustic chips and of course the fab tunes blasting out whilst waiting for your order. You really do get a feast for all your senses when you eat there.

Absolutely every taste is catered for from delicious maki rolls that are perfect for vegan diets, crispy breaded chicken, amazingly creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, corn on the cobs as big as your head and so much more!

Music, Singing, Dancing – One of the main attractions at Camp Bestival is the music and in the past the boys were a little young for us to really appreciate it due to the fact they got a little restless. This year however they fully embraced it all and we couldn’t be happier.

It as actually my youngest that made my weekend when we when to see YouTube star HRVY take to the stage in the big top. Izzy had left us all and weaved her way to the very front of the stage to get as close to her teenage crush as possible, while Oscar waited patiently on Darren’s shoulders for him to take to the stage.

His little face lit up and he spent the entire set transfixed on the stage, singing along to his favourite tunes. It so amazing that children so young can get the opportunity to enjoy the wonder of live music in such a safe and friendly atmosphere.

Sarah Cox wowed the crowds with an outstanding set of all our 80’s favourites that we took great pleasure in dancing along to whilst embarrassing the kids. Basement Jaxx and Clean Bandit were as awesome as I expected and we were thrilled that the boys managed to stay awake long enough for the later acts this year…with the help of a little sugar!

Doing It For The Kids – Ultimately Camp Bestival is all about the kids and this year as always there was something for them to do around every corner. This year we didn’t watch so much on the main stage although Dinosaur World Live was pretty amazing. Instead we spend a lot of time in the Kids Garden where the children got their craft on in the craft tent, turned into little einsteins in the Science Tent, wurled around on the helter skelter more times than I can remember, dug away in the sandpit and created some brilliant sandcastles.

A big hit with us was the LOL Surprise stand that was a real crowd pleaser. Izzy and the boys are all big fans of these little collectables and as you can imagine a whole area dedicated to them went down really well. They got to hunt for prizes in the ball pit, get a glittery makeover and even take to the catwalk that Izzy relished in.

All Mucking In – Camping is bundles of fun but far from easy, especially when there are a few little ones to sort out. This calls for everyone to have their own little tasks which is something they don’t really get involved with at home. I’m actually my own worst enemy and take care of all the cooking and cleaning at home for a quiet life so I love that Camp Bestival allows me to relax a little and hand the meal prep baton over to Darren, the washing up and water runs to Izzy and the tent cleaning to the little ones.
A bit of responsibility is certainly good for them and something I love to see.

Good Friends – Over the past few years Camp Bestival has been a brilliant place to make new and meet up with good friends. The blogging world is a funny one with a lot of friendships being built online and I love that Camp Bestival gives me the opportinity to meet with them at least once a year and have a good catch up over a cocktail or two! Aby from You Baby Me Mummy and Caro from The Twinkle Diaries being two of the lovelies I can’t wait to see each year.

Back To Basics – Every year I say the same thing but it always has and probably always will be the most import thing about Camp Bestival for me – family time.
We all spend way to much of our live lost in our own little words and rushing around worry about the next thing, tied to our smart phones and computer screens and forget about the things in life that are really import.
The ability to really get back to basics and forget about everything else for a few days is the perfect way to draw closer as a family and just enjoy each other.

If this sounds like the kind of place for you, and lets face it why wouldnt it! take a look HERE and get yourselves booked in for more fun next year.

*I went along as an ambassador for Camp Bestival and here are all my own honest opinions.

Top Five Things We Are Looking Forward To At Camp Bestival This Year

With only a few weeks until Camp Bestival we are in full preparation mode with sparkles, glitter and face paint by the bucket load.

This is one of the most exciting times of the year for us and it looks like this year is going to be one to remember too!

Below I have left the top five things we are looking forward to this year and feel free to take a look HERE at all the other fun that is going to be going on.

Dingley Dell – The Dingley Dell….especially Lizzie’s Way is our favourite part of the festival. The laid back vibe and the chance for the children to really enjoy the natural surroundings are amazing.
The children use their imagination for hours in the role play style areas of Lizzie’s Way, learn woodwork skills in the National Trust area and get up close and personal to the cute little chicks at the farm corner.

Rob And Josie’s Gin Festival – With all the fun to be had for the children there has got to be a few things for the parents to enjoy and this year for me its going to be Rob And Josie’s Gin Festival. With over 50 gins from around the world and Rob And Josie’s very own one I’m hoping to sample just a few!

The Top Musical Lineup – Music is something we all love as a family and w all have such varing tastes, so Camp Bestival is great to explore new music as well as some old favourites…its always good to embarrass the teens by singing and dancing to some of the golden oldies from our youth.
This year we are going to be treated to some brilliants acts such as Rick Astley, HRVY, Clean Bandit, Basement Jaxx, Simple Minds, Orbital, The Undertones and so many more.

The Literary Institute – This is an area that we’ve not ventured in to before but with so much going on in here this year I will be making a trip or two. I am also a very excited as well as a little nervous to be joining the lovely Natalie from Style Me Sunday on stage to support her amazing Warrior Woman Project.

The Feast Collective – We are huge foodies and I hands down say we’ve not been to a festival that has such a wide range of amazing food. The Feast Collective is one of our favourite areas and is returning for its fifth year.
From DJ BBQ who pumps out amazing tunes whilst serving mouth watering meats to Zoes Ghana Kitchen who rustle up the most devious vegan food there really id something for every taste.

This really is just a snippet of the fun that is offer this year and there is still time to GET YOUR TICKETS now so hurry up and get booking!

Easter Fun At Morden Hall Park

I think this has to be the first year for as long as I can remember that we haven’t taken part in a National Trust easter egg hunt and I have to say that I’m pretty sad about that! The Easter weekend just seemed so fun that we didn’t get a chance to fit it in.

That said we couldn’t get through the holidays without a trip to one of their properties and we decided on Morden Hall Park as its been a good while since we’ve had a visit there.

After a pitstop at the cafe for coffee and cake we were greeted at the main entrance by a super friendly volunteer who set about telling us how we could join in wth the Duck Trail which allowed the children to set off around the grounds in search of different species of ducks, ticking them off on their sheet as they go and showing them some food along the way.

Morden Hall Park has had a lot of work done to it since we were last there and absolutely loved the wooden pathways and lookout points that had been added to the wetland area.

The boys spent ages dipping in sticks and trying to find the crocodiles my Dad had told them were lurking beneath!

We played Pooh Sticks on the bridges, ran through all the open spaces, climbed trees and got covered in mud…exactly what a day should be full of!

Morden Hall Park is also perfectly positioned for a short walk to Deen City Farm where the children got to feed and get up close to lots of lovely farm animals from pigs, sheep and even ferrets.

The children were filthy dirty and thoroughly worn out after a wonderful day and Morden Hall Park certainly come with a big thumbs up from us.

Country Kids

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Six

I seem to be getting later and later with these posts each week but I am determined to keep them up as I know they will be such a lovely reminder to look back on in years to come.

Last week was full of school runs, clubs and work but we still managed to share a few special moments along the way.

Water Babies: Swimming is by far one of the activities I avoid like the plaque! the sheer logistics of getting in and out of the pool bring me out in a cold sweat as getting in and out of our swimwear seems to take longer than the actual swimming itself.
However I had a real pang of guilt at my reluctance to go when I saw how much they all enjoy it and how well they were all swimming.
So from now on no matter how much I don’t want to immerse myself into the cold pool or struggle with sticky bodies and wet clothes I will get those little ones in the pool at least once a week.

The Perfect Nursery: Choosing schools for our children is always a nerve wrecking choice and I don’t think their is a parent out there that doesn’t worry they have made the right choice.
I’ve been both happy and unhappy with decisions on schooling I have made over the years but one place I couldn’t be more certain on is the nursery I choose for my youngest two.
It doesn’t have all the mod cons or a swanky building but it is full of love and care for each and every child and after picking up a poorly Oscar on Friday who was being cuddled and comforted I know there is no place I would rather enlist my children’s care to.

Woodland Walks: We can all get a little complacent with the things we have and I know that since writing these posts it has made me feel grateful for all the things I have that I would normally take for granted.
Walking Frankie to school in the morning is something I don’t often have time for as I’m busy trying to fit everything into my day; but when I do it is wonderful to be able to take a shortcut through the woods, turn off from everything else that is buzzing through my mind and connect with him and the beautiful surroundings.

#CheckOutThatView:Half Term Landscapes

I love to ensure that the children’s holidays are filled with fun and adventure and love nothing more than getting them out and about in the fresh air.

We don’t go out and spend a fortune, we just like to get out and about in the countryside and look at what the great outdoors has to offer.

This half term we have been on lots of adventures and would love to share with you some of the fabulous views we have been lucky enough to see.

   
          

 

A Trip To The Majestic Penshurst Place

We had a trip to Groomsbridge Place the other day and on the journey there we drove past the eye catchingly beautiful Penshurst Place in Tonbridge.  I took a mental note and added it to our list of holiday activities. With half term upon us my holiday buddy and I gather our massive brood of children and set off to explore Penshurst Place.  It took us under an hour to get there and it was very well signposted.  Both the children and I were taken back by the splendid sight as we pulled into the grounds to nab our parking place under the shade of the trees.    We were greeted at reception by welcoming and knowledgeable staff that took our very reasonable entrance fee and passed the children the woodland trail map for us to complete. Once outside the children made a beeline for the splendid adventure playground where we plotted up with our picnic for a good while.  There was loads of open space to picnic and run around, a small sandpit, swings, slides, lots to climb and balance on and a added bonus of some hungry chickens to feed.    Once lunch was devoured we made our way into the woodland to complete our trail sheet.  The children loved answering questions on their surroundings whist climbing trees, hiding in the undergrowth and looking for wildlife.  We were lucky enough to see a couple of Canadian geese with their newly hatched babies that were super cute!          The next port of call was the craft barn where we created some fabulous paper swords, princess veils, shields, masks and hats.  This was all done in the perfect setting of the beautiful courtyard so the children could then come out and commence their battles.  There was also a toy museum just across from the craft shed, but ours were far to busy playing with their creations so we moved straight onto the magnificent gardens.        I have been to many stately homes in my time but these gardens topped any I have seen before.  We had a quick ice-cream stop whilst taking in the views and the children happily ran in and out of the ornamental hedges playing catch and hide and seek for well over an hour.          The gardens were separated by walls and walkways and there was a different surprise around every corner. One of the children’s favourites was the wild gardens where they could run in and out of the long grass.  It reminded me of the story ‘Were Going On A Bear Hunt’. I was in my element with photo opportunities although one nearly ended badly when my over exited number four tried to push his friend right into the pond!!  Luckliy he managed to save himself and number four was very sheepish for a good while afterwards.  Well for the next ten minutes which if you know him is a long time for him!    We didn’t attempt to go inside the house as we had nine children between two of us and I think that would have been tempting fate.  My Mum would love it here so I think I will save the house for a quieter visit with her one day. This was a really lovely day out with plenty to entertain the kids and lots of beautiful grounds and history for the adults to take in.  There is a maize maze that will be ready for the summer so we will be making a return visit in the summer holidays to give that a try.     

Our First Family Festival

  

For years I have dreamed about taking the kids to a festival.  Sleeping under the stars, kids running freely, great music and beautiful food.  Then panic always sets in and I think more along the lines of rain, mud everywhere and wet miserable children getting lost in massive crowds!!

When we won tickets to this years Elderflower Fields festival I was over the moon that we would get to experience the festival scene for a day, without the commitment of having to camp.

As usual I was more exited than the kids and went out to get flowery hair bands and hair chalk to get us into the spirit of it all .  We packed a massive picnic and set off on or short drive to Ashdown Forest in East Sussex exited at what we were going to experience ahead of us.

The journey was traffic free and very well signposted.  We were greated by super friendly volunteers that told us exactly where we need to go and what to do.

We had a bumpy walk across the fields to collect our wristbands and map then made out way down to the main fields where all the magic was taking place.

 

If the walk was to much for you there was plenty of complementary shuttles to take you to and from the carpark and campsites.

As usual my brood were starving as soon as we got there so we pitched up and had a bite to eat before going off to explore.

   
     

We had pre booked the older children onto the art and sports camp.  the camps lasted an hour, were staffed with really friendly and I had no worries about leaving them to get creative and try out new things.  Whilst they were busy we took the younger two to the under 5’s zone where they could help to paint a playhouse, create models from things you would find in the woodland and get dirty in the muddy water play.

   
     

This was number fours favourite area of the day and he could if happily stayed there for hours. 

There was so much on offer there for the children that we simply couldn’t fit it all in!!  They helped to build mud huts, swung in huge hammocks in the trees, swung through the woodland park, tried their hand at disc golf which we all loved, shot down the zip wire, listened to the fantastic story telling and magic show, the list just goes on and on.

   
           

  

  

 

What I loved most was how relaxed everything was.  There were no huge crowds so I was quite happy for the kids to wonder and I could keep them in sight.  The beautiful setting meant that as well as doing the set activities we could just take ourselves of to explore the stunning Ashdown Forset and all it has to offer.

   
         

Later into the afternoon number three and four got their faces painted by some very talented ladies and I took this opportunity to head over to the cocktail area where they had some great props hanging from the trees that were a great photo point, whilst having a sneeky boogie to the cool music from the DJ stand.  Much to the embarrassment of my older children!! 

               

We spent our final few hours taking in the fantastic music that was being performed by some extremely talented bands and grabbing a bite to eat which proved hard as there was so much choice on offer.  Mine opted for a freshly prepared burger from Big Eats which was delicious; but there were so many other options to choose from.  Curry, Thai, pizza, veggie options and lots of sweet treats to name a few.  All were super helpful when it came to number four and his allergies.

   
           

I really couldn’t do this event justice in this post.  It was everything I wanted from a festival and more.  Number four even asked if we could camp on the grass when it was home time as he didn’t want to leave.

We will be making a return next year, and this time to have our first camping experience.  The great outdoors, talented musicians, delicious food and drink, well run activities and the chance for children to really be children are all my favourites rolled into one.

Thank you Elderflower Fields for creating this fabulous  experience to store in our memory banks for many years to come.

   
          

   

  

  

  

Setting Off My Hayfever In The Rape Fields

  

For the past few weeks I have done the usual drama run which takes us on a busy county road surrounded by some stunning rape fields.

It is one long straight roads with no where to park up, but today I was determined to find a way to get some pictures.  So armed with my iPhone and number four we turned off the main drag and managed to squeeze the car into a space and follow a small wooded path into the fields.

   
   

He was a little freaked out by the vastness and height of the plants so we stuck to the borders and didn’t stay  for to long.

I would love another trip back with the others and a camera so that I could try to get some better shots.

Spring really is one of my favourite seasons as I just love getting out to look at the beautiful flowers Britain has to offer, even if my hayfever is not so keen on my clambering through the undergrowth!!