25 June 2012

Surviving a family festival

I have just realised that it is less than two weeks until I am taking my children, a friend and her daughter to Penn Festival - their first festival and no husband in tow to help. I am starting to plan now. As a family we have been to Camp Bestival twice and learnt a lot with regards to surviving a family festival.

Here are my top tips....

MAKE A LIST - then check it again. And again. This list could, and probably should, include the following:

  • Tent and associated paraphernalia e.g. blow up beds, cosy bedding, tent pegs, mallet. Don't go crazy with the tent size as you will only sleep in it and have breakfast then you'll be on site hopefully enjoying yourself until midnight.
  • Simple, single portable small stove for a morning cuppa. And mugs, tea bags, UHT milk and sugar...
  • Bunting and fairy lights - clearly not a necessity but it makes it look all pretty and stuff. Lights on pushchairs at night are fab too, as is a fish on a pole outside your tent.
  • A garden trug - to lug stuff in and to wash in. I cannot be bothered to queue for showers however 'posh' they claim to be.
  • A sturdy three wheeler pushchair / radio flyer wagon if you have money to burn / garden trolley - essential for trips from the car to the campsite and onto the site itself. My two children have outgrown the Phil & Teds but I'm still planning to use it for lugging food, picnic blankets etc around the venue site. They can also rest in it and hitch a ride back to camp when we stay up late.
  • Ear defenders for the kiddies - safety first and all that. Glow sticks and bubble blowers for the mini ravers. And cider for mum.
  • A bag of things to do for the kiddies when you want to sit and watch a band e.g. pens, paper, magazines, a selection tray of nibbles - it's amazing how long that one keeps them quiet.
  • Waterproofs, wellies and brollies for the possibility of rain. But it won't rain. Hopefully.
  • Loads of dried foods and fruit for snacking and keeping food purchasing costs down.
  • Water bottles to refill on site.
  • Wet wipes, old towels, anti-bacterial hand gel and a spare loo roll to keep on your person.
  • Camera, phone - but the keep the usage down, money and your tickets!
All in all just think what you would take camping and on a day out then try and thin it out a bit.

There is loads of tip top advice at www.festivalkidz.com and if you're thinking Penn Fest may float your boat check them out at www.pennfestival.com
x x x


20 June 2012

Nerves and stuff

In about 40 hours time I will be sat on an overcrowded train, no doubt having had to scowl at someone sat in my booked seat, on my way to London to meet loads of beautiful, crazy, talented - delete as appropriate or insert your own description - bloggers at BritMums Live. A year ago I had no idea about the world of blogging and would only have dreamt about getting on a train to the capital, sharing a hotel room with someone I've met twice and going out to dinner with strangers. Man I have changed over the past twelve months.

Or have I? My confidence has grown in some respects but deep down I am an extremely shy person who panics about saying the right thing, embarrasses easily and gets 'lost' in a crowd.

I am currently a bag of nerves.

I feel I 'know' the people I will be meeting, the majority of which for the first time, and know that they know lots about me. But they don't know the real me. The insecure one.

I have been in a ridiculous panic about what to wear and even had to call in the services of MoVo and NotSoSlummy to hold my hands to the shops. Again, worrying what others will think of me. Why?!

So, if you see me - I'll be in an orangey patterned dress, which is a lot nicer than it sounds - please come and say hi and I will try and string some words together to have a conversation with you. Also, if you see me heading towards the bar area before 4 p.m. please stop me as I will only drink too much to calm my nerves and suitably embarrass myself.


x x x


17 June 2012

The Best Chocolate Fudge Cake. Ever.

I have posted this cake a number of times on the blog and it seems to have got you all drooling a bit.

So here it is. The recipe for my best cake. Ever.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

For the cake you will need...

6oz butter
4 large eggs
6oz dark brown soft sugar
8oz drinking chocolate
2oz SR Flour

For the buttercream you will need...

3oz butter
3oz icing sugar - sieved
few drops of vanilla extract

For the icing you will need...

1oz butter
4oz icing sugar - sieved
1-2 tbsps milk
1 tbsp cocoa powder

First grease and line two 8" sandwich tins and turn on your oven to 170-180 c.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one by one and beat well.
Sieve the flour and chocolate into the mixture.
Beat well.
Pour into the two tins.
Bake for 30 minutes.

When cool beat the icing sugar, butter and vanilla extract and sandwich the cake together.

To make the topping, gently melt the butter and 1 tbsp of milk.
Beat in the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
If the mixture is too stiff just add more milk.
Pour over the cake.


x x x

16 June 2012

Sweet Peas

Picked from the garden today.

A sign of summer?!

x x x

Saturday Sewing

I have made it to the sewing machine - again. This must be some kind of weekly record for me.

I printed off my own blog cards last week having decided I needed to save some pennies for some wine at next weekend's BritMums Live. A wise decision me thinks. I'm not sure who I will hand them out to but I have them now should some social media guru want to work with me.

I sat and made this case for them today.

And as I was feeling generous I made the kiddies a sunglasses case each and a wireless mouse pouch - don't ask - for them to give to their Dad tomorrow for Father's Day.

Everything was based on the tutorial here with measurements adjusted accordingly.

And as for that cake?! The recipe is coming tomorrow!

x x x


14 June 2012

Catch up: sewing and cake!

It's been a bit of a bad week and general all round diet fail. I blame the husband for turning 34 and picking chocolate fudge as his birthday cake choice.
It is a little known fact that I bake the best chocolate fudge cake.
I really should share the recipe with you all.
Here's a teaser though...

I also got round to making a flower to finish off the camera strap cover for Kerry @thelovebump.
Am still hoping it all fits!

 I somehow managed to get back to the sewing machine today. I found this tutorial from Fabric and Flowers and promptly got on to eBay to order some clasps. They arrived yesterday and today I made myself this...

I love bracelets in all their different forms and having a fabric one is a little bit different.
I already have an order from Edith for one!

In other news I'm looking forward to working on the revamped #pinaddicts challenge with Kerry and co.

If you aren't already doing so, follow us on Twitter @pinaddictsuk.

Have a good rest of the week people!
x x x

10 June 2012

Rainy Day Sewing - Camera Strap Cover

It's the last day of the holidays and the rain is falling - again.

Somehow the children managed to play quietly while I got out the sewing machine.

Thank goodness for Lego!

I wanted to have a go at making a camera strap cover as soon as Kerry @TheLoveBump mentioned that she was looking for one.
I really hope it fits.
I really, really, hope she likes it!

Here's how I did it based on the tutorial here.

I know that Kerry loves owls and I had some offcuts in my sewing box left over from my fabric storage boxes.

Using these offcuts I thought I would go for a patchwork approach to the strap cover.

I sewed together the squares like so...

...cut out two 27" x 2.75" strips...

...sewed the strips right side together and pressed, ironed on some fusible interfacing and then folded the ends over and stitched.

Then I sewed the edges with the right sides together.
At this point you can judge the size you need with your camera strap.
I aimed to make the strap cover just over 2" wide.

Next, the fiddly bit, turn the strap cover the right way out and press...

...and here's how it looks on my handbag strap!

I hope you have all survived the wet half term and are looking forward to a rest when the kids return to school.
I know I am!

x x x


8 June 2012

Festivals with children

So, this half term has been a complete wash out and despite my love of camping I have been so glad we didn't book any campsites. But, I am being optimistic and looking ahead to the summer - that is surely hiding just around the corner - and preparing myself for not just camping with the children but also doing some festivals!

I am by no means an experienced festival goer, having only just discovered them a couple of years ago, but from what I have seen so far I love them, as do the children. The last two summers have seen us packing up the car and heading down to Lulworth for the family friendly Camp Bestival. Click here for my 2011 review. This family festival ticks all the boxes for the parents and the kiddies - although it does whack the wallet rather hard with adult tickets around the £180 mark. There is however loads to do across three full days. But this year I am trying some new, smaller and cheaper festivals with the children.

The first one I have planned is Penn Festival, Buckinghamshire July 6-8.

This small, boutique festival will be a first for me in different ways: I have never been before and I am taking the children without the husband - instead taking a friend and her daughter for their first festival experience. The festival is set in the grounds of The Big Park, Penn, Buckinghamshire and is a safe, secure environment for the kiddies to run free and let off some steam. I'm looking forward to seeing some old skool acts from my younger days including Soul II Soul, Snap and Rozalla - yes, I will be packing glowsticks aplenty alongside the children's ear defenders. As well as the music there will be plenty to keep the children busy in the day with the BigTopMania Circus Tent including Circus Skills Workshops, Crazy Bikes, Crazy Inflatables, Trapeze Workshops, Family Circus Shows, Big Balloon Disco, Big Bubbles (with kids inside!), Stilt Walkers and Clowns. Not to be outdone by the children I have booked myself on a hoop making workshop with Romany from Blooming Loopy and will hopefully be learning soom hula hooping skills.

I will be reviewing this festival for the FestivalKidz website - a great starting point if you're not sure which festivals to try out with your family.  I will be taking plenty of pictures to share with you and will obviously have to sample the variety of food stalls and bars, all purely for review purposes of course.

If you like the look of this festival tickets are a wallet friendly £53 for the weekend for adults, £23 for 12-16 year olds, family ticket £128 and Under 12s free.

Disclaimer - family tickets will be provided for me for review purposes.

6 June 2012


So, it is the penultimate week of Mum Of One's #ISpy linky and we have been given the letter K.

As soon as I knew this was the letter some images popped into my head from three summers ago when Edith had just turned 3. For her birthday treat she wanted to go camping at her favourite site, Greenacres near Pilton, Somerset and for all you happy campers out there I highly recommend it.
There is loads of safe space for the children to run and play and that's just what Edith did.

So, here's an easy one for you.
What K do you spy?

x x x

Mum of One


5 June 2012

#pinaddicts challenge no. 5 - Chai Tea Loveliness!


This month is hosted by Simply Outnumbered and this is how it works!

The #pinaddicts challenge works as follows:
Pin to your #pinaddicts board on Pinterest.
Choose something to make for the challenge.
In your post put the original image with original links.
Post your fantastic effort at recreating.
Link up and go and check out the other #pinaddicts!

#pinaddicts challenge no. 5 - Chai Tea Loveliness

This month I decided to put the sewing machine to one side and focus on Chai Tea having become recently addicted to the stuff.

The following pins on Pinterest inspired me to have a go at making my own.

Pinned Image

The first version required spices and condensed milk so was more time consuming, fattening and expensive to produce. The second version used teabags, milk and a couple of cloves so was quicker, had fewer calories and was cheaper to put together!
I did, however, have a go at both.

I played around with a couple of recipes and used the above ingredients plus black peppercorns...and TEA!
Next time I will ditch the ginger - it didn't work for me.

Mistake - I should have added the tea at the end!

An hour later: Iced Chai Tea Latte!

The easier version just involved steeping the teabags and cloves, cooling off in the fridge and adding cold milk and ice.

I actually preferred the latter version as it was less sickly sweet. I do, however, plan to tinker around with using fresh spices to make it a more authentic chai tea taste.

I wasn't content with stopping with the tea though and wanted to have a go at these:-

Chai Tea Cookies
Chai Tea Cookies

Here's my attempt!

They were delicious, with or without the chocolate!
Not wanting to be left out the children grabbed some dough, minus the tea leaves, and made their own Jubilee Crown biscuits.

What do you think?!

x x x


2 June 2012

An Olympic Meme

Crank up the national anthem, get out your gold medals because he's back folks. Yes, @SAHDandproud is back with a new blog and already he's out and about tagging for this latest meme sprinting round the block. No list of rules for this one, just a list of Q & As so here goes.

If everyday tasks were an Olympic event what would you get a gold medal in?

Clearly I excel at this motherhood malarkey - stop sniggering at the back - so I deserve a medal for everything that entails. Especially for having the patience to put up with the husband while he 'enjoys' his gardening leave.

As a child, or now even, did you excel at a particular sport?

Excuse me a moment while I pick myself up off the floor from laughing so hard. Actually, now I think about it, I was pretty good at sport as a child. I loved running (?!) and represented the school at cross country and athletics. I even came second in the 200 metres at a Norwich schools meeting! Ha, beat that! Now though I am crap.

Michael Phelps (swimmer) or Michael Johnson (runner) - which sport appeals to you more?

Well, I am a useless swimmer who gets exhausted doing front crawl but also manages to sink doing breaststroke so I would more likely be found lolling around on the poolside with a cold cider. Running? Rubbish at it now but at least there's less chance of my hair getting frizzy.

How fast can you get out of bed and ready to go out the door if you miss the alarm and sleep in?

Sleeping in?! I never sleep in. I have two children and it takes me ages to get ready in the mornings - it's the hair - so I would never, ever, forget to set the alarm.

What fantasy sport would you like to see made into an Olympic event?

Husband housework. Each husband is provided with a mop, vacuum cleaner, cloths etc and put in a regular 3 bed family home. Fastest, and most efficient, husband wins the gold. I do believe that a lot of training will be needed first.

Claim to fame time: have you ever met an Olympian and who was it?

Nope, next question.

What event in past Olympics can you remember most vividly?

Roger Black and co in the 4x400 metres relay (was that the Olympics or World Championships?!) and Michael Johnson running the 400m final in his golden shoes, very pretty.

Tuning in at home or tickets clamped in sweaty palms?

Neither. I might switch on for some athletics as it's always amusing watching men run around in circles in tight Lycra.

Who do you think most deserves a gold medal (any walk of life not just Olympians)?

Brandon Flowers. For proving beards are hot. Fact.

Enough of the drooling, now I have to pass the baton on.

I'm tagging @tattooed_mummy - as she will appreciate the beard - and @thefooltweets as he's super fit ;) - he runs a lot.

x x x


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