30 July 2012

Camp Bestival 2012 Review

I'm back home after a tiring 5 days with the children and my niece at Camp Bestival 2012. I am sun kissed - and maybe just a little bit grubby - and it has all been worth it. We have walked many miles from the Magic Meadow to the Kids Garden to the Dingly Dell to the Castle Field and back to the Kids Garden where we spent many an hour chilling and perfecting our circus skills - seriously, you should see me hula hoop. I knew it would be hard work without the hubby but we did it and going without a big group of other children and adults made the experience completely different.

We arrived early afternoon on the Thursday and entered the car park quickly, the routes in and out this year were changed and I have to say this was a great improvement. The walk from the car to the entrance was less than 5 minutes and we set up camp about 100 metres in. Three trips from the car to the campsite and we were up and good to go.

A small area of the festival site was open on the Thursday evening and the kiddies loved the hammocks - or banana hammock as Alban called them *snigger* - and the impromptu display of mountain biking in the dark on the Freestyle Park which, according to Alban, was "awesome" - help me please, my 4 year old already sounds like a teenager. And Edith's favourite part of the first night? A free hug from a slightly merry fairy!  

The next three days merged into a blur of pure happiness; chilling, playing, laughing, listening to music, eating good food, walking, experiencing theatre in the woods, watching circus displays, exploring the Insect Museum, making pom poms, trying to find the fairy giving out free hugs - sadly we didn't find her again. But, we were invited to a wedding, I learnt some hip hop moves, I re-lived my younger days with some late night dancing, we saw the Knights of Lulworth jousting AND I finally met the lovely Annie Mammasaurus, Anthea BlueBearWood, Becky WritingForFun and Penny AResidence! And all of that is just some of the things on offer - I can't guarantee the fantastic bloggers though.

In my opinion, for what it's worth, I have to say Camp Bestival has to be one of the best places to go with your children whatever their age. We saw a six week old baby to teens to parents to Grandparents - there is something for everyone. Yes, it is a chore setting up camp and yes, you have to rough it a bit - showers are available but we had a trug and a kettle of hot water! - but that's all part of the fun. A bit of grubbiness mixed in with the suncream isn't going to hurt anyone is it?!

Some info for you  - Camp Bestival is very family friendly - you can take food and drinks which helps to keep costs down but the food on offer is of good quality. We 'ate out' every evening and had wood fired pizza £6-£8, Pieminister pie and mash £7, children's jacket potato and drink £4.50, burritos £6-£7, crepes £4-£5. The farmers market sells fresh fruit and salad and children's packed lunches. The Young British Foodies tent had a great array of food. And there were countless stalls for teas, coffee, cakes, snacks, ice cream - you will find something you like!

There are countless free activities for the children in the craft tents but do take some pocket money for the carousel, helter skelter, big wheel and face painting all ranging from £2-£3. This year saw an increase in stalls and my two were drawn to the Bubbles Inc stall for bubble swords and blowers. There is also the Fairy Shop, The Secret Emporium for a range of clothing and jewellery and many other stalls to tempt the pennies out of your purses. So, as with many things it can be as expensive an experience as you choose to make it!

So, I leave you with some of my photo highlights and if Camp Bestival appeals to you keep an eye out for early bird tickets for next year on their website here. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

x x x

Disclaimer: I very kindly received free tickets from Camp Bestival in order to review this year's festival.


23 July 2012

Camp Bestival 2012 - I'm going!!


Today I received an email that put a HUGE smile on my face - a last minute invite to go to the immense family festival that is Camp Bestival, held in the beautiful grounds of Lulworth Castle, Dorset. For a fleeting moment I panicked as, for whatever reasons, the husband didn't want to go. So I texted like crazy - and thought to myself 'can I do it solo?' - and invited my gorgeous niece aka 'big cousin Emily' (she is 20, so to the kiddies obviously big). I do like to think though that I would have gone it alone if no one was free - I will do that one day I'm sure of it.

So, I am all in a fluster writing lists and planning routes, sorting out clothes and checking tyres on the pushchair - not for the kiddies but to help load the tent and luggage from the car to the campsite. I am praying it won't end in disaster like my last festival trip but Alban has promised he won't get ill.

The kiddies are excited and so they should be! They have a massive Kid's Garden to enjoy full of bouncy castles, blow up things to attack, circus toys to explore, their own big top, ballet, crafts, the music bandstand, the Insect Circus, food tents galore and possibly an ice cream - if they behave - and loads more. As well as that there is the mystical Dingly Dell, The Gruffalo, Mr. Tumble, dancing tents, a freestyle sports park, the main stage in the Castle Field that is playing host to a disco night, Rolf Harris and the Happy Mondays as well as a host of others. The list of things to occupy us goes on and on and on and on....you get the picture. If you don't just click here.

The good news is that there are still tickets available and day tickets will be available on the days.

For a taster of our past experiences click here!

I now need to go and get packed and bring on the excitement!!

x x x

Disclaimer - Camp Bestival are providing me with a free family ticket to review this year's festival.


19 July 2012

Life's simple pleasures - when you're six.

Woah, I just realised I haven't blogged for nearly two weeks.
What's up with that?
Working and tiredness I think are to blame.
Time goes too quick sometimes.
For example this one here is now six for goodness sake:

Edith chose a day out for her birthday with her best friend.
I was more than happy with this plan.
A six year old doesn't always need a huge expensive party to have a good time.
We built some lovely memories with a day out in Brokerswood, Wiltshire.
And I realised a few things...

...Life is good, particularly when the sun shines in the back garden on your big girl's birthday.

Edith loves Grandma's knitting.

You don't always have to take the obvious route...

...as demonstrated by Edith's bestie!
A picnic in the woods is one of life's simple pleasures.

As is ice cream.

Alban can finally climb unaided.

And discovered he loved the "twirly slide".

It's the simple things in life isn't it?
x x x


8 July 2012

Penn Festival - mud, music & a midnight trip to hospital

I am currently tired and aching and recovering from a strange weekend.
You know when you really look forward to something and it doesn't quite work out to plan? 
Well, that pretty much gives you a heads up as to where this post is heading.

On Friday I was heading to Penn Festival with a car full of excited kids and a festival first timer, in the rain, knowing it was going to be wet but not worrying too much as the waterproofs and wellies were packed. On the way I picked up a text from Romany at Festival Kidz saying the festival site was in a bad way and the whole event may be cancelled. We pulled off at the Membury Sevices to try and find out more information. A few anxious texts and broken phone conversation later we decided to head on - after all we had three excited children on board about to have a break down if we headed back west on the motorway.

The festival is situated in a beautiful part of the country but on arrival at the site it wasn't looking so attractive. Unfortunately, I am unable to do a proper review of the festival as the weekend didn't turn out at all as planned - and it wasn't the weather to blame.


So far so good, I kept the car in a low gear and managed to skid over the field and park up.
Not everyone was quite so successful...

We set up camp and I treated myself to a nice cold drink...

...and then we had a walk around the site. The kids loved this as it was dark and muddy. A perfect combination for them! The festival site was about 30 acres so a relatively small, but importantly safe, space when festivalling with little ones. The music tent was in full flow and it all sounded good. I finally got to say hello to Romany from Festival Kidz and really wanted to meet up again on the Saturday and hopefully find the other Penn Festival bloggers.
However, it was not to be.


A lie in - fair enough, they were up till 11 the night before.

Alban was being extra sleepy - I didn't give this a second thought at the time as he loves his sleep.

Alban took ill on Saturday with a spike in temperature and laboured breathing. This worried me as two years ago he was hospitalised with similar symptoms due to pneumonia. My friend headed to the first aid point for Calpol - note to self, take a proper medical kit next time - and this took the temperature down and Alban perked up. I know though that Calpol does not work forever and it wasn't going to fix his breathing. The first aid point were on standby to get us dragged out of the car park in an emergency. We decided then to decamp - much to the frustration of the girls - as I wasn't going to risk Alban deteriorating overnight and being stuck in a tent in the middle of a mud bath.

I have to say thank you to a great bunch of workers and festival goers who helped us get the car off site after getting stuck in the mud. We finally returned home with three very tired children and my two went straight to bed - mud and all. I decided to call NHS Direct to put my mind at rest and after speaking to three different health professionals I was advised to take Alban to the local hospital at midnight where he had his breathing rate and oxygen levels checked. They were not great but luckily we avoided another trip to the main hospital in Bath. He is now on antibiotics and bouncing back but I am constantly whipping up his top and checking his belly and chest for rates of breathing.

So, there you go. Clearly it didn't go to plan and I can't write a comprehensive review of the festival for you. From what I did see though there was a mix of families and young groups of music lovers - some of whom played the bongos very badly at 2 a.m. whilst I was TRYING TO SLEEP!! The organisers did all they could under the circumstances and from what I saw later on Twitter a good time was had by all.

I was gutted to miss Soul II Soul but my little boy was my priority on Saturday.

Disclaimer: I received a family pass in return for a review of the festival.

1 July 2012

#pinaddicts challenge no. 6 - Pecans & Bananas


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!

This month we are linking up with Kerry at Life, As I Know It!

#pinaddicts challenge no. 6 - Pecans & Bananas

This month I have decided to go down the baking route. Partly because another project I have on the go is taking me way longer than I thought it would and partly because I have pinned so many scrummy treats to various Pinterest boards I thought it was about time I made some of them.
So, for your visual delight and to get your mouths drooling I have attempted the following...

Pinned Image
Pecan Pie Bars


Pinned Image
Banana and Coconut Upside Down Cake

Can you tell that sticky, caramelly, sweet, nutty things rock my tastebuds?!

I played around a bit with both recipes as the quantities didn't match my tin sizes, and also I had different ingredients in my cupboards, but the changes worked - phew.

For the Pecan Pie Bars I used...
125g butter and half a cup of dark brown sugar beaten together until smooth.
To this I mixed in 1 1/4 cups of plain flour and a pinch of salt until crumbly.
This mix was pressed into a 7" x 10" lined tin and baked at 180c for 20 minutes.

For the topping I melted about 100g butter, a cup of light brown sugar, about half a cup of maple syrup and half a cup of honey. My measures were approximate and I don't think it matters too much to be completely accurate for the sticky topping!
Once melted I stirred in about 120g of chopped pecans.

This mixture was poured over the base and baked for another 20 minutes.

Once it had stopped bubbling, cooled down and set it looked like this!....


The banana and coconut upside down cake was, erm, fun shall we say?!
There was a bit of stickage in the tin and rearrangement of bananas required so I would score it about 4 for presentation. But it was the taste that mattered and it was scrummy - especially warm with custard.

The original pin used a Betty Crocker mix (?!) but I know how to mix 4oz S R Flour, 4oz Stork, 4oz caster sugar and 2 eggs together so that's what I did.
In the bottom of a round cake tin I laid out 2 sliced bananas, poured over the syrup made from about 50g melted butter and half a cup of dark brown sugar. Over this I sprinkled a cup of dessicated coconut and then on went the cake batter.
This concoction was baked for about 35-40 minutes.
Once cool flip the tin and good luck getting it out.

Apologies for the mixes of measures but I was jumping from cups to scales to old fashioned cake mix recipes from my head.

Anyhows - ignoring the mess on top - this is how it came out...and look, it has been eaten so obviously tasted good.

So, are you drooling yet?!

x x x
© 76 sunflowers

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