Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}

A question that I’m often asked is;  ‘Of all the festivals you’ve been to, which is the best family festival for first timers?’ It’s a tricky question to answer; depending on the kind of thing that would suit you. Are you seasoned campers — happy in large crowds — or would you prefer something on a smaller scale. Would you be keen to experience something eclectic and left-field or do you prefer something a little more mainstream? After going to Just So festival, last month, I’d probably say that it’s definitely one that covers most bases and (in my humble opinion) of all the festivals we’ve been to, it would scoop our award for the best family festival for first timers. Just So is one of the smaller UK family festivals — with a capacity of just 5000 — which makes it a great first festival to cut your teeth on. If you compare it to Camp Bestival for example — which has a capacity of 30,000 and is a much bigger beast — it’s positively tiny. But good things come in small packages and even though it’s diminutive in size, Just So has got a lot going for it. The… Read More

7 More Sleeps to Just So Festival 2017

Just So Festival

So whilst Camp Bestival may be over for another year, festival season is still in full swing — hurrah — and the boys and I are now counting the days until Just So Festival, which is on the 18th-20th of this month. We’ve never been before and I am beyond excited!! It’s now in it’s 8th year; our friends have been since the first one and always wax lyrical about how much fun they have. We’ve always wanted to go but it falls the weekend before Shambala, which we’ve been going to for years. And much as we love them, we’ve always been a little bit hesitant to do two festivals back to back. But we vowed to fill this summer with as many good things as possible, so this year we are going to both! Just So is a different kind of offering to the festivals we’ve taken the boys to before. Underpinned by a strong arts and theatre vibe, I’m getting the feeling that it’s going to be more like a huge, interactive art installation; or a crazy theatre production where festival go-ers find themselves as part of the cast. Childhood Dreams Full of wonder and magic, Just… Read More

229 weeks and 2 days | Camp Bestival 2017

Camp-Bestival-2017

What makes Camp Bestival 2017 stand out from any other year we’ve been? It rained. And rained and rained and rained. But as a very wise man, called Gilbert K. Chesterton, once said; ‘When it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.’ And I think that perfectly sums up Camp Bestival 2017. Festival Fun Yes, it rained. Yes it was muddy. But there was still so much colour and fun. The soggy conditions didn’t manage to dampen the humour and spirits of the families that braved the weather this year. It was nothing short of extraordinary to see thousands of adults sitting in a field — literally getting soaked to the skin — watching Dick and Dom, live on stage, to keep their children amused. We British are stoic when it comes to appalling weather conditions, aren’t we? It almost had a different feel to other years, in that there was even more camaraderie and good spirit (if that’s at all possible). Everyone was in the same (leaky, soggy) boat. Most people had young children in their party to keep entertained; and everyone was sick of the British summer trying to spoil things. But… Read More

A week at Bosinver in Cornwall

After our St Mawes adventure in February, we followed it up with another trip down to Cornwall in May. This time to Bosinver, near St Austell. I wrote a little post saying that we’d booked to go, back in September of last year, and we’d been looking forward to it for the best part of 8 months. That said, when you book so far in advance you can’t always guarantee the weather and even though the days leading up to our holiday were warm and dry, the week that we were there was not. It rained and rained. Perfect weather for ducks in fact. But the wet weather didn’t dampen our spirits and my three boys and I had such an amazing time. Bosinver Farm is almost like a little village in it’s own right. There are 20 separate dwellings on the site; everything from chocolate box cottages to a state of the art eco-house. I’m going to write a dedicated post about the accommodation. I was lucky enough to check out a few of the houses whilst I was there and they’re so beautifully presented they definitely deserve a little write-up of their own. Plus I took far too many… Read More

A night at the Bath Spa Hotel

What a difference a week makes. Last Friday evening, my boys and I had just checked into the Bath Spa Hotel; courtesy of our lovely friends at Joules. We’d had such a fun day with them at Badminton Horse Trials and they’d kindly arranged for us to stay at the Bath Spa Hotel for the night, to save us all driving home. I’ve been to Bath once before — many years ago — but I can’t remember if we actually stayed overnight. I think we did; we were living in London at the time, so it would have been too far to go just for the day, but I’ve no idea where. All I do know is, it wasn’t at at the Bath Spa Hotel. I’d have definitely remembered. This beautiful, grandiose hotel is sited in the most glorious Georgian house, sitting in beautifully manicured grounds. Stepping inside is almost like stepping back in time. It’s most definitely not a boutique hotel but lavishly decorated in a traditional style. And that’s not a derogatory comment in any form. I loved it. Like Stepping into a Bygone Era The interior decor was ‘contemporary Georgian’ — if there is such a thing. Classic furnishings and opulent accessories; it’s the most beautiful… Read More

A date with Joules at Badminton Horse Trials

I think it’s fair to say that — for me — the last eight weeks have been tinged with frustration and a little bit of boredom. It’s unlike me too; I don’t get bored easily. If I ever feel my attention waning — and inertia setting in — I tend to just change direction and do something else. But when you can’t drive or easily take yourself off for a walk, it’s difficult not to feel the pangs of boredom. So when my lovely friends at Joules asked me out on a date I literally jumped at the chance (or should I say ‘figuratively’ as clearly I’m not able to jump at the moment!). Best of all, my boys were invited along too — both the twins and my big (man-shaped) boy — so I had my favourite chaperones accompanying me. Our date with Joules We were invited for a day at Badminton Horse Trials, where Joules have had a presence for 27 years. They’ve even got a jump on the cross country course named after them these days. Not wholly surprising as the company actually began life at this kind of event. Tom Joule began selling his clothes at country fairs and equestrian shows and, even though in May 2016 they had 97 stores throughout… Read More

Our stay at the Hotel Aiguille Percee in Tignes | With Mark Warner

For someone — like me — who’s never been to the mountains before, the coach journey from Grenoble airport to the ski resort of Tignes was pretty spectacular. Winding through the French Alps, looking down over vast canyons and valleys — all smothered in a thick layer of snow — was breathtaking. And as we pulled in to Tignes-Le-Lac and the coach stopped, we were able to get a proper look at where we were going to be spending our first ever family ski holiday. Tignes is located 2100 metres above sea level; and due to the high altitude offers skiers the chance of fabulous snow, even late on in the season. We arrived on 12th March and — apart from the roads which were clear — everywhere else was covered in a dense blanket of snow. The coach dropped us off and we walked up the footpath to our home for the week; The Hotel Aiguille Percee. Looking every inch as chalet-like as I’d hoped, we were warmly greeted at the front desk by Wayne — the lovely general manager — who checked us in and let us know when, and where, all the welcome meetings were; plus the times of the meals etc. The Accommodation We stayed… Read More

5 Weird and Wonderful Things To Do at Camp Bestival

Hurrah! The clocks have gone forward!! This annual event literally makes me smile from ear to ear. Goodbye winter. We’ll miss you! Said no-one. Ever. It’s that time of year where I start coming out of hibernation and begin to look forward to the warmer months that lie ahead. We bought a family calendar a few weeks ago in the Kikki K sale and have been merrily filling out the boxes; marking off when we’re away or have people staying. One of the things that certainly puts a smile on my face is planning our festival weekends. Thinking about the colour and joy of festivals is always a lovely distraction. Having a look at what bands are on, at which particular festival. Take Camp Bestival for example. This year they’ll be celebrating their tenth anniversary and have got a stellar line-up in place. They’ve got Mark Ronson gracing the Castle Stage on the Friday night. Madness are doing a slot, plus Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is the Sunday headliner. The thought of long hot days, sipping cocktails, watching the bands; then sloping back to Dolly, tired and happy, to have a  lovely sleep in our cosy Duvalay beds makes me smile from ear… Read More