August 2013 | Modern Mummy

Friday, 30 August 2013

Handpicked Blackberry & Clotted Cream Shortcake

IT'S BLACKBERRY PICKING TIME! Yay! I LOVE this time of year!

Yesterday we went on an Urban Blackberry Hunt (you heard that term here first) and got a massive haul of the biggest, juiciest, tastiest British blackberries you ever did see! They're Urban blackberries because we found them all on random hedgerows in the centre of town - not in the woods, or on a Pick Your Own farm like you'd think.

It goes without saying that a fair number of them disappeared while we were picking them, but we wanted to get creative with the leftovers. We contemplated making jam and scones but at the last minute decided to make a blackberry and clotted cream shortcake. I'm glad we did because it was bloody amazing. Due to popular demand (I may have tweeted/instagrammed a couple of photos during the baking process!) I'm more than happy to share the recipe with you lot :) I hope you like it as much as we did!

For the cake
300g self-raising flour
140g butter at room temperature
100g golden caster sugar
1x tsp baking powder 
75ml buttermilk
1 egg, beaten 
Pinch of salt
For the filling
Approx 400g blackberries
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
275g pot clotted cream
icing sugar to decorate

What to do.
Preheat the oven to 160c/Gas Mark 4.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and butter to a mixing bowl and rub together to make a crumbly mixture. Daisy had a LOT of fun making a mess doing this.
Then add the buttermilk and the egg and continue to mix by hand to form a dough. (It will be pretty sticky).
Flour your work surface and knead the dough into an approx. 8 inch circle.
Place on a baking tray (either well greased, or on a sheet of baking paper) and put into the oven for approx 40 minutes. It should be golden and well risen and if you insert a skewer into the middle it should come out clean. Once done, leave to cool.
While it's cooling, mash the blackberries and sugar with a fork.
Once the shortcake has cooled, use a bread knife to slice it into two.
Spread the clotted cream on the bottom half and then pile on the blackberries. Top with the other piece of shortcake and dust with icing sugar. 

Serve with a cup of tea.xo

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Bee Day!

We had a very impromptu day out today - and the unplanned ones are always the best!

We're lucky enough to have a wonderful museum here in Haslemere, and they regularly hold educational and craft sessions for pre-schoolers and older children. Today it was Bee Day at the museum - a chance to learn all about bees and bee keeping and to make some beeswax candles (and do lots of colouring in, cutting and sticking too!) all courtesy of Petersfield & District Bee Keepers Association.

Funnily enough, bee keeping is a topic that crops up in conversation quite regularly in the Modern Mummy household, particularly since we've moved out of London. It's something Himself (not me I'm afraid!) has been interested in for a while. If given his own way, he would have beehives dotted around our garden but I'm not so keen while the girls are small (Is that neurotic and/or mean?)

I'm still fascinated by them though - and I LOVE honey - so it's definitely something I'd consider when the girls are a bit older, especially after finding out all about them today (yes, I learnt lots too!).

Our morning started by paying a working hive a visit. It was all very safe and behind glass and it was amazing to be able to get so close to the action. We saw lots of different stages of the bees lives - and all their different jobs within the hive. Daisy's favourite thing was discovering that the younger bees are given the job of providing air conditioning for the hive (YES REALLY!). Before they are allowed to venture out to collect nectar (which makes the honey) and pollen (which feeds the baby bees - see I told you I learnt lots!) they hover near the entrance/exit of the hive and flap their wings to let the warm air out and the cool air in. Genius, non?

Daisy also got to try on a Bee Keeper's outfit (the highlight of her day) and to look inside a real (unused) beehive.

Back in the education centre, she was shown the different types of bees that can be seen around the UK and shown some lovely pieces of honeycomb. She also made her own beeswax candles!

The day ended with an arts & crafts session and Daisy made her own bee, which she named a Haslemere Rainbow Bee. Of course.

If you're local to Haslemere and haven't already, I really would recommend that you try one of these sessions with your kids. Take a look at their Calendar of Events here. They have lots of family drop in sessions throughout the year, and have weekly ones (every Friday) specifically for pre-schoolers so that they get to have lots of fun (and learn lots!) whilst their older siblings are at school! 

A whole morning of learning new things and having fun making stuff, and it only cost £4! Thank you, Haslemere Museum, for a fab day! xo

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Beautiful Bento

I am OBSESSED with bento boxes. I just love them. I have a Pinterest board devoted to them and regularly pin like a crazy lady onto it. I'm totally and utterly fascinated by the creativity of some people and the time they must spend when it comes to preparing these kind of lunch boxes.

For those of you that aren't sure what a bento box is, the easiest way to define it as a Japanese compartmentalised lunch box! Bento is becoming increasingly popular around the world - and the more detailed and artistic the better!

Although I love them, I've never attempted making them myself and I'm not entirely sure why. I know that Daisy would LOVE to open up her lunchbox at nursery to be greeted by edible versions of her favourite characters! I think it is a combination of a lack of time and, until now, a lack of equipment.

However, earlier this week, the lovely people at Laptop Lunches sent Daisy her very own Bento kit (and another for us to giveaway!) so I had no excuse not to give one a go.

Laptop Lunches are American-style bento boxes designed to help families pack nutritious, environment-friendly lunches for school, work, and travel. The company was set up by two mums, Tammy Pelstring and Amy Hemmart, after they were shocked by the poor quality lunches on offer at their children's schools, and the large proportion of it that was thrown away. At the same time, the headlines in America were also focusing on childhood obesity, poor nutrition and the impact of landfill waste so it was the perfect time to launch their product - and they are now a multi award winning brand. Their boxes are safe (they contain no lead, BPA, PVC or phalathes), cost effective, reusable, recycled (and recyclable!) and easy to clean - and they enable parents to create their own healthy lunches and reduce waste in the process.

Daisy was sent the pastel bento kit. This is one of their best sellers and contains a pink bento lunchbox with lavender inner containers and a stainless steel fork and spoon set too. There is ample space within the main bento bag to carry an icepack and a couple of serviettes, and it also has an external compartment to hold a drink. It's perfect for picnics, school lunches and long journeys and will be available to buy in the UK very soon (via Amazon - I'll update this link once they have launched!)

Even if you're not going to create a bento box masterpiece, they are such a good idea for children, and picky eaters in particular. You can fill up the separate pots and compartments with small amounts of things to nibble on so it's a great way to get kids to try new things. If they're aesthetically pleasing to boot then kids are also more likely to eat them. I also find with Daisy that she prefers to eat smaller portions of things. She doesn't eat very well when she is presented with a large meal on a plate, but lay a load of picnic food out and she will demolish it all!

When Daisy goes back to nursery next term she'll be staying for a packed lunch once a week - and it's my plan to be as creative as I can with her bento kit! But in the meantime she wasn't prepared to wait to try it out so today we had a picnic lunch in the garden using her new lunchbox. 

It might not be the most creative of bento boxes but Daisy still ate everything except for a few bits of cucumber so I was impressed!

So YES. The awesome people at Laptop Lunches also gave me a second kit to giveaway - and if you want to be one of the first people in the UK to own this gorgeous Galaxy Bento Kit then it couldn't be easier to enter!

As per my usual giveaway terms and conditions, I'm using the Rafflecopter widget below and everyone has up to eight chances of winning. The competition opens at midnight tonight and closes at midnight on 5th September 2013. The winner will be announced on here, on Facebook and on Twitter by 7th September. This competition is open to UK residents only. Good luck! xo

a Rafflecopter giveaway  
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@VitamixUK Recipe: Strawberry Greenjuice

I can't believe it's taken me two weeks to make my first greenjuice in the Vitamix! I've been so excited about using it to make other stuff.... ice cream and pasta sauces and cocktails.... that I just carried on using my trusty juicer for my daily liquid vitamin boost.

Although I've called this recipe a greenjuice, it's actually a green smoothie. Juicing and blending are two completely different things and both are great for you, but for different reasons. Juicing removes the indigestable fibre from fruit and veggies, which means the nutrients and vitamins are more easily absorbed. Juicing gives your digestive system a break too and saves your energy. Basically they are a super quick shot of amazing goodness, that goes straight to your bloodstream! Smoothies still contain the fibre - which is a very important part of your diet. They are also a lot more filling (so ideal at breakfast time) and much easier to make. Plus there are some superfoods that you can't juice - take avocados for example. They make the most amazing, creamy smoothies!

After lunch today we had a fair amount of cucumber batons and apple quarters left over so I decided to pick a few strawberries and some spinach from the garden and to blend them into a delicious and nutritious smoothie.

Preparation time: 1 minute (add an extra 4 minutes if you count the fruit & veg picking!)
Vitamix time: 40 seconds
Makes approx 750ml.

4x handfuls of strawberries
2x apples
Half a cucumber
4x handfuls of spinach

What to do.
1. Pour in enough water just to cover the blades of the Vitamix.
2. Add the strawberries in the order listed.
3. Select VARIABLE speed #1 and increase to #10 before switching to full power.
4. Run for 20 - 30 seconds.

5. Serve immediately, happy in the knowledge that one 250ml glass of this contains almost 3 of your 5 a day!

If you're interested in Juicing, check out my FAQ page here. xo

Monday, 26 August 2013

CarFest South: A Review

This weekend we added another Festival to our repertoire (our third one in three weekends!).

Yes, on Saturday we headed off to Laverstoke Park Farm in Overton, Hampshire for a day of fast cars, fly overs, fairground rides and fabulous festival food - and some pretty good music to boot. We LOVE the Laverstoke Park Farm Shop in Twickenham so the location alone made us pretty excited about going. We had an inkling there would be some delicious Buffalo Milk Ice Cream for sale - and that stuff is totally worth making a 52 mile round trip for!

But venue aside, I have to admit that CarFest wasn't on the top of my festival bucket list. I've never been a huge fan of cars, and I figured they would play a pretty big part in the weekend. The main reason we went was because my friend had tickets going to spare. Daisy and I thought we'd head down for the fairground rides and an al fresco dinner, if nothing else.

Turns out I'm really rather glad we did go because IT WAS AWESOME! It's a fantastic family festival and we are already planning on returning next year (for the whole weekend - camping included of course!)

I went expecting a fleet of fast and expensive cars and didn't pay much thought to what else may be on offer. I certainly didn't think for a minute that there might be an entire section devoted to classic cars and campervans - Daisy and I were in VW heaven.

The music catered for all tastes - I wanted to see Ocean Colour Scene and they were AMAZING. I was a big fan in the 90s and it took me right back to the first time I saw them in the Hand & Spear Pub in Weybridge in 1996. But I also watched Reef (another blast from the past) and Alfie Boe and enjoyed both. Blurb were brilliant too!

There was heaps to keep the kids entertained - from ballet dancing lessons to animal handling - and Daisy loved the Silent Disco!

The variety of food was the best I've ever come across at any festival. They had every single cuisine going. It took Daisy and me a good half hour to decide what to have for dinner and we ended up choosing the pizza stall - which had the longest queue by a mile-  having (correctly) presumed that the food would be gooooooood. There was a huge Farmer's Market of food stalls, all selling delicious local produce and Laverstoke Park Farm were hosting lots of different foodie workshops over the course of the weekend, including bread making and churning your own butter. Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry were even on hand to judge a Pies v. Cakes competition!

Daisy's favourite things:
The pizza we had for dinner (Daisy ate four slices - the most pizza she's ever eaten - so it must have been good!)
Dancing to the music (She sang The Day We Caught The Train the whole walk back to our car at the end of the night)
The firework plane
The red arrows
The helter skelter & ferris wheel
The BugFest tent - she touched a snake!
Going inside the campervans

Other brilliant things:
The stewards were amazing. They all knew the site map like the back of their hands and the schedule of events off by heart. They also went out of their way to help us when we were looking to buy a programme and one actually gave us his as we couldn't find a hawker, which was super kind of him.
There were loads of cash points! And none of them had queues! I'm not sure whether that was down to people not expecting there to be any and so going armed with plenty of cash, or whether there were just so many of them dotted around the site that queuing wasn't necessary. Either way, it was very handy.
Everything was REALLY well sign posted and very well lit at night.

Not so brilliant things:
There didn't seem to be very many portaloos. We had to queue for a long time whenever we visited them. However, in their defence they were the cleanest toilets I've ever been to at a festival and were always well stocked with loo roll, soap and running water.
The face painting was expensive - £8 for some designs which I thought was extortionate! The stall had no price lists on display either which was a bit naughty - thankfully D went for a butterfly which was only a fiver. 

Those points aside we had THE BEST day and are looking forward to going back next year.

Here are a few photos from our day xoxox


Sunday, 25 August 2013

@VitamixUK Recipe: Strawberry Daiquiris

So, I've been talking about the Vitamix being an essential piece of kit within the healthy eater's kitchen but we all need a bit of a treat now and again!

On Friday Himself and I had a date night planned and I decided to make us some strawberry daiquiris as an aperitif.

Needless to say they were DIVINE. And so ridiculously easy to make in the Vitamix. Plus, despite the high rum content, they are packed full of fruity goodness - we got through two huge punnets of strawberries whilst making ours!

Preparation time: 2 minutes
Vitamix time: 20 seconds
Makes a LOT of daiquiris!

Fresh strawberries
The juice of half a lime

What to do.
1. Pour in enough water just to cover the blades of the Vitamix.
2. Add the strawberries - and an equal amount of ice (going by height in the jug, not weight).
3. Select VARIABLE speed #1 and increase to #10 before switching to full power.
4. Run for 20 - 30 seconds (no longer or the ice will begin to melt) and use the tamper tool to push the ice into the blades.

5. Add the rum through the lid plug and run for a further 5 seconds (I tried adding the rum afterwards but it was POTENT! Adding it to the Vitamix definitely results in more even distribution ;))
6. Serve in a champagne saucer or martini glass with a strawberry garnish.

Enjoy! xoxox

Kozi Kidz Rainwear: A Review

Earlier this year (just before the heatwave in fact!) Evie was sent a waterproof all in one from Kozi Kidz to review. We'd had a month of solid rain so it seemed the perfect time to get one but, typically, just as it arrived, so did Summer - and it was a while before we had a chance to review it properly.

We LOVE Kozi Kidz..... Daisy has one of their fleece-lined rainbow rain jackets and not an outing passes us by without a total stranger commenting on how gorgeous it. It's vibrant colours and reflective stripes make it very difficult for you to lose your small person, plus it's cosy and warm and, of course, waterproof - so perfect for all weathers.

Evie's waterproofs are no different. We chose the lilac version (they are also available in red, blue and berry) and they had their first wear at Camp Bestival earlier this month. Despite it being August - and very warm and dry! - we'd gone prepared for typical festival weather and taken full waterproofs for us all.

Although the days were totally scorchio we soon learnt that, when camping, the evenings get pretty chilly and Evie ended up wearing hers over her pyjamas to keep the cold out while we were watching the late evening bands.

They turned out to be perfect festival wear. Brightly coloured, and with more trusty reflectors (which meant that Evie was very hard to miss!) they were super cosy and comfortable. We had opted for the 12-18m size (Evie is a chunky 9m old) and they fit perfectly with a couple of layers underneath - and left enough room for Evie to be able to crawl around freely and easily in them (I find that crawling always needs a bit more 'give').

The hood is detachable which is great and removes some bulk when it's not needed (this was particularly helpful when wearing E in the Ergo) but my favourite design feature has to be the two full length zips on the front which meant I could easily take them off without waking Evie up once we were back at the tent and getting ready for bed!

Of course, since then they have had some wear in the actual rain too. Evie hasn't had a chance to splash around in puddles just yet as she is only just beginning to walk (plus I can't find wellies in a size 3!) but they are great for when we head out for a walk in the rain with her in the back carrier. There is also a bit of room for her to grow into so I have no doubt that they will last her into next Spring when I'm sure we will have more April showers and puddles galore!

They retail at a very reasonable £38.99 and are available from all good outdoors specialists.xoxox

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

@VitamixUK Recipe: Rich Red Pesto

At the weekend our tomato harvest started to come in - and oh my GOODNESS, we have HUNDREDS! To make sure none of them go to waste, I made my first batch of 'sundried' tomatoes which will last us into the winter (you can see my recipe here) and then went on to include some of them in a Vitamix recipe too!

Yes, yesterday I whipped up a really simple red pesto in our beloved Vitamix. It contained only five ingredients and took around 45 seconds to make. Of course you don't need to make your own sundried tomatoes for this recipe - you can buy them if you'd prefer.

Preparation time: 10 seconds
Vitamix time: 45 seconds
Makes: Approx 400g

Two handfuls of tomatoes
One handful of sundried tomatoes
One handful of basil
Garlic to taste (I used two cloves)
A sprig of oregano
A splash of extra version olive oil
(You can also add a red chilli if you like)

What to do.
1. As per all of my Vitamix recipes - put the ingredients into the blender in the order above.
2. Select VARIABLE speed #3.
3. Run for 45 seconds and use the tamper tool if you need to push the ingredients into the blades.

Serve with fresh, filled pasta (ours came from the Italian deli but one day I will attempt to make my own!) smothered with parmesan and a large glass of Barolo.xoxox

Monday, 19 August 2013

Modern Mummy Presents..... The Brooke Bag #FiorelliHandpicked

Earlier this month I was asked to be a part of the #FiorelliHandpicked Campaign. Having just launched their new AW13 collection, Fiorelli decided to celebrate by matching their five key styles of the season with five of their favourite bloggers. I was super stoked to be chosen!

It's fairly obvious that I have a thing for handbags. I just can't resist them. So when I was sent the brand spanking new Fiorelli Brooke bag I was pretty darn excited. Fiorelli couldn't have made a more perfect match!

Fiorelli are the UK's number one manufacturer of handbags and it's easy to see why. Every single bag that they create is designed to be beautiful and stylish - but also useable. Even better is that they are all affordable. Fiorelli don't believe a beautiful handbag has to cost hundreds of pounds - and the proof is in the pudding!

The Brooke is a super-soft shoulder bag which is available in three colours; biscuit, tan and black (I've got the biscuit one). It has two large grab handles and a detachable shoulder strap with a buckle fastener that enables you to adjust the length (meaning it can be worn across the body or hung over pram handlebars if you'd rather not have it on your shoulder or arm). It has four zipped exterior pockets which are great for things you need to access easily, and also has very stylish brass fittings and a Fiorelli decorative charm.

Inside, the Brooke is lined with a branded Fiorelli striped material and has hundreds of different compartments (something I am very fond of when it comes to handbags - I like to keep things organised!) The bag is divided into three large compartments, the middle of which is zipped, and there are three further sections too - a phone pocket, and slip pocket and a smaller zippable one.

It's a great size - H27 x W33 x D22 cm - and super flexible. It can be used during the day as well as in the evening; for work, nights out, mini breaks (if you pack light!) plus it's great for carrying mama + baby paraphernalia (let's face it, I rarely go out without wipes and nappies these days!).

This style is 'smart but casual' and, quite simply, it is divine. PERFECT for women on the go, and very reasonably priced at just £65.00 (available here).

My Brooke has been on my shoulder / pram constantly since it arrived last week. It has accompanied me on my Hen Do, been taken bridesmaid dress shopping (and then on for celebratory cocktails!), taken a trip on the tube to Stratford for the LolliBop festival and been a part of general every day errands too.

It was a fab handbag for my Hen Do as it was large enough to carry my make up bag and change of clothes for the evening, whilst still looking very smart and compact - and matching my polka dot Bonprix tea dress perfectly. As a day bag, it can also fit an iPad / netbook in it no bother so would be perfect as a handbag for work.

Similarly, it fits across my BOB Revolution SE's handlebars perfectly and makes a brilliant - and VERY stylish changing bag - with more than enough compartments to keep mine and my daughters' bits and pieces entirely separate. When we went to London for the day for LolliBop, we loaded it up with two drinks, four nappies, a packet of wipes, 2x bibs, 2x muslins, 2x bananas, 2x packets of mini cheddars and a few dummies - as well as my purse, phone, charger, keys and a couple of bits of make up. The zipper closed easily and the bag didn't bulge - proof of just how spacious it is.

If, like me, you have a penchant for gorgeous, stylish bags, but need them to be practical and affordable at the same time, then SERIOUSLY look no further than the Fiorelli AW13 range for a huge range of super versatile and truly beautiful handbags.xoxox

I was sent a Fiorelli Brooke bag in exchange for this post as part of the #FiorelliHandpicked Campaign.


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Lollibop 2013: An Honest Review

Yesterday Daisy, Evie and I went to the Lollibop festival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Still high on the whole Camp Bestival experience, and after hearing SO many positive stories about last year, we were all really, really, REALLY looking forward to it.

Lollibop is now in it's fourth year. It's the UK's biggest kids festival and EVERYTHING is aimed at kids under 10 and their families. Aside from all the live acts and character meet-and-greets, there are also disco sheds and crafting tents and play areas.... You can imagine why we were so excited about going. The line up sounded amazing, and the fact it was taking place in the Olympic Park, somewhere we'd not visited before, made it sound like the perfect day out for us!

Sadly, that wasn't the case. I hate being negative about something that someone has worked so hard to create but, the fact is, none of us had a particularly good time - and it's only fair that we're honest about it in our review.

It all started with our journey there. Ours was very long (almost 3hrs each way) and involved two trains and one tube. I was pretty disappointed that there was nothing on the Lollibop website to pre-warn us that the festival site was a 20 minute walk away from Stratford Underground station. If I'd known that beforehand, I'd have been a bit more prepared and taken our Orbit pram with the buggy board instead of our BOB stroller, as the walk was a bit too much for Daisy's little legs. I ended up giving her a piggy back for half of the way (whilst pushing the pram,  I hasten to add) which wasn't a good start for me. That aside, there were lots of lovely, helpful people showing everyone the way and getting us across the main roads safely which was really well thought out and organised.  

Once we got to the park, the queues to get in were ridiculous, although thankfully we were fast tracked in through the blogger's entrance. That didn't save us once we got inside though and the crowd ahead of us was just insane. Admittedly we arrived at 11am, which was a very busy time, but if you're going to a one day festival you want to get there early-ish and spend the whole day there! My biggest problem with the whole day was the sheer amount of people there. You couldn't get around anywhere. Trying to fight your way through the crowd with a buggy and a 3 year old was like fighting a losing battle and there were LOTS of grumpy people there, presumably unhappy for the same reason.

Because of the crowds, to begin with we just loitered round the Village Green where it was a bit quieter. We queued to get Daisy's face painted and crossed our fingers that the crowds of people would disperse and we'd be able to get around easier later on. But it wasn't to be.

When it was time for lunch we pushed our way in towards the food stalls surrounding the main stage (there was a massive bottle neck of people just before the main arena) and then we were yet again confronted with huge queues and crowds. The only lunch options we found were burgers, steak burgers, hot dogs and Nandos. Oh and chips. Lots of chips. Nothing particularly kid friendly - or easy on the pocket either, as I found out when I had to fork out £18 on one adult burger, one kids burger, one portion of chips and two cold drinks.

The best view we got of Justin Fletcher - and my camera was 
zoomed to the max for this shot! He spent the rest of his act either 
behind the side of the stage, or behind a huge inflatable flower.

It has to be said, the line-up was brilliant and, prepared to put the beginning of the day behind us, we managed to find a spot to the left of the main stage for Hello Kitty and Cbeebies superstar Justin Fletcher. These were two of the acts Daisy was most excited about seeing. Sadly, though, neither of them thought to come out to the front of the stage whilst performing and, despite being on my shoulders, Daisy only managed to catch tiny glimpses of them both.

 A bit fed up and grumpy

A little bit miffed, we thought we'd try some of the Imagination Stations and the baby activities, however the queues were (yet again) ridiculously long. Kids just aren't prepared to wait that long for something! We spent ten minutes back on the Village Green where Daisy played in some little wooden houses (which we could have done in our local park) then we ended up having an ice cream and fighting our way back through the crowds to head home. We spent 3.5 hours there in total and Daisy was so disappointed.

We received our tickets for free but I would have been so cross if I'd forked out £110 for a family of four. After chatting about it with Himself,  I compiled this list of things we did like and things we didn't like: 

What we liked:
- The Magic Belles tent. This was Lollibop's saving grace.... we could have spent all day here! The Magic Belles iPhone app is one of Daisy's favourite games and she was SO excited to be able to colour in and send a postcard to them! The tent was beautifully decorated - perfect for girlie little girls. A huge thumbs up to the Magic Belles team!
- The fabulous - and free! - facepainting thanks to Follies Face & Body Painting. We queued. For ages. Daisy decided to be a 'swirly whirly Princess'. I got my purse out... and was told to put it away. Amazing!
- No queues for the toilets! HURRAH! Definitely a plus and so worth a mention. We went to the loos twice and didn't queue either time. Plus there were heaps of baby changing loos which meant we could take Evie and the buggy in with us too (thank God - not sure what we'd have done with her otherwise!!).

What we didn't like:
- The journey there. Travelling time aside, the walk from the tube to the venue was too far in my opinion.
- The fact it was SO busy.  I've got no idea how the organisers thought they could fit that many people in comfortably. I'm not kidding when I say you couldn't move. You REALLY COULDN'T.
- The main stage. It was positioned at the furthest point and there was a bottle neck to get in which meant more queueing and huge crowds where little people could get lost in all the pushing. Not very pleasant or well organised. Then the acts inability to perform at the front of the stage was really disappointing. I would estimate that half of the crowd had the same problem as us.
- Serious lack of decent, healthy food. I HATE CHIPS! It's a kid's festival! Surely they could have had even a sandwich stall? If there was one then it was impossible to find - perhaps details of the food sellers could have been listed on the programme?
- Lack of programme sellers. We saw people with their lanyards around their necks but couldn't find any sellers for love or money..... until we left. Then we saw two.



Friday, 16 August 2013

Camp Bestival 2014 Early Bird Tickets NOW ON SALE!

If you read my Camp Bestival post last week and thought "Ooooh I'm TOTALLY taking my brood next year!" then now's the time to buy your ticket!

They are available at special Early Bird prices from Ticketline here from today - and for a very limited time - so make sure you snap them up quickly! Friday entry weekend tickets will also be available on a Weekly Payment Plan where you can split the total cost over 34 or 36 weekly payments of just £5 which is pretty darn handy!

If you're still thinking about whether or not to go (what is there to think about?!!) then watch this video of the 2013 Grand Finale and see what you will be missing!

Roll on 2014 ...... See you all there! xoxox


Set4Sport - Fun games to play at home during the Summer Holidays

So we're half way through the Summer holidays and, typically, the weather has now turned against us. We all need some activities to keep the kids occupied while they're stuck at home - and to wear them out too!

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to meet Judy Murray. Yes THE Judy Murray; the very same lady who gave birth to tennis champions Andy and Jamie! She has created a new sporting initative called Set4Sport, a free resource that has been set up to educate parents in ways to get their kids active. A group of us parent bloggers and our littlies were invited to join her and to play some games which, it turns out, are just perfect for keeping the kids entertained during the holidays! We spent an afternoon playing games, eating a rather lovely picnic lunch and then chatting about sport and parenting with Judy whilst the kids enjoyed themselves in the Jellybugs soft play area.


The idea behind the concept is to get the kids of today moving, and to show parents that sport doesn't have to cost money - and can be fun! It's a sad truth that childhood obesity is on the rise in the UK. Kids are choosing to spend their time playing computer games and watching TV over playing outside and keeping active, and the amount of time and facilities allocated to PE in schools in at an all time low. The nation is getting lazy and it's only us, the parents, that have the ability to change this!

I'm not a particularly sporty person but I am a huge lover of the Great Outdoors and keeping active. I don't get any enjoyment out of sitting indoors and watching TV and have never owned (or played!) a computer game in my life. I had a pretty idyllic childhood, playing out lots and spending time with my parents and siblings, and I hope to raise my girls the same way. Them becoming elite atheletes isn't important to me (unless it's something they want to do, of course) but I do want them to be fit and healthy.

At our blogger event - which was held at the Jellybugs Play Cafe in Kingston-upon-Thames - a great venue for anyone that's local! - we were shown that fancy, expensive equipment just isn't necessary when it comes to playing games with children. They don't need masses of space either. Any household items will do - empty boxes, bits of string or ribbon, toys - and with a bit of imagination (which kids have plenty of) you can come up with heaps of things to do with them!

Judy has already come up with ten games which are all available for free on the Set4Sport website. There is also a free app to accompany the programme (on iPhone and Android) which features score cards and sound effects to make games even more fun! Not only do these games keep kids active, they are also great for developing hand-eye coordination, concentration, balance and agility. They are also suitable for children aged 3-8, although with a bit of adaption you can easily include slightly older or younger kids.

Judy says of the scheme: "The most basic arenas can offer the best lessons. These exercises will show mums and dads a variety of ways to ensure their kids play effectively and build up both confidence and ability. They are guaranteed to be simple and cheap but effective. Kids will learn without even knowing it! All you need are some basic, everyday objects, a child who wants to play and someone who wants to play with them. It is that straightforward!"

Kids love playing games, they don't care what it is, and the best ones are the ones they come up with themselves! If you do one thing this holiday, make sure you check out the website and give some of these games a go. They will get their imaginations going and encourage them to think up some of their own, whilst keeping them active and teaching them new skills - and the best bit of all is that you get to spend some real quality time with them.xoxox
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