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Showing posts with label adventure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adventure. Show all posts

Starry Skies Festival...













 





Our first festival of the Summer was at Starry Skies.  Set in the hills overlooking the Black Mountains on the Wales/Herefordshire border, the weekend was the hottest of the year.

Starry Skies festival is perfect, small, charming and ideal for young kids.  Dubbed as a 'family camping festival' it certainly lives up to this.  With only 200 Family tickets sold, it feels intimate, friendly and perfect for first timers.  

We rolled up and found our home for the weekend, a beautiful bleached white bell tent, courtesy of Firefly boutique camping.  The view from the boutique field was out of this world.  Every morning we woke to the jaw dropping view of the hills... it was certainly the best view of the whole festival. (I miss it!).

During the day, the festival laid on free activities for the family.  Activities included the flying fox zip wire, clay model making, water slides, farm tours to circus skills.  My two were fully entertained in a gentle way, no loud music, no commercialism, no stalls saying 'buy this!'.  Just good old outdoor family fun.

My two boys ran freely from field to field, visiting friends camping in the 'camping plus' area. We felt safe allowing them freedom to play in the woods, the scramble nets and den area which was between the two camping fields.

The highlights for my two were:  Forest school, a chance to spend two hours in the woods building dens, lighting fires and making dream catchers.  The cinema tent - they watched the Lego movie, do I need to say more?  And for Charlie - the hammer and nails tent - basically a pile of wood, hammers and nails and imagination!

In the evening, we were entertained by DJ's, a bar and good food in the large Tentipi.  Staying up late most evenings til dark.  The large fire pit was lit and children toasted marshmallows or spent a few hours watching their favourite movies in the cinema tent, whilst their parents relaxed with a beer or two and danced.

Starry Skies is utterly magical.  We loved it all and will definitely be back next year.  It is our kind of festival.

(We were sent to Starry Skies by the Telegraph to review, my full review will be on-line there soon).

Wild Meadow - our child free weekend away...


   










This weekend, Dan and I stole ourselves away for 3 nights in Wales. Child free.  We couldn't have been more excited!  A chance for the two of us to just be, relax, talk - talk! to each other, gosh remember that?  

We were looking forward to enjoying the Welsh air, cooking outside, sleeping under the stars, and making the time to indulge in things we like to do, without the boys.

Wild Meadow is stunning.  All we could hope for and more.  Owners Andrea and Jonathan, bought the field a couple of years ago, with the desire to have a patch of land of their own.  Planting initially a small orchard, soon after a veg patch and fruit bushes.... then came the shepherds hut.

Dan and I fell in love.  The hut is beautifully furnished, with indian throws, warm blankets and a log burner.  The bed is the comfiest we've ever slept on, and found sleeping in there a dream.  The outside kitchen is fab, well equipped with a gas stove, fridge and brightly coloured spotty enamel-ware.  To the side is an outside shower room and basin and a little way off a composting loo.

We spent our days, watching the buzzards and red kites soar above us, cooking on the open fire using a Kolitch (which we'd not used before and soon got the hang of).  Eating our way through the raspberries and cherries from the fruit orchard and swinging on the best swing ever!

That swing!  Now parents - sometimes we feel like having a swing, but there is always a child or two saying 'my turn' or 'push me'.  Not this time - oh no.  A double swing, the two of us, with a G&T in hand, sat and watched the sun cast shadows across the hills below us.  It was bliss.

We took day trips to nearby Leominster for the antique / junk shops which there are many.  And to Ledbury for it's cobbled lanes and black and white buildings.

If you are looking for a family break (there is room for two small airbeds inside the shepherds hut) OR if you are looking for a romantic getaway in the great outdoors then Wild Meadow is your place.  We are still dreaming we are there.

Seasonal Rituals / Summer - Strawberry Picking





On the weekend of Solstice and the first days of Summer, we spent a sunny morning  picking strawberries at our local PYO farm.  Just as we have done every year since Charlie was a toddler.  It is part of our family summer rituals and something I insist we always do.

In the past we have always taken someone with us, my mum, Dan, friends and this year one of our good family friend and her two year old daughter Mei. As Mei sat there in the middle of the strawberry patch, stuffing warm juicy berries into her mouth, with the juice running down her, it reminded me of years past, and my own sons doing the very same.

We managed to pick about 2 kilos worth of strawberries in the end.  I've already made strawberry ice-cream, strawberry meringues & cream, and have frozen the rest for Strawberry jam making later in the summer.  I shall post the ice-cream recipe later in the week.

You can read our past strawberry picking visits here:

2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013

Look at the boys - my babies have grown!

Crimson fields....






Sometimes you just have to stop the car.  Pull over, jump the gate and go play in a field of poppies.  Charlie didn't want to leave, nor did I.  Neither of us had seen poppies on such a scale... such a sea of red.  Beautiful, breathtaking and memory making.  Heavenly!

Campaign #safetoschool...


As you well know, we live in a City.  Big, beautiful, bustling Bristol.  We love living in our neighbourhood, which has a vibrant community, full of doers, life lovers and great people.  Living here is pretty great. Bristol is a forward thinking City, we have our very own elected Mayor, it's the Green Capital of Europe for 2015, an arty City with amazing festivals, musicians, theatre and more.  I think it's the best place to live (but I am biased!).

In all Cities, towns and villages across the UK, traffic is becoming a problem.  Roads are getting busier, and very much the domain of the vehicle.

Every morning I walk or scoot my children to school.  We are lucky that it's not far a journey and takes us about 15 minutes to get there.  But we do have to cross a couple of big roads on our route.  I would love to cycle, but feel the route is just too much for them at the moment.  So we scoot - or rather they scoot, I run behind, hot and out of breath!

Sustrans has just launched their #safetoschool campaign and I have been asked to be on their blogger panel (alongside some other fabulous bloggers).  Here is a little about the campaign:

The campaign has a vision for every child to be able to make the journey to school by bike, scooter or foot. Our call to action is that every child should have the right to a safe walk, scoot or bike to school.
Even though the average trip to school is only 1.8 miles for primary schools and 3.4 miles for secondary, walking and cycling to school is declining. In 1971, eight out of 10, seven and eight year olds walked or cycled to school on their own, but now 50% of young children are never allowed to cross roads on their own.
The problem is that our streets are not safe enough for children to get to school the way that they should - actively and independently. For more information about the Campaign for Safer Streets have a read here .

Brilliant Sustrans are asking us all to get involved.  Next week (9th-13th June) is Bike to School Week 2014, with the aim of encouraging more families to cycle to school.  We have taken up Sustrans challenge and Dan, the boys and myself will be cycling or scooting to and from school.  They are even giving us head cameras to document some of our journey, let's hope the boys talk about something other than Ninjago the whole way there!

So will you be taking up the challenge and join us?

You can start by writing to your local MP - an easy form can be filled in via the Sustrans website.  And please use the hashtag #safetoschool to tweet your journey, your thoughts and ideas.

Wish us luck!

Enys Garden...

 

Whilst on holiday I always love to visit a garden, or three!  A chance to surround ourselves in beautiful nature and a welcome break from the beach (for me anyway).  We usually pour over the National Trust handbook before leaving, looking for interesting properties close to where are staying.  As we've been holidaying Cornwall for a couple of years now, we've visited most of NT Gardens, so I searched for something a little different, and discovered Enys. 











Lured with the promise of a 'Bluebell Festival' we headed towards Falmouth.  Enys Garden is only open to the public at certain times of the year, this weekend was to celebrate the bluebells. Upon arrival we were told that the bells were only 86% out, how could they be so specific?!  

Walking down to the meadow we were hit by sea of blue, as far as the eye could see.  Such a spectacular sight.  The route took us round the meadow, seeing the field from all angles. I have never seen such a mass of bluebells in one place. I just wanted to run through it, 'Little House on the Prairie' style.  

Enys Garden is like stepping back in time. Over grown tunnels through rhododendron bushes lead you on to secret gates and walled gardens.  Colour is rife, masses of fluffy pinks and yellows, with large species of unusual trees like Ginko.  It's a real plantsmans delight.

The boys loved running ahead, getting lost and calling out to each other.  Interesting carvings covered the walls and gate posts.  Reminding me of books I've read as a child, very Enid Blyton.  In the cafe garden, music from the 1940's played and Union Flag bunting, draped the walls.  The staff dressed up from that era, it was pretty special.  Sitting there eating a cream tea in such beautiful surroundings.

Our favourite part of the garden, was the lake.  Covered in a film of bright green pond weed, and snaked with a series of lines where a fish had swam through.  Silver stemmed flowers covered the banks and large gunnera's gave it a 'forgotten' feeling. We spent hours there, observing the wildlife, listening to the muffled sound of the forest around us.

If you are in the Falmouth area, look up Enys Garden to see if they are open... it's well worth the visit.