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Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts

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!

Summer dreaming - Starry Skies Festival...

Summer is well and truly here!  With a gorgeous weekend on the horizon, I can't help but dream of what is store when the schools break up for Summer.  I love it, I love having my two boys around for 6 weeks, holidays, festivals, swimming in the Ocean, trips to Museum, picnics in the park....

We are fortunate to be going to a few festivals over the Summer. The first being Starry Skies.  We are looking forward to finishing school and diving head first into the festival season.... what better way to start than this:

Dubbed as 'a family camping holiday' but with extras.  Extras which are mightily impressive.  Not your usual festival with fair ground rides, loud music and burger stalls, no - Starry Skies aims to be sustainable, environmentally friendly and above all for families to enjoy time together in a wonderful location.

Looking at the website there is plenty to do....

For the kids:

Join the Circus - Rufus is getting into juggling at the moment, using rolled up balls of socks. So this one is for him.

Big Bugs - What child doesn't like bugs?! 

Forest School - Children take part in many activities including: flora, fauna and fungi identification, woodland awareness and the value of woodlands, listening to bird song, hide and seek, making ‘mud heads’ and will be taught to use different tools safely. There will also be fire lighting, orienteering and cooking over an open fire to name but a few!

Gaze at the Stars - They’ll be some naked eye star-gazing going on each night (subject to the weather!) and a telescope to help you peer into other worlds, so wrap up warm, grab a flask of something hot and bring those shiny peepers along for some late night ventures into the unknown…

For Dads....

Mountain Biking - Dan's first love!

Canoeing - Take to the water and see the beauty of the Brecons from a riverside perspective. Groups and individuals can have the chance to explore the Wye from their own canoe, with the help and support of Contour Outdoor

Henry's Beard Cafe - Food!  Delicious wholesome food.

For the Mums...

Yurts - sleeping on a bed, a warm yurt after a day of adventuring.

'Me Time' Lounge - relaxation, massage and chill - what more would you want!

Yoga Workshop - a chance to stretch in a beautiful location

And so much more!  Family sports day, den building, music and art workshops, camp fires.....

Looking good eh?  More information over on Starry Skies website.  Tickets are very limited. 

Just So Festival 2014...

Last summer was our first time to Just So Festival.  Driving up to Cheshire, discussing what it would be like, neither of us actually knowing quite what to expect.  Arriving on site we were instantly transported into an amazing world of magical adventure.  A whirlwind or gasps, triumphs, crazy dancing and fairy dust.  It was the best weekend we could wish for.

Last week, Just So announced the festival line up for this Summer.  The boys and I have been pouring over the website, excitedly discovering all the wondrous things that we can dive into whilst there.  Here are some of the highlights we are eagerly looking forward to seeing...

Something To Hold 2013 from Pif-Paf on Vimeo.

Last year we fell in love with the 'The Fly Cycle' by Pif-Paf theatre.  The boys changed in suitable costumes and boarded the amazing flying machine.  This year the team are back with 'Something to Hold'.  It looks spectacular and I personally cannot wait to see it.

'An Astronomer searches the sky for a power and beauty that won’t be held. Two stars are drawn in and the tale of all of their rides to a new life unfolds in a non-stop feast of movement, aerial, and a unique design vision. 

Pif-Paf is an groundbreaking theatre company creating high quality performance and sculpture and taking it to the places it doesn’t normally reach. Their work is presented outdoors and in non-traditional spaces and they are keenly involved in the development of the perception and possibilities of outdoor theatre.'

Image via Just So Festival
There is something magical and a little eerie wandering a festival at night.  Places you might have played earlier all closed for the night. The sound of distant music wafting across the fields, muffled in the evening dusk.  Instead of heading back to the tent we shall be making our way down to the High Seas area to see this...

Shadow Play - Walk the Plank
"When the Piper is heard calling ‘harness music with dance’, come travel to Arcadia, lost in a trance, from day into night and night into day, a glorious celebration where shadows play…” Shadowplay verse, Hannelora Johnasson and Simon Williams.

Come down to the High Seas as dusk falls. Follow the pathways made of fire and find something quite amazing. Shadowplay is an atmospheric, interactive, kinetic sculpture which projects the journey of silhouetted characters – including musicians and revellers – as a mysterious figure leads them through a medieval town and into the Arcadian domain of nature.

Image via Just So Festival
My two have always wanted to run away with the Circus, ever since our first trip to see Giffords Circus a few years back.  Charlie is really hoping to learn to juggle and walking the tightrope is high on both their list of must do's.

Circus Workshop
'Roll up, roll up, to learn all the skills you’d need to run away with the circus. We’re delighted to be welcoming the Circus House to Just So Festival 2014. From acrobatics to juggling, trapeze to tightrope. You’ll be flying through the air with the greatest of ease in no time.'

I loved watching Bugsy Malone as a child, and I am sure the boys will love it just as much too.  Custard pie guns - what's not to love!

Silver Screen
'As dusk falls, the living room stage will transform into a quite marvellous outdoor cinema, with added thrills and spills. We’ll be showing Bugsy Malone on Friday night, with custard pies and splurge guns aplenty, a whole load of mess is guaranteed. On Sunday night, head here and sing your heart out to Grease, with 50s dancers to get our heads in a spin.'

Image via Just So Festival
Lantern Making Workshop & Parade
'Come and create your own beautiful lantern from willow and paper, all ready to be lit with a candle on the magical festival lantern parade'.

'Guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes of festival directors, collect your lanterns and light up the woods as you wind through the trees of Rode, led by some marvellous marching bands.'

We also are looking forward to...

Pirate training Camp
Pillow Fight
Sherlock deduction workshop
Butterfly identification
Astronomy workshop

and of course the final Wild Rumpus parade - we still can't decide which animal we shall be.  (secretly wishing for Foxes).

There really is something for everyone.  Dan and I are looking forward to the chance to be children again, with our children.  To laugh and become giddy on silliness.

If this has tickled your fancy, you can buy your family tickets over here.

Just So Festival is on 15th - 17th August 2014.  Rode Hall Parkland, Cheshire.

See you in August!

National Trust - Powis Castle...

The day we spent exploring Powis Castle in Wales was hot, humid and a deep mist surrounded the mountains.  It seems a world away from the colder days we've experienced recently.

National Trust Powis Castle is such a brilliant place.  Stunning terraced gardens, which felt like we were walking through Italian scenes.  Clipped box hedges, as tall as 3 story buildings and shaped like large fluffy clouds showed us the way down to the bottom garden.  Winding through hedge tunnels, along gravel pathways, the boys ran ahead finding secret steps down into secret terraces. The odd statue leaping into view.

At the bottom the most welcoming National Trust cafe serving cakes, cream teas and coffee - much needed after the walk down and delicious as always.  After a quick pit stop a game of croquet on the lawn and a smell of the roses.

Back up at the castle, the views of the surrounding mountains were typically Welsh and beautiful, the mist just drifting off.  We visited the Museum, a collection of Indian antiques collected by the once Castle owner. Rufus fell in love with golden bejewelled tigers head.  Once back at the Yurt, he drew it in amazing detail.  A sign of a great day.

mountain views and Welsh air...

I love Wales.  The mountains, the soaring views.  The lack of phone reception.  The enforced slow down. 
A friend said to me today, that being in the mountains allows stresses to quite literally fall off your shoulders.  She said it was all that looking up, your worries sliding off your back as you stand their gazing up.  I believe she is right.

Last week, we spent four wonderful days in Mid-Wales, beneath the towering hills of the Black Mountains.  Kite Hill Yurts is a treasure, and absolute joy.  Owned by Canadian Dominic and Brit Kate and their young son, who last year returned to the UK to live the good life.  Searching for a small holding, came across this farm and fell in love.  It is enchanting, fields, views, ducks, a lama and two beautiful large Yurts.

Set high in a field behind the farm house, with breathtaking views of the Black Mountains laid out in front. We stayed in the yurt called Skylark, blue in colour, painted in Buddhist symbols and furnished with a large, comfortable bed, a single with a pull out truckle bed.  Arm chairs and importantly a log burner for cosy nights in bed reading Harry Potter (which we did).

We spent days walking the surrounding moorland, discovering a mountain lake and meeting the local sheep and wild horses.  Playing cricket, board games and catching bugs.  As the evening drew in, we had delicious bbq's, pork chops with aioli and crushed potatoes.  As the sun went down, Dan lit the fire and we made fire apples and sang camp songs.  

After four days in this wonderful location, we felt renewed, revived and in love with Wales even more.

Thank you Dominic and Kate - you have a really special place!  For more information on staying at Kite Hill Yurts, please visit their website or visit their facebook page.

Recipe for Fire Apples:

Brown Sugar

1. Peel your apple (preferably picked from the tree, to be really outdoorsy and authentic)
2. Push the peeled apple onto the stick (found lying near bushes)
3. Roll the apple in a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon
4. Sit comfortably around a blazing camp fire
5. Dangle the sugar coated apple in the flames for a while
6. Check regularly and turn apple to avoid burning
7. Once apple is golden and caramelised, blow a little to cool and scoff
8. Repeat until you are stuffed


Image via Pinterest
Running wild, gasping in awe, hugging friends, tangled hair, scraped knees, bruises, tattoo'd arms, blackberry stained fingers, face painted,  nettle stung ankles. Lungs full of fresh mountain air, gazing at the stars, feeling the morning dew on our toes, leaping to the music, singing campfire songs, drawing monsters, stretching in bed, bike riding, pavement chalking & reading out loud.  We are dancing, forever dancing to the beat of our own drum...

Summer you have been epic!

The best summer I can remember in my entire life... more so than when I travelled the world chasing the sun.  This summer is most memorable because it has been filled with the people I love.  And that in itself is more reason to call it the best...

So now twisting, twirling, dancing on tip toes, bum wiggling, fist pumping and knee sliding into September... this is how we salute you summer....

Thank you, you are most loved, you will be missed...

Camp Bestival 2013 - what we loved...

So I have finally 'adjusted' back into real life, nothing like 4 days of partying to leave a middle aged woman wiped out!  

Dan and I had a blast.  It was so wonderful being able to dance and play whilst the kids were safe and entertained.  Days were spent involved in the numerous activities laid on the for the kids.  Trying our own hands at being dare devils or developing our own circus skills.  Watching the boys faces fill with the awe of seeing Mr Tumble or shouting 'Bogies' at the top of our voices with Dick and Dom.  (something I shall never forget, Charlie roaring with laughter at the adults shouting obscenities all in the name of fun).

As the evening drew in, we would search out a place to eat, and were not disappointed with the quality and variety of food that was on offer.  One evening we were treated to a proper feast courtesy of the Surplus Supper Club.  A beautiful indian style marquee housed long benches, at which a 2 course meal was laid on.  All the food was surplus from Supermarkets - not out of date, but surplus to the needs of the store.  It came from distribution centre's where they no longer need it, and would have been thrown away.  We dined on roast lamb, with puy lentils and a beetroot salad, followed by poached pear, shortbread and chocolate sauce.  It was truly scrumptious and a lovely way to spend an evening.

As the sun set, we donned our dancing shoes, and re-discovered our love of grooving to disco, reggae and old school dance.  Rodigan  took over the decks at Wagamama and played the most beautiful set. Happy reggae that made everyone smile!

Before heading back to our tent late (for us) in the night, we would go and warm ourselves by the huge fire pit in the Soul Park.  There we discovered a Cowboy band singing cover versions of classics.  We would sit mesmerized by the fire, and feeling we were part of the wild west.

To me, the best bits of the festival are the small fringe acts.  Like the cowboy fire, Rodigan appearing in Wagamama's, the fairy houses in the Dingly Dell, the food in the farmers market.  Small little touches that make the festival so perfectly special.

Oh that, and discovering Posh Wash - showering every day!!!  Yep at a festival - I know!!

Thank you Camp Bestival for giving us such an amazing experience... we loved it.

We were gifted a family ticket to the festival by Camp Bestival - thank you!  Also we ate at the Surplus Supper Club too.  Thanks again!