Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Camp Bestival - 6 reasons you really should go

I'm going to Camp Bestival!! *does a happy dance*

Want to come too? There's still time to book your family a weekend break that they will never forget.


Camp Bestival 2015 takes place between 30th July and 2nd August in Ludlow Castle in Dorset. It's a family festival extravaganza that has far too much on offer to list here, but these are a few of the reasons I can not wait to bring my family along to it.

1. Kids love a festival.

I've done festivaling and I've done family festivaling, and whilst the two are very different there is something wonderfully wholesome about seeing your kids at one with a community of others. It may only be a long weekend but it's an insight into another world. Everyone is on holiday, everyone is happy, there is continual entertainment on tap, nobody gets bored, everyone gets to explore and find their own special corner of wonder, and the memory making moments are everywhere.


Credit: Camp Bestival

2. Camping.

Don't be scared. Embrace the early sunrise. Step on the dewy grass as the campsite around you begins wakes up. Forget about mirrors and make up. Remember the fact that there is no housework. Sneak back to the quiet haven of an empty tent for an afternoon snooze. Sip wine from plastic cups as the children sleep and the sound of music rolls over the hills.



Not convinced? Camp Bestival has a whole host of luxury glamping on offer too. So scratch that as an excuse.



3. Dress up!

Time to get wild. This year's theme is Camp Bestival goes wild, so not only do you get to don some facepaint and get into your wild things onsie - there are also tons of 'getting back to nature' activities. From tree climbing and tree hugging to camp fire tales and even sleeping out under the stars. There's also shows and talks from the likes of Steve Backshall, Bill Odie and Michaela Strachan.



4. The Line Up.

There's just no point in trying to list all the amazing things on offer so I won't even try. Oh ok then I will. Here's just a few that my family will be excited about:

The Kaiser Chiefs (The boys)
Ella Henderson (The Girl)
Hollie McNish (My girl crush who I've written about before)
Underworld
Professor Green
Terry Hall

Not to mention the crafts, nature, Bollywood bar, horse riding, song shack, wand making, sword creating, bubble shows and fireworks.

Credit: Camp Bestival

5. The magic moments

One of the best things about Camp Bestival is all the opportunities to find those magic moments. When you stumble on a fairy lit path that leads to a secret garden party, or get lost in the woods and happen upon an awesome reggae band, or when you curl up for a bit of quiet time on some huge Moroccan cushions and sip peppermint tea in the sunshine, or when you watch your kids rolling in grass playing air guitar to their new favourite band, or, or, or...

Credit: Camp Bestival

6. The Extras

And as if all that wasn't enough there are extras that you wouldn't believe.
Open air hot tubs, restorative massage, yoga, meditation, pamper stations, farmers markets, amazing food stalls... I may not come home at all.

But don't just go on what I'm saying, these ladies have all been before and keep going back for more - check out their pictures and you'll see why.

Katy Hill - Camp Bestival 2013
Mammasaurus - Camp Bestival 2014

Tickets for Camp Bestival:

Adult Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) - £195*
Student Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) - £180*

Age 15 to 17 Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) - £113*
Age 11 to 14 Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) - £88*
Age 5 to 10 Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) - £20*
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket (inc. camping from Thurs or Fri) – FREE (but ticket required)*

There are also campervan \ caravan spots, ready pitched tents, and lots of glamping options.








Disclosure: I have been provided with free family weekend tickets in order to review and report on Camp Bestival. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Letting go


As we near the end of our journey together the knot in my stomach grows tighter. We chat away about all the great things that are in store and I try hard to bury my emotions from view. As the airport gets closer the silence looms louder until one of the boys speaks.

'Are you ok Mummy?'

'Oh I'm fine darling. Just fine'.

But when I look back my poor boy has big crocodile tears streaming down his face.

'I will miss you' he says, and I just like that I feel like I have been dealt the sucker punch. I'm winded.

I don't like being in a different county to my children, let alone a different country, but they are off to England with their Dad for five whole days. Longer than I have ever been apart from them since the first was born eleven years ago.

In fact, years after the birth of each of them there is still an invisible umbilical cord that holds them to me, and the further and longer I am pulled apart from them the harder it yanks at my heart.

It is a fun trip they are going on. A lovely trip, that will be filled with friends and godparents and grandparents. They will get to see where their Dad was born and brought up, and meet relations they have never known.

But.

I worry about them and I worry about me.

At the airport entrance, as I hug and smile and hug some more I fight against the feeling that it isn't right. I know that it will be a great experience for them all and now they are older they can all survive quite happily without me. They are growing up. Becoming independent. But it feels less like they are slipping through my fingers and more like they are being pulled away from me as I desperately try to grab hold of their hands.

I wave them off with a fixed grin on my face, and then I drive back alone listening to sunny tunes and singing back the tears.

Five days to go.




Thursday, July 2, 2015

Through Hell and High Water

I've been dabbling in triathlon training over the past few months with vague plans to do 'something' this summer. Having realised that there is nothing that helps training more than pure fear I have bitten the bullet and signed up to some events.

I haven't been training for the cycling because I am completely hopeless at cycling, and I am completely hopeless at cycling because I haven't been training. I really need to do something about that soon...

In the meantime - one down, four to go.

June:

  • Dublin Mini-Marathon (10k run)


Done! With a PB of 53:19.

Credit: Running for Gavin

July:

  • Aquathon (750m Sea Swim \ 5k Run)

This is me in training last night.
Credit: East Coast Swimmers

August:

  • Dublin Triathlon (750M swim, 16k cycle, 5k run). Gulp.


Credit: Alan Rowlett

  • 2K sea swim (with this lot)


Credit: East Coast Swimmers

Sept:

  • Hell and Back (Adventure race)


I did this one a few years ago and swore never again. And yet...



If you would like to sponsor me for any or all of these events (you know, for extra motivation \ fear \ guilt) I would be extremely grateful. All money raised with go to my friend's charity - The Gavin Glynn Foundation, which you can read more about by clicking the link.

Sponsorship can be sent to me via Paypal at katetakes5@gmail.com - just be sure to tag your transfer 'Gavin Glynn Foundation'.

I'll let you know how it goes. Unless I chicken out of course.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A family wedding

My beautiful little sister got married at the weekend.

It was a day filled with sunshine and smiles, fairy lights and fiddles, sore feets and dancing, and ok, maybe a few beverages. In fact, three days later and I'm still recovering... So here's a little look behind the scenes in pictures.

Cousins
Cousins

Sisters

Big bro

Other Bro
Aunty & Nephew

Siblings


Mr and Mrs.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Good money habits for your children

When it comes to finances, I’m the first to admit that I’m far from perfect, but I do try to keep on top of everything and ensure we’re in the best possible financial position.

One thing I have always tried to do, however, is ensure that I teach my children good money habits and ensure that, when they head off into the world on their own, they’ll have the best chance of being financially sound.

To some, it may seem odd, or even daunting, to be teaching their young children about money matters. But it doesn’t have to be a lecture in economics, and it really will benefit them for years to come.

I recently stumbled across a video from Mrs Moneypenny which offers some great advice and money habits to teach your children  - I found it really useful and I’m sure you will too.

How much pocket money?

It’s that age old question that parents have pondered over for generations – how much pocket money should I give my child?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer I’m afraid, it is all down to how much you can afford and how much you feel comfortable giving your child. Mrs Moneypenny suggests that a good place to start is by giving your child one pound each week/month for every year of their life.

Budgeting

It’s never too early to teach your children about budgeting. I’ve always encouraged my children to save their pocket money and budget so that they can afford the things that they want most.
A nice little tip that I picked up from Mrs Moneypenny was to encourage your child to split their pocket money three ways. Then get them to allocate one third to spending, one third to saving, and the final third to charity. I don’t know about you, but I love this idea and I’m determined to start implementing it straight away!

Flying the nest…


Whether it’s to go to uni, or to move into a place of their own, when the time comes for your children to leave the nest (and it will come sooner than you think!), you need to make sure that they are capable of taking control of their own finances – as capable as the rest of us, anyway!

One thing Mrs Moneypenny suggested, which I have to admit I’d never really thought about before, was introducing your teenagers to their credit report (you can do this online via a site such as Experian).

Showing them the report should help them to get a good understanding of how credit and finance really works. It will also help them to realise that the financial decisions they make today will have a long term impact when it comes to buying a house or car, or having a family, however far away that may seem.

A good approach here is to transfer their mobile phone contract into their own name – this will not only help them to gain independence and an understanding of budgeting and bill-paying, but it will also help to build up their credit report.

It’s down to you!

However much pocket money you choose to give your children, and however much financial independence you allow them as they are growing up, remember that you, their parents, are their most important influence…no pressure!

Disclosure: This is a featured post (with some excellent advice!)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

5 Things That Make a Perfect Family Holiday (whatever your budget)


Family holidays. Wonderful aren't they? Especially when you have unlimited funds and perfectly behaved children...

Of course that's not how it works for most of us. Much of the time we either can't afford two weeks in the sun full stop, or else we can afford two weeks in the sun OR a much needed new roof \ boiler \ car. Sometimes we're not even that lucky and spending any extra money at all is just not an option.

Holiday's are a luxury, often the first thing to be put to the bottom of the list when money is tight. But I don't think this is necessarily so wise. Holiday's can come in all guises - Alison from Space in your Case can tell you all about luxuriating in an expensive villa with staff (lucky her!), Lucy from Lulastic and the Hippyshake gives us loads of advice for travelling around Europe in a campervan (she even stopped by to meet me in Spain while she was at it), Gemma from Hello it's Gemma loves camping in the wilds, and One Tiny Leap often writes about the brilliance of Airbnb. There's really no end to the possibilities. One year we simply pitched a tent in my mother's back garden (sad but true!).

When you have a busy family home life the things you really need to consider when thinking about a holiday are these - then just work with the budget (or lack of it) that you have, and Bon Voyage!

1. Getting away from the housework


Number one for a reason! At home I am dragged in so many different directions and there is always the 'just one more thing' that needs to be done, that it really is never ending. It. Never. Ends. Clothes washing, clothes hanging, clothes folding, dinner cooking, dinner clearing, carpet hoovering, floor washing, shelf dusting, grass cutting, curtain fixing, bed making, toy tidying... And I am the absolute opposite of a clean freak! To step away from all that even for a weekend is good for the soul.

2. Taking time off work


Not having to factor work into your daily activities, with all the stress, strains and logistics that it comes with, brings an immediate relief. Your parenting skills instantly improve as you aren't carrying the weight of work with you and so can focus on your little ones needs in earnest.

3. Spending downtime with each other


This was the big one for me this year. When we went away earier this month screen time was at an absolute minimum due to no. 2 above, and ok, also a lack of internet connection. But it made a real difference to the time we spent together. We made up word games, taught the kids card games, played frisbee and generally just reconnected. It's amazing how much fun your kids can be when you actually give them your full attention.

4. Exploring the great outdoors


Getting out into the great wide open - isn't that what it's all about? Whether it's climbing a mountain, playing on a beach or toasting marshmallows by firelight - children love the freedom of being outdoors. And when the kids are happy - we are happy.

5. Learning new skills


Bird spotting, star gazing, swimming, even playing cards - it really doesn't matter what it is - when you start to pay attention to what you and your children are doing on holidays you begin to see how much the kids are learning each day - without anyone even realising.


If you get three out of five of these things over the course of a couple of days or more, then in my mind that's a successful holiday. All five of them - and you've made it.




Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Race to the Edge (of your seat)

The holidays are about to hit, and just in time Netflix have sent word that they will be delivering ALL episodes of their How to Train Your Dragon series - Dragons: Race to the Edge, this Friday 26th June. Hooray!

Only on Netflix, the series brings Toothless, Hiccup and lots of our old friends back, this time exclusively to the small screen.

Here's a little teaser below for the kids. Not that they'll need it of course. All kids love these characters - just look at how happy my guy was with getting an actual Toothless and Hiccup toy from the lovely folk at Netflix.


So strap yourselves to the edge of your seats and enjoy the ride!



Now, while we're on the subject of Netflix - I've been meaning to bring this fabulous family viewing extravaganza to your attention. We are currently locked into a never-to-be-broken cycle of watching one episode of Once Upon A Time every single night. Don't worry - there are about three million episodes so we won't be out until 2019 sometime...


Anyway. Once Upon A Time. A fairytale world mixed with modern day life. We got hooked from episode one and for once it's something that the whole family watches together. No grumbles. No tantrums. No giving out.

As if I would.

Starring Robert Carlyle, Jamie Dornan, and a series of other fanciable conmen and pirates for mum - do yourself a favour and check it out.

Of course I'm just joking about the hot men.



No really.



Um...


I think I better go now.
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