We came, we saw, we were conquered… Camp Bestival

We came, we saw, we were conquered… Camp Bestival

I wasn’t sure if a family trip to Camp Bestival was going to work. It wasn’t that I was worried about taking the kids – they are six and nine now (yikes!) – so big enough to look after themselves (to an extent). It was more whether I could overcome my residual dislike of festivals. The smell of wee. The discarded plastic cups. Well, it turned out I could. More or less. The smell of wee was still there. But in the ten or so intervening years since I last went to a festival, my tolerance for other people’s bodily functions has obviously got much higher. Nearly a decade of handling my kids’ toilet habits means I am no longer as squeamish about wee and poo as I used to be. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but it does make the third day at a festival easier, when the loos are at capacity. Discarded plastic cups were less of an issue. There were virtually none. I don’t know why I hate them so much, I think they just drain the magic out of any view. You may be looking over the hills of Dorset, at an ancient castle, but if the bushes are full of plastic pint glasses, it can be hard to ‘feel it’. Luckily the plastic glasses in question were generally of a good quality and there were too many well-behaved parents there to discard them in front of their kids. So, an overview: Camp Bestival is what a kid would dream up, had they been around in the 90s, dancing around to house music....

Festival Time

I’ve been to a fair few festivals in my time. I got stuck in the mud at Glastonbury, relaxed at the Big Chill, but it wasn’t until I went to a day long festival on Clapham Common about fifteen years ago, that I put my finger on how I felt about festivals. I remember seeing plastic pint glasses littering the bushes as the smell of pee floated towards me. I remember thinking “oh, I’m getting that festival feeling!” And then I realised that that feeling was one of dislike. What was I doing? Listening to music on terrible sound systems, squatting in the bushes to do a pee because the loos were so disgusting, and paying through the nose for the pleasure. So you may be surprised to hear that not only am I going to Camp Bestival, but I’m excited about it! I’ve heard a lot about it, and some of my best blogging mates go every year, which makes me a bit jealous. Knackered Mum always pulls a crowd and the Scummy Mummies are a riot. With the introduction of the camper van into our lives (it’s been christened Douglas Parker by the kids, not sure why) a visit to a festival is suddenly a great idea – if only to gloat at everyone in their tent. There’s a dressing up theme, and if you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that fancy dress isn’t my forte, but I’m even excited about that. It’s outer space, and I plan to put the kids in their all-in-one pyjamas with stars on them, and do a Bowie-esque flash on their faces. Inspired. And that’s just for day...
Thud

Thud

Thud. That’s the sound of me coming back down to earth. I’m now the mum of an eight year old and a six year old. I’ve dabbled in three day weeks, I’ve dabbled in blogging. But finally, I am back to work. Full time. With a thud. Obviously, I’d rather not. But needs must, and tbh, several years of part time has been pretty unsatisfactory. You don’t feel involved with where you work and you rush around at home like a mad thing, taking too much on. Now I am working full time I am very aware I can’t take anything on. I can maybe see friends on a Thursday (two came to dinner last week – I warned them there would be no food unless they bought it. They did. It was yummy).  So I’m looking for shortcuts at home. Things which will make my life easier. My husband’s pretty good at home, but he doesn’t do the washing (mainly because I don’t trust him with it). But realistically we both need to do it now, so I’m going to teach him (and he’s not going to take kindly to that). I’m going to do a regular supermarket shop online, which I’ve never done. And I may just dabble in Thud. Thud is a new food delivery service. It helps you create decent meals with the help of your store cupboard staples by posting you some of the ingredients. This means no-one has to be in to receive them (great when you work full time!), and they send you a shopping list at the start of week, so...
Chocolate and raspberry birthday cake

Chocolate and raspberry birthday cake

  I’m a terrible parent. I have never made a novelty birthday cake. There have been no Thomas the Tank Engines, Caterpillars or Fairy Princess Castles. Not that I haven’t been begged. And occasionally I succumb. But not really. One year I created a Cyclops, but take a look at the picture below and see if you can guess my cunning secret!    Yes! I make the same cake each time, with some concession to my child’s request. This is perhaps my personal favourite, as I think the cake looks rather like a baby Cyclops wearing a bonnet.    The main thing about my cake is that it tastes delicious, and so it should with two whole bars of Green & Black’s melted into it. It is possibly the most chocolate-y cake ever, and I NEVER wrap it in a paper napkin and give it to the kids to trample into the car’s upholstery on the way home. No way. This cake is there to be eaten, on the spot. Devoured, by parents, children and me.  I have other cunning customisations. The 6yo is obsessed with pigs and has been for a couple of years. This year I made exactly the same cake with pink fondant pigs wallowing in the chocolate-y mud. The chocolate fingers looked like a pen. Tragically my photos don’t do my brilliance justice. For some reason the pigs look a bit washed out. Please believe me when I tell you this was an absolute triumph!  Chocolate Birthday Cake 100g dark chocolate 150ml milk 225gself raising flour 2 tbsp cocoa powder 2 tsp baking powder 225g butter, at...
Rice crispy cakes – but not as you know them

Rice crispy cakes – but not as you know them

So, what are these little mouthfuls of deliciousness, you may ask. And, admittedly it is not immediately obvious from our typically random photo (we try!). But these are marshmallow rice crispy cakes. That’s right. Rice crispies modified with all the gooeyness of marshmallow, and little else. Unless you count the drizzle of plain chocolate which is added specifically to increase the anti-oxidants consumed by your children at parties. Because, as we all know, kids parties are all about eating healthily (ha!). We Why do we need to change a recipe that has served us so well, ever since our own childhood, you may ask? (That’s the second question you’ve asked in this blogpost so far, pipe down!) And the answer is; just because we can. The advantages to this recipe over the normal Golden Syrup scenario is that the marshmallow holds the rice crispies together really well so you can cut them into different shapes (essential). It also turns the cakes a pinky colour, which is always good. Plus there are large amounts of offcuts (the edges which you have cut from) which Claire shows you what to do with in the film we made about it here.  Plus it’s really easy. What more do you need?  Pimped up rice crispy cake Makes: 6-8 cakes Start to finish: 20 mins prep, 30 mins in fridge 45g butter 220g marshmallows 150g rice crispies 30g chocolate Line a 20x30cm tray bake tin. Put butter into a medium sized saucepan over a low heat. After a few seconds add the marshmallows. Gently heat the mix until the marshmallows have lost their shape and you are left...