Saturday, 9 July 2016

Camp Bestival - Let The Countdown Commence

With than twenty days until Camp Bestival I am trying very hard to get organised.  There is a bag parked under the stairs that I gradually filling with some festival essentials and making lists like a crazy woman.  Packing for a festival is slightly different to holiday packing.  But with a few years of festival family fun under our belts I feel we have made progress in narrowing down the essential kit and much more besides.  A few days ago I tweeted the link to my essential Camp Bestival list, but this was compiled two years ago, so I feel a little refresh is required!

Obviously there are some things that should be on your list but here are some you may have forgotten.

- Matches - to light the stove
- Gas - for aforementioned stove
- Loo rolls - carry these with you at all times, although last year seemed to be restocked reguarly.
- Sleeping bags - obviously! Or a duck and down duvet if you have room in the car!
- Suncream and wellies - this is British summer time!
- Warmer clothes for the evening - as much as the many Pimms or pints of cider or fabulous      mummy    dancing may keep you warm the evenings do get chilly. Don't forget a cardi or jumper and   I always    pack a hoodie to sleep in when I camp, nothing worse than a cold head when you are       trying to get to sleep.
- Bubbles - unfortunately the no glass rule means no bubbles of the alcoholic type. But your children,   even teens, will thank you for packing a few bubble wands and pots of bubbles.
- Water Bottles - there are taps in the festival and campsites so take a large bottle to refil for water at     the tent and smaller bottles to refill for drinks.
- Beach Towels - these dry much quicker than normal towels so you won't have soggy towels lying    around.
- Picnic blanket - use it outside the tent and when inside the festival too.
- Torch, headlights and lanterns - even though the campsites are well lit, any or all of these are essential.

So that is my essentials now for my additional festival kit -

- Airbeds - nothing like a good nights sleep when you've spent all day at a festival. With the uneven  ground of the main campsite and even in Camping Plus I will not be forgetting mine.
- Bunting, flags and fairy lights - yes I cam one of those festival goers who likes a touch of   glamping   and these additions make the tent a bit more homely.
- Table and chairs - we have a fab camping table with chairs attached that packs fairly flat.  We always take a couple of camping chairs too.
- Kitchen Equipment - we have a Vango camping kitchen and is a godsend for creating a little kitchen area in the porch part of the tent.  Stove, pots, pans, kettle, plates, cups, washing up paraphenalia are all in one place and not getting in the way inside the tent,
- Lots of snacks - whilst there are more food choices than you can imagine in the festival I always take crisps, biscuits and fruit.
- Hair chalk, flower crowns, hats and face paints - obviously these are more for my daughters but I do have the obligatory festival straw hat.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Saying Goodbye to School.

Well it has been a busy few weeks in our house.  Exams a plenty with Connor taking his A levels, Jack having some AS level exams as well as Lucy and Amber having end of year exams. Thankfully this summer Kitty has escaped the rigourous testing our children are put through far too often, although we are still having to practice for the weekly spellings and times table tests.  Whilst there has been worrying and stress levels did increase I have been incredibly impressed with how my children have coped.  Maybe being constantly tested every year at school has paid off, they can all cope with exam stress.  However they all have different approaches to revision and I will be ensuring Amber is more organised and will be helping Lucy feel less panicky about the actual exams with practice papers before next summers GCSE exams.

With exams over this week has seen us reach some milestones.  Yesterday we all donned wedding worthy outfits and headed to the Leavers Day at Woodbridge School to celebrate Connor and his friends leaving school.  After a truly lovely and inspirational service in the school chapel we briskly ran through a short sharp shower across to the dining hall for pre-lunch drinks.  Over lunch we looked at the yearbook, reflected on Connors time at Woodbridge and contemplated the next part of his adventure.  As a mother you watch eagerly as your children grow into well mannered, funny, intelligent and beautiful people, sometimes wishing that they would hurry up and get to the next stage.  Those days when toddler tantrums are too much for your exhausted self to cope with, that another day of arguing with a confident, expressive teen is just too much.  But right now I just want to take some time, to stop the merry go round for a little while to enjoy moments with my children before I blink and they have all grown up and headed off on adventures when they no longer need me to wash their dirty sports kit or kiss grazed knees.  

So we made it through exam time, no mean feat and closed the chapter on Connor's schooldays but we have reached the best part of summer. Time for fun, festivals, days on the beach...well that is if the rain ever stops!  

Until next time, take care.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Weekend Wanderings - Latitude Festival

As regular readers know we are a family of festival lovers, with many yet to be visited and favourites already on the calendar.  Continuing my Weekend Wanderings sojourn around the Suffolk countryside it seems only right to mention Latitude.  About an hour north along the Suffolk coastline from my house, set in the beautiful grounds of Henham Park, our sleepy county hosts the festival filled with cultural treats.  Alongside big acts headlining the main stage smaller tents play host to poets and other literary performances, comedy and more initmite gigs from lesser known bands and performers.  For me it is these smaller tents that make any festival more magical, discovering new acts and not wading through huge crowds to get a glimpse of whomever is on stage.  

Whilst Latitude plays host to the plethora of Suffolk and Norfolk teens it is also a great festival experience for families too.  Infact the Kids Area could be considered a festival in itself!  With a jampacked programme of creativity, arts, crafts, music and science this year promises to delight families again.  Whether you want to learn to extract DNA from a banana with the DNA Splats, celebrate the bards big birthday and watch the Oxford Pocket Theatre interpret Shakespeare's plays for the younger audience or enjoy some puppetry and pizza with The Italian Job.  As the sun goes down over Henham Park, families can head to the Kids Area for a family disco, circus performances and on Saturday night children can join the parade.  This is just a tiny sample of the programme for children and families at Latitude this year.  For more information please visit the Family page.

As our own children have got older the music line up has become an important part of festi-family holidays.  This year Latitude welcomes The Maccabee's, Bears Den, Squeeze, Laura Mvula and New Order, to name a small selection.  A personal favourite for me is the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage, showcasing music from a multitude of different genres and hidden among the canopy of trees the Sunrise Arena welcomes new acts embarking on their first steps into the wonderful world of the music industry.  

So whether you are sans family or not, Latitude promises a fabulous weekend in Suffolk this year.  
More details of this years line up and tickets are available at .

Until next time, take care.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

The Den at Camp Bestival

This week Camp Bestival released the line up in The Den, which has caused some excitement in the countdown for our teenage daughters.  Amber is a huge fan of the Geek Girl series so will definitely attending the session with Holly Smale.  Meanwhile Lucy has been listening to music from some of the line up on Soundcloud and You Tube.  Whilst both girls are planning to be indulging in some tie dying fun and are interested to see exactly what loop pedaling involves!  

With The Den offering some diverse and exciting options for Amber and Lucy it means that we can take Kitty to enjoy some activities that the older girls may find a little young to do.  Perhaps some of you heading to Camp Bestival for the first time this year with teens were worrying they may get a little bored, rest assured they will not be.  Alongside the vast choice in The Den there is more than enough for them to do before they settle down at the Castle or Big Top stages to watch the many acts, nevermind the headliners!

Still need to book your Camp Bestival tickets? Head on over to the website now 

Until next time, take care.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Weekend Wanderings - Aldeburgh

With so much of the Suffolk coastline within a thirty minute drive from our house, we like to regularly head to the beach, whatever the season.  So I thought it would be fun to share some of our favourite places and beaches.  Kicking off with the pretty coastal town of Aldeburgh.  Houses painted in pastel shades complimented with brighter coloured doors and window frames can be seen from the beach.  Heading up little lanes from the shingle leads to an eclectic mix of independant stores alongside the likes of Joules and Jack Wills.  For us a trip to Aldeburgh is not complete without a visit to the sweet shop which sits next door to the fabulous ice cream shop, with a vast selection of over thirty flavours.  On chillier days a bag of chips from one of the best fish and chip shops in Europe is a must.  

The summer months see an influx of tourists, indulging in the cultural attractions of this pretty seaside town.  With the Britten- Pears Foundation being housed in Aldeburgh there is a strong musical theme to summer days, including a great one day festival along the prom, which Amber has performed in.  For the foodies amongst us there is plenty of choice with delicious dishes served at Regatta Restaurant or one of the hotels on the seafront.  Alternatively there is a good selection of cafes along the high street.

Moving away from the high street, head along the prom to the RNLI museum, boating pond or bowls green, heading towards Thorpeness.  Head out on to the shingle to the little sheds selling fish caught that day and then look out for the shell sculpture by Maggie Hambling.  On warmer days we like to settle down near here on the shingle, enjoy a paddle and a picnic.  But cooler days see us head back to the car or wrapped up warm for a stroll along the coastal path to Thorpeness.  

Be sure to pop back soon for more Weekend Wanderings.  Please drop me a line if you would like to contribute to the Weekend Wanderings series.

Until next time, take care.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Weekend Wanderings - Snape Vintage and Makers Market

With warm sunshine on a Bank holiday weekend the girls and I decided to head off to Snape Maltings for the Vintage and Makers Market.  Always on the look out for a retro addition for the house and with Lucy's growing love of vintage this seemed like the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.  Stalls filled with fabulous vintage clothes, retro furniture, vintage niknaks and beautiful hand crafted jewellery and artisan pieces offered plenty of choice.  Lucy brought some more records, as she is preparing for create a wall of album sleeves. so the bargain basket was perfect for this.  

The Vintage and Makers Market is a regular addition to events at Snape Maltings, so if you are lucky enough, like us to live nearby or are heading to the beautiful Suffolk Coastal region for a weekend or holiday, then be sure to pop by.  Dates can be found on Deben Events website aswell as details of other Vintage and Contemporary Markets. 

Until next time, take care.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Almost a Year

This week I have been qualified and working as a Therapeutic Radiographer for ten months. Time has flown by and the past few weeks I have found myself helping third year students prepare for their first interviews.  Has it really been a year since I was preparing for my Band 5 interviews?  Another topic of conversation on a recent lunch with one of the third years was the transition to being qualified.  This was something I asked several radiographers about as I prepared to start my first job.  However as much as they told me it was different, a nice different was a term many used and to prepare for being really tired to begin with, I wasn't prepared for not being given regular feedback.  After three years of having regular feedback and planning sessions with my annual mentor aswell as radiographers offering feedback on set and my clinical lecturer being there to offer support and feedback, as a newly qualified member of staff you can feel a little lost.  Whilst I appreciate that as a qualified member of staff I shouldn't need regular feedback, but this is my advisory for those heading towards to transition.  Be prepared to no longer have regular feedback sessions.  As everyone said to me when I mentioned it. don't panic, if I was doing something wrong I would be told!

So ten months in and I feel settled, but am ready for new challenges.  A natural progression is to start considering what I need to be able to do to consider applying for a Band 6 role.  Pushing myself a little harder, expanding my knowledge and trying to problem solve more. Next up on the agenda is deciding which postgrad study to complete,with a meeting this week to look at options with my manager.  With an idea of where I want to be in the next five years or so, I am hoping we can find post grad options to suit. Just beacuse I was older when I qualified does not mean I don't have plans! Finally a new challenge is about to begin as last Friday I was voted in as the departments SCoR Learning Representative.  Already full of ideas I am excited to see what myself and the team can achieve as I take on this role.  This is one of the many reasons I chose radiography, so that I could continue to learn, regularly taking on new challenges.  Bring it on!

Until next time, take care.