Monday, 29 June 2015

My birthday wishlist...,

OK, this is a shameless post alert so brace yourselves! 

I am a girl with simple needs and don't really spend much money on myself. This is mainly because I need to watch the pennies as our wages never seem to last long, but if I am honest with myself there is another reason. Over the last few years I haven't wanted much of a fuss on my birthday as I feel like I'm not worth the expense, and this is not just down to finances, but also down to my low self esteem.

This year is different. I am putting some of my ghosts to bed and generally feeling better about myself. I work hard for my family, and I have finally decided that I would like to be spoiled on this years birthday. This time next week I will be 37 and I am looking forward to celebrating being another year older with my friends and family. 

I have been having a little bit of fun today, thinking about what my ultimate birthday wish list would be. I am not saying for a minute that I would actually get any of these items but it does you good to have a wishlist, as I can always save towards the items I really want. So here is my ultimate birthday wishlist.

1. A brand spanking new Panasonic 4K TV . Those people who say size doesn't matter are talking rubbish. Well when it comes to TV's they are. A lovely new 65 inch Smart Full HD TV would be a wonderful addition to my life. It would mean I can catch up on all my favourite films- did I mention that I am a bit of a film buff!- in wonderfully high resolution and on a super sized screen. Sounds like heaven to me

2. Tickets to the Madness night at Chepstow Races. I was lucky enough to win tickets to see Madness earlier in the year in Cardiff and they were amazing. A night at the races, in my posh frock, all finished off with a Madness gig sounds like absolute heaven

3.  A nice new handbag like this one.  My current handbag for work is definitely past its best so it would be great to get a nice new one.

4. A Fitbit . One of my aims this year was to get healthier. Although I have lost weight, I really want to motivate myself to walk more as I spend most of the day at a desk. My boss has one of these and it has done wonders for her motivation so would love to try one too. 

5. A photo book. I have always regretted not getting a photo book of my son done. I did a couple for my daughter when she was a baby, but time and money have been against me when it came to my son. It would be lovely to have a keepsake of his early years for me to look back on. 

Anyway, that's it for my wish list. The items aren't cheap but a girl deserves to be spoilt once in awhile....right?

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Wychwood Festival- The Ultimate Family Festival!

I can't believe that a month has passed since we got back from Wychwood Festival. The James family had a brilliant weekend, and once again we have lots of lovely memories I would love to share with you. 

Iola and Bryn enjoying trying on wigs in one of the many stalls!

Last year there were a few problems with getting into the festival as there had been torrential rain the night before, which meant taking your vehicle on site was difficult and there were significant delays. This year, the Friday morning also saw heavy rain but entry into the festival was quick and easy. We were able to drive our vehicle on to set up up our tent and unload our stuff. This really is a godsend for those with young children and for anyone else really. I still have painful memories of walking miles across large festival sites, laden with heavy bags and feeling quite miserable! I would never do this with small children and I would seriously advise against it, if you want to have a non stressful time. This is one of the reasons that Wychwood festival is so great- it takes the majority of stress out of the festival camping experience, so you are able to really enjoy your self.

Before leaving we were slightly worried about the weather as the forecast wasn't very good. I suppose that's the only thing Wychwood can't control, but someone must have been looking after us as we were really lucky with the weather. Apart from rain on the Friday morning whilst we were setting up camp and rain on the Sunday morning, it was dry. The site was really well maintained with all of the paths being concrete so we didn't have to worry about a glasto style mud fest. This makes all the difference, especially when you have pushchairs. 

One of the first acts we saw in one of the children's tents were 'Natural Causes' who were amazing. They were doing workshops all weekend and I feel a bit sad that we didn't get time to go to any of the others, there was just so much going on. We got involved in helping to compose a Wychwood song and singing it- it was really good fun!

This is a photo of our camp

As you can see, the ground is very well maintained and we had a lovely pitch overlooking the race course. The children loved running around and it was great to give them a little bit of independence in playing together. It is such a safe feeling festival, you can really relax. 

This inflatable sofa was a good investment and we took it down the field with us to watch the bands. I was really pleased that we were able to watch the Undertones on the Friday night. It meant the kids staying up late but they were happy relaxing on the sofa and playing together. I would say though, that as soon as they did get tired and asked to go back- I took them back. I don't think it's fair to keep children up, just for the sake of your own enjoyment as you want them to enjoy themselves too. If they are too knackered the next day because they have been forced to stay up most of the night, that's a bit selfish of you if you ask me. 

Once they were put to bed, the husband kindly volunteered to babysit so me and my best friend could visit the silent disco. This was really good fun! For those of you who don't know the concept. You basically get given a pair of head phones, and there are 2 dj's playing popular music. You get to choose which DJ you want to listen to through the headphones and its really funny as everyone is dancing in complete silence if you take your headphones off. It also solves the problem of having late night music at the festival without upsetting the locals.

The highlight of the second day was definitely listening to the Edwyn Starr band in the Superspa DJ. The hot Tub was right in front of the main stage and we got to enjoy the music with the kids all squeezed into the hot tub for an hour! I think there were 13 of us in there at one stage which is quite an achievement!

We also really enjoyed visiting the bubble stall. The stall sells loads of bubble related stuff, and also do bubble shows. The kids loved chasing all the bubbles.

There was also some cool displays around the site which the children could play with. 

Bryn loved shouting into this one!

We were able to enjoy the Proclaimers on the Saturday night who were really good! After the kids had gone to bed, I was able to visit the poetry tent which was really quiet compared to some of the other tents, but it was brilliant. We saw some great poets who were also very funny too. I would highly recommend seeing the poetry even if its not your usual thing. 

We also really enjoyed visiting the cafe inside the old London Bus! The prices were really reasonable too- great for when you are on a budget.

We also embraced the fancy dress theme this year which was the 1970's. We went with an animal print 1970's theme.

The highlight of Sunday was definitely seeing Justin Fletcher aka Mr Tumble. Bryn even got dressed up in honour of the great man himself

The set was really good and Justin really got the crowd going even if the weather wasn't the best. He even gave a shout out for my friends son, who is his biggest fan. 

We went to some fantastic children's shows over the weekend, including a Punch and Judy show, a puppet show, art and craft workshops, clay modelling and circus workshops.

This was the wonderful puppet show about the Lambton Worm. 

We sadly had to say farewell on the Sunday afternoon as my children had school the next day and I had work, but we had a fabulous time once again at Wychwood festival. Amazingly we only spent just over £60 all weekend, simply by bringing our own food and taking picnics down to the main site which was only 5 minutes walk away. 

One thing is certain, we will be back once again next year, and are likely to bring even more people with us!