Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Glamping inspiration – My dream bell tent

If you have to go camping, it might as well be in one of these. I hereby admit that I am a bell tent fan. I feel like I’ve been spotting them everywhere I go and it’s only making me covet them more and more. Yes, glamping is certainly a holiday I can get on-board with, if it’s in one of these canvas beauties. bell tent camping glamping vintage 2Hertz glamping at Blogstock 2014-2bell tents latitude circus tent canvas marquee teepee tipi colourful-2I’ve only stayed in a bell tent once, for a couple of nights at Blogstock, (check out my Blogstock pics here) but it was one of the best camping experiences I’ve ever had. The extra height meant that my husband could stand up without any problems, and I didn’t have to crawl in and out of the tent doorway. There was plenty of room for all our stuff (we don’t really travel light, I blame our car with it’s giant boot for that) and it could even fit a double bed in too, so you can imagine how comfortable we were.

And when it rained, our canvas tent remained pleasingly dry. There was no chance of accidentally bumping the canvas and causing moisture seepage like in a traditional tent; the sides were so far away from us! We could simply lie back and watch the rain pitter-patter down outside out tent, feeling super-cosy tucked under a blanket with a carpeted floor beneath our feet.

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My photos from Latitude Festival 2016

Just wanted to share a quick blog post today with some of the photos I took at this year’s Latitude Festival.latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_-12 latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_-11 latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_-2Some of my personal highlights included watching a breath-taking performance by festival novice Jane Horrocks in the Film & Music arena, and sitting in on the Standard Issue Magazine discussion in the Literature tent, where one of my favourite actresses Helen Monks was on the panel.

As you probably know, I only really go to Latitude festival for the comedy, art and theatre performances so it was great to watch some fantastic performers that I’ve never seen live before, including David O’Doherty (who had me screaming with laughter as soon as he started to play his tiny keyboard, and who I later bumped into and snapped a selfie!) and the MC for the comedy tent David Morgan. The Toy Story trilogy acted out by the Comedians Cinema Club was a surprisingly fun way to spend the afternoon.

Last year’s MC Nish Kumar performed again this year, and I chuckled my way through Mark Watson’s lunchtime set. We decided not to watch the standing-room-only performance by Bill Bailey and went to check out Jane Horrocks’ festival debut with the If You Kiss Me Kiss Me Band. Luckily we got there early and ended up with a front row spot as the tent quickly filled to bursting point. I’m certain that Jane’s performance will go down in Latitude history as one of the best festival music sets ever. What a legend. latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_-16 latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_-4 latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_Food was great, the sun was out, I drank lots of milkshakes and brought home the traditional Latitude cup, so all in all it was a good year at the Suffolk-based festival.


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Spend the Summer in Suffolk – 5 things to see & do

If you’re keen to get out and enjoy the sunshine this summer, I’ve come up with a list of days out and fabulous events that you can enjoy in Suffolk. It’s a great county to visit (with plenty of gorgeous places to stay!) and it doesn’t get too busy on the roads during the summer holidays, so it’s great for a day trip too. I’ve put together a list of my favourite things to do and places to visit in Suffolk and hope that you’ll check out some of these ideas when you’re planning your own school holiday adventure.Latitude festival photos 2015-11

  1. Latitude festival

The highlight of my summer is Latitude Festival. It’s held at Henham Park, near the beautiful Suffolk coast and it’s a really family-friendly event. It’s easy to get to (practically on the A12), there’s plenty of parking and camping space, it’s well-organised, the loos are surprisingly good and it offers a diverse range of entertainment. I’m particularly excited about the dance line-up this year (which I wrote about on my blog when it was announced) because Swing Patrol are performing. Of course there’s all the hottest bands, top comedy performers, national theatre productions and the up-and-coming stars to enjoy too. A kids arena, inspirational art, delicious food, and surprise performances in the woods complete this magical festival. I shared my photos from the 2015 event on my blog last year and will be sure to report back this year too! I always leave with a smile on my face so you should check it out too at LatitudeFestival.com, held on 14th-17th July 2016.

2. Southwold Pier

I’ve written about Southwold Pier on my blog in the past, but it really IS worth mentioning again. It’s actually really close to Latitude Festival, so if you’re visiting for that event you could pop along to the pier one morning before the festival kicks off. The food on the pier is great, the automatons in the ‘Under the Sea Show’ have to be seen to be believed and you can even enjoy a cheesy visit to the arcade to feed some 2ps into the machine and pretend you’re on Tipping Point. It’s also possible to hire beach huts on Southwold beach so you can make a day of it and enjoy paddling in the sea and strolling down the promenade too. Check out my guide to the pier with maps and lots of photos!southwold pier attraction suffolk travel guide-4

Suffolk coastal travel guide southwold pier attraction-173. Snape Proms

I’ve booked my tickets and I’m going to the Proms. The Snape Proms that is. If you love music and comedy but don’t want to pay London prices to see orchestras and performers, then the Proms season at Snape Maltings is for you. Tickets for a Proms seat (sitting on a cushion at the front of the concert hall) start at just £6.50 so it’s a very thrifty way to enjoy some very high quality performances. If the performance you wanted to see has already sold out, have no fear – there are 10 tickets available on the morning of every performance so it’s just a case of getting the box office really early and queuing for your ticket. One thing to remember is that you can’t pick up 4 tickets for your whole family, it’s one per person, so if they all want to go they’ll have to come along on the morning and queue with you! Check out the schedule at Aldeburgh Music to find out what’s on during the Snape Proms this August.beccles lido swimming pool inflatable aquarun

4. Beccles Lido

If you remember outdoor swimming pools, then you’ve got to visit Beccles Lido. It’s a huge outdoor pool, with a very deep deep-end and even a good ol’ fashion diving board. There’s a separate shallow pool for the little ones and a VERY fun giant inflatable obstacle course that floats on the water. Imagine Total Wipeout and you’ve got it! The changing huts are painted in bright seaside colours and you can enjoy a poolside snack or drink at the kiosk. With sunloungers surrounding the pool and a location overlooking the riverside you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on a exotic holiday abroad. It’s really underrated, and there isn’t much information on the website, but the whole venture is run by volunteers who get the pool cleaned, maintain the gardens and staff the kiosk all summer long. Oh, and by the way, the obstacle course isn’t just for the kids, I’ve been on it plenty of times and actually completed it once, go me!

5. Framlingham Castle

Framlingham itself is a rather charming town, with country markets on a Tuesday and Saturday in the market square. There’s lots of cute cafes and traditional pubs so it’s a great destination to while away a sunny day. The castle at Framlingham is a pretty impressive sight. It can be viewed across the mere from New Road and it’s the ideal spot to take a picture-postcard snap of the castle. It’s owned by English Heritage so it’s open to visitors and has a small museum and shop inside, and you can enjoy a very long walk around the top of the castle walls. If you’re into countryside views and photography this is the place for you! The castle wall walk isn’t suitable for buggies but the museum is great for teaching the kids about history. During the summer holiday’s the castle hosts special events for children too so have a look at their website to find out what’s on.blue suede shoes - his n hers brogues_-3

I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for places to visit, things to do and events to attend if you’re planning to visit Suffolk this summer. There’s so much for the kids to do and just as much fun for adults too. I really should be working with the tourist board but I assure you I’m not – I just LOVE this county and am so pleased to be able to enjoy all these fantastic locations regularly. I wouldn’t want you to miss out if you’ve never been to Suffolk before so please do check it out!


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The 2016 Latitude line up & my unseen photos from last year’s festival

The excitement is beginning to build and I’m hearing more and more mentions of the festival on social media. It can only mean one thing; it’s almost time for Latitude festival. Yes we’re only a few weeks away from East Anglia’s biggest music, arts and comedy festival and I can’t wait to go. It’s the highlight of my summer and kick-starts the holidays for me. The festival runs from 14th-17th July this year and I’ve been following the line-up announcements with anticipation all year. I blogged about the dance line up as soon as I heard about it, because my lindy hop heroes Swing Patrol are going to be performing this summer. I. Can’t. Wait.latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-13

The headline acts were announced earlier this year and includes The Maccabees and Beirut getting the party started on the Friday night, The National and Chvrches on Saturday, and M83, The Lumineers and New Order rounding off the festival on Sunday. If the star-studded line-up wasn’t enough, there are hundreds (and I mean hundreds) more acts to enjoy on numerous stages throughout the festival. Check out the full line up to find out which of your favourite performers will taking to the Obelisk Arena, the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage, the Sunrise Arena, the Lake Stage, the Alcove Stage, Comedy Tent, Literature Tent, Theatre, Film & Music Arena, Waterfront dance stage, Poetry tent, Cabaret venue, the Faraway Forest, the Woods and SO many more!latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-8 latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-15

Now, you may have realised from my 2015 round-up of Latitude Festival that one of the main reasons I go to the festival is to see the comedy. Where else in the world can you see 50 internationally renowned comedians all in one place? I’m perfectly happy to plonk myself down in the Comedy Arena and not move for 8 hours! The only thing that will tempt me out of the comedy tent is if Nick Helm is performing in the Poetry arena. Or I might consider moving if a group of 5 comedians are putting on an improve show in the Literature marquee. Other than that, I tend to stay put until the last comedian has performed, then I go skipping off (with cheeks that ache from smiling so much) to enjoy the music for the rest of the evening. latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-9 latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-12 latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-10

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Latitude Festival’s dance & theatre line-up just announced!

It’s International Dance Day today and to celebrate Latitude Festival have just announced the dance and theatre line-up for this year’s festival. I’ve been looking forward to this announcement ever since the details of this year’s festival emerged earlier this year because it’s specifically the theatre, dance and comedy that I love most about the festival. Of course, the music headliners are amazing this year – including The Maccabees, The National and New Order – but when the line-up for the other stages start to be announced is when I really start to get excited about the Festival. I can begin planning my visit now! Oh and if you don’t already know, Latitude Festival is being held from 14th-17th July 2016 at Henham Park in Suffolk so investigate the line-up and get your tickets now! Here are some of my snaps from last year’s Festival and read on to hear more about the newly announced line-up!Latitude festival photos 2015-12Latitude festival photos 2015-10 Latitude festival photos 2015 Latitude festival photos 2015-32The newly announced line-up includes Sadler’s Wells presenting Hofesh Schechter: tHE bAD, Botis Seva (a 24 year old rising star from Dagenham), Hoh Vamos Cuba, Gogo Pengiun & Lynne Page, Richard Alston: Stronghold and NYDC: In-nocentes. I’ve saved my favourite performers until last because these are the ones I’m most excited about seeing – the New English Ballet Theatre (let’s hope for something amazing like last year’s Swan Lake performance) and the fun-tastic Swing Patrol. If you’ve been reading my blog over the past couple of years you’ll know that I’ve been learning lindy hop so I certainly don’t want to miss out on the chance to see Scott Cupit and the Swing Patrol pros in action!

There were also some exciting extra names announced in the theatre line-up this morning, including one of my favourite British actresses Jane Horrocks & the If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me Band, Theatre Ad Infinitum with their show Bucket List. I’m hoping she’ll be doing a spot of singing too, fingers crossed! And it’s not just the best of British taking to the stage at Latitude; international companies Familie Flöz (from Berlin) are presenting Teatro Delusio at the festival and Svalbard (from Sweden) will be presenting All Genius, All Idiot.

One more addition that I’m really excited about is that Lavish Design will create a new hybrid two-part art and performance project for Latitude. Old school friends Adam Buxton and (my hero!) Louis Theroux will discuss their work in the film and music area. And on top of all this, most of my dream comedy acts are performing too including Nick Helm (who I managed to grab for a cuddle last year), Joe Lycett, Sara Pascoe and SO many more. I. Can’t. Wait.

 

Let me know if you’ve already got tickets to the festival and leave me a comment below to let me know what artists and performances you are looking forward to at this year’s Latitude festival.


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Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair

Sewing, paper craft, baking, upcycling, embroidery, felting, scrapbooking, jewellery, quilting, DIY, cake decorating, decoupage, knitting, art and teddy-bear making (my favourite!). And that’s just for starters. Yes, on Saturday I went to Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair on the green at Hampton Court Palace and have come away totally inspired. Who knew there were SO MANY crafts out there? So many projects, so little time…Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair 2015 photos DIY project cassiefairy blog-18 Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair 2015 photos DIY project cassiefairy blog-9 Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair 2015 photos DIY project cassiefairy blog-16 Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair 2015 photos_The sun was shining as my sister and I made our way to Hampton Court early on Saturday morning and when we arrived we were greeted by decorated marquees, colourful circus tents, giant pom-poms and bunting galore! Kind of what you would expect from a Handmade Fair, but I never imagined that all this craftiness would actually be there, all in one place. It was just like the prettiest wedding you’ve ever been to, multiplied by 100!

The organisers had got the tone of the fair just right; it felt like a local village fete crossed with a very chilled-out festival. Not too big, and not too small. Juuuuust right. There were plenty of free activities to get involved in, music performances in the vintage tea room and lots of space to chill out with a snack. Noone was in a hurry and it never felt overcrowded. I think the nicest thing about the fair was simply knowing everyone there had the same interests as you; even if you enjoyed different disciplines, the essence of your hobby was the same: creating something with your own hands.

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Latitude Festival 2015

Latitude. What a festival. What a wonderful weekend. It was magical, hilarious, nostalgic and happy. And that’s just my experience of the event. I’d love to tell you all about it today and share some of my photos so that you can get an idea of the fun weekend we enjoyed at Suffolk’s biggest arts and music festival.Latitude festival photos 2015-12 Latitude festival photos 2015-10 Latitude festival photos 2015 Latitude festival photos 2015-2I’m pretty sure that no two experiences of Latitude would be the same; for some it may be one mad-dash from crowded arena to packed tent, watching the UK’s hottest bands and newest stars; for other’s it might have been a chilled out weekend of lake swimming, saunas in the woods and art installations; for me it was a complete mix of crazy-busy music performances, laugh-out-loud comedy and chilling out in dappled shade. You can tell it’s a family festival by the sheer volume of activities and entertainment provided for children and teenagers; I’d love to share my festival experience with you and here’s what we got up to…

 

The mornings at the festival were the most calm and relaxed times of the day for me. There were fewer people on the site – it gradually became busier during the day as day guests arrived and campers awoke – and the performances taking place on the smaller stages were generally acoustic and very chilled out. I certainly noticed an increase in volume after midday as the bigger stages plugged in their speakers! In the mornings the calming sound installations, such as the bandstand adorned with recycled can pieces and giant wind chimes in the woods, tinkled and clunked in the breeze.

 

As the day warmed up and festival-goers descended into the arena the tents and stages became noticeably busier but, no matter what performance you were hoping to see, it was likely that there would be room for you to view the act. Of course, in some of the tents, such as the popular BBC Radio 6 Music stage, it seemed like standing-room-only for many of the bands but there was always space to make your way into the crowd.IMG_1741Latitude festival photos 2015-24 Latitude festival photos 2015-21 Latitude festival photos 2015-11 Latitude festival photos 2015-8 Latitude festival photos 2015-25 Latitude festival photos 2015-3The highlight of Latitude for me is always the comedy. With more than 40 acts over three days there was always a performance to watch and you could easily lose track of time as one comedian handed over to the next in a continuous schedule of laughs. I had some ‘must-see’ acts circled on my festival timetable including Latitude veteran Marcus Brigstocke and headliner Jason Manford, along with my newest comedy heroes Sara Pascoe and Joe Lycett, whose clever camel improvisation & Tinder jokes had me screaming with laughter.P1060211 IMG_1887 IMG_1911P1060287In amongst these superstars I discovered lots of new comedy acts that I probably wouldn’t have seen elsewhere including a late-night improv show in the literary arena featuring Thom Tuck and Deborah Frances-White that culminated in Lycett snogging Brigstocke on stage. That’s the great thing about Latitude festival, you get to experience performances – comedy, music, theatre and film – that you might never have found otherwise. My evenings since the festival have been spent looking up future performances of the new acts I discovered and my calendar for the rest of the year is already filling up with comedy club visits and tour dates.

This type of festival is full of surprises – not least the unbilled Ed Sheeran popping up on various stages over the course of the weekend – and I love finding myself in the right place at the right time and experiencing something amazing. While deliberating what to eat on Saturday, for example, I heard a commotion in the Poetry tent. We nipped into the rapidly filling-up tent to find a fantastic beatboxing session starting up. I couldn’t believe my ears as entire music tracks – drums, instruments and lyrics – were performed by one person! The BAC Beatbox Academy joined together to create a wall of sound with their voices, recreating a number of  famous tracks, and the performance culminated in a beatbox battle with members of the group showing off their skills against each other. Simply astonishing and I’m so pleased that I was passing the poetry tent at exactly the right moment.

A video posted by Cassiefairy (@cassiefairy) on


IMG_1879 Latitude festival photos 2015-32 Latitude festival photos 2015-33 Latitude festival photos 2015-34 Latitude festival photos 2015-37 Latitude festival photos 2015-66 My absolute highlight of the whole festival also took place in the poetry tent. Nick Helm. Need I say any more? I’d spotted a sneaky performance by this talented guy hidden away in the schedule. I actually ran across the festival site when I heard his gravelly voice yelling ‘Do you like jokes?’ over and over at the audience. I wanted to be shouted at too. Not content with standing at the doorway for the performance I slipped inside the tent and found myself sitting at the very front feeling rather nervous (as I know what Helm can do to his audience) but excited to see this rockstar hero in action.

I don’t want to go on and on about how amazing the guy is because I’m sure Helm would hate the kind of review that I would usually write for this absolute legend but watching him belt out songs, yell poetry and hurl punchlines at the audience in his angry growl was the best moment of the festival for me. I never realised I was such a fan-girl; I wonder if anyone else was affected in the same way by Nick’s performance? I didn’t want it to end and, luckily for me, the next act due to perform in the poetry tent had cancelled so a series of artists took to the stage to perform poems for the waiting crowd including another swoon-inducing poetry performance by Helm.

IMG_1742P1060205 P1060240 P1060264 P1060289Now, on to the music. Honestly, it’s a great festival if you’re really into new bands but not knowing half of the names on the line-up really did make me feel my age. Thankfully, there was a decent amount of ‘my kind’ of music too including The Charlatans, Manic Street Preachers and Noel Gallagher closing the festival at sunset on Sunday. A lot of acts that I wouldn’t mind seeing, such as Years and Years and Seasick Steve clashed with the comedy acts I came to see, and let’s face it, I was still recovering from my Helm experience to take too much notice of anything else on Sunday. Still, swaying the night away to ‘Don’t look back in anger’ while propping up the arena bar was a pretty good way to end the weekend and we made our way through the illuminated woods to admire the finished installations that artists had been working on throughout the festival.

 

 

There’s plenty more festival highlights that I haven’t mentioned so here’s a quick list of must-do experiences: free gondola rides across the lake and this year lake swimming was introduced; the helter-skelter in the kids arena isn’t just for the little ones and looks great lit up like a beacon at night; a 3D animated light show takes place on the lake each evening; caravans, sheds, tents and wooded clearings play host to non-stop theatre performances, story-telling and films; and – my favourite thing – there’s a huge amount of food available and from the gourmet pies to the naughty burgers it was all delicious. IMG_1986 P1060324 P1060303 IMG_1954My sunny weekend at Latitude Festival has really stuck in my mind; I’ve been day-dreaming of comedy performances all week, wondering whether beatboxing could be a new career for me and washing the dust off my toes. Loved it. Want more. Will be back.


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My fun weekend at Blogstock 2014

I’ve just got home from one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to. It wasn’t a big festival, it wasn’t rowdy and – most importantly – it wasn’t muddy! But it was just right for a happy bunch of bloggers who traipsed out to Elstree this weekend where Aldenham Country Park played host the the worlds first blogging festival: Blogstock 2014.

blockstock 2014_-8

I was thrilled when Hertz invited me to camp with them and I jumped at the chance to attend this inaugural blogging event. I packed up my floral bag, bought festival food essentials (read: one Pot Noodle) and jumped in the car. Last Friday afternoon I was stood in middle of the arena, taking it all in; there was the Expedia VIP area where phone chargers and free drinks were available all day long; a PopChip stand with double-sized deck chairs and massive crisp-packet beanbags to chill out on (and all you-can-eat Pop-Chips of course!), the Fashion Galleries where most of the talks that I attended took place, a cosy tipi for informal workshops, the debate tent for lively sessions, the Lonely Planet photobooth (our late night-photos have been censored haha!) and a huge marquee hosting travel and foodie talks all weekend (and the inevitable late-night parties!). Despite being one of the first arrivals to the festival (what can I say? I’m prompt!) I knew this was going to be a great experience and when the Contiki shuttle bus arrived with 100s of happy campers, I skipped over to say hi.

It was the perfect occasion to wear my VIP-esque ‘You can’t sit with us’ t-shirt from WearAll

Here are some snaps of my home for the weekend in the #CampwithHertz village – check out the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for everyone’s fabulous photos of our cosy glamping experience! As you all know, I love fairy lights and bunting so a big smile spread across my face when I saw the bell tents popping up perfectly decorated in festival fashion. After one-too-many wash-outs, I’m not a keen camper but walking into my bell tent completely changed my opinion of the camping experience; I had a cosy bed, embroidered cushions, a lantern, snacks, rug and it DID NOT LEAK! Even with a thunderstorm threatening to dampen our spirits on the Friday night, we all stayed cosy and dry under canvas and even snuck over to the marquee for a dance in our wellies!

Some of the noteworthy workshops that I attended were the fashion blogging talks, where I learnt about pitching ideas for magazine articles from fabulous freelance writer and editor Alison Perry and brand collaborations (thanks to Emma Hart from Push PR for all her advice!), and I had my questions answered about the blogging things I’d always wondered about but never had anyone to ask! Thankfully the gorgeous Jen Riley from the famous A Beauty Junkie in London blog was on hand during the Mode Media session to help me out with my affiliate link questions. The session discussed many ways of monetizing blogs and I found it all really helpful (Thanks Louise!) – I’ve added lots of future research to my ‘to do’ list!

fun at Blogstock 2014-5

Saturday morning brought more sunshine and an early morning session with Pinterest UK gurus Lizzie and Zoe who gave us all a delicious cooked breakfast to munch on while talking us through a whole host of Pinterest features that I’d never even heard of before! As a crazy-pin-addict, I was sooo surprised that there was even more I could be doing on Pinterest… that’s my summer gone then! Shortly afterwards, I grabbed my second breakfast of the day at the Nuffnang #blogstockbrunch – yoghurt, bananas, croissants, fruit juice, muesli – and met the creative folk behind this generous spread Jesse and Jean-Luc from Nuffnang UK. I had to scuttle off to a finance session but soon headed back to chat with them and find out more about their blog advertising community – the work they do is so interesting and I’m hoping that they will be able to give me some help and advice on some of the more technical elements of my blog that I am scared to edit in case my whole site comes crashing down!

The highlight of the weekend for me was the old-fashioned pop-up village fête that Generator Hostels hosted. Belen had invited me along to the #GenLove Generator Fair by email earlier in the week, so I was already looking forward to it, but it was even bigger and better than expected;  including a big bouncy castle (how do children jump around for hours? I was practically dying after two minutes!), coconut shy, Polaroid fancy dress, ice cream and popcorn. We had great fun whizzing around the Hertz race track trying to beat each other in lap time-trials, but my dress slowed down my attempt while I tried to keep my modesty (same problem on the bouncy castle, eek!) so I was easily lapped by the other competitors!

One of the best sessions I attended was ‘Join the Vlogosphere’ with rock-star vlogger Ceara McEvoy. I’d already watched some of her videos in the past so I knew just how fantastic she is, and I’ve never ever tried vlogging before so I was intrigued. After passing around a tray of biscuits Ceara talked us through the best equipment to use, camera settings, editing software and showed us some of her hilarious clips. I was so pleased that I went to the session, and I am definitely going to have a go at vlogging in the future – especially if Ceara is willing to give me a hand with my ambition to make cookery videos – I’d be a fool not to do it!

Personally, my top experiences of the weekend were meeting loads of fabulous bloggers and included mixing Appleton Rum cocktails with superstar blogger ReeRee Rockette from Rockalily whose blog I’ve read ever since I started writing (and who kicked butt in the end of festival debate!) and the stunning Megan from The Briar Rose Blog, one the inspirational bloggers that I re-pin the most on Pinterest and a fellow shortlister at the 2014 Cosmopolitan Blog Awards! We were all tested to the limit in the pub quiz and had fun dancing the night away while playing keepy-uppy with an inflatable globe. There are too many new friends to list here but please go and check out the blogs of Toris Tales, Cherishing the Cherry BlossomsTodds Travels, A Lady in London, Backpacks and Bunkbeds, Tigerlilly Quinn, Eat Like a Girl, Macca Sherifi to name but a few! 🙂

I’ve come away from the weekend with tons of ideas for my blog, a notebook full of tips, a whole stack of business cards from the wonderful people I met and an insatiable yearning for a bell tent of my own. I can’t wait to get started improving my blog (apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks!) and I am already counting down the days to the next Blogstock festival!


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Pieday Friday ~ Afternoon tea scones

To celebrate a special birthday in my family last week I did a spot of baking to create a lovely homemade afternoon tea. As it was mum’s birthday, I decided to make her favourite treat cheese scones and some yummy fruit scones to enjoy with jam and cream. The recipe that I’ve used was for 8 scones, but I found that each batch of dough only made 7 scones – but that could be because I like my scones to be nice and thick! I guess the size of the cutter you’re using will make a difference too, and I had a 3-inch cookie cutter to press out my scones. Here’s the two recipes I followed for the two types of scone:

Ingredients for cheese scones: 175g self raising flour, half a teaspoon of mustard powder, 25g margarine, 75g grated mature cheese, 1 medium egg, 2 tablespoons of milk, pinch of salt and pepper. Mix the four and seasonings before rubbing in the margarine and stirring in the cheese. Mix into a dough using the egg and milk (reserve a little for glazing the top) then roll out on a floured surface and cut out rounds with a cookie cutter. Place onto a greased baking tray and brush with the egg and milk mixture and sprinkle on a little more cheese. Bake at 220º for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Easy recipe for baking cheese, fruit and cherry scones

Ingredients for fruit scones: 225g self raising flour, 50g margarine, 25g caster sugar, 50g currants and glacé cherries, 1 egg beaten with milk to make 150ml liquid, pinch of salt. Mix flour and salt before rubbing in margarine. Stir in the sugar and fruit then mix into a soft dough with the egg and milk mixture, reserving a little for glazing the top. Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick and cut out the scones. Brush the remaining egg mixture onto the scones and bake on a greased baking tray at 220ºC for 10/15 minutes until golden.

We enjoyed our afternoon tea in the caravan (I’ve mentioned in a blog post last week how this is the best place to eat when I have a few guests visiting at once) and I served it up on my new melamine ‘Festival’ plates from The Caravan Trail which were suitably celebratory with their pretty bunting pattern. Mum enjoyed her birthday afternoon tea and we were all full-to-the-brim with tea and scones in no time at all!


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Glastonbury, glamping & Gardenbury

Glastonbury has dominated my life for the past month: I’ve been researching it, I’ve been writing about it (see my festival footwearone-pot cooking and Glastonbury hair care articles!) and watching it. But I’ve not actually gone to it. No, I didn’t spend my whole holiday fund on tickets and I haven’t been getting sunburnt and muddy in equal measure this weekend. What I have done is pitch my tent to attend ‘Gardenbury’ again (read my original blog post about it here) and have been enjoying watching the coverage of the festival from the comfort of my own garden.

During the week Loose Women discussed glamping and mentioned my “Gardenbury” idea on the show – I’ve filmed the segment on the TV and have uploaded it to YouTube – sorry about the quality, I hope it’s okay at your end! My photo pops up on the show after about 40 seconds of the video, which was a very exciting moment for me! During the discussion Colleen Nolan remembers her childhood camping trips and is challenged to pack a tent away, and Sherrie Hewson and Kay Adams reminisce about being in the Girl Guides. Here’s the video:

I think (like the Loose Women!) I’ve reached the age where camping just isn’t that much fun any more. I’m not keen on being cold and damp if it rains, and even more so I dislike being hot and sweaty in a clammy tent when the weather is nice. I basically find something to grumble about at every opportunity while camping! It’s acceptable when it’s part of a lovely holiday to the Lake District, when I have a comfortable blow-up mattress and access to a nearby swimming pool (just like when we went camping last year at a Haven holiday park!) – I enjoy that type of camping. We once camped right beside the lake at Pooley Bridge, which was picturesque and rather romantic to begin with but soon became a beacon for midges in the evening and after a night-time storm, we were practically floating on the lake by the following morning. Maybe that was what put me off camping??

However, I’m sure I’d be happy with a spot of glamping – just look at this Ogden & Jenkins bell tent I saw at a wedding fair last weekend – it has a bed, dining table and plenty of space. I’ve never been glamping before but I’d love to give it a go and am pretty certain that this kind of ‘hotel-room under canvas’ will be fine with me!

In terms of festival camping, it’s the noise that naffs me off the most because when I want to sleep, I want to sleep and not be kept awake by loud neighbours in the tent next door or teenagers shouting their way around the campsite all night long. Nope, I’d much rather stay home, save money and enjoy the best views at the festival by watching Glastonbury on the TV during my Gardenbury weekend!

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