Festival Cooking

We are off on our first festival holiday as a foursome next week and although we are excited its a little daunting too. Having to pack everything we need for everyone. Then having to think about food too..

There is a pretty amazing food line up at this years Camp Bestival so we will definitely be partaking of those delights some of the time but I’m on maternity leave so I do actually have to be a little thrifty for the most part.

Which means we will be cooking a lot of our meals in the festival fields.

Now Camp Bestival has a great set up in all of their standard, glamping and campervan fields with designated cooking areas and washing up areas but not every campsite or festival will have that.

A pop up or collapsible wash bowl is really handy:

20140723-123254-45174036.jpg

Cooking in the outdoors especially with children and tents around can be dangerous so I’m loving the idea of this Flameless cookbox from e-outdoor.co.uk

20140723-121824-44304731.jpg

It uses a water activated heat pack and is even safe to use INSIDE your tent. Brilliant huh?

Our first two years at Camp Bestival we used a traditional camping stove and made meals such as frittata and omelettes along with the usual camping staples of bacon, beans and sausages.

We normally take a flask to fill up with boiling water in the morning and use throughout the day if we want a cup of tea.

And we always take a small milk pan to make hot chocolates to have just before bed:

20140723-122833-44913507.jpg

I will be writing a post this weekend about all the meals we plan to cook at Camp Bestival and also the ways in which we will be cooking it so look out for that.

What are your campsite specials? Are there any meals you always make when at festivals?

*This post is in collaboration with e-outdoor.

Sleep Tight Baby – Snoozeshade Review

When Izzy was a young baby she would only sleep if it was entirely dark. I would cover her pram/car seat etc with blankets if we went out anywhere and it was truly annoying as they never hooked on correctly or stayed on if it was windy etc.

Recently we have been sent a snooze shade to review and I really wish I’d had this two years ago. Since receiving it about two months ago we have used it every day. Yes every single day. If we go anywhere it’s attached to the buggy or car seat and even at home if she needs a quick nap in relative peace ( with a toddler around) then I pull it over the pram and it’s instant calm. Well not always.. It’s not magic after all but she definitely sleeps for longer stretches. Add to that it looks nice and protects babies from sun and bug bites – it’s a real winner in lots of ways.

We have used it on two different buggies and car seats with ease, very simply to attach and when not in use we simply roll it back. We use it sometimes just when Chloe is a little fed up after being over stimulated – everyone needs peace for five minutes especially when you are so cute that everyone wants to poke and prod at your chubby cheeks ( that’s Chloe not me )

20140507-125045.jpg
>

20140721-113013-41413948.jpg

20140721-113012-41412875.jpg

20140721-113015-41415486.jpg

20140721-113012-41412400.jpg

It’s been everywhere with us. To Cornwall on holiday, to the beach.. To Britmums live. It’s brilliant in sunny weather and even provides some mild protection from rain when you forget the covers.

I’m going to add a video later this week so you can see how easy it is to use but I wanted to post this review quickly as I have a £5 off voucher code for you to use and with summer coming it’s the ideal time to buy it:

 photo 6d3684ca-5202-4cec-8ab9-eb43942e9d46_zps48675507.jpg

* This snoozeshade was gifted for the purpose of this review.

It’s Ryvita.. But Not As We Know It

When I was younger I always thought of Ryvita as a diet food. Bearable when cutting calories but no fun any other time surely.

Whether it has changed a lot over the years or my tastes have ..ahem..matured I don’t know but I really enjoy them these days whether I’m dieting or not.

I love them with soft cheese,tomatoes and basil for a light but indulgent treat:

20140721-161058-58258727.jpg

Recently I was invited to try out some of their new crispbreads and recipe ideas and I didn’t need to be asked twice.

We tried out this recipe from Ryvita for a raspberry ripple ice cream sandwich.

We didn’t include jam as we preferred the tart taste of the fresh berries and we added homemade salted caramel ice cream instead of vanilla..we may also have had open top sandwiches as somebody ate the other crispbreads. But wow. I would have no problem serving this as a dessert to friends at a dinner party.

20140721-161133-58293699.jpg

It’s definitely worth taking another look at the latest Ryvita range . My favourites are the black pepper crackerbreads and sunflower seed and oat Crispbreads. Delicious and unless you top them with full fat homemade icecream they are pretty good for you too.

* I was sent crispbreads and a shopping voucher to try out the new recipes.

Meal Planning Made Easy With Meal Prep

Most weeks I meal plan. I find it easier if I have some kind of idea of what I’m cooking that week. Of course sometimes things change, perhaps we go for an impromptu meal out or go over my parents etc but for the most part we eat the meals I’ve planned at the beginning of the week.

What I’ve started to do which makes a big difference to the way I cook our meals is spending a few hours on a day when my OH takes the little ones for a trip to the park doing meal prep. Last week for example I cooked chicken thighs, sausages and gammon steaks in the sous vide machine in one afternoon. Then I quick chilled them ready for meals in that week. Whilst they were in the sous vide I chopped vegetables and browned mince ready for spag Bol, I boiled potatoes ready to mash and mixed dough for bread.

In two hours I more or less completely prepared meals for four days and it made life so much easier.

I’m doing the same today.

Today’s prep work:

*Sous vide chicken thighs ( you could just oven cook if you don’t have a sous vide) and sausages
*Defrost ribs and minced beef from freezer
*Chop sweet potatoes for wedges
*Dice and boil potatoes for rosemary parmentier potatoes
*Chop onions and carrots
*Cook chick peas ready for curry and burgers
*Make dough ready for bread rolls
*Make a batch of waffle batter
*Grate cheese
*Dice peppers and cucumbers

This weeks meal plan

I’ve decided to stop setting meals for specific days so I just have one of these meals on whatever days we want.

*DJ BBQ chicken thighs with s.potato wedges and salad

*My veggie bean burgers in homemade bread rolls served with spicy rice

* Smoky 48hr Ribs with parmentier potatoes

* Sausage Casserole with homemade soda bread

* Domodah – this is a Gambian recipe which I haven’t cooked in several years so will be interesting to see how it turns out. I make it with chicken but you can also use beef.

* Lasagne with a big salad

Breakfasts are usually cereal and fruit but waffles on one day as treat.
Lunches are usually lighter meals of sandwiches or soup… Or you know naan bread pizzas with leftover saag aloo :-)

20140721-142744-52064621.jpg

Festival Fashion – Part 2

Today’s Festival Fashion post focuses on the kids.

Starting with the children’s essentials to take to a British Festival. We have been sent some gorgeous bits from JoJo Maman Bebe.

20140721-110554-39954349.jpg

First up ..wellies:

These kids wellyboots ( as Izzy calls them) are funky as well as functional.

20140721-110911-40151533.jpg

Next sun hats because you know we will get showers followed by blazing sun yes?

These sun hats are really light and cool and look so adorable on the girls.

20140721-111037-40237456.jpg

20140721-111037-40237344.jpg

20140721-111037-40237714.jpg

We have a really handy all in one mac which folds into a handy zip up pouch so we can just throw it into our rucksacks when we head into the festival fields for the day:

20140721-111121-40281259.jpg

And because sometimes it’s no longer raining but it’s still super muddy and wet..these dungarees are perfect as they won’t make your child too hot but protects them from getting a soggy bottom:

20140721-111223-40343156.jpg

I think once you have these for your festival kiddies and some sunglasses you have some of the absolute must haves for your festival suitcase..and don’t forget the sunscreen of course.

* We were sent these items for the purpose of a review.

Love The Little Things

I’m joining in on the Love The Little Things Linky for the second time to give you a brief overview of my week.

Read:

This week I haven’t had much time to read a book but I have been trawling through a few back issues of BBC Good Food magazine ( my sister gave me a pile dating back to 10years ago ) and also ‘Mastering The Art Of French Cooking’ which is a really incredible book written by Julia Child. I’m wanting to expand my culinary repertoire so to speak and this book is really thorough in explaining new skills.

Watched:

The only time we sit down to watch TV is after both children are asleep as otherwise it’s just too chaotic. Once we do we are straight into The Good Wife. We are pretty hooked and I highly recommend it. I’ve also watched a few junk teen movies such as Sydney White ( how embarrassing) whilst feeding and cuddling Chloe as it’s been a long and very tiring week..zzzzzz.

Wore:

Mostly I’ve worn..Chloe. In my wrap, in her new carrier or just in my arms. Other than that I’ve been loving my Joules maxi and my standard but comfy nursing vests from H&M.

20140720-222405-80645646.jpg

Heard:

Frozen songs, horsey horsey don’t you stop and 5 currant buns over and over. But also fallen back in love with John Mayer music. Slow dancing in a burning room sends shivers up my spine. Ooh and I heard Into The Mystic ( Van Morrison originally) sung by The Wallflowers for the first time in years yesterday and I still think it’s such a beautiful song.

And lastly:

I’ve been embracing family time this past week. I’ve switched off from social media and my inbox completely on several occasions and it’s been great. Don’t get me wrong I love blogging and social media interaction but sometimes I need to be away from it totally in order to absorb myself in my family. This week has seen big changes for Izzy. She’s a big girl now and I will fill you in on all her news this week. Chloe has also been making big developments and life is as busy as ever.

Why don’t you join in and tell all about your week?

butwhymummywhy

Camp Bestival Packing List – Part 2

Another 5 Camp Bestival packing list essentials tonight:

1.Bibs:

You don’t want to take endless onesies and tee shirts so bibs are an essential. We love these cool bandana bibs from Funky Giraffe:

20140717-232318-84198459.jpg

2.Plasters & Painkillers:

The last thing you want when you are miles away from home is a teething, screaming baby with no calpol or teething granules etc to soothe.. Or a teeny tiny graze which your toddler demands needs a plaster immediately to find you forgot your first aid kit. Pack it all.

3.Frozen cocktails:

This is a genius idea that I picked up from someone a few years ago. You buy cocktail pouches ( available from most supermarkets but also places like home bargains etc ) and freeze them then pop them in your cool bag to keep your other food items cool and as they defrost you can enjoy them sitting outside your tent whilst your children collapse in a tired heap after the busy days.

Worth checking out Camp Bestivals alcohol policy:

You are allowed to bring in your own alcohol (for personal consumption in the camping fields) but only up to reasonable amount per person. Once you have entered the event you cannot re-enter with more alcohol.supplies.

4. Buggys/wagons/prams etc:

The camping/boutique and campervan fields are a bit of a walk from the car park so use your buggy or wagon to make less trips back and forth. Most of the festival areas are grassy and well maintained but a pram or buggy with large wheels ( ideally an all terrain one) is best just in case the weather turns.

5. Baby carrier/sling:

You may not want to push your buggy about everywhere and your toddler/older child who may protest that they are too big for a pram will suddenly decide they are tired and need to be carried ALL the way back to the tent so a baby carrier is ideal. We are taking a Boba 4G which can be used for both Chloe ( 8 months old) and Izzy ( nearly 3yrs old).

That’s all for today… More packing tips tomorrow.

20140717-232106-84066638.jpg

Talk To Me…

Mam..talk to me.

I hear this from my eldest daughter at least 2-3 times a day. It’s usually when I’m flustered and trying to quickly finish cooking a meal or in the middle of an important phone call but sometimes just sometimes it happens when I’m just mindlessly trawling social media. We all do it. As a blogger social media interaction is massively important and I like to feel connected to the people who read my blog and help to make it a success BUT I don’t want my children to ever think they come second to that. Because they don’t.

I try to squeeze everything into my day. Cleaning, cooking, being a good, supportive partner and of course being a mum. Being a mum is my number one job right now. I decided to take the full year of maternity leave to be a stay at home mum and it’s by far my most challenging job yet. In fact I know going back to work would be easier. I don’t want to miss these days. These moments. But I can’t JUST be a mum. I’ve lost so many facets to my personality, to me over the last three years. I don’t recognise myself sometimes and I don’t mean physically although after two children in just over two years that has certainly changed too. I need sometimes to just be me again. For a minute. If that’s ok.

I’m working at several projects which if I/we can get them off the ground will mean I may possibly.. maybe at some point be a work from home mum..at least most of the time. To get this to come to fruition requires work. My blog. Social media. Emailing. Networking. It’s all a part of something bigger. Yes my blog is just my small corner of the world to rant n rave and moan n groan and I can’t imagine it will ever pay the bills but it’s taken me to new places, introduced me to possible new careers.

When I’m on my phone/iPad I’m not just tweeting or blogging. I’m changing our future. Mad as that may seem. I need to not feel guilty when Izzy looks disappointed that I’m busy for a few minutes. I need her to realise that I’m there with her, totally there 80% of her day. Maybe more. The rest of her awake time and the long evenings/nights when she is tucked away in bed that I spend working are for the greater good. To reach long term goals. So that mammy isn’t just home for an hour before bed each evening. But there all day and maybe working from home for a little of it.

Can we do this?

Yes we can.

Camp Bestival Packing List – Part 1

It’s just over two weeks until Camp Bestival 2014 – we cannot wait!

Its time for me to start preparing and packing.. Yes it does take me that long and sometimes when I’ve something to look forward to packing is all part of the excitement.

So here is the first part of my packing list. In no real order of importance but all things I think are essential to your enjoyment and comfort at Camp Bestival.

1. Accommodation:

Be it a tent, a teepee, a campervan or a podpad thingy. If it’s a tent get it out now, air it and check for holes or damage. If you are glamping make sure you ask questions as to what is included so as to avoid unnecessary packing

2. Temperature control:

By this I mean be prepared for anything and everything. You will need light, cool layers for the (hopefully) gloriously, sunshiney days. You will also definitely need warm clothes for the evenings. For watching the shows and relaxing outside you need warm jumpers, snuggly hats etc. For bedtime you want fleecy pjs if you have them,thick socks and a good quality sleeping bag or thick blankets. For toddlers and older children a warm onesie is ideal with lots of thin blankets that can be thrown off or added as and when. For babies a winter sleeping bag is best with a onesie and perhaps a light extra top layer.

20140716-220941-79781148.jpg

3. Something to sleep on:

As much as I love the idea of back to nature camping I don’t love the reality of sleeping on a hard floor for 4 nights. If you are camping for adults an air bed is necessary luxury. For toddlers why not use a readybed we used one last year for Izzy and will be doing so again this year. For babies a pop up travel centre is ideal and easy to transport. Also useful to take into the festival fields if it’s sunny.

20140716-221019-79819102.jpg

4. The Bubbles:

Bubbles are more important than you can imagine at CB. Every child has them. There are stalls selling amazing wands and bubbles everywhere you look. Take some wands and bubble mix with you. Helps you keep to a budget and stops your child saying please mam..bubbles every single minute.

5. Something to sit on:

As I write this I remember that my camping chairs are broken. Arrgghh. Not good. Sometimes you will want to lounge around on the floor but most of the time if you are over the age of 20 you will want a chair.

6. Wet Wipes:

You will need LOTS of wet wipes. To clean grubby hands, wipe sticky faces and scrub away face paint. For lazy baths and wiping down buggies.

7. Fancy Dress:

Even if it’s just for the little ones. It’s all part of the fun of the festival. No idea what I’m going to wear just yet.

8. Ear Protection:

If you are a light sleeper use ear plugs at night and for your little ones you need ear defenders if you plan to get close to the stage. We used Edz which we picked up for about £10 from amazon.

20140716-221058-79858198.jpg

That’s it for tonight. More coming up tomorrow.

Tickets are available by visiting www.campbestival.net