Feather Bowers at Just So

Go on try something new – a festival or camping?

Life’s still hard with the recession and we all need some fun and adventure in our lives, so for this month’s Lifestyle feature over on Radio Verulam with the lovely Danny smith on his Drivetime show, I talked about festivals and camping.

I first decided to got to a festival when Little Dimples was 18months (two years ago) and Curly Headed Boy was 5.  I’d NEVER been to a festival and felt a bit mortified by it.  I decided if we started now with the kids, they might TAKE ME when they go to Glastonbury in 15yrs time!

Since then I’ve actually become a fan of camping too.  We started glamping, but due to the cost my practical side chose camping with a touch of glamp last year.

Listen here to me chatting with Danny here:

 

Why Go?

Music is good for the soul, it feeds our spirit and gives us a much needed lift.  One thing you can be sure about is that the quality of the music will be MUCH better than anything you see on Xfactor.

It’s great for kids because they learn to sit and listen to music, and the festivals I go to they tend to get to chill, run around and dance.  If you go to a family festival there will be all sorts of lovely things for the kids to do as well.  CHB says that a 3day festival is like going on holiday for 10days!

If you are brave enough to go for several days and try camping it is even better.  There is something about camping and it’s closeness to nature which is relaxing and healing at the same time.  We tried a motorhome at the beginning of this year, but despite being more practical it just didn’t have the same benefits for me.

my son and me in a motorhome
Top bunk is always best

 

 

Tips and Concerns

I know it can be intimidating, so I’ve put together my top tips for you to get you inspired to go!

The biggest reason to go is if you haven’t done it before, then NOW is the time to try it.  Be ADVENTUROUS.  Make memories to look back on and say ‘I did that’!

 

1) Start Small and Local

The key is not to go to Glastonbury on your first year (although they do have a family area)!  Go for small ones (5000 and under).  Look for local one day festivals so that you don’t have to camp.

Local to me in hertfordshire are:

St Albans Folk Festival Sorry I didn’t manage to publish in time –  (22-23rd June) – terrible website btw guys!

Folk by the Oak – Hatfield House – Sunday 21st July – I’m really looking forward to this festival.  Check out this youtube of Kate Rusby:

Folk Stock – Aldenham country park – 21st September –

Here is a fab way of hearing all their artists on a sound cloud.

They have got my FAVE artist coming – JonPaul Palombo

Celtic Harmony do a Beltane (See my video review here) and Samhain Festival each year.

Plus we had loads of fun at Hoo Bookfest, so I really recommend that for next year.

 

2) Planning

Feather Bowers at Just So
You are never too old for a feather bower or hair garland!

Plan ahead so that you know what is on BUT also go with the flow as it can be too stressful to keep to a schedule.

Go with friends.

Explain to your kids about safety, and make sure that you have one of those wristbands with your mobile number on it.  Or this weekend at Britmumslive I was given a Kattoo which looks brilliant (tattoo for your mobile no).

Bring Ear defenders for the kids and a picnic blanket to sit on.

3) Family Festivals

It really helps your sense of safety if you go to a family festival.

Lollibop – This is a London festival with a big kids TV orientation.  I’ve never been, but I’ve heard that it is great.  It would probably be a bit too commercial for me.

Camp Bestival – This is in Dorset and looks to me to be incredibly well organised.  Again there is a bit of a Cbeebies theme going on.  It feels to me like they try to make sure that all the practicalities that a ‘middle class’ family would worry about are covered.

Just So – This is a magical, more artsy festival with a hugely magical vibe.  Here’s my mammoth review from 2012 (same location as this year, so you might like last year’s planning post too) and my review from 2011.

 

4) Weather and what to wear

An example of what I wore
Festival style from the back!

Remember this is all part of the adventure!  We went to the Penn Festival (eighties music) last year, which was more of a mudfest.  The kids LOVED it.  All you need to make sure is that they are covered from head to toe in water proofs.  We also had a small pop up tent, that we used near the stage.

Bring lots of layers so that you can take stuff on and off.

What to wear – Leggings or skinny jeans are the easiest, with a pretty dress or long top over them.  No heals, instead go for daps/wellies.  A flower garland is essential (BE BRAVE!).

Check out my what to wear to festivals post with lots of ideas for you and links to my Pinterest boards.

 

Money

I don’t like the ones with lots of things to spend money on like the Herts County Show, buy, or things that kids will want to do that cost a fortune; so we tend to avoid those ones.

What you can also do is give the kids a budget, so that they know they just have £x and that is all.

Food can be expensive, so make sure you take water, squash, snacks and fruit.  Check if breakfast is provided if you are camping otherwise brioche is fab.

 

Loos and Showers

Actually again because I go to small ones or family ones they aren’t too bad.  But always take LOO PAPER and anti-bacterial spray.

Some actually have great showers BUT you can get away with a day of showering with wet wipes (it’s not as bad as it sounds!).

 

Camping

How to make your tent look Glam
Camping with glamp

Take ear plugs (just incase you are near someone having too much fun or kids that wont sleep), a wooly hat, socks, and extra jumper for night time.

Bring something to put mudding shoes in, so that they don’t come in the tent.

If there are just a couple of you then you can get a festival kit ever so cheaply with everything that you need.  There is nothing wrong with going for ‘cheap’ shops like argos etc.

If you have a little more money to spend then check out the pop up tents (a bit tricky to put away) or the Vango blow up tent we have.

The best beds are the mats that puff up; air beds are actually cold.

Bunting is a MUST!

Here is my ultimate camping list (you don’t need it all!).

 

Finding

Festivals for all – great site for all types of festival

Festival Kidz – specifically for taking kids

Forestry Commission – I’m an ambassador for the FC and was gutted to realise too late that they do concerts.  How gorgeous to see someone like Olly Murs AND be in a forest.

 

At the end of the day

Go on, try it.  It’s fun.  It’s simple.  It’s pretty cheap in comparison to a package holiday.

And you’ll have something to tell your grandchildren that will give them the impression that you didn’t wash up all day long!

Have you started camping in the last few years?  What do you reckon?

Have I inspired you to try a festival this year?

 

Radio show about stress

Are you a stress junkie or got your stress habit under control?

Radio show about stressSo last months LifeStyle feature with Radio Verulam and the lovely Dapper Danny Smith on his Drive Time show was all about stress.

Sorry for the delay in posting it, my life has been a bit stressful!!

The big question is, when should you do something about being stressed and when is it just normal every day stress that goes away?

Hope you enjoy it and find it useful.

(You can either read it, or listen to the audio at the bottom if you prefer to listen to my dulcet tones!).

 

What is Stress

Life is always going to have it’s ups and downs, and we’ll be disappointed if we think that it’s possible to remove stress or difficulties from our lives.

But what we talked about on the show was the fact that some stress can be healthy and in a weird way enjoyable, whereas long term stress can start to have a detrimental affect on us.

So how can we tell?

It’s when it gets out of hand, and you are either constantly in fight/flight with constant adrenalin or totally shut down.  

It’s an inbetween place between a difficult day and more complex problems of mental/physical health.  So from that perspective it’s a good place; because it’s like a warning sign and opportunity to put things right in your life.

I was a massive stress junkie when I worked 13hrs a day, 6 days a week in IT and could easily smoke, drink coffee, nibble my nails, eat chocolate all at the same time; which is why they sent me on a pile of personal development courses and I ended up with my fascination for it.  People think I’m pretty calm nowadays, but I do get stressed, maybe I just know more about dealing with it, or getting rid of it, that’s all (or I’m a good faker!).

So what causes stress?

Finances: at the moment is obvious!  Being out of control, sticking your head in the sand and feeling powerless with long term financial problems which will take time to resolve is very difficult.  Check out my posts about saving/managing your money, especially the last two I did for Radio Verulam on budgeting.

Physical pain or problems: This I’ve had lots of experience with for the last 6 months or so and started to understand how very stressful it can be.  Especially constant pain for older people or some physical challenge that is stopping you from doing things.  Check out my posts on Fibromyalgia for more info.  Update: Your body can also come under stress due to allergies, intolerances, over exercise i.e. anything that put’s pressure on it and makes it feel concern for it’s safety or that it is under attack.

Work: some people love the stress of work; I love the excitement or nerves of being on radio and used to find it really helpful when I was a trainer in IT.  However, you can end up overworking, or underworking or doing a job you don’t enjoy which can be constantly stressful.  It does depend on the person though; if I’m bored I’m very stressed, whereas other people would love a job that was less challenging.

People: People get everywhere don’t they and they don’t half cause a lot of trouble!  Friends, workmates, partners and kids are all potential creators of stress.  Holding onto things that have caused you pain/trauma, that will sit in your body and eat at you.  Remember, it’s worth letting go because it’s not about them, it’s about the price you pay for still being hurt or upset about something.  Doing what other people think you ‘should’ do, can make you very stressed.

The good news is that we can’t always change the world around us, but we can change how we see it; so we don’t have to stay stressed.

 

How you know whether you are stressed?

Exhausted Mums

People often ignore stress, and that can be wise if short term; I’m not recommending that you become worried about stress as it can be really healthy.  After all it’s the stress that raises our adrenalin levels that got us running away from those dinosaurs all those years ago, and now keeps me on the ball when I’m doing something scary like a radio show!

But one sign that it needs looking at is when it is long term with no let up (i.e. more than a few weeks or months).

There will be also be an obvious hint because your family/friends/body will tell you.  They’ll either be getting grumpy with you or if you’re lucky they’ll sit you down with a cuppa/glass of wine and ‘give you a good talking to’.  Your Body will either keep getting sick or ill or give you stomach cramps.  It will keep giving you warnings and when you don’t listen it keeps upping the ante so that you listen to it.  (It’s trying to be helpful, even if we don’t see it that way when we have a headache!).

As the stress kicks in we become more worried, have memory problems, become indecisive, our thoughts start to control us, we have less rest, our brain going constantly, we get moody, isolated and start to feel helpless.

So don’t ignore stress as ‘just one of those things’.  

It’s not ‘one of those things’.  

It’s a sign that a change of some sort is needed, or at least a plan for a change.

Look after yourself when you are stressed, and don’t let it turn into a full blown illness or depression.  I’m a good example of ‘cobblers shoes’; I’ve been pushing myself just a little too far, for just a little too long, because I’ve always been able to cope.  But I didn’t make the time to go to Pilates or rest and my body is well and truly telling me off about it.

When we don’t reduce the stress it becomes a cycle where we eat worse, drink more alcohol/caffiene, eat more chocolate, go to bed later, and then pull away from friends who would be able to help us and become isolated.  So we get more stressed!

 

What to do about it?

Body:

This is the great place to start because if your body is happy, your emotions will be steadier and you’ll have more energy.  From there you will be able to tackle your problems more easily.

Exercise 3 times per week even just for a brisk walk, get some fresh air, get a little out of breath even if it’s just 15 mins per day.  This isn’t about becoming a Triathlete, this is about having some fun and rejuvenation.

Eating healthily (there’s loads of information on my blog about healthy eating, even if you are a rubbish cook like me!) has an AMAZING affect on us; never underestimate the power of nutrition to make a change in our lives.

Supplements are a great way to support your body; probiotics for your digestion, Omega oils for concentration,  Vitamin D if you miss the sunshine.

Drink water, have a habit like drinking a glass whenever you brush your teeth or come back in the house. Remember your body is like a car which won’t work without oil; we don’t work without water.

Sleep; start following a regular repeatable sleep pattern and stick to it!

 

Head:

Is it possible to have romance and kids?Now it’s time to calm those brains down.  (We’ll come back to ways of letting go of your problems, pains and hurts another time when we have more time).

Each night Count 3 blessings a night; it’s a great way to go to sleep and I promise you that you will have 3, even if it’s just a good cup of coffee or a sunny day.

Go on a complaining diet and stop talking about the stuff you don’t want or like in your life.  Seriously, no talking about the horrid stuff, no thinking about it, you are totally banned unless you are sitting down with someone to make a plan to change it.

Write down your problem; either just once to find a solution to your issue or every morning as recommended by Julia Cameron in her book ‘The Artists Way’.

Check out my favourite books that can help when you are overwhelmed or depressed.

 

Fancy Listening to me say all this with the added bonus of Danny?  Check out the audio here:

 

There are so many more things that you can do to reduce the stress, that we are going to have to come back to this subject at some point in time!  But I hope that this gives you a good starting point.

If you’re a Mum (or Dad) then you might like to check out my Kindle book (you don’t need a kindle to read it) for just 99p as well.

In the meantime remember that ‘this too shall pass’.

 

 

Love radio

Why Would You Want To Bother To Budget?!!!

Love radioGuess what, I’m now a ‘Lifestyle Correspondent’ for Radio Verulam’s Drivetime show with Danny Smith.

How cool is that!

I’m doing a monthly tips on the third monday of every month covering everything from money to health to relationships and back again.

It’s quite possible that you didn’t have it as a priority in your diary last month (why not I don’t know!!), so now’s your chance to change that mistake and make sure you are there next week on Mon 17th Sept at 5.30!

(You can listen online to 92.6FM).

Just incase you missed it, I’m going to give you the low down and links so that you can listen to my dulcet tones!

 

Why you really want to Budget, you just didn’t know you wanted to!

 

Budgeting, fudgeting I hear you say.  Money is boring and stressful!  Better to ignore it, stick your head in the sand, panic deal with it and complain, because there is nothing that can be done to improve the situation.

I disagree.

Yes, we are in difficult times, everyone has cut down (I bet even Elton John buys less flowers), and I see Mums talking about struggling to buy food and pay for the rent daily on twitter at the moment.

But, money isn’t bad.  It’s letting it control us, and letting those marketing bods control the way we view our lives and letting it affect our relationships that causes the problem (and some serious problems with the benefits support system for those who need it; but I’m saving that for another blog post).

There is loads that can be improved with a flexible budget, and probably more importantly with a change in psychology.

At least you know that you aren’t the only one as everyone needs to budget nowadays and the recession isn’t going anywhere, so we all need to make sure we get the best from our money.

It’s also not all doom and gloom.  I’ve been amazed and awe inspired watching Mums gain satisfaction from crafting or cooking things or learning skills or trying out different types of holidays in order to save money.

 

Step 1: Complaining diet

I’m putting you on a diet; a no complaining about money diet.

Don’t discuss lack of money or complain about it.  Only talk about it when you are actually doing something about it.

It’s not about sticking your head in the sand.  It’s more about focusing on what you do actually have and only talking about it when you are in ‘action’ mode.

 

 

 

Step 2: Get motivated to budget

For a start, do you like being a ‘marketing mug’; either buying things you find out afterwards you didn’t want, or being made to feel rubbish because you don’t have something?  By having a clear budget and plan you can know that everything around you is what you wanted and feel proud of what you have.

Plus it leads to less arguments.  A clear controlled, obvious, honest split of the money within the relationship really helps.  No myths about who spends more, no power play with someone controlling the money, no arguments about unfairness, no passive aggressive over spending, no whining; it’s much easier.

With less arguments, comes a stronger relationship, less chance of divorce and dare I say it more sex!

You can use it to explain to the kids what is and is not possible so that they stop nagging you.

It can save you from future worry and panic because you are less likely to get caught out by a sudden bill.

Even better is the fact that you can have fun planning ahead for lovely future things and getting more enjoyment from what you are going to spend.

 

 

Step 3: Appreciate what you have got

 

When you are complaining and worrying you will miss out on other opportunities.  It’s like you get stress blinkers on.  Plus you aren’t really that much fun to give stuff to; sorry but it’s true, just think about those kids who complain when they get a present.

If you are more grateful for what you have, then you are more likely to get more things.

You are also less likely to find that something expensive you bought was just not worth it (I bet if you look around your house there are a lot of things that you regret buying).

Have a fun, sit down with a cuppa and make a list of what you’d love to have.  Then when you are considering buying something, compare it to your list and make sure that you aren’t making a mistake.

 

 

You Don’t Have To Get It Right

It’s not about getting it right full stop.  Things change.  Life changes.

But a budget will help you adapt.

On the next show I’m going to talk about HOW to budget; it’s really not as difficult as you might think and the pay offs are IMMEDIATE!

 

 

I’d love to know what you think about budgeting?

Do you love to have a budget?

Have I convinced you to have a go?

Why do you worry about making a budget?