Author: Madabouttheboys

How to dress like the paparazzi at Camp Bestival

The theme for the tenth Camp Bestival is rock and roll and pop stars.  The boys have a David Bowie outfit each, made up of seriously fun eye masks from Dazzle and Fizz and matching t-shirts that I picked up from the local factory shop for £2 each. We decided that with all these rock stars at the festival there needs to be some paparazzi presence.  We have made some cameras for each child and we are going to screen print some t-shirts with press badges attached. The cameras should be fun for the boys to play with and were very easy to make.  July is no plastic month and we have been trying to encourage the whole family to think about recycling and reusing rather than buying things all the time, so we did not buy anything for our cameras and used what we had. Here is how to make a camera for the kids to play with. 1. Raid the recycling bin and arts and crafts drawer 2. Get a small box and …

Deep sea diving at Camp Bestival

The boys have made a countdown calendar to Camp Bestival next week.  Excitement levels are close to Christmas in our house. They have been listening to Madness and Brian Wilson, practising their skate tricks for the extreme ramp and generally brimming with energy about the weekend. The look on his face when the eldest (7) found out that Andy Torbet is hosting two talks in the Discovery tent at the festival was a picture. Andy is an underwater explorer, deep and cave diver, skydiver, climber and outdoorsman.  He presents programmes on the BBC, Discovery and History Channel, is an author and film-maker and if that wasn’t enough he is also the voice of Action Man.   My eldest has wanted to learn to dive since he was about 3, each year he visits the local dive shop to check whether PADI have brought the age down for learning (you have to be 8) and on his birthday next year he will have his first lesson.  He is obsessed with nature and has a particular interest …

Festivals with kids – here’s what you need to know

Glastonbury recently kicked off festival season; Camp Bestival is the next big one for families. Last year, I took the three boys for the first time. I was really quite unprepared (we did have a tent but not much else camping wise). When people asked how long we were going for I was pretty vague, thinking that after one night we would pack up. What really happened was that we stayed for four nights, had the time of our lives and were so fast asleep in our tent on the Monday morning that we were one of the last families to leave. Here is what you need to know about festivals with kids: You may think that you are really prepared, but you will forget something important. That important something will be forgotten about soon enough (unless, like us last year, it’s a pillow – you don’t forget about a stiff neck all day). Festivals are an opportunity for parents to ditch their routines and mealtime schedules and let the whole family go with the …

Farmer Butcher Chef – organic, sustainable food at its very best

Farmer Butcher Chef is a new restaurant, located next to the Goodwood Hotel, just outside Chichester.  Mr P and I were lucky enough to have a rare night away childfree last weekend, we ate, drank and were blown away by the taste sensations presented to us throughout the evening. I have never been to Goodwood before.  Friends have been to revival, others to the races, all of which look like good fun but have seemed out of reach to me with three kids in tow. It turns out that I was wrong.  Goodwood have a playground next to the race track, kids are welcome at revival and love dressing up in their outfits and the festival of speed motor racing is a day out for all ages. There are junior golf camps in the Summer, a family race day and many more activities on offer. This is the first trip of many to Goodwood, next time we will go as a family. The farmer Tim Hassell, butcher John Hearn and chef Darron Bunn all work very …

The best construction kit for kids

The boys have been picking up tools from an early age. Mr P is a carpenter, we often visit him on jobs and they have been picking up tools from the minute they could walk. We were offered the opportunity to test the Real Construction deluxe workshop and starter set from Jakks and I knew that the boys would like them. What I didn’t realise was exactly what a huge hit it would be and for all their ages (2,5,6). The wood-like material cuts just like real wood but feels like firm foam. When you screw the nails in, you can remove them (with the back of the hammer) and it barely leaves a mark, meaning that you can use it again and again. Both sets have everything you need to get building, including a small hammer, saw, lots of nails and the wood-like material. There are instructions with ideas for builds, from a boat to a bird house and in the deluxe workshop (for a slightly older age range) more difficult builds, such as …

Christmas gift guide 2016

Our Christmas gift guide has been put together mainly with toys that the boys have tested and played with over the last six months, clothes that I have bought and books that we read.  Doing it this way, meant putting together a guide that demonstrates what the kids really loved aged 2, 4 and 6. There is hopefully something here for everyone but the toys I picked here were played with  and enjoyed by all three boys in different ways. Amazon came up trumps with these tegu magnetic wooden blocks (my sister has bought some of these for one of their birthdays in December) and the STEM programmable robot mouse (my two year old mainly pressed the buttons and followed it round the house, but that is the beginning of STEM for him). The Amazon fire tablet has been a hit. I try to keep the boys off screens when I can but there is a place and use for them and we have used this on car journeys to watch films, for homework (reading …

Just keep breathing

I found a short film clip of my father on my computer recently.  In the film, I asked him, “what’s the best advice you could give me for my life?”  He replied, with a smile on his face,”just keep breathing.” Nothing more and nothing less. Now, I know that his number one family value was health, without that we can’t do much else, so it made sense watching him back that in all its simplicity, breathing is the most important thing. Last month, I spent an amazing weekend away at 42 Acres Retreat in Somerset.  The weekend was hosted by Jess, Aimee and Rebecca from Inspiration Space and combined yoga, relaxation and transformational breathing. For those not familiar with transformational breathing, here is a short description for you taken from the Inspiration Space website. Transformational Breath®, is a self-healing technique that helps people to access the full potential of their breathing system for better physical, emotional and mental well-being. The connected pattern of conscious breathing is a natural, safe and easy –to-learn technique, which has proven to …

How to be a more mindful Mama

I bought my first iPhone the day before my eldest was born, six years ago.  I loved the fact that I could take photos of my newborn the following day and thousands more over the next few years. The phone became my companion, during those dark long evenings breastfeeding and being up at night with the baby (and then babies).  I would text and email my fellow baby friends to compare notes on sleep deprivation. Slowly, slowly, the phone became more prominent in my life. I used Facebook, I’d search on Google for things wherever I was, rather than waiting until later to find out the answer.  The phone has become my navigation system, my camera, my personal shopping portal and my daily news provider. In my career as a social media manager, I couldn’t do my job without it, BUT… how much have I missed over the last six years? Those moments, I’ve been reading a text, laughing about a funny photo. Were the boys smiling up at me? “Mummy, watch this.” “In a …

How to find work that works.

The last time, I entered the stunning reception area of M&C Saatchi was nearly twenty years ago. I was being interviewed for my first position in advertising and was shaking like a leaf. The interview went well but I didn’t get the job and soon after landed my dream role at DDB London as an account manager. Advertising has to be one of the most fun industries for a twenty something in London. We had large expense accounts, weekly client entertainment was the norm, which involved meetings (long lunches) in some of the best restaurants across London and team building trips to Rome and Paris (dreamy). We also worked very hard, often when pitching for new business working through the night and then delivering the pitch the following morning. I thrived off the pace at which we worked. Occasionally, I would look around the agency and wonder where all the women went as they got older; there were very few over the age of forty, whereas the mix of men and women in their twenties when I …

The secret Isle of Wight

I began the Summer researching last-minute trips to a Greek Island.  The weather was rubbish and I was desperate for some sunshine.  Luckily, that changed, so we turned our thoughts to a few days away somewhere closer to home. We decided to head to The Isle of Wight.  The forecast for the week ahead was amazing (mid twenties) and we live just one hour from the ferry port, so it seemed like an easy trip. Despite the fact that I knew nothing about the Isle of Wight apart from the fact Bestival and Cowes week is held there each year, in my mind it was practically heading abroad, we were crossing water after all. Cornwall seems to get all the holiday fanfares, this Islands appears to be a secret but one that I want to share. I am normally a big researcher when it comes to holidays but we booked a hotel that had some stuff for the kids to do and just rocked up to the ferry. The boys were so excited to get on …