The Adventures of Lou, Gary, Ethan and Noah

A blog recording our journey in parenting and family life...

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This year we went to the “Harvest” Festival at Jimmy’s Farm in Ipswich from 9th to 11 September. I booked the tickets on a bit of a whim after hearing how great the 2010 one was. As the date got nearer I started having the jitters about a festival with kids, having only done Reading, Leeds and V festivals in my early 20’s I couldn’t imagine how it was going to be…

Anyway I need not have worried at all! Jimmy’s really was a family friendly event and we had the best time ever.

Good things about Jimmy’s:

  • Easy to find - signposted from major routes
  • Walk from carpark to campsite was not over several fields (as I had dreaded) but still a good 15 minute walk. You could hire trailers/wheelbarrow type things to carry your kit. We had brought our sledge which was ok for the tent and we inflated our airbeds in the car and dragged them to the tent. Took a couple of trips with “help” from kids.
  • A-MAZE-ING food… lots of stalls with different types of food. We loved the hogroast, churros and chocolate sauce, greek kebabs and salad, delicious calamari and chips and the boys went wild for the Caribbean Chicken!
  • Fantastic kid’s shows - The Gruffalo was on in the Big Top, a guy doing crazy things with bubbles, Mr Tumble (on the mainstage on Sunday morning no less!).
  • Live music - didn’t actually see that many of the bands as small children have the attention span of a goldfish but The Feeling were awesome on the Saturday night and caught a bit of Divine Comedy (or was it just Neil Hannon?) on Sunday afternoon.
  • Cookery demos - again didn’t see as many of these as we would have liked but saw Gennaro Contaldo’s demo with Jamie Oliver. Would have liked to have seen Paul Hollywood’s and Mary Berry’s and a few others but maybe next time!
  • Kid’s play area - Ethan loved the cookery academy where he made banoffi pie and churros and chocolate sauce. There was also facepainting, circus skills, den building, fairy crown making, dance, climbing area, animals.. the list goes on..
  • Jimmy’s restaurant - we went here on the Sunday lunch and were seated next to Jimmy and his friends! The food was delicious and the boys loved it here. We then stocked up on sausages in the farm shop… yum yum

Bad things about Jimmy’s *racks brains*

I honestly can’t think of any!

The loos were ok… honestly.. obviously not the Ritz but for festival toilets what do you expect. They always had loo roll in them and they didn’t smell horrible. I didn’t have a shower (just used lots of baby wipes!) so can’t comment on the state of these but figured they wouldn’t be great anyway.

On a selfish note we didn’t get to do as many of the things as we would have liked as obviously trying to keep little ones amused but it is important for them to realise other people have priorities and we have to take turns to do what we want. So in theory that is what happened!

The only bad thing, and this was our personal experience, was that we had been burgled when we were away. That was horrible and stressful but they didn’t take any of huge sentimental value (apart from cameras and laptops with un-backed up photos on *sob* *sob*).

Even this didn’t detract from our first family festival and we would go back again!

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Chicken Pox diary by Text

This could go one way or the other but let’s give it a try! I am out of voice minutes on my phone so communicate with my husband mostly by text these days (as often by the time he is home I am in pj’s thinking about hitting the sack!). As you can see it is sometimes a bit of a one way conversation!

Monday 3 October 3.18pm

Me: Think we may have a poorly boy, nursery think Noah has chicken pox!

(no more spots appeared and my family seemed to think it was bites as boys had been at my parents and spent most of their time outside playing with flea written cats and the like so..)

Tuesday 4 October 9.29am

Me: Confused.. took him to preschool and they found more spots! Literally appeared in front of our eyes. So brought him home will keep you posted xx

9..45 Me: Do you think I should take him to see the doc or a pharmacist?

9.54 Gary: See how it goes if more spots appear go this aft

9.57 Me: Mite pop to chemist’s when pick Ethan up. he seems fine of course! xx

11.32 Me: Noah has few more spots but fine usual bossy self!

3.15pm Me: Pharmacist doesnt think it is chicken pox. I don’t think he is right but not sure what it is!

Wednesday 5 October

10.43am Me: Doctor thinks it is chicken pox so orders to stay at home xx

11.51 Gary: Is that good news?

So our little puddle duck is now very spotty, sometimes feverish, a little bit sore but pretty much his usual self!

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Review - Winnie the Pooh Interactive Friend

I was thrilled to hear I had been chosen as one of the Worlds Apart toy reviewers for my blog post on Outdoor Fun and even more thrilled when our Winnie the Pooh Interactive Friend arrived in the post for Noah, my delightful 2 year old to try out! As soon as he saw the box he was captivated with him!



Noah has never really had a favourite cuddly toy, although he does like a teddy every now and again. He is of course familiar with Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and friends from Disney but he was mesmerised by this “real life” talking one!!  Here is the lowdown on how he got along with his new friend!


  • Cuddly fun toy, recognisable Pooh Bear!
  • Pooh has a full vocabulary of common phrases which Noah soon got used to.
  • You set the times for his routine ie getting up, eating, bedtime etc.. to coordinate with that of your child and Pooh talks accordingly!
  • If you want him to speak any more you just have to squeeze his paw and he will speak whatever is set up for his routine. In between these times he plays!
  • Helps children to get used to their routine and prompts them into falling in with it.


  • Takes a bit of time to set up the time and timings of the routine (best to do before child has seen Pooh otherwise makes it pretty impossible!).
  • If your routine timings changes slightly one day ie you want them to go to bed earlier, then it is a bit of a faff to amend Pooh!

Pooh is a really lovely toy and an excellent choice for a small child of this age. We received ours just as Noah was going into a proper bed and he always has to have Pooh in there with him. Pooh works really well at bedtime and I think it has helped him adjust to the changes.

Worlds Apart are also on Facebook and Twitter.


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An afternoon at Sherwood Pines

Just before we went back to school I met up with my sister and niece at the lovely Sherwood Pines. It was a beautiful autumnal afternoon with the sun peeking through the trees. We parked up (£4 for the day- and actually buying it on a Friday gave us parking till the Sunday night!) and made our way to the picnic area to get set up! As soon as you arrive you get the “chilled out” feeling that only nature can give you. The park is next to Sherwood Forest Center Parks and it reminds me of there lots. The main reason for going to Sherwood Pines is for the cycling routes although some people just go for the playarea or nature walks. It is also the location for Go Ape.

We made a spontaneous decision to hire  bikes not really thinking what we would do or where we would go! Anyway I got a bike with a buggy thing on the bag for the 2 boys to sit in as, although both can ride bikes, it would be a very slow process! They loved the idea of being strapped in and pulled along like little kings. The bikes cost £7 each for a adult bike and it was £6 for the buggy.


We set off on the 3 mile family trail (green). There is also a 10 mile red route for the super fit! If you have a buggy on the back you can only go on the family trail but that suited us fine. My sister and niece had a go at pulling the boys in their buggy as although the hills were gentle I was very unfit!

It was a beautiful ride through the forest and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It took us about an hour to complete and was just about right to be honest. The boys were getting twitchy in their buggy and we were ready for a cuppa!

On our return we headed to the fantastic play area which kept the boys amused for ages - a huge sandpit with wooden houses featuring rope climbing walls, slides, buckets etc plus a tree top walkway. Loads of fun for all!

I think next time we will go with Daddy and get seats for the back of each bike so he can share the weight!

Filed under dayout fun

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Animals - my first go at The Gallery. We found this lizard running around a vineyard on the hills of Calitri on our recent Italian Adventure. 

Animals - my first go at The Gallery. We found this lizard running around a vineyard on the hills of Calitri on our recent Italian Adventure. 

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What Ethan Said Next

Is it just me or do kids suddenly start asking insane, bizzare questions as soon as you sit down in the car? I guess it is a time when they think they have your undivided attention but jeeeze it is hard work - driving and thinking of a suitable answer apart from “Can you save that thought and ask me when we have stopped the car babes?” through gritted teeth..

He did say a cute/classic one recently though (and not actually when I was driving the car surprisingly)…

Ethan: Does Jesus live in your heart?

Me: Erm, yes I guess so.

Ethan: So when I have an icelolly does Jesus get cold?

Filed under kids

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A weekend in Bakewell

We have just spent the weekend in the beautiful Derbyshire Dales, my favourite place ever! We met up with friends for our yearly camping venture consisting of us trying to wear out 4 boys to get them to bed so we can drink wine and put the world to rights.

We stayed at Greenhills campsite nestled a 20 minute walk away from the centre of Bakewell. The site itself is fantastic, particularly for families as it has two play areas (one for the under 5s). It isn’t a particularly big site, compared to some we have been to, and so feels cosy and friendly. The staff were also excellent, hospitable and helpful. My only criticism of the site facilities would be the showers that weren’t very hot, or very powerful.

On the Saturday night there was a treat for the kids in the form of the “yellow haired entertainer” who went down a storm with all of them apart from the 2 year old who preferred the play area gate (as you do at that age!). Later that night they discovered the joy that can only be found with water bombs!

On the Saturday we headed to the Chestnut Centre, a Otter and Owl Conservation Centre and Wildlife Park, as my 4 year old has a bit of a thing about owls at the moment. We all had a great day although at times I thought the Owl’s looked a bit cramped in their cages so I just hope they are let out at night to spread their wings.

On Sunday we headed to Carsington Water, which is one of our regular haunts and is in fact it is my hubbie’s favouite place ever! Enroute we drove through Matlock and watched the bikers lining the sides of the roads, poor Noah slept through this bit though. He loves bikes! On arrival at Carsington there is a fab play area there for the kids as well as lovely walks, cycle rides and shops. We also went for Sunday lunch at the Knockerdown Inn which was scrumptious. I liked the way they did 4 portion sizes - baby, child, teen and adult! 

The area is cramped with more campsites. I quite like the sound of the Pudding Room so will have to try and find a weekend to head there!

The thing I find with camping with kids, everything is fine as long as you go along with their routine and limitations. Remembering this can be challenging especially if you fancy a bit of freedom. I was quite liking the idea of a walk into Bakewell, look around the shops etc but it didn’t happen and every time we went anywhere in the car they promptly fell asleep so we couldn’t really just drive a short distance. Ho hum!

The theme for the weekend was about setting expectations; parenting being a time for generally low expectations and our expectations of others behaviour based upon our own. And of course drinking wine by candlelight…