A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

We came, we saw, we conquered, Camp Bestival 2013


This was our second year at Camp Bestival and we still found loads of new things to keep us busy. I think it took us longer to get into the festival mood this year, Mr A and I had less time to switch off from work, and the kids being older, wiser and more used to the site, had very strong ideas about what they wanted to do which caused some frictions. (TIP: On Friday everyone is fresh faced and wants to do everything, so there are more queues and people, so try to save some things for other days!)


No I will not wait ’til Sunday when it is quieter to make slime in the Science tent Mummy!

But I always think festivals are a winding down, transformative kind of ritual, and by Sunday breakfast, Camp Bestival’s magical work on us was complete, look: Continue reading

We’re so excited!

Excitement is really mounting, rather like this 10 second snippet of L’s happy dance at last year’s Camp Bestival. Only a few sleeps to go and we’ve been lying on her bed tonight talking about all the things we want to do together while we are there.

I am now especially excited about the sing along Jungle Book screening and the paper plane world record breaking launch to celebrate Disney’s Planes. The prospect of sneaking some cocktails with some fellow bloggers in the Bollywood Bar is also very appealing. I can’t wait to see Ash and The Levellers. And that’s just me… Continue reading

My definitive #CampBestival Packing list

I think this year I might have cracked it. My definitive Camp Bestival Packing List. Last year I had lots of help and advice, which I have added on to last year’s list. It will keep growing I know, so keep hitting me with what I missed in the comments!

I’ve just reviewed  kattoos temporary phone number tattoos and ear defenders. Wayfair have some cool glamping and camping gear, I especially love the bunting you can write on and wash off!

Here’s my account of Camp Bestival last year which gives more background on some of the things on the list as well as our fab experience. If you’d rather see it there’s also a video here. Even queuing for the toilets is fun, not that we ever had to queue for long at all, in fact the toilets were pretty impressive.

So, on to the Camp Bestival Packing List! This is pretty exhaustive, but at least you can decide what you really don’t need, rather than kick yourself for not bringing something, and it is dependent on the weather forecast.
Continue reading

How clean is your car?

How clean is your car? I’m amazed at the stuff that makes its way into our car. But then I have raised a pair of magpies who like to stow shiny things in every spare hiding place they can find.

My son’s friend always asks me why my son is allowed toys in the car, why he is allowed to exit Dukes of Hazard style, or to pretend to be a dog and exit via the boot. It suddenly dawned on me that there could be another way.

However, I’ve never achieved it, so I was glad to see Hyundai have proved that clambering all over the car is natural small child instinct.  I really smiled at the bit where the small kids get to go loopy and mess up the car.

Hyundai then gets older primary school kids reviewing the durability of the cars.

I felt the experiment was slightly flawed in that it didn’t use anything as a benchmark or comparison, but still, the headteacher seemed to think it was a valid lesson and nice to see children showing their younger siblings how to clean up afterwards, gives me hope.

So fess up, how clean is your car?

Commissioned post

Two tales of Legoland…30 years and 30 minutes #maddayout

That’s my Dad in Miniland at Legoland Windsor, Father’s Day 2013.

That’s my Dad in Miniland, Denmark c1984.

My photography skills improved a little, or maybe it’s just technology.

It meant a lot to take my Dad to Legoland, nearly 30 years on. To take my kids, just a little bit younger than I was when I went. To take a glimpse into my own childhood, to remember and be reminded how it felt to be a child and to see being a parent in a whole new light.  Continue reading

Battle Boxes – Great British Adventure Kits

There’s a knock on the caravan door…

Have you got a sheet? asks a small child

Another Knock

Have you got a tent pole? asks another small child

Another knock

We just need something, you know, to make a keep out sign says my daughter

Another knock

We need snacks for us to eat in our den and a rucksack and a flag and another blanket says my son, all in one breath. Continue reading

Party Like It’s 1979

I supplied the photo, (can you guess which one is me?) but today’s guest post is written by the very wise Laura Potts, a mum to two. I think all parents will find her approach to kid’s birthday parties reassuring:

Themed cakes. Expensive activities. Party bags. Kids’ birthday parties have gotten entirely carried away. But the kind of low-impact, homemade celebration that’s been lost to the ages is the antidote to today’s commercialized overproductions – and little guys love it.

Be honest. How much pressure do you put on yourself to throw your child the “perfect” birthday party? Continue reading

Top Tips for Parents of Gap Year Volunteers

Did you take a gap year? I never did, but I wish I had done something like it sooner. My trip to Ghana with Comic Relief to do some overseas volunteer work earlier this year was three days, but in the sense that it involved months of planning: for the trip itself and around social media and fundraising, I felt as if I had taken a sabbatical from my everyday life and it gave me a whole new perspective on life.

I would really like my children to experience what I did, I talk to them about it all the time. Original Volunteer, organiser of overseas volunteer work gap years around the world asked me what my tips for parents of gap year volunteers would be, I have to admit the beforehand the thought of them travelling made me feel a bit wobbly, but the research has made me feel a whole lot better about it, plus, we still have at least 10 years to go! Continue reading

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