Round peg looking for square hole! 4 children, 1 marraige, a big 1950s house and garden and limited budget, festival producer, art and maker, adventure haver, bargain finder, travelled and product tested.
Mummy to 4 Married For 20-something years ( lost count) Artist, festival producer, Artist, Psychotherapist, interior designer, crafter, maker, gardener, vintage caravans, camper, home owner of an amazing 1950's house with huge garden, huge mortgage and too many rooms to clean! Review a few bits and share good products! Try to fit in to a square hole but find myself quite round pegged ... having Lots of adventures and making stuff nice with no money! I'm writing our adventures and share the things I make and do with others. Dyslexic and proud.. so keep your spelling and grammer corrections to yourselves.
Talking about food poverty. We had an experience that brought it home to us this week. So we’ve mot been able to leave the house for coking up to theee week.. quite teen and the another week of quarantine. Fit two weeks we we were fine.. we were well and had online shops due.. no problem. Then I got ill… and it snowed.. then Grace got ill and it snowed some more.. Libby got busy with work and it snowed again…this meant our shopping slot got delayed then cancelled.
Libby couldn’t help usas she was overrun with work, Grace was ill and needed her own shopping so we tried elsewhere..
No supermarkets were delivering because of the snow, there were no slots anyway, prime now had a 72 hour waiting list and we didn’t want to ask anyone we knew to help because we didn’t want to put them at risk. So we had to use Uber eats at the local shop.
We got beans, bread, couple of pot noodles, pasta, milk a few bits to keep us going for two days.. maybe about £25 worth should we have got from the supermarket.. it came to £56 !!! A third of our normal weekly budget for about 1/6 of our weekly shop!
We are in a luck position to be able to stretch to that but often that’s a full weeks budget!
Is it absolutely necessary for businesses to be profiting for people’s desperation?
My chemist is doing it too.. normally I pick up paracetamol and Ibuprofen when I pick up my prescription.. 36p and 29p respectively.. since March they have been charging £3.49 for each!!! Masks are also available at £20 for 10! Small bottles of detol (normally a pound) ar £6!!!! It disgusts me! Pharmacists ar one of the industries that are not struggling due to the virus! They are the link for community and are simply just taking advantage of people who are too frightened to shop around at this time.
Anyway that’s it.. rant over.. I don’t need to add a closing point because I thing we all know how obvious it it..
Woke up at 4.30am and found myself a bit stressed and cooped up. After a week confined to my bedroom quarantined from the family I was totally ready to blow a fuse!!
Decided to get dressed and take a walk.. blow the cobwebs off and all that! I’m sure we’ll see a couple of neighbours asking if anyone saw a woman walking around this morning and how dodgy she looked..
Feeling brighter and now deciding wether to go back to bed.
Keith came back in our bed last night for the first time in three weeks and I’ve learned a few things.
Yes his snoring does keep me awake, he pulls off the bottom sheet and he pinches my pillow.. these were all things I presumed ‘just happened’ (except the snoring) but nope. It’s him! Who’d have known it?
Not sure what to do now.. should I do some housework?
The death toll reached over 1020 today in the uk and 15k deaths globally! .. but what does 1000 people actually look like? And why are we not seeing the magnitude of this natural disaster?
We hear a number every single day on the news!
Announced as ‘Breaking News’ about mid afternoon each day… and we read it and we sigh. We might state it out loud with a shake of our head and we might even comment on it. But are we really taking it in?
Reading comments and responses on social media makes it quite clear that many are not!
When have you ever seen a movement of everyday people responding to mass deaths of innocent people by providing a constant list of reasons why we shouldn’t be so bothered by it?
You just need to look at any daily announcement and read the comments .. dismissing the dead as ‘old’ , ‘having underlying health conditions’, or simply by stating these people didn’t exist at all!!!
When did we turn into a nation of people who respond to death with dismissal?
Are we all guilty becoming numb to the magnitude of it all? Perhaps because we can’t see it.
We don’t see rolling footage of people dying on mass with constant interviews from witnesses and loved ones like we would any other disaster. We only see individual, socially distant, calm interviews of the bereaved slotted in between video and reports of mps, speeches and schools. It’s all calmly reported and the vast amount of daily deaths just a side story. So it’s hardly surprising we aren’t getting this!
So what exactly do these numbers actually mean, what do they look like?
A thousand people is equivalent to 4 large planes crashing and killing everyone on board. It’s the equivalent to all the students of a large high school all dying in an explosion or an entire housing estate of residents dying of a chemical spill.
Hard to imagine these awful things happening but the numbers are the same so why do they seem so horrific in comparison to covid deaths? Deaths that aren’t one offs but are happening every single day!
Normally when our country suffers a tragedy that involves a mass death it very rarely includes the same kind of number we are seeing here.
The Hillsborough disaster took 96 lives, the Manchester bombing took 23, abroad the horrors of 9/11 took around 3000 lives. All shocking and horrendous one off events but if we compare how the public reacted to these events to how we are responding to the daily tally now, we are seeing a very different mood.
Why don’t seem to be mourning our people like we would in similar events like stated above? Why aren’t we as shocked and horrified.
Currently, while we see 1000 deaths in the uk, worldwide we are seeing 15k deaths a day!
Until we get an actual grasp on this numbers and understand the danger we are in I can’t see how we will ever get out of this pandemic.
I woke up this morning and I stretched and my mind went to the usual ‘what day is it, what do I have to do, where’s Keith, the kids, what’s the girls plans today…etc’ and I couldn’t remember what day it was or what was happening!
I mean literally had no idea… I was going through what we did yesterday and trying to work out where in the week I was… nothing! I totally panicked as I realised there was very little differentiating the days to help me! I just couldn’t get it.
Realistically it was only 30 seconds probably , but I had to look at my phone to be sure.. I honestly thought it was Tuesday?!? And couldn’t quite believe we were on Sunday!!! Scared me to death!
Anyway I googled it to check I wasn’t starting with dementia of something.. apparently it’s a common experience during lockdown as all the days are the same and we aren’t getting enough daylight! Same with the vivid dreams and even momentarily forgetting even what month we are in.
How weird is that? It really shocked me.. I really was freaked out!
Anyway in other news all our COVID tests came back negative.. doesn’t mean we are definitely in the clear and not out of quarantine until next week but we know we didn’t have it on Friday at least.. (Keith’s been in close contact with someone who’s positive and we have another week of possible infection showing ) Keith’s still in the spare room and we are really missing each other now.. 😞 but we have to do all we can to protect the boy x
Unfortunately it’s a massive worry that we will infect William as he’s almost certain to end up in hospital on fluids as a standard treatment.. the paediatric ward already have him on a ‘direct contact’ list in case he catches it… so he can go straight in and there’s a huge chance it’d go straight to his lungs .. if he went to hospital he’d be on his own too.. although hes 15 they said Wils would probably have to go to hospital alone as I would obviously have to quarantine and could join him and he’s old enough to be unaccompanied … He’s obviously frightened of that happening and if I’m honest I think he’d refuse to go on his own!! It’s a scary thought!
Anyway we are doing what we need to do .. there’s lots of spraying, hand washing, changing of clothes, cleaning, window opening and obsessive over action… but y’know this is our family!
Anyway we’ve had another day of doing not much.. Kitty baked with her Daddy and we sat in front of the fire.. that’s it… I know we should go walk for a bit.. but it’s cold!
I have found the ultimate symbol of motherhood! it’s an object that tells the whole story of how mums live and what they sacrifice!
It’s so perfect that I think it should be a new emoji.. used as a symbol to show the never ending responsibilities and lack of freedom we get after becoming a mum.
So what is it? ……
Noise cancelling headphones!!!
Yup.. Never before has an object described the motherload so well!
I won some really posh noise cancelling headphones a few years ago. They are beautiful and simply fantastic bits of kit. But after a few weeks I realised that I’ll never actually be able to use them! … like… NEVER!
When in a mums life can you safely cut out the entire world? There is no time you can cancel out the world! You have to be ALWAYS on duty!
For example…I can’t listen to music or a book in bed in case a child wakes up or has a bad dream.. how would I hear them? What if the cat starts puking or someone tries to break in? Who will hear that? Who will deal with it?
When in the day can I wear them? I work from home so I’m always listening for the phone or the door, let alone the kids…I’m always on guard! I always have to be fully aware of my surroundings!
I’d like to say my husband could hear things but he hears nothing! He has the inbuilt luxurious knowledge that I’m on guard and so he doesn’t have to be.
He can come in, get a shower, watch the tv, have an hour long shit and totally switch off without any kind of concern about what will happen in his absence. He can just disappear without any word… imagine that!
So ingrained is this notion that he’s a member of the house but not responsible for the house, even when asked to ‘look out‘ for the kids while I take a shower or take any time out (I’m taking like a wee or putting the bin out) he forgets or zones out without realising.. it’s just in his psyche now.. “someone else is looking after things”
So yeah… I have my fancy £500 noise cancelling headphones 🎧 at the side of my bed in a fancy case. I’ll never use them but they are mine….
The epitome of insult was when, on complaining about how I’d never get use them (because I had to carry the burden of constant responsibility was) the response was…“ well can I have them then?” Are you kidding me??? That’s the solution?
Not ‘ I see your point.. I’ll step up and start taking my share’… oh no instead I got “ I see your point, I’ll have them then”
So from now on when I’m talking about the motherload I’m going to use the headphones 🎧 emoji as my symbol of my lost freedom!
One day I’ll book a hotel and just go away for 24 hours.. just to be alone with my headphones! 🎧
This post has no photos or editing.. it’s just my words.
This post is going to be difficult for me but I need to write it because I have to stand up for others and myself. I need to be counted.
I also need to learn not to be ashamed or afraid of the consequences and not to fear any kind of ‘victim shaming’
I have put off writing this or talking to anyone because I was frightened people would not believe me, belittle me, gossip about me or simply just think I was attention seeking.
I’m also embarrassed.. I know it’s ridiculous and I shouldn’t feel like this.. but I do..I know that feeling like this is a result of the system but it’s still very real.. decades on.
When I was a child I was a gymnast…. I started when I was about 5 and after my first class I seemed to be whisked into it. My feet didn’t touch the ground.
I trained all over, in my home town, my city, my county and my country.. I even trained abroad at times. My whole life was training and competing… it was my entire childhood and lasted until I was a young adult..
I don’t want to go into too many details about which squads I was part off and to what level I was competing as it’s irrelevant for this blog and I am a little worried about anyone linking me to certain squads or coaches. But what i do need to write is that …I’ve just learned I was part of a systematic and abusive culture and that I wasn’t alone.
I’m also aware that certain people still have that mentality and although they do t realise it they will try to discredit me if I ‘rock the boat’
When I saw the first reports on the news about systemic abuse in the gymnastics culture, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing..
Keith came home looking pale and worried.. he tentatively told me there was something I should watch on the news… he knew this was going to hit me hard….he sat with me as we watched it together.
It did hit me hard! it could have been me talking in that interview.. talking about bullying, training while injured, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and body shaming. I sobbed as I watched it.. my childhood was playing out in from of me.
I hated my life as a gymnast.. I hated the misery I felt every day and hated that I had to keep going because I was ‘gifted’ and would be letting everyone down if I gave up.. id let down my parents, team mates, coaches and country if I didn’t tow the line and train hard.
I continued training and competing until I was a young adult and one day just weeks before what would have been a big moment for me, I walked out.
I’d walked into training as normal and my coach hollered some horrific verbal abuse at me..
I Remember it word for word to this day. I’ve relived it many times since.. even dreamed about it…But it was normal to be spoken to like that, I had it every day of my life.. I trained every day!!! No breaks! Before school and after.. but on this day I snapped.. I picked up my kit, turned around and left.. setting off to walk home miles on my own. (Thankfully to be picked up on the way by my mum.. another parent had rung them.. not the coach of course they’d just have made me walk home)
In the days that followed I was harassed and bullied by coaches and officials who called my parents continuously and came to the house to persuade them to force me to compete.
They even phoned my grandparents which was a big mistake on their part.. they’d have stood by me till the death 😂 it was an awful time.
Thankfully, and to my surprise, my parents didn’t force me back.. I thought they would.. they really wanted this to happen.. it would have been a very proud moment for them. They were spending their whole tine taking me everywhere and anywhere I needed to be.. they’d put their lives on hold for me… but strangely they didn’t force me back,.. it was never discussed again. …
Nobody EVER talked about me leaving as I did, and I know everyone was very angry with me… for weeks/months.. (I’m not sure they really forgave me 😂) …but I didn’t care I was done.. thank god! No I had no regrets!
Years went by and I remembered my gym days almost daily, I still have dreams about some of the things that went on and I always remembered those days with a knot in my stomach.. (I realise now that I suffered ptsd for years and believe it had a lot to do with the various bouts of depression I’ve suffered over the years too).
I can now say with certainty that I was mentally and physically abused by the British gymnastics association and it’s system ..along with many others.
My body is the other victim.. the strict and harsh training has left my body in a mess.. my back is damaged beyond repair and my scans show it’s in the same state they’d expect to see in someone in their 70/80’s. I have arthritis and damage in my wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, hips, neck and shoulders .. there’s is significant damage to my joints causing weakness and pain.. I was diagnosed as a chronic pain sufferer 10 years ago. My wrists are so weak I can’t even use my hands to push myself up anymore which means, with other joins and old injuries, I can’t exercise as I would otherwise . I can’t even do yoga anymore although I do some non weight baring stretching exercises when my pain is particularly bad and causing spasms but I can’t run anymore and struggle to find anything I can do without pain.
We were trained hard! No water allowed during hours of summer training (it ‘gave us cramp’ and we would waste time using the toilet) , no food allowed as it made our ‘stomachs swell’ .. I was called a ‘pregnant pencil’ daily as my stomach pertruded further than my ribs.)
They wanted to see ribs that stuck out to the same level as our breasts and a hole where our stomachs were. I wasn’t fat! When I married (5 years after quitting) I was 6 and 1/2 stone. I didn’t put on weight until I had my children.. (I couldn’t eat big meals as my stomach just wasn’t used to it. ) They would force our bodies into shapes that they didn’t want to go in..
I remember one incident laying on the floor and a middle aged male coach pushing his entire weight on my leg, pushing it above my head as I sobbed in agony, as he lay on my leg, his face next to my head..he shouted in my face and in front of the squad that I was ‘acting like a baby’ and ‘so lazy’ I was so physically messed up for weeks after that ‘incident ‘ ..
I couldn’t walk after, my legs giving way as I tried… he demanded I was taken home out of his sight…the system was so normalised that even my parents and other coaches all showed their anger at me for crying and not being able to get my body into the shape it should have.. shrugging and shaking their heads at me as I struggled to walk out of the gym..I was limping around for weeks after.. but they made me train still.. I never forgot it.. but it was normal.. girls would suffer this kind of humiliation regularly… it wasn’t the parents fault.. they were sucked in too.
The long lasting damage is huge.
A friend and ex team mate has had so many surgeries in the last few years and walks with a stick. Another is due to have her wrist joint replaced after she has suffered years of agony following training on it broken as a child. I still have two displaced toes and a loose bit of bone on my shin.. I have various injuries that never healed.. you just need to see the lumps on my knees!
I avoided letting the kids join any sports clubs.. my worse fear was they’d be brilliant at something and become sucked into something similar. I just presumed it was normal for elite and gifted children to be treated this way.. so I just avoided taking them.. thankfully my lot were more arty than sporty.
But Kitty is different.. I knew she was gifted, I could see it in her.. I tried to ignore it but it can’t be ignored.. she’s brilliant!
Reluctantly I put her name down at the local club and made a pact with myself that I’d only let her do it for fun. No competing just fun.
The first class she went to, I was shaking walking in there.. I sat on the side watching the class, checking the coaches tone and waiting for someone to shout or criticise my daughter.. I was waiting for a reason to take her home.
There was none.. the club was amazing, the coach lovely and the kids adored it. Over the next few weeks I still avoided the parents room and still watched from the side.. but there was a shift, I was watching and enjoying it.. I was coaching in my head and living Kitty’s love and enthusiasm for the sport.. something I’d never had the luxury of.
I started helping a bit.. my body doesn’t allow me to do much and I don’t know the new terms and way things are done.. a lot has changed..but I can help with presentation and turn out.. I can help the girls feel confident and understand the psychology of what they are doing. I like it but it’s early days.. some of the girls are still wary of this lady who has started turning up.. I’ve not talked to them about my experience or what level I was at.. I just couldn’t do it.
But We’ve not been since March due to lockdown so the relationships I started to build are on hold… with the scandals and revelations about the sport coming out and rocking me to the core, I don’t know if I’ll go back… they may not want me back.. who knows what will happen after speaking out… time will tell I suppose.
I’ve made my statement to the independent body investigating the allegations (not heard from them yet and I’m not sure I will) it took me a while to pluck up courage.
I didn’t think anyone would believe me.. and I feared and still fear I’d be called all the things I was called throughout my childhood…they told me for years I wasn’t special and I was an attention seeker, that I was silly and lazy… fat and ugly… I was called ‘paranoid’ when I suggested we weren’t treated fairly and ‘kicking off’ if I asked questions… so of course I stopped pushing back.. we all did..
I still live believing myself to fit that person they said I was…. these people, this organisation broke many children over the years and left permanent scars. So strong and controlling they were that 40 years on we are still having nightmares and still worried that we will get in trouble by speaking out!
I spoke to a few people who I trained with and they are all mostly still too afraid to speak out.. after decades and decades they, like me, are still damaged by this and the thought of bringing it all back up has made them physically ill.. they’ll never report it .. I was lucky.. some of the things that went on to other girls was too awful to share. There were some very dodgy incidents that I experienced over the years but I actually think I got away lightly.
My old team mates and I have talked this though and for the first time we’ve shared how it all affected us.. we didn’t see it at the time.. we just accepted it as normal.. so we just didn’t talk about it. We were stopped from having real friendships with each other too.. we were competitors not team mates.
I understand why they don’t all want to talk .. I feel the same way.. there are people I’d never talk to about this and I’m terrified people will use this as a way to belittle me or gossip about me.
That’s what they made us believe.. and as a society we all still told that we shouldn’t start ‘rocking the boat’ . People ask ‘what’s the point dragging it up now’? Or why didn’t we report it then?
But we couldn’t have spoken out when it was happening.. who would have believed us? NOBODY would have helped us.. it was just ‘normal’.. we were all under the spell.. parents, kids, families… we really thought it was okay!
But there are kids still struggling.. elite athletes still reporting the same levels of abuse and fear.. my daughter is now part of this world (albeit at the very beginning)… so I had to speak out.. I need to be heard and need to feel validated and others do too.
My worry is that in the 80’s there were no records like now.. no welfare protocol or ethics committee.. why would they listen to us now.. it’s our word against theirs.. .
Kitty’s club is lovely and I just love the way they are with their squad and the little ones.. I hope me talking about my past won’t reflect badly on them.. they are part of the reason I can do this now. They gave me hope and I really believe they are wonderful.
I hope talking about this will help others come forwards. I feel like a secret part of my life has become public and it makes me feel less alone. It felt important to ‘fess up’ about what we’ve gone through these last few weeks.. I guess my past has affected me more that I realised and it feels important people know what has made me who I am.
I am one of many thousands of adults who have lived with this in their heads and memories..who keep their experiences to themselves and just believed it was normal.
I’m still worried about folks calling me out on this. Scared of the response.. but what have I to loose? I’ve kept it to myself for years.. it’s time for others to take some of the burden and just getting this out of my head and into the universe makes me feel lighter.
So I just posted on the blog how we survive our time on the road and in the fields with no electric, camping with any ED family. To see hoe we do it see here.
With all the practicalities of camping aside how would you cope with ED at the biggest festival in the UK?
I know many ED families shy away from festivals and large events in summer when they know they will be separated from the normal ‘safety nets’ you might have at home.
I am here to demand you get those Glastonbury tickets booked!!! its the most incredible family experience you could wish for and you really don’t need to worry about keeping cool and safe!
Glastonbury is HUGE!!! It literally is a a city and can take two hours to walk from one side of the site to the other! There are hundreds of stages, areas and fields to explore and the festival lasts a whole five days! Like Disneyland you can’t expect to do it in one visit!
We have been working Glastonbury as a family for over a decade and still we haven’t visited many of the areas if offers.
But like any city you have all the facilities an urban community relies on.
When on site at Glastonbury you are told not to ring 999! This is because emergency services are already on site and ready to help.
There are fire, police and medical ready and based around the site, with fully stocked chemists and a fully working hospital!
There are stewards and security on every corner armed with radios and contact with these services, you are literally never for than two minutes from help.
The hospital is fully working too, with 250k people on site the hospital and medics have delivered babies, patched up cuts and breaks, pumped fluids into dehydrated festival goers and even restarted the odd heart! it all happens here just like it does anywhere else.
Of course they call in outside services when needed but as a rule you must always use what’s provided! it takes so long to get in to, and across site from the ‘outside’ that the onsite peeps are essential and they really know what they are doing too!
Glastonbury is at its heart a hippy and green festival and within that there is an entire field dedicated to healing.
The healing fields comprises of hundred of different clinicians and practitioners from massage to midwives..gong baths to laughter therapy… its all here… have a wonder through and chat to homeopaths, aromatherapist and some of the more weird and wonderful … it’s surprising what ideas and potions they can offer to help.
The Homeopathic Network are a firm staple of Glastonbury and have their own ‘hospital’ on the main road through the site, offering free consultations for everything from sun stroke to wasp stings, muscle pain to anxiety! They ask for a donation but it’s totally voluntary.. many of the irritations that come along with ED in the summer can be treated here.. you don’t need to suffer because you are at a festival.
The welfare team at Glastonbury are utter legends! period!
Not just there to sooth those who have over indulged or are suffering any mental health problems, they are there to offer a safe space, quiet, water, suncream and best of all spraying water on everyone when they are boiling!!!
They literally stand on the road and spray you!!!.l.. to cool you down!!… legends I tell you!!!
The Samaritans are also on site, but I found when William was little he often would totally melt down when he started getting hot (he still does actually) just having somewhere to go and sit with no questions asked was so helpful and the Welfare team became Williams sanctuary. They have different posts around site with the main ones offering cushions, mattresses and blankets in cosy tents to cocoon you.
It’s worth noting that they are very good at making sure kids don’t get put next to adults who are maybe struggling through adverse effects of drugs and alcohol.. they are professional enough to quietly make sure you get what you need when you need it without having to ask.
SHADE & REST
With hundreds and thousands of stalls, tents, stages and sculpture there is always somewhere to sit in the shade.. it’s that simple! everywhere is pretty and beautiful.. the shade comes as standard.
Thousands of benches are put out every years to sit on and many of them have built gazebos and flower arches to sit under.
Some places are busier and noisier than others of course.. but no matter if you are at the main stage or meditating by the stone circle you will find shade
I ensure we integrate shade into our pitch design, everyone does, the whole of Glastonbury is designed to take every kind of weather in account.
After years and years of attending the festival we have found some special places to find solitude.
Our favourite places to go for shade and rest are as follows;
This magical little area is sited halfway up the left hand side of the stone circle field. Its one of the only permanent features on the site. A little gap in the trees makes way to a stream in which a stone dragon has been built.
A favourite place for crew children before the festival starts, there is a gentle stream running through the leafy little treeline. its perfect for a little paddle and sit in the cool of the trees. expect a few hippies burning incense but as a whole its generally unknown and a magical little spot.
The Peace Garden and Dome
On the other side of the stone circle field ( Dragon field) opposite the secret dragon, you will find the Peace Garden and the Peace Dome.
Now I am very aware this all sounds like a hippy-fest of the highest degree but I promise its not like that at all. Yes there are lots of things that smell of incense and lots of talk of peace and the environment but you don’t have to have a head of dreadlocks and bare feet to be welcomed. In fact both these areas are not manned all the time and are left totally in your trust. Glastonbury is the only place I have even been to where EVERYONE returned to face value.. your job, your age, gender of anything else becomes unimportant its a very freeing and liberating feeling.
So the peace garden is just stunning and you won’t believe it has been built just for that weekend. Honestly it is dismantled and redesigned each year!
With ponds, straps and bridges, pagodas, giant chairs and little winding trails its a wonderful place for refuge, picnic and shade. The Peace Dome is near by the garden although not part of it. often you will find it slightly down the hill but clearly visible from the garden.
It’s as you’d expect, a huge dome with nothing but a circle of candles and hanging sculpture and lantern. The flame from the lantern originates from the Hiroshima explosion and was taken from the burning wreckage at the time. The candles and lanterns are all lit from the flame and you are invited to visit and light a candle too.
Its a wonderful experience and is very educational as well as powerful.
The space is quiet and calm and worth visiting at least once… early evening is out favourite time to visit so you can watch the sunset from the same hill too.
Please don’t think that these are the only places to go.. the festival is full of these special corners of rest and shade.. everyone finds there own.. thats the beauty of it.,
Glastonbury is very much invested in water and its importance. Something ED families know only too well.
Over the years they have developed more and more waterless toilets which are surprisingly much more pleasant that the porta-loos or traditional long drops.
They work in partnership with Water Aid and they do an awful lot of work with the festival goers and provide the water points across site.
This year the festival banned single use plastic which meant everyone had to bring their own reusable water bottles. The festival put in hundreds of water refills points to ensure folks have plenty of water to drink.
Campsites have water points for filling up containers and all toilet blocks have washing facilities and soap/cleanser.
There are also a number of lovely water features around site which add another dimension to the site.
REST OF THE FESTIVAL
WHAT TO TAKE
So thats the practicalities of what the site offers now all you have to do is to plan your packing list. As you know the British weather is totally unpredictable and you need to prepare as much as you can. But saying this you also do have to pack wisely.
Walks from the car parks into the festival site can be long and tiring. Investing in a trolly is a great tip, you can pull along your heavy stuff and then in the festival you can throw the kids in it and let them fall asleep while you have a dance. ( you can also buy or make canopies for them.. portable shade!)
Yes the booze is pricy on site at £6 a pint!! but not as bad as other festivals. However you are allowed to take limited amount of booze with you… but no glass or plastic bottles!!.
Decant spirits and wine into reusable containers and look at cans of beer/cider rather than bottles…remember how heavy it is though before going mad!
The co-op has a very useful and well priced shop on site where you can buy booze and ice at supermarket prices.
You don’t need to go mad with packing food if you don’t want, snacks and drinks are probably your priority. You can buy the most incredible food on site and it doesn’t all cost the earth.
Glastonbury is the FA CUP of pitches to win, so they literally choose from the worlds best food traders. They all have to buy sustainable and local produce from the onsite markets, so you know the costs have to be maintained across site.
You may be on a very tight budget or run out of cash.. in this case you can find free basic food at the hare krishna tent daily and the 50p tea tent is open 24 hours and serves basic hot drinks and cakes at the very cheapest of prices.
The co-op super market on site offers food and drink at supermarket prices as well as offer meal deals of sandwiches and crisps as you’d find in your local highstreet store.
Ok you are going to be in a field for more or less a week… keeping clean is challenging.
Try looking for a collapsable bucket or bowl, soap in plastic container and a flannel for strip washes. Many plump for baby wipes but seeing the mess millions of these make afterwards I would never recommend them. A bowl and flannel is lighter and doesn’t take up much more space than a box of wipes ( you will need a lot to keep a family clean for a week) I promise you will feel much cleaner after a proper wash and you can even wash your hair too if needed.. you cant do that with baby wipes.
There are showers in the Greenpeace area and the kids field offer free bathing for children.
But its ok to get dirty for a few days.. its a standing joke among Glastonbury crew that you don’t realise how much you smell until you reach the first services on the way home!
For other ideas on how to camp at a festival with ED look at the first part of this blog here
Stages and Stuff to do!!
I want to give you a whole wonderful paragraph that gives you the smallest of tastes of the magic that is Glastonbury, but its impossible.
I know its a cliche but you really have to do it to get it! There is a reason why tickets sell out in seconds and that people of all ages come year after year..( note kids can go to every part of the festival… I have raved with a 2 year old on my shoulders and felt totally safe) .. It simply is magical and you will never forget it… even in the muddy years you will remember, with a full heart, the people you met and the things that you saw and were amazed by.
It is said to be the best show in the world and I really believe it to be true. If you don’t like the stuff on the main stage then don’t worry that is less that 3% of the program.. its not just what you see on the telly!…
I haven’t been to the pyramid stage for 4 years! in fact I haven’t left the green fields.. my Glastonbury is very much based in the Green Crafts field, the Healing Field, Avalon ( more alternative and folk music) Circus, Theatre, Tipi and Kids fields. My hubby prefers the dance areas, Arcadia and Shangrila, My teens love the Pyramid and the Other Stage.
My 5 year old simply wants to paddle in the stream and run around in the peace garden , although she does love the pirate ship ( yes a full sized ship) and kids field where everything is free!!!
Just check out the website and research the stories and photos of those who have walked the Glastonbury fields… it won’t take long to persuade you!
Just do it!! theres no need to worry about not managing to keep cool or hydrated.. all that is sorted. Glastonbury is a city and has all the things a cart has but just in a very different way… come play with us in the field of Avalon 2020.
We came home as always, tired, smelly and full of love… its our very best time of the year and wouldn’t change it for the world. I am so very blessed that I could make this into my job and that my whole family can do it with me.
I run a workshops pitch in the Green Crafts field where we set up a lovely area and charge the public to come and make things with us. We all muck in, even Kitty (5) its an adventure form start to finish…
ps: you need to register here so you can apply for tickets next year x
About 15 years ago I managed to turn my love for festivals and camping into a real life job! Fast forward to 2019 and we, my family of 6 , are still here travelling the UK every summer, working at festival after festival with scores of incredible creative and wonderful people. ( Libby 21, Grace 19, William 13 and Kitty 5)
But this blog post isn’t about our fab summer lifestyle, it’s about how we managed to maintain this lifestyle, in a field without power and still managing to keep our boy ( and husband and adult girl) cool this year at one of the hottest Glastonbury’s on record.
Out of the six people in our family we have three with Ed. My husband, my 19 year old daughter (who doesn’t struggle as much as the boys) and our 13 year old son William. This post talks more about keeping William cool as he is the one that struggles the most, however the rest of the team use all the facilities too.
If you don’t know what ED is you can read about it here
This is how I kept my family cool at one of the hottest Glastonbury’s on record!
We are privileged to work in the Green Crafts field at the festival and this means we all live and work without tapping into any electric and having to fetch and carry water as we need it.
Glastonbury is first and is very much the most important part of our summer…We arrive on site the week before the festival and our home is our vintage caravan Molly and her awning.
Molly The Caravan
Molly does have the ability to hook up to the mains but it’s not an option for us when we are at festivals.. its back to basics! So we have created a caravan that completely runs off grid….are you ready?
Firstly Mr O rigged up two sets of solar panels on Mollys roof.
At this point it’s worth mentioning Molly only cost us £400 and is 20 years old. We chose something of this age so we could adapt her and ‘knock her about’ a bit without feeling we were damaging her value.
The solar panels sit on her roof and are rigged up to two outlets inside the living area. We chose to use usb hubs as they hardly take any ‘juice’ and it’s surprising how many helpful items run from a usb!
From the USB ports we can charge our phones but can also run a few other helpful items.
These fans are from amazon and cost us about £17 each. They are small, about the diameter of a cantaloupe melon, but they really do blow a decent amount of air!
They have a clip on the back which allows us to move around the caravan depending where we need the breeze.
We also worked out if you charge up a phone charging power bank you can take the fans out with your where ever you go.. power bank in pocket and fan clipped on to your clothing.. Kitty did this most days and was the envy of the festival!
We can also run a cool box from a usb!!! Now this was a little expensive at £160 but it cools on the usb to fridge temp and is a good size.
We do have a fridge that runs on gas in the caravan, so tend to use the cool box for drinks and (wait for it) cooling towels!!! Very important kit!
We travel to the festival with the cool box full of ice. We have an ice maker in the fridge at home which we empty, but bags of ice are a pound from the supermarket.
As we travel from Yorkshire to Somerset we tend to split the journey by staying overnight somewhere halfway.. the ice in the coolbox melts a bit during the journey but keeps our drinks nice and cold. By the time we arrive on site and plug in the box, we have a box half full of ice cold water which we use to soak four or five hand towels.
We just put them in the water and let them soak up the water and keep them there ready.
We often unplug the box over night and find the cool box keeps everything cold until morning.
Wringing out the towels and placing around shoulders is a quick way to cool down and as a woman of a certain age, I find this useful too!
We always take a tin bath with us too.. not a ‘step toe and son’ adult sized one but a beer cooler/baby bath type sized one. They are quite fashionable at the moment and you can pick them up all over.
Ours is from a junk shop and it comes everywhere with us. We use it for strip washing in (we are on site 10 days! Needs must) for washing clothes in, bathing the kids in and for filling with cold water and putting feet in!
This is an incredibly quick way to cool you down and for a child (and his dad) is something quick and easy we can do.
Another tip for keeping cool on a night (we only do this on the odd day that the British summer delivers a VERY hot night) is to dampen a flat sheet. Wring it out fully ( one on each edge as you twist) and use it on your bed as normal. Don’t lay on top of it directly on your mattress or you’ll soak your mattress. Drying a mattress in a field just doesn’t happen! .. so just place the sheet over your body at any time of the day and voila!
Now all these things are great at cooling you down individually, depending on how hot you are you can choose what’s best for you.
PUTTING INTO PRACTISE
But we had a moment at Glastonbury where our boy overheated! Not just felt hot but really started to become ill. His legs went and he was sick, seeing double and generally falling very ill. Because we had all these things ready to hand we had him wrapped in damp towels, feet in a bucket with fans on his face and within moments he was back with us.
I know for a lot of ED families, camping and festivals feel like too much trouble.. but it doesn’t have to be.
I know we have done a lot of prep and it may seem over-kill to create an ED friendly caravan!.. but remember we are on the road without power for weeks on end so it makes sense to have all the facilities we can. We aren’t just on holiday on a nice campsite but we are working in a field with nothing but grass and a shared tap.
Al this aside some of these things you can still do.. you don’t have to have a ‘Molly’ to have solar power!! you can get fold-out solar panels and leisure batteries to use in a tent too. They give you enough power to run the fans and cool box … just having cold wet towels can make a huge difference! so don’t be afraid to look into it.. this is an exciting time for renewable energy.. and that means its a great time to explore the possibilities that brings.
So thats how we prepared top keep cool at Glastonbury read here to find out about how to keep cool in and around the festival!
I don’t know about you but I really like having lovely toiletries in my bathroom.
I have my favourite shampoo and favourite conditioner, I have a face scrub, make up remover and separate face washes and hand washes.
All this leads to having loads of plastic bottles all over the bathroom and of course everyone else in the family wantS their own special bottles and tubs too! ..we end up with just tons of half used plastic bottles and tubs.
They all have different graphics and designs as well as costing ( sometimes in excess of £3). As well as expensive we all know that all these plastic bottle are going to end up adding to the plastic mountain we are battling at the moment.
So how can we keep the things we love and still reduce our plastic waste in the bathroom?
Well fear not!!! I figured it out… It saves money, looks tidy and actually could even be described as looking a bit posh!!!
After doing up my bathroom at the beginning of the year I decided I didn’t want all those bottles cluttering up the lovely new room. As any budget conscious parent does, I trawled through Pinterest for storage ideas and by accident found this concept.. its the best thing ever!!! ( ok I may be exaggerating a bit here)
By decanting your products into nice jars and bottles you solve all your bathroom related issues ( well mostly) .
I found some lovely pump bottles for the side of the sink and bath ( not waterproof) and some clear plastic pump bottles for inside the shower-cubical ( totally waterproof) . I spent a bit more on them so they’d last but you can get them for less than a pound. I figured if I want them to last I should buy something that was made to be reused over and over again. I spent £12 for 3 plain clear ones and a little more on some more “designed” fancy ones for the side of the sink. ( £5 each)
Nice Labelling makes a difference
I found some little blackboard labels on string to hang around the pump part of the containers and instead of using chalk pens I used a white enamel pen to write what was in each container. ( chalk pens are water soluble so not great for bathrooms)
I decanted the products into each bottle and found that everything looks so much more pretty in a clear bottle.
When I first did it I used up all the half empty bottles of products we already had. (I admit to mixing them too, I think I had four different shower gels in one bottle at one point, but it looks kind of cool!)
I was thrilled to finally finish all the bottles up and start to use something more permanent.
Brands and Cost
There are loads of recognisable brands available in larger containers. I was able to find our favourite shampoo and conditioner, shower gel and hand wash in 5ltr tubs/containers.
Yes of course they are more expensive that your normal sized bottle but when you work out how much they cost per bottle ( a normal sized container off the shelf) I found the savings were huge.
So where I was paying upto £3 for a bottle of shampoo, buying in large bulk bottles I was paying less than a pound for the same amount!
Also I found we were using so much less product!
When you use a normal bottle of product often the dispenser deposits a good old blob of product on your hand much more than you need. But when you use the pump bottle you have much more control over the amount you use.
I recon we are using less than a third of what we would before for each wash.
This means we are getting three times more use from our product.. again saving money!
If you can’t afford to buy the 5lt tub, using a normal sized bottle would still have a difference on your pocket and the amount of disposed plastic.
For every three bottles you’d use normally you’d now be using one! taking two out of the bin!!! If everyone did that.. it would have a huge affect!
Same goes for shower gel, hand wash and face wash. You can buy these in bulk sized containers. Search for hotel/pub/hairdressers/ beauticians suppliers and your find everything you need.
Don’t be afraid to use products you don’t recognise either. Many suppliers use the same products just rebranded. Hotels and spas don’t want to provide rubbish so these are still good quality.
Remove Babywipes for Make Up.
I also have two teenage girls who use huge amounts of baby wipes to remove their make up and I was sick of seeing them all over the place. I also knew the mess they cause in our sewers. ( our girls don’t flush them down the loo but they still end up in the bin.. and all over the house!)
So I thought about a way to reduce the use of wipes too. I found a litre of witch hazel on line for around £5 or you can use regular make up remover . I decanted into one of the containers and bought some facial flannels…. 10 flannels all together cost £5 from a hotel supply company. I cut in half and folded up nicely in a basket.
The girls now put the witch hazel on the flannels and use them instead of wipes, they rinse out and hang them on the radiator to dry. When they need a wash just throw them in the laundry and they come out ready to be put back in the basket.
(You could use old (or new) baby muslims for this too and even cut up cotton squares.)
I didn’t think they’d do it, but I think it makes them feel like its a more luxurious process and they’ve stuck to it. We’ve cut out all the baby wipes from the house and they didn’t even notice.
Bringing a Home Spa into your Home.
Besides the obvious money savings and cutting down of plastic waste, there is another thing too…. They look really Posh!!!! and it feels luxurious too.. it feels like you are in a hotel and thats always a good thing! I feel like I’m in a spa every time I take a shower!!!
Why removing branding revamps a room!
I read the Marie Kondo book at the beginning of the year (she’s a ‘tidying up’ guru in case you don’t know!! ) and she talked about how clearing away all the bottles and containers that have labels on helps to create a calmer environment.
She explains how we tend to ‘speed read’ everything we see without realising. By removing these products, bottle and labels, without realising, you stop reading everything and the room becomes quieter and calmer… (not to mention much tidier)
It really works!! the bathroom felt so much calmer and lovely, as well as looking a bit posher! so that was it..Im now obsessed!!
I’ve done the whole house!! everything is decanted!!! washing liquid, hand wash by the kitchen sink and even cleaning fluid for wiping down the sides… if its in a bottle.. its decanted!!
The only obstacle we had was from the teens as they complained they wanted ‘nice’ shampoo, when they realised we were still using the products we always had they soon stopped moaning.
We’ve not had a Christmas yet. everyone buys us tons and tons of smellies, I’m hoping we will still decant them to use them up but I know some of the posher ones have lovely bottles than we might want to display. I am guilty of this already and have two sneaky premium brands that I keep out in my bathroom. But I put them on the shelf and display them like ornaments! I know.. its pathetic…..
next week… teeth, toothbrushes and toothpaste! oh I can feel your excitement!!
We all want to do our bit for the environment, of course we do, but its not always that easy.
We know we need to reduce plastic and recycle more but there’s so many obstacles in our way.
With complicated labels not telling us wether we can put packaging in the recycling bin or not, companies charging almost double for products in reusable and recyclable packaging and a whole host of conflicting advice. It can feel like a bit overwhelming and its not surprising that we sometimes end up telling ourselves that ‘its not worth it’ and that we ‘wont make a difference’
The truth is that so many of us think the same, and when everyone thinks that they can’t make a difference then no-one makes a difference!
Granted many of these issues would be solved by the manufacturers and large companies. Once they start to produce items in biodegradable or fully recycle-able materials then we are all forced to input into the plight of the worlds eco system. It’d be so much easier for us all to live a more considerate life! But until then we have to find ways to do our bit. Even if its a small change.. its still a change and its better than nothing.
So how do we live the life we want to live? and use the products we want to use? without discarding our want and need to be considerate of the environment. I understand that you don’t want to compromise your lifestyle… you can deny it.. but I know none of us do.. so we need to find ways to incorperate green ways into our chosen lifestyle!
I was thrilled to be asked by Wakefield Recycling Services to share my ideas with you.
I am a mum of four and live in Pontefract. I live in a normal semi on a normal street in a normal town. I like nice things but I like a bargain! I like good food, nice toiletries, nice clothes, shoes and accessories… oh and I love to make my home look nice too ( as nice as a home with four kids can ever be) so how do I do my bit for the environment, but like you don’t spend more money and don’t have to compromise quality and style?
Is it possible to live a modern life and still be green?
This blog will help you find a way to be green and be considerate without having to buy a small holding in the woods, grow a beard, live in a tipi and have a number of goats and chickens. ( but you can do this if you want.. I do know a number of families that live a wonderful self sufficient life style but thats another post!)
You can still live in a normal town in a normal home with normal kids and normal friends and STILL be environmentally aware and active.
So follow me here and I will try help you and your family find a way to be more green and environmentally aware. I’ll share stories of others and discuss environmental stories in a way that affect us. I don’t profess to be the greenest or most environmental person in the world.. but I am always looking for ways to make a difference.
If you have any questions or things you want ideas about then drop me a message. I can’t say I will have all the answers but If I don’t I do have plenty of people to ask for you.