Camp Westival*

 Camping in The Cotswolds, in Oxfordshire.

Our home for four days was in an 8-man tent on a camping site in Chipping Norton. A car and top box rammed to the brim, ready for this annual family meet. The *Westival, named after Mr Red’s Family on his Mum’s side.  We have had this wonderful get together now for the past four years.

We’ve met twice in North Devon – where my husband is from. The meet took us to Nottingham last year, where we got bitten a lot by insects.

This year The Cotswolds. Such a lovely part of the country, I’d like to be able to investigate further one day, see more of it.

So it rained for more than half of our stay, the road by the camp site was very busy and noisy, even at night, but it really was a lovely time away.

The Thursday it had taken us a good few hours to get there, so it was mainly about settling in, tents up, and a take away was the menu for the day.

Sight Seeing

Friday we took a trip to Oxford in the morning, such a beautiful City, would love to spend more time there exploring. We really loved the old buildings, such character. In the afternoon we paid a visit to a National Trust property – Chastleton House in Morton in Marsh, yet another stunning National Trust property to tick off of our visit list. Unfortunately the weather was hideous so we didn’t spend long here at all; we did pop into the Church within the grounds and had light refreshments. BBQ with the family in the evening completed the day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fairy Tale Farm

Saturday whilst the “older” generation went for a pub lunch, we took a trip to Fairy Tale Farm, although started off damp and very breezy it did end up being a lovely time out. The children totally enjoyed this play place, lots of things to see and do, with many sensory items.

There was Bunny Hollow, with a role play kitchen, which the smaller girls enjoyed, the entrance to the hollow were little flower beds with plastic flowers, although it wasn’t obvious.

Two sheds with a path in between had some hidden secrets, with buttons to press, where lights turned on inside, and snippets of fairy tales were told. Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Red Riding Hood. Although Sleeping Beauty was slightly creepy.

Out the other side were sea creature statues, which Baby Red hated, especially the singing Mermaid (think Pirates of the Caribbean singing Sirens creepy).

There were more sensory things as we walked through, things to do, to see and to hear. Even the 12 year old enjoyed herself.

There was a play park with picnic area, the children – young and old enjoyed that, including Rubber Duck Racing! Fun.

DSCF3536

An animal area was last in the outdoor activities, we were able to buy animal feed to feed them, we chose guinea pigs and goats.

Think that was one of their favourite activities.

Inside we brought cheeky cake, there was a small play area for younger children to play, which was lovely.

The day was value for money, would recommend it to anyone with young children.

DSCF3595

Had a walk around Chipping Norton, very small town, not a lot there much like where I live, but a bit more upmarket…

DSCF3597

The day ended with an evening together in a big group for another BBQ, even the rain held off. It is lovely to feel so welcomed by these people.

 

It was so lovely to get away, we are already making plans for our next camping trips, the children really do love it.

DSCF3418

I really can’t believe the School holidays are almost over, they have gone unbelievably quick; I do have some Mummy guilt about not doing a lot this year.  But it can’t be helped; we have done what we could.

 

The Red Head Diaries

Dream Job

Everything I thought I wanted to be changed when I met my husband. I’ve said before I had always loved writing, but I never took it seriously; that was until I met my husband who has the same love.
Before we met I thought the next step would be a nursing career, I’d worked in care for such a long time, it was the next natural progression, it was difficult due to child care, so I paused my course with full intention of starting again one day; I loved my job at the hospital. Then I lost my job, I worked in agency for a while after I remarried. But as my pregnancy with Melody progressed I was too ill to carry on. Once again I planned to return after my maternity, I was looking forward to it.
Then she died.

Every single thing from before changed. From very early on in our grief journey I decided I would never want to work in the care profession again.

I tinkered about working from home, odd writing jobs here and there, I began writing for a hobby and the blog dedicated to Melody, found a new love for blogging and writing in a separate blog too.

So I guess my absolute dream job would to be a full time writer.

I am incredibly grateful to have such a supportive husband and actually I do have a few supportive friends and family too.

All else fails, I really love my day job, I am a midday supervisor – Dinner Lady –I never in a million years thought it would be something I would love, but I really, really do.

 

The Red Head Diaries

Saal Digital UK Photo Book 


​I love taking photos; I take them at every possible opportunity. For me it is important to make memories, but to also make them last. In a digital world it can often make us forget to take the hundreds of photos from USB sticks, our phones, our flash drives. Placed into thousands of folders on screens rather than in shoe boxes or albums. It is always on one of my “to do lists”, to print and sort out the literal thousands of photos I have stuck in my many devices. But of course never gets done. 

I have just recently been given the opportunity to review a Photo book, from Saal Digital UK. I have brought a couple of photo books in the past, they have been okay – pretty run of the mill; so I wasn’t entirely sure on what to expect when my new photo book arrived. 

I have been really pleasantly surprised by this photo book, if I am honest I wish now I had chosen “better” photos, but I love them all the same, I can’t wait to use these books for some of my landscape photos. 

I really love what I have received, and have been showing it off to anyone who will listen and will be back to purchase another, it’ll certainly make the memories a lot easier to look through. 

The Saal Digital UK and software is really easy to use, with clear easy to follow instructions (which make me very happy).

They do a selection of products from prints to Calendars. 

There are a variety of choices for the photo books including hard covers, booklets with spiral binding and soft covers. 

My Book is made up of glossy texture, with an unpadded glossy cover 15×21 with 28 pages. 

Would I recommend Saal Digital UK? 

Yes definitely. There was a really quick turnover from ordering to it reaching me, which is brilliant for last minute shoppers. Thank you for such a great experience.

The Best Thing to Happen This Year

We still have a few months to go until 2017 ends. The year has moved by so quickly it’s hard to pin point what has been the best.
I believe the best is yet to come.
I think one of the biggest highlights for me is becoming a contributor to an online magazine in which I’ve spent the past five years reading, and now I’m writing for them.
There’s a huge team, I feel incredibly honoured to be part of such a wonderful thing.
I’ve some exciting things coming up with The Red Head Diaries blog.
There was the charity barn dance which was great fun, I swore I wouldn’t fundraise again, but then the fun day happened.

Which was amazing, the day went incredibly well, we made £545 to split between two charities, we’re really pleased with what we achieved.

The day went as smoothly as it could, even with the many tears.
We have had a camping trip to the Cotswolds – Chipping Norton, it was so lovely to get away, we’ve planned at least two for next year.
So, whilst I can’t pick one thing, there’s still time

Ten Favourite Foods

Considering I am on a diet, I really shouldn’t be thinking on my favourite foods.

When I was pregnant with my last baby, I was down to eating 2-3 foods for the whole of my pregnancy, that has put me off a lot of foods too.

Big fan of crap food, hence why I am now attempting to diet my way through life.

But if I could have anything.

My ten favourite foods would be.

  1. Scones,
  2. Avocado Salad
  3. Bangers and Mash
  4. Jacket potato with Cheese and Beans
  5. Mackon Chicken with Coconut Rice
  6. Pork and Rice (Hairy dieters recipe)
  7. Lidl Blueberry Muffins
  8. Gnocchi
  9. Strawberries
  10. Pesto and pasta.

 

Plenty of rubbish, but some good things too.

What are you loving right now?

 

The Red Head Diaries

Difficult Time In My Life

I have been through many difficult periods of my life; I have also made some awful mistakes. I’m not perfect. Things I always thought were the worst I could ever go through, even things I have blocked the best way I can from my memory.

It wasn’t until watching our baby girl die on our arms, that everything I ever saw were difficult periods dissolved into nothing. Of course there are worse things than losing a young baby, but to me (and I wouldn’t want anything else to happen), losing her has been the most difficult.

It isn’t a time though, as now it is a permanent life changing thing that has happened, but the bigger picture the things that happened as a result of her death have led to difficult times; confusing times.

We watched family and friends turn their backs, when the family who are supposed to hold you up are the ones who help to push your head under water. Trying to adjust to such a loss, whilst wracking our brains about why people could see our grief be offensive, or use it against us in some way.

I think that would have been the most difficult. Maybe our expectations were high on how people, particularly family and friends would support us through the loss of our girl. Five years later there are things that have gotten better, whilst other parts I don’t think will ever repair.

The hurt left behind can never be forgotten, time has helped us become the bigger people, but it can’t help with forgiveness.

The saying really is true, that you certainly discover who your people are when times are hard.

 

The Red Head Diaries.

What I Collect

When I was a child I collected erasers, I had a large collection with many different shapes and sizes.

I wouldn’t really say I collected anything now as an adult, however Mr Red would somewhat disagree.

Bags, not designer handbags; there’s no Gucci, Chanel or Burberry (I have just Googled the names), I do have a few handbags, but it is nothing compared to my rather large reusable shopping bag collection.

I’d say I have about 30, but upon asking the mister, it would be closer to 100.

I have all sorts of character ones, from Finding Dory to Frozen, mostly from Tesco. I have Canvas ones which are Harry Potter, Trolls and Alice in Wonderland from Poundland and Primark. I have no idea why I have so many, but I use the vast majority of them. Canvas ones occasionally replace my handbags; they fit more crap in them. They’re ideal for swimming too.

I don’t just have ones with characters on, I have the generic supermarket ones as well as ones which raise money for charity, like Count the Kicks and BHF (which is a daffodil one).

It probably is a little excessive, but I don’t care. I like them; I’ll continue to purchase them.

The photo I have included is of course not the whole collection, but if I were to get them all out, the two littlest people would no doubt spread them around the house.

These really are a very, very few of my collection.

Why do I like them so much?

I have no idea if I am honest, but I do know it isn’t a strange collection to have.

Will I stop?

No.

I do have another collection, which is shared on another day…

The Red Head Diaries

DSC_2005