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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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

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Meaning Behind My Blog Name(s)

I run two, my first one I have had for a little while and have had several name changes in the five years I have had it, but had the current name for almost a year.

It is such a damn obvious name; I have no idea why I never used it sooner.

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Melody and Me.

It has become such an important place for me, a safe place to share our daughter, to relieve some thoughts, to help others understand why and what I am thinking. It isn’t always easy to get these things across, especially some people would rather risk running across the road in front of a bus than speak about the life we lost.

It is strange to have had this space for this long now.

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The Red Head Diaries

This blog, I have again had several name changes, and I have never really been overly confident with this one I must admit. I have no idea why, but as it is a parenting and general life blog, I always feel I am pretty much winging both life and parenting, and it isn’t always particularly exciting, but ultimately I don’t really do it for anyone else, I love writing if it gets read then bonus.

Again I can’t believe I never had this name sooner. I am a read head, my children are all read heads, my husband has a hint of red in his hair (although he won’t admit to it).

And red heads are absolutely awesome – and hot (tempered).

 

The Red Head Diaries

 

 

My Most Proud Moment

I don’t think I can pick just one proud moment. I am a typical Mum I am proud of everything my children do, and I’m also proud of my husband for the things he achieves.

I guess the biggest thing, was how they have all pulled together through the death of our daughter. How well the children behaved and continue to behave in a way I’d never imagined after what they’d been through.

My children together have broken through the unimaginable taboo; have failed to keep silent about the death of their sister.

They speak of her when they want to, they have taught their sister, and will continue to teach their baby sister, about the sister they never got to meet.

It was never part of the plan for them to have to teach the world about their sister, it was never part of the plan to watch their hearts break, to know that babies die.

To have walked through something that most adults have repeatedly said they’d not survive, to have come out the other side the little humans that they are.

They don’t talk about their sister 24/7, but they do talk about her, they nothing more than to tell people they have a sister who lives in the clouds; to write about her in school projects.

Showing the love for their sibling who they only knew through a plastic box, who was only here for such a short time.

So, no I don’t have one proud moment, I have a family who has many moments to be proud of.

 

The Red Head Diaries