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The Big Feastival 2014 | We’re ACTUALLY going!

TBF2014

I enter competitions on a whim. I forget about them. I entered The Big Feastival competition via the Jamie Oliver ‘Gold Club’ back in December… at the time, I remember saying to Mr Memoirs, “We should keep that weekend free, just incase!”. His obvious reaction was “No need, we never win anything…”. He’s eating those words right now, because I DID WIN!

We’re so so excited, I can’t even put it into words! And that is saying something.

I’m even excited about the camping part! Which is DEFINITELY saying something.

We’ve always wanted to go to The Big Feastival – as we’re huge fans of Jamie Oliver, and Alex James fan’s to boot (I was always on team BLUR, of course). This is literally the perfect festival for us, especially with Eli in tow too. It’s hugely family-friendly (heck, Justin Fletcher A.K.A Mr Tumble and actual Mr Bloom swoon are there too!). There are dozens of activities and area’s to keep little ones entertained. Plus, and most importantly, this is a foodie festival. With all our favourite chef’s in attendance! You can see the list of who’s-who, here> CHEF’s.

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The marketing team at Jamie Oliver have been absolutely fantastic. They’ve been super swift to reply to any queries we’ve had and have kept me up to date with everything. The tickets landed on my doormat this morning, giving me a new lease of excitement – WE’RE ACTUALLY GOING!

So – what’s the plan when we get there?

Well, we’ll unload the car and get the tent up as soon as possible – and get settled in! We tested the tent a few weekend’s ago and it was super easy to assemble – which is good news because I would get bored so quickly otherwise! For the first time ever, we also have a camp bed; there was no way we could sleep on the actual floor for a few nights (we literally have the bones of elderly people!).

We’ll then head into the festival, which open’s at 11am!

We’re really looking forward to seeing presentations/tasting’s with our favourite Chef’s, as well as joining in all the toddler activities we can feast on! Eli is very, very good with his food, so we’re certain he’ll get stuck into munching whatever he can. As reader’s of my blog, and friends of mine IRL, will know, I’m massively mildly obsessed with Little Bird by Jools. Basically, there is little else that I will dress Mr Eli in, other than Little Bird. It is my imaginary children’s fashion made reality (and probably better than my imagination to be honest!). And guess what? Little Bird will be at The Big Feastival too! Last year there was even a catwalk (I can’t cope!), which I’ll so be FROW of with Eli. Hoping he doesn’t gatecrash though – I know he has a soft spot for Jools and her design’s too! I’m literally so excited I can’t even contain myself!

Just look how adorable these kids are man! LOVE LOVE LOVE Little Bird!

So the countdown is officially on, now that tickets are in hand! T-minus 13 day’s! This weekend we’ve bought Eli some new threads to keep him cool or warm and dry across the Big Feastival weekend. That’s the only trouble with a British festival, you really need to pack for ALL weather! I’m certain we’ll have an amazing time whatever the weather will be. There are adventures and memories to be made… and that’s the main thing.

 

MM.

 

PS – any tips you have for camping with a 2 year old would be greatly appreciated!

Here is the line-up (in full, more or less).

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REVIEW: Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.

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Location: Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.

Length of stay: Monday-Friday, May 2013.

Lodge: New Executive Lodge, 653 (Cedar).

Number of people: 6 Adults, 2 Children, 2 Infants.

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Back in May we went on our first family holiday to Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest. There was a total of 10 of us going so stayed in one of the New Executive Lodge’s, 653 in Cedar to be precise. We were overwhelmed by just how cool the lodge was when we pulled up outside it! My OH’s family have been visiting several Center Parc’s locations since OH was VERY young. But they all confirmed that this was “the very best lodge we’ve ever stayed in!” as soon as we were through the door.

Once inside the door there is space for coats and shoes; plus space for 2 (large) prams to fit in nicely. There was also a huge broom cupboard to house all our suitcases and umbrellas, plus additional bedding, hoover, dustpan and brush, iron, ironing board etc.  There was a dining table to seat 8 plus we had 2 high chairs brought to the lodge in advance. The highchairs were the same as the ones we found right across Center Parcs in the restaurants and places. This meant we didn’t have to figure out how to use a new highchair every time we went somewhere new, but it also meant that Eli knew it was dinner time as he recognised the highchair. This really helped with consistency. The highchairs are all easy clean, but the tray cannot be removed, or even moved closer to your little one. So there was quite a lot of space between Eli and his tray. He managed ok though. We had maid service who replenished bedding and towels and cleaned the lodge daily.

SO! A little look around Lodge 653…

There were 2 double bedrooms and 2 twin bedrooms. We were brought 2 good size cots for the baba’s too. Albeit, we had been told by friends to take our own cot bedding as this is not provided.

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Bedroom’s were very nice sizes, lots of space for a cot. Not a lot of hangers in the wardrobe though! But we made-do. Would have to mention here that the bedding was atrociously LOUD! Never ever tried sleeping in anything like it! The bed was really comfy but the duvet sounded like crisp packets, every time you BREATHED! Huge let down as it looked wonderful! After the first night we ended up taking taking the sheets off the duvet and slept in those instead. Would recommend taking your own sheets/blankets.

Each bedroom has it’s own en-suite, which is absolutely perfect when sharing with so many people! We had an amazing shower in ours. Upstairs, there were also two balconies off the bedrooms, complete with bistro set, overlooking the woodland. The living room was just lovely, huge ‘L’ shaped sofa, that I fell asleep on every night. It was just so comfy! We also had an open fire, which marked my first experience with a real indoor fire! OH led the log-burning ceremony every night. We weren’t blessed with good weather for the duration of our stay (in true British fashion!) so the wood burner was well-used! The kitchen was really spacious, with ton’s of cupboards and two fridges, an oven, hob, microwave and even a dishwasher! You are provided with a tiny amount of washing liquid, so best to take your own too. There was also a really nice breakfast bar, that the kids loved sitting at!

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We had a great patio with dining set and BBQ – we also had regular visits from the local wildlife too! We were lucky enough to have a Lodge with not only it’s own Games Room (PERFECT for the kids and Grandad!) that had a Pool table, huge TV with PS3 and a ton of board games; but we also had our own Sauna! Bliss!

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Eli is such a water baby it’s untrue – he LOVES his swimming. The Sub-Tropical Paradise was amazing. Loads of slides and play areas for children of all ages! We’ve never seen Eli happier than when he was splashing about in the baby pool. He absolutely loved it! OH and I also frequented the Rapids and new water slide. We had a particularly wonderful moment, when we were all in the outdoor pool and it began raining so so ferociously. The water in the outdoor pool was steaming hot and the rain droplets were ice cold. Very memorable and VERY refreshing! This may also have contributed to the Post-CP cold we all had! oops….

I’d also point out that you cannot take a pram or buggy into the swimming area. Eli will only sleep in his pram so this was a huge downside for us, plus our iCandy Strawberry was not cheap! We did however purchase a padlock and locked our pram in the outdoor buggy park. We purchased the padlock for £3 at the Bike Hire shed. I keep the padlock in Eli’s changing bag now, incase we’re ever faced with a similar situation anywhere else. There are ‘cots’ (more like play pens!) for your children but we struggled to get Eli to sleep in one. Could have been that it was so warm and noisy in the Dome too.

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The food was great at every restaurant we visited. The staff at all restaurants really went out of their way to accomodate us, it was an absolute pleasure to eat out! I can really recommend the French Onion soup from Cafe Rouge – I had it twice, it was so good! Equally, their English Breakfast went down a storm as we prepared for the big drive home on our last day. The ribs at Huck’s American Diner were melt in the mouth, just so tasty. I’d also recommend the Indian take away. BEST Indian take away I think we’ve ever had. Very low-cost too!

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Mid-week, OH and I indulged on our first night out since welllllll before Eli arrived. We had a few drinks at the Lodge and then went onto Strada. The manager even brought over a glass of Prosecco as it was almost my birthday! Such a lovely touch. Our table overlooked the Dome, which was just incredible by night with all the trees and tropical plants lit up in the dark. We then went onto Cafe Rouge for a glass of red outside, under a heater. It was so so lovely to catch up with OH and have a proper date night. It was long overdue. We then went for a few cocktails and to the ‘adult disco’. We thoroughly enjoyed dancing to the horrendously cheesy (mostly 90s) music, it was great fun!

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We all had an amazing time at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest and would go back in a heartbeat. There is a TON of stuff to do, especially if you have a family. There’s also a spa, if you’re in the mood for some R & R. Center Parcs is great if you’re thinking about planning a family break, I seriously cannot recommend it enough!

I have just noted a few things that might come in handy if you’re going to visit a Center Parcs soon…

– Take your own food and drink. The Parc Market is a little bit more expensive than your usual supermarket. You can easily add £1-£2 on the price of what you would pay at home. But, of course, the Parc Market is great if you do forget something – it’s VERY well stocked.

– Take washing up liquid, especially if you’re still washing umpteen bottles like us!

– Take your own cot bedding.

– Likewise, take your own bedding if you don’t want to be disturbed by the crispy sheets provided!

– Be prepared to leave your pram/buggy outside in the Buggy Park. If you have an expensive pram, take a padlock with you so you’re not worrying the entire time about leaving it!

– Would really recommend the Dine In service. The Indian take away was just amazing. SO authentic, so tasty. Very affordable.

– Aside from the take away service, you must book all restaurants and any other activities you’d like to do on your trip. You also need to hand over a £5 deposit, per person, for every single restaurant reservation. This came out quite costly when we booked all our meals all at the same time. The deposit is deducted from your meal however, Bare this in mind if you want to dine out or partake in any activities. At Sherwood Forest, you make your reservations at the desk by the Bowling alley.

– At this particular location, we found that the Family changing cubicles were very few, so had to wait quite a while for one to become available. They were hit-and-miss on size too. We struggled at times with Eli; the changing ‘area’ for babies is made from quite a hard, evasive material, almost like concrete, so not particularly comfortable or easy on the eye. This definitely upset Eli, he didn’t like the cold concrete or the look of it, I don’t think! The entire changing experience wasn’t great, the lockers by the Family changing were miles away from the showers and were also quite far from the pool entrance. The changing area is a MAZE.

MM.

I was not endorsed for this review in any way. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Post for Wriggly Rascals: Ligament pain during pregnancy.

 

When the lovely ladies from Wriggly Rascals approached me about doing this guest post I knew that it was something I could definitely discuss at length… I’d had ligament pain since the very early weeks of my pregnancy…

To read my full blog post, head over to www.wrigglyrascals.com and straight to Ligament Pain During Pregnancy ! Please do tell us all about your experiences with Ligament Pain during Pregnancy. What helped you out the most? How was your birth and recovery? Did you encounter the pain in subsequent pregnancies?

And don’t forget to sign up to the website to join the conversation!

MM.

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If you need any #pregnancy reassurance, ask @wrigglyrascals for help. www.wrigglyrascals.com

@wrigglyrascals is a new community to help #newmums, join in. www.wrigglyrascals.com
About Wriggly Rascals
Wriggly Rascals was set up by Shona Motherwell, a frustrated mum of twins Mhairi and Archie to get mums together to share pregnancy, baby and toddler advice via quick surveys to get the facts about what other mums do. Our mums pass on loads of great tips to mums who have asked for help. If you would like some advice, get in touch at www.wrigglyrascals.com

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Coping with this heat (!!!) at (almost) 31 weeks pregnant.

Well, I complained more than enough about the April (into May) showers this year… and craved nothing but natural Vitamin D from sitting in the sun. But not that the sunshine is here, I cannot cope. It’s horrendously hot. I have no suitable clothing and is it even worth buying Maternity Summer dresses now? At almost 31 weeks pregnant? So no such natural Vitamin D for me… YET.

How are you coping/did you cope with intense heat during your pregnancy? I’m finding the commute particularly difficult – even though I’m sat down, it’s too hot on the train with absolutely zero breeze coming through the windows. I don’t suppose it helps that the train goes too slowly to even get a draft going! I’m finding the people standing up around me make me feel increasingly claustrophobic too… (This really was not meant to be such a moany post) Albeit, I do only have 14 (non-consecutive) days left at my desk. So only 14 more commutes.

Please send your tips my way, I fear I’m about to set on actual sodding fire melt.

MM.

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Christmas Party Woes!

It’s that time of year when there are LOTS of invitations to festive drinks and meals. I’ve had TWO important ‘festive drinks’ and a ‘festive meal’ with external companies through work this week… AND I’ve just got back from my office Christmas Party.

I’ve documented my previous struggles with excuses for not drinking in the below blog posts:

TTC: Excuses for not drinking!
TTC: Excuses for not drinking, PART DEUX.

It’s been a struggle again, but because of my recent trips to the hospital I have just been saying that I’m on strict orders not to drink until my “blood test results come back”. I’m pretty certain that people are not convinced – but I have had quite a lot of sympathy! 🙂

So at tonight’s office Christmas party there was the usual free-flowing booze from the onset. I’m usually the one guzzling the freebie’s and dancing the night away… but things are obviously quite different this year! Upon arrival there were ready-made cocktails, with jugs of the same cocktails ready for people who wanted a refill. I obviously couldn’t drink them so politely asked the barmaid for a ‘soft drink’. To my dismay she REFUSED and said that it was the ready made cocktails for the first hour and ‘custom drinks’ could be prepared thereafter. So I said, “I don’t wish to drink a customised drink, I’d just like a lemonade or a tonic water please?”. I actually could not understand!! To my further dismay, she pulled over her manager, who reiterated to me that there were no additional drinks until after 8pm….and that I could have a glass of water if I was “desperate”. Seriously, how rude?!! Nevermind being pregnant – I could be allergic to alcohol, or alcohol may even be against my religion! (Neither of these are true, but they don’t know that!). Has anyone else had trouble with mardy waiting staff?!

Despite being post-8pm I still struggled throughout the evening to obtain non-alcoholic drinks. The music was so loud that most bar staff thought I was asking for Vodka and Lemonade when I was simply asking for ‘JUST LEMONADE PLEASE!’. By 10pm I was absolutely exhausted and frankly, sick of the people behind the bar so left ready for home! Several colleagues did question whether I was pregnant… Most of whom were pretty much beyond drunk and wouldn’t have remembered my answer the next day anyway. But I did shrug all awkward questions off with “Maybe next year”.

Because of the amount of appointments and phone calls I’ve been making during working hours (and the CONSTANT not drinking anxiety!), I feel that the time has come to tell my boss what is really happening. I’m kind of looking forward to finally getting it off my chest – albeit, I know it’s still really early doors. I’d just hate to have people thinking I’m taking advantage…

Wish me luck!

MM.

 

 

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TTC: Excuses for not drinking, PART DEUX.

Just wanted to go back on the original ‘Excuses for not drinking’ post. I took another Mumsnetter’s advice and pursued the Tonic water with ice and lemon route for my several social events this week. It worked a treat! Nobody even battered an eyelid. Perfect!

Here are some of the other suggestions put forward on my post:

ChocoBOO says:

Just don’t say antibiotics. Dead give away!

When I found out I was pregnant I said I’d been having migraines so needed to rule out causes – worked for alcohol and caffeine.

Jenniec79 says:

Be the driver? It’s the other unquestionable excuse for not drinking on a night out!

MrsDobalina says:

At work dos I always walked around with a glass of wine and waved it around, pretended to sip it but never actually drank any. This worked even at dinner – it’s amazing how little people noticed! 

At bars I ordered tonic water and asked for ice and lemon so it looked like a g+t. 

LydiaTheTattooedLady says:

There was one last time I had quite an aggressive dental infection. Dentist told me not to even risk a sip, as it can cause severe vomming.

Nice.

Whereismywine says:

I’ve got a big run/bikram yoga in the morning
I’ve got a nasty bout of cystitis – this shuts people up!
I’m on a detox
I’m driving
Ive got a big drive the next morning
I’ve got an important work meeting the next day 
I have one half pint of something at the start of the night. Often no one asks after I’ve been seen with that. Usually give it to dh. Difficult if rounds are going.
I’ve got a cracking hangover.

I wish you all the best ttc. But if it does take a while, a glass of wine or two a week would be fine, in my humble opinion.

So with what Whereismywine says in her last sentence, what you think of one or two glasses of wine while TTC or PG?

MM.

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TTC: Excuses for not drinking!

I stopped drinking several weeks ago in order to be the healthiest I can be; as myself and DP had planned to begin TTC. We’ve now began the exhausting journey of trying to conceive. The giving up drinking thing was fine because we didn’t really have any social events planned and had kind of slowed down on the red wine at home already. When we had been for meals with friends (we have the same circle of friends luckily) recently, we’d been quite open about our plans… but work friends are a little bit different. I have a work friend’s birthday party tonight, another party tomorrow, a meal with work colleagues next week – aswell as a conference with evening ball! There will be lots of wine and champagne flowing, and in attendance will be my boss, with whom I get on with, but obviously wouldn’t want to find out I’m TTC for fear of work complications.

So not only is it a busy week – but a lot of time spent with work colleagues and alcohol. Which would also be fine if I wasn’t renowned for being a little bit of a red wine lover! How have you ladies gotten around the not drinking thing? Any useful hints and tips? Or even excuses? My DP will be attending the party tonight and tomorrow and won’t be drinking either – stressbox!

MM.

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First time musing… WELCOME!

Welcome to Memoirs of Maternity. I’m just getting started with my new blog – I hope you can join me on, what shall certainly be, an incredible journey!

Career-wise, I come from a writing background. In my everyday life I get to write little on things I’m truly passionate about. So here, I’ll be discussing everything (well, maybe not everything) that occurs when TTC, to fashion for baby and you, to pregnancy, recipes, celebrity maternity fashion, the essential gadgets, toys and must-haves – oh and all that comes inbetween of course!

I will be keeping all of my social channels updated regularly with personal insights into this brand new world. I would also appreciate your insights too!

Make sure you follow me on Twitter: @MaternalMusings

And make sure you join me on Facebook: Facebook.com

Join the conversation!

MM.