Beautiful Days has inadvertently become a time marker in my life in recent years. For each of the five years I have visited this wonderous festival I've found myself in a slightly different position in life, from going as a single mum, to going with a partner and a bump, to going with two children single again, this festival always reminds me how much can change in a year.
Beautiful Days 2017 was the year I said I never wanted to share a tent again with my kids, and so last year I returned with my small campervan, which we enjoyed so many adventures in I ended up upgrading to my much larger campervan called George (brother of my car Peppa), along with many background plans for European travel in it, all of which wouldn't have come about if it wasn't for that slightly damp tent and punctured air bed back in 2017. Beautiful Days if I ever find myself stranded by the roadside in France with a broken down camper and moaning kids I'm holding you at least partly responsible.
This is the weekend of the year that the kids and me look forward to most, but with a new camper van facing its first proper test and a line up promising some of my favourite bands from my teens, we were even more excited than previous yearsF and when the weekend finally came it did not dissappoint, infact it exceeded all expectations.
This year we set off earlier than we have in previous years, leaving at lunchtime on the Thursday. We stopped for a pitstop at McDonalds on the way where I managed to break the home button on my phone, rather impressive I think to break something before even arriving at the festival. Fuelled and filled up we made our way to the site where we were swiftly waved in and lead to our pitch. This year one of the things we'd looked forward to was being able to arrive in our new van and only have to pull out the awning and put up a windbreak, rather than set up beds and tents and whatnot. It shouldn't have been hard had I unpacked my brand new windbreak prior to leaving but instead I'd left that to do at camp, attempting to open it with a stanley knife promptly slicing through my finger in a perfect demonstration of what not to do. While I went dizzy and stood around with blood squirting out of my finger, my trusty friend Dawn put her first aid training to good use and fixed me up. We then enlisted the help of the lovely guys camped next door to us to get up the awning and we were sorted. Thats the nice thing here, you can always ask a neighbour for help as everyone is so lovely, which for me as a single mum is especially good to know.
Thursday nights atmosphere was great. You can sense the excitement in the air and its all round good vibes. We chilled, strolled, cooked pizza and got a programme to plan who we wanted to see over the weekend.
Friday we'd earmarked a couple of things for the kids in the day. First up was Mr Bloom and his Band. Yep this festival has everything from Cbeebies favourites to punk rock. As the rain was coming down I suddenly realised I'd forgotten to pack Brody, my eldests wellington boots and the wave of guilt and terrible feelings washed over me. Naturally being a boy he wasn't bothered by the prospect of wet soggy feet so we carried on down to the theatre tent where we were seated for mums favouorite Mr Bloom. Predictably the kids loved it, I sat and enjoyed my coffee which I'd taken down from the van in a thermos. Outside of the tent I found a wonderful little vintage and preloved stall where I managed to pick up some wellies for Brody for the bargain price of £5. We then did some food and went on to one of my favourite things that BDs has to offer, the Big Fish Little Fish family rave. I managed to get the kids up dancing to favourites like Bingo Bango but soon saw that tiredness had kicked in early so we decided to slowly head back to our van for chills before coming out again in the evening. We passed the main stage on the way where Beans on Toast was giving us one of his inspiring musical lectures about "taking your shit home with you", a positive message to campers to not leave their waste behind. I'd really have liked to have stayed for the rest of his set but tired moany kids aren't fun so we headed back to George the camper to chill, which is such a luxury especially in less than favourable weather.
We napped back at the van through some of the main stage acts, then headed back re-energised for The Stranglers, who took Dawn back to her youth and who I had a bit of a singalong to. They're good live, but having seen them before I have to say I'm not that into them.
Skunk Anansie however blew me away. Skins performance was full of all the power and amazing vocals I'd got so use to singing my heart out to back in my teenage bedroom and I absolutely loved hearing my old favourites. Serious highlight of the weekend for me. The fact it was raining didn't dampen any spirits at all.
Saturday had a line up that for the most part didn't excite us so we deemed it a day of chill and mostly pottered around, as best you can in thick mud, letting the kids do their thing in the childrens area and filling ourselves with the vegan nachos and vida bowls we love from the Mexican stand. There was one band however that I'd waited quite a while to see, approximately 23 years in fact. Ash were the band constantly playing through my walkman headphones who earned me the title of "weird" because they simply weren't the Spice Girls. Tim Wheeler the lead singer was high up my list of future husbands but somehow I guess he forgot to come find me, FYI Tim I'm still single if you see this! I spent the morning repeating how excited I was to finally see them live and looking forward to belting out all of the words to Girl From Mars, which I dutifully did when they came on. I'm not sure though if its just the growing up of myself and my muscial tastes or if Ash have somehow lost it along the way slightly but I have to say I was dissappointed. It wasn't a bad performance, but it was all together for me just a bit meh, and not really worth the 23 year wait.
After Ash we decided to head back to George and enjoy some quiet time, dinner and prosecco. We knew Sunday had a big line up and wanted to save ourselves for that. Had it been sunny we'd have probably stayed around to see more but dealing with muddy conditions and a pram just makes everything slightly more hard work so we liked just being able to sit out under the awning, while the kids played, in Romeos case mostly naked. No one seemed to mind.
Sunday was brilliant. We ate food, let the kids play games in the children’s area, where apparently no matter how weak and feeble you are you win a toy on the hammer game, thank you nice people, and we watched a couple more bands that were definitely highlights, Less Than Jake, NOFX and of course The Levellers. Less than Jake were full of energy and humour, and songs that take me back to good times. We liked them so much we actually fangirled a couple of the band members after the show who were lovely and happy to pose for pictures with us while my kids looked on rather unimpressed. Dawn by this point was tired after a sleepless night caused by noisy neighbours and decided to take Romeo back for an early night at the van. This left me and Brody to have some very special time together. As Brody is homeschooled I like to find education in everything so I asked one of the security very nicely if he’d mind us going behind the main stage briefly so I could show Brody a bit of what goes on and what kind of jobs people do. He kindly let us and we stood in his view (Incase he thought we were going to run on stage or do anything wild) and I was able to give a mini lesson into how things are done, which resulted in a passer by saying how cool it was my son was going to know everything about festivals. Always nice to feel like a cool parent!
We then watched a bit of the Levellers and went and saw one of the tents being put away so Brody could see more of the work going on behind the scenes. It was a super special bit of time with my big boy, finished by the end of festival fireworks which were magical.
Monday morning was time to pack up. We enlisted help from neighbouring campers to put our awning away and made sure our spot was left spotless, as did all the other campers we saw.
The whole weekend was just perfect, brilliant music, company and fun and the only rubbish thing is that it had to end. I absolutely cannot wait to do it all again next year. Thank you Beautiful Days for being just magic.
The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind for my family and me. I found myself having to make some tough decisions for my coffee shop which has seen a fall in trade this year, partly I believe due to increased competition and partly due to the dreaded Brexit. My biggest outgoing was staff wages so I had to make the tough call to reduce staff in the shop to just little old me, cutting back the opening hours to allow me to work alone and still have time for my family. I was worried I'd find this stressful but actually it was like a huge weight was lifted, not having to worry about keeping staff happy and closing weekends has meant I can truly relax on days off without having to worry about whats going on at the shop. And of course its a big saving which I hope will infact save the business.
The shop has had a few exciting visitors recently. The first was a surprise, a mystery shopper from the South Devon Tourist Awards who came to try our coffee and lunch, before revealling who he was. I think I did ok, especially considering he came in right before closing time and stayed until after close and I didn't throw him out! It 'll be a few months now before I hear anything more now, but fingers are crossed he enjoyed his visit!
I also had the pleasure of hosting the team from Channel 5's The Gadget Show. The producer had got in touch as they were looking for an eco friendly location to film and had come across The Kind Grind and our eco credentials made it the perfect location. At 7am on a Saturday morning after dragging myself out of bed I welcomed the presenters Georgie, Jon and Otis along with all of their crew who filmed the presenters introducing me to various eco friendly gadgets with me picking my favourite at the end. I'd brought Brody along as I thought seeing a TV show be filmed would be a great home ed experience but sadly his shyness kicked in with the amount of people here and it didn't take long before he sloped off upstairs. One pretty cool thing is though that many years ago when his dad was in a band they were on The Gadget Show, so now he can say both of his parents have been on it. Filming was great fun and the team were all so nice. It will be aired sometime on the new series which I believe starts next month.
Last weekend saw me close the shop to head to our favourite festival which I get invited to review each year especially for this blog. Beautiful Days was fabulous and I'll be posting a separate blog about it, but I'm sad its over as it was just the best weekend. We had so much fun in our camper that I've decided we're off again this weekend so will be heading to Cornwall after work Friday for a couple of days. I have a tattoo appointment in Newquay on Saturday afternoon so open to any wild camping suggestions around that area if you know of any?
Yesterday was my first day back to work after our little festival break and it unfortunately turned into a bit of a stress, as a customer and good friend sent a photo of a new vegan cafe that has opened using an almost exact copy of our logo, name and a budget version of my shops look. I simply can't understand why people would want to open a business that is anything other than unique but I guess maybe somme lack their own ideas or want to ride off the back of others success. Whatever the reason I came back to find myself phoning my solicitor yet again to make a plan to deal with this. Huuuuuuph really something I could have done without!
Anyway just today and tomorrow to work then off in the camper to enjoy the long weekend. Hope you get to enjoy it too whatever you do!
If you ask for help with a teething baby, chances are you'll get a whole host of advice from other parents and will probably end up more confused than when you started! The truth is, it can be trial and error to find out what works best for your child as what works for one won't always work for another, but with my kids I definitely always found the natural ways to be best which is why I love Amber Pumpkin, whose range focuses on natural, non toxic and eco friendly products such as amber necklaces and eco teething toys. They also do a fantastic range of organic skincare called Myreen Young who make the best nappy balm I ever used.
To see what Amber Pumpkin have to offer and benefit from 10% off your order when spending £10 or more head to
It’s been seven years since I started the Nice Mums Group. Helpers with the group have come and gone as time that was once spare gets taken by increased workloads and family commitments. My life has certainly changed since I began the group as a single mum of one on maternity leave. Relying on other people to help with the site and group has meant at times the group has been unattended so I’ve decided to take control again and make more time for this blog and the groups meet ups, so feel free to give me a kick in the bum if you find me slacking!
To reintroduce myself, my name is Steffi. I’m mum to two boys, Brody who is 7, and Romeo who is 2. We live in Torquay with our rescue animals Lilly the cat and Freddie the dog. I own a vegan coffee shop called The Kind Grind and since May this year have been homeschooling Brody after his school failed to tackle bullying issues, so Brody comes to work with me and we fill our spare time trying to find new learning adventures. As a result we’ve just traded our small campervan Lola for a much bigger one, a Mercedes Sprinter LWB called George who we plan to take us on big journeys and later this year on a bit of a trip around the UK visiting places we’ve never been (watch out Scotland, we’re coming for ya!). At the moment we’re currently personalising George’s interior making him pretty for his first trip to our favourite festival in a few weeks, Beautiful Days.
Running a business and being a single homeschooling mum whilst still finding a little time for myself can take some juggling but we love our life and doing things our way so I hope you enjoy reading future blogs as I hope to report back on our journey!
Thanks to all who have supported and helped the Nice Mums community along the way. You are forever an inspiration.
Once again we were lucky enough to go to our favourite family friendly festival Beautiful Days.
If you’ve read our blogs before you’ll already know how much we adore this festival and this year was no different.
Wellies this year proved unnecessary as the weather was on our side, an unexpected plus after previous years downpours.
This year was my first year in my camper, with my boys Brody, age 6 ad Romeo who is nearly 2. Our good friend Dawn joined us in her tent for her first ever festival.
This was the first year that work schedules had allowed me to arrive on Thursday. I was somewhat anxious about putting up the awning to my camper having never done it alone before but was very pleased to get it done mostly all by myself until the very last pole just wouldn’t do as I wanted to do, and so after much huffing, puffing and under breath cursing a lovely member of staff spotted me and came to my aid ensuring we were all set up and good to go for a weekend of fun.
Our “home” for the weekend was located at the end of a row of camper vans, right opppsite some toilets. My first thought was “ oh no, this is going to get smelly” but then I remembered where we were and that this festival has the cleanest festival loos you’ll find so we had infact landed a very handy spot. Our neighbouring campers were the typically lovely Beautiful Days sort, chatty, welcoming and happy to offer us a slice of vodka melon and compliment me on my ability to vaguely parent two children while putting up an awning.
The festival was as fabulous as ever. We thoroughly enjoyed Big Fish Little Fish, the family friendly rave. Romeo especially took to it, making use of his glow stick while busting out some moves.
Highlights for us were definitely The Dualers who got us dancing our socks off, to the point where I started feeling I was getting heat stroke so welcomed the chilled end of set cover of Redemption Song, where a “moment” was definitely created.
Discovering The Undercover Hippy were playing was a happy surprise as a fan of the band. Another chance for some dancing with the kids.
Headliners this year included a throwback to the 90s with Shed Seven and Manic Street Preachers, both made for great reminiscing and singing along.
Food as with every year was plentiful and not short of vegan options. Tofu burgers, tofu curry and vegan ice cream were on our list of favourites.
Sadly on the Sunday morning I had the bad news call that my shop had been burgled overnight so we had to depart early but despite the downer that put on the day we were still able to ensure the kids got plenty of turns on the fair rides and left smiling.
Happening towards the end of summer we place a lot of pressure on Beautiful Days as the expected highlight of our summer and once again, they did not disappoint. We absolutely adore this welcoming, fun festival and would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to go, with or without children.
Roll on next year!
16/6/2017 0 Comments
6 Places Dads go free or eat free this Father's Day in and around Teignbridge & Torbay
Stuck on what to get Dad this Father's Day?
Why not have a fun family day out or treat him to a meal.
With this list of 6 places Dads can go free or eat free this Father's Day in and around Torbay and Teignbridge, it doesn't have to break the bank either!
Dads go free:
Becky FallsBecky Falls Woodland Park Ltd.
Tel: 01647 221259
Dads accompanied by a full-paying child go free at Becky Falls this Father's Day! With a full day of entertainment, including awesome hands-on animal encounter shows, animal feeding sessions, stunning woodland and waterfall walks and kid's activities, there's lots to keep everyone happy and even the dog can come too! Open 10am - 5pm (last entry at 4pm).
Powderham CastleKenton, Exeter, Devon, EX6 8JQ Tel: 01626 890243
Dads and grandads are invited to visit for FREE this Father's day when accompanied by a full-paying child. Follow the "dad trail" and claim a prize from the Gift shop and enjoy Croquet and Tennis in the Pleasure Garden. There's also the walled garden and animals to visit.
Dads eat free:
Beefeater restaurants are offering a free meal for Dads this Father's day after 5pm.
*Picture from www.beefeater.co.uk
See below for a list of Beefeater restaurants in Torbay and Teignbridge.
Tel: 01803 202 282
Long Road South,
Tel: 01803 698931
Newton Abbot Racecourse,
Tel: 01626 883 301
Visit the Beefeater website here for more details, booking essential.
At Hungry Horse pubs Dads can enjoy a Sunday Roast or one of the tasty pub favourites free after 6pm.
*Picture from www.hungryhorse.co.uk
Newton Road, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 5ES.
Tel: 01803 872979
Visit the Hungry Horse website here for more details, booking essential.
For even more places to take dad for free across Devon then check out this post:
12 Places Dads go free or eat free this Father's Day in Devon
Let me know what you get up to or if there is any places I've missed and I hope you have a lovely day whatever you decide to do.
My name is Emma and I recently took the plunge and volunteered to be an ambassador for Nice Mums.
This is a completely new experience for me but I really love the support this group provides to mums and I am really excited about giving the opportunity to help out.
I have already hosted my first meet up a couple of weeks ago at Bear Feet in Newton Abbot where I got to meet some of you lovely mums, but for those of you who I haven't met yet, here's a little bit about me.
I am 29 years old and I have a three year old daughter. I grew up in the West Midlands but we moved to Torquay last March to be nearer family who had already made the move to Dawlish 10 years ago.
My daughter is currently going through the threenager stage where everything seems to be a major kick off. I thought the terrible two's were supposed to be the challenging time but somehow she has been able to knock it up a level.
If I could give one bit of advice to other mums yet to face this stage, it would be to work on your patience skills and the ability to block things out. The ability to switch off to any drama that is happening around you will be your best friend and is a skill I am yet to master, but will keep working on it.
Anyway I think I've rambled on enough now.
I am currently working on holding a regular monthly meet up and I hope to meet some more of you lovely ladies soon.
PS. I also blog over at www.devonmum.com so if you're looking for ideas for family friendly days out or holidays or just want to read some more of my parenting rambles and reviews then pop over and take a look. You can also find me on Facebook www.facebook.com/devonmum where I share some more local events as and when I find them.
Great news from Bear Feet in Newton Abbot.
Following on from feedback given by Nice Mums members some positive changes have been made regarding both customer service and the discount they offer our cardholders.
There has been some staffing changes and additional training has been implemented to ensure customers receive a vastly improved service. As some of our Nice Mum Cardholders have had service issues in the past they are looking to make amends and have invited us to hold a one off meet up where our cardholders attending will receive FREE ENTRY on the day. We'll post details of a date for this very soon.
A new discount has also been arranged and I'm sure you'll be very happy with it, no more phoning ahead of arrival!
We hope you will support Bear Feet in their efforts to improve and continue our long standing partnership. Keep an eye out for details of our new discount. Look forward to seeing lots of you at our meet up!
Nice Mums are really excited to announce that a new soft play has opened in Paignton.
The Den at Whitehill Country Park is brand new and fully equipped for ages 0-9, set in a picturesque location.
Free parking is available and there is a bar selling drinks, cakes & snacks.
Entrance is just £2 per child. Open 7 days a week, 10am-5pm during term time. Pay at Hayloft Bar.
(Nice Mum Cardholders get discounted entrance of just £1.50 per child)