Category Archives: Herfordshire Recommendations

Standon Calling 2017 – Its Festival time!!




Standon Calling 2017

Have you ever been to a festival? Its Glastonbury weekend and I just love watching the coverage on the TV and have wanted to go for so many year, alas never made it, the tickets always go within 2 minutes and I missed out on working there when I was at EE. Then aged 39 along came Standon Calling. I like to think it’s a bit like Glastonbury on a smaller more intimate level. I went along last year for the whole weekend with the family and had such an amazing time. We have been invited back again this year and it’s looking even better. I cannot wait.

Essential details

Standon Calling is held in a few large fields in Standon village, Hertfordshire, not far from the town Ware. Quick to get to from Liverpool Street in London and most convenient for me as I live 20 minutes away. The doors (gates!) open on Thursday 27th July, with most of the entertainment starting on the Friday.




The headliners are totes amazing, I write this whilst listening to Orbital (I cannot wait, did I say that!). Grace Jones (!!!!), like so excited about seeing her, Clean Bandit, Orbital, Editors, Slaves, KT Tunstall , Laura Mvula…the list goes on and on. I am also very excited about the fancy dress, the theme this year is enchanted forest. I am thinking little red riding hood (home made) with my new festival wellies that Aldi kindly gifted me😊

Last year we camped on the Friday and Saturday nights, hubby wasn’t so keen on camping, but the kids loved it. This year my buddy Neilboy is coming instead of hubby and the boys are going to come in the daytime to soak up the atmosphere. They can then be picked up at 6/7pmish to leave Neil and I to enjoy the evening activities and have a few responsible drinks. We can crash in the tent late! Aldi have most kindly sent me a tent, a tent mat and 2 sleeping bags. They have the most amazing range available in store right now, and online, check it out here.




Learnings from last year

  • Don’t pack so much stuff. We literally had a whole Smax car full of stuff. Tent, sofa, hammock, airbeds, duvets, food, drink. It was excessive. And so much hard work getting the stuff from the car to the family camping area. I think that was the bit hubby didn’t enjoy!
  • But do take food. The food in the festival area is amazing but it’s expensive, as are the drinks. So why not stash some food in the camping area with drink and sit and chill there with some nibbles and a bottle of cider or two. I know that’s what we’ll be doing.
  • Take a bikini or trunks. The swimming pool area is beyond cool. And the wellbeing area has hot tubs. I am definitely going in them this year.
  • Make time for the wellbeing area which is at the top of the hill, really near the family camping area. There is yoga, meditation and all sort of mindfulness activities. I want to spend many hours here.
  • Take something to sit on in the festival area. Lots of people had these long blow up sofa things, £20 on Amazon, thank you very much ordered!

  • Don’t take the kids to the late music acts, we were at the front of the stage for Jess Glynne, but the boys fell asleep 15 minutes before she started at 10:15. Gutted. We listened to her on the walk back to the tent, she was amazing!
  • Plan your weekend, the acts you want to see, the activities you want to do. There is so much going on and you wouldn’t want to miss out on the fab stuff. From the karaoke competition (I am so doing this this year) to the glitter stand to the le bun bottomless brunch.

Take a look at my review from last year for all the gossip, the good and the bad, and click here to get your tickets for Standon Calling. I will see you there, look out for the red riding hood with glitter everywhere!!

This is a collaborative post, I will be receiving my tickets as a gift.



personal training in Hertfordshire

Personal Training in Hertfordshire for a healthy body & mind




Personal Training in Hertfordshire

A few weeks back I won two personal training in Hertfordshire sessions with Kane Allardyce, from No Bull Fitness. I was very happy and grateful to win these, I have been wanting to tone up for ages, since losing weight, but something was stopping me. Addressing my mental attitudes to my body and issues with food was also an important factor.

Introduction Session

I got straight onto WhatsApp and arranged my intro session, Kane works from a gym in a farm in beautiful Bennington. The first hour was mostly talking with 15 minutes of (very) extreme Tabata and squats at the end (after which I ached for 3 days, 15 minutes of exercise!!). I believe that people and influences come into your life for a reason and Kane came into my life for a reason, to help me.

I knew from that session that Kane is an expert personal trainer who know his stuff and cares as much about the mental side of health and well being as the physical side. We talked about all things from previous experience of fitness to my attitude to my body. From eating habits to lifestyle choices.

Body Image Issues

We had a big talk about me having spent 22 years being over-weight and not looking after my body. As I spoke it became clear that I am very negative about my body and my previous mistreatment of my body. Extreme words but I look back at pictures of me from the age of 16 to 38 and hate myself. The thing is, I used to think that I looked okay. My weight would always fluctuate from 12 stone to 15 stone back down to 13 stone up to 14 stone. There were times when I hit the dizzy heights of a size 14, but there were other times when I hit size 18. When I weighed 12 stone I thought that was my natural weight, my bones were big so I could never weigh less or be a size 10/12.




I was overweight and was hurting my body and mind. I know why it happened, my mum dying when I was 16 isn’t just a coincidence. I would automatically turn to food as a comfort, maybe because that’s what I remembered most about my mum her homely cooking and baking rock cakes together.

Dealing with my demons

I finally dealt with the demons at 38 and it was hypnotherapy that turned out to be the solution. I have written loads about it and how it worked. Cognitive hypnotherapy got me from 14 stone to 12 stone. Then I had some sessions with Helena a natural nutritionist who helped me lose another stone through clean eating. By July 2016 I was weighing in at an acceptable weight for my height. I am 5 ft. 5.5 inches and my weight should be between 9 and 11 stone, according to BMI charts. My lowest point was 10 ½ stone but I looked a bit like a lolly pop.

I have managed to maintain my weight and size at a consistent size 12. Yes, it fluctuates. Winter (and seasonal affective disorder) was a challenge where around 12 lbs went on, I very nearly hit 12 stone. But I was able to lose that quickly after my recent Vegas holiday and birthday celebrations.

I need to tone up

Now, when I am clothed I can finally look at pictures of myself and think I look okay. After 100 compliments (which I always gratefully receive) I know that people think I look slim. But as soon as I am stood in front of the mirror with my underwear on, then it’s a different matter.

I have so much loose flabby skin particularly on my lower tummy, my upper arms/bingo wings, I have loose empty skin at the top of my boobs, I have inner thigh fat. I also have good unsaggy big boobs, my legs are long and slim, I have great skin with beautiful freckles and very few wrinkles.




I can rationalise and see the good as well as the not so good. Working with Kane will help me tone up the flabby tummy, inner thighs and the bingo wings. But most importantly we can start to work on the mental attitude to body and learn to love myself more.

Personal Training in Hertfordshire

Kane and I will be working together for a few months with a PT session every week. I have had two full sessions and they are tough going, he makes me hill run, lift ridiculous amounts of weight, rowing at under 2 min – 500m pace, everything is about technique. It’s a different session every week and I always ache for days afterwards. My last session was five days ago, and my arms STILL hurt! I have also committed to two other cardio activities per week by myself. I will go out for a run/bike ride and do a class using my Flex online subscription, I’ll give HIIT a try;-). I am also sending pictures of EVERYTHING I eat to Kane so he can assess my nutrition.

Before pictures and Measurements

Before the exercise and nutrition regime properly kicks in we have taken pictures and measurements. The pictures were a challenge, I might have shed a tear when I saw the back view.

personal training in Hertfordshire personal training in Hertfordshire personal training in Hertfordshire

personal training in Hertfordshire personal training in Hertfordshire personal training in Hertfordshire

And here are my measurements, I found a great YouTube clip to copy the exact right places to measure. I am going to try my hardest to not weigh myself. Weight is just a number.

Right Arm Bicep – 12 inches

Chest – 36 inches

Waist – 32 inches

1 inch below belly button – 38 inches

Hips – 39 inches

Right Thigh – 21 inches

1 inch above knee – 16 inches

I will redo the measures and pictures every 8 weeks so I can track my progress and will share with you guys.

I am ready to accept my body and make the most of what I have got and be healthy at the age of forty. Did you see my Instagram profile recently? I post a picture of me in the sea in a bikini! Acceptance is coming. I hope that my story inspires you to do the same.

This is a collaborative post with Kane Allardyce who can be contacted on mobile 07446 943750 or found on Facebook. Kane’s personal training prices are £40 per hour or £175 for a block booking of 5 session (£35 per hour).



the fitting room stevenage

Bra Fitting and Shopping at The Fitting Room Stevenage

Bra Fitting and Shopping at The Fitting Room Stevenage

I just read an article in the Independent, an interview with June Kenton who is the head of premier lingerie shop Rigby & Peller. She says that around 85% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra! I have shopped at Rigby & Peller, many years ago. I bought the most beautiful laced bra set and it fitted like a glove but also cost around £120. And this was 15 years ago, I’m guessing it’s a lot more expensive now. There is much better value option, The Fitting Room Stevenage.

For the past two years, I have been visiting Clare Glenister’s ‘The Fitting Room’ for my bra fitting and purchases. She was in the Hyde but has recently moved to Stevenage town centre. You can park for free in Asda for 90 minutes and walk through the underpass to her shop, 23 Market Place, Stevenage, SG1 1DH.

My bras were not fitting anymore

I noticed that my 34F bras were getting loose, I have lost more weight recently and am toning up so my back seems to be changing size, the back fat is going! I popped into the shop early last Saturday morning, thinking it would be quiet. It wasn’t, lots of women are learning about this shop, it was busy!

Clare and her staff are highly trained bra fitters and they can look at your boobs and know your size from looking at your current bra fit and by looking at your boobs and back (in a bra, no nakedness is required). You then go through a process of elimination of bras to find that perfect fit.

Different brands of bras suit different people. The girls all know their brands and styles inside out and can recommend that perfect bra be it sports, bikini, feeding every day or special occasion. They stock all the brands, Freya, Fantasie, Panache. Basically, whatever Bravissimo stocks, The Fitting Room also stocks.

My fitting

Back to me, Clare quickly worked out that my back has gone down but my boobs had not lost any of their size. My new size was 32 G. The perfect bra was the panache envy. As soon as I put it on and was told how to put it on properly (leaning over and scooping you boobs into it) it looks amazing. My boobs had the most perfect uplifted shape, immediately looked slimmer in the right fitting bra.

the fitting room stevenage

I have big boobs and I have been overweight until the age of 38, now 40. In addition I have breastfed three babies for around nine months for each child. The result of this is some loose slack skin at the top of my boobs, that feels a bit empty. Other than that, they are still fairly lifted and full. They are good boobs.

I have a bra that fits

And now I have a bra that fits me properly! The Panache envy was £34, I chose the nude colour option with matching knickers. I have also pre-ordered it in a beautiful red colour. Next purchase is a bikini as they are all too big as well!! Losing weight costs money in the purchase of new clothes and underwear!!

I have had the mostest fabulous morning with @waceystyle who popped over to pull apart my wardrobe. Around 50% of wardrobe is now on the EBay or charity shop pile. We then hit H&M to chose capsule wardrobe pieces suitable for trips to London, meetings, media stuff. I got soooo much stuff I’ll post a vlog of my goodies and will write a blog of our morning together. Bargain shopping too. I joined the H&M club and saved 20% on my purchases. . . . . . #stylist #daywithastylist #waceystyle #mrsmummypenny #h&msummerwardrobe #colourpop #croppedtrousers #slacks #welwyngardencity #colourismyfriend #orangeismycolour #shopping #workclothes #bloggerclothes #boyfriendjacket #affordablefashion #lovemyjob #ukbloggerlife #bloggingyourwaytoriches #instafashion

A post shared by Lynn James (@mrsmummypennyuk) on

Clare can be found on Facebook, check out her wonderful reviews, and on Instagram. If you live in Hertfordshire, please do pay her a visit and get measured up. Make sure ladies you are wearing the right bra size.

This is a collaborative post with my friend and fellow local small business owner Clare Glenister.

Dick Whittington panto review – Hawthorne Theatre WGC

Dick Whittington Panto Review

We love going to the panto this time of the year, and for the second year in a row we have been to the theatre in Welwyn Garden City. It is one the highlights of the holidays for the boys who all love the live singing and dancing. They just love to get involved with the shouting from the audience, catching what is thrown from the stage and being squirted with a water pistol.

This year its Dick Whittington and it runs all over Christmas until 4th January so be sure to book up a ticket and go see it. You and the family will have a great time.

20-12-16-dick-whittington-panto-selfie-v1

Press Night

20-12-16-dick-whittington-panto-cupcakes-v1We were very fortunate to have been invited along on the press night so arrived to a lovely reception of cheese, crackers, wine and cupcakes (supplied by the Sugar Boutique, local to me in Knebworth)! A lovely way to start the evening chatting with the mayor of Welwyn Garden City (a very busy lady!), local press and Jake Wood from Eastenders. We took our prime seats on the front row of the upper section. The theatre is not huge so wherever you sit you will have a great view.

The Show Opens

The show opened with a fabulous scene with the dancers. A great routine to Don’t stop the Feeling kicked off the show perfectly and got all of us singing and dancing. I love that the panto keeps the entertainment up to date with the songs that the children adore from Little Mix to Michael Jackson to Celine Dion (Lily cried out at this point, that she loved this song!)

20-12-16-dick-whittington-panto-stage-v1 20-12-16-dick-whittington-panto-kids-v1

Fairy Bowbells and King Rat

We were introduced to the main characters, first up was the beautiful Fairy Bowbells, a regular fairy into the Welwyn Panto. Then we met the baddie of the show King Rat. Jack did not like him, especially when he walked right next to us! King Rat had an amazing voice and sang a brilliant version of 7 nations army with Fairy Bowbells.

Dick and Tommy

The main man of the show Dick Whittington was introduced along with his cat Tommy, bring on the many jokes and innuendos. The jokes were laced in brilliantly. It was pitched at the right level to make the adults cackle with laughter at the right bits and the children giggle at the more cheesy jokes. Dick Whittington was played by Stuart Turner, a seasoned actor and panto regular.

Fitzwarren Family

We met the love interest Alice Fitzwarren, and her father Alderman and hurrah to the panto dame Sarah the Cook and her son Idle Jack. There were many funny comedy moment between Sarah and Jack, particularly the boat scene. Classic slapstick comedy that the kids loved, including custard pies of course.

Book your tickets now

This really was a great show and being a personal finance blogger I must mention the value for money. Tickets for a family of 4 will cost you £50 (considerably cheaper than Stevenage panto). Plus use your free zebra card to save yourself 15% off any food and drink you purchase at the panto.

We had a great time at Dick Whittington and highly recommend it for the whole family, young and old. We loved the music and the dancing and laughed out loud so many times. Bravo!!

Other fun activities at CW Entertainment

There are plenty of other fun activities to keep the family amused over the Christmas holidays. The cinema has all the up to date films just released and with a zebra discount card seats can cost under £5. There is also RollerCity and Soft Play City.  They are open every day except Christmas day itself. See my previous post for more details of fun at CW Entertainment.

This post was written in collaboration with CW Entertainment.

Santa Claus and The Night Before Christmas at The Watford Colosseum

Santa Claus and The Night Before Christmas at The Watford Colosseum

One of our favourite things to do this time of the year is to go to the theatre. The boys adore a panto or a show with real life actors. They adore the singing, the cheesy jokes and the shouting out loud. When we got an invite to the first show of Santa Clause and the Night Before Christmas at the Watford Colosseum, we jumped at the chance.

We arrived at the theatre an hour before the show started for some mince pies and crafts. The boys were really good and channelled their Christmas excitement into making a fairy, an elf and Santa. Josh the crafty one loved it and did a great job with his elf. Jack, 4, wasn’t so focussed and preferred to drink as much apple juice as possible and run around the bar area!

After crafting we heading down to the show to take our seats in the small theatre. This show runs until Christmas Eve (of course!) and you can get hold of tickets here. It’s a short play with a few central characters, Santa of course, one cheeky elf and one girly elf and a little girl who is starting to think that maybe Santa doesn’t exist.

The Show Begins

7-12-16-watford-colosseumIt ran for 45 minutes which is a perfect amount of time for my 3 boys. There was a perfect balance of fun stuff, like magic, a snowball fight and Santa getting stuck in the chimney.

Here are the favourite bits of the show from Dylan, Josh and Jack

  • Santa getting stuck in the chimney, of course, and the only way to get him out was throwing snowballs. The boys properly loved this bit!
  • Dylan got to go on stage to help with a magic trick. A snowflake was made and magic turned it into lots of snow fall. I was able to take a video of this, have a watch on my YouTube channel
  • The snow became real, snow was falling over everyone in the audience. Josh loved getting covered in snow!
  • The bit where the naughty elf fired water guns into the audience.
  • When I asked Jack he simply said Santa was the best thing about it.

This show is perfect if you think your little ones may struggle with a longer panto. At 45 minutes, it was a perfect length and not one moan from any of the three boys of being bored. At the end the boys got to meet Santa and get a small gift from the elves.

7-12-16-watford-colosseum-santa

Here is the link for tickets.

I was not paid for this post but did receive the tickets to the show free of charge.

Thaikhun Thai Restaurant – Cambridge Review

Thaikhun Thai Restaurant Review

One of my favourite food cuisines is Thai. I have never been to Thailand, I will go one day when the boys are older and maybe a bit more adventurous with food…but why not give the amazing food a try with the boys now to see if they like it now!

Thaikhun contacted me back in July before our holidays to ask me if the 5 of us fancied trying out their new family National Geographic inspired menu. The nearest restaurant to us is Cambridge and as we are there (at least) 3 days a week with football it fitted in perfectly with a late lunch after a family football fun day on a Sunday in the summer holidays.

Location

It’s a perfect location for a restaurant. Cambridge is a stunningly beautiful city with architecture to admire, people watching to your hearts content, wander along the cobbled streets or the river Cam. The restaurant was situated right next to the punting launch bit of the river.

We were greeted by the super friendly Maître D who showed us to a table outside in the courtyard by the fountain. Handy for children’s entertainment. There was lots of choice inside or out but it was a hot day so outside we went:-)

The Menu & Our Order

The menu was explained and we placed our orders. The children’s menu was a lot of fun. It is served canteen/bento box style and they could mix and match various different pieces from the menu. Dylan the eldest will try most things, Josh is a bit fussier then you get to Jack who is very particular shall we say!

31-8-16 Thaikhun Thai Josh wormfaceDylan went for satay chicken and noodles with BBQ sauce with carrot & cucumber sticks. Josh went for chicken in breadcrumbs and rice, also with the vegetables. Jack went for chicken satay and rice with sticky chilli sauce. All boys got a creepy crawly starter before the main event arrived. We didn’t tell them what it was and just got them to eat it. It was dried silk worms!! A great source of protein and Dylan actually enjoyed them! Here was Josh’s face after we told him it was a worm, he wasn’t happy! The boys drank apple juice and coconut water for Jack (a huge surprise!)

Hubby and I didn’t really know where to start, except I was eating clean so whatever I chose needed to be healthy. Thai is a great cuisine for eating clean. I chose vegetable dim sum starters and sea bass baked in banana leaves with rice noodles. All of this I could eat no problems. I drank coconut water. Hubby went for crispy prawns starter and Thai beef curry with sticky rice. He drank Thai beer.

How was our Food?

The food was amazing, all of it. The starters were just the right size, were light and super tasty.

31-8-16 Thaikhun Thai starter me 31-8-16 Thaikhun Thai starter prawn

My main course was amazing. The sea bass was stuffed with lemongrass and ginger and all Thai flavours, it was so good. The rice noodles tasted very good, I can’t get mine to taste like at home. Hubby’s curry (I did try a little in the interest of this review!) was amazing. The meat fell apart and the sauce was flavoursome with a perfect amount of spice. The sticky rice was so sweet.

31-8-16 Thaikhun Thai curry main 31-8-16 Thaikhun Thai seabass main

The boys loved their food and it all disappeared very quickly. The joy I get from watching my children actually eat their food is incredible. I make so much food that is disliked or I spend so much time persuading them to eat, so when they eat is amazing. We go back to restaurants where I know the children will eat the food!! The chicken was amazing, slight argument between Dylan and Josh over the chicken in breadcrumbs. Next time they all will have it!! The boys had mini-milk ice-lollies for dessert. Hubby and I were too full!

31-8-16 Thaikhun Thai Josh main 31-8-16 Thaikhun Thai Dylan main

We really enjoyed Thaikhun Thai restaurant and definitely recommend if for lunch or dinner either as a couple or with the children. There are a few about we went to Cambridge, but they have 8 restaurants in total Manchester, Guildford, Oxford to name a few. Here is a link to their website, take a look at the menu and why not pay them a visit.

We received our dinner and drinks free of charge in return for this review post.

Gravity Force Trampoline Park – St. Albans

Gravity Force Trampoline Park

I have seen these parks pop up all over the country and have been really keen to see them in real life and try them out. So how cool is it that two have opened within a week both local to me in Hertfordshire and I get to review both for Mrs Mummypenny. This week I review the new Gravity Force Trampoline park in between St. Albans and Hatfield.

Launch Day Fun

Last week I was invited along with buddy Anita and our 4 boys (8,7,6 &5) to the launch day to experience the brand new park. It looked spotless and huge. Everywhere you looked there was trampoline after trampoline. Apparently 200 in total. There were a lot of mats where you jump from one to the next, dodgeball, basketball, sponge pit jumps, trampolines on wall, trampoline runs. Basically I have never seen so many trampolines and all in my favourite colour purple:-)

23-8-16 Gravity Force Trampoline dodgeball and basketball 23-8-16 Gravity Force Trampoline wide shot

So the boys went mental as soon as we got there and bolted off to give everything a try. Anita and I got a drink and chilled in the coffee shop overlooking the trampoline park, we know how to live;-). We chatted and tried to keep an eye on the boys, which actually we managed to do. The viewing gallery has a great view overlooking the whole park. They spent a lot of time in the dodgeball area, working as a team to take down the other children. They then moved to the trampoline runs. We wondered down to do some filming.

They loved the sponge pit jumps where you can jump off a ledge onto a trampoline then flip into a huge sponge pit. Take a look at the video where I managed to get them all in quick succession jumping in.

Us grown up didn’t have a go. The boys were having such a great time so we didn’t feel the need to, I definitely will next time;-) But only if I wear a decent sports bra and some sporty clothes.

At the launch party there were lots of very clever gymnast people, flipping about showing us all how trampolining is done. There was a free runner who was super talented and Anton from X-factor. That was a bit random??

The Cost

It’s going to cost you £9.95 per child age 5 and over for 1 hour of bouncing, this is more than enough time! You are also going to need special socks (£2) so make sure you keep them if you buy them first time around or from another park. This is not the cheapest of activity but it is a lot of fun and the children are going to be grateful for the experience, Josh claimed its his second favourite activity in the UK after football. They will be so tired out that 7pm bedtime should be fine;-) For the tot’s session it half the price at £5 per child and £5 per adult, and the adults have to accompany the tot.

Age Range

There are 2 age groups that can visit. The under 5’s can go to gravity tots first hour of the day every day. Then aged 5 and older can go to Gravity Jump. This is nice to split up the ages as it can get quite full on with the older children. I know Jack would love to come along with his little 3-year-old friends.

Other Activities

There is keep fit for grown up on a Sunday morning at 9am. I am absolutely giving that a try as I have heard 10 minutes of trampolining is the equivalent of 30 minutes running calorie wise.

There are also birthday parties. These cost £16.95 per child with a minimum of number of 10 children. This includes a party leader, food, drink.

Overall I was really impressed with the trampoline park and will return with the boys. I love an activity where they have brilliant fun and there is some tiring activity involved. This ticks the boxes.

Bouncing mad at Air Space Trampoline Park Stevenage

Air Space Trampoline Park in Stevenage

A huge thank you to Sam Buckley, who reviewed the brand new Air Space trampoline park in Stevenage for Mrs Mummypenny whilst we were on holiday. As you will see and read, she done a fantastic job and had a great time at the launch day. Over to Sam.

19-8-16 Air space trampoline Stevenage familyIndoor trampoline parks are popping up everywhere, and I really wanted to know what all the fuss was about.   I was expecting a good fun hour for the 8 and 5 year old, and I could leisurely have a cup of tea (and possibly cake) and watch them have fun.

On Arrival

As you walk in to reception, you have to fill in a couple of forms.  The friendly staff make sure you have read the safety notices, as well as signing to confirm you’ve read them for yourself and any children you have with you – they also ask you for your age, yep, even mum’s!

More about safety

We all get a pair of bright Orange socks, and taken through to the safety video (yes, I know I’m going to sit down and have a cup of tea, but I’ve picked up the socks just in case I change my mind). It’s only a couple of minutes long, and it’s a repeat of what I’d just read at reception, but to be fair, I’d already forgotten that, so this wasn’t such a bad idea.

The 8 year old is sort of listening….and the 5 year old is more interested in her slush puppy, so in terms of the impact of the actual video, I’m not sure if anything was really taken in, but I can tell that these guys really are serious about keeping you safe and following the rules.  The scariest part was when we were tested with a couple of questions at the end.  I really should pay more attention!

So what’s it all about?

There are a number of sections within the huge warehouse of trampolines – including:

  • Basketball – A strip of trampoline leading to a basketball hoop (only one of these, so not sure what it will be like when busy)
  • Dodgeball/volleyball – this is a netted off area, and the only space where you can end up being on the same trampoline as others
  • A performance wall with trampolines – more of a place for the older kids to learn techniques and tricks
  • Air bag space – two strips of trampoline leading to a huge airbag.
  • The main trampoline section – with over 50 trampolines – as well as wall trampolines.

Now that’s a lot of bouncing!

19-8-16 Air space trampoline Stevenage small trampolines19-8-16 Air space trampoline stevenage long bounce

Both the 8 and 5 year old were excited, but a little reluctant at first and wanted to just try the main trampolines – building their confidence through different bounces.  After a while they warmed up and started bouncing against the walls and seeing how fast they could bounce.

Favourites

19-8-16 Air Space trampoline Stevenage crash matThey both loved the long trampoline at first – seeing how quickly they could bounce.  However once they both mastered the air bags, this was the definite favourite – even after the actual bounce, trying to crawl off the airbag was half the fun.

The performance wall was a little much for them, so they ignored that, maybe next time….

Other bits…

They have lockers within the toilet areas and near the trampolines, so no worries about storing your stuff, and they also have a balcony area, so if you really do want just a cup of tea, you can watch from up there and keep an eye on things.

No under 5’s allowed

I’d seen on Facebook that there was some criticism about 5-year-olds not being allowed to take part, and I did think that was a little unfair. However, after seeing how boisterous it can get, and how serious they are about safety, I can see why they would want to err on the side of caution – my 5-year-old is on the smaller side, and she did struggle with the wide gaps between each trampoline.

Is it for grown-ups?

I loved it, although I was a lot more cautious than the kids and I ended up taking longer to try the different stages long after either of mine did (I seem to get scared of more things as I get older…) However one surprise was, 10 minutes trampoline is the same as a 30 minute run!  They are going to start exercise classes soon, and will be around 45-60 minutes long – I’ll be keeping an eye out for sure. Just a word of warning to mummies…try and practice those pelvic floor muscles before you go!

What’s the verdict?

You only get an hour entrance on the trampolines, but this really does tire the kids out, and they have a huge amount of fun.  The staff are friendly, encouraging and they’re there to help you keep safe but also to have fun.  If you want to wear the kids out this summer, Air Space really will help you out. The cost is £9.95 per child for an hour. This initially feels like a lot of money until you compare it to places like 360 play which are very similarly priced.

Next time, I’ll make sure I’m in my sports gear, hair tied back and Tena lady ready!

To see exactly what its all about check out this YouTube video. And to book tickets click here

One last thank you to Sam Buckley for writing this review and attending the opening day of Air Space trampoline park with her children. We have both received tickets to Air Space free of charge for our families. 

Standon Calling Review, Pictures and The Good & Bad

 

Standon Calling Festival

I have been wanting to go to a festival for years now, I watch Glastonbury, V festival longingly every year on TV but never do anything about it. I suppose the fear of the unknown and camping has maybe put me off. I wrote my #40thingsb440 list and included festival and camping as things I wanted to do. I was very excited to be contected a few weeks ago and was asked to go to Standon Calling festival and to experience it as a family.

We jumped at the chance. I showed the boys the pictures of camping, under the sea theme and swimming pool and they were in. Hubby not so keen as he is not a fan of camping and not a fan of the unknown which I will explain more about later.

6-8-16 Standon calling car shot

Packing for 2 days Camping/Festival Life

So off we trotted last Friday with a car packed to bursting point of stuff for camping and festival life. Lovely Mrs Mummypenny readers (thank you Gem, Sarah, Natalie x2, Shelly, Laura, Andy) offered lots of advice on tips and tricks and what to take, which enabled me to write this post last week of our packing list. We were very well prepared.

 

The BEST Bits

  • The atmosphere. Standon Calling in a smallish festival around 30 minutes drive from home in Hertfordshire, near Ware. Despite the small festival point, the headline acts were Jess Glynne, Suede and Kelis! Everyone was super friendly, chilled, chatty, smiley. It felt really safe. It almost felt like an alternative universe were there was none of the nastiness of the world today. From the security staff to the catering staff to the acts to the PR guys, everyone was lovely.6-8-16 Standon calling nightshot of festival
  • The food. This was hubby’s favourite bit and he got to try a lot of different food. There was vegan, pizza, smoothies, burgers, ice-cream vans, waffles, cake shop, coffee shops, Kelis Pop Up ‘Le Bun’. You name it they had it. Even a pop up sit down restaurant. A great selection of food to keep all members of the family happy. For dinner on the Saturday there were 3 of us eating. I had ribeye in brioche from Le Bun, Dylan had a beautiful burger and Josh had bacon, egg muffin bap. From 3 different places and everyone was happy.6-8-16 standon calling le bun
  • The music. I loved the bands and you got to be really close to the stage. On Friday night we were front row for Suede. At one point Brett Anderson climbed into the crowd and stood like 50 cm away from Dylan and I and sang. It was a surreal experience that we both really enjoyed. I really liked Everything Everything on Saturday, and the Hives put on a great show before Suede on the Friday night, although they were a bit shouty. Jess Glynne sounded amazing but at 10:15 start time on Saturday the boys 6-8-16 Standon calling brett anderson seudecar shot 6-8-16 Standon calling asleep for jess glynnecouldn’t keep their eyes open and were shivering so we had to retreat to the tent…slightly gutted about that.
  • The pool. The festival is held in the grounds of the Lordship of Standon and part of the festival is in his garden and pool. It was very safe with limits on number of people in the pool and 2 lifeguards at all times. The boys all loved the pool, really loved it. The queues were annoying, but hey you could sit and chill in the queue whilst the boys ran around playing football/making friends.6-8-16 Standon calling swimming
  • The fancy dress. I wasn’t quite prepared for this. I had brought suitable festival wear. Summer hippy style dresses etc but that was it. So I got glittered up with Go Get Glitter. If you see them at a festival ( I know they will be at Reading) do pop along and get glittered up. And there was face-painting/hair dos galore. My hairdressers Farley’s from Hitchin were there coincidentally and did the most amazing mermaid style up do for me, thank you Michelle. Everywhere you looked people looked so cool from pirates to mermaids to jellyfish to sea monsters. You name it, it was there. The boys and I had fun playing spot Nemo.6-8-16 Standon calling mermaidhair 6-8-16 Standon calling glitter face & DJ
  • The camping. The boys loved it. The adventure, the sleeping arrangements. All the free stuff we got from Aldi from sleeping bags (£19.99) to hammock (£29.99) to blow up sofa (£19.99) to rucksacks to lights. Thank you so much Aldi. We can confirm all items sent were extremely useful, brilliant value and easy to set up. The hammock provided much camp site jealousy. And a place for me to have an afternoon nap on the Saturday and a place to sleep on the sat night. We borrowed a cool blow up tent from friends Gerry & Tracy. No poles, just inflatable bits.6-8-16 Standon calling inflatable tent 6-8-16 Standon calling inflated tent
  • Entertainment for children. There was an amazing children’s area where there was circus skills, walking the plank, street dance, face-painting. The boys spent hours there. All 3 loved it. There was a big wheel and big merry-go-round ride. 6-8-16 Standon calling hammock
  • The well-being area. Had I had a bit more child-free time I would have made full use of this with yoga, massage, reiki and meditation. Next year I will deffo check it out.6-8-16 Standon calling big wheel 6-8-16 Standon calling circus
  • The weather. Apart from a brief downpour in the middle of the Friday night (which did leak into tent) it was a beautiful weekend with sun and warmth. There was no mud, flipflops were fine:-)

The Bad Bits

Life is all about balance and of course not everything was going to be perfect..so here are the bits that we didn’t like.

  • I’ve read lots of stuff about camping, so was prepared for it to be a challenge. But hubby did not enjoy the camping bit. From the carrying of stuff from car to pitch (which wasn’t even that far as we had special press parking tickets). The putting up of tent, apparently the tent pegs were not strong enough. And the sleeping arrangements, hubby did not set up the hammock or yoga mats so ended up sleeping on floor with just sleeping bag. With a hammer through fear of someone coming and attacking us all. The only way hubby would return is if we did glamping/or he just drove back home. Which he did do on the Saturday.
  • The cost of stuff at the festival. We spent around £250 from Friday afternoon to Sunday lunchtime. Everything you bought was expensive. The food was maybe £8 per burger. Coffee was £3. Icecreams were £3. Water was £2. Pint of beer was £5. Fairground rides were £3 a go. We didn’t budget,  we just spent as we wanted and therefore spent a lot. We had however received the tickets free of charge (full weekend camping tiks for 2 adults and 2 children would have been £300, infant was only £5) and the camping stuff was gifted by Aldi (cost of around £150). So we actually had a great weekend for £250, we would have spent more at Haven. They had a great cashless wristband thing which reduced queues, but also made you think less about the cost of things and therefore spend more.
  • The queues for the pool. Luckily we got to the pool as soon as it opened Saturday and Sunday mornings and only had to wait 1 hour to get in. But if you joined at 10 am on the Sunday morning you would have been waiting for 2-3 hours to get into the pool for your 30 minute slot. Not great, but it was very popular. And no one was annoyed about the queues, just chilled out and relaxed!
  • The toilets. Okay so I expecting these to be bad. And they weren’t as bad as they could have been. They were proper toilets with loo roll. But they were smelly and by the afternoon and def evening they were not nice. Dirty/stinky. The cleaning staff did a great job at getting them cleaned up in the mornings, not a nice job.
  • We could have been better prepared food wise. We did take a good supply of Aldi snacks, sausage rolls, crisps, chocolate, fruit, water, beer, cider. But not enough of the right stuff, as the temptation of the food stalls was far more. Lots of people had camping stoves and were boiling up water for tea and cooking bacon. We had none of that. And probably spent £60 on breakfast food! I went on a sugar rampage on the Saturday and ate a huge slice of chocolate cake. This was a huge mistake after eating clean for 5 weeks. The sugar hangover on the Sunday was the worst ever and actually lasted 48 hours. Not great when we were flying to Spain very early on the Monday morning. 48 hours of migrane pain killers were the only solution. And I have learnt that having a huge slice of chocolate cake is so not worth it.
  • 6-8-16 Standon calling octopus 6-8-16 Standon calling jellyfish

Overall all we loved it a lot more than the bad bits. Particularly me and the 2 eldest boys Dylan and Josh. We will absolutely be back, but maybe glamping;-)

A huge thank you to Full Fat media, Molly, Tom and co for the tickets. And thank you to Clarion and Aldi for the camping gear which we couldn’t have done without. If you want to get tickets for next year..join the waiting list for more information. I have added my email address.

Please do share your camping/festival experiences, what was your favourite bit and least favourite bit?

Standon Calling – Festival & Camping with the Family

Standon Calling #40thingdb440 – Tick

I wrote post a few weeks back detailing my list of #40thingsb440. One thing on the list was to go to a festival. Yippee we are going to Standon Calling tomorrow for a whole 2 nights of camping that is 2 things ticked off the list no 15 and no 16. I also have no 25 to sing on stage, maybe I can get an opportunity at this festiva;-) Thank you to the organisers of Standon calling I am an official family ambassador and one of my tasks is to write this post. Plus oodles of social sharing over the weekend and another post to tell you about it after the event.

We are so excited to go, me for the music, the atmosphere, the wellbeing tent, the food, the land of the sea theme. The boys are excited for Jess Glynne, swimming, pirates and camping. Hubby wants to get the boys to experience drum and base with Goldie.

I have asked advice from friends and MMP fans who are festival goers, who have advised on things to take and things to think about when we are there. And Aldi have been fabulous and have sent us loads of camping gear to try out.

Camping Gear

You can spend a small fortune on camping gear, luckily for us Aldi have gifted us:-) . I wrote a few weeks about camping bits we were sent. So we are stocked up with

  • 1 hammock
  • 1 double sleeping bag
  • 1 huge rucksack
  • 2 mini rucksacks
  • 1 inflatable sofa
  • lots of lights, including a head light
  • Bottle opener
  • Sun cream, after sun, wipes.

We are borrowing an inflatable tent. No poles, it inflates…looks brill in the YouTube video.

We already have :-

  • 2 airbeds
  • 2 camping chairs
  • Picnic hamper/rug set
  • Duvets and pillows

We are also taking a pushchair, not for a child, more to lug stuff from car to camping site. As we don’t have a trolley. I have also brought a potty, surely a clever idea for night time wees.

Other handy stuff

  • We have a big bag of Aldi goodies for snacks including popcorn, Pringles, cookies, Haribo, tons of water, mini sausages, scotch eggs.
  • Loo Roll, baby wipes, hand sanitiser
  • Waterproof bag for phone to tie round neck.
  • Super phone charger holding 2 phone worth of charge.
  • Cash to load onto pre-paid wristband
  • Mini first aid kit.

Stuff for boys

Warm pyjamas, socks, pants, jumper, joggers, shorts, t-shirts, wellies, swimming stuff.

Stuff for me

I had a look today in Topshop and H&M for cool festival clothes. I wasn’t keen. Am going to style up clothing I already have to look cooler than cool. I have flowers for hair. I have chunky jewellery. I have wellies (which I might decorate with dinosaur stickers). I have chiffon floaty clothes. I have bright pink long lasting lipstick. I’ll be fine. Oh flip-flops for shower. I need warm clothes for night time as it will maybe get cold and I need a jumper. Book to read in morning as I will most likely wake up early.

Top Tips

  • Sleep with valuables at foot of sleeping bag/ take as little as possible.
  • Ear plugs for night time
  • Don’t camp near a main pathway
  • Prioritise the Hives and Cuban Bros and Goldie
  • Camp next to something memorable so you can find tent.

If there is anything I have missed please shout very quickly as are planning on getting there at 3pm tomorrow. Woo hoo. Official holiday starts tomorrow!