Summer Solstice – 21st June

images (8)

 

Happy Summer Solstice to you my friends.  This is a time for welcoming happiness and joy, fulfillment and a turning of the tide.  Celebrate with fresh fruit and vegetables, music and time with family and friends.

Our friends have organised a party on the Yorkshire moors, with lots of music to celebrate our life. We know we are lucky, we are surrounded by beauty every day….strolling the green hills and woodland, walking by streams and rivers.

woods

However you decide to celebrate, we wish you a happy Summer Solstice!

B signoff

Review: Boomerang Scam? Festival Goers Feeling Ripped Off

Being offered the opportunity to review a Family Festival in Leeds I jumped at the chance.  I set off in the morning of Bank Holiday Monday, 26th May 2014 with my three children in tow….Typical Teenager (It’s not fair) Boy aged 15 1/2 years, Total Tom Boy, Girl aged 7 3/4 years and Princess, Girl 6 1/4 years.  You can call me The Reviewer (or mother or mum, if you must), aged 33 years young. The festival: Boomerang Jam, claimed to have something for all the family, so we were all looking forward to a lovely, fun-packed day out.  Even the weather appeared to be on our side.

Child Friendly Leeds?

Child Friendly Leeds?

The journey there took us just under one hour, it was relatively easy to locate and it was well sign posted once you were in the right part of the city.  I was under the impression that parking would be free, as when I had asked I was told there was ample parking at the location.  Imagine my disappointment when it was going to cost me £6 for the day.  With a family ticket for 2 adults, 2 children costing £40, the total tally for a family day out would already be racking up. I returned back to my car to display the car park ticket and a passer by was complaining about what a ‘rip off’ the festival was.  I listened, but at the same time decided I would make my own mind up, afterall….some people do just like to complain! And, I am not one to follow the crowd so to speak.  I approached the ticket office and collected my family ticket left for me.  The staff did not seem jolly in the slightest, I thought I would give them the benefit of the doubt as the weather was pretty grim.  I proceeded through the gate with my three children in tow…’The Typical Teenager’, 15; ‘The Tom-Boy’, 7; and ‘I’m a Little Princess’, 6.  The steward on the gate was the happiest member of staff I saw throughout the whole of our stay.  She guided us towards the entrance where you were met by a row of portaloos to the left, large metal fencing and the Mini Farm to the right.  “Don’t forget to the see the animals” She said, “There is a donkey and some rabbits and things.” All the time still smiling.  That woman deserves a medal.  She knew the feedback of the Festival was negative, it was written all over her face, but she still remained friendly and professional throughout. We went to the Mini Farm, very aptly named as it consisted of two donkeys, two alpacas, two sheep, two goats, one large lazy pig, one calf who needed its bum washing, two goats, three guinea pigs, four rabbits and one humongous sized rabbit.  Oh and four chickens and a couple of pigeons! Within five minutes maximum ‘I’m a Little Princess’ declares “I’m bored!”, ‘Typical Teenager is still displaying the look of ‘Where the hell are we mother’ whilst ‘Tom-Boy’ is still in hysterics at how huge the rabbit was.  Saying that, we certainly did not have to prise her away from the area.

Boomerang Jam Festival 2014 Mini Farm

Boomerang Jam Festival 2014 Mini Farm

We returned to the entrance of the festival.  As I looked around the area, I actually felt a little shocked that this event had been allowed to take place.  It was set up in an unfinished car park.  A fence in front of me cordoned off some large concrete blocks and very little had been done to cover up what they were.

View of Festival from Entrance

View of Festival from Entrance

Fenced off Concrete Blocks...building site!

Fenced off Concrete Blocks…building site!

There were a few food vans dotted about, a display from the Army, a couple of small marquees/tents and some fairground rides and games. We walked over to the small cup and saucers.  I admit I expected the rides to be free, unfortunately this was the not the case.  Of the small selection of fair rides and activities available there were a handful of things free, namely a climbing wall for older children, a large inflatable bouncy castle slide, cupcake decorating, hook a duck and face painting.  Pretty much everything else carried a price tag.  Unfortunately, many of the things advertised we not there.

marquee activities overwrite

What’s in here? Not much!

Advertised on the website before the event was:

Half Pipe and Pro Performers  Main Stage  Arena  Dance Tent Food Demonstrations  Mini Farm  Rock  Climbing Inflatables  Fair Ground  Graffiti Artists  Arts and Crafts Stalls ● Competitions ● Breakdancing ● Beat Boxing performances  and much much more.

Unfortunately, there was not much, much more, nor were all of the advertised acts and activities present.  I am not sure as to what the arena was supposed to be, unless they were referring to the poorly kept car park/building site, there was no dance tent, no food demonstrations, there were no arts and crafts, no competitions, no beat box performances…. The entertainment on the main stage consisted of a loop of Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Bob The Builder, and local dance troups.  We stayed for a maximum of one hour and a half and I do believe we pretty much saw the whole of the entertainment.

One of the four acts...

One of the four acts…

Not only was the event poorly organised but unfortunately many of the workers, who appeared to be there independently (so I am unsure as to where the entrance fee money was going) were very unprofessional and simply did not seem to care about the very families who had paid to attend the event.

Quite possibly the best free activity

Quite possibly the best free activity

‘Tom Boy’ and ‘I’m a Little Princess’ wanted to go on the trampolines.  As the large inflatable bouncy castle had been free, I assumed that the trampolines would be too….. How incorrect could I have been!  The damage…£4 each for 5 minutes.  The 5 minutes included the time it took the children to take off and put back on their shoes, so around £1 a minute for jumping on a trampoline.  In fact the worker started attaching another child into the harness whilst Tom Boy was trying to put her shoes back on.  There was no area for them to take their shoes off or put them on so the only place was to sit on the side of the trampoline to do it.  More alarmingly, whilst I was there, an organiser came over and asked one of the workers if he has been smoking whilst putting a child on the trampoline as they had just received a complaint. Within the small marquee, there were a couple of free things for the children to do.  There was free face painting, you could have a model balloon made or you do do some cupcake decorating.  Oh…and not forgetting you could milk a large plastic cow, supplied by Arla Foods, which in actual fact ‘I’m a Little Princess’ actually enjoyed for a shortwhile.

cow

Cow milking supplied by Arla Foods

stir krazy

Stir Krazy Kids Activity

stir krazy1

Cupcake Decorating with Stir Krazy

As a parent, the most highlighting part of the event for me was speaking with one of the owners of Stir Krazy, a children’s cookery club.  It was lovely to see the passion she had for her business and hear about the reasons she decided to set up the club.  Cathie went on to tell me about the holiday clubs and children’s parties they run in Leeds and surrounding areas and how they are a new business.  I wish Cathie and her partner Sarah all the best, as their concept is a lovely idea for children and a great alternative to conventional childcare.

The misery of the majority of the rest of the staff and stall holders could not be contained, and was perhaps most apparent on the face of the balloon modeler who, not only looked uninterested….but also appeared to do a runner half way through the day.  One little girl asked the man if he would make her a flower, he obviously was not listening or could not be bothered as he handed her an orange looking dog.  A man asked for a giraffe and the balloon man told him he did not have time to make a giraffe.  I could not believe my ears.  There was no interaction with the children at all.  When it came to ‘I’m a Little Princess’ wanting her balloon, ‘Typical Teenager’ had also heard everything going on, and so for his entertained told her to ask for a zebra.  At the same time I made a comment that all the balloons looked the same and he looked like he needed to be elsewhere.  He must have heard me, as amazingly ‘Princess’ ended up with something resembling a zebra.

balloon man

Not interested?

zebra balloon

zebra

Oops where has he gone?

Oops where has he gone?

The ‘Festival’ claimed it was part of the Food and Drink Festival, however there was nothing at this festival to suggest such a thing.  The only food available were in the form of the usual burger vans, there was one creperie van.  No evidence of any cooking demonstrations and there was one small beer tent, which was hardly used, probably because most parents did not appear to want to stay that long. All in all, it was a disappointment.  I am not sure what went wrong, whether there were lots of booked acts that did not turn up or whether it was just very poorly organised.

Unorganised....

Disappointing….

I have waited a couple of days to write this review, in the hope the organisers may have issued some sort of explanation but to date nothing has been released.  Quite honestly, if I was the owner of the venue (http://thetetley.org/) I would not have allowed the event to go ahead. It is such a shame, the organisers had a good concept here, but there simply was not enough organisation, enough things to keep people entertained, and the ticket pricing was just all wrong.  There was nothing to keep a 15 year old entertained, which I know is difficult at the best of times, but I had hoped that the dance tent would do that.  My two daughters aged 7 and 6 were bored within an hour and a half. After searching the internet I have found many other complaints from families simply feeling that the festival was a scam and a rip off.  We can only hope that the organisers are able to compensate the families in some way by providing such a sub standard event, at an extortionate price and wasting valuable family time. You can read other reviews here and here

ben ten  peppa pig meet n greet

SUMMARY Event: Boomerang Jam Family Festival, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK Date Attended: 26th May 2014 Value for Money?: No Toilet Facilities: Plenty of portaloos, the ones I visited had plenty of toilet roll and hand sanitiser.  Baby facilities were located within the Tetley Building, meaning parents having to leave the festival area. Recommend to Other Families?: No Would you attend again: Yes.  I would love to see the event organisers put on the event that they advertised and this time do it justice, and get the pricing right!  I would like to come back next time and be able to give a postive review. Overall Rating: 1/10 Reason for Rating:  My children did enjoy the large inflatable bouncy castle slide and meeting Peppa Pig and Ben 10.  The event was over priced, unorganised.  Not enough activities to keep families entertained.

WHAT MY CHILDREN HAD TO SAY:

Children's Reviews...

Children’s Reviews…

If you need to contact Boomerang Jam here, you can do this here: http://boomerangjam.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/boomerangjam?fref=ts Related Articles: Booming Bank Holiday Entertainment for all the Family (Blogizing.wordpress.com) Reviews of Boomerang Jam (Mumsnet.com) Boomerang Jam on Facebook If you attended the event and left feeling disappointed with your experience please feel free to leave a review in our comments, or a link if you have posted a review elsewhere. Acknowledgements: Blogizing would like to thank the organisers of Boomerang Jam Festival for providing a Family Ticket to allow us to come and review the event for you.  Although we were disappointed this time around, we hope you can learn and grow 🙂 B signoff

Booming Bank Holiday Entertainment for all the Family

Boomerang Jam Festival, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

If you are anything like me you will love a good festival!  I attend them throughout the Summer with friends leaving my children with my fabulous parents! I enjoy the break but think the kids enjoy a break from me too if I am really honest with myself!  However, now and again my children, boy aged 15, and girls aged 7 and 6 often are on my case about them going to festivals.  As they are getting older I can understand why they want to get  involved especially when they see how excited I get!  My son has attended Bingley Music Live with friends from school and we have attended the Aire Do!, a festival in Keighley, West Yorkshire, which in the past has showcased the likes of Rudimental and Jake Bugg.

Last year when entering the gates at the Aire Do Festival I was surprised to see how excited my two girls were just at the fact they were getting a festival wristband! They are definately likely to follow in my footsteps as they were dancing around in front of the main stage whilst listening to Black Sabbath play Agadoo and zipping in and out of the little dance tent.

img-small-2

This year, as soon as they found out I had booked my first festival ticket, they were on my case. “muuuuuummmmmmmm, when can we go to a festival?” Although the Aire Do is a great little boutique festival it is not until August, so there is a little while to wait.  It also got me thinking about which festivals were actually family friendly. I have been to many, who claim to be family friendly, but in all honesty just do not have the facilities to keep your children entertained whilst you can go off and party….it is not realistic is it 😀

I began to delve into the world wide web, do a little research and see what I could come up with.  There seems to be a real lack of festivals marketed at families, which is such a shame.  The ones that are, do appear to be aimed more at older children.  For me, I have two age groups to contend with, and the teenager is the more difficult of the two!  I did however, come across a festival which is local to me, called Boomerang Jam.  It is to take place on Sunday 25th and Monday 26th May 2014 at The Old Brewery, in Leeds.  Conveniently located some 7 minutes away from the train station it is easy to reach, or alternatively if you are travelling by car there is a large car park so no need to worry about the travel arrangements, which can often be a big stress for a family day out.  The highlights seem to be appearances by Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Bob The Builder and Ben 10 amongst others….thats the little ones sorted out then….but what about the teenager?  There promises to be stunts by bmx bikers and skaters as well as the dance tent and lots of workshops to keep them entertained.  My teenager is also a particular lover of food…any food, but he also appreciates food.

Half Pipe and Pro Performers  Main Stage  Arena  Dance Tent Food Demonstrations  Mini Farm  Rock  Climbing Inflatables  Fair Ground  Graffiti Artists  Arts and Crafts Stalls ● Competitions ● Breakdancing ● Beat Boxing performances  and much much more.

Boomerang Jam is also part of The Leeds Food and Drink Festival 2014 and will deliver some of the finest cooking displays and tastiest treats Leeds has to offer! 

I have decided there definately seems to be enough here to keep a 6 year old princess, a 7 year old skater girl and a football crazy, x-box mad, foody teenager entertained.  Therefore, I for one shall be giving it a try, and I will of course report back!  It is important in these difficult times that the quality time we so desperately seek with our families is time which we feel is well spent and of course value for money.  I will be visiting to see if this is what we will be getting.  From the face of it, it looks promising so lets keep our fingers and toes crossed and pray to the universe that finally there may just be a family festival which not only promises to deliver a great day out for all the family, but actually does.

Boomerang Jam Music Festival, Leeds, West Yorkshire.  25th & 26th May 2014

Tickets from: £10

Solving Storage Problems for Children: I’m Hooked!

http://www.fieldsofblue.co.uk/coloured-pencil-coat-hooks.html

I had a problem.  Every day when I collect the children from school and take them home, as soon as we walk through the door the same thing happens.  They take their shoes off in the hallway and place them on the shoe rack (good work kids) then on the way from the hallway to the lounge area they take their coats off (whilst still walking) and drop it on the floor at the point wherever the coat is off their arms.  (Aarrrgghhh!!!) This is not so great!  This same action every day grates on me.  One day feeling rather stressed out I said “Why every day do you do this?” My youngest daughter who was 5 at the time, looked at me with a blank look on her face and simply shrugged her shoulders.  She did not even get what I was talking about, it was a look of ‘who cares? What’s the big deal mum.’ My eldest daughter, aged 7, looked at me and said rather nonchalant “Because there is nowhere to put it.”

I had always asked them to take their coats upstairs to their bedroom, but when I actually thought about it, when returning from school the first thing they want is a drink and a snack.  As the kitchen is not on the way to their bedroom the likelihood of the coat arriving there before they arrive in the kitchen is zero.

I had to think of a resolution.  Obvious…right? I suddenly had a ‘tahdah’ moment – COAT HOOKS

Oh……coat hooks.  Simple resolution, right? No……

Because if you are anything like me, you wont be happy with the ordinary coat hooks that you can get in your local hardware store….

mottisfont-painted-6-hook-coat-rack---1

This particular example is £210, yeah it is solid wood (which is always a bonus with me) but where is the design, it is not attractive and the hooks are not always going to be covered by coats.  My thoughts were I would like something which is different, and attractive and could be made into a feature.  I also wanted something which my children would actually use, something they find to be a novelty.

After some searching I found the perfect solution.  A fabulous six coat hook rack which look like a set of pencils.  It looks like a great feature and you can even put in photographs of your children so they know who’s hook is who’s – so no more arguing! Win-win situation.

pencils

The rack costs just £119.00 (but if you are quick can get it on sale at a discounted price of £89.00) and can be purchased from http://www.fieldsofblue.co.uk/ But be quick as there is only one left in stock!

For those of you who would love something a little more shabby chic by style, there is a great alternative also available from Fields of Blue, at an exceptional value price of £19.95, and it still offers you the option of inserting photographs so as to avoid the arguments over who’s peg is who’s.  Alternatively, you could insert some of your favourite pictures of small paintings done by yourselves or your children.  Be creative 😉

hook

Since getting the hooks, the problem is solved, my children not only now put their shoes on the shoe rack, but they also remember to hang up their coats.  No more stressed mum upon return from school, and additionally, we always know where coats are in the morning on the way out of the door!

B signoff

This is Liverpool: Oh help us!

http://www.theladbible.com/articles/this-is-liverpool-reality-show-will-be-the-worst-thing-to-happen-to-everyone

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear……

A show based in Liverpool like the other reality shows such as Made in Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex.  So although these programs are hardly enlightening, most (I said most) characters are painted in a reasonable light.  So why, when they release a reality show based in the North of England do they have to pick the roughest people who seem unable to string a sentence together without the use of multiple swear words, and more noticeably are unable to communicate with each other without being aggressive.  I live in the North of England next to another large city.  We are extremely friendly, individual in style (not carbon copy barbie dolls), and although some of us may swear it definitely is not the whole of the population (or who the producers portray the population as).

Sorry Liverpool but I do not see how this will do you any favours…..unless of course you are all like the show portrays you (though I highly doubt it).  If I was a Liverpudlian I would be feeling rather embarrassed as to how the show is painting you.

B signoff

Alternative Proposal: Review

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/mariaallenjewellery/product/mini-gold-personalised-love-letter-necklace

normal_mini-gold-personalised-love-letter-necklace

Are you planning on proposing some time this year but not sure how to do it?  Are you looking for something different other than he standard get down on one knee? Are you unsure if they will say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and for this reason would like to put off buying the ring until you are sure? (OK, so this last question is not ideal, but lets be honest it happens…..)

Whilst browsing the internet this morning I found this charming necklace, It can be personalised with any message you wish.  However, I thought it was perfect with the message ‘Marry Me.’  How cute, and what a great keepsake (if they said yes, of course!). There is a mini version (which is the one shown above) at a cost of £49, with the standard size costing £68-£80 depending upon whether you choose the gold or silver option.

We would be more than happy to be proposed in this way.  Gone are the days of ‘down on one knee’ holding an Elizabeth Duke velveteen ring box.  You need to stand out from the crowd and make a proposal that your chosen lady will remember for time.  However you decide to do it, this would be a great addition.

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/mariaallenjewellery/product/personalised-sterling-love-letter-necklace

normal_personalised-sterling-love-letter-necklace

B signoff