Thursday, 3 September 2015

How Does the Renault Grand Scenic Cope with a Camping Trip?

Loaded to the gunnels with  enough camping gear to see us through a week or more we headed off to Camp Bestival in a Renault Grand Scenic.  As the boys had decided to stay at home this year, we had the extra space in the back, as the two rear seats were neatly packed away.  So far, so good, but we were yet to see how comfy this car was on a long journey.

Firstly the navigation system needed some attention, beeping every time you went two miles over the speed limit.  Whilst I agree, this is a great feature however after twenty minutes or so we set this to silent!  Don't worry we are safe drivers and do observe speed limits, but this was definitely an annoying feature.  Having owned a Renault Espace in the past we had always loved all the cubby holes and the dip in the dashboard always seemed perfect for transporting home a baguette.  Yet the Grand Scenic somehow seemed lacking in cubby holes and like most cars these days had a deep dash, probably housing all those electronics that tell us we are two miles over the speed limit!

So that's the negatives out of the way lets consider what is great about this family car.  Most importantly it is very economical.  We tested the Dynamique Tom Tom dCi 110 model and completed the 500 mile round trip, fully loaded, on less than a tank of diesel.  Impressive? Absolutely! Especially as most of this was on motorways and has actually encouraged me to consider a diesel when replacing my car, as a 100 mile round trip four times a week gets pricey.  Yet as it is a diesel model it can feel a little sluggish initially but soon makes up for this midrange.  With economy getting a firm five stars, I would also award interior space and layout combinations the same rating.  Having test driven various cars I am reluctant to award five stars for comfort however the Grand Scenic was by no means the least comfortable car I have driven.  So I think a fair four stars for comfort, although there was ample legroom, which some MPV's lack.  Another plus point for me was the reversing sensors, I am still pants at reverse parking so any gadget or aid is very welcomed.  

Overall the Renault Grand Scenic is an impressive family vehicle, offering ample space.  Although I would recommend a roof box if you were using all seven seats and heading off with a lot of luggage and/or camping gear.  Most impressive for me was fuel economy and I think even on more urban journeys it would fair well in comparison to other family cars.  Would I recommend the Grand Scenic to others? Yes I would, it is a good, sturdy, economical family car that provides the versatility of additional seats.

For the full spec please visit Renualt's website.

Until next time, take care,

Disclaimer - Thank you to Renault for providing the Grand Scenic for review

Friday, 28 August 2015

Being Grateful - Changing Seasons

Any British person will have spent the last few weeks having a little moan about the weather, the rain, the not so warm days that we would expect for summer.  Yes as a nation we are a little obsessed with the weather, it's always a go to topic of conversation.  However today the rain has stopped, the sun is shining and there seems a distinct autumnal feel to this brighter day.  Living in the countryside the landscape changes as the months roll past, with farmers working round the clock right now to clear the fields of crops as harvest time approaches.  The nights are starting to draw in and it's not been quite as light when I crawl out of bed at 5.20am on work days.  But as much as some will moan that summer never really got started, I am thankful to live somewhere that changes every few months.  I cannot imagine living in a place that has a similar temperature daily, that never sees the trees spectacular display on autumnal golds, that never has a late summer hazy glow or bushes filled with berries, plump and ready to be eaten.  Every season offers so many different things and brings with it different moods, recipes and activites.  So instead of moaning about the lack of hot summer days I am getting excited for autumn along with thought of apple and blackberry crumble, finding conkers, digging out my favourite jumpers for walks in the forest or on the beach and of course Saturday evenings watching Strictly and Sunday afternoons crafting with the girls.  

Until next time, take care.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Lost : One Blogging Mojo

Yes it's true I have lost my blogging mojo, which for me is quite hard.  Blogging has been part of my life for the past six years but recently life has taken over and the thought of sitting down to write has been furthest from my thoughts.  I know many bloggers take a break in August, some time out to enjoy life without writing about it, which is probably just what I needed to do.  The past few weeks have seen some big changes in my life, so taking some time out from blogging was very much needed.  Yet now I feel I should be returning here, to my lovely little blogging home, but I can't quite find the inspiration or motivation.  For a long time blogging was a big part of my career, I had to blog to pay the bills.  Now it is my hobby, my space, a place for me to reflect, to share my thoughts and maybe even inspire other women. Maybe this is what I need to remember, it is my space.  So with a few days annual leave, in between two important birthdays, I aim to find my blogging mojo and rediscover the reason I love to write.

Until next time, take care.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Our Festi Family Holiday

Having spent the past fornight almost constantly checking the weather forecast, last Thursday we headed to Dorset ready for a weekend of festival fun at Camp Bestival.  Laden with wellies, suncream, blankets, flipflops and much more besides we were ready for whatever the weather had in store for us.  Thankfully the wellies were not required, but lashings of suncream were.  Again we were blessed with gorgeous summer sunshine as we had endless fun in the grounds of Lulworth Castle.  

This year was a little different for us, as the boys had decided that although the musical line up looked good, the days at Camp Bestival were a tad boring for them.  So after much deliberation we agreed they could stay at home, with promises of no parties.  Without the extra muscle power of two strapping teenage lads, Andy and I decided to book Camping Plus, allowing us to have a specific pitch.  However we made this decision quite late so had to settle for a pitch very close to the festival entrance and a bit of a walk from the car park.  But having previously pitched in the main campsites, we were still parked closer to our pitch than previous years.  The added bonus of real toilets and plenty of showers in the Camping Plus field more than made up for the struggle across the field with all of our camping gear.  There was also The Tea Bus a short stroll form our tent, which was a lifesaver ont he Thursday lunchtime when we hadn't managed to get the kettle and stove from the car just yet.  

Previous years had been about the activities but this year it would seem that music was very much on the agenda, not just for Andy and I but for the girls too.  With a fantastic line up over the weekend, there were performances we did not want to miss.  Clean Bandit headlined the Castle Stage on Friday night and certainly did not disappoint.  Under a starlit sky we danced until late, this year even Kitty was determined to stay up, sleepily crawling into her sleeping bag at midnight.  Saturday saw us running between stages as Andy and I wanted to see Level 42 on the Castle Stage and I also did not want to miss one of my current favourites, The Shires, who were performing at the Big Top.  Thankfully the schedulers had thought about this possible clash so I was able to catch both performances.  So after a sing along and dance to The Shires and being able to share a more up close concert with Lucy and Amber, we headed back to join Andy and Kitty at the Castle Stage for Kaiser Chiefs, who were disappointingly not as great as I had hoped.  With such an eclectic mix of music we were really being spoilt, but it was not over yet!  Sunday saw us running down the hill from Camping Plus, abandoning plans to pack up the tent, as we could hear Ella Henderson on earlier than scheduled.  Another benefit of being so close to the festival! After returning from packing up the car we headed back to complete our musical adventure with performances from Bob Geldof, Soul II Soul and Ella Eyre.  In the warm summer sun Jazzie B and the band transported me back to long summer days of my sixth form years and Ella Eyre provided that musical bond with my daughters, as we all sang along.

Whilst the music seemed to take over our weekend plans we still made time for many more activities within the festival.  A trip in to the cool shade of Dingly Dell was welcomed and again the girls completed several of the National Trust challenges, but we never did get back to make whistles from carrots.  Previous years had seen us spend alot of time in the circus skills area and this year was not very different.  Kitty became obessesed with hula hooping and spent ages trying to do all sorts of tricks.  Another must was to pop to Art Town and the girls also wanted to visit the Energiser tent to decorate a headtorch as well as going to the Hello Kitty garden, where the girls had tattoo's and we dressed up in the selfie photo booth!  They also managed to do one of the craft workshops at the Volvo tent as well as enjoying a coffee and a cinnamon bun sat on comfy cushions whilst the girls made floral wreaths.

Food is another big part of the festival experience for us, as we keenly visited the Feast Collective, the Farmers Market and many other foodie stands and stalls.  Tasting the numerous flavours of Belvoir Fruits cordials, gorging on bread and cakes from different stalls in the Farmers Market and taking our taste buds on an international food fest in the Feast Collective.  DJ BBQ was still the best place to get a burger ever and Camper Coffee, near the Yorkshire Tea Tent, made the best coffee ever, which always made the waiting in the long queue worth it.  

Whilst Camp Bestival seemed a lot busier this year, the festival vibe was certainly turned up to full blast.  Parades a plenty and random performances around the castle grounds led to an amazing weekend.  Sometimes it was just good to stop and sit for a while, watching and listening.  One of our favourite moments was on Saturday morning, hearing a steel drum band, The Steelers, playing songs from current bands.  We then thankfully stumbled across their 'proper' performance in the Big Top on Sunday afternoon.  That's the thing about a festival, you never quite know what you will see and hear and for me that is when the best memories are made.

So thank you Camp Bestival, we had a blast and will treasure the memories you gave us forever.

Until next time, take care.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Camp Bestival - Let's Go Wild

Part of the fun at festivals is dressing up, with many having a theme for the weekend.  This year the theme at Camp Bestival is Wild. With guests including Michela Strachan and Steve Backshall it makes me think of wildlife and the Really Wild Show! So I have been thinking about costumes for the girls and maybe myself for Saturday at Camp B, which is the traditional fancy dress day.  So of course I popped on to Pinterest for some inspiration, looking for fox masks, feather headdresses and much more besides.  Here are my favourites so far -

Animal Mask Templates from Emma Magazine

Woodland Creature Masks from Hoosier Homemade

Ladybird Costume Tutorial from HGTV
There is also a butterfly, dragonfly and bumblebee costume tutorial on this link.

This would make a fab owl costume

I love this Leaf Girl costume from Alpha Mom

Feather Crown tutorial from The Wonder Forest

So what will you be dressing up as? Be sure to share photos with me!

Until next time, take care.

Monday, 13 July 2015

First Two Weeks As a Qualified Radiographer

Well I have survived my first two weeks and can honestly say that I love my new job.  No longer being a student is strange but good and will take a while to get used to.  Returning as a qualified member of staff to my training hospital has proven to be beneficial, knowing my way around, already knowing staff names aswell as knowing how to use Varian equipment.  So far the transistion has been smooth and as of last Friday I am no longer supernumerary, which in itself is a milestone.  A scary milestone as I am now responsible every time I set up a patient and beam on! 

Many newly qualified's take the summer off before starting their first job, enjoying that last summer of freedom before many years of working.  However I chose to just have the three weeks, as I really wanted to start earning money but also because everything was still fresh in my memory.  Often returning to placement after the long summers meant I take a week or two to get back in the way of working. That's the problem with being a mature student! 

So I am now just waiting for my new uniform and name badge to arrive and then I think I will really feel like a real radiographer!

Until next time, take care.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Summer Drinks For The Weekend

With the working week almost done and the weekend calling our names, I am sure I am not the only one looking forward to a cold drink in the garden or heading out with friends. Having collected some delicious drinks ideas over on Pinterest I thought I would share a few with you here, to help get the weekend started!

Limoncello and Raspberry Prosecco Cooler

Vodka Mint Lemonade

Rhubarb and Elderflower Mojito

Enjoy your weekend! Until next time, take care.