Bournemouth Air Festival 2014

Bournemouth Air Festival is an amazing yearly FREE event held on the seafront at, strangely enough, Bournemouth. It’s just celebrated it’s 7th year of existence and a year which has seen record breaking crowds over it’s four days of fun and flying.

We first went to the air festival back in 2009. We just popped down for an afternoon, mainly because the Red Arrows and the Typhoon (very noisy!) were flying. We were amazed at the size of the event and the huge crowds who had turned out to watch.

IMG_0228The main parts of the festival take part between Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers, which is a distance of close to one and a half miles. The air display takes place over the sea but the whole of the seafront is full of stalls, food, fairground rides and displays from the armed forces and local services. In short, there’s plenty for everyone!

IMG_8718Flying takes place between lunch time and early evening, with a break so you can take in the delights of the varied food (and drink) stalls and then there’s an amazing firework lit evening flying sessions. Two of the evenings this is followed up by firework displays at 10pm.

There’s lots going on back from the seafront too. The pilot’s village is just off the seafront at the Bournemouth end of proceeding where, at various times of the day, you can meet the pilots.

The second year we went there was open air cinema in the park (the year we were driving there amidst new reports of flash flooding in Bournemouth actually…!) with masses of people attending dressed as nuns (it’s okay, it was the Sound of Music they were watching!). The band Beat the Retreat, there’s Punch and Judy, circus skills classes and, although we didn’t see them this year, our favourites are the amazing fire jugglers.

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It isn’t just about fun though. Bournemouth Air Festival has raised £60,000 to date for the Air Festival charities – this year they are supporting the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), The Not Forgotten Association, The British Lung Foundation and the Jon Egging Trust.

If you fancy a trip to the festival the dates for next year have already been released – Thursday 20th August to Sunday 23rd August. If you are going I’d advise you stay for more than one day. We went Thursday and Friday this year. Thursday doesn’t have a massive amount of flying going on during the day, but that’s a good opportunity to look around the stalls between flights and then you’re able to concentrate on the flying the following day. I’d advise parking outside town, or dropping off the family and then going and finding parking. There are two park and ride sites but they get busy very quickly and early on in the day. A hotel with on site parking’s a great idea as you can just leave the car there and walk or bus down to the seafront. As with all summer events in this country, pack for every weather! We spent our days this year wearing waterproofs, mainly to keep out the wind, but still ended up with sunburn/windburn from the times our coats were undone as it was so hot!

We’ve already tried to book up for next year but the hotels we were looking at are already full! If you think you might be interested in going, now might be a good time to start planning your visit!

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The Book of Bedtime Stories – Book Review!

I’ve been sent a VERY nice childrens book to review from Mumsnet (eeek, responsibility…me!! Can you tell they don’t know me?!).  It’s called The Book of Bedtime Stories (as you may have guessed from my title!) and it’s extra special as it contains 10 prize winning stories from members of Mumsnet and Gransnet (how clever are they?!).

Mumsnet and Gransnet are excellent websites giving advice by parent/grandparent to parents/grandparents. The emphasis is on sharing ideas, stories, hints and tips as well as helping out with each others problems in a safe and comfortable environment. Both sites are fascinating and contain endless brilliant information – taking a look is highly recommended!

IMG_4910Back to the book; former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen was given the exceptionally hard task of chosing 10 stories from 20, which had been shortlisted from over FOUR HUNDRED entries!  The challenge was to find bedtime stories by undiscovered writers and, following that process 10 new, young artists were commissioned to illustrate a story each.

The results of this long process was published last month and is absolutely beautiful!  The stories are delightfully different from each other; there are stories of varying lengths to keep children with longer or shorter attention spans happy and using different artists for each story has made the book completely captivating. BUT, don’t take my word for it!!  I was actually the second person in our house to read the book. My teenage daughter had the package opened and the book spirited away before I could even look in the front cover! Here’s a picture of her sat reading (it was so peaceful!). IMG_4904She said that her favourite story was “When Polly Jumped Over The Moon” because, as well as being an enjoyable story, from the point of view of someone a bit older, it made her feel like anything was possible. I was quite surprised – pleasantly so – by her observation!!

Next I popped down to see my mum with the book. Fortunately she was looking after my nephew on that morning (I didn’t pick that morning on purpose honestly….ahem!) and the pair of them had a good look through the book. Sharing books was a very important part of our childhood. Mum used to read to my sister and I at bedtime and encouraged us both to read for ourselves by tantilisingly leaving the story in THE most exciting place so we wanted to continue reading by ourselves! Both mum and my nephew really enjoyed the book.  He doesn’t usually sit still for long at all, but on this occasion he sat through two stories one after another – formerly unheard of!  He enjoyed the pictures too – there are plenty of animals featured in the stories too meaning you can encourage little-ies to make the appropriate noises, which always ensures captured attention (and encouraged even Grandpa to join in!!).

So, our whole family would recommend The Book of Bedtime Stories as a wonderful addition to your reading collection.  We hope you would like a copy too or, if your children are too old (not that we think you’re ever too old!!) it would make a brilliant present, especially with Christmas coming up (sorry!). It’s available from Walker Books….here

Thank you very much to Mumsnet and Gransnet for letting me review the book for them and a HUGE well done to everyone who contributed!

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