Laura Fitzpatrick


Living in Northumberland has it’s plus points – beautiful scenery, close to the country as well as the coast, but when it snows, oh it snows. We are now on day three of being snowed in thanks to the #beastoftheast. We have taken this chance to really reconnect as a family. It’s wonderful how the snow slows you down – and forces you to leave the car on your drive and go where you need to by foot.

Deer Shed festival is a wonderful gem of a family festival within an hour and a half of our home in Morpeth. Now in its 8th year we can’t believe this was our first outing to Baldersby Park near Thirsk.

Armed with a new tent and four year old in tow, we arrived Friday afternoon after shedding tears at Isabella’s pre school graduation! A little larger than some family festivals we have been to in the past, we thought it best to hire a Mr Trolley to get us from our car to campsite – it was needed!

As summer starts heating up and the kids are scratching at the doors to be outside, it’s time to grab your bags and head for the woods for a spot of glamping.

I packed my husband and 14 month old toddler and headed for Yorkshire for our first family glamping experience.

You simply can’t help but smile as you turn in to the woodland drive, knowing you’re going to be glamping for the next three nights in a place called Jolly Days. As we pass a cornfield peppered with bright red poppies, I already feel a little jolly and ready for the delights that are ahead.

Just So Festival is a curious place for a two year old and the perfect place to experience our first ever eco family festival.

We arrived at Rode Hall in Cheshire on Friday morning; after a short queue of traffic we pitched our tent and hung up our bunting. If the memories of Glastonbury have put you off festival camping, then let me assure you there is space a plenty and the toilets and showers were the cleanest we have ever seen.

If you’re looking for an eco family-friendly festival to introduce your little person to a world within the woods, then we may have just stumbled across a delightful little festival aptly named ‘Just So’.

Just So Festival is taking place over the August bank holiday weekend, and we simply can’t believe how much is on offer for under 4s. From nappy changing tents to bubble baths before bed, the Peekaboo area will be right up our toddler’s street.

Start your family’s day with some yoga, engage in chello playing and rattle shaking, and that’s all before you’ve started to explore the festival further. You’ll find a Fairy Ball which sounds simply magical, as well the chance to dress up as family ‘tribe’ and partake in the annual ‘Tribal Tournament’ (we’d need to get creative for this one!) As festivals go, there’ll be plenty of music to tap your toes to, and if theatre and dance is more your cup of tea, then head to The Spellbound Forest.

Just So, is ‘just so’ sustainable, making a clear plan to reduce waste, champion reusable nappies and switching off at night where possible. Sarah Bird, Festival Director said: ‘We’re working all the time towards making Just So Festival as sustainable as possible. Everything about the event is geared up to make an incredible weekend of creative adventures for families. We want the festival to have as little impact on the environment as possible and are really lucky to have a festival audience who support this”

Sounds just charming, doesn’t it?

Just So Festival 2015 will take place on 21/22/23 August 2015 at Rode Hall Parkland, Scholar Green, Cheshire.

Weekend Adult with camping :: £110 face value (plus booking fee of £7.15)

Weekend Child with camping :: £50 face value (plus booking fee of £3.25)

Weekend Under 3s :: Free

Tickets are available here.

As a child I remember my mother making all sorts of puddings with suet.  Most of these were sweet and served with custard.  However, this recipe is for a savoury pudding to serve with steak and kidney stew or mince.  It is a type of dumpling.


  • 225gms SR flour
  • 100gms suet (I use vegetable low fat suet)
  • 50grams butter
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • 2 leeks finely chopped


Put flour into a bowl, rub in butter and mix in the suet.

Add the finely chopped, raw leeks.

Slowly add water and mix together to form a light dough that just holds together.

Traditionally this is then placed in a pudding basin and covered with grease proof paper.  A muslin cloth is then placed over the basin and tied firmly with string around under the lip of the basin.  The basin is then placed in a saucepan filled with water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 hours.  Ensure that the water when boiling, does not overflow into the basin.  Keep checking the level of the water, topping up when necessary.

An alternative to mixing the leeks into the pudding is to make the suet pastry without the leeks, use the pastry to line the basin, place the leeks in the centre and place more suet pastry on top to form a lid.

Some families did not cook their pudding in a basin but wrapped the whole pudding in a muslin cloth, allowing space for expansion and cooked it in a pan of water.

A modern alternative is to make individual leek puddings.  The mixture will make 4 to 6.  Use ramekins or mini-pudding basins.  These only take about 30 minutes to cook.

Why not invite friends round for supper and produce a traditional Northumbrian meal with individual puddings.