Last weekend, Ellie and I packed up our husbands and kids and headed down to Dorset to go camping. We took all the essentials: tents, torches, sleeping bags, 400 packets of wet wipes, and a pair of gold lamé catsuits. For this was no ordinary camping trip - we were off to perform at Camp Bestival, our favourite family festival.
Since forming Scummy Mummies, we have performed in some weird and wonderful places. A shipping container under a flyover in Deptford; the basement of a Thai restaurant in Manchester; a Stop Smoking roadshow in an empty park in Croydon, in the pouring rain. All great times, obviously, but you can see why Camp Bestival feels like a real treat.
I did have reservations. Yes, I am Australian, and a walking cliché in many respects - I love cricket, barbecues, being loud, putting ketchup on everything and wearing flip flops at inappropriate occasions. But I am not a natural camper. Peeing in buckets and not washing for days at a time is not usually my idea of fun.
But then I discovered Camp Bestival. It turns out camping is really quite enjoyable if you throw in live music and comedy, kids' entertainment and a three litre box of wine. It's like adding gin to tonic - previously bitter pisswater becomes a sophisticated and delightful aperitif.
This was our second year performing at the festival. We do our show in the Guardian Literary Institute tent, which is less formal than it sounds - in fact it's filled with cosy old couches and jolly bunting. It's host to a wide range of authors, journalists, poets, and middle-aged women doing jokes about vaginas.
Our slot for this year was 2pm on the Friday afternoon - after the brilliant Guardian games expert Keith Stuart, and before reknowned feminist columnist Suzanne Moore. We felt like the fish fingers in an artisanal sour dough sandwich.
We had a brilliant time and I could bang on forever about our adventures - but here are my highlights.
1. The audience at the Scummy Mummies Show.
We performed to a packed tent of fellow scummy mummies, scabby daddies and their kids, all willing to laugh at our boob jokes and share their hilarious confessions. The winning story was from a mum who once weed in her baby's nappy in a service station car park. Congratulations Queen Julie, the scummiest mummy at Camp Bestival!
2. Suzanne Moore in a yurt with lager.
We sat in a yurt and recorded a podcast about feminism with the legendary Suzanne Moore, while drinking cans of lager. Career highlight does not even cover it.
We returned to the yurt for more podcasting with Helen McGinn, creator of the fantastic Knackered Mother's Wine Club. This time we drank wine from polystyrene cups while chatting about Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and waving to an elective mute. We also dazzled McGinn with a song we wrote especially for her, I Need a Vino, and were invited to perform it that evening at her wine tasting - in gold lamé catsuits, obvs. Another lifetime achievement fulfilled. (Podcast out on Tuesday!)
4. Backstage at the Guardian Literary Institute.
It's the happiest tent in the world - a constant flow of amazing artists and interesting people, a wonderful production manager, Amy, who always has sun cream and cold wine on hand, and a place to charge your phone. Fantastic comperes Jack Rooke and self-confessed right-on dad Dave Wright were great to hang out with, and it's always fun to get weird looks from the likes of Bill Oddie while you're changing into a wolf print leotard.
Our regular podcast guest and dear friend Jessie joined us for the Agony Hour session on Saturday morning. In full nurse's uniform, she listened to the audience's problems, solved their parenting dilemmas and let us take the piss out of her. She also looked after the kids while we packed up the tents and calmed a screaming baby with her magic. (Ellie says it's witchcraft and we should burn her.) Oh, and she held the laptop playing the I Need a Vino backing music while we pranced about at the wine tasting. We love you, Nurse Jessie!
So those were our best bits. And of course, the kids had a great time. They got to dress up and have their faces painted, watch endless puppet shows, eat Coco-Pops for breakfast (and on one particularly feral day, a packet of Hula Hoops), ride on carousels and helter skelters and generally smile a lot. Meanwhile, we ate delicious takeaway food and drank all that box wine. Yes, there were tantrums, tears and many tedious incidents involving toilets, or lack of them, but we still loved it. Roll on Camp Bestival 2016!
A new episode of The Scummy Mummies Podcast is released every fortnight - listen free via scummymummies.com or download via iTunes. We're on Facebook and Twitter - @scummymummies.