Feather Bowers at Just So

Go on try something new – a festival or camping?

Life’s still hard with the recession and we all need some fun and adventure in our lives, so for this month’s Lifestyle feature over on Radio Verulam with the lovely Danny smith on his Drivetime show, I talked about festivals and camping.

I first decided to got to a festival when Little Dimples was 18months (two years ago) and Curly Headed Boy was 5.  I’d NEVER been to a festival and felt a bit mortified by it.  I decided if we started now with the kids, they might TAKE ME when they go to Glastonbury in 15yrs time!

Since then I’ve actually become a fan of camping too.  We started glamping, but due to the cost my practical side chose camping with a touch of glamp last year.

Listen here to me chatting with Danny here:

 

Why Go?

Music is good for the soul, it feeds our spirit and gives us a much needed lift.  One thing you can be sure about is that the quality of the music will be MUCH better than anything you see on Xfactor.

It’s great for kids because they learn to sit and listen to music, and the festivals I go to they tend to get to chill, run around and dance.  If you go to a family festival there will be all sorts of lovely things for the kids to do as well.  CHB says that a 3day festival is like going on holiday for 10days!

If you are brave enough to go for several days and try camping it is even better.  There is something about camping and it’s closeness to nature which is relaxing and healing at the same time.  We tried a motorhome at the beginning of this year, but despite being more practical it just didn’t have the same benefits for me.

my son and me in a motorhome
Top bunk is always best

 

 

Tips and Concerns

I know it can be intimidating, so I’ve put together my top tips for you to get you inspired to go!

The biggest reason to go is if you haven’t done it before, then NOW is the time to try it.  Be ADVENTUROUS.  Make memories to look back on and say ‘I did that’!

 

1) Start Small and Local

The key is not to go to Glastonbury on your first year (although they do have a family area)!  Go for small ones (5000 and under).  Look for local one day festivals so that you don’t have to camp.

Local to me in hertfordshire are:

St Albans Folk Festival Sorry I didn’t manage to publish in time –  (22-23rd June) – terrible website btw guys!

Folk by the Oak – Hatfield House – Sunday 21st July – I’m really looking forward to this festival.  Check out this youtube of Kate Rusby:

Folk Stock – Aldenham country park – 21st September –

Here is a fab way of hearing all their artists on a sound cloud.

They have got my FAVE artist coming – JonPaul Palombo

Celtic Harmony do a Beltane (See my video review here) and Samhain Festival each year.

Plus we had loads of fun at Hoo Bookfest, so I really recommend that for next year.

 

2) Planning

Feather Bowers at Just So
You are never too old for a feather bower or hair garland!

Plan ahead so that you know what is on BUT also go with the flow as it can be too stressful to keep to a schedule.

Go with friends.

Explain to your kids about safety, and make sure that you have one of those wristbands with your mobile number on it.  Or this weekend at Britmumslive I was given a Kattoo which looks brilliant (tattoo for your mobile no).

Bring Ear defenders for the kids and a picnic blanket to sit on.

3) Family Festivals

It really helps your sense of safety if you go to a family festival.

Lollibop – This is a London festival with a big kids TV orientation.  I’ve never been, but I’ve heard that it is great.  It would probably be a bit too commercial for me.

Camp Bestival – This is in Dorset and looks to me to be incredibly well organised.  Again there is a bit of a Cbeebies theme going on.  It feels to me like they try to make sure that all the practicalities that a ‘middle class’ family would worry about are covered.

Just So – This is a magical, more artsy festival with a hugely magical vibe.  Here’s my mammoth review from 2012 (same location as this year, so you might like last year’s planning post too) and my review from 2011.

 

4) Weather and what to wear

An example of what I wore
Festival style from the back!

Remember this is all part of the adventure!  We went to the Penn Festival (eighties music) last year, which was more of a mudfest.  The kids LOVED it.  All you need to make sure is that they are covered from head to toe in water proofs.  We also had a small pop up tent, that we used near the stage.

Bring lots of layers so that you can take stuff on and off.

What to wear – Leggings or skinny jeans are the easiest, with a pretty dress or long top over them.  No heals, instead go for daps/wellies.  A flower garland is essential (BE BRAVE!).

Check out my what to wear to festivals post with lots of ideas for you and links to my Pinterest boards.

 

Money

I don’t like the ones with lots of things to spend money on like the Herts County Show, buy, or things that kids will want to do that cost a fortune; so we tend to avoid those ones.

What you can also do is give the kids a budget, so that they know they just have £x and that is all.

Food can be expensive, so make sure you take water, squash, snacks and fruit.  Check if breakfast is provided if you are camping otherwise brioche is fab.

 

Loos and Showers

Actually again because I go to small ones or family ones they aren’t too bad.  But always take LOO PAPER and anti-bacterial spray.

Some actually have great showers BUT you can get away with a day of showering with wet wipes (it’s not as bad as it sounds!).

 

Camping

How to make your tent look Glam
Camping with glamp

Take ear plugs (just incase you are near someone having too much fun or kids that wont sleep), a wooly hat, socks, and extra jumper for night time.

Bring something to put mudding shoes in, so that they don’t come in the tent.

If there are just a couple of you then you can get a festival kit ever so cheaply with everything that you need.  There is nothing wrong with going for ‘cheap’ shops like argos etc.

If you have a little more money to spend then check out the pop up tents (a bit tricky to put away) or the Vango blow up tent we have.

The best beds are the mats that puff up; air beds are actually cold.

Bunting is a MUST!

Here is my ultimate camping list (you don’t need it all!).

 

Finding

Festivals for all – great site for all types of festival

Festival Kidz – specifically for taking kids

Forestry Commission – I’m an ambassador for the FC and was gutted to realise too late that they do concerts.  How gorgeous to see someone like Olly Murs AND be in a forest.

 

At the end of the day

Go on, try it.  It’s fun.  It’s simple.  It’s pretty cheap in comparison to a package holiday.

And you’ll have something to tell your grandchildren that will give them the impression that you didn’t wash up all day long!

Have you started camping in the last few years?  What do you reckon?

Have I inspired you to try a festival this year?

 

Amazing Competition: For a Radio Flyer!

I am soooo excited!  My first every competition is going to be for the most amazing prize, a Radio Flyer from The Wagon Company.

What is a Radio Flyer you might ask, and why would I want one?

Well initially I just thought that it looked like a nice red trailer that my kids might like to play with, but which was maybe a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘must have’.  However, since buying one, it’s definitely one of those ‘must haves’ that I know my kids will have happy memories of until they are old and grey.

We saw it mentioned a few times on a forum about going to family festivals.  Hubby got on the case immediately and started investigating types of tyres, and lots of technical stuff that I totally zoned out from (like you do!).  He decided we definitely needed the bigger, and better option, and I was a little cynical, but kind of went along with him.  However, how right was he!

If you ever go for long walks, or have kids who like to collect stuff when out walking, or have old dogs who need a rest, then you need one of these.  If you are going camping or to a festival, or have more than 1 child to transport without pushchairs, then you so need one of these!  Or if you don’t have any excuse, apart from the fact that it looks fun, then you totally need one!

It’s first job was to transport all our stuff from the car to our Yurt at the Just So Festival (read my post about it, if you have ever wondered about going to a family festival, I really recommend it).  Without it life would have been tough, even though there were the wheelbarrows provided.  Next year we are going to try and camp in one of the Glades at Just So, which is a much further walk, so we will definitely need it.

Then it was the carry all the ‘stuff’ we were carting around with us, when the kids wanted to run around.

Then it was a general carry both of the children when they are tired (Curly Headed Boy was 5.5yrs and Little Dimples was 1.5yrs at the time).  I was amazed at how sturdy it was, as we went up and down hills, over bumps and all sorts and it didn’t tip over at all.

 

Then it was the sleepy place for Little Dimples on the friday, Saturday and Sunday lunch time.  Fabulous, just look at her!  I was so worried about fitting stuff in the car, but with all the camping equipment I really didn’t want to bring the pushchair as well, so it was a bit of a risk, but she slept brilliantly in the wagon.

It’s the ‘Big brother looks after little sister’ option too, as he loves to wheel her around in it.  Bizarrely, Little Sister is incredibly strong, so it is also the ‘Little Sister gets to push Big Brother around’ game.

So, it’s ended up being one of the best buys we ever made; and you can now WIN one!

Next year we are totally planning on going back to the Just So Festival, plus a pile more.  If you think you might like to try some out too, then check out these sites for more info.  I think that it’s a really fun way to spend the summer, maybe even better than a traditional holiday:

Conditions of the competition

  • Because I think this is such a fabulous prize, this competition is going to be open for 2 weeks until midnight on Oct 4th.
  • To enter, just put a comment below with your email address (which will be hidden), so that I can contact you
  • I will use a random generator to work out which person has won
  • You don’t have to like my facebook page, but you might want to, just to make sure you don’t miss out on any other competitions or blog posts
  • You don’t have to like the Wagon company’s facebook page, but its a good idea, just incase you don’t win this time and you get a chance to win another competition
  • Sorry, you do need to be in the UK
  • I will contact the winner, and post a blog post with your name, and need your address to send the wagon to