It’s not that I’m ambitious; or maybe I am. But I love the idea of being the best at something.
I was always a ‘generalist’ at school. A bit of a geek, good at everything, but not ‘the best’ at anything, so that’s probably where it comes from.
I think this is why I love the fun behind the Guinness World Records and the idea that anyone could be a record holder.
The lovely people at GWR (and they are amazingly lovely, full of enthusiasm for what they say is ‘the best job in the world’) invited the kids and me to a party to celebrate their new 2013 book.
Curly Headed Boy adores this book and got loads of brownie points at school for taking it in for show and tell. It’s really clever, not only does it have the typical loads of records, but it BRINGS THEM TO LIFE literally using an app you can put on your phone so that the images appear in 3D or ‘augmented reality‘ as they call it. It’s seriously weird, it’s like beneath your phone is a great big dinosaur, scary shark or little dwarf.
With Curly Headed Boy’s reading really beginning to take off (he’s nearly 7), this is the perfect book to encourage him to take on more complicated pages with more information in them.
Plus it has the added bonus of encouraging him to think that there is always something that we can be the best at. In fact the gorgeous Liz from Violet Posy‘s hubby actually made a record on the day balancing cups!
Little Dimples is addicted to their cup balancing game and spookily good at it, despite being only 2.5yrs old. I just need to explain to her that she must stop pouring her apple juice into the cups though. You can nearly see her in the picture above, not daunted at all by the idea that a big shark was swimming over her head; bet she would scare a shark in real life!
Did you know that there are about 30-40,000 records in total? They only manage to put about 4000 in the book, so each year there is a different theme, so it’s always worth looking at the new book each year.
So if you are looking for christmas or birthday presents for kids that don’t involve loads of plastic tat, and broaden their horizons about what they might achieve in their lives, then I can really recommend this book.
Disclosure: I was given a book a few months ago, and my expenses to go to the event were paid for, along with lunch and a voucher to spend at the Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre afterwards. This in no way affects my opinions, although I have to say that they are really lovely people!
A couple of years ago I went to see Andy Day (The tall skinny one with curly hair from cbeebies) and his mate Mike James in ‘The big box of bananas’, which Curly Headed Boy loved.
So when we were invited to review their new show ‘The Tick Tock Time Machine’ I jumped at the chance.
The question was, could they live up to their past success?
So what’s the show like?
Well basically Andy and Mike come across to me as two young blokes, who’ve known each other a long time, and get paid to lark around on the stage and behave like young guys do.
Which is of course a raging success with the kids, because the silliness of the sense of humour is just perfect for them.
For me it is lovely to go to something so simple, so silly, and so engaging.
They will get a Mum on stage to do something not too embarrassing, and Dad on stage to do lots of things a bit more embarrassing and give one of the kids a special job.
In the meantime they will be going back and forwards to the future and have a clever way of making sure that one of them is available to play other parts when needed.
There will be a couple of tongue in cheek mentions of the toys they are using being up for sale (about £2-£5); but I don’t mind that as the tickets are really cheap and Curly Headed Boy still plays with his banana from last time.
There is a 20min interval, so don’t worry about toddlers needing a Pee, and they stayed around afterwards to sign things and raise money for their favourite charities.
Sadly I couldn’t stay to meet the guys as Little Dimples 2.5yrs (who has slept through the loudest film at a cinema), was absolutely entranced and desperately needed to get home for a nap. Her verdict on the show? Well from the constant ‘I want to go back to the show’ for the next 2 days, I would say it was a success!
Curly Headed Boys favourite bit was the rock, paper scissors game; but I can’t tell you why because that would give the joke away …. Roar! Oh and the silly dance with the bottom bit in it …. see what I mean about the sense of humour!
If you are thinking of going to a film or pantomine or show and don’t know what to do in this rather tight for money day and age, then I would thoroughly recommend anything by Andy and Mike. You aren’t going to scare young ones, you’ll get all the audience participation of a panto, and a lot more fun than a film. Just remember to pop to the supermarket and buy some sweets and cool drinks beforehand.
I copied this from their website to help you see if they are coming to somewhere near you:
Update: the 2012 dates are now finished, but the GOOD NEWS is that there will be a 2013 tour!!
This show was at the Radlett Centre, which if you live anywhere near there or St Albans I can really recommend checking out their schedule. They have lots of shows, and a Panto every year (without celebs) and are perfect for kids, because it’s a small theatre and there is a car park nearby.
I hope that Andy and Mike have had a really successful tour and come back soon with another show! My only complaint or disappointment is how long we’ll have to wait to see them again, and that we don’t get to see Mike on TV, as the kids were just as fond of him by the end of the show. They make a BRILLIANT pair together!
We’ve even had a couple of blogging get togethers here in St Albans and the #BlogItForBabies event.
But there is something missing ….
The chance to chat properly with people I’ve met on twitter/blogging, without loads of noise or running after a 2yo/6yo.
So I come away with more people than ever who I haven’t had a decent chat with.
It’s partially my ‘fault’ because I’ve often had to bring Little Dimples with me, she dislocated her elbow at one more chilled event and I couldn’t make the Tots100 brighton party and had to cancel Blogcamp due to loss of childcare.
So PR peeps here’s a tip:
If you are trying to sell us Mummy / Parent Bloggers on your latest campaign, you need to look at what is ‘missing’ in our lives and make sure that the deal is a ‘fair’ one.
1) If the money you are offering is a touch rubbish, that’s not going to convince us, because basically you are paying us for time we could alternatively spend with our kids.
2) If the money you are offering is great, that will probably do it! But some of us have very long term plans for our blogs, so don’t be surprised if we don’t want to do anything dubious in return; us bloggers can be very stubborn.
3) Potentially a lovely treat for the family will work, but remember that we probably don’t want a house full of tat either, and many of us actually need our expenses paid, otherwise we could do a cheaper ‘treat’ at home. So it’s really got to be worth it for us; think time, hassle, money and energy usage vs what we are getting in return.
4) As we are ‘bloggers’ (the hint is in the title), most of us are quite capable of writing, hence, not so interested in your press releases or guest posts.
5) Being bloggers we are also quite ‘particular’, and therefore we really like it if people call us by our names, get the ages of our children right and read our About pages; we can actually get quite snarky otherwise (I’ve got to the stage where I’m not replying now).
6) If it’s a competition where you want us to write a blog post, then the reward has to be good enough to spend the time and risk not winning
7) If it’s a competition you want us to plug to our readers, bear in mind that some of our readers aren’t bloggers, so they can’t write a blog post for you; hence we some of us won’t take the chance of alienating our readership
8) Many of us are isolated (for one reason or another); hence the blogging and tweeting. So something that we can get to easily (remember our about pages!), includes entertainment for the kids (remember their ages, school pickups and bedtime ), a safe environment where we don’t have to keep a constant eye on them, a treat for them (they also will require drinks and food every couple of hours) and a jolly good get together for us bloggers (and CAKE) is likely to be a very popular option (plus remember I mentioned the expenses bit!).
9) (Others would be more up for evenings and wine; but I’m not plugging for them, because I need more sleep first!).
10) Oh but be warned; over book, because we are a bit unreliable and several of us will have ill kids on the day. Plus we need a certain amount of warning to get our lives in order; tomorrow wont work.
11) UPDATE: P.S. To get a good buzz going for your event and help us out, connect all the bloggers on twitter/email beforehand!
Make us feel loved and we will make you feel loved (although we do have that disconcerting habit of being honest, so it better be a good product or service too!).
My plan for 2013 is to have a lot less people on my ‘sorry we didn’t get to chat’ list!
Any one got any events that might work, feel free to read my about page and pop me a mail ;o)
Any other bloggers feeling the same? Or is it just me (yes I know many of you would much prefer several bottles of wine and I might be a tad boring!).
They’ve all had a little more than ‘quick’ to share though, and I actually think that the information is really useful if you are thinking of going yourself, so I’ve decided to make the most MAHOOSIVE blog review post in the history of mankind.
If you’ve attended, I’d love to hear your opinions too!
By the way, they have an early bird option on at the moment for 2012 and once all the early tickets are sold it goes up to full price.
(All the photos are of my family or things that we did, not of my interviewees)
Sunday Day Ticket
I met the lovely Ruby on twitter and really wanted her perspective as she only came for a day, not only that she got the rainy day. So what did she think? …….
My husband and I decided to take the Kids to there first festival this year and Just so looked like the perfect choice, it’s not too far to travel, not too big and the activities were all aimed at children so it sounded great, we booked day tickets incase it wasn’t how we thought it would be or incase the kids didn’t like it as much as we thought.
My husband and I have been to many festivals before including Glastonbury, Download and Hellfest as well as small festivals in Middlesbrough and Bristol. However this was our first with the children. We have two Boys Leo is 32 months and Eli is 4months.
We thought there wouldn’t really be anything suitable for Eli but we were happily supprised by the baby massage classes by Weleda and Baby Yoga by baby bumpkins both of which were great classes and they didn’t pressure you into buying there products or signing up to there classes.
My favourite memory was the wild rumpus parade, although we were only there for a day it was a great way to round off the whole festival in a really magical style. The music tent was great as young children are often told they “can’t touch” expensive equipment, Leo was really excited about the music and has been loving playing with daddy’s guitars since we got back.
I think the free cloth nappy laundry system is a great idea and I hope there back next year as I’m sure that makes the logistics of camping with cloth nappies easier. We loved the baby change and feeding area and the toilets were great, so toilet training is fine (can’t imagine portaloo’s would go down well when toilet training!!)
The only bad things we found were the lack of seating areas (especially at lunch time when we had to walk all the way back to the car to sit down to eat) and we were also upset that we didn’t get to see the gruffalo, obviously it’s understandable that while the rain was out he couldn’t come out but after looking for him all day we asked the information desk when he was due out we were told “he’s on his way” so we stood and waited for 1hour in the same place as not to miss him but sadly he never turned up 🙁
Our favourite area was the lazy days as there was lots to do and also space for the kids to have a run around!! The music was great and done in a relaxed and informal way which suited the style of the festival perfectly, (the 12 year old boy on saxophone was amazing).
We took with us a couple of drinks and snacks for throughout the day and bought our meals so we didn’t have too much to carry, the food prices weren’t cheap but about what you would expect for a festival, and we made the most of the Pie Minister stall (we love it but don’t have one here in Manchester).
We decided to go to let the kids experience something out of there normal day to day routine and that’s exactly what we got. From the camp fire in the woods and the music stage to the wild rumpus parade, they loved it more than we could imagine, we will definitely be back next year (hopefully with a nice new bell tent).
I would definitely recommend it to anyone with young children and hope we have many more fun years ahead at Just So Festival.
Camping Family with 5 kids (and one teenager left at home)
I also met the lovely Ed on Twitter, but we failed to run into each other, despite the fact that he must have been pretty easy to recognise with his lovely big family (and number 7 on the way). He also happens to be a writer, so check out his blog here, where there will be a lots more pictures.
Hi, I’m Edd a thirty seven year old man with a large family and a slim wallet. I work as a Labourer for the most part but am trying to better myself through writing and living. I have a wonderful wife and six awesome children (from 15 to 2) , each of whom are as precious as the next, as well as a large extended family that lives pretty close to me (for the most part).
This was our first festival and though we do camp we normally the two girls hadn’t been camping before.
The festival was very busy and to keep toilets well stocked and clean throughout the whole weekend was a big ask but I think they did a good job. Having a main toilet area and then portaloos in strategic areas made sense and it only really got very grim in the main toilets come the final morning, which is understandable. I work on building sites and I can tell you the Just So Toilets were very well maintained in comparison. The Showers were a pleasant surprise. There was enough room to turn around in them, they were deep enough to allow kids to be in and showered in turn and overall I thought they were kept as clean as possible too. Obviously the wait was brutal first thing but if you left it and picked your moment it wasn’t more than a ten minute wait. That’s shorter than the time I have to wait at home to be honest.
The Planning was spot on from where I was sitting. There was space to roam, everything had enough distance to make it feel very big and yet you felt you were in a specific area when you entered a new ‘zone’. The details made the experience great from the decorative chairs hanging from tree branches too Fairy dresses floating in the woods. It was lovely. The food, toilets and stage set up was great and the breakfast and play barns meant there was always somewhere to take shelter. They even had ATM’s on site. Top class.
The Organisation itself was clean and crisp. The information tent would charge your phone for you (only for a short period, but enough to get you through on minimal settings), was staffed by lovely, friendly people and having the helpers all wearing top hats meant you could always see a person that could help if needed. Everyone had a wrist band and you were told to write your phone number down on the children’s wrist bands for ease of contact if they became lost. Very good.
As it stands I liked the food court area <best>, but outside of the grub I’d have to say the forest where the Fairy queen lived and the Pirate area by the lake <called High Seas> were my favourites. The lake was beautiful and I love forests so it stands to reason those were the places I’d love. The kids loved the ‘Where the Wild Things are’, ‘The Fairy woods’ and ‘Forty winks’ (all in the same wooded area, my favourite area too).
Honestly I wouldn’t really change any of it. It was charming. I suppose maybe providing more toilets would help to easy the obvious pressure on the festivals organisation? Something like that.
Sadly I missed the musical evening sets as I was guarding the sleeping minis that passed out around seven o clock on the nights we were there. Mama took the older kids to the camp fire singing and evening events. I listened to the music drift over the fields towards me from the party but never managed to get to hear it up close and the daytime activities swallowed me up with the kids. It sounded good from a distance though.
We decided that our journey was too long to bring a lot of food and we agreed to either leap into a supermarket when we had gotten all set up or just eat there and not worry about it. I ended up buying dinner, leaving the breakfast and lunch time stops to be filled with sandwiches or fruit. The food wasn’t any more expensive than I thought it would be, there was a good spread of choice from Mexican and Noodles too pizza, pasta and burgers. All in all I was impressed with the provision and the quality. Very good eating indeed. On a side note the breakfast barn was giving out free porridge and crumble bar things, very good idea indeed! I loved the festival but the residing memory will be one of the friendliness of the camping area. Everyone was relaxed, in family groups, seemed respectful of each other’s space and it was clear that they were all having a great time. This feel good factor that surrounded the campers flooded out into the activity fields and made it a magical weekend.
In closing though I’d say we loved it, would love to be back next year but won’t be as our seventh child with be born in January and so it’ll be too tough for us to attend. I do advise you go though if you like your days free, easy and relaxed. No hassle, no crossed words witnessed all weekend and none of the normal young bucks that perhaps don’t quite know when to stop before they take things too far.
A great family festival, a well delivered event and a beautiful crowd of people.
Couldn’t recommend it enough.
Camping Family with 1 kid (our mates camping 6ft away from us)
Now I must admit that by the end of Sunday I did think that my mates might be telling me that they had enjoyed it but despite loving me would never come back. One week on, this is what they said …
We are a family of three from St. Albans; comprising of a happy at home mum, a fun- loving working dad and a 6 year old adventurous little lady. Just So is the only festival we have been to – twice…. Berkofest is next!
My favourite memory is chilling out in the sunshine at the Panic Circus watching the little lady having fun and skilling up on stilts, unicycles and pedalling furiously!
My man’s favourite points were chatting to Michael Buckley (a writer), camping and exploring the woodland with the little lady and the novelty of drinking (adult) blue slushies and poking out his tongue!
The little lady, when asked replied, “all of it! But especially….” she mentioned: Making Masks in Wild things and the Wild Rumpus Parade, learning circus skills, the experiments with the Physics Busters, riding along with Compass, listening to the music in Footlights –“ I rather love Jon Paul Palombo Mummy – do you?!” and DeliKate and Crepe man were wolfed down!
Grrr to the number of times we rocked up to make something (lanterns, feathered headdresses, musical instruments) at the allotted time only to be confronted with “we’ve run out of materials”…….. faces fell in disappointment and it meant not joining in the fabulous lantern parade.
Also our little lady was very lucky to have a ride with Compass (the Jumblies from last year!) in their fantastical flying machines – however we had to tell about 25 families that we were the last family in the queue – a sign would have been good so we didn’t have to witness others disappointment. I would also have to add that only 16 families each session were lucky enough to embark on this wonderful adventure and that seemed too few. I would have liked to have seen more opportunities for greater numbers to partake in certain areas e.g. trapeze lessons were fully booked in an instant an hour before the event, again great for a chosen few rather than seeing smiles on a decent number of faces.
Music was awesome this year; however, I missed a fabulous band from last year called The Lovely Eggs…… bring back them back please!!!
I would also object to the pricing of a small yet delicious sausage in a hot dog roll by The Farmer’s Wife – £4.50!! Thankfully, the other eateries were much more realistically priced for brilliant quality food.
Some areas were sparsely populated with activities and stalls and more could have been added to draw more crowds – All the World’s a stage was extremely empty and this didn’t seem great for the stallholders there, however, was probably a bonus when we were having a nursery rhyme knees up with an audience of 4!
Loved Footlights, Nowhere Now was a huge hit too – The Fantastical Photobooth of Confusion and Wonderment from which we have a treasured keepsake of the festival and little lady enjoyed Levitation and experimenting with the Physics Busters.
Really great! Adored JonPaul Palombo again but sad that his set was so short, the Robbie Boyd Band and Common Tongues also provided a fabulous energy to bop along to. However……. bring back The Lovely Eggs –( my friend thinks I’m insane for liking this band but now we and many others we chatted to went and downloaded everything they’d ever recorded off Amazon after last year’s Just So performance.)
We cooked tea the first night and brekkie both mornings and then bought lunch and dinner from the following:
Rode Hall Farmer’s Market – snacks of stuffed vine leaves and spinach parcels yummy!
The Farmer’s Wife – delicious yet expensive sausage for the little lady
Deli Kate – yummy paninis and milkshakes. Such a hit, brilliant stuff!!
Pieminster – yummy Heidi pie – however in line with the Festival’s common theme of running out of stuff – it had to be eaten solely with a knife as cutlery was in short supply – the lovely pie people did take a £1 off for the inconvenience though!
Tasty Thai Cuisine – definitely my favourite… well priced and scrummy!!
Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – the little lady loved the vanilla ice cream
Crepes – A yummy nutella and banana one hit the spot, however was eaten with fingers as…. Wait for it…. There was NO cutlery!!! Before you think I’m strange for not asking other stalls for a fork or knife… I did however some were not into sharing due to a meagre supply or didn’t have any themselves!!
Loos – great until the final day when the organisers scrimped on a final pump out and sent the portaloos into a complete state. Cue Jackass style wretching from the little lady and a request for a peg for the nose and a blindfold! The showers were a huge hit with my man – who loves a good shower!
Upon arrival unloading on the drop off zone noted on the programme was fab but then…… we were told we could not use this for packing up….. Cue human conveyor belt of numerous bags, tents, blow up mattresses being passed from the field, over a fence, over the road, over a fence into the car park. One word to yea organisers – KERFUFFLE and please please stick to one rule for all otherwise it gets people like me crazy. After a Just So bod telling me I wasn’t allowed to move my car to the drop off zone on the road sides due to the fragility of Snowdrops some others were waved through and when I asked why – the reason given was they have kids?! Mmmmmm wonder how much adult blue slurpy they had consumed the night before!!!
Just a suggestion please could you make things to do pre-bookable online so then you’ll have a rough idea of how many want to take part in activities and I certainly wouldn’t object to spending a bit to guarantee a slot or to help increase providers to ensure more happy faces.
So I sound pretty mixed about Just So but as the rain ceases, the smell from the portaloos dissipates, the sweat dries from the kerfuffle of packing up and you stand there smiling in a field, muddy, clutching a paper mache mask and some Physics Buster bubbles you know you’re going to return to do it all again next year. The organisers are incredible, admittedly not at conventional organising but at imaginative organising and it offers families a fabulous opportunity to do something brilliantly different.
<We went> because we loved it so much last year and the people we went with obviously!
Yes <we would recommend it> – but not to all, you have to be a kid yourself too to really get the most of it and we’re like Peter Pan in our house!
Yes- because Just So tickets seem to come with Rose tinted glasses so that all of the bits that could be improved and make you sway about going back next year seem to add to its charm!
My Review is: 8/10
I love Just So, I love the ethos behind it and the magic it creates.
I liked the new location, although I think it might need a little rejigging next year with maybe a few bigger props for the bigger location (but don’t change High Seas which was wonderful with the most amazing atmosphere!). It did seem to me that there were a LOT more people as well, but it handled the rain on the sunday well and didn’t get too muddy.
Music was brilliant, especially JonPaul Palombo; my only complaint being that his set should have been longer, but at least I got a hug! Louis Barabbas was one of those bands that works brilliantly for kids because he was totally crazy.
This year the kids really got into the music side of it; Mum and Dad having a drink, kids running around and dancing, and then dragging one or other parent up to look silly. I LOVE this bit and love that it is so safe.
The other reviews show how well it covers many age ranges from baby upwards, which I think is very clever, and also different types of people from extremely different backgrounds. I’m going to add the tip to bring a picnic blanket with you, so that you have somewhere to sit, as there will never be 4000 seats to my top tips for family festivals post, as well as many packs of wet wipes for showers.
I really enjoyed the camping side of it and it has proved to me that it totally works for me as a relaxed type of holiday, but OMG the toilets on the last day were outrageous and don’t empty the ones by the tents at midnight! I also embraced the wet wipe version of a shower as I couldn’t be bothered to queue, however the hairy northern enjoyed them.
I wouldn’t be giving an honest review or helpful feedback if I didn’t say that:
It does NOT work to have activities going on for just a small handful of kids when you have thousands coming. Those activities need to be either bigger with more helpers, or back to back or both.
It does NOT work to have craft opportunities for excited kids wanting to make things for the parades in the evenings and then to run out of materials, I think Just So are going to have to give the craft people material budgets.
In fact lots of the craft activities and unusual oddities should basically run all day I think, which I do understand will increase the prices as this means paying them rather than just giving tickets. The problem is that you drag the family all the way to one location, find it’s all booked up, so walk off to the next to be too late for that one and so on. It was a struggle at times with dissappointed kids.
So the slightly suburban middle class computer nerd side of me struggled with some of the organisation of it, and hated having to disappoint the kids at times. Plus it made it a bit more stressful for us parents.
However, the tree hugging side of me suggests that next year we just avoid anything organised, mill around and catch the spontaneous things that encourage the children’s imagination like the Panic Circus (so much better than the circus at Penn Festival), MopTop and Knickers (fabulous from Mother Hen) and the stone balancing. The music was great and I was REALLY happy with the fact that the kids learnt to just mess around and dance to crazy music.
I know that regular festival goers would say that we were lucky to have loos that worked for the majority of the time and that all the problems that worried me are pretty standard. But Just So is now getting so popular that it is going to get people coming who need structure and organisation even more than me and there are other festivals that from their reviews I can see focus more on making the parents life easier, but are probably too main stream and commercial for me. This is the challenge for Just So for 2013 after the challenge of moving location this year, and as they pulled that off, I’m sure they will pull this off too.
Will I be going back? I really hope they invite us back, (a) because we love it and (b) because I’d love to give them a 10/10 next year.
Curly Headed Boy said he definitely wants to go back because there was so much to do, and his favourite bit was the music. I will finish on a video of Little Dimples dancing to Louis Barabbas!
I’d love more comments from people who’ve been to other festivals or fellow Just So-ers?
Disclosure: I received a family camping ticket for Just So, but all the opinions expressed are my own or those of my interviewees. The picture of Little Dimples as a fairy has a green tutu and wand sent to us by Fairy Glass, the wings were the ones we bought there last year, but we also have a gorgeous pair of wings to match the tutu; just couldn’t get her to wear the matching set all in one go!
Apparently I picked the best one, so I’m sticking with it!
I’m now a veteran as this is my 3rd ever family festival (there was the Mudfest at Pennfestival in between, and yes I am joking about the veteran bit!).
So I thought I’d tell you the key to a successful family festival:
Going with the Flow
With no clue of what is on, and no plan of what to do you’ll keep arriving as things finish and miss what your kids would most love to do.
But you need to leave space for magic and adventure to find you as well, especially when we are talking Just So.
Be too organised, and the kids will be constantly on your case as to what is next. They need to learn to chill and find the unexpected, but having a couple of plans up your sleeve will help to avoid the disaster of wandering aimlessly for a couple of days and not getting immersed in the festival.
So, I’ve been sitting down with Curly Headed Boy and I’ve come up with this plan (which I’ll mention at some point to the Hairy Northerner of course!).
This is just my plan, you might need a cuppa or a glass of wine and a couple of hours to make your own. But I thought you might like some hints, especially if you are a first timer.
Here’s a quick summary of the different areas from what I can grasp from the online programme (expect changes, things to not be in the programme and surprises!):
Social: Food is looking good this year, I’m really impressed (basically everything I wanted last year is there this year!). So I’m just planning on taking Tea, Friday night food, breakfast, juice, squash, snacks, fruit and maybe a spare meal for sunday just incase. Just So is packed with things to do, so I don’t really want to have to go back to the tent and cook. Other festivals don’t start until lunch time, so there is more time.
Jitterbug: Dancing and discos (I fancy the belly dancing and Curly Headed Boy wants to learn the Chitterbug or Jive)
Footlights: Some of the bands, but it looks like there is lots more music this year and I know one of my favourite bands is elsewhere.
Lazy Days: Don’t be fooled by the ‘lazy’, I reckon it’s going to be pretty energetic with the sports day and circus there. I missed Capoeria last year, so really want to do it this year: (Friday 4-5pm Saturday & Sunday 10-11am & 4-5pm)
Nowhere Now: These look like fun things to pop in and experiment with, I remember Physics busters from last year and they were fab.
Peekaboo: Baby fun and some pampering from Weleda
40 winks: Looks like a fab chill out place with story telling and dens
Wild Things: Was popular with Curly Headed Boy last year and looks like there is even more fun to be had with bush crafting, den making and don’t underestimate making clay faces
All the worlds a stage: Don’t miss out on getting the kids to do their own imaginative face painting, lots for the more dramatic in the family here
Away with the fairies: a must, they’ve added loads to it this year, but be prepared for the queen to be popular to see (Friday 4-6pm and Saturday & Sunday 10am-12noon and 2pm-4pm)
Elsewhere: Looks like the fun eclectic stuff from Just So that you wander into and then slip away into a magical and slightly weird universe ;o)
High Seas: Pirate training was so brilliant last year and they’ve added loads more (Friday 4.30pm & 5.30pm or Saturday & Sunday 9am, 10am, 11am, 2pm & 4pm), I think that the fox pockets and stone balancing are appealing to me too, no idea why!
Tribes and Parades:
We are part of the fish tribe, which will I’m sure mean more on the festival, but we are definitely going to make the willow lanterns this year and get involved in the parades. We missed out last year and only watched it and the kids were gutted.
Get all settled, let the kids play outside the tent, wander around getting our bearings (it’s changed location this year)
MUST DO: Jon Paul Palombo 6.30 on ‘all the worlds a stage’ (check out my a fab video of him here: gorgeous and brilliant!)
yoB: looks like they will really suit our friends (going on the music they enjoyed last year – OMG!): Fri 5.30-6.30
Really fancy the fables and music with Fox pockets at the High seas Saturday 11.30am & 4.30pm
Robbie Boyd Band: Look like they could be brilliant Sat 7.30
The Lantern parade is Saturday at 9 – meet in Lazy Days from 8.30 for lantern lighting.
Fiona Bevan: Sounds lovely, I think she could be the shining star of the show: Sunday 6.30
Eighties Disco – Yay!!!
The wild rumpus parade is at 7.30. Again, meet at Lazy Days.
Check out my tips on:
What to wear to a festival, and remember at Just So anything goes as long as it’s fun. Sadly Wellies are going to be a must this year, but it’s looking pretty warm too, so don’t bring your winter clothes!
Forgot to say take a picnic blanket as there probably wont be anywhere to sit (thank fully we always have one with us).
Plus extra wet wipes incase you don’t fancy queueing for showers (it’s only 3 days, you’ll survive I promise!)
Set your kids expectations as to how much they might be able to spend per day or the number or icecream vans; that will reduce the number of arguments when you get there and they see a few stalls full of lovely stuff.
Disclosure: Last year I went to the festival on my own steam, but this year I begged them to give me a family camping ticket and they very kindly agreed. This doesn’t affect my opinion of the festival, I would have loved it anyway!
I have fond memories of staying in a caravan in the South of France at about 5yrs old and it being a crazy fun holiday, so we decided to take a chance and accepted the offer to go to Normandy to try out Domaine De Litteau, which is one of the Siblu mobile home holiday sites.
Last year we went on our first ever family summer holiday and were shocked at the prices, as I steadfastly refused to pay the ridiculous sums of money being requested.
So I was really interested as a more affordable holiday option for families; especially those with young children who want inter-connecting rooms or who have more than 2 children and don’t want their holiday prices doubled.
Verdict – 7.5/10
Value for money: Brilliant. These holidays are especially good for families who want their children near them when they are sleeping or have more than 2 kids. You would normally get penalised for interconnecting rooms or having more than 4 of you, but that’s not the case at Siblu.
Beaches: INCREDIBLE. I’ve never seen such amazing, empty, long, sandy beaches in my life. Nice and shallow for the kids to play/paddle in as well. Warm enough when the water comes back in to swim in, just. Apparently it doesn’t get too full when the french go on holiday in a few days time either. BUT the beaches are 30 mins away, which was tricky with our kids.
The best spot is if you head to Omaha Beach, just to the right of the big silver pointy statue/memorial, near the food shack and life guard station.
Veuille Sure Mer gets really cramped when the tide comes in, so only good when it goes back out again.
We went to Arramanche one day, but it’s much more commercial, so headed out to Courseilles Sur Mer, which is less tidy, but has fun sand dunes and lots of people sailing/wind surfing and a great food shack.
Swimming Pool: Brilliant and hardly ever too packed as it’s not really somewhere that people stay all day. It’s covered (the sides are removed when its hot), so usable whatever the weather and has a toddler area. The BEST BIT was the water slide which did NOT go into the pool (which terrifies me from a safety perspective). Instead, the slide is separate from the pool and I think therefore much safer.
Weather: perfect for young kids or active kids or people who like to go out and investigate without broiling i.e. it’s not massively hot and can be unreliable. In fact I met several families in the second week who had been further south at another park and felt a huge sense of relief to come to a cooler site.
Journey: It’s only 40 minutes from Caen, so great for us with Little Dimples who pukes on long car journeys.
Food: We ate at the bar a couple of times and it was really good value for money (7€ for a meal), good food, just could have done with salad or more green vegetables for me. They were rubbish at advertising what was available though.
Shop: The shop is small, but good for emergencies. There is a supermarket near by.
Forest: We went for a couple of walks in the forest which was lovely (and cool) and they also do organised nature trails.
Meeting other people: I’ve discovered that I NEED chats with people, and I pretty much don’t care who with (although my best chat was with a young teenager about writing and what would the world be like if the Germans had won WW2). It’s easy in a hotel when you all go down for breakfast at the same time, and sit around the same pool. But it’s more tricky at Domaine De Litteau as all the facilities are at the entrance and the caravans spread out away from it up a hill. If like me you need people, then you’ll need to make an effort to go to the Pirate evenings and meet other parents. It will just take a bit longer.
Which mobile home: I would definitely recommend you go for one with a veranda as the weather in Normandy is unreliable (So an elegance or excellence van). I don’t think that air conditioning is really important as it cooled down by 11pm, so if money is tight don’t worry about that. If you would like to sit outside, or have napping toddlers or young kids who might want to play games, I would phone and request if possible a van with a good sized plot.
Noise: You can spookily hear people in the next van when the kids are running around and french babies seem to cry a lot. But it all settles down pretty early by 11pm and didn’t stop my kids from sleeping at all. We hardly heard anything in the second week. Domaine De Litteau is a very quiet site at the moment, I hope they maintain this as they grow and don’t add in the day long music I’ve heard is at the pool at one of the other sites.
Staff: The kids club staff were great, maybe not as warm as the Cypriots from last year, but then they seemed to be only warm with kids and grumpy with the rest of the world (sorry for the generalisation!). Some staff seemed a bit dippy or relaxed, but Carol who was in charge of the cleaning was brilliant and a great help, and the life guards seemed very aware (there was a dodgy review on trip advisor about them from last year).
Kids Entertainment: Curly Headed Boy discovered the kids club a few days in for the Talent show and was hooked! He didn’t seem to mind that in the first week he was the only english boy at all (lots in second week). There are often Pirate shows in the evenings, less professional that the other sites, but still really fun, and a special Talent show evening once a week.
Growth in future: Over the next few years they will be adding more caravans up to 500 (It’s 250 now), increasing the size of the pool, adding a little supermarket, changing the entrance to a safer location, adding 2 more kids clubs, and a restaurant. Lots of those things will be great, and a little more organisation might be nice. But at the same time I hope they hold onto the laid back feel that they have now. I talked to someone who has owned a van for years, and they were really keen on the changes. It’s brilliantly maintained, and I’m sure that they will keep it beautifully.
In general: It’s a very relaxed, slightly disorganised, but charming site, perfect if you don’t want to drive too far, like visiting interesting sites, and don’t want to be too hot.
Curly Headed Boy’s Review
He didn’t want to be missed out, so he’s made you this little video to show you what it all looked like!
Sadly our trip was marred by Little Dimples being sick for the majority of it. I was exhausted before we even got there, and then hurt my back really badly. There was a short remission after a trip to the doctor half way through and then she seemed to get sick again and the big hairy northern one hurt his back too.
It meant that I was stuck to the caravan for lots of the trip and unfortunately although we had one with a veranda we had one of the few that had very little out door space. I should have asked for us to be moved, but I was too tired and didn’t think of it.
I wasn’t comfortable sitting outside the van because the space was so squashed, so I got a bit bored and stir-crazy. To be fair, the majority of the pitches I looked at had loads of outdoor space, we were just unlucky.
Curly Headed Boy LOVED kids club and the pool, but it did cause a logistical nightmare though, trying to fit in visits to other places, beach trips and Little Dimples’ naps. Next year it would be much easier.
Kids LOVE caravans, so it’s pretty much an immediate winner for them; although being ill Little Dimples did ask to go home regularly *sad face* (and is now asking to go back; typical!).
The 3/4 days that we did get to the beach I loved. Kids just seem to play so naturally on a beach and I relax loads more.
I also went for aqua-aerobics a couple of times just to get some time to myself and discovered a new found respect for this much scoffed at exercise.
There was tonnes more to get out and see like the Bayeaux Tapestry, but sadly we didn’t make it. We tried to see the english cemetery at Bayeaux, but it’s very different from the American one, with no parking nearby (you park at the museum that we had already driven past). It was about to p*ss it down and the kids were grumpy, so I compromised with just looking as we drove past.
Extras to Buy
Linen pack: let them provide the bedding, rather than fill your car to the brim!
Towel pack: You’ll get towels for the pool and shower.
Verandah: if you can afford it, very worthwhile.
Air conditioning: Probably not necessary, but maybe if you really hate any possibility of being hot.
What To Bring
Two fleeces each: one can get sandy that way! I brought just one and regretted it.
Tracksuit bottoms: great for after the beach when it’s chilly.
Pair of shorts: great for going to the beach or pool.
Two swimming costumes: so you don’t have to wear a wet one.
Proper PJ’s: It gets cool at night.
Jeans for cooler days and trips out.
Evening: casual, jeans, nothing very dressy, no heals.
Crocs: My peep toe crocs that were given to me with my ‘Inspire’ Britmums award were AMAZING!!! I hated crocs before, but they are fab and the normal ones are great for the kids on the beach.
Food: You could go without. But it’ll save you shopping time if you bring a few essentials: Tomatoe Ketchup, Washing Up Liquid, Washing powder, Bleach for loos, Loo Roll, Soap, Pesto, Pasta, Tea, sugar, and anything your kids insist on having.
Wind break and beach tent: Really useful, especially with Little Dimples needing a mid-afternoon nap. We also brought the Radio Flyer wagon for the beach and walking to and from the caravan.
Toys: iPads for journeys and incase the kids get sick, colouring stuff and pens (we made loo roll people one afternoon), Bananagrams, Duplo, Snap. Buy Boules and sand castle stuff at the supermarket there (no shops on the beach). There are plenty of plug sockets if you are geeks too and need to bring gadgets.
These are not comprehensive, but I was wondering how the prices match up. I did some research between Siblu and Key Camp etc beforehand and apparently they are very similar. So I checked what 2 adults, 3 children aged 2,6 and 13 would cost at a couple of different locations over 7 nights from Sat Aug 11th 2012.
Siblu – Domaine De Litteau – £616 + Ferry (with Cabin) £610 = Total £1216 (Remember to add petrol driving to Portsmouth and 60mins from Caen, and you could do a cheaper ferry trip)
Center Parcs – Elveden Forest – £1858 (monday-monday)
Butlins – Bognor Regis – Self catering apartment – £1658
Would I Go Again?
I would definitely do a caravan holiday again.
I definitely loved the peace and quiet and space of Normandy; I’m friendly, but not that friendly and don’t really want your towel next to mine, sorry! I’d love to see more of the sites there as well, as they seemed to have real significance to life.
I was worried about Siblu being ‘cheap’, but there’s nothing tacky, nasty, dirty, or horrid there, which I was worried about. It’s clean, pretty organised and beautifully maintained.
But I would like a beach nearer and a bit more sun.
I gave it 7.5/10 because I took off a point for the beach being so far away, a point for the lack of grass around my van, and half a point for slight disorganisation; it could definitely be an 8.5/10.
I’d also like them to add the option to pay extra to not have to clean the caravan at the end. I know they don’t expect a full clean, and I wasn’t planning on leaving it like a mess, but it would take a bit of stress out of leaving. Oh and rent one of the vans out to someone offering massage and reflexology next year please!
So I reckon I would compromise and go to one of the other further southern locations for a week, where my friends kids spent the whole time in the water park, or where you could cycle to the beach. Then I would come up to Normandy and Domaine De Litteau for the last week, more of a chill, swimming, kids clubs and visits to interesting places.
If you would love a holiday, would really like to go to France, don’t want it terribly hot, would like amazing beaches, kids clubs and great places to visit then I can highly recommend Domaine De litteau. For more heat and more facilities go for a bigger Siblu site further south.
If you have young kids or can flex on dates, then avoid July-August, maybe even go in June for the D Day landings. The prices drop are more than 50% off and you pretty much get the same holiday, maybe with more jeans, less shorts and even more chilling.
Disclosure: I was given a return ferry trip by Brittany Ferries and week at the Domaine De Litteau site from Siblu holidays for the family. We added an extra week ourselves. This didn’t affect my review and my opinions are my own.
Perhaps wanting to give Curly Headed Boy who loves computer games some perspective?
Maybe to pay my respects?
I don’t know, but I do know that I would definitely recommend anyone in Normandy visit one of the many sites related to the war.
The atmosphere was lovely, it was quite breathtaking, and the kids seemed relaxed despite the message of the place.
First of all you go into a building with great videos and pictures to take you quickly through the history of the war. It’s amazingly touching to see pictures of real life people and read about their real life stories.
It’s not sad exactly, although I would admit big tears sprung to my eyes. It was more looking inspired/grateful at the thousands of lives sacrificed for our freedom.
There is also a museum at a different location that Curly Headed Boy and the big hairy northern one went too (I was looking after a sleeping Little Dimples). He bought a brilliant book done in a cartoon style that explains lots about the war, which he has really enjoyed.
On another day we popped to the British cemetery at Bayeaux, but unfortunately it’s not set out like the American one, so I couldn’t park nearby, and leave the tired kids with the big hairy northern one while it p*ssed it down; so I had to compromise with just driving past it. I’ve heard that because it has less pomp and ceremony it is actually even more touching.
At Courseilles sur Mer (Near Arromanche) you can still see loads of evidence in the sea and on the beach of the D Day landings and when the tide goes out it looks like you can walk out to them (there was an awful storm, so we made a dash back to the car before we got a chance).
50-70 million people died in WW2 (2.5% of the worlds population)
40-60 million approx were civilians
20-25 million were soldiers (5 million of whom were prisoners of war)
6 million Jews were killed
9,387 American soldiers are buried at Omaha, most of whom died during the Normandy landings
4,648 British soldiers are buried at the Bayeaux war memorial
22,000 civilians in Normandy died
My uncle died, lost at see and my grand mother never got over it.
My Dad never talked about the war, but you could tell the gravity of what happened when you saw him reunited with his friends.
And it got me thinking …
What would life have been like if we’d lost?
From Wikipedia I found the following quotes ..
Nazism favoured private property, freedom of contract, and promoted the creation of national solidarity that would transcend class differences. The Nazis outlawed strikes by employees and lockouts by employers, because these were regarded a threat to national unity. Instead, the state controlled and approved wage and salary levels.
It is a variety of fascism that incorporates biological racism and antisemitism.
My history and political understanding isn’t great but just looking at my life I can be pretty sure that it would be unrecognisable …
– Near me is a place called Radlet, which must be 50% Jewish. That would be empty and none of Curly Headed Boys friends from his old school would have existed. I find that a shocking thought.
– We wouldn’t have ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’, because Gypsies wouldn’t exist either.
– Curly Headed Boy wouldn’t be going to street dance and tap dancing classes because we wouldn’t want the risk of him being marked as a potential homosexual.
– My biggest gay best friend crushes wouldn’t exist: Gok Wan and John Barroman
– There would be no paraolympics, either because they were dead or hiding
– I suspect that the power of women and Mums wouldn’t have grown to the extent it has today and we would have very much been stuck in the more traditional role of staying at home.
– He hated the poles almost as much as the Jews, so there would be no Polish builders here; he would have probably been as ruthless there when he ran out of Jews to kill.
– I doubt there would have been any immigration allowed or benefits cheats; which might sound OK in ways, but what about the people who really need and deserve benefits?
– The improvements in racism wouldn’t have happened and the big arrival of West Indians after the war to help rebuild Britain wouldn’t have happened. Bristol where I was born wouldn’t have had such a big Jamaican community and if I was Nigerian I wouldn’t come over to england, so Curly Headed Boy’s best mate at nursery and reception wouldn’t have been here.
– What about the World Wide Web? Maybe something underground would have kicked off, but nothing to the extent that we have now and not with the freedom that we enjoy.
– Blogging would be definitely outlawed; especially a pile of opinionated women bloggers stirring up trouble like us Mummy Bloggers.
– No Facebook or Twitter; lots of time saved maybe, but the amount I learn everyday from the sheer speed of information sharing.
– There’d be no recession, because although he encouraged nationalism and industry, the wouldn’t have let the banks have such a free reign and we wouldn’t have been allowed to be so greedy and get ourselves into such a state of wanting more stuff and getting more debt.
Would it have lasted? I doubt it, because the power of the resistance is strong and extended himself too much.
The scariest thought is that the cold war would probably still have existed and Hitler would have had the bomb. The likelihood of someone with his nature using it would have been very high.
It’s given me a real sense of perspective going to see all those graves. Although life is tough for most of us at the moment with the recession, the fact that our lives could easily have been so different is humbling. I’ve always taken note of remembrance day, but from now on I won’t just ‘remember’ the people who died, but I will also remember how lucky we are to have the freedoms to make the mistakes and the great creations that we have today.
Disclosure: I was on a review trip of a Siblu mobile home site called Domaine De Litteau and received a return ferry trip with Brittany Ferries and a weeks holiday for the family, we bought an extra week ourselves. It has not affected my review and my opinions are still my own.
Travelling with kids is generally considered a nightmare. The question is, which is less of a night mare; Ferries or Aeroplanes?
I was really nervous of trying a Ferry out considering the disaster of the Costa Concordia and that last time that I went on a school trip and puked the whole way.
I’ve had my share of aeroplane disasters though with an engine blowing up, wheel falling off, dropping a couple of hundred feet, and trying to get off a dangerous plane and past the men with guns.
It’s not that which really stresses me though. It’s memories of being a teenager with two disabled parents who steadfastly refused help, but took a LONG TIME to get through the airport, so I was constantly panicking that we wouldn’t make it to the plane. (No one told me that once you are booked in they can’t leave without you!).
I basically freak from the moment we set off to the airport and don’t settle until we are on the plane.
Now that I have kids I freak all the way through the plane journey until we land as well.
That’s a lot of freaking!
So the ferry seemed like a really good idea. But there was hardly any information about it for a control freak like me and I had no idea how it would work.
It’s really easy though: just a pile of different queues. You arrive and queue in the right place for your trip. You can even get out and go to the main building, but I don’t recommend it as several people were caught out as the queues moved. Then you get put in a queue for your car shape and size. Then you started to queue up to go on the boat, where you park in a queue.
Remember the level and letter of where you are though!!!!!!!
We had a bag ready to take with us, and off you go up to your cabin and the ferry. Wander around for a few hours. Then leave your cabin half an hour before the end and head back to the right staircase for your car. Pop in your car as soon as the automatic door opens, and depending on where your car is, you’re off!
Pro’s to Plane:
Quicker (the ferry was 6hrs).
Heathrow/Luton/Gatwick are nearer to us.
Can go further away than just France, Spain or Holland.
You don’t get scared shitless by having to walk around the outside of the plane with your two kids!
I have puked on a plane, but less often than on a Ferry.
Quicker to go to nearby places.
Pro’s to Ferry:
No need to park the car.
No limit (apart from size of car) on how much stuff you could take: So we had wind break, Boogie board and Radio Flyer!
Less faffing around at the airport.
No waiting for suitcases afterwards.
Things to do on board: Cinema, Soft play, Magician, Dinosaur show.
Choice of food (3 different places)
More space: you can even have a cabin with bunk beds that come down from the roof, which was fab.
Kind of the same for each:
Price: You can probably find cheaper options of both.
Customs was quick for us, but slow for one of our friends.
Both journeys can take up pretty much a whole day.
On the way out I would have said that I’ve come away a lot keener on ferry trips and didn’t puke once (I had some homeopathic pills).
From talking to other people, it’s better to go on the slow ferry than the fast one if you are prone to puking!
HOWEVER, on the way back it wasn’t rough but it was ‘choppy’ apparently. Well, whichever the way the ‘chop’ was going I was bed ridden for the whole trip and the big hairy northern one tried to brave it out, but because he’d walked around for longer, ended up feeling sick for hours after as well. You DEFINITELY need a cabin when travelling with kids.
For the sea sickness I tried homeopathic pills, ginger biscuits and in the past have used those pressure bracelet things. Basically the only thing that helped was keeping my head low and then having some bitter lemon when we left (I had some in my bag, because the bubbles and sugar seem to help me). When we got home I had a pack of crisps; I might like healthy eating, but crisps work a treat for me when I feel sick!
I had a couple of lovely comments from Mums watching the funny stream of muddier and muddier instagram photos appearing during my visit to Penn Festival. Many suggested how brave I was, or how well I was coping with mud up to the kids knees.
So I thought I’d set the record straight, because I don’t want you all reading my blog and thinking ‘Oooh isn’t she clever – I could never do that!’.
I am definitely NOT more adventurous than you!
Two years ago I’d never been camping and never been to a festival. Not one tiny festival, even as a teenager or student. How boring is that!
As part of my mid-life crisis I decided I was going to be more adventurous and do things I’d always wanted to do. So I literally convinced myself that I was up for it by reminding myself regularly of how adventurous and magical my life was.
Last year, we went off for our first adventure to Just So in a Yurt (proper glamping to start me off slowly). Finding it a huge success I decided that this year was going to be even more adventurous, and that I also wanted to try out holidays that were maybe simpler and cheaper so that I could review them for my blog.
Hopefully I get so see what it’s like to go to a non-muddy festival in a tent later in the year as Just So have invited me back to review their new location and even more fabulous line up. This time we are going for the full event and not leaving until the monday, so that we can soak up the whole magical environment; the organisers of Just So have the most incredible imagination when it comes to kids, so it’s bound to have LOADS of adventure in it.
In a few days I’m going to be able to let you know what it’s like to be in a mobile home holiday camp in Normandy care of the lovely people at Siblu. I would always have wanted to try something like this, but I must admit I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to try something so different if they hadn’t contacted me. So if you would also be nervous of ferries, and caravans in france, perfect, because I can let you know how it all pans out and you’ll know whether it would work for you too!
I’m really excited about seeing what Siblu is like because when we went for our first summer holiday last year I realised how ridiculously expensive it is if you want practical accommodation for a young family (i.e. inter-connecting hotel rooms or studios). We found a cheap holiday in Cyrpus in a studio apartment. But one family I met had to pay for TWO studio apartments, just because they had 3 kids rather than two, literally doubling the price and therefore meaning they could only go for one week. So although Siblu would be about the same price as that holiday (when you add in Ferries etc), it would be a totally different situation for people with more kids. Plus if you don’t want to fly with your kids, it’s a perfect idea.
I’m not naturally adventurous. I’m just 43, and decided that I’m done with thinking that all the adventure is for other people and not trying things out myself. I’m sure some won’t work out, but some will be great.
So when you see all the fab things I tell you about on my blog, rather than think ‘I’m not sure I could do that’, think instead ‘Well, if Lisa can do it, then so can I!’.
Fleeces – were brilliant for me and the kids (I’ve now bought an extra one, so that I’ve got daytime and nighttime ones!)
PJ’s – take extra incase of trouble for the kids (mine are fleecy Joe Browns ones)
Water proof coats and trousers – I don’t wear the trousers (yuk!), but they were a must for the kids and the hairy one. The macs need to be those pack-a-mac ones for lightness (try to get a prettier one if you can)
Wooly hats – for kids in evenings
Pashmina Scarf – for me (I don’t go anywhere without them)
Socks, Knickers, Bras – just incase you forget
Wings, Tutu’s and wands for Little Dimples
Fancy Dress For Curly Headed boy
Poncho Towels x 2 for the kids for after a shower
Nappies, wipes and bags
Outfits for each day plus spare leggings/tracksuit bottoms
Hotwater bottles for me and the kids – OMG so glad I had these as I’m a wimp!
Pillows for me – yep wimp again.
Those cuddly teddy bear pillow for the kids – make great teddies and travel companions too.
Sleeping bags – a double for me and Little Dimples, Moshi Monster one for Curly Headed Boy and ‘proper’ one for the hairy northerner
Double blow up bed (and pump) – for the girls
Sleeping Mats – thick mat for the little boy and thin mat for the ‘hard’ one
Blankets x 4 – 1 under me, 2 on top of me and 1 more for Curly Headed Boy
Bed Bumpers – so that little dimples doesn’t roll into the tent side (she doesn’t like it)
Towels x 4 – can’t have enough towels
Microfibre hair turban if your hair takes a while to dry (£1 from Wilkinsons or a pound shop)
Rucksacks – for each of us, don’t use over the shoulder bags, and if you can get oilcloth washables one for you, they will be the easiest to clean afterwards.
Ear Defenders for kids
iPads and iPhones with films on for packing and unpacking
Pop up tent – we have a little one that is useful sometimes for at the festival or keeping things in outside our tent if we don’t take an awning.
Pink whistling kettle – obviously!
Enamel Tea Pot – Keep Calm and drink tea from John Lewis – tea is obviously a necessity!
Enamel Plates and Bowels – pretty ones with bunting on from John Lewis – I was disappointed that the edges seem a little dodgy. You can buy the blue ones from the pound shops.
Cuttlery – we had plastic, but it was horrid.
Cooking spoon – get a metal one, we melted the plastic one!
Saucepan and frying pan – doesn’t need to be big, just enough for a whole meal for the family.
Front door mat – WOW this was useful – I’d bring two next time one for inside and one for outside
Wind break, HUGE picnic blanket and cushions from GLTC – gorgeous and made it feel really homey. Would have been wonderful if it was sunny. But didn’t wash very well :o(
Picnic basket and cool box – we didn’t really use this as we decided not to take lunch with us, but we will use it at the Just So festival and our holiday in Siblu (french caravan park).
Cooker with 2 hobs and under toaster (plus canister) – great for tea, a full english breakfast and making dinner on the night we arrived.
Collapsible water bottle – a must have
Collapsible washing up bowl – so useful for feet, washing up and catching drips from wet clothes!
Oven gloves – get thinner light ones as the lids are small
Light cutting mats for cutting up things to cook on.
Knife with cover.
Tea towel – we forgot!
Dustpan and brush – definitely needed on longer trip.
Kitchen cooker table – was very wobbly, I wasn’t sure that it would stay straight. Not needed for a festival (just cook on the ground), but good for a longer trip as long as you buy boxes to store stuff underneath.
Table and Chairs – This one from Cotswold is very easy to transport, but a little wobbly with little kids and takes up lots of room. I don’t think you need it for a festival, just for camping longer than a weekend.
Cheap Plastic backed picnic blanket – was a god send outside the front door.
Wind up Lamp, plus two little ones for the kids (head torches are great too)
Something to hang up wet stuff with – a washing line or I got a pink plastic oval thingy with pegs on it that I could hang from something
General kitchen supplies
LOADS of black bags
LOADS of antibacterial wipes
LOADs of baby wipes
LOADS of kitchen roll
LOADS of Loo roll
LOADs of little packs of tissues
Little travel bottle with washing up liquid
Newspaper can be great outside the front door if it gets muddy (or straw as we had)
EAR PLUGS – (Reminded by a lovely commenter!) – I use the blue waxy ones from Boots, not the yellow foam ones or the plastic ones.
Eye masks – you know the ones you get on a plane – can be useful because it gets so light in a tent in the mornings!
Wipes to wash face and take off make up
Travel bottles with shampoo and conditioner. (I can’t travel without mousse either).
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Tampons and pads – if there is a chance your period is going to come while you are away, you so know it will!
First Aid – Plasters, Suntan Lotion, Sudocrem, Thermometer, Calpol, Aloe Vera (after sun and good for bites)
Note: Remember not to take glass bottles to a camp site or festival.
Most important – Tea (or coffee), milk (take 2 x 1 litre and have one of them frozen), Orange juice, apple juice (take a frozen one), squash in a plastic bottle
Alcohol – now at the penn festival you couldn’t take alcohol on site, so the best bet would have been cans of cider or gin in a tin. But at Just So last year we spent some time at the tent in the evening, so a box of wine is a good plan. (Be considerate if you get drunk please!).
Fruit – last year I felt a bit unwell after going to Just So because my body is fussy and likes it’s fruit and veg. So definitely take grapes, apples, satsumas, those innocent fruit drinks for the kids, and some extra veg for the adults for the first night’s dinner.
Snacks – will be expensive so add some high sugar but healthy emergency rations: bear fruit, yogurt covered raisins/strawberry flakes, sesame seed snaps etc. Plus late at night the kids might be snackish, so some crackers are a good idea.
Cereal – those little travel boxes of cereal are great if you aren’t taking bowls. But they caused arguments between the kids as they don’t have equal numbers of types of cereal. So I’m going to pick one type and put in a plastic box next time.
Toast – nice and easy and a good back up to have a loaf of bread with butter and marmite
Brioche – can make a lovely breakfast or snack later
Eggs, Bacon, Sausages, Tomatoes – we had a full english breakfast because the Penn Festival didn’t start until 12, so didn’t need to take a picnic lunch with us. Whereas the Just So festival starts really early, so there will be no time for this.
Baps, cheese, crisps – when we go to Just So it starts earlier so we will take lunch with us.
Dinner – on the evening of arrival and last night – but don’t bother during the festival.
2 cold cooked chicken breasts chopped up added to fresh pasta (quicker to cook). Add pesto and a big tin of sweetcorn.
Tins of tuna heated up with some philidelphia and milk to make a sauce and big tin of sweetcorn with pasta or noodles
Tins of spagetti bolognaise on toast with big tin of sweetcorn
Tins of tomato soup, big bread, cucumber and carrots
Hotdogs (but my hubby is allergic to celery, so they don’t work for us)
I was tempted to introduce the kids to spam and corned beef!
Remember you can get tinned potatoes, which would be quicker to cook than normal ones.
What do you think of my tips and list? Let me know if you use it and if there’s anything to add. Also feel free to add your own lists in the comments!