Tag Archives: camping

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

The Just So Festival is an annual, intimate, weekend-long family festival is a wonderful, creative, arty, family outdoor adventure like no other. We go each year and it is such a highlight. I look forward to it all year long; we can’t wait to get there and we are always sad to leave.

Now in its 8th year, the 2017 this award-winning family festival just gets better and better. Each August the Just So Festival pitches up in the gorgeous grounds of Rode Hall in Cheshire, filling three days with music, literature, arts, theatre, dance, comedy, storytelling, magic and adventure. We always leave feeling inspired, rejuvenated and completely reconnected as a family.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

Produced by Wild Rumpus, the Just So Festival this year takes place on 18th-20th August. You can go for a day, or you can camp for the weekend. We have done both. We loved camping at the festival so much, being under canvas really adds to the adventure.

Why should you go to the Just So Festival this year?

ONE – Around the campfire
There’s so much to do at Just So, it’s hard to pick favourites. But we loved being around the campfire before bedtime, singing our hearts out with Scout Master, Ian Macintosh and listening to stories told by Just So legend, Ian Douglas. It sends you off to bed feeling happy, content and smelling vaguely of wood-smoke.

TWO – The first ever Just So Jelly Fight!
This year for the first time, in the Social Barn next to The Social you’ll find insect eating, foraging, jelly bean architecture and the first ever Just So jelly fight. Get ready to join in with the messiest, stickiest and most ridiculous of food fights.

THREE – Tribal Tournament
Just So veterans will know all about the famous festival Tribal Tournament. Festival goers of all ages dress up as a fish, frog, fox, owl, lion or stag and compete throughout the weekend to see which tribe comes out on top. Join in the Wild Rumpus Parade at the end of the weekend where the winners are crowned!

FOUR – Food, glorious food!
The range of food available at the Just So Festival is incredible. The Social area is where most of the food stalls are, but there are more on the Village Green and in the High Seas area. If you wanted to you could eat something wildly different for every meal at Just So. Our favourites are the grilled sweetcorn from Cotswold Corn Roast, ice cream from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium and hot dogs a-plenty from Piggy Smalls. Though other food vendors are available.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

FIVE – Do the Jitterbug!
Strut your stuff at the night time retro discos in the Jitterbug tent – dressing up is encouraged! If daytime dance is more your thing, you can learn to dance the CanCan, Charleston, Circus Swing, Flatfooting, Bollywood, Ballet, Tap and Jive. 

SIX – The wonderful Rode Hall Estate
The Rode Hall Estate is beautiful and absolutely perfectly designed for the wonderful goings on at the festival. Explore the grounds and find hidden magic around every corner. New this year is the Forgotten Courtyard, a beautiful Italian Garden tucked away in the ruins of the Old Tenants’ Hall complete with a fountain, Italian cypress and olive trees. Find this secret spot and take part in workshops, discussions, debates and talks, plus meet some of the UK’s favourite children’s authors there.

Plus this year the Rode Hall Tea Rooms will be open for homemade breakfasts, lunches and cakes made from the organic produce grown on the estate. I heartily recommend their Staffordshire Oatcakes and steaming mugs of tea!

SEVEN – Carry on Camping, or glamping if you prefer
I didn’t think I’d be a happy camper, but I was. In our first family camping weekend, we whispered into the night under the canvas, cooked sausages on our little camping stove and snuggled up like caterpillars in our sleeping bags. 

With toilet blocks and actual real life showers with hot water, the facilities are excellent. If you have tiny tots they have their own special baby bath time available in Peekaboo. 

For campers who fancy a touch of luxury, there are a range of glamping options available to pre-book and campervans and caravans are welcome. Come for the weekend, camp, have fun, go off grid, get twigs in your hair, let go, have fun.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

EIGHT – Award winning Accessibility
I have chronic pain and nerve damage. I can’t really feel my feet and legs, so accessibility is important to me. The Just So Festival organisers have thought of everything; from accessible camping, refrigeration for medication, wheelchair charging points as well as accessible toilets and changing areas.

I used many of the accessible facilities last year I can say hand on heart they accessibility is excellent and is seamlessly woven into the fabric of Just So.  It’s a truly accessible event. And that’s exactly how it should be for everyone, everywhere.

NINE – Lively live music!
Down by The Social, you’ll find the Footlights stage with over 20 brilliant artists and bands performing over the weekend, including Just So legends David Gibb, The Baghdaddies and singer, Laura Oakes. 
 

These are my nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year. These are only nine of about 900 wonderful reasons. There’s so much to see, do and experience there. Immerse yourself in the magic and creativity of this wonderful family festival. Leave feeling inspired, rejuvenated and completely reconnected as a family.

Tickets for this intimate and fabulous family festival are selling fast, so make sure you book your tickets as early as you can. 

For information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.ukKeep up with the adventure and follow Just So on Twitter and Facebook.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

My blog post about my accessibility experience at Just So can be found here.

Just So Festival Accessibility – put to the test

In August we went to the Just So Festival for the weekend. I was incredibly excited and a little bit apprehensive about going for various reasons. We were camping together as a family for the first time, and for me that felt like a bit of a challenge, as I have chronic pain and nerve damage which means I can’t really feel my feet and legs. 

Just So Festival 2016

I’m used to it now and ordinarily I am able to manage it to the point that most people can’t tell until I walk on an uneven path or down some stairs or a hill where I have to concentrate hard and maybe hang on to something or someone for stability.

The pain and the medication I take to manage that mean that I get tired more easily and need to rest regularly. I was worried about managing my pain levels, being able to rest, struggling to walk and stay on my feet for longer than I ought to and having somewhere I could relax, take my pills and stretch out for an hour. 

I try not to let my pain and funny legs stop me from doing much, but the thought of camping for a whole weekend was challenging for me. Happily the people behind the Just So Festival are the most amazing, accommodating and helpful people I’ve probably ever encountered. 

They have a very detailed information page on their website with pretty much everything you need to know about Just So Festival accessibility for people with additional needs or who are disabled. They’ve thought of almost everything, from wheelchair charging, fridge space for medication, dedicated quiet spaces and advice on how to make the best of some aspects of the festival, like the famous lantern parade. 

just so festival accessibility

This is one of the glamping tents in the accessible camping area

I decided to apply for an accessible camping space, this area is located next to the main entrance and has a wheelchair-accessible shower, accessible toilet and a water point within 50 feet. In this area you are also able to park next to your tent. Just So reviewed my application and allocated us a spot. I was really pleased as I knew being closer to the entrance would really help me manage myself better over the weekend.

Just So Festival Accessibility

Our tiny tent in the accessible camping area

The next challenge for me was sleeping in a tent. I stiffen up overnight and I wasn’t sure how I’d get on with sleeping on the floor. We thought long and hard about it and decided to buy an airbed. We had a tent which we used a few times before my accident, so we decided to give that an airing and camp in that. The small boy was beyond himself with excitement! 

When we arrived on the first day, the accessible camping area was already filling up. We were welcomed by Callum, the Safeguarding and Accessibility Manager who was really helpful. We managed to pitch our tiny 3 person tent in the rain and head off to enjoy the festival.

Close to our small tent were a toilet and shower cubicle as well as a Mobiloo, a small truck which looked spotlessly clean. The Mobiloo is a place where disabled people can use the loo and have a wash in comfort and warmth. I didn’t use the Mobiloo, but I can vouch for the disabled toilet which was emptied each night and was pretty clean and tidy. I remember hideous festival toilets of the 90s and these were a world apart. 

In terms of Just So Festival Accessibility, the festival is largely set around proper hard paths, with some firm bark chipped paths in the woods. It rained a lot during the weekend and this had churned up lots of mud. The festival organisers managed this by putting straw down which made the paths much easier to walk on. 

There’s not much seating around the site, so I took my own camping chair which was lightweight enough for us to carry around and plonk down for me to rest on when I needed to. This is an essential for me, without my chair I couldn’t have managed more than a couple of hours each day.

There are lots of information points and volunteers around if you need any assistance, as well as a first aid point staffed with qualified first aiders. I felt very comfortable, secure and relaxed. The Just So Festival is so easy going and for me, as a person who at times struggles with mobility I just felt welcomed and not like I was being treated differently to everyone else.

just so festival accessibility

The only thing I’d change would be our tiny tent and constantly deflating airbed. The tent was very bijou and a bit too cosy with us all in it, but we had lots of fun and midnight giggles, so we would definitely camp again, just in something a bit bigger.

I think that the adaptations and considerations the festival organisers made in terms of Just So Festival Accessibility were seamlessly woven into the fabric of Just So. It’s a truly accessible event. And that’s exactly how it should be for everyone, everywhere. 

For more information about Just So Festival Accessibility visit their website.

Read our review of the Just So Festival 2016 here.

Review: Sleepover fun with Snuggle Sac

This week the small boy had his first sleepover. His slightly older cousin came over for the night and the excitement was palpable. In anticipation of the event we were sent a Pirate Snuggle Sac from Ollie and Leila to try out, and boy did we put it through its paces!

The Snuggle Sac is a cozy sleeping bag which is made of fleece with a 100% cotton lining. We chose the pirate one because who doesn’t love pirates. But they come in a wide range of designs including Harry Potter, lions, dogs and fairies etc. They are designed to look a bit like dressing up costumes, so you can pretend to be a pirate whilst you’re curled up for a sleep.

sac5

The Snuggle Sac measures 180cm x 70cm and is the perfect size for my five year old, leaving lots of room for him to grow into over the years. 

What I particularly like about it is there is a pouch for you to slip in a pillow. The pillow doesn’t go walkies in the night, something which used to really annoy me when I was in sleeping bags as a child. There is your standard sleeping bag zip along one side and pirate feet hanging off the bottom. It’s lots of fun.

Snuggle Sac

The Snuggle Sac comes in its own tote bag, which is great for packing it away when it’s not in use. Although it’s been designed to be used both for camping trips and sleepovers and to replace normal bedding, I think we’ll be using it a lot over the summer for our holidays and for sleepovers. We’re off to the Just So Festival in August, so this will be perfect for then.

Snuggle Sac

We unpacked the Snuggle Sac and the boys went bonkers for it. They loved it and couldn’t wait to try it out. At bedtime we took it upstairs and made a bed on the floor for his cousin, tucked a pillow into the pouch, zipped him up and he soon nodded off. Perfect. Well at least the Snuggle Sac was perfect.

Snuggle Sac

Near midnight, after a bout of coughing cousin Joe was sick on himself, his cuddly toy and the Snuggle Sac (see, I told you we put it through its paces!). So his bed was stripped and the Snuggle Sac washed and hung out to dry. I have to say it washed really well and dried pretty quickly on a sunny day.

It was a shame it didn’t make it through the night, but we know it works, is popular and importantly when dealing with small sticky boys, it washes really well. I know my boy will want to sleep in it tonight and for the next few nights, but then we’ll pack it away in its tote bag ready for our holiday.

Snuggle Sac

The Snuggle Sacs cost £45 here and I think they are lovely fun sleeping bag for kids. They also do adult versions (though sadly not in pirate designs) and Snuggle Sacs for smaller children and babies. I think if you’re planning a family camping trip, or you have lots of sleepovers coming up, these are a great sleeping solution. We love ours!

Note: We were sent a Snuggle Sac for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

The small boy plans a camping adventure

Having been brought up in a family of happy campers, it seems pretty natural to me to teach the small boy all about the mysteries of the dome tent. Due to my very bad back, camping is now completely ruled out of our family holiday repertoire, though the big boy has promised the little boy a camping adventure in the garden, this is largely testing the water for a potential boys weekend later in the summer.

Tips for heartbreak free school trips

We have a few camping bits and bobs left over from our pre-baby camping days, a serviceable tent, a small camping stove, a range of camping pans and a handy lantern. Sadly the padded mat we used to use and our ancient sleeping bags have met an untimely end at the hands of whatever insects reside in our loft.

The sleeping bags would probably be horribly musty now and probably beyond the help of a good airing anyway, it’s no great loss, plus it gives the small boy the chance to pick his own, which will help him to hopefully take a bit of pride in it. We liked the look of these sleeping bags from Cotswold Outdoor, who sell a good range of camping and outdoor clothing and equipment.

They have a good selection of kids and adults sleeping bags from £15 which will do for us. We need something that will wash and dry quickly and can be easily shoved in a bag when he starts going on camping trips with school and Beavers and such like. Sleeping bags are always a good thing to have close to hand anyway, perfect for when he starts having sleepovers and filling his room with other sleeping small children!I have incredibly fond memories of nights spent under canvas, giggling away with my brother when we should have been sleeping, listening to the grown ups drinking wine around the barbecue and chatting late into the night, warming a kettle on the last embers of the fire. Lovely memories and something I’d love to share with the small boy given the chance.

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Quillow … a quilt & a pillow

The English summer being what it is, often throws up a few cold, damp days to keep you on your toes. It’s not really worth putting the heating on, when you can just snuggle under a blanket until the sun peeps through the clouds again. I am rather fond of my latest acquisition, the Dormeo Quillow. It is a cushion which cunningly unfolds into a blanket.

I picked it up because I thought it’d be a really handy thing to take on holiday with us. We’re staying in a cottage and it can get a bit nippy in the evenings, plus it’s useful to take out in the car to snuggle under if it gets cold. I thought it’d be great for a camping trip we’re planning later this year too.

The Quillow from mattress specialists Dormeo is a double sided blanket, on one side it is soft microfibre, and on the other it is a Cashmere and Moreno wool blend, which is so warm and cozy. The blanket cleverly folds up and tucks away into a pillow. It’s a really simple manoeuvre and you don’t need three hands to do it either.

I love that my Dormeo Quillow has a duel purpose, which makes it ideal for around the home, or for a compact solution for your holiday. It’s earning it’s keep around the holiday cottage, especially at night when the temperature drops. I’m looking forward to taking it camping with us when I think it’ll come into it’s own during the day as a comfy cushion, and at night when the sun drops and it turns chilly.

Around the home it blends in beautifully with the neutral scheme we’ve got going on. I love it. It’s one of those things you didn’t know you needed until you get one, and as summer eventually turns into autumn, I can see my Dormeo Quillow coming into its own.

Quillow

Disclaimer: I was sent a Dormeo Quillow free of charge for review purposes, this hasn’t influenced my opinion, it’s a lovely, useful pillow/blanket.