Tag Archives: just so festival

Five Family Festivals for Summer 2019

AD/ Summer is coming and festival season will very soon be upon us. We love nothing more than packing up for the weekend and heading off to a festival somewhere. Immersing ourselves in music, theatre, arts and culture of all kinds is just a brilliant way to spend a family weekend. I’ve picked out five family festivals for summer 2019.

Timber Festival – 5th, 6th and 7th July, National Forest at Feanedock

The 2018 Timber Festival was really special. There was a huge moon in the woods, amazing music, storytelling around the campfire. The boy went on adventures, climbed trees, built a den, explored and grew in so many ways. It was an experience we are very keen to repeat, so we’re going again this year.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

The festival programme has just been released and it looks fantastic. There’s something for everyone, I’m especially looking forward to slipping into a hot tub in the woods, then checking out the willow maze, the woodland cinema, some of the great music and woodland crafts going on. My son will love stories by the campfire, foraging for food and just generally kicking back and enjoying some time off grid in the woods. You can read our full preview here.

Bluedot Festival – 18th – 21st July, Jodrell Bank, Cheshire

Bluedot is an awesome four-day spectacular combining music, science, cosmic culture and more beneath the Lovell Telescope. The headliners include Kraftwerk 3-D, New Order and Hot Chip, ground-breaking sets from the Grammy-nominated likes of Jon Hopkins and Tokimonsta, science and culture talks from Liz Bonnin, Helen Pankhurst, Jim Al-Khalili and Tom Shakespeare, and much more. As well as top-notch music, there are all kinds of brilliant family things to do. You can find the full line up here.

Deer Shed Festival, 26th, 27th & 28th July, North Yorkshire

I know several people who go to Deer Shed every year and absolutely rave about it. Deer Shed is three days of family friendly music, comedy, sports, arts and science in North Yorkshire. It’s almost sold out for this year, but you can find more information here, and maybe bag the last remaining tickets!

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

Just So Festival – 16th, 17th & 18th August, Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire

We’ve been Just So enthusiasts for as long as we can remember and this year sees the Wild Rumpus team celebrate their 10th Just So Festival. Just So is an incredibly special place, it’s a really laid back, brilliant family festival, with so much going on for all ages.

There’s always too much going on to cram into three days, but there are a few completely unmissable things, such as; Hope and Social, Bushcraft in the Spellbound Forest, The Moth Hotel, Circus Skills, Family Yoga, the Rowing Boats, Bollywood Dancing, David Gibb, Ghost Caribou, Bubble Hour, Midnight Feast, Ministry of Games and the biggest ever game of Pass the Parcel! You can read our full preview here.

Lakes Alive – 6th – 8th September, Kendal

Lakes Alive is a free annual festival centered around Kendal in the Lake District. We went along for the day last year and we were astounded at the amount of free events available during the festival. This year’s Lakes Alive promises to be a weekend of amazing installations, vibrant illuminations, intimate performances and digital delights. If you’re in the area, do make a point of going along. You can read our review of last year’s festival here.

Days Out: Exploring the Lakes Alive Festival

What family festivals will you be going to this summer? I’d love to hear where you’re off to, please do comment below!

Disclosure: I have included some festivals we will be going to where we have been given complimentary tickets in exchange for a review. 

Five Family Festivals for Summer 2019

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

AD/ This year the Just So Festival celebrates 10 years of festivaling in the UK. The Just So Festival has been a summer highlight for us for many years. Each year the festival gets bigger, better and bolder. They’ve just released their 2019 festival programme, so I’ve picked out slightly more than ten excellent reasons to go to the Just So Festival 2019.

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

1/The Tribal Tournament

Underpinning the whole of the Just So Festival, the Tribal Tournament is an excellent excuse to dress up and buzz like a bumblebee, strut like a stag or flounce like a fox, or a fish. Each tribe picks up points over the weekend and only one team will be crowned kings of Just So 2019.  Pick from owls, foxes, frogs, stags, lions, bees or fish. Dress up, or not, it’s all good fun. We’ve been bees the last two years, will we still be buzzing this year?

2/Campfire Stories with Ian Douglas

For me, the campfire is the beating heart of Just So. It’s a wonderful place to gather around the fire, listening to Ian’s seemingly endless repertoire of stories and chilling out for an hour or so. There’s always something going on around the campfire, see what tickles your fancy and plan a couple of visits there each day, you won’t regret it!

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

3/Silent Disco

The Silent Disco was one of my absolute highlights from last year. Dancing around with our friends and family, all in headphones, all fairly tunelessly singing our hearts out and dancing our socks off. Brilliant fun and genuinely hilarious. Dig out your dancing shoes and get down to the disco!

4/Fire Garden

New for 2019 is the Fire Garden. I’ve seen this at the Timber Festival and it’s an incredible sight. As the sun sets, the new orchard near the Social will be illuminated with an installation of metal and fire. Small cauldrons suspended in wondrous patterns will guide a path through the orchard. It’s a truly wondrous sight, not to be missed!

5/Boutique Camping

We always camp in our trusty tent, but we keep promising ourselves that one year we will push the boat out a little and stay in one of the yurts, bell tents, vintage tents, camping pods or new for this year – a Gypsy bowtop caravan! Although, if boutique camping isn’t for you, camping at Just So is nowhere near slumming it, with hot showers and nice toilets, there’s even a place you can bath your baby!

6/Weleda Treats and Treatments

As a busy mum, I always take time to slip away to the Weleda tent for a pampering hand massage and half an hour of festival tranquility. Visit the Weleda ‘Nice Cream Van’ on the Village Green to discover more about the amazing properties and powers of our native plants.

7/Lantern Parade

Over the weekend, take some time to make your own lantern from willow and paper; then join the lantern parade and light up the woods as you wind through the trees of Rode by night. It’s a beautiful sight and even more exciting if you’re in the thick of it.

8/The Big 10th Birthday Bake Off

Bring your very best homemade cake to the New Curiosity Shop on Friday before 6pm to enter. The best cake will win its baker a family weekend ticket for Just So Festival 2020! All of the entries will then make their way to the volunteer tent, as a special treat for the people who make the festival fabulous.

9/Wonderland

New for 2019 is the Wonderland stage, which first made its appearance at Timber Festival last year. Head into the woods to enjoy author talks, music workshops and night-time DJ sets in the intimate Wonderland area.

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

10/Hammer & Chisel

Wild play rules at Hammer & Chisel, a unique woodland playground. Under the supervision of our forest play experts, create your own world or add to what’s there using pallets, ladders and ropes; help put together a maze of walkways, dens and secret spaces. Pick up your tool of choice and get ready to build in the brilliant Spellbound Forest.

11/Best of the rest…

At the Just So Festival there’s so much to see and do, there are surprises around every corner and try as you might, it’s impossible to see and do everything you’d like to. Given the chance, you should also seek out Hope and Social, Bushcraft in the Spellbound Forest, The Moth Hotel, Circus Skills, Family Yoga, the Rowing Boats, Bollywood Dancing, David Gibb, Ghost Caribou, Bubble Hour, Midnight Feast, Ministry of Games and the biggest ever game of Pass the Parcel!

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

Tickets for the Just So Festival special 10th birthday are selling fast. To celebrate its 10th birthday, Just So Festival are offering free weekend tickets to ten year olds. For more information or to book visit www.justsofestival.org.uk.

Just So Festival takes place on 16/17/18 of August 2019 at the Rode Hall Estate, Scholar Green, Cheshire.

Disclosure: We been offered tickets to the Just So Festival 2019 in exchange for a preview and an honest review.

10 family friendly things to do in Cheshire #ExploringCheshire

Living in South Manchester, we are lucky to have the whole of Cheshire virtually on our doorstep. It’s a beautiful, lush green county, with bags of history, acres of natural beauty and more interesting things to do than you could shake a stick at.

When it comes to days out with the family, Cheshire has a diverse range of options and something to suit everyone. I’ve pulled together a list of 10 family friendly days out and things to do in Cheshire which are ideal if you’re visiting for the day, or if you live there and want to explore the county a bit more.

Days Out: Lymm Historic Transport Day

10 family friendly things to do in Cheshire

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is a world famous attraction; famed for its commitment to conservation, the zoo has a large and diverse collection of animals. It’s also got a monorail and each December hosts The Lanterns, a wonderful night time walk where the zoo dazzles with wonderful light displays.

Delamere Forest

Delamere Forest is managed by the Forestry Commission, there are recreational trails, a visitors centre and a cafe. There’s a nearby train station too. Plus there’s a Go Ape there for the more adventurous members of your family.

Ness Botanic Gardens, Neston

Owned by the University of Liverpool, Ness Botanic Gardens is home to a fantastic horticultural collection which includes show gardens, a Victorian-style potager and an Alpine house and cafe.

Jodrell Bank Discover Centre, Macclesfield

Jodrell Bank is owned and run by the University of Manchester and it is the home of the Lovell Telescope, the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world. It’s open to the public and has a visitors centre, exhibits and gardens to explore, as well as the chance to have a look at the Lovell Telescope up close.

10 family friendly things to do in Cheshire Jodrell Bank

Blue Planet Aquarium, Ellesmere Port

The Blue Planet Aquarium is a marine and freshwater aquarium located by the Cheshire Oaks retail and leisure complex in Ellesmere Port. It’s a fabulous day out, lots of fun and an interesting under-sea adventure for everyone.

Roman Tours, Chester

Take a fascinating walking tour of the ancient city of Chester with an authentic Roman soldier as your guide. Learn all about Roman history in this informative, educational and interactive experience for all ages.

The Ice Cream Farm, Tattenhall

On warmer days, a trip to The Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall makes a refreshing change, with over 40 flavours of ice-cream to try out, children’s play areas, farm animals and quad bikes, there’s no better place to chill out in the summer.

Just So Festival, Congleton

Now in its 10th year, the award-winning Just So Festival is the most wonderful family festival; with weird and wonderful things around every corner, lots to stimulate young minds (and not so young minds). Just So is the highlight of our summer, go for the day, or camp in the grounds of the wonderful Rode Hall. It’s the perfect way to unplug yourselves and let go for a weekend.

Lymm Historic Transport Day

Each summer, the ancient Cheshire town of Lymm is host to the Lymm Festival. Alongside the main festival, the Lymm Historic Transport Day is a real highlight for transport enthusiasts across Cheshire. With steam engines, vintage vehicles, diggers, bikes and even batmobiles; Lymm Historic Transport Day is a real treat, the Spitfire fly-over last year was a real highlight!

Days Out: Lymm Historic Transport Day

Dunham Massey

Cheshire is spoilt for National Trust properties, one of my favourites is Dunham Massey. It’s got long flat footpaths which are great for walking, scooting or cycling on; plus a magnificent hall, beautiful gardens and a deer park. It’s got a fairly new visitors centre and cafes galore. Wrap up for a winter walk, or slap on the sun-cream in the summer. Year round, it’s a great place to visit!

Laurus Homes have created a useful infographic which explores new Cheshire developments, the great things about living in Cheshire and the history of the Cheshire property industry. If you want to take a look, you can click here and download it for yourself.

There’s so much to do in Cheshire; we have friends and family over the border, so we visit often and it’s definitely on our list of places to move to when we retire.  If you’re going on a family friendly day out in Cheshire, where are you planning? I’d love to hear your suggestions, pop them in the comments box below!

10 family friendly things to do in Cheshire #ExploringCheshire

This is a collaborative post.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

At the start of the summer, my Facebook timeline was full of memes about how we only get 18 summers with our children and how we need to make the most of them. This is summer number 8 for us, and the annual highlight of our “making the most of our time together” is always the Just So Festival. It’s three days away together, entirely unplugged; learning, exploring, enjoying and just loving everything the festival has to offer.

The Just So Festival 2018 has had a tiny shake up. All the old favourites were there, but just enough things had changed to keep it fresh for the families like us who come year after year.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

Back in July we went to the Timber Festival, run by the people behind Just So, but aimed at a slightly older crowd with more of an ecological bent. There were some really fabulous things at Timber which thankfully made their way to Just So too. Things like The Lost Words, The Moth Hotel, Hammer and Chisel and the Coppice Maze.

A couple of the areas had been jigged about, the (fabulous) Flamingo Lounge was up near the Village Green and seemed more popular than ever. Hurrah for the Pirate King was a surprising but wonderful opera-ballet-pirate mash up with added unicorn. Modern Warrior was a great opportunity for everyone to get involved in a spot of martial arts style dance and The Silent Disco was a particular highlight (do not miss this if it’s on next year).

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

Down by the lake, there was a re-named area called Roll up! Roll up! which had more of a circus theme. There were circus skills workshops running throughout, trapeze artists, a custard catwalk, the amazing Band at the End of the World and the incredible Bullzini Family running high-wire workshops and putting on a spectacular performance.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

I really enjoyed the Idlewood area this year, the Woodland Library had moved in and there were lots of colourful hammocks lashed to the trees where you could recline and relax with a good book. There were also theatre performances, Tai Chi and a chance to meet the Fairy Queen.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

The highlight for me, was as always the Spellbound Forest. Tucked away in the woods, perched on a log around the campfire, listening to ancient stories told by Ian Douglas, watching Mr Foppletwig and Professor Pumpernickel variously perform amazing magic tricks and scientific experiments and campfire songs with Ian Mackintosh. It’s so comfortable around that campfire, it often feels like hard work to tear yourself away and explore what else is going on.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

And there is so much going on. There are three packed Just So days and it’s almost impossible to get round to everything you want to see and do. I always end up having Just So regrets about things I have missed. Things people tell you about after they’ve happened. You make a mental note of it for next year and hope for the best.

Just So is such a remarkably safe space for families. It’s safe in a way that you can send a pair of 8 year olds off into the woods to do a Barefoot Walk for 10 minutes and know that they will come back filthy, with damp socks and full of the spirit of independence. It’s safe in the way that you know that everything they see and do will enrich them in some way. It is safe, because it just is.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

We sang, we danced, we ate, we laughed, I might have had a little cry of loveliness too. We had late nights, early mornings. We were filthy, we were covered in sand, custard and feathers, but we were happy and we were free. Just So is three wonderful, magical days a year which we remember incredibly fondly and look forward to above and beyond anything else.

See you round the campfire next year?

To grab your tickets for next year’s Just So Festival, visit www.justsofestival.org.uk.

Easy Recipe: Festival Jacket Sweet Potatoes

We have these Festival Sweet Potatoes on a very regular basis. We call them Festival Sweet Potatoes because we first had them at the Just So Festival a few years ago. There’s a stall which sells them and more often than not we have them for lunch a couple of times while we’re there. They’re just jacket sweet potatoes with simple toppings, but they always remind us of our Just So Festival weekends.

I’m not sure the name of the company who sell these at Just So, but if you’re going, they’re well worth tracking down and trying for yourself. If you’re not going to the Just So Festival, then you might as well make these at home, they’re almost as good as the original! I love the food at Just So, there are so many different food stalls to try, you could happily eat a completely different cuisine for every meal while you’re there.

Easy Recipe: Festival Jacket Sweet Potatoes

We usually bake the festival sweet potatoes in the oven, but you can microwave or BBQ them too if you want. They make a great lunch or a nice side with fajitas or whatever else you fancy.

Festival Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato per person
Finely grated Cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Spring onions, finely sliced
Coriander

How to make your Festival Sweet Potatoes:
Heat oven to 220°. Wrap your sweet potatoes in foil or put on a baking sheet. Sweet potatoes tend to leak a sticky fluid when they bake, so this will save you having to clean your oven afterwards. Bake for about an hour, or until the potato is soft all the way through when you poke it with a knife.

Once baked, slit the top and open them up. Add as much finely grated Cheddar cheese as you like, not too much though. Dollop on some sour cream and sprinkle over with spring onions and coriander, then eat. It’s as simple as that.

Easy Recipe: Festival Jacket Sweet Potatoes

I like a lot of spring onions and coriander; but if you’re catering for a crowd you can just put the toppings in bowls and everyone can help themselves. These are great for a party. I like to serve them in the foil as this saves on washing up too!

Easy Recipe: Festival Jacket Sweet Potatoes

What’s on our Summer Bucket List for 2018?

I am more happy than you can imagine that the summer holidays are here. Sure, it means more work for me, juggling my job and child care, but it’s so nice to be able to just hang out with my boy for the summer and just do nice things. I’ve been thinking about some things we can do together and as a family over the summer. This blog post will serve as an informal plan for us and a summer bucket list of suggestions we can pick and choose from. Having a list of options is always a useful thing, especially when you’re stuck for inspiration or ideas.

What's on our Summer Bucket List for 2018?

We’ve got some day trips planned; a holiday to Devon and our annual jaunt to Just So Festival to look forward to, so here is our summer bucket list for 2018.

summer bucket list for 2018

⇒ Visit Manchester Museum and look at the frogs
⇒ Visit and explore Ordsall Hall in Salford
⇒ Go crabbing and have fish and chips in Appledore in Devon
⇒ Visit Tintagel Castle and find out more about King Arthur
⇒ Fill the paddling pool with gelli baff and have a paddling pool party
⇒ Visit Launceston Castle in Cornwall
⇒ Visit Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre in Devon
⇒ Go back to Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall in Lancashire
⇒ Go glamping in a yurt in the Lake District
⇒ Take part in the dog show at the Woolsery Agricultural Show
⇒ Go to the playground in the park and have a picnic
⇒ Visit Westward Ho! and see if the shipwrecks are still visible
⇒ Sing around the Just So Campfire
⇒ Visit the Gweek Seal Sanctury in Cornwall
⇒ Go on some treasure hunts using a Treasure Trail maps
⇒ Visit the castle fort in the park in Bideford in Devon
⇒ Count the stars at night, when camping at The Just So Festival
⇒ Rest, read and reconnect
⇒ Visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester for family fun
⇒ Bake and decorate cakes for our nice neighbours
⇒ Join the Tribal Tournament at The Just So Festival (we are buzzing!)

What are you going to get up to this summer? What’s on your summer bucket list?

What's on our Summer Bucket List for 2018?

Eight Unmissable Family Festivals for 2018

The last few years have seen a huge increase in family festivals in the UK. We’ve been to a few of them, this year we’re going to both the Timber Festival and Just So Festival. There are a few other festivals happening over the summer, here’s our pick of fabulous family festivals this year…

Timber Festival, 6th – 8th July

July sees the first ever Timber Festival.  Timber is set to be an extraordinary new camping festival exploring the transformative impact of forests. Music, art, philosophy and sustainability. Timber takes place on the 6th – 8th July in Feanedock, in the heart of the National Forest. The Timber Festival is set to be a thought-provoking three days in the forest, getting back to nature and learning to love the woods.

Eight Unmissable Family Festivals for 2018 / Preview: Timber Festival - a brand new family festival!

Just So Festival, 17th – 19th August 

Taking place on 17th – 19th August at the Rode Hall Estate in Cheshire this year’s Just So Festival is packed with familiar old favourites and an array of exciting new things to see, do and experience. Step out of your everyday life and enter a wonderland of world-class literature, arts, theatre, dance, music, comedy and creative pursuits together as a family. Immerse yourselves in a weekend full of magical midnight feasts, curious creatures, raucous pillow fights, hidden retreats, top-notch food, drink and boutique camping options and breathtaking beauty.

The Good Life Experience, 14th-16th September

The Good Life Experience is located Hawarden, Flintshire. The festival was founded by friends Cerys Matthews, Steve Abbott and Charlie and Caroline Gladstone. It is a celebration of great food, axe throwing, campfire cooking, group sing-a-longs, comedy, beer, raucous music, poetry, literature and so much more. It’s a real back to nature experience for the whole family!

Bluedot Festival, 20th -22nd July

Bluedot is really unique festival, located in the incredible grounds of Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, it’s an event that brings together science, education, music, food and culture and wraps it up in a big festival shaped bow. This year the headline acts at Bluedot are The Flaming Lips, Future Islands and The Chemical Brothers and each day is packed with really interesting things to see and do.

Geronimo Festival / Eight Unmissable Family Festivals for 2018

Geronimo Festival, 30th June – 1st July

Geronimo has been going for a few years now. This family festival features the stars of CBeebies and lots of old favourites, plus a host of new activities. When we visited Geronimo in 2016, we loves the arena area which had different shows on throughout the day. There are lots to see and do, but do take a picnic!

Lymm Festival, 21st June -1st July

Lymm Festival is a 10 day festival which runs each year in the lovely Cheshire town of Lymm. The Lymm festival features a wide range of events celebrating various aspects of the village, from the amazing Transport Day where the village is filled with all kinds of transport, old and new including the Batmobile and steam engines; to foodie events, music, literature, comedy, charity dog walks. We’ll be going along this year, so do have a look at what’s on to see if anything floats your boat!

Foodies Festival, various dates

The Foodies Festival does an annual summer tour around the UK, but sets up camp in Cheshire each July. It’s a real celebration of global food with stands and stalls from all over the world. We have visited the festival a few times over the years and it’s an interesting day out for foodies; they even have special cooking sessions and demonstrations for children!

bOing! International Family Festival, 25 & 26 August

The bOing! International Family Festival returns to Canterbury this August Bank Holiday to celebrate its 5th birthday in style, with its biggest and best line up yet. bOing! showcases the very best in theatre, dance, music, films created for all ages across Europe. This (mostly) free family festival is a brilliantly theatrical day out for all the family.

There are so many great family festivals on this summer, whatever you’re interested in, there’s bound to be something to suit your family. Which festivals are you going to this year?

What’s new at the Just So Festival this year?

Have you got your tickets for the Just So Festival yet? If you haven’t, you’ll be missing out on three days of weird, wonderful and incredibly magical family fun. We went last year and had the best time, it was the absolute highlight of our year. Three days and nights off grid, spending time together with family and friends; walking barefoot in the woods, having insane pillow fights and dressing up as bees (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it). Here’s what’s new and wonderful this year.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

Taking place on 17th – 19th August at the Rode Hall Estate in Cheshire this year’s Just So Festival is packed with familiar old favourites and an array of exciting new things to see, do and experience. Step out of your everyday life and enter a wonderland of world-class literature, arts, theatre, dance, music, comedy and creative pursuits together as a family. Immerse yourselves in a weekend full of magical midnight feasts, curious creatures, raucous pillow fights, hidden retreats, top-notch food, drink and boutique camping options and breathtaking beauty.

What's new at the Just So Festival this year?

Join the Tribal Tournament – the most bonkers competition in the land! Dress up as a fox, owl, stag, frog, fish, bee or a lion and compete to win gold pebbles,. Take part in the glorious Tribal Tournament and the tribe with the highest score wins. Who will lift the Tribal Trophy this year?

New for 2018 there is the intriguing and enthralling Playground of Illusions. This is a new area full of mystery and trickery from Travelling Light Circus – see the world in a new light in this hypnotic fusion of science and art.

Roll Up, Roll Up will be a glorious large-scale area by the lake, dedicated to all things circus and seaside. Expect tumblers, somersaults and aerial mastery from the best performers in the land including a spectacular high wire show Equilibrius and tightrope workshops from The Bullzini Family.

There’s also The Flamingo Lounge, an area filled to the brim with all things dance. Strut your stuff at Silent Discos and summon all strength for Power Ballad Yoga. Whirl, swirl, disco, cancan, jig, jive, rhumba, spin, strut, shimmy, swing, two-step and throw all kinds of shapes in this gloriously kitsch wonderland. When night falls you can boogie the night away here too.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

Step into the extraordinary Spellbound Forest for tales from storyteller extraordinaire Ian Douglas. Enjoy a Barefoot Walk, or nature and bush crafts; den building, tree climbing, campfire tales and bonfire bands and sing songs as dusk falls and the forest really comes to life.

Visit a living Weleda garden to discover more about the amazing healing properties and powers of our native plants. Join the Weleda team for a tea party and sample Weleda’s pure and 100% certified natural products. Enjoy some grown-up relaxation time with complimentary Weleda Skin Food hand massages.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

The Just So Festival is set in woodland clearings; with rolling parkland, arboreal amphitheatres and lakeside spots in the Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire; one of the most stunning landscapes in the UK. Families choosing to camp at the festival can experience the stunning boutique camping area in Landpods, yurts, bell tents, tipis and vintage tents; or bring your own tent or camper van.

If you’re planning to come to Just So 2018 you are advised to buy tickets earlier than usual this year. Tickets selling at a record rate for this limited capacity event.

For information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.uk.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

We’ve been going to the Just So Festival for four years now and each year we throw ourselves into the magic of it all. It is absolutely the highlight of our year. This year was no different, we arrived anticipating good things and we left sad that it was all over for another year. Just So Festival 2017 was an utterly enchanting experience.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

There’s so much going on at the Just So Festival, it’s impossible to fit everything you want to do into a weekend. We’d been quite organised before we arrived and I’d jotted down a timetable of things we’d like to see and do, knowing that we would miss some of what we’d selected, but we’d probably accidentally happen upon some Just So magic along the way.

It’s almost impossible to choose just five outstanding things from the Just So Festival 2017, but after much deliberation we’ve narrowed it down to these weird, wonderful and decidedly enchanting Just So moments –

The Just So Pillow Fight!

Ben took a bit of persuading to get stuck into the pillow fight, but once he could see his friends in there having fun there was no stopping him. The pillow fight is a completely bonkers but wonderful sight. Several hundred people bashing each other with pillows, most of which burst and feathers flew everywhere. The initial fight went on for about half an hour, with proceedings being halted a couple of times to retrieve children lost in the feathery mire. 

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

The fighting went on for several hours, with small skirmishes periodically breaking out. It was the most fun to take part in and almost as much fun to watch. The pillow fight is a definite highlight!

Campfire in the Spellbound Forest

The Spellbound Forest is my absolute favourite area at Just So. We always gather each night around the campfire to listen to storyteller Ian Douglas; marvel at Dieter’s mad science and sing our hearts out with resident Scout Master, Ian Mackintosh. This year something a little different happened in the forest, Ian Douglas got married at Just So and we were all invited to the Wedding Feast around the campfire. It was an evening of storytelling, song, celebration and magic. 

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

The Spellbound Forest is also the place to be for a whole raft of creative and nature based activities. We went on a wonderfully refreshing barefoot walk though the woods. Once again we made clay faces; we toasted marshmallows at campfire cookery; enjoyed the intimate little Theatre for One sessions and met the Wildlife Champions from Chester Zoo. There was no formal den building session this year, but our adventurer and his friends built their own and it was brilliant.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

Peekaboo and the Weleda Tent

With the boy being a strapping six years old, really we have no business being in the Peekaboo area (which is for babies and toddlers really). But this year there was a mud play area which was planted up with bee loving plants. Our little bee couldn’t stay away. He loved digging and discovering more about the plants.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

I also owe a debt of thanks to the Weleda team. I’d booked a free Skin Food Hand Massage which took place in a shed. On my way to the massage I fell over, skinned my knees and made my bottom lip wobble. They were very lovely to me when I arrived at the shed and let me sit down to gather my thoughts and gave me some cream for my knees. The hand massage was also excellent, I felt so relaxed and my hands were treated to some much needed TLC. 

Insect Eating, Wild Food & Foraging at The Social Barn

We all fancied learning more about foraging so off we went to the Social Barn. While we waited for the session to start the boys got stuck into some insect eating (dried mealworms and crickets), they also did some jellybean architecture and tried some wild food before we went off to explore the Rode Hall estate in search of foraged goodies.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

Under the expert guidance of James Wood, professional wild food forager, we learned about how to find and cook elderberries, nettles, chestnuts, acorns and hawthorn berries. All the boys got stuck in, foraging for goodies and we even got to sample some of the wild food. I can say that I’ve eaten an uncooked nettle and it didn’t sting!

Just So Festival 2017: Joining the Bee Tribe

Just So is famous for its Tribal Tournament. Each year families dress up as owls, foxes, frogs, stags, lions, fish or bees. The new tribe this year were the Bees, being from Manchester we just had to be Manchester Worker Bees. There were lots and lots of bees this year, all in sunny yellow, sporting wings and striped socks. We’d been fairly low-key with out costumes, wearing yellow and black tops with bee wings and antennae. 

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

We fully embraced the Tribal Tournament this year, with the boys all buzzing about collecting the golden nuggets to give to the Queen Bee. Alas we didn’t win this year, but we had a good time trying. The foxes won and were a little smug about it. Maybe the bees need to bring them down a peg or two next year!

Just So Festival 2017: The best of the rest…

You could easily spend a week at Just So, but you have to squish it all in to just three days (or one day if you’ve got a day ticket). I couldn’t possibly list all the amazing stuff we did and saw and ate, but honourable mentions to go – The Baghdaddies; Stargazing at The Observatory; The Cautionary Tales of Animalia; How I Hacked My Way Into Space; The Actual reality Arcade; Dancing the Conga; The Forgotten Courtyard; Away with the Fairies and the wonderful wand making workshop; Bollywood dancing at Jitterbug; and the food, ALL the food!

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

It was a wonderful weekend. It filled our hearts up with joy and creativity and adventure. We were happier, better people for our time at the Just So Festival 2017. Roll on next year!

Early bird tickets for Just So Festival 2018 (17 – 19 August, Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire) are on sale from Friday 25 August at www.justsofestival.org.uk at special early bird prices. Under 3s free.

Goodbye summer, hello again relentless routine

When I wake up tomorrow morning two things will happen. It’s my birthday so I’ll get smothered by my menfolk and the dog of questionable pedigree and loved to bits, which is nice. The other thing tomorrow brings is the return to school and the start of Year 2 for my precious little baby (now a big, tall and strong nearly 7 year old). It’s time to say goodbye summer!

As I tucked him up in bed tonight I shed a quiet tear to myself. We have had the most incredible summer. Seven weeks of fantastic memories, quality time together and just really fun stuff, much of which I’ve not yet had time to blog about, so do watch this space!

We’d sat down this afternoon with a pen and paper and listed all the really fun, memorable stuff we’d done together and it was quite a list. Reading the list back and remembering everything just made my heart burst a bit. We’ve been very lucky, there’s been a budget of sorts we’ve stuck to and the cost of expensive days out has been tempered by packing a picnic and using vouchers or deals where we could. We did well and I am very sad it’s over.

 

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At the start of the summer we wrote a bucket list. But how did we get on? This is what we managed to tick off…

⇒ Build sandcastles on the beach in Devon
⇒ Sleep lots (Ben’s suggestion)
⇒ Visit Ben’s cousins in Devon
⇒ Go to the playground in the park
⇒ Visit the Sealife Centre at Weymouth
⇒ Go on a treasure hunt in Bude using Treasure Trails maps
⇒ Visit the castle fort in the park in Bideford
⇒ Count the stars at night, when camping at The Just So Festival
⇒ Sing around the Just So Campfire
⇒ Feed the animals at Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall 
⇒ Have a Cornish pasty picnic on the beach
⇒ Join the Tribal Tournament at The Just So Festival (we were bees!)

 

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But we also managed to do this…

Rockpooling in Woolacombe (and found an octopus)
⇒ Joined in the dog show at the Woolsery Show (and won!)
⇒ Went foraging at Just So Festival and ate dried mealworms & crickets
⇒ Built a den in the woods at Just So Festival
⇒ Joined in the massive Just So pillow fight!
⇒ Went out for lunch and ended up splashing in the water-features in Cathedral Gardens in Manchester 
⇒ Went to Chester Zoo with Daddy (loved the gibbons the best)
⇒ Found a Rhea egg at Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall
⇒ Went up the Jurassic Skyline attraction in Weymouth
⇒ Adopted Geoff & Ollie the otters at Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall
⇒ Massively grew in confidence with his swimming, loved the pool at Ribby Hall!
⇒ Met and touched the armadillos, a gecko, a cockroach, tortoise, rabbits, sheep, calves, pigs and reindeer at Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall

We’ve done lots, we’ve hardly fallen out with each other and every night we’ve gone to bed smiling with our heads and hearts full of adventure. I’ve loved it and so has he. It really has been the best summer ever.

I’ll have very mixed feelings in the morning, seeing him skip off to school again and hearing the house fall silent once more. It will be nice to catch up with some jobs and to tackle my to do list, but not as nice as doing what I love best, spending time with my boy.

PS. Happy birthday me x

 

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