Stylish and Family Friendly festivals and Camping tips


I took these photos back in the day the The Workhouse festival, 2006

Before we had the little man we were both in our own ways festival goers, John going to Reading and me rocking out year on year at Glastonbury, Lovebox, Beach Break Live and Guilfest to name a few and why should having children stop the festival spirit and fun? Yes it will make things at times harder and it will change the experience but that doesn't mean it won't be as enjoyable and fulfilling. The key is in the planning, pick a festival that has family facilities and is keen for children to be involved and has some sort of entertainment for them. Another very important tip is to have good camping equipment, I will go into more detail about this later in the post. We are hoping to attend at least one overnight festival this year, with the little man in tow and we are really looking forward to it, come rain or shine.

Me a few years back at a festival with my trusty two-man  tent.

5 UK Family Friendly Festivals

1. Wychwood Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse, 31 May - 2nd June

An intimate, compact and safe family friendly festival that combines contemporary and world music, comedy, poetry and workshops into a wonderful three day event. The line up includes Bill Bailey, The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, Kate Nash, The Wedding present, Lucy Rose and Mr Bloom for the little ones. The site prides themselves on clean facilities and a wide range of activities for toddlers, teenagers and adults and has been nominated for Best Family Festival at the UK festival awards every year. With workshops for every age, a special toddler area and an overall chilled and relaxed atmosphere this is the perfect first stop on your summer of music.
Adult weekend tickets are £120 and under 10's are free

Larmer Tree festival, Larmer Tree Gardens, 17-21 July

An independent and sponsor-free festival that has been awarded "Best Family Festival" and "Best Toilets", is really one worth checking out. Set in the beautiful Wiltshirt/Dorset boarder is offers a designated children's area, water garden, woodland crafts, big top and an amazing line up to boot including Seasick Steve, Van Morrisson, The Beat and Imelda May. They also have comfy camping and glamping options.
Adult tickets start at £140 and under 5's go free.

Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, 1-4th August

A family festival with everything you need for a good time, good food, music, art, shows and activities, as they say "Kids are King" at Bestival. In it's 6th year it's built up a real name for itself on the family friendly circuit and when it manages to create a line up that includes Mr Tumble to Billy Bragg, DJ Fresh to Toots and the Maytals you can see why. The theme for 2013 is "Around the World" and they have some great features such as an indian circus, italian pop up restaurant and Belgian Ska Bands it sounds like it's going to be a very entertaining weekend. They also have a array of children's areas including a toddler space, kids theatre and mother and baby chill out area.
Adult weekend tickets start at £180 and under 10's go free, they also have an easy payment plan

Croissant Neuf Summer Party - secret location Near Usk, Wales, 8-11th August

A multi-award winning solar powered family friendly festival that is one of the best kept secrets. The line-up is still yet to be fully confirmed but it's said to be bursting with music, crafts, workshops and circus. The layout of the site is open which means you can keep an eye on the kids having fun and the Big Top Mania provides a kid-zone with theatre shows to watch, games, toys and a designated toddler area. With a central communal campfire, walk about entertainers, a market and healing area this is a very chilled out, small and community feel family festival.
Adult weekend ticket £105 and under 5's go free

Family friendly festival

Green Man Festival - Brecon Beacons, 15-18th August

A charming and well established 10-year old Welsh festivals in the Black mountains and is based on one of the most beautiful festival sites in the UK if you can face the possibility of rain (which seems to affect Wales more than anywhere else).  The festival has a great line up this year with band of Horses, Ben Howard, The Horrors and Midlake to name a few. They have a "little folk" area which is crammed with things for little ones to do including fancy dress box, story telling, arts and crafts and fun rides to keep them entertained. They also have a designated family friendly camping area.
Adult weekend tickets are £145 and under 4's go free.

Camping Tips

My trusty van I spent a summer in Cornwall in, camping and surfing

Another factor to take when embarking on a family camping trip or festival weekend, is of course a tent. While some may choose to glamp, which a lot of festivals now offer but is an expensive option and don't get me wrong both John and I love glamping for a weekend away but to capture the true spirit of festivals you should try proper camping at least once. I however cannot stress enough the importance of a decent tent, it really should be seen as an investement. I am not saying you need to spend hundreds, otherwise you might as well glamp, but choose wisely and go with a well known company and read reviews first. I highly recommend Blacks for quality camping and outdoor equipment, they literally have everything you need and offer great advice both in store and online and are a great one-stop shop for all your family camping and festival needs. I have spent a lot of time camping in my life, as well as living in a camper-van in Cornwall for one summer and there are a few tips to help you stay comfortable and dry.

1. Stick with well known brands and read online reviews first.

2. Make sure you pick a tent with a high hydrostatic head so that you can be sure you remain dry even when it rains and go with one with a sewn-in ground sheet to keep any dirt, mess or condensation out.

3. Invest in a decent sleeping bag and add a liner for the colder days as this increases insulation and can be removed on warmer nights.

4. Dont forget to pack a torch or lantern - this always comes in handy.

5. Always remember to pack a first aid kit, just in case.

My little one-man tent, wild camping, in Scotland

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Exploring new ground



Tree carving
Mr A saying thank-you to the Green Man for all the trees.

So the weather has still been a bit hit and miss here in South Wales but we have had a few patches of glorious sun and tried to make the most of those moments. Since we are on the look out for our next new home, me and the little man have started to explore parks and outdoor areas we have driven past many times but never stopped to have a better look and learn more about the surrounding area. This week we decided to have a good wander around the small but beautiful formed Thompson park in Canton - a lovely little place with a duck pond, wild flowers and some wonderful wooded areas and a lovely green man carving in an old tree. Mr A found a "perfect for toddlers" tree to climb in and called it his castle, I was relegated to a tree stump as my castle but we had a great fun. I feel that it's very important for Mr A to realise that nature needs to be looked after and respected, he did me proud but pointing out some litter under a tree root and said "naught people put that there", so of course we picked it up and put it in the bin, we also then walked over to the Green man carving and said thank-you to him for all the beautiful trees in the park, learning to be grateful is a great thing to pass down to your children.

climbing trees

We collected some sticks and pinecones for our nature table at home and had fun running through the daffodils and playing hide and seek behind the beautiful oak trees in the field joining the park.

collecting sticks

There is a real sense of calm about this park, well before the schools break up and then it fills with laughter of kids throwing bread to the ducks. Before this though we enjoyed sitting under a tree and having an impromptu picnic and then running under a cherry blossom tree.


 We also came across a little snail in an old wall and M A collected some flowers and leaves to give him to make him happy. There were so many birds in the trees and we sat listening to their songs and Mr A loved trying to spot them up in the branches.

tree root

Even though the park was quite small we had tones of fun as it really is so beautiful and filled with little magical corners. Every week we join up with Country Kids over on Coombe Mill blog and it's wonderful seeing everyones adventures, so why not join up in the linky as well.

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Another little instagram roundup of our week, what we have been doing, wearing and whose hair John has been cutting. The weather has been quite good the past few days so had some great outdoor fun, as well as coming across some old CD's and my nineties flashback.

family photos

From Left to right starting from the top

1. Mr A rocking my new shades - he wore them the whole of bath time
2. John and mr A on a little train adventure
3. We went to a friends wedding last week and we both went for a sort of vintage style with John rocking a tweed jacket and me with a polka dot tea dress
4. Mr A having fun climbing trees in Thompson Park
5. The amazing green man in Thompson Park, Cardiff
6. My vintage gap shirt with Levi skinnies and creepers
7. A blast from the past - No Doubt and Green day albums
8. John rocking his Edwin jeans, Burlington socks and Clarks originals.
9. Johns favourite haircut of the week on Kris from Frontier Tattoo Parlour

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Anisnap watch review and giveaway


Model toddler

Mr A is a little monkey, so it seemed only fitting when Anisnap watches asked if we would review a monkey watch for them. They are fun, innotive and simply snap onto the wrist, even Mr A who is not yet three enjoyed snapping the watch and got the concept almost instantly. It is a little big for his tiny wrist but in another few months it will be perfect and the way the snap strap has been designed means it can grow with your child which is great. The watch and strap are made with a very soft but robust rubber and don't have any sharp edges, even the crown of the watch is hidden so they are really child friendly.

anisnap watch

They are made by Eternally U which was established in 2011 and it's aims are to make bold and fun watches and these anisnap's for kids are exactly that. Mr A was really taken with the cartoon style monkey character and I think it's a fun way to introduce a first watch and the learning of telling the time. There are three designs - The Monkey, The Rabbit and The Elephant and they all retail for £14.99

Great news is that I have The Rabbit Anisnap watch to giveaway to one lucky reader, it's really simple to enter via rafflecopter below. The competition is open worldwide and ends on the 4th May 2013

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Let in the light and Pin to win


As you may know we are in the middle of houses at the moment, having sold our old house just before Christmas and we are now renting a little cottage just outside of Cardiff, and are currently on the lookout for our next "home". I am dreamer when it comes to these things, I mean why not aspire to live somewhere inspiring! Perhaps this is because the flat I lived in with a friend in Cape Town had the most amazing view of the mountain and city with a large balcony and windows that would let in the light, and it rarely failed to take my breath away every morning. I am in love with floor to ceiling windows and would love to live in a Victorian bay fronted house or an old warehouse or parisian apartment.

Large window

I like rooms to have little nooks and crannies but also to be bright and airy and I love the idea of the outside coming in and the warmth of natural light. However I am not a huge fan or early morning sun every morning (anything before 7am is a bit of a no no) so I would hang some beautiful thick curtains or natural woodweave blinds or shutters so on the odd occasion I may want to dampen the light down but still have something beautiful in it's place. Blinds always reminded me of my childhood as I grew up in a large house in South Africa and the family living room and play area had floor to ceilling windows with bamboo blinds that we use to hang down at night and for some reason I would have so much joy rolling them up in the morning to look outside over the garden and feel the sun on my face. I also loved the texture and natural feel of the little bamboo sticks, there is a wonderful quality about natural products that I simply adore and I don't think I will ever grow out of. I have a few inspired living boards on my pinterest (please feel free to follow) and here are a few of my dream living rooms

Huge windows
How amazing are these windows

I love the light and airy feeling of this loft
family living room
I love the warmth of this family style room

We have got a lot of things we will take with us to our new house although I would like to buy a few new pillows and homely items, most of which I will probably pick up from markets and local sellers but I do love some of the quirky things at Urban Outfitters in Cardiff which have a cute home wear and soft furnishing department. I am also loving the cute pillows from Web Blinds which have a great floral theme and capture the real essence of spring.

Hillarys blinds

If your living room or bedroom is in need of a spruce up Hillarys is running an amazing Pinterest competition and it's super easy to enter and you can win an amazing £500 to spend on anything in the Hillarys range and there are also two runner up prizes of £50 at M&S. I have already entered my board (I went for retro revival) so why not give it a go, but do it quickly as the competition ends on 17th May

Hillary blinds

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Stella and Dot trunk show


First of all, what I wore to the Trunk show - I was going to be on my feet for a while so I wanted something casual but also very me, so went for a vintage high street mashup. The jacket is Braemar velvet jacket I picked up from a charity shop a few years back, the T-shirt is from H&M, Next Skinny Jeans, Doc Marten shoes paired with a lovely vintage bag my mother picked up from a market in Italy. My accessories include a peace necklace from Topshop, a ring from Joe Browns and my watch from Guess

High street style

Leather bag

I had heard of Stella and Dot before but had never actually seen the jewellery in person so it was great to go along to a Stella and Dot trunk show that was happening in Cardiff. The event was organised by a fellow Cardiff based blogger Chantele from Daisy Dayz so it's always great to support something local. The turnout was not as everyone had hoped but that didn't distract from very stylish and beautifully made jewellery. Louise, the Stella and Dot stylist from Swansea explained the range, it's beginings and it's impressive list of celebrity fans (including royality!) and it's not hard to see why this American brand is gaining so much momentum in the UK. Please not I have NOT been asked to do a post about Stella and Dot, I just enjoyed the trunk so much I wanted to share my favourite pieces with you.

Trunk show

Silver bangle

Beautiful ring

We all had a good browse and could try on any of the pieces we wished, I feel in love with the Maldives necklace below, which had to be one of the most expensive items coming in at £95, fingers  crossed John will feel the same way I do about it and hide it away for a special date. The prices are not cheap but not overly expensive either but the pieces are beautiful and unique and are a little bit of an investment to your wardrobe.

Beautiful necklace

wonderful jewellery

I am also taking part in What I wore Wednesday linky for the first time over on the Transatlantic Blonde blog and Style Elixir

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Wooden toys and what he wore


Wooden Play Barn
Melissa and Doug Play Barn

In our household we have a real love and appreciation for wooden toys and if you follow the blog you probably would of guessed that by now. We believe that children should play with all different kinds of things, with different textures to them, plastic feels all the same but wooden and natural products have more character to them and warmth and often provide more space for the imagination. So I was really happy when the Wooden Toy shop as us to review a product from their amazing little shop and when the box arrived at the door little Mr A couldn't wait to open the beautiful Melissa and Doug play barn. It's perfect for any children who have an interest in animals or farms and can appeal to both boys and girls as in a way it's almost like a dolls house but for horses and sheep and Mr A was taken by it straight away and was enthralled for hours, which believe me is rare as his mind races from one thing to another at the speed of lightning.

Wooden toys
Mr A deep in play

The great thing about the play barn is that it doesn't give too much away, the inside is divided into basic rooms which allows Mr A to turn them into anything he likes, it comes with a few farm animals and a little pen and is safe and easy for little hands to use. The wonderful thing about the Wooden Toy Shop is it has something for every age and every interest from arts and crafts to puzzles and ride on bikes - if I was a child it would of been my dream toy shop.

natural toys

I also have my eyes firmly on this super cute ride on brit pop scooter which can be found on the Wooden Toy shops website and I think it may be a must for Mr A at Christmas time, I mean whoever owned this would be the coolest kid ever.

Brit pop scooter
Kiddimoto Brit Pop Scooter £98.95

I also realised that I forgot to do a post about the amazing little Ralph Lauren christmas inspired jumper we got Mr A a while back, we bought it just after christmas and it's great for this spring weather as it's nice and think but not to restrictive and very cute. As you can see it was a very windy day when I took these photos but it didn't bother Mr A as the sun was shinning down and he got to take his little wooden monkey man for a walk.

Ralph Lauren kids
Mr A wearing a Ralph Lauren Jumper with M&S trousers and Converse shoes

Model toddler

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Fun on the farm and other adventures



So we had a really bumper week this week with regards to the weather, which in the South of Wales is prone to be wet and raining regardless of the time of the year. our main adventure this week was the Vintage Tractor Show at St Fagans which really was the highlight of the week as the little man is obsessed with Tractors and big machines at the moment. He literally couldn't contain his excitement, running for tractor to tractor asking what each one was called and examining it in detail.

Toddler and tractors


Tractor fair

It was great to see so many types and there was an array of vintage machines and engines being run. We of course then had to find the "Tractor Train" that St Fagans runs on the weekend and which Mr A loves to go on, it's only 50p a stop and they don't charge for the little man so it's really worth it. Another great thing about St Fagans is that is also has a little farm house which houses some chikens, ducks, turkeys and depending on what time of the year piglets, sheep and the odd cow dotted here the there. Mr A had some fun trying to say hello to some chickens and turkeys, not sure if they really wanted to say hello to him though.

Fun on the farm

After having a little picnic and sharing a very yummy jam scone from the bakery we had fun running around the houses and through the forest, we also made our way up to the castle and the "secret" wooden garden that has some amazing wooden structures and a wooden dome in the middle and is a great place for children to run around.

Toddler sunglasses
Toddler outdoor fun

Running through arches

Earlier during the week we also had a great family day out in Bute Park in Cardiff, I did a short post about what John and Mr A wore on this day which can be seen here. They have some wonderful natural wooden sculptures of which Mr A loves the seal near the waterbus stop. The boys also had a great time climbing trees and for the first time of the year it actually felt like long warm days were really on there way.

Bute Park

Bute Park

The great thing that really topped of a wonderful week was on Saturday evening me and the little man got to eat outside in the garden, which Mr A loved and hopefully will be a regular thing we will be doing during the summer.

Every week we join up with an amazing Linky with the lovely people at Coombe Mill for Country Kids, if you love spending time outdoors with your little or big ones then why no join in :)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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