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Alexander Residence: Just So Festival in pictures

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Just So Festival in pictures

Just so festival... is perfect for little ones.  We went along for the day on Sunday, to Barnswood, Staffordshire.  The site is a Scout camp which lends itself perfectly to the event.  Rather than a series of big fields as you would perhaps expect from a festival, there was a collection of small, themed forest clearings.  Each one was a fantastical journey into the imagination drawing on different art forms.  So many spaces to explore, plenty of shelter and lots of gentle stimuli to encourage creativity.

Out favourite area was Tall Trees wood where, after dressing up at the Junior Magazine tent, the kids got to facepaint themselves or their grown ups, to bang drums, play on an old piano and most exciting of all, to take part in outlaw training, a bootcamp for wannabe merry men and women to Robin Hood which entailed stealth walking, hiding in the forest, shooting imaginary arrows and stalking parents.  The stuff of proper childhood.

Wonderland caught our imagination, and reeled us in.  Before we knew it the children were following Alice through the edges of the clearing, twirling ribbons and looking for the caterpillar.  It was magic to see the ease with which they slipped into playing and problem solving alongside the adult actors.

When the caterpillar appeared, perched, with help from some stilts, on a mushroom, Mr G's face was pure wonder.

Whereas Miss L engaged the caterpillar in conversation...

We had a rather lovely half hour in a craft tent, helping to sew and stick buttons and flowers onto a piece of art created especially at the event by and for its participants.

The beach area was fun, Mr G loved the boat and some more pirate role play.

Miss L loved making her own LUSH bath bomb.

It was a wonderfully unspoilt adventure.  I was unbelievably grateful for the complete lack of plastic tat and sweets on sale.  There were no additional charges apart from for food and drink, which was yummy.  The brands involved were low key and very special. The Weleda goody bags were amazing. We had a chat with the just fruit smoothie and no sugar ice lolly seller, a Dad who got fed up of buying sugary lollies for his son, and enjoyed lots of good old fashioned homemade cake.

Fruit Freezies were a hit
We just couldn't do it in a day, definitely going for the weekend next year, making more effort to fancy dress up (although I think the little girls in ballerina skirts, hoodies and wellies look may have been well and truly done in 2011) and definitely spending more time planning what we want to see/do beforehand.  For example we stumbled upon a stop motion animation workshop you needed to book ahead, and we missed the pirate training and the stories round the campfire.

There were moments initially - rather like at Christmas, when they prefer the box to the contents - sometimes all my two wanted to do was the stuff we do all the time at home, swings, jumping in muddy puddles, climbing trees, while I wanted them to take advantage of all the stuff on offer - musicians, storytellers, performers, workshops.  But as the day went on, and the invitations to play pulled us in, suddenly those everyday moments blended into the adventure.

Just so... lovely.  How wonderful to find a children's event with children's play firmly at it's core.

This is not a sponsored post. 
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At 21 August 2011 at 22:30 , Blogger MummyDichotomy said...

That looks like so much fun! And the sun shone too. How lovely

At 22 August 2011 at 12:57 , Blogger Rachel Faith said...

That sounds WONDERFUL - I want to go play there too! Looks, as you say, refreshingly free of sweets and awful plastic tat - such a rare find :)

At 22 August 2011 at 13:37 , Anonymous Midlife Singlemum said...

Looks and sounds amazing! I can't wait until we spend the summer in England - maybe 2014 :)

At 22 August 2011 at 16:44 , Blogger Mel said...

This is absolutely adorable! Wish I had been there with The Nugget (of course, it's quite a commute:)).

At 22 August 2011 at 20:36 , Blogger Kate said...

Looks fabulous. And your little fella is far too cute. Edible.

At 22 August 2011 at 20:49 , Anonymous Kirsty said...

That sounds totally amazing! We thought it was too far to go this year, but serious consideration for next year. And if I somehow come upon a bundle of spare cash, I'll be hiring one of their yurts.

At 22 August 2011 at 21:01 , Blogger Kerry said...

We were there on Saturday, and had a wonderful day too. It really is kiddy heaven. Glad you had fun too x

At 22 August 2011 at 21:34 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

MummyDichotomy - yes I would want to book sun again next year!
Rachel you would love it.
See you in 2014, by the campfire MSM?
Mel - well if you're ever passing through?
Kate - aw thanks, he was a sweaty, dirty, free range child by the end but cute still.
Kirsty - defo, we can bagsy a clearing for a blog camp!
Kerry - just missed each other, would so liked to have met you, next year?

At 22 August 2011 at 21:57 , Blogger Kerry said...

Sounds like a plan - Will meet you by the beach!

At 23 August 2011 at 20:50 , Blogger The Rambling Pages said...

What a fantastifc event, my boys would love something like this, glad you had such a great time x

At 23 August 2011 at 22:41 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks cracking and such a cute boy!

At 24 August 2011 at 20:01 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks great - really great, lovely photo too

At 25 August 2011 at 14:16 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Kerry see you there!
Rambling pages - thanks, see you next year?
Northern mum - def was cracking. He's a handful but lovely with it!
Gemma - def next year - you would love!

At 26 August 2011 at 10:50 , Blogger Sarah of 'Catching the Magic' said...

Oh wow! This is my kind of paradise (and my children's too!). Looks and sounds absolutely wonderful!


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