Back To The Fun At Elderflower Fields

You know when you leave a place and you are already planning your next trip back next year that it is place to remember.

This is exactly how we feel about Elderflower Fields and why we have just had our third and equally as fantastic trip there.

Our first taste of Elderflower Fields was as day visitors and it captured our hearts the moment we set foot in the field…so much so that last year we returned for the whole weekend and had our first ever experience of camping as a family.

This year was set to be just as good…if not even better than the last and we were all itching to get there and start the fun.

We were lucky enough to be trying out Pitch this year that is a fabulous company that sets up luxury bell tents for you that are beautifully kitted out and ready for you on your arrival. 

I have lots more to tell you about this, but as they say a picture paints a thousand words so I will leave you with this picture of the most incredible tent I have ever had the opportunity to stay in!

With setting up being completely pain free we doned the glitter and sparkles and made our way down to the main field to see what was going on this year.

The familiar main stage was alive with fantastic music and a sea of families relaxing and taking it all in.

For us one of the big pulls of this festival is the food and the children all made their way to grab an ice cream before they got going on the activities.

What I love most about Elderflower Fields is its relaxed atmosphere.

You can slowly wander without any pressure to get to planned activities all the time. There are of course a few things that have timed slots, but the majority you just turn up and have a go.

This year there was the addition of the Woodland Tribe that was a huge hit with the boys.

It saw Daddy uncharacteristically put his DIY hat on and hammer and saw with them all to help create a super cool den.

Another activity the children returned to plenty of times was the trapeze workshop.

The boys had no fear at being twisted and spun in the silks and it left Izzy with a real want to take it up as an activity once we got home.

Circus skills were up next and they tried their hands at everything on offer. I however wasn’t so skilful!

Grabbing a bite to eat was on the agenda before the evening fun.

Food is a huge part of this festival with something for everyone from meat lovers to vegans, savoury fans or those with a sweet tooth all tastes are catered for.

The potato stall has us coming back every year without fail and this year the Thai stall was my favourite with its beautifully flavoursome dishes, in fact I didn’t visit anywhere else all weekend.

As the sun came down we settled on the main field to listen to more bands and have a few cheeky cocktails before heading back to the comfort of our beautiful tent.

Fully refreshed from a great nights sleep we made our way down to the campfire to take part in the Campfire Cookout.
This is new to Elderflower Fields this year and something the children all really enjoyed taking part in.

Alongside cooking up some yummy chocolate waffles on the campfire the children got to take part in a drawing lesson that saw them making their very own comic strip.

My all time favourite face painter Nam Nam’s were back creating their masterpieces so we couldn’t pass up this chance.

I always feel so sad when I have to take their wonderful creations off.

Still pretty full from the waffles it was time for the So Sussex Family picnic.

Last year this was something I felt a little worried about as the theory behind it is to get together with twelve people, friends or strangers and select one leader to go and collect your picnic of delicious local products to enjoy together.

 

This year we met up with one of my husband school friends and some others they were camping with and thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous food and great company.

It was then time to get out of the sun and take a stroll through the Art Trail.


Some unbelievable sculptures had been created and there was something new and unique round every corner, including a lookout tower that the children played in happily trying to spot all sorts with their binoculars.

 

I simply can’t fit everything in that we got up to over the course of a few short days as there was just so much going on. 

For me this festival offers more than just music and dancing, although they are big parts of it to!

The activities offer the children new experiences they can take home and further if they wish to and gives them a real understanding of nature and the world around them through the fun of play.

This magical festival keeps us coming back time and time again and I would highly reccomend a visit to see the brilliance yourselves!


Country Kids

Last Chance To Grab Elderflower Fields Tickets

This year will be the third year that we have visited the fantastic Elderflower Fields festival in the heart of Pippingford Park, Sussex.

The first year we went along for the day and fell in love with it so much that we couldn’t wait to book ready for the following year where we wanted to imerse ourselves in the whole experience by camping for the whole weekend.

For me this is the perfect starter festival as its on a slightly smaller scale than most which allows you to really kick back, relax and enjoy everything it has to offer.

Your weekend can be as chilled or as full as you want to make it and with all activities included in the ticket price the children won’t be bored for a minute.

The tickets are selling out fast for this years event and you only have until the 7th May to purchase yours.

If you fancy dipping your toe into the family festival scene and coming along as a day guest or if you want to try out the whole experience under canvas I can whole heartily recommend you start here!

Click on the ‘link’ to find out a little more and get your hands on the last remaining tickets!

Preparing For Our First Time Under Canvas At Elderflower Fields

   

Last year we attended our first festival as a family, in fact it was a first for me too.  I had always loved the thought of dancing around with flowers in my hair and the kids running wild but then worried about the realities of rubbish weather and missing children.

I bit the bullet and went with my heart and decided we would just visit one for the day to see how it went.

I came across Elderflower Fields which looked perfect for our first festival as it was smaller than some of the others I had considered.  

  
It was even more wonderful than I ever imagined and was actually surprised at what a fabulous time we had. So much so that we will be returning this year to have our first time under canvas!

  
I wrote a post a while ago about how outdoor play is on the decline and it is a subject that is now very close to my heart and try to spend as much time outside with the little ones as I possibly can.  What could be better than a whole weekend in the middle of the beautiful countryside with no technology, the great outdoors, good food, great music and lots of activities to keep them all amused.
   
Take a look at what we got up to last year and keep an eye out for how we are going to get prepared over the next few weeks!

A Trip To The Majestic Penshurst Place

We had a trip to Groomsbridge Place the other day and on the journey there we drove past the eye catchingly beautiful Penshurst Place in Tonbridge.  I took a mental note and added it to our list of holiday activities. With half term upon us my holiday buddy and I gather our massive brood of children and set off to explore Penshurst Place.  It took us under an hour to get there and it was very well signposted.  Both the children and I were taken back by the splendid sight as we pulled into the grounds to nab our parking place under the shade of the trees.    We were greeted at reception by welcoming and knowledgeable staff that took our very reasonable entrance fee and passed the children the woodland trail map for us to complete. Once outside the children made a beeline for the splendid adventure playground where we plotted up with our picnic for a good while.  There was loads of open space to picnic and run around, a small sandpit, swings, slides, lots to climb and balance on and a added bonus of some hungry chickens to feed.    Once lunch was devoured we made our way into the woodland to complete our trail sheet.  The children loved answering questions on their surroundings whist climbing trees, hiding in the undergrowth and looking for wildlife.  We were lucky enough to see a couple of Canadian geese with their newly hatched babies that were super cute!          The next port of call was the craft barn where we created some fabulous paper swords, princess veils, shields, masks and hats.  This was all done in the perfect setting of the beautiful courtyard so the children could then come out and commence their battles.  There was also a toy museum just across from the craft shed, but ours were far to busy playing with their creations so we moved straight onto the magnificent gardens.        I have been to many stately homes in my time but these gardens topped any I have seen before.  We had a quick ice-cream stop whilst taking in the views and the children happily ran in and out of the ornamental hedges playing catch and hide and seek for well over an hour.          The gardens were separated by walls and walkways and there was a different surprise around every corner. One of the children’s favourites was the wild gardens where they could run in and out of the long grass.  It reminded me of the story ‘Were Going On A Bear Hunt’. I was in my element with photo opportunities although one nearly ended badly when my over exited number four tried to push his friend right into the pond!!  Luckliy he managed to save himself and number four was very sheepish for a good while afterwards.  Well for the next ten minutes which if you know him is a long time for him!    We didn’t attempt to go inside the house as we had nine children between two of us and I think that would have been tempting fate.  My Mum would love it here so I think I will save the house for a quieter visit with her one day. This was a really lovely day out with plenty to entertain the kids and lots of beautiful grounds and history for the adults to take in.  There is a maize maze that will be ready for the summer so we will be making a return visit in the summer holidays to give that a try.     

Our First Family Festival

  

For years I have dreamed about taking the kids to a festival.  Sleeping under the stars, kids running freely, great music and beautiful food.  Then panic always sets in and I think more along the lines of rain, mud everywhere and wet miserable children getting lost in massive crowds!!

When we won tickets to this years Elderflower Fields festival I was over the moon that we would get to experience the festival scene for a day, without the commitment of having to camp.

As usual I was more exited than the kids and went out to get flowery hair bands and hair chalk to get us into the spirit of it all .  We packed a massive picnic and set off on or short drive to Ashdown Forest in East Sussex exited at what we were going to experience ahead of us.

The journey was traffic free and very well signposted.  We were greated by super friendly volunteers that told us exactly where we need to go and what to do.

We had a bumpy walk across the fields to collect our wristbands and map then made out way down to the main fields where all the magic was taking place.

 

If the walk was to much for you there was plenty of complementary shuttles to take you to and from the carpark and campsites.

As usual my brood were starving as soon as we got there so we pitched up and had a bite to eat before going off to explore.

   
     

We had pre booked the older children onto the art and sports camp.  the camps lasted an hour, were staffed with really friendly and I had no worries about leaving them to get creative and try out new things.  Whilst they were busy we took the younger two to the under 5’s zone where they could help to paint a playhouse, create models from things you would find in the woodland and get dirty in the muddy water play.

   
     

This was number fours favourite area of the day and he could if happily stayed there for hours. 

There was so much on offer there for the children that we simply couldn’t fit it all in!!  They helped to build mud huts, swung in huge hammocks in the trees, swung through the woodland park, tried their hand at disc golf which we all loved, shot down the zip wire, listened to the fantastic story telling and magic show, the list just goes on and on.

   
           

  

  

 

What I loved most was how relaxed everything was.  There were no huge crowds so I was quite happy for the kids to wonder and I could keep them in sight.  The beautiful setting meant that as well as doing the set activities we could just take ourselves of to explore the stunning Ashdown Forset and all it has to offer.

   
         

Later into the afternoon number three and four got their faces painted by some very talented ladies and I took this opportunity to head over to the cocktail area where they had some great props hanging from the trees that were a great photo point, whilst having a sneeky boogie to the cool music from the DJ stand.  Much to the embarrassment of my older children!! 

               

We spent our final few hours taking in the fantastic music that was being performed by some extremely talented bands and grabbing a bite to eat which proved hard as there was so much choice on offer.  Mine opted for a freshly prepared burger from Big Eats which was delicious; but there were so many other options to choose from.  Curry, Thai, pizza, veggie options and lots of sweet treats to name a few.  All were super helpful when it came to number four and his allergies.

   
           

I really couldn’t do this event justice in this post.  It was everything I wanted from a festival and more.  Number four even asked if we could camp on the grass when it was home time as he didn’t want to leave.

We will be making a return next year, and this time to have our first camping experience.  The great outdoors, talented musicians, delicious food and drink, well run activities and the chance for children to really be children are all my favourites rolled into one.

Thank you Elderflower Fields for creating this fabulous  experience to store in our memory banks for many years to come.

   
          

   

  

  

  

A weekend Of Pooh

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I had every intention of starting this blog at the beginning of the February half term so that I could share with you all the fab adventures we had.
Unfortunately our house was hit with the dreaded gastro bug which put a halt to all our best laid plans.
By the end of the week we finally got the last little one better and I thought there would be nothing more apt than taking a trip to visit the birth place of Winnie The Pooh as that is what much of
our week has been filled with in not such a nice way!!
In this fast paced technology driven day and age the simple pleasures of a good book often get overlooked, and it was brought to my attention whist planning this trip that my little ones only knew Pooh Bear as the brightly coloured Disney character. So we took a trip to the library to get the original book by A.A Milne so we could find out more about Christopher Robin and his cuddly friend.

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We arrived on the quaint village of Hartfield and nestled at the end of the village was the charming little cafe and gift shop Pooh Corner.
The parking is not great as you would expect in a small village and I should imagine on a summers day you would struggle to get parked. Once inside there was a well stocked gift shop with plenty of beautiful gifts for all ages to choose from. The cafe had a good selection of reasonably priced light snacks which we unfortunately couldn’t sample as the menu did not cater for my number four and his multiple food allergies.

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Ashdown Forest where the A.A Milne book is set is only a short car drive from Pooh Corner but it is very badly signposted so expect a u-turn of two! Once inside Pooh car park it was an easy yet muddy walk through the woodlands down to the infamous Pooh Bridge where mine happily went exploring for twigs to race on the river just as A.A Milne had done all those years ago.

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All in all it was a good morning out taking in the sights of the beautiful forestry and hopefully educating the little ones on an old English Classic that that will remember for years to come.

A day spent with you is my favourite day, so today is my favourite day.
Winnie The Pooh