Wow what a busy Summer our Happy Home with 3 boys is having this year already!
To kick off our Summer of Fun, the other week we were lucky enough to have tickets given to us for the Woodlands Festival in Hawkhurst Kent. This was only the Festival’s second year of running and to be honest we were a little unsure as to what to expect.
Woodlands Festival was dreamed up by husband and wife team, Chris and Rachel and this is what they had to say about the festival:-
“we wanted to create something special that all of our friends, families, and the like-minded could come to…..those with kids and those without; but most importantly we wanted to give something back.
Our families have been touched by Dementia and Cancer, as have many of our friends families, so as part of the Festival, we will be raising awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Society and Macmillan Cancer Support. We hope that these charities can benefit from our little festival, helping them to continue doing the incredibly challenging and valuable work they do.
Life makes huge demands on our time these days but we still like to get together, hang out, listen to good music and enjoy fantastic food and drink, all in a great setting for a great cause…..
And from this Woodlands Festival was born.”
So there you have it, with the boys fed and bathed and the car packed and the boys loaded and strapped in we were off!! we decided not to take Sonny with us on this occasion and so therefore he was going to spend the weekend at Grandma’s. Sonny all settled we headed off once more, it was only after about 40 minutes into our journey that we realised that we had left before the toiletries vanity case containing my medications which I was going to need behind, so back home we went. Hubby was not very impressed to say the least…..
Vanity case duly collected off we set once more. I called the venue on one of the numbers provided in the ticket information and explained our predicament as it was getting quite late already and we were still an hour away. I was advised that this shouldn’t be a problem though.
However, we when arrived, the ticket office was closed and there was only a security guard on the door. The security guy radioed for someone to come and a lovely lady called Amanda arrived. she explained that the ticket office was in fact shut at a certain time and that we had just missed it, but she was happy to help us.
It was dark by now, but the site was well lit up with beautiful string light bulbs all around it.
Amanda showed us to our pre-erected tent from Tent2hire . This was amazing forward thinking on our part, no need to mess around with setting the tent up. It was all there ready and waiting for us including mattresses and a camping table and chairs. All we had to do was put our belongings in and we were good to go.
Sleeping bags and other essentials, all in situ we headed off the the main festival arena. There were various food and drink stalls and bars, a stage playing live music, a silent cinema and a silent disco all going on. For dinner we enjoyed a scrumptious wood fired freshly cooked pizza and a beer sitting on hay bales around an open fire.The boys were pretty tired by now however, so we decided to turn in for the night. In any event the music bands on the main stage finished at 10.30pm so as to take into consideration the younger festival goers.
The following morning we awoke to the most beautiful countryside views. We moved our table and chairs out the front of our tent and headed to the arena to grab a coffee and some breakfast which we then took back to the campsite. There was also a cooking area on site for those wishing to bring and prepare their own food.
Then came the moment I dreaded, the toilet and shower block!!! Having been to festivals before I know exactly how grim these places can be, but I’ve got to say I was rather pleasantly surprised. A clean shower with hot running water in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere…. wow! I’m not entirely sure how they pulled this off, but they did!
Fed, washed and dressed it was time to have some fun and Woodlands Festival did not disappoint. There is just so much for the children to do. There was arts and crafts, woodland activities, t-shirt making, face painting, hair braiding, kids dance disco and Rudy’s personal favourite, Music Mike who sang songs and interacted with the kids with musical instruments.
We spent the whole day, running and playing, creating and making and having a really, really good time. Not once did the boys complain of being fed-up or bored which quite honestly is a first. They didn’t even ask for food they were enjoying themselves that much!
The atmosphere at woodlands was so relaxed and informal. It was intimate and it felt safe there. There was a presence of security guards wandering around at all times and there was always someone close by if you had any questions or queries.
Something that I think was a really good idea was the wrist bands that everyone was allocated. These were colour coded as to how long you were staying (ie weekend or day pass) and whether you were there as an adult responsible for a child. The children’s bands also had a space for writing down a parents contact telephone number in case the child became lost. This little bit of foresight totally worked when I found a little boy wandering around who had lost his Mummy. We sat down on a hay bale in the bar area and I beckoned over a security guard and from there we called his Mummy, who came and found him.
One of my most favourite events of the day, however was the cider tasting with Big Nose and Beardy They had seven different varieties to try. So while Paul took the children off to listen to the band and have a boogie, I settled myself down for a spot of cider tasting! I wasn’t disappointed. My favourites were one called “Pepperpot” which had a lovely peppery taste funnily enough, another called “Ooomph” and a third that I can’t remembr the name of it that they had called it, but I called it the “Willie Wonker” why? well, because this batch had been made using an old red wine barrel and when you drank it, it first had the crisp apple taste but was then followed by an intense creamy vanilla….. it reminded me of Violet Beauregard and her chewing gum that went from roast beef to blueberry pie……. thankfully no body morphing happened though!
After my little bit of time off the boys all came and got me and off we went for a spot of festival t-shirt making. This was absolutely fabulous. The boys were given templates on which to design their own t-shirt which was then cut out and they then got to press their own dye on the garment using a special glow in the dark dye. We all really loved doing this and even better the boys then had not only a fab souvenir from their first ever festival, but they also had a really cool glow in the dark t-shirt to wear out partying that night!
To complete the festival look though, I felt it was time to indulge in a spot of face painting. The ladies doing the face painting were so talented. Beau decided on a dinosaur round his eye and Rudy, well Rudy wanted to be made in to a skeleton….. not entirely sure why but there you go. And of course, I couldn’t resist getting in on the action either. I said to the lady that she could have complete free reign over what she painted as long as it was something pretty! I was not disappointed with my hot pink flowers and silver leopard design x
Before we knew it, it was time for dinner and we had the most awesome beef burgers which we ate back at our tent and then we changed into warmer clothes and headed back into the main festival arena.
Rudy and Daddy went off to watch the bands and have a beer (Daddy) and a boogie (both) while Beau and I snuggled under a warm blanket, sitting in deck chairs, drinking hot chocolates and watching Star Wars at the outdoor silent cinema. Beau lasted a while, but bless him he was exhausted from all of the days activities and was soon nodding off and asking to go to bed, so we went back to the tent, where both boys promptly fell asleep so Daddy and I sat outside enjoying a drink and having a little chat and a catch up. Precious time, we often don’t get to have like this.
On the Sunday we were up bright and early again super excited as our friends were coming to spend the day with us.
We had another absolutely fantastic day, playing games, listening to bands, enjoying the food and drink. A complete highlight for us all though was the Mumstheword.online Wild Child disco. The tunes were banging and the kids were in their element. Bouncy around on inflatable cows, dressing up, colouring in the colouring wall, chasing the bubbles from bubble machine and running in and out of the parachute blanket…..
We also spent some time doing some craft activities. This time we did a bit of rock painting. I tried not to take over the boys work too much so decided to paint one of my own. I’ve got to say I was rather impressed with my little hedgehog…. in fact the man said that it was probably the best in festival!! He might of been humouring me or taking the p*ss but he said it and I’m going to go with that!!…. every else doing it was under 10….. but you know, i enjoyed myself!
Before we knew it was was sadly all coming to an end and it was time to go home. Time to go and load the car up. Again, this was dead easy as we didn’t have to worry about putting the tent down and pack any of that away as Tent2Hire were going to take care of all of that for us.
We were all very sad to leave as we’d all had such a marvellous time. A bench mark for how good a time we’d had is that Rudy cried when we told him we were leaving and then both boys were flat out asleep in the back of the car five minutes into our journey!
We shall most definitely be returning again next year.
Thank you so much for having us Woodland Festival and see you next year!
If you’d like to find out more about Woodlands Festival including dates for next year or to buy Early Bird tickets for 2019 then click Here
Sally, Paul and 2 very Happy Boys xxxx
*All opinions expressed herein are entirely my own. No payment has been received in return for this impartial review.