Archives for April 2018

Family Festival – Kidztown at Boomtown Fair!

Boomtown families

If you’re looking for some out of this world family festival fun this Summer, then look no further than Boomtown Fair!

Held on the Matterley Estate, Winchester, on the 9-12th August, if you’ve never considered this festival as a contender for your family, then think again!

My son went to Boomtown Fair last year (when he was 18) and he has raved (pardon the pun) about it ever since! Relaying stories and antics, showing me photo’s and video he’s taken… he gets excited and animated as he tries to get across and make me understand just how utterly amazing it is!

To say he absolutely loved it would be an understatement. Actually, he reckons it’s become his all time favourite place now… even surpassing festival holidays abroad… with sun, sand and sea! He has two holidays booked this year and he even said he’d sacrifice the holidays to go to Boomtown if he had to choose!

Is he mad?

So it got me thinking…. Boomtown MUST be pretty special right?!

The one thing he does say time and time again is that I couldn’t even begin to get my head around how big, crazy and mind blowing it is!

Well, this year….. I’m going to find out for myself! And I cannot contain my excitement!

boomtown

I am super proud to say I’m going to be working with Boomtown Fair this year to bring you everything ‘family’ about this cooler than cool festival!

Yes, that’s right… I did say FAMILY! I think most people who’ve at least heard of the festival would genuinely think it’s not a place for children, I know I did! If you thought it was more a haven for the under 25’s with hardcore partying and indulgence being the number 1 name of the game… you’d be right of course to assume there’s plenty of that going on… but Boomtown is so much more! It caters for everyone…. young, old and everything in between….. their family programme is huge and I want to tell you all about it!

But first, if you haven’t checked out the website then you must… it will give you an idea of the truly brilliant, bizarre and, as my son says, mind blowing world that is Boomtown! It’s difficult to get one’s head around it if I’m being totally honest. From the unbelievable to the downright bonkers, Boomtown really does seem unlike anything you would’ve experienced before!

boomtown

boomtown kids festival

boomtown festival summer 2018

boomtown

boomtown

Dubbed ‘The Machine that cannot be Stopped’ for Chapter 10, it’s 10th birthday, Boomtown has been described as a city of wonderment, theatre, escapism and community with breathtaking and intricate stages and streets just waiting to be discovered. It fuses a diverse line-up of underground and global music with boundary pushing immersive art, theatre and performance coming together as a living, breathing, fictitious city.

The creativity behind the festival amazes me.

There’s a backstory too…

Started in 2009, fictional explorer Nickolas Boom discovered gold in the countryside and founded a small township and port that would in years to come be named after him and known to all the word as Boomtown, site of the now legendary Boomtown Fair. It was here in Chapter One of the tale that the circus first came to town, rumbling down the hillside at dusk one late summer’s evening came an enormous caravan train, at its head a swarthy moustachioed man sat a top an enormous elephant, The Gypsy King! The locals were afraid of this strange and awesome site until Boom himself went out to meet the strangers. This was the beginning of the Fair, as shortly there after the caravan train was unloaded and a veritable citadel of twinkling medways and rippling canvas unfurled to create a bizarre other world full of exotic creatures and beings, the likes of which had never been seen before! And so each year would they return with wonders and spectacles more bedazzling and beautiful than before and the annual gathering that is now known across the world as Boomtown Fair was born!

I’m totally fascinated!

Boomtown Fair is made up of 14 Districts sprawling across four areas: Hilltop, Downtown, Temple Valley and Whistlers Green. Each district is filled with fully immersive venues and beatnik characters. Within the districts there are over 25 ‘main’ Stages and an additional 80 Street Venues to discover in this city which is MASSIVE!

So where do kids fit into all this craziness you might ask?

Well actually, there’s a whole district dedicated to kids and families, with the main HQ being Kidztown!

boomtown kids kidztown families

This much loved area is bigger and better than ever before. With a whole host of musicians, performers, activities and workshops from all over the world, it’s a sure fire way of keeping entire family entertained for days on end!

There is so much on offer…. from treetop adventures in the Forest School to interactive play and face painting in the shops and venues of the fully interactive street. Kidztown takes all the family friendly elements of the rest of the festival and bundles it up into a bite-size portion with a serene and soulful soundtrack provided by their very own Sandcastle Stage, hosting family friendly shows as well as artists big and small from main acts to bands specifically for the littler ears.

Activities include hands-on, multi-sensory workshops and entertainment all weekend for children 0-5yrs and 6-12yrs. Kidztown has craft workshops, the Rusty Workshop, theatre, circus, storytelling, puppetry, music, comedy, sandpit, skate ramp, baby and toddler tents, yoga, massage, bouncy castle and its very own Boomtown street with interactive venues such as ‘Rat-a-Tattoo’, the ‘Piggy Bank’, ‘Pet Shop’ and the Post Office for all those snail-mail delivery needs!

Family festival kidztown at boomtown fair

Family festival kidztown at boomtown fair

Family festival kidztown at boomtown fair

Family festival kidztown at boomtown fair

Family festival kidztown at boomtown fair

Family festival kidztown at boomtown fair

Family festival kidztown at boomtown fair

You can stay in Kidztown and experience all that it has to offer, with neighbouring Whistlers Green District being a firm favourite with families too and these are like a festival within a festival! Or you can venture out into the depths of Boomtown Fair at your leisure to watch any of the hundreds of bands and artists playing or to get involved in some of the many activities…. Get creative and express yourself! Kidztown and Whistlers green hosts a whole heap of workshops, check out some of the offerings here.

According to my son, simply wandering around Boomtown is an adventure in itself, with so many curious and extraordinary places to find and people to see… this alone could keep you busy all day!

Family camping has a dedicated area all of it’s own too. Set in spacious meadows, it’s far enough away from all the madness for it to feel totally comfortable and safe, yet close enough that you can still feel that wacky vibe which Boomtown Fair has become so famous for! You can choose where to camp and there’s lots of space further away in family camping for, believe it or not, a peaceful stay!

boomtown fair

There’s even a free family shuttle ​that runs between family camping and a dedicated family car park and gate. This is brilliant as whenever we’ve been to a festival the lugging of equipment to camp is just the worst!

There are a few areas in the Boomtown city where children aren’t allowed after 7pm. This includes Downtown, although teens are allowed until 10pm. I like the fact that the organisers have this rule in place. It means we won’t be wandering off into the wrong place with youngsters as there are a number of adult themed entertainments in amongst the Boomtown madness at night! It’s peace of mind for those families with teenagers that may want to go off on their own, you know they won’t be right in the thick of it witnessing something they shouldn’t! On the other end of the spectrum, it’s good that young adults can party to their hearts content without worrying about kids being around!

There are so many other areas to enjoy later at night so you needn’t feel as though you’re missing out!

If you can, I think going with other families would be amazing, because then you could take it in turns to babysit, allowing yourselves the chance to let your hair down and venture out late at night for some of that hardcore partying I mentioned earlier!

boomtown fair

With Boomtown now being in it’s tenth year, they have pretty much nailed the family festival side of things and they want this to be just as much fun for them as it is for everyone else!

Known for approaching the way of festivalling slightly differently, Boomtown sprinkles some of it’s eccentric magic into the fields of Kidztown and does not disappoint with the sheer scale and abundance of entertainment on offer bringing all generations together in a melting pot of mischievous mayhem!

I have to say I can’t wait to go to Kidztown at Boomtown Fair with my kids this Summer! I think we’re all in for a massive shock to the system…. in a good way though! We aren’t completely new to festivals… we’ve done Camp Bestival for the past couple of years which is all about families! But this one promises to be a whole other experience for us and we are beyond excited! The kids are going to love it!

Here’s the Line-Up Poster for Kidztown!

family festival kidztown at boomtown fair

More details available on the family and kids are on the website.

If you want to check out all the other Line-Up posters for the rest of the festival, they’re here!

There’s a FINAL CHANCE to join in Boomtown’s almighty tenth chapter celebrations with the last few tickets being released! There’s also the new Theatrical Immersive Camping Experience of BOOMTOWN SPRINGS.. For those who like a little extra comfort! As always, childrens’ tickets are completely free!

Standard Festival Tickets are £243.50

Boomtown Springs + Festival Entry tickets start from £480 (with 50/50 split payment options available)

If you’ve already got a festival entry ticket but are interested in upgrading to Boomtown Springs, get in touch with Ticket Sellers via springs@theticketsellers.co.uk and they’ll be able to help you out! Boomtown Springs access is £200 + £7.50 booking fee

Please note accommodation structures are an additional cost.

 

WHAT THE PRESS SAID 2017:

The Independent ​- Just bear in mind once you go to this festival, everything else will feel a bit tame
DJ Magazine ​- The incredible design conjures everything from medieval times to dystopian futures
Green Parent Magazine -​ The kids area Kidztown in Boomtown is brilliant! So creative and so much fun for kids of all ages!
Time Out Magazine -​ Eccentric and mind bending installations combine to create a city.
Netmums​ – Boomtown is a fantastic festival for kids. The Kidztown district offers circus skills, costume making and face painting. There’s also the Sandcastle Stage with family friendly shows and entertainment especially for the kids such as discos and reggae aerobics.
Metro ​- More virtual reality than festival, this story-driven experience manages to pull of top musical fare … but that’s just the beginning of your journey.
Notion Magazine ​- Boomtown isn’t just tents and stages clumsily plopped down in the countryside, but a spectacular sensory experience that pays homage to all art forms. It’s a sprawling pop-up metropolis comprised of cleverly repurposed shipping containers, boats, caravans… you name it and they’ve done something seriously cool with it.

Join the community on the Kidztown Facebook and Twitter pages.

family festival kidztownboomtown fair

Practical solutions to your negative body issues

Practical Solutions for a negative body image

Everyone has body issues. From teeth to hair, skin to weight, no one is immune when it comes to looking at ourselves over-critically. We are our own worst enemy, I know I am! However, before you let your negativity become overwhelming, it’s good to know that there are some practical solutions that you can try that might result in a brand new outlook for you. No matter what parts of your body are giving you unnecessary causes for concern, those issues can be tackled in ways that might surprise you, and they’re not as impossible to achieve as you might have suspected. If you’re struggling with negative issues, then here are two practical solutions to resolve them.

Speak to professionals

Although there is a vast amount of information available online, your first stop should always be with the experts. No matter what your concerns may be, you can be sure that there are professionals out there who can help to tackle and resolve your issues in affordable and non-stressful ways. If your teeth are your biggest concern, then it may be time to face your dentist fears and talk to your nearest cosmetic dentist. For those struggling with hair loss, talking to a hair loss specialist means actively looking for a solution to your body issues.

From weight issues to getting your pre-pregnancy body back, talking to experts can make you realise that not only are you not alone, but also that your problems can be solved much more easily than you might have expected.

Make a wish list

Once you’ve got some idea of how to tackle the big issues, it’s time to make yourself a wish list. Having a set of goals is a great way to see and plan how you’re going to tackle each issue. For instance, if you want to lose weight, then write down an achievable target weight and when you wish to achieve it by. Make a note of all the ways you can complete your goal: going to the gym, taking the advice of professional dieticians, or even hiring the services of a personal trainer. However, be sure not to get too caught up and to keep a mindful head on your shoulders. Half of the battle when it comes to body confidence is knowing your limits and realising that your issues are not unique.

Once you’ve started making those improvements to your appearance, you’ll be amazed by the confidence boost, and that may just spur you on to make even more changes. If you’ve tackled the big issues, then it might be time to give yourself even more of a boost, with a whole new wardrobe and a rebranding that will have your coworkers wondering what your secret is, and have you taking a lot more selfies!

Don’t let your negative attitude to your body concerns affect your life for long, because there are solutions, and you don’t ever have to tackle them alone. While we may all have insecurities, you need to make sure you don’t get too wrapped up in them.

Ferdinand at The Shard

This Easter holidays there’s a great event happening at The Shard in London.

Ferdinand, the kids movie, is due to be released on Blu-ray and DVD on 16th April and to celebrate, Twentieth Century Fox have teamed up with The Shard to bring some fun for families these holidays!

We were invited to breakfast at The View from The Shard to have a look at what the event is offering! We were very excited indeed!

It was an early start…. we needed to be in London for 9am… but the kids didn’t mind! We braved the rush hour London tubes to arrive on time and as soon as we entered, evidence of Ferdinand was all around!

Ferdinand The shard

We’ve been lucky enough to visit The Shard before, a few years ago, so of course we know how un-bullieveable the panoramic views across London are, but sometimes kids need a bit more to keep them interested! This Ferdinand special event has created a fun activity sheet where one of the games is a treasure hunt to look for Ferdinand’s favourite flowers and to spot some of London’s most iconic landmarks!

the shard

the shard

the shard

the shard flower hunt

the shard the tower of london

There’s a ‘fiesta’ up on the open air top level of The Shard called The Sky Desk, where children can join in with dancing if they so wish… prizes can be won, as well as being entered into the main prize draw of winning a trip to the fiesta capital itself, Barcelona! There’s also fabulous face painting on hand too!

If that’s not enough, you can take a ride on the brand new virtual reality slide that goes 100mph down the outside of The Shard! Yikes! I have to mention I wasn’t brave enough to do this and the recommended age is 12+ but I saw lots of younger kids than that having a go!

the shard virtual reality slide

The Ferdinand flower display was a favourite of mine, it’s gorgeous… great for a photo opportunity! My children noticed that the model of Ferdinand was actually made out of feathers which fascinated them!

the shard flowers ferdinand

For the adults, there’s the champagne bar for you to enjoy in Western Europe’s highest building, plus there’s plenty of snacks on offer for everyone.

Your family experience ticket, to be purchased between 30th March and 15th April and costs only £64.95 if you book in advance or £79.95 on the day, allows you to stay as long as you like and includes all the fun activities I’ve mentioned!

There’s also a free goody bag for the kids to take home filled with ador-a-bull treats!

We had a wonderful morning… it really is such a spectacular attraction for everyone.

the shard

 

Mr Todd’s Lair at Willows Farm

willows farm rocknrollerbaby mummy endeavours

I’ve written about Willows Activity Farm loads of times here on my blog as it’s somewhere we absolutely LOVE to go and luckily for us, it’s local too!

Situated just off the M25 at St Albans, it’s easily accessible from London and for everyone else to visit as well, no matter which direction you’re coming from!

And I know that visitors do come from far afield because my very good friend Ruth who writes the blog Rocknrollerbaby drives from Norwich to enjoy the delights of Willows Farm! In fact we meet there regularly and already plan more visits this year!

We were there together on this day and it’s like our very own special place to meet! Neither of us likes to be there without the other now and our children, all pictured above, adore each other and always, ALWAYS have the best time at Willows!

This time we were there for a very special event… the grand opening of brand new play area for 2018…Mr. Todd’s Lair. The large, amazing, Peter Rabbit playground has been a favourite at Willows for a few years now and it truly is a brilliant feature, so they wanted to add to it!

It was an early start for the launch, and very cold, but with a lovely breakfast laid on for the press, bloggers and a few celebs it was worth it!

After breakfast there was a meet and greet with the main Fox himself…. Mr Todd! The kids loved seeing him, he was very happy to pose for photo’s and looked very dapper indeed!

willows farm mr todd peter rabbit

Peter Rabbit was in attendance too of course, who was in a particularly mischievous mood… covering my twins’ faces when I was trying to take a photo! Very funny…. NOT… naughty Peter Rabbit!

willows farm peter rabbit

That’s better!

willows farm peter rabbit

Then it was time to be taken to Mr. Todd’s lair and the kids couldn’t wait! There were two entrances…. either going down the slide at the top here, or wandering down the hill to the bottom where you can enter via the doorway!

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair

It looked amazing! As with every other feature at Willows, the attention to detail is second to none. All the kids were completely in a frenzy as they raced to explore all around and inside this new play area! There’s a glimpse into how Mr. Todd lives with a full size dining table and chairs in the kitchen that kids can sit at, a cooking pot that they can look inside or even climb into if they so wish and lots of little drawers and fiddly bits to faff around with! There’s also the slides and hidden entrances.

willows farm mr todds lair rocknrollerbabyRuth and I with the stars of the show Peter Rabbit and Mr. Todd!

willows farm hertfordshire peter rabbit mr todd todds lairMine and Ruth’s gorgeous girls!

Outside the old tree house has been included in the new Mr. Todds area and it’s been given a spruce up, as has the zip wire! There’s also a little Squirrel Nutkin agility course and a fab new kiosk selling hot doughnuts…. we definitely made the most of this, they were super delicious!

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

We can wholeheartedly say that this new addition to Willows was a massive hit and everyone enjoyed it. It fits right in with everything else, like it’s always been there. I can’t believe how Willows manages to add something new and exciting every single year. Changing things up so there’s always fresh excitement every time you visit!

Our kids wanted to go down to the bouncy castles afterwards!

I have to mention that everything, once you’ve paid the entrance fee to get in, is included! That means all the bouncy castles, the fairground rides, the outdoor shows, the seasonal events, the indoor play areas, the animals… EVERYTHING! The only thing you have to pay for is food…. and you don’t even need to pay for that! The food IS great at Willows and very reasonably priced, but you are very welcome to bring a packed lunch and there is even a designated area to eat it, which is covered in Winter to keep the cold out and all open in the Summer to enjoy the weather!

Ruth and I are always at Willows till closing time! They are literally throwing us out we stay so long and this happens every single time! We love it and never want to leave… honestly!

The bouncy castles were soaked. It had been raining early in the morning but do you think this stopped our kids from running straight onto them? Oh no!

willows farm

Wet trousers and socks were the result so after this we headed to the indoor play barn, Woolly Jumpers! Luckily they sell socks for £1 a pair so I bought some for my twins whose own socks were drenched! There’s two indoor play areas… the main one, Woolly Jumpers, is set inside the cafe where we love to hang out especially when it’s cold! There’s a full climbing play frame including slides and our children spend hours in here!

willows farm

willows farm

The other one is Toddler Town which is perfect for younger kids that has all sorts of play houses in, like a kitchen, pet shop, train station, hospital and lots more… it’s role play heaven!

A big event that’s happening at Willows right now is their Easter Eggstravaganza! This is really lovely. There’s a designated, delightfully pretty Easter Egg hunt garden where children can pick a basket and run around hunting for hidden wooden eggs (which are easy to find!) then exchange them for REAL chocolate eggs afterwards! Again, you don’t pay extra for any of this, it’s all included in the entry price! That’s right… yummy chocolate for free!

willows farm easter

willows farm easter

willows farm easter

From here we headed down to Tractor Tristan! We love this… it’s a cute ride on the back of a Tractor which takes you on a little seasonal tour… this time it was through an Easter scene! There’s also a large pond to go through as well as seeing lots of animals! A visit to Willows really isn’t the same without a ride on Tristan!

willows farm

willows farm

After this we headed inside again, into the Farmyard to see some more animals. It’s Spring so lots of babies to see including piglets and adorable chicks! There were also some lambs being hand fed by some of the farmers!

willows farm piglets

willows farm feeding lambs spring 2018

willows farm animals guinea pigs

Petting some of the smaller animals is a highlight for most children! All they need to do is take a seat and one of the helpers will come around and hand them a guinea pig to hold. So cute!

Lastly, we headed round to the Peter Rabbit play area! It cost over £1 million to create and it’s easy to see why… it’s incredible! There’s so much in this one space and all dedicated to the CBeebies version of the much loved character. There’s Mr McGregors garden where you can run around and collect giant vegetables, Jeremy Fisher’s music pond where there all sorts of instruments to make noises, Benjamin Button’s amazing treehouse with adventure play area, Mrs Tiggy Winkles kitchen, Lily Bobtails nature discovery and Peter Rabbit’s secret treehouse and adventure playground!

willows farm peter rabbit

willows farm peter rabbit

It’s easy to understand how we can stay at Willows till closing time isn’t it?

Don’t just take our word for it either… whenever we visit we quite often spy a famous face or two.. oh yes, it’s a favourite haunt for celebrity kiddo’s too! Samantha Faiers is a frequent visitor at the moment with her baby Paul but I quite often spot pop stars, actors, sports stars and tv presenters mingling with the crowds enjoying their day out at Willows with their children!

For the launch of Mr. Todd’s Lair we spotted Alex Jones from The One Show and Michelle Heaton from Liberty X amongst others… including DIY SOS’s Nick Knowles, who very kindly posed for a photo with me… I just wanted to show my other half as he’s a fan! Any excuse!

willows farm nick knowles

Willows Farm Easter Eggstravaganza is on until 15th April.. if you can make it, be sure to pay a visit over the holidays! Otherwise it’s open every single day for you to enjoy. Keep an eye on their website for upcoming events too!

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