Nozstock – The Hidden Valley – Festival

nozstock family festival

For the last few years we’ve kicked off the Summer Holidays with a Festival and we love it! We always go with friends and we always look forward to this annual get together, but having been to the same festival the past few years and seeing it change, we decided to try something different.

nozstock the hidden valley

So this year, after doing some research, we decided on Nozstock – The Hidden Valley, which seemed perfect! It’s intentionally not as commercialised as other festivals which was a massive draw for us. The organisers are made up of the Nozworthy family who own the farm and land it takes place on, and along with their friends and employees have grown the festival year on year until the 5000 person capacity it is today! It’s smaller than other festivals, a bit more traditional with a great family provision and just sounded altogether very appealing.

We were offered tickets in exchange for an honest review and looked forward to our weekend getaway for weeks and weeks! We couldn’t wait to get there and experience all that Nozstock had to offer! Situated in rural Herefordshire, it was a good couple of hours drive for us but our usual camp mates…. Ruth from Rocknrollerbaby, Katy from Modern Mummy and Emma from That’s the way the Cookie Crumbles were already there and waiting for us!

kids at nozstock
Yay finally here, very excited and loaded up with stuff! Hugo carrying his pillow… can’t go camping without our pillows!

On arrival, the first thing I noticed was how near the car parks were to the festival! This might sound like a minor thing but if you’re a regular at festivals, especially with kids… this is MAJOR! The amount of luggage you need when you go camping with kids usually means a couple of trips to the car, which is a killer if it’s miles away, so not having too far to go was an absolute game changer as far as I was concerned!

The second thing that blew me away was the HELPFULNESS of the car park staff/volunteers. They were super happy and friendly! This lovely chap offered to pull my trolley all the way to the entrance from my car! What a star!

nozstock festival
What a nice young man!

We opted for Pre-Pitched camping this year. This was provided by a company called Camplight who rescue tents from festivals, clean them up and re-use them! This fits in perfectly with Nozstock’s ‘green ambition’ ethos of keeping things as sustainable as possible…. helping to fight the disposable culture which is damaging our planet. Nozstock provided many activities and fun workshops to promote this- it was a big feature. They were encouraging people to re-use their cups to cut down on plastics as well as hosting competitions to incentivise campers to keep the festival tidy!

We were in the Family Camping area which was a lovely space, separate to the other camping fields. Definitely the nicest one we’ve stayed in so far. It just felt cosy, for want of a better word. There was a little playground area for kids.. mostly made from wood and sustainable materials of course, the portaloos were clean at all times and there were also some eco-friendly tiny toilets for young children with little toilet seats that looked like potties! There was even a baby changing facilities gazebo stocked up with free nappies, wipes, lotions and suncreams for anyone to use! I thought this was a lovely touch.

zoo bells bell tents
My lovely Zoo Bells tent

The weather, unfortunately hadn’t been kind the first day of the festival which meant the tents took a bit of a battering and one or two became waterlogged! Because the others arrived before me they all swapped around to get the driest ones. The organisers were super helpful anyway offering to take down and bring new ones if need be. Luckily for me though, the nearby glamping field was full of gorgeous tents provided by Zoo Bells and one of their generous employees on site happened to walk by and offered one of their spare ones to me! I mean…. whoop whoop yes please! My Bell tent was fabulous, we haven’t stayed in one before but would definitely consider one next time for sure!

Once settled we headed into the festival and straight into the Little Wonderland kids area which is a dedicated zone for families and children to enjoy age related fun activities all day long. There’s a sand pit, circus skills, workshops in break dancing, graffiti, beat boxing, felt-making, crazy cartoons, up-cycling clothes and lots more. Our’s decided on some sculpting with clay!

little wonderland nozstock
nozstock little wonderland
Fabulous creation!
It was great to get all the kids together again!

The childrens area is a wonderful space that incorporates shows and music too, with so much more to get involved with… it’s really worth checking the timetable so you don’t miss anything you’d like to catch. The family aspect of the festival is something one of the creators, Ella Nozworthy is passionate about, especially now that she has children of her own. Speaking of the new elements for this year she said .. “after listening to feedback and realising there are some simple things we can do to enhance the experience for families – that’s what this is all about.”

Lots of fun little toys and bits and bobs to make or dress up in!
nozstock festival
I couldn’t resist!

The music lineup at Nozstock this year was brilliant, although I think when you go as a family, depending on ages of children, you might not get to see the headliner DJ’s and bands that play into the early hours but there’s definitely something for every taste with ten stages to choose from! My twenty year old son who didn’t come with us was absolutely gutted when he saw the lineup… the Hospitality takeover on Friday night was a massive coup for the younger festival goers! Then there’s so many different, more chilled artists playing all kinds of music during the day before kicking off again later on!


The theme of this years Nozstock was the Wizard of Noz which was evident throughout the festival. Some of the stages were designed on the theme!

This stage was supposed to be Dorothy’s wrecked house from the hurricane and even included the witched legs and feet if you look to the top left!
elephants graveyard nozstock
There was a raggae stage that was found via a pathway which led to this bizarre open space called The Elephants Graveyeard! It was rather groovy!

We loved watching Elvana (an Elvis fronted Nirvana tribute act) on Saturday afternoon on the main Orchard Stage! This was completely nuts but very entertaining!

elvana nozstock

My favourite stage was The Coppice. I could’ve stayed in here for hours listening to the dreamy trance music and getting lost in all the decorations set up in the trees. This was run by Tribe of Frogs, a psychedelic DJ dance event organiser who are amazing! My kids loved all the lights, special effects and the way everything glowed!

tribe of frog nozstock
tribe of frog nozstock the coppice

There were hidden stages too, like The Cabinet of Lost Secrets which you found through a secret doorway… as modelled here by my friend Emma!

We had a great time at this stage dancing the night away… even my 9 year old twin boys had a dance! That’s the first time in all their festival going years that they’ve actually danced! There’ll be no stopping them now! We boogied on down to fab swing band Year of the Dog and funk quintet The Happy Daggers!

year of the dog nozstock
nozstock family festival

The headliners on Saturday night were DJ superstars Rudimental. As their 10pm start time approached, you could feel all the different areas emptying out a little as everyone seemed to be making their way to the main stage! I was praying that my children stayed awake at least for a little while so we could catch some of the set! And I got lucky!

Katy and Ruth headed back to the tents but myself and Emma stayed out to partayy! And boy did it kick off big time when Rudimental came on! They were amazing! We hovered around the back of the crowd at first as the bass line was too much for the kids, although, incidentally, you can go and grab ear plugs for free if you need them from a little on site kiosk which offers all kind of helpful stuff! I grabbed some for mine earlier in the day!

Back to Rudimental. Emma was not satisfied with standing at the back so she instructed her husband, Andy, to watch all of our kids for a second and grabbed my hand to storm down to the front. Barging through the crowd like a mad woman on a mission, probably ruffling some feathers in the process but we didn’t care! It was funny and worth it because from there we got to experience the music and atmosphere so much more, right in the thick of it!

rudimental nozstock
rudimental nozstock
Grainy photo but this was an action shot of us ‘having it’!

One of the reasons we love a festival is that we get to don the glitter! Oh how we love the glitter! The family camp site at Nozstock was so chilled and relaxed, we enjoyed just hanging around there in the mornings, leisurely getting ready, chatting and eating breakfast that was made by Rocknrollerbaby for all of us! Feeling the fresh morning air while the kids played – even with other children that were camping nearby! In a world where kids are often indoors on some kind of screen, camping brings such a welcome change.

nozstock festival glitter
My hair and makeup being done by Poppie and Florence!
nozstock family camping
festival hair and makeup
nozstock bell tents
festival hair
My daughter does everyone’s hair!
rosies tea rooms nozstock
We loved this little cafe, Rosie’s Tea Rooms, at the entrance to family camping where they sold teas, coffees and delicious crepes! It was so nice, cosy and friendly!

Around Nozstock there’s loads of weird and wonderful acts everywhere you look, a real feast for the eyes. As well as music there’s comedy, acting, dance and film too!

We loved the human jukebox…
..and this unbelievable fire maze!
nozstock wedding
There was even and wedding taking place at Nozstock!

My favourite thing about our Nozstock weekend was simply just wandering around, discovering new areas and enjoying the whole place. The site isn’t huge so nowhere feels too far to get to, yet there’s always something new to see or do. It was compact yet felt incredibly spacious where the children could run freely and enjoy the different zones!

nozstock festival family
henna tattoo nozstock
Nozstock ambassadors festival

Even though it wasn’t just a festival for families, there were children playing everywhere and everyone just mingled seamlessly together. At no time did I feel worried about the children, or thought I shouldn’t have them in a particular area, which I know is a concern for a lot of parents. Safety was paramount for the kids….. they are given wristbands on arrival with a space to write your telephone number on, so you can be reached should you get separated. There’s also a dedicated lost child tent that they can find easily should they need help.

Nozstock gives you that special kind of fuzzy, warm feeling and has an atmosphere that has been missing at other festivals. It’s fun and immersive, you really feel like you’re taking part in a wonderful imaginary story! Yet it manages to stay intimate and considerate. There isn’t anything I would change, we had the best time in the best place with the best people!

I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Super early bird tickets are now on sale for 2020 Nozstock – The Hidden Valley which takes place Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th July 2020 @nozstock

How to Make Quality Time with Your Kids Fun

How to Make Quality Time with Your Kids Fun

Parenting is a job that consists of more than watching your kids all day. You also have to both provide for them and create a stable environment for them to grow in. This means that sometimes, you don’t get to spend as much quality time with one another as you’d like to. For this reason, you should focus on making the time that you do spend together count.

In case you’re wondering how to do that, here is how you can make quality time with your little ones fun.

Be Fully Present

When spending quality time with your kids, commit to being fully present. They can sense when your mind and attention are elsewhere, so eliminate distractions. Spending time with your kids should be about living in the moment, getting to know them and connecting.

Put Your Phone Away: The first tip for being fully present is to put your phone away. In this technology age, gadgets can be a huge distraction when it comes to spending quality time with people. Leave your phone in another room or put it on airplane mode during your quality time to help you resist the temptation of checking messages or browsing, especially if you’ve got a phone addiction.

Forget About Work: For all of the workaholic mums, it’s easy to be distracted by all of the work waiting to be done whether at your place of employment or around the house. Give work a break and focus on engaging with your kids by asking them questions and actively listening to what they have to say.

Try Arts and Crafts

The good thing about arts and crafts is that it’s something anyone can do. Whether your kids are toddlers or teenagers, it can be an enjoyable experience. Plan age-appropriate activities that will keep everyone busy and enable you to explore your creativity. If your kids are older, consider craft ideas like making candles. It’s always nice when you make items that you can use or see on a daily basis to remind you of something you did as a family.

Consider Outdoor Activities

When spending quality time together, outdoor activities can be a lot of fun as well. It’s a chance for everyone to get fresh air and burn calories. If you need ideas regarding what you can do outside whether in a garden or park, see some below.

Treasure Hunt: One activity to try with your kids is a treasure hunt. Seeing as Easter recently passed it isn’t too late to try an Easter egg hunt, especially if you still have left over chocolate. Cartridge People have some free Easter Egg Hunt downloadables that could help you put together signs.

Obstacle Course: Another idea worth trying is an obstacle course. You can create this with hula hoops as well as other objects that they can jump through or over. If you did them as a child, you know they can be tons of fun, especially if you’ve got competitive kids.

Quality time with your kids is about making new memories and reaffirming your relationship as well as love. Whether you’re engaging in activities or watching your favourite movie for the hundredth time, make it worthwhile.

Easter holidays 2017 and Tatton Park

So all the kids are back at school this week after the Easter holidays! Mine went back last week actually but most areas in the UK went back today.

Are you glad to get back into some sort of routine? The majority of parents are in agreement I think that they adore having the kids at home, but equally adore regaining a bit of structure to the day and getting their sanity back!! It also means we can get on with the things that we really can’t do when kids are around all the time!

I LOVE having my children home with me though. I could happily wallow in a bubble of just me and them for ever! I just like them being around.. they’re good kids… and I LOVE not having to rush out of the door in the morning on the school run! I say this after every holidays I know. I just wish I could have my children home more.. childhood goes so fast and in the blink of an eye they’re all grown up!

We had a relaxing couple of weeks off. We didn’t do THAT much. I had to work Monday and Tuesday the first week. But on the Wednesday we babysat for my friends baby. He has Down Syndrome and he is the most gorgeous boy ever! We adore him, especially my daughter… she is absolutely obsessed with him and I’ll be lucky to get near him when she’s around! She loves him to bits! He’s so well behaved and happy!

Here he is…… He’d just had his lunch in this photo and he ate it all up… such a good boy!

On Thursday I took the kids over to a friends house! They played with her children in their swimming pool in the garden most of the day which was wonderful! Even if it was a bit chilly outside… they didn’t care at all! It was a lovely day, always nice to catch up with friends and we stayed quite late so really made the most of it!

swimming pool garden fun

pool garden

At the weekend I drove up to Lancashire to my Dad’s house. It always seems like a mammoth task packing the car for myself and the three kids and driving around 200 miles to get there, fighting traffic and roadworks, but it’s exciting too and feels like a mini holiday! I love being with my Dad and staying at his house. It’s quite strange now that I don’t always take Teen. He ALWAYS loved going to my Dad’s (used to be my Mum there too until she sadly passed away almost 9 years ago now) but because he’s 18 now and has a part time job, he’s often working, as is my OH so they stay at home together! Teen also likes to stay behind because of friends. Hopefully though he will come with us next time!

We made the most of the lovely weather (while it lasted) and visited the gorgeous Tatton Park in Cheshire whilst at my Dads! It’s part of the National Trust and is a great day out… lots to see and do and the best thing is, it doesn’t cost a fortune!

You could really spend all day here, it’s absolutely a wonderful place, we didn’t even get round to seeing everything after arriving at just before lunch, so if you go, get there early is all I can say!

There’s a cute little farm to walk around which has the most fascinating outbuildings. Some of them are miniature museums showing how people used to live there last century! There’s a fairground and adventure playground where the kids can go crazy for a while, there are the beautiful, huge gardens… my children loved exploring these, there’s parkland where you can spot deer, there’s shops and a lovely restaurant too! Then of course there’s the mansion itself that you can go inside of and look around.

tatton park days out cheshire

tatton park days out cheshire easter holidays

tatton park days out cheshire easter holidays

tatton park days out cheshire easter holidays

tatton park days out cheshire easter holidays

tatton park days out cheshire easter holidays flowers pretty

tatton park days out cheshire easter holidays

Just some of the lovely grounds and gardens there at Tatton Park! Even though it was a lovely day, it’s still very early Spring and most of the flowers hadn’t bloomed, but you can imagine how pretty it’s all going to look once that happens? We hope to make another visit here in the Summer!

Another day we had a trip to the cinema to see Moana! The kids had been wanting to see it for a while but we hadn’t got round to it, so I checked to see if it was on the Kids AM deal at Vue cinemas and it was! Bonus! Nice and cheap tickets for us 🙂 Have you been to the Kids AM at Vue before? At weekends and school holidays you can take the kids (it’s only families that are allowed this deal) to see a film for £2.50! When you have a big family like mine, a trip to the cinema for everyone can be costly…. if you can wait (the films showing are usually those that have been out for a while) it’s definitely worth it!

We LOVED Moana… such a good film! We even bought some Moana cupcakes to make at home during that second week of the holidays when the weather was pretty dire, in Lancashire anyway!

moana cakes

We spent the rest of the time at my Dad’s just chillin’ (perfect) and being together and catching up with family members.

We had a lovely time! I really didn’t want to come home and back to the daily grind but hey ho…. that’s life I guess…. until I win the lottery that is 😉

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter…. roll on half term!

A hot day by the pool

No, this is not a holiday post if that’s what you’re thinking…. this was how we spent the hottest day of the year so far this week.

My friend has recently moved into a new house that has an outdoor pool, so there was only one place to be on Wednesday when the weather was going to be good!

We packed our swimming things and headed over. My friend was doing a picnic by the pool and had invited a couple of other friends over too.

The pool was actually rather cold as the heater hadn’t been on as long as needed, but that didn’t stop the kids jumping straight in!

outdoor pool

outdoor pool

hot day summer outdoor pool


It felt wonderful being in the sun, it really was hot! The kids were smothered in sun cream and had so much fun all day long. The house is in beautiful surroundings in the countryside, although not too far from where we live…. it seems like it could be in the middle of nowhere!

The gardens here are beautiful and quite extensive, plenty of space for the kids to run about! There’s also a riding school at the bottom. The horses come up to the fence and the children can touch them!

It really is gorgeous, I can see ourselves spending lots of time here this summer 😉


Bye Bye Summer Holidays

I’ve been neglecting my blog a little these past couple of weeks,I haven’t got as many posts written as I’d like and I have a bit of a back log of reviews to get up but hey, it’s the summer holidays and life just takes over.

I’ve been busy with my kids, I’ve had my twins birthday and party to organise plus I have my Dad staying with us at the moment too so sitting at the computer isn’t very sociable, and once they’re all in bed I would normally get on with my blogging but lately I’ve wanted to do normal things like relax on the sofa and watch TV!!! Shock horror!

I love my kids being off school, I say this after every school break but it’s true. I adore being with them and having nothing to do apart from what we choose to do.

I like snuggling up with them in bed in the morning instead of having to wake them up and hurrying them along to get dressed etc, then rushing off to school!

I like watching them play with their toys together in the mornings whilst wearing their jammies. They get along so well (even though they do fall out and fight at times), I love listening to their little imaginary games, it’s so cute.

I enjoy planning things for us to do and going out together.

I like watching movies with them and doing nothing.

I enjoy sitting in the garden whilst they run around and play in the fresh air. Or splash around in their paddling pool if it’s a hot day.

I just like being with them. Every second of every day. It’s never a chore and they never drive me mad enough to want them back at school, ever.

I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to do some work for my part time job from home here and there so that’s been a relief. Had I had to manage going to work with the school holidays I’m sure things would be a whole lot more complicated. But as it stands, I know I’m lucky to be able to enjoy the holidays with my beautiful children.

The summer holidays have literally flown by. I believe they’ve been somewhat shorter than usual is this correct? Certainly feels like it. We’ve had a lovely few weeks though, we haven’t been on an official holiday but we’ve been away visiting relatives some of the time so we’ve had a break at least! We’ve seen friends, had days out, been to events and had fun!

It’s a pity the weather over this last week has been rubbish. Almost feels like Autumn has come early, boo hiss! I’m hoping we get an Indian Summer during September, fingers crossed… I’m not ready for a winter wardrobe just yet!

This week I’ll be busy trying to get the kids organised for back to school.

It’s something I’ll be doing with a heavy heart… saying bye bye to the summer and bye bye to spending long lovely days with my brood 🙁

20140826-110307-39787705.jpgThe Fab Four – My gorgeous children


Mama and More

Summer Holidays 2013

I know I’m rather late with this but I wanted to write a little something about our summer.

We didn’t have a holiday this year due to the extension being started on our house (you can’t have everything can you?!) so we spent most of our summer holidays at home – or at least outside, but near home!

The weather was glorious wasn’t it? Such a welcome change from the dismal grey summer of last year. And what a difference it makes to our lives having the sun shining every single day. We were able to actually PLAN days out instead of worrying what the weather would be like!

We spent a week at my Dad’s which was like a mini getaway, a change of scene for myself and the kids which was lovely. He lives in Lancashire so lots of lovely days out around the beautiful countryside there as well as the obligatory Blackpool day trip! You gotta love the Vegas of the North!!



Back home we practically spent the entire summer in the garden, the paddling pool was always in use and I think my kids spent most days in their swimwear

We had picnics in various parks, walks in the nearby countryside, fun days out at local attractions. The children had lots of playdates and sleepovers.

There is one local park we like to go to which has a super splash area, perfect for cooling off on hot days and actually it felt just like being on holiday. If I lay down on my towel by the pools and shut my eyes (not that one can do this for longer than a few seconds when there are small children to keep an eye on) I could easily imagine being on holiday listening to the waves of the sea or sitting by the hotel pool!!



When the weather is playing ball here in Blighty, it can’t be beaten. It really is wonderful. I didn’t even think about a holiday, in fact staying at home is a lot less stressful. I can’t stand all the running around pre-holiday, making sure we have everything which, for myself, my OH (yes I organise him too) and four children is not an easy task. And who needs a holiday when you can laze your days away at a lido like this?


We had a lovely summer. I didn’t want it to end.


I also had a TAN. Yes folks, for the first time in the history of me I didn’t need to go abroad to obtain an actual, proper sun tan – I got one from staying right here in England!!!!! I was immensely proud of it and worked on it as much as I could, let me tell you!

Keeping All The Kids Amused Over The Bank Holiday

Having a Teen, a girl and 3yr old twins can bring it’s difficulties when it comes to planning things to do as a family. My children don’t like the same things now. The three younger ones are still happy to do activities together although because my Twins are a bit awkward and shy my Girl can sometimes miss out on certain things. And my Teen definitely doesn’t want to do the same things as his younger siblings. This weekend was no exception. Normally we give our Teen a bit of freedom to maybe meet up with friends – planned, so we know exactly who he is with and where he would be going – but this weekend Teen was grounded. He’d been in a spot of trouble at school these last few weeks so we decided he would not be having his freedom, as punishment.

So what to do with them all weekend? We hadn’t planned much as Saturday was spent pretty much taxiing my daughter around. She had dancing, then we did some shopping, then she had a party, then she had to be collected from party. During this time I’d given my Teen some workbooks to do and revision to get on with. He’s just completing year 9 which means he will be dealing with key stage 3 sats after the half term, not that he seems remotely bothered which is infuriating to say the least. He is bright so he does ok at school without much effort but he fails to see how brilliantly he could do if he really put his mind to it. But I guess that’s teenage boys for you. He says he has it all under control… I doubt that so there he was, left studying on a glorious Saturday afternoon while his friends went to the funfair! Is that a bit harsh? Teen repeatedly told me how unfair it was, to which I reminded him how unfair it was for me to get a phone call from the school last week informing me of his behaviour!

On Sunday we decided to go to aforementioned funfair all together. Teen wanted to stay at home, alone, probably to play Xbox which he is obsessed with, or watch movies, but this wasn’t going to happen either as we insisted he come along for a fun ‘family’ day out. Of course, being a Teen and going to the local funfair with your parents is NOT cool but again, punishment was the order of the day! Not only that, it’s nice for us all to be together and after his initial horror at being seen with us he actually enjoyed himself. He is still a child after all and being with his younger siblings wasn’t so bad. He went on some of the smaller rides and the funhouse with his little sister, took the Twins on the dodgems with OH (even though they weren’t overly keen – he wasn’t sympathetic of them being three years old and he should’ve been a little easier on the ramming of other cars) – he played some of the stalls to win them all prizes and I even went on a couple of the bigger rides with him so he didn’t miss out there….I’m braver than Dad hehe! It was a lovely day and even though he probably wouldn’t admit it, I know he enjoyed himself.

It’s sometimes necessary to force family time these days as Teen, naturally, wants to spend his time with the girlfriend or his mates but on this occasion I feel pleased that we’d all done something together. It was a different story a few weeks back when we had a family day to the zoo. Again, it seemed walking around with parents looking at animals at 14 years of age is just embarrassing! Teen moaned the whole time; said it was boring and repeatedly asked why did he have to be there!!! Hehe – the joys!

TV time isn’t something they can all do together either. My Girl likes Nickelodeon..loves iCarly and Victorious, although she’s pretty easy, the Twins prefer CBeebies or Nick Junior with a bit of Cartoon Network thrown in if Ben 10 is on! My Teen likes the Movie channels, but of course the sort of films he likes won’t be suitable for the younger ones. He could watch them upstairs, which he sometimes does but he prefers the Xbox anyway – at least he can interact with his buddies on there, if you can call shouting and screaming whilst killing zombies on Call of Duty interacting!!! Saying that though, all of my darling offspring DO compromise sometimes and all four of them will snuggle up on the sofa occasionally and watch something neutral, which is sweet.

Monday was a garden day. My Girl and the Twins will play for hours together; the trampoline gets tons of use, even Teen will join in! The OH played outside with them most of the day too, then pottered about with Teen sorting out their bikes…. doing various jobs – then the two of them went out for a bike ride before Teen went back to some revision (reluctantly).

It’s funny how it’s literally only in the past year and a half that I have really noticed the gap widening hugely between my Teen and the other three. It seems like one day he was a boy, still wanting to do the usual family things and the next, well, he’s almost a man – he’s tall too which makes him look even older! It’s not easy trying to work round them all now but I think it’s extremely important to do things together as a whole family!

Post Comment Love
%d bloggers like this: