The festival season is truly upon us. In the past few years festivals have become such a popular way to spend your holidays in the UK and there’s a festival pretty much for everyone.
Going on a camping trip and to a festival has been on our family bucket list ever since the hubby and I can remember. We never managed to organise ourselves after Leo was born and this year, with Maxi being still so small, we simply put it away for another year or two. So when we were kindly offered tickets to the Valley Fest festival (just outside Bristol) which took place last weekend (4-6 August), we were overjoyed to say the least and despite having holiday abroad planned for next week and Max being small, we just made a decision to go for it to tick that dream off our bucket list.
As it was such an impromptu decision, the hubby was unable to book extra time off work on Friday so we ended up travelling to the festival early on Saturday morning. We got there around 11am and the weather was simply perfect – sunny but not too hot, with a gentle breeze.
After parking the car, we took a ride on the festival’s tractor trailer which took us and other campers, along with our belongings, to the camp site. When we arrived at the camp site, the lovely Kate from Tinkerbell Tent Hire was waiting to welcome us and showed us our glamping tent which had a double mattress inside it and was located right next to a few showers which we had access to. The tent even had a personalised blackboard sign at the front which I found was a nice personal touch. I hadn’t camped in a tent for around 25 years when I went camping with my parents so being back on a camping site brought back so many lovely memories. Kate was so helpful and later in the day brought us two extra duvets for the night at no extra cost! (Thanks Kate, they were much appreciated as the Saturday night was rather chilly!)
The location of our tent was simply idyllic – it was right at the front of the camping site overlooking Chew Valley and Chew Valley Lake, and on the horizon the Mendip Hills which are classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. When the sun was shining bright, the views were breathtaking that you almost forgot you were in the UK and not somewhere more ‘exotic’.
As the weather was so beautiful, we quickly organised our stuff inside the tent and headed for the festival area to make the most of the day.
In its third year now, Valley Fest is held at The Community Farm, which is a community-owned social enterprise, growing and selling organic food through a box delivery service. The festival area was much bigger than I expected for this fairly small festival, and the layout was easy to navigate around different sections. That’s probably not something that everyone would pay attention to but for us with a fidgety little boy and a small baby, we had to move around a bit to keep the kids occupied. Perhaps that’s just my boys having way too much energy! Luckily, there were a couple of big tents specifically organised for kids and babies where kids could join lots of arts and crafts activities taking place throughout the day, as well as discos, face painting (glitter and sawdust was the theme of the festival!), also lots of games scattered around the grass, hula hoops, and even a Yeo Valley truck with bedtime stories and other spoken word artists.
We did manage to enjoy a good hour or so just sitting down on the grass enjoying a few bands play some cool tunes and watching other campers join in with the dancing by the stage.
One of the biggest highlights from the festival for me was the lovely organic food that was on offer. We particularly enjoyed the absolutely divine chunky chips from the Hippy Chippy and vegan Masala Chana box by Tandoori Q. And of course there was the Yeo Valley ice cream as well! The only drawback was not being able to withdraw more cash as we just didn’t take enough of it and no food joint (except for Tandoori Q) accepted cards. Perhaps in the end it wasn’t a bad thing after all as it meant we didn’t spend more money but it would have been good to have a cash point or at least for the food joints to offer card payments.
Apart from food, you could also find Weleda with three pitched tents where they were giving Skin Food facials (which I got to enjoy on Sunday morning) as well as hand massages. They even had their ‘Nice cream’ van which I’m sure attracted lots of attention! Leo even managed to get a sneak peak inside!
In the evening, we changed Max into his PJs and headed out for a stroll and more exploring, and he was so good in the Ergo carrier, falling asleep within minutes all snuggled up against my chest. Leo made a few friends playing in the hay while we enjoyed a cheeky drink with the hubby but we decided to call it a night at around 9.45pm though when it started to get more chilly. Back in the tent, we planned to play a game of Uno with Leo but as soon as he got under the duvet, he was asleep! In fact, both boys slept so soundly that even the music blaring in not too much distance (DJ Yoda was headlining on Saturday night) wouldn’t wake them! Hubby and I fell asleep soon after too (which is unusual for me, usually the night owl!) and, surprisingly, enjoyed a great night sleep until around 7am, despite the spine-chilling coldness of the night, loud music and even nearby singing at the crack of the dawn!
On Sunday morning we headed out to enjoy another sunny day (although not as warm as Saturday) and I had been invited for a complimentary facial in the Weleda tent.
My lovely Weleda Wellbeing Advisor started the facial by placing a hot flannel infused with Rosemary Invigorating Bath Milk on my face, in order to open up the pores and stimulate the circulation. My face was then cleansed with one of my favourite cleansers, Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion (which is super gentle for even the most sensitive skin) and the eyes were gently wiped with Almond Soothing Facial Oil to remove eye make-up residue. My therapist then applied a thick layer of Skin Food to my skin and left it on for about five minutes as a mask, while she carried out a gentle massage to my face using a series of acupressure points. To finish off the facial, she once again covered my face with a warm wet flannel, this time infused with Lavender Relaxing Bath Milk which smelt so lovely and so relaxing. The final element of this 30-minute treatment was applying a small amount of Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion oil onto my face.
I haven’t had a professional facial for a good couple of years so this was a much needed treatment! I’ve previously written about my love for the Skin Food cream in my post Two hand care essentials for a busy Mum so I’ll definitely replicate this facial at home for a bit of an indulgent treat for my tired skin.
The rest of the day was all about enjoying our time together and at around 3pm we packed up our bags to make our way back to the big smoke! I took one final look at the valley before we went, captured a few more pics of this stunning scenery and then a real sense of sadness flooded in as I regretted that we couldn’t have come earlier in the week and enjoy this breathtaking scenery for longer!
If you are considering going to a camping festival with young children, Valley Fest is simply perfect as it ticks all the boxes for young families! The organisers have really thought about everything (except for the cash machine!) when it comes to entertaining little ones, and generally speaking – the entire festival was such a positive experience! We’ll definitely go back again so thank you Weleda for offering us tickets and enabling us to make such lovely memories as a family!