I really don't know where to start with this post. We have had the most fantastic long weekend camping at Elderflower Fields festival in East Sussex and we are now home, there is a huge pile of washing to get through - it feels much later than it is. The reality of going to work yesterday was horrible after such an awesome weekend.
The team that put this family festival together deserve a huge round of applause, everything was so well done - from the attention to detail, the music and activities and the helpful staff everywhere.
The festival takes place on May bank holiday weekend in the stunning setting of Pippingford Park in Nutley, East Sussex.
We arrived at around 2.30pm on Friday, parked up and headed over to hire a trolley to transport all our stuff (we thought we'd brought a lot - but other families had two trolleys or more piled high).
On entry we were given our wrist bands, picnic tickets, a programme and two bags, one for recycling and one for rubbish.
Then it was a walk down the hill to find a spot in the family camping area. Poor Lee was lumbered with the loaded trolley whilst we carried some bags.
There are a number of areas you can choose to pitch your tents, we were at the bottom of the hill, just past the toilets and shower blocks. At the top were the camper vans.
After quickly unloading, I dragged the trolley back up the hill, whilst Lee started putting the tents up. I think next time we will be bringing our own trolley it would have made life easier.
We soon became famous - our watermelon tents and sunshades from FieldCandy drew quite a lot if attention. All the kids said hello (to the tents) when passing and we had lots of lovely compliments. Our little area became known as "Watermelon Village."
Just past our tents was the boutique camping area with beautiful bell tents and Black Dog Tipis - then further down was the WowPow tipi where the kids listened to stories, then the woodland stage and bar, all set up with hay bales and rustic decor.
The bridge was beautifully decorated with colourful ribbons and hoops and chandeliers, kids were running barefoot, crawling over logs and climbing trees. There were brightly coloured butterflies and bugs adorning the woodland and parasols hanging from the trees.
We had a good explore, listened to some music at the Dragonfly stage and headed back to camp for the evening after watching Shlomo and his beatboxing.
In the early hours of Saturday morning there was a downpour and thunder. We were all cosy in our tents, so it was quite exciting - I just hoped the rain would stop so the kids could go and do some activities.
The children played in the woods and made some new friends before the sunshine arrived - we then headed out to the climbing wall - the girls both loved this.
They also loved the giant inflatable Orca and looking at some whale and dolphin bones. The tree swings in the Urban Woods were a big hit too.
There was so much food on offer, Keira really liked the twisted chips, with chicken salt and Fin tried some frozen yoghurt. We did most of our cooking back at camp on a stove so we could save money.
The face painters were brilliant (£5 children £7 adults) - there was always a queue but it moved pretty quickly, they also did henna designs too.
We watched Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer and had a go at some circus skills. with Seaside Circus.
Later on the kids all went wild for the huge bubbles on Dragonfly Hill.
Sunday was very sunny. We took a walk through he woods where there were mud huts and bush craft and kayaking.
At the Moonshine Fandango we watched the hilarious Hectore and Raoul cookery show, a few cream pies were thrown! I loved the Moonshine Fandango stage - it was very cool - lots of reggae music.
The So Sussex picnic took place at 12.30 on Dragonfly Hill - everyone gathered with picnic blankets and exchanged their tickets for a bag of goodies and a chocolate cake. These were to be shared between groups of 12, so you had to find a family to share with. Despite this, it all seemed to go smoothly. The bag contained olives, higgidy rolls, cheese, bread, smoked venison, pate, pesto and the delicious chocolate cake.
After the picnic the kids went on the Woodland Quest - this sort of thing is right up our street. We were given a map and some "wisps" to hang in a tree. The quest goes through the forest next to the river. On the way back we made some mud monsters and then went back to the yurt to make some brooms with silver birch twigs.
I tried a white chocolate crepe from Creperie Lui, the kids had ice cream from the cute Sugarmice caravan and a bag of sweets from Sweetish. Everything smelt amazing. There was a huge selection of food vendors.
The kids stayed up late on Sunday and really enjoyed the Carnival Collective on stage - before heading back and toasting some marshmallows.
There were toilets everywhere, and showers close by. The toilets by camp were nice and clean and there were bins and drinking water taps near by.
The stewards did a great job, showing people where to go and driving the buggies up and down the hill. The whole place felt very safe.
I could go on and on, and I already hope we can go back next year. We are now cool parents, who have taken their kids to their first festival. There were barefoot bohemian kids everywhere and people with flowers in their hair - the whole place had a brilliant relaxed vibe.
My advice would be to invest in a trolley or little wagon to pull your gear (or kids) around and also bring camping chairs, we did a lot of sitting on the grass.
Do take a look at their next event Into The Trees which takes place in September.
Thank you Elderflower Fields - you're awesome!
Pictures by Anarchy Photography and Kippers and Curtains.