On Sunday I returned home from my first Just So festival with my husband, children and some lovely blogger friends. My bones ached and my shoes were filthy. I unpacked six laundry loads worth of muddy, paint spattered, feather covered clothing. Tired, I surveyed the endless assortment of ‘stuff’ we had taken camping. My eyelids were heavy but my heart was full.
I’ve just spent three fun-filled days with my family and friends and had the most wonderful time. I’ve wanted to go to Just So for a few years but the timing was never right. With the boys’ football there was always a tournament or training session we needed to be at and things just didn’t work out… until this year.
I tried not to get too giddy in the run up to Just So because having never been before it would have been devastating to get super excited only then to end up having a bit of a rubbish time. So I played it down a bit to the kids and secretly hoped it would be as magical as I imagined it to be.
On Thursday night I checked the weather forecast and subsequently packed an extra couple of outfits for everyone and a set of waterproofs. It didn’t look great. Ever the optimist, I was undeterred.
Friday arrived and the rain came down. I packed the car up in the rain. We set off in the rain. We arrived at Rode Hall in the rain. Frequent showers were threatening to put a literal dampener on the weekend I had so looked forward to!
On arrival, something happened. I’m going to pretend it wasn’t just a case of the weather forecast being inaccurate (because it’s always spot on, right?) and I’m going to call it Just So Magic. The Just So Magic meant we could get the tent up and everything inside during dry and even sunny weather. We have a brand new tent which we’d never put up before so we really were grateful for that extended break in the clouds. Once we were set up at the campsite, the children were eager to get into the festival itself, so off we went.
We headed through the main gate with the intention of having a good look around but actually only managed to get about 100m into the site before being distracted. We wandered straight into the Spellbound Forest and found brilliant story teller Ian Douglas tell one of his wonderful tales.
We spent around an hour listening to Ian. He’s a fantastic storyteller who can keep even the most easily distracted child still for a reasonable length of time. If you can catch him at any events you’re going to, he’s worth seeking out.
My 11 month old was getting a bit cranky and so we headed temporarily back to the tent for refuelling. Afterwards, we wandered back onsite and made our way to The Social and Footlights.
For food on the Friday night we ate what we’d brought back at the tent. My husband bought some vegan pakora too from the Vegan Soul Food street vendor and they were so, so good!
For the rest of the evening we ambled about, having a look at the programme and loosely planning the Saturday. We spent some more time around the camp fire with our wonderful friends and the boys eventually gave in after a very long and busy day at around 11pm.
And so to bed…
What an exhausting, fun-filled and enchanting day we had.
The children went to bed very happy on Friday and on Saturday morning they were ready and raring to go. Our youngest did wake in the night, but had never slept in a tent before. He soon settled though and was as happy as ever by morning!
I was planning to do just one summary post for Just So, but there’s too much I want to say! So with that in mind, look out for our experience of day two… post goes live on Saturday!
*Admission to the festival was provided to us without charge in order to review our experience