I confess i'd never even heard of it until earlier this year when i saw someone raving about it on facebook and one google search later i was sold, and had bought us day tickets for the Saturday.
It's a full weekend event but we don't own any camping gear. Our last tent died a sorry mouldy death following Glastonbury 2007 and we haven't felt the need to replace it since. I'm aware we will need to fairly soon (ish) as we're hoping to return to Glastonbury next year with the boys but i didn't want to force our hand by buying weekend tickets to Just So as i knew we'd possibly be a bit skint, with me having just returned to work after mat leave etc. Plus like i say, i'd never even heard of the festival, let alone been before, so wasn't sure if we'd enjoy it.
I needn't have worried about that aspect anyway. We had a brilliant time.
Toby particularly enjoyed all the dens!
And spent a lot of time brushing up on his circus skills too :)
There was also ice-cream...
And digging to do!
Lesson of the day: if you do the worst wrap-job of your life and think "Oh, he won't be in it long, it'll do..." your child is guaranteed to instantly fall into a deep slumber, leaving you to fret whether or not to risk taking them out and wake them up or carry on going knowing that you're probably doing your back in and/or suffocating your baby to death! Fortunately i managed to get him outta there without him stirring ;) Phew!
Knock-knock, who's there? No-one Toby sweetheart, they're not actually real doors!
We found a lake, complete with Abney and Teal's island in the middle!!! Toby: "My want Bop to come out of the water and blow some bubbles now please!"
King Rudy, waving for the camera
Lapin came too of course
Rudy was slightly obsessed with my wellies, which to be fair, i don't think he's never seen me wear before...
Toby's legs grew a little weary so i had a go at wrapping him but it didn't last long, not only is he 6kg heavier than his brother and a bony wriggle-monster but i'm also not the world's best wrapper so i was pretty relieved when he asked to get down ;)
We were all feeling a little sleepy by mid afternoon, so while Chris drew the short straw and marched around the woodland with a grouchy Rudy on his back in the Connecta, trying to get him to give in and go to sleep, Toby and i had a lie-down... on a bed, in the middle of the forest. Like you do.
This is what i was pointing up at, our view from the bed:
Toby instructed me to go to sleep. Who am i to argue?! ;)
By the time we left at about 5pm, Toby was too exhausted to even pose for a photograph on the way out! Result! ;)
Looks pretty awesome right?!
There were some downsides i admit.
Even pre-kids, Chris and i took a pretty laid back approach to festival activities. Making a note of the days/times of totally unmissable acts but otherwise just mooching and checking things out as we came across them. This kind of thinking means you sometimes miss out on things you wish you'd seen/done but weren't in the right place at the right time, but it also means you discover things you wouldn't have done otherwise and means you have a pretty chilled time just wandering around drinking in the atmosphere. It was this kind of approach that we went along with yesterday. Unfortunately, i hadn't realised how limited spaces were for some of the activities or how organised other folk would be. So we arrived at 10am and by the time we'd found The High Seas where the "Pirate Training" took place (the one activity i'd earmarked as "unmissable" for Toby) it was fully booked for both the Saturday and the Sunday! Likewise, by the time we'd found The Social (where the food was!), bought and eaten lunch and found the tent where Clay Babies was taking place (the one activity i'd earmarked as "unmissable" for Rudy) it also was fully booked! So we came away not having done the two things we'd gone there determined not to miss! D'oh! Admittedly this was partly our fault for not being more organised, but i was slightly disappointed in the organisers, as it seemed obvious to me that those two activities would be popular, and it felt like we missed out because we were daytrippers, whereas those camping for the weekend could have gone round putting their names down for everything on the Friday evening/first thing on the Saturday morning before we arrived.
Food and drink was pretty pricey but i think that's fairly standard at festivals and didn't come as a shock.
(The boys enjoying somewhat over-priced veggie sausages on a bread roll)
Other than those minor complaints it was all good really. There were some lovely stalls selling various fare. I spotted some awesome hedgehog trousers for Rudy that i totally meant to go back and buy at some point but forgot (see above re: our penchant for meandering, and lack of organisation!)
Toby chose a wooden pirate toy for his souvenier
Rudy may have missed out on hedgehog pants but ended up coming away with something even more awesome (if that's possible!) as we spent some time loitering around the Bouquiniste Bookswap, which was sponsored by Spineless Classics (http://www.spinelessclassics.com/) and we fell in love with the idea and ended up buying a print of the entire of "The Just So" stories by Rudyard Kipling, to hang in our very own Rudyard's room.
We got home around 6pm ish all totally knackered and me slightly sunburnt, which is unsual, not because i don't burn easy- i can do milk to lobster in no time at all, but because i am usually pretty hot (pardon the pun) at slapping on the suncream. I think i just got caught out because of the clouds, it didn't feel like we needed to dig the suncream out of the bag, and it wasn't until i got home i realised we probably should have done!
So all in all a few lessons learnt, and a good time had by all.
One thing which really blew me away was just how many slings we saw...from the minute we pulled up in the
car park field, we saw people unpacking slings from the boots of their cars, and popping little ones in ring slings and tying mei tai straps for their partners. It was brilliant. Even Chris, who sees babywearing as practical, common-sense way of transporting your baby, rather than a lifestyle choice remarked on what a nice vibe/atmosphere the festival had, it was really laid back.
Real life should be like the Just So Festival i reckon, babywearing as the norm, breastfeeding in public as a matter of course, lots of happy noisy kids running around, dens in the woods...and yurts!
I think it's safe to say we'll be returning next year, hopefully for the full festival next time.