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Wilderness Festival 2012 – Review

21 Aug

Way up in the blue skies surrounding Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, the sun shone brightly, projecting it’s warm rays of loveliness on this beautiful space that was now home to the Wilderness Festival for the next three days.

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I was lucky enough to have experienced the Wilderness Festival back in 2011 for what was then its first year. I went with a friend and my two eldest children and camped for the weekend. It was a great experience and with this gut felling it would return this year bigger and better, I just had to be a part of it.

This time however I decided to go it alone, well not alone exactly but with a friend just minus the children. Luckily I was in a position to do so as the children stayed with there father. This really was a great opportunity to let my hair down and have some serious fun.

Again camping was on the agenda and having finally set up the tent within the large camping area we decided to go & check the place out! My first impressions were of it’s size and how much larger the festival was in comparison with last year. As great as the festival was during its first year, I had felt that it was quite limited for the kids! This year things couldn’t have been any more different! There was a vast amount on offer from crafting activity, storytelling, hola-hooping, bubble shows and much more besides. With this I was tempted to make the couple of hours drive back to south london in-order to grab the kids. Of course I didn’t, mainly because there was more than enough on offer to keep me amused as well as the fact I was ever so slightly enjoying the “Me Time”

What’s great about this festival is how it’s not just your average music festival. This is a festival designed to attract varying interests therefore attracting a more diverse audience that consists of young party goers to middle aged old school ravers. With the Wilderness festival being so family friendly you can also expect to see lots of little tots running around in fancy dress, tutus and a pair of fairy wings. This is a festival like no other, offering a relaxed atmosphere while also keeping your mind and body stimulated. Whether you fancy joining in with one of the many intellectual debates and talks, indulging your inner senses while taking a relaxing soak in a wooden hot tub by the stunning lake, or an hours session at the roller disco, you’ll find it here at the Wilderness Festival.

Crafts: Although I myself didn’t engage a great deal in the various craft activities on offer it was easy to see just how much choice there was.The jewellery making in particular looked really interesting as I witnessed some of my fellow festival goers create some pretty impressive pieces.

Music: I love how the Wilderness Festival doesn’t focus itself solely on music alone therefore making it something of its niche ( after all, how can it with so much else on offer)? However, this doesn’t mean we were left wondering around in deadly silence. The Wilderness festival hosts a large live stage that’s graced by many different performers day and night. Some of the music on offer is by new & emerging bands such as the Stornoway a British indie folk band from the local Oxfordshire area who formed in 2006. Other acts included Rodrigo Y Gabriela, London Folk Guild, Spiritualized and many more!

The main stage isn’t the only place that you’ll find people up and dancing. I myself spent little time at the stage as I was far to busy taking advantage of all the other wonderful goings on around the festival site! Nonetheless, various types of Music from funky house, live bandstands & vintage harmonies could be heard playing around the different areas of the wilderness. Both day and night it’s easy to find something that suits your particular taste in music leaving you little choice than to get up on your feet and doing your thing Wilderness style!

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Food: The Wilderness is a festival like no other when it comes to the standard of food on offer. Book yourself a table at one of the banquets and eat food prepared by some of the top chefs around or opt for one of the many food trailers preparing every type of munch imaginable.The standard here is high, I can say with confidence no festival goer will go hungry! The only problem your left with is making the decision of what your going to have!

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Night Parties: Having no children with me meant I could dress myself in some funky festival get up, tie my hair with flowers and sport a spectacular mask once the sun went down. This years midnight masquerade Masked Ball hosted by the Old Vic Tunnels was a party not to be missed nor forgotten! The atmosphere was electrifying as large groups of festival goers were lead by a bongo drum procession into the Wychwood forest for a moonlit extravaganza. Sunday was just as incredible what with the fabulous Secret garden party that saw me dancing into the wee hours and left me looking like a sack full of crap for the entire week thereafter.

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Vintage: This is actually a festival in its own right. This year they were unable to operate alone and therefore joined forces with the Wilderness making it just that bit more spectacular than it already was. The area housed some funky vintage stalls and even a place to get a decade specific makeover. Here you could chill-out at the Future Cinema (open air cinema combined with live theatre) or indulge yourself in a bit of roller skating to some old school tunes at the open air roller disco. By night vintage was the place to find some of the most devise dressers with many taking us way back to the dance floor of the forties ballrooms. I’m actually really pleased that Vintage joined forces with the Wilderness Festival and have been left wondering if this is set to become a normality. I really loved the vintage area and therefore hope it will be. If not than its just another festival I’ll be adding to my must attend list for 2013.

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Sanctuary: I spent a great deal of time indulging my senses and refreshing my mind at the Sanctuary. There were many free sessions of meditation and yoga plus a vast range of treatments on offer which include massage, reflexology, acupuncture, holistic healing and more. My friend and I also decided to meet with the fortune teller who in all honest was a total joker! This guy wasn’t in tune with himself let alone ours. But we didn’t let him put us off and I later met with a sensational healer.

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Rememberable moments: Yes, it’s true, This years Wilderness did host a secret swim that saw festival goers of all ages lose their vintage rags before plunging into the beautiful clear waters of the Cornbury lakes. A massive gathering of skinny dippers who were happy to let it all hang out in an attempt to help set the World record which was for the highest number of skinny dippers swimming in the one place. Did I lose my swimsuit? Hell no, but well done for those who did.

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Camping: Cornbury park offers festival attendees plenty of space to set up camp with dedicated family camping areas and even the option to camp in luxury when opting for a weekends Boutique Camping.

Facilities:

Great Parking with an extensive amount of places.

There are plenty of toilets in and around the festival therefore avoiding huge queues of people dying to pee. Toilets are actually rather well kept, with toilet attendees making sure they are clean and well stocked with loo paper both day and night.

Camping facilities (toilets and showers) are some of the best maintained I’ve seen for a festival. You will also find a good number of water taps for filling bottles, washing pans etc… all over the campsite.

Boutique Babysitting is also on offer. Check the website for more information

Whats really lovely about the this particular festival is that of its friendly atmosphere. Both years I’ve attended this festival I’ve never witness a single bit of trouble (when you live in london this is incrediable rare especially when alcohol is involved)! Festival Revealers are free spirited and high on fresh air & happiness, an infectious state of being!

It’s my opinion, without a shadow of a doubt, that the success of this years Wilderness Festival has ensured it’s place on the festival top list. I can quite honestly say with great confidence that this is one of the best festival I’ve ever attended and I just can’t wait to experience it all over again in 2013.

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Early bird tickets for The Wilderness Festival 2013 are already on sale… Find out more by clicking HERE

Links
Wilderness Festival Website
Wilderness Festival Facebook
Wilderness Festival Twitter

Disclaimer: This is a review post! I was not paid to write this but did receive a press and guest pass in-order to write and then share a review. All words are honest and that of my own.

I bring you the Wilderness Festival

20 Jul

Last year I was overjoyed to win a family ticket with camping to the fabulous Wilderness festival set in the idyllic Cornbury Park Oxfordshire. It was the first year of an amazing new festival and this year they are all set to return bigger and better than ever.

I’m overjoyed at knowing that I will once again be joining festival goers, however this time I’m going child free.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a child friendly festival, but the children are spending this particular weekend with their dad so I’m going to be taking full advantage of the surroundings and of course… The night parties.

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THE ULTIMATE CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE IN WONDERFUL SURROUNDINGS

Witchwood School of Rock, The Bushcraft Company, Flying Seagull Project, Tea Potty Shed, Barefoot Books and the chance to meet a fairy queen in the forest…just a few of the things for your ‘Little Wild Ones’ to enjoy at Wilderness Festival

Taking place from 10th-12th August at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, workshops for kids and adults alike, interspersed with walks into the wilds and an enchanted woodland fairy trail.

Jo Vidler, Creative Director comments:
“We want to ensure that everyone attending Wilderness, no matter what age, can enjoy the unique offerings we have across the weekend. Our curators have raised the bar this year to create the phenomenal ‘Little Wild Ones’ area that will have all kinds of activities for kids. Wilderness will have opportunities for everyone to take part in something that they wouldn’t normally have the chance to experience, and for us that’s key.”

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Family friendly entertainment from the Suitcase Cabaret who will host an army of brilliance from comedy to music and activities including, horse riding, fly-fishing, Zumba! classes and Guerilla Geography available across the site. The award-winning festival welcomes back The Bearded Kittens to host the famous ‘Not Your Average’ cricket match on the lawn, complete with lashings of Pimms and piles of cucumber sandwiches, and Future Cinema make their Wilderness debut with a Bugsy Malone takeover complete with a massive splurge fight.

The fabulous Bushcraft Company will be delivering their outdoor adventures influenced by nature, where children will be able to learn bushcraft skills from lighting fires to woodland playing games, shelter building and carving techniques. They’ll also be offering a twist on babysitting with an exclusive kids-only overnight camp where parents can drop their children off at 5pm for them to enjoy a night of walks, games, campfires and cooking with experienced Bushcraft staff. They’ll be back to meet their parents by 11am the next morning – a treat for both children and mums and dads.

Embracing the Wilderness spirit, the ‘Little Wild Ones’ area will be a hive of inspired children’s activity. The Flying Seagull Project returns with a range of entertainment based in a beautiful gypsy-esque, open-sided pavilion tent, complete with vintage horsebox and Willy Wonka style stage. Kids can also discover the magic of nature with a rainbow trail led by the Fairyland Trust. Families will embark on a fascinating journey as they enter a wonderful land of fairy folklore and natural history.

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Let their imaginations run wild with a host of spectacular activities and workshops including jewellery making with Amy Surman, a Socktopus puppet workshop, which promotes creative recycling and will hold a dancing parade on the final day, and Witchwood School of Rock – the biggest little rock school in the world. The ‘Little Wild Ones’ also welcomes Hartbeeps – a unique blend of original music workshops and mini productions in this interactive experience.

Are you sitting comfortably? The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre will take adults and children on a trip to the author’s mythical world with poems from ‘Revolting Rhymes’ and ‘Dirty Beasts’, and continuing with the literary theme, enjoy live storytelling music, arts and crafts and yoga from Barefoot Books.

The ‘Pop-up Garden’ will ensure all the family get green-fingered with hands-on knowledge of gardening, the Kite Studio will offer creative clay and print making workshops and Meet the Species returns to Wilderness to engage children with the environment around them, as they identify species in and around the site.

Wilderness is also pleased to welcome Tea Potty Shed with the T Potty ladies and their old-fashioned sweet shop. Children can learn how to weigh out sweets and count out pennies in return for some tasty treats. Also across the festival weekend families can spend some time together and take part in drumming, storytelling, face painting, fairy crown making, cinema, pottery and hula-hooping.

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As you would expect at a festival, the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down! Let the stars guide you on an enchanting woodland fairy trail, filled with beautiful secret fairy houses and the mesmerising Fairy Queen, who will tell old tales of ancient folk law about the nature that surrounds.

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Family tickets (two adults and two children) are priced at £260.

For further festival information and tickets to Wilderness Festival, please visit: www.wildernessfestival.com

Sounds awesome… Doesn’t it?
Checkout the lineup below and visit the Wilderness website and Facebook page for more information.

Line-up:
Music
RODRIGO Y GABRIELA performing with C.U.B.A, WILCO, SPIRITUALIZED, SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS, THE TEMPER TRAP, CRYSTAL FIGHTERS, STORNOWAY, BENJAMIN FRANCIS LEFTWICH, LIANNE LA HAVAS, CLOUD CONTROL, GIANT GIANT SAND, GRANT LEE BUFFALO, JENNY O, FIELD MUSIC, FATOUMATA DIAWARA, MILAGRES, TO KILL A KING, JAKE BUGG, LONDON FOLK GUILD
Cinematic Spectacular
FUTURE CINEMA PRESENT: BUGSY MALONE FESTIVAL TAKOVER ACROSS THE WHOLE SITE AND THE OTHER CINEMA’S PRESENTATION OF ‘LA HAINE’ FEATURING A LIVE RE-SCORE BY ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION

Food
YOTAM OTTOLENGHI, FERGUS HENDERSON + ST JOHN, VALENTINE WARNER, SAM & SAM CLARK’S MORO SOUK DINING TENT, THYME COOKERY SCHOOL

INTELLIGENCE SQUARED, THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY, THE SCHOOL OF LIFE, THE IDLER ACADEMY, THE LAKESIDE SPA, THE HEALING GARDEN

Late night parties
SECRET GARDEN PARTY presents RISE OF THE TRIBES, THE OLD VIC TUNNELS MIDNIGHT MASKED BALL, BOOM BOOM CLUB, RUMPUS, BLOODSTONE’S FEAST OF FOOLS

Bag yourself a bargain this Christmas with Groupon

26 Nov

I’m a girl who likes to shop, I’m also a girl who likes a bargain. I don’t have a hidden pot of cash to spend on what I like, I have three children and I’m a full-time carer for my son on the autism spectrum, so… yes, I admit, I like to get things that bit cheaper if and when I can! Who doesn’t?

I never go out and buy anything big or considered a luxury item at full price anymore, I just don’t have that luxury (unless, I have won some money or saved my arse off for months on end in-order to buy it)! Christmas is especially expensive and I like to keep my eyes peeled for a deal or two.

Groupon is a national online company that aims to bring you a selection of discounted offers on everything from hair cuts, clothing vouchers for awesome big name mail-order chains to some smaller independent outlets & high street stores, homeware, gifts, toys, restaurants, club, spas and more. You can sign up for a daily email where you’ll be sent the daily national deal & you can even choose to have them send offers personalised for your designated area.

I’ve known about Groupon for sometime, I’m a member of their Facebook page and have had the emails sent for a few months now! Despite some pretty special deals, I’ve never really got round to grabbing ahold of one! So, when I was asked to review Groupon as part of our Christmas feature, I thought, ‘Yer Why not!’

Groupon gave me a code for a £40 gift voucher towards any of it’s deals. Each deal normally last for a period of 24hrs. I would really recommend that you opt in for the daily email in-order not to miss something amazing. Here’s a small selection of  some of the deals I’ve seen over the past few weeks…


course of 10 Belly dancing lessons, each lasting 90 minutes a session for a mere £14

MP3 player with extras priced at £29 giving you 69% off

Well-being: Deep tissue or Swedish massage with Facial at the Sunshine factory for £34 saving 60%

All day beginners DSLR Photography course for £59, 60% saving.

Weight Loss hot-pants from Zaggora for £19 instead of £44 (I have these and these already and this is a bargain)

Kids bedroom wall stickers £8 instead of £17

Eight swimming lessons for kids or adults £28 instead of £76

Ice Skating for two at Broadgate ice rink for £8.00 giving you a 60% saving.

Two games of tenpin bowling for 4 people £12 saving 79%

LOVEFilm unlimited rental for 3 month for £6 saving £80%

Vera Wang Glam Princess 100ml bottle £29.99 from the London Perfume company saving 52%

All the above are really awesome deals however, there was one that isn’t listed above that really caught my eye, so much so it was my first ever Groupon buy which I used part of my Groupon voucher to pay for.

Decorative Wall Stickers from Moskys One (£9) Two (£17) three (£25) four (£32) or five (£40) I went for the second offer (two stickers for £17) Funny thing was, I had been looking on the Moskys online site not even two days prior to the deal and I had fallen in-love with two of the large decorative stickers, but at £23 each I just couldn’t justify buying them especially at Christmas time. Of course I jumped at the chance to get my hands on my lusted after stickers when the deal came through, £17.00 for two is an absolute steal!

It was really simple, I just clicked the buy now button and once on the payment page I entered my log in details (new members can sign up from the log in page if they haven’t done so already) I selected the offer I wanted (number of stickers) I then filled in all my details and put in my Groupon code in the designated area provided. You use this box for promo codes or those on gift vouchers, other-wise you can select the option to provide your payment details (number of options such as card and pay-pal) I gave all other relevant details including delivery address and that was it, job done!

You will not be sent your voucher in-till the offer comes to an end (this will be sent in an email) nonetheless you are sent a confirmation email and even the chance to spread the word, send the offer to a number of friends and for everyone who buys it your account is credited £6 (nice little earner for those with the big diary of contacts, especially at Christmas).

My deal lasted 24 hours, I brought it quite late with 22 minutes to spare, a few hours after it was closed, Groupon sent my voucher. This means that when I go to purchase my stickers from Moskys I just enter my voucher code and the money is deducted at the checkout just leaving me the postage and packaging to cover.

I haven’t yet order my stickers and I have until the 14th December to do so (it’s on my to do list)! Remember to read the T&C of each deal, some have exemptions, all have a day in-which they run out, some sooner than others. Deals on services such as treatments, hotels, meals, activities , etc., state if there is any additional VAT and online orders of all items will detail any additional shipping chargers ect. All can be checked before making a payment. If your voucher is for a deal on a product, you will normally be given an estimated delivery time (example allow 1-2 weeks for delivery) I found this most helpful, and most will especially if buying gifts for Christmas.

I later found my second “Must have deal” which was a Bratz on the mic fashion doll from KidsPlaystore.com Valued at £49.99 but priced up as £17.99 on the Groupon deal, giving me a saving of 64%. I read the T&C which state I will need to pay an additional £6 P&P and must allow up to 3 weeks for delivery which means it should be here in time for the big C! Which will delight my daughter I’m sure! 

I only got the above deal yesterday and plan to order both my deals in the morning, so here’s hoping the Groupon partners supply a good a service as Groupon has so far, making this a fantastic way to shop.

The experience for me has so far been excellent, I’ve received a good level of customer service, found the ordering system easy to follow, and have been sent emails as and when I should be. All the deals are 100% genuine and the full retail price can be seen on the individuals website. Groupon also offer really cheap last-minute holiday which they are practically giving away in some cases! Groupon can also provide gift vouchers, and they host some great competitions from time to time.

A great range of deals, with some interesting gift ideas to give to your loved ones. I know that I’ll be using Groupon again, I’m just waiting for that next special deal.

Groupon experience so far 4/5 stars.

Given my orders go through on the retailers sites OK and deliveries are good it will easily go up to the full 5 stars.

Check out the all new Groupon TV ad

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