Amelia’s Magazine | Wood Festival 2015 Review: A Family Friendly Musical Paradise

Wood Festival 2015-review year of the bee
This year, as ever, the weather was absolutely gorgeous for Wood Festival: plenty of sunshine and dry underfoot despite the downpours a few days previously. I managed to persuade my friend (and fellow mum) Helen of East End Prints to accompany us as I knew that Snarf would love to feral around with his lil’ mate (we went to the Buddhafield Green Earth Awakening Camp together last year, read my review here) and we arrived in time for a late lunch on Saturday, staying through to Sunday evening.

Wood Festival 2015-review kids run wild
Wood Festival 2015-review out door singing
Wood Festival 2015-review tyre swing
Wood Festival 2015-review snarf
Wood Festival 2015-review bubbles
Wood Festival 2015-review harmony workshop
Wood Festival 2015-review samba band
I know I’ve said this in previous years but Wood Festival is perfect for kids: there is a sense of freedom and safety in the field at Braziers Park that is rare to find, and we basically had a child-led festival, following where our little ones wanted to run. We ate cheesy chips, enjoyed unexpected tunes around the daytime campfire, roamed the woodland playground, ate ice cream, chased bubbles, joined a harmony singing workshop, followed the samba band (dressed as bumble bees), ate more ice cream and of course listened to some music when we could:

The Wallingford based Band of Hope shared some beautiful folk harmonies and soaring violin melodies. They have put together a podcast recorded at Wood Festival, which you can listen to here.

Wood Festival 2015-review main stage
Wood Festival 2015-review kids in woods
Wood Festival 2015-review bee girls
Wood Festival 2015 review kids workshop
Wood Festival 2015-review dining tent
Wood Festival 2015-review campfire
Wood Festival 2015-review the gang
Late on Saturday night I listened to Tunng from the comfort of our tent, having adjourned for the night at a ridiculously early hour with my child. This was the first time the band have played together in some time and they sounded great, even in my half asleep state.

Co-Pilgrim put together a typically dreamy set from the wonderful album A Fairer Sea, which lulled my over excited three year old to sleep. Expect a new album from them soon.

The ‘big bastard baritone’ vocals of Liverpool based John Joseph Brill (his words not mine) were an exciting discovery – a uniquely raspy voice married to soulful reverb that is a heavenly cross between Interpol, U2 (in the best sense) and I LIKE TRAINS. Go check him out.

I heard Spiro on the radio a few weeks ago and was most taken with their tight music making (the result of many years playing together), a deft combination of classical music, dance and folk. It was great to hear them live.

Wood Festival 2015-review band with baby
Finally, Francis Pugh & The Whisky Singers are bluegrass singers from Oxford and were a great reminder of what Wood Festival does so well: creating a family friendly atmosphere where everyone can enjoy great music in a relaxed setting. Where else would you so comfortably find a baby on stage, holding a red balloon?

We are already looking forward to next year.

All photography by Amelia Gregory, our portrait by Mim Saxl.

Categories ,2015, ,A Fairer Sea, ,Band of Hope, ,Brazier’s Park, ,Buddhafield Green Earth Awakening Camp, ,Child Friendly, ,children, ,Co-pilgrim, ,East End Prints, ,Family, ,Francis Pugh & The Whisky Singers, ,I Like Trains, ,Interpol, ,John Joseph Brill, ,Mim Saxl, ,Oxford, ,review, ,Snarf, ,Spiro, ,tunng, ,U2, ,Wood Festival, ,Year of the Bee

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Amelia’s Magazine | Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park: an ideal place to stay for a Lake District Holiday

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park Swift Chamonix
Last week we headed North for a short break in the Lake District, staying in a luxury holiday home at the Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park on the edge of the South Lakes, where Cumbria borders Lancashire in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Since our recent weekend at Pontins Camber Sands I have come to the conclusion that staying in a holiday home or chalet is an ideal way to experience a vacation; providing all the comforts of home, including the peace and quiet that can be so scarce in a hotel. Holgates Silverdale was voted Holiday Park of the Year in the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2014, and it’s not hard to see why.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park view
The view from our holiday home.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park Swift Chamonix interior
The luxurious lounge.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park diner
The spacious kitchen diner.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park
The master bedroom: Snarf is going through a phase of shouting ‘No Photos‘ whenever he sees me with camera in hand, before running off. Makes documentation quite hard!

Our Swift Chamonix Holiday Home was tucked away at the top of the hill, with stunning views out across woodland and on to Morecambe Bay, which is an otherworldly landscape of shifting sands quite unlike anything else I have come across. Inside we had a cosy living room, full size kitchen and dining table, plus two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Outside was a spacious deck which we would like to have used more, but sadly the weather was against us for most of our stay.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park camping pod
Holgates Silverdale is immaculately maintained, with tier upon tier of identically painted mint green holiday homes, most of which have been personalised by their owners with different windows, roofs or doors. A few of these homes are available to rent and there is also the option to pull up with your own camper van, caravan or tent. I was particularly taken by the scenic camping pods which have prime positions overlooking the bay. The park boasts two lovely playgrounds and a large swimming pool with hot tub, sauna and steam room attached. We spent two evenings swimming with Snarf, a reminder that we really must enter the wet stuff more often. Next door the Holgates Silverdale restaurant fed us some unexpectedly delicious food late one evening (I recommend the melt-in-the-mouth lasagne) – all made with local produce.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park Arnside Tower
Arnside Tower: Holgates Silverdale is just behind the trees to the right.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park arnside beach
The view over Morecambe Bay from the shoreline at Arnside.

Jenny Brown's Point
Jenny Brown’s Point, with the iconic chimney in the background.

We spent most of our visit journeying into the Lake District (which takes a bit over half an hour, driving along exceptionally scenic roads) so did not get much time to explore the surrounding area as much as we would have liked to. We passed the crumbling Arnside Tower in differing light each day, and admired the picturesque villages of Arnside and Silverdale from the car. On our last morning (thanks to a tip off on instagram) we drove down a secluded road through lush woodland to take in the blustery views at Jenny Brown’s Point, which features the iconic remains of an ancient copper smelting chimney set against battered rocks and glittering sands. I could easily have spent several hours wandering the shoreline but sadly it was time to head home. I hope we will return to this beautiful part of the world some day soon. In the meantime why not check out my ideas for 5 Great Family Adventures in the Lake District?

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park shoreline
I am big: I am very pregnant. Photo by Tim Adey.

We stayed at Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park courtesy of Cumbria Tourism and Holgates. The Swift Chamonix is available to purchase rather than rent.

Categories ,Arnside, ,Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, ,Arnside Tower, ,Camping pod, ,children, ,Cumbria, ,Cumbria Tourism, ,Cumbria Tourism Awards 2014, ,Family, ,Family Holiday, ,Holgates, ,Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park, ,Holiday Park of the Year, ,Jenny Brown’s Point, ,Lake District, ,Lancashire, ,Morecambe Bay, ,Pontins Camber Sands, ,review, ,Silverdale, ,Snarf, ,Snarfle, ,South Lakes, ,Swift Chamonix Holiday Home, ,travel, ,Travels with Snarf

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Observatory: Arts University Bournemouth Illustration Graduate Show 2015

The Observatory AUB
Last week I visited the Arts University Bournemouth illustration exhibition at The Rag Factory just off Brick Lane with Snarf in tow. There was excellent branding for The Observatory, with this stripey fellow and his big telescopic eye featuring on posters and tote bags.

Liv and Dom AUB characters
Liv and Dom AUB
Liv and Dom AUB dolls
Liv and Dom AUB hanging swimmer
I absolutely loved assorted creatures and bizarre characters by twin partnership Liv and Dom Cave-Sutherland. In fact I liked them so much that I bought the hanging swimmer above. Absolutely a pair to watch.

Anna Johnson AUB
Next up, Snarf particularly liked this detailed work by Anna Johnson: principally because it features a crashed car and a derailed train. I liked her spare use of neon colour.

Josephine Broome AUB
This futuristic imaginary world is the creation of animator Josephine Broome.

paper houses by Amy Bellinger
Amy Bellinger is a ‘stately home enthusiast’ who creates beautiful miniature paper houses.

charlotte reynell illustration
Fun patterns from Charlotte Reynell looked great against the Rag Factory alls.

Harry Graham AUB
Harry Graham showed expert pencil portraits of war veterans.

Laura Schofield AUB
This lovely decorative display is by Laura Schofield. Her beautiful patterns would translate into a wonderful page in my colouring book! I hope she gets involved.

Emily Madeley AUB
Finally, this glittery portrait by Emily Madley is part of a series featuring Bournemouth bouncers.

All of these images first appeared on my own my instagram feed: follow me there to catch my discoveries as I make them!

Categories ,2015, ,Amy Bellinger, ,Anna Johnson, ,Arts University Bournemouth, ,AUB, ,Brick Lane, ,Charlotte Reynell, ,Emily Madley, ,Graduate Show, ,Harry Graham, ,illustration, ,Josephine Broome, ,Laura Schofield, ,Liv and Dom, ,Liv and Dom Cave-Sutherland, ,review, ,Snarf, ,The Observatory, ,the rag factory

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Amelia’s Magazine | Tidy Kingston: Kingston University BA Illustration & Animation Graduate Show 2015

Lizzie Lomax vertical farming
A few weeks ago Snarf and I made it along to the Kingston BA Illustration & Animation graduate show, Tidy Kingston, a reference to the organising of a diverse range of work and personalities. Hosted at the Embassy Tea Gallery in Bermondsey, here is my selection of graduates to watch.

Lizzie lomax kingston uni
Firstly, a few close ups of the Bigger Picture by Lizzie Lomax, inspired by the concept of vertical farming (top).

Emma Erhling Kingston uni
We both loved this ice cream van model by Emma Ehrling and the animation, Mint, was great: featuring a cat that turns into ice cream and escapes through the cat flap!

Reece Wykes kingston uni
These cracking glaciers are by Reece Wykes, based on an expedition to the South Pole.

Summer Bee kingston uni
Summer Bee (Bi Cong) created these cute illustrations for a children’s book about a child searching for their father. Snarf enjoyed picking out the objects.

Chester Holme kingston uni
Chester Holme comic kingston
This modernist housing print is by Chester Holme, who also created intricate esoteric comic artwork.

Yuet Alice Lai kingston uni
This animation artwork is by Yuet Alice Lai, from a surreal story about what happens to little brothers if they eat watermelon seeds!

Twin Trash kingston uni
We really enjoyed BlueBarry – another surreal animation by Twin Trash (Tommy and Marcus Vad Flaatan) featuring an assortment of madcap birds wanting to eat to daring a couple of daring blueberries.

Anni Sayers kingston uni
Lastly, these pots with faces by Anni Sayers are inspired by the parliamentary cabinet, highlighting the elaborate nature of political proceedings.

Categories ,2015, ,Anni Sayers, ,Bi Cong, ,Bigger Picture, ,BlueBarry, ,Chester Holme, ,Embassy Tea Gallery, ,Emma Ehrling, ,Graduate Show, ,Kingston BA Illustration Animation, ,Kingston University, ,Lizzie Lomax, ,Mint, ,Reece Wykes, ,review, ,Snarf, ,Snarfle, ,Summer Bee, ,Tidy Kingston, ,Tommy and Marcus Vad Flaatan, ,Twin Trash, ,Yuet Alice Lai

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Amelia’s Magazine | 5 Great Things to do with Kids in the Lake District

Lake District Muncaster Castle view
Last week we went on a family vacation to the Lake District, taking in a packed schedule of attractions during our short five day trip. I love being outdoors and walking in particular but have resigned myself to a different style of holiday whilst I have young children (a three year old and another on the way) so it was brilliant to visit so many wonderful places that are family friendly in this gorgeous area of the UK. Here’s some great ideas for things to do with kids on your next visit to Cumbria.

Lake District Windermere Swan boat
Lake district Lake Windermere Swan family
Lake District Windermere row boats
Lake district Lake Windermere Swan
Windermere Lake Cruises
We spent a whole day on Windermere; a wonderful way to experience the drama of the Lake District landscape, even in overcast weather. Our first trip aboard the Swan (a lovely old boat) took place whilst it was still relatively windless and we were able to take in beautiful views from the open top deck, which is a great way to marvel at the extravagant private homes that line the idyllic eastern shore. From Bowness (after a delightful lunch in the quaint St Martin’s Tea Room & Grill) we took a trip around the islands, discovering that the smallest is but a tree stump clinging on above water level. Then we ventured to Ambleside at the northern end of the lake, where we ate ice cream in the wind, before returning all the way home aboard the Swan once more. This was Snarf’s first experience of being on boats and he especially loved watching the skippers turning their huge wooden wheels on the smaller boats.

Lake District Lakeland Motor Museum tableaux
Lake district Lakeland Motor Museum
Lake district Lakeland Motor Museum mannequin
Lake district Lakeland Motor Museum lady mannequinLake district Lakeland Motor Museum lady mannequin
Lakeland Motor Museum
The Lakeland Motor Museum is billed as the perfect rainy day attraction for Lake District visitors and it’s not hard to see why: whilst the Lakes are always stunning the weather can be difficult, and not everyone is happy outside in the wind and the drizzle. The museum is situated a short drive from the Southernmost end of Windermere, and boasts a large selection of vehicles from every era, including a rare DeLorean (the car from Back to the Future), the tiny Peel P50 car and some beautiful iconic bluebird blue examples of the cars and boats driven by speed racing driver and local legends Martin and Donald Campbell. Snarf is a great lover of all things wheel based and greatly enjoyed this packed space. I liked the slightly surreal tableaux with spooky mannequins arranged throughout the museum: so most of my photos appear to be of these!

Lake Distric South Lakes Safari Zoo Rhino
Lake district South Lakes safari park family
Lake District South Lakes Safari Zoo peacock
Lake District South Lakes Safari Lemur
South Lakes Safari Zoo tiger - tim adey
Lake District South Lakes Safari Zoo Tiger
Lake district South Lakes safari park peacock
Lake district South Lakes safari park giraffe
South Lakes Safari Zoo
This small but well stocked zoo is only a few decades old, the dream of an eccentric individual called David Gill, and when we visited it was relatively empty, giving us an excellent opportunity to view the animals up close. Our first stop was the interactive enclosure which houses a variety of exotic birds, lemurs and wallabies – making for quite a surreal experience. We particularly loved feeding grapes to the ring tailed lemurs, which have the most endearing personalities, sitting upright with bellies to the sun, or curled into groups with their young. We ate lunch at the Maki Restaurant, then visited some cheeky penguins, watched the tiger being fed from a prime position and helped to feed an elegant giraffe. Aren’t they gorgeous creatures? The extraordinarily strong winds on this exposed site finally got the better of us by late afternoon.

Lake District Ravenglass railway driver
lake district ravenglass railway
Lake District Ravenglass railway view
Lake District Ravenglass railway coal
Lake District Ravenglass railway river irt
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
It took us a long time to drive over to the coastal village of Ravenglass in the Western Lakes, but fortunately the route was one of the most scenic I have ever driven, taking in delightful villages aplenty and stunning views of the peaks on our sunniest day in the Lake District. The Ravenglass narrow gauge railway was first used to transport iron ore, then granite, but has also ferried passengers seven miles through scenic landscapes to Dalegarth for Boot for over 100 years. We were pulled by the gleaming River Irt steam locomotive which is the oldest in residence. At the far end we watched the train on the miniature turntable before hastily grabbing lunch at the station cafe (which sold a great selection of cakes – cakes are taken so much more seriously in the North). By luck we managed to nab a prime position right behind the driver for the downhill return journey, so our train obsessed little boy was able to mimic the driver as he shovelled coal into the engine and pulled the cord to make that inimitable steam engine noise. What a treat!

Lake District Muncaster Castle hawk experience
Muncaster Castle interior
Muncaster Castle haunted room fireplace
Lake District Muncaster Castle rhododendrons
Muncaster Castle Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington
Muncaster Castle red rhododendron
Muncaster Castle rhododendron
Muncaster Castle
It’s not often that you unexpectedly meet the owner of a huge castle but that is exactly what happened when the charismatic Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington blustered into the castle cafe outdoor seating area whilst we enjoyed some ice cream and started talking to us: about rhododendrons (beautiful and many at Muncaster) and the struggles he has had with the authorities on matters rural. The vast landscaped gardens perched on the hillside are an undoubted highlight of any visit to Muncaster Castle, (which is just up the road from Ravenglass), but sadly we were unable to explore as much as we would like with a small and increasingly tired boy in tow. Instead we took the zip wire in the playground and watched a half hour show on the castle lawns from the new Hawk Experience, featuring low flying birds of prey. Then we admired the staggering views across the valley (see the opening image) and took in a short tour of the un-lived in castle rooms, which retain such treasures as Jacobean embroideries and amazing carved fireplaces (particularly spectacular in the ‘haunted’ bedroom). I love the many colours and shapes of the dramatic rhododendron and would love to return to Muncaster Castle in future years.

With many thanks to Cumbria Tourism for arranging our tickets to these attractions. We stayed at the Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park and you can read more about our stay (and further ideas for places to visit in the area) here.

All photography by Amelia Gregory and Tim Adey.

Categories ,Ambleside, ,Bluebird, ,Bowness, ,Cumbria, ,Cumbria Tourism, ,Dalegarth for Boot, ,David Gill, ,delorean, ,Donald Campbell, ,Hawk Experience, ,Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park, ,Lake District, ,Lakeland Motor Museum, ,Maki Restaurant, ,Martin Campbell, ,Muncaster Castle, ,Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington, ,Peel P50, ,Ravenglass, ,Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, ,Rhododendrons, ,River Irt, ,Snarf, ,South Lakes, ,South Lakes Safari Zoo, ,South Lakes Wild Animal Park, ,St Martin’s Tea Room & Grill, ,Swan, ,Tim Adey, ,Western Lakes, ,Windermere, ,Windermere Lake Cruises

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