I just had a really strange weekend that did not involve one “I’m Bored ! ” or “I want to play on my phone !”….I kid you not !
I had the pleasure of going to Alex James Big Feastival in The Cotswolds and what a flipping fab time we all had ! We came away with over full bellies, extra freckles and great memories.
Someone must have done overtime on the good weather dance as the weather was perfect, not a muddy wellie was to be seen and it was actually nice to have to wear suncream !
So the feastival runs from the Friday to the Sunday, and honestly I was not looking forward to the camping jobby as I really like a decent bed with a hot shower and a clean toilet. I was told to stock up on wet wipes and go to the toilets first thing in the morning, as they would of been hosed down over night and gradually get smellier by the hour, so it was pretty safe to say I was actually dreading it !
However, what a total waste of worry, Free Clean hot showers were on site and I paid £30 to use posh toilets that were actually a God Send ! I felt clean over the whole weekend and didn’t retch once at a toilet that was off the rankometer scale !
If you didn’t want to embrace the windswept, festival look then you had hair washing and styling stations at The posh toilets. Hair dryers and straighteners were included in the price, which makes life a bit easier ! When Nature calls made the whole festival a lot easier for a newbie like me, and they will always be on my tick list of festival preparations !.
Being organised was a great help during the feastival, and having a lanyard with the all of the talks, demonstrations and bands was a genius idea. With timed Book signings, famous chefs talks, kids activity’s etc, it really did pay to sit down with a brew and work out your plan of action. This did often see me walking from one field to the next in a rapid motion, but I thankfully got to watch pretty much everything on my list. From bolting around and burning tons of calories in the process, I am glad to report I am pain free from the neck up !
The Neff Big Kitchen was amazeballs with well known Chefs cooking up a storm in front of your very eyes ! Some were actually very comical which made it even more enjoyable, and with average slots of around 30 minutes it didn’t drag and was never too much of an information overload ! I skipped out of the Jamie Oliver demo as it was officially heaving, but I got to watch both him and Alex James on the Decks in the Cheese Hub which was tad surreal but great fun.
Pre feastival my step son Ioan wanted to be a Fireman or a pro Rugby player but thanks to the Neff Cookery school, he is now a budding chef wannabe, which is actually fab as I am more than happy for him to practice and fetch me brekki in bed ! An interactive guided cooking course was on offer where you were able to don the Neff apron and have a go at following a recipe, with the guidance of a leader and many helps. This was a really enjoyable hour, but make sure you are early to sign up, as places go QUICK !
The Neff little kitchen was a great idea, as I am a huge advocate for nurturing our children and getting them involved in the kitchen, having the children pick their vegetables from the specially grown vegetable patch before they incorporated it into a child friendly recipe, was a fun and informative lesson !
There are sooooooo many places and outlets offering a whole range of food, from Naan wraps to Hotdogs to Venezuelan Corn bread and prices ranged from around £5 up to £9. These are average festival prices but if your a family of four all buying a hotdog at £6.50 each then the price will soon add up ! If you are looking to do the Feastival on a budget this thankfully if totally durable with cooking stations in the camping fields, with kids with a never ending appetite, I think this is a fantastic addition to the Feastival.
This was a £9 chicken and cheese burger that we renamed the “Get in my belly chicken Burger” as it was very naughty but oh so flipping nice !
I am not sure if it is my age or if oldfartitus is really setting in, as I often need to have a five minute chill with a decent cup of coffee ! With so many activity stations for the kids, this is oh so possible to do frequently and not only did it keep the kids happy, but it also give me my well earned five minutes to chillax.
A fab afternoon treat are these bad boys from the Bad Brownie company. They are honestly good enough to tell any diet to jog on, and I will hunt these out on my next visit. Be afraid Bad Brownie, as you officially have a stalker !
I was sooooooo over the moon when I found out that The Hacienda Classical would be playing. Being an aging raver quaver had the inner 17 year old resurface for an hour, and seeing this show piece, turned out to be the highlight of my whole weekend, they were absolutely fanflippintastic ! I had goose bump on top of goose bump watching how the magnificent orchestra turned these old school toons into classical master pieces, and everybody around me felt the same ! Tickets for another viewing have moved to the top of my Christmas list and I honestly cannot say enough positive things about it !
Olly Murs, Madness and the other acts were equally good and I secretly think the parents enjoyed watching Dick and Dom much more than the kids !
Some top tips tips that may help you on your next visit to Featival would be to visit the Agricultural University stand as they had the genius idea of selling there Home made wine for £13 a bottle and would keep it in the fridge for you, you could just pop back for a nice cold top up !
Visit The Little pickle for some taste packed goodness on your next visit. This small company produce some amazing scotch eggs and pies that are around £3 with a side of pickle and is a great alternative to carrying around a heavy picnic hamper. A decent pie and a glass of cold local cider takes some beating !
It was hard to find any negatives about the feastival as it was well organised and ran smoothly but two have stood out. Firstly the wrist bands absolutely done my swede in as every time the fabric got wet, I had it irritating my arm until it dried.
We opted for the quiet campsite, as I find it hard to sleep and both Friday and Saturday were perfect, however my final gripe is that of staying on the sunday night and having all the traders have a big party in the field next to us, it woke up the children in our neighbouring tents and made our long journey home on the Monday even more tiresome. So next year we will leave on the Sunday evening.
The local Scout group also deserve a HUGE shout out as they worked there little woggles off ! They helped carry bags, distributed free newspapers in the morning and were basically a breath of fresh air, they deserve a huge pat on the back and I don’t feel I am out of place when I say a big collective thank you !
So will I be booking up for next year ?
Well, I have already ear marked my camping spot and have told several friends that they MUST keep that weekend free, so I guess you could say ” try and stop me ” !
P.S Mr James , You are officially aloud to walk around with a smug grin !
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