Do Festival Season Without Leaving The House...The Joys Of A Family Festival At Home!
Life before kids meant our summers were planned out according to what festivals we were going to. Glastonbury, Bestival, Lovebox, Wireless, Field Day…we did them all year in, year out. It helped that I was a showbiz journalist and so going to festivals was essentially a big part of my job, not that it felt like work, if I’m honest. But then came the time to start a family and naturally our festival going antics slowed down considerably. Although I did take my considerable bump (soon to be Rafferty) to Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hackney at almost 9mths pregnant, and then again to listen to Paul Simon in Hyde Park on my actual due date because there was no sign of him making an appearance and I thought it might encourage him (it didn’t, he was more than two weeks over!).
Now we are four, and we see our festival days as still very much in front of us. We can’t wait to share the magic of Glastonbury with the kids one day. But not yet. It’s too big and they’re too little. I’ve seen enough tiny children trudging their tired little legs through the thick, sticky mud, to know that it’s exhausting and they’re not ready for it yet. So when eBay approached me about creating an ‘At Home Festival Experience’ so that we can all enjoy a bit of that festival atmosphere in our own back garden, I didn’t hesitate to take them up on the offer.
I started thinking about all the essentials needed to recreate that festival experience and came up with three different settings. The obvious added advantage to doing this in your own home is that you don’t need to worry about your tent floating away, or your clothes getting so damp you start to smell of mildew by Day 3. I had the freedom to be a bit more creative and to indulge in the dream festival scenarios, and if that’s not a big tick in the box for giving an At-Home Festival a go, I don’t know what is!
So, starting with our camping set-up. Because it’s not a festival if there isn’t a tent involved. Interestingly, almost all of the product I used in this shoot is new, rather than used or pre-loved. I often buy brand new items from eBay (for example, the sputnik pendants in our lounge, and the bathroom sconces) so that wasn’t necessarily new to me. What was new however, was the discovery of the many Brand Outlets and range of well known household brands selling on there. Did you know that brands like Joules, Office and Dune all have an outlet department within eBay and Blacks and Millets are eBay sellers? Game changer. So I bagged a two-man tent via Millets, along with a very handy foldaway BBQ, some enamelware plates and plastic tumblers.
And because this is our garden, I gave tent a boho facelift with some foraged flowers and layered up with rugs, cushions and blankets for comfort. The seat pads are £15 for two from eBay, and come in a range of colours. Perfect for extra seating during picnics or BBQ’s and you can use them to provide extra padding on chairs too. A few home comforts and soft furnishings is all you need to create the dream festival camping scenario. The kids played out in this for hours and we’ve promised them we’ll set it all up again and sleep out here in the school holidays.
Whatever you do when creating your home festival, don’t forget the glitter. It is a must and brings instant festi vibes! I found Eco-Friendly Biodegradable Glitter on eBay so no oceans need be harmed while you shimmer and shine. Although you’ll still be finding it behind your ears and between your toes for weeks to come!
With base camp all set up, it’s time to head for some lunch. It wouldn’t feel at all like a festival if you were sat around a dinner table so I knew I wanted to create something a bit different, with a nod to the many times I have sat cross legged in a field tucking into a tray of falafel and chips. There’s something so inviting about this “posh picnic” look, it’s so simple but has a real wow factor I think and I’m definitely going to be doing this again when we have friends over. To recreate thus look, you’ll need something you can make a low table with. I went along to my local builders yard to see if they had any spare pallets lying around. They did and kindly let me take a couple. I only used one one in the end as it was only the four of us but you could add more according to how many people you are entertaining. I had laid out Persian, jute and sheepskin rugs (all eBay) to create that layered boho look and to make it extra cosy. The Persian rug is an essential element of that well travelled festival vibe. If you have one inside that you don’t mind bringing outside, then use that. This one is a great price for a large rug and will be rolled up and kept in the shed and rolled out again whenever we are hosting in the garden.
Pop the pallet or whatever you are using on top of the rugs and throw a tablecloth or sheet over the top. Then scatter cushions and blankets around and you’re well on your way to the boho dining dream. I’ve been looking for something to add texture to our modern garden sofa and at £11.99 each these tasselled cushions fit the bill perfectly. I’ve seen ones exactly like this elsewhere for more than double the price, so it’s definitely worth checking on eBay first. They are now happily ensconced on the outdoor sofa after posing up a storm for this shoot. Texture is such an important part of making spaces feel inviting and you can see below how I’ve layered sheepskin, tassels. linen, jute and brass. Don’t you just want to throw yourself down here and stay put all day?
But you can’t just laze around all day because there is dancing to be done. Get the tunes on and dance like no-ones watching. Current favourites in our house are Arctic Monkeys, Churches, Lewis Capaldi and forever Bruno Mars for Rafferty, and George Ezra, Billie Eilish and Little Mix for Nellie. Try as I might I can’t get Raf into grime and this year’s Glastonbury headliner Stormzy, but I’ll keep trying (the radio friendly versions).
Before I move onto the final festival set-up I created, we need to talk about festival fashion. If I’m honest I’ve never been the most practical of festival go-ers when it comes to clothes and I have always prioritized sequins, flower crowns and fancy dress over proper raincoats and base layers. Luckily I didn’t need to worry too much about that for this project. If it rains, nip indoors until it stops. I did however get the children new wellies from the Joules Outlet. Click here for Rafferty’s wellies, and here for Nellie’s wellies.
I also got Nellie’s dress and Raf’s summery shorts and t-shirt from the Joules Outlet. Totally age appropriate and perfect for summer festival fun. And don’t try to tell me the colours are too light for a festival. I’ve already said I’m in the fashion over function camp on this one. Plus we have astroturf so no mud to worry about.
And that’s not all I found on the Joules Outlet on eBay. I spotted this trophy jacket and it’s exactly what I have been looking for, for the summer months. It’s light enough to layer over shorts or a dress if the clouds come in, and it’s so pretty. I think this will be getting a lot of wear. Unfortunately this one has sold out but the stock is always being updated so it’s worth checking in to see what they have. I also got these leopard print sandals which will go with anything and everything. I even managed to kit David out in Joules via eBay too, plus a pair of very dapper suede espadrllles from the Office outlet, perfect for a festival in your astroturf covered garden.
For my final festival scene, I’m attempting to recreate the atmosphere of the pyramid stage right here in South East London. Ok maybe I can’t replicate the sound of 100,000 cider-fuelled festival go-ers singing along and waving flags. But an outdoor cinema screening of Beyonce’s Homecoming I can do. Fun fact - we were at Glasto the year Beyonce played the Pyramid stage and one of our friends popped the question to his girlfriend during Single Ladies…and she said YES! Major Glastonbury moment. So in honour of that magic moment, here’s Queen B beamed out of a little wizard of a projector and onto the big screen in our garden.
Ok, I have to be honest with you here. With the light Summer nights it wasn’t dark enough to play the projector before the kids bedtime so we had to do some mock-up shots, hence why the kids are not looking as enthralled with Beyonce as they should be…because they can’t see her unfortunately.
But popcorn made it all ok and you get the idea. Plus David and I got to enjoy it cosied up together under the stars, once they were tucked up safely in bed and sound asleep.
But before we get to the cinema, let’s talk about these chairs. I’ve been so excited to share these with you because i honestly think you are going to love them. They are made from faux Rattan and therefore completely waterproof. The deep base and curved back makes them super comfy and the height is perfect for cinema viewing (or just chilling in the garden with a cold drink in hand tbh). The egg shape and the lattice look very modern and at just over £70 each, I’m telling you these are a super eBay find if you’re in the market for some new garden chairs.
The Kodak Pocket Projector that we used here is nothing short of a mini miracle. It’s tiny for starters, about the size of your phone, and it projects clear images up to 10metres. It’s flexible too. You can plug it into your phone, or your laptop, which is what we did (but warning you need extra HDMI cables to do that) or you can load a micro card up with films, pop it in and play it like that. We are so impressed with this little piece of kit. And it goes without saying for something of it’s size but it’s also very, very portable. We teamed it with this Vonhaus Portable Projector screen which is super easy to set-up too. I honestly didn’t realise how easy it was to set up an Outdoor Cinema and we can’t wait to put it to good use over the course of the Summer. Up first, an open air screening of Glastonbury when it kicks off on June 27th.
And now the performances are over and it’s time to head off to Shangri-La for the after-hours fun. And by Shangri-La I mean the comfort of your own bed for a night of sound sleep uninterrupted by someone stumbling over your tent’s guy rope, or getting the wrong tent. Have I convinced you to give an At-Home Family Festival a go? It’s so much fun!
This post is part of a paid partnership with eBay but all products were chosen by me and it’s all in my own words.