Recommended: Wilderness Festival

Florence Finds, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams

Today the very lovely and stylish Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams is taking over the blog with her review of Wilderness Festival. If you happen to be a festival aficionado or just like to see how other people get their groove on, then you’re in the right place as this particular one looks EPIC…

I seem to be the only 30-something in the land never to have attended a music festival. Madness I know, particularly given the fact that I plan events for a living. But all that has now changed and last weekend I popped my festival cherry with the one dubbed ‘Poshstock’ otherwise known as Wilderness Festival.

Held in a tranquil lakeside setting in the Oxfordshire countryside, this festival, I imagine, is the antithesis to all other festivals. Magnificent curiosities abound and you would never find yourself short of something to do at Wilderness, from the sumptuous wood-fired hot tubs lining a lake filled with brave swimmers, to the gourmet banquets and food trucks galore and the plethora of workshops, talks, activities and live music taking place across the weekend. It’s a culture-seekers delight, a little too try hard at times, but a lot of fun nonetheless.

My attendance at the festival was a totally last minute affair, I was gifted the tickets just last Monday by clients of mine as a thank-you for planning their own festival wedding, and by Thursday we had packed up the car and headed South. This spontaneous adventure meant we were attending with a totally open-mind and lack of preconception about what was in store. It also meant we’d well and truly missed the boat when it came to trying any of the fantastic activities in offer, everything from the yoga sessions, to the hot tubs to the gourmet banquets was fully booked and despite asking at the elusive ‘info tent’ on arrival the only way we could get in was to keep calling back 10-minutes after each thing was due to start to see if there’d been any no shows, needless to say we opted out of that kind of to-ing and fro-ing.

It was slightly disappointing to not be able to try these things out and I think we’d have had a very different and more rounded experience had we been able to sample a little more, but we still had a great time and saw a lot. Here’s some of my highlights and observations about the festival for those thinking of going next year…..

WILD SWIMMING & WOOD FIRED HOT TUBS

Perhaps something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime is wild swimming, the lake was pretty much always full of swimmers in the daytime, with many taking their pew along the lakeside to catch some rays (whilst the sun was out that is). It was reminiscent of childhood summer holidays in the alps and you couldn’t help but to feel adventurous and carefree even if not partaking in the swimming yourself.

Although we didn’t manage to enjoy the hot tubs at Wilderness we have seen these in action having booked the very same ones for our clients festival wedding earlier in August. By Bathing under the Sky, these beauties are divine and pure luxury, the staff are superbly attentive and really what better way to spoil yourself than in a hot tub in a beautiful forest, champers in hand?

FOOD AND DRINK

Wilderness is without a doubt a foodies delight and we were spoilt for choice when it came down to dining. From the breakfast trucks in the camping area we enjoyed toast, bacon rolls, tea and freshly brewed coffee. For a slightly more relaxing breakfast we headed to the Sanctuary to a lovely little pop-up restaurant (name eludes me) with red and white checked tablecloths enjoying Huevas Rancheros and a chilled coconut water, delish.

There was such a vast selection of food trucks serving a multitude of foods: burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, curry, smoothies, ice-cream, fish and chips, paella, duck, lobster rolls, tacos, you name it you probably could have found it. For lunch I opted for a freedom Gyoza box from Rainbo which included a chicken and miso Gyoza with fresh slaw and edamame beans…..delicious, healthy and colourful. We also tried the wood-fired pizzas from Pizza Tabun which were so delicious we ended up back there again the next day. The food at Moro looked delicious too.

Drinks-wise there were a few bars onsite serving the standard spirit and mixer, priced around £5, we sampled a glass or two of the wine also but soon gave up as it was revolting AND warm. We were also a little disappointed by HIX as it looked fantastic and I’d heard great things, they had a cute outdoor chill-out section under a canopy with vintage furniture that looked so inviting, so we thought we’d enjoy a bottle of champagne and watch the afternoon unfold in front of us from the comfort of their lounge. Unfortunately though they didn’t offer ice buckets or any facility to chill it for us once purchased so we gave up and headed back to the Laurent Perrier Champagne Orangery for the second time since we’d arrived. This place was a little slice of refinement in the otherwise madness of the festival. I enjoy getting down and dirty at an event but sometimes you just want a cold drink and a comfortable seat.

Another favourite was the Zubrowka Bison grass vodka pop-up, a welcome respite from the rain on Friday evening with delicious cocktails, plus some pretty cool styling. Moro provided us with delicious white vermouth cocktails, refreshing and zingy.

FASHION

I could have sat for hours people-watching, everyone made such an effort with their outfits, even the kids with their face paints and funny tails. The festival themed each day with Altered States Friday, Disco Renaissance Saturday and the Cosmos on Sunday. And so ensued an explosion of glitter, sequins, spandex and feathers, with a few masks thrown in for good measure. Personally with little time to prepare it was a case of whatever we could get our hands on so I dug deep into my closet and picked out a few outfits, diy-ing a disco cape from some party decor I had knocking about my studio and buying a glittery cat mask online. Although we could have just turned up and headed to the various vintage and dressing up emporiums (so many) and found some outlandish outfits to wear.

I had a wander round a few and ogled the shiny delights on offer: Secret Emporium was like a party within the party and where I had my face painted by In Your Dreams, Rosa Bloom had some divine feathery and sequinned capes, Violets Box had a fab selection of outfits too.

It was clear this festival was a fashionista’s paradise and we saw so many fashion bloggers and fashion media strutting their stuff with plenty of street-style photographers snapping the action too. My only advice when it comes to dressing is to take lots of layers and flat shoes only, I ended up wearing mainly cut-off denim shorts with bodies and a variety of cover-ups, my anorak quite a lot as the rain was so sporadic and my hunter wellies.

THE DECOR

As a wedding and event planner I am always looking at how brands style and market themselves at events so for me it was like an being in an aladdin’s cave of inspiration. Colourful bunting as far as the eye could see and cute little styled spaces to interact with.


Some of my favourites included the Mulberry craft tent (annoyingly booked up all weekend so I didn’t actually get inside) and the Accessorize tent which had a cool wishing tree with colour-dipped feathers. I also saw lots of fashionable ladies walking around the site with their gold Mulberry balloons and branded picnic hampers, only to find out later that Cara Delevingne had been there to host a private picnic – my invite had clearly got lost in the post.



And as mentioned above the Zubrowka space with its forest-inspired teepee and 3-D paper art installation hanging from the ceiling was definitely one of my favourites and the most thought through design-wise, it looked like a mystical magical space that had literally grown amongst the woodland.

The Laurent-Perrier tent also looked beautiful with a gorgeous string installation over the bar – but I had already spied this on pictures from a previous year so was surprised they’d not done something fresh.


Oh how I’d love to design one of these spaces one day….brands take note.

ENTERTAINMENT

The music side of things, I felt, was quite average, and this comes from someone with hardly a passing interest in current music. It did seem that this element really took a back seat to everything else going on and I rarely saw the stages fill up with the kind of crowds we’ve all seen at the likes of Glastonbury et al. We watched a couple of sets on the main stage but couldn’t even tell you who.



For us the highlights were the late night revelry acts in Pandemonium, an amphitheatre in the valley which came alive at night. We had such a blast dancing our masked faces off to Horse Meat Disco, Greg Wilson and Futureboogie, the sound and lighting was immense topped off by a theatrical acrobatic performance by The Box. The Styx stage was another cool highlight, held on a carousel, as was the burning of the effigy which we watched from Pandemonium. Finally the hidden gem we found was the Artful Badger tent, a tiny space with fabulous music.

ACCOMMODATION

And now for the more practical elements which is where I feel Wilderness fell a little short of the mark and I guess this is the events organiser in me that has little tolerance for poor organisation.

With your ticket you also get access to general camping which allows you to pitch a tent in the main campsite. It has a few different sections including a Quiet Camp for those who actually want to sleep, a Family camp for those with kiddies and the free-for-all general area. There are food trucks close-by this area, plenty of toilets, showers etc and also the big green lockers should you wish to keep things secure (which are actually tiny and just fit your phone and wallet in them ), but definitely worth paying £25 for a weekend pass as you can also charge your phone in them.

This is where my experience was marred slightly with an unfortunate incident occurring on the Friday morning when we were abruptly awoken by a team of security guards telling us to move our tent as we’d pitched in a fire lane, along with about 100 other tents. Annoyingly when we’d arrived Thursday evening, after our 5-hour drive it was pretty dark, there were no maps and limited signage to direct you where to go. The campsites seemed pretty full and and were spilling out into the area we ended up camping in. We checked with the stewards and security manning these areas and we’re told it was fine to camp there so felt pretty irate when told we had to move the next day, particularly as the campsites were full to bursting by this point. Several hours later we’d managed to pack up, repitch the tent and unpack again but it left a pretty sour taste in the mouth. We actually ended up in the Quiet Camp which was anything but, the stewards tried to keep noise levels to a minimum but failed miserably resulting in quite a few sleepless nights.

Overall the camping facilities seemed to be badly organised and we heard many people complaining about it over the weekend, it seemed they had not anticipated the capacity with some reporting 30,000 people this year compared to 15,000 last year. If I attend again then I’ll definitely be glamping or staying offsite.

TOILETS AND SHOWER FACILITIES

This was the part I was dreading the most but I needn’t have been concerned, there was an abundance of toilet areas both in the main arena and across the campsite and I never once had to use my own loo-roll as they never ran out. The queues were pretty much non-existent apart from key points in the day, mainly mornings and early evening as everyone started to get a little inebriated but even then I never queued for longer than 5 minutes.

The showers were clean and HOT, but annoyingly were only working one out of the four times we tried to use them on both the Friday and Saturday. I imagine we were probably cleaner than most festival goers having showered and washed whilst there, but still, if you promise hot showers at least make sure they are working!!

MAPS AND SIGNAGE

Again another element that needs improving, finding your way around is difficult and no-one knows what’s going on when you ask them. You don’t get any kind of map when you arrive and have to pay £8 for a programme containing one which then doesn’t tell you the various food trucks on offer so for me was a waste of time.

It would have been much better with large maps dotted around the site or at least having something online that you can print yourself and /or work things out before you get there.

Despite all the above it was an incredible first festival experience and even though I was terribly sleep-deprived and had to pack up our tent in the midst of a hurricane I look back now with only fond memories of my experience. Roll on next year, who’s with me?

Michelle x

You can find Michelle at www.pocketfulofdreams.co.uk, an experienced events organiser planning individual and spectacular weddings and parties for clients across the UK and Europe.

The Sunday Supplement

Weddings are not something that you see much of over here on Florence Finds, but really, we’re all about style here, of any kind and in every area of your life, whether that be your home, your wardrobe or your wedding. One of my most admired bloggers, Emily, from Cupcakes and Cashmere recently tied the knot and shared the images of her wedding on her blog over the course of the week. Taken by the legendary Max Wanger, the styling and photography literally took my breath away.


Image credit Max Wanger via Cupcakes and Cashmere

Of course, I’m always a fan of peonies but I think the thing that came across most from Emily’s wedding was how simple it was, unfussy, just what it needed to be. I imagine the temptation as a blogger to include the latest trends must have been hard to resist, especially when faced with online inspiration left, right and centre. Her simplified approach reminded me that we could all do with a little of the less-is-more approach in life perhaps.

You can see more of the images and read about Emilys’ planning process here:
Part 1: The Looks
Part 2: The Ceremony
Part 3: Reception
Part 4: Details and Decor
Part 5: Five moments

Happy Sunday readers,

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Christmas Inspiration #3 – Table Decor by Pocketful of Dreams

Welcome back this afternoon folks and I hope you’re all basking in a smug glow of cool factor after reading this morning’s music post by Penny B.

This afternoon however, you might want to put on your favourite Christmas mix tape and get festive as my lovely friend Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams is popping by to help you bring some serious festive style to your Christmas table.

Decorating the table for festive food is one of my favourite decor projects and I try to do something different every year so I can’t wait to share what Michelle has in store for you. Michelle burst onto the planning scene about a year ago now and I really rate her creativity so if you’re looking for help with any kind of event, please do look her up (details at the bottom of this post.) Thanks Michelle, it’s an honour to have you!

Christmas Table decor by Pocketful of Dreams
Image Credit: Style files

As a creative event planner this time of year is really my favourite. Everywhere looks so pretty and inviting with the twinkly lights, a warm glow, festive sounds and general feelings of merriment. It’s like little glitter fairies have been allowed to play all across the land, what could be cooler?

This feeling of celebration, decadence and abundance is essentially what most people wish to capture for their Christmas feast, with an invitingly beautiful table all expertly laid out with fresh flower centrepieces, unique place settings and the most beautiful chinaware.

But in reality, with lots of people squashed round a table that’s too small, borrowed chairs of varying styles and heights (come on, own up who does the bring a spare chair thing?) and a mountain of food that could probably feed twice the amount of people, the practicalities of dishing up the Christmas dinner can often overtake the stylish dreams of even the most creative host.


Image Credit: All the Beautiful Christmas

So here’s my tips on how to create a super-stylish, yet totally-real table this Christmas:

The Planning

  • If space is a real issue for you then consider serving the food in a separate serving area rather than all those dishes jostling for space on the dining table, let each guest grab a plate and help themselves, it keeps them busy and adds to the feeling of feasting.
  • Before you even start to dress the table, think about who will sit where, note where the chair legs fall and if you really need to sit someone in that spot, make sure it’s a man. As the host always make sure your chair is within easy access of the kitchen for gravy top-ups and checking on the Christmas pud.
  • Last year we had 14 for Christmas dinner so we used two dining tables, improvising by bringing the garden table indoors, once it had a tablecloth and various pieces of decor added no-one was any the wiser and it gave us plenty of room to spread out. If space is an issue in your dining area or kitchen consider moving into another area, can you extend the tables into a hallway or living room for example?
  • If you’re stuck for space on the tabletop then a fancy tablecloth will provide some much needed impact, think bold colours in keeping with your decor, or maybe add in a vibrant table runner to give another dimension to the table, striped and checked ones work really well.
  • If you want to make your table interactive then why not turn your tablecloth into a guestbook? Let everyone doodle away on the cloth, maybe sign their names with the date and a sweet message, then have someone stitch over the doodles for a permanent reminder. You could get this out year after year and look back on all the messages.
  • The essentials you’ll need for the table in addition to all the cutlery, crockery and glassware: A tablecloth, a table protector or heatproof mats, napkins and napkin rings, place mats, place cards, decor items such as candelabras or votives, centrepieces and don’t forget those Christmas crackers.

Christmas Table decor by Pocketful of Dreams
Image Credits: Angel at Table, Tabitha Emma, Stipje, & Real Simple.

The Place Settings

  • There are so many ideas for making the place settings interesting, I always use a charger plate in a contrasting colour as my base and plain white chinaware on top.
  • You can make the napkin into a bow-tie shape for a fancy touch, or make your own napkin rings from ribbon and twine, adorning them with natural elements like ferns and cinnamon sticks, perfect for adding a little festive charm, not to mention a wonderful scent to the table
  • I love the idea above of having a peppermint candy cane or a christmas ornament as your place setting, adding a handstamped or handwritten manilla tag (like the ones you get in the post-office) is a really quick and simple way of making these into place settings, and they double up as gifts to take home too
  • Or if you prefer something a little quirkier why not give everyone a snowglobe, a miniature christmas tree or a cute little figurine as your place setting gift instead. If I got the little man adorned in glitter below left, well I think I may just love you forever.
  • Again if space is a real issue on your table, why not create a place setting that can hang over the back of the chairs, Christmas ornaments and bows are perfect.

Christmas Table decor by Pocketful of Dreams
Image Credits: Sitting in a Tree, Martha Stewart, Home Klondike & House to Home.

Centrepieces

  • A festive decoration for the centre of your table will always add that little extra something to the proceedings and there are so many ideas for Christmas centrepieces that you dont have to restrict yourself to just florals.
  • A vintage cake stand filled with sparkly Christmas ornaments is a quick fix if you’re pressed for time, or fill beautiful enamelware to the brim with moss, holly branches and ferns and a few pillar candles, if they’re scented then even better.
  • Bowls of fresh fruit, like those red apples below, make an interesting display, simply add a co-ordinating ribbon and plenty of berries
  • Paperwhites are also perfect at this time of year, I actually love these so much, and once flowered are really fragrant and beautiful
  • Although you can’t beat a bunch of seasonal fresh flowers adorning the table at Christmas. Crisp white and luscious red flowers look wonderful in simple containers, or you could try single arrangements of cedar branches, spider mums and eucalyptus in contemporary milk glass vessels.


Image credits: 1. Blossom Floristla, Real Living, Mochatini & Sjarmerendejul.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed my festive decorating tips and I’d love to hear what you have planned for your table this year.

Michelle x

Please do leave Michelle a comment if you’ve enjoyed her post and share your Christmas plans…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Find Michele online at PocketfulofDreams.co.uk or on Twitter @PocketfulDreams. The blog is well worth adding to your reader 🙂

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...