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It’s always a risk blogging about the best campsite you’ve found in the Lake District, when word gets out you might not be able to get in the next time you fancy a cheeky night away, but we were so impressed with Castlerigg Hall campsite, we can’t help but tell you about it.

Just up the hill from Keswick you’ll find family run Castlerigg Hall campsite (not to be confused with Castlerigg farm which is a little further up the hill). We made a last minute decision to drive from our home in Morpeth over to the Lake District around 6.30pm the other weekend when we were going through a heatwave. The beauty of this campsite is that you can’t book it – you have to rock up and see if there’s a pitch. We phoned en route to check and the chap on the phone confirmed there were spaces and kindly assured that he’d wait for us to check in. On arrival we were met with a pleasant reception and check in took less than 5 minutes before we took to the field to find a pitch.

Pitches aren’t marked out, so don’t expect the Camping and Caravanning Club, nor expect basic campsite facilities. There’s a rule of keeping distance from your neighbours and the field is on a slight incline, so position your tent carefully. If you’re lucky, like we were, you’ll manage to pitch with a beautiful view over the lake and have a prime view of sunset behind the mountains. Perfect!

Castlerigg Hall has a strict no noise after 10pm policy, which is perfect camping with a 6 year old. You know that you’re going to get a good night’s sleep and not be kept awake by groups of loud campers (they also don’t accept groups, hooray!).

The campsite facilities were some of the best we have stayed in – the showers are spotless and very roomy for washing with a small child. Lots of toilets and an enclosed room for washing up pots and pans. There’s a campers lounge area that we didn’t use, but if the weather was dreadful this is a place you can go and make a cuppa away from the cold and rain. The shop is stocked with a good selection of food including milk in glass bottles from a local dairy! Top points from us!

Being ‘up the hill’ from Keswick meant we were straight onto some stunning walks. We walked from the campsite to Walla Cragg, down to Derwentwater and into Keswick. It was a scorching hot day, so we stopped to paddle our feet in Derwentwater before continuing to Keswick for some lunch. I have to admit after walking for almost 4 hours with a small child, we did cheat and get a local taxi to take us back up the hill to the campsite, or it would’ve been a totally car-free day!

On our final day we opted for breakfast at the little onsite café before taking a walk to the Castlerigg Stone Circle – again a walk you can do directly from the campsite which was less challenging than the walk the day before. It took us less than a hour to get there and there was a perfectly positioned ice cream van next to this well known tourist spot… needless to say we indulged ourselves in a ‘99’ with a flake before heading back.

One more fabulous place we recommend going is Ashness Bridge – we could’ve walked here on our circular walk on day 1, but took a shorter walk due to the heat, but it’s beautiful place for a picnic and to plodge in the stream.

Check out the campsite at https://www.castlerigg.co.uk/ and let us know if you take a trip @helloecoliving on Instagram and Twitter

Best sunset from our tent

So today has mainly been about getting involved with the Look for a Book North East campaign. It’s all about gathering those books you no longer read and hiding them for others to find.

We came across the idea on Facebook and Isabella was so excited to get involved. We had a big clear out of books and have wrapped them in some clear plastic that her school uniform came in (repurposing) to keep the books dry.

We have spent the afternoon hiding them in some rather tricky places in Morpeth… the small child wasn’t keen on others being able to easily find them! It all officially kicks off tomorrow – Saturday 3rd August…  check out https://www.facebook.com/groups/500930390662751/ for more info!

Happy reading!

Just So Festival is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, and we can’t wait to celebrate with them. We last visited the festival when Isabella was 3 years old and she still has memories of dressing up in her mermaid attire and meeting the Faiyr Queen.

This year has a fabulous line up of arts, theatre, circus, dance and world-class music. Here is our low down of what to expect in a wild and wonderful weekend in the grounds of Rode Hall.

Musical delights

Being based slightly North of their hometown, we cannot wait to see The Baghdaddies and their fusion of Caribbean grooves and Middle Eastern rhythms (with a Geordie flavour!), with influences from ska, jazz, punk and metal. They pop up all over the festival, and there’s something special about hearing them around the campfire at this fabulous festival.

Theatre adventures

Join one of the many theatrical adventures happening across the festival site. The Fabularium are back with The Hare and the Moon, a story all the way from Far East Asia. The sun has disappeared and the Arctic Animals must band together to reclaim it, but are the strongest creatures actually the best for the job?

You’ll find Hurrah for the Pirate King, an opera, ballet and art-song show designed for children. Follow the Great Pirate King’s adventures as he takes you on a musical journey to find a treasure beyond gold and jewels. Babies won’t miss out on the musical fun. Little ones and their grown-ups can play in a 30-minute workshop with Hurly Burly, creators of Over the Moon – a first opera for little people.

World-class circus and dance

Kapow Dance Circus Theatre present dance piece Adrift, the story of two women lost at sea on a wooden raft. This moving story will be performed in the round using dance, physical theatre and circus. Mimbre’s Lifted is a brand-new, captivating performance exploring three strong women moving, lifting and balancing each other.

Aerial dance company Newtons Ladder will perform Sirin (Hope is the Thing with Feathers), inspired by the ancient myths of man falling in love with beautiful half-human creatures, whilst Thingumajig Theatre present a night-time procession of giant illuminated creatures in Ghost Caribou.

 

Animation celebration

You’ll find the Just So Cinema in the Woodland Theatre. Bring bring a blanket, travel the fairy lit path into the woods and hunker down under the stars. This year the cinema is celebrating all things animation with the oldest surviving animated film from 1926, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, accompanied by an original new live score by Chris Davis, the 30th anniversary of Aardman’s A Grand Day Out, and the 10th birthday of Pixar’s modern classic Up.

Authors in Wonderland

Wonderland is an area hidden away in the woods where audiences can enjoy author talks, music workshops and night-time DJ sets. Joining the Wonderland line-up is one of the nation’s favourite illustrators Rob Flowers, who will read from his book Festival Folk, an illustrated atlas of carnival customs and costumes. .

Get tribal with The Tribal Tournament

Now this is what Just So is all about and what we really didn’t ‘get’ the first time we went. Basically get ready to dress up as different animal clans (bees, foxes, fish, lions and more…) You really won’t understand how much effort goes into costumes until you get there. Do an Instagram search and you’ll find people have been working on costumes since they day they arrived back from Just So 2018. Get those sewing machines out and get involved.

If you’re not feeling overly creative before you go, fear not, this year you can prepare costumes with Wintercroft, a family-run design company known for helping people make fantastical animal masks from sustainable materials. Wintercroft have created seven incredible new masks for the Tribal Tournament, so get involved, build your favourite animal and represent your tribe.

Fire Garden

Be dazzled by the stunning Fire Garden, a pyrotechnic marvel of light set among the trees of a brand-new orchard. We think it sounds stunning!

Garden of Delight

We cannot wait to explore the palace of secrets in part of the Rode Hall Estate that has never been open to the festival audience before. Head into the woods to enjoy author talks, music workshops and night-time DJ sets in Wonderland, and visit the New Curiosity Shop to learn amazing art, animation, digital and journalism skills.

The Flamingo Lounge 

This an area that’s been added since we last visited Just So and we can’t wait to check it out. It’s all about dance and you can take part in dance workshops including Tap, Capoeria, Circus Swing, Disco, Bhangra and Bollywood. And when night falls, the neon comes on and the party really starts. Dress to impress for the Ragroof Tea Dance featuring 1920s-1950s music, vintage costumes, glorious dance displays and dance classes – how amazing does this sound?

Spellbound Forest

Here you’ll find bush crafts, tree climbing and campfire tales as dusk falls. Marvel at the Giant Marble Run suspended between the trees, watch theatre and film classics at the Woodland Theatre, and enjoy wild play at the Hammer & Chisel, our unique woodland playground. Under the supervision of forest play experts, create your own world or add to ours using pallets, ladders and ropes to create dens and secret spaces.

For the under 4s

The tiny little ones are well catered for in the Peekaboo Garden – an area of botanical bliss, innovative performances and activities for 0-4s in a gentle, tranquil valley. This area is about huge adventures for little people, with music, stories and messy play. Baby bath time here will ensure the littlies doze off to the sound of our choral lullabies as twilight settles.

For information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.uk.

Follow Just So @justsofestival facebook.com/justsofestival

 

 

This month we’ve heard that Glastobury has banned their vendors from selling food and drinks in single use plastic – a rule that one of our favourites, Deershed, has had in place for a few years now, but pleased to see a leading mainstream festival making this important change. We are also pleased and very ready to be saying goodbye to the winter coats and hello to our festival wardrobes. With so many festivals out there these days, we’ve tried to locate those with an environmental ethos… take a look at our top sustainable family friendly festivals of 2019.

We live in a world where most people rely on modern technology to survive. How many times do you walk along the street and see people engrossed in their smart phone? Even homes are now becoming smart with the advent of systems such as Hive and the increased use of virtual personal assistants like Alexa. Not everyone wants to embrace the technological age though; simpler times can have great appeal. This why going rural and off grid has gained popularity.

What an excellent strapline, courtesy of this fabulous display in the window of Paperchase. I can see where they are coming from, with this meaningful message printed on stationary for kids around the UK to take to school with them, the message will hit the youth market and become ‘cool’, ‘hip’, ‘mainstream’ and ‘accepted’. Great. The only issue I have is that Paperchase aren’t really practising what they preach are they?

There’s no denying the fact that the British winter can be extremely cold, with last year’s temperature plummeting well below freezing. The Arctic conditions had the country preparing for its coldest winter in eight years and the soaring gas prices were no help either. All of Britain’s “big six” energy companies announced price increases last year because of rising wholesale costs. According to an Ofgem 2018 report published on Reuters, gas and electricity bills now cost nearly 5% of the average UK household budget.

We’ve all taken steps to improve our health and detoxify ourselves. We go to the gym, cut back or eliminate sugar from our diets, stop eating processed foods, and invest in purchasing organic foods, such as produce, milk, and eggs. While we think about our bodies, though, how many of us take a step back and think about our homes? There are toxins lurking everywhere, from flooring to cleaning products.

As the long, hot summer fades and the autumn gets ready to step in with its free display of stunning colours across our woodlands, countryside and gardens, the retailer’s displays have already been transformed. Barbeques, garden furniture, summer dresses and beachwear have now been replaced with festive teasers. Shelves are stacked with Christmas tableware, decorations, and kids’ toys.