The Good Life Experience – family festival

The Good Life Experience 2016

helter-skelter-good-life-experience
Helter Skelter na na na na na

We’ve had ourselves a full and active summer, we just didn’t want it to be over…

Youngest started at ‘bigger than ever’ school and we thought, that’s it, Autumn is on its way – And then, with great joy, we packed our tent into the back of the car and took ourselves off for a long weekend to North Wales. We were meeting my sister, husband and Gracie the dog, for an amazing family weekend at The Good Life Experience, and WHAT a wonderful family festival.

Located in the grounds of the Hawarden Estate, former home of Prime Minister William Gladstone and now owned by his great-great grandson Charlie Gladstone and his wife Caroline (they of vintage lifestyle brand, Pedlars). You may have seen us talking about Pedlars over on aGreenerLifeforUs.com too – as they’ve been one of our #sgiew (@sogoodineveryway) photo challenge judges.

It’s a stunning location, with a castle, rolling grounds, a lake… before you even start to take in the iconic helter skelter, the beautiful bell tents, and general loveliness that goes to make this such a fabulous spot for a family festival of Music, Culture, Food & The Great Outdoors.

andrew-berry-brui-good-life-experience-prints
Andrew Berry Brui good life experience prints

We bumped into so many people we knew from the world of Instagram, including the talented illustrator Lucie Sheridan, and sweetly lovely Ruby @RubyDiamonds and her family, the winners of our #sgiew_goodlife Photo Challenge earlier this year – you can read Ruby’s review here.

All of the workshops and stall holders were happy and enthusiastic, and a delight to meet bumping into a chatting to the nicest of people… nods at Amanda Banham ceramics, Ali Dover, Jennie Maizels (pictured below on the swing!), Beth from Decorator’s Notebook, YuyoHepple Gin (yep, I might just have sampled the gin), Edward Carefoot Journeyman, Dorte from Lewes Map, Elinor and Michael, Beachhutcook, Helen from Nellie and Eve; who have I missed!

A video posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on

The Good Life Experience was founded in 2014 by four friends Cerys Matthews, Steve Abbott and Charlie & Caroline Gladstone, and they’ve crafted a festival that is wonderfully entertaining, based around themes of slow living, hand crafts, and the great outdoors, with a bit of poetry and live music thrown in for good measure. Fabulous guest speakers, art & craft workshops, swing bands and lindy hop dancing, coffee stops, ceramics, archery, axe throwing, Jennie Maizels‘ sketchbook clubs, Alex Pole forge kitchenware, plasticine stop motion animation, bushcraft,  a dog show(!) and so much more!

the-amazing-scene-machine-goodlife-experience-2
Plasticine dogs for the Amazing Scene Machine
the-amazing-scene-machine-lea-and-spike
Lea and Spike’s Plasticine dog for the Amazing Scene Machine
the-amazing-scene-machine-goodlife-experience
Looking forward to seeing the finished animation Jim Parkyn!

Between the six of us, we managed to cram a LOT into the weekend, listened to the amazing (and hilarious) Doctor John Cooper Clarke, adventurer Ben Fogle talking about his life, DJ78 with his classic wind up gramophones,  and John Higgs, talking KLF and the spectacular Swing Patrol swing dance class… yes, I’ve looked them up on the internet, there IS a class near me!

ali-clifford-and-ali-dover-good-life-experience
Amanda Banham has us hard at work – the two Ali-s – Clifford and Dover

We marvelled at Neil from the Harwarden Estate and his amazing pumkin carving, we danced and cheered for the amazing Stealing Sheep.

stealing-sheep-good-life-experience
The wonderfully polka dot Stealing Sheep

As Tim at Gather Outdoors said, it’s great to meet up with so many like-minded people all in one place (and many that we follow and interact with on the ‘gram!)

We’re already planning our visit to The Good Life Experience next year and there are some Super early-bird tickets on sale here for 15-17 September 2017. We seriously can’t wait!

vodka-good-life-experience
Black cow vodka
tent-and-bunting-good-life-experience
Roll up roll up – the academy awaits
neils-amazing-pumpkins
Neil’s amazing pumpkins
moonlight-good-life-experience
That moonlit sky though…
jeremy-vine-good-life-experience
Jeremy Vine in full flow…
jennie-maizels-tent-at-the-goodlife-experience
Jennie Maizels brings the blue skies
gill-meller-gather-good-life-experience
Gill Meller and his smokin’ fish…
forest-bar-good-life-experience
The forest bar
Adam Stanley, Welsh seafood pit bake
Adam Stanley, Welsh seafood pit bake
fire-pit-seafood-good-life-experience-chef
Adam Stanley, Welsh seafood pit bake
fanfare-ciocarlia-cerys-matthews-good-life-experience
FANFARE CIOCĂRLIA and the wonderful Cerys
dj78-good-life-experience
dj78 – we like his style!
diabel-cissokho-good-life-experience
Diabel Cissokho wowing the crowds
clover-field-good-life-experience
A field of clover for Gracie the dog to bounce around in
climbingthewalls-good-life-experience
Instagram Stories came into their own! @incredibusy
cerys-poetry-good-life-experience
Cerys reads Sue Boyle – ‘a leisure centre is also a temple of learning’
cerys-in-conversation-good-life-experience
Cerys gets us all singing ‘let’s go fly a kite’
caught-by-the-river-good-life-experience
Caught by the river
apples-and-glitterballs-good-life-experience
Apples and Glitterballs

 

ali-clifford-jennie-maizels
Jennie Maizels and me, Ali Clifford on the best swing ever

xx

Words and photographs, Ali Clifford
Also writes over on aGreenerLifeforus.com

4 Comments

  1. Aly

    After seeing the pumpkins on Facebook, I had to come over and have a read.This sounds like a really good family festival.The bushcraft skills would be right up our street as there’s not many places where you can go to get that kind of experience.

    Reply
    1. Ali Clifford Author

      Oh yes, my boys really enjoyed the blacksmith’s work too, they were enchanted by the whole festival, if a little feral at times! x

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *