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.
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, Yuyo, Hepple 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!
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!
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!
We marvelled at Neil from the Harwarden Estate and his amazing pumkin carving, we danced and cheered for the amazing 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!)
No filter!!! . (No time for that… What a brilliant sunset and a rather brilliant evening so far; Dr John Cooper Clarke effing and jeffing and now @cerys6music Cerys Matthews introducing Gordie Mackeeman and his amazing tap dancing feet! Thank you @goodlifeexperience – bloody marvellous!!!! . #littlestoriesofmylife #hawarden #goodlifeexp #TheTwoAlis #sgiew_horizon #sgiew #horizon #sunset
Words and photographs, Ali Clifford
Also writes over on aGreenerLifeforus.com