So we went to Lollibop 2014 at Hatfield House today. ALL you need to know is that it is WAY better than last year in each and every way!
We went Friday, but if you are going in the next 2 days, here's what you need to know.
If you arrive by train
We (and people we met) did a bit of a silly thing. We found out the train goes from Kings Cross to Hatfield, so just assumed we'd need to travel to Kings Cross. You don't tend to plan your journey when you're a Londoner as you know your stuff right? Wrong. Train ended up going through Finsbury Park, which we'd already been through 30 minutes beforehand on the tube (London Underground). Given that we left home 90 minutes later than planned, we could have done with this time.
Your arrival may look a little like this:
Minus Natalie Cassidy, unless of course, she is there again.
The walk once in the grounds is longer than we'd expected, but was incredibly picturesque. A 2 year old may get tired but a 4 year old won't. It's a very buggy friendly walk.
|The gates to Hatfield House are right opposite the station - just cross the road. But the walk begins once in. It's a beautiful walk if you can enjoy it and are not running late.|
The signage from station to event is great as are the Olympic style meeter and greeters. They seem to have thought of everything.
As you can see in the pics above there was NO queue to get in. This was FABULOUS. Do put your wrist bands on before you get there (if you're a blogger etc)... But then again the weekend will be busier than it was today.
There is a pic above of the orange wristbands. Do make use of these on arrival. You basically write your name and phone number on them in case your littlies get lost. I told them what was on there, so that they were armed to know themselves what to do. Aaron totally got it, which was so cute!
Planning your day Vs going with the flow
Do what you will, but we had some surprises. We started by queuing to have our photo taken with Thomas (and beforehand with the Fat Controller):
After a few hours we realised we had remained in this zone of the festival, having just done ACTIVITY FIELDS which consists of:
- Thomas & Friends area (which is more than one stand, which includes one with toys to play with - Aaron sat and played with Thomas with a member of staff for what seemed like ages)!!!
- Baby Ballet where we spent LOTS of times and I got tears in my eyes watching my Aaron dance whilst videoing him. Fab fun in there. Girls loved it too.
- Lego Duplo (which includes toys to play with AND animate and even lego to take home - ice cream or giraffe)!!!
- Tottenham Hotspur.
My twinkle toes - a wee dancer in the making:
We then realised we ought to move on to see more of the Festival, but we first went to the DISCOVERING ZONE where we got stuck for 90 minutes at:
- The Nintendo area (all of us for a while) as you get stickers at each area in there and there is a fab slide. 99% of the Nintendo staff are bubbly and passionate gamers. They even let me charge my phone - thanks Scott. Once my nieces got bored they hopped and skipped to...
- The River Island stand where you get to design/create your own t-shirt, which is provided free of charge. Absolutely a MUST DO. There's a shop there too.
Aaron would not leave the Nintendo area as he was comfortably sitting on bean bags playing Pokemon on a Nintendo 3 DS. I kept saying, "when the girls come back you have to" but they were gone a total of 90 minutes including queuing and design.
This member of staff is such a passionate Nintendo gamer he had two of his own consoles in his pockets:
This is the map - study it:
We're delighted to present the official #LolliBop 2014 map! pic.twitter.com/1g5v0ZlLmN
— LolliBop (@lollibopuk) August 13, 2014
Once we realised it was 16:00 and we'd only seen a quarter of the festival (NOT including the main stage) we made a mad dash there, just in time to see Lazy Town who were awesome, as was the main man Sportacus himself. He got the crowd rocking, as did the girls - I do have footage which I will have to upload when not so tired.
And my video as of 24th August is finally live - hooo haaah
Actually I tell a lie, on our way to the main stage we got distracted by a "kitchen tent" (I think it is the Lolli Kitchen) where the kids hopped in and decorated gingerbread men, only so that they could eat them after - they really enjoyed covering them. I got a bite of each creation and they actually WERE really really yummy:
We planned to grab some proper food after this, but ended up meandering over to the Vita Co Co stand where we actually spent the remainder of our day.
We'd meant to just go there to kill time till Sam and Mark came on at 17:20 but ended up rooting ourselves there.
I bought a box of 4 Vita Co Co for Kids there for only 2 pounds and knew they'd be great as I have previously reviewed them.
Knocking over things in a coconut shy there was the highlight of Aaron's day as he "won" a frisbie. There's also a fab SANDPIT there which is surrounded in BEACH BUM deckchairs which my arse was VERY grateful for indeed. So instated was I there, that I even went and got a coffee and came back. We were amazed that they ALSO had a t-shirt design area, also with the tee provided, so there we stayed. This meant Aaron also got in on the tee design action. The girls kept running over to Yo Yo Bear from there, so we were munching on their alphabet cereal (which was complimentary) - we already knew we loved it from the Planes 2 movie Gala Screening in Leicester Square where they had some on every seat in the auditorium.
So HAD I planned the day, it would have involved seeing some more of the main stage acts, and would have involved going to some of the food stands, making sure we visited each and every region of the festival.
As it was, we didn't get near a disco I heard people saying great things about. I used far too much memory and charge at Baby Ballet which was totally unexpected but so worth it.
I never knew I had a gamer in my son, so would not have planned to get stuck at Nintendo.
What I guess I am saying is, when you get inside do study the map which they give to you complimentary on arrival (unlike the expensive lanyard from last year), but don't be too rigid with it.
The vibe is SO chilled, it does not lend itself to being rigid.
My wristbands said Blogger Friday - if yours are similar, you won't get access to the Press/VIP area, be warned. Unless they relax the rules for Saturday/Sunday OR you get a different Security Guard to me LOL!
We were one of the last to leave at gone 1800 and there was hardly anyone left for that last hour. Saturday and Sunday may not be like that, but if they are don't follow the crowd. Enjoy the vibe and linger like we did. Even once outside the perimeter of the venue, we put out our rug and enjoyed the grounds of Hatfield House. My tired son and nieces were LITERALLY doing cartwheels, and sitting on the rug drinking Capri-Suns from my picnic hamper, wanting to linger in the beauty of the energy of the day - nobody in a rush to leave. We left the grounds at 1900! We even found a swing in the trees!!!
If you don't have tickets, they are 20 online, 25 on the door, per person, regardless child/adult. It IS incredibly worth it. SO much free stuff including face painting which Aaron never does but my nieces LOVED. In a society where we are used to paying for every ride etc... it is a joy to spend a day without putting your hand in your pocket. I think my coffee and the Vita Co Co for Kids are the only things I bought ALL day, which just doesn't happen when you take 3 children out. It did help that we had chilled drinks and snacks in the picnic hamper.
We came home ravenous to a beautiful dinner made by Grandma and 3 children went to sleep incredibly content and happy.
By the way there is a water station, with chilled gushing drinking water, so if water is your thang, bring some, and refill your bottles free of charge. See I told you you don't have to put your hand in your pocket
There is a large "food" area, but we did not buy any. You'll struggle to find it on the map - even now I can't pinpoint it having been there today, but it's easy to spot once you do get walking around the whole festival. Not far from Vita Co Co at all.
My only regret is that there is a stand selling alcohol and I never got there despite fancying a beer and enjoying one last year. It's in disguise with the word Creche above the stand, but there it is, and I heard tales of people drinking Pimms - yummy!!!
My only OTHER regret is that we never got to see Titan and we SO enjoyed him last year.
We had NO interest in meeting Justin (Mister Tumble) hence our going Friday when he is not on the programme. I do like Friday though as it is lovely and relaxed. I am interested to hear whether Saturday Sunday will be way busier in comparison.
I will pad this post out, but for now, I must leave it there, as I was up at 7 a.m. after 2 hours sleep and it is now 02:12. I will backdate this post to 15th August so that me saying "today" makes sense.
Night night xxx
That's us for another year: