Following the signs that led away from the bustling centre of Camp Bestival 2014, along a winding woodland path and through an archway of flowers, we found ourselves in The Dingley Dell, a magical place for children to play in the shade and quiet of the trees.
The ideas were beautifully simple: pick up a spade and dig for buried treasure; create a fairy house; concoct a magic potion; dress up as a woodland creature or put on a show in the puppet theatre. The effect was enchanting. This was a place to be discovered for hours on end.
We settled down on a toadstool to watch as the kids got involved. The witch’s kitchen kept Freya occupied for at least half an hour before we encouraged her to look around and try some of the other things. She dug up gold coins and added them to the treasure chest; she dressed up in a feather boa, rabbit ears and a beaver mask and posed for pictures through a gilt frame; we played bees and ladybirds (a woodland version of noughts and crosses) on a tree stump; and made new friends by the wishing tree.
When we finally dragged ourselves away I found myself imagining all the things I could do to transform our garden at home into a magical place like The Dingley Dell and how I could borrow some of the ideas for Freya’s next birthday party. I can’t wait to create our own witch’s kitchen (I’ll be keeping a look out in charity shops for a suitable cauldron!) and plan to make a photo booth complete with dressing up box for our next party – what a fun way to capture the day.