My sparkly nail varnish is starting to fade and my once vivid bright hair is settling into a muted tone.
But the same can not be said for my memories and the enthusiasm that I have come home with after teaching and spending time with my family at Into The Wild Summer Festival 2017.
In the depths of winter last year I put together my application to be a Workshop leader at the festival. If I am utterly honest I had applied as a bit of a dream......... a kind of Cloud 9 moment and I wasn't expecting to receive the confirmation email that Little Lotus Baby had been selected! Furthermore, it wasn't just one workshop they wanted but 2!!! Double FANTASTIC!
So it was all hands to the grind stone to get workshops written, camping gear sorted and to create a virtual Little Lotus Baby Studio for all to be welcomed into ( http://www.littlelotusbaby.co.uk/private-members-club ).
Off we drove in our family estate headed for the M25 destination Festival Land! Although I was wearing my Rose Tinted Love Specs for a lot of the weekend, be assured that my account of our experience is not all unicorns and iced gems.
Let me back track here and explain for those of you that do not know me......Hi, I am Colette, mother to Renard who is 21 Months old, owner of Little Lotus Baby, wife/BFF to Brad & glitter fanatic! Let's continue....
We arrived at the Festival. We knew this because there was a cardboard sign hanging off an open gate! Inwardly I started to think 'oh, maybe this is going to be a really intimate small backyard kind of festival?..... As we walked (Brad dragging our piled high wagon of camping gear) through a clearing in the trees that thought was drop kicked back over that rickety old entry gate! An ocean of tents stood before us with just a slither of daylight separating them and this was just field no.1!
We had never camped with Ren or taken him anywhere this busy before so it was going to be a weekend of many firsts and possibly, no, scrub that, definitely a few stressy moments. The camping side of the trip with Ren was fine! He loved the tent and slept really well for both his daytime naps and nighttime slumber. Even the Bongo playing babes, 5 tents down didn't deter him from his sleep which is unlike him (he received the 'Nosey Gene' from his father).
So, camping, on the whole, was fine.....what was a little more stressful was the festival itself but after a day we had got into a groove, we knew where everything was and we had worked out the best and worst places for Ren. My biggest piece of advice is, be realistic about your limitations as a family.
What did I learn from the experience?
Decide what you want to get out of your time and choose one main focus. Think of anything else is a bonus. So for me, it was to teach my workshops. My Priority was not to experience Chi Gong or Indian Drumming but if I got to explore them along the way then it would be a fab bonus.
PERFECTION ISN'T REALITY
Day 2 at the festival was the first day of my Workshops.....Baby Yoga. I got to the Lynx Lair Tipi Tent 20 minutes before my workshop was due to start #kennykeano alert! The entrance was sealed and a mountain of shoes blocked the way.....Another session was over running. Now the old school teacher with a head teacher on my tails me might have started to get a little anxious about this as it was putting all my plans and timings out of sync.......the new Mummy Yoga me embraced this and just went with it. I enjoyed the time watching others around the festival and when the doors opened I entered alongside my parents and babies and just set up as we all chatted. It wasn't the start I had imagined but it was relaxed & happy.
Not just in the Yoga sense but within. Before I knew it the tent was full and I had babies, toddlers and children waiting for BABY Yoga to start. I was asked if it was ok to join in with toddlers and older children and I thought...yes, why not, let's go for it. I explained that I had written the workshop with babies in mind, however, it wouldn't harm toddlers or older children and they were free to leave at any time if they felt it wasn't for them..........NO ONE LEFT! It was amazing. In fact, no one left and more people arrived and found space to participate and scheduled to join in the next day's workshop!
It was very different to one of my studio based Baby Yoga classes. The LLB studio has been designed specifically for helping parents & babies to rest and relax. The Lynx Lair was downstream from the main stage and so we were accompanied by some bass filled rhythms. The Medicine Bear Tent was a BIG space and absolutely packed to the limit with families. It was hot and people from the 3rd row back could not see me if I was sat on my Yoga Mat!
BUT this was fine, I just had to adapt to create an inclusive and comfortable environment. Which was easily achieved by making some simple adjustments and not staying rigidly to a plan. My workshops were not the same as I would provide in the studio, they were a bit more energetic, louder and faster passed. The feedback was great and everyone seemed to enjoy their experience so much so that there were requests for more sessions at the festival!
BE THANKFUL (and realistic)
On day 1 I could feel I was getting a bit disheartened that we were not a chilled out, blissed out unit. Instead, Brad was tired from all the driving, hauling the stuff around and putting up the tent, Ren was super excited to explore EVERYTHING and I was feeling a little nervous about my first workshop in the morning. Then I realised that actually, I was really lucky. Brad had not just agreed to come and experience all this with me, but really wanted to. From that moment I let go of my negative feelings of not being the 'perfect' festival family and I was thankful that my little bunch was all bumbling along together and in fact, we were perfect in our own way. This brings me to my last point #lovenotcontrol.
This isn't just between you and your baby!This can be extended to everything and everyone. Let go of the need to try and control people/situations and feelings and instead use love! The trip could have been a disaster.....I could have tried to control how my workshops went rather than loving the experience and adapting to it. I could have ruined the romance of our family time by getting uptight about it not being a Disney dream but instead, I loved the reality. I could have got frustrated that we didn't watch loads of gigs and interact with different courses but instead I loved watching Ren enjoy himself, watching my family explore and experience together. Finally I could have tried to control Ren's feelings and desires but instead, we gave him the love he needed when things got too exciting or tiring.
Because of #lovenotcontrol we were able to fully enjoy each other, our surroundings and our experience.
To find out more about Baby Yoga, Toddler Yoga & #lovenotcontrol contact me directly or visit;
Join the Private Members Club today! http://www.littlelotusbaby.co.uk/about-the-private-members-club