On Saturday 3rd of August 2019, my friend Bex and I went to Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place Festival. For all that know me, you will know that I am a huge believer in positivity and self care. Living with the chronic disease endometriosis, self care really does help me live the ‘normal’ life I want to lead. Today I thought I would tell you about my time on Saturday, my highlights and my lowlights of the day.
We got the train and met each other at Chiswick station. It was about hour and 30 minutes for me, 2 trains and a tube journey. I was quite lucky in as far as when I got off one the other was waiting for me straight after. You could definitely tell the train was full of people going to the festival just by the amount of gym leggings around you. Gym leggings really aren’t essential for the festival unless you were lucky enough to book on to Sweaty Betty’s yoga class.
One thing that did make me laugh whilst I was waiting for Bex, was the amount of people who jumped off the train down the steps heading the wrong way. I have to say the one that made me laugh was “Fearne is trying to make this stress free, it’s not stress free by trying to find it and going the wrong way.” To be fair if there was one more sign on that side of the station then it would be easy to find. It took us a good 10 minutes’ walk to get there but was easy to find once we were in the right direction.
There was a long queue to get into the festival though it moved quickly so really didn’t make cause too much time to enter. We were there for 10:30 am maybe a little before. The security guards or ticket scanners were at the front of the queue to allow you in. But your bags or anything weren’t checked. With security checks being high everywhere, we thought this was a little lack on check considering the amount of people attending.
By the time we were in, it was nearly the time of Rylan Clark’s talk on the talk stage. So, we walked round and were near the Not On The Highstreet’s stall and craft station. We sat down just in the tent and it was a really good place to sit, listen and watch the talk. I generally find Fearne Cotton’s happy place podcasts really good and I enjoy listening and learning what others think and do for happiness. Rylan’s talk was really interesting, funny and enjoyable. You really didn’t feel like you were sitting there for 45 minutes.
I love Rituals as a brand as they were the main collaborator and we got so many freebies from them. Which is so good for me anyway! It was hot so at the front when you walked in, they were there giving away their brand of sun cream. You know when it’s hot but cloudy you think you’ll be ok without sun cream, well I should of took Bex’s approach and been super careful. But no, I have a lovely burnt neck.
Some classes were free, some were a small fee, but they sold out in 5 minutes so we couldn’t do any of the meditation, craft or yoga we wanted to do with Rituals and Sweaty Betty. The tents were just too small for the amount of crowds there was. It didn’t matter too much because the talks were running all day, there were a lot of interesting people to see and learn from. The community stage had a larger capacity so you could easily join the yoga classes there instead.
It’s the first year that Fearne has put on a festival so give her, her due she really didn’t know how popular it would be. First times for things like this are always trial and error. It was the small gestures that helped really, like the team wheelbarrowing ice with cans of water in free for everyone whilst queuing for food. The freebies and the things to do as you walked around.
Small extras that added something special and made you feel happy as you walked round. From the pledge wall, the origami and the what makes you happy board. Being able to write postcards to loved ones to show them how special they are. These weren’t just free they were posted there at the festival with a stamp for free too. No limit either really so you could write and post as much as you wanted.
Such a variety of happiness there too, it wasn’t all based on vegan or fitness, you could enjoy every aspect of happiness in the gardens of Chiswick house. We didn’t even do a yoga move all day and it wasn’t pushed on you to do things, you could wander freely and see/do what you wanted to do. To be fair I did look at gym leggings in two stalls, but no where does maternity gym leggings, so my endometriosis defeats them. I would love a nice jazzy pair of good maternity work out leggings.
Now I will definitely say that I will not be queueing for 2 hours again for pasta. Not only did we queue once, we did twice, and my friend did again for the third time. The food trucks there, there just wasn’t enough of them to cope with the amount of people there or maybe they should have mixed between tents a bit better to not form queues of thousands of people. Worse was that we got ours finally after the 2 hours wait and Bex’s was the same as mine not spinach and ricotta.
Fearne’s team did realise this was an error and were wheelbarrowing wheelbarrows of ice with chilled cans of water for everyone. Bex managed to go fill up her water bottle and back and post postcards and back in the time I had moved 5 people up. It did mean we missed most of Russell Brand’s talk. When I turned around finally with my pot of pasta and sourdough garlic bread the talk stage tent was overflood by at least double the amount of people watching.
The shopping tent was pure Melanie Kate, if I had the money to, I would have brought from every stall. From crystal healing, to gym leggings and denim jackets. Everything and anything that could make or help you with your happiness. Quirky things too like kettlebells with girly prints on. Food samples of protein snacks and sweets that I picked at whilst wandering round the tent.
Merchandise though, I am sure Fearne was advertising and selling the shirts at £20 online but they were £25 on the day. I only brought the bag and the t-shirt. £10 for a bag I would say is reasonable, the lanyard was cool with all the activities and schedules, the bottles matched the green of the lanyard.
Information leaflets were available from every stall, from charities, information on certain ways to help you with struggles, websites to buy from home and random quotes to remind you to be happy.
Rushes of people in and out of the talk stage tent to get a good seat was crazy but I did get a good position to sit and watch Katie Piper’s live podcast with Fearne. I believe Bex did too. Something we learnt on Saturday is that I am super confident on camera and don’t really care what people think of me, but when it’s time to ask questions or talk to a celebrity, I freeze and can’t ask. I really wanted to get advice off Katie and Fearne but question time my hand would not rise!
Go with a schedule or a rough idea of what is on when and who you would like to meet, things to do or listen to. This really worked for us. It was Bex who knew what she wanted to do and when which really helped. Things like the pledge wall do as you past them because everyone wants to write something.
When I heard the lactose smoothies were free, that really surprised me. Normally for events like this you would pay addition. You weren’t even limited to one you could go for as many as you desired to have. 3 choices, mango and milk, berry boast and the green one which I can’t remember the name. I didn’t try the mango and milk because it didn’t take my fancy. The berry boast has to be my favourite because the green one just tasted of leaves and the hint of pineapple. Even left half the cup full of green smoothie. Bex took a sip of mine and didn’t get her own. That is personal taste though you may love the green but not the berry boost.
To end the day, we stood in a lovely queue to meet Fearne herself and get my Happy book signed. Waterstones had its own tent and you could buy everyone’s books there. Signings were timed throughout the day. Again, I froze when I met her, what a lemon! How can I freely talk on camera but not in public? Fearne make me hold my camera and film it next time! She was really down to earth, happy and normal. I am very grateful and pleased I met her. A true inspiration to me and loves the same or similar to what I do.
It was definitely all the small details that made the festival the festival. From the bunting and the postcards, to the walls and the freebies. The chairs or Instagram places for photos, the ideas to add to your self care daily and finding new brands and people to inspire you.
We are already looking to go again next year, we just hope that the queues for food aren’t as long and the space is filled a little better to add more tent space and more goodies for everyone! Not that I am greedy, it’s because I know that brands had run out and we were day one. Finally thank you to Fearne Cotton for making me learn more about how and what makes me happy, to be free in who I am and what I am like and for hosting a really good festival in London.
Also if you want a sneak peak round to see what we did then you can go to my youtube channel 6pm GMT on 12th August to see my weekend vlog which includes a lot of Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place Festival.