So my beautiful girl turned 8 in July.  On break-up day.  And since we were off on our hols the very next day, we deferred her party to the end of that first week back at school – light at the end of the tunnel and all that!

So this weekend, in a garden in the English countryside, Kayafest 2014 came… got messy… and went!

Keen to keep the vibe of the summer alive and well and inspired by our stay at Camp Bestival in August, we decided to go with a Festival theme and centre the whole thing around a thing of beauty I’ve coveted from afar for AGES… A Bell Tent.

Except, errrr…  we don’t own a Bell Tent!  #error

KAYA-1Not letting the facts get in the way of a cunning plan, I managed to borrow a tent and a few bits from the peeps at Garden Glamping including the most GORGEOUS set of tables and stunning chandelier.  The company have everything you could need for a bit of outdoor fun in a bell tent.  Extra bedroom in the garden?  Gazebo for a party?  Garden lounge?  Play area for the kids?  And now –  FESTIVAL PARTY!

SUPER easy to put up – possibly the easiest tent I’ve (we’ve) ever put up. Ever!  And we didn’t even come close to “conscious  uncoupling”!   Good times!

I then ordered some bits online to pimp it out a bit more, including some gorgeous Lei Lantern Garlands which ended up being a complete bargain and one of the hits of the party!


At Camp Bestival this year I made a flower garland for myself which I was very proud of and cleverly got the number of Sarah, who helped me, so I could order supplies for all the kids to make one.  The garlands they made were gorgeous and made something cool for them to take home.  It was also a nice chill-out thing for them to do before the full-blown party kicked into action.

KAYA3I always think you should play to your strengths as a mum.  So pimping the party?  TOTALLY my thing and if you’d stood still in my garden for more than 2 minutes you’d have found yourself having flowers hung from your arms!  Kaya loved helping with the set up too and I managed to incorporate quite a bit of her artwork.  I also made use of what we already had – like the dream-catchers from the kids bedrooms and a mosaic Peace sign I’d got for her bedroom.   She picked flowers from the garden to put in cans for the table and was excited about setting up as the party itself!  Sweet girl!

KAYA4I bought supermarket cups which I thought looked really cute, and yes, having pored over many a cook-book for inspiration, I resigned myself to the fact that baking isn’t one of my strengths and got this beauty for £8 from a supermarket!  Good times!  (I know, I didn’t make my kids birthday cake but I DID want the kids to eat it!  Don’t tell the Mum Police!).  To be honest, last year I slaved over the cake and nobody ate it so, honestly, I thought quitting while I was ahead was the best policy!

The party was brilliant and loved by everyone to the extent that KAYAFEST 2015 has already been confirmed!  Next time, everyone is sleeping over and, since the karaoke went down so well, I’m gonna make part of the garden a “stage” and getting everyone to do a song or a dance – so THEY’RE the headliners and I can put THEIR names on the Kayafest lanyards!

Also loving the fact that a Festival party is perfect for a variety of ages – and perfect for both sexes.  You might even get mum points for throwing one for teenagers?!  Although, don’t bank on it!!  I might be getting carried away with the festival spirit!


Something about the tent and general vibe made the kids totally relax and I loved watching them run around the place in varying arrays of disarray and fancy dress.

I spent Saturday evening post-party glugging sipping on merlot and rocking back and forth in a darkened room and then slept under the stars in my own garden, snuggled up with my kids.  Pretty magical.  It’s been quite a week for us with Akira starting school, so it was great for everyone to have a celebratory weekend.

So yes, I’m even more into the Bell Tent idea than I was before.  After just one weekend I’m strangely attached to this one and will be sad to see it go.  I already told Trey that, when we get one, I’m TOTALLY giving it a name, although I’m now guessing that wasn’t the cleverest move for someone convincing their OH to get a tent!

And I’ll leave you with this gorgeous “after” pic I took once everyone had left.  What’s a party without a random suit of armour and leopard tail – right?!

K x





  • Reply Kate on thin ice September 14, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Love your phrase arrays of disarray. Looks like you did pretty well on the Mummy front to me and next year I say you make a cake in the shape of the tent. Challenge Katy.

    • Reply Katy September 15, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Haha! You are a DREAMER! A dreamer I tell you! X

  • Reply Jennifer Howze September 11, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Love love love this. Please come arrange Jenfest 2015! It will be December in a garden that’s about 5×5 — sound good?

  • Reply Grenglish September 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Such a wonderful idea and all the extra touches make it even more special. A birthday to remember! You will have to start selling tickets soon 🙂
    p.s. I am totally stealing your theme x

    • Reply Katy September 11, 2014 at 7:25 am

      Steal away baby! Can totally recommend x

  • Reply Cass@frugalfamily September 9, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    You are officially appointed chief party planner for any gathering I have in the future – what an AMAZING party x x

    • Reply Katy September 11, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Ha! You’re too sweet! I need to throw one for myself one of these days! X

  • Reply Emma September 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    What a great idea for a party, and then tent looks MASSIVE!! I want one!

    • Reply Katy September 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      It was PERFECT! 6 metres baby! Xx

  • Reply Domestic Goddesque September 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    DH has been planning a big festival next year for his 40th so I shall show him this. I had never considered a bell tent: a brilliant way to have the party at home but no mess in the house! You=legend

    • Reply Katy September 9, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Ooh FAB for a 40th! Wish I’d done that! Or rather “I’ll keep it in mind for MY 40th”! 😉 x

  • Reply HELEN September 9, 2014 at 11:33 am

    amazing! I love it…who wouldn’t!

    • Reply Katy September 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      I was actually jealous myself! X

  • Reply Pinkoddy September 9, 2014 at 10:08 am

    What an amazing idea for a party. I shall pin.
    And having a party later is a great idea. My son’s birthday is pretty much when they just break up too, so he usually does “something” instead.

    • Reply Katy September 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      Don’t give me too much credit! Next time might end up being cinema and a few mates!! 😉 x

  • Reply Penny Carr September 8, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    What a fab idea for a party!

    • Reply Katy September 9, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Just need the tent now so I can do it forever more! Xx

  • Reply Emma September 8, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    what a brilliant idea, damn me for having winter babies. The teen would love this with her girls though.

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      Ah – me too Emma! Akira is winter. Last year we TOTALLY cheated his birthday since a) he was too young to know and b) it meant we could have the bouncy castle / garden / sunny extravaganza he’s always dreamt of! To this day, he has no idea, although I’m thinking he might get a shock when we celebrate for real this December! Sad times! xx

  • Reply Clare Goldsack September 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Such a fantastic idea. Kaya is a very lucky girl to have such a wonderful, creative Mum. X

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      They all LOVED it Clare! Totally recommend – even if I AM a bit exhausted! xx

  • Reply Sim @ September 8, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    That looks amazing, what a great idea for a party! Saves on mess in the house! You are very creative and everything looks colourful – hope Kaya had a fantastic birthday! 🙂 x

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      Ah – you saw through my “zero mess” plan! 😉 It was lots of fun x

  • Reply Catherine Coberly September 8, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    What a gorgeous party! You are still rockin it across the pond. If I get a bell tent for the walkstreet will you come back?? Happy birthday sweet Kaya. Drue sends love. Miss u! xx

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      You wouldn’t even need a bell tent! MISS YOU gorgeous lady! Thanks for dropping by. Made me want to shed a Walkstreet/LA tear xx

  • Reply Susanna September 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    LOVE that idea. And LOVE that you are so crafty! (of course you are, I’m sure you made one earlier?!)

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      Haha! You KNOW it! x

  • Reply Donna@MummyCentral September 8, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    You have got to be the coolest mum, ever *turns green with envy*

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      No Donna – just the most KNACKERED! 😉 x

  • Reply Sonya Cisco September 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!! I had a festival for my 30th birthday, how cool is it to get one when you are 8! That tent is awesome, and love the flower garlands!

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      LOVE that you had a festival! Brilliant idea! And yeah – I love flower garlands too! Even if I do look like a woman thinking she’s a hippy cos she’s wearing a garland! xx

  • Reply mummy barrow September 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can I come?! You totally smashed this party thing?!! And I love that you took Sarah’s phone number. That is too brilliant.

    And as for that Bell Tent, I want one in my garden as a changing room for the hot tub. A permanent festival in my garden. I am off for a wander through their website

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      Consider yourself invited! 😉 I’m thinking next time, kids festival one weekend, adult festival the weekend after since everything will be set up! And you NEED one in your garden. I’ll bring a bowl – for crisps 😉 x

  • Reply Actually Mummy... September 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Oh this is so beautiful – I’m totally doing this next year – love the stage idea too x

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Yay! I know, right? Such a simple idea – can’t believe I’ve never done it before! And chilled too! Happy days x

  • Reply Nickie September 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    I have just stolen a load of ideas for the grandchildren but YOU are now in charge of my next birthday party. It’s in May – plenty of time to prepare 😉

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      I know, right? SO jealous I’VE never had a Festival in MY garden! Next year, might just make a weekend of it! 😉 x

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