Lollibop came back with a BANG this year! Last year I had invited friends to join us for the day and felt disappointed as it was a bit of a let down, the venue just didn’t work and that seemed to be the general concensus for most people but thankfully Lollibop listened and didn’t just make things a little better, they smashed it!
From our point of view it made a nice change for it to be out of Central London because we weren’t governed by train times and clock watching. We drove to the event and were able to park within 500 yards of the entrance. There was quite a queue of traffic to get into the event itself but it did keep moving so it probably took us around 30 minutes from getting off the A1 and turning the engine off. The car parking attendants seemed stressed out to the say the least and sadly their language wasn’t quite what you would expect for an event aimed at young children, especially when they were talking across their radios which were turned up to the maximum. BUT that really was the only negative of our day, from the moment that we stepped over the threshold of Lollibop, the sun shone and the day just got better and better. The venue was PERFECT! It brought back the feelings of the original Lollibop in Regents Park, it was surrounded by green, it had lots of open space so you didn’t feel crowded and it was oozing the festival spirit that families have grown to love.
Last year the Beans really wanted to take part in the River Island Design Den but we arrived too late only to find that it was already fully booked. This year you didn’t book your slot, you simply turned up and queued. We made a beeline for the Design Den straight away and only had to wait around 15-20 minutes before we were invited in. Whilst in there the Beans had 15 minutes to let their imagination run wild on their t-shirts. Little Bean and Beanie Boy got stuck straight in using stencils, stamps and inkpads to decorate their t-shirts whilst Curly sat and contemplated his design. With just 5 minutes to go, Curly picked up the pace and set to work with a pen and some ink stamps before they paraded down the catwalk for their 30 seconds of fame in front of the camera and walked away with their t-shirts and a photograph for their album.
Hubby and I handed over the reigns of the day to the Beans, it made a refreshing change as we gave them the programme and let them lead the way with what they wanted to see and where they wanted to go. Next stop was the Nintendo stand which was perhaps one of the best organised activities of the day. As we arrived at the entrance the Beans were handed an activity sheet where they were instructed to search the Nintendo area to find the hidden characters. As they spotted them they needed to tell one of the Nintendo Team Members who presented them with a sticker and once they had collected all their character stickers they needed to complete 4 challenges from the list on the back and once they had completed all the challenges they would be presented with a prize of a special Pokemon hat and a pack of Pokemon cards. We probably spent around 45 minutes with Nintendo and the Beans loved every minute of it, they got stuck right in with all the challenges and the Nintendo Team were amazing with the children.
Next up Hubby and I were marched over to the Lollibop Live Stage to see Horrible Histories. I was a little like a sulky child as I didn’t want to watch it, History has never really been my ‘thing’ but it just goes to show you should step out of your comfort zone every now and then because I loved it and I can completely see why children love it too. They bring History to life and make it memorable, more easily digestible for them.
As lunchtime approached and our tummies began to rumble we realised our faux pas a little too late. We had forgotten to take a packup for our fussy little munchkins. Hubby, Curly and Little Bean went off to search the food trailers to see what they could muster up for us all to eat but Hubby said it was a struggle for fussy eaters. In the end he opted for pizza and a banana each but as you would expect, it was a little more expensive than normal.
We had managed to grab ourselves seats on the front row of benches at the Live Stage and were so well entertained that we ended up staying to watch Alex Winters pitting the girls against the boys in a dance-off (naturally the girls won), followed by Sam and Mark with a game of CopyCat which had Beanie Boy laughing his socks off and then the highlight of the day – Justin Fletcher. Justin definitely pulled in the biggest crowds of the day so we were very grateful for our front row seats. He is every bit the showman; children and adults alike love him because he connects so well with the youngsters and very obviously loves what he does. As his show drew to a close you could see that he was visibly emotional by the response he received from his adoring crowd.
After lunch Curly had decided to make his excuses to leave the Live Stage and went off in search of Skylanders so when Justin’s turn finished we went to find him. Curly said that he had spent pretty much the entire time at Skylanders playing the new game and checking out the new game pieces (he is such a HUGE Skylanders fan) so he wasn’t disappointed when Little Bean asked if we could stay there a little while so that she could play too.
Before we knew it the day was disappearing fast but there was a glint of excitement for me as we found ourselves at the Beatboxing workshop. I LOVE Beatboxing, it’s something I have admired since I was a child and have dabbled in with the Beans at home. I have watched YouTube and had many giggles as mess about with Boots and Cats! I’m sorry to say I didn’t catch the name of the guy who was running the workshop but he was amazing – he had the crowd laughing out loud, dancing to his beat and joining in as best as we could. About half way through i was dragged away by the younger Beans who wanted to carry on exploring Lollibop so I had to leave Curly to it.
Beanie Boy and I found Titan the Robot who always manages to pull the crowds in. It doesn’t matter how many times we see him, we still can’t help but stand and watch him. It’s just a shame my friend MumtoC couldn’t be there with me this year as I laughed so much when Titan sang “Lady in Red” to her at last year’s Lollibop. After Titan, Beanie Boy spotted Poppy Cat and excitedly waited in line to have his picture taken with her before we returned to Daddy and Little Bean who were playing Car Boot Bingo.
Car Boot Bingo has to be the strangest thing I have ever experienced but Little Bean LOVED IT!!! She joined in with the dancing like she was part of the cast of Saturday Night Fever and had the biggest smile across her face when she first won a badge with a line and then won top prize with a full house.
On our travels around, we spotted this little area with loads of cages with baby ducks and chicks which we weren’t expecting to see that day. The best thing was watching the baby chicks actually hatching from their eggs, it was a surreal experience.
We finished off our day with a stop off at Lego Duplo feeling quite sad that we hadn’t managed to get there any earlier and finally a visit to the Press Area to see what Meet and Greets were still happening and to the Beans joy we found Chris and Pui who were every bit as lovely as we had imagined and made the perfect end to our day.
I really think that you could easily spend at least 2 days at Lollibop as there is so much to do you could never do it all in just the one day. Unfortunately it isn’t the cheapest family day out, with a family of four costing just over £80 and car parking £10 but once you are inside you don’t really have to spend on anything other than refreshments. Maybe one year they might consider camping too – Hatfield House would be the ideal location for that!!
This year I was lucky enough to be an Official Lollibop Mummy Blogger which granted us a family pass for the day of our choice and free parking on site. We have been to Lollibop every year and it’s something which the Beans look forward to now so hopefully we will see you there next year too!!