So for Lily’s birthday, every year (all three of ’em, lol) we have held a ‘mini-festival’ type party in our garden.

Lots of you have been asking for this blog, or singularly- where all the bits that made it were from – so here it is…

Welcome to Lilyfest 2018…

Where the magic happens…

We’ve only lived in this house for two and a bit years, and when we got it – the garden was a fricking jungle. So, it has taken ALOT of work to get it in some sort of order, and while it ain’t finished, it’ll do.

(I will do a garden reno’s blog at some point, as well as house reno’s – because I know a lot of you like to follow as well as get ideas, or tips on how to keep the budget lowwww.)

So, when I was a kid, our family never had holidays abroad or any of that jazz, my gypsy punk parents took us on the festival circuit and I like to think various aspects of the lesser known folk festival scene shows through when LilyFest rolls around.

All crafty bits I do myself in the weeks running up, in particular the glass jars which were painted by hand, and each design differs. These had battery powered tealights in and really came into their own once the sun had set.

Total cost : 5x mini glass paints (approx £3 each ) + Craft embellishments (3x Sheets £2 each) + Gold glass pen £2.95 + String ( found in Ryans toolbox!) = £26.95.

Each jar was painted with glass paint, then with a glass painting pen, in gold. I added embellishments etc too – all from a local craft shop. (If you count Trago Mills!)

I actually did these for the first LilyFest, so really the cost per use makes them super cheap, and value for money! ( They have weathered a fair bit though, so if you do these for your garden bring ’em in when it snows!!)

I also painted a sign for the first time, I was given a canvas that had been lying around and had some left over paint. So…Total cost : £7.99 for the acrylic paints used.

For more footage from LilyFest, check out my Instagram story highlights! @rocknrollmother_

This year I had some solar string lights hung through the bushes on our boundary wall, similar to these, from Ebay : £7.99.


I also had some regular festoon lights, as sometimes solar lights don’t come on early enough, and I wanted some reliable light over the decking! Mine were £12.99 each, and I bought two sets, but iv found similar for cheaper! So brilliant news, you’ve got an extra £4 to spend elsewhere !


Now absolutely everyone loves my cushion covers, and they are SO cheap.

Iv bought several lots over two years so only actually had a few out on LilyFest day. But its easy to spread the cost over the months leading up and you end up with plenty of colourful covers for the big day! Also, as they are only the cushion cover you can easily put them over your regular sofa cushions for a quick splash of colour, and then it makes storing* them easier too. (*flinging them into the loft for Next Year’s You to deal with)


One thing I will say though is – if you need to wash them – the colours WILL bleed. The cover comes out fine but probably best not to wash with anything else in there! The same goes for any Indian fabrics, the dyes are so vibrant there will always be a bit of leakage (oo-er) – so now you know, and won’t accidentally dye your kids favourite pale pink blanket GREY. ( Positive note : She loves her grey blanket even more!)

From £3.95 per cushion.

I also make use of all the throws and things I’ve accumulated over the years, to cover up our wooden seating, and make them a bit more comfortable – the key here is you don’t need to spend a lot of money on outdoor seating for people, especially if like us – we only use it in the summer months, and this year we’ve gotten so lucky with the weather but last year was a total wash out.

So our recycled wooden seating is easily covered over. I found most my blankets second hand – the crochet blankets I found at carboots, a few furry blankets I found via Ebay, and a few were given to me by a friend who bought them at an actual Indian market!

My rag rugs were bought second hand from Facebook Marketplace, and the sandy carpet was a bedroom offcut!

Tip for kids parties : Get your shopping delivered two days before! 

So we just fed everyone barbecue food in the afternoon, its easy, its simple and its fairly filling. Plus people can have more if they need to – between less than 20 of us we went through nearly 40 burgers ! Plus the trimmings, salad and hotdogs etc. So its worth over buying, you can always have barbecue food all week if you buy too much !

Remember : ‘Unclick’ substitutions on your online shop, cuz your ass doesn’t want to order a rainbow sprinkle cake and end up with a fucking lemon madeira.

I also decided to buy a cake this year ( because stress levels = 0 is v desirable to me) and why not delegate where you can – ease that mental load my darlings!

Plus supermarkets are upping their birthday cake game ! I got this one (above picture) for Lily from ASDA, for £13, and it served 20 easily.

…By the time the sun begins to set, that is when LilyFest comes into its own, and the vibe changes from that of a kids party (aka Snoresville) to a lovely celebration of yet another year of wonderfulness.

The coloured bunting was £6 on Ebay, and the Black + White is our Cornish flag, which is a nod to the fact not one of us is bloody Cornish, but we love it here!

I really do think that a birthday of a child is as much a celebration of their young life, as it is a celebration of everything you, a parent, have achieved and got through to get them this far. And besides, organising a party isn’t always an easy feat, so well done you for that too..!

Tip! Always make sure your guests have a beverage, but if they offer to make YOU a brew – take it ! Thou should never turn down a ‘free tea’…

I bought these from a fairtrade seller for £63 but have found exact copies for less..! Click Here.

So, the sun goes down, the lights come on. A few drinks might be flowing ( Ryan and I don’t drink personally, but we do encourage people to BYOB if they want to. It is a 3rd birthday though, so the cocaine is most certainly frowned upon!)

By this point, the last thing I want to do is cook, so we ordered a Domino’s for everyone, and enjoyed our fleeting company and the atmosphere….

Domino’s, cuz fuck cooking. Total cost : £50, with BOGOF offers! 
This were made by Ryans Mum! its just a coke bottle, with tiny fairy lights in the stopper. A link for 10 corks is here !  

fthfhfhfhtThese stars are beautiful with battery powered lights in them, and I actually bought these as a feature inside for Christmas, but they work beautifully for the summer evenings too! This one usually lives in Lilys room as a night light. Cost : £4.95

The moon rises in the sky. And turns our guests into lunatics….

Lastly, for LilyFest number One, we had an actual fire pit instead of the oil drum BBQ we used now, so I bought some ‘Mystic Fire Powder’, which you throw into the flames and it burns bright colours..! I chucked it in a drawer and forgot about it til this year, and it was amazing! I’ve added a hyperlink to the Ebay listing for 6 packs, because you will want more..! Cost per packet : £1.67

I got an instastory as I threw it on, saved to my LilyFest highlight!
Perfecrt end to a perfect day…

Finally, I just want to say, if you have a garden, big or small, or a kid, big or small, or just want to hold a mini festival for yourself …

Don’t forget the main objective – its meant to be fun.

One glass jar + one £4 bouquet of supermarket flowers ( or home grown!) + a bit of white string = Easy décor for the boring bits of the garden!

Don’t sweat the small stuff, you don’t need to buy all the gear, or have it looking ‘perfect’.

This is our third year doing it, and it still rained halfway through, meaning half the guests dived inside, the other half braved it and folded up blankets, guarded electric points, had to shield the barbecue and babies still cried, people we wanted there cancelled last minute and there really wasn’t quite enough room for everyone to stay.

Still, everyone mucked in, had a laugh and we enjoyed ourselves, and we will keep doing it until Lily says she wants something different.

So now you know how we do it ! You can have a go too…( before the sun fucks off again!)


2 thoughts on “LilyFest”

  1. Fantastic! Thank you for the ideas xx
    We had a BBQ at Cardinham woods for Poppy’s 2nd Birthday this year and epic fail we’re – picking the hottest day of the year! Loads of people dropping out last minute and Mal spending all afternoon cooking on the BBQ. We still came home with about 25burgers which had been defrosted so he had a couple of them every day for a week until he was sick of them hahahaha
    There are some pics on my Insta too (you know the link – Jane Sargeant uk but it cost £150-£200 all in and I am definitely not doing THAT again when we could have a day out/weekend away for the same.
    Stockpiling is deffo the way forward though! Xx


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