The 3 Foot People Festival, Etsy and the Allergy and Free From Show

The last week has been a busy one involving a children’s festival and two trips into London. That’s more times I go into London in a few days than I do some months. Fortunately Sunday was a quiet day at home to recover and I spent it doing some much overdue cleaning. If I had a full week like Sunday then my house might actually get totally clean and in some form of order, as it is I’ll just enjoy the vacuumed stairs and clean skirting boards in the kitchen for a few days before everything is a state again.

A toddler making a paper crown with tissue paper, balls and stickers at a children's festival

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The 3 Foot People Festival

Last week was the second time I have been to the 3 Foot People Festival in Chelmsford and we had an amazing day. If you live in Essex and you have young children I really recommend you put a reminder in your diary to buy tickets next March.

The festival is aimed at preschoolers and children aged 6 and over aren’t even allowed in! There is so much to do from structured activities to free play all in a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The festival was sold out yet again, but nothing felt too busy and other than the huge queue for face painting we didn’t have to wait long for anything. Oh and all the activities are free! 

Our day involved: catching bubbles, fishing for poo, going to Hartbeeps, eating vegan cakes and cookies, riding toy horses, playing in the gymnastics tent, watching Gunpowder Gertie’s “contemporary performance”, Jo Jingles, playing with great toys in the Fundamentally Children tent who were showing some of the best products from their Good Toy Guide, going to a Sounds Right Phonics Class, doing some craft, playing in the sand pit, dancing with Glastonbabies, trying out some multi sports and martial arts, playing on bouncy castles and other inflatables and then exploring a great sensory area by Cogs and Sprogs. It’s no surprise that Little fell asleep minutes after leaving. 

I keep calling Little a toddler but last week it started to not feel quite right, somehow she has sneaked into being a preschooler. I don’t really know how or when. Her no longer wearing nappies has definitely contributed, although again that has been a gradual thing so it doesn’t feel like a clear cut moment. Watching her at the 3 Foot People Festival she was just overflowing with confidence. Ok she started to wander off on her own a few times which isn’t ideal, but she threw herself into every new activity from balancing beams in the gymnastics tent to all the classes. I was so glad her Dad was with me so I had someone to share the “proud mama” moments with.

A toddler in a straw sun hat watching bubbles at the 3 foot people festival

A toddler walking a long a plastic wiggly balancing beam in a gymnastics tent at 3 foot people festival

A parachute being waved up and down with yellow plastic balls in to represent popcorn in the Hartbeeps 3 foot people festival session

Shaking pompoms at the 3 foot people festival in Chelmsford Sounds Right Phonics class

Etsy UK Christmas Showcase 

It’s a “thing” that will be familiar to bloggers and those that work in the Press that come summer time brands start to promote their product lines that will be available for Christmas. Christmas in July events are held by companies as big as Amazon to those you won’t have heard of. Due to my permanent sidekick I have only got plans for a couple of events this year, the first of which was Etsy. 

I love Etsy and I’m proud to be an affiliate because there are so many amazing products for sale on the website and app. But the trouble with Etsy is there are just so many amazing products on there it can be hard to find the perfect gift unless you already have an idea of what you are looking for. The Christmas showcase was great to discover a selection of some of the shops which Etsy feels would be perfect for presents this year and it was great to talk to the shop owners who design, make and curate the shops. The showcase had everything from Vegan chocolate to personalised leather accessories, lots of fun ceramics like these plates and these homewares. I even get a chance to mix up my own amazing smelling bath salts thanks to Hopscotch London.

I even got to have my first (vegan) mince pie of the year!

White plates and crockery with cool drawn animals and writing on by Jimbobart at the etsy Christmas showcase

Little Beau Sheep's display at the Etsy showcase with woolly sheep dryer balls and laundry scents

A ceramic lion money box by Hannah Turner from Etsy

A display of vegan chocolate from Ethicoco including milk, white (with tumeric) and dark. Available from the Etsy shop

Allergy & Free From Show at London Olympia

On Saturday we head to the Allergy & Free From Show at London Olympia. It’s my 3rd visit to the event having been to every one since I became dairy free. It is great to see there continues to be more variety and improvements in the food available to people with intolerances and allergies. I love that this event is free and full of samples and discounted products. I tempted Little along saying she would be able to have lots of ice cream and chocolate and oh my goodness did we eat a lot of chocolate.

There are some brands that have been there every year, but there is a huge amount of variety each time too. One of the things I like best is the opportunity to try what are often relatively expensive foods to see if they are worth buying e.g. vegan cheese. I have claimed many times there is no great vegan cheese alternative and it is the one thing I miss most about not eating dairy, through the show I have found a few products which I actually like though. Mozzarisella which is on White Rabbit Pizza’s and also used at Zizzi’s is my favourite option for pizza, I also like Violife creamy on crackers (a cross between cream cheese and dairylea). These are both discoveries I made on previous visits to the Allergy and Free From Show. I’ve continued to try new cheeses that come out at the event, and most aren't to my taste, however I did discover that I like Violife Greek White Block. It’s meant to be feta style and it is a bit, but also a bit like goats cheese. Anyway I think it’s nice and I want to experiment cooking with it. Again Ocado's name came up time and time again as the place that many of the Free From Products can be bought (I mentioned this before in my post about why I love Ocado).

I was invited to the Bloggers meet up hosted by the Allergy and Free From Show and it was lovely to speak to the brands that came along including Promise (I’ve raved before about their dairy free brioche), Genius, Full Green, Sproud, Schär and Coop. I was particularly impressed listening to Coop and how they are challenging food manufacturers about whether particular ingredients are needed in the recipes, especially when it means that food wouldn’t be suitable for various groups of people. It’s a personal frustration of mine when I look at an ingredients list just in case and there is some random dairy ingredient that isn’t really necessary like in some mayo’s, egg fried rice or versions of a biscuit, but not others e.g. bourbons. I get that sometimes food is nicer with dairy, I’m not going to argue that a rich buttery pastry is the same, but sometimes it is included when there are good alternatives.

A view from the balcony at London Olympia over the 2019 Allergy and free from show

Toddler eating a Miiro icecream

blogger meet up at the 2019 allergy and free from show
The Blogger Meet Up

The week ahead is going to be a quieter one with only one trip into town, baby groups and the start of end of term activities. Less than 2 weeks left until Little leaves nursery and less than 3 weeks until the school holidays start!

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