KidZone Newsletter – August 2018

A summary of creative events and artistic activities for kids this month. News of family festivals Just So and CarFest South, plus an interview with children’s Fashion Designer – Shilo O’Bree!

1.  Just So Festival 2018 – Rode Hall, Cheshire

The Just So Festival, Cheshire, will take place from 17th to 19th August this year.

2. is an American kids fashion brand which enables the end user to design their own fabric! Simply follow the website instructions to create completely bespoke fashion for your little ones. Don’t worry – you can create outfits for grown-ups, too!

The Just So Festival is back for the 8th year running, and has a fun-packed event calendar for families with young children.  Acclaimed current affairs magazine, The Week Junior, will host a creative space ‘for inquisitive young minds’ in the Italian Garden.  Labelled The Forgotten Courtyard, the space will provide exhilarating workshops, provocations, debates and talks.

The festival has just been named Best Festival by the National Outdoor Events Association, and is the only arts festival in the UK specifically aimed at children and their families.

Toddler-specific provision includes Peekaboo – a space catering for nappy changing and pitstops – even laying on an evening bathtime slot from 5-7pm each day.  Babies, meanwhile, can be nursed in a calm and collected atmosphere in the baby-feeding boudoir (sponsored by Medela).  There will also be bottle-warming facilities in both the boudoir and the more public Social Barns.  Even though the festival will be catering for young ones with the Cart to Camp festival trolley feature, organisers advise families to bring their own buggy (or at least a carrier/sling).  There will be hard standing and paths for disabled access all around the festival grounds.

3.  Carla Sonheim – FREE Children’s Online Art Course

Carla Sonheim – arts author and online tutor – has devised a free 6-week online art course for kids!  Author of the adult art book, ‘Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists:  52 Exercises to Make Drawing Fun!  (Quarry Books, 2010), Carla created the Drawing Lab to keep art and the creative process fun.  Along with fellow tutors, Lynn Whipple and Diane Culhane, Carla provides an enjoyable online learning environment, requiring simple art supplies and just an hour of your time each day.  (See for more details.).



4.  Kids’ Interiors – Cute Cushions!

These linen cat cushions are available from Julia Staite’s store on for £20 each. They come in black, pink or grey.

Etsy shop owner Julia Staite sells a plethora of soft furnishings and toys that little girls would be proud of!  From posters to mini purses, soft cuddlies to hair clips, there is something to suit every taste.  Art Today are particularly taken with her Pony Club cushions and linen cat products.

5.  August Art Activity – Bubble Wrap Watercolour

YouTuber Jay Lee is an artist promoting simple yet effective art methodology for kids and their parents to follow.  Demonstrating his painting effects along with his cute baby (Charlie), he also gives product advice and tips for improving your skills.

Catch his YouTube channel Jay’s Painting & Charlie’s Vlog for calm tutorials and its expert livestream feature.  With over 500,000 subscribers, he has attracted quite a following!  We love his bubble wrap watercolour clip for its easy-to-follow, happy vibe.



6.  National Youth Theatre Auditions & Backstage Interviews Now Open

If you are aged 14+ and are interested in auditioning for this prestigious acting/stage management troupe, now is the time to apply for the chance to shine in January 2019!  From 12th January, NYT will be running auditions throughout the UK for those with a flair for performing or theatre-making.  Successful applicants can look forward to an invitation to join the Summer School programme next year (2-4 weeks depending on age) and after completing the course, will become  fully-fledged company member.  Watch the clip below for vital interview details:-


7.  Book Review – I am too Absolutely Small for School!

Lauren Child’s must-read Charlie and Lola tale is available from for £5.72 (board book) or £5.99 (paperback).

If you have a child starting school in September – and even you are having the collywobbles! – look no further than ‘I am too Absolutely Small for School’ by acclaimed children’s author Lauren Child to ease your nerves.  Part of the Children’s Laureate’s Charlie and Lola collection, this well-observed story features big brother Charlie soothing his little sister, Lola’s, anxiety at starting primary school.  Showcasing Child’s keen wit and signature illustrations, this insightful tale is sure to provide your little one with some food for thought.  If Charlie can persuade Lola to take on her first day, he can persuade your 4-year-old, too!

If you are looking for more inspiration from this stand-out author, pop along to her superbly-designed web page ( for further titles, news and animation.


8.  Design Favourite – Upcycled Kids Fashion

Shilo O’Bree is based in Hervey Bay, QLD, Australia.

A long-sleeved version of one of Shilo’s Vintage Tablecloth dresses.

Finding ethically-produced, out-of-the-ordinary kids fashion can be difficult in our mass-produced, sweat-shop-reliant society.  That’s why it’s such a breath of fresh air when you find a children’s Fashion Designer and Dress-Maker who, not only upcycles, but also has the innate skill to produce beautiful children’s clothing, whilst being sympathetic to the fabric’s original purpose and design.

Step forward Shilo O’Bree – Fashion Design & Technology Student from Queensland, Australia.  Following the birth of her twin girls 3 years ago, Shilo felt inspired to make clothing for them herself.  Having always loved vintage embroidery, she decided to use those motifs within her designs.  Her work soon became popular and now she is so busy, she is booked until September!

A short-sleeved Vintage Tablecloth Dress, featuring intricate, folk-art embroidery.  (By Shilo O’Bree)

A slightly-simpler and more modern Tablecloth Dress, with beautiful, gathered empire line.  (By Shilo O’Bree)

Shilo’s quality, folk-art dresses for baby girls feature stunning embroidery.  Using appliqued tablecloths, she finds symmetry within the original item and then uses that to dictate the final, reconstructed garment design.  Her most popular garment is the Vintage Tablecloth Dress, but she also makes Ruffle Rompers.  On the quality of her work she states:-

‘I aim for perfection and a very high standard visually.’.

Catch her unique creations on Facebook (@ashandhareboutique).

9.  Family Festival – CarFest South (24th – 26th August, Laverstoke Park, Hampshire)

Not just for the petrol-heads among us, CarFest South features provision for families and creative types alike.  From central main stage showcasing act after act of A-List performers, to dedicated kids’ entertainment – our favourite is the vibrant Car-Nival parade – there is something for everyone.  The festival vibe is a happy, friendly one, and the car collection is unbeatable.

Art Today have been informed that this year’s line-up includes Jools Holland, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball, plus Paloma Faith, The Feeling and Status Quo.

The festival really is one for the family calendar, especially with proceeds benefitting BBC Children in Need.

CarFest South state that there are still some tickets remaining for Thursday, 23rd August’s ‘Big Early’ and Sunday, 26th August.


[Credits: Feature image – ‘Frolic’ by Vickie Wade Fine Art, $26 (;;;;;;; Facebook:  @ashandhareboutique;;;;]


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