Again this year a beautiful hot sunny holiday abroad eluded us, in fact if it wasn’t for my mum even our yearly UK camping trip wouldn’t have taken place this year! Finances have been dire for one reason or another these last few months however, with a very handy loan from my mum our camping trip was back on.
This year we decided to go further afield than our usual south coast visits and Yorkshire seemed to be calling us. We found a great campsite near Pickering on an actual working farm which we absolutely adored. The farmer and his lovely wife could not have been more friendly or helpful throughout our week and the view from our tent was to die for.
This is what we had decided to do this year. I know it doesn’t exactly push the excitement levels over the top, however, needs must and all that, I haven’t won the Lottery as yet so the Isle of Wight it was!
Now when I say holidaying I actually mean camping. That’s what we do and we love it.
However, it started like this:
I have to admit this is bloody typical when we go anyway.
But what’s not to like with a set up like this? The minute we got off the ferry onto the island the rain stopped.
That swingball brings out the competition in us and believe it when I say my OH and I take no prisoners when we play- you have been warned.
And we had a resident cheeky goose (no not my OH) patrolling the grounds and standing guard at our pitch! Although he was bloody useless when it came to sorting out the wasp problem- but at least we had the camp fires for that and my OH becoming an expert swatter with a tea towel.
The boys had both had yr6 school trips to the Isle of Wight and both loved it there, so we really wanted to visit as a family before they lost interest. Therefore we had agreed beforehand that the holiday choices would be made by them. The list was drawn up from the tourist guides and there were loads to choose from.
So here’s the quick guide:
We were blessed with a glorious week of sunny weather and none of us were ready to leave when it was over! There were also lots of places we didn’t get time to go and visit, so for us a return trip is a must.
Now considering we didn’t go abroad- THAT IS A SIGN OF A GOOD UK HOLIDAY!
PS- No comments on the bikini pic or I may just hunt you down!!
Having just had a week away at half term camping in Dorset, I started thinking why I love being away camping. Something that would have had me breaking out in a sweat a few years ago. So I thought I would share a few top tips for camping with families.
THE TRICK IS TO BE ORGANISED!
Print off a camping list…
Of any of the main camping equipment online. Or make your own using their list as a starting point. Check the list against your equipment several weeks before you go. Tick off the stuff you have and listing the stuff you need to get.
Make a shopping list..
Make a shopping list just for the time you are away. PLAN YOUR MEALS and take the basics with you. So, if your plan is to have a curry make sure you have the jar of sauce and then buy your meat fresh on the day.
Cool box and freezer blocks…
A good cool box and freezer blocks are essential for milks and butter to keep cold. I tend to freeze a pack of bacon and sausages to take for a cooked breakfast on our 1st morning there. They will also act as freezer blocks for the first day but will have defrosted well for the first mornings breakfast.
Go prepared for cold and warm weather this is the UK after all.. Woolly hats and hot water bottles for the colder evenings and possible shorts and sun cream for warmer days.
Take games suitable for your children and family to play. We take Uno cards and several decks of cards for Black Jack and Solitaire. Pens and writing pads for Hangman/ Battleship. These really don’t take up much space but can provide a few hours of entertainment on a rainy day. Don’t forget games for outsidetoo, such as, football/ bats and balls/ Frisbees. These will all help keep the kids entertained after dinner in the evening.
Get the kids involved…
Get the kids involved by giving them some responsibility. Let them pack a small bag of things they want to bring for their own amusement like books, head torches, trump cards etc. Also during the camp try giving older kids a chore, such as, filling the water bottles, washing up, or taking rubbish to the bins etc.
Take flasks because not only are these fab to take out with you during the day for a sneaky cuppa. But we fill them at dinner time to make teas and hot chocolates before bed. Instant hot water when the kids are tired and don’t want to wait for the kettle to boil.
Take a windbreaker…
Take a windbreaker to mark an area close to your tent space. These can help create a great cooking area if your tent does not have a porch. Also they are easy to uproot and take with you for a day at the beach, presuming you get sunshine.
Disposable BBQ’s can be picked up for a few quid in most places. They are great alternative to take to the beach for a lovely evening with a Hot Dog or Burger thrown in for a cheap and easy dinner. Sometimes we don’t even bother with the BBQ. We just use one of our single stoves and a frying pan for the same results. They are portable so make use of them.
Relax and enjoy…
Relax and enjoy the time. There doesn’t need to be a strict regime like at home. No one will be knocking at your door. The ironing and cleaning do not need doing. Have a break from social media. Take each day as it comes, late mornings/ late bedtimes/ extra snacks and treats. THIS IS YOUR HOLIDAY AFTER ALL!
Let me know if you go camping and have some tips I haven’t mentioned here.
Before you get all excited and start asking me which exotic, sunny, warm and relaxing part of the world I am heading to I will say one word……………………………..CAMPING!
Now that put it in perspective didn’t it. That means this country, hoping for sun, dodging the rain, and occupying an 11 and 14 yr old so they don’t kill each other, all under the roof of my fab ( huge) tent.
YET I LOVE IT AND CANNOT WAIT TO GO.
Madness I hear you say but once we have set up and settled ourselves these are a few things that make it relaxing and enjoyable:
No one knocks on the front door
No TV for the boys to be glued to
No games consoles so boys will talk to us
Mostly our phones are off!!
Time for us all to be together
No real schedule
Everyone mucking in with- cooking, washing up etc
NO CLEANING!! (a major bonus)
Time to do what we want to do without the rosta of kids clubs and parties
Beating the kids at Black Jack
A great RELAX
So I will be going cold turkey on all things technical ( except my camera). No Facebook, no Twitter, No Blog or reading other blogs……………………………Like I say cold turkey for 6 whole carefree, chilled out days. Come rain or shine we are going to have a fab time.
Therefore, without further ado I wish you all a GREAT HALF TERM and I will see you on the other side.
Wish you were here and all that……………………Happy Half Term.
I so hope that this recent weather is going to continue. We are due to be camping over the half term and I am praying that some of the nice weather will stick around!!
I have finally switched over to my summer wardrobe………..be warned the shockingly white legs are out ( as is my bottle of tinting moisturiser!). The toenails have been painted and firmly placed in summer sandals/flip flops. The back door is now permanently open for the cats to run riot in the garden…………to be honest it has been absolute bliss.
Signs that summer has officially visited us:
* My washing could be left out all day!
* We have managed to eat several dinners outside!!
* The BBQ has been ramped up for the season!
* The seaside has been officially visited! ( WARNING- we do not travel light!)
It’s been picnics, bbq’s, suncream and of course no hot weather is complete without the necessary sunburn- I will spare you the pic!!
NOTE TO SELF: must remember that even though there is a lovely cool breeze at the coast……………………..I STILL BURN!
So long may it all continue ( except for the sunburn obviously- my factor 20 is at the ready for next week).
I have just had one of the best weekends of my life! What’s more I was able to enjoy it with my OH and 2 boys who seemed to enjoy it at much as me.
We spent the weekend in Henley on Thames camping at the Rewind festival 2011. Having never been to a festival of any kind before it really was a new experience all round. I have never seen so many campers and tents in one place in all my life!!
And this was the ‘quieter’ field!!
We decided to go Friday and try to include some of the extras that were on offer before the music filled days………..that way we wouldn’t have to miss any of the bands on Saturday and Sunday. However, we were late leaving (as organised as ever) and then had to tackle the M25 on a Friday afternoon ( you can see were this is going!!) and then sat in a 5mile tail back just to get onto the camp!!
Once there it was pretty much a free for all. There were already lots and lots…………………and lots of people already pitched and settled ( I was so bloody jealous at that point and mumbling under my breath why we are never that organised!) As we couldn’t get a trolley cart to help with the baggage, the queue was humongous, so we decided to grab the tent and find a pitch and at least get the tent up (which is no easy feat in itself) and that way we could come back for the rest……………………..which really is a lot as we never learn to travel light!
The gear minus our duvet and pillows which we nearly forgot!!
And then the tent of course!!!!
After traipsing all around the world, or so it felt, we eventually found the ‘Family field’ that was already full and not all with families!! We eventually ended up in a field that was closer to the car park and certainly had more room between tents without being squashed in like sardines. We trooped on and sorted the tent which isn’t easy peasy at the best of times without a hinderer like me helping (but not in a good way). Anyway all hands on deck and it was sorted and I left the boys to ferry the rest of the gear back from the car as I cooked the dinner!!
still haven’t quite got sorted as you can see and it was getting dark!!
At that point the plan of enjoying the extras ie: silent disco etc had gone out the window. But at 10pm we thought what the hell- lets go grab a cold beer and have a wander. The kids were up for it with a promise of a go on the amusements!! I’m so glad we did as we came across these peeps:-
brill costumes and they were soo nice to the boys too
Eventually we fell into bed around midnight totally exhausted. But all was great in the morning as we had a lay in and we woke up to a glorious morning. We topped that with a fab cooked breakfast which set us up for the day ahead.
nothing like a cooked brekkie when your camping…..YUM!
That was before the impending doom of the rain clouds that were quickly approaching. We ended up like this…….
There’s Pimms in that there cup! The rain didn’t dampen my drinking LOL
Soooo not funny!!!! However, someone was definitely looking down on us as the sun eventually came out and we enjoyed a great day with totally fab music.
Billy Ocean was absolutley FAB!!!
Howard Jones one of my absolute fav’s did a fantastic set but didn’t play ‘Hide and Seek’…….how very dare he!!!!!
Bananarama were brill…….very funny in between songs too. The crowd loved them!
Ohh I do love a firework display…….yes sad I know!!
That night finished with Holly Johnson’s rendition of ‘The Power of Love’ and a fireworks display thrown in for good measure.
We trudged back to the camp exhausted and cold and fell into bed pretty much comatosed!!
Sunday…………..and it was all to come again. But we were more organised this time. We packed for all eventualities, coats, ponchos, sun cream, hats, umbrella ( for rain or shine!) and some sneaky Pimms to boot!
Spot the festival welly socks….minus the welly’s that I had to take off it was so warm!
Me and OH grooving!!
Our sky that evening……stunning!
Boys will be boys!
That night finished with The Human League, not my favourite by a long shot and really would have liked Kim Wilde to have finished the night as the crowd completely ‘rocked’ when she was on. as well as The Village People ( don’t laugh) they really had the crowd going, even the security guys up the front were doing the YMCA!!!!!
The boys today were in full festival mode, singing to the crowd karaoke and rocking with their Glo sticks in the evening.
That’s us screaching…..’We’re the kids in America’!!!!!!!!
The Human League…..great set just not my cup of tea!!!
Sadly we trudged back to our tent with the knowledge that we had to be up at 5.30am to pack up and be away early as my youngest was going to be on a course that day ( such bad planning on my part!!). So after not sleeping a wink I was up to this view making tea at 5.30………………………….lovely in an odd sort of way.
Truly gorgeous, calm and quiet!!
Surprisingly, we were packed and on the road by 8.45am ( how would have thought it) very impressive as it’s no easy feat with two whingy boys to get up and fed and ready!!
However, chatting in the car on the way home and playing one of our 80’s CD’s we asked the boys who they liked:- 13 yr old…………Nik Kershaw!! Haircut 100!!! Kim Wilde ( although not sure he should admit that to his friends) Village People ( definitely not mentioning that one!!!)
10 yr old………….Billy Ocean ( good choice as he was fab) Go west!! Village People!!! ( really he won’t live it down!!)
When asked if they would go again it was a resounding …………………YES!!
They loved the ‘grunge”….. not showering for days, eating cooked breakfasts and staying up very late!! I thought the ‘grunge’ would be too much for me to bear ( festival camping is a whole other experience than normal camping…………don’t get me started on the porta loos………………….that could really scar you for life!!!)
However, I never knew ‘dirty’ could be soooo much fun!!
Needless to say after a coma style sleep when we got back my shower has never felt so good.
So here’s to next year! ( oh forgot OH has a leave ban from mid June through to September due to the Olympics…………………..Ok I think he feels a sicky coming on already……………………….ssshhhhhh don’t tell anyone!! LOL
Yes you read it right…..camp! We are off again, tomorrow in fact. Now there’s lots of festivals going on over the summer with great bands, brilliant music, lots of alcohol, playing how to find your tent at the end of the night etc, etc…….you get the picture.
So when we heard this festival being talked about and advertised my OH and I looked at each other, a plan hatched and tickets were booked. Now being in our early 40’s we are not hitting a mid life crisis and pretending we are younger than we are, or trying to be ‘hip and down with the kids’!! So before you all get very impressed thinking we are heading to a Glastonbury style festival and that we must be really cool and laid back parents to be taking our kids off camping ‘a la festival style’……………………….we are not!
So although we may at some point over the weekend re live our youth, embarrass our kids with our dancing, and force them to wave luminous Glo sticks at any sad songs whist singing ( very out of tune) at the top of our voices……………………………………we will not be cheering to any ‘cool’ bands of recent years!
Oh no, not this family. We will be heading to Henley, hoping for sunny dry weather. For a whole weekend we will be surrounded by luminous clothing, mullet wigs, legwarmers (and that’s just me……only kidding!) as we will be at the REWIND festival. A full 2 days of 80’s bands, beer in plastic glasses, people in our own age range who remember these bands and the words to their songs, and OK I might have to wave a few Glosticks!!
So wish me luck as Friday brings a long day of packing, unpacking, hawking everything to our pitch, erecting a very large and heavy tent (actually that will be OH and the boys), cooking dinner(that will definitely be my job) and then dragging our boys to the delights of the ‘Silent Disco’!!!!!
I feel a nervous breakdown approaching very rapidly!! Or at least a body breakdown after a very bad M.E day today!!!!!! So lots of coffee, berroca’s and energy drinks I think………………………..and that’s before the Saturday and Sunday of fab 80’s music!!!!!
I sooooo cannot wait…………………………………..be warned it could will get messy.