After our practice camp earlier this year I have been hankering after actually taking Ollie and the kids and taking the plunge on a real live campsite.
Thankfully we didn’t have too long to wait as my best friend and her family have taken up caravanning and with their caravan needing a road trip out too we decided to make a weekend of it together not too far from home to see how the kids took to it.
Stacey and Simon and their kids had burst their caravanning cherry a couple of week prior to our booked weekend and had enjoyed it so I was massively hoping the kids and Ollie loved camping as much as me so we could get more fresh air as a family and head off to explore more of the UK with our trusty canvas.
Thankfully as I know so well camping comes with masses of stuff so I had preempted the amount of space we would need and invested in a roof rack and roof box and I am so glad I did as with a toddler and 6-year-old in tow there seems to be so much more stuff needed than I remembered!
However thankfully with my trusty essential camping list printed out (you can find it HERE) I had packed everything we needed and it was just a case of packing jenga instead.
Arriving on site we were a day behind Stacey and Simon who arrived the previous night but with black clouds and heavy skies we had no time to chat as they took the kids and we set about for only the second time since we had owned it setting up our EuroHike Rydal 600 tent from Blacks.
Thankfully we only had a slight confusion about setting the tent up a couple of times and in around 40 minutes we had the main tent and footprint up. We thankfully invested in a porch extension that fitted on the side to give us somewhere to cook in the rain as the site charge double the pitch price for having any kind of shelter on the front so we would have struggled to cook without out it as £80 for two nights in my opinion was rather steep (the price of 2 pitches for 2 nights!)
Minutes before everything was in the heavens opened and never stopped for the entire night but thankfully we had privately booked the indoor pool at Thornton’s Holt which was the saving grace for Friday (£40 for one hour private use) As Jacob discovered he didn’t want to sleep in a tent or travel cot.
So for our first family night under canvas que lots of Ollie being fed up, Jacob crying till midnight and the rain and wind blowing fiercely against the tent.
Once sun arose the following morning life was good.
There was no rain, just happy kids and sunshine and it was at this point I knew the weekend had been saved. Camping and rain is no fun but sunshine, friendship and fun is a whole other matter.
After a camp breakfast, the men folk headed for showers in the brand spanking new shower block. However once they returned the new shower block was closed again and Stacey and I decided that we would go later in the hopes it was open again.
We headed off for a walk over the road to the pub for a drink and some planning on where to go for the day. It was also a pub we had been to before when we had the pleasure of reviewing it a few weeks back, Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery, The Shepard.
It was decided we would have a stroll over to Holme Pierrepont a local Nottinghamshire country park and water sports centre to let the kids run off some steam and play.
Although the walk was only supposed to be around an hour we actually got slightly off course and ended up walking for around 6 miles and so why the time we got there we headed for snacks before sending the men off in a taxi to retrieve the cars and come back and collect us and the kids.
Once back on sight Stacey and I went off for our much-anticipated showers in the new shower block which was unfortunately still closed so instead ended up in the old tired and mouldy shower block (they opened the new block fully the day after we returned home)
Simon and Stacey had a super camping BBQ so offered to cook our food on their BQQ and we finally let the kids loose to run and play in the field while we chatted and had a gin or two watching them play.
That Saturday afternoon was what Ollie fell in love with and we are certainly going to be going camping again. We are not bothering with a travel cot next time though as Jacob really did hate it so we are going to invest in an inflatable toddler bed (it has higher sides on it to stop tots rolling out)
Sunday morning we packed up inside and headed over to the pub for a buffet breakfast while the tent dried out and then it was a case of packing the tent and porch away which went more smoothly than it did putting it up.
I honestly thought that the really bad weather on the Friday might have scuppered any chance of Ollie wanting to make camping a regular thing. However Saturday saved the day and it now means we will be more prepared with bad weather activities for the tent next time.