I’m not really a camping kind of girl, well I didn’t think I was. I agreed to go last year after we were kindly given an ancient tent (it leaked, the poles snapped – we left it there!) and to my surprised I absolutely loved it. Here’s why:
Kids Can Be Kids
Kids have the best time at camping. There’s something safe-feeling about a campsite which allows even an anxious parent like me to give a little more freedom than usual. They can run around carefree with no shoes on, they make friends with all the other campsite kids, they’re generally excused from any serious washing (mine are soap dodgers!). They don’t say they’re bored or beg you for iPads, they PLAY. They ride bikes down hills, have hay fights*, paddle in the sea*, they laugh lots and they sleep like logs, bonus (excuse the pun).
*Hay Fight Barn and Private Beach available at Eweleaze Farm, Weymouth
Talking of Sleeping
Picture the scene: You’re on a lovely beach holiday, you’ve been up since the crack with the kids, been in the pool ALL day, built a fort with a moat, blown up a 3 lilos and applied factor 50 sun-cream 15 times. It gets to 6pm and you’re expected to get washed and changed and go out for the evening like civilised humans. Then the kids get tired – what do you do? Try and get them to sleep in a buggy so you can ‘relax’ and enjoy yourself? Go back to the room with them and tiptoe round with a bottle of wine on the balcony? Make them a bed out of two chairs? When camping, they just toddle off to the tent leaving you free to drink wine/gin/beer* (*delete as appropriate) round the campfire and still keep an eye and ear on them.
It’s Dirt Cheap
Where else can a family of 4 go on a fantastic 5 day trip over August bank holiday for the grand total of £130?! Bargain!
The People Are Lovely
Considering it’s quite a cheap holiday, I was quite surprised to find quite how ‘middle class’ it is. Luckily we turn up and lower the tone! There’s just something nice and genuine about campers. Last year my friend dropped her brand new iPhone and it was handed in within minutes, you just don’t get that service at Butlins. Everyone is super helpful and considerate, the kids are polite and friendly, people say GOOD MORNING to each other and we always come away with a few new mates.
There’s something so comforting about bacon, eggs and a cup of tea cooked on a camping stove and enjoyed from funny metal plates. Jacket potatoes and corn on the cobs wrapped in foil and nestled in the campfire. Toasted marshmallows anyone? I always precook a spag bol and freeze for the first night, saves faffing around once you’ve set up. We love camping food and keep everything cool in this impressively large cool box. Expensive but a good investment. Hello…. It keeps the wine cold!!
There Are Puppies
If I haven’t sold it to you already, did I mention the puppies at Eweleaze Farm? Loads of them to cuddle and play with to your hearts content. The kids can walk them and feed them and they’re sooooo cute. There are also kittens, guinea pigs, horses, pigs, alpacas and various other cute hairy beasts.
The Dress Code
I like getting myself dolled up occasionally as much as the next person but I’m a mum, it’s an effort. To be able to slob around in your onesie (or denim shorts if you’re being posh) scrape your hair up in a mum-bun and not wear any make up is so refreshing. There aren’t even any mirrors, let alone electricity for your GHDs. Nobody cares what you look like. Rejoice. Plus you can wear CROCS without being judged. You can even put socks under them when it’s cold #sorrynotsorry
This is my favourite part of all. There isn’t one. There isn’t a table booked at 8. You can be led by your own appetite and what you feel like doing that day. Lazy days plodding around the site, or sunbathing at the beach followed by cozy evenings in front of the camp fire. Go to bed when you want, get up when you want. Check out when you bloody want. Bliss.
A Few More Words About Eweleze Farm
At the risk of sounding like I am employed by them. I absolutely love it here, families return year after year because it’s so friendly, relaxed, so much to do. Turkish bath, sauna, massage, arts and crafts, bedtime stories. You couldn’t be bored if you tried. But if you want to be bored and do nothing, that’s doable too. You can hire fancy bell tents if you don’t fancy the full on ‘camping experience’. There’s a candlelit restaurant (no electricity), a bakery, ice cream parlour, great reasonably priced shop (prosecco £7.95 – not bad at all!), wood fired pizza van, boat trips, etc. I won’t lie, the compost toilets do pong a bit but there are a selection of flushable toilets dotted around if you really can’t face it. Solar powered HOT showers are fab and no queue if you pick the right time of day. All round a great campsite.
Below are a few things I’ve added to my collection to make everyone’s stay a bit more pleasant:
Tent: Buy an inflatable one, yes really. No poles, no arguments. Unfold, peg the 4 corners, pump up the 5 beams and you’re ready to go. Always try and go bigger than what you need. Family of 4 = 6 man tent, etc.
Roof Racks: inflatable again. They fold down tiny when not in use and enable you to pile loads of extra crap on top of the car, result.
Shelter somewhere to sit if it rains, somewhere to cook and keep stuff dry. Next on my purchase list is one of these, but they don’t come cheap:
For now I’m making do with one of these which does the job perfectly well, withstood strong wind and rain and is only £20 – bargain. Good luck getting it all back in the box though!
Bedding Forget sleeping bags, take duvets and pillows. SO much warmer and more comfortable.
Towels Turkish Hammam towels take up much less space than ordinary towels, dry out quicker and dry you just as effectively.
Vaccum Bags Put all your duvets, pillows, blankets, towels inside. Hoover all the air out and it shrinks to about a tenth of it’s original size! Comes with a pump for when you don’t have your hoover handy 😉
Travel Potty Because who wants to take a child to the loo, in the middle of the night when it’s cold and dark.
Folding Trolley especially good for festivals because you can cart tired children and a cool bag of gin around in it but also comes in very handy for camping for rubbish/washing up runs, collecting firewood etc. Folds up pretty small too.
Camping Lantern After buying several cheaper versions, this one has been brilliant. USB charger, one charge lasts all weekend and you can even charge your phone if it if you’re desperate.
I’m a London-based mum of two crazy boys. 33 going on 17. Snap Happy Foodie, Ginnie and Gobby. Just winging it (aren’t we all?) juggling all the balls and trying to raise gentlemen. Peace out.