There’s something quite therapeutic about lying under the canvas of a tent with a sleeping toddler beside you whilst listening to the sound of the torrential rain. This is exactly what I did this weekend. We were camping in the depths of Lincolnshire and had joined my family for the last few days of their holiday. The break was exactly what my Parents had needed after my Dad’s recent heart attack and subsequent surgery so it was really a fantastic weekend to spend with my nearest and dearest.
Camping with a toddler is quite an experience. You need to take lots of stuff whilst being aware that anything you take with you must be packed in the car (or your other method of transport). Luckily for us, my family had taken our huge tent with them on holiday so we could spare some room in the car for other essentials.
We packed Little Mr’s travel cot and took his sleeping bag and plenty of blankets so he would be familiar with the set up. He has been camping before but that was a year ago and now he’s more aware of his surroundings we weren’t sure how he would cope; it’s not as if you can tell other campers to keep the noise down or close the curtains on the light flooding in through the canvas. We took his bowls, bottles and sippy cups as well as a stash of snacks and other goodies that we knew he would eat. Of course, Mickey Mouse, Ewan the Dream Sheep and the Fisher Price Puppy came along too to keep Little Mr company. Ewan would be cashing in his air miles, the distance he has travelled over the last 16 months.
Due to hubby’s medical condition (obstructive sleep apnoea) we have to pay for electric hook up so he can use his CPAP machine as he sleeps. This has it’s advantages as we have a small electrical coolbox that we use as our fridge and we can use our portable camping heater if it gets really chilly just before bedtime. We didn’t need to use it this year as it was still really mild late at night but it’s always with us just in case.
We packed a selection of clothes for ourselves and Little Mr in the event that the Great British weather played games with us. Luckily we took our waterproofs as it rained on Saturday morning and again briefly on Sunday morning but then Saturday afternoon it was lovely and warm and we only needed light clothes. It’s also very wise to take a selection of clothes to change in to should your little one get completely soaked from jumping in muddy puddles and falling over in the wet grassy fields. Stupidly I forgot that grass early in the morning is very wet with dew (or rain!) and gets absolutely everywhere. It sticks to everything and will ruin your canvas deck shoes! Lesson learned.
We had a fantastic weekend with the family. Little Mr got to play football with his cousin and hubby wowed the little ones with a tub of bubbles. We spent time together as a family outdoors in the fresh air, playing games and making each other laugh. It probably is one of the best weekends of the year and we all really enjoy it.
We love to sit round the fire pit of an evening to toast marshmallows. I hope that in years to come Little Mr will love this tradition as our nephew does now, aged 6.
Our huge VANGO Nile 600 tent we bought from the Camping and Caravan Show is brilliant. It has 4 different pods so we had hubby and his machine in one pod, Little Mr and I slept in the other and we used the other two as storage and the porch. It’s a brilliant tent and we have thought about going abroad with it but we would need a trailer to transport it all.
Packing away the tent is always a bit of a chore. It has to fit back in the bag you brought it in which is always a challenge. This year hubby had two extra helpers in our nephew and Little Mr. You do need eyes in the back of your head though as toddlers like to wander off and explore their new boundary free surroundings.
Our Nephew loved bug watching as we packed the tent away. There were all sorts crawling around. He loved it. Even though I’m not a big fan of creepy crawlies, I don’t mind them as we use the in built fly sheets on the doors of the tent so we don’t tend to get too many in with us.
Quite possibly my most favourite photograph this year of Little Mr. Watching his cousin playing and building up his courage to go and join in.
He didn’t want to pack away on Sunday, he was having far too much fun with the family. It also started raining so had to quickly don his waterproofs much to his dismay!
We had such a brilliant weekend. I loved spending time with my family and seeing my Dad enjoy himself. After the last few months, it was definitely what we all needed its just a shame we only get to do it once a year.
Do you enjoy camping? Have you taken you little ones? I’d love to hear your favourite UK camping locations.