Friday, 20 January 2012

Where to camp?

There are so many places to camp in the uk, how do you choose? Do you want the all singing all dancing ones with kids galore, pools and club houses? Or something more natural? Back to nature? Something in between? This is a great website for some inspiration
Other ideas I'd love to hear!

Cool Camping have just added cool campsites in France too - very handy as we're planning a camping trip to the Dordoigne this summer!

Top Tips for Glamping on a budget

I've been sourcing bits and pieces for my bell tent holidays for a couple of years now, and I've loved doing it! It's taken up loads of my  time and it's become a great hobby. So I thought I'd share some of my 'best buys' and tips and hopefully people can add to this - I'd love that.

1. Sourcing the tent
Buying my bell tent was tough as I wanted to get it at the best price and the right size for my family. Initally we decided on a 4m bell tent, but after spending a night in one with just my husband (which was a great size for the 2 of us), I realised with all our clobber and 2 small boys the next size up was a must, so went looking for a 5m.
soulpad and bell tent uk have some great tents, and you can find used ones on ebay but they all go for about the same price. The best priced ones, and great quality are found on a dutch website called Obelink. However, the only thing they don't ship to the UK are bell tents. Bugger. Why not? Well it seems they have an agreement with one of the bell tent sellers here in the UK ( no names mentioned) as they supply that company with them in bulk.
A 5m bell tent from Obelink, basic ie groundsheet not attached is £249, compared to belltent uk of £379
There are 2 ways around this as the price difference is substantial. Either plan a camping trip in Holland and pick one up first, or get a dutch freind to send it on. I did the latter and the postage was just under £20, so still much cheaper! A saving of £110
2. 4m, 5m, basic, delux or ultimate?
The whole reason I wanted a belltent was for the headspace and general feeling of loveliness! The 4m bell tent is perfect for a couple or a couple with a small child. As soon as another comes along, the 5m is definately worth getting! We have the basic, which means that the groundsheet is not attached to the tent. I LOVE this option. I'll write another post on why, and the pros and cons of both later.
3. Carpet anyone?
Oh yes, now I have a great tent, it needs to be comfortable! We started with rugs on the floor as the bell tent carpets are expensive. This worked ok, but I was always slipping on them and they move around alot. So upgraded to general tent carpet which was cheap, but still wasnt happy as it was - well - ugly!
You can get bell tent carpet from greens or belltent or soulpad, the cheapest coming in at £70 for a 5m one, or a half moon coir type more expensive at around £110.
The very best option is pet bedding, believe it or not. It fantastic, like walking on shag pile! its durable, easy to cut to size as it comes in a roll and is the best value, at about £50 to carpet the whole tent. It's light too! Here is an ebay seller - it comes in loads of colours too if you fancy a hot pink or purple!

4. Cooking
I love a camp fire but loads of campsites are pretty strict about this. Getting a firepit is a good idea as this doubles as both a bar b q and campfire in the evenings. If you can get a tripod, you can hang your pots on it to make great stews and roasts - but don't get these online unless you want to pay a premium! We got ours from a local blacksmiths for £15. Loads more on cooking later...

Getting ready for the summer...

I love camping. I never thought I'd say that, but with limited funds (it's a recession, you know!), 2 young boys and an urge to try something new, I thought I'd try camping.

We started a couple of years ago and bought a small tent to go to a family friendly festival in. It was great! The boys had so much fun, but it wasn't comfortable or, well, nice to look at! It was functional and waterproof. But there's got to me more to it than that.

So, how do you combine the Great Outdoors with the need for comfort and headspace? My search led me to Bell Tents and the bell tent community. We bought a 5m gorgeous bell tent and set off on our camping expeditions.

It's now become a bit of an obsession for me! Hense the blog. I'd like to share my ideas and hear other ideas on camping holidays, cooking, equipment, furnishings, fabrics.

I guess this should be called Glamping - but it's not - I need a name for this! Glamping is holidaying on a budget, but camping expensively. There is a way to glamp cheaply by sourcing all the kit carefully and being experimental and creative with alternative uses of stuff. I'm not interested in Kath Kidston or overpriced pretty useless stuff.

I want my bell tent to look nice and work for me and my family while we're using it over the summer. But lets do this without breaking the bank!

So I'm going to blog about this I think
! Join me in finding great cool stuff to camp with!