Camping with kids

Camping with kids

We spent our first night this year under canvas at the weekend. Pip, despite having spent a weekend in a yurt last year was convinced that she had never been camping. What actually is camping, I wondered, but when I saw the weather forecast for the bank holiday I thought it was a perfect weekend to give actual tent camping a go. Nine years ago we spent a glorious week in June in a yurt at Botelet for part of our honeymoon and we have returned many times since. I thought it would make a perfect spot for their first proper night in a tent.

Packing for camping with kids

The worst part of the whole trip is the preparation (possibly only followed by the unpacking) and I think that is what puts people off – ourselves included. The actual being out in the meadow under the stars by a fire is lovely but before you actually go can seem somewhat unachievable, especially after a long week with work and school and all that jazz. However, I found with a bit of thinking and prepping, and a lot of freestyle, is it just about manageable.

There’s no getting round it, camping with kids is not totally relaxing. It is still parenting, just in an unknown setting. That said, the kids slept beautifully, helped no doubt by both a late night and lots of fresh air; they went down to sleep more easily and both slept until just after 8am.

This being our first trip, we didn’t really have much in the way of kit. Having always stayed in yurts before which come with stoves and cooking equipment, we were limited to the flask of tea we brought with us, and the barbeque as the sum total of our cooking. And yet, Martin cooked the most amazing aubergines I’ve ever tasted – even if the children wouldn’t sit down to eat, so we ended up eating in shifts – I’ll share the recipe in another post.

What did we take?

Despite apparently not owning any camping kit yet, we managed to fill an entire Volvo boot with stuff, including duvets and pillows for everyone, mattresses and picnic baskets and blankets and tablecloths galore. And spare clothes, towels, swimming kit, the whole works for a day at the beach.

We hired the bell tent from Botelet and they kindly put it up as well. We would have taken our air bed but Tia very kindly said she would put one in already, so we jumped at that too. We thought it best to try at least one night before we committed to our own tent, but in the morning, the “shall we do this again” was met with a unanimous yes! So, we need to acquire a tent now…

We also took food (steak, aubergines, salt/pepper/oil, tomatoes, bread, butter) and coals for the barbeque, plates, cutlery, wine glasses, mason jars with lids and metal straws for the kids, which we packed in a basket and wine box (and I then covered with a tablecloth to make a table) and I packed the sheets and pillows in a large flat underbed box which we then also covered with a cloth and used as table. The two picnic blankets then doubled as extra bed blankets for the kids. We also packed a cool bag with gin, tonic, water, milk and wine. (Botelet is the perfect location as there is a beautiful shower and loo and washing up/fridge space at the farm). We also brought skewers and marshmallows for a camp fire.

What did we do?

Well, not much really. We explored the farm and the meadow, watched the goings on at the farm including helping feed the lambs. We picked wildflowers, collected wood for the fire and took it in turns to eat whilst the kids played. Then Martin lit a campfire and we sat round, roasting marshmallows and reminiscing and annoying the children by not letting them leave the blanket. We watched swallows swooping and even a bat later in the evening. Then we put the children to bed, drank wine and talked (before doing the washing up in the quiet darkness). So not hugely different to a normal evening in that we cooked a meal, refereed the children, drank wine and went to bed!

Botelet Breakfast Club

The real treat came in the form of joining the Botelet Breakfast Club on Monday morning. Open every Monday morning throughout the summer, Botelet opens the farmhouse doors and serves breakfast by the fire (and then we had another cup of tea outside in the sunshine).

I loved Alice’s description of Botelet’s breakfast, and it was definitely true the morning we were there. We spent nearly two hours eating and talking to the other guests at the table. “Botelet’s whole breakfast ethos is centred around the communal table. Friends, family and strangers sharing an experience together, enjoying fresh, beautiful, thoughtfully prepared homemade food and discovering that we all have something in common.” We drank coffee, ate overnight oats and planned our afternoon at the beach. An excellent start to the week.


 

I also found the breakfast inspiring – I’ve bought some bread flour for rolls and I loved the rhubarb and vanilla jam so much that I am planning on making my own. I also realised how important sharing breakfast together as a family is, so we have been getting up earlier and sitting down together before the madness of the school run starts.

Image credits – mine, aside from the two landscape breakfast images which are (c) Richard Tamblyn at Botelet.

Country Kids

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13 Comments

  1. Rebecca | AAUBlog May 18, 2018 / 2:13 pm

    so glad you had good weather for it, it makes a difference in the uk. I love to camp with my kids, so nice to get back to nature and out of wifi range sometimes x

    • thelittlepip
      Author
      May 24, 2018 / 12:49 pm

      We do cheat a little – as we are so close to nice camping sites, we book last minute and only go when the weather is nice 🙂

  2. Where Roots And Wings Entwine May 20, 2018 / 11:15 pm

    We keep saying we need to go camping with the kids as I have fond memories of camping as a child myself. Looks like you had a lovely time and glorious weather to boot. That breakfast looks delicious, definitely something I would love to eat to set me up for a day of fun and adventures.

    • thelittlepip
      Author
      May 24, 2018 / 12:57 pm

      We definitely lucked out with the Breakfast Club being on the Monday! We camped again at Botelet two weeks later and had to brew our own coffee on our little stove. We def missed the lovely Breakfast Club!

  3. Kerry Norris May 22, 2018 / 6:20 am

    You’ve taken so beautiful pictures. It looks lovely there. Great that they put the tent up for you. Breakfast club looked fab too. Well done to hubby on his cooking x

    • thelittlepip
      Author
      May 24, 2018 / 2:24 pm

      Thanks Kerry! It really is a lovely place 🙂

  4. Mummy Melton May 24, 2018 / 7:37 am

    The bell tent looks great! I’m not quite brave enough to take our 2 camping yet but definitely something to think about for the future #countrykids

    • thelittlepip
      Author
      May 24, 2018 / 2:25 pm

      I can highly recommend a set up like this where part of the stress (where and how to pitch the tent) are removed. Work up to it slowly whilst enjoying the outdoors!

  5. This place looks truly idyllic, how I would love to take my gang there for a spot of camping! What you say about packing for a camping trip is sadly true – it can be so stressful to gather all the gear and stuff it in the car until it nearly bursts. But the memories created while camping totally make up for it in my mind 🙂
    #CountryKids

    • Anonymous May 31, 2018 / 2:24 pm

      I’m thinking about getting some boxes for camping stuff, so when it comes home it gets washed and repacked in the boxes, which can they get loaded straight into the car… 🙂

  6. Fiona Cambouropoulos May 24, 2018 / 11:53 am

    It sounds like a perfect camping venture for the kids and I have to say the bank holiday weekend in Cornwall was wonderful, actually it has been wonderful here throughout May. Sometimes you have to just seize the moment and run with it. I’m sure a lot of the stress of camping is removed by having a lovely tent all ready and waiting for you. Your photos look so dreamy and magical, even as a non camper I can see the appeal.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    • Rachel May 31, 2018 / 2:25 pm

      You’re right! Having the tent already up makes the whole thing a lot lot nicer 🙂

  7. Sara June 8, 2018 / 10:07 am

    Really So glad you had good weather for it, it makes a difference in the uk.

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