I got a fantastic tent on Friday evening and went on a surprise camping trip with the hubbaganub and the childeroonies to test it out on Saturday morning – it works like a charm!
If you’ve been paying appropriately close attention, you’ll have noticed that the four requirements I had for my tent were:
- Reasonably lightweight
- Easy to set up, easy to collapse
- Some kind of a colour
- £20 or under
Well, after a long, hard search through Black’s, I successfully achieved two of those aims, and a glorious new tent is mine!
I decided on Black’s since it is in Liverpool city centre and I was going to be there on Friday anyway, and they’ve currently got a massive sale on, so the sassy bargain hunter in me was itching to check it out!
As it turns out, that sale is even bigger than I thought, and I didn’t just buy a tent, I nabbed a gas camping stove, a camp kettle, a lantern and a four-pack of gas canisters for the stove – all for £165, total! The tent alone was down from £400 to £150, which with my extra discount code became £135, an absolute steal! Plus, the stove and kettle will make us exceedingly popular when we get up in the morning, since a big bottle of water and a little pack of teabags is no great hardship to pack!
I can’t imagine anything lovelier than sitting out the front of a tent as the sun comes up over the rolling green hills, sipping a fresh, hot cup of tea. Now, we can! The gear is really light and quite compact, so it fits in the back of the car and isn’t a problem to carry to the campsite, and the value it’ll add to the experience is, in my opinion, absolutely worth it.
The tent itself was a monster, as it turns out. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m usually a humble, fly-on-the-wall sweetheart kind of figure, but I do love being the queen of the court every now and again, and this tent is fit for a queen, no doubt about that.
It’s the Buckingham 6-man Tent by Eurohike, which is a huge green tunnel tent that sleeps 6 in two separate compartments at either end, with the middle as a living area/storage area. I took a picture of the inside of it from the door of my room, you can see the removable divide between the two rooms for the kids – Tilly’s old enough now to like her space, and I didn’t fancy her accidentally waking the babba during the night, so they each get a little room of their own! Helps keep the peace, and that’s what camping’s for!
Tilly was made up with her little room – the one with the lovely red sleeping bag in the photo. It had its own little nightlight, and a grown-up size bedroll to give her lots of room to kick and stretch and just generally be a little wriggle monster! She took her teddy with her, and I brought a hemp dreamcatcher woven with a strand of my old guru’s actual hair (we are in the wilderness after all, can’t be too careful!) and hung it from the cord above the room to make sure she only has good dreams and doesn’t draw anything out of the woods with a nightmare!
The little man had an easier room setup, with a pad and sleeping bag both used together as a mattress. Joe only sleeps with a blanket anyway and we left his zip-up door open, along with one of ours – he still gets up during the night looking for us, so we were expecting a little snuggler at some point!
The spot we camped was just outside Denbigh in North Wales, and it was just gorgeous. Endless rolling valleys, blistering sunshine and clear skies met rich green grass and soft birdsong and it was just a balm for my soul. We brought along plenty of food and plenty of teabags, and since it was only about an hour and a half on the motorway, we got there in record time with plenty of the day left for setting up the tent, getting our little disposable barbeque going and taking Roxy to explore the campsite.
Of course she was all “let’s smell everything!” but I loved the walk. The sun on my face and my little goldie basically buzzing with happiness was just great for relaxation.
By the time I’d gotten back from the walk, I was a little sunburnt (already! I know! I’m not the golden-skinned goddess of my bikini model years anymore) and the chubster had finished barbequeing our dinner – burgers on cheesy baps with lettuce, ketchup, red onion chutney and wensleydale, with a side of corn on the cob and roasted sweet potatoes. Absolutely amazing, even if Roxy was far too keen to try it!
Afterwards we had a great little digest, I read an Escape, Evade, Survive guidebook and hubbly wubbly lay in the sun with Roxy. Tilly was looking for bugs, if I remember right.
Once the food had settled, we played for a while with the kids, all sorts of outdoorsy games like frisbee and tag and swordfighting, then when the sun went down we toasted a marshmallow each over the barbecue as a treat and the kids went to bed.
Hubladee hublada and I stayed up a little later with a bottle of port, but we didn’t want to get too snozzled – we’re responsible parents after all and this is bandit country.
The next morning went pretty much exactly as I planned it would – I stumbled out of the tent bleary-eyed and achy, set up the camp stove and the kettle and had a cup of tea so incredible that it would put the nectar of the gods to shame. The sun was up, but the air was still cool, and it did my hangover good to just sit there for a while and contemplate.
I wasn’t crazily keen on the idea of driving back home and returning to civilisation, but that’s just me I guess. Who would want to leave their own little slice of paradise?
I think I’ll probably be back soon.