Today I want to share some lovely photos of my friend Lisa’s caravan with you. It’s a 1957 Sprite, very similar to my little vintage caravan, but even older! Here are plenty of before and after photos of the project for you to enjoy.Lisa and I first got chatting when she asked me about where I bought the trims for my caravan windows, and plenty of geeky trailer-chat ensued as we discussed our projects.Lisa has already put months of work into renovating her Sprite caravan, stripping it back to the bare metal before rebuilding the interior.The dark wood cupboards have been freshened up with a coat of bright white paint and new mosaic tiles have been fitted to create a practical kitchen area. Continue reading “A cosy & authentic 1957 Alpine Sprite caravan restoration project” »
If you have to go camping, it might as well be in one of these. I hereby admit that I am a bell tent fan. I feel like I’ve been spotting them everywhere I go and it’s only making me covet them more and more. Yes, glamping is certainly a holiday I can get on-board with, if it’s in one of these canvas beauties. I’ve only stayed in a bell tent once, for a couple of nights at Blogstock, (check out my Blogstock pics here) but it was one of the best camping experiences I’ve ever had. The extra height meant that my husband could stand up without any problems, and I didn’t have to crawl in and out of the tent doorway. There was plenty of room for all our stuff (we don’t really travel light, I blame our car with it’s giant boot for that) and it could even fit a double bed in too, so you can imagine how comfortable we were.
And when it rained, our canvas tent remained pleasingly dry. There was no chance of accidentally bumping the canvas and causing moisture seepage like in a traditional tent; the sides were so far away from us! We could simply lie back and watch the rain pitter-patter down outside out tent, feeling super-cosy tucked under a blanket with a carpeted floor beneath our feet.
I’m taking glamping to the next level. Yes, I’m talking about camping indoors. Okay, maybe this playden for the little ones isn’t quite waterproof, so it’s not really festival-friendly. And it’s more a playhouse than a stayhouse. Even so, it’s something that my nephew really wanted – his very own campervan, just like daddy. One sunny afternoon I set about making a mini-version of a VW camper especially for him, and actually stitched it up in my own caravan workshop. How many caravans went into making this playhouse? At least two! Read on to find out how to make a mini camper den for your children, your friend’s little ones or your nephews and nieces.
The campervan den is actually a table cover. Its frame is created by the dining table so the first step is to take the measurements of the table you’re planning to use. It could be a fold out picnic table, a 8 person dining table, whatever kind of table you have at home is fine, as long as the kids can sit underneath it. The table will determine the side of the playhouse you’ll be able to make so measure the top and each side so that you have the measurements you’ll need to cut out a cover from fabric. I used the measurements to make a paper template of all four sides and the top. I then divided the sides into thirds, cutting the top section out of strong white fabric, and the bottom two-thirds from green canvas. The top was the same white fabric and I simply cut one of the longer sizes in half to create a door entrance. If you want to create a VW campervan effect on the front of the cover, cut a ‘V’ shape at the bottom of the white fabric to extend into the green area. I drew the symbol on the fabric using a permanent pen, but you could sew on the shape at this stage if you prefer.Use a cereal box to make a template for rounded window holes. When you’re happy with the size of the windows, trace two holes onto the front white piece of fabric, two on the side piece, one on each ‘door’ and one window on the back piece. Cut out the holes and then – the fun part – I used some sparkly silver tulle to cover the windows.
I’ve just got home from one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to. It wasn’t a big festival, it wasn’t rowdy and – most importantly – it wasn’t muddy! But it was just right for a happy bunch of bloggers who traipsed out to Elstree this weekend where Aldenham Country Park played host the the worlds first blogging festival: Blogstock 2014.
I was thrilled when Hertz invited me to camp with them and I jumped at the chance to attend this inaugural blogging event. I packed up my floral bag, bought festival food essentials (read: one Pot Noodle) and jumped in the car. Last Friday afternoon I was stood in middle of the arena, taking it all in; there was the Expedia VIP area where phone chargers and free drinks were available all day long; a PopChip stand with double-sized deck chairs and massive crisp-packet beanbags to chill out on (and all you-can-eat Pop-Chips of course!), the Fashion Galleries where most of the talks that I attended took place, a cosy tipi for informal workshops, the debate tent for lively sessions, the Lonely Planet photobooth (our late night-photos have been censored haha!) and a huge marquee hosting travel and foodie talks all weekend (and the inevitable late-night parties!). Despite being one of the first arrivals to the festival (what can I say? I’m prompt!) I knew this was going to be a great experience and when the Contiki shuttle bus arrived with 100s of happy campers, I skipped over to say hi.
Here are some snaps of my home for the weekend in the #CampwithHertz village – check out the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for everyone’s fabulous photos of our cosy glamping experience! As you all know, I love fairy lights and bunting so a big smile spread across my face when I saw the bell tents popping up perfectly decorated in festival fashion. After one-too-many wash-outs, I’m not a keen camper but walking into my bell tent completely changed my opinion of the camping experience; I had a cosy bed, embroidered cushions, a lantern, snacks, rug and it DID NOT LEAK! Even with a thunderstorm threatening to dampen our spirits on the Friday night, we all stayed cosy and dry under canvas and even snuck over to the marquee for a dance in our wellies!
Some of the noteworthy workshops that I attended were the fashion blogging talks, where I learnt about pitching ideas for magazine articles from fabulous freelance writer and editor Alison Perry and brand collaborations (thanks to Emma Hart from Push PR for all her advice!), and I had my questions answered about the blogging things I’d always wondered about but never had anyone to ask! Thankfully the gorgeous Jen Riley from the famous A Beauty Junkie in London blog was on hand during the Mode Media session to help me out with my affiliate link questions. The session discussed many ways of monetizing blogs and I found it all really helpful (Thanks Louise!) – I’ve added lots of future research to my ‘to do’ list!
Saturday morning brought more sunshine and an early morning session with Pinterest UK gurus Lizzie and Zoe who gave us all a delicious cooked breakfast to munch on while talking us through a whole host of Pinterest features that I’d never even heard of before! As a crazy-pin-addict, I was sooo surprised that there was even more I could be doing on Pinterest… that’s my summer gone then! Shortly afterwards, I grabbed my second breakfast of the day at the Nuffnang #blogstockbrunch – yoghurt, bananas, croissants, fruit juice, muesli – and met the creative folk behind this generous spread Jesse and Jean-Luc from Nuffnang UK. I had to scuttle off to a finance session but soon headed back to chat with them and find out more about their blog advertising community – the work they do is so interesting and I’m hoping that they will be able to give me some help and advice on some of the more technical elements of my blog that I am scared to edit in case my whole site comes crashing down!
The highlight of the weekend for me was the old-fashioned pop-up village fête that Generator Hostels hosted. Belen had invited me along to the #GenLove Generator Fair by email earlier in the week, so I was already looking forward to it, but it was even bigger and better than expected; including a big bouncy castle (how do children jump around for hours? I was practically dying after two minutes!), coconut shy, Polaroid fancy dress, ice cream and popcorn. We had great fun whizzing around the Hertz race track trying to beat each other in lap time-trials, but my dress slowed down my attempt while I tried to keep my modesty (same problem on the bouncy castle, eek!) so I was easily lapped by the other competitors!
One of the best sessions I attended was ‘Join the Vlogosphere’ with rock-star vlogger Ceara McEvoy. I’d already watched some of her videos in the past so I knew just how fantastic she is, and I’ve never ever tried vlogging before so I was intrigued. After passing around a tray of biscuits Ceara talked us through the best equipment to use, camera settings, editing software and showed us some of her hilarious clips. I was so pleased that I went to the session, and I am definitely going to have a go at vlogging in the future – especially if Ceara is willing to give me a hand with my ambition to make cookery videos – I’d be a fool not to do it!
Personally, my top experiences of the weekend were meeting loads of fabulous bloggers and included mixing Appleton Rum cocktails with superstar blogger ReeRee Rockette from Rockalily whose blog I’ve read ever since I started writing (and who kicked butt in the end of festival debate!) and the stunning Megan from The Briar Rose Blog, one the inspirational bloggers that I re-pin the most on Pinterest and a fellow shortlister at the 2014 Cosmopolitan Blog Awards! We were all tested to the limit in the pub quiz and had fun dancing the night away while playing keepy-uppy with an inflatable globe. There are too many new friends to list here but please go and check out the blogs of Toris Tales, Cherishing the Cherry Blossoms, Todds Travels, A Lady in London, Backpacks and Bunkbeds, Tigerlilly Quinn, Eat Like a Girl, Macca Sherifi to name but a few! 🙂
I’ve come away from the weekend with tons of ideas for my blog, a notebook full of tips, a whole stack of business cards from the wonderful people I met and an insatiable yearning for a bell tent of my own. I can’t wait to get started improving my blog (apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks!) and I am already counting down the days to the next Blogstock festival!
Glastonbury has dominated my life for the past month: I’ve been researching it, I’ve been writing about it (see my festival footwear, one-pot cooking and Glastonbury hair care articles!) and watching it. But I’ve not actually gone to it. No, I didn’t spend my whole holiday fund on tickets and I haven’t been getting sunburnt and muddy in equal measure this weekend. What I have done is pitch my tent to attend ‘Gardenbury’ again (read my original blog post about it here) and have been enjoying watching the coverage of the festival from the comfort of my own garden.
During the week Loose Women discussed glamping and mentioned my “Gardenbury” idea on the show – I’ve filmed the segment on the TV and have uploaded it to YouTube – sorry about the quality, I hope it’s okay at your end! My photo pops up on the show after about 40 seconds of the video, which was a very exciting moment for me! During the discussion Colleen Nolan remembers her childhood camping trips and is challenged to pack a tent away, and Sherrie Hewson and Kay Adams reminisce about being in the Girl Guides. Here’s the video:
I think (like the Loose Women!) I’ve reached the age where camping just isn’t that much fun any more. I’m not keen on being cold and damp if it rains, and even more so I dislike being hot and sweaty in a clammy tent when the weather is nice. I basically find something to grumble about at every opportunity while camping! It’s acceptable when it’s part of a lovely holiday to the Lake District, when I have a comfortable blow-up mattress and access to a nearby swimming pool (just like when we went camping last year at a Haven holiday park!) – I enjoy that type of camping. We once camped right beside the lake at Pooley Bridge, which was picturesque and rather romantic to begin with but soon became a beacon for midges in the evening and after a night-time storm, we were practically floating on the lake by the following morning. Maybe that was what put me off camping??
However, I’m sure I’d be happy with a spot of glamping – just look at this Ogden & Jenkins bell tent I saw at a wedding fair last weekend – it has a bed, dining table and plenty of space. I’ve never been glamping before but I’d love to give it a go and am pretty certain that this kind of ‘hotel-room under canvas’ will be fine with me!
In terms of festival camping, it’s the noise that naffs me off the most because when I want to sleep, I want to sleep and not be kept awake by loud neighbours in the tent next door or teenagers shouting their way around the campsite all night long. Nope, I’d much rather stay home, save money and enjoy the best views at the festival by watching Glastonbury on the TV during my Gardenbury weekend!
Now, I’m not someone who is keen on camping. For a start, I don’t like being that close to bugs. And I hate getting dirty or wet. And I really dislike getting a crick in my neck when sleeping anywhere other than my own bed. Yet often when I go camping, all of the above happen. So is it really worthwhile going camping at all?
If you’d seen these gorgeous glamourous camping bell-tents you’d definitely be answering yes! I saw these “glamping” experience tents at an event at Jimmy’s Farm recently and I could not believe how gorgeous they were – inside and out! The tents were warm and dry, with everything you’d need for a fantastic retreat-like holiday – serious kitchen equipment, a proper double bed and even a bottle of champagne… now that’s the kind of camping I like! I had to take these photos to share with you because the tents just looked so gorgeous and exactly like the kind of place a fairy would camp! It’s certainly changed my mind about camping, and now I want a bell tent of my own 🙂