Sunday 26 July 2015

Our First Family Camping Trip

Laurie turned 30 a few days ago. His parents bought him an impressive amount of camping gear for his birthday, so we decided to take a family camping trip. We are no strangers to camping. I first camped when I was about six weeks old, my parents being far too outdoorsy to sit in and play at being new parents. Laurie and I used to go camping together when we were more youthful, until around the time our tent started letting in water. So it's been quite a few years since we've camped, and we'd never taken Ebony. We did take her to Brighton in my parents' motor home a couple of years ago, but it's not really the same when you have luxuries like a bed, shower and solid walls. 

We knew Ebony would love camping, she's a big fan of anything to do with getting muddy, staying up all night and eating crap. We were initially hoping to go for four nights, but in the end I realised that I just had too much work on to skip a weekend's work and so we decided to go for just two. We filled our car with all of our camping gears, a million toys and plenty of wine, and drove down to North Wales. 

We stayed at Llwyn Onn, a guesthouse with camping facilities. The site itself was nice, there were free range chickens wandering about, plenty of space and I didn't see one spider in the toilets the whole time we were there. I don't think we'd go back though, because it's in a bit of a weird place. It's by a main road and so you have to keep walking down busy roads whenever you want to go anywhere. It's not really what I want from a campsite, I just want to escape somewhere beautiful for a few days and not have to think about cars. 

We got the Buckingham Elite 8 Man Tent which is ridiculously huge, though I can't say I regretted the decision once. I'm more used to camping in two man tents, so the amount of space we had was a real luxury. It was really easy to put up, even with Ebony's 'help'. There are two to four bedroom compartments depending on how you choose to set up the tent. We just put one of the bedroom compartments up but then used the optional room separator so that Ebony had her own bedroom. She was more than a little bit thrilled with the prospect of having her own airbed. The tent is big enough to stand up in so seems even bigger than it really is. When it rained, we had plenty of space for playing or eating inside. 

It was quite dark on the campsite at night, and the sight of Ebony walking to the toilets carrying a tiny lantern is probably one of the cutest things I've ever seen. Brantano very kindly sent her some new shoes a few weeks ago (thanks, Brantano), and these came into their own on the camping trip. We chose a pair of Skechers because I know they are vegan friendly (as long as they're not made from leather), and I've had Skechers in the past that have always lasted a while. The pair I choose (these Skechers Shuffles Critter Buds Canvas Shoes) looked bright, colourful pink and so Ebony was guaranteed to love them. When they arrived, I found out they also light up when she walks. Ebony loves them, of course. They were useful for helping her find her way to the campsite toilets at night, and Ebony better for being easy to find in a dark tent. You simply cannot miss a glittery pair of fox eyes sparkling at you from across the tent. 

The chickens wandering around the campsite was pretty awesome. One morning, Laurie woke up in a fright because a chicken had just pecked his face through the mesh inner of our tent. It turned out Ebony had unzipped the tent, clearly chicken for 'please, come into my tent and make yourself at home'. The chicken had then decided to explore the perimeter and gotten hungry somewhere around Laurie's head. 

The weather was pretty terrible on Friday, and we'd discovered that, being two fully fledged adults, we'd managed to go camping without our bankcards or enough money to last the weekend. So we decided to head up to Llandudno for the day. Laurie spent all of his holidays near LLandudno as a child and is pretty much incapable of holidaying anywhere else. So we spent a few hours playing on the beach, ignoring the odd rain shower. Ebony watched (and loved) her first traditional puppet show, and has been putting on 'puppet shows' ever since (her first one was two minutes long and contained no words or movement. At the end she simply said 'that's the end of the puppet show'). 

Then we drove up the Great Orme and Ebony spent a couple of hours making friends on the park. We went for an explore along the pier, and Ebony insisted that she went on a few rides. She looks bored in the pictures but I promise you she was having the time of her life. After that, we had chips on the beach (surrounded by terrifyingly militant looking seagulls) before jumping in the car and driving back to our campsite. We're already planning out next trip, though next time I'm going to try my absolute hardest to get Laurie to visit somewhere other than Llandudno. 

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