Monday, 28 June 2010

Cold Nights & Snuggly Pods

Isn't the weather perfect for camping! If you went to Glastonbury last weekend, VERY envious. 
Next year I am planning to take my daughter, hopefully in a VW Camper Van. I may actually pop with excitement before then, can't wait.  Lets hope I bag some tickets as she is already counting down the days!

When I go glamping, I do like to be as snug as a bug in a rug and especially at night, because with our delightful weather system, who knows if the summer nights under canvas will be warm or blummin nippy noo! So I think its best to have all angles covered!

Taking a sleeping bag when camping is definitely a lot less hassle and also huge space saver in the car, but for me, I really dislike like them.  I'm one of those sleepers that needs to have a leg outside of the covers, its a body thermostat thing. Being all zipped up in a sleeping bag imprisons that poor leg, and the need to release it and cool down then wakes me up.  This is when the vicious circle ensues because once the sleeping bag is opened to the elements, I start to cool down and can't sleep because I am now freezing. This makes me a right old grumpy bum the next day because I am so tired after a restless night sleep!!  The answer to this little sleeping bag nightmare was to simply bring along my good old faithful friend, the duvet.

So for all you lovely campers out there whom may have this leg out the bed syndrome like me, or simply hate the sleeping bag, I will happily share with you how I make my camping bed really cosy, incredibly comfortable and most importantly not too hot or too cold!  

Firstly on the double blow up bed I put a single duvet, which I then cover with the fitted sheet on top, this makes the blowup feel like a mattress.  I then have a double duvet, four pillows and lots of heavy blankets on top. I find that this is the key to a beautiful nights sleep, heavy blankets keeps the duvet in place.

The photo above is of my daughters pod. I do exactly the same for her but instead of a pile of blankets, she gets the cute vintage eiderdown that I found in The Vintage Emporium in St. Albans.  
I simply wouldn't be able to take all this bedding in the car if I didn't use the vacusacs to shrink it all down flat, they are a HUGE camping godsend.  The best place to find a storage solution is Lakeland,  their vacusacs are really handy, click on for more details.

And finally if you are sharing a double blowup bed, you may not know about the two chambered inflatable.  Its an absolute godsend for anyone who needs their camping beauty sleep. It prevents you from flying through the tents roof at million miles per hour, when your other half plonks themselves beside you! So two chambers all the way folks for a happy camping relationship!!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Easy Peasy Cheesy Nachos

Serves 2

Firstly I would like to welcome all my lovely new followers and THANK YOU for all your lovely comments.. xxxx

As promised last week, here is my favourite side dish to accompany Chilli Con Carne.  It also goes down a treat when you have guests round to your camping abode for a drink and a little nibble! 

3 handfuls of nachos
3 handfuls of grated montery jack cheese
170g/6oz fresh tomato salsa 
170g/6oz soured cream (opt)
Jalapeños (opt)

frying pan
extra thick aluminum foil

  1. Line the frying pan with some aluminum foil, making sure you have enough to scrunch up around the sides.
  2. Then pop a couple of handfuls of  nachos on the aluminum foil, not too many as you want the cheese to be able to melt.
  3. Sprinkle a couple of handfuls of the cheddar cheese over the nachos and cover the top of the frying pan with another layer of aluminium foil, to make a lid.  Place on the heat and cook until the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. 
  4. To serve, carefully lift the foil out of the frying pan and rest on a plate.  Add as much fresh salsa,  soured cream and jalapeños, if using,  as you wish.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Garlic Bread

Serves 2

If you are a garlic lover, you can always add an extra clove or two! Really delicious served with houmous.

1 clove of garlic, minced
large knob of butter softened
4 mini pitta breads

garlic crusher
tablespoon for mixing
sharp knife

  1. Put the garlic and butter into the bowl, mix together well and set aside.
  2. Put the pitta breads under the camping grill, toast for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Remove from the grill and place the non toasted side face up. With the sharp knife put three slashes across the top, then spread the garlic butter evenly over the top.
  4. Put the pittas, garlic butter side up, back under the grill for a further 1-2 minutes until golden. Serve immediately.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Chilli Con Carni

This is such an easy recipe to rustle up,  I find it absolutely delicious with cheesy nachos and salsa, but its just as delicious with plain rice. 

olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced  
2 tbsp of mild chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
500g/1lb 2oz lean mince beef
400g/14oz tinned chopped tomatoes
1 beef stock cube
1 red pepper, halved lengthways, deseeded and chopped
6 sundried tomatoes chopped up
400g/14oz tinned kidney beans, drained and rinsed well

sharp knife
vegetable chopping board
garlic crusher
sauté pan
tin opener
wooden spoon

  1. Heat a swirl of olive oil in the sauté pan. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper and fry for 5 minutes until soft and golden. 
  2. Stir in the mild chilli, cumin, oregano to coat the onion, garlic and pepper. Then add the mince and mix in well with the spices and cook for 5 minutes until browned.
  3. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and crumble in the stock cube,  cook for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add the red kidney beans to the chilli, stir and cook for a further 10 -15 minutes. Serve.

Use any left overs to make delicious pitta pockets, perfect for a picnic with a twist. 
Simply toast the pittas and fill them with fresh crunchy lettuce, grated cheddar cheese and the left over chilli. Yum.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Vintage Glamping

fabulous image by

Haven't told my hubster yet but I am really thinking about getting myself a VW camper van and doing it up!  Soooo, to soften the blow I have decided to introduce him to the wonderful world of vintage glamping by simply hiring one of the marvellous machines for a long snazzy weekend in October. I have always been completely in awe when a camper van has rocked up to the campsite I've been staying at, as they look so much fun and I know once we are pootling about in one, he will love it.

And not forgetting they are undoubtedly the perfect festival accessory, especially if you don't want the hassle of pitching a tent and lets not forget, (as I am sure we have all been there), trying to find the sodding thing in a field full of tents, in the dark,when slightly under the influence! Your vintage beauty will stand out like a beacon of loveliness.. just don't lose the keys!

I love the fact that all the VW Campers for hire have their own special names. 
This is Florence and you can hire her from Vanilla Splits

The tariffs vary from company to company, starting from as little as  £50 per day, £275 for a long weekend and £490 for a week. Here are some of the lovely people that will happily hire you one of their vintage treasures....... (West Sussex) (Devon) (Cornwall) (Cheltenham)  (Cumbria) (Befordshire) (West Sussex) (Cornwall) (New Forest) (Noak Hill)

One of my other all time favourite vintage camping wagons is the the ridiculously stylish Airstream. It originated in the USA in the 1930's and truly is a feast for any set of eyes. Its another dream of mine to renovate one, but for now at least I have the option of hiring one for a weekend break with a difference.

This is the Tin Pangolin's 28ft luxury Airstream

It sleeps up to 4 people and prices starts from just £200 per night. What makes the whole experience extra special is they will deliver the Airstream to your chosen location in the UK and then pick it up once you have finished your holiday, HURRAH!  Check out their website www.thetinpangolin.comfor more details.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


This is a firm favourite in our tent. It's easy peasy and completely scrummy! 

4 mugs of pasta any shape or style  
2-3 tablespoons of crème fraiche  
1 mug of freshly grated parmesan
2 cloves of garlic minced
100g/ 3 1/2oz ready to cook smoked pancetta slices or smoked streaky bacon cut into strips
olive oil
freshly ground pepper

large saucepan
frying pan
garlic crusher
cooking scissors
cheese grater
wooden spoon
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook the pasta following the packets instructions for best cooking results.
  2. Heat up a swirl of oil in the frying pan, add the pancetta and garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent anything getting too crisp, especially the garlic. Remove from the heat.
  3. Once the pasta is ready, drain and stir in the crème fraiche,  grated Parmesan, and some freshly ground pepper.
  4. Fold the pancetta and garlic into the pasta,  making sure any oil that is left in the frying pan is also included as it holds lots of  flavour.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Campin' Roastie Tatties

These little gems are mouthwateringly scrummy and what makes them even more appealing,  is that they are also incredibly easy to cook under canvas.

2-3 average sized potatoes per person peeled and diced 
knob of butter
chicken stock cube
olive oil
thyme (optional)
salt & freshly ground pepper

sharp knife
veg chopping board
sauté pan

  1. Put the potatoes and a small knob of butter into the sauté pan and add enough water to just cover them. Sprinkle over the stock cube, add the thyme if using and stir well. Bring to the boil and let the water bubble off. 
  2. Add a large knob of butter and stir until melted into the potatoes and continue to cook until potatoes are golden . If the potatoes start to stick to the bottom of the pan,  add a tsp of oil to the pan.
  3. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to season and serve.

Happy Glamping Y'all! x

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Blueberry Breakfast Pancakes

These tasty little numbers go down a treat in my tent, and using a heart shaped cutter can make them even more special. If however, you don't have one, no problemo, they still taste just as good cooking them the original way, and this recipe will make about eight normal sized pancakes, depending on how large your frying pan is of course and about 16 heart shaped pancakes, depending on the size of your cutter!
Lastly before you get cooking under canvas, can I just point out that in the ingredients list you will notice that I have put a 'mug of flour'. That is literally a tea/coffee mug, that you will have with you in your camping equipment, not a special measuring cup.

This is my very special camping mug
that has many uses.

1 egg beaten
mug of milk
mug of plain flour
30 blueberries
maple syrup

mixing bowl
frying pan
heart shaped cookie cutter (opt)

  1. Put the egg and milk into the mixing bowl and whisk together with a fork. Add a tbsp of flour at a time and mix well with a spoon until the batter is smooth. If once all the flour has been added the batter looks a little thick, then add a splash or two more of milk to thin out. Transfer the batter into a mug to help control pouring it into the frying pan.
  2. Melt a slither of butter in the frying pan. If using a cutter, place into the frying pan and pour a small amount of batter into it, just enough to cover the bottom. Scatter a few blueberries on top and leave to cook for a few minutes.
  3. Once the pancake has browned around the edges, carefully remove the cutter with a fork and set aside. Turn the pancake over and cook for a further couple of minutes until golden.
  4. Repeat from step 7, adding a slither of butter each time if necessary to coat the frying pan.
  5. Serve a stack of 4 pancakes per person with a good swirl of maple syrup.

Monday, 7 June 2010

A wonderful week in Devonshire

We have just got back from a marvellous week Glamping in Devon, where we stayed at Dornafield's, a stunning quiet family campsite. The staff are so friendly and they certainly do deserve their Loo Of The Year 2010 award, the facilities are brilliant.

Its a small campsite with 16 pitches and only half of them with electric hook up, so you need to get in quick with your bookings, the rest of the site is dedicated to caravans.

If you fancy knowing more about Dornafield's, check out my Beautiful Places To Stay, for more information.

We arrived on the bank holiday weekend, with the traffic being really unkind and taking 7 hours to travel what should have been a 4 hour journey. Once we finally arrived, the heavens cruely opened and the wind then decided it was the right time to pick up, so it wasn't the best conditions to put up the tent to say the least. But that certainly didn't dampen our glamping spirits and once the tent was all set up, we were as snug as a bug in a rug.

With so many things to see and do in South Devon, you really do need longer than a week to enjoy its treasures. Fortunately for us and contarary to the forcast, the weather changed for the better, which meant we managed to spend some glorious days taking advantage of Devon's beautiful beaches.

Blackpool Sands, Dartmouth

We spent one afternoon on Blackpool Sands in Dartmouth. If you ever go, make sure you wear a pair of shoes as its a shingle beach and those small pebbles can be quite hard on your tootsies! Also NO DOGS ALLOWED, not even in the car park! Costs £4 to park your car and there is a lovely little cafe and shop on site too. Here's their website for more information,

We also spent a simply perfect day at Bigbury/Bantham Beach. A long stretch of sandy beach that curves round a bay. What makes this place special is that you can escape the hoards and find your own little cove to set up camp. The kids spent hours in and out of the deap clear rockpools and we weren't disturbed by anyone, really felt like we had our own private beach.
If you like hopping on a surf board then you are also in luck, as there where lots of waves on Bantham Beach, and it is completely safe with lifeguards patrolling up and down.
We parked at Bigbury Beach end in the overflow car park (in field) which cost us £3. The car park at Bantham costs £5. I saw a couple of places to eat, but they are away from the beach. I would advise taking a picnic and having a loo stop before you hit the beach.

This was the view from our little cove.

On Bank Holiday Monday, I was fortunate enough to be 2 minutes from a car boot sale, where I got my mitts on a few rather lovely bits and bobs that I thought I would share with you!

My favourite find was this fantastic King George V and Queen Mary
Coronation mug dated 22nd June 1911 and a steal for just 50p.

I haggled this Alfred Meakin, 'Harmony Rose' serving dish
from £4.50 to £ 2.50..

I love vintage cornish blue kitchenware and I think this maybe an original mixing bowl, although there aren't any markings anywhere.
The woman I bought it from seemed to think it was and original...anyone know if it is or isn't??
I haggled her down from £2.00 to £1.50.

Lloyd Loom Original?

And I ummmed and arrrhhed about this little gem, purely because of the space issue in the car. But I haggled the woman down from £10 to £8 and so couldn't resist, although the Hubster wasn't too impressed. It nearly didn't make it back to London, however a very determined young lady (thats me) did not want to leave it behind and so I squeezed it onto my lap and there it stayed for the 7 hours back!

I am really hoping it is a original vintage Lloyd Loom, but as again there is no logo anywhere i am unsure! Can anyone help?? I plan to tidy it up a bit and maybe recover it.

So I had a very successful boot sale shopping trip and managed to spend under £20! RESULT!

We had a wonderful week in Devon and were very sad to leave such a lovely part of Blighty. I truly recommend it to anyone, and next year I shall hopefully have more great Devonshire Camping sites to add to the list.