What to pack for a glamping trip in the UK…

Us Brits are well known for talking a lot about the weather. This is because it can be so unpredictable, March can be good for sunbathing while August might bring torrential rain. We often experience all the seasons in one day too. So when it comes to packing for a glamping trip in the UK it can be tricky to know exactly what type of weather to pack for. Plus this type of adventure means you may need to pack lightly as your chosen accommodation could be tight on space. I've put together a handy list to help you get to grips with what to pack for a glamping trip in the UK.
Glamping:
Glamping is a more luxurious style of camping. I've stayed in some really cool glamping spots, a bus, a Shepherd's hut, a safari tent and campervans. Some have been more luxurious than others but they've all had the same theme: a unique place to stay whilst embracing the beautiful outdoors. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, especially if you aren't used to having to get up in the middle of the night and venture out to the bathroom like the Shepherd's hut I stayed in. But there are so many styles of glamping now from budget to extravagant there's something to suit everyone.
What clothes to pack:
  • Layers: for the ever-changeable weather you'll need t-shirts, long sleeved tops and jumpers for chilly evenings.
  • Leggings: I always pack leggings for relaxing in after a long day out exploring the local area.
  • Footwear: If it's the summer I pack flip flops and converse for the day and Ugg boots/warm shoes for sitting outside at night. If your accommodation is in a field and its been raining you might want to think about packing wellies.
  • Warm jacket: If you have a fire pit then you'll definitely want to be sitting outside under the stars - even in the middle of the summer the evenings can get chilly in the UK so pack a jacket.
  • Big socks: I love being cosy!
  • You might want to pack spare towels for the beach.
Other essentials:
  • Dry shampoo: If there's no electricity your hair dryer and straighteners will need to stay at home. If it's just a few days then I find that dry shampoo is my saviour.
  • Portable charger: Again if there's no electricity take one of these for charging phones and laptops. I just bought this nifty little one for charging phones it has enough juice to do 5 charges: Duracell Portable Power Bank.
  • A small mirror: You may have a bathroom with mirror in your accommodation but if not I always find packing my own mirror is essential for doing hair and make up.
  • Board games: If you can fit it in a game of scrabble is perfect for rainy evenings.
  • Fairy lights: Add a bit of cosy lighting to your setting.
  • Logs: If you have a log burner or fire pit you may need to buy logs. Check with your accommodation as wood may be supplied.
  • Torch: If lighting is limited it's always handy to have your own.
  • Batteries: For the fairy lights and torch.
  • Matches: They may already be provided so double check this.
Food:
Check what kitchen facilities are available before you go and if there is a welcome pack. Depending on your budget most kitchen essentials will be provided which means you can keep your packing list down.
  • Make a chilli before you go - perfect glamping food, easy to re-heat.
  • Buy essentials: Milk, bread, teabags etc.
  • I always take zip lock bags with me, as they are perfect for keeping open food airtight.
  • Marshmallows for the for the fire pit.
I hope this has given a bit of an insight into packing for a glamping trip in the UK. I'd love to hear what glamping adventures you have planned. Let me know in the comments below.
Happy Glamping!

 

My favourite UK Glamping spots:
Warmwell House Huts
Big Green Bus
Shaldon Beach Hut No. 1
For more on my Glamping adventures in the UK head here:
Glamping in Dorset
All Aboard the Big Green Bus
Beach Hut Living
Unique Places to stay in the UK
For Glamping further afield: The Ultimate Glamping Retreat in Bali

 

 

 

Travel Hammock Review…

Relaxing with a book in my travel hammock
When Cool Hammocks asked me to review their *travel hammock I racked my brains for a good spot to do this. Then I realised that as I live in the New Forest the answer was literally on my doorstep. So with a book and my hammock packed in my rucksack I went in search of a good spot to relax in. I chose Wilverley Inclosure as it’s always a nice place for a walk and a peaceful place for chilling in a hammock….

 

About the hammock:
The travel hammock comes in a variety of colours, blue, camouflage, lime and pink. I chose the blue. It rolls up to a really small size, great if you are packing light for a camping trip and to save on space when travelling. If it gets dirty it can be hand washed and is super lightweight.

 

How it works:
Having not put up a hammock before I was a little concerned as to how I would get on with it. But once I found some trees to attach it to it was really simple. Unroll it and then fasten it with the integrated ropes and hooks. The ropes are fully adjustable so wind them around a tree a few times and then fix with the hooks. That is literally it, fast and simple to use.

 

What I thought:
Having not owned my own hammock before I was really impressed. It was easy to put up and comfortable for relaxing in. I love how small it folds down and will definitely take it on my next camping trip.  It’s the perfect accessory for adventurers, even if you don’t plan to go any further than your back garden! To purchase your own travel hammock head to Cool Hammocks.

 

How to find my perfect hammock spot:
If you are planning a weekend in the New Forest and want to re-create your own chilled hammock vibes then stop at Wilverley Inclosure to find your spot. It’s a ten-minute drive from Brockenhurst and Burley. The Inclosure itself has a nice 2-mile round walk through ancient woodland. When you want to stop, find some trees and hang the hammock at a distance of roughly two thirds the length of the hammock. A hanging height of 6-8ft should do nicely. Finally, pick up your book and don’t forget the beer! Hammocks are permitted for use in the forest as long as they don’t damage the trees or endanger livestock.
To spend more time and explore this beautiful area why not stay over night at a campsite. There are ten in total in the New Forest, the nearest one to Wilverley is Setthorns. In the heart of the forest it’s in a gorgeous, secluded location just right for pitching up a tent and daydreaming in a hammock. Head to Camping in the Forest for more information.

 

*I was gifted my travel hammock in exchange for this review. As ever all opinions are my own.*

 

 

 

Unique places to stay in the UK….

Shaldon Beach Hut No.1 - one of my favourite unique places to stay in the UK

Unique places to stay in the UK

I love exploring my home country and seeking out unique and unusual accommodation is top of my list when I’m researching a trip. Although small the UK has some awesome places to stay. I’m a huge fan of camping and glamping but I also love staying in a classy hotel.  So I thought I would list down my favourite places to stay in the UK and explain what makes them unique. Read on for some inspiration on a staycation with a difference…

 

The Big Green Bus, East Sussex

This awesome bus needs no introduction on what makes it unique.  Matt and I stayed on the bus for my 30th birthday with friends, we had the best time!  Parked up in the Sussex countryside the Big Green Bus has been converted into a cosy retreat.  It sleeps six, with two double beds and bunk beds upstairs, has a fully-fitted kitchen, bathroom, lounge area and an outdoor heated shower (there’s also a shower inside.) The lounge has a log burner and there are all sorts of original bus fittings. Upstairs the front area is decked out with original seats and a collection of books; it was the perfect place to chill out with a glass of prosecco or two.  Outside there is a campfire and a wood fired hot tub for hire. This has to be one of the most unique places to stay in the UK!  Read more on my glamping trip on the bus here: All aboard the Big Green Bus: glamping in East Sussex.

 

 

Shaldon Beach Hut No. 1

I loved staying in this dreamy little beach hut.  Nestled on the shoreline of the Teign Estuary in Shaldon with direct access to the beach it is the prefect retreat from the world.  The beach hut is compact as you would expect but it is perfectly formed.  Inside is a galley kitchen, bathroom, lounge with a sofa bed, under floor heating and a lovely mezzanine level with a comfy mattress.  Bi-folding doors open out onto a private terrace overlooking the beach and steps leading onto the sand.  On a sunny day it’s a beautiful spot to sit, read and watch the world go by.  Shaldon is a tiny village in Devon full of west country charm.  There’s plenty to explore and gorgeous beaches too.  I wrote a post all about it: Beach Hut Living…

 

 

Hollies Cottage, Cheddar

This cottage in Somerset has to be one of the cosiest places I’ve stayed in on my list of unique places to stay in the UK. Matt, Emily and I had a lovely long weekend in Cheddar, Somerset for New Years Eve in 2016.  This quaint cottage had an open fire in the lounge and a spiral staircase leading up to the bedroom.  Drinking champagne by the fire on New Years Eve while watching fireworks out of the window at midnight was a lovely way to see in the New Year.  The cottage location is fantastic, it was very quiet but just what we wanted.  Along the road from the cottage sits The Cider Barn, full of west country cider and lovely locals.  Cheddar Gorge and caves is a 10 minute drive along the road and the gorgeous beaches of Weston-super-Mare only a 40 minute drive.

 

 

White House Cottage, Port Isaac

I have never stayed anywhere like Port Isaac, the picture perfect Cornish village is like no other.  Made famous by the popular TV series Doc Martin, it can get very busy during the summer months.  But during the winter months it’s a quiet and tranquil place to stay.  There is no parking in Port Isaac itself so you have to park on the outskirts and take a short walk down into the village.  We stayed in White House Cottage a few steps away from ‘Doc Martin’s House’ on Roscarrock Hill.  There is no parking with the house so it was a bit of trek to the car park but when you have views as lovely as in Port Isaac it really doesn’t matter.  White House Cottage had beautiful views of the harbour and Port Isaac itself from its elevated position on the hill. Turn left out of the house and follow the narrow road up onto the South West Coast Path, beautiful views and stunning walks are literally on the doorstep.  Port Isaac itself has some gorgeous shops, cosy pubs and cafes to buy an obligatory Cornish pasty or cream tea.  Tiny alleyways and quaint fishing houses all add to the charm of this stunning Cornish retreat.  For more on what to do in and around Port Isaac click here: Port Isaac, the ultimate Cornish Retreat…

 

 

Hotel du Vin, Poole

Boutique hotels with unique rooms are what a stay at Hotel du Vin are all about.  Matt and I stayed in the Poole hotel for his birthday, it was a gorgeous mini-break.  Our room was so stylish and featured a roll top bath in the centre of the room.  I loved the attention to detail and the way the room was in keeping with the building which dates back to 1776.  On the quayside in Poole Harbour it’s in a fantastic location for exploring this lovely area of the south coast.  Hop on a ferry to Brownsea Island or visit the upmarket area of Sandbanks. Hotel du Vin often have some great deals, we reserved a room which included dinner and breakfast.  The evening meal was so delicious and a sommelier to help pair our wine with our meal was a very nice touch.  A weekend in Poole, Dorset has all the details of our dreamy weekend escape.

 

 

A campervan

If you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know I love a road trip, especially if it’s in a campervan.  Matt and I used to own a Mazda Bongo campervan and had some awesome adventures.  We went to Scotland, Wales, Dorset and spent a lot of time in Devon and Cornwall camping in some beautiful places.  We also camped closer to home on the beach on Hayling Island once and drank rum and coke until the early hours!  I loved having a campervan, having the freedom to go where you want, park up in a beach car park and have a cuppa while doing a surf check and having a few beers in the evening by a fire pit…there’s nothing better!  One of my all time favourites to camp at is Incledon Farm.  Being a working farm you often find a chicken or farm cat strolling by your van or tent.  Incledon Farm is in a tiny place called Georgham, just along the road from Croyde in Devon.  It’s a short drive to all the nearby surfing spots and a lovely spot for camping. As far as unique places to stay in the UK goes a campervan is at the top of my list. It is perfect for a staycation with a difference, choose where and when you stop and explore the open road.  If you are planning a road trip in the south west  The Cornwall Camper Company have some awesome vintage VW campers available to hire.

 

 

Beach Retreat, Milford on Sea

Owned by my parents the Beach Retreat started life as a garage, my Mum and Dad have turned it into a stunning one bedroom apartment.  Light, airy and full of seaside charm they have done a wonderful job and created a perfect little place for two to relax by the sea.  It has its own private entrance and parking and comes with a lovely little welcome pack of coffee,tea, milk, scones and jam.  Located a short walk from the seafront in Milford on Sea and a 10 minute walk to the village centre it’s a fantastic place for a break on the outskirts of the New Forest.

 

 

The Snug, Lymington

The Snug can be found in the old market town of Lymington on the edge of the New Forest. It is a cosy, boutique townhouse which has been lovingly restored and really lives up to its name. Full of character from the Belfast sink in the kitchen to the fireplace in the lounge, it’s a luxurious little bolthole for up to four people. The bathroom is an Instagrammers dream with a roll top bath and metro tiles, it has been finished to perfection.  All the small details have been thought of too, the gorgeous New Forest Aromatics products all produced locally add the finishing touch to the bathroom and the welcome pack full of local goodies is such a treat! A stones throw from the High Street, the cobbles and the quay the location couldn’t be better.

 

 

Have you stayed anywhere unusual in the UK? If so, let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for somewhere unique to stay….

Glamping in Dorset…

Our stay in a Shepherd’s Hut near the Jurassic Coast:

I love a spot of glamping so when Matt surprised me with a birthday trip to Dorset I was so excited.  Even as we pulled up to the very grand Warmwell House I had no idea where we were going to be staying. Serena greeted us, we grabbed our bags and followed her through the beautiful grounds to our home for the next two nights.  A clearing in the woodland revealed ‘Sika’ the shepherds hut. Serena was so welcoming, she gave us a tour and invited us to explore the gardens and maze. She also suggested a visit to the kitchen garden where we could help ourselves to vegetables. Such a lovely little touch.  Glamping in Dorset was going to be a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday.

 

 

The Shepherd’s Hut:

Our two night stay did not disappoint. The hut came with everything we needed and every little detail had been taken care of.  At one end was the cosy double bed with plenty of storage underneath and a very neat table with built-in bench seats. At the other end was the kitchen with everything you could need for a glamping escape. This included a sink, hob, crockery, cutlery, biscuits and some Dorset tea. The log burner completed the coziness of the hut and we loved cooking dinner on the fire pit under the stars.  Behind the hut was a large cool box, logs and bins. Sika has a separate bathroom hut with a huge shower and one of the best composting toilets I have ever used. Matt said his main concern when booking somewhere was the toilet. He knows I’m a little bit fussy with these things after some of the horrendous long drop toilets we experienced when camping in Australia! But I was pleasantly surprised with this luxurious little bathroom and its cleanliness. If this is something that worries you, don’t be put off as Warmwell House has got it covered in a very clean and hygienic way! The setting is beautiful and although very close to all of Dorset’s main attractions it felt secluded from the world, very private and peaceful.

What we got up to while Glamping in Dorset:

Warmwell is a short drive from the beautiful Jurassic coast so over the two days we explored Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. We walked along the steep coastal path in-between the two, taking in the beautiful views and stopping for a much earned pub lunch and cider at the Lulworth Cove Inn.  In the afternoons we indulged in the art of doing nothing and relaxed at the hut. Reading and soaking up the afternoon sun with a celebratory glass of champagne and two gorgeous evenings by the fire pit was the perfect birthday treat.  ‘Sika’ is charming, cosy, shabby chic and luxurious all at the same time.  If you are looking for a glamping retreat that ticks all the boxes then this is it and having the Jurassic Coast on the doorstep is simply wonderful.

For more glamping inspiration take a look at my other posts on unique places to stay: 

All aboard the Big Green Bus: The Ultimate Glamping Retreat

Beach Hut Living

Unique Places to stay in the UK

What are your favourite glamping spots? Do you have any recommendations for glamping spots in Dorset? I’m always looking for recommendations on unusual places to stay so let me know in the comments below.

 

 

The ultimate glamping retreat in Bali…

If you are a follower of my blog then you’ll know that I love nothing more than a spot of glamping.  From a beach hut to a bus I’ve glamped in some pretty cool places, so when I was invited to stay at Sandat Glamping Resort I jumped at the chance to experience a night in a safari tent.  The tents at Sandat are hidden away among rice paddies and jungle on the outskirts of Ubud in Bali.  Having been staying in the beach town of Sanur I was looking forward to staying somewhere a bit more remote.  Leaving the bustling streets of Ubud behind it was like nothing I had experienced before.  I often mention that the journey is all part of the adventure and this journey was no exception.  We drove along a tiny winding track with nothing but rice paddies either side, lush and green the landscape was in complete contrast to the beach scene we’d become so familiar with. Arriving at Sandat we were greeted by friendly faces and escorted to our ‘room’ past the incredible looking restaurant and along a tiny path with jungle foliage either side.  Ylang Ylang was to be our own little piece of paradise for the night.  Just before the entrance we were shown the bell that staff ring before entering, a lovely idea for in-tent privacy.  When we turned the corner I gasped in excitement at the gorgeous plunge pool and equally gorgeous safari tent, fully decked out with everything you could ever need for a very unique glamping experience.  A huge and very comfy circular bed in the centre of the tent, tea and coffee-making facilities, water and mini bar.  There are no TVs in the tents, it is glamping after all.  WIFI is however available so you don’t feel completely cut off. The bathroom had the coolest sink, a fabulous shower with hot water and of course a toilet with what has to be the best view of nothing but jungle!! The interior of the tent was just perfect, cosy lighting, gorgeous mosquito nets draped over the bed and rustic furniture.  I should mention one of my favourite bits, there are no phones in the tents so to call for room service or anything else you may need each tent has its own instrument with unique sound so staff recognise which tent is calling.  I found this whole idea such a novelty and it works!  After scouring the fantastic drinks and cocktail menu I stepped outside the tent and made ‘the call’, ordering two Mimosas, such fun!  Ylang Ylang was just far enough to feel completely secluded but only a few steps from the restaurant and bar, the dreamy plunge pool was very private and surrounded by nothing but tropical forest; perfect for a late night skinny dip!  At night we lay in bed listening to the sounds of the jungle as it came alive with the hum of crickets and frogs, with just canvas between us and the outside it was a wonderful way to fall asleep.

Sandat is a small, intimate resort with only five tents and three Lumbung barns, traditional two storey thatched rice barns with a shared pool.  Italian owners, Emanuela and Federico have created luxurious interiors throughout the resort, oozing style and sophistication  The main restaurant and bar area is a huge bamboo structure with an elegant dining space and cosy corner with sofa and candles, the perfect place to enjoy an after dinner drink.  I loved the wall of mirrors adding to the gorgeous boutique feel of the stunning eco-friendly structure.
To top it all off the food at Sandat is to die for!  Dinner was exceptional, I chose a tuna dish and banana fritters for dessert paired with an Indonesian white wine.  It was all so good, I didn’t want it to end!  Choose to eat breakfast in the restaurant or have it delivered to your tent, we chose the latter option and weren’t disappointed, homemade granola, fruit and yogurt, traditional Indonesian pastries, freshly squeezed juice and warm bread all went down a treat.
Sandat Glamping is kitsch, cool and totally back to nature, topped off with attentive staff and amazing food, this is the place to head for a completely different experience in Bali.  It is also Bali’s only glamping resort and a must for anyone who is looking for a luxurious retreat among the rice fields of Ubud.
A huge thank you to Emanuela and Federico for having us at Sandat, my stay was complimentary in exchange for this review but as ever views and opinions are all my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filthy Fox Camping Product Review…

Ad: I was gifted the products by Filthy Fox in exchange for this review.
I love camping, so when the lovely people at Filthy Fox, a very cool company specialising in festival gear and camping equipment asked me to review some of their products I jumped at the chance.  With a trip down to Cornwall on the cards I thought it would be the perfect place for test driving some camping essentials.
Here’s what I thought…
Neon headlight
A head torch is a very useful bit of kit when camping, if there is no source of light then this is my number one go to. It has a trusty little clip so can be attached to almost anything.  There is also a strap to wear around your head, useful when you don’t want to hold it.  The headlight has three different settings: bright, slightly dimmer and an intermittent flashing ‘SOS’ option.  (Or if you are at a festival perhaps a disco light!)  It comes in yellow or pink and is very practical.
Dry shampoo
This is my trusty go to when on the road and even when not camping for that matter.  It is perfect for giving your hair an extra days cleanliness before you need to wash it, something that is not always easy when camping.  It is great if like me you have a fringe, spray it on, give your hair a rub and then brush it out and hey presto your hair looks instantly fresher.  It gets a big thumbs up from me.
Anti bacterial wipes
These are brilliant for feeling fresh and are useful in lots of different situations.  One is to avoid washing up!  Of course it should only be used as a temporary measure but a quick wipe over of plates and mugs is much easier than washing up in the rain in a muddy campsite!

Enamel camping mugs
I love the classic look of these mugs, I always drink copious amounts of hot drinks when I’m camping, as you can see from the photo an afternoon coffee to warm up and a scrummy Viennese Whirl worked very well in the campervan.

 
Camping chair
I absolutely adore these chairs, functional, pretty and very comfy!  Complete with a handy cup holder, they fold down and fit neatly into their own carry bag.  Light weight and very reasonably priced the ‘raindrop’ camping chair is a must when camping or at a festival.
 
Rechargeable festival radio
These days it’s all about playing music on your phone but there is nothing quite like a good old radio especially if you want to save battery life on your phone.  What’s more the radio is solar powered, so as long as it’s light you will have music.  But fear not, if the sun isn’t shining then there is also a wind up handle.  One minute of winding equals twenty minutes of radio time.  It is easy to pack and store due to its small size and the speaker has a great sound output.  I love this tiny radio!

017_Filthy Fox

 
Emergency charger
Preserving phone life is very important and plug sockets don’t tend to be easily available if you are in the middle of a field, so this emergency charger is an absolute genius.  Small and compact it is easy to carry and will bring your phone back to life when you need it.  Don’t forget to charge it before you go away though.  It comes with a USB lead so it can charge not just phones, but all sorts of other gadgets too.

From tents, to wellies, to waterless shampoo Filthy Fox have got all sorts of goodies.  With spring time just around the corner make sure you check them out for your next festival or camping trip.

Cheers 2014….you’ve been a good’un!

It feels like this year has gone by very quickly so I thought I would take a look back and jot down all my trips and travel highlights from 2014.  As well as travelling further afield this year it’s been wonderful to have done some trips within the UK.  It might sound strange but exploring closer to home without jumping on a plane has felt like such a novelty, especially as I am on an aircraft most days when I am working.  Many of these trips have also been with friends, I have loved sharing adventures with those closet to me.
If you would like to read more on each trip click on the links within the text to see the full blog posts….

 

Port Isaac, Cornwall:

The year started off with a long weekend away in Cornwall with friends.  We stayed in the tiny seaside village of Port Isaac and hired a cottage right on the harbour front.  I loved waking up to the smell of salty sea air and watching the waves roll in with a cup of tea in hand.  The weekend consisted of blustery cliff top walks, cosy cups of tea by the fire in our cottage, cream teas, Cornish pasties and plenty of cider….bliss!

 

The Big Green Bus, Sussex:

2014 is the year I turned thirty, to celebrate I stayed on a bus in the Sussex countryside.  On the face of it I know that might sound slightly odd but this was no ordinary bus.  The Big Green Bus featured on Channel 4 television series George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and is fully converted with two double bedrooms, bunk beds, lounge, galley kitchen and bathroom with hot water. Adam the owner has turned this old double-decker workhorse into the most amazing glamping retreat and has kept lots of the original features of the bus such as the drivers cab.  At the same time he has turned it into a cosy and unique space to relax in.  The log burner added marvellously to this!

 

Beach Hut 1, Shaldon:

Matt also turned thirty in April and as a surprise I booked a stay in a beach hut.  Just like our stay on the bus this was no ordinary beach hut and also featured on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.  The compact, bijou hut found on the shoreline in the quaint seaside village of Shaldon in Devon is one of a kind.  It screamed luxury from all its tiny corners.  Under floor heating, bi-folding doors opening up on to a private terrace with beach access and the cosy bedroom up in the roof completed this quirky little abode.  Glamping in style!

 

Work Trips:

I am so lucky that I get to incorporate my passion for travel in to my day job working as cabin crew for a British airline.  This year on work trips I have bought souvenirs in the markets of Mauritius and cycled along the Bermuda railway trail.  I’ve shopped in Orlando, been on a road trip and visited a shooting range.  I have paddle boarded, surfed and watched the sunset in Barbados, canoed in Antigua and sunbathed in St Lucia.  I’ve shopped in the south of France for sparkling cider, fresh bread and smelly cheese and explored the tiny streets of the old town in Nice.  I have blogged from a hotel roof top with a freshly squeezed orange juice and incredible views of the Mediterranean below.  Closer to home I have eaten ice cream on the beach in Jersey and cycled along the shoreline from St Helier to St Aubin, eaten a Scottish breakfast in Glasgow with my brother and walked along the Royal Mile up to the castle in Edinburgh….

 

Camping trips in the UK:

A trip in our campervan to Polzeath in Cornwall in July meant surfing, sunset barbeques and cider drinking at a beach pub.  (I think I have a theme running here!)  Closer to home Matt and I discovered that we could camp on the beach front on Hayling Island, a seaside town 10 minutes drive from us.  We have not had the opportunity to go away in our campervan as much as we would have liked this year due to work commitments so we grabbed this idea with open arms.  One sunny Friday we spent the day on the beach swimming, followed by a barbeque and camping under the stars listening to the waves roll in.  It was such a novelty to be able to do this so close to home!

 

Centre Parcs, Longleat:
Following on with the thirty theme my best friend organised a trip for her big day to Centre Parcs in Longleat Forest.  It was a fantastic weekend and a very active one, we cycled, played tennis, jogged around the lake, walked in the woods, ate pancakes and went mad in the rapids.  I love trips away with friends.

 

Australia, New Zealand and Bangkok:

Matt and I flew to Australia at the end of August to see two of our dearest friends get married, in between fighting jet lag we paddle boarded in Noosa and ate breakfast on the beach, took photos of incredible views in the Glass House Mountains and admired waterfalls.  We drank prosecco in Sydney harbour with magnificent views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House too. While in Sydney I met up with Jayne Gorman, a fantastic travel blogger who recently moved down under.  Jayne has a wonderful way with words and really inspires me.  I love reading her posts on Girl Tweets World, check it out, you won’t be disappointed!
From Australia we flew to New Zealand where we hired a campervan and crammed all sorts of adventures into a ten-day road trip.  This included snowboarding, camping by crystal clear lakes and a helicopter tour over the west coast glaciers.  We drove for miles without coming across another person, ate porridge to warm up in the mornings, and became mesmerised by Milford Sound.  Another highlight was seeing glow worms shining brightly deep underground in a cave by Lake Te Anau.  We were perched in a small boat in the pitch black on an underground lake, amazing!  New Zealand has the most incredible scenery I have ever come across from lakes, to mountains, glaciers to rainforest, ocean and miles of open road, it was a stunning!  For more New Zealand adventures click on the link here: 10 day road trip itinerary South Island New Zealand.
Leaving New Zealand behind we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary in the air en route to Bangkok.  This was our third visit to this buzzing city, I just love it!  We climbed up a temple, drank beer while watching the world go by on Koh San Road, sipped coconut water through straws, bought souvenirs on Rambuttri Street and most randomly of all did a wheelie in a tuk tuk, something I have never experienced before!  But, that’s a whole other story in itself!

 

I have been lucky enough to work with some great brands and companies through my freelance work this year, I am hoping to expand even more in 2015.  My new years resolution is to also write more of my own personal blogs, this is something I love doing but with a full-time job I often struggle to keep up with it.  On that note one of my favourite posts this year was my interview with author Lucy Clarke.  Her two books The Sea Sisters and A Single Breath have gripping storylines and include themes of travel and the ocean.  I can’t recommend them enough, they are the perfect holiday companions.  I’m really looking forward to her third book in 2015.
My travel plans so far for 2015 include a cosy winter break in Fowey in Cornwall, a road trip on the west coast of America, and hopefully a trip to Iceland.  Matt and I are also in the process of moving house so I’m sure that will keep us busy for the first few months of the year.  Who knows what the rest of the 2015 will bring, but I am looking forward to it.
What have been your favourite travel moments of 2014 and what are your travel plans for 2015?  I would love to hear them…
Happy New Year and I hope 2015 brings you lots of exciting travel opportunities….
 

All aboard the big green bus: Glamping in East Sussex

Posing outside the Big Green Bus
As I mentioned in last weeks post Gone Glamping I turned 30 on Thursday!  It was a four-day celebration including a meal out with friends and family and a pub lunch the following day.  The main event was a stay on The Big Green Bus with Matt and our lovely friends Sam and Graham.
The bus is parked in an idyllic location in private woodland in East Sussex, complete with decking, bench and a fire pit plus a wood fired hot tub.  We had planned to light it on my birthday evening and toast marshmallows but unfortunately it rained!  (Nevermind, after all this is the British weather in August…it can’t always be sunny!)  Reached via its own gated footpath it is very private.  Surrounded by peaceful countryside with lots of walks, a pub within strolling distance and Brighton a 20 minute train journey from the nearby town of Lewes, it was all we needed.  Gilly and Jed who own the glamping site have some lovely dogs, Mollie, Poppy and Katie.  All three popped by the bus to say hi every now and then.  The bus is currently relocating, check back for an update on its new location soon.

A lovely welcome of prosecco and chocolate brownies awaited us.  Matt and I instantly felt at home in this unique and quirky space, it had such a fantastic light and airy feel to it.  I excitedly skipped around the bus exploring every nook and cranny and fell in love with it!
The bus started its life in 1982 (which makes it older than me!) and is now owned by Adam who has lovingly restored and turned it into the most amazing glamping retreat.  You can follow the build from start to finish on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.  I found out about the bus from this Channel 4 TV series last year and loved the quirkiness of it.  I also stayed in the beach hut featured on Amazing Spaces in April for Matt’s birthday.  Read about it here: Beach Hut Living.  Adam has done an amazing job and kept a lot of the original fixtures and fittings, from the drivers cab, the old seat cushions re-upholstered in a lovely bright green, railings, a stop button, and lots of the original signs.  It was strange to think while having a shower or laying in bed about all the people this bus must have transported over its many years in service!

So let me give you a guided tour…The galley kitchen had everything we needed including an oven, fridge, sink and plenty of storage cupboards full of utensils, pots and pans.  The area at the front of the bus that would have been used to store luggage has been turned into a cupboard/pantry which was full of not only all the kitchen utensils and crockery you could ever need but also all the essentials like tea, coffee, sugar, oil, pasta and much more.
The lounge area came complete with a log burner, due to the unpredictability of the British weather as I have already mentioned, it rained on and off and was slightly chilly in the morning, so lighting it up first thing just took the edge off until the sun decided to show up.  The back seat gave a whole new meaning to sitting at the back of the bus and the window seat above was very comfy.  Adam has used some ingenious space-saving ideas such as a wooden cover on the back window, which also doubled up as the table with the legs stored behind the seats.  This gave extra room to relax in between meals and also being able to put the ‘table’ over the back window at night made it more private.  Behind the stairs sits a very neat wet-room and toilet with ample space to have a good shower.

My favourite area was upstairs at the front of the bus, this ironically was my favourite place to sit when I used to catch the bus to school.  Adam has kept two of the original seats and turned this part of the bus into a very comfy corner to relax in.  It was the perfect place to sit with a morning cuppa or evening drinks and gaze out across the field and surrounding woodland.  I also loved the little touches such as the union jack cushions, collection of books, and the set of draws with all sorts of board games in.  Following the corridor round led to two bedrooms big enough to fit double beds in and at the end some very spacious looking bunk beds.  I had two cosy nights sleep in the very comfy beds.  There was plenty of room for the four of us to leave our bags upstairs on the bus too.  I should also mention that the bus has electric and hot water.

I woke up on the morning of my birthday to blueberry pancakes and Sam gave me thirty presents to open!  We then drove to Lewes and caught the train to Brighton, had lunch at Plateau and walked on the pier.  After a few hours we made our way back to the bus where there were more surprises for me!  Cupcakes and champagne followed by an amazing dinner, I have wonderful friends as well as a wonderful husband!  After dinner we got the log burner going and played some board games.
We had a fantastic stay in a lovely peaceful location, everything about the bus was perfect, it was immaculately presented and had a lot of thought involved from the décor to the comfort of guests.  It was such a brilliant way to celebrate… turning 30 hasn’t been so bad after all, I think this has quite possibly been my best birthday yet!

Gone Glamping…

Somewhere in the middle of the Sussex Downs in the rolling countryside sits a glamping field and in that field sits The Big Green Bus…that’s where I’m heading tomorrow for my 30th birthday celebrations!
Turning 30 is pretty exciting and I wanted to do something different, so celebrating with my best friends and husband Matt, combined with a stay on this quirky bus seemed to be the perfect answer!  The bus has three bedrooms upstairs, a lounge area, kitchen and bathroom, very cool!  It was featured on Channel 4’s TV series George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.  The same program I saw the beach hut on which I booked as a surprise earlier this year for Matt’s 30th.  This is proper glamping and I’m so excited!  I will report back in full and tell you all about it next week…
Here’s the full write up of my birthday trip: All aboard the big green bus….