More Camping Good Times!

It seems that my camping trips are like buses. Nothing, then they all come along at once!

Just over a week ago Rob and I did a little tour in the van, camping first at Ivinghoe in Bedfordshire, then traveling on to Truck Festival in Oxfordshire.

For the third year in a row, I bought Rob Truck festival tickets for his birthday, and we decided to do the same as we did last year where we camped somewhere near (ish) the festival site for a few days beforehand, then went onto it. Truck festival is only on for two days, so this is our way of prolonging the good times! And nope, I have never heard of Ivinghoe either, until I searched online for nice campsites near nice bike routes!

After a massive Google-athon I found a trail called the Ridgeway (which I also had never heard of before) which you can cycle on for half the route. Unfortunately I booked us on a campsite at the wrong end of the 87 mile route – You know me, I never do my research properly! Whoops! But even though we never got to ride our bikes, we still had a lovely time and fell in love with the area, and have vowed to go back again as soon as we get an opportunity to do so. We have also added walking the Ridgeway in full to our bucket lists. I am itching to do some proper hiking after watching Wild recently!

Here are some picture from our stay at Ivinghoe. Sorry, there might be a lot of the same thing but it was just so beautiful!

The night we arrived there was a nice sunset.

The night we arrived there was a nice sunset.

A snap from my mobile - I like the orange glow the sun set cast over the van.

A snap from my mobile – I like the orange glow the sun set cast over the van. Spot my super long shadow!

Ivinghoe Beacon. Of course we walked up to the top of it. I like to get high on my holidays!

Ivinghoe Beacon. Of course we walked up to the top of it. I like to get high on my holidays!

The campsite had a nice play area as well as a nice view. We want to come back again with my nephews and family.

The campsite had a nice play area as well as a nice view. We want to come back again with my nephews and the family.

From the campsite, the start of the Ridgeway trail.

From the campsite, the start of the Ridgeway trail.

On top of the beacon

On top of the beacon

There was some chalk figure in the distance

There was a chalk figure in the distance

Look its our van from the top of the beacon (with a zoom lens)!

Look, its our van from the top of the beacon (using a zoom lens)!

More views. Not too shabby, eh!

More views. Not too shabby, eh!

more viewsfieldsbeehills

Walkers are spoilt for choice!

Walkers are spoilt for choice!

We walked for around 12 miles, climbing up to the top of the beacon, then wandering though woods into Buckinghamshire to a National Trust spot called the Ashridge Estate which had a monument that allowed visitors to climb up to the top for £2.50. The man collecting the money at the bottom of the stairs told me that I would be able to see all the way to Wembley Stadium and the Shard! I had to go up there of course, as I am such a big kid when it comes to going up somewhere high!

Unfortunately, we never saw the famous London landmarks because it was too hazy, and it was up here that I learned, after 13 odd years of togetherness, that Rob does not like heights! He said it just proves how much I listen to him, and I just sniggered at him pressing himself against the wall and not going anywhere near the railings! Aren’t we such a cutesie couple eh!

From my mobile - the monument.

From my mobile – the monument we climbed up.

From my mobile - the view from the top of the monument. You can see all the way to the Shard apparently.

From my mobile – the view from the top of the monument. You can see all the way to the Shard apparently.

Next, on Friday morning we drove onto Truck festival for our next two nights. We like Truck festival as its a smaller, family friendly festival and is pretty chilled and relaxed. This year it seemed that they had increased the capacity, as it was much more crowded and the queues for the toilets we pretty bad (think Glastonbury levels). Worst still, we could not get into the barn to see one of the bands who we were looking forward to seeing the most, as the venue was at full capacity. I was gutted as we were really looking forward to seeing Slaves again. Boo.

But despite the increased crowds (which also meant that there were more coke snorting dickheads around) and the poor toilets (which there were less of than last year, but more festival goers. Go figure?) we still enjoyed ourselves and managed to watch a few bands. No one particular blew us away, but we enjoyed The Charlatans, Basement Jaxx, Public Service Broadcasting and Peter Hook. We also enjoyed a few bevy’s, lots of BBQ’s back at the van and put our hands up for Detroit Maidstone. Or at least I did, as Rob can still only raise one arm halfway up, due to his ongoing shoulder problems!

More snaps below, all from our mobiles I am afraid as we didn’t bother with the proper camera at Truck this year.

I do love camping in our van!

I do love camping in our van!

Inside the awning - keg set up and a can of wife beater on the go!

Inside the awning – keg set up and a can of wife beater on the go!

Another snap of our camping set up. Rob cooking something greasy for breakfast!

Another snap of our camping in action. Rob cooking something greasy for breakfast!

Inside the barn. This years theme was Xmas.

Inside the barn. This years theme was Xmas.

On the big wheel. Another £2.50 well spent getting high.

On the big wheel. Another £2.50 well spent getting high.

Oh, and the only things we forgot to take this time were eggs and my contact lenses. Not bad for us, considering we nearly drove off without our bedding, but remembered at the last minute. That would have been interesting!

Lately #15

Here is what I have been up to lately –

We went camping again for another one night quickie trip. This time was with my sister, her family and my parents who stayed in a glamping pod as my Mother refuses to camp. And we remembered to take our towels this time! We stayed near Stonegate in East Sussex in a lovely little campsite that was for Camping and Caravanning club members only. Oops! I did not realise that small detail when I booked it, and I felt really guilty and like a fraud when I filled in our details in the paperwork when we got there! Ah well, hopefully, they will never check us out!!

My one and only snap of our break

My one and only snap of our break

Spotting some knock off Pyrex Cinderella bowls in TK Maxx. I could not believe my eyes when I saw these amongst the official Pyrex! I cannot remember the manufacturer of them, but needless to say, they were made in China, the land of cheap counterfeit goodies!

Apologies for the terrible mobile snap. I am due an upgrade!

Apologies for the terrible quality mobile snap. I am due an upgrade soon!

Washing my hair with Dr Bronners. I would love give low poo or no poo a go, but my hair is quite fine and greasy, so I always cave in and reach for my bottle of SLS and paraban free shampoo. Recently, I found some Dr Bronners at a discounted price in my local TK Maxx store, and I love it! Its great as a shower gel too. You only need a few drops as it foams up loads so a bottle will last for ages. I love all the hippy stuff about it, like that its not tested on animals, vegan and completely biodegradable. It also opens up lots of homemade cleaning solution options, but to be honest I will probably just stick to using Wilko’s cheap ready made white vinegar and liquid soda crystal solution to keep things cheap and easy!

Eating homemade lollies to survive the heat. I made the simplest of simple homemade lollies by just juicing a bowl of oranges and pouring the juice into my moulds and freezing them. Its a refreshing (if a little sticky) treat full of vitamin C and much nicer than the sugary alternatives in the supermarkets. And so simple! I cannot believe that I did not think of doing this before! Disclaimer – this was not my good idea. I saw it on someones blog!

Hand model I aint!

Hand model I aint!

Acquiring a new blog obsession. Like I need another, eh! But now, alongside my usual lifestyle, 30 something British lifestyle, mid century modern, vintage, food, frugal and Pyrex blog collections in my Feedly feed (I love saying Feedly feed BTW!) I now have a new category – Cycling and fitness blogs! I guess a lot of people might think that reading these kind of blogs would make you feel inferior because you never work out and feel like a fat bastard because you prefer to eat cake to kale (or is that just me that I am talking about here?) but I must be immune to all that stuff, because I find them really positive and inspiring! I am so pleased with my new blog discoveries that I might write up a little completion of them in a post on here soon. So many blogs about so many women being happy and enjoying life, it would be rude not to share the blog love!

We had our new flooring fitted yesterday. I am so pleased with it! We are nowhere near finished with the decorating yet, but I have shared a little sneak peek of the progress so far below. We replaced the crappy laminate that we inherited in the hallway when we moved in 5 years ago, along with the kitchen flooring and the carpet in the dining room. Whats that I hear? Didn’t you just put in new carpet in the dining room and vinyl down in the kitchen not that long ago? Yes, we did, but from the minute we laid down the kitchen flooring, I hated it. It was too dark and ridiculously hard to keep clean. I put up with it for three years (yes it really is three years since we decorated the kitchen!) Finally, we sucked it up and accepted that we made a bad choice with the flooring (or rather I convinced Rob to change it) and we set about fixing it. Next came a few stressful window shopping trips around flooring places. Agh! Too many options! Too many colours! Too expensive! But eventually, I decided that I wanted pale, neutral coloured flooring, and we found some we both liked in the first shop we looked around!
Regarding the carpet in the dining room, it is being relocated upstairs to the smaller spare bedroom. We found that the dining chairs were slowly ruining it with their pointy feet, and laminate is much more practical for times like when the cat throws up in there (she always chooses that room for some reason) and when I am feeding my nephews etc (they are messy little rascals, believe me!). Plus Rob needs a bib when he eats sometimes too.

Top row - the concrete floors hath returned! Bottom row - a little look at the progress we have made. It also needs cleaning FML!

Top row – the concrete floors hath returned!
Bottom row – a little look at the progress we have made. It also needs cleaning ATM!

A Quick Camp Out At Lydd

Rob and I are both off work this week. I hope its an opportunity to catch up on my blogging, but its Thursday already (whaaaat!), and is a really busy week for both of us as we are frantically decorating before we get the new flooring fitted next week, and generally trying (and failing) to keep the dust under control and our house looking semi-respectable!

Amidst all the chaos indoors we managed to go camping locally for one night at Lydd, near Dungeness Kent. This was our first camp out of the season due to time constraints and Robs shoulder injury.

It was a last minute decision to go away. I basically dragged Rob away from his desk (his work has been really stressful of late) and all the decorating, to make him get some well deserved R+R!

I booked the campsite online the day before, and on the morning we set out, we packed our bags and food and then bought any extras that we needed in the supermarket on route. I thought to myself – “we are getting really efficient at this camping lark, look how easy the planning and packing was”….

….That was until we got there and I realised that we had forgot to pack our towels!!!

Ah well, there is always something that you forget to pack, eh! At least we remembered the important stuff like beer and a bottle opener.

Neither of us took our cameras as it was only a one nighter. We went on a nice bike ride into Rye, to a lovely pub, riding all the way on a dedicated cycle path which is part of the National cycling network. (Which you can find out more about here and sign a petition for more funding and investment here – Thanks Secondhand Susie for that link!)

Here are my two obligatory grainy Instagram snaps! And if you are interested, after wondering if we would be able to buy a couple of cheap beach towels at the nearby Camber Sands resort, we decided instead to just drip dry and improvise with a clean tea towel for me and a pair of boxer shorts for Rob!camping at lyddfire pit

I Did It!

I did it! I managed to cycle 35 miles!

It took two pieces of flapjack*, half a packet of jelly beans, one energy gel, three bottles of water and every swear word know to man, but me, the couch potato, did it!

And thats more or less ↑ what I put in my Facebook status last Sunday thanking everyone who sponsored me!IMG_20150628_135119

What I did not mention is that I was over taken time and time again by 70+ year old looking women, packs of MAMIL’s and one girl on a commuter bike, who I overheard later in the queue for the ladies telling her friend that she had not been on her bike this year, nor trained for the event!!!

Oh, and I had a minor crash into some railings at the end of a slope on a footbridge bruising my bottom in the process!

On the whole, it was not as bad as I expected. It was good to see so many other women take part in an event like this (I am still on the hunt for a cycling wifey female training partner!) And even better, after writing my last post on 15/06/15 saying that I would do it on my own, about a week before the event Rob was given the go ahead from the hospital to start doing some gentle road riding again! Hurrah, so I did not have to ride it solo!

Considering that I only rode up to 14 miles on my training, I felt OK and managed to keep pedalling right up until I hit the wall on the last 7 miles. Thankfully, an energy gel (yuck) and an increase in my rage levels all directed at poor Rob** kept me going and gave me enough strength to complete the course!

I am proud of myself for doing it and I have been really touched and humbled by peoples support, encouragement and generosity with their sponsorship. Thank you again to everyone who donated, it means a lot to me. You are all great!

Here are a couple of screen shots from our Strava accounts if you are interested in our times and stats etc. Mine had a bit of a technical error as you can see!
Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 11.24.57Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 11.25.34
We did it in just under 3 hours moving time and 3 hours 35mins in total with breaks and pit stops. I am rounding the miles up to 35 BTW!


*Not my usual healthy, banana-ery, coconut oil type of slice. A flapjack that was full of sugar and golden syrup.

**I was tired and grumpy, and he was telling me what to do, i.e keep going, so of course he got on my nerves!