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Camping Packing List: What I’m Taking to Blogstock

By 5 August 2014 Life, Lifestyle, Outdoors, Travel, Travel Tips
Camping packing list: what I'm taking to Blogstock

This weekend I’m going to Blogstock! Apparently, it’s the world’s first blogging festival and I, for one, am really looking forward to it!

Blogstock is a cross between a blogger conference and a festival. I’ve never been to either! The interesting part is, I’m camping for the weekend, by myself. Well, in a field with loads of other people but still, I’ve got a tent to myself.

I’ve bought a new tent especially. My tent is a massive 4 man one that takes forever to put up. There’s no way I could put it up by myself even if I wanted to. So, I’ve opted for a funky pop up one from Quechua at Decathlon. I’ve heard good things about these tents and am assured that they are one brand of pop up tent that actually doesn’t leak.

Quechua breton

Luckily, I’m driving to Blogstock. My packing list is pretty long and there’s no way I could carry it all otherwise.

 

 

Here are some of the essentials I’m intending to pack:

Essential camping equipment

– Tent – obvs!
– Sleeping bag
– Mallet to hammer those pegs in
– Self inflating mattress
– Folding chair and mini table
– Gas stove
– Kettle – I don’t want to have to shell out every time I want a coffee
– Torch

Food and drink

I know there’s going to be food available but I want to save a little bit of money on the basics.
– Nescafe 3 in 1 sachets – these are coffee, sugar and milk all in one – not the most amazing cup of coffee but not bad.
– Massive bottle of water!
– Pot Noodle – festival staple I think.
– Bread for toasting
– Cup a soups

Toiletries

– Baby wipes! I’m taking regular wash bag stuff too but baby wipes are essential for quick clean ups, removing make up, cleaning dirty feet before getting into your sleeping bag, etc.
– Quick dry travel towel
– Sun cream (fingers crossed I’ll need it!)
– Hand sanitiser gel – ‘cos you never know what the toilets are going to be like

Clothes

– Flip flops
– Wellies
– Warm socks for the evenings
– Cosy jammies
– Fleece to keep warm after dark
– Waterproof jacket

Optional extras

I’m trying to glamp it up just a little bit. I may be essentially sleeping on the floor but I’d like as much comfort as possible!
– Ikea rug I found for £1.75 – perfect for use as a doormat.
– Picnic blanket – I’m going to use it as a tent carpet. Yup.
– Glow sticks to hang from the front of the tent
– Cute pink pin wheel I found in Sainsbury’s to put outside!

See, told you it would be too much to carry!

Who else is going to Blogstock! Anyone else flying solo? I’m leaving hubby at home for the weekend. Please say ‘hi’ if you see me!

Rachel x

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Fly Folkestone: Folkestone Airshow 2014

By 9 June 2014 Folkestone, Life, Lifestyle, Travel
Folkestone Airshow collage

This weekend saw the welcome return of the Folkestone Airshow. And the sun didn’t half come out to say hello!

After a spectacular downpour, the sky gradually cleared and turned into a real scorcher. Hubby and I just made it to The Leas in time for the Red Arrows display to start. We should have got there earlier to secure a decent spot. It was really hard to see the planes through the trees. For the last airshow we camped out on the beach for the day and I think that needs to be the plan for the next one.

Red Arrows downwards branch out

Red Arrows flying away

Red Arrows flying in formation with the red white and blue smoke

Red Arrows flying to the sun

Red Arrows soaring up high

I love the Red Arrows and I even felt myself get a tad emotional during their display. Yes, I know I’m a weirdo. Luckily I kept it together.

I don’t know what it is about planes. I’m fascinated by them. I briefly worked near Gatwick and could see the planes taking off from just outside work, and I’d frequently get the bus to the airport to get the train rather than using my nearest station just to experience the atmosphere at the airport. It’s probably because it reminds me of my travels.

Anyhoo, I digress. Back to the airshow. It was packed and it was fantastic to see. We’d totally worn the wrong clothes though and ended up having to walk home mid afternoon for a quick shower and change of outfit. Coming back out in summer clothing was much more comfortable! We walked all the way along The Leas, went on a Eurofighter flight simulator and kept walking until we left all the crowds behind.

Spitfire at Folkestone Airshow

Looking down toward the beach, you could almost be in the south of France. The sea was a beautiful colour on Saturday.

Sandgate Beach

Dinner was fish and chips eaten out the paper on the beach at Sandgate. Bliss. Even if I did have to ignore the seagulls circling hungrily above my head just praying that I wasn’t going to eat all my fish. Those birds obviously don’t know me at all.

We strolled home with full bellies and the sun still warm on our bodies along the seafront and back into Folkestone, where the harbour was looking magnificent in the late evening sunlight.

Folkestone harbour with clouds

Folkestone Harbour

The organisers were hoping to continue the airshow as an annual affair but from what I’ve heard they might not have raised enough money this year so it might not be happening in 2015. I think that would be a real shame.

Meanwhile, I’m scoping out tickets to Farnborough International Airshow but unlike Folkestone this isn’t free to enter. It’s £45 each! Mmm… anyone want to buy me a ticket or two?

Do you like airshows? Where have you seen the Red Arrows?

Rachel x

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A Weekend Wander in Wye

By 4 June 2014 Kent, Life, Lifestyle, Travel, United Kingdom
Weekend wander in Wye

Apologies, posts have been a bit sporadic lately. After doing Blog Every Day in May for three and a half weeks, I felt like having a little bit of a rest. Posting everyday is pretty demanding! From BEDM, I learnt that it’s great to have a schedule and the topic prompts really gave me something to work with.

So I’m going to start working out a plan to keep me in posts for weeks to come. Not sure when though since it’s the Folkestone Airshow this weekend and hubby’s taking me out for Sunday lunch!

How gorgeous was the weather last weekend?

Last weekend, we took advantage of the lovely weather and went for a little jaunt over to a very pretty village not too far from us. Wye is about 4 miles outside of Ashford in Kent and it’s so lovely. I’d never been there before but I’ve always had this feeling that I’d want to live there. And I do! As soon as we got there I felt instantly at home.

We parked the car in the main street and went for a little wander around the village. Not forgetting to visit the pub of course, which is called The Tickled Trout! It’s not the only pub in the village, there are another two, but this is the only one that’s situated right next to the river with a gorgeous beer garden where you can enjoy a drink with the river flowing by.

The Tickled Trout, Wye

Pub beer garden at The Tickled Trout

This photo makes it look like we had the pub beer garden to ourselves. That was definitely not the case!

Marc at the pub

Hubby doing the honours opening the nuts!

The village is lined with gorgeous cottages and matching cottage gardens bursting with colour. How I’d love to transform our patch of pavement at the front of our house, which is home to the wheelie bins and a lonely, straggly dandelion, into a quaint cottage garden. Not likely!

Critically acclaimed village

Apparently, it’s quite normal that I should want to live there. Wye was named third best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times in 2013, or something along those lines according to the 100% accurate source of information that is Wikipedia.

Pretty cottages in Wye

Wye church

There’s even a primary school (not needed just yet but handy to plan ahead) and one of those much-debated ‘free schools’ for secondary aged kids. The main street houses a butchers, post office, bakery and other little independent shops.

Strolling down the streets late on a Saturday afternoon we hardly saw another soul and traffic was minimal. It was pure bliss. Worlds away from our house with the trains running past, cars revving, and sirens blaring down the main road.

Pretending I can move house, just another average day…

Sitting in the pub garden (which seemed to be where everyone was hiding) we even checked Rightmove to choose a house! Turns out we might be able to afford to live there one day – only renting mind. £200,000 for an ickle two-bed cottage. But we’ve pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that we won’t be able to afford to buy a house for the foreseeable future. Now which political party were talking about rent control?…

As I mentioned above, this weekend heralds the return of the Folkestone Airshow. It used to be an annual event until about 2001, 2002? Not sure. Anyhoo, they cancelled it until 2012 when it came back with a vengeance. The town was rammed. They tried to organise another one for 2013 but couldn’t get the funding sorted in time but we still got the Red Arrows. Seems like they’re non-refundable. A bit like knickers from Primark!

So we won’t dare move the car on Saturday as someone will nick our spot and we won’t be able to park in the town let alone outside our house! Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain and we can take our folding chairs down to The Leas to watch the action.

What are you planning for this weekend?

Rachel x

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#BEDM – Bank Holiday Weekend in the New Forest

By 29 May 2014 Life, Lifestyle, New Forest, Travel, United Kingdom
Foal getting up

So it turns out I couldn’t get any phone signal in the New Forest, so I couldn’t post over the weekend. The break over the weekend spoilt my Blog Every Day in May run and I’ve not got back into the swing of things at all.

Having said that, I think 23 days straight of writing a post every day is pretty good going. I know that posting every day isn’t going to work for me because I don’t have enough time to do the other things that go hand-in-hand with blogging, such as promoting the posts on social media and reading other people’s blogs. Plus, I think I’d rather spend longer on each post rather than rushing something out to meet a deadline.

So, back to the weekend…

Look at this cutie!
Cute foal in the New Forest
I must be daft or something but I seriously had no idea how many horses there are in the New Forest. I thought that there were small numbers that lived out in the wilds and you’d be lucky to see them. That idea very quickly went out the window as soon as we walked out of the cottage and up through the village. There were horses everywhere!

I don’t know if ponies have a ‘mating season’, either that or there’s something in the water, because they were a lot of foals around. And they are adorable. I love how their tails are fluffy.
Mother and baby heading towards me.
This lady looks ready to pop!
Very pregnant donkey
On Sunday, we drove to Burley, mainly because my sister wanted to visit the cider shop! The village centre is pretty and bustling. Happily, we stumbled across a food fair and I chose a particularly yummy scotch egg made with pork and chorizo. It was delicious. I’ve had a real thing for scotch eggs recently. I need to try making them some time.
Burley Stores, New Forest
In Burley, there’s a field just on the edge of the village that is not only used as a car park but is home to a herd of deer! We were going to go on a tractor-drawn trailer ride to spot deer but unfortunately, the tours aren’t running at the moment because a poacher shot one of the stags. But they didn’t kill the deer, instead it bolted, fell into the river and drowned. Sad as this is, I’m not sure how the two correlate.
Deer in the field - Burley, New Forest
Instead, we went on a shire horse wagon ride. This is one of the beautiful steeds, Digger.
Shire horse
All weekend I kept spotting gorgeous cottages that I’d love to live in. How about this lovely rose-covered cottage? Unfortunately, something like this would set you back a cool half a mil. Mmmm…only in my dreams!
Pretty rose covered cottage in the New Forest
In the delightful village of Beaulieu, whose main street is lined with gorgeous independent shops, there’s a garden centre. In this garden centre is a cafe where you can get a cream tea with the biggest scone ever! These pretty flowers adorned one of the tables in the cafe.
Lovely flowers in the garden centre cafe in Beaulieu

All in all, it was a lovely weekend. It’s a shame hubby was working so couldn’t come but it gave me the chance to catch up with my family. The cottage we stayed in was spacious and had a wonderful wood burner that smelled divine. I love the smell of wood smoke, it reminds me of camp fires. It also made me excited for our holiday later this year; the cottage we’ve booked in the Cairngorms has a wood burning stove.

If you haven’t been to the New Forest, I would recommend it. I had less than 3 days there so would definitely like to go back but not during the school holidays and not over a bank holiday! It was pretty hectic traffic-wise.

How was your bank holiday weekend?

Rachel x

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#BEDM – Off Topic

By 23 May 2014 Life, Lifestyle, Travel, United Kingdom
Tree stump. I'm off to the New Forest for the weekend!

Today’s prompt is ‘Date Night’ but I’m going off topic. Tomorrow I’m going to the New Forest for the weekend. My grandparents are renting a cottage with my auntie and cousin, and they invited us to go down.

Hubby’s working tomorrow so I’m going by myself. My sister’s going for the whole week, and my parents are coming over from France Sunday to Wednesday so it’s going to be proper little family reunion! I’ve not seen my parents since Christmas so I’m really looking forward to it, even if the weather’s going to be rubbish.

This evening I’ve had to pack and get ready for the weekend, which’ll start at 5am tomorrow because I have to get up for the 6am train! Because I can only go for the long weekend, I want to make the most of it. That train will get me to the New Forest at 9.30am, giving me the whole day with my family.

I don’t know what we’re going to be doing. I’ve packed for all eventualities. All in my 35l rucksack. I really don’t know how people take that size of rucksack backpacking long-term. Although, my walking boots do take up nearly half the pack and I wouldn’t take those backpacking.

My only trouble is I don’t know if I’m going to be able to take my laptop. So I’m going to have to try blogging from my phone. So apologies now if you don’t hear from me for a while!

Hope you all have a lovely bank holiday weekend. What are you up to?

Rachel x

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