This post was supposed to be called we’re going camping, however we decided to leave a day early. I wrote most of it in the campers’ kitchen with the quiet company of a few mild-mannered children playing minecraft on their huddles. I thought we all looked a bit miserable, so I closed my laptop and went back to my family. We got back just over a week ago and we’re still feeling the benefits.
We were camping outside the stunning town of Kinsale in Co. Cork and we’ve had a busy few days. I wish I could say we went camping because we are sick of 5 star hotels. The real reason is we are on a budget as we have some major repair work to carry out on our home before the winter arrives. I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt about camping until I saw how excited the kids were when we told them. From my perspective this holiday would be lacking in many defining features; pampering, luxury and indulgence that you don’t get at home. Dylan’s only concern was that ‘a man would chop down any nettles with stingers as soon as they appear’.
Upon speaking with my family I was reminded that I was brought camping as a baby many times and that basically we would be grand. We really needed a holiday, so I forgot my qualms and we ordered a tent. The kids went wild when it arrived and were thrilled to see it up in the back garden.
When we arrived at the site, the kids waited patiently while we put the tent up and only asked to go to the playground 3 dozen times. The sun was shining so we kept our cool. They finally managed to entertain themselves eating blueberries and pretending to be caterpillars in their new sleeping bags. Later on, while we washed the dishes, it was reassuring to see the kids so at ease in the playground. Within a few minutes they had approached other kids and introduced themselves. A few months ago, I would have been asked to make these introductions on their behalf.
The kids got into the sociable atmosphere – they thought all the other campers were our neighbours and therefore best buddies. On our first evening I brought Eva to brush her teeth and we met the French lady staying in the tent next to ours. Eva burst out ‘Hello. Why aren’t you in bed yet?!’ I think either her English was quite limited or she had a fear of extroverted children as she responded with only a meek smile. The following morning, Eva saw their tent being unzipped from within. She ran over, got down on her hunkers, and in her brightest voice said ‘Good morning!!’
After our trip to the beach, we returned to find the French couple had moved on to another site.
We enjoyed amazing pizza at Bruno’s restaurant in Kinsale. Dylan ate half a pizza, without pause and exclaimed to the waitress that it was ‘Fantastic!! We also highly recommend The Model Railway in Clonakilty which only cost €18 for a family ticket. The kids really enjoyed this little adventure (especially walking in around the models which isn’t permitted! Oops!)
We had a gorgeous picnic at Lough Hyne, the only salt water lake in Ireland, where Eva caught a teeny crab. She shouted so loudly, you probably heard. Dylan caught some shrimp, which jumped in my face and made me scream and drop the net in the water! Other amazing highlights were Clonakilty market and Inchydoney Strand.
The holiday was relaxing, but not in the ways I’d expected. The kids kept us on our feet all day long. With the beach, day trips and a great playground on site, there was plenty to do. The only time we really relaxed was in the evening, sipping yummy Vacqueyras after the kids had finally fallen to sleep.
Camping certainly blows the cobwebs away. We all got a few new freckles and I’ve never seen the kids so content. In a way we were all forced to switch off. We had no Wi-Fi or electricity and only a one-ring cooker to prepare our meals. The kids never asked for cartoons, only to go to the playground several times a day. They were fascinated watching all the comings and goings on the campsite – watching a new trailer tent, caravan, or pop-up tent arriving, with a new family, as they set up their awning or started to BBQ.
The friendly atmosphere helped them to come out and talk to the other kids and trips to the wash block cured Dylan’s fear of hand-dryers the day after we arrived.
One thing I will not get used to is the silent line up of women all staring ahead as we brush our teeth in unison. Although the next morning it was quite nice to see all the other mummies looking equally pale minus their makeup and like they’ve also been dragged through a bush backwards. Glamourous, it is not. However, now I am a convert. Next summer we’re going camping!
(P.S. Did you notice my new badge?? Put the Kettle On has somehow made the shortlist for the Irish blog awards in the parenting category!! Yesterday I also found out that my husband’s family have treated us to tickets for the awards, accommodation and a babysitting service!! Thanks guys! I’m so excited for what will be a great night and to meet lots of Irish bloggers. To the lovely judge who deemed me worthy – Thank you! Are you sure? And…Whoopeee!!)
I linked up with Modern Dad Pages! Click on the badge below to see loads of great link-ups! 🙂