With 3 young children and a love of the outdoors, meet Monika a Mum on the Brink!
I'm a stay at home mum with 3 young children- 2, 6 and 7 year olds. In my spare time (usually to the detriment of sleep) I write a family lifestyle blog.
I've always loved the outdoors and found camping romantic. When the kids came along, this passion was somewhat dampened by what seemed an Everest sized effort to even get out of the door with them, let alone camp.
As a single income family, ever since my oldest started school we have struggled with what to do during school holidays: The kids have 12 weeks of school holiday each year. My husband works full-time and, like most people, has 5 weeks of holidays each year. We tend to squeeze every last moment out of daddy's holidays for family fun, but there are still 7 weeks left to fill without him with me solo parenting. If we stay at home, it feels like we waste away the days with TV and everyone going about their own business. We have no family near by to spend it with either.
Two years ago we dipped our feet back into camping, this time with kids. We all loved it. We loved getting away from home, we loved being in nature, and we loved the price of our nights away- often as low as £20 for a night. I did not love pitching the tent and furnishing it every time, especially when trying to keep an eye on 3 kids wandering off in 3 different directions. I quickly learnt what part of camping I wanted, what I didn't: I wanted a ready-made kitchen and beds, much less setting up and taking down time. However, I definitely wanted the potentially low cost of each nights' stay.
Having Campy has given me the freedom to escape with the kids to explore further afield during holidays. We spend less time with set up on site and we have expanded our season significantly. In fact, our first outing this year was on the 2nd of January.
Our caravan is small. It has a toilet and a small kitchen and very clever lay-out, fitting 5 of us in to under 5 meters. It is a TV-free zone. We have games, cards and lots of pens and paper to fill our evenings. There is also a small renewed library of books specially selected for each trip. The time we spend in Campy is about getting away from it all and reconnecting with each other.
Over this Easter holidays I am solo parenting for the first week again; we will be joined by my husband from Good Friday for the second week only. Yet I was keen to explore new areas with the children.
Last summer, I linked up with two friends in similar situations, (with their husbands working full-time) to go away for a week with each. It worked out really well: the kids had their friends around, us mums had a spare pair of hands and someone to chat to in the evenings, once the kids were sleeping. We shared cooking and doing the dishes.
Sadly, both friends have tents and are not "committed" enough to sleep under canvas with the kids in temps under 10C. (I don't blame them... I wouldn't!)
Then news of Billing Aquadrome's new pods popped up: I was so excited to have the opportunity to review a camping pod at Billing, because it meant we could invite my best friend, Jennie, and her kids (1, 3 and 6 years old) to come with us! They could have the pod and we'd take Campy.
With camping pods being installed more and more, it helps extend the season for getting away, but still keeps the costs very reasonable. Staying in a camping pod also means you have less set up than you'd have taking your tent and you know you will be dry, what ever the weather.
Both Jennie and I are looking forward to going away, having time to chat in the evenings. The kids are super excited about the prospect of spending times days on end together and we haven't even told them of the pool and other fun things at Billing Aquadrome!