I’ll be honest from the off here and will share that I’ve never been camping before, not EVER, mostly because it wasn’t a family tradition with my own folks, and then when I had my own kids I worried about my high maintenance hair and if we’d all cope camping. I wasn’t even sure how safe it was!
So what changed?
When I was in recovery after a recent thyroid op, my son, Oliver, 8, mentioned for what was the 70906576876 x, his dream to go on a camping holiday in a camper van. It had to make it happen for him and vowed that as soon as I was better, we’d be hitting the road for a family trip.
Oliver and his brother, Xander, 5 had been so patient and loving throughout the most difficult period in my life, this was the least I could do and thanks to my manager Jack and Mercedes, we were off and away living our best lives in the campervan of dreams!
And, it’s thanks to Mercedes I’ve discovered that you can do camping your way (high maintenance hair and all), and that my way is very much in the luxe Mercedez Benz Marco Polo (!) which took us on a smooth and steady road trip to beautiful Bournemouth and beyond, where we enjoyed sea, sun and Sangria (from our fold out table), spending the night at South Lytchett Manor Caravan and Camping Park, a picturesque camping park with playground, chickens, a lake and top notch facilities the barnet approved of (!) along with an on-site shop with everything you could want or need on your stay there.
This certainly wasn’t camping as I knew it or had perceived it to be and the kids loved every minute.
Importantly safe, with a comfy night’s sleep, I’m going to whisper it but I’m a camping convert!
Now let me show you around the car.
The Marco Polo seats 4 people with the front seats swivelling around for when you’re in lounge (eating mode) and then when it’s bedtime, the rear folds flat to form your downstairs bed.
There’s also a pop-up roof that turns into the upstairs sleeping quarters the boys fell in love with. You’re close to the sky in what seems like a private little den, and it was nothing short of magical for my 8 and 6 year olds.
There’s also an ample living area when you’re not sleeping, with a sink, stove, fridge and even built-in wardrobes, drawers and cabinets for all your holiday needs. The back also provides lots of leg room for when the kids were strapped in and we were on the road.
Nice huh. Told you it was luxe.
I liked it so much in fact, I’d quite like to swap our Land Rover Evoque for a bigger, more spacious vehicle like this one or a 7 seater again. I didn’t realise how much we had missed the extra room until our recent road trip so watch this space. )P.S. If you’re looking for camping extras, check out Camping Console).
…So, aside from scoffing and sleeping, what did we get up to on our weekend away.
We basically lived on the beach (when we weren’t living in the Marco Polo that is), whiling away two whole days lapping up the heatwave over on Bounemouth Beach (I actually can’t believe this was our first time there), it was a dream.
Now, while the kids became obsessed with the funfair on the beachfront with rides, food stalls and fountains, our most favourite times together were far from the crowds, closer to the cliffs, at the other end to the pier where we enjoyed the peace and quiet (and miles of beach to ourselves) and the warm, clear waters and the soft sand under our feet.
It’s no surprise why this is the number one beach in the UK.
We felt like we were on the Continent there. Truly.
Splashing in the water, burying each other in the golden sand, and enjoying dairy-free ice cream on repeat (there was an impressive selection in the cafes there) these are some of our favourite family memories ever.
There were many times I looked up at Peter (yes, he’s much taller than I am) and uttered how perfect the weekend was. Mushy but true.
Life’s a beach, huh!
Thank you to Nell & Digby for the chic-est of straw bags and hats, embellished with Honest Mum and Mum Boss to boot (the latter the name of my book), I simply love.
Thanks too to my girl, Lauren Jobling for styling me up come rain or shine, it’s always a joy planning outfits together and the tee and denim skirt (TK Maxx and River Island) while definitely not something I would have usually picked, got me into Camping Girl vibes and will be something I’ll wear on repeat this summer.
The maxi was bought on a whim from George at Asda after I saw it advertised in Grazia and is the comfiest dress I own. It is big though so go down a size. This was an UK 8.
Aw, what a magical weekend. More of these please.
Thanks Mercedes from two happy and grateful little boys and all of us x