Blog awards, The Pox and Camping Solo with a Four Year Old

To summarise,  last weekend basically went like this: bad thing, bad thing, Brilliant, lovely awesome thing.

Now in slightly more detail:

Blog Awards:

On Friday the finalists for the Brilliance in Blogging awards were announced and sadly I didn’t make the cut. Even so I’d like to say a huge thank you again to everyone who took the time to vote for me. I often suspect that this blog doesn’t fit well in the parent blogging world. Advocating proper scientific evidence over anecdotes, beliefs and what seems “natural” isn’t generally all that popular and, compared to personal stories, it’s hard to turn a bunch of dry statistics into a compelling read. So, although I’m calling Friday’s announcement a bad thing,  I’m still utterly delighted and shocked just to have made it to the shortlist. Yay!

The Pox

MissE had chicken pox 10 days ago (non-UK readers, the vaccine isn’t routinely given here), and so with grim inevitability MissM developed the dreaded spots on Friday evening. This one is definitely a bad thing as we were all supposed to be going camping for the weekend. So what to do? All stay home and disappoint MissE? One of us stay home with MissM and the other go solo camping, to a festival, with a four year old? After tears from MissE and considerable indecision from me, F made the decision: I’d been on house arrest while MissE was ill, so I got to go camping and he would stay home with the poxy toddler (besides I’m better at putting the tent up than he is).

Which brings me to…

Solo Camping With A Four Year Old

My husband is very good at carrying stuff and telling me when I’m being irrational, he also produces a considerable amount of body heat and has a good sense of direction. These aren’t his only qualities by the way, but they are particularly useful  when trying to go camping in a mystery destination with small children. I’ll be honest, the thought of doing it all without him was pretty daunting, all the more so when I woke up to pouring rain, but I didn’t want to let MissE down so I put on my best independent woman face, checked the directions 15 times and set off.

I’d gone the wrong way by the time I’d left our street. *face palm*

But all hail the sat nav (and the Lion King DVD that kept MissE happy), we were soon sailing through the traffic free streets of early Saturday morning London (love that), bombing along the motorway and then gingerly up the dirt track to the secluded Feast In the Woods site.

I’d been worried that this would be a bit stressful on my own, it actually turned out to be one of the most relaxing weekends I’ve had in ages. We parked up and then walked through the woods to a little clearing with a fire pit already on the go. MissE was directed to a little bridge, leading to a wardrobe in the woods. Stepping through the wardrobe she found a kids entertainment team with face paints and crafts all ready to keep her happy while I got on with pitching the tent (with a bit of help from some kind folks around the campfire). Before long MissE had found some new friends and bonded over a mutual love of Disney’s Frozen. The little Elsa’s and Ana’s ran wild for two days, dangling from swings in the trees and toasting marshmallows on the fire but the thing that really amazed me was that the only screaming strop MissE had was when I wouldn’t let her fling her (non-swimmer) self into a lake. 

MissE has never liked water. I sometimes joke that my natural birth plan only failed due to her horror at the birthing pool. While other babies love splashing in the bath, she wailed in terror at it for her first year and the baby swimming classes I’d so looked forward to were a total, expensive, write-off. Recently though, she has been having swimming lessons with a lovely teacher and after a day of rare physical bravery and having seen so many other kids in the water she actually begged me to let her go in too. So I donned my swimmers, took a deep breath and jumped.  After about two minutes of gasping for breath in the cold I pushed an inflatable crocodile over the MissE on the jetty and we splodged about in the water until I got cold again and had to beg her to get out. It beats the heck out of a festival shower queue for feeling refreshed though!

There was also great food, lovely cider, the endlessly amusing composting loos, pond dipping, ukuleles and at least an hour where I just sat in the sun reading a book while my daughter roamed free in the woods with her friends. Bliss.
By the time we got home I was filthy and exhausted, by the next day every inch of me ached from packing everything up on my own (then unpacking and re-packing it all because I thought I’d lost my glasses) but it was totally worth it, MissE and I both had a wonderful time and I actually feel pretty proud of myself for taking on something I was a bit nervous of. We’ve already booked for next year, hopefully we will all make it this time but if not, I’ll have no worries about going solo again.


 PS. My photos don’t really do the weekend justice but much more lovely ones can be found here:

5 responses to “Blog awards, The Pox and Camping Solo with a Four Year Old”

  1. What an amazing weekend, lovely photos and well done setting off on your own. Looks like there was help on hand when you arrived and burrr to the swimming! Hope you will join me for Country Kids, such a fun post


  2. It could be arranged, Sally!!! Very happy for grown ups to join in with crafts and/or face painting… We could look into doing some sessions especially for them if they asked VERY nicely….. Mandy from the TUFF team x


  3. The photos don't do it justice???? They look fabulous!!! I love a bit of camping just me and the kids. Next year for the BiBs I reckon.


  4. solo with more than one kid? now that is brave, don't think I'm quite ready for that with the crazy 18 month old yet!


  5. Aww. lovely photos of the three of them together! mine's already asked if we can move to Feast in the Woods – We booked our tickets already too. Can't wait. Oh, and I never realised you were a blogger 😉
    I don't know if I mentioned, but I go camping mum & kids camping a couple of times a year – but my camping buddy is moving to Australia!


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