If you follow me on twitter you may or may not have noticed that I was silent as the dead over the weekend.
You may or may not have found this unusual. (If you were glad of the break please just don’t tell me!)
Friends, I’ve been camping. That’s right – camping. Yes, with the babies. And the dog. In a tent. Yes, a TENT. I know that some of my former schoolfriends read this blog so if you remember the disaster that was Amber camping for her DoE Award, feel free to take a moment now to get the sniggering out of your system. Ha ha yes, it was very funny. Somebody set my tent up for me this time.
As a child the New Forest was my favourite place in the world. My grandparents would take me and my sister and we would stay in a caravan and alternate riding across the moors with driving to some of the local beaches and swimming in the sea. It was my sanctuary; it was where I finally unwound from the tension of my sister’s illness and my parents’ messy divorce. It’s difficult to ride fast in London because as soon as you hit a gallop there’s a fence to slow down for, but on the moors you can just let go and be free. I loved it.
I’ve always meant to take Kirsty there but at the last minute, something has always prevented us. Last time, our little dog, Cordelia, got sick a few days before we were due to leave and died two weeks later. I’m not superstitious but it did feel a bit like we were jinxing ourselves when we confirmed this trip but thankfully, this time nothing stood in our way.
We stayed at Holmsley Camp Site and Caravan Park where we, along side some other bloggers, had been invited to spend the weekend. We don’t drive so we journeyed down from London by train, and took a taxi from the station to the camp site. It’s easy to access the camp site without a car if you’re happy to take a taxi; to be honest if there is more than one of you, it’s cheaper to take a taxi than a bus anyway. At any rate, the bus stops 1.5 miles away from the camp site which is rubbish in terms of toting luggage but fab in that once you get to the camp site, you really are in the middle of nowhere.
Personally I rate the New Forest according to the little-known (because I just made it up) Footsteps:Ponies ratio. If you can’t step out of your accommodation without being mobbed by ponies, it’s a good place. Holmsley rated highly on the Footsteps:Ponies ratio because on both the Saturday and Sunday of our stay there was at least a dozen of the ponies, some of which had foals at foot, right outside of the camp site entrance. Win. The New Forest breed is known for being placid and good-natured – if a little too smart and a little too stubborn – and these hairy little beasts were no exception. They were perfectly happy to let me stand close and take pictures, although Kirsty did stand a little further back with Josephine-dog.
We spent approximately six hours (yes, I timed them!) walking the moor on Saturday. Kirsty wore the twins and Josephine explored ahead, and when we were tired we let the babies down to play on the grass and it was blissful. After a busy week at work, a weekend spent in the middle of nowhere was just what I needed. It seemed to be what the twins needed too: they’ve just started to properly crawl and they were delighted to have so much space, not to mention two mummies devoting themselves to chasing after them! We crunched white chocolate biscuits for energy – babies are hard work! – and laughed a lot. A lot. I know that I say it every month but I really do think that seven months is my favourite age, it was really good to take some time to focus on my little family as they are now.
We loved Holmsley. Kirsty and I are already making plans to come back once the tinies are walking; it will be fun to watch them toddle across the moors in tiny wellie boots.
Speaking of toddling across the moors, I say it time and time again but babywearing really was invaluable for us on this trip. I’m not saying that you couldn’t take a pram and still have a glorious time, but your freedom of movement would definitely be limited. With the twins wrapped safely on Kirsty’s body we were able to enjoy several multiple-hour excursions through the woods and across the moors, over all sorts of terrain. It amazes me that Kirsty is still comfortable carrying them at seven months but she reports that she barely feels them; we definitely won’t be giving up babywearing any time soon.
We heard a lot of comments about how ‘brave’ we were to take baby twins camping but actually, they were a joy. Perhaps it helps that we’ve never had a routine of sorts and mostly allow our schedule to be dictated by the twins’ needs, which we continued during our time away. So long as they’re fed on demand they’re quite content. The second night did take a turn for the grim when the temperature dropped and consequently, the twins howled like banshees every thirty minutes, but our blogging companions were kind enough to reassure me that they hadn’t been disturbed a bit (liars! Kind liars!) and that a certain level of screaming-baby is expected on a family camp site.
It was fun. If I were looking for a cheap summer holiday, I would definitely take the children camping again and I would recommend Holmsley to fellow parents. Particular selling points for me – aside from the ponies – were the friendliness of the staff and the excellent pastries in their on-site shop.
*Holmesly did not ask for a review of the camp site, but I was so impressed that I’d like to share one anyway.
My Two Mums and Goblin Child have made it to the finals in the Mad Blog Awards! We would love it if you would vote for us to win in the Best Baby (Goblin Child), Best Family Fun (My Two Mums) and Best Photography (Goblin Child) categories.