When Dougal (the hire van) was first ready for adventuring, we planned on taking a little test drive/holiday to make sure we were happy with the set up and that we hadn’t forgotten anything vitally important! BUT you know what it’s like when your busy, starting a business and raising a family whilst paying all your bills, having good social media presence and on top of it all some kind of life! 🤪 Well we didn’t manage to fit in our little test holiday before he was hired on his first little adventure during February half term! We got some good feedback from the family that hired him. Before we knew it he was off on his 2nd adventure for the Easter Weekend! The adventurers survived the mud and rain and had a fab holiday with Dougal! It’s great that he has been off adventuring a couple of times but we still wanted to see for ourselves!

We were heading down to Cornwall for a wedding in the 2nd week of the Easter Holidays! The perfect opportunity for our test drive/holiday.

We booked the nearest campsite to the beach in Perranporth for 4 nights. ‘Perranporth Touring and Camping’

Bruce had been at work since 4am finished at 1pm and then after a bit of organising we set off on the 4hr journey. With one questionable coffee stop in a dodgy lay-by we shall never speak of again! and one toilet stop we arrive at the campsite, chose our pitch and then set about putting up the awning (for the first time). I don’t know if any of you have ever put up an awning with your beloved other half, if you have I’ll bet money that you can picture the scene! Now tasks like this bring out our creative differences in how we like to get a job done. I get on my team building, let’s wing it and see how much we manage pants. And Bruce gets on his let’s read the instructions carefully and project managers pants. As you can imagine we clash a little in our different approaches!! At one stage he actually said, ‘can you just focus on holding the torch!’ Followed by comparing me to an apprentice 🙄😤🤪 the light diminished quickly and we had a few interruptions of the children asking for food/drinks/toilet but we managed it!!

With kids in the pop top reading their books and playing with their dolls, Bruce and I cracked a beer to celebrate a) surviving the team building awning task (it was actually very easy to assemble) b) the long Journey and c) the very exciting start of our holiday in Dougal the hire van!!

We all slept well, the kids woke up at about 10am which was a treat! Bruce and I were very cosy in the luxury ‘Duvalay’ sleeping bags! If you have a camper or are planning to in the future we highly recommend them! We’ve got some in our own van ‘Pickles’ and wanted our customers to experience the luxury too.

Continuing on from such luxury we then boiled the whistling kettle to put the coffee on (cafetière of course 😉).

I made us brunch whilst the children climbed the trees and made daisy chains. We had a visit from the groom to be and his little one and decided to get ready to head to the beach! This took a bit of time to orchestrate as we were not yet on full camper van mode. So we moved a few things around and popped stuff we didn’t need into the awning which was really fab to have the extra space. Washed up and set off!

We parked the van in the beach front car park .We took a leisurely stroll down to the sea. Its such a spectacular beach!

The kids jumped the waves and Betsy fell in!! (This is becoming quite a regular occurrence when we are near water!) We climbed up the great big rock.

Back to good old Dougal to get Betsy dry and changed and Brucie got in his wetsuit and went for a surf! Vans are such blessings in these scenarios! We went to explore the rocks and caves. Then back in the van to the campsite for tofu stir fry!

Followed by hot chocolate

And lots of giggles before bed.

Bruce and I cracked a (cold from the fridge) beer or two to celebrate a) having a fab first day b) being on holiday and c) finding our van life flow.

I think it takes a bit of time to find your flow when your living in a small space, having the pop top was brilliant it really does add a whole other level! The kids loved being up there, playing, Reading, looking out the window and just generally being on top of a vehicle!! COOL!! So cool in fact we are thinking about putting one on top of pickles…WATCH THIS SPACE!!

The next day we had lunch in the very lovely laid back pub on the beach!! The watering hole 🙂 Bruce had to go and do wedding rehearsal stuff as the Muscian and cinematographer!! Man of many talents! Not just a camper van converter by any stretch. 😉

VW T5 parked at Perranporth beach

So whilst he was busy me and the girls raided the Only charity shop in Perranporth, and got dairy free ice cream at an ice cream parlour!Bruce came back and we went for a couple of drinks at the watering hole whilst the kids played in the sand dunes. Veg fajitas for tea! Cooking up a storm in the camper! Betsy took a nap in the pop top and Elsie found the campsite park! Happy Days!

The day of the Wedding, Bruce went off to do his wedding duties whilst my job was to get myself and two kids showered and dressed, van ready and down to the beach car park on time for the ceremony! That didn’t all go exactly to plan!! The children were still fast asleep at 11.30 (it was a late night!) I did as much as I could and then woke Elsie to tell her I was going to have a shower, I’d made them breakfast and that I wouldn’t be long. When I got back they were up, eating breakfast. I told them my plan to drive down to the shower block so they could have their shower, and I could fill up the fresh water tanks. Now here is where things started to go wrong. I only had 1 20p for the showers which meant they had to share, I shut the main door to give them a bit of privacy as they took it in turns going under the shower whilst I applied shampoo to the other one. Once showered I ushered them into another cubicle so they could get dry whilst I went to get their clothes…the door wouldn’t open!!! We were stuck!! We had to be at the wedding in 15 mins and the children weren’t dressed! I tried the door several times to no avail and then climbed myself in my wedding finery up onto the bin and began shouting for help out of a tiny window!! 😱 Elsie went silent and Betsy started shouting for help too! I tried to phone the campsite but no answer so I left a very urgent message explaining the situation! I really didn’t know what to do, so I rang Bruce, you know the guy who was simultaneously going to play the bride down the isle and film the wedding that started in 10 mins! He set off on a rescue mission to get us out of the shower block! Just then a young chap walked passed and heard our cries for help! Phew! I quickly called off the rescue mission so Bruce could focus on his other duties! The man who owned the campsite came and opened the door without much effort at all which was slightly embarrassing for a few moments before we realised the handle only worked from the outside! I dressed the kids in record time, we whizzed down to the car park where we planned to kip that evening, and dashed to The Seiners Arms just in the nick of time! The wedding was a blast, the kids Danced the night away as did we, once Bruce had completed all of his jobs! And we didn’t have to worry about a taxi back to the van because we were kipping in the car park.

When we woke up the next day feeling a little worse for wear, we were surrounded by cars and campers all filing in for a day at the beach and the weather was gorgeous! It had been great for the wedding but today was even better! We went for lunch in the watering hole and laid in the sun in the sand dunes before climbing up to the top of the rock for one last time!

We found some pebbles for a spot of pebble art!

And paddled in the stream 😊

We had to head back today for Bruce to go back to work but it felt hard to leave, we’d had such a wonderful time!

We packed away the awning, and all of our stuff along with a fair amount of sand from the beach! The kids kept themselves entertained in the park until it was time to go.

One last stop for chips on Fistral Beach in Newquay! I have lots of fond memories of Newquay so it was good to drop in briefly!

And off we went…our hearts a little fuller, our minds a little freer and our souls a little richer.

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