The long summer holidays have finally come to an end, the children are back at school and nursery, I have finished my second reflexology diploma, and I am now slowly making my way through toys and summer debris to make our house feel like a home again, rather than a playgroup.
Life has been pretty chaotic over the summer and the season has flown by in a series of incredible highs and lows that have been difficult to keep up with. However, my focus is returning and life moves on.
As a mellow, colourful autumn descends upon us I realise that I left you all hanging…sorry about that! I wrote the blog post “we’re all going on a summer holiday” and didn’t tell you about the actual holiday, and I really must, because it was truly out of this world! (I would like to add at this point, that I am not being paid or even asked to write a review of this place. This post was just inspired by a phenomenal experience).
Usually, when we go on holiday, I book a little self-catering cottage somewhere and we spend a week in our usual routines (same stuff, different house), with added day trips out and new supermarkets to visit! Woooo! I have visited many of the West Country’s finest supermarkets on my holidays!
However, this year a little bit of adventure crept in. I was browsing on the internet one rainy afternoon, when up came and advert for a glorious glamping holiday set in a woodland on a beautiful farm in Wales called Penhein. The farm also happened to be a few miles away from my husband’s family in Chepstow, and I happened to be deluded enough to think the three children in a tent would be easy! So that was it, decision made. Three night’s glamping booked. I think that the real lure for me was the King size bed, roll top bath, monsoon showers, reflexology treatment and the large cool box for storing all the wine food.
After a mammoth effort (See we’re all going on a summer holiday post), and seven and a half hour ‘school holiday’ drive from sunny Kent to sunny Wales we arrived on the most beautiful farm, complete with green rolling hills, abundant woodlands, flowing streams and cow safari!
We were greeted by James, a man who NEVER stops working, and a man with so much enthusiasm and passion for this place I thought he might explode! After my stay here, I completely understand.
James led us through the woods to our stunning alachigh tent and gave us instructions on what to do, (like hiding all of the food so the squirrels didn’t come in to eat it)! And what not to do, (like burning the place down)! Then he left us to make ourselves at home, which we promptly did.
There was something instantly comforting and calming about being in nature. The children became quieter, I didn’t have an overwhelming desire for “wine ‘o’ clock” at 8pm every night and we were all very content.
Don’t get me wrong. Camping or glamping with a one year old is no walk in the park. You need to be prepared for a bit of hard graft, for example the very nature of our round-house style tent worked to his advantage because I could never catch him! He literally ran round and round, causing me to deploy some very advanced stalking and pouncing techniques!
We also had to find ways to contain him so that he didn’t escape into the surrounding woodlands and fire pits! But this was easily done as we had a stable type door, a cot and a highchair. All very handy.
However, these were all minor challenges and the rewards for our efforts were some fantastic memories of some very special moments, like at 3am on the first morning when he had had his milk and we were snuggled up in the king size bed looking out of the roof light at all of the stars twinkling through the gaps in the trees.
Our other two children were equally at home in the woods and they spent hours playing, climbing trees, looking for fairies and “cooking” over the cold fire ashes whilst mummy went for some well-earned reflexology. Ahhhhhhh!
My eldest son was in his element and was able to do all of those things that he always wants to do at home, but can’t. He collected wood for the fire, used knives, helped to light the fires, cooked the dinner and did all sorts of other jobs that were required to maintain our everyday life in the woods. He didn’t miss the iPad, TV or any other device. He drew pictures and read books! Amazing!
We did venture off site for our annual holiday supermarket trip, to visit lovely family and to go to Caerleon, an absolutely stunning Roman town complete with amphitheater and Roman baths. The children loved it!
But glamping was just as entertaining in itself. The farm was beautiful and on our last evening we went down to the stream and took the children for a paddle in their welly boots. (It was at this point I realised I had a hole in mine!)
We were the only people for miles. The children caught fish with their hands and played on the rope swing for ages. This was a very special place and a very special time, another memory that I will treasure.
On our return to the farm we were confronted with this!
Brutus, as I named him, is the resident bull at the farm. And had I not known that he was old, harmless and walked with a limp I would never have ventured into his field whilst wearing a red dress! Every day we would drive through his field to reach the car park for the glampsite. Usually he would be miles away and would move at the speed of a snail. However on our last evening he was clearly keen for a photo opportunity and so was waiting for us at the gate! The children were in hysterics! We had to have words with this beast and he kindly moved far enough back for us to drive in and shut the gate so he didn’t escape onto the cow safari. He then walked along by the car for a while and we were able to make it to the other side with no problem. Bless old Brutus!
And so our holiday ended. We packed up the car, returned our beautiful tent to its former glory and set off for home. We were so sad to leave, but so happy we came. We will absolutely be back for more next year!