It seems like everyone except me is planning a camping trip to France this year. I swear everyone I know with a camper or caravan is off and every other discussion on T25 forums seems to be about route planning in France or what fancy plug thingies you need there. And well, I’m not having it. I refuse to be the only person in the known universe that isn’t going to France camping soon.
And so I’m trip planning. Probably for next year, but trip planning nonetheless. Me, Poppy (the van) and possibly the kids if they are good, are going to take a wee road trip for a few weeks and see some of France. Ooh la la!
Poppy the VW
The thing with taking the kids though is making sure there is plenty of stuff for them to do. Whilst I may have dreams of vineyards, unspoiled coast-line, pretty fishing villages and castles the kids are going to need something a bit more… well, fun. Like other kids to play with, a pool, entertainment, activities and so forth. This sort of thing…
Luckily Yelloh! Village, a company that has won loads of awards for their campsites in France including from the Michelin Camping Guide, have asked me to take a look at some of their sites and write about them here. Planning a camping trip in France is both fortuitous and much more exciting than looking at holidays in Bognor watching acts that failed to win televised talent shows, right?
Yelloh! Village have loads of camping sites around France that seem to offer the best of both worlds: swimming pools and fun for the kids, whilst set in gorgeous natural surroundings and close to local points of interest. And they all seem to cost just €18 per night for a pitch which comes to around £12.
The trouble is which one to choose: I counted 62 Yelloh! Village campsites in France!! Crikey. I guess this is where the road trip planning comes in.
I’m thinking of taking the ferry from Portsmouth to Roscoff, see some of Brittany and then head down to the beautiful sea-faring town of La Rochelle. And I guess there is nothing to stop us spending a few nights at lots of different sites.
Les Mouettes campsite is close to the port of Roscoff. It’s a seaside campsite with heated swimming pools, paddling pool, a tropical river, leisure pool and slides – everything you could want for a relaxing few days after taking the trip over to France.
Heading down the coast through Brittany the lovely looking site of La Plage is set in a prefect location for exploring some of the medieval and fortified villages and towns of the region. Plus it has pools, slides and is close to the beach to keep the kiddos happy.
And then down further, La Rochelle, a town I have long wanted to visit, is close to Le Littoral, the five star Yelloh! Village camping site. This campsite is also really close to the famous seaside resort of Les Sables d’Olonne which has the ‘most beautiful beach in Europe’. Plus it has it’s own draw too with a 2000m2 pool area with slides and a beach nearby.
I think 4 nights at each site should provide us with enough relaxation and fun time, enough time to explore the surrounding areas without feeling as though we are constantly on the go. And without the kids whining too much that they are bored, which is basically the most important element of any family holiday, lets face it.
So what about you? Where would you go camping in France?
I swear my kids are bonkers, completely off their heads. An affliction that seems to effect them most exactly at the point where I say “right kids, bedtime!”
You know, that bit of the day where you think you can start to relax and unwind. Maybe even put your feet up and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Ha ha ha. Peace and quiet. Yeah, right.
So far in the last couple of weeks we’ve had toothpaste spat up the bathroom walls instead of down the sink.
The bathroom floor flooded
Nerf guns filled with water cause they really want a water gun
All of the little dental stick floss thingies flung out of the bathroom window and onto the trampoline below.
The bathroom turned into a armory; the bath filled with all manner of swords, guns, and hitty shooty things.
Naked sword fights with wooden swords up and down the stairs.
And then a couple of nights ago, just as I thought they were finally quieting down and going to sleep my son comes running down the stairs shouting “look at me, mummy!” I look up and there is half a toilet roll trailing him, one end stuck up his bum!
He thinks he’s fricking hilarious, his sister is up stairs wetting herself laughing and I’m trying to keep a straight face whilst shouting “Will you go to bed!”
It’s not surprising I drink, is it?
It’s not just my kids, right?
Several months ago a home ed friend of mine discovered a camp that had been built, way off the beaten track, at her local woods. The camp had been made from logs, rope and tarp and there was a lean-to shelter, campfire, table and all manner of logs and stumps pulled into the camp for seating arrangements.
And the best bit was that is seemed to have been abandoned.
And so, as we often do us home educating types, we decided a few of us friends would take our kids into the woods for the day and hang out at this camp whilst the children played together. It’s one of the first things people ask when you mention that you home educate – oh but what about socialisation, how will they ever make friends? And it’s something at the forefront of our minds – making sure they get enough downtime to play with friends and have regular meet-ups with their mates that have nothing to do with teaching, and are all to do with hanging out, playing, fitting in a group and further cementing their friendships.
The camp was an awesome place to do this. Us parents could sit, natter and cook food over the campfire for the brood of children who would be off having adventures in the woods around us, playing at whatever games their imaginations could come up with, often morphing three or four games ideas into one so that nobody felt left out. This last week one child brought some sweets in and two of the kids decided to lay a treasure trail with a map for the others.
Basically lots of harmless, wholesome fun was had in the outdoors on public land. And so we decided to come back the week after, and the week after that. We had found a perfect spot for the kids to safely enjoy the forest and each others company and we were looking at what improvements we could make to the camp that had been built, which bits could do with replacing and the kids wanted to add on some extra structures – get involved in the planning and building and help create something that they could be proud of.
Except the Forestry Commission didn’t like it.
Despite the fact that the first Forestry Commission worker that first discovered us said it was all okay as long as we had plenty of water to put the fire out and were behaving sensibly, they were nothing but objectionable afterwards, at one point demanding our contact details before we were allowed to go to the woods again. And this week destroyed the camp entirely, removing our belongings from the camp, dismantling all structures and cutting any long poles into small pieces
When asked why we were given the following reasons:
- We did it to discourage you from coming into the woods.
- You aren’t supposed to be here in the woods
- You need permission to do everything in the woods
- You need insurance to bring a large group to the woods
- You can’t bring such a large group to the woods
- You need insurance to come and teach in the woods
- You need to pay an admin fee to organise any group activities in the woods
Let me just reiterate: This was 5 parents and their children.
Five women that wanted to bring their kids to the public woods once a week so that they could have fun.
This wasn’t an organised activity. No money had changed hands. Every single child in the woods with us had a parent with them. No teaching was happening. There was lots of playing, there was probably a large amount of self-led learning going on. We were no-where near a footpath, we were not in anybodies way nor were we disturbing anyone, littering or otherwise disrespecting the woods.
But when we arrived at the camp yesterday we found it chopped to pieces.
Well done Forestry Commission. Well done for intimidating a bunch of women and kids. Well done for bullying us and destroying something that was causing no harm to anyone.
I hope you are all very proud of yourselves.
Especially the gentleman who, when questioned by my daughter about why he destroyed the camp, said “to discourage you from coming back”.
Well fucking done.
1. What is something Mummy always says to you?
Girl: Bed time
Boy: Bed time
Erm yeah, I do. But only because they need it repeating 340934 times before they actually listen and you know, go to bed.
2. What makes Mummy happy?
Girl: Nice children
Boy: Happy days and happy children
They got it pretty spot on, but also missed out wine, Pride and Prejudice, a new bag of wool and really good sex. It’s probably a good thing they did.
3. What makes Mummy sad?
Girl: Dead people and angry children
Boy: Worse days, horrible lives and bad children
4. How does Mummy make you laugh?
Girl: By being funny
Boy: By telling jokes that are really funny and being funny
I didn’t realise I was such a comedian. At least if they don’t follow any instructions I give them, they find my jokes amusing. I guess…
5. What was Mummy like as a child?
Girl: I don’t know
Boy: Playing outside
Umm, Boy’s answer probably has a lot to do with my constant telling them that we didn’t have all these fancy computers when we were kids and we just played outside. Christ, I’m turning into my mother.
6. How old is Mummy?
Tsk, clearly I’m 21. Silly children.
7. How tall is Mummy?
Girl: i don’t know
Wow, we really need to do some work on length and measurement.
8. What is Mummy’s favourite thing to do?
Girl: Hangout with friends
Phew. That could have been awkward.
9. What does Mummy do when you’re not here?
Girl: Hang out with friends and drink wine and watch scary tv and go camping
Ahh, I knew wine was going to make an appearance somewhere. Still, at least I look pretty restrained – it’s not mentioned on every ‘what does mum like’ question.
10. If Mummy becomes famous what will it be for?
Girl: Telling jokes
Boy: Being a pop star
I really had no idea that my daughter found me so amusing. I’m beginning to think maybe she’s laughing at me rather than with me cause I’m certain I don’t tell that many jokes in a day…
11. What is Mummy really good at?
Girl: Making me happy
My daughter is such a suck up. My son however seems to feel he is being neglected in favour of wool. In my defense, wool is rather quiet and doesn’t constantly bombard you with fascinating facts about Minecraft…
12. What is Mummy not very good at?
Girl: Making me sad
Boy: Right hand crocheting
Bloody hell Girl, enough of the ass kissing. Yes, you can have an ice cream. Sheesh.
13. What is Mummy’s job?
Girl: Writing things down
Boy: I don’t know know. Crocheting?
Alright already, I’ll put the wool down. A bit.
14. What makes you proud of Mummy?
Girl: Everything really
Boy: How much she loves us and how she treats us
Clearly Boy has cottoned on to Girl’s game plan here.
15. What is Mummy’s favourite food? –
Boy: Ice cream
I don’t know what they mean, I’m all about the low carb, healthy, organic option. *Wipes greasy chicken from fingers*
16. What do you and Mummy do together?
Girl: Play games, watch TV, go camping
Boy: Watch TV
Actually Boy, I think you’ll find what we do together most is you try to break mummy’s ears and spirit with a constant running commentary on mind-bendingly boring computer games and all their inner workings whilst I nod and smile and try not to lose the will to live.
17. How are you and Mummy the same? –
Girl: Mum’s a girl and I’m a girl. Mummy’s pretty and I’m pretty
Yes son, we both have hair, well done. I’m not even going to comment on the mash-up of sucking up and narcissism that is Girl’s answer.
18. If your Mummy was a cartoon character who would she be?
Girl: Mickey Mouse. You are joyful like Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse is never sad
Boy: Michael Jackson
Erm, what the actual fuck?
19. How are you and Mummy different?
Girl: Hair colour
Boy: By the tallness
And possibly by the fact that my every waking moment isn’t spent working out how I can get more ice-cream and screen time.
20. How do you know Mummy loves you?
Girl: She always says I love you, she kisses me and she hugs me
Boy: She always treats me goodly and she always lets me have food
Yup, that’s me. Forever handing out food. Actually that pretty much is what it feels like to be me – a giant food dispenser.
21. What does Mummy like best about Daddy?
Girl: That he takes care of us a lot
Boy: That he’s a good dad
22. Where is Mummy’s favourite place to go?
Girl: Home or camping
Boy: Harry potter
Harry Potter? I’d ask for clarification but I’m not sure i’m ready to disappear down whatever rabbit hole train of thought led to this answer.
23. How old was Mummy when she had you?
Girl: She was in her 20s.
Boy: 28 years old
Weirdly, this is a question they ask me a lot. Irritatingly, despite asking me this question almost once a month for the last 2 years, Girl is still very vague with her answer. Almost like she doesn’t listen to me or something…
Don’t be fooled by his cute little face and sad eyes, this isn’t the face of a half starved, neglected animal that never gets any attention. Nope, this is the face of a well fed, pampered pooch who just can’t resist face height food.
You know, the sort that small children carry around in their sticky maws. Ice cream, sandwiches, lollies; he’ll have them all. Hell, he once ran off with a packet of crisps he’d ripped out of some poor unsuspecting child’s grip.
This is the face of a bad, bad dog.
And mine is the face of a very sorry owner. Ooops, sorry, sorry about that. Really sorry. Here, have £2 and buy another ice cream. Sorry.
Not embarrassing at all. And I’ve certainly never simply walked off and pretended he wasn’t with me until we got around the corner. A trip out to the park can get rather costly in ice cream, not to mention in potential vet bills if he grabs something he really ough not be eating. Let’s face it, it’s unlikely he’ll be stealing carrots and other healthy dog treats now, is it?
I think we’ll be avoiding the parks this half term after yesterday’s incident and stick to the places only other dog walkers go.
Oddly footballs don’t appear to be on this list of food to avoid. Oh, didn’t I mention he also likes to steal kids footballs and run around chewing them, avoid capture until they pop?
Yup, he’s a real sweetheart.
There’s a reason that the phrase ‘in the dog house’ became a popular saying.