Almost camping

Posted January 12th, 2008 by Penny Wise

I have been a member of Simple Savings for more than three years now, yet I find it is still constantly changing my life for the better. I truly don't think I can say that about any other website or group I have ever joined! My latest 'reason to be grateful to SS' is of course for enlightening me to the joys of camping. I used to have the same view of camping as Sad Sally and had no wish to go 'slumming it' until I read the November newsletter, in particular Fiona's article on 'Benefits of Outdoor Living'. Put like that, how could anyone resist giving it a go? While we haven't yet embarked on our maiden camping expedition (not out of the back yard anyway), this week we managed to get pretty close to it. Mum and I decided to take the boys to a local holiday camp for a few days. Funnily enough it's only half an hour from where we live and I suppose it's always been so close that we have never thought of bothering to stay there before; however it had been recommended to us by a few other locals so we decided to give it a go. With Mum's dodgy back to consider, we thought it best to stay in a cabin but we were pleased to find ourselves still in the thick of camping life and from the moment we arrived, I loved it. The kids really enjoyed the freedom and independence of having this huge, safe environment at their disposal but what I couldn't believe was how it truly felt as though we were 'getting away from it all', even though we were only a few miles down the road! I kid you not, there was just as much holiday spirit in that place than any sunny beach resort I had ever been to overseas.

We could do exactly as we liked, when we liked and we soon found there was nothing for it but to relax, you just couldn't help it! The kids made some great new friends and so did we! Everyone was lovely, so informal and friendly. As we sat on the grass sipping wine out of teacups with our new friends, I couldn't help but think to myself how we had missed out by not embracing this way of life before. Even though the campsite was busy, everyone respected each other's privacy and nobody felt cramped or in each other's faces. The facilities were outstanding, from the barbecues, kitchen and shower blocks to the hot mineral water pools. By the time we left, we were already planning our next visit! For anyone interested, we stayed at Miranda Holiday Park. By watching and talking to other campers, I also learned heaps about which camping items were good value and which weren't, what was essential or not and I came away with a whole list of other recommended campsites to check out. So thank you Simple Savings, for proving once again that saving money is fun!

Not much else to report this week, what with going away but at least I have good news on the house painting front! The painter has been going along great guns, the house looks fantastic so far and better still, he has really gone the extra mile and thrown in a couple of awesome freebies for us, such as plastering work and fixing a few things that we would otherwise have had to call in a builder for. I also discovered yesterday that he has been taking 'before and after' photos throughout for us; something which I completely forgot to do so really appreciated the gesture. Bless 'im! I guess you could say he's off the hook. Mind you, we're still trying to save like crazy so we'll be able to pay him when he's finished. Even the kids are getting into the spirit of things and selling a load of their stuff on Trade Me. 'Great job guys, what are you saving for?' I asked when they successfully sold another item. 'Nothin' - we're just saving', came the reply. That's my boys!

Just a short post today but before I go I must share this little gem from our trip away. My mum made the mistake of asking Liam to put some sunscreen on her back before going to the pool. He did as he was asked and being in roll-on form, had a great time enthusiastically scribbling all over Grandma's back. Unfortunately he didn't realise that he was supposed to rub it in and Grandma also didn't realise that he hadn't rubbed it in. It wasn't until poor Grandma had showered and changed for the evening that Liam's handiwork was revealed in all its glory. It looked as though a toddler had painted an abstract picture on her back! Wherever the sunscreen wasn't had been burnt bright red, and wherever it had been applied was glowing white in comparison. Just goes to show the stuff does work! I thought I was going to die laughing but didn't want to give the poor woman a complex so did my best to regain my composure and assure her that 'nooo, it's fine - honestly, you can hardly see it now'. I probably would have got away with it too, if it hadn't been for a cheeky fellow camper who gave the game away. As we ambled past one of the campervans, a voice came ringing out of the window 'Your back looks GORGEOUS love!'

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