Single Mum Camping (with Poundland)

I love camping. My kids love camping. Yet camping as a single parent with two small children felt like a challenge too far, even for me. However, we have a fantastic tent and invested in a great extension last summer so it seemed somewhat defeatist not to at least try. I was able to retrieve the majority of our camping equipment from my ex, but it’s the smaller things you forget about that go towards making the trip successful.

tent and sleeping bags

As I mentioned, we had a tent and awning; we all have sleeping bags and I have a camp chair, grill and pans. What I don’t have is very much money right now as my job only paid enough to cover bills and rent and with Bear’s birthday at the start of the month and her party to pay for as well, August needed to be as low cost as possible.

You can’t imagine how pleased I was then when Poundland got in touch to invite me to try their summer challenge to spend £20 in store on summer essentials! I felt confident I could get almost everything I’d need for a short trip with the vouchers and was excited to get going. It was almost as if fate had spoken and given me the nudge I needed.

sleeping bag beauties

First, the essentials. I have a tent and it comes with pegs, but hard ground sees them bend easily so I bought a bag of 10 spare pegs. And that hard ground is a bugger to push pegs into, so the next essential was a mallet to save my hands. Nighttime while camping is often darker than we townies are used to, so a couple of these fantastic lightbulbs on a carabiner were a great way to illuminate the tent and awning, some battery operated tea lights gently lit the bedroom, and a couple of headtorches saw us safely to the toilet block once the sun went down.

Toasting marshmallows

When it comes to eating, I have a fairly good supply of picnic items, but these picnic trays are just perfect for camping when there’s no table to sit at. The two colours meant the girls could each claim one as their own, which made them more willing to use them. As I hadn’t been able to get the patio gas back from the ex in time, I didn’t get to use the new grill so had to make do with a couple of instant barbecues to see us through the time away. They surprised me by being so easy to light and cooked our food well. Bunny loved toasting marshmallows over the embers as it died down each evening and the pack of wooden skewers were long enough to ensure she didn’t get too close to the heat. A tin opener proved an essential item too as I’d brought beans without ring pull lids and the Poundland one worked a lot better than I’d expected for the price (I paid a lot more for a similar one for at home!).

A couple of citronella candles kept any mossies at bay while we enjoyed the warm evenings and a few foil blankets under our camp mats proved excellent insulation, once the chill of the night set in.

Finally, the velcro catcher game and some bubbles kept the girls occupied while I put the tent up. Which I did all by myself despite my massive reservations. We stayed on a small site just 20 miles from home (in case it was a disaster and I had to give up!) with huge pitches in the cherry tree orchard. The girls fed the chickens, rode their bikes and chose eggs, tomatoes and garlic to eat, and tried plums fresh from the trees.

Tent in cherry orchard

It was idyllic and so much fun. I’m so glad I didn’t give in to my demons and pushed ahead and did this. Every time I do something alone for the first time, my heart lives in my throat until I succeed, but the feeling of triumph I get when I do is worth all the trepidation and angst. Being single is not going to stop me and I refuse to let my girls miss out because of it.

Disclaimer: Poundland sent me £20 in vouchers to spend instore on summer essentials as part of their 2015 Summer Ambassador challenge. While I got everything I needed for the trip, I could easily have spent the vouchers 10 times over on craft items, baking fun, garden illumination or beach bits. Poundland continues to provide best value on the High Street and really is a tough act to beat!