My story with Dave, the kids, Cooper, VW's & rugby

Weekend at CamperJam 2014, Weston Park

This weekend while the Tour de France was set to hurtle around the roads of Yorkshire we set off heading south on the 150 mile journey to CamperJam in Shropshire. It was our first trip to CamperJam so we were really excited, but with slight trepidation about the journey.

Here is our merry convoy ready to depart

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On the route down we met up with some fellow vdubbers so we had a convoy and it was good to have some support vehicles travelling with you :) The roads were ok considering it was Friday night, but it was amazing how much traffic was heading North for the Tour de France. When we got to CamperJam the rain had started, and it carried on through most of the night. Needless to say we all went to bed earlier than usual as we were all a bit wet!

The next day the sun was out and thats how it stayed for the rest of the weekend which was perfect.

Here’s the Harrogate & District VW club camping patch

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Camperjam was huge, there were so many traders that we really just didn’t have enough time to look around properly, but it was also packed with day visitors as well as the campers. Great fun though and a fantastic atmosphere. At this festival, our 2 worlds merged as our friends from the rugby club, who have recently joined the VW club, came along too so it meant there were even more kids in camp entertaining each other.

Here’s a few of the pics from Saturday

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Sunday was Show n Shine day so we were up early (well sort of early) to give Mollie a bit of a rub down, and to get camp tidied up and packed up. We wouldn’t be heading off until later in the afternoon but it can take a good few hours to steadily pack everything back up, especially when you’re in a relaxed “go slow”.

Here’s Mollie in the Show n Shine

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In the VW show circuit there are certain shows that are tougher than others, and CamperJam has always been our ultimate one to test Mollie at. This is due to the calibre of the judges, one being David Eccles who we have probably all of his books under our coffee table. When we lined up there were just so many amazing looking buses of all styles, with immaculate interiors and exteriors, each deserving of a prize. The judges of the Show n Shine, when they came for a chat liked the fact that Mollie was still a microbus rather than one that had been converted to a camper so we felt a glimmer of hope.

After a nervous wait .. (its like one of kids needing to pass a test!)

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She’d done it .. a winner ..

Here is me collecting the trophy and having to explain to the crowd what work had been done to Mollie (embarrassing lol!) and strangely enough out of all the prize winners I was the only female owner (makes me even prouder :) )

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And here is Mollie’s trophy to add to the growing collection.

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The thing I love most though about showing Mollie is not all about the winning, but its the smiles that people have when they see her, and I love it when she is so admired that people want to take photos of her or wave at you when you are travelling up the motorway.

We certainly needed the waves and beeping of the horns that we got on the way back as it was a long drive when were were all worn out, but loved it all the same. This was our mini convoy when we stopped at Woodhall services. We were lucky that the Tour de France traffic was all going on the opposite direction again…and I’ve never seen so much, it was crazy.

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Amsterdam iGaming Conference

Last week Dave and I traveled over to Amsterdam for 2 nights as Dave was speaking and moderating the day of SEO sessions at the iGaming Supershow conference. For those who are not in the “industry” this conference is all based around the online gaming /gambling sector, so poker, bingo, casino etc and attracts attendees from the big merchants and operators, to the affiliates and marketeers who send traffic to these platforms.

We flew out of Newcastle on Tuesday morning and got back to the UK on Thursday night. We had a good few days but it always wears you out as you spend most of the time chatting mainly about industry stuff, while stood up at a conference and generally staying out late. It’s our third or fourth time to Amsterdam for conferences over the years so we have “been there, seen it” so, No … we didn’t go to any cafes or venture back to the red light district!

Here we go then… probably the most photographed part of Amsterdam at the airport

schipol airport

Once we’d arrived we headed to the Holiday Inn that we had been booked into. Great hotel, just over the road from the busy conference hotel so we managed to have a quiet lunch which was amazing.

lunch amsterdam

Once we’d collected our conference badges for the following day we took time to relax in the afternoon, while keeing up with emails and then we ended up going out for dinner together at a super Italian restaurant not far from the hotel called Bellini. Its a restaurant that if you walked past, you may not go in, as it doesn’t look much from the outside and is in a residential area, but the food was amazing. It happened to be the World Cup match between Italy and Uruguay, the one where Suarez bit again so that was a shame that Italy went out.

bellinis restaurant amsterdam

It was a super cosy restaurant and the menu is just a guide as to what can be served. We went a bit off the menu with the starter and asked for some mozzerella and meats which arrived along with some fabulous hot prawns in garlic, and a plate of thinly sliced veal and tuna (an intriguing but delicious combination)

starter bellinis

The next day was conference day so up early to get the the venue for Dave to chair the day’s sessions. The conference was held at the RAI Amsterdam which is massive

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and this is where we spent most of the day

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dave conferencing

Afterwards it was time to go for some food with friends. So we ended up at Rosarium which is close by to the hotels and a beautiful setting. It was warm so we sat outside and ate fine food and drank cold wine.

rosarium restaurant amsterdam
amazing pudding rosarium

We didn’t have to get up early the next day so had a bit of a late night, which was good fun. The following day we headed to the airport in the afternoon for our exploration Schiphol airport (you can spend hours wandering around this place, its like a small town!)

There have been quite a few foodie pictures in this post, and doesn’t really represent Amsterdam, so here is one that is more in keeping…

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Until next time Holland!

Marbella 2014

I’m behind on my posting on my blog as there always seems to be something else that crops up with work, the house now that we are about to start a big extension, the kids, the rugby club, the VW club and family… but I have grabbed a few spare minutes to get some of the pictures from our annual holiday in Marbella onto my blog.

We didn’t do much while we were away, basically drove from the airport (in an awesome brand new VW Golf) to the Marriott resort, checked in and didn’t leave the resort except for a few hours in Marbella and a few times down the beach for dinner. It was really relaxing. The kids hooked up with some friends from previous years and met some new people so they were busy all day mainly in the pool which meant I could get on with my annual reading session with a few cocktails in between chapters.

Arrival drinks!
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Trip into Marbella for lunch
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becky & ethan marbella
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The pool and the apartments
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Kids in the pool practicing for water polo
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Me & Dave after a lovely meal down the beach
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Until next year .. all booked already :)

Mighty DubFest 2014

This weekend we headed off to Northumberland to go to Mighty Dub Fest at Druridge Bay Country Park. We hadn’t been to this event before, and this was the first outing for us with PeggySue Puck, our latest addition.

We set off straight after the kids finished school and had got showered and changed, on Friday afternoon. We had arranged to meet up with our friends from the Harrogate and District VW club there, to camp with them, but we’d planned to make our own way there. All was going great until we hit traffic and it turned out that the A19 at Hartlepool was closed in both directions because of an accident. Sat in a slow moving traffic jam, in a 50 year old bus, in the rain isn’t the ideal start to a weekend. We headed off down some chocker block country lanes to try to get back on the A19 at a different junction but no joy so had a bit of a pitstop.

Here’s our mini convoy

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We got there eventually (after a 4 hour drive) and couldn’t get into the club camping where we were supposed to as it was full, but also in a very muddy field so we were actually pleased we could find our own spot which we did in the end and managed to track everyone else down too. This was our camp

the hdvw camp

the camp at might dub fest

This was the first time away without a tent to sleep in, so the boys were in Bob in his new full width bed, and Dave, me and Cooper were in PeggySue. We loved it and next time it will be even better as we have learnt a few things this time round.

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Check out the amazing blue sky we were treated to on Saturday!

And this is the view across the lake from our campsite, pretty stunning!

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Everyone had a great weekend … Cooper got to chill out, go on the beach, swim in the lake and meet loads of new friends.

cooper at might dub fest

The kids got into loombands .. and by the end of the weekend everyone was wearing loomband bracelets

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One thing that was a shame though was that Mollie was entered into the Show and Shine but the show field, after some more rain during the night on Saturday, was muddy and rutted and even though she would have got up the hill to the display we didn’t want her to have to be dragged off at the end of the day. She could have won too!

the show field

We had a good drive home in a convoy with no incidents or breakdowns so that was a perfect end to a fab weekend. Roll on Camperjam in a few weeks.

Camping Season is Here

We’re heading away on Friday for the first camping weekend of the season, and this year we’ll be ditching the tent and doing something different.

When we go away to VW shows we take with us our vans, Bob & Mollie.

Bob & Mollie

Bob is the one that gets filled with all the equipment and Mollie travels empty to basically show her off and enter her into the Show and Shine competitions. So far in the last 4 shows she has entered she has come away with 4 trophies, 2 of them being Best in Show ones which means she beat every other vehicle from all the categories. (I sound like a proud mum!)

Anyway, we have been looking for a better way to camp and have had work done on Bob’s interior so that he now has a full width “rock and roll” bed so there is room to sleep in there now, and also reconfigured the storage space. We are half way through re-covering the seats and replacing panels but this is now where the kids will sleep. We’ve also had to invest in removable black out blinds so that we don’t need curtains but he’s all good now.

Then we were looking at a variety of trailer sleeping pods but really couldn’t find anything that had everything, with enough sleeping space and enough storage. We did find one that we could get customised but at over £11,000 it was just crazy money.

Then we stumbled on the Eriba caravans and we fell in love, and the hunt was on. The smallest one you can get is called a Puck, followed by a Pan and these look great hooked up to a VW. We found an Eriba Puck up in Edinburgh, vintage, 1975 and bought it from a few pictures. We had it delivered a few weeks ago and have been busy getting it ready. We had to give it a name and decided on PeggySue :)

I haven’t got any cool photos of her yet, so here she is parked up (we even had to make some extra room on the drive for her, but fortunately she takes up hardly any space)

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And a couple of inside shots. This is the sitting room and bedroom

Peggy sitting and bedroom

And here’s the kitchen complete with 2 ring gas hob and sink

Peggy kitchen

The kids used PeggySue as their den for the first few evenings, and I got back from work one day to find them already in there chilling out.

kids in peggy

We had to get Bob altered to be able to tow the Eriba Puck since he did have a big fat exhaust pipe that stuck out from underneath the bumper, so we had to get a new exhaust fitted as well as the tow bar. Here’s Bob’s shiny towbar and new exhaust.

bobs towbar

And the last thing that was left to do last night was to do a test run at towing. A bit nerve wrecking but all absolutely fine. Looking forward to a great summer of camping :)

peggy sue