Over the hills and far away

If anyone knows me, you’ll know I’m a hotel kind of girl.  Whenever I’m on my jollies, I love to head for the luxury of staying in a posh hotel, and indulging in all those things I wouldn’t normally.  

My boyfriend and I had been pondering the idea of going away this summer for quite a while, we’d decided to head away for the later part of the summer so we could enjoy the good weather (which never arrived!). We flicked through brochures and looked online at all these fantastic far away places we could vanish to, but finally decided on staying the UK.  Money had been tight, I hadn’t felt well enough to go out of the UK and I thought I’d try to not be a snob for once and give into a British holiday.   

I love to surf, have in the UK and abroad so we initially decided on a Cornwall visit for the sea, some surf and a B&B… that completely went out the window, as we switched all our plans for camping.  Yes, I did say camping.  Me? Camping!  Yes, yes I know.  I had previously been camping, but nothing like what I was about to embark on, we were off to the Lake District for some walking, site seeing and afternoon teas.  This may be new to me, but it did sound like a new fun adventure.  

We decided to be spontaneous, packed up the car and literally just drove.  We headed for Windermere where we found the tourist information, who gave use a list of camp sites nearby.  Well, it was clearly more by luck but we stumbled across the most beautiful camping area I’d ever seen.  We were camping in the grounds of Rydal Hall – we were up in the hills and the view was immense.  None of this ‘let’s cram all the tents in together’ sites, there was only a few, and we were all spread out. 

Hand on heart, it was the most relaxing place I’d been in a long time, especially as there was waterfalls surrounding the area, providing a calming sound to go with the view.   It was exactly what we both needed after such an up and down year.

The weather wasn’t particularly on our side, but as my boyfriend pointed out, you can get every season whilst in the Lake District.  That’s exactly what we got!  One minute it was raining, the next it was scorching sunshine!  

Being who we are, we couldn’t sit still for long once the tent was pitched, off we trotted to explore.  There was so much going on only a short walk away.  There were watersports lessons, little boutique shops, country pubs and of course tea rooms! 

I was a tiny bit excited about the area we were in, as Beatrix Potter’s house was nearby.  I’d loved her books as a little girl, especially Mrs Tiggywinkle (I’m a huge hedgehog fan), so was dying to see where she wrote her iconic stories.  I was intriged to see where she established her inspirations, and what drove her to be so creative with her tales.  In Beatrix Potter’s will, she had left her house to the National Trust and asked for it to be left exactly how she had it.  This made it all the more exciting.

We booked our slot to go into the house, and immediately after purchasing our tickets hunted for a tea room. Luckily nearby was a beautiful tea room that overlooked its grounds and much of the hillside.  Sitting there drinking tea, and eating scones was possibly one of my major highlights of the trip.  It was just bliss.

The afternoon tea break was delicious and very much enjoyed by both of us! Afterwards we walked around to the garden of Mrs Potter’s house.  Just by walking through the gate, I could see how she gained so much inspiration just by being in such a pretty environment. 

 Whilst visiting Beatrix Potter’s house I wore my denim shorts, but added some colour.  I just want to point out how great the shoes I’m wearing were.  They’re New Look Purple Espadrille Plimsolls and were such a bargain at £7.99 – completely brighten my outfit up and even though cheap, they supported my feet with all the scampering about we did!  You can get the same style in all sorts of colours and prints but for me, purple it certainly had to be!

You weren’t allowed to take any photos inside the house, but there were so many places in there that had an impact in her stories.  Her brother who did her artwork, used the house as his inspiration and often you saw drawings from the stories that featured her characters, in certain spots of the house! It was lovely to see how connected the books and the house were.  Just being in Hill Top, you felt calm and inspired.  

I found it ever so tough to know what to pack to go camping.  It seems that many of us think of hippies, old people and the hairy armpit bragade when we mention it – truly putting us off! If any of you have been camping, you’ll know a lot of the items specifically for the activity, are rather bland and don’t have much about them.  Before we left I ventured the shops to find items, but trust me there was nothing I’d be seen in, that’s not me being snobby – they just don’t look appealing.  I decided to use some of my own clothes and create a fun camping look, first on the list was a jumper. Nothing too heavy and nothing too light, something that was inbetween.  The weather had been up and down, so I was after something that was a bit diverse. 

I wore this jumper from New Look a lot whilst camping.  It was ideal, mainly as it was colourful and not in grey, beige or green as most were! As the weather was still a bit muggy, I simply put a vest underneath it, but equally so if it was chilly, a long sleeved top would fit fine.  Obviously this jumper doesn’t have to just be for camping, it can work with anything else. The other day I wore it was some leggings, ballet pumps and added a colourful beaded necklace to enhance it.  I’m all about colourful clothing, so camping with no colours is quite a struggle!  The New Look White Rainbow Speck Knitted Jumper is £24.99 and is the perfect inbetween item of clothing, it also washes great and keeps its shape. 

I honestly love this jumper.  Its really refreshing to be that little bit different, and not head straight for the heavy one coloured fisherman jumper – that so many are after at the moment.

After a fabulous day out, teaing and caking about, we knew the next day would be hiking time.  I was a touch nervous as my knee had been a bit dodgy from loads of running and my hip kept giving me trouble.  Just to point out, the reason it all hurts is totally my fault, as I hadn’t been wearing my insoles, but I  certainly wasn’t going to miss out.

I’m fully aware this isn’t the most flattering look, but for once I went for function over fashion.  I knew we’d be out for hours, I knew I was going to hurt the next day so I really just thought I’d best head down the comfort road.  

Once we’d finally reached the point at the top, I finally could see why people hiked.  I’d never really done it before (dogwalking apparently doesn’t count!) and I found the feeling of finally getting to where we were going, such a fantastic buzz.  When we finally reached the bottom and headed back to site, I looked up and thought I did that!

I wouldn’t be able to hike the same again the day after, but it certainly would be something to build up to. In conclusion of the spontaneous holiday, I’d say I realised how much of a materialistic person I had become when I’d be looking for a getaway.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love hotels and pampering, but now I can appreciate the benefits of an escape a camping holiday can give you. 

It was all needed, and I feel happy we went,  have many of you ever been camping before?  Do you give in to the lack of fashion with camping gear?  




  1. August 22, 2012 / 5:49 pm

    Dude, I was in the Lake District this weekend too! Though mine wasn't nearly as fun as yours looked. I want to go camping now. And I want a scone!

  2. August 22, 2012 / 8:19 pm

    Really?! Where abouts were you? It was loads of fun, although my legs ache loads today! Xx

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