Review – Temporary Holiday Site at Kirkley and Pakefield FC, Pakefield Suffolk

 

I will often sing the praises of C&CC Temporary Holiday Sites as a cheap and cheerful way to get on holiday.

We travelled down to Suffolk on Bank Holiday Monday with our Conway Cardinal Clubman hoping to miss the Bank Holiday crowds (we rang on Sunday and there were only 4 pitches available). On arrival, there were thankfully plenty of space , the majority at a larger area at the end of the pitch, with a few available along the side. The site was pretty flat and our FC was quickly levelled without the need for ramps.

The THS had the 24-hour use of the toilets and showers in the FC changing rooms, along with fresh water and an Elsan disposal point.

As the site was relatively quiet (only about 10 units) for the majority of the week we were there we never experienced a wait for the toilets or met with anyone else in the communal showers. My only complaint would be that the showers were not at all warm.

The site is ideally placed within about 10 minutes walk of Pakefield cliffs , and a local store, chemist and fish & chip shop nearby. It was an easy, flat walk along the seafront into Lowestoft.

This was a quiet THS, we were left to ourselves (as we like it) and the only noise during our visit was a social evening at the FC clubhouse on the Friday night.

All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday in Pakefield – a great location, a peaceful THS and fantastic weather. The THS runs until the 16th June 2017 with NSDA, so maybe time to spend a few days before home-time.

Conway Cardinal Clubman – replacing curtains

The curtains for our folding camper are strange – not quite material but not quite plastic. They are also a pale mottled green colour and dry-clean only. They were dull looking and we felt that if we modernised the rest of the camper, the curtains needed to be part of the revamp. The pelmets were also too fussy, so they came down and are not going to be replaced.

After measuring up for the material I needed, this was ordered from ebay (Clarke and Clarke Trad in Heather/Olive) – we chose it because of the variety of colours. Our canvas is green but we did not want green curtains. We have some olive and heather bunting so that was the theme that we went with.

Using the old curtains as templates, I carefully cut around leaving a 1cm hem. I then ironed each hem into place – the crease makes the hems easier to glue.

For each piece, I glued down each side hem and let it dry before securing the bottom hem. I used Dritz Adhesive Unique Stitch Adhesive-1.25oz as it is strong and cannot be seen through fabric (Don’t buy cheap stuff from the Pound Shop!).

I reattached the old header tape to the top of the curtains and used my small craft sewing machine to fix it in place using two neat rows along the tops of the curtains.

I also used the same method using Prestige Fizzle fabric in slate to make curtains for the bed ends too.

 

The finished results look good, but we have to wait to get the camper up and put the curtains up to get a true picture and to do the big reveal.

Conway Cardinal Clubman – sofa recovering

Instead of venturing out this Easter, we decided to give it a miss this year. This was in part due to a very cold and wet Easter last year, and partly because we wanted to make some changes to our camper. As well as new floor coverings and cupboard handles, we wanted to recover the upholstery and replace all the curtains. We had also dyed the bed pods using Dylon Machine Dye Powder in Pewter Grey – using one pack per pod.
The cupboard handles were from B&Q and the lino was fitted by a local company.

Recovering the upholstery was a major job for us to tackle – I had previously recovered a few small stools and we had carried out repairs on the old upholstery, both using a staple gun. As I have limited sewing skills (and a very small craft machine) we decided to follow one of the numerous tutorials for the parcel style recovering. We didn’t remove the previous upholstery or the buttons – we simply covered the buttons with a little upholstery wadding so that they didn’t show through the new material. The material we selected was from ebay and was a grey chenille upholstery fabric.

folding camper cushionWe started off with the backs of the sofas as they already had board inside them (for the staples to go against/into). We basically followed a process of wrapping the cushions like a present :

  1. Fold the fabric around the cushion along the length
  2. Secure along the length using the staple gun

 

3. Fold each end into a point and neatly bring across the cushion

4.Secure in place using the staple gun

Always ensure that the fabric is pulled taut, to ensure a smooth finish. Try to turn the cushion over before securing, to check there are no creases.

 

 

 

For the bases, we were aware that there was just cushion and there was nothing to staple the fabric onto. We purchased 2mm MDF to use as a firm base to staple against – our local joinery establishment cuts this to size too.

 

On top of the cushion we used upholstery wadding to ensure that all the buttons were covered and the seat would be nice and smooth. Then we used the same method to cover the bases – easy!
Well, apart from the corner sofa – such an ace addition to a Clubman but an absolute nightmare to cover. This caused us a headache and a bit of strategic folding, but we got there in the end.

When we went to repack our cushions into the camper, they did take up a little more space than previously (the additional board and fabric) so my husband has to rethink his packing up process.

 

Once everything is completed, we will be having a ‘big reveal’ – I am so excited to see how a few updates may be able to transform our slightly tired camper.

Have you recovered the sofa cushions in your folding camper?

I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration from other folding camper owners, so please do share.

 

Sunncamp Swift 220 awning review

sunncamp porch awning
Darley Dale THS

I don’t know about you, but I am always interested in looking at how folding camper owners have set up camp for their holidays. As we have a Conway Cardinal, our awning options are quite varied.

As we have a hard top folding camper with an awning channel, we purchased a Sunncamp Swift 220 Deluxe Awning so that we could still have the awning space without putting up the full Conway awning . To be honest, the full awning is heavy, takes up a load of room in the car/camper and isn’t the quickest awning to erect. We would probably use the Conway awning for 1 week holidays, but for anything less we use the porch awning.

sunncamp porch awning
Darley Dale Derbyshire

The porch awning slides into the awning channel on the roof of our Conway Cardinal (hard top) and we try to remember to slide it on before we lift the roof – it is much easier that way.

The Sunncamp Swift 220 Deluxe Awning is a porch awning, and has enough room for the dog’s cage and three chairs, plus other bits and bobs. We find it useful for putting coats, shoes and wellies in when the weather is bad too.

sunncamp porch awning
Heacham, Norfolk

The awning measures 220×225 cm and has one large front window/door and two side doors. We have also bought a awning carpet, which fits both our porch awning and most of our larger awning . A review of this will follow later in the season.

We usually take the porch awning with us for long weekends away or short midweek breaks.

This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small payment. Please note that the awning was purchased for my own personal use.

Folding Camper Makeovers – Cushions

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly folding camper related, but it is part of me “practising” for when I makeover the cushions and curtains in my folding camper.

The cushion covers on my outdoor garden furniture were non-washable but were looking a bit worse for wear. We have bunting on our shed which I really liked and wanted the chairs to co-ordinate. I purchased 3m of fabric matching each of the two fabrics in the bunting.

As I am no sewing expert, I use Dritz Adhesive Unique Stitch Adhesive-1.25oz
, a fabric glue to stick rather than sewing the seams together.

I’m really pleased with the results of the seat pads, and the co-ordinating scatter cushions.

And at least I have had some practice ready for when I (hopefully) start to recover my camper seats later this  year.

Conway Owners Club

I don’t know about you, but when we are camping with our folding camper, we are always hoping that another folding camper will pull onto the site. Unfortunately, we’ve only ever camped with another folding camper a handful of times!

So, with a view to eventually joining them on rallies and club meets, we have folding camperjoined the Conway Owners Club. There is a minimal charge of £25 to join the club, and included in this is a magazine and access to a members-only area of the website. There is an active Facebook Group and the club also organise meets for members, and this was really our main reason for joining the club. The magazine includes club updates, rally reports and informative articles.

As we start to make plans for our trips away this summer, we are hoping to be able to get to one of the Conway Owners Club rallies or meets (there is a list in the Contours magazine).

folding camperIt will be great to get out and about with some other folding camper units. I fear that not many members will still be FC owners, and new memberships are not that forthcoming. If you own a Conway Unit, please show your support to the group and invest in a yearly membership rather than just lurking on the Facebook Group – it’s a great way to keep interest in Conways and folding campers and meet (and ask advice from) like-minded people.

Once we have been on the meets, I will, as always, post a review of the sites and in this case – the Conway Club rallies as well.

 

 

Happy New Year – Looking forward to 2017

As the last of the Christmas decorations are packed away into the loft, many of us are looking forward to upcoming camping trips. I’m also looking upwards, into the loft. As the decorations go up there, my attention will be drawn to many of the ‘innards’ of our Conway Cardinal Clubman, that are being stored up there over winter. All patiently waiting to be given a new lease of life in the spring.

The curtains have been removed with a plan to make new ones, although that will be a steep learning curve for me. The bed pods are up there, already dyed a much darker ‘pewter’ grey than the originals. The tired looking seat cushions are to be recovered to give them a new lease of life.

So why wait until Easter?

We have made a decision not to make Easter our first camping trip of the year, for two reasons:

  • To give us more time to carry out the renovations
  • Last year Easter was a muddy washout, a year out might allow us to forget

So, if the new flooring, curtains and seat covers aren’t finished for Easter, we can at least spend some time on them over Easter.

I will be posting updates as we make changes to our folding camper over the coming months, so make sure you are signed up for updates. Apologies for being quiet of late – I was made redundant at the end of October and have spent the last few months starting my own business, so I have had a few other things on my mind.

Why not check out some of the folding camper updates that have already been featured, such as Jenny’s  and Elizabeth’s.

Take a look at our camper as we packed it away for winter ready for renovations here.

Kingcamp superior party event shelter – Product review

Please note that this product was purchased following my own research into event shelters, I paid for the product for my own use and have not been provided with this product for the purposes of leaving a review.

Our reasons to purchase the party shelter was for using with or instead of an awning, for shorter trips away when the awning might not be needed.
By way of a practice run, my husband attempted to erect this alone on our garden for a birthday party. This resulted in the first tear in the sleeve, and a note to self that this was a two person job.
On a recent trip away to Mablethorpe we decided that we would put up the shelter as well as the porch awning as we had a lot of space at the THS. The weather was a bit blustery, and getting the thing up was difficult – there were no instructions and the material is not soft (like tent or awning material) but rather almost crisp and papery. The poles have a tendency to come apart part way through the (very long) sleeve, which resulted in another tear.
Getting the three poles across the sleeves was the hardest job – the poles have corners and need to be pushed through straight sleeves, all the while the poles are coming apart in several places – it took three of us to finally get the shelter into shape.

Party shelter
Party shelter

Once the poles are in, it was quite an easy job to position the shelter using the straps to ensure the shape is square, and it is anchored in all 4 corners. Once we had secured the corners and guy ropes, the shelter withstood winds of around 15mph easily.
We then managed to repair one of the rips while it was up, the other was right on the top and so couldn’t be reached.

Once the shelter was up, we had windbreaks around it and it made a nice sitting out area, which protected us from the sun and from prying eyes. We also felt that we were sheltered from the wind a little too. We used the area to cook in, and we also felt that we had a little more privacy when using the toilet tent – it never felt like we were “outside” and in full view of everyone (so to speak).
However, getting the party shelter up is not a one man job, nor a job for breezy weather. I am not sure that I would recommend this for camping, it would be better for use at home in the garden.

Popaloo Toilet Tent product review

Most of the larger modern folding campers do now usually come with a toilet included inside the camper – but what to do when you have an older model?

We have a 1992 Conway Cardinal Clubman, with a lovely big wardrobe and wonderful roomy corner sofa – but no toilet cubicle. (More recent  folding campers shrunk the sofa and moved the wardrobe to allow for a toilet cubicle, I believe). We do like to visit rallies so sometimes there aren’t facilities available all day every day.

A few years ago, when we started out with our folding camper, we were given a hideous large toilet tent. It was like a big black beacon, obvious and also not very sturdy. Nothing beats trying to use the loo, whilst the tent is being blown flat over you !!!!

Anyway, I think it had ripped and was a  bit past it’s best. So, on a trip to the Motorhome and Caravan Show at Birmingham NEC 3 years ago, we were intrigued by the Popaloo stand. We didn’t need the actual toilet (we already have a decent porta loo), but  we did need a new tent to put it in.

folding camper
Camping in Darley Dale

We purchased a medium tent – there is a large available. At 5’4” I am OK to get in and “sit” , my husband is a similar height but he can’t stand up, he also has to sit down to use the loo. So anyone any taller than us, will definitely need the larger version. Saying that, once it is positioned next to the bedroom of our folding camper, it is hardly noticeable, especially as it is so low and green.

The tent comes with four guy ropes and fixings, a removable groundsheet, support hooks and straps and a rear vent window.

Popaloo
Popaloo

The great thing about the Popaloo is that it is so easy to erect – it literally pops up. Getting it folded up is sometimes a bit of a job, it’s one of those that you have to bend and fold up just right – I think there is just a knack to it.

For us, the Popaloo tent has meant quicker pitching and a more aesthetically pleasing and less obvious toilet tent.

 

Winter storage and plans

Now the weather has turned colder, many of us are returning from trips away in our folding campers and are thinking of packing them away for winter storage.

While it is common practice to take soft furnishings out over the winter period, we have stripped the insides out ready for a major makeover over the winter period.

Bed end without curtain, pelmet or pod
Bed end

Gone are the light grey  bed pods – now dyed pewter, a dark grey to keep out the light – and are in storage inside the house until spring. The curtains and pelmet from in front of the pods have also been removed and will be replaced.

 

Removing the pelmets
Removing the pelmets

The pelmets are gone – never to be replaced, sorry but they  seem dated and fussy, so they have gone.

The curtains have been removed, and will eventually be replaced.

 

Renovations
Renovations

The cupboard door handles have been removed and will be replaced with something a little more up-to-date.

Blank canvas
Blank canvas

The carpet (and lino that we found underneath) have been taken out and will be replaced by something a lot easier to take care of.

Make sure you are signed up for my blog post updates as the makeover continues over the winter and early spring to see the changes we have made.

I am also always keen to see any renovations, alterations and makeovers made to other folding campers, so please feel free to get in touch via my feedback page.