Turning camping into glamping in the New Forest

We are going camping in the New Forest this weekend - the first time I have attempted it for a long time although my husband attends our church "Dads, Lads and Daughters" camping event every year

Years ago we had a giant tent and all the kit - over the years we have downgraded to a smaller tent and you would think I would be an expert at condensing "stuff" to the bare minimum. You'd be wrong.

The trouble is that camping has become trendy (am I allowed to use that word nowadays?) and retro and unfortunately I have been sucked into a daydream of what I imagine our camping plot to look like. More glamping than camping.

We are off to Ashurst in the New Forest, to a "Camping In The Forest" site. The Camping in the Forest scheme came about after the Camping and Caravanning Club joined forces with the Forestry Commission to make more woodland sites available and accessible for campers.

I found the site we are staying at using using the fab app on their website. You literally spend a few seconds telling the app things like what kind of site you want, whether you want to take your dog and how far you are happy to travel and it will offer you a selection of wonderful woodland sites from 16 available.

Obviously I need to take our inflatable camping sofa which I will decorate with plump floral cushions. The solar fairy lights will twinkle while I barbecue using our mini cream travel BBQ  or picnic from my wicker hamper as our children play wholesome games in the woods or relax on the vintage-eqsue picnic rug.

When we have eaten I will be able to relax with a cool glass of wine, music playing from my baby blue DAB radio and a good book while the family frolic happily in the dusk, finally falling into their tent bedroom exhausted but happy.

Hmm. Well for a start we have a Vauxhall Zafira which while wonderful is not particularly large. So we add a roof box. Quite a large roof box but DH is firm in his instance that we cannot take the bulky and heavy inflatable sofa. My bottom lip comes out and quivers slightly.

He looks sideways at the pile of vintage-style accessories I plan to dot round our patch of woodland and shakes his head. I proffer the idea of not packing a change of clothes - I'd rather be dirty and smell than leave behind my picnic basket and BBQ. I can tell he's not keen.

I haven't even told him about the 1950's style toys I want to shove in - cricket set, bats and balls and of course the crab nets. They definitely can't go IN the car as they smell a bit, well, crabby. He doesn't seem that happy at my musing out loud about the possibility of leaving a child or two at home - or stuffing them into the roof box.

We had a last minute panic after the teens told us they had outgrown their junior sleeping bags but we reckon 7 people in a small tent will provide plenty of heat. Or we could huddle round the BBQ (outside of course!) - another great reason to take it!

As I type this I notice he has started to pack the roof box. I think I need to go and supervise. Heaven forbid he "forget" to pack something I deem vital. Wish me luck and don't forget to check back next week to see how we got on.

Disclaimer: We have been offered two nights camping free for the purposes of publicising the app and reviewing the camping experience in the New Forest. Views and opinions remain honest and my own.

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