First official trip

The rig is all packed up. Lets get on the road and get our first trip under our belts!

So we’re packed and ready to go on our first adventure!  We picked Windermere in the Lake District for our first adventure.  We found a lovely site called Park Cliffe about 10 minutes outside of Bowness.

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I am going to give it 5 out of 5 because I have no frame of reference.  The pitches are great, plenty of space, lovely and level.  The facilities are really clean.  They have private bathrooms which can be hired for a £10 deposit which is great for bathing the little one.  The staff are really helpful and friendly.

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There is an adventure playground which is perfect for kids around 2 – 11 I would say.  Our daughter is just a little bit young to appreciate it.  It has a bar, restaurant and shop.  The bar even did a quiz on the Saturday night but it was a bit late for us as the little one had crashed out from all the fresh air by that point!

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We forgot a few things:

  • Outside table
  • Outside tarp to go on the floor for our daughter to crawl about on
  • A few more outdoor toys to amuse the little one
  • Oven gloves (doh!)

But all in all, we managed pretty well with what we had brought.  We have another trip away planned so we will add a few things and remove a few items we feel unnecessary and see how we go.

To pack or not to pack?

Weight limit in mind, lets get packing!

We’re all packed up.  It feels like the only thing we haven’t brought is the kitchen sink!  But we have brought a wash basin and drainer so we’re not far off!  This might be a bit boring but it is an exhaustive list of everything we have packed.  I’ve tried to keep it reasonable, I’ve not listed each individual toiletry.  I’ve also categorised everything.  Let me know if you spot something I might have forgotten:

Clothes:

  • Clothes for the family (the question is whether to leave a whole wardrobe in the rig or pack a bag each time you go away).  We have opted with leaving a minimal wardrobe in the rig and taking extra for each trip.
  • Underwear
  • Pyjamas
  • Shoes
  • Walking boots
  • Slippers
  • Waterproofs
  • Hat, scarf, gloves
  • Swimming costumes
  • Towels
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs

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Toiletries:

  • General toiletries (don’t forget your toothbrushes)
  • Toilet roll
  • Hair dryer
  • Hair straighteners
  • Sun cream
  • Hand soap

General:

  • First aid box
  • Games
  • Fairy lights
  • Phone charger
  • Folding chairs
  • Bikes
  • Bike helmets
  • Fly swatter
  • Dustpan and brush

Kitchen:

  • Crockery
  • Cutlery
  • Utensils
  • Cups and mugs
  • Egg cups
  • Cheese grater
  • Pans
  • Collapsible drainer and tray
  • Collapsible washing up bowl
  • Collapsible colander
  • Oven tray
  • Sponge
  • Washing up liquid
  • Tea towel
  • Cleaning spray
  • Bin
  • Bin bags
  • Plastic bags for shopping
  • Food and drink
  • Tea and coffee
  • Water

Bedding:

  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Duvets

I have tried to make the rig more homely and have added some pictures that our daughter has done at nursery.  Simple really.

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Baby:

  • Wipes
  • Nappies
  • Baby bowls, spoons and sippy cups
  • Baby clothes
  • Dummies
  • Car seat
  • High chair
  • Baby monitor
  • Push chair
  • Toys and books

With the car seat, we went with the Joie Every Stage Child Restraint.  The motorhome doesn’t have Isofix so we needed a seat that can be fixed in place with a seatbelt.  This seat seemed to have the best safety rating and it can be used right the way through to age 12.

I was concerned about the sleeping arrangements for our daughter as she is in the bed at the back over the garage.  There is a child net there which hooks onto the ceiling but it is quite lose and I am majorly concerned she could fall out.  We had a few different thoughts on solutions from baby gates to bed guards.  In the end we went with the Dreambaby Retractable Gate from Argos.  It fits the whole gap and nearly goes right up to the ceiling and we can retract it quickly if our daughter needs us in the night.  She can also see through when she is on the bed.  I feel much happier now that she is completely safe.

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Practical:

  • Window blinds in the cab
  • Fan heater
  • Air conditioning unit
  • Toilet chemicals
  • Food grade fresh water hose
  • Tap adaptors
  • Wheel ramps
  • Wheel chocks
  • Gas spanner
  • Gas bottle
  • Electric cable
  • Electric cable adaptors UK and EU
  • Tool kit
  • Bungee straps
  • Wind break
  • Fire extinguisher

I am sure we will have forgotten something and also packed way too much of other things but you’ve got to start somewhere.  We just need to get a weekend away booked so we can try it out!

The layout

An insight into the layout of the new rig and why we opted for this layout.

I thought I would share with you the layout we have gone with in our motorhome.  I was staggered by the huge variety of different layouts you can get.  Who knew motorhoming could be so versatile.  I guess people want different things at different stages in their life.

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The front of the rig.

Here is a shot of the interior facing the cab.  First of all the cab seats don’t rotate so that means the cab and the hab will remain totally separate units.  It is a 6 berth meaning it will sleep 6 (if you don’t mind literally living in each other’s pockets).  Personally I think we will have a maximum of three adults in there at any one time!

There is a huge (super king sized) bed over the cab.  I know this because the only sheet that will fit it is super king size.  Those two grey stubs are for the ladder to climb up.  There is a net and a curtain that closes the bed off from the rest of the cab. There are two small windows at either end of the bed.  I will let you know if it feels claustrophobic when I first sleep in it!

There is a two door wardrobe behind the driver’s seat and the two doors at the bottom is a shoe rack as the gas bottle is stored behind it (accessed from outside).

Behind the passenger seat is a rearward facing two person bench seat with seatbelts, a table and a window about the table with blinds and curtains etc.  Above the table are three cupboards with locking lift up doors.

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The rear of the rig.

Facing backwards you can see the door is on the left of the motorhome.  Apparently this is the European side.  Above the door is the control pad for the motorhome, a TV aerial point and a plug socket.

The control panel, carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, tv aerial and plug socket.

Also on the left is the kitchen with three gas hobs, a small sink and tap and a small area of workspace with another window above it.  Above the window are two more cupboards with locking lift up doors.

Below the hob is an oven and grill.  And next to that and below are three deep drawers.  As mentioned in a previous post these drawers aren’t entirely practical as they are so deep so I need to work out a solution to most effectively use this storage.

Next to this unit is a large fridge freezer.  Home away from home!  On the right hand side is a further forward facing two person bench seat with seatbelts.  Below these seats is a plug socket.  The bench seats can be made into a further double bed by removing the table and adding some extension panels.

Shower room. No other way to take that pic without me in the mirror!

Behind the seats is the shower room.  Inside there is a walk in shower with a proper shower door.  I much prefer this layout to the ones that are simply wet rooms and the water goes all over the toilet (and inevitably the toilet roll you have forgotten to put away)!  There is a small toilet, sink and three cupboards and cubby holes.  There is a little shelf but don’t make the mistake of putting anything on this and driving off.  There is a plug socket in one of the cupboards and a window above the sink.

Finally at the back is a further raised double bed with three cupboards and four cubby holes for extra storage.  There is a net that can be hooked up to stop children falling out.  This is where our daughter will sleep.  There is a window right at the back and one on the left hand side.

Below that bed is a garage which can be accessed from outside for storing bikes or additional luggage.  There is also a bike rack on the back.

It is really light and airy.  I think this is partly down to the wood that has been used in the interior.  In some of the later models the wood is quite dark which did make the whole thing seem a lot darker.

We’ve got the keys!

Exciting times! The day we picked up the keys to our first motorhome.

Today we picked up our brand new motorhome.  After a very thorough handover we were on the road (we had already sorted out tax and insurance).  After about 20 seconds my husband was already asking me to see if I could find what was making the rattle sound around my seat.  Mmmm, I think he is going to have to get used to that!

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When we got the keys.  Shame the weather was a bit dull.  It perked up later in the day.
We got it home and immediately started to fill it with our ‘essentials’.  I imagine half of it will reemerge at some point when we realise we don’t need it.  One thing we are struggling with is kitchen items.  They don’t pack all that well and are very rattly.  That’s not going to go down well with my husband.  There are only two drawers in the kitchen and they are very deep.  I need to have a think about a storage solution so I will come back to you on that.

We tried to be methodical and weighed everything as it went in.  In a further post I will try to document everything that we packed to give you an idea.  We also took it down to a local weighbridge to get an idea of the weight.

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Motorhome selfie!
So we’re set and my husband is planning to use it for a work trip tomorrow night.  We also have a wedding coming up that we are planning to use it for so we can give it a couple of test runs before our daughter sleeps in it.  She is just at the age where she pulls herself up onto her knees and feet so I want to be completely comfortable that she will be safe.  We will work through a few solutions and I will write a further post on our solution.

In the mean time, thanks for reading!

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I need to get one of these for the rig!

Investing in a motorhome

Taking the plunge and investing in a motorhome. Decisions, decisions …

My husband and I have decided to take the plunge and invest in a motorhome.  My husband works from home and I work full time.  For this reason we don’t get to spend a lot of quality family time with our one year old daughter.  We wanted a reason to get away from the house at weekends.  You know what it is like – you spend all week working and then at the weekend you end up doing DIY, or gardening, or cleaning.  Meaning we spend even less time as a family.

We want our daughter to grow up in the outdoors, spending quality time with her mummy and daddy and also learning about and seeing lots of different places around our beautiful island.  We also wanted something that would allow us to go away regularly without breaking the bank.

So we have bought a Roller Team Zefiro 690 G.  It will sleep 6 people apparently but I feel like that would be very cramped, especially if it was raining.  I think a comfortable family of 2 adults and 2 children is more realistic.  But I will let you know, I might change my mind.

I thought I would start this blog to share our experiences so you can learn from our triumphs and also our mistakes.  I am going to post about everything from what to take, to where to go and what to cook so that you too might be encouraged to buy a home on wheels.  Also, it would be great if you would like to share your own experiences and I will try to feature as many of your ideas on the site as well.

I thought I’d start by telling you why we chose a motorhome over a caravan and why we chose a motorhome at all.  So, I am not a caravanner.  I was brought up on the other side of the fence as a camper.  I spent many a weekend away with my parents (I am an only child) in a little orange triangle (remember those?)  My husband on the other hand has grown up with caravans.  His parents and his two older sisters would regularly go away on rallies around the country and further afield at weekends and in school holidays.

So I had to have my arm twisted I have to admit.  My father’s voice echoed in my mind when My husband first told me about caravanning.  “No you don’t want a caravan”.  He actually bought a caravan when we had just started dating to live in as he worked away from home at the time and it was cheaper than staying in a hotel.  I wasn’t convinced, imagining it to be cold and dismal.  I was pleasantly surprised when we went away for a weekend in it, it was really toasty.  I only went in it a couple of times.  All the set up seemed a bit of a faff.

So when he suggested we invest in a motorhome I really wasn’t sure.  But he persuaded me to go and look round some.  We went to a dealer and clambered in and out of about 14.  I had no idea there were so many different layouts.  I can see why really.  What we need as a family with a one year old is very different from a retired couple or a larger family with older children.  The one he had picked I did have to reluctantly agree did seem the best.  I could even picture myself calling it home (well, at the weekend).  On a second visit we took it out for a test drive.  It reminded me of my school days in the back of a minibus on the way to a netball tournament.

OK yes, with a few fairly lights and all our essentials, I had to admit, I was quite excited about the chance to spend some quality family time in the motorhome.