SLEEPING UNDER THE STARS // our first family camping adventure

PennFest outside tent main

It was last summer that OH and I first talked about going camping. Having been quite the professional Brownie (yep – I was the girl who had so many badges she ran out of spaces to sew them), I was no stranger to the realities of camping.

OH, however, had a – shall we say – rose-tinted idea of what to expect. When I showed him some photos of tents, he didn’t reply for a while. ‘Well?’ I prompted.

‘So are there restaurants in the campground?’ ‘Ummmm, not usually… ‘

‘But how do we keep bugs out of the tent?’ ‘You don’t; it’s called nature.’

‘I don’t like the way the grass is just THERE.’ ‘By there, you mean… on the… ground?!’

‘And how do we get the electricity to charge my phone?’

Me: *long silence* ‘OK, I don’t think you’re quite ready for camping.’

Then, earlier in the summer we were thrilled to be appointed as ambassadors for the two-day PENNFEST FAMILY FESTIVAL and then I discovered something rather intriguing; there was the option to glamp for the weekend in a luxury bell tent, complete with airbeds and bedding.

This was it – our perfect compromise. 

I broached it with OH, and he was open to the idea. After travelling home to New Zealand for Xmas, we were staycationing this summer anyway, so it seemed like an ideal family mini break.

We booked a five-metre bell tent from WOW TENTS, who do all the hard work for you, meaning you just get to turn up on the day. Our tent was absolutely adorable – festooned with colourful bunting on the outside, and spacious and welcoming inside (a bit of an upgrade from the girls’ previous play tent). The airbeds were super comfortable (seriously!) and a string of fairy lights wound around the centre pole gave off a warm, golden glow.

But that wasn’t the end of our glamorous camping experience.

pennfest millets camping furniture gift basket

Just before our trip we were excited to have MILLETS get in touch: they’d spotted that we were heading on our first family camping trip, and sent us this lovely bundle of camping goodies – everything from a battery operated camping lamp (with an orange glow to deter creepy crawlies), to charger banks, to waterless wash body wipes.

But that wasn’t all… they also offered to make our canvas #homefromhome even MORE luxurious, with some camping furniture from their huge range.

Erm, yes please! 

It was actually really hard to pick, as there was so much great stuff on the website, but after seeing these Vango inflatable armchairs I just HAD to have them (they’re not in stock right now, but check out this similar camping chair, on sale right now AND it comes with an inflatable footstool!)

pennfest millets camping furniture bubs

pennfest millets camping furniture girls

I’m not joking when I say these chairs were the surprise hit of the weekend. They only took a minute to blow up using a battery-operated pump and they were soooooooooo comfy; I lost count of the number of people who came up to say how jealous they were, and where did we get them from?

Our weekend ended up being a bit more on the damp side than expected (AKA: torrential Noah’s Ark style-rain on Friday night, and Saturday afternoon), so we didn’t get to use the portable PICNIC TABLE we’d also picked out from their camping furniture range *sad face*, but since returning this has literally become our holiday staple.

The table folds out quickly and easily, locking securely into place, and comes with four collapsible stools. The girls have already used it to eat their dinner alfresco style, and to set up a back garden lemonade stand.

Then, the other day we took it to our local common, and had a Teddy Bear’s picnic.

pennfest millets camping furniture teddy bear's picnic

A big thanks to Millets for making our first family camping adventure a great (and very comfy) success.

• read about our Summer Festival Essentials, or the time the girls did a bit of back garden camping

All photos copyrighted to Mummy’s Little Monkey – no reuse without permission 


  1. Ok those blow up chairs are awesome and way better than the ones we had as kids!!

    • Fab, aren’t they? When I was a kid we only had those fold-out wooden-framed canvas chairs, which were not comfy AT ALL! I seem to remember they used to collapse and tip over as well… x

  2. Those chairs look so comfy, I would buy them just to take on a picnic!!

    • The chairs are seriously AWESOME! We’ve used them loads since – we even had them blown up in the lounge for family movie night. x

  3. Oh my gosh, now even I would go camping if I got to stay in there!!

    Congrats on being chosen as ambassadors & kudos on the treats for your trip, in other news I really must buy myself a few of those inflatable chairs haha <3
    Little B & Me recently posted…Work with me |My Profile

    • Haha! I know, right? It was so comfy and cosy – definitely a step up from the wet, freezing canvas tents I remember as a child. x

  4. We’ve never been camping before. This looks so much fun and very sweet xx

    • Ooh, you should totally go! Especially as you have THE most stunning campsites in the UK right on your doorstep! x

  5. Love the idea of a lamp that doesn’t attract the bugs!
    My Two Mums recently posted…Breakfast prep with BekoMy Profile

    • Yes! Great isn’t it? Buzzing mosquitos and flies drive me INSANE in the summer, so this was perfect. Actually the girls now use it as a nightlight as the orange glow isn’t too harsh for them to sleep. x

  6. Lovely site.
    Hi Jacqui,
    I would be very interested in your thoughts on my muggi tray product.
    Kind regards
    Mr Muggi ( David)

    • Hi David, I’m glad you got in touch actually, as I think your tray is absolutely brilliant! Not only was it a Godsend for our flimsy coffee cups while were camping, but we’ve used it loads at home since. My girls love taking it out to the back garden and fitting their water bottles into it. It’s genuinely one of those products you never even knew you needed, but now can’t live without!

  7. Nice looking chairs. They look so comfy! It’s good that they can be deflated to save space. My son and I are planning our first camping trip ever and I am so excited. I have three weeks to prepare everything. Hope it will be fun!
    Melanie Green recently posted…Best Camping Chair for Bad Back (13 Chairs for Unmatched Back Support)My Profile

    • Ah, you’ll have so much fun – I’ll keep my fingers crossed for good weather for you! x

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