'Rain, hail or shine we are going to have a good time'

We spent last week camping in Benone and by 'we' I mean 15 of us and 3 dogs. We have been going to Benone each year now for 23 years, it started out as my mum, dad and I in a 3 man tent and has quickly escalated to all of us and the extended family (extending by one most years, except this year much to my parents delight). Bellas first trip camping was at 4 days old and I really hope it is something she will always love. This year was extra special as it was my dads 60th birthday and my sister and brother in law joined us from America (though they stayed in a holiday home, and they call me the pampered pooch!)😜 The set up is now 2 touring caravans, 1 tent and 2 gezebos for general gathering.

I don't know what it is about camping, whether it is the simple, stripped back way of living, having all the family there with not much else to do but eat, drink and talk or watching the kids run around with rosey cheeks and muddy knees, with no phone signal or internet that lets you just focus on those most important and lets you truly relax.

Camping can be fabulous when the sun is shining, the grass is dry, kids can play outside and the bbq can stay lite without having to hold a golf umbrella over it but we also live in Northern Ireland where the summer season is normally 6 days somewhere in May.

A wise friend recently said to me 'there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing' and that has really stuck so with all thermals, waterproofs and wellies packed (and even a few sunny dresses as I am an optimist) we set off for a week.

We had a fun filled and packed week doing different things most days with the girls which really you don't need to do when away camping but as last year Annie was only 8 weeks old, it was our first year to really explore what there is to do with 2 littles in tow.

Colin and I treated ourselves to a family membership for the national trust, I feel like it is a rite of passage into our 30's but when trips to garden centres,and watching home renovation programmes in the evening with a cuppa tea is what makes you happiest there is no denying the early onset of middle age.

Here are a few things we got up to this week, if you are in the area definitely check them out!

Benone tourist complex and beach

This is a fabulous complex for kids with an out door heated pool, play park, bouncy castle and surf school. A coffee shop is also on site, they have electric and non electric sites as well as glamping cabins.

Bike trailer can be found Here my coat Here and Bellas coat Here (both on sale!)

Magilligan to Moville ferry

Sails every 45minutes throughout July and August. Some beautiful pubs for pub lunches, scenic drives and white beaches.  

Colin's coat can be found Here and similar to Annie's 

My wellies can be found Here and Bellas Here (again both on sale 👍🏻) Benone tourist complex fair- held on Saturdays/ Sunday's throughout the summer. 

It was for the kids 😜

Coat can be found here

Mussenden Temple

This is one of my favourite places and at the tender age of 18 Colin informed me that one day he would marry me! This is the first time we have all been up here and was lovely that the girls got to watch the train going under, the trains run hourly. Peacock gardens and tea room

Imagine beautiful birds and little ducklings walking around as you have a hot cuppa, a slice of Victoria sponge and the kids are well entertained... This was such a beautiful and friendly place! We will definitely be back.

Hill Farm riding centre

We spied a sign for a riding school and decided to drop in to see if they did pony trekking as Bella is mad about horses (animals in general) we booked a 15minute trek then went for tea in the Pretty Crafty Design Studios that is situated just down the road and you have beautiful gardens and peacocks to admire whilst you grab a cuppa and some homemade goodies. The horse riding centre is family run and have so much time for the kids, next time we will all go for a lesson.

Puddle suit can be found here

Ballymaclary guest house and tea room

For the nicest afternoon tea and even a children's afternoon tea, soup and a sandwich or a big Ulster fry this is the perfect spot! Set in a beautiful house with stunning views and the friendliest of staff. Oh the things you will do to eat your lunch and have a cuppa in peace! *my premother self would have judged!

Thanks for reading,

Anna xx