Thrifty Thursday camping gear: Tell the Best Ever Tent-Time Stories with Projecteo!



No one seems to dedicate enough time holding a torch below their face and telling stupid stories around the campfire in order to freak kids out before sending them to sleep in a tent. What’s wrong with us these days, eh?! Maybe it’s because we’ve been hanging out for something better? Well here it is campers. Projecteo, the world’s first Kickstarter-fuelled, teeny tiny instagram projector.



 All you do is sign in with Instagram, choose nine images which are then developed onto a single frame of 35mm film which is inserted into a wheel. Then it arrives in the post and away you go! They work using little watch batteries and are so small you could easily squeeze one in alongside your now redundant spooky-story-telling-prop torch.

So here’s the plan. Come up with a story. Take some illustrative insta-pics for it. Send them through to Projecteo and you’re away. Once the kiddies are tucked into their sleeping bags, get the story started and someone in or outside the tent can flick the slideshow on and flip the pics as the story goes on. Cool, right? The kids will love it!

Or you could just show great pics from old camping trips, but you know, that’s not nearly as exciting ….


Get started here. They’re only $US34.98/£21 with worldwide shipping. projecteo-11projecteo-9



All images courtesy of Projecteo, with thanks.



Kids Tent, Caravan & Treehouse Beds


Now I don’t know about yours, but if my three little men could be anywhere, they’d be camping. They love it. They love sleeping in sleeping bags on their sheepskin-coated camp beds and they love inhabiting a tent. It’s their inner caveman I think. Obviously this isn’t going to happen all that often in the space of a whole (chilly, wet, English) year, so I figure these Belgian-made-to-order tent, caravan and treehouse beds by Mathy by Bols have to take top billing as The Next Best Thing, no?!!

mathy5mathy6What kid wouldn’t love to be holed up in one of these? And they all have a trundle bed as well, so perfect for indoor camping sessions with little friends.


And do check out that crazy tree book shelf! I mean seriously, the great outdoors is going to have a lot of catching up to do…mathy1mathy3mathy7You can order them from Cuckooland. Which one would you choose?

Camping Gear: The Tentsile Stingray

photoSo I like tree houses. My man likes hammocks. And I’ve just found a tent we can both agree on: Tentsile’s Stingray tent. From a distance it looks like it’s floating, but it’s attached to trees by three anchor points which are ratcheted tight, after which it kind of hovers. In mid-air. It’s a portable treehouse. Or a hammock with shelter. Either way, it’s cool.

IMG_0743The Stingray can hold three adults, and is designed to stop everyone rolling together into one big heap in the middle of the night. Just think how nice it would feel, up off the ground without the cold or dampness of the ground beneath you or tree roots and rocks underfoot. And depending on where you are, it can keep you out of the way of snakes or bears. The Canadians are gonna love these! There’s a two metre ladder that clips on with a couple of caribiners. But if the ground is dry and soft, you can pitch it on the ground too.

finland sunset 3Tentsile plan on launching new models every year from now on, so stay tuned for more great ideas. Find out more here.

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mini cooper goes camping

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Mini Cooper has joined the European Summer fun by exploring the idea of a range of camping concepts designed with music festival fans in mind calling them “premium home-from-home options for the enthusiastic traveller”.

The first is the Mini Countryman All4Camp. A nifty pop-up roof-top tent that sits atop an all wheel drive SUV.

My favourite is probably the Mini Cowley caravan with it’s rather sophisticated wood-lined interior, double bed, fan, television, stereo and sliding windows for taking in festival views. It’s also got a kitchen in the back with a twin-burner cooktop, power points, sink and fridge. Classy stuff. I could be seriously comfy in there. The other option in the series is the Clubvan Camper which has a single berth sleeper and a slide-out kitchenette with a bar fridge and cooker that I’d happily slide in the boot of my car.

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Currently this is nothing more than a very indulgent conceptual excercise for Mini. Shame, for all of us who would be happy to snap one up for this hottest of Summers!

Thrifty Thursday

I’ve been living in the UK for eight years now, and throughout that time I have never understood the joy of pound shops or 99p stores. Or even been in one. Until now that is. Honestly, I suspect I distrusted things that were so cheap and I figured these stores were just full of crap, er, useless items. But these shops, (call it the GFC, recession, depression or whatever), are booming. BOOM. ING.

Poundland has 400 stores in the UK and, according to Michelle Ogundehin, editor-and-chief of Elle Decoration (yes, she too shops in pound shops), has “announced a 24% rise in profits in 2012 and boast of 4 million customers walking through its doors every week.” Well, last week I pushed them over the 4 million-mark, and set foot inside a 99p store in search of goodies for this, my new Thrifty Thursday series. And boy-oh-boy, did I come up trumps. These stores are a mine of cheap-and-cheerful choices. Anything and everything! All under one roof! All under a quid! “What have I been bloody thinking???!“, I thought.

The first thing I snaffled up were these brilliant Light-Up Tent Pegs. While I will continue using sturdy steel tent pegs to actually hold my tent down, these ingenious little things can be slid into the ground next to them and used to light up the guy ropes. Why? Well, how many people (kids especially) do you know who have never tripped on a guy rope …? Yeah, I thought so. Stick them in the ground, turn the light anti-clockwise, and angle it so it lights up the ropes. No more tripping. Cool, right? They come in packs of 4 and with batteries included.


I also snapped up three little lanterns for my kids. You just slide them up to turn them on. Great little bedtime reading lights, easy for them to use and nice for keeping the tent lit at bedtime.


Not bad, not bad at all. Never thought I’d say pound shops are one of the delights of living in London, but I’m saying it now.

Come back next Thursday for more nifty, thrifty finds!