When a design guru goes camping, you know it’s going to be the ultimate glamping experience. Karine Kong is the founder and creative director of one of my favourite e-shop for under the radar design: BODIE and FOU. She tells us all about glamping in a pod in the Loveland Farm on the coast of Devon, England.
MEET the BODIE and FOU Family:
My name is Karine and I’m the Founder and Creative Director of BODIE and FOU, an online concept store selling inspiring home accessories, furniture and gifts. I’m French but I have been living in London for the past 17 years. I’m married to Steve, a New-Zealander and we have a little freewi (franco/kiwi) called Mila who is 8 years old plus Lucas, our beautiful Australian Shepherd.
When travelling, I always look for something a bit different, something that will give us great memories as a family. Staying in a boutique hotel wouldn’t do it for Mila. She is a very active child, she likes swimming, climbing, cycling and exploring so it’s finding places where she is going to be able to be an Explorer and I can remain sane with a minimum of comfort.
ON SLEEPING IN A POD:
Amazing! This Pod is very large and caters to 6+ people. It’s very comfortable, with a massive pull-down screen to watch movies in the evening, DVD player, wi-fi and a large dinner table. It has also a kitchen on the deck and a big outdoor table. After the first night, I felt/looked a bit rough because it was very windy and you kind of go trough the night in some kind of semi-sleep, but the second night after hiking and climbing, I slept like a baby. There is something incredible about being so close to nature and hear every single noise nature makes yet not being cold.
I decided on this place to do something special for Steve’s birthday. It was 5.30 hours from London, making for a nice ride for Steve on his bike. I drove down there with Mila and Lucas while Steve took his bike through smaller roads. Usually when he drives, I’m asleep within 10 minutes so I knew that a 5.30 drive on my own would be a bit of a stretch. I strongly recommend having a Sat Nav. By the time we arrived it was pitch black, we couldn’t see anything or find anyone on the phone and I thought that we would spend our first night in the car. Eventually, I got hold of everyone. It’s a beautiful corner of England, the real countryside with lots of small and narrow roads.
Recently I made changes to my diet to eat gluten-free so I had packed kale, avocado, spring onions, cashew nuts to make us a nice, tasty salad on arrival and avocado on gluten-free toasts for breakfast. I also packed lots of Summer clothes that didn’t leave my bag (I always live in hope). We visited the beautiful village of Clovelly and had lunch there, we went hiking for an hour and Mila went climbing. Sunday, we bought a new skate board for Mila and also booked ourselves for a family surfing class. We had an amazing time. Definitively something I’ll do when we’re off to New-Zealand this Christmas to see Steve’s family.
GLAMOUR OR CAMPING?
This was definitely more glamour! You sleep in a proper bed, and the giant screen was the cherry on the top. After a very windy walk along the coast and lunch, we didn’t feel like spending the evening in a pub again so we got some sausages and eggs from a local farm and went back to the pod where Steve cooked them on toast, then he plugged his iPad to the DVD, picked a movie from Netflix and then we watched it on this massive, giant screen…Was pretty cool!
Mila loved sleeping in the pod, the giant ball swing, seeing the pigs, going climbing and surfing.
Umm… I’m not sure I like proper camping. The first time I went, I was a student (read a century ago) and I stayed in my boyfriend’s tent during the Summer after going clubbing. The morning after, the weather was a scorcher and I woke up boiling hot and then I had to queue for an hour for a shower. The second time was in 2011 when we stayed at Eweleaze Farm in Dorset. I loved the surroundings and the coast, being there with all our friends (9 children and 2 dogs) but it was so cold that some nights we had to sleep in our clothes and our inflatable mattress was going down (!!). All that said, I love sleeping outdoors.
In our summer house in France, Steve built us an amazing tree house where we can sleep 4 people. And one of my best family holidays is when we stayed two weeks on my Dad’s boat, a very old 7m sailing boat with no shower inside, no internet, no TV. As I’m a geek, I thought it would be hell but it was our best holidays ever. We would have breakfast together outside on the boat because the cabin was too small and hot, and then Steve would take us to the beach in the canoe I had bought him for Xmas. It was very much back to basics but it made us closer as a family.
MORE GLAMPING IDEAS:
Eweleaze Farm in Dorset was fab (despite the weather). It’s an eco-friendly farm and they open the field only one month/a year. It is very well organised, with a lot of animals for the kids to enjoy (goats, pigs, dogs, chickens, hamsters, etc). We went crab-fishing, tried every single gastro pub in the area and had some pretty good BBQs. We went there with a Scottish/US couple, an Italo/kiwi couple and a British/Swedish couple so food was a big thing and was amazing. You can buy hay bells to sit around the fire every evening and it’s so big that you’re not on top of each other.
The other place I enjoyed was our Hippie (happy) weekend at Vintage Vacations on the Isle of Wight. I would go back to all of them anytime providing the weather is beautiful (I’m done being cold!).
Thank you Karine for sharing it all x
Ps: All the photos are Karine’s or The Loveland Farm’s except the family portrait, courtesy of Milk Magazine’s feature (which I actually did on BODIE and FOU last year:))
Ps2: Don’t you love Karine’s French way of saying it all with no filter!!