Photograph of a couple hiking


It's winter and the caravan park has closed. Sitting at home I am reviewing my first season and deciding how I am going to further personalize my van for next season. All the statics I have seen look very similar internally and already mine is looking very different.

The first thing to do is decide on a theme and mine is coastal as we are very near the beach and embedded in the dunes.

The next is the colour scheme and mine, unsurprisingly is blue and white. Because everything is done on a shoestring sometimes I have to go slightly off course colourwise if I cannot afford exactly the right colour. I began the living area and bought large quantities of cheap blue and white striped cotton fabric for a kick off. I started by making miles of bunting and the scraps were turned into flags on cocktail sticks for children’s sandcastles.

High on my priority list were the seat covers; before dogs, grandchildren and I left indelible marks. I bought a second-hand caravan with one careful owner. I try my best, but I am not a careful owner, my enthusiasm gets in the way of things and I leave a trail of destruction behind me. My husband describes me as the white tornado, but let’s face it, I get things done! My sewing skills are limited so everything I do has to be simple. I made blue and white striped covers for the seating in the eating area like fitted sheets. Everything I have created can be easily removed and packed away when we let the caravan out through the holiday park to recoup some of our site fees. For the major sitting area, I chose grey furry throws from Primark, at a fraction of the cost I could buy the material. These I just tucked in. They didn’t have them in blue so I guessed grey was as good, given that the I, the children and animals just love to snug up on them. The cushion covers to the back of the seating area were simple bags made from curtain lining. Each grandchild did a picture or two for me in fabric felt tips which were ironed to fix them and survived the first wash beautifully.

The grandchildren's art adorns the walls and their pottery pieces and models bring life to the little shelves.

I needed a table I could use inside and out and spent ages looking at boring camping tables until my son brought me a wooden cable drum which is perfect.

For the bedrooms I shall be doing lots more bunting. I managed to get two throws with tasselled ends from the charity shop which I have made into single mattress covers, each throw did 2 beds. This means I can keep the duvets and pillows under the beds when they are not being used which gives more play space to the kids. To cut down on my washing they bring their own sleeping bags over which we put a furry throw to bring a softness to the experience. 2 plug-in night lights proved invaluable for kids who are nervous of the dark.

Over Christmas I shall be making new curtains from nautical themed material. The ones that came with the caravan remind me of a British Rail sleeper.

Nautical accessories are legion on Amazon and elsewhere. I have just ordered a "welcome aboard" decorative life ring and am sourcing white picture frames for the grandchildren's pictures, and other nautical pennants etc.

I was given very cheap solar lights to light the deck. I love candles but will only use them outside on a summer evening because of the risk of fire. Luckily lights4fun do great wax candles containing battery operated LEDs so next year I can have my romantic indoor evenings again! I will also have both battery and mains operated fairy lights strung along the pelmets to remind me of navigation by the stars.

I saw a wonderful driftwood mobile (priced at £50.00) which I am currently copying. I collected driftwood sticks around 15cm long and piled them up one on top of the other, each one at 90 degrees to the last .I drilled each one through the middle, threaded them onto fishing line and will hang them from the ceiling. Impressive or what!

I hope you will enjoy your long dark winter evenings planning your new look for 2018 as much as I am!