Monday, 18 May 2009

The romance of the VW campervan & The vintage caravan featured in Joules catalogue

To me there is something very romantic about going off on a day out or holiday exploring the English countryside and coast in an old VW campervan. However, camping has never really been my thing!

My first and last experience of camping was when I was 11 years old. I was with the Girl Guides somewhere in the South of France. After taking what seemed like an eternity to set up the tent, we had a meal. Sometime later, after singing around the camp fire we settled in our tents. The lights went out. Not long after settling down, I felt something sharp in my lower back. I lit my torch and saw a spider in my sleeping bag. I screamed, this resulted in all the girls screaming, followed by all of us running out of the tent.

None of us wanted to go back in again! I had been bitten by a spider, I came up with a bluey purple rash with raised bubbles, the rash was about the size of an old 50p coin. It didn't look pretty. The next morning none of us felt like doing any orienteering, we had not slept a wink! I decided that camping was not for me.
I still feel that way about camping today. Although for other reasons too. One of them being that I don't like the lack of privacy, having other tents close by and having to leave your tent to go to the toilet. I love being in the countryside but like to have my basic comforts and PRIVACY!

I still have a scar where I was bitten by the spider.
Going back to the VW Campervan....

Having taken a shining to the VW campervan for going on days out, I have wondered how I would feel about going on holiday with one and sleeping in it. I usually opt for a cottage or B&B when holidaying in this country. The idea of sleeping in a VW campervan does appeal, especially if furnished with Cath Kidston items inside! BUT... could I find a lovely spot without having any other tents or caravans around?....After all, my idea of a relaxing holiday is to stay in a beautiful peaceful place away from the crowds.

Imagine being there in your campervan having a picnic with no one else around, bliss....

Now, I wouldn't want to have a whole collection of VW camper items around the house but I do like these which I couldn't resist.

I bought these tea towels from Jam Tart, they do other retro designs too.

On our way to the Isle of Wight a couple weeks ago, we walked around Lymington in Hampshire. Lymington is where the ferry leaves for Yarmouth (Isle of Wight). We arrived a bit earlier than expected so looked around the market which is held on a Saturday. There are several stalls on both sides of the high street. On one of them I spotted bags, mouse mats etc.. with various coloured VW campervans on. Naturally I had to stop. I bought a little shopper bag and a couple of magnets from Rainbow Days . They also have an online shop, click on the link to see their selection.

Here are my purchases

Whilst browsing online yesterday I came across this really interesting website Snail Trail. It offers retro vehicle rentals.
I spent ages looking through it and here is a selection of some of the vehicles up for hire. Each campervan is named. I love the interiors, many of which are decorated with Cath Kidston things. Snail Trail have kindly agreed for me to use their photos for this post.

Here is ELSIE






Some of you may recognise the caravan in the next set of pictures. It features in the current Joules catalogue. Constance is also available via Snail Trail!


Such beautiful interior! I could see myself being tempted in to caravaning for the first time with a caravan like Constance!

If like me you are interested in VW campervans you may find these links interesting:

The VW campervan is on my wish list but I do need to find out more about it. What are they like to drive? etc. I will just have to hire one for a holiday and find out! I love the idea of it as it would fit in with what we do a lot of at the weekends, exploring the South West of England.

A bientôt!

Isabelle x


Lululiz said...

I think Elsie is my favourite, I just love that colour scheme. And the caravan, well, thats just gorgeous!

English style said...

Well i do'n t like camping at all, but the vw campervan and the caravan " Constance" looks very, very nice !!
lovely colours and interiors :-)
greets Yvonne

Clare said...

Oh I love Constance but even she couldn't pursuade me I'm afraid! I hate camping with a passion especially after spending a night under a small canvas with my other half and our daughter when she was 3..she had a lovely comfy night in the middle of us both taking up all the space! and it was rainy..yuk!A nice homely B and B will do nicely.

Mandy said...

I love them all. They are beautiful x

Donna said...

I love the decor of the campervans but holidaying with a family in such a confined space is not for me!! We had a Hymer motor home for a season while we were house hunting in Devon, 10 years ago. We had one child then and it was a huge vehicle with separate sleeping areas and all mod cons, lovely. When we parked alongside young couples in their VW's I couldn't see us in such a small vehicle even then although my partner said that he had one when small and he regularly holidayed in it, along with his parents and 3 siblings!!!

Hen said...

Ooh, I really enjoyed that. Thanks for showing us the Joules caravan, I loved their catalogue and could see myself setting up their photo shoot (in my dreams!) I have the blue flowery dress, in fact I might wear it to the V&H Fair!
Hope you arrange a holiday in a van/caravan, I'd be very tempted by that caravan. Have you seen Vintage Vacations on the Isle of Wight? We quite fancy staying in one of their Airstream trailers. In fact, I was meant to have organised it for the Summer, oops.
Hen xxx

Moonspinner said...

Constance here I come, they are so cute. That beach picture was soooo inviting. xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Isabelle!
I bought myself a VW campervan three years ago and I have no regrets at all! She was born in 1979 and is a Type2 bay...she's called Daisy and she's gorgeous!!!
In the Summer I take her to festivals and also Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair and with her awning she makes a brilliant shop!
Campers are also perfect for luxury camping too, providing comfort, privacy and self suffiency.
It's also a great canvas to express your creativity...Daisy is two tone emerald green and white on the outside and inside...a girlie haven of retro flowers in pinks,purples and whites!
If your thinking of maybe hiring one to try, there is a firm in Okehampton (just off the A30) that maybe of interest to They have a range, splitties and bays, and basically the idea is you travel to the West Country in your car, leave it there and then pick up your camper to take you into Cornwall or Devon! It's a great concept and lets you try before you buy so to speak!
They really are great fun...not very fast...but hey, holidays are all about life in the slow lane,haha!!!
Go for it, I'd say!
Amanda (Shabby Chick) xx

koralee said...

I am sold!!! I am selling everything I own and moving to the UK... findng a Flo...stopping at all the Jam Tart shops!!!! Do you want to join me? ADORABLE POST!!!! xoxoxo

Sonia ~ Vintage Rose Designs said...

Oh my, Constance is for me... Those vans are too cute. Your spider story is funny though I'm sorry it must have hurt and scared you.

lilylovekin said...

I loved your post. I love how the English call trailers, Caravans. The decorated VW.Vans are to die for. We have a new silver Airstream that I love to death but there is nothing like vintage.

sue15cat said...

What a gorgeous inspiratoinal post. They are all lovely in their own way, but I am in love with Elsie!!

Sue xx

Shabby Chick said...

Fantastic post, I adore campervans! One day when we have some money (positive attitude that it WILL happen!) we are going to get one and now I know how great the interiors can be. I have two pieces of gorgeous Heather Ross campervan fabric. If you're interested they're the third and fourth in from the left on the top row here...

Mel xxx

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Hi Isabelle,
What a great post! I'm with you - camping is not for me either. We had lots of cheap holidays when we were kids by camping, but I hated all that bunk sharing, and the lack of loo facilities and hot baths!
Not sure that the VW would work for us either - a bit tight for a family of 5!!!
PRU in blue with the original retro fabrics does it for me though...

Have a great day,

A Thrifty Mrs said...

I am desperate for a camper van and so is Mr Thrifty so hopefully one day we will have a splurge.
I love Matilda and Betty. Cute as buttons.

Sarah said...

Hello, I love your post. The images are gorgeous.
We have a VW campervan, it's a bit newer than the Bay or Splittie, known as a T25. But she's still 25 years old. She's affectionately called Ruby - most have names, you know. Yes, we like to have her looking good, people peep in the windows when you're out and about, and she definitely has a vintage vibe. But, I think she now needs a crochet blanket for the back seat...

Floss said...

I'd like to own one, but we did look at renting one when we popped back to the UK to visit relatives last summer, and the prices were completely prohibitive! We ended up borrowing some family tents instead - I have to admit I love camping, as there comes a point where All the Work is Done, and I really appreciate that simplicity.

Julie said...

exactly where you are with the whole camping/vw thing. Love the idea, especially the snail trail/oconnors ones that are all decked out with CK, but not sure about the reality of being cold, possibly damp, if not thoroughly wet, and sharing a loo and a shower with a hundred other strangers. Cottage starts to look equally appealing (will just take own CK goodies to prettify!) Check out Happy Campers (book and website) for more eye candy though - definitely makes it tempting to be brave and give it a try!

THIS'N'THAT said...

Hi, Thank you so much for your fantastic feature on campervans!! Ever since I aw 'Constance' in the Joules catalogue I have been hankering after a caravan for This'n'That .. to take places to sell our retro stuff. Of course my husband's blood runs cold at the prospect but you never know... ?!

Julia said...

Hello Isabelle!

Thank you for all the gorgeous pictures, I was practically droooooooling over the ones with all the CK decor inside, complete with crocheted blankets - I could just imagine having a nice pot of tea and then dozing off with a good book and a view of Kynance Cove or somewhere equally enticing through the windows...bliss!!

Theres a little award for you at my blog, if you'd like to stop by sometime and pick it up:)

With love,
Julia xxx

Dawn Supina said...

Hey Isabelle ~ I was on your site earlier this morning very much enjoying your post on VW campers and retro caravans. (*Sigh* wouldn't it be fun to travel the countryside in one of those babies?) Anyway, after reading your post, I went to my site noticed you had left a comment for me regarding the Posy interview I did on my blog. Thanks by stopping by and I'll be back here again soon because I added your blog as a favourite on my blog some time ago.

A Bun Can Dance said...

Hello Isabelle!
This is a great post about the beloved VW campers and camping :-)
I've just posted over at my blog about our camping trip this weekend in our VW camper, Ruby, so do drop by!
I had not been a camping fan before we bought Ruby, but now I love it and the freedom it brings. A camper van is a great way to camp in comfort. Like Julie above, I would recommend The Happy Campers book it is brilliant and I've read it again and again. If you ever want to take a peek inside Ruby let me know, as we are quite close geographically.
Oh yes, have you had any thoughts about the suggested locations and dates for our bloggers afternoon tea?
Have a super duper week and keep up the outstanding blogging!
Denise xx (AKA a very happy camper)

Nora Johnson said...

Hi Isabelle!
Constance is the one for me too - such gorgeous Cath Kidston colours & designs!

Diane said...

Hi there I had a Blue VW Van and I drove it in Florida it was the perfect Beach Island vehicle to have. I too just love them! Soooo much fun
Hugs, Diane

A Vintage Mood said...

My husband loves VW vans and talks about getting one. Not sure if he would take kindly to all the "fluffing" on the inside, though I love it!

Rosemary said...

Very cool!!
I'm not a camper though.
Love all of the photos!
Thanks for visiting me.

Bleudelavande said...

Oooohhhh, I really enjoyed that...fantastic post! My favourite is Elsie! I love that colour scheme!!! Tank you for sharing I dream a holiday with a VW!!!
Tank you for your lovely comment!
Big hug, have a nice day

Nelly said...

Hi I love your post, we have a dub called Erl and there is nothing better than driving him around, you feel a different person,totally chilled out not a care in the world going at his pace along the kind of heaven.

Les Cotrions said...

Hello Isabelle! What a nice post! Camping it isn't for me too!!! The vans are faboulous and so nicely decorated!!! I like your purches too! About's sweet...I don't drink liquors but I'm almost sure about it!
Have a great week end in your faboulous country!
Warm hugs

Fluitenkruid said...

Constance! Camping must be fun in this!

This Vintage Life... said...

Yet another would-be'll love it I'm sure. Such a relaxing thing to do after a hectic day.
Good luck!
Deb x

bekimarie said...

I love Constance, I can just imagine going off for a day or two in her.
Unfortunately my OH can't see the attraction!
Beki xxx

Zita - Mlle Magpie said...

How cool are those vw camper vans that you can rent?!! Love them! Would definitely rent one if I lived closer, like on the same continent at least :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

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I hope it´s ok that i linkingback you on my side
Hugs Tanja

Carole~Maynard Greenhouse said...

gosh what fun VW's. The decor is a hoot. How could one not have in something like that. Thanks for showing them. Makes me want to do some research on the retro campers here. My husband doesn't like camping. I love it. Reminds me of when I was girl scout.

Pixiedust said...

Thanks for such a great post. We'd love a camper van and those pics are stunning, just my idea of heaven. xxxx

Victoria Plum said...

Oh! Campervan heaven!! We are currently trawling ebay for one! My husband has even said I can decorate it with Cath Kidston style goodies!! :)

Nicola Kate said...

What a lovely, good old fashioned site.

My husband and I too, are searching high and low for our own late sixties split camper.

So, if any one out there can guide us in the right direction, have searched most sites but want to buy for this Summer, kit out in CK, Jam Tart etc., and snail down to Devon & Cornwall.

I used to go caravanning as a child with my mother, dad hated it, but it was one my most precious memories, just me and my mum.

PS Trying to find retro tin mugs? Can anybody help?

Thank you.

Bridget said...

Tha's so beautiful and inspiring! It's remind to me Enid Blyton's books of my childhood, dreams of adventures, escape, liberty...
I discover your blog with enthousiasm!!!

Jackie said...

My camping days are over but every now and then I think it might benice..then I remember the misery of getting into a chilly sleeping bag,waking up in the night with a frozen nose and waking up in the morning to a blisteringly hot tent if the sun is out.
It would be nice to have one of the camper vans in the picture parked in the garden as a little haven.

Anonymous said...

Hello Isabelle.

I've enjoyed reading your blog and looking at the pictures. For me, it's vintage caravans, rather than vintage campers. At the minute, I have five - one from 1933, one from 1938, two from 1949 and one from 1958. We are members of the Historic Caravan Club and, as well as showing the caravans at vintage shows, use all of them for ordinary holidays. All of them are equipped with items from the period in which they were built, so quite a lot of time is spent scouring antique centres and car boot sales for all the bits and pieces they need. You start to realise what you don't need in life; none of our vans has electricity so we still use gas lights, meat safes and old Roberts radios for the Archers on a Sunday morning! We're off to the Autumn Fair in Malvern next weekend for the final outing of the year in our 1949 Burlingham caravan.

Basia said...

nice photos! i've been looking for some photos of caravanes because i want to remake my own caravane. if you now where i can found more photos please let me know!!!!

homeiswhereyouparkit said...

Hi Isabelle,
Great campervan blog! We have owned several Vw campervans over the years & wouldn't contemplate driving anything else now. They are such fun & we always get a great reaction from all sorts of people! Although the Snailtrail vans look pretty they are not the original 70's versions but Brazilian reproductions. As avid VW fans, we would recommend others to hire an original one as they are of superior quality and drive much better. Some friends of ours joined us for a camping trip & hired an original 70's VW from Kombi Klassics in Wareham, Dorset & we had a fantastic trip along the Jurassic Coast. They are now looking to buy one!

cazpoo said...

We have just bought our first campervan, It's not a VW but very similar to the VW transporter hightop. I was looking for some Ideas and came across your blog. Some very beautiful interiors and some great work by yourself, well done and thanks for sharing.

Thrift Bee said...

OMG. What a faboulous post. Came to you via pinterest.Pinned your post to my new 'camper van dream' board. Am now following you. Will be back tonight for a good root around.