Podlife

As we love doing new things, we thought it would be fun to spend our one year anniversary camping glamping. We always wanted to go (its on our bucket list) and what better opportunity to do it. I read that Canopy and Stars was the ideal place to book something like this. After browsing the site and drooling over many of the secluded yurts, teepees and treehouses, we knew the Loveland Pod was for us as soon as we saw it.

“Loveland Farm is a fabulous place to get back to nature, and go camping in the most stylish fashion possible. You can meet not only the abundance of indigenous flora and fauna but also owners Karina and Jeff’s own menagerie of pigs, chickens, ducks and water buffalo! In an unrelated matter, you can purchase eggs and bacon on site from time to time. The Pod itself a recent addition that came from the sight of wooden pods hanging from trees in Canada.

The Pod is indeed high off the ground. On one corner of the deck the drop is almost 30ft, so please take care. Inside, Karina and Jeff’s design background is evident in every aspect of the lovingly crafted pod. Although they dialled back their involvement with major brands when they moved to the country, they still have their own label, Griffin, and the Pod is clearly decorated with a professional stylist’s eye. Lighting in the deck picks out the white canvas and the broad window that shows views of the river and the meadow below. To add the cinematic impact of the pod, you have a projector screen on hand for your own private pod-based movie nights! Your own kitchenette and eco loo are on the deck and just a few steps away respectively.”

a sneak peek

a sneak peek

Day 1 (Friday 26th April 2013):

Having travelled from London to celebrate our special occasion and to get a feel for the countryside, this surpassed our expectations. The closer you get, the narrower the roads get and the more secluded you get. This is the view upon arrival. If you look closely you can see the pod on its wooden decked platform and the huge solar panel which provides hot water and electricity (weather dependant).

Geodome aka our pod!

Geodome aka our pod!

This isn’t your normal camping trip. First of all you don’t need a tent as this is where you will be staying. Welcome to THE LOVELAND POD in Devon (north of Bude). Upon arrival, we were greeted by our hosts, Karina and Jeff Griffin. Karina showed us into and around our pod and my thoughts were “woooooooooooooooow”.

What sold it for us;

  • Luxurious feeling, cool looking and very spacious pod.
  • Hot running water is provided in the outdoor, private and powerful shower
  • A log fire (we didnt realise how important this would be to us)
  • The large projector for movie nights (which also hooks up to your iPod)
  • WIFI
  • Activities in the surrounding areas

Karina and Jeff both mentioned a lovely walk down to Hartland Quays, which we were eager to do after dumping our bags so off we went (with a map Jeff borrowed us). However the walk was not as scenic as we thought and after coming to the conclusion we would miss dinner if we went the whole way, we looped back on ourselves.

Grounded out

Grounded out

We were organised food-wise and did a basic Tesco shop before we left London for all our essential vegetables and fruits. Though there are shops in Hartland, a 5 minute drive away, if you want to pick any bits up, which we found ourselves doing on our first evening in search of some chicken. We went into town looking for a butchers but to no avail and thought dinner was ruined going to be a pile of vegetables. However, these little shops are deceiving, they sell everything from nail cutters, to newspapers to chicken. Thank god dinner was saved.

We finally make it back to the pod to cook our dinner of rice, chicken and vegetables. The pod kitchen area is all outside and has;

  • an electric hob for frying/ boiling food (just like a normal gas hob)
  • fridge, sink, cutlery and crockery
  • dustbins (recycling ones too)
  • kettle & toaster
  • bbq
our cooking and eating area

our cooking and eating area

It was a new and interesting experience cooking outside. You just have to remember to wrap up warm and try to start cooking earlier rather than later if possible, to avoid it getting too cold (weather dependant). After stuffing my face with the chicken taking a few pictures of our kitchen area, Karina and Jeff were soon round to show us how to use the log fire burner. They set the projector up for us too (we watched Madagascar 2). Our first night was a bit disorientating as we were settling into country life. The boy was in charge of refuelling the log fire while I made us hot water bottles for bed. Getting out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the loo, was a strange but fun experience (when you gotta go, you gotta go!)

yummy breakfast and yummy view

yummy breakfast and yummy view

Day 2 (Saturday 27th April 2013):

I was lucky enough to have breakfast cooked for me the whole time we were away. The picture shows one of our breakfasts with mackerel, eggs, Karina & Jeff’s roast ham and choc chip weetabix – yummy. We were fuelling ourselves up for the big calorie burning day we were about to face.

The Tarka Trail is a series of footpaths and cyclepaths around north Devon. The trails are a popular tourist destination and bicycle hire businesses are available for those who wish to cycle along suitable sections of the trail.

Tarka Trail - done!

Tarka Trail – done!

Instow

Instow

We used Bideford Bike Hire and would recommend them. We started at Bideford (East-the-Water) and headed east via Instow pursuing Barnstaple. We stopped for more food lunch at a yummy seafood restaurant on the sea front then continued cycling. We passed Yelland, Freminton Quay and superb views across the mouth of the Taw Estuary.

We enjoyed a very tasty home made ham joint for dinner – courtesy of Karina & Jeff. This pic is courtesy of Karina & Jeff too. We had some ham left over which we had the following morning with our breakfast. Ham is so versatile and there are so many ways you can eat it. Roasted pork joint. Grilled ham chunks. In the form of bacon and sausages, which we also enjoyed. Karina invited me into her house to choose which sausages we wanted – chorizo, italian, breakfast…spoilt for choice much?! The sausages were an amazing taste. They were so meaty. They tasted NOTHING like the packaged ones you get in Sainsburys or Tescos. You will not want Walls sausages anymore!

pod projector!!!

pod projector!!!

We set our film up on the projector (yep, you guessed…Madagascar 3!) done our hot water bottles, piled up the wood on the log fire, got some munchies for the film, made our hot chocolates and got comfy. This was definitely such an amazing part of our day – retiring to bed with warmth, big screen movie (although Madagascar 3 was a let down) and each other. QT.

Day 3 (Sunday 28th April 2013):

getting kitted out for surfing

getting kitted out for surfing

Today we were going surfing for the first time ever on Summerleaze Beach, Bude. Neither of us have surfed before. We were the only two on the lesson so we were getting proper one to one advice with our coach which was exactly what we needed. Before hitting the water, our coach showed us how to mount our board and start paddling when we see a wave coming. He demonstrated this to us on the sand, we copied and it seemed like a doddle.

post surfing - frozen and battered

post surfing – frozen and battered

Then it was time to apply the theory in the water. As both of us are quite fit and have done marathons and triathlons, we thought – “how hard can this be?” Haha. I laughed because otherwise I would have stomped off cried. Oh my gosh, it was so hard. The waves were bashing, drowning and quenching our thirst all in one go. Dont let that put you off because its lots and lots of fun. After falling off our surfboards many times and getting drowned under the waves, it was time to try and stand up. Again, this seemed easy when our coach showed us on the sand but was really really difficult in the water. It takes a lot of core work, patience, determination and willpower.  We had to cut our lesson short because we were absolutely frozen to the bone but our coach said we done well considering the conditions. The surfing season was 3 weeks behind due to the weather and this was reflected in the coldness of the sea. We definitely caught the surfing bug and will return in September once the sea has been warmed up over the summer. We watched Dhobi Ghat tonight, an interesting account of four peoples lives in Mumbai, then bed. Tonight it rained and it was so cool being in the pod hearing the pitter patter. Something very tranquil about being in the outdoors and connecting with mother nature.

loveland farm

loveland farm

Day 4 (Monday 29th April 2013):

Karina showed us her farm. How exciting it was too. Who knew chickens were so big and pigs so small but cute. Karina called her buffloes over they trudged along to show us their very chilled out faces.

hartland quays

hartland quays

We visited Hartland Quays before leaving and will let the pictures do the talking. A true piece of untouched beauty. Some people leave the country to get views like this when they are right here on our doorstep. I love seeing more of England and it was amazing to get a glimpse of the outdoors.

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