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Sleep Under the Stars, Church Farm, Ardeley

It has seemed like a rather dismal school holiday this summer, with rain, damp and cold making outfoor living feature rather less heavily than usual on our agenda.

We were truly lucky the weekend before Bank Holiday on a mini camping break in pretty Hertfordshire, with a wonderful family environment, music, vodka, and the best star gazing we’ve seen in a while. The weather held right until pack up on sunday, and we even saw a shooting star (in amongst the myriad aircraft waiting to land at Luton) on the Friday.

The farm is a great location for campers – not too far from the city, but idyllic with working animals, pretty tea rooms, a well stocked famr shop and otsof kids activities. The Sleep Under the Stars weekend also boasts a bar, homemade flavoured vodka (try the tarragon if you get a chance – odd, but delicious), bonfire, and live music. Yes, portaloos, but very clean and tidy, and portable hot showers made this a really pleasant venue, and the kids loved yomping through hay bales and saying good morning to the piglets.

There is also alovely country pub opposite the entrance to the farm, The Jolly Waggoner, with excellent pub grub and traditional ales.

Coleman Double Airbed

The trip proved to be the perfect opportunity to try out our latest airbed, the Coleman Durarest Raised Double. The bed is a tough, high level double with soft velour effect top with a coil support system, and has its own wrap and carry bag attached for easy pack away.

Despite not having a built in or included pump, which actually I think is a shame for the price, this is a lovely, quality airbed. It held its shape beautifully, was very comfortable and warm, and supported an adult and child with no roll together even after several days. Ours is a fetching sea blue, and the attached carry bag makes it a cinch to pack away fast.