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Our Family Caravan – Inside and Out

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Olpro sent me some cleaning products for the caravan, so I thought as some of my readers are caravanners and some aren’t, I would combine a review and a tour in one.

First things first, we bought our van in 2010,  a Swift Freestyle, but caravan decor got left in the 80s somewhere and much as I wanted to re-upholster and make it a funky modern space, I ran out of time. Regardless, it’s a very cleverly designed family caravan, a place to be together, to relax. We live in suburbia all week, at the weekend I need to escape it.

Lots of people think caravanning is not cool, mainly because of that bloke off Top Gear, but after talking to lots of people who had a family caravan as a child, we realised everyone who grew up with a caravan couldn’t stop talking about the adventures they had as a family.  We had a campervan before this, but we outgrew it and it was chilly outside of July- August. Our caravan is very toasty, so we can go away all year round, but L still likes to take her slippers and her best PJs.

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A small space means the kids have to be creative about how to play, but they spend most their time outdoors exploring.

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They have bunks at the back which they love, and a table at the back to themselves with a cupboard full of treasures they love to rediscover each trip. This layout of this family caravan is brilliant – we knew instantly it was what we wanted. There is a concertina door so you can separate back and front of the caravan.

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Max the greyhound sleeps wherever he finds a quiet corner, on the sofa, under the back table, on the floor, on the bed if we don’t get there first. For a big dog he fits in brilliantly. Mugs take on new significance when camping. These dotty ones are perfect for the first huge cup of the day. But I like proper china ones too, as tea just tastes better in proper cups.

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We have a fridge, an oven and it even came with a microwave. We don’t have a telly, but we do take some cartoons on the iPad.

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The front sofa area converts to a dining area by flipping out the extra work surface on top of the small table.  A track of wooden slats pulls out from under this table, between the sofas making a double bed at night.

L did a tour about two years ago, which I have been meaning to post.

Outside – The Olpro Test

We store our caravan on a campsite locally, the storage is outside so it does get really dirty – algae, muck from trees, bird poo.  Every year we kick ourselves for not getting a cover or indoor storage – turns out, as well as cleaning products Olpro make Winter Long – a biodegradeable product that makes a biostatic film to protect your caravan like a cover would do – result!

This weekend marked the grand clean out. Olpro sent us these fab products to test.

We put Fresh and Clear into the water tank to sanitise the system as we knew we would be flushing through lots of water to wash the van. We got to work with Inside and Out, which, as it says on the ‘tin’ is an all purpose cleaner that can be used to clean outside and inside surfaces, windows, fabric, floors, wheels. No need for lots of products which take up precious space.

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The muck came of really easily with Inside and Out, there was no need for hard scrubbing or elbow grease. I would recommend marigolds and microfibre cloths – they really make the job easier too.

Look at the results, one setting sun shimmering in the reflection of one shiny caravan.

We need to get some steps so we can properly reach the roof, but hey, as Mr A says, no-one can see that bit 😉

Good as new!

It may not be Winter but I decided to cover the caravan in Winter Long anyway, as I know what we are like, and that come October it will be the last thing we want to do. One caravan needs half a bottle so I can always top it up with the other half. I will report back on how it goes!

The chemical toilet fluid Bottom and Top Plus, is also more environmentally friendly than the one that came with our van,  and has a handy measuring device – so that’s another result. The benefit of this product is that it can go in the bottom and top of the chemical toilet unit, in the bottom of the tank it keeps things fresh and at the top it appears when you flush the toilet – again no need for separate bottle of fluid.

The practical stuff

Apart from the practical stuff, Olpro supply a wide range of rather cool camping, glamping and caravan gear. Their shop is here.

The caravan is clean and sparkly and I can’t wait to go away again now.

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20 Comments

  • Reply Andrea

    I am so jealous – we would love a touring caravan, it’s on our to do list!! We currently have a static caravan and we love it! These products look fab too 🙂

    06/05/2014 at 8:02 am
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      Oooh I would love a static too, very tempted by this idea. We saw some in Wales and I was so tempted to sell up!

      06/05/2014 at 11:25 am
  • Reply MummyNeverSleeps

    Blimey – what a difference! I remember many absolutely not fun or easy times cleaning my best friend’s caravan in freezing cold water and washing up liquid! Love the chilled out, simple ways of staying in a caravan – such a special thing to share with your kids 🙂

    06/05/2014 at 8:44 am
  • Reply Nikki Thomas

    Wow that really is a huge difference. I would love a caravan, I love the idea of just wandering off wherever and whenever you want.

    06/05/2014 at 9:16 am
  • Reply Mum of One

    I remember visiting a caravan park as a child for a holiday with my cousin and was one of my most favourite trips. I cannot persuade Mr B to give it a go though 🙁

    06/05/2014 at 9:23 am
  • Reply becky

    Looks a great caravan penny and I’ve stayed in a few!

    06/05/2014 at 9:44 am
  • Reply Mummy Barrow

    I NEED a caravan. I have often thought that we should buy one, or a camper van. The idea of having your own space but still being able to camp really appeals to me.

    As does having my own loo.

    06/05/2014 at 10:43 am
  • Reply Nikki Thomas

    I love the idea of having a caravan; the freedom to go where you want and when you want. The difference is amazing after you cleaned it! Happy holidays x

    06/05/2014 at 10:51 am
  • Reply Uju @BabesaboutTown

    Love getting a sneak peek into your ‘second home’. To be honest it had never occurred to me to get a caravan, but after becoming a camping festival convert and also being a street foodie family, it does sound like a lovely idea. Yours is looking very sparkly now!

    06/05/2014 at 11:23 am
  • Reply Liz Burton

    We had a caravan as a kid and although there were some almighty holiday rows, I can remember lots of happy memories.

    I’d love to have one now for my family. Do you keep it on your driveway? That would be the only thing worrying me, having to look at it every day!

    06/05/2014 at 11:45 am
  • Reply Pinkoddy

    I never knew you had a caravan, those products certainly do make a difference. My mom used to own a caravan and I too have fond childhood memories – maybe one day we will get our own.

    06/05/2014 at 1:21 pm
  • Reply Penny Carr

    Now, years ago I would have laughed at people who went off on a caravanning holiday. Now I find myself reading blog posts like this and dreaming of just heading off somewhere with the family. My father would turn in his grave if he knew!

    06/05/2014 at 1:44 pm
  • Reply Mari

    I love this post Penny, I feel like I’ve been to stay. We too have used the Olpro products to get our ‘van’ ready for the summer. We have a second old girl for now but will be looking to upgrade to a swisher model next year as we love the life that our caravan lets us lead. Paris this summer and who knows where else?

    06/05/2014 at 3:39 pm
  • Reply Sandy Calico

    Wow, Penny. I’m almost tempted to show this to my husband and suggest we get a caravan x

    06/05/2014 at 7:27 pm
  • Reply Emma

    I’d love a caravan, so much freedom to go wherever! xx

    06/05/2014 at 8:16 pm
  • Reply Chris at Thinly Spread

    Oh I love this! As you know, we have a boat – sailing is camping on speed 😉 I think I may need some Olpro products to give us a spruce!

    06/05/2014 at 8:22 pm
  • Reply Jane @ northernmum

    Oh I feel all clean now! Just like the caravan x x

    06/05/2014 at 9:36 pm
  • Reply Ruth

    Wow! When I saw that first picture of your grubby caravan I thought you’d be spending weeks scrubbing it, but the Olpro must be magic stuff because it really is sparkling by the last one! I have a soft spots for caravans too – my Grandpa had one when I was a child and even though it never actually left his driveway, it was my favourite place to play as a little girl – we used to have picnic dinners out in it for a treat, and imagine ourselves in all sorts of exotic places! xx

    06/05/2014 at 11:27 pm
  • Reply otilia

    Ah you are living my dream! I so want caravan to travel everywhere!

    07/05/2014 at 5:00 am
  • Reply Peggy Reinvented

    I reckon I would love caravan-ing; I was really interested to hear that everyone who grew up with a caravan couldn’t stop talking about the adventures they had as a family. My kids miss the boat and still talk about it. But I can just imagine us all taking off for adventures in a caravan instead!

    07/05/2014 at 6:48 pm
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