Weekend Away

We finally got to get away for a weekend, after finally settling in and having no visitors planned, we managed to sort a weekend together doing fun stuff. We had the Skywire booked at the Eden Project, then Sunday in Perranporth surfing.

Can’t get over how easy it is to now get to Cornwall! After it taking about 4 – 5 hours to get to Devon from where we used to live, we never really went to Cornwall as the journey would be too long for just the weekend. It only took 2 and half hours to get to the Eden Project from home which felt like nothing.

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We booked the tickets in advance to save money. We arrived with loadsss of time before our Skywire slot so we had a drink and a snack in the visitors centre (I was trying not to panic too much over the ziplining)

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The Skywire is located at the Hangloose Centre, you can book onto these activities without having to go into the actual Eden Project which is good to know for the future in case I have a mad phase and decide I want to go and do something else like the Freefall (highly unlikely, sorry Joe!) We checked in, had our bags stored and then we were weighed so they could label us (I thought it was strange at first but it’s down to how you then travel down the line, either tucked in or arms out etc) You are harnessed up and then driven up to the  start tower. It’s not a standard zipline as you lie on your front for this.

Joe GoPro’d it when he went down and then filmed me from the bottom when I came down. I didn’t realise how far it went across the whole Eden estate, the views were amazing! I impressed myself I kept my eyes open all the way, I did squeal all the way down but I enjoyed it so much, it’s one of the best things I have done. I had to tuck in my arms to make me go faster against the wind, and I think it did about 60mph which was crazy!

When we had both had a minute to take in what we had done we headed back down to start our adventure round the Eden Project itself.

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We were sooo lucky with the weather, it was perfect for walking around without a jacket on and we sat outside with a picnic too. The domes were our favourite part, really interesting as I love plants.

If you can’t put loads of pictures on your blog then where can you?

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When we saw this little Baobab Hut we thought we should try one, I picked the Rum cocktail but it wasn’t to my taste! It was literally Baobab smoothie with a small drop of Rum in it, I’m not really a fan of the smoothie texture but luckily Joe liked it so it didn’t go to waste.

The Med dome was just like being on holiday inside, all stone steps and cacti plants etc.

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We had a drink in the Med bar/restaurant before we finished the day.

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The drive to Perranporth was only about 35 mins and the campsite was lovely. It was short walk to the beach so we set up the camp then walked to the beach for a drink before we did a BBQ back at the van. We have found places where we can just rough it so next time we will do that rather than taking the whole set up.

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Took the gazebo for a bit of shelter when we did dinner and the windbreaks could have been a good idea but they broke as soon as Joe hammered them in the ground

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Luckily we had some bungee cords in the van drawer so Joe attached the windbreak to the gazebo pole for some support, grateful of the shield from the wind as it was quite strong. It felt so good to sleep in the van again, we both agreed we sleep better in there than in our flat for some reason!

Our ceiling still isn’t finished but that worked well as we were able to attach our light to it (my Grandma gave it to me and I love it and it can be like a strip light or torch)

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When the ceiling is sorted we will have to reconsider a light arrangement as I kept banging my head on it even though it was at the end of the bed, so I might just end up using it as a torch in future.

Surf was wild on Sunday, it was a really misty rough morning but Joe still went in for a bit.

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We had a drink at The Watering Hole which is a bar on the beach before having a pasty and heading back to Ilfracombe.

It was such a great weekend, it’s just the getting home and carrying all the camping stuff to the top floor haha! Can’t wait to do more of this, please stay tuned as we explore more of the South West.

Becky & Joe

We are Back!

Apologies for the lack of posting. We have had a wild few months. I had to have an emergency operation to remove my appendix, we holidayed in Croatia and then we quit our jobs and moved into a great little flat in Ilfracombe to start a new life by the sea.. so y’know, nothing major haha!

I have felt bad for not posting anything but due to the run up to moving and being poorly we haven’t really had time to go on any adventures and document it but as of this weekend that will now all change as we are now so close to the places we love and the South Coast that we will have no excuse not to enjoy things and get out there!

We chose to live in Ilfracombe as it is only 10 minutes away from our favourite beach at Woolacombe, the housing is affordable, it is close to the town of Barnstaple where Joe is working and from our flat it is a 3 minute walk to the sea front so we are getting the best of both worlds. Our flat is really ideally located (even though it is on the top floor and it is exactly 49 steps.. but at least we will be getting fit) we are close to a supermarket, the high street, the sea and most importantly.. pubs!

We have been here for a month now and loving it. We both knew it was perfect for us as we are able to have a better lifestyle compared to where we used to live in Nottinghamshire. We can now go surfing after work and the drive home is minimum (usually driving “home” from Woolacombe to where we used to live took 4 hours so we are now definitely living the dream!) We have never once sat and thought we have made the wrong decision. I urge anyone who has ever wanted to do something like this to do it! Life is too short and there is never the perfect time. We just made the best of everything that happened in the run up to the move and we couldn’t be happier now.

I can’t wait for all the adventures we will be able to go on and all the parts of Devon and Cornwall we will be able to discover now places are so much closer. We have planned a trip to the Eden Project this weekend coming which is going to be great. We have both been when we were little but can barely remember it so it’s going to be lovely to go again. We are planning on doing the Zip Line when we are there (I honestly don’t know why I agree to these things but least I will be able to say I’ve done it) and then head over to Perranporth to stop over and surf.

It’s going to be so much fun being in the van again, I don’t think I sleep as well as I do when I’m in the van for some reason! We have booked a campsite for the night this time instead of roughing it, just to treat ourselves but it will be just as good!

Please keep checking our page for updates now, like I say, I have no excuse not to update you on our adventures as we will be having loads!

Becky & Joe

Hideaway Table

We haven’t fell off the face of the earth, we managed to do some work on the van today! Other things seemed to become a priority so we decided that today we would make something for the van and also make the most of the good weather.

After having a few trips out in it, we decided that we needed some sort of surface to put plates and to prepare food on as well as the shelf that we have the stove on. Joe had some pine in the garage and some ideas so we (read: him whilst I drank gin) set to work.

It’s been such a lovely day that most jobs could be done outside in the sun, with the help of a little someone…

Joe sanded the pine smooth and the edges are lovely and curved. I stained it the same colour as the walls so it will blend in, dried super quick too which was great as we weren’t having to wait around for paint to dry

The basic idea was to have the wood hinged so it folded down off the wall. Our slight hinderances were how to make it level once it was folded down and then how to keep it clipped in place when we wanted it folded away.

Our first idea was to use a metal bracket to keep it level when folded out but that meant it was screwed on show and it just looked a bit odd to me

Don’t get me wrong, it did the job but I just wasn’t happy with it. Joe did manage to find some clips (the ones we were originally going to use for the drawers under the bed) so we had a way of clipping it up when not in use. We are hoping that it will be strong enough to hold whilst driving, time will tell but we don’t see why not!

Joe’s idea as an alternative to the metal bracket was to make one out of wood

It may be bigger than the metal one but I think it flows a lot better and is a lot less obvious than a random piece of metal stuck out.

It supports it a lot more too, gives it more strength than just the small metal one.

(Excuse the shoddy wheel arch boxing, it’s in need of another coat of paint) 

We both sat down on the sofa and it’s the perfect size for eating and also preparing food.

We are planning on a surf trip next weekend (weather and waves permitting) so will be trying it out properly then to put it to the test!

Becky&Joe

First trip of 2017!

We got back yesterday from our first trip of 2017! We went down to Woolacombe on Friday night for 3 nights and it was perfect

We packed the van when I got home from work, Joe fixed the boards on the roof, filled the coolbox and we were off. For an early birthday present, Joe got some Kanu Locks which are lockable straps to secure our boards to the roof but are great because they can’t be cut and they are locked with a key so no one can steal the boards whilst we are sleeping or out and about.

The first drawer is the perfect size to fit a weekends worth of clothes in for both of us and it’s good because they are kept out of the way.

The drive down wasn’t bad to say it was a Friday night and we made good time, we parked up on the Esplanade at about half 11.

Setting the bed up was a dream, everything just went so smoothly. We took our proper bedding with us as I find sleeping bags uncomfortable and we thought we might as well make ourselves at home! The insulation blinds stayed up for 3 days, keeping all the moisture out and keeping the heat in which was great. We were waking up too hot which I actually prefer! The cushions were really comfy, I slept super well. We were both a bit worried “what if they werent comfy” and “what if the bed doesn’t work that well” because we spent so much time and money into it but we shouldn’t have been so silly cos the whole thing is exactly what we were expecting.

My favourite part of roughing it on the roadside in Woolacombe is when in the morning you slide the side door open and see the sea. I wish we could get that everyday (not always best when you are comfy in bed and need a wee though because the sound of the waves crashing really doesn’t help!) 

Saturday morning we headed to the Red Barn for breakfast as we knew it was “the big breakfast” which meant all proceeds went to the North Devon Hospice. We had planned to go self sufficient for breakfast and lunches but the Red Barn do a mean fry up and donating to charity at the same time was the perfect excuse to go.

The weather was exactly what we wanted, mild with no wind and occasional bursts of sun. Getting into wetsuits outside the van was comfortable and noone got too cold. The waves were pretty big compared to what I’m used to, seen as though I am still a beginner but we both had so much fun and were in there for a good few hours.
After wrestling out of wetsuits we put them on the bonnet, started the engine and plugged in our coolbox and charged phones for a bit in the hope that it would also dry our wetsuits (it surprisingly helped a lot which was ideal because we knew we would need them the next day too) We had planned a chicken curry for lunch as its quick and easy and also warming to stop us getting too dithery from the sea.

I left Joey D’campo in charge of the cooking whilst I ran to the chippy for a portion of chips to accompony the curry.

It was seriously yummy, and we were both so impressed with how easy it is to cook in the van, sure it’s only a jar of sauce and some chicken breasts but with only 1 gas stove and minimum equipment it worked soo well.

And it was warm enough to eat outside and watch the surfers.

A nifty thing the seats can do is go in lounge position which means both of us can lie on the sofa instead of us both sat up or one on the sofa and one on the camping chair. Basically the extension flap is bought up with the driver and passenger seats bought back and this means we can lean against them.

Ideal to have both the back doors open and look at the view or even just look out the side door.

Dinner in the Red Barn is lovely, their normal menu is full of really tasty dishes but we both like to choose something from the special board. I had salmon and crayfish tagliatelle and Joe had a sweet and sour pork. They were both to die for. 

The pub itself is really casual, the food I’ve pictured makes it look really fancy but its a surf bar. There are surf boards lining the ceiling, they have live music on, it’s not a fancy restaurant by any means but their food is high quality.

It’s always busy too, even out of season, it was full. Granted we didn’t have to wait for a table like in Summer but there was still a decent amount of people in.

Sunday started a bit rainy but at 7am its not a big deal. For all the ladies out there that have to base their camping around toilets you should really invest in a Shewee, it allows you to wee standing up which is great because there is nothing worse than having to squat down. It allows you to relieve yourself without having to remove any clothing. I swear by mine and I also used another one of my discoveries on Sunday morning which is called a PeeBol as it was too light in a mornig to wee outside and also too early for toilets to be open but basically its a bag which you can wee in, you can seal it up and then the wee solidifies after a few minutes and its safe to throw in any general waste bin. You can apparently seal it and keep adding to it until the 1l bag is full but even I drew the line at keeping a bag of wee in the van. Now it may be too much information but when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go and I think they are such a useful tool to have! Ladies, invest in one!

We had a leisurley morning and cooked our own breakfast in the van before having a mooch round the shops, quick g&t then into the sea for more surfing (or bodyboarding in my case to mix it up a bit)

Sunday afternoon was spent in the Red Barn (again!) for scones and clotted cream and gin. I tried a Cornish gin as Joe picked it for me at the bar seen as though we were down South (I know we were in Devon before you think my geography is that bad but there wasn’t any Devonshire gins on offer)! and it was really tasty. I will definitely be having that again when I’m down.

Monday morning wasn’t like any usual Monday morning, firstly it was Joe’s birthday (which meant he got a candle in his bacon and eggs) but also Joe was able to go for an early morning surf before we headed home. I think he wishes he could do that every morning, be in the sea at 6.30am and have bacon and eggs at 8am watching the waves but reality was looming.

The beach was so peaceful at that time. I packed the van away and then headed down to watch Joe surf. I stupidly took my shoes off to walk down the sand and oh what an error.. the sand was soo cold! I don’t know why I thought it wouldn’t be but I manned up and stood and watched Joe whilst thinking of ways to warm my toes (marching on the spot seemed to help, may have looked a bit odd to the dog walkers who passed by though haha)

All in all we had such a fantastic weekend, laughing constantly and both smelling together due to no showering for 3 days but roughing it on the roadside in our Caddy Camper is where we are happiest.

Becky & Joe

What We’ve Been Waiting For..

Yesterday was a very exciting day as we were able to pick up our upholstry! Granted it was a bit later than we were expecting and it meant Joe had to go on his way home from work but we’ve got them, and just in time for our weekend away!

We had them done at Regal Furnishings which is based in Ilkeston. They specialise in caravan/motorhome, yachts, RV’s etc so we knew we had made the right choice as they obviously know what they’re doing. It’s not far from us so it was also really convenient to organise collecting.
Their website is www.regalfurnishings.co.uk/  if anyone is interested in checking them out. This isn’t a paid promotion for them but we are both just so impressed with the quality of what we recived, the service there is great. Mick sorted us out, helped with the price and gave us a lot of advice before we made the final decision.

We love them! We decided on the grey being the main colour, firstly to make it lighter as we were worried a lot of the blue would make it feel a little dark in such a small space, and secondly it really goes with the grey of the dash and the front seat so everything flows really well.

Diamond stitching was on the top of the list if what we wanted. We both thought it would make the cushions a lot more interesting and gives it a bit of depth, instead of just a flat plain cushion.
They are vinyl, we looked at the real leather (then thought we would probably need a massive bank loan to fund it) so settled for vinyl, it looks exactly the same, was cheaper and it’s wipe clean so instead of having cloth which we didn’t think would have been ideal, especially with sand and mud and water ending up in the back it would be a nightmare! The foam is 4inches thick, we were advised that this is one of the most common sizes for caravans and its also comfy and not too thick so we can still sit up ok.

They are all fitted with a zip too which is great just in case we ever need to replace the foam or have to access the foam for some reason. (I know it’s usually to wash them but I doubt we will ever put the cushions in the washing machine)

We had a little extension cushion made too. We only wanted it plain grey as it will only come out when we are using the bed so didn’t see the point in more work to have diamond stitching on that too.
Obviously, us being us, we can’t just get something and be 100% happy, we had to figure something out to fix it to the walls and then we could sit back and be content.

We had bought a box of strong velcro that we thought would be ideal, however the velcro itself didn’t stay on the vinyl so it was back to the drawing board. Also us being us, it had to include power tools and wood.

We came up with the idea of slipping some wooden battens inside the cushions (thankful for the zips!) then screwing the velcro on the outside of the cushion through to the wood to make it secure. We did two, one on each side of the cushion.

Next job was then screwing the other side of the velcro on to the wall. This now means you can rip the cushions off without the velcro coming off, it’s perfect! We did a few test pulls to make sure it was sturdy enough, and it is!
We wanted to get it done last night as we are slowly running out of time before the weekend, tonight will be packing, packing, packing!

Stay tuned for a round up next week about our first weekend away of 2017!
Becky&Joe

(don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to see our most recent pics – caddycamper.blog)

Homemade Insulation Blinds

I spent Saturday afternoon making my own insulating window blind things for the side windows and windscreen. Just thankful I had mainly an inside task due to it being cold!

I’ve seen them online for just over £60 for the full set but thought I would have a go at making my own to save some money and because I knew we need them within the next couple of weeks as our first over night stay of the year is coming up! (I thought if I did a rubbish job then I would have to bite the bullet and actually buy some)

I bought a roll of foil bubble wrap insulation, a roll of foil tape and a pack of window suction cup things. In total I spent £28 (I haven’t used the full roll of the tape or insulation though)

I made a template out of newspaper, which was really difficult with Storm Doris blowing around, trying to tape the paper to the window to stop it blowing must have been a hilarious show for the neighbors.
Once I had the initial template for one of the side windows I just used it for both which saved time and also stress of wrestling with more newspaper!

I basically drew the shape on the insulation twice as I wanted to do a double layer to make it thicker and then stick them together with the foil tape around the edges to make it all neat and secure. To attach the suckers I poked a hole through each corner and pushed the sucker through and then taped it on the inside so they wouldn’t come off.

The windscreen was the easiest part of the job due to it being 2 rectangle pieces and a small thin piece to fit in the middle under the rear view mirror. I had to do it in 3 pieces due to the roll of insulation only being a certain measurement wide, and also the mirror is also in a bit of an awkward place for blind making but the 3 pieces works for now. They slot behind the passenger seat so there’s no worry of them getting lost

I know they aren’t the prettiest or neatest that they could be but they do the job, I left them up all Saturday night to make sure the suckers were big enough and they stayed up all night which I was impressed by. (Actually made something that works!)

We are both please with how much more space we seem to have inside, we used to just tuck an old sheet up from the overhead shelf over the front seats but that meant the front seats themselves were blocked off and it made it feel really closed in so I can’t wait to try them out properly soon.

Becky&Joe

Sorting Out Drawers

Today was spent out in Doris (soo windy!), doing more work on the drawers in the bed frame.

What needed to be done was: sorting out clips to secure the drawers, handles to fit and then panelling to paint and fix.

We had previously fixed some smaller drawer clips on, the type you get in caravans but it just wasn’t working for us. They still rattled and we didn’t want them to come open whilst driving so we needed something with a bit more about it. Joe got some clips like the ones he uses at work in the kitchens he fits. As you can see in the picture below they are a lot bigger and do the job better! I’m going to have really strong arms after opening them!

On our Instagram page we put quite a few photos up so some of you may have seen the drawers already in, but they now have solid oak drawer fronts and we fitted panneling around them to really make it look flowing.

First job was getting them cut down to fit then it was on to the painting.. not ideal weather to be letting them dry outside due to it spitting with rain so we lit the log burner in the dining room to help them on their way!

I think the wood and blue combination is lovely, compliments each other well. 

The drawers handles were just standard ones from B&Q, we knew we needed some to really get a hold of, I wanted some unusual colourful knobs at first but knew they wouldn’t be practical. Joe had to order some special bolts as we needed the bolts to go right through the drawer front and also the plywood behind to make it super secure and we knew the ones that came in the pack with the handles wouldn’t be long enough.

We are planning on making the thin verticle drawer a pull out mini bar, need to insulate with some foil stuff and pop on a lid and hopefully it will keep my gin cool! (Or flasks of water hot, whichever is more important)

We can both slowly see the end, or until we decide we want to change something! It’s looking all ready for our upholstry now, which should be ready next weekend all being well! 

Our next move is the ceiling and lighting situation I think. You just don’t realise how much money you spend on little bits, let alone the big stuff! We just know it will be worth it in the end when we are getting so much use out of it! We have our first trip away in it in 2 weeks, just relying on the bed to be back from the upholsters.

We bought the hamsa hand decal just on a whim but it came the other day and its the perfect size and really goes with the vibe.

Becky&Joe

First Surf Trip of the Year

We set off this morning for our first surf trip of the year! We decided to go up to Cayton Bay as it’s not too far away from us just for the day and also the wave predictions weren’t huge so I could really get good practise in.

When we arrived at the car park there was only one other vehicle parked up and that was another caddy! We decided to have a little walk down to the beach before we got all our gear out, just to check the sea wasn’t completely flat, and then have a cuppa soup to warm us through before before braving the North sea.

We haven’t had our cushions upholstered yet (they are in the process of being done though so watch this space!) So that meant we sat on towels on the wooden frame but it was quite comfy so not a big deal

Joe came up with a nifty idea of using our bed extension as a little shelf for the camping stove. Its the perfect size and a good height for when you’re sat down on the sofa. As you can see, we eventually came up with a solution to hold the extension flap up. I think it’s great because it’s just so easy to put up and the cord doesn’t take up any room and its securely tied on to the wood so we won’t loose them.
Impressively, we also managed to get our wetsuits on inside the van so we were sheltered from the wind which was a bonus. I’m sure most of you know how much of a struggle it is to actually get in one so being able to wrestle ourselves in, in the back of a swb VW Caddy is pretty impressive.

We have the boots, gloves and some waterproof hats which is a must at this time of year, especially in the North Sea and I was so thankful for them. It wasn’t at all cold actually getting in the sea and waiting about for waves and I seriously think its our gear that helped. We spent a good couple of hours in there, we were the only people in the sea apart from various dogs and a couple of people kayaking and I bet everyone thought we were mad as they walked past, all bundled up in hats, scarves and coats but I’m so glad we did it, we had so much fun and I really improved from when I first got in. I usually bodyboard and Joe is the surfer but I really enjoyed myself and it was a nice change to have a big board (just a chuffin nightmare carrying the thing up the beach in the wind!)

In the car park at Cayton Bay there are toilets (which you have to pay 20p to use but I always find the quality better if you do), hot showers (!!) and a couple of changing shelters. We paid £2 to park all day so this meant we had use of those facilities. It was lovely peeling your wetsuit off and standing under a steaming shower, its grear that they can offer such a luxury haha.

After we had shoved all our wet stuff in our drybag and took the fins off the boards it was time for another soup to warm us up before heading home.

We decided to just lay the boards in the back of the van as we have the room and we don’t have to faff about strapping then down (trying to lift them on the roof in the wind never ends well).

All in all we had such a fun day but we will definitely sleep tonight! We are both so excited for all the adverntures we will be getting up to this year, it felt great to be out in the van. I would say “hurry up warmer weather” but we have both proved today you don’t have to wait for summer to have fun!

Becky&Joe

Wanderlust

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As I’m sat at my desk on a really grey gloomy Wednesday I’m getting this strong feeling of Wanderlust. I know Joe will be feeling the same whilst he’s at work too.

We are in desperate need of getting our cushions upholstered and the final few bits of the bed finished so we can head off at every available chance to see the country. I’m all for going abroad, but I think whilst we are saving for a house etc we should explore what the UK has to offer because there are so many hidden gems that I can’t wait to discover!

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We really love Devon, as you can tell from most of our posts but we want to widen our horizons. I’m thinking Isle of Skye, Fort William, Lake District, Cornwall but I’m sure we will find places along the way too.

If anyone has any UK destinations that they would love to recommend then please email us; caddycamper.blog@gmail.com  

We’re both really excited to hear from you and about all your adventures!

Becky&Joe

 

 

 

Bed Building – Work in Progress

In a small van, space saving is key and we needed a bed that could be easily put away in the daytime so we could maximize space.

Our current bed was good, but it was a big effort to put down so we just ended up leaving it up, which isn’t best when you haven’t got anywhere else to sit to shelter from the wind, thus covering your bed in sand. Not pleasant when you go to get in bed at night and it feeling like you are lying directly on a sandy beach!

Joe is obviously very capable with his hands so we knew we wouldn’t have to get anyone to help us build it. He came up with a day bed idea, sofa in the day then pulls out to a bed for us both when needed. We have compromised and haven’t got a full size double like we used to have, but we know that it will be plenty big enough for us to sleep comfortably.

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We started with a simple soft wood frame which is the base of the sliding sofa bed and drawers. Joe didn’t work from a particular plan, just built from the ideas in his head.

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The frame is screwed down to the floor, to the T&G on the wall and also the boxing of the wheel arch so it is super sturdy. Our next move was to join the whole frame up with horizontal cross bracings and then concentrate on the slats for the sliding mechanism.

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It was so satisfying to finally see it coming together, this is the fixed side slats. We didn’t want to finish for the day until the sliding side was finished either so we ended up working in the cold and dark but it was worth it.

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The slats themselves are made up of softwood. The fixed side slats are 18x44mm and the sliding side slats (try saying that after a few) are 18x42mm, this makes it easier to slide freely with no sticking.

We added some table type legs (from B&Q) to the end and the middle, the far end is supported by part of the bed frame structure which also supports the extension (not pictured here) We had to cut the legs down but they now fit perfect and look really good.

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It’s great when it’s pulled all the way out that we have still got room down the side to put shoes etc. once we have got in bed, it makes it feel a lot more roomy than when the bed went the full width. I think it was the right choice to sacrifice the luxury of a full width double, we can both fit comfortably on it side by side and Joe has also made an extension for the bottom of the bed so it’s still full length.

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The extension folds neatly behind the seats, it can then be pulled up into a horizontal position to create the full length bed (how this is being held up is still a working progress) Another way it could be used it to be set in an almost vertical position to create a full length sofa, allowing us to look out the back doors. The bed is about 6ft 4 long with the extension flap up which is great as we aren’t short people! Without the extension the bed is about 5ft 5 long.

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The bed is nowhere near being finished yet, we need to sort drawers, upholstery and panelling so please stay tuned for new updates!

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Becky & Joe