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2015 – this is how we rolled….

Well that was just an average year … said no one at Beautiful bells…. EVER!

Ok so we’re a bit late with the end of year stats, but we’ll be honest – we collapsed for October. And also most of November. We also drank quite a lot of beer. But as we don’t get the pleasure of pimms o’clock during the summer, we figured we’d earned it!

We pulled 18 hour days, 7 days a week during the height of the summer. We really needed the sleep!

We labeled 2014 as epic, so does that make 2015 more epic, epicer? (I’m pretty sure that’s not even a word) Or just downright astoundingly awesome?

So….  this is how the year rolled for us…

  • I kissed goodbye to the corporate world and swapped stilettos for flip flops permanently. It would also appear that my years of saying ‘I never get a tan’ had more to do with being stuck behind a desk than my pasty skin!
  • We got a storage container at the start of the season as we were climbing over tents and cushions, in every part of our house. We’d outgrown it within a month and spent the rest of the summer playing storage Tetris and still climbing over tents and cushions in our house….
  • We got a BEAST of a van. We also pimped our ride courtesy of Karen at Griffin Designs in Chichester – we now don’t mind sitting in traffic. In fact we LOVE people looking at the pictures on the vans and pointing!
Our fab van!

This now puts us at 3 vans on the road during the season! Blimey.

  •  We covered 8 counties.
  • The furthest we went was Bakewell  – 40 miles North of Derby, (yes we got some tarts) to put up 16 tents for one of the production crews at Erocia festival.

It was a road trip that saw us out the door at 5am and back at 1am the next morning!

Jo Wiley even gave us a shout out on the radio on the way home. Trust me, after that many hours up, on the road and working it wasn’t going to take much to make us cheer! We also love Jo.

When we went back the following week to take them down, Steve and I drove up the night before (after a full day of taking down tents elsewhere) and camped out in the van. We do love a crazy campout and it was just that!

  • The closest we went was the road next to ours where we managed to get a 5m tent up in garden fully laid to patio. It’s not the norm but where there’s a will there’s a way. The ‘way’ being a determined dad with a big drill and some hooks put into the walls and fencing.
  • The Snug, which we originally put together for winter glamping became our second wedding tent – and there’s been a lot of snug love over the summer!

It also meant we could accommodate more couples getting married.

And we love a wedding!

  • We turned The Snug into a hidden bar in a field of 20 other bell tents as a surprise for the groom!
  • We accommodated just shy of 1700 people under canvas!

This was over….

  • 28 Weddings
  • 13 Chill out tents
  • 37 Glamping trips/family camp outs/ Special birthdays
  • 15 Hen parties
  • 2 Private festivals
  • 5 Corporate bookings.

(I told you we needed the sleep!)

  • Our tent stock grew to 30. We’d bought another 10 before the season even started, then another 5 mid way.

    The new emperor tent
  • Plus an emperor tent – wolf whistle!
  • We put up 414 tents along the way.
  • Our oldest glamper this year was 79.
  • We had a photographer tail us for a day and we’ll soon be ready to show you the footage of what goes on when we set up a site.
  • We turned the 7m bell into a huge Alice in Wonderland themed tea party tent for a wedding fair back in March.
  • We also took commercial premises.

I sadly lost an old school friend to cancer during the summer. The day I found out that Nikki had died, I made the decision that life is too short to worry. So having ummed and ahhhed about this for a long time, I made the call that day.

We now live in one of the Bio Barn units at Stansted House – and we love it there 🙂

This has also meant we have more room to expand further – and we have 50 new tents due for delivery in the next month!

Nikkis picture remains pinned to my desk in the office to remind me to take a chance and to be brave.

We’re also kinda hoping this will help with the home/work balance this year!

Autumn open day:

We ended the season with our autumn open day with the fabulous Tentario at Feista Fields where we opened up on the Saturday evening as well as the Sunday.

It gave couples a chance to come and see what Tentario’s tipis and our bell tents looked like at dusk  – because it’s when things really start to come to life. We had an 11 strong village up and ready for people to look over.

We’re pretty sure no-one has opened the doors for evening viewing before!

We camped over and I’m not going to lie – it was cold!! Thank god we had a camp fire, a pot of chili and a bottle of rum!

We had a great evening talking to clients for this year and next, and the following day we were blessed with sunshine (again!). Our friends at Pinks were on hand with the ice creams and the Ale van were busy pulling drinks for those who wanted one.

We can’t thank Nikki at Fiesta Fields enough for working with us on this – and if you’re after field hire – talk to her! She has new venues on the books for 2016.

So as all long and rambling Oscar speeches go, I’d best end with some thank you’s!

  • To Becky, Mike, Jon, Josh, Lou, Lorraine, Garreth, Claudia and Chloe – for working like superstars in the blistering heat and with some VERY early starts. The A team. All the way.

    2015 – it’s a big thumbs up from us!
  • Home and Dry in Chichester – for taking over all of our laundry and doing a sterling job. And sometimes turning bedding around in under 24 hours – we seriously couldn’t have done it without them.
  • To Joy and David (my mum and step dad) at Wordright for continuing to help us with our website.
  • Steve’s mum – for feeding us at least once a week to make sure we weren’t surviving solely on sandwiches and for repeated dog sitting.
  • And to Becky for making sure we stopped and ate during the day! And for being the pack lunch queen when she worked out how rubbish we were at stopping for food!
  • To my sister George from Your Wonder Emporium, for sewing bunting, dog sitting over and over again. And for tidying our house!
  • To my dad for dog sitting too. Our hound thinks he has his own pack of people during the summer and without this pack we wouldn’t have been able to work the long hours we did. We have been supported endlessly by our family and we are eternally grateful (same again this year guys?!)

    The dream team!
  • And lastly to Steve – for another year of having life turned upside down and for listening to the months and months of debate about leaving work to do this full time. Oh and for getting up sub 5am some days.

And he really really hates mornings…..

2015 – we were so ready for you.

 

2016 – We’re coming to get you!