Laura and Benedict are some of our newest vanlifers – in the sense that they are new to our site and new to vanlife! They gave up their jobs and their flat and are embarking on full time vanlife together in their van Nellie. They are big fans of oats, which feature in their breakfast most days, read more below about what they like to eat while in Nellie the van. You can follow their journey along at @lauraandbenedict Make sure to check out their YouTube too for an excellent tutorial on how NOT to empty your Porta Potti.
Which country are you based in?
HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD YOUR VAN?
Was it self built?
No, it was newly converted when we bought it although we have added many of our own modifications.
What is your favourite feature in your van?
Our big comfy bed!
How do you travel in your van?
What’s your favourite vanlife experience so far?
The ultimate Nellie experience so far was probably the day we bought her. We’d been searching for a little while and were on an ever growing time constraint to find a home on wheels due to the tenancy on our flat running out. After some long but quick road trips to Devon and South London, we set out to Essex with the idea that we’d be viewing a van that had potential.
When we arrived we knew that this van was the one and it was then or never. The feeling of making a big purchase, parting with all the money you have, knowing that anything could happen once you drive that van away is something that neither of us felt ‘adult’ enough for (despite being in our mid/late twenties) but that was the start to this epic adventure and we’re so ready to journey further into it.
What has been your worst experience so far?
We had a pretty hilarious experience upon first emptying our cassette toilet. Ben had watched countless tutorials on how to do it and assured that he knew exactly what he was doing, only to press a release button and end up making a bit of a mess. If you want to see how NOT to empty a cassette toilet then head to our YouTube to watch the Vlog.
What’s your kitchen set-up?
Cooking, food and nutrition is a huge part of our lives so when looking for a van we wanted to make sure there was plenty of space to get our recipes on. Laura is an oat-based breakfast specialist and actually has a food/yoga blog (http://instagram.com/self.tula) and Benedict loves to master plant-based dinners, often making up recipes to create nutritious and delicious treats.
We have two gas hobs which is all we need. We have thought about an oven but for the time being are going to make do. It is fun to get creative and the more limited you are, the more creative you have to be. That’s what makes cooking fun!
What’s your favourite van kitchen accessory?
Our kitchen roll holder which hangs above the sink. It was made out of leftover wood from some shelving that we were putting up. Ben just made it without planning on doing so. It’s definitely really important to keep your van tidy, especially when cooking. A small space soon becomes cluttered and a mess will form very quickly (especially with Ben around) so it’s handy to have a quick clean up nearby.
We also made cupboard interiors that hold all our pots, pans and plates in place when we’re on the move. It means we have proper ceramic plates instead of eating from camping gear. Although, we haven’t been on any gnarly roads just yet so we’ll see if they definitely hold up!
Favourite things to cook in your van?
Oats are our staple breakfast and we’ve developed so many ways to make them; from stove top porridge, oat pancakes, crepes and homemade granola.
We heat up fruit, usually cherries or berries, and add in chia seeds to create a chia jam. The chia seeds thicken it right up and it serves as a beautiful topping. Breakfast is a real ritual for us so its probably our favourite thing to cook full stop.
Check out their fab recipe for Easy Vegan Berry Oats HERE
Any cooking disasters?
So far, so good. Other than the state of Ben’s top after he’s eaten…
Any funny stories?
We’re (hopefully) days away from setting off on the road for travels so it’s been fairly uneventful so far. We did book the van in for a service just after we bought it and it wouldn’t start as we went to drive it to the garage. The AA had to be called out and the AA guy loved our van so much. He took a video to send to his sister who follows vanlifers, followed us on Instagram and YouTube and wanted to feature in our Vlog! Shout out to Rob from the AA!
You can catch up with Laura, Benedict & Nellie through the social media links on their profile. Head to their profile to have a look at their favourite recipes to make in their van
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