North Norfolk with preschoolers Part 3

Before I begin let me gently guide you to two more brilliant travel posts which could have been (but weren’t) sponsored by the Norfolk Tourist Board (come on guys get your act together! 😉 ) North Norfolk with Preschoolers Part 1 and Part 2

After having read Lucy’s post all about her stay at The Pigs in Edgefield and perusing their website I was really keen to visit and see the place for ourselves. Knowing that it would be really child-friendly with an outdoor playzone designed by the creators of BeWilderwood, I persuaded the hubster that if we were to have one meal out all week it should be at this venue. We visited one afternoon hoping that we could get the boys an early tea but unfortunately they don’t start serving food til 6pm so we hung around for a while, checked out the play areas, had some great fun on the zipwire, tree-house-come-giant slide and climbing equipment before heading back to the holiday house with the intention of returning for lunch the following day.

Unfortunately our return trip wasn’t quite so successful. EJ really seemed to have entered the terrible twos – he was being stubborn, screamy and very, very hard work, insisting on ignoring the play areas in favour of wandering up and down the length of the pub picking up knives or breakable objects left on low tables. When the food arrived JJ decided that he didn’t like his burger. Someone spilt some lemonade at some point and we felt that our meals were OK but not £15 each worth of OK…Having said that I would still recommend this place to people with little children as this would have worked out on another day I’m sure, and the menu of Norfolk Iffits (like a local version of Tapas) was something I would have liked to have tried – in fact some Iffits and a dessert would have been preferable I guess but we weren’t prepared to stay and wait and pay for a dessert with EJ in High Maintenance mode – no fun for anybody!

We decided to keep most of the day a bit low key after cramming so much in since our arrival in the county and another NT venue was on the cards – this time Sheringham Park. As the hubster was intending to do the Park Run here on Saturday morning he wanted to check the place out so we decided on a little stroll.

EJ wanted to run everywhere and JJ was happy to have a run initially but then he wanted to be in the buggy. Unfortunately EJ wouldn’t accept this and demanded that JJ get up and continue running with him which went down about as well as a plate of raw fennel (although, bizarrely I do know someone who claims this is one of their four-year-old’s favourite foods…). Then EJ decided if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em and this was the result:

Norfolk 2 boys 1 buggy
Perhaps we should have bought that double buggy after all…

On our last day the sun finally came out and the winds dropped a bit – hurrah! We had a long think about where to go. Initially I was very keen to try the Dinosaur theme park which looked like really good fun from the leaflet, but the hubster persuaded me that it wasn’t worth going somewhere where you would pay up to £40 to enter (still cheap compared to somewhere like Legoland but with no guarantees on EJ’s interest or behaviour, not an expense we relished) and then get ripped off on food and drinks. I flicked through the basket of tourist leaflets in our holiday house and eventually alighted upon a pamphlet for Wroxham Barns which fulfilled all our criteria – no entry fee, some shops (for me), a café, petting farm and mini funfair.

When we arrived there the hubster and I realised that we’d been before about 7 years previously when we’d visited with his daughter and her cousin who were both three at the time. It really is a lovely little place. After a coffee outside the café we wandered round to look in the lovely gift shop. I was after some fudge or other treats to take back for my work colleagues and there was a sweetie shop with home made fudge so I popped in closely followed by munchkins who can smell out a jelly baby at 100 yards. EJ was immediately drawn to the pick and mix selection which was crazily positioned within toddler-reach and, in the blink of an eye proceeded to help himself much to our mortification. After several attempts to extract him from the jelly tots I gave in and shovelled half a tonne of the boys’ drug of choice (sugar) into a large paper bag and handed over the cash. One has to wonder why someone can’t invent some sweets the effect of which would mirror barbiturates rather than speed… but I digress.

Whilst the hubster took the boys off to the fairground rides I hung around the gift shop and perused some pretty clothes – I saw these gorgeous nautical theme shoes from Joules:

navy spot joules shoe

but alas they had none in my size! Then I began to feel guilty about shopping whilst the boys were off doing fun stuff and left without a purchase. They really did have loads of fun on pirate ships, a little transport themed merry-go-round and some quad bikes before we headed off into the town of Wroxham to get some lunch.


I don’t know if you’re familiar with Wroxham but the whole town appears to be owned by a guy called Roy. There’s Roys of Roxham, Roy’s Toys and a couple of other Roy-branded venues as well all of which makes the place feel a bit like you’ve stumbled into some kind of frontier town where a man called Roy might appear at any moment and demand a toll for safe passage. He didn’t.
It is also known as the gateway to the Broads – Norfolk’s famous waterways. Pretty, but unfortunately we didn’t get to take a boat trip on this occasion.

In the afternoon we finally got to take advantage of our holiday home location. We stayed in a lovely little three bedroom Victorian terraced house named Forsythia Cottage, owned and run by Poppyland Cottages – a four star venue with all mod cons and the provision of a cot and a few big tubs of toys for the boys to play with as well. It is located just a stone’s throw from the sea front and there is a lovely playground just across the road. JJ changed into his swimming shorts and EJ just stripped down to nappy and t-shirt and we all piled down to the beach to make some sandcastles and have a paddle. It is a partly sandy, party stony beach which means that the walk down to the water’s edge is a bit like a run over hot coals in bare feet to get to other side! I really did wish that I’d thought to bring some jelly shoes at this point!

I think JJ could have stayed there for hours – he had so much fun jumping the waves and running up and down on the wet sand! I’m just so happy we got the chance to do this after a week of somewhat chilly days.
Chicken pox and tantrums aside, this was all in all a fab week of little adventures – a really nice little staycation!

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

North Norfolk with preschoolers – Part 1

I can see the sea!

This weekend we returned from a wonderful family holiday to Overstrand near Cromer on the North Norfolk Coast. This will be our last chance to travel outside of school holidays as JJ starts big school in September.

We opted for Norfolk primarily due to the fact that one of my closest and oldest friends lives en route (near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk) and it was deemed the perfect opportunity to get our little families together for the first time since ou children have been old enough to interact together.

Because of post-motherhood fuzz brain (I’m not going to openly admit to just being a bit s**t at planning and organisation :-/ ) I booked this holiday over the Britmums Live dates – for which I had already purchased my £98 ticket – read more about my thoughts on this shortly!

Other than bad planning which can be blamed on me, the universe decided to stick its oar in as well, as, lo and behold if I didn’t remove EJ’s pyjama top on the morning of Day 1 to discover a little constellation of chicken pox spreading itself out across his back. This, of course, put paid to our 2 planned visits to the lovely Sophie as, despite her eldest having previously suffered the chicken pox, she is also currently the proud owner of a bloomin’ gorgeous 6 month old baby and there was no way we were going to put him at risk.

Armed with an extended first aid kit including acqueous calamine, Calpol, Calprofen and enough bicarb of soda to automatically qualify me for the Great British Bake Off (you put it in the bath, right?), we put on a brave face and set off in the almost certain knowledge that JJ would soon join his brother in the pox.

Cut a long story short – he did, within two days, and suffering with it worse than his little brother inducing a Tourettes-a-thon (minus the swearing!) of hopping, twitching and itching which culminated in a ‘luxury’ hot chocolate being shot up into the air and all over the floor of a toy shop in the beautiful town of Holt which we will probably never be able to show our faces in again (for shame!).

All this said, we did not let this minor ( :-/ ) setback stop us from exploring all that North Norfolk had to offer the likes of us. The first, and highly touted, visit we made was to BeWilderwood near Wroxham – a kind of massive adventure playground, if you will, all set in atmospheric woodland and set up to mirror a fantastical world where small mythical creatures and the occasional witch (also a crocodile-like being named Mildred who, apparently, likes to dance around a sparkly handbag at the weekend) live out their days. Our children weren’t really bothered by all this mythologising and the best bits for them (JJ in particular) were the boat ride, wobbly high bridges and zipwires.

Norfolk Bewilderwood

I had the pleasure of closely shadowing EJ’s every move as he casually mistook himself for a child 8 years older and attempted to scale even the tallest structures. Unfortunately this meant the camera stayed firmly zipped up in my backpack for 90% of the time.

I also had to eventually concede to the hubster that, for better planning (here we go again!) we would not have been faced with the prospect of spending £3 on a plain cheese sandwich.

Still to come in the North Norfolk with Preschoolers series:

  • A surprise awaited us at Norwich Cathedral
  • JJ’s wish came true with a trip on the North Norfolk Railway
  • What happened when a trip to the most child-friendly pub ever (The Pigs in Edgefield) didn’t quite work out…
  • Fun and games (and attempted sweetie theft!) at Wroxham Barns and a brief foray into Wroxham town for a quick squizz at ‘The Broads’
  • Beach shenanagins back at Overstrand
  • And finally, two more National Trust properties to cross off the list – Blickling Estate and Sheringham Park.

Linking up to What’s the Story over at Podcast The Doves.


 photo 93142f35-6d39-479f-b3de-d94dbca68162_zps58499252.jpg

Love the little things Week #6

READ

(disclaimer: some of the things I will mention here may bear a resemblance to things I talked about last week, the difference being last week I was thinking about them, this week I’ve put them into practice!)

While I’ve The Sleeperbeen away I’ve been trying to make a bit more time for leisure reading – fiction. In the past choosing good summer reads was part of the fun of preparing for a holiday but nowadays the chance to find the time is rare. Nevertheless I have put down my more literary tome and picked up The Sleeper by Emily Barr. I’ve only managed to read about a fifth of the book, mostly before dropping off to sleep last thing at night. It’s a bit of a slow starter if it is to be a mystery thriller – so far there has just been a very small hint of more interesting things to come. She does however really get you inside the mind of her protagonist so you feel like you might be able to predict her later moves. I’ve read some books by this author before so I feel confident that the plot will pick up soon!

WATCHED

Well, despite promising myself that I would take a step back from blogging this week I have ended up still doing a lot of reading and commenting, but in the background has been a lot of international football (Spain’s out – shocker!), Chuggington, Topsy and Tim and Swashbuckle (I’ll be talking like a pirate for some time – ah-harr me hearties!)

WORE

I’ve been mostly sticking with the red, white and blue theme this week – unfortunately our holiday weather hasn’t been very warm and sunny so most of my new pretty lightweight outfits have just hung in the wardrobe of our holiday house. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some wear out of them when we go off to Devon in August… Here’s a pick of myself and the boys sporting a range of stripes:

Norfolk stripy tops

HEARD

Paulo Nutini. He’s one of those singers, like Aloe Blacc, who have the most amazing, god-given voices – eminently listenable, and some of his songs thrill me – I’m thinking Last Request and New Shoes. His latest release, Scream (Funk my Life Up) is pretty good, but I’m still not sold on some of the other songs from the album. In the old days I would just buy the album and then it would grow on me, but in this age of downloads and digital ‘tasters’ I am often left a bit undecided…

MADE

I’m on holiday so time in the kitchen has been reduced and I certainly haven’t cooked anything as such. I have the makings of a great holiday album though and I helped make a little family of Supermen by buying the hubster a T-Shirt for Father’s Day which matches those of the boys just for fun!

The Supermen shirts

AND LASTLY…

It’s been a week of highs and lows as holidays with small children are wont to be – the worst thing being that both children succumbed to chicken pox – EJ from Day 1!

Highs though, have included visiting Norwich Cathedral during the filming of Judi Dench’s new movie Tulip Fever – a book I loved by Deborah Moggach. I’m excited to know that when I watch the film I will be able to pinpoint the scene where we were tucked in to a side chapel just behind the action with our fingers crossed that EJ wouldn’t suddenly squeal at the top of his lungs! (He didn’t!).

Visiting the beautiful Blickling Estate one sunny afternoon and playing giant lawn games with the boys was awesome.

And a lovely little (short!) journey on the North Norfolk Railway culminating in me taking pictures of the toilet (a genuine Crapper!):

Norfolk Weybourn rail 'Crapper'

Capturing a fab butterfly shot outside whilst waiting for the train back:

Norfolk railway butterfly 1

And then a lovely stroll down Sheringham High Street which (whilst somewhat heaving with the older generation!) was like taking a step back in time with lots of green grocers’ stacked with beautiful looking and smelling fruit and veg outside, baker’s shops with tempting treats, ice cream parlours and adorable gift shops which made me sad that I wasn’t there with a girlfriend for the purposes of browsing through the scarves, homewares and intriguing little bits and pieces. There also seemed to be a bit of a lobster theme going on there:

So now I just need a holiday from my holiday and I’ll be a happy woman!

Happy Friday Little Loves! X

 

butwhymummywhy

Word of the week:

Return to normality

After the chaotic time we experienced during the building works on our bathroom last week, this week the dust has (literally) settled. The job was (more or less) completed by the end of Bank Holiday Monday and we now have a beautiful, clean, luxurious space in which to carry out all those day to day ablutions.

I was keen to carry out a full on house clean on Tuesday as everything was feeling grimy and untidy with piles of bathroom detritus lying randomly around the place. Unfortunately I had a long standing appointment to get my highlights done (time-limited half price offer!) in Guildford and this process ended up taking about 4 hours out of my 6 hours of child-free time. This resulted in a mad dash home and a frantic sweep, dust, Hoover, recycling challenge and tidy up! As a result we do actually now have a clean feeling, tidy home again at last.

I am dying to put my ‘before and after’ bathroom post up to share the wonder of it all but we are still awaiting one rather large piece of kit to be delivered and fitted – the bath side panel. Without this picture is not yet complete.

We also had the Bank Holiday this week – not the easiest day for me as bathroom work was still in full fling and the hubster was out at work all day. In an ideal world we would do something fun together as a family on a bank holiday but in reality this rarely happens due to the hubster’s work commitments. We did have fun at the Bushy Park Woodland Gardens the day before with my Mum though, so it wasn’t a complete loss of time.

We finally booked our last term time holiday as a family of four this week – 7 nights in a beautiful child friendly holiday cottage on the North Norfolk coast. I know there is heaps to do up there with the kids and most exciting of all, we will get to stop in at the home of one of my oldest and bestest friends in the world in Suffolk on the way to and from our destination. I rarely get to see her and she now has three children herself with the newest addition joining the clan last November. I am really excited about this and its always lovely to have something nice to look forward to as you go about your normal day to day life. So that was the week that was…