We wanted one last holiday just the three of us so booked 5 days away in Hunstanton.
Arriving just after 5pm on Monday we pulled up to the holiday house which we had studied closely online since booking it. It was the house that had dictated the holiday, it could have been anywhere to be honest, but the mid-century feel was what attracted us. We figured going away in early March could mean five days couped up in a house so it may aswell be nice. We certainly weren't disappointed. Bramley, is beautiful with a capital B!
The house which was virtually saved from redevelopment by owners Hannah and Tim was built in 1971. Having been carefully restored and filled with era evoking furniture, furnishings and decor it balances great interior design with being a very practical and well-stocked, family friendly house. They really have thought of everything! A cupboard full of games, box of lego, G Plan sideboard full of DVDs and LPs, a bookshelf full of design/lifestyle books, a pool table in the garage and every gadget you could dream off in the kitchen (including a very cool ice cream scoop). Our favourite features included the open plan kitchen (we need one of these!), the cork floor (so comfy!), the light from the ceiling to floor windows, Elsie Dodd cushions (may go on my Christmas list), and well I could list everything. E's favourite features were the floor (perfect for trains!), there being two toilets (a real novelty for him) and there being TV's in the bedrooms (we don't have one in ours).
We took a lot of photos before filling it with our stuff (can you tell!), it really was like staying for a week in a magazine feature. After unpacking and a little playing we headed out for dinner at a local pub (The Lodge a short walk from the house) and to plan the next few days.
Tuesday saw an early wake up at 7am and a slow breakfast. We headed in to Hunstanton which we knew very little about. A very short drive, and probably walkable if you weren't restricted by a 'little legs'. Quite 'old British seaside' and being pre-season very quiet but you can see some glimpses of what it may become in the coming years. The excellent Norfolk Deli amongst the best indications... where we had lunch, definitely not. Chosen purely because you could see the sea it was like being in a 70s timewarp, and not in a good way like at Bramley. The clouds started to come in so we headed back to the house to try and convince E to sleep. The lure of his trains was just too strong though so he played, and we wanted to sleep. About 4pm we gave up and headed around the coastal road to Brancaster beach. The beach was deserted and the fresh air certainly blew away the cobwebs so after about an hour we went back to the house for nibbles we had picked up from the deli earlier, and pizza.
Wednesday started early for E and I, eating breakfast at the table and enjoying a lovely conversation about how Nana and Grandpa liked Cornflakes too. I am loving the things he notices and comes out with just now. Favourite of the holiday had to be (on repeat) 'Mummy/Daddy what you say?!'. We made the most of another early start (!) and headed to Wells on the coastal road. Not as much there as we were expecting but being only 10am and pre-season probably didn't help that. A stroll around, coffee in The Picnic Hut and a quick walk along the beach we had set off again by 12.30pm.
Carrying on along the coastal road we passed through Sheringham (which we will definitely go back to) and on to Cromer. Starting with lunch in No1 Cromer, which was great. E's was served in a bucket with a spade (genious idea!) and was the best fish and chips I have had in a long time. They even had great vegetarian options for Mr B (try the mushy pea fritter).
We strolled, slowly due to how many chips we had just eaten, to the pier which was being fixed following the recent storm damage. At the end is the Cromer Lifeboat station in which we were able to see the lifeboat which E loved. Although he was quite concerned that there was a hole in it, which there wasn't! Next on the list was an ice cream, we found a great place near the promenade which made one very happy little boy.
Having felt we had ticked Cromer off the list we headed inland to Holt, a small market town. We headed straight to a shoe shop we had found on the internet (E was well overdue some new shoes) and managed to get a new pair of trainers that he was more than happy with. We also discovered the local post office which is also a vinyl shop and I gazed around in awe in The Pied Piper Shop buying some fabric and choosing a teddy for baby girl. After all that we were ready to head back to the holiday house for more playing and relaxing.
Thursday started early again but E was happy playing with his trains and I even managed to pick up my book for the first time all holiday. We had some brunch and once the rain had stopped headed to Burnham Market, known as Chelsea-On-Sea having lots of small independent shops. After waking a reluctant E from the drive we wandered around the shops and were particulary impressed with BKidz buying a present for our neice, E and baby girl. Although the town was lovely it was all shops so we moved on to the nearby Creake Abbey for some tea and cake. A great cafe that served a very wide range of cake (the orange and almond gluten free cake was delicious!). The site also had a deli, and some more shops. We were going to walk around the Abbey ruins but the cloud was coming in and the wind picking up so decided to save that for another visit. Asking E what he wanted to do next he said 'feed the quack quacks' so off we went to find some ducks. We drove down to Thornham 'harbour' which looked devasted from the recent storms but alas no ducks, we didn't think the RSPB reserve would take kindly to our bread offering so carried on driving back through to Hunstanton. On Hunstanton front we saw some ducks wandering along the roadside so pulled up and fed them from the car. It was hilarious! Within seconds we were descended on by what felt like hundreds of seagulls. A glass roof has never been so useful. E loved it! The light was fading so we headed back to play with lego. All feeling a bit 'chipped out' we referred to the local dining recommendations and decided to go for Chinese food at Silk Road II. Very nice, fresh tasting Chinese food which I would definitely recommend and E's first experience of crispy duck...although we didn't actually tell him what he was eating!
The thought of the holiday ending was definitely creeping in by bed time so I stayed up late looking through the great design/interior library in the house, and admiring the surroundings.
Friday had come round far to quickly and having to leave the house by 10am meant a hectic morning packing to leave. The weather had promised to be sunny by lunchtime and having had no beach time the day before we hung around to squeeze in one last beach visit. We passed the time by feeding the birds at Hunstanton again before moving on to Norfolk Lavender for a cooked breakfast (a very nice cafe but not cheap at £4.50 for one slice of toast with scrambled egg!). There was also an animal farm and indoor play area but we managed to divert E's attentions from these with the lure of the 'seaside'.
We drove to see what Heacham beach was like and were not disappointed. Again almost deserted it was a great mix of sandcastles, searching for shells and rocks to rummage around. Around 1pm we admitted we should probably head home.
Having Thomas on the iPad all the way back for E helped pass the 2.5 hr journey and we stopped off in Stamford for dinner. After walking (or in E's case being carried) around for a while we decided on Ask which certainly surpassed our expectations. Great food, great with children, and really nice interior design. The perfect end to our holiday.
A fact that we are all trying to forget as we headed back for another week of work. We would definitely recommend North Norfolk for a week away and will be going back. As for Bramley, we would LOVE to go back in the Summer months to make the most of the short walk to Old Hunstanton beach but that may have to be finance dependant what with maternity leave on the horizon!
Today we visited the University of Leicester's Botanical Gardens for the first time.
The past two weeks they have been running Crocus Sunday's to showcase their collection. It was a great place to visit and even better being so local. We will definitely be back in the Summer as the gardens are open every day and the cafe from June. As you can see we had a lot of fun, the weather was perfect, and I even managed to play some 'catch me if you can' at 30 weeks pregnant!
After too many weeks off I am linking up with Country Kids again!
So it is now a week since E turned 3! Our little baby is now a little boy.
I haven't had chance to post any photos on here since as we have been too busy celebrating. A Thomas the Tank Engine themed birthday party last Saturday (blogpost coming), a family meal and then topped off with a week away in Hunstanton (more about that soon!).
But it would be a shame not to mark the turning of 3 properly.
So on turning three, E loves:
- - trains
- - dancing (but only to 'Go, go Thomas' and 'Day of the Diesels')
- - making up songs ('Pizza pizza' and 'By Baby Bye')
- - making us laugh - he is such a comedian!
- - chattering away to himself when playing with his trains making up little stories
- - his best friend Mia from nursery
- - his Nana & Grandpa and Nannans and Grandad (always asking when we are going to see them)
- - helping Mummy (he is currently sat next to me on his 'laptop' typing away)
- - the colours blue and yellow
- - chocolate and beans on toast
There is one thing that I love the Internet for and that is dreaming.Mr B and I have never really done Valentine's day, except for the first year we were dating. So here are my picks of what I would like if money, time and greediness were no object.
1 / Valentine’s Heart Confetti Bonbon / £35 / bonbon balloons2 / Swallow Necklace with Sapphire / £120 / Alex Monroe3 / Typography Helvetica poster print / £35 / Yumalum4 / Brown Distressed Leather Satchel / £122 / Zatchels5 / Green Quartz Cocktail Ring / £830 / Tiffany & CoHappy Valentine's day all!
Well, I thought this might be the first weekend we didn't manage to get outdoors but alas our Saturday morning plans of newborn baby cuddles were cancelled and a quick check of the weather forecast later and it was decided, yes we were.
Our favourite walks of recent years have been at Bradgate Park. Less than 10 minutes in the car from our house it is a popular destination for what seems like the whole of Leicestershire. It makes up for this with a great path (suitable for all weathers), rocks for climbing, ducks, ruins and being in a beautiful village.
With Mr B and I having grown up in Leicestershire it holds many memories - rock climbing as children, picnics whilst dating and daydreaming, walks with a newborn and more recently walks with a toddler.
Today was a quick visit, whilst the weather held, which allowed us to don the wellies, get some fresh air and climb some rocks.
We ended off the trip with a visit to a new little deli (The Grey Lady Kitchen & Deli) in the village for a lovely lunch and cake. We will definitely be going back there for the great food, relaxed and child friendly atmosphere (there is even a dedicated playroom upstairs!).
Two hours later, once the hail storm had stopped, we headed home.
Another great day inspired by Country Kids!
We have visited Kent many times over the last few years since our close friends moved there. There is something about living in the Midlands which makes the thought of a coastline very exciting and a special treat.
The latest trip was influenced by a Premier Inn special offer (family room for £25, thank you very much) and the draw of a new (well 4 month old) baby.
We set off earlier than we have managed before with a lighter car than we had ever had before. There is something about a toddler who is now potty trained that makes going away for the weekend with no nappies or special equipment much easier! Arriving in Whitstable for lunchtime we met our friends and managed to spend the next 3 hours in various coffee shops and pubs (would definitely recommend The Duke of Cumberland for a great lunch). I could hide it no longer though, the thought that the sea was only just around the corner became too much and off we headed to the beach. We have been to Whitstable a couple of times now but still haven't managed to explore it properly, there seems to be many independent shops which one day I might manage to venture in to.
The beach was lovely. The power of looking out to sea will continue to surprise me. The pure excitement of E running around like crazy shouting 'we're at the seaside' was absolutely priceless.
The sun setting finally beat us so we retreated back to a coffee shop, followed swiftly by a Indian takeaway, followed not so swiftly by getting little one to sleep.
The next day, after a quick trip to buy new wellies we went to Leeds Castle, surprisingly not in Leeds. Billed as the 'loveliest castle in the world' I was expecting a lot and it didn't disappoint. Arriving through the landscaped path, past the ducks and black swans the view of the castle is kept as a treat. I took so many photos, every view was worthy.
After some lunch in the very nice Fairfax restaurant (wait until after 2pm on a Sunday to find a table though!) we headed in to the castle. The interesting thing for me about the castle is that it was actually lived in up until the 1960s and 70s. In fact it's latest resident Lady Baillie hosted many a party in the 1930s for visitors such as the Prince of Wales and Mrs Simpson, Charlie Chaplin and the author Ian Fleming. This was all reflected in the interior being very homely and stately home-esque.
Unfortunately time was ticking on and we still had a 4 hour journey north to make so we headed back to the car on the little train (or Grandpa Pigs Minature Locomotive as we decided to call it!). This was perfect for tired little legs and we even saw a peacock, the perfect end to a castle visit.
I'm linking up again with...