Monday, 18 March 2019

Five Great Places to Visit in North Norfolk With Tweens/ Teens

Cromer beach header
Cromer Beach

For the last two August's we've headed over to North Norfolk for a break for a few days. It wasn't an area we'd explored before but straight from the off we were hooked. The gorgeous coastline spans miles and there are so many quaint traditional seaside towns to explore. Of course, if you're looking for the bright lights and glamour of a big city then this area isn't going to be for you, but if you like the countryside right by the coast then it could be perfect.

During our stays, we had some great days out and they don't have to break the bank, so they're a winner on all fronts. Let me share -

Father and daughter on a boat

1.  Visit the Seals at Blakeney Point by Boat
We travelled with Beans Boat Trips but there are a few companies who do the trips and from what I saw they were all much of a likeness. You park at Morston Quay National Trust site to catch your boat and the trip takes between 60 - 90 minutes, depending on the time of year. Either before or after your boat trip you can walk the nature reserve at Morston Quay, which is maintained by the National Trust too.

The cost of the boat trip is £12 per adult and £6 per child, and you'll also need to pay £4.50 for a days parking at Morston Quay. You could easily spend a half-day in the area if you like to walk, explore, fly a kite, bird spot or pond dip.

Beans boat trips

2.  Play the Penny Machines in Hunstanton
My kids love the penny arcades and I have to admit, it does transport me back to being a child. That moment when your parent hands over a couple of quid or a bag of 2p's and you see how long you can make them last.

Nowadays when you do the 2p penny push machines you can win prizes and my husband is the worst culprit for heading home with a bag full of tiny tat! Quite often JJ and I will disappear for a coffee, whilst the other three continue to play, long after our interest has wilted. In Hunstanton the penny arcades are next to the Sea Life Centre so we headed in there for a Costa and then we all took a nice walk around the little town and enjoyed seeing the multi-coloured Hunstanton Cliffs.

3.  Eat fish and chips in Wells-next-the-Sea
Wells-next-the-Sea is well known as a destination  for excellent fish and chips. French's seems to be the restaurant that most people rate and the queues can take hours, but I'm told the food is outstanding. Each time we've been we've chosen to eat in Plattens, which is also on the quay front but never has quite the same extent of queues. We've found the food to be superb, service very good and we always manage to get a table inside too.

Whilst you're in Wells there are good ice cream shops and the Albatros boat restaurant that serves good Dutch pancakes for dessert too. There's also a fabulous play park, super walkways and a sandy beach all easily accessible too.

Family at Blickling Hall

4.  Spend a Day at the National Trust Blickling Estate
This estate is immense, it even has its own pub in the grounds. We've been to dozens of NT sites but this one still remains one of our firm favourites. There are 950 acres of gardens and woodlands to explore and the multi-use tracks are suitable for bikes, scooters, pushchairs and the like.

The house is in excellent condition, with loads of rooms open for you to explore, we all very much enjoyed taking photos there, with the kitchens and servants quarters being a real highlight.

As with most NT sites there are lots of events going on, especially trails for the children and the chance to get outside and complete many of the activities on the things to do before you're 11 3/4 initiative. A family ticket is currently £37.00, but considering you can easily spend the whole day here exploring, I think that's good value and of course if you're NT members then it is already taken care of.

mother and twin tween daughters

5.  Picnic on the Beach at Sherringham
We liked Sherringham, as we were able to find free street parking, there was a fabulous play park above the promenade, the beach is super sandy when the tide is out and there were lots of good cafes, delis and take-aways.

We went in the Town Deli and bought ourselves some pasties, sandwiches, cakes and pop and enjoyed a nice picnic on the beach. The kids were able run around, play in the sand and jump the waves and even in August, it wasn't too busy at all.

There is also the North Norfolk steam railway in Sherringham, which we didn't visit but if you have a train fan, it has a great reputation and is surely worth checking out.

Sherringham beach
Sherringham Beach

Other Places to Visit
There are so many other places to visit that either my kids are too old for or we just haven't found the time yet. In the future we have plans to visit Pensthorpe Natural Park, Holkham Hall and Amazona Zoo.

Sarah at Boo, Roo and Tigger Too shares five places she likes t visit and I think these are all great for families with younger children too.

Why not pin this post for later?

north norfolk places to visit pin

I'm linking this post up with Louise for CountryKids.

Country Kids linky

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Visiting The Llama Park, Forest Row, Sussex

Tween feeding a llama

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I took our twin girls over to The Llama Park, it's about an hours journey from us, but it is a pretty easy one. We had a pleasant few hours there, taking a walk, feeding the animals and enjoying a snack.

The regular price for a family of 2 adults and 2 children is £25 and I think this is a bit steep for what there is. We got a deal on Wowcher, which was £6 for an adult and a child, so we paid £12 entry for the four of us and that felt about the right price.

2 llamas

What Animals are There?
At the park there are llamas, alpacas, sheep, horses, goats, donkeys, pigs, a reindeer and many different types of ducks, geese etc. All the animals are in fairly close proximity and you could easily cover them all in half an hour, if you didn't linger. If you do want to be there longer you can utilise the woodland walks and explore more of the 33 acre site.

We all really enjoyed feeding the animals and you can buy a small bag of feed for £1. We ended up spending £5 on the food, so you need to build that into the cost for the day. I was impressed that there was a couple of hand washing stations with soap and disposable towels to ensure that you don't pick anything up from the animals. Although that shouldn't happen anyway as we saw signs telling us the animals were regularly tested and they all looked happy and well kept.

animals at The Llama Park

Thursday, 7 March 2019

I love My Bed: It's the Heart of Our Home

Our current bedroom

We love to sleep in this house and I am so grateful that I now have children who can (and will) sleep the night through, and even better they lie in sometimes too. It's taken a while to get here but the value of a really good bed contributing to a great nights sleep can't be underestimated.

In those early days when I was trying to feed baby twins in the middle of the night and deal with a toddler having night terrors or maybe a little accident, I wasn't getting much sleep and therefore the small amount I did, really had to count.

I've always been an advocate of investing in a super comfortable bed and great bedding, and our fabric bed is a really good example. I choose to view buying a bed as an investment that is going to last us around ten years and as such I don't mind spending a good amount of money on it.

I think I've passed my love of my bed on to all my kids though, and this isn't necessarily a good thing as they are always on it, or in it! It really has become the heart of our home. I was thinking back to how it became this way and to my horror, I realised I created it. When JJ was a pre-schooler I used to encourage him to go to our bed on a Saturday night with my husband and watch Doctor Who with him. Inevitably he'd fall asleep and we'd lift him out later.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Category: Mummy's Boy // And the Winner is....

This post has been commissioned by James Wellbeloved.

lady cuddling her labrador dog
Look at the soppy boy on holiday with Mum and my aunt in September last year

Eight years ago my mum lost her heart to a new male. His name is Archie and he's a Golden Labrador, or Mum often refers to his colouring as a red fox. We believe he is a pure breed, but she doesn't have pedigree papers for him and as such he'd never be able to enter Crufts (which by the way, is taking place from 7th - 10th March this year). Well, let's be honest, it won't be his lack of pedigree that prevents him from competing at Crufts, it will be the fact that Mum has turned him into a complete mummy's boy. Just look at him in the photos above... in his happy place, on her lap.

James Wellbeloved, the makers of natural dog, cat and ferret foods, and the sponsor of both Crufts and the crossbreed equivalent, Scruffts, challenged me to come up with a category that I just knew Archie would win. It was a toss up at first, would I go for 'scaredy cat' or should it be 'mummy's boy' and the latter won, because it's not Archie's fault that some nasty youths on a motorbike scared him as a puppy and he's been fearful ever since.

Archie really is a pampered pooch and a very much loved mummy's boy. The two of them are always found out walking together, enjoying the fresh air, running after a ball (that's Archie, not Mum) and meeting up with the other dogs and walkers in their little gang.

woman resting on a dog walk, with a labrador

Saturday, 2 March 2019

The Priviledge of Being the Default Parent

mother and tween daughter under umbrellas

I remember early last year coming across the term 'default parent', it was an article in the Huff Post from 2014 that for some reason was popping up in my Facebook feed. I must admit it wasn't a term I was familiar with, but a bit of googling led me to find it is pretty well used and often in a derogatory fashion.

M Blazoned, the writer of the Huff Post article suggests "the default parent is the one responsible for the emotional, physical and logistical needs of the children", and she points out that generally it will be the mother. 

Most articles I read were from mothers who were fed up and worn out of being the one that the children always come to. Often, they were juggling a paid job, childcare and taking care of the family home, and frankly they were burnt out and wondering why it all fell to them when they had a partner who could technically take half the load.