Tag: holiday

Norfolk Mini-Series: Visiting Oxburgh Hall

This is the 5th post of our mini series during our visit to Norfolk in early August.  Today is little T’s first day back in school.  I can’t believe the holidays are over, it’s certainly the shortest she’s ever had.  Let me take you back a few weeks earlier, when the sun was bright and the days were warm and long … 

The next day, we had two destinations in mind.  The first was a visit to Oxburgh Hall (you’ll hear about the second one in the next post), a late medieval country home in Oxborough.  It was built during the War of the Roses, not as a castle really, but more as a family home for Sir Edmund Bedingfield.  This magnificent house is a must-visit for all, you don’t even have to be a lover of history to appreciate this grand country home. You’ll be amazed to see how well-preserved, not just the house, but as well as what you can see inside the house.

Can you imagine this as your family home?

And yes, it has a beautiful moat surrounding this grand country home.

This moat is home to a family of pike and dragonflies.  Little T and my husband crouched down to try to see as many pikes and dragonflies as they can before entering the house, although I’ve only managed to take a couple of photos, there were actually loads of them!

Front of the house is certainly one grand entrance. I can’t believe that this was actually a family home and not a castle.  It has the opulence of one!  Don’t you agree?

Little T trying to take a photo of the sundial (photo above).  As you can see, at the time we visited, the place was going through some minor renovations.

Inside one of the many grand rooms in the house.

Everything about the house was grand, even this old chess-set.  If these pieces could speak, what would they say?  Do you think they’ll tell us stories about who played with them, what the conversations were said during the game?  Any secrets?

One of the most interesting facts about Oxburgh hall is that the Bedingfields were Catholics during the time Elizabeth I first became Queen in 1558.  She was a staunch Protestant who was determined to continue with her father’s reformation of the Church of England and because of their faith, the Bedingfield family was ostracised and also suffered sanctions.  It was also around this time when they decided to have a priest hole built beneath a  bricked-top door in the garderobe (a storeroom for valuables).

As you can see, it is a tiny space,my husband could barely fit in it as he tried to slide into the priest’s hole.

And this is how small it was inside that little hole.  Can you imagine being stuck in here for days with no window and fresh air?

We were only in that hole for a few minutes since there was a long queue to get in. I was certainly glad to be out in the open once again, definitely not one for the claustrophobic!

Visiting places like these, teeming with history and magnificence, makes me and my husband happy to be members of both the National Trust and English Heritage.  It’s nice to know that our membership fees helps in restoring and taking care of all these important historical places.  If not for them, I honestly doubt these places would be well taken care of, or may not even be standing here today.  I’ve mentioned this in past posts, being members is so worth it, especially when you have kids – you’ll always find something to do especially when the weather cooperates.

What’s your favourite historical place to visit?

Click here if you’re interested in visiting and want to know exactly how to get there.

Norfolk Mini-Series: By the Seaside in Sunny Hunny

It all began in Sunny Hunny.  Apparently, it isn’t always sunny in Hunstanton but we were lucky enough to be blessed with glorious weather the few days we were there.  We used the lovely seaside town Hunstanton as base for our trip.  For those who don’t know, “Hunny” as some fondly call the place, is a lovely seaside town in West Norfolk.  It’s one of the few places in the West Coast where the sun can be seen setting over the sea.

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon.  After some tea and cake, we decided to take a walk by the pier.  Was really impressed with the lovely flowers by the promenade.

We knew there was a seaside carnival, not surprisingly T wanted to head for there as soon as she could see it from afar but first my husband tried to convince me to try out the jellied eel.

I took one look and politely declined (did have a taste though) and instead enjoyed a small pot of mixed-seafood.

Not to be left-out, T all ready for the seaside fair asked for some cotton candy.

And then she was all set for some serious fun in the fair.

Sadly, T wasn’t tall enough for some of the rides.  To cheer her up, we said yes to a temporary tattoo.

Her first choice was a sugar skull (she loves them), but then decided on the grim reaper.  Yes, my daughter is a bit “dark” that way.

The woman doing the temporary tattoos tried to convince her to add some colour and perhaps even some glitter.  But T knew what she wanted and politely said no.  I don’t blame her.  I don’t think the the grim reaper will be pleased to be dusted with glitter and colour.

And here’s my little goth girl, proudly showing off her tattoo.  The woman said it will last a week and she was right!

We enjoyed the lovely picturesque scenes on our way to the flat.

It was a beautiful end to our first day in Sunny Hunny.

Where are we off to tomorrow, mum?  T asked.

Off to the Norfolk Lavender Farm.

Wait for it!

Have you planned your Summer Holiday?

I’m sure by now a lot of families out there have planned if not booked their summer holiday already.   If you’re one of those lucky/organised ones, well done, you guys.  When going abroad, we like to book ours well ahead of time too.  As you know, it’s cheaper that way.  Sadly, we haven’t done any bookings as I type this all because little T and I have to renew our passports, which we hope to get sorted out next week.

As for plans, oh we have loads of those!  After all, planning is free right?  At the moment, we have a few choices up our sleeves.  It’s nice to have alternatives, in case, the first one doesn’t pan out right? Here’s ours.

PLAN A: Spain-Portugal

Go on a road trip again.  The first time we ever went on a road-trip as a family, was when we drove all the way to a remote cabin in Scotland and absolutely loved it.  The second one was a road trip to France (with a day-trip to Belgium).  We stayed in a Eurocamp and did day-trips to Disneyland and Paris, as well as  trips around the beautiful French countryside.  Ah, that was bliss.

This time though, the plan is to drive to Plymouth to catch a ferry to Santander and drive all the way down the Spanish coast to Portugal – doesn’t that sound dreamy?

We love doing road-trips.  I guess one of the reasons is that you can stop anytime, especially if you see something that catches your attention.  It’s easy to just stop and roam around and experience the local culture without having to worry about your schedule too much.  And if that doesn’t work, there’s ….

PLAN B: Train-trip to Eastern Europe

Ever since reading “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kustova, I’ve longed to travel by train to Hungary and Romania and yes, visit Count Dracula’s castle in Bran.  I would love to watch the beautiful countryside/mountains of Eastern Europe.  When I mentioned this to my husband, I was pleased  to know that he’s always wanted to do it too.  But I’m wondering though whether T is too young to appreciate a trip like this one, though I’m sure she’ll enjoy travelling by train.  And then there’s …

PLAN C: Homegrown

This is the easiest and if I’m honest, the most feasible plan.  I have family from the States who might come over this summer and of course, it’s only right that we show them around the UK.

I’ve always wanted to explore Wales, since we’ve never really had the chance apart from staying in Hay-on-Wye and doing day-trips from Bristol.  A close friend who regularly camps in Wales has been inviting us to go with her, so this might just be our chance.

And of course, there’s still so much of the UK that I haven’t explored.  What better way to do it when you have guests right?

As you can see, our plans are still up in the air and I know that time is indeed running out, hopefully we’ll be able to finalize our plans soon.

What about you?

Have you booked your summer holiday?

*This is a sponsored post.

A Summer Bucket List

Last Friday’s post inspired me to do a summer bucket list.  Here goes …

1. Gardening.

As some of you may know, we moved into a new house last May.  And while we’re mostly settled, there are still a lot of things to be done, especially outdoors.  The plan is to section the garden where we can plant a few vegetables away from little T’s play area.  That way (hopefully), there won’t be any accidents, like plants being trodden on or broken by a stray ball or child.

I also want to plant some flowers and herbs.  When I say “plant” it mostly means helping the husband out, since he is the one with a green thumb.  I have been known to kill plants by over-watering them.

2. Play Area for T

In the summer time (or maybe even before T breaks up for school), we can finally purchase a trampoline for T and have the time to set it up, and find a proper designated spot for her paddling pool.  You see, most of the garden slopes a bit and we want to find an area that is flat, if not find ways to make it flat.  A paddling pool that tilts won’t be any fun at all.

We also want to set up proper wooden swings in the garden.  We’re lucky to have some trees with branches that look strong enough to hold swings, so hopefully, we’ll be able to put up at least a couple of them for T and her friends to swing in.

3.  Get Organised 

As mentioned, while we are mostly settled and only have a few boxes left, there are still loads to do and stuff to sort out.  The boot room is a mess and you can hardly find anything in our cupboard under the stairs.  Not to mention, pictures, and paintings to be hang on the wall.

4.  Host BBQs and Pool Parties

Once the garden has been tended, the bbq cleaned, it would also be nice to host a few bbqs and pool parties for friends and family.  It helps when you’ve also become friends with the parents of your children’s friends.  When their invited, it’s usually a family affair which is even more fun.

5.  Camping

We love camping.  We also hope to do more of this in the summer break.  Here’s hoping though that the weather will cooperate.  It doesn’t even have to be far, though I would love to go camping somewhere in Wales. But actually, anywhere is good.

6.  Walks on the beach and woods.

We’re lucky to live in by the beach and also some woods nearby.  When the husband isn’t busy, it’s easy for us to just jump in our car and have a little play on the beach, whether it’s rock-pooling, beach combing, or just lazying around on the sand.  Same goes for exploring more of the woods or even some that are a bit of a drive away.

7. Road trips

As mentioned, we also plan to do loads of road trips to Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park.   We’ve never been so we’re really looking forward to that and also exploring the area.  Maybe even staying the night somewhere.

We also plan to utilise our National Trust and English heritage memberships more this summer, especially since we’ve hardly used both this year.

8. Visit London and Watch Matilda

It’s been awhile since we’ve visited the capital.  I think the last time we visited was in December 2014 when we watched The Snowman.  It’s about time we visited again and watched another show, especially since T seems to love musicals.

 That’s about it for now, I won’t be surprised though if I end up adding more to this list, but hopefully, we will be able to tick all of them off before the summer ends.

What about you?

Do you have a summer bucket list too?

Do share.