AD | Contains some gifted trips and days out
I love nothing more than a day out, weekend away or a holiday. Although money has been tight for the past few years I have tried to make sure that we budget and save to ensure that Erin gets these experiences. I never did nearly as much when I was a child and I want Erin to have adventures and to discover new places. We were very lucky to have some great experiences in 2019.
Like a lot of people we had a very quiet January. With Christmas and Erin’s birthday being only a week apart we have a few very busy weeks at the end of December and are always skint afterwards!
February is John’s busiest month at work and he generally doesn’t get a lot of time off, even on weekends. Last year, as Erin changed nursery, it also meant that we now have school holidays for the first time. During February half term Erin and I went to Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure with some friends for the first time. We had a fantastic time, even in the cold, and it was great to explore somewhere new in Norfolk.
In March we finally got to have a family day out on a day trip to Ely thanks to Greater Anglia. We took a boat trip down the river, had a delicious lunch and then played at the park on the way to looking around the cathedral!
We had a bit of a busier April with our first family getaway of the year. It might have only been 20 minutes down the road but The Grove, Cromer was such a nice place to stay. We had afternoon tea, explored in the woods, swam in a private pool and had afternoon tea!
We also managed an Easter break to Ipswich for 2 nights and we did LOADS! We had some nice meals at places like Prezzo, Frankie and Benny’s while also exploring the city. Of course, Erin was mostly interested in where the nearest parks were and we did manage to find her some to play at!
While in Ipswich we stayed at the Novotel Ipswich hotel and even though they had works going on, it didn’t bother us at all. The breakfast there was one of the best I’ve had in a hotel and we all slept so well in our room.
In May we explored a lot more of Norfolk and stayed quite close to home, starting with a trip to the Norwich children’s library. The library had a refurbishment early in 2019. We hadn’t actually been before this but we were blown away by just how good it was. Of course, there are plenty of books but there was also play areas, dressing up and tunnels!
Later in the month we worked with Kelling Heath on a press trip. We stayed in a stunning Woodland Lodge and it was such a luxury for us. We stayed for 4 nights and spent our days swimming, I used the sauna and steam room A LOT and we had some fantastic walks in the woods. Erin loved feeding animals out of the back door and we found lots of treasures on our adventure!
Another day out in Norfolk for May was Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden. This was somewhere I’d heard quite a bit about but never been to so Erin and I went with my sister and brother in law. We got to go on a small boat ride, sit on toadstools and see so many different flowers. This place was really beautiful.
Another new place for me to visit in Norfolk was Sheringham, which is only a 30 minute train journey from where we live. The weather was amazing on our day out so we spent ages on the pebble beach, had chips for lunch followed by ice cream (of course) and we also played on the arcades. We fit a lot in to our day!
In June we headed to Haven Seashore with my Mum for 4 nights. We stayed at Haven Caister-on-Sea the year before but we wanted to try this park as it had just had some big upgrades. Our caravan was super comfortable and really spacious. Mum and Erin got to share a bedroom, which Erin really enjoyed. We had great fun doing crafts, eating in the new restaurant and we also had a day out in Great Yarmouth where we visited SeaLife Great Yarmouth. We loved our holiday so much that we’re going back twice this year.
July was the beginning of the summer holidays and we started it off with a visit to Norwich Castle. We got to discover a bit about Vikings, do some crafts and see some blogging friends who I hadn’t seen for a while. Erin really enjoyed exploring and seeing what there was in the castle and we had such a fun day.
Something Erin really likes doing is going to the theatre. July saw us go to The Garage in Norwich for the first time to see My First Play: A Midsummer Night’s Nap. This is a really relaxed kind of performance where children are encouraged to take part, walk around if they want to and they definitely don’t need to be quiet. Erin and I got to be on stage and she really enjoyed it.
John had some time of in August and this time he was able to come to Roarr Dinosaur Adventure with us. They had put on a free bus from Norwich for transport which made it possible for us to actually get there. We played in eggs, climbed in the parks and found some really cool dinosaurs. I think Erin’s favourite part was playing in the splash park near the end of the day.
Later in the month we had a family day out with my sister and brother in law to Holt Country Park, somewhere else not too far away from where we live. The country park was absolutely beautiful, covered in green with lakes and look out towers to climb. Erin found toadstools to jump on, a park to play in and we had a great picnic in a little hut. I hope we can go back this year.
While John had a couple of days off we decided to take Erin bowling for the first time at the Bowling House in Norwich. This isn’t a big bowling alley but instead it’s small with 5 lanes and very family friendly. Erin loved the cinema style seats and the delicious fries we ate while we were bowling. Afterwards, we headed back into the city for a bigger meal at Turtle Bay, somewhere we always enjoy going.
Our last adventure in August, while John was off work for his birthday was a couple of days in Cambridge, staying at the YHA Cambridge. We’d never stayed anywhere like this before and I didn’t know what to expect. However, we found it to be super clean, friendly and spacious and Erin’s favourite bit was staying in a bunk bed.
While in Cambridge we met up with friends, visited some museums and ate out way more than we should have done. We were very lucky with the weather so we made the most of being able to walk around to take in what the city had to offer. Of course, Erin managed to get us to take her to more than 1 park while we were there!
September meant back to school for Erin after a very long summer holidays. It took some time to get back into a normal routine and for Erin to not be exhausted every Saturday. Instead of packing loads in we decided to have a quiet month and spend some time at home.
One of my first days out in October was for a meal with a friend at Eric’s Fish and Chips in Holt. Being from Grimsby I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to fish and I only really eat haddock. Eric’s food was absolutely delicious and they also do some amazing desserts. I can’t believe I’d gone all this time without having a deep fried Mars Bar before!
October also saw us go to Laser Tag in Norwich for the first time. We wasn’t sure how Erin would like it but we all ended up having the best time. We went to a toddler session on a Saturday morning which was perfect for Erin as she was able to really get into it without there being lots of bigger children to contend with. We went somewhere that also had a play cafe as well so Erin liked being able to do a bit of both.
With the run up to Christmas we decided to have a quiet November. We wanted to make sure we could go out for a really nice family meal just before Christmas in one of our favourite restaurants so we saved up for this rather than have any days out.
December ended up being a REALLY busy month. We started off with a visit to the theatre to see My First Panto: Rapunzel. John was able to come with us this time and it was a great family day out. The Garage in Norwich do really great shows for children as they don’t have to sit still or be quiet and they can move around and join in if they want.
At the beginning of the month I was able to get away for a couple of days to London for Christmas with my Mum. We stayed at the Novotel London Paddington, which was a real treat as we had our room upgraded when we arrived. We had a trip to the theatre to see Wicked, had some lovely meals and we spent nearly a whole day exploring Covent Garden. It was such a treat to get away with Mum for a few days on our own!
In the middle of the month I had a very last minute offer to go on a press trip to Stoke-On-Trent. It happened to be the weekend my Mum moved in but I said yes anyway! I had a great time with some other bloggers, went to the panto, explored the potteries and did some shopping! Sometimes the most unexpected things are the most enjoyable.
December was a time for some delicious meals out, starting with Afternoon Tea at The Assembly House with one of my lovely friends. It was my first time there but it was so nice that I’ve already booked to go back. The festive cakes were so amazing and each bite made me want it to last for hours. We had a lovely table right by a Christmas tree too so perfect for Christmas.
The last thing we did in December was to go for a family meal just before Christmas at The Beechwood Hotel. The restaurant is only a 5 minute walk from our house but it’s somewhere we would choose over and over again when we have spare money. It’s a really special meal out and their Sunday lunches are just spectacular.
Now that I’ve written a whole post, I realise that we did A LOT in 2019. It’s really nice to look back at our year though. Sometimes you can think things haven’t been that good but looking at all of these amazing days out and meals we had, I’m very thankful that we got to do so much.