Week 2 of my gratitude diary was spent on holiday in beautiful Norfolk so there is a lot to be grateful for:
1) Time with the family
So we all set off, in convoy, for the Norfolk Coast.
A road much travelled- we have been going to Potters Leisure Resort with friends of the family for over twenty years- and we never fail to have a great time. This year there were 15 of us, including my friends Cherilee and Martin who 3 months ago added to their family with twin girls- Ava & Isla. Their daughter, Ellie, is just over 2 years old- so life is pretty busy for them. It’s amazing to watch how organised they have to be but how easy and natural they make it look. Still needless to say they deserved a holiday!
Not only was it the twins first time at Potters but also that of Chris, my brother’s other half Nicole (check out her fashion blog- link to follow) and my sister’s other half, Richard (talented family- check out his graphic designs here).
Potters describes itself as the UK’s only 5 star holiday village. This is not, however, the grand description I had offered the newbies before they arrived. The decor does not scream 5 star- it is a little on the chintzy side, but, true, this is not your average holiday camp. In fact I completely agree with their use of the word village rather than camp- the facilities are 5 star.
Last week was the October Half Term Sports Coaching break. On arrival you are provided with a full list of free activities and you can pick and choose what you want to play, compete or be coached in. To give you an idea- Paul Reaney, ex- Leeds United and England player is the football coach. The best bit is they manage the classes to the right size, so the queues are never too long and for many of the activities you just turn up at the start time and away you go. It’s so safe that kids, teenagers and adults can wander about unaccompanied throughout the day. So between us within four days we:
- Wiggled, shimmied & twerked our way through Zumba
- Wriggled our way through aqua aerobics
- Got very competitive on the badminton, tennis & squash courts
- Were pampered in the beauty spa
- Took the kids for a swim
- Ate… a lot!
- Raced through the inflatable assault course
- Enjoyed the views out to sea on the way round the 9 hole golf course
- Didn’t win at bingo… Not once! (I know, I know we sound like party people don’t we- but when in Rome- and the prize was at least £600 a night)
- Found each other again at the midnight curry
- Got hurled from a giant swing
- Played on the international arena of a sport- ok not quite Wembley- but everyone actually really enjoyed the indoor bowling
- Danced…. a lot!
- And the less said about my archery score the better:
The one thing that the more regular visitors in the group did mention is that it has felt a lot more like a community (or a “Village”) on previous visits, due to the entertainments team and particularly one entertainer, Mark Brewer. Mark used to go round and get to know all the guests and get people more involved in all the shows and events. This year we felt more entertained to rather than being part of the entertainment- hoping that Mr Potter is listening and Mark is more involved next year!
If you haven’t been yet, it is well worth a visit… oh did I mention all you food is included in the price- all you can eat 4 times a day (for those still up when the midnight buffet comes out). No, I am not getting paid for this post. Most of the group have already booked for next year. I will have to wait a little longer to decide whether I will be going back, as I have some other trips coming up… watch this space.
2) Time for just the two of us
When Chris and I had finally relaxed and had fully thrown ourselves into our holiday we realised that there was no reason for us to race back on the Friday. So we decided to look for somewhere in Norfolk to extend our break. A little time alone for a relaxing round off to a lovely but busy week.
Years ago on a break with my girlfriends in Thornham near Cromer I had popped into a lovely hotel in Burnham Market for a cream tea. We sat in the garden and everything about it was just so beautiful; the village, the old pub, the garden. It clearly stuck with me, so I phoned to see whether they might be able to squeeze us in at late notice. Good news! They had a room. The price made me gulp… twice… but it was worth it just to relax. So we trundled off to The Hoste.
Burnham Market is so beautiful and we just relaxed by walking around and then sat in the bar playing Cluedo (Lucy 4- Chris 1- did I mention that I am competitive?), eating scones and drinking beautiful Malbec.. heaven! The dinner was lovely- dressed Norfolk crab for Chris and my favourite pumpkin risotto. I was so disappointed that I didn’t have room for dessert as I had eyed up at least 5 that I fancied and luckily they were all on the dessert sharer. The truth is we had eaten so much at Potters across the week that we had to force dinner down, although we possibly could have spared the fudge from Mable’s delectable sweet shop- you have to go, it is so cute and she is so lovely!
Now for the moment that we had been waiting for an early night and a good night’s sleep. Oh no! It just wasn’t meant to be. Someone wonderful from the bar decided to empty the bottles into the bin outside our window at 1.30am. You would have thought that we would have been fast asleep by then but the walls were so thin that we could hear every movement from our neighbours… some of which we just didn’t need to hear although it did make us giggle! To top it all in the morning while my back was killing from the bed and my eyes were barely open from lack of sleep I managed to stub my toe on the step into the shower. So when the manager at reception asked me whether I had enjoyed my stay I was ready to burst and couldn’t hold it in. I was very polite- I promise!
We have since been invited to stay again for free in the next year, which I fully intend to take up as the service was amazing, we love Burnham Market and perhaps we were just a little unlucky with the room. Once again watch this space for the return visit.
3) Time alone
One of the things I loved about the break last week is that everyone could do as much or as little as they wanted. It was so nice to slope off for a nap, go for a little walk or head to a class that only you fancied. I had a great time at Beginner’s Squash without feeling conscious of anyone I know being there. I learnt quite a bit without the distraction and met the most inspirational woman. She was 74, recovering from breast cancer and determined to have a go at as many new sports as she could- just brilliant!
4) My friends & family being such good sports
Halloween crept up on us quite literally while we were away. The Potters’ entertainments team put on a great night with a Monster’s Ball. Not to be party poopers Nicole and I snuck off site to Tesco and bought the last dregs on the Halloween costume aisle. There really wasn’t much left and we did the best we could. I mean, we bought the boys (aged between 21-34) pumpkin baby bibs to wear. We hadn’t told anyone! Sneakily, we laid out costumes on each persons’ seat for dinner not sure how people would react. I am so pleased that everyone just got involved- it set the tone for the evening we had so much fun, dancing and singing until the wee hours. Take a look:
5) The weather
When we set off for Norfolk, we left our house with no power following the great storm last weekend and weren’t really sure what we were in for on arrival. But thankfully we had great weather for October. With blue skies Chris and I took the opportunity for a stroll out on the beach in Wells-next-the-Sea. Wherever I am I always bump into people I know.. and a small part of the Norfolk coast is no exception. My friend Rachel was strolling towards us as we headed out- so funny. Anyway, it was a great opportunity for me to get snapping:
Who can’t be grateful while on a holiday like that!