Our Airbnb Stay

We took a road trip down to Bristol for a few days, we usually  book a holiday let or Premier Inn, but this time we decided to try out an Airbnb.    Airbnb is a company that people use to lease or rent short-term lodging including holiday cottages, apartments, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms.

We booked a 5-bed family home in the centre of Bristol.  It had all the home comforts including a washing machine, dishwasher and washing line. If I can do all the washing whilst we away then that is a massive plus, because who likes coming home to mountains of washing?!  It also had a play room with toys for the children, trampoline in the garden and a snooker and table tennis table.

We made our booking directly with the host (home owner) through the Airbnb website.  You can chose to pay in two instalments or the full amount straight away, and there is no fee for cancelling which is a massive plus when you have children, because who knows what is going to happen.  There is an administrative fee (which is how the site make their money) which is added to the total at the end of the booking and it does make quite a difference to the price, so be aware.

The host couldn’t have been more helpful and it was great that you could ask someone that actually lives in the house/area and get a “real” answer.  We had a few problems with the electrics whilst we were there and it was great how quickly it was sorted out, even though the home owners were in Thailand.  The neighbours were wonderful and happy to help out with local information.

The house was lovely, just like the photos on the site, so no nasty surprises when we arrived.  It was really clean and ridiculously tidy!  It had a homely feel and was like having a cuppa at your friends house.  The kitchen had a huge table which overlooked the garden and it was perfect for the 8 of us.

The only thing that I found a little bit unsettling was that it was actually somebody’s house, stupid I know, because I knew this before we travelled.  I’m sure some things had been put out of the way, but there were still personal photos and belongings in each room.   I have to be honest, I would hate someone else staying in my house and playing with the childrens toys.

I found it difficult to relax as I was worried about the children touching ornaments or breaking plates.  I’m glad to say that nothing got broken or damaged!

Having somewhere safe for the children to run around and let off steam was brilliant.  It was lovey to sit be able to sit down in an evening when the children had gone to bed and relax, just as if we had been at home.

Have you stayed in an Airbnb?  Find your next getaway house at Airbnb


Hare We GoGo!

Following on from the hugely successful GoGoGorillas! In 2013 and GoGoDragons! In 2015, Norfolk based children’s charity Break has again teamed up with Wild in Art to deliver a mass participation public art sculpture trail. 

For 11 weeks during the summer (24th June- 8th September) you can hunt out 50 hare sculptures in the city of Norwich and 18 around the beautiful county of Norfolk.  There are a further 164 baby hares, or leverets, that form the learning programme of the project, called GoGoCreate.  Schools (including Cawston Primary Academy, Lyng Primary, Hainford Primary, St Faith’s Primary to name a few) community groups and sports clubs have decorated their own baby hare and you can find them all over Norwich.

Norwich and Norfolk have so much to offer and you can use the hares to help you plan a summer of days out.  From the beach at Great Yarmouth, Cromer or Hemsby to the Norfolk broads where you can take a cruise on the water.  You can cycle, walk or have a picnic whilst exploring what our wonderful city has to offer. 

Inevitably over the summer holidays there are things that you need to do and that’s not always easy with children.  Having something like the GoGoHares trail keeps the children occupied making going into the city and getting jobs done a lot easier from hunting for a super hero to laughing at a funny bunny!  It’s great fun for all the family.  You can get yourself a copy of the GoGoHares map from The Forum, Norwich and tick them off as you find them and if you’re feeling flush you can bid for your favourite hare at the charity auction on 11th October.

For more information visit GoGoHares



Sparham Pools

There are so many beautiful places right on our doorstep that our children adore. As a mother of six it’s about economising and making our own fun and this is an excellent example.

Sparham pools (located just into Lyng) is a wonderful nature reserve that consists of a walk of around a mile (it takes us about 45 minutes) with gorgeous scenery and wildlife. The walk to the pools is an adventure for the children over the bridge past the mill with the expanding fields and valley laid out before them. You can extend the walk all the way to Lenwade (which is around a 4 mile return walk) along the Wensum Way and see the young lambs running free, eat the sublime Fish and Chips (as long as you remember the correct opening night) and walk off all those calories on the way back. There is some off-road parking if you’re not lucky enough to be able to walk there but the walk isn’t suitable for buggy’s so get your carriers on if you have a little one.

During past walks the children have been lucky enough to see deer, herons, swans and even an adder slithered between us. There are little boardwalks over some marshes, jetty’s into the pools and all these things inspire the children’s imaginations.  We’ve taken picnics and the children have paddled in the shallow water. There are cows grazing with warnings clearly marked.  You can take dogs, but there are parts where they must be on a lead.

It’s brilliant to see the children outside taking in all that nature has to offer reaping the benefits of fresh air and exercise, having them use their imaginations and the time and opportunity to chat.  So if you have a spare hour, take a walk and enjoy this local beauty spot, you will not be disappointed.

Asda – Good Living Magazine

As a larger family it’s difficult to have a day out for anything less than £50-£100 so when we were challenged by Asda to discover free or cheap activities (that please all the children) to do over the summer holidays we leapt at the chance.

The aim of the article was to show that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep the children entertained and happy over the holidays.

We had a very busy, fun filled week fitting in as many craft activities and trips out as we could.

We’re members of the National Trust and English Heritage so days out to any of their sites are free to us. We live close to Blickling and Felbrigg Hall so these were a must. Beautiful walks, gardens to explore and a wander around the house.

Lots of restaurants have offers on during the summer holidays where children eat for £1 or even free (with every paying adult) including Jamies Italian, Frankie & Bennys and Pizza Hut and these are well worth checking out for a great deal on food.

We visited Castle Acre with a picnic and the children loved exploring the old ruins.  We took a trip to Norwich library for a free drop-in activity and Norwich Cathedral for a free guided tour.


We got the craft box out!  There are lots of things to make and do with things recycled from around the house.  We made egg box boats which we then floated in the paddling pool.

We baked and decorated biscuits, made shaped wax crayons and painted magnets for the fridge.


I think the best thing we did was build a wig wam in the garden.  It was lovely for the children to sit in and relax, even the rabbit made it in.



Like most parents, the summer holidays can be daunting trying to keep all the children happy.  Being creative and doing simple things can be just as enjoyable, if not more so, than an expensive day out.  There really are some wonderful things to do in and around Norwich.

Check out the August issue of Asda’s Good Living Magazine to see what activities were used in the article and get some ideas for the last week of the holidays!






Car Boot Bargains!

I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t like to get a bargain and I have to confess that I am a secret car boot lover.  This time of year is car boot season and I love nothing better than a trot around a packed field full of car booters and their wares at the weekend.

You never know what you are going to find and half the time you don’t even know you needed or wanted it until you’ve found it!  Think of it as Ebay without the postage and packaging costs.

Now, I am quite a snobby car booter, I only buy good quality things in excellent condition (because why would you not) but believe me there are people who sell things that are only fit for the bin! I usually suss out the seller,  you can instantly tell what sort of things people will be selling and whether you want to buy them from first impressions.

So I thought I would share with you my best bargains from this weekend.  This is probably my favourite find – A brand new Boden dress for £4!  I’ve got a Christening to go to in October and this will be perfect.


Baby clothes are also great on a car boot (if you find a decent stall) as they are barely worn, so practically brand new.  We all know how quickly baby’s grow.  I normally find more girls clothes than boys, but you only need one good stall to find some lovely things.

I paid £1 for the Cath Kidston top and £0.20p for the John Lewis dungarees – Bargains!

I love reading, and there are always books to buy from as little as £0.10p each, as well as children’s books galore.


I paid £0.30p each for the children’s books.

BE WARNED – It can be a dangerous place to take your children -you will end up with more toys and soft toys in your house as they seem to be magnets to them and sometimes they even want to buy things you already have at home!

The Best Breakfast

Every school holidays we try and go out for breakfast together, we always head to the same place – The Premier Inn! It’s great, children eat for free (up to 2 children for every adult) so we pay £17.98 for 6 of us and then an extra £4.00 for the extra child – how good is that!?!

And the best bit is, it’s all you can eat buffet! There is everything you can think of from fruit, yoghurt, pastries, pancakes, full English, toast, crumpets, cereal and it goes on. It’s all fresh and tastes good too! There’s a Costa hot drinks machine where you can have unlimited coffees or tea and fruit juices. And again for us (family of 8) it only cost £21.98!

If you are a larger family I’d definitely recommend going here, we fill up on breakfast and then normally don’t feel hungry again until tea. Today after breakfast we headed to Amazona Zoo and we didn’t spend a penny on food/snacks as no one was hungry – great, hey!

Bearing in mind just how much food children can eat, this has got to be the best value for money I’ve ever come across – and best kept secret!

Ed’s Castle On The Hill

So today we packed up a picnic and headed to Framlingham Castle, Ed’s castle on the hill. We’re members of the English Heritage so we get in for free (it’s actually more expensive to pay to get in than buy a membership).


Yes, there was a castle on the hill, a very buggy unfriendly hill!  You will need a baby carrier and a lot of energy, it’s a workout up and down the steps and hills.  The castle and surroundings are worth it though and you can spend a couple of hours exploring the grounds.


Inside the castle there were lots of activities for the children, how to be a princess/knight, dressing up and my guys favourite, a slide which was nearly as high as the castle!  You can also climb to the top of the castle and walk around.  There was of course a café for compulsory tea and cake, gift shop and a great area to have your picnic.  You can take dogs too (on leads) shame as we’d left Pup at home.



If like me you were thinking there would be some mention or shrine to the man himself, you will be disappointed as there was nothing.  Clearly though we weren’t the only crazies singing “castle on the hill” as we wondered around as it was packed out.  Thanks Ed for sharing this lovely place with us


A great place to visit if you don’t mind a bit of a drive.

High Lodge, Thetford Forest

If you’re looking for somewhere cheap and fun to take the children then I can highly recommend High Lodge, Thetford Forest. You only have to pay to park and then you’re off.

We spent an absolutely great day there. There’s a wonderful Gruffalo trail for younger children where you can find characters from the story (you need to download the app before you go) it magically makes them appear on your photos!

Along the way you’ll find parks and play apparatus everywhere, suitable for young and older children. Think Bewilderwood type parks and you wouldn’t be far off and it’s all free!

There are benches and places to have a picnic scattered all over the forest and the boys found a great space for kicking a football around! There’s a cafe for a hot food and drink and toilets at the entrance.

There are, of course, things to do if you wanted to spend money. There are bike trails if you wanted to either hire a bike or take your own to explore. Older children can use Go Ape and Tree Trek or hire Segways. For our 3 girls it was £54 for 1 hour, they got to go around as many times as they wanted (compared to others we’ve used when it’s just once around the course).

I cannot rate this place highly enough, everyone had fun and have gone to bed exhausted – now that’s a good day!

Forestry commission