We've just returned from a short break in Norfolk - my home turf. A much needed relaxing staycation before the wedding madness truly starts and a long overdue catchup with friends and family. I love holidaying in the UK and will never turn down a chance to spend time exploring the coast and countryside where I grew up.
Unfortunately some pretty rubbish packing meant that I managed to go on holiday without a battery in my DSLR so I've spent the week snapping away on my iPhone. With my original plan of Norfolk blogs scuppered I thought that instead I'd share with you a more intimate postcard from our time away in Norfolk and show you some of my favourite places to visit in my home county.
We began our staycation with a trip to Africa Alive, a small animal park in Lowestoft and one of my favourite places to visit as it's one of the few zoos in the area that has my favourite animals, giraffes. The walking safari is set in 100 acres of beautiful landscape and has a great range of animals and really interesting talks and feeds given by the keepers.
Simon embraced the chance to collect some Pokemon (yes, he's become a Pokemon Go addict) and I enjoyed feeling some Summer sunshine on my pale skin.
Highlight of the day was probably a seagull swooping into the Otter enclosure during the keeper's talk to steal some fish - money just can't buy that kind of entertainment.
I'm always keen to show off the Broads whenever I bring Simon back home to Norfolk. I grew up a short stroll away from the River Bure and my knowledge of boats, ducks and wildlife is pretty crazy! Stick me by the Broads and I'll immediately become giddy, it's very much my happy place. Ranworth is one of my most favourite places to visit, it's the perfect place to watch the holidaymakers on their boats and the short board walk offers a great opportunity to see local wildlife and a bird hide overlooking the river.
You may remember from our staycation at Center Parcs that Simon and I can literally spend hours sitting in a bird hide spotting wildlife. Watching animals and birds through binoculars is a passion we both share and we spent quite a lot of time watching the birds out on Ranworth Broad.
No trip to Norfolk is complete without an adventure to the coast and this time we decided to journey over the Suffolk border to Southwold - a gorgeous town that feels like a typical British seaside (and probably one of the few traditional experiences left in the country).
Miles of colourful huts line the beach and I became completely obsessed with them. Nosing in people's doors to see how they've set out their little hideaway (much to Simon's embarrassment), dreaming about maybe one day having one of our own and trying to find the most beautiful to take photos of makes a pretty awesome day.
Since arriving back home I've been researching Southwold's beach huts and the price of them seriously made my eyes water. Let's just say you can buy a small house for less money!
Traditional arcades on the pier, a beautiful town centre covered in bunting and an amazing fish and chip lunch by the sea made Southwold a highlight of our staycation.
Our week ended with some 80s nostalgia for me. Pleasurewood Hills is East Anglia's only theme park and somewhere Mum always took us the last week of the school holidays if we'd been well behaved. We were obsessed and would spend the entire 6 weeks begging to go earlier.
The Park opened the year after I was born and so I spent a large chunk of my childhood in the park with my family, Brownies and school. Amazingly it had been over 20 years since my last visit and I was really interested to see if things had majorly changed or if some of my memories were still intact.
I was thrilled to see so many rides from the 80s still there, still working and still making kids smile. Poor Simon spent a day with me skipping about pointing out my favourite spots and telling him silly stories from my youth.
Unfortunately it turns out I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to scarier rides as we discovered when we got to the top of a rollercoaster and I started screeching "I don't like it, I don't like it" in Simon's ear. Luckily we found plenty of rides that were Chloe friendly so I spent the rest of my day happily travelling around the park on the kids train.
If any of you haven't been to Norfolk I'd definitely recommend heading to the East coast for a staycation. It may be a little out of the way but it is beautiful with a wonderfully slow pace of life and plenty to do. I feel so lucky to have grown up in a special place.
Let me know if you've ever visited Norfolk and your favourite place to staycation.