So I'm sitting here wearing a scarf to ward off the morning chill, looking out at the trees in the garden that are just starting to go russety and using all my willpower to ignore Anthropologie's potentially ruinous emails about their autumn jumpers, and it strikes me that I still haven't written about our summer holiday in north Norfolk.
It was more than just a summer holiday, really. It was Samuel's first ever holiday, it was my mum's chance to get away and celebrate her recent well-deserved retirement. It was also an opportunity for me and Lucy to get out of our respective cities (for the second time in as many weeks) and relax a bit.
Granny K treated us to a week in a gorgeous – and extremely purple – cottage on the picturesque High Street in Blakeney. It was great for us all to spend some time together and Samuel, as usual, absolutely reveled in the company of his granny and his aunty. But, much to everyone's confusion, rather than calling them 'Granny' and 'Aunty', Samuel just decided to keep things simple and call both of them 'Dora'. He's been calling Lucy this for ages (we've no idea why), but now Mum too? Toddlers are weird. He'd wake up in the morning, stand in the doorway of his cute little attic room and bellow, 'DORA!' at the top of his lungs until they both appeared. Apart from these early morning alarm calls, I'm pretty convinced that Mum and Lucy loved his company too. Having said that, Samuel did give Mum a bit of a shock when she sat him on her knee in the car and he beeped the horn. Lucy managed to capture the moment on film for posterity.
We were based just a few minutes' walk from Blakeney's quayside. Families spent hours crabbing there (much to crustacean-phobic Lucy's abject horror), there was a little funfair with a teacup and saucer ride that proved to be the most exciting thing Samuel could ever have dreamed of, and the vast expanse of marshlands leading out to the sea seemed to stretch out for miles.
Blakeney is gorgeous. It has about three pubs, two restaurants, a small supermarket and a fantastic playground and, most importantly, it has a delicious deli that does a good line in lattes, French sticks and ready-made Thai green curries. It seemed to be solely responsible for keeping us going for most of the week.
Most mornings we hopped in the car and drove along the coast road, through weird and wonderful little villages like Stiffkey (which was in the middle of its annual scarecrow pageant – yep) to spend a few hours at the seaside – mainly at Wells-next-the-Sea. It's the most wonderfully family-friendly beach. Golden sands ideal for sandcastle action, gentle waves that make for perfect paddling and an amazing cafe that also does a good latte (regular readers may notice that this is *quite* important to me). It also boasts a 'Wash-n-Wag' for tourists of the four-legged variety and one of the world's biggest deckchairs. All the essentials, if you ask me.
And how did Samuel take to the seaside? Well, he loved it. He couldn't get enough of the feel of the sand under his feet and by the end of the week he'd immediately go to take his sandals off as soon as so much as spotted a beach. He loved the sea and couldn't believe he was allowed to jump and splash in the shallows to his heart's content. And the bucket and spade that mum bought for him? Well that was possibly his highlight of the whole holiday. He christened the spade, 'Diggy' and refused to let go of it at any point.
We also visited Brancaster and Sheringham, and celebrated Lucy's birthday at a gastro pub called The Victoria on the Holkham estate. I had a crab roll that came with a side of crisps in a crab shell. The birthday girl was not amused.
James didn't get to spend as much time there with us as we'd have liked (when you have a cat with heart problems, proper family holidays aren't easy to come by), but he was there for long enough for a small family photo-shoot in the shallows. North Norfolk was great. Flat and gentle, it's stunning in a sedate kind of way and I hope we'll go back again soon. We might even attempt to do another boat ride to see the seals next time. You'll notice that there are no photos of any seals in this post. That is because I spent the entire time on the boat trying to stop Samuel from screaming, and trying to avoid eye-contact with the 30 other seal-seekers in very close proximity to us who were wondering why I'd taken tantruming toddler on a boat. You live and learn.
And now for the obligatory photo dump before I get back to ignoring those Anthropologie emails. Honestly.