Mill Farm Eco Barn Norfolk Adventure – Spencer’s ARC Travels

Our travels last week took us to the Norfolk Broads countryside. A little Village on the coast called Winterton-On-Sea.

Our home for the week was a beautiful barn conversion called Mill Farm Eco Barn.

The barn does what it says, its very eco friendly, with rainwater running the washing machine, a biomass under floor heating system, its very own allotment that unfortunately due to the time of year didn’t have anything ready for us to use.

The barn inside is large yet cosy, with a log burner Not that we needed it (It was the hottest bank holiday on record I believe.) As you walk into the main living area you are greeted by a wooden staircase that winds up to the gantry style landing.

The landing looks over the living area and leads to the master bedroom with balcony, twin room with ensuite and the main family bathroom with huge bath and shower.

Downstairs is another 2 bedrooms and one with ensuite and another shower room.

The open plan living area hosts the kitchen area with range cooker, built in fridge and dishwasher. with a breakfast bar separating it from the dinning area that seats 8.

We were so lucky with the weather that during our stay we took the opportunity to have a couple of BBQ’s in the courtyard garden.

We laid the table inside with salad and bread and condiments and opened the trifold doors bringing the outside in!

The area around the barn felt safe enough to let the kids go and explore more or less on their own!

There is a paddock that used to be home to two ponies but unfortunately they had become poorly just before our stay so are no longer there.

Now the paddock is empty the kids could happily run around and burn off any energy  they had left after exploring the nearby attractions.

As we needed a cot for the babies we chose the main bedroom with balcony each morning I would open the curtains and the door that overlook the fields around letting in the fresh morning air.

The host are lovely people and always leave a welcome basket with home made bread and cake as well as local eggs and jam.

The Eco Barn is such a lovely space for an extended family break. There are high chairs, cots, bikes toys and more.

We were talking over breakfast one morning about home nice it would be to rent out all three properties over the Christmas period for our family and celebrate all together in the eco barn!

Having looked up availability its actually already been booked so someone else must have seen its Festive potential too!

We explored loads during our stay however there is so much we haven’t yet seen so are planning our next trip to the Eco Barn.



Nina xx

A Good Old English Seaside Day Out!

Last month during the Half Term we packed the car and headed out to Cleethorpes for the day.

We arrived just before lunch and parked in one of the promenade car parking bays, We unstrapped everyone from the car and headed to the cafe opposite Olivers Eatery  I orderd a cuppa and some pancakes for the kids to eat while I fed the babies.

Then after we had all been to the toilet we headed to the beach.

It was quite a nice day weather wise for February. Miss M spent quite some time searching for shells and pretty rocks. Mr J wanted to make sand angels.

It wasn’t long though before we started to feel a bit cold the drizzle started so we headed to an arcade for a warm and some shelter. Taylor made fun was a great place to spend some pocket money on the 2p machines. I love the 2p slots they really bring back good memories of caravan holidays I had with my auntie.

You cant have a trip to the seaside without 3 things The first two being Ice-cream and donuts

The kids had Ice-cream Me & the Teen had donuts from Browns

The Third thing that you have to have at the seaside is good old fish n chips.

We headed to Papas on the pier. As you approach the entrance is a revolving door and there is an entrance foyer with takeaway chips on one side. Through another door and you feel like you are heading into some posh hotel. Once in you are seated by one of the waiters.

There are chandeliers all around and a huge stage with a piano.

Dont be fooled though the prices are very reasonable and the portions are very generous.

Once we had finished our fish N Chips it was starting to get dark so we headed back to the car where I fed the babies again while looking out to the sea. Before we headed back home. The sea air must have done some good as we had only driven about a mile before everyone was asleep.

The kids said it was a brilliant day.

It was a much needed day out for us.

A sign that things are getting back to normal.

I love the seaside  I cant wait to head back.

Today March 17th See’s the start of English Tourism Week 2018.

The initiative is aimed to raise the profile and promote tourism in England. Giving  attractions,  accommodation  and destinations a way to raise their own profiles.

Head over to the Visit Britain Website for more details

Dear Ant & Dec, I nearly died.

Dear Ant & Dec,

I want to say What a huge fan I am of the Ant & Decs and itv’s Saturday Night Takeaway and how we never miss an episode.

However, we are a busy household with 4.5 kids. So when a rare opportunity arises to go out on a Saturday night. We take it.

That said we are huge fans of the show and try to watch on catch up if we miss an episode even if we only have time to watch who the guest announcer is and what antics you are going to get up to on the end of the show, show.

But we also have to watch the happiest minute of the week. Most of the time this has me in tears due to the reasons why people deserve “a place on the plane”

Any I want to tell you why myself and my family deserve

“a place on the plane”

Last year I was pregnant with our second set of twins which in its self was a huge shock. I suffered throughout the pregnancy with sickness & pain.

The pain being so severe I ended up cancelling a trip to Disneyland Paris for my family.

Then I was told I was a walking time bomb and didn’t even know it.

I was diagnosed with a rare life threatening pregnancy complication.

Thankfully I came through and the 30+ strong team at Jessops Sheffield saved my life. And the life of my new twins.

Not knowing about the complication or the months of recovery from not only this op but 2 more after this I had booked a New Years holiday which we also had to cancel as I just wasn’t well enough.

This I why I deserve “a place on the plane”

My husband who often works away dropped in that he has to fly off to Orlando in June to do some work at Disney.

I would love to take my family to see Disney and to stay in Orlando but at the moment we just can’t afford a trip like that with 2 sets of twins, a stepson and myself & hubby.

So this would be the only way we could go at the moment.

Please let us have “a place on the plane”

Nina. Xx

Spa Membership V’s Public Swimming Pool.

A couple of years ago I became a member of the local spa, I only really use it for the pool. Towards the end of my pregnancy I let my membership lapse. After Christmas I decided to renew it.

A six month membership at Clumber Park Hotel and Spa is currently £225 for 6 months.

If I went to the local pool 3 times a week which I aim to do it would cost £343 for 6 months.

With the added bonus of being able to use the gym facilities and children being able to swim for free from 4pm – 6pm.

The spa pool as a member is open to me from 7am – 9pm 7 days a week.

The public pool has set times that you can swim due to school using it and lessons happening.

I love going swimming at the spa, when you arrive you are greeted by the delicious smell of essential oils, and the sound of relaxing music playing in the background.

I grab a towel. As a member I get to borrow their freshly laundered fluffy towels.

Head to the changing rooms that have under floor heating and again has relaxing music playing in the background.

Once changed I head to the pool take a pool side shower and head for my swim.

I never commit myself to timing lengths or counting lengths. I just swim. Sometimes I swim with no thoughts. Other days I swim and plan my perfect day or plan my week / day.

I went yesterday and after my swim I decided to have 10 mins in the outdoor hot tub.

While I was there a squirrel sat about 2 meters away from me eating.

It’s great at Clumber surrounded by trees with just enough gaps in them to let the sun beam down on sunny days.

There is also a sauna & steam room but I’m not really a fan of those.

On a weekend I often take a little more time when daddy has the kids and have a cuppa in the cafe bar after my swim. I Sit in one of the sofas in a snug area.

I’m totally the spa fan. It’s great for my wellbeing.

Nina x

Pictured is MGM – Clumber Park Hotel & New Leaf Spa

Travels with Twins – Forest Holiday’s

This past week we were given the opportunity to spend a couple of days at one of the Forest Holiday Parks in Norfolk. Thorpe Forest is close to the little town of Thetford where we stopped off at the 24 Hour Tesco’s for BBQ food – Yes I said BBQ I think it may be a record for us for the first BBQ of the year!

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There is a shop on site and they do sell BBQ packs however it being January there isn’t as much choice.

The kids were very excited to be going to the log cabin especially when we told them they could go in the Hot Tub!

We pulled up to the cabin and had a look around.

This particular cabin had three bedrooms but there are cabins up to 4 bedrooms.

There is no need to take bedding and towels as they are provided.

The best thing about staying in these woodland retreats at this time of year is the log fires. It great to have a walk in the forest then come back to a roaring log fire.

There are logs for sale on site, however they can be expensive.

If you don’t want to light the fire the heating is quite adequate to keep you warm.

The first thing we do when we arrive as usual is flick the kettle on, the kids unpack and put their swimming costumes on.

Once we’ve had a soak in the hot tub, we take a shower and start preparing food for our BBQ.  No need to lay the table as it was already set out for us on our arrival.

This kind of getaway really allows time for us to reset. I turned off my phone. The kids spent time playing catch and looking for wildlife. There was a deer that came to visit in the morning but my dad’s dog chased it off.  There was also a squirrel that came right up on the balcony jumped onto the lid of the hot tub then scooted along the fence and up the tree.

In the evening Hubby went in the hot tub with the kids again while I sat and read my magazine with a cuppa, and some snacks.

The woodland Cabins really are very cosy at this time of year with lamps and low lighting and lovely autumn colours.

About 10pm we gave the babies one last feed and put them in bed. We tried to get the big two to sleep and you would think with all the fresh air from the forest they would have been tired but they were just too excited.

The next morning we woke to the kids asking if they could go in the hot tub again!

Once the babies had been fed the kids and I had a little soak while my dad prepared late breakfast.

It was almost lunchtime by the time we had all come in and had showers.

Time doesn’t really matter when you are on a break like this. there are no set rules, no worries, Its great.

When you are ready to take off your jammers and get dressed you can head over to the bar /Cafe for a meal, or just a drink. There are activities that the kids and yourself can get involved in from geocaching to pottery painting which is what we did.

We only had one night at Thorpe forest but has totally wet our appetite for another forest holiday. We would normally spend our holidays in Lanzarote however now with two kids and two babies in tow I’m not sure that we will be going as often so little breaks in the UK will probably be amongst our adventures this year.

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Nina x

Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año. A Lanzarote Christmas.

For the past few years as a family, we have headed over to Lanzarote during the festive period. Whether that be in the run-up to Christmas or during the holiday it’s self.

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We love Lanzarote and often think of it as our second home.

This in mind and coupled with our love of Christmas what better time to head to Lanzarote for some winter sun and festive excitement.

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The few times we went during the run-up to Christmas we visited the Christmas market in Puerto del Carmen.

Here I met a lady purely by coincidence that I had only ever spoke with on twitter. We ended up meeting her every time we went after that.

The past few year, however, we have gone for new year and the Spanish Christmas (día del Tres Reyes Magos or Three Kings Day)

We have stayed in various places for New Year down next to the beach in Playa Honda and further inland up in the hills in Tias

I have to say the first time we went for new year was one of the best.

We drove to a beachside cafe and had baileys & cake and discussed the past year.

We headed back to our villa and we’re all in our jammers by 8pm. The owners of the villa who lived upstairs were just heading out.

The twins were only 3. However, we made it to midnight and had our 12 grapes one at each gong of the clock.

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Then outside it felt like the whole island was erupting with fireworks.

As we were in the hills we could see for miles.

There were big displays little groups as well as local children and adults letting off firecrackers in the street.

It seemed to go on for at least an hour.

The next day as we were on our way out for the day. There were people just getting in from parties.

A few days later on the evening of the 5th, The island starts celebrations with street processions called Cabalgata de Reyes, where the three kings arrive on floats and throw sweets to the children. There are also other floats with popular characters on them!

When we have been for this we like to finish the evening with a hot chocolate, as it can feel quite chilly in the evening.

The next day 6th Jan is a fiesta day. shops are closed and families celebrate with a roscon cake, The three kings should have delivered gifts to the children, the gifts normally left in shoes outside the door. If you haven’t been good however they leave coal instead of a gift. You can actually buy sugar coal to give.

After lunch, local kids take their gifts to the park to play and show their friends.

It seems like such a social time!

I’d totally recommend a visit at this time of year.

Nina x

Lanzarote – Our second home.

Normally at this time of year, as well as planning Christmas and birthdays we, as a family are normally planning our yearly new year trip to what feels like our second home. That being what we call our “paradise Isle” Lanzarote.

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I was asked by Holiday Gems to talk about Lanzarote. I, of course, jumped at the chance. In fact, it’s fired up my love of the island again and so you may see a couple of Lanzarote posts cropping up. One next week about our love for the Festive season over on the Island.

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Anyone that knows us will know what this place means to us even going as far as to gatecrash our friends holiday to offer to be their tour guide on “our island”

We love all that Lanzarote has to offer.

  • It’s family friendly
  • The warmth & sunshine.
  • Friends we have made over there.
  • Delicious food in some amazing restaurants.
  • Just the whole relaxed feel of the island.

Our first visit to Lanzarote was back in 2010 back then it was just my self and hubby, we called it our honeymoon even though it was nearly a year after we had got married.

I got so emotional on that trip. The landscape was so dramatic. The history of the island really got under my skin.

We spent a lot of our holiday looking at show homes and planning how we would move there and what we could do to earn money when we got there.

Forward to December 2012 and we were parents to a set of nearly one-year-old twins.

We decided it was time to go back and visit the island we fell in love with on our honeymoon.

Lanzarote is great for family’s as well as couples. We had an amazing week again. Since then we have gone back every year sometimes up to 4 times a year!

We have stayed in some amazing resorts & Towns

Playa Blanca / Marina Rubicon

This is located in the south of the island, here you will find amazing beaches like Papagayo – where we are yet to go! But our friends who live on Lanzarote tell us that it’s amazing. Also in Playa Blanca is a beautiful marina, with a shopping centre that keeps improving each year we have been. There is a market at the marina twice a week. Where you can find lots of bargains but be careful of the “fakes”. Playa Blanca hosts one of the islands water parks and lots of amazing restaurants. The last time we were there, there was a lovely little Waffle House on the corner of the main shopping street.

Puerto Del Carmen / Matagorda

Here is one of the busier resorts. Though it still feels a great place for our family.

There is a shopping centre, The Biosphere Centre, with a range of shops and plenty of places to eat after all that shopping. If you find yourself at the Biosphere after dark there is the RoofTop Cinema & 6d cinema experience or the new crazy golf area.

Along what is called the strip are an abundance of restaurants and shops. One of the eating places is run by The sister of a friend of mine who lives on the island. Here you can watch the football, or join in with the entertainment they have on that evening.

Another favourite place we like to eat is in the old town of Puerto del Carmen. The restaurant we normally opt for is La Serena. Opposite is a play park that is gated, so safe to let the kids on to play while in a morning you enjoy a coffee, or in the evening a glass of wine or a cerveza (beer)

In Puerto del Carmen there is lots of beach to make use of, whether that for sunbathing or castle building.

There are other resorts on the island that we have visited but not yet stayed. Like Costa Teguise and Puerto Calero.

We have however stayed in a couple of the more local towns like Tias & Playa Honda.

We love to stay in these towns and act like we are one of the locals, though I’m sure we stick out as tourists like a sore thumb.

Around the island, there are many places to visit like the volcano -Timanfaya and bus tour, The caves made by the lava that flowed when one of the volcanoes erupted around 4000 years ago and The home of the islands famous artist Cesar Manrique. To name a few.

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One thing our kid’s love, is to try out new play parks. I once joked we were travelling the island one play park at a time.

As the island is such a family friendly place there are play parks dotted around in most places.

A typical day for us when we are there starts with a trip to the cafe, then head to the play park with our take-out coffee, juice and a sandwich or croissant with ham & cheese. And usually ends with a cuppa and a cake at a cafe with a play park.

I could talk about “our island” all day so if you’re planning a trip there and want to ask me anything drop in the comments and I’ll answer the best I can.

Next year we are planning to take a couple of trips to Lanzarote to introduce our newest twins to our second home.

Recently I have found Holiday Gems a travel service that can help you to find your perfect holiday.

They asked me to collaborate with them on this post to let you know about them and about my family’s favourite place to make memories.

I’m going to head off to their site now and check out the great deals they have for our next Lanzarote Holiday.

look out for more Lanzarote posts coming up in the future.

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Nina x

Thank you, Holiday Gems for collaborating with me on this post.

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