Wells Next the Sea | Norfolk

IMG_2439 IMG_2443 IMG_2449 IMG_2452 IMG_2458The first thing that struck me about Wells, which we came to next on our walk down from Holkham, was the beach huts. Standing proud out of the sand, these small huts were decorated with bunting, stripes, and bright paint. Some were open, fitted out with shelves and makeshift kitchens (though there was no plumbing or electricity to speak of), with beach chairs on the small balconies and children running up and down the pristine stairs into the sand below.

I adored these huts – several of them. The sand underfoot was white and soft, and it felt like I was far away from England. How much I wanted a hut of my own at that moment! To put a small single bed inside (which is illegal, I since found out) and have it as a small retreat for myself. Imagine waking up to the stillness of the Norfolk coastline and the roar of the waves, with no one there. How peaceful that would be.

We walked further into the town of Wells Next the Sea, and sat on the quayside to have our small picnic lunch. We took off our Hunter boots and dangled them over the edge, high above the water. Children crabbed next to us, lines cast down into the waters and nets following shortly after to catch small creatures and put them in their water pails as a prize. Some were actually quite big, and reminded me of the crabs I use to catch as a child in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

After lunch, we walked through the towns high street – picturesque but not filled with the type of shops I was interested in. We quickly walked through and back down the road to our car in Holkham.

Holkham Nature Reserve | Norfolk

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We got out of the car on a dirt road lined with green trees, the sun shining brightly through the branches. It was a bright morning, our first in Norfolk, and we had decided to go walking on the Nature Reserve in Holkham – down to the beach of Wells Next the Sea, and back again. We were greeted as we put on our Hunter boots by other early risers such as ourselves – dog walkers, horse riders, and couples who did not have the burden of children.

I grabbed the bag filled with our picnic lunch that we had prepared back at our cottage: tuna sandwiches, crisps, apples, and a large bottle of sparkling water. Putting this on my back, I held in my other hand my small purse – once again filled with the necessities of a day out: books for the both of us, money, umbrella, and other such things.

We headed towards the dense forest on the far side of the road and stepped out of the mud and onto a wooden slatted pathway to the sea.

The sea at the beach at Holkham is far – much farther than I had originally envisioned. The tree line disappeared down the coast towards Wells. The sandy beach continued on in front of us, still soaked from what must have been the tide only a few hours before we had gotten there. We walked confidently out to the edge of the water with our thick rubber boots – no water was about to penetrate them – and continued our slow meandering walk towards the town of Wells.

What a great spot. We feel alone out in this vast beach of nothing but sand and sea, the forest far behind you. A few families were scattered on the shoreline, but moored up on the high dunes still tens of meters from the water’s edge. We walked alone with a lovely feeling of isolation. The walk was not tough, despite being a six-mile round trip – and the scenery was breathtaking. Had it been slightly warmer, there would have been no better feeling than to sink our feet into the damp sand and wade out into the waters.

Blakeney | Norfolk

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Picture this: seaside village with houses made of stone and pebbles, windy high streets with shops, art galleries, and pubs, marsh lands that stretch as far as the eye can see, and the North Sea, that comes in so far during high tide that you have to move your car from the car park before its semi-submerged. After a hike to the beach, you feel like you are the only person on the edge of the world; it’s just you, the sea, and sand for miles.

I am of course talking about North Norfolk, and especially the lovely village of Blakeney: coastal village within the North Norfolk Heritage Coast and AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Ben and I have wanted to go back to Norfolk ever since our three day weekend/holiday back in 2013. We loved it for its long walks and feeling of being completely isolated – even though it was only a 2.5 hour drive from us in Hertfordshire. The quiet, the openess, and the serene beauty called us back – so back we went.

I chose Blakeney based on some reviews, and especially based on this adorable 2 person cottage in the heart of the town. What a gem. I booked almost immediately after, and on a long weekend not too long ago, we headed up for a great adventure.

We were greeted by sunshine (thank you England!), a bottle of rose, Victoria sponge cake, and fresh flowers. The house was immaculately laid out, and perfect size for the two of us. We unpacked then headed out to explore the adorable village of Blakeney.

Blakeney is small, but very adorable. There was a fete going on – a hog roast and water games down on the quayside. We grabbed the rose and some crisps we brought with us, and headed out to watch the spectacle. What a great time! Loads of families were there with their dogs, having food and drinks with their feet dangling over the quay edge.

On the Saturday night, we ate at the locally owned The Moorings restaurant, where we got excellent seasonal, local food. We were sat by one of their big bay windows that looked out to the sea, which was lovely and romantic. We had fish soup and local crab cake for starters, local lobster and sea bass for mains. It was delicious.

Then on Sunday, we walked up the Norfolk Coastal Path (highly recommend as a walk to either Morston or Cley next the Sea) to pick up a boat to Blakeney Point to see the seals! What a highlight! So many seals in their natural habitat, in lands owned and protected by National Trust (all hail). It was a fantastic trip, and I would highly recommend doing this – there is no better way to see them so close!

We were sad on the Monday when it was time to get back to reality – Norfolk now holds a big place in our hearts!

Chardon | USA

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Chardon, Ohio – my childhood home. I spent most of my childhood here, from the age of 9 to the age of 18, when I embarked to university in Cincinnati – and never looked back. I have been traveling ever since, now living permanently in the great country of England. I haven’t come home for more than 2 or 3 weeks – but this keeps home a comforting and relaxing environment.

I was home for one week this time in the middle of July, which for this part of the USA means sunshine and heat, humidity and of course, the potential for strong storms. Proper storms as I call them – the equivalent in the UK is a small rumble in the distance.

I spent most of my days on our back deck, watching our adorable Golden Retriever dogs (Jac and Lilly) play in the backyard. Jac, the older of the two, moseyed around the lawn, stopping and sniffing when it suited him. Lilly, our puppy, has a lot more energy. She would bound around chasing balls I would throw to her, or grab rocks to play with.

It had rained a lot this year, so the grass, instead of being a dull and dead brown was a magnificent green. A green that glistened in the sunshine and that felt full and soft on your bare feet. I adored walking around barefoot. I would sit on the deck reading (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the third time) and would love the hot sun on my face. It was incredibly peaceful. Barefoot, reading, sunshine, and a glass of cold water. I could have stayed in that position for days.

When the family was home, we played a human sized jenga game in the yard, and had s’mores next to bonfires. I ate incredibly well – bbq ribs, hamburgers, fettuccine alfredo, Olive Garden’s endless salad and breadsticks, ranch dressing, mochas, Sam Adams… I came back much heavier than I left.

A Rant About Chicago O’Hare Airport


This year, instead of going abroad for my summer holidays, I decided to spend a week back in the comfort of sunny Chardon, Ohio (also known as my family hometown). Mid-July, after a sunny week in London, I headed off on a plane for Chicago, to ultimately take the final leg of my flight to Cleveland.

Cleveland use to be a major hub of an airport, with (you’ll never believe this if you go to this tiny airport now) flights to the UK directly. DIRECT! What a thing of dreams these days. Hopkins International Airport only keeps the name alive through a flight to Toronto, Canada. A 45 minute journey on a 30 seater egg-beater with wings. Hardly international.

But I digress. My biggest complaint is with the Chicago O’Hare Airport itself – a nightmare for international travellers, whether American or otherwise. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!

Now, I fly British Airways (BA) on nearly all my international flights. This airline was my first in flying to London, and I had such incredible service for cattle class that I cannot be on any alternative flight without someone else booking that ticket for me. I will always recommend a BA flight internationally. They greet me with smiles and lovely British accents, great service, and good food. I flew their 747 jet (my personal favourite) out to Chicago. It was when I got off the plane when I was faced with the horror that is International Terminal Customs.

What the heck is going on here?! The queue for the citizens alone was nearly back into the plane. No signs. Not to mention anyone helpful to tell us what was going on. In the citizens lane, we were shuttled into this pen with new machinery that was to take our photos and basically do the work of the customs officer for us. Was it confusing? Yes. Was it poorly laid out with no directions on how to use the system? Yes. Was it manned by people who cannot speak nor understand much English? Unfortunately yes. Not the best place for them – cue frustration on both sides.

I got a photo taken with a big X marks the spot – and shuffled back to a customs officer anyways. A complete waste of time.

I had a lot of spare time before my next flight, because I knew from previous experience that Chicago’s International Terminal is a nightmare. But never was it THAT much of a nightmare. My seven hour layover was cut down to three by the time I resurfaced on the domestic side of the airport. No joke. I went straight to the bar to drown my sorrows in a cold pint of Sam Adams (excellent choice of beer if over on that side of the Atlantic). I had to readjust my speech once there… Doesn’t help that the majority of my adult life so far has been spent in England, I couldn’t think of the American equivalent for pint or another word for bill as the man behind the bar had no idea what I was talking about.

At the end of a long journey (coupled with a flight cancellation just after all of the above hassle), I was home and extremely jet lagged. Lesson learned: never fly through Chicago again if you can help it!

Sandown Park | Surrey

As a summer party at work, we went as an office for a day out to the races – at Sandown Park in Esher to be exact!

We had a great time at the races. Everyone dressed up, though very few of us wore a hat or fascinator. We had Pimms and prosecco, sat in the glorious sunshine, and lost all of our money betting for the horses with the best names. It was a fantastic day.

While the races aren’t generally my thing, watching the horses and sitting in hot, English sunshine is definitely right up my alley. I adore England when it is sunny, as you all should know by now, and I am in the best mood I can possibly be on those days. It was a great time out with the whole studio, and something we don’t do as often as we should.

St James Park | London

   Bright and sunny mornings in London are some of the best in the world. The tourist areas are quiet, the buzz of the city is at a low hum from commuters headed to work. This is where I found myself on a beautiful Friday morning last week. 

I took a roundabout route into work – grabbing my typical Starbucks coffee to walk down Regents Street to St James Park. I sat in the sunshine with my book and enjoyed the warm sunshine. It wasn’t crowded, the tourists were still at breakfast, and true Londoners (if they spared the time) are able to enjoy the spoils of their city without the fuss.

Green grass was fried brown in patches, a victim of too much sunshine and no rain – London loses its sparkle when this happens, even though we enjoy the rare sun. You have to love the rain as much as the good weather – the country needs it. 

Off to work refreshed and relaxed – this is the way to start a day.