I met up with my family around lunchtime and took them to Burger King in the pouring rain. We then went to Primark to get Mum some new jeans ready for the holiday. Dad then wanted taking to a new record shop that I had found called Boo Hoo Records. I dragged them to Forbidden Planet to get a Star Trek Christmas Jumper that had just been released but it had suddenly dropped off the website and they didn’t have any in-store: I was gutted.
We got on the road at about 4:30 pm after letting the Caravan Park know our ETA. The rain ceased as we passed city limits and we had a good run to Exeter where we stopped and had Frankie and Benny’s for dinner. I used my student discount too which helped bring the price down.
The views were stunning as we got into Cornwall and the light eventually faded leaving us to navigate the treacherous roads in the blackness of night.
We arrived at the caravan park around 10 pm and me and mum went to the bar to collect the keys. There was a live act on playing some horrendous 80s music which seemed appropriate for the clientele of the Caravan Park.
Mum handed me the information pack to retrieve the key to open the caravan and I couldn’t find it. We had a bit of a panic but turns out mum had dropped it in the car! The caravan was freezing and I slept in my jacket that night.
For the second year running me and Chelsea attended the charity golf event at the Cambridge Meridian Golf Course. I’d taken so many photos the year before I paced myself this year and only took a few trying to capture the key moments. You can see the results below.
I followed this tutorial by HubSpot and created some GIFs from the fast bursts of photos I did on the day. I left them all unedited.
We had planned on going to the Gog Magogs Sundowner Session, however, I’d forgotten that the tickets had sold out! It also turned out to be pretty rainy, luckily for me.
We decided to have a picnic/festival in the garden instead. The sunset was still lovely and Mum and Chelsea got dressed up with festival style face stickers. I’d bought a lovely picnic hamper at a charity shop a few days before which really made the scene. We listened to some music, drank Pimms, and ate sausage rolls. Not a bad evening after my disastrous planning.
As the main attraction was the noise, I decided to mainly take videos on the day. Josh took his camera too and took a lot of photos so a lot of the credits go to him for capturing the jets in the glorious British sunshine.
We went to Clacton Airshow for the second time. You can see the photos from my visit in 2015 here. It isn’t too far from us and offers some different planes to the ones we usually see at Duxford. Planes are also now restricted in the stunts that they can do over land, whereas this airshow is over the sea so the planes can do a lot more manoeuvres and put on a better display. I took lots of photos and had to edit the plane and the sky separately as it was quite hazy. I also took quite a few videos of the various planes too. Check them all out below:
After we got back from Great Yarmouth Mum needed a day out. So we went to RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes. We got a picnic to have and I took my camera. We had been before during the 2017 summer holidays. You can see the photos from that year on my Memories page.
I took my Sigma 105mm f/2.8 lens and my Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8mm lens. I used the latter to do a lovely panorama of the lake just as you entered the reserve from the car park. Having stitched the 61 photos together in Adobe Lightroom which took half an hour later, this was the result.
I took lots of nice macro photos two years before, so I thought it would be a good chance to try out my macro lens. We didn’t walk as far as last time but I still think I got some nice photos. I’m especially proud of the photo of the fly on some flowers.
Chelsea planned a trip for me and her to go to Great Yarmouth as I’d told her I liked travelling. It would also be a good opportunity for me to practise driving before going back to University in September. Before I knew it the hotel was booked, and then we were on our way.
Day 1 – Travelling
I left Royston around 12 and picked Chelsea up at 12:30. There was quite bad traffic at Duxford and on the M11, but I made good time. It was the first time I’d driven alone.
Once I picked Chelsea up we got on the road. There was a bit of congestion on the A11, so Google Maps took us on a diversion. We stopped at Thetford for the Pancake and Waffle Shack at lunch. I had some fries and onion rings and Chelsea had Oreo and Chocolate Pancakes.
We finally got to Great Yarmouth at 4 pm where we checked in at the Hotel. The room was quite small, I don’t think we could have managed a whole week there but it was nice enough. We were on the top floor overlooking the car park, not the best view.
After we unpacked we got dressed up to the nines to have a posh dinner. We Googled some places and found that the Hotel was quite far away from the main town so we drove. That was a mistake.
There was hardly anywhere to park, even at 7 o’clock at night, but we finally found a parking space down some sidestreet. We then couldn’t find anywhere nice to eat on the front and we were so hungry by this point we ended up at a fish and chips.
Chelsea had worn heels but took them off once we got to the fish and chip shop because she had already got blisters. She spent the rest of the evening barefoot. To make matters worse, Chelsea then got a bone stuck in her throat!
We went to Tesco to get some drinks for back at the hotel and we were so out of it a lady helped us out by showing us that two small packs of Fanta were cheaper than one large one. Then, we started driving home but forgot to put the directions to the Hotel in the sat nav so we had to pull over.
We went to bed as soon as we got in before something else happened.
Day 2 – Exploring Great Yarmouth
We rose at 8 and got ready before going down to have breakfast. They had a set menu with waitresses coming to take the order and a breakfast bar with toast and cereal and a range of juice. We both got some funny looks being in a hotel in Great Yarmouth and being teenagers. We both ordered a Full English and Chelsea had my beans and mushrooms and I had her bacon, so that was perfect.
From our venture the night before we decided it was a bit far to walk into town, so we drove and this time found somewhere to park a bit further up. It was £7 to park all day which was a bit steep, but we really didn’t fancy driving around for hours trying to find somewhere cheaper.
I liked the way that the light was refracted through the water. You can watch a video below (there is no sound).
The Sea Life Centre was first on the list and we had a special 2 for 1 voucher. as we went in they took a photo of us. It was very dark inside, so I opened the aperture up all the way to F/1.8. They had all sorts of different sea creatures and, as a bonus, they had penguins; Chelsea’s favourite exhibit. We even got to see them being fed. We bought a keyring each with our photo on from the beginning and Chelsea got a Penguin cuddly toy. The Sea Life centre had so many exhibits it’s no wonder we both took lots of nice photos. Mine above. Chelsea’s below:
Here are some photos of when I went to the Sea Life Centre in 2012.
We then had lunch. We found a nicer fish and chip shop on the front by the Sea Life Centre and both had 6 chicken nuggets and chips. Chelsea definitely wasn’t going to have fish this time. It cost about £5 each and you got the nuggets, chips, and a drink. We sat on the promenade to eat our lunch and talked for hours watching the world go by.
We were conscious of the time and didn’t want the market to pack up so we headed off. There was a craft market on in the sports hall which was quite nice, and I took pleasure in teaching Chelsea about all the different types of planes as they had a stall with photographs on. They also had a vinyl stall, but they were framed 7 inches rather than ones to play.
We walked along the high street and looked in lots of joke shops and toy shops and souvenir shops and charity shops before finally getting to the market. They didn’t have much at the market, we prefered the shops. We also looked in a Department store which had “Great Yarmouth’s biggest toy department”, but we weren’t convinced.
On the way back Chelsea stopped and got a fake tattoo of Stitch, her favourite character. We also got some postcards.
Before we got to Great Yarmouth we said that we had to go on a horse and carriage ride. There didn’t seem to be a queue and we’re not good at queuing anyway, so it took a while for someone to notice us, but we got on. It was £10 for a one way trip to pleasure beach, and the horse stopped right near where we parked the car. That saved our legs!
The stop was also just outside the Merrivale Miniature Village. I’d been once before when I was 12, but Chelsea had never been. It was around £18 for both of us, and they took a photo of us too. A convenient cash grab on tourists. They sold us keyrings at the end, just like the Sea Life centre.
We took lots of lovely photos from lots of different angles and I taught Chelsea about how if you use a low depth of field and the right perspective then you can make the photos look miniature. I was annoyed at myself because I didn’t take my macro lens with me to save weight in my camera bag but then I ended up needing it! I still think I got some good photos (above). And Chelsea got some amazing ones too (below).
Here are some photos of me at the Miniature Village in 2012.
It was getting pretty late so we got a slushie and ice cream and sat on the beach before heading back to the hotel to change into our posh clothes to try a fancy dinner again. This time we Googled where to go but lots of places either weren’t open that late or were too expensive for what they were.
We ended up going to Frankie and Bennys, which was lovely, they even had parking. I had a burger and Chelsea had mac and cheese. We had mozzarella sticks for a starter and a tiny little Oreo cheesecake for dessert.
We then drove home in the dark (my first experience) before turning in for the night.
Day 3 – Swimming and Horse Sanctuary
We woke up at 6 to the sound of seagulls and chatted for a little while. Chelsea fell back asleep whilst I wrote my blog. We both thought breakfast finished at 10:30, so I woke Chelsea up at 9:45. I then double-checked the brochure, and that said breakfast finished at 10, doh!
We took our time getting ready as we had already missed breakfast. I then drove us into town to go to a tearoom we saw the day before. We settled on Sara’s Tearooms on the seafront near Pleasure Beach. It was a lovely building with seating on one side on the seafront and the other side in a lovely garden surrounded by flowers. Chelsea doesn’t really like the sand as it gets everywhere so we sat with the flowers. We had a milkshake and tuna melt toastie each, but in hindsight, we probably should have shared.
By the time we finished, it was about 12 o’clock, so we got back in the car and drove to Redwings Horse Sanctuary which had free entry. It was only about a 15-minute drive. We parked up and went to the visitor centre where they told us that it was one of the Shire horses’ birthday. They had over 100 horses, ponies, and mules. The place was massive, and we took lots of lovely photos in the glorious sunshine and definitely got enough exercise for the day. Some of the horses had funny names like soup and applejack. They had a special hospital stable for unwell animals. We learnt that they create bonds and friendships and can become depressed when without them, so their friends often stayed with them in the hospital. My photos are above and Chelsea’s are below.
We were very hot and thirsty by the time we had finished looking around so we went to their cafe and gift shop to get a coke and ice cream. Chelsea bought a couple of reduced key rings. 50p for a keyring is a lot better than £8!
We then drove back into town and parked up. I was glad that you can pay for parking on your phone because we wouldn’t have had anywhere near enough change to cover the extortionate prices all weekend. We walked to the swimming pool but the grumpy receptionist said that the next session didn’t start until 4:30, 50 minutes from now.
We passed an ice cream parlour on the way with some cool flavours like Peppa Pig and Minions. They only took cash though so we went somewhere else and then sat on the promenade eating the ice creams, waiting for swimming to open. It was then finally 4:30 so we meandered back to the swimming pool. We didn’t have any change for the lockers so asked if we could get some, but the receptionist said only if we paid by cash.
We walked down the whole of the seafront in search of a cash machine but they all charged around £2 for a withdrawal. The first we found was broken anyway! That meant we had to walk a mile to HSBC on the high street which was surrounded by ruffians. We finally got some cash and headed back to swimming. It was quite late now but we had persevered this far we just had to go swimming.
The men’s changing rooms were open plan and only had cubicles for families or disabled people. They even had women cleaners working in there which I didn’t think was very appropriate. The swimming pool was a lot smaller than the pictures so we were a little disappointed. We did get to experience the wave machine and go down the slide so that was quite fun.
We wanted to get our money’s worth, but we only had the car park till 7:15 pm. So we decided to get out of the pool at 6 pm. We got changed and then headed over to pleasure beach to go on a log flume that Chelsea had wanted to ride since she was little. We helped out some tourists with paying for tokens. It cost 4 tokens per person to go on the ride but you got a special deal if you got 10. We got quite wet on the ride but it was really fun. Chelsea then got some more keyrings of us on the ride. We used our last two tokens up by going on the carousel and got some candy floss before going back to the car.
After the fair, we went back to the hotel and got changed out of our wet clothes into our posh ones for another Frankie and Bennys. We got there quite late and were the last ones in there by the time we had finished eating. I had a pizza which was cooked on a real pizza oven, but to be honest I prefer the American style pizzas. Chelsea had pasta Carbonara. And we got 2 portions of mozzarella sticks for starters this time.
We drove home in the dark and went to bed.
Day 4 – Travelling home via Norwich
We rose at 7 to pack and tidy the room up. We had the car fully loaded up by 9 and so posted the keys in the checkout box and went and had breakfast. Chelsea said she could manage 2 of their Full English!
Once we had finished breakfast we drove to Tesco and filled the car up before heading to Norwich for a day of shopping. It was a nice straight run to Norwich and I had planned on using the park and ride. We took the sliproad and the satnav turned left but there was no left! I then had to carry on to Norwich using the signs and we ended up parking in a multi-storey. Another first for me.
We first looked around Castle Mall, which looked really empty with closed down shops. It wasn’t a great first impression. I then took Chelsea to the market and she loved that. She picked up a Shawn Mendes drawing and some Riverdale comics. We then went to Jarrold’s and had a look around their departments before heading to Intu Chapelfield where Chelsea took me to all the clothes shops and we had great fun with her trying on different dresses. She then took me to CeX and a Record Shop in return. We had Ed’s Diner for lunch as I thought I had a 50% off voucher, but it was only valid after 3 pm. Lunch was still nice though. We both had Chicken Burgers and Chelsea had a side of Mac and Cheese, her favourite.
We got back on the road after our shopping day and both made it home safe and sound after a lovely holiday.