Norfolk: pizza at The Jolly Sailors

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August in Norfolk is peak season, and the heat wave probably added to that. We’re talking car queues on every road leading to the beach, full car parks, looong ice cream queues, and packed beaches. So you can imagine that if you want a last minute reservation to a restaurant you have to be verrrry lucky.

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That’s why I really like places like The Jolly Sailors, where you don’t need to book (unless you’re a large group), can just show up on a whim, order a pizza and find yourself a table underneath vines and fairy lights.

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It’s rustic, semi-cosy, but also welcome to all. There’s an eclectic mix of guests and a large playground for the kiddos out back. And they make good pizzas (and offer takeaway too).

We had a very impromptu date night here on our last night, and as much as I love fancy restaurants and elaborate menus, sometimes a pizza in a beer garden with someone special is just the ticket.

The Jolly Sailors, Main Road, Brancaster Staithe PE31 8BJ

Norfolk: seafood dinner at The Hoste

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One of the evenings in Norfolk in August we all went out for dinner at The Hoste in Burnham Market. It was my first time there, but the others had all been before.

To start I just had to have the Norfolk oysters, as it’s such a treat to have fresh local seafood, and they did not disappoint. Lovely, almost buttery, oysters. So yummy!

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Most of us around the table had the Lobster Thermidor and fries as our main course and it was really nice. We had a really nice dinner here, but the service could have been a lot faster and more attentive, so I hope that improves.

But nice food and atmosphere!

The Hoste, The Green, Burnham Market, King’s Lynn PE31 8HD

Summer in Norfolk and a long weekend in Italy

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The last week in August was mainly a week of fun for me; not a lot of work. Monday was a bank holiday so we were all off and I had Tuesday and Friday off. Wednesday and Thursday I worked from Norfolk and so had the evenings there at least.

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Monday was a gloriously sunny day so we went on a little trip to Holkham Hall with the children. First we spent some time in the lovely (and big) playground and then went for a little walk around the estate, stopping by the lake so we could all go on a little rowing adventure. So in we went, four adults, three children and a small dog all in the same rowing boat. It was such a lovely little outing and the perfect activity on a hot day. While the children and their parents stayed to have lunch my boyfriend’s mother and I drove to the golf club to have lunch with our boy, and also the proud winner of that weekend’s golf competition!

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After lunch we went down to the beach for a swim and drying off in the sun, before grabbing an ice cream on the way to the car.

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In the evening we toasted the winner with champagne and had a lovely dinner prepared partly by us all. Somebody did the food shopping, another took care of the wine, somebody manned the barbecue and yours truly contributed with a smoked paprika butter for the steak, potato salad, tomato salad and a green salad with avocado.

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The next day I had the day off so we made the most of it with a little road trip. Starting with crayfish baguettes in Brancaster Straithe because I had heard so much about them and then a little boat trip in Wells-next-the-Sea.

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It was really fun to see a working (and thriving) commercial harbour with boatload after boatload of fresh lobster and crab. Our little boat trip went out to one of the lovely beaches and back out again and it was so much being on the sea for a little while.

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After a lovely artisan ice cream we drove back to get ready for a dinner party. It started with rosé and blinis with smoked salmon and sour cream in the garden and then we moved inside for the rest of the evening. Another lovely evening!

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Wednesday I locked myself in a room during the day to work, but came out for lunch and of course in the evening. We had fresh crab with mayonnaise and salad for lunch and it was probably the best lunch that week! So yummy!

In the evening we had a little date night, just him and me, and went to The Jolly Sailor for pizzas and then to another pub for a drink afterwards. So nice with a chilled and cosy evening just the two of us.

On Thursday I worked during the day and in the evening we had lasagne for dinner, followed by meringues, berries and cream for pudding. Then it was time to say goodbye to lovely Norfolk and drive back to London as we were going away again early the next morning.

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On the Friday morning we flew to Milan, rented a car and drove to Piedmont where our friends were waiting for us.

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After some delays we arrived just in time for the wine tasting and basically started our stay by drinking four large glasses of lovely local wines. A good start indeed. After a very speedy shower and change of clothes, the whole group (we were here for a wedding!) had aperitivo outside, followed by a whole buffet of antipasti followed by pasta and pudding at the table. And the wine was flowing! Such a lovely evening toasting the happy couple and listening to Italian live music. Around midnight the day had caught up with us (we had about 4 hrs sleep the previous night plus all the travelling) so after a quick dip in the pool we went to bed and slept and slept.

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The next day (our friend’s wedding day!) started with a late breakfast and then we joined the others by the pool. We had lovely salads for lunch (caprese and ham and melon) and then I decided to practice my speech but I ended up tweaking it as well.

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Then it was time to get ready for the wedding and join everyone but the happy couple for bubbly and nibbles before we followed the cellist to the spot among the vines where the wedding ceremony would take place. It was such a beautiful wedding! Afterwards we walked back down to the hotel to toast the happy couple before we sat down for dinner.

It was a lovely and long wedding breakfast with great food, nice wines and lots of speeches, singing and games. Afterwards we watched the bride and groom cut the cake and have their first dance. Then the dancing continued until the early hours when most of the guests gathered by the pool for a swim before going to bed.

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The next day we had brunch at the hotel and after some more time by the pool we packed up and drove to Acqui Terme for lunch, at a place recommended by the sommelier at the hotel.

Next we stopped at some Roman ruins and made a few stops on the way to the airport.

Such a lovely week! It feels so much longer when you visit different places. And I loved that we got a little bit more of the gorgeous summer weather, both in Norfolk and of course, in Italy (where I definitely would expect it!).

 

Nights in, book club and a few days in Norfolk!

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The fourth week in August was a nice mix of evenings in and out, fun with the girls and a some lovely days by the seaside.

Monday was a regular work day and in the evening I had a nice night in. I made a batch of tomato sauce (to stock the freezer with) and used some of it to make tortilla pizzas for supper. It’s so easy to make, and still I sort of forgot about them for a few years. But they’re now back in my rotation and a much nicer alternative to store-bought pizzas that I try to eat less of.

My entertainment that evening consisted of a few episodes of Elementary before going to bed early.

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The next day was very similar with work as usual and a night with Elementary.

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On the Wednesday night the book club girls came round for some nibbles, drinks and book chat on the roof terrace while it was still summer and we had such a lovely evening!

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The following day I went down to the New Forest for work and met up with some friends back in London in the evening.

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We didn’t really have a plan but ended up at The Railhouse Café near Victoria where they could squeeze us in.

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On the Friday afternoon I found myself on a train once again; this time on my way to Norfolk for a few days by the seaside. On arrival all of us (my boyfriend’s family and I) had a lovely dinner outside in the garden.

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The following day we went fruit picking with the children, followed by some time on the playground and of course an ice cream as the weather was lovely. We had such a lovely day and a lovely evening too, with a quick appearance at a drinks party followed by dinner out.

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I had some local Norfolk oysters followed by the lobster Thermidor. Love being by the seaside eating seafood!

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Sunday the weather was amazing so we all went to the beach. We sunbathed, went swimming, made sand castles and had a picnic. Such a lovely day!

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On the way home we stopped by a really cute little private railway, only open to the public a few times a year, and had a little ride on it. So lovely for children and adults alike!

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In the evening two of us made dinner and put a whole turbot on the barbecue. It might look ridiculous but it worked out really well! Yum!

 

Opera and a sunny weekend in Norfolk!

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Last week was great fun, but as usual I started the week quite calmly. On Monday I had Ocado deliver my food order and for dinner I just had an oven pizza. Not terribly exciting but I was so tired from all the concerts the week before.

I had another evening at home on Tuesday when I watched the latest episode of Big Little Lies and made a cheese toastie with pancetta for dinner. Another chilled night as I tried to get rid of my cold.

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Wednesday it was nice weather and I went down to The New Forest for work. I had breakfast on the train down and lunch outside in the sunshine. The train was freezing as always but I came prepared with two large wraps despite the sunshine!

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Thursday was also lovely and in the evening we went to Opera Holland Park to see Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera about Swedish king Gustav III and the masquerade ball, really enjoyed it! I didn’t have time to eat dinner before leaving work so I was very happy when I could have a big hotdog and camembert popcorn in the interval. Great dinner!

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I cooked a lot more on the weekend though… We went up to Norfolk on Friday night and went straight to the beach for a sundowner.

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Then back to the house to cook. We had a an elevated caprese salad as a starter, with buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, basil, tomatoes and rocket.

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For the main course I barbecued pork fillet which had been marinated with lemon, garlic and herbs, a potato salad and parmesan crème.

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We had pudding (strawberries and ice cream) inside as it got really cold in the evening, but still it was such a lovely evening first on the beach and then eating outside. And love a barbecue!

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On Saturday we had breakfast in the garden before we went to the beach.

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We had brought a picnic for lunch and as it was lovely and hot (30C) we even swam in the sea. Well, I didn’t really swim, but I did go in twice! The North Sea was cold but it was still really refreshing on such a hot day.

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We lit the barbecue again in the evening, but not until we’d each had a nice shower and an ice cold gin and tonic.

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Our starter was ham and melon (so simple but very summery!) and pan con tomate.

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For our main course we had barbecued chicken (I spatchcocked a whole chicken and marinated it in a barbecue type sauce), with it we had sweet potato oven fries, Mexican corn salad and homemade mayo. So yummy!

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For pudding we had strawberries and ice cream again while watching Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.

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The weather was a bit cooler on Sunday so I stayed in resting and trying to get rid of my cold and read a book. For dinner we finished off all the leftovers before going back to London. It was such a lovely weekend it felt like a mini holiday! Much due to the gorgeous weather – more of that, please!

Nights in, dinners out and a weekend in Norfolk

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Last week started with three nights at home. So lovely and much needed. I went to bed early, read a good book and watched a new cosy series called New Amsterdam. Love a hospital drama!

On the Thursday night it was a friend’s birthday dinner at Joe’s Brasserie and we had such a fun night!

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IMG_5710.jpegOn Friday afternoon we drove up to Norfolk for the weekend. We had a date night dinner at cosy The White Horse and the next day we went for a long walk on the beach and met a seal.

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In the evening we had a friend staying over and we went to the local pub for dinner. The next day the boys played golf in the rain while I read indoors, and after their game we all had lunch together at the club house. In the afternoon we cosied up on the sofa and watched the last two episodes of True Detective season 3. Loved it! In the evening we drove back to London.

 

Quiet weeknights and a weekend away!

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Last week was just what the doctor ordered; quiet evenings followed by a weekend by the seaside.

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I can’t remember the last time I had four days in a row without plans in the evenings, and I fully enjoyed it. And realised I need to do less during the weeks. I was too tired to cook most days but made a big batch of pasta one night that lasted a few days.

Other than packing my bag for the weekend (not an easy task with a weather forecast promising everything from sunshine to rain and cold temperatures) I just watched TV, had early nights and took it easy.

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Then on Friday I finished work early and took the train to Norfolk. The weekend consisted of walks along the beach (we saw seals!!), some outings in the rain, nice food, some baking and just hanging out. So lovely and nice! And with Monday being a bank holiday the work week this week is a short one! 🙂