I’m not very good at surprises. I love the idea of surprising someone, and seeing their reaction, the joy when weeks or even months of planning are revealed at one go, but I just can’t contain myself when I’m planning a surprise! I get too excited and eventually I burst. For example, I decided I’d take my wife, Millie, to Venice for our 5th wedding anniversary last December. I had planned it well in advance, booking everything by the March. I nearly blew the surprise a few times, Rick Stein was doing a Venetian food thing on telly and Millie said “oh I’d love to go there one day!” and I managed to keep it in! There was also a documentary about the structures of Venice and how it’s all built on stilts and I managed to keep it together! These two shows were on just days apart so I really did well. But then, on a random Spring afternoon we were walking in a park with the kids and out of nowhere I had the sudden urge to tell Millie about our trip. I tried to hold it in, really I did, but it just came out! “So we’re going to Venice for our anniversary…” Facepalm. This happens a lot. Trip to Vienna – sprung; birthday party – sprung; presents – sprung. It happens ALL THE TIME.
Millie told me to keep last Friday free in the diary. She told me a few weeks ago that we’d celebrate my birthday a bit early and to be honest, I was pretty certain I knew what she had planned. She’d mentioned it before as something she wanted to book in and then a few days later she left the destination on the SatNav, as she had been researching how long it’d take to get there from my work. So the Friday came and she met me at work. She drove us to the destination, Bannatynes Health Club in the East of Norwich, where we were going to experience a spa evening. Kids were with my mother in law and so we had no curfew either! If you are the sort of person who does these spa things a lot, I appreciate this may not be much of a blog. But please don’t stop reading… there’s more to come!
We were really well looked after by the staff and I was sent through to have my massage. The waiting area for the massage had a very relaxed atmosphere, a warmth to it and the smell of oils that you only get at these sort of places. Complimentary hot drinks were available and I felt pretty chilled already after a long week at work. The masseuse invited me into one of the rooms which featured mood lighting, a comfy chair, the massage table and a shower. Bare in mind my last massage was in Asia in what felt like quite a shady sort of place… it was fine in the end but the circumstances led me to feel quite uncomfortable! But that’s another story for another time. The massage was great and I left feeling even more relaxed and I guess a bit relieved that I didn’t fall asleep!
Walking out of the massage area, you have to walk through the cafe to get to the rest of the gym. The bright lighting in the cafe was pretty full on for my eyes that had been in the mood-lit room. I went through to meet Millie in the pool and we shared a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. When Millie went for her massage, I sat and read – something I don’t get to do too often!
After a health kick, we deliberated over what to eat and ended up swinging by a KFC and chatted about everything and nothing over some tasty chicken.
On our way home we decided to stop off at the Lenwade House Hotel for dessert. We arrived after driving up the romantically lit driveway and went to reception where we asked whether they were still serving desserts. “Yes,” she said, “are you checking in too?” My response? “Yes please, reservation under Tan!” Boom. Nailed it. I’d done it! I had actually successfully organised and kept to myself a surprise!
Millie’s face was a picture, slight confusion, but genuine surprise. Having full faith in me (not), Millie kindly informed me that she didn’t have any things for the night but of course I had sorted that too! Husband points were clocking up! To be honest, I had only managed to keep it all a surprise as I had booked it on the Monday and didn’t really see Millie as I had worked late every night that week, but that was beside the point – I had successfully organised a surprise! We ordered an Eton Mess to the room and went to discover a beautiful cosy bedroom with a huge en suite. Lenwade House Hotel is set in the beautiful Norfolk countryside, with views of the Wensum River from the terrace. The Hotel lounge boasts some comfy sofas and a well stocked bar. The restaurant serves wonderful seasonal food. In fact, I first visited this hotel for the restaurant a few months earlier.
We slept so well, no interruptions from middle-of-the-night waking 2 year olds or early morning wake up calls by energetic four year olds! In the morning we took our time and headed down for breakfast. We had a freshly cooked full English breakfast, fruit salad and cereal.
A short staycation, but a wonderful time away and a wonderful memory. If you are visiting Norfolk I would definitely recommend the Lenwade House Hotel. Not long until we go to Bratislava and Vienna!
Feature photo credit: Lenwade House Hotel, photos below are original.