Last year we were lucky enough to go to Center Parcs for the first time. I had always wanted to go but had a little trouble convincing the family as they believed they wouldn’t have had as much fun as they did at our usual holiday park destination. Now we ALL want to go again.
Last year we went to Whinfell Forest and we had a brilliant time, so it’s easy to describe our perfect day.
I’d start with breakfast with a red squirrel. This actually happened to me, I’d been trying to get a good photo of a red squirrel all week, they were a little shy, or so I thought. One morning I woke up before everyone else and was enjoying a nice peaceful cup of tea on our patio when who should come along and join me but a gorgeous red squirrel.
While having breakfast we could plan our day, something for everyone young and (not so) old. (getting a bit touchy about the old bit as I’m approaching a Big Birthday next year.)
Swimming is a big favourite and the subtropical swimming paradise at Center Parcs have everything for an exciting splash around. The Little Man loved it in the special pool for little ones, with their own little slides and plenty of toys. The girls loved the wave pool while Daddy The Adventurer loved the Canyon ride.
Then there are the play areas which the kids adored, and it was all so safe that Mummy was able to relax while the Little Man ran around too.
Then the tums would be rumbling so time for food. There is lots to choose from from Italian, Mediterranean, Indian, French and even British food in the parcs many restaurants. On this day though we are going to fill our rumbling tums with quesadillas and burgers from Hucks Bar and Grill.
For afternoon activities we are going to take the little ones for some fun time at the Wizard and Fairy School, where they learn magic and how to ride on a broomstick! Ok, perhaps not, but they do make wands and fairy cakes and get face painted. Meanwhile why they are having so much fun, Mummy and Daddy can sneak off to the Aqua Sana Spa for some steamy relaxation (of the sauna sort, clean your minds!)
Then we can pop back to the lodge for the obligatory BBQ and a rummage in our back garden.
As the end of the year approaches it’s time to reflect on what has passed and look forward to the year to come. I know that this time last year I had no idea that I would be where I am now, in a brand new home, having so much that I could only dream of before. Life had become very difficult in our old home, and although I loved the area and our neighbours, and the kids school, I longed to have somewhere bigger to live. We were really overcrowded and stress levels were high. Sleep was a word no longer in my vocabulary because it’s hard to sleep in a house that is always awake. And no matter how I tried to make the house nicer nothing really worked. It was too small, and we had way too much stuff, too much clutter. I had to cook dinner in ’rounds’ because my kitchen was too small to cook for seven people at the same time. Things are so different now, I still can’t quite believe it. Of course moving house wasn’t easy, in fact I hated every moment of the actual move, it was my worst nightmare come true. I really would be happy to never have to move ever again. Then there were problems finding a school for the littlies, so many of the local schools just didn’t have places for all three of them, but we got there in the end.
Back in February my Little Man went for his very first haircut. This was a momentous moment as I’d allowed his curly blonde locks to grow really long and having them chopped off completely changed his appearance. Then in March we were invited to a press event for Start-Rite Shoes where the Little Man took to the Catwalk.
We’ve had some lovely days out in our home town, most memorable being our trips to see A Squash and a Squeeze at Gas Hall, Room on the Broom at the Town Hall and last week we went to see What the Ladybird Heard.
On the first day of Christmas….I love looking out for Christmas lights, small or big I love how everything lights up at Christmas time. Christmas trees sparkling in windows, huge light displays along shopping precincts. I don’t do it myself but I love seeing houses that have gone over the top with lights everywhere. In my own home I am a little more conservative but I love having a twinkly tree. I adore fairy lights and have them all year around in the bedrooms, but Christmas lights are the best and a sure way of getting me in the mood for Christmas.
On the Second day of Christmas….we have the Christmas Markets. I live in a big city and each year there is a big market from Frankfurt, Germany. Adorable wooden huts adorn the city centre streets and the German visitors sell their wares. We also have an adjoining craft fair of wonderful hand made items. Best of all is the lovely food available, I cannot resist a Bratwurst sausage and a cup of Gluwhien but my all time favourite is the gorgeous Schokukuss, chocolate kisses.
On the third day of Christmas…..it’s time for Christmas shopping. Now, I admit it’s no fun with kids in tow, a ton of things to buy and crowds of people trying to do the same. However, give me an afternoon on my own, a small list of special people to buy for and plenty of money and I’ll happily join the crowds and queues. There is nothing that makes you feel in the Christmas spirit than arriving home after a busy shop laden with presents.
On the fourth day of Christmas…. let’s put up the Christmas tree. I always put mine up the first week in December. It’s my birthday the last week in November so it just doesn’t feel right putting it up before, but really I can’t wait. I love bringing out the tree (not real for me, too much mess and the cats would destroy it) and getting the kids to help decorate it. We always put some Christmas music on in the background to get us in the mood. I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to the tree, we fill it with all sorts, home made decorations, glittery baubles of different colours, and special ornaments we have collected over the years, including some lovely white snowmen my mum bought me just before she passed away. On top we always have a golden fairy.
On the fifth day of Christmas….I will write my Christmas cards. This usually consists of a couple of hours helping the littlies to write cards to their school friends, and ten minutes of writing my own. It makes you think of all the people you rarely see and wonder if they will turn up this year. Christmas is a time of thinking of other’s and this is what you do when you write them a card.
On the Sixth day of Christmas… The Christmas cake will be decorated. Now, I love my traditional Christmas cake and it will be baked sometime in November. Each week I’ll bring it out of its air tight tin and greasproof paper wrapping and ‘feed’ it a tablespoon of brandy. This is definitely not a cake for the littlies. I love decorating cakes and long to decorate my Christmas cake traditionally with royal icing and little plastic figures, just like my mum used to make. However, I don’t really like royal icing, I much prefer fondant icing, but I do still use marzipan. You really feel like Christmas is on the way when the cake is finally decorated.
On the Seventh day of Christmas…. the Christmas spirit arrives by my nose. The smell of mince pies baking, or sherry trifle. Oranges and cloves as we get ready for Kristingle. Apple, cinnamon, gingerbread and peppermint candy canes. Not forgetting the smell of pine trees. Very soon it will be time for the smell of roast turkey and Christmas pudding…..mmmmmmmm
On the eight day of Christmas….. We attend the School Nativity. There is nothing that says Christmas more than watching your children and all their school friends re-enact the Christmas story. These days a lot of schools veer away from the nativity and have other musical shows instead, but for me, Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus and I’m quite happy for my children to share the wonderful story of his birth.
On the ninth day of Christmas….we watch Christmas movies. There is nothing like cuddling up on the settee on a cold winters day with the Christmas tree lights twinkling and watching a good Christmas movie. There are so many to choose from, The Polar Express, Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Scrooged everyone has a favourite.
On the tenth day of Christmas….Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is, it’s time for a pantomine. Such a wonderful, fun Christmas tradition watching a familiar story brought to life on the stage with larger than life character and heaps of laughs. It really is time for Christmas when the pantomines arrive.
On the eleventh day of Christmas… we visit Father Christmas, ok the littlies know he’s not the real Santa, just one of his helpers. How lovely to see their little faces light up as they meet the special man and tell him what they want him to bring them for Christmas, while I have my fingers tightly crossed that they say something that I’ve already bought for them.
On the Twelfth day of Christmas…we follow Norad Tracks Santa and wait for the big man to arrive. There is nothing more exciting on Christmas Eve than seeing where Santa has been already and watching him travel all over the world. Then it’s time for bed as we anxiously await his arrival to our house with all our lovely gifts. Merry Christmas!
The tip that inspired me the most was :
4. Meeting the man himself – what better way for you to get in the Christmas mood than by visiting Santa and his little helpers in Santa’s Woodland Workshop?
Last year I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a Center Parcs Blogger. This year I was unable take part due to moving house and being disconnected from the internet for absolutely yonks (at least a month)
So now I’m entering to try and win a wild card place.
This months challenge is all about autumn and writing a poem. First I read the great tips by Emma on the Center Parcs blog. My favourite tip was:
Play outside – Despite the drop in temperature, it’s great to wrap up warm and get outside in the fresh air. The sound of the leaves crunching as you stroll through the park or play in the garden is bound to get you and your children inspired, so why not head outside for a brisk autumn stroll before setting to work on your poetic masterpiece?
This is exactly what we did, and I’m so glad we did because we had a lovely day. We walked to the local park, it was our first visit as we’ve only just moved here, and it’s bound to be the first of many.
When we were back home we admired our haul of leaves and things we’d found while out walking and then created a word cloud.
We then set to work on our poem and this is what we came up with together
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