Morning Lovelies,

imageSpending the weekend at Centre Parcs with friends is the ultimate de-stress.

A short break is wonderful for recharging the batteries and allowing the mind, body and soul to relax!

It helps to not have a household of washing and housework to think about and hanging out with four women means that everyone ‘mucks in’ and domesticity is not left to one person!

It seems like a long time ago after the week I’ve had, but last weekend I went to Centre Parc in imageLongleat. Some of the friends I went with have been going for years, but I have made it a yearly event only in the last four or five.

The downside of being a teacher is I cannot make the most of a Friday to Monday long weekend.  Two of our party went down early, whilst I picked up the school workers at 5pm.

Rush hour on a Friday night was never going to be great, but torrential rain mixed with low, bright sunshine meant the journey was challenging and extremely stressful, particularly for ageing eyes and a tired body! The queue to finally get into the Parc was long and trying to find a space in a poorly lit wooded car park was a nightmare. It put my car manoeuvring skills to the test, stretched our patience and reinforced my belief that far too many people are unable to park. Centre Parcs would benefit from making specific spaces to address this problem and more staff on the main entrance desks on a Friday evening.

Having found a space, we wheeled our suitcases in the dark to where we thought the entrance was. We saw a Parc train stationary at the junction with its indicator on,  so we started to run down the path in the direction it was going. It was only when it didn’t turn down our path and sailed past us, we realised we were running along a cycle path! In the dark we failed to see the concrete bollards imagepreventing train access and on walking back we also failed to see that when the train was stationary, it was actually at a train stop! We had to wait another twenty minutes whilst we contemplated if we could keep our legs crossed long enough as running, laughing and old age does not aid bladder control!

We arrived at our lodge, relieved at finally being able to laugh and uncross our legs, and to a table laid with pasta bolognese, garlic bread, salad and a glass of Prosecco! The weekend living in the forest close to rabbits. squirrels, ducks and deer could begin!

imageRising early on Saturday two of our party went walking and spent time at the Rapids, whilst we made our way in the rain for a morning at the Spa. At 9am it was nearly empty, which for us was an added bonus. Wrapped in our white robes we first entered a room where we found ourselves bobbing about on water beds, what a bizarre experience they are! The body sensation as I rolled about on the moving mattress was a combination of rocking at sea and being tipsy! Thankfully it was dark so no one saw my body parts wobble about!

We moved round the different saunas, baths, steam rooms and areas for mediation and relaxation. Before you knew it was lunchtime, we were relaxed and it was Prosecco time again!

imageAfter lunch two of us decided to stay for a Elemis beauty product demonstration, whilst the other went off to play an energetic game of  badminton with the two who had been walking. The benefit of Centre Parcs is there is something for everyone!

Our Elemis demonstration was done by a young man, new to the job who was quite nervous. His first question ” is anyone allergic to any products?” was responded by my friend with “I’m allergic to Soya.” He disappeared quickly, and was gone long enough for us to wonder if we had frightened him off! He returned having found out nothing! It was down to my friend to check the ingredients and say she was happy to risk each product. Bless him, it was good trying the products although none stood out, he did his best, but when he said “this is one of my favourite products, I like to use it after a game of football, rugby or art! ” I’ m afraid I didn’t believe him!

imageCentre Parc has a number of restaurants and we have tried a different one each year. This time we chose to have our evening meal at Bella Italian.

Unfortunately whilst we enjoyed ourselves,  we had to make a complaint, as one meal was cold, a Smoked Salmon Pasta dish had no salmon,  the puddings we wanted had run out and my replacement ice cream was served in a cardboard party carton,  as though I was aged six!  In fairness, they were busy, did take the two meals off the bill and our waiter was lovely, but still!

We started Sunday with a cooked breakfast.  My friends went on the Segway’s whilst I cleared up, read my book and watched wildlife from the window. My choice,  as the last time balancing and standing hurt my dodgy back.

imageMid morning I was called to join my friends at the lake to hire a pedalo. One friend can’t swim and wore a life jacket. Manoeuvring the boat backwards and forwards to get the boat away from the pier started the giggles! Swapping places in the middle of the lake caused major panic and hilarity! When my friend who can’t swim, wanted to have a go at pedalling she asked if we would go alongside the pier to change places. She managed one leg on land and was about to try and get the other off, when the boat started to drift away!  There were shouts and tears of laughter as we tried to ensure she didn’t do herself mischief and make use of her life jacket. Staff came over and said ” What is going on here?” It was hard to explain, but I felt like saying ‘it’s happy therapy’!

We walked back up the Cascades to our lodge, our Fitbits and pedometers smiling, and we mooched, ate and relaxed before it was time to make the drive home. The journey back, was smoother and less stressful.

A great relaxing weekend, the ultimate de-stress, we will be back again next year!

Honestly Fiona xx