A long weekend at Center Parcs Whinfell…

It has been 10 years since i graduated from university. This seems like such a massive number when I still don’t really feel old enough to have this fact associated to me!!! I still feel 21!! But Facebook has a great way of reminding you about these things, and all those end of exam and leaving Glasgow photos were definitely 10 years ago.

My uni girlfriends and I have managed so well to keep in touch considering there are hundreds of miles between us. Hen parties, weddings, shopping weekends etc etc, we manage to meet up and have a good catch-up. With the arrival of babies though it had been a while so we all decided now was the time to organise something to include the husbands and children. We needed something fun but family friendly and in a location we could all get too. Well the Lake District is a bit of a distance for all but Center Parcs Whinfell was booked for a long weekend in June, and having just returned from such a great weekend I have felt compelled to write about it so it’s locked in my memories forever!!!

Our party included 8 adults, 1 toddler (Woody) and 3 babies. We booked two Lodges, each with three bedrooms. Due to Woody being over two, he had to be assigned a bed so we needed that extra bedroom, and it was nice to have the extra space. We paid a little extra to get them situated next door to each other – we didn’t want a massive hike between us! We also chose the new style lodges as they come with maid service and are just a little bit more high spec.

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Friday consisted of constant messages of journey locations and weather updates, but we had all made it by 8.30pm and Mexican food was cooked up and enjoyed!! It was so nice to see everyone and catch-up – it had been so long since our last reunion but really didn’t feel like it all! A constant WhatsApp conversation means the conversation in person is just continuity.

Saturday we did a bit of exploring in the morning. Whinfell is lovely! It is set in the forest, all built amongst the trees. There are promises of seeing red squirrels though, and we didn’t see one. Very unlucky! We went to get a coffee in the Starbucks situated in the Sports Complex and I noticed them setting up for a little balance bike course which looked just up Woody’s street. I swiftly got him booked onto this as it would burn up a bit of energy on this wet day! He loved it, and was getting very good towards the end (note to self – get him out on his own balance bike more often).

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The afternoon meant a trip to the swimming pool (ofcourse!!), which was great fun. We started in the baby and toddler pool which was so lovely and warm, and then the big swimming pool with the wave machine. Woody had such a great time and was becoming so confident in the water that before the end he was on the lazy river/ rapid ride with Rob. He loved this but to me meant he was such a grown up!!! We all grabbed another Starbucks on the way back and then headed back to feed little people and get them to bed. Saturday night was Italian night so we cooked up lasagnes and pizzas and all sat around having a great natter!! We also had a game of the Logo Game which was really good fun!!

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Sunday morning was swimming again for some. Arlo had developed a cold over night though (I think because I fed him whilst we were swimming on the Saturday and when he fell asleep got slightly cold before i got him dressed) so we went for Coffee and a wonder round the shops! We had booked Cafe Rouge for lunch which was lovely. They are so child friendly – free Ella’s Kitchen pouches, microwaves and bottle warming facilities, nappies and kids crochery all there to make your eating out experience a bit more relaxed. We asked for Woody’s food to come a bit quicker as he was so hungry after swimming and it was all there within 5 minutes, which helped prevent a toddler melt down! Some of the guys left late afternoon Monday so they could get back for work, whilst the rest of us had a lazy late afternoon/ evening which was nice and relaxing.

We didn’t want to leave Monday morning, but needs must! We did slightly push the checkout time of 10am by an hour, but no-one seemed to mind! And back on the road we went!

Taking the time to get away and catch-up with friends must be really good for the soul as I am feeling so relaxed since being back (might help than I’m also on Maternity Leave!!). Center Parcs was a fab location for this as there is so much to do. I can imagine with bigger kids it can get really expensive with all the activities, but the swimming pool is included and great fun! It was also so nice to have our families together and our children interacting with each other – need to get onto planning the next one very soon!!!!