Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Craig's Do Center Parcs, Woburn



Travel & Checking In

For the boys first trip away we decided to stay local.  The Woburn site is only around 40 minutes drive from ours, so we knew we could easily arrange feed times etc around the journey. It was a stressful morning trying to fit our house into our car🚗, but we did it! The boys slept most of the way, which was nice💤. 

We arrived around noon, and were given 2 wristbands upon check-in. The wristbands are your key to your room, lockers around the site and you can even upload a credit/debit card to it to use around the pool instead of carrying cash💷. We parked up, and just took the essentials for the next couple of hours. We headed straight to Guest Services, as they can provide extra wristbands for a £2 refundable charge. We were travelling with my in-laws so we picked up 2 extras. I'd recommend getting them, if it is for the extra locker space by the pool alone. 

The Accommodation

You are allowed in your lodge from 3pm. I'd recommend going down and getting in your car around 2.30pm, otherwise you can be queuing for a while. 

We were in OAK lodge 357. It is classified as a 'Two Bed Executive Lodge'. 

I was very pleasantly surprised! 

The rooms were modern, extremely clean and well equipped. I'm really fussy, and have a small case of OCD! 
Each bedroom had it's own ensuite. My in-laws has the shower, and we had the bath for the boys. They said the shower was lovely, and the bathroom came with a spa bath. I actually had to contact guest services to ask them how to make it work. We all said that there should be instructions in the bathroom. It turned out we didn't fill it enough. The bathroom included the typical hotel mini bottles, but we only used the hand soap.

The kitchen had all the essentials for preparing, cooking and dining. It even included a tea towel, oven gloves, a dish cloth, a sachet of washing up liquid, and 3 dishwasher tablets.

There was a chalkboard door, which is such a clever idea. I guess it would keep little ones quiet (or my husband in my case!)🙄 The room behind the chalkboard door was home to a cot, highchair, vacuum and broom. You need to supply your own bed linen for the cot. If you need extra cots, just contact guest services to arrange. 

I did take some footage of the Lodge, so once I've edited that up, I'll post on YouTube!

The garden/patio area is really nice too. You feel instantly connected to nature. Ducks and squirrels are up close at your patio doors. There is a BBQ area, but I'd recommend bringing a disposable/or coal one with you. They were being sold for crazy prices in the site supermarket. 

As we were in an executive lodge it included daily maid service. 'George' was amazing. He ended took apart our bbq we brought with us, cleaned out the ash and washed it up! They truly went over and above the call of duty!




Dining In or Out

I'd also recommend taking as much food with you as possible. Unless you are really organised, and have very deep pockets it's unrealistic to think you'll eat out every meal. Take a big cool bag/box stocked with food. The supermarket again charge astronomical prices. We looked at a pre prepared fish pie (maybe feed 4 at a push) was £17! You would definitely need to add veg etc to fill you up. At that price you might as well eat out. My amazing mother-in-law took care of 3 of the 4 nights dinners. We took bread, spreads, cereals and milk for breakfast. Some part bake baguette rolls, and sandwich fillers. We also took sausages, bacon, eggs, burgers so we could have a fried breakfast and a bbq one day. As you can probably guess... WE LOVE OUR FOOD.

There is a takeaway menu in the room, offering a variety of cuisines. We didn't take advantage of this, but worth considering, if you want to put the kids to bed and eat in peace. I think the delivery charge was around £3. 


There is a good selection of restaurants on site. When we arrived on our first day, we went to Cafe Rouge to kill some time before being able to get into our room. 

We had dinner on our last evening at Hucks. Hucks really reminded me of TGI Fridays.  

We had brunch on our last in the pancake house. They are also happy for you to have tea/coffee/shakes (mmm... highly recommend the shakes😛). The coffee is also Lavazza, so it's a good one!

Every restaurant had a laid back atmosphere, and I felt comfortable having the boys there. I suffer with real anxiety when it comes to taking the boys to restaurants. I must add the customer service was brilliant at every restaurant!  There is also two Starbucks on site. I only used the one by the pool, and I was pleased that they offered the full menu! I love a chocolate frappaccio! 

It's also good to note that every restaurant offers free baby food (e.g. Ella's Kitchen & Heinz) with a microwave, and a bottle warmer. This was a major life saver for us. Meaning we didn't have to carry around flasks and jars all day.

The Swimming Pool

I was most apprehensive about taking the boys swimming. They hadn't been before, and I was concerned that they would be too small to really enjoy it. I completely stand corrected. They had a blast. Venture Bay is an area designed for the under 2's. It has very shallow warm water, a couple of slides and some fountains. The boys loved it. The air temperature outside the pool was beautifully tropical, meaning that the babies didn't get cold when they were out of the water.


There was also a lazy river, so we popped the boys in their inflatable baby rings and they went around and around and around. Their little legs were kicking under the water like crazy. We even took them in the wave pool, and they loved watching the waving crashing. My in-laws offered to watch the boys so we could do the few flumes. I have fond childhood memories of the rapids at other locations, but it was much more gentle at Woburn. My favourite flume was the tropical cyclone. You can sit 2-4 people on a raft, and oh my you are in for a surprise! 
The only niggle we had was relating to the changing rooms. I guess there isn't many visitors with infant twins, but as you have to leave your stroller outside and the changing table had no strap, it meant my husband having to take it in turns to get ready and holding the babies. Holding two 8 month babies whilst the other gets dressed is tiring, and that's before we had even got to the pool. And then trying to deal with two wet slippy babies when we got out is even more fun!

If you have been to any of the other Centre Parcs sites, you must note that their Subtropical Paradise area is much smaller than the others. It's ideal for preschoolers, but maybe consider one of the others for bigger children.


Bowling
We went bowling twice to cover the lull in the morning after breakfast, when the boys nap. I would imagine this would be pretty busy in the evening, especially as there isn't many lanes. The nice thing is that you just pay for 45 mins, no matter how many people you are. There was a good variety of balls, and plenty of shoes. 

Badminton
We also took along our badminton🏸 rackets for a game. It had been a while (A LONG WHILE) since I had last played, so I was shattered. Also I'm not the most competitive person usually, but when it comes to my husband losing I love it. For a split second I felt like I was in the Olympics, and dived (yes dived) to hit that damn shuttlecock back to him. I went completely fell arse over tit, scraped my knee... but I got it, until he returned it and I was still sprawled out on the floor!😂

Walking/Cycling

I'm not usually a huge fan of walking about I really enjoyed wondering around and exploring. 

It's much smaller than the other sites, so our Lodge was one of the furthest away, and it was a 10-15 minutes walk to The Plaza. 
There's also various trails to follow, or just the stroll to the pool/ restaurants is lovely. We took a long stroll around the whole complex and saw the varied array of activities on offer. 

I'm looking forward to the boys being older, so we can try out archery, and laser shooting. I'd also like to take a boat out on the lake!

If you follow us on Instagram you'd know we had a fab time. 

For us this was a 10/10 break, and it was certainly what we needed to recharge as a family. Although the boys were teething, and hardly slept.

I think it's safe to say that we will certainly be returning! 

We even entered the #spotthebot competition in hopes that we'd have some money to put towards it.. Wish us luck!


Packing essentials if you are travelling with a baby/toddler:
  • Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Moisturiser/Oil (The chlorine replacement is quite drying to the skin)
  • Baby Toiletries
  • Child's cutlery
  • Dummies/pacifier (if applicable)
  • Bottles and/or Beakers
  • Formula
  • Calpol 
  • Steriliser & Tools
  • Bibs (I brought disposable)
  • Pool towels
  • Swim nappies & Swimming costume
  • Inflatable ring/ Arm bands (They provide life jackets from 15kg)
  • Water/Bath Toys
  • Suncream/Cap (in summer)
  • Cot Bedding/ Blanket/ Sleeping Bag
  • Nightlight/ Monitor
  • Kitchen Roll 
  • Washing Up Liquid
  • Anti-Bacterial Wipes
  • Pyjamas
  • Vests, Socks, Tops, Trousers/Shorts, Dribble Bibs
  • Muslins 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Time For Me

I know it sounds selfish, but I'm always been quite content with my own company (and usually my laptop).  My husband works shifts, so our relationship works really well. I'd have some evenings on my own to either see my friends, or chill out and watch trashy TV. Then when he's off, we use to have quality time together. Since having the boys me time has become completely inexistent. I always thought that the boys would have sufficient naps, that would mean I could have moments to myself. Instead they nap at completely different times. They only last around 15-20 mins, and usually it's in the car when travelling from A to B.

Recently I've really missed it, and felt more exhausted than ever. The other night rather than hinting when my husband got in from work, I just told him, "I'm having a bath tonight". I had planned it in my head ALL day. Every whinge or whine from the boys, I'd blocked out with thoughts of the Lush bath bomb I'd have. I even thought of the fact, I'd need music to drown out any noise. I was so excited to pop on my Spotify 'Chill' playlist and relax! I usually have a speedy shower with the babies whinging in the next room. 

I had a whole 45 minutes to myself. I even shaved my legs!! After I got out, I felt like a new woman. As though I'd had a luxury spa day. I was so relaxed. It's crazy what 45 minutes of time out can do for your mental state.

I'm going to try and make it my aim to take an hour for me every week, otherwise I'm going to run myself into the ground. Especially as I've been recently suffering from stress induced migraines.

I need to get myself and the boys into a stricter routine. I used to feel that a strict routine was too controlling, but if I could guarantee they were down by 8pm every night, I could have a couple of hours to do a face mask, write a blog post, maybe even paint my nails! Instead I'm awake with them from 5am-9pm. By 9pm I literally crawl into bed exhausted.

Roll on our new routine plans 👍🏻😏 Any suggestions welcome!