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zondag 31 januari 2016

January: this month we love

If you have something great to say that you want to share, send it to your.story@centerparcs.co.uk. You could be featured here, shared to our readers and receive our ‘This Month We Love’ Center Parcs badge to display on your blog or website.

1. Caught on camera

Shayna uses her Instagram account, @ruffledsnob, to tell the story of her family’s life, with all the magic, humour and whimsy it involves. The immaculate dress sense and inspiring interiors are just the backdrop to perfectly captured family moments – like her three-year-old starting wistfully at a suspiciously finger-print-marked birthday cake she isn’t allowed to touch (again).

If you love @ruffledsnob, Shayna also writes a beautiful blog, Pirates and Peonies, with more of the same.

2. ‘Free from’ food for families

What Lucy of Lucy’s Friendly Foods doesn’t know about ‘free from’ cooking isn’t worth knowing. Her recipes have featured on the Waitrose website and in the Guardian’s Cook magazine. Oh, and she trained at Le Cordon Bleu in cuisine and patisserie.

Her daughters’ food allergies have forced her to become creative, developing her own original recipes that are free from the most common food allergens. If you think that sounds like no fun at all, check out her dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegan jammy doughnuts and prepare to eat your words.

Her blog is full of recipes, reviews, inspiration and honesty. Take a look at her review of her first Center Parcs break with her family. She went in expecting “forced jollity in a fenced-in camp, a hark back to Hi De Hi!” but came away bitten by the Center Parcs bug, metaphorically speaking. Which is exactly what we like to hear.

3. Pick up a Puffin (podcast)

Whether you’re a self-confessed podcast addict (guilty as charged) or totally new to the whole thing, The Puffin Podcast makes lovely listening. Perfect for “bookworms, dream weavers and story lovers alike”, they talk all things children’s books, including interviews with authors, story extracts and competitions.

Find out more and download it here if you use an Apple device or if not, try the Puffin blog for download links, videos and more exclusive content.

4. Being Toby’s Mummy

Rach’s blog, Being Toby’s Mummy, tells the story of her life as wife of Joel and mother to her boys, Toby and Teddy. Toby has autism spectrum disorder, and Rach talks about the challenges, frustrations and moments of joy this brings to their family’s life with a generous splash of north easterly honesty and frankness.

She recently blogged about “doing Christmas differently” in 2015 at Whinfell Forest, and we’ve been sharing her inspiring words around the office:

“Center Parcs feels like a different world. Life happens at a much difference pace and I think Toby enjoys the peace and safety of being in the forest. Having very few cars on site keeps the noise levels down and when out and about in his pushchair, Toby decided he didn’t need ear defenders – he just sang happily away to himself… The difference between this year and last Christmas couldn’t be greater. I remember feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed by Toby and his behaviour and needs last year and sitting in tears booking Center Parcs for this year, promising myself that we would actually enjoy Christmas…and we did!”

5. The Williams’ World

Tracey says she “blogs to avoid the ironing and housework”, which we think is possibly the most ingenious thing we’ve heard all day. She writes about the things her family loves to do together; going on holiday, having days out and eating together. She’s written some wonderful pieces about Center Parcs, and we especially love her recent piece about our family cabanas. If you’ve ever wondered whether you should treat the family to a private cabana in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, take a look at Tracey’s piece and see if she convinces you.

6. Beating the January blues

We’re up for any strategy that will help to banish the January blues, be it recipes, hugs or breaks. Sammy, of From Mamma With Love, took her family for a break at Woburn Forest to get over the post-festive season come-down. And it seems to have worked wonders. The rest of Sammy’s blog is filled with bright and beautiful photography documenting her life, her home and her adventures.

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Laatste dag Voorjaarsvakantie 5-daagse


zaterdag 30 januari 2016

Frankrijk 10-daagse: de laatste dagen




Vandaag en morgen kunt u nog gebruiken van  de Frankrijk 10-daagse! 10 dagen lang kon u voordelig uw verblijf boeken! Verblijf in mooie omgevingen met uitgestrekte bossen en pittoreske dorpjes tot prachtige wijngaarden. Genieten van heerlijk eten en lekkere wijnen is gegarandeerd.

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vrijdag 29 januari 2016

Bungalup van start - Bungalup Belgie in maart.

Vandaag gaat Bungalup 2016 van start.
Volg het evenement o.a. op Facebook

​Met o.a. 
Ben je er niet bij op De Eemhof en wil je Bungalup ook een keer meemaken? Dat kan dan nog dit jaar: 


​Bungalup België is een 3-daags bungalowfestival en vindt plaats van 11 t/m 14 maart 2016 in Center Parcs De Vossemeren. Dit prachtige bungalowpark ligt in het Belgische plaatsje Lommel, net over de grens met Nederland en op slechts 30 kilometer afstand van Eindhoven. De Vossemeren heeft een geweldig tropisch zwemparadijs, comfortabele bungalows en… de perfecte locaties voor een weekend lang feest! Verwacht het onverwachte zoals je van ons kunt verwachten: tropische poolparty's, speurtochten, next level discobowlen, DJ's, meer DJ's en nog eens DJ's, vreemde verrassingen en nog zoveel meer.

Line-up: 
  • Aeroplane
  • Derrick May
  • De Sluwe Vos
  • Doppelgang
  • Joost van Bellen
  • Tom Trago
  • & many more!…

Kies uw eigen aankomstdag

Center Parcs introduceert: flexibele aankomsten Zoals de naam al doet vermoeden, kunnen bezoekers nu in bepaalde periodes zelf de dag van aankomst bepalen.

In navolging van Landal is het nu dus ook bij Center Parcs mogelijk om op andere dagen dan de standaard dagen (maandag/vrijdag) naar Center Parcs te gaan. Maar Center Parcs gaat wel verder. Daar waar het geheel bij Landal nog beperkt is in de zin dat je altijd nog wel 3/4/7 nachten moet overnachten, wordt Center Parcs een stuk flexibeler.

Klik om te vergroten

Bij Center Parcs is het nu dan ook mogelijk om 2 en 5 dagen te verblijven, naast de standaard 3/4/7 verblijven.

Doordeweeks in de parken: De ‘klassieke’ midweek duurt van maandag tot en met vrijdag - ideaal om er even tussenuit te gaan. Maar nu kan het ook een paar dagen langer of korter.
Of liever in het weekend? Dan komt u van vrijdag tot en met maandag. Of plak er een dag aan vast, ervoor of erna. Of u gaat juist al op zondag naar huis, of komt pas op zaterdag aan. 

Alleen de zondag is op dit moment nog uitgesloten als aankomstdag.

Meer weten: Center Parcs



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donderdag 28 januari 2016

What’s new this month: January

Aerial Adventure: new element at Elveden Forest

Back in November, we told you about the new elements of Aerial Adventure in place at Whinfell and Sherwood Forest. This month, Elveden Forest has had the Aerial Adventure treatment, with an exciting new ‘twisted ladder’ added to the obstacle course up in the canopy. If you’re visiting soon, be sure to check it out.

Have you voted?

For the 13th year running, we are delighted to announce we’ve been nominated in the coveted ‘Best UK Holiday Provider’ category for the annual Tommy’s Awards. Late last year, 2.5 million parents were asked to nominate the brands and companies that make lives a little easier for families with babies and young children. We’re really proud to have won this award for the past 12 years and we hope that, with your continued support, we can keep up that record this year.

Voting is open until 5pm on Wednesday 10 February, 2016, and you can vote for Center Parcs here.

A new arrival

This month our Facebook fans went crazy for the story of Baby Reuben, who was born on Boxing Day in the middle of his parents’ Longleat Forest break. If you missed it, read about Rory, Helen and Reuben’s incredible story.

Taking Woburn Forest back in time

After catching up with Woburn Forest Ranger Lucie, we brought you the exciting news that she and her team had discovered ancient hedgerow on the Village and were in the process of recreating it. This is part of our ongoing journey to support a diverse and healthy range of wildlife at Woburn Forest, and you can read about it here.

New Year makeovers for Sports Café

Work has begun on sprucing up the Sports Café at Sherwood Forest and Elveden Forest. To ensure the work doesn’t disrupt your break, it’s being in done in a series of phases and will be complete by the end of April 2016 – just in time for summer. The fresh new look will modernise the venue at both Villages, which is one of our most popular with guests, whether it’s a full cooked breakfast, a hot baguette at lunch time, or dinner and drinks while you watch the match on the wide screens.

Exclusive new treatments at Aqua Sana

Elemis have a new menu of spa treatments, and they’ve decided to bring them exclusively to Aqua Sana at each of our Villages until mid-February. So if you fancy a treatment or could do with a spot of pampering, head down sharpish to be one of the first to try them. Find out more about the treatments available.

Coming soon…

This is going to be a busy year. We’ve got new activities coming, accommodation upgrades and, we hope, work will begin on Center Parcs Longford Forest in Ireland.

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Nog 4 dagen: Voorjaarsvakantie 5-daagse

Boek dus nu extra voordelig uw verblijf al vanaf €269 inclusief verplichte kosten! Maar wees snel! U kunt maar boeken t/m 31 januari 2016.

woensdag 27 januari 2016

Wildlife Watch: catching up with the Rangers

Whinfell Forest: spot a stoat

Cumbria had a hard time of it over Christmas, with high rainfall and floods forcing people out of their homes, blocking roads and shutting bridges. Mercifully, Whinfell Forest was largely unaffected, and our resident wildlife appear to have taken the deluge in their stride.

The uncharacteristically mild weather, however, has left some of our creatures rather confused. Our stoats – which are brown for three seasons of the year – appear to have turned white for winter as usual despite the lack of snow. It means they’re now easy to spot against the forest floor, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re joining us at Whinfell Forest soon.

Roe deer are still being spotted regularly around the forest – recently by the Three Oaks area and Sawmill Cottages. They seem friendly and not too bothered by guests watching them from afar.

We set up a camera near the Arrivals Lodge as we noticed a badger hole there had become active again. After a couple of days we caught a glimpse of a badger on film, so it’s great to know the sett is being used again. We’ll keep an eye on it through next season’s badger surveys and keep you updates.

Sherwood Forest: spring has sprung early

Record mild temperatures, a lot of rainfall and high winds were the order of the day at Sherwood Forest recently. Some of our flowers seem to have decided that must mean spring is here, with daffodil and snowdrop bulbs popping up early, and even some primroses trying to come through.

The Nature Centre offers one of the best views on the Village. We can be watching a flock of long-tailed tits enjoying the fat balls we leave out when a great-spotted woodpecker will arrive, followed by the Egyptian geese. It’s quite remarkable.

And while the smaller birds are enjoying our feeders, the sparrowhawk has been conducting some fly-bys, trying to catch its own lunch from the group…

We’ve been hearing a lot of tawny owls recently, which we’re very excited about as we didn’t have any chicks born in our nest boxes in 2015. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll find some eggs and have some baby owls this year!

Elveden Forest: tons of tufted ducks

We were lucky to escape the deluge that other parts of the country had this winter. The unseasonably warm weather has been the hot topic on the Village, with cherry blossom on the trees making it feel much more like spring. In fact, some trees are still carrying their leaves from last year (especially hazels). The technical term for this is marcescence, and it happens when the temperatures don’t drop low enough the prompt the trees to shed dead leaves.

The birds that usually visit us in winter – redwings, bramblings, fieldfares and redpolls – have hardly been seen due to the peculiarly warm weather. But it’s not all sad news; we counted up our wildfowl recently, and racked up a record-breaking count of 182 tufted ducks on 6th December. And the kingfisher stuck around for Christmas rather than leave us for warmer climes because the lakes didn’t freeze.

On the furry mammal side, stoats and muntjac deer were the most recorded visitors – as usual – and we’ve also had evidence of foxes scampering about near the front entrance.

Woburn Forest: bumble bees and lady birds

While we’ve been enjoying the above average temperatures recently, it’s been a confusing time for the plants and animals at Woburn Forest. A bat was seen flying around the Village at the beginning of December which is unusual because bats are one of the only mammals in the UK to truly hibernate, so it should have been tucked up and fast asleep all through December. The worry is that if they’re not hibernating, they need to keep feeding, and there may not be enough insects flying around at night for them, which could force them to hunt in daylight hours and make them vulnerable to birds of prey and other predators.

Bats aren’t the only ones confused by the warm weather – bumble bees have been spotted a few times in December and January; a peacock butterfly was seen by one of the grounds team and there has been an abundance of ladybirds around.

We’ve also recently been reinstating some ancient hedgerow on the Village – you can read the whole fascinating story.

Longleat Forest: catching creatures on candid camera

The year ended the same way it started – with above average temperatures. Some of our flowers, including lesser celandines and daffodils, have been poking their leaves above ground much earlier than usual.

After our first otter sightings in 2015, we set up more trail cameras which have been great at capturing some less-seen wildlife on the Village. In the past few months we’ve photographed deer with their fawns, badgers and cubs feeding and some foxes have become regular visitors too.

This month a sparrowhawk was spotted on a Woodland Awakening walk, making several attempts to snatch some breakfast from the bird hide. This magnificent bird of prey is specially adapted for hunting smaller birds in dense cover, so Longleat Forest is perfect for them.

On the subject of big birds, a cormorant was recently spotted struggling against the high winds on one of the lakes, looking rather ruffled.

Coming soon: babies!

Are you visiting Center Parcs this spring? Find out when the young of our resident wildlife are due to arrive so you know what to look out for.

Mallards – by April (likely earlier if the weather stays mild)
Great Crested Grebes – will have young on their back by mid-March
Rabbits – from April onwards
Muntjac deer – any time, they breed all year round
Blue tits and other small birds – mid- to late-May
Woodpeckers – mid- to late-May
Grey squirrels – mid-May

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maandag 25 januari 2016

Entertainer gezocht (vrouw) bij Center Parcs Port Zelande

Functieomschrijving
Ben jij op zoek naar een nieuwe uitdaging en kun je zingen en dansen? Dan zijn wij op zoek naar jou!

Binnen het park hebben we een dagelijks entertainmentprogramma, gericht op zowel kids als volwassenen. 2x per week wordt er een grote entertainmentshow opgevoerd.
Wij zijn binnen ons entertainment team op zoek naar een vrouwelijke Entertainer die één van de rollen in deze show op zich neemt en meedraait in het volledige entertainmentprogramma.

De medewerker Entertainment is een gangmaker en neemt gasten op sleeptouw door een spetterend optreden in de show, tijdens een karaoke avond of Welcome night! Je gaat er voor om de gasten een geweldige vakantie te laten beleven! 

Kom jij ons entertainmentteam versterken? 

Functie-eisen

Wij zoeken vrouwelijke kandidaten met aantoonbare ervaring in dans en zang. Je kunt je inleven in de omschreven rollen van de Center Parcs show die 2x per week uitgevoerd wordt (voornamelijk op woensdag en zaterdag) en de verdere rollen binnen het entertainmentprogramma.

- Je bent flexibel inzetbaar volgens een 7 daags rooster.

- Je hebt aantoonbare ervaring met zang en dans > vermeld duidelijk in je sollicitatie brief of je deze ervaring hebt en waar dit uit blijkt.
- Je beheerst zowel de Nederlandse, Engelse en Duitse taal.
- De werkzaamheden vinden voornamelijk plaats in de avonduren plaats, wij vragen daarom beschikbaarheid in de middag / avond.
- Je bent in bezit van eigen vervoer.

Wil jij onze nieuwe entertainer worden? Solliciteer dan meteen! Je kunt je brief en CV mailen naar: werkenbijportzelande@centerparcs.com

Arbeidsvoorwaarden
- Werken in een vakantiesfeer
- Gebruik maken van de parkfaciliteiten

Center Parcs Port Zelande 
t.a.v. Agnes Kievit
Port Zelande 2 
3253 MG OUDDORP ZH 

T: 0111674858 

zaterdag 23 januari 2016

Frankrijk 10-daagse!


Ontdek nu de Franse vakantieparken van Center Parcs met de Frankrijk 10-daagse! 10 dagen lang voordelig uw verblijf boeken! Verblijf in mooie omgevingen met uitgestrekte bossen en pittoreske dorpjes tot prachtige wijngaarden. Genieten van heerlijk eten en lekkere wijnen is gegarandeerd.

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donderdag 21 januari 2016

Why we’re taking Woburn Forest back in time

At just 18 months old, Woburn Forest is our newest Village. Since we began creating the Village, the conservation team have been working hard to protect, preserve and encourage the flora and fauna that make the forest their home.

We caught up with Ranger Lucie Vicentijevic to find out how it’s going, and to learn about how the discovery of historic farming techniques on the Village has prompted her team to get all old-fashioned.

“Sometimes guests say to me ‘there’s no wildlife at Woburn Forest!’ There absolutely is,” says Lucie. “We have loads of wildlife – we monitor and survey them every year – but they haven’t lived around people for 25 years like the other Villages so they aren’t as bold. They aren’t scurrying along a fence post right next to you. But they’re there.”

This year, Lucie and her team are taking their conservation methods back in time in order to support that wildlife.

“We found evidence of some ancient hedgerow on the Village, so we’re going to recreate it. We found some very old hawthorn bushes in a rough line – so dilapidated that it’s easy to miss that is was ever a hedgerow at all as there are big gaps we’ll need to fill.”

What is hedgerow?

Hedgerow is the long rows of wild-looking bushes that criss-cross the countryside, dividing up fields and farmland. They have historically been used to stop cows and sheep from escaping their fields, or to form boundaries between different farms. Hedgerows have been used in England for over a thousand years.

Why are they important?

To support any kind of nature, you need diversity; lots of different types of tree, bush, flower, insect, mammal and bird. Hedgerow is like nature’s selection box – it offers many species of flower, berry and seed, as well as shelter and nesting space for all sorts of animal. A few of the creatures that make use of hedgerow include:

  • Butterflies
  • Birds
  • Insects
  • Bats
  • Hares
  • Rabbits
  • Hedgehogs
  • Mice
  • Weasels
Are they threatened?

Yes, hugely. Since the end of the Second World War, the UK’s ancient hedgerows have dramatically declined as farming has grown bigger and more efficient. There are currently about 450,000km or hedgerow left, which may sound like a lot, but only 190,000km are thought to be ‘species-rich’.

How are we repairing the hedgerow at Woburn Forest?

“We’ve been filling in all the gaps to make Woburn Forest’s hedgerows thick and healthy and species-rich again,” says Lucie. “We’ve chosen the species of shrubs and trees we’re using very carefully. Some will provide a place for birds to nest and hide from predators, there are also berry varieties to offer food in autumn, and some that flower in spring to provide nectar for bumble bees and butterflies.

So far we’ve planted over 1,600 plants of hawthorn, blackthorn, crab apple, wild cherry, holly, spindly, hazel and field maple.”

Where is the hedgerow?

“We’ve found two rows so far. One leads up to the Outdoor Activity Centre in the ‘Birch’ area of the Village and the other lies between the Village Square and the Plaza, leading up to ‘Maple’.

What will this mean for Woburn Forest?

“With it being such a new Village, we don’t have much understory (that’s the shrubby, bushy, ferny stuff that lines the forest floor) yet. This will be incredibly valuable understory that our birds can nest in, hedgehogs can use for shelter, even the bats will use them as ‘flight corridors’ to fly over and catch insects to eat.

What happens next?

Lucie and her team will work on establishing and nurturing the hedgerows over the next five to seven years. “We’ll need to keep weeds out, trim the shape and work on ‘laying hedge’. That’s an old fashioned farming technique where you cut the trunks three quarters of the way through and lay it down on the ground. The tree then sends out new shoots so it continues to grow vertically but you also get the width down low which makes a full, bushy hedge.”

It’s important to Lucie to make use of these ancient techniques: “If this hedgerow is hundreds of years old, we can’t recreate it authentically and honestly using modern methods, we have to respect the way it would have been done originally. This is how hedgerow has always been grown.”

What does this project mean to you?

“We are so excited to be recreating this and honouring these historic lines that date back to before the site was turned into a pine plantation, long before it came a Center Parcs Village. If it weren’t for Woburn Forest being created here, this ancient hedgerow would almost certainly have been lost forever.”

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Why we should all embrace National Hug Day

January 21st is an important day for many reasons. It is the day the first ever Monte Carlo Rally took place, the first commercial Concorde flight and the birthday of both Emma Bunton and Phil Neville.

But arguably more important than all of these is National Hug Day. Created in 1986 by American Kevin Zaborney, it’s a day to encourage everyone to hug their family and friends more often (though Zaborney cautions you to ask first if you are unsure of the recipient’s enthusiasm for the hug).

And hugs don’t just perk us up, there’s hard scientific evidence that we should all be cuddling, clasping, squeezing and bear hugging more often.

That’s why we’re encouraging families to enjoy a bear hug in our latest competition. If you haven’t entered yet it’s really simple: just take a photo of your family enjoying a bear hug and you could win a GoPro camera and family meal voucher. Details of how to enter are here.

Why you should have more hugs

Battling blood pressure
NPR have reported that hugs stimulate the vagus nerve, found deep within the brain, which helps to slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure. So if you’re stressed out after a frustrating day at work, a good hug could relax you better than yoga or a glass of wine.

The cuddle chemical
According to a study from the University of North Carolina, hugging causes our bodies to flood with oxytocin, a hormone that “makes people feel secure and trusting toward each other, lowers cortisol levels and reduces stress.” So not only can it calm you down, but hugging regularly could improve your relationships.

Big hugs for babies
The journal Science has published a study showing a link between the amount of physical contact received in early years and your ability to handle stress as an adult. The experiment, carried out on rats, showed that those that spent more time physically close to their mother as infants were less reactive to stress as they grew up. The researchers said they were confident the results applied to human development too. So the more cuddles you can cram in with your little ones, the happier and more balanced they’ll grow up to be.

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dinsdag 19 januari 2016

What’s coming to Center Parcs in 2016

January is a time when we all tend to think about the year ahead – what we hope to achieve, what we’ll tick off our to-do list, where we’ll be this time next year. We’ve been asking the same questions here at Center Parcs, and it’s got us all excited about the wonderful things we’re working on in 2016.

As an Under the Treetops reader, you get to know the latest news first, so here’s your exclusive look at what’s coming up at Center Parcs in the first half of this year…*

We’re adding activities

There are up to 200 indoor and outdoor activities to try during your Center Parcs break, with something to suit all ages, tastes and abilities. But this year we’re expanding the offering for our littlest guests with some new and innovative activities (which, to be honest, we’re slightly devastated we can’t try ourselves).

We’ll be bringing you more information of these – including photos and the official names – as they’re developed, but here’s a sneak peak at what they’ll involve…

What: An adventure for mini motorists
Where: Woburn Forest, Sherwood Forest, Longleat Forest
When: Before summer at Sherwood Forest and by the end of the year at Longleat Forest and Woburn Forest

Tell me more: This not-to-be-missed experience offers little ones their own ‘off road driving’ experience in a miniature 4×4. With mum or dad nearby, this parent-and-child activity is great for developing confidence, as little ones from the age of three control their own vehicle (completely safely, of course) around our track.

What: A miniature sea voyage
Where: Elveden Forest
When: Before summer

Tell me more: Under 5s can choose their own trusty vessel from our brand new fleet of specially designed boats and find their sea legs on the lake. This is a parent-accompanied activity where little ones can have fun steering a boat on their own aquatic adventure.

What: Mini Trek
Where: Whinfell Forest
When: Before summer

Tell me more: A popular parent-and-child activity currently available at Sherwood Forest and Longleat Forest, Mini Trek allows your little one to strap into a harness and explore our slightly elevated course with platforms, bridges and jumps, all while you’re by their side to guide them along. It’s a great first taste of our aerial activities, and we’re excited to extend it to Whinfell Forest.

What: Street Karts
Where: Elveden Forest
When: Before summer

Tell me more: In this fun session, you’ll learn how to confidently steer and pedal these karts which allow you to build up high speeds while also tightly manoeuvring around corners on our purpose-built track. This popular session is currently available at Whinfell Forest.

Our latest Lodges

It’s not just our activities getting a makeover, we’re also reinvesting in our accommodation, upgrading some existing Lodges across our Villages and building some sparkling new ones.

Later this year, we’re very excited to welcome our luxury Treehouses to Elveden Forest for the first time. The Treehouses, which feature at Sherwood Forest and Longleat Forest, are the height of comfort, nestled away in the privacy of the forest canopy. Each two-storey, four-bedroom Treehouse include a private hot tub, Physiotherm room and games den. Look out for udpates and photographs of how the build is going over the next few months. Take a tour of the Treehouses at Elveden Forest.

At Longleat Forest, the Pinewood Apartments will have a complete makeover, modernising the interiors and updating the appliances. This is due to be complete by the end of April.

Food’s up

In 2015, we developed and launched menus in Huck’s American Bar and Grill, Dining In and The Pancake House. Since October, we’ve been working on revitalising the menu at Rajinda Pradesh. We’ve tweaked some of your favourites to make them even better, and we’re adding some delicious new additions. We’ve also redeveloped the children’s menu after a tasting panel with real Center Parcs families. The new menu is set to launch on all Villages at the end of February and we’ll be bringing you sneak previews of it here next month.

The Center Parcs gastro pubs, Grand Café at Longleat Forest and The Lakeside Inn at Whinfell Forest are next on our list. We’ll be revisiting those menus in the spring to see where we can make them even more tempting.

…Not forgetting Ireland!

We’re currently waiting for a decision on our planning permission application. If successful, we’ll bring you all the latest photos and news on the development of Center Parcs Longford Forest, right here on Under the Treetops.

*All details correct at time of publication

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maandag 18 januari 2016

Bezichtigingsweekend Port Zélande Nederland

Wist u dat er met de Pierre & Vacances – Center Parcs groep de mogelijkheid bestaat om te investeren in uw eigen recreatiewoning op Center Parcs Port Zélande? 

Om u van meer informatie over deze mogelijkheden te voorzien zal er een informatie en bezichtigingsweekend worden georganiseerd. Dit zal plaats vinden op zaterdag 13 en zondag 14 februari 2016. Schrijf u nu in en u krijgt een rondleiding op het park. We gaan samen de nieuwe reeds gerenoveerde woningen bekijken en we nemen u mee naar woningen die in renovatie zijn. Dit alles gebeurt onder leiding van onze Nederlandse en Belgische vastgoedadviseurs. Uiteraard is er na afloop de mogelijkheid om meer te weten te komen over de aankoop van een eigen recreatiewoning op Center Parcs Port Zélande. Dit is een uitstekende mogelijkheid om kennis te maken met dit project aan de prachtige Zeeuwse Kust. 

Uw voordelen:
  • Op 1 uur rijden van Rotterdam en 1,5 uur van Antwerpen
  • Eigenaar worden al vanaf €120.000 
Bron: Center Parcs

Where do you squeeze into our top ten hug-friendly places?

Fancy a hug? Up and down the country, from Aberdeen to Plymouth, we’ve been asking that very important question.

In the midst of a grey and cold January, there’s nothing that can warm the cockles more than sharing a big hug with loved ones. And, according to our recent survey, that’s especially true if you live in Aberystwyth.

We surveyed 2,000 people across the UK, quizzing them on how many hugs they gave each day, who they’re likely to hug, and how hugs make them feel.

Are you getting your hug quota?
The Welsh town tops the list of most hug-friendly places in the UK, with residents giving out an average of more than three hug​s a day to friends, relatives, and even work colleagues.

​Aberystwyth beat Aberdeen, Portsmouth, Worcester and Bristol​ to the top of the cuddle chart​, while Wolverhampton, York, Plymouth, Birmingham, London and Newcastle also featured in the top ten hug-friendly places.

The poll, also found we’re most receptive to a hug at 4.16pm and “need” three hugs a day but usually only receive just two. Eight in 10 of those polled hug their family and nearly seven in 10 hug their friends, while one in 10 admit to never hugging anyone.

Two thirds of people consider their family to be affectionate and over a quarter said their mum is the biggest hugger in the family – followed by daughters and then by sons.

Hug it out and win
Colin Whaley, Sales and Marketing Director at Center Parcs, said: “Britain may have a reputation for having a stiff-upper lip but the results suggest some British people are actually really affectionate and quite willing to express their feelings.

“Hugging fulfils a basic human need – even the least affectionate among us would struggle to feel better after a good hug.”

That’s why we’re encouraging families to enjoy a bear hug in our latest competition. If you haven’t entered yet it’s really simple: just send us a photo of your family enjoying a bear hug and you could win a GoPro camera and family meal voucher.

Colin added: “As a Dad, nothing makes me happier than a bear hug with my three boys, and it’s great to hear that, even in today’s hectic world, so many families still make time to hug each other.”

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Knock Blue Monday into touch with this punchy prawn laksa

A list of things I crave at this time of year:

  • Bold flavours
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Warming spice
  • Cake

We’ll fix that last one another day, because today is about my perfect January recipe for prawn laksa.

Punchy prawn laksa

Laksa is popular in Indonesia but can be found in various forms across Thailand, Malaysia and even, it would seem, Derbyshire. For my version of the spicy-yet-creamy coconut soup, you can use your favourite vegetables – anything young and tender works well.

Feel free to chop and change the ingredients to suit your taste. Don’t like baby corn? Leave it out. Can’t get enough of tenderstem broccoli? Throw it in.

This is one of those meals that’s all in the prep work, but once all the ingredients are ready, it cooks in minutes. The layers of flavour are fabulous and strangely addictive.

We like to share our laksa from one great big bowl, fighting for the best bits with chopsticks then taking it in turns to slurp at the tangy broth.

Tip: Not so keen on prawns? You can use chopped chicken breast too, or even sliced leftover chicken – just warm it through in the broth.

Ingredients

Serves two (double up the quantities for four)
200g raw king prawns (defrost if frozen)
Baby vegetables – try pak choi, sugar snap peas, baby corn, asparagus (handful of each)
150g rice noodles
3-4 tsp red curry paste (depending how spicy you want it)
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp finely sliced fresh ginger
2 shallots, sliced
1 clove of garlic, sliced
300ml chicken stock
300ml canned coconut milk
1 red chilli, chopped
1 stick of lemongrass, crushed with the side of a knife
2 tsp palm or brown sugar
4 tsp fish sauce
Juice of half a lime
Fresh basil, coriander and mint leaves
Sliced spring onions and half a lime to serve

Method

1. Chop all your vegetables into bite sized pieces or slices.

2. Soften your noodles in boiling water as per the instructions on the packet, rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

3. In a large, wide pan, heat the curry paste in the oil for one minute.

4. Add the ginger, garlic and shallots and fry gently until soft.

5. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, half the chopped chilli and lime juice.

6. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer.

7. Add the prawns and simmer for around five minutes until the prawns are pink and cooked through.

8. Add your vegetables and lemongrass to the top of the broth, cover with a lid (if your pan doesn’t have a lid, you can cover with a large plate or even a couple of layers of tin foil), and leave to steam for two to three minutes until the vegetables are tender.

9. Remove the lemongrass.

10. Place the noodles in your serving bowl or bowls, spoon the laksa over the noodles.

11. Top with the fresh herbs, spring onion and rest of the chilli, and serve with half a lime.

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zaterdag 16 januari 2016

Centerparcs mag van LRM bungalowpark bouwen op mijnsite Eisden

Centerparcs heeft een akkoord bereikt met de Limburgse investeringsmaatschappij LRM voor de bouw van een bungalowpark op de mijnsite in Eisden, bij Maasmechelen. De plannen waren er al in 2012, maar de definitieve handtekening volgt straks pas. Dat meldt TVL.

De LRM wil alvast niet reageren op het nieuws. Maasmechels burgemeester Raf Terwingen: "Dat is goed nieuws voor de hele site en heel het Maasland. We krijgen eindelijk de invulling van de oude mijnsite, waar we al jaren aan aan het sleuren zijn. Ook Lydia Peeters, burgemeester van Maaseik, is hoopvol: "Misschien maakt Centerparks het SALK-akkoord met 2017 als einddatum wel haalbaar?", klinkt het. Ze hoopt dat de bouwwerken tijdig kunnen beginnen. 

In Eisden zullen er 250 luxevilla's gebouwd worden. Het park valt in een hoger segment dan de vakantiedorpen van Centerparks in Lommel en Peer

Bron belang van limburg

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vrijdag 15 januari 2016

triAV installeert TV van de toekomst in Center Parcs cottages

Het bedrijf uit Nijkerkerveen installeert toekomstbestendige Samsung Smart Hospitality TV’s in Franse, Duitse, Belgische en Nederlandse vakantieparken.

Alle cottages van het vakantieparkconcern zijn voorzien van de allernieuwste generatie Samsung Smart Hospitality TV’s. Eind 2015 is dit project in de in totaal 12 Franse, Duitse, Belgische en Nederlandse vakantieparken opgeleverd. System Integrator triAV is druk geweest alle TV’s te installeren en draagt daarnaast zorg voor programmering en onderhoud.

“Naast de vooruitstrevende ‘smart’ positie die Center Parcs door dit project verkrijgt, is het ook een bijzonder project voor zowel Samsung als triAV, vertelt Bert Nijeboer, CEO van triAV: “De implementatie van de maar liefst 13.000 nieuwe TV’s, zorgt ervoor dat de kwaliteit van zowel informatie als entertainment op bijzonder hoog peil komt te liggen. Dankzij deze upgrade begeeft Center Parcs zich op het niveau van een kamer in een vier- of zelfs vijfsterrenhotel. Als specialist in digitale diensten binnen de hospitality branche zijn we erg verheugd hieraan mee te werken.”

Voorbereid op streamende gasten
Alle woonkamers zijn voorzien van TV’s met beeldformaten t/m 48″ en de hoofdslaapkamers zijn uitgerust met 28″ Samsung Smart Hospitality TV’s. Door de technologische lifestyle- en solution partner Samsung te verwelkomen in de cottages, is Center Parcs voorbereid op gasten die via Smartphones en tablets hun eigen content willen streamen op de TV in hun cottage.

Bron en hele artikel: emerce

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donderdag 14 januari 2016

Award actieve vakanties

Center Parcs heeft de Kids Vakantieaanbieder Awards 2016 gewonnen in de categorie actieve vakanties.
Center Parcs deed mee in 3 categorien: Vakantieparken XL, Groene vakanties, Actieve vakanties.
De Award van Groene vakanties en voor Vakantieparken CL ging naar Landal.

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Bedtime stories are about imagination, illustration and story-telling, says children’s author

We know that bedtime stories are the key to health, happiness and literacy for children. So when we learned that Waterstones’ Book of the Year 2015 was a hand-illustrated children’s book with a fox as the main character, we had to find out more.

With a successful career as a book illustrator under her belt, Coralie Bickford-Smith is now also a bestselling children’s author and the creative talent behind the stunning The Fox and the Star. With those credentials, we decided to pick her brains about inspiration, creativity and the importance of bedtime stories.

Why did you decide to make the move from illustrating to writing for The Fox and the Star?

It felt like a natural progression rather than a conscious change in direction. I work as a cover designer for Penguin Books which I love and have been doing for the past 14 years. I arrived at this job through my passion for the printed book.

I’ve always admired William Blake and William Morris who mastered numerous skills that enabled them to create beautiful, varied bodies of work. I love the diversity, and not being defined by a single area of expertise; I think everything you do creatively feeds into everything else. If you are open to opportunities and learning new things, then life takes on its own momentum. I had always had a dream to create an entire book and the time just felt right.

You’ve said you wanted to write since you were young – were you always creative as a child?

When I wasn’t climbing trees I could always be found with a pen or a paintbrush in my hand. I loved books and I started creating my own stories at a young age. Writing and illustrating my own book was always a dream of mine, but I never thought I would actually succeed in doing so. I am very lucky as I’ve managed to fulfil this ambition. It took hard work and determination but creating the book was a trip back to my childhood. It brought back many memories and it was incredible to re-engage with pen and paper so fully again.

What was your inspiration for the story of The Fox and the Star?

I knew that I had to take inspiration from my own life to write the book. It had to be an idea that was close to my heart if it was to resonate with other people. I wrote about friendship, love, loss and learning to accept change. Life is amazing but it can also be confusing and difficult. I embodied those experience in a simple tale that conveys a basic truth. I love the idea of friendship but also learning to stand alone. Life is such a fine balance and I think that Fox embodies this. The story is relevant to adults as well as children, and I hope that everyone takes what they need from it.

Do you think it’s important that children today read traditional, physical books?

When I was growing up, books presented a unique opportunity to disappear into another world, whereas children growing up today are overwhelmed by distractions. Books offer a singular, meditative experience, and that’s something worth cherishing.

“When I was growing up, books presented a unique opportunity to disappear into another world, whereas children growing up today are overwhelmed by distractions.”

What was your favourite book as a child?

Am I allowed a whole series? The Secret Seven books by Enid Blyton. I just discovered she grew up down the road from where I live now.

Do you think bedtime stories with parents are an important part of childhood?

I can only speak from personal experience but for me it was a very important part of my childhood. It fuelled my imagination and took me to beautiful, unique places and helped me forget the world and prepare my mind for sleep.

“Bedtime stories fuelled my imagination and took me to beautiful, unique places and helped me forget the world and prepare my mind for sleep.”

As an author, if you could give one piece of advice to parents about how to make reading with their children more important and enjoyable, what would it be?

The most important thing is to engage with the story yourself. Find stories that you can relate to and children will feed off your enthusiasm.

You can read more about Coralie’s work over on the Penguin Blog, or watch the video on the left.

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woensdag 13 januari 2016

CenterParcs voetbal arrangement

Tijdens je verblijf op de parken  De Vossemeren en de Kempervennen kun je in de voorjaarsvakantie  terecht voor een fantastische voetbalclinic met ( ex ) profvoetballers!

De trainingen op het park De Vossemeren worden gegeven op het nabijgelegen complex van profclub Lommel!
De trainingen op het park de Kempervennen vinden in het indoor sportcentrum plaats

Het arrangement bestaat uit:

  • 2 trainingen van (ex)profvoetballers
  • een Nike shirt zoals op afbeelding staat
  • een waardebon van Intersport Nederland, online te besteden
  • gevulde goodiebag van Intersport Nederland
  • water en fruit tijdens de trainingen

De profclinics worden in de voorjaarsvakantie 2016 gegeven.

24 en 25 februari 2016:
CenterParcs de Vossemeren ( 9:00 tot 10:30 uur ) en CenterParcs de Kempervennen ( 13:30 tot 15:00 uur )

2 en 3 maart 2016:
CenterParcs de Vossemeren ( 9:00 tot 10:30 uur ) en Centerparcs de Kempervennen ( 13:30 tot 15:00 uur )

Bron:  BGZ en Center Parcs

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dinsdag 12 januari 2016

Center Parcs Deputy General Manager steps up to lead Woburn Forest

Rebecca Wileman, previously Deputy General Manager for Woburn Forest, will be stepping up to take the role of General Manager from January 2016. After more than two years as General Manager for Center Parcs Woburn Forest, Wayne Matton has decided to retire from Center Parcs after 14 successful years with the business.

As the Deputy General Manager at Woburn Forest since 2013, Rebecca Wileman has been chosen as the new General Manager. As well as more than two years of experience at Woburn Forest, she also holds nine years of experience as a Leisure Manager at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest and held the role of Operations Manager for Nottingham City Council for 13 years prior to Center Parcs.

Rebecca Wileman, the new Center Parcs Woburn Forest General Manager, said about her appointment:

"I am really looking forward to the new and exciting challenges that being a General Manager will bring. I have been here since the beginning of construction so seeing the village develop further as time goes on is very special. Whilst the facilities we offer are of fantastic quality, it is the experience we offer that is so unique and valuable to people. The bright and committed attitude of the team keeps families coming for breaks and we are now at the stage where we have families coming again and again which is great. I feel honoured and proud to be the new General Manager. It's an absolute privilege to be part of what is already an amazing Center Parcs success story!"

Wayne Matton was appointed as General Manager for Woburn Forest in 2012, before the village opened. With involvement in the planning for the operational elements of the project, he also assisted with the recruitment of 1,400 staff. In 2014, Wayne oversaw the final village preparations then the running of the village once open in June, with the support of Rebecca Wileman who was Deputy General Manager at the time.

Rebecca Wileman started as General Manager on the 1st January 2016 and will oversee the running of the village as well as new projects at Woburn Forest. Innovations at Woburn Forest include development of the Outdoor Activities programme, introduction of a new Indoor Climbing Adventure, further care and enhancement of the forest and more accommodation being added.

Bron: CPUK

vrijdag 8 januari 2016

Our Center Parcs Boxing Day baby

In January, we hear from hundreds of guests about their special family Christmas break at Center Parcs – it’s a pretty great way to come back to work. But this year one story was quite unlike the rest. Ten days after the birth of their first baby, we caught up with new dad Rory Smith to see how he, Mum and Baby were getting on after their very eventful Christmas break. We can report that they are “really tired but very, very happy.”

Here’s their incredible story…

“My family have been coming to Center Parcs Longleat Forest every Christmas since 1994 (apart from 2007 when we were in Australia). Each year we book it well in advance. There’s me and my wife, Helen, my parents, Jill and Richard, my brothers, Rupert and Theo, and this year Helen’s mum, Kathy, came too. And of course, our King Charles spaniel, Lottie.

We all squeeze in together so it’s a very merry but quite manic Christmas!

For 2015, we were due to arrive on 23rd December and stay until 30th, for our 21st family Christmas in the forest. We found out Helen was pregnant in the spring of 2015, and that our due date was 18th December. Rather than cancel our break, we decided to wait and see what happened.

So we prepared like most slightly nervous first-time expectant parents do. Everything was planned for Helen to give birth at our local hospital in Kent.

Then 18th December came and went. Baby Smith was running late. The next couple of days went the same way with no sign of baby arriving. Meanwhile our family break was getting closer.

We talked it over and thought, “We know this place so well and we really don’t want to miss our break if we can help it. We’ve been every year; it’s like a home away from home. Let’s at least ring them and talk it through to see if it’s sensible – or even possible – for us still to go.”

On 20th December we called Longleat Forest and spoke to Kate in the Medical Centre. She was fantastic – so supportive and informative, she reassured us that they could make arrangements if the baby came during our break.

Off to Center Parcs

So on the morning of 23rd December we packed up the car with everything Helen and I would need for a week at Center Parcs. Then we added everything we needed to have a baby – a pram, clothes, toys – we pretty much packed the whole nursery in there.

The journey from our home in Kent to Longleat Forest was tense. It took three and a half hours to get there and Helen could have gone into labour at any time. But once we arrived, the stress melted away.

We went straight to the Medical Centre to meet Kate, who had a packet of information ready for us with the details of Salisbury hospital and the best way to get there. She also gave us what I called our ‘bat phone’ – an emergency phone that would work on low signal and had the number for Security on speed dial. She said, “If anything happens, call the hospital straight away then dial ‘1’ – the team will be right there to get you out of the Village.”

That really put us as ease and we went about our break as normal. Well, as normal as possible when one of you is 40 weeks pregnant… It wasn’t quite High Ropes Challenge and riding the Rapids! We went on lots of long walks around the lake and through the trails. We’ve been coming for 20 years so we don’t tend to do lots of activities anyway, our breaks are more about scenic walks and great meals out and being together.

The big day

Christmas morning arrived and we had our traditional family Christmas breakfast, opened presents and went for a walk. Lunch was around 3pm, and that’s when it finally happened. Helen went into labour.

I rang the hospital and hit speed dial on the bat phone. Security were at our door in two minutes. They were great – efficiently loaded up the car and reassured us that we were in safe hands. Though I think the sight of my very heavily pregnant wife in early labour holding a bucket was a bit more than they’re used to…

They whisked us off the Village to our own car and we drove to hospital. Ten hours later, at 3.15am on Boxing day, Baby Reuben arrived. While Helen rested, I spent the day and night making trips between the hospital and the Village, ferrying family (who had been anxiously waiting back in the Lodge) over for a visit. The next day, Helen, Baby Reuben and I returned to the Village for the rest of our break. More leisurely walks through the forest – this time, pushing a pram.

We couldn’t be happier that Reuben was born during our Center Parcs break. It feels like the perfect way to bring a new generation into our family Christmas tradition.

My siblings and I grew up coming to Center Parcs, and now my baby son will too. Plus, he’ll have his birthday there every year. We’ll have to come up with some special new traditions for that!

We’ve already booked our Christmas 2016 break at Longleat Forest. With an almost-one-year-old in tow, I expect it will be even busier and crazier than usual. Although this year, Helen and Baby Reuben and I have our own little Lodge for three.”

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woensdag 6 januari 2016

The Making of the Center Parcs TV Advert 2015 - Bears

See behind the scenes how Center Parcs brought the bears to life. Follow the family on the commute home and off on their family short break.

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dinsdag 5 januari 2016

Pillenfabriek opgerold in bungalowpark America

In een vakantiehuisje in bungalowpark Het Meerdal in America heeft de politie zondag een pillenfabriek opgerold.
Dat maakte de politie zondagmiddag bekend.

Geen gevaar
In het huisje van Center Parks aan de Laagheideweg vonden agente spullen om tabletten te maken, amfetaminepoeder en pasta. In totaal lag er een paar kilo grondstof voor xtc-pillen. Doordat de chemicaliën niet in het huisje zelf werden gemaakt, was er geen gevaar voor de omgeving.

Onderzoek
Er is nog niemand aangehouden voor de pillenfabriek, de politie probeert nu te achterhalen wie er verantwoordelijk voor is.

Bron en hele artikel: 1Limburg

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maandag 4 januari 2016

Christmas surprise for long-serving Air Ambulance paramedic

This Christmas, Center Parcs has given one family the ultimate Christmas surprise…the gift of time.

Witham St Hughes family Roger and Dionne Linnell and their six-year-old son, Cameron, were treated to a surprise short break at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest, complete with Christmas decorations, a weekend of festive activities and a Christmas dinner prepared by Group Executive Chef, James Haywood.

Unit Manager Roger has been a paramedic in the Air Ambulance for 28 years, a job which, by its very nature includes long hours and time away from his family. In his 15 years with the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, Roger has spent more than one third of his Christmases at work.

Dionne wanted to give Roger the chance to spend some quality time with both her and their son.

“Family time is everything to us,” said Dionne. “Roger puts his all into his job and I see how tired he is when he comes home. It’s a 365-days-a-year role and there isn’t time to have off with the family.”

Dionne added that Cameron can go almost a week without seeing his dad.

“For every person Roger has helped over the years, there’s a wedding invite he’s turned down, a family party he’s missed, a Christmas dinner gone uneaten or a birthday not celebrated. What’s especially hard for Roger is missing moments in Cameron’s life, like parent’s evening, sports days and even reading him a bedtime story.”

Center Parcs understands the importance of spending time together, away from the distractions, stresses and busyness of day-to-day life. When the team heard about Roger’s commitment, they wanted to make this Christmas an extra special one and, with the help of co-conspirator Dionne, set up the perfect Winter Wonderland break.

Roger arrived at Center Parcs under the pretence that he had won a meal for his family. Instead, he was surprised by a weekend break in the heart of the forest, giving him four days of time devoted to his family.

“The weekend gave us a chance to relax without looking at our watches or listening out for alarms for work,” said Roger. “We were able to focus on being a family. Dionne and Cameron are the two most important people in my life and you can’t put a value on spending time with them.”

Bron: CP Uk

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Why we brought bears to Center Parcs

It’s an ordinary day for an ordinary mother of two: she battles commuters on the tube, wrestles her inbox at the office and spends the evening cooking for her family before collapsing into bed and doing it all over again.

Except this is no ordinary situation. Mama Bear is the one heading out for a day at work, while Papa Bear and their cubs are the family she’s coming home to at the end of a long day.

Our new TV advert, which aired for the first time on 23 December is, by all accounts, unlike anything we’ve done before. Since the first TV campaign in 1987, we’ve seen families biking through the forest, splashing about in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, zip lining across the sky and eating together at restaurants: all the possibilities of a Center Parcs break in under a minute, set to a lively soundtrack.

Becoming bears
“We didn’t start with bears,” admits Center Parcs Sales and Marketing Director Colin Whaley. “Our starting point was to begin thinking about what life is really like for families now. We understand that modern life – with work, school, homework and household chores – can make it challenging for families to spend quality time together. Even though families are together under one roof, chances are there isn’t time to really connect.

“Center Parcs is made for families to spend time together, away from the distractions and stresses of everyday life. It’s a place for families to put down tablets and phones, switch off and give one another their undivided attention. That’s exactly what guests tell us, with many saying Center Parcs is the only place they feel they can really ignore their emails, or where they get their teenagers’ attention back.”

“The way bear families show emotion is very similar to human families. They bond with each other and look after one another” – Colin Whaley

It was this idea of undivided attention that was the starting point for Center Parcs’ new advertising brief. But how do you bring that message to life?

“We tested different options at focus groups, and the one that came out way ahead was the family of bears,” adds Colin.

Painstaking animation
Once the family of bears was chosen to be the heart of the advert, the real work could begin. It took 10 months to breathe life into the idea, with Computer Generated Images (CGI) being painstakingly modelled, one hair at a time.

“The fur is the trickiest part,” says Visual Effects Supervisor Dean Robinson, who works for ETC Productions, the creative company chosen to produce the Bear family. “If you look at the fur on a bear’s face, there are many different colours and lengths – clumpy, smooth, scraggly.

“It takes a special skill to be able to sculpt with hair as it requires such a meticulous eye for detail. Getting the fur right on just one bear can take six to eight weeks, which can mean lots of late nights and weekends.

“Everyone in this industry looks forward to a job like this as it’s really challenging” – Dean Robinson

“We started with rough sketches to gauge the size of the characters before painting them to get the texture right – Papa Bear is darker in colour, for example. Then it’s onto the 3D process which is the slower, more laborious element – we probably had around 20 people working on this at any one time; everything is built from scratch and custom made.

The artist almost becomes obsessive about the subject, watching endless hours of DVD footage of bears to properly capture the right movement and characteristics. The level of research is immense.”

A different direction
So after the hours of manpower, research and design, was Colin apprehensive about Center Parcs’ new furry family?

“Doing something different is always a risk,” adds Colin. “The vast majority of our guests and potential guests are well aware of what we do at Center Parcs so we don’t need to keep showing them Lodges, water rides and cycling.

“Whether you see the television advert, visit our website or see an online advert, the message is the same: we understand. We wanted to show, on a much higher emotional level, that we understand the challenges many families face and offer a solution that will bring them together again. That’s the story behind the bears.”

Find out more about how your family can get together again here.

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VIDEO: How we made our TV ad, in 137 seconds

After launching our exciting new advert a little under two weeks ago, we’ve told you all about the music and the numbers behind the bears. But as the daily grind of work, eat, sleep repeat kicks off again, we understand you’re probably pretty short on time.

If that sounds like you, check out our ‘making of’ video below, that details how we got from storyboard to sunset in our new TV advert – all in under two and a half minutes.

Psst! If that piqued your interest and want to know more, read our interview with Colin Whaley, Sales and Marketing Director, on why we brought bears to Center Parcs.

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Win £200 of Center Parcs vouchers

Would having a Center Parcs break in the diary help to banish those January blues? We’re here to make that dream a reality, with this month’s competition offering you the chance to win £200 of Center Parcs vouchers that you can use against the cost of any break. Or, if you’ve already booked a break, you can use the vouchers on activities or restaurants.

We want 2016 to be the year families get together again. We’ve resolved to spend more quality time together, and to continue making Center Parcs the perfect place to do just that, free from distractions and interruptions.

To win, simply tell us: If you won £200 of vouchers to spend on a Center Parcs break for you and your family, what one thing would you most look forward to about being here? Email your.story@centerparcs.co.uk with your answer and we’ll pick a winner to receive the vouchers*.

*Terms and conditions

  1. The Center Parcs ‘Win £200 Center Parcs vouchers’ competition (the Promotion) is open to UK residents only, aged 18 and over, except employees of Center Parcs (the Promoter), their families, agents or anyone professionally connected with the Promotion.
  2. To take part in the promotion, email your perfect break ideas to story@centerparcs.co.uk
  3. There is no entry fee and no purchase is necessary to enter the promotion. 
  4. The promotion will run from 10am (GMT) on Monday 4th January 2016 until midnight (GMT) on Tuesday 19th January 2016. This period will be known as the Promotion Period.  Any entries outside the Promotion Period will not be counted.
  5. The prize winner will be selected by the Promoter.
  6. There is one prize of £200 worth of Center Parcs vouchers.
  7. The decision of the Promoter in relation to the promotion is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  8. No information regarding entries or judging will be disclosed to any third party not involved in the conduct of the Promotion.
  9. The prize is not transferable, re-saleable or exchangeable. There is no cash alternative. 
  10. The Promoter reserves the right to substitute any of the prize products subject to availability. 
  11. The winners will be contacted by Friday 22nd January 2016 by email.
  12. The winner must respond to notification of their prize by Friday 29th January 2016. If the winner does not respond by this date, the Promoter will select an alternative winner.
  13. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material.
  14. By entering, the participants consent to receive news, offers and promotions from Center Parcs via email, SMS, phone and mail.
  15. By entering, the participants are providing their information to Center Parcs and not to any other party. Any personal information provided will be used in conjunction with the Center Parcs Privacy Policy which you can see online at http://ift.tt/1cThiGz
  16. By entering, participants will be deemed to have accepted and be bound by the Terms and Conditions. All entry instructions form part of these Terms and Conditions. 
  17. No entries from agents, third parties, organised groups or applications automatically generated by computers will be accepted. No incomplete or corrupted entries will be accepted. Any entries not in accordance with the entry instructions will be rejected.
  18. In the event of unforeseen circumstances the Promoter reserves the right to offer alternative prizes of equal or greater value.
  19. The Promoter reserves the right to amend, alter or terminate this promotion at any time due to circumstances beyond its control.
  20. The Promoter’s decision is final and binding in all matters relating to the Promotion. 
  21. The Promoter can accept no responsibility for, and reserves the right to refuse, entries which are corrupt, incomplete or fail to arrive by the closing date. 
  22. No social media website (such as Facebook, twitter or any other such website) are sponsors of the Promotion and have no responsibility or liability regarding the conduct or administration of the Promotion.
  23. These rules are governed by English law and subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
  24. The Promoter of the Promotion is Center Parcs (Operating Company) Limited, registered in England, company number 04379585. The registered address is Head Office, One Edison Rise, New Ollerton, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG22 9DP.

 

 

 

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Bedtime stories are key to health, happiness and children’s literacy

Bedtime stories are like the kale of the childhood development world: we could list the benefits all day. Here’s just a few:

  • Reading together every evening fosters stronger parent-child bonds
  • A calming activity at bedtime helps prepare children for sleep
  • Being read to by a parent boosts a child’s brain development
  • Children who are read bedtime stories learn to speak, read and write earlier.

“There’s a clear indication of a neurological difference between children who have been regularly read to and children who have not,” says Dr Lyon, Ph.D. and chief of child development and behaviour at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In other words, children who get a regular bedtime story have quicker, more developed brains than those who don’t.

But like kale, just hearing the science isn’t always enough to convince us. A lot of parents still have questions and concerns, such as “How old should my child be before I start reading to them?” “What’s the best way to read to them?” “How do I pick the right book?” And crucially, “how do I make time?”

Real families’ bedtime stories

We spoke to busy working mum Katherine Berryman, Account Director at Archant Dialogue, about how bedtime stories help her to balance work life and family time with her four-and-a-half-year-old, Lois.

“The biggest thing about story time is it’s the one part of the day when I can forget about all the stresses of the office and escape into a different world together. Once I pick Lois up from childcare, we don’t have a huge amount of time – it’s get home, do her school reading, bath and bed time. There aren’t that many opportunities to carve out quality time, but a bed time story is one. There are no interruptions, no distractions; it’s about sharing something together.

“In terms of making sure it happens every day, we have such a set routine that I can’t imagine not honouring the bedtime story now.

“Lois has just started learning to read at school, so she’s now picking out words in the books we read together. It reinforces what she’s learned at school and, importantly, develops her imagination and her confidence in talking about ideas. I’ve noticed recently that she’s started asking questions about the story, as if she’s trying to understand it more thoroughly.

“Of course, I always do all the voices, and it definitely makes a difference. My husband does better voices than me though…”

Make story time better

One in ten parents worry that their bedtime story skills are not up to scratch. Over half of children prefer it when a parent ‘does the voices’ in a story, and a quarter expect their bedtime book to be acted out for them. No pressure then!

Here are our top tips for a more engaging story time:

  1. Let them choose

When your little one is old enough, let them choose the story. It develops their decision-making abilities and makes them feel like an important part of story time. And don’t groan if they pick the same story for the eighth night in a row!

  1. No interruptions

You’ve put this time aside, now make sure it isn’t spoiled by interruptions. Leave your phone in a different room (or put it to sleep).

  1. Do the voices

Not only does this make story time more fun for your child, but it makes a story with multiple characters much easier to follow.

  1. Ask questions as you go

You’re checking their understanding and making the whole story more interactive.

  1. Talk about the pictures

There’s a reason children’s books are illustrated – the pictures are half the fun. So don’t gloss over them, ask your child what they think is happening in the pictures as you read.

  1. Enjoy it

You could know all the neurology and child development research around story time, but if you don’t enjoy it, you and your child are missing out. Enjoy both the book and the time you spend together, because both are over very soon.

Our recommendations

Something beautiful: The Fox and the Star

Named Waterstones Book of the Year, this beautiful book is written and illustrated by Coralie Bickford-Smith. Telling the story of a young fox whose greatest friend is a star, it’s a story that “crackles with imagination and wonder”.

For the reluctant sleeper: The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep

Created by Swedish behavioural psychologist and linguist Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, this self-published work was the first ever to top the Amazon charts after it was promised it could get any child to fall asleep. It uses psychology and positive reinforcement techniques to help children relax and drift off.

Laugh along: Grandpa’s Great Escape

For a story that you’ll enjoy as much as your children, try this latest instalment from David Walliams, who has been dubbed ‘this generation’s Roald Dahl’.

The post Bedtime stories are key to health, happiness and children’s literacy appeared first on Under the Treetops.



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Center Parcs UK celebrates family time in new campaign

Center Parcs unveils a new TV advertisement as part of a broader marketing campaign celebrating family time. The new 60-second TV commercial was launched 23 December, during Coronation Street on ITV. The campaign, which includes digital and VoD activity, is timed around the travel industry’s peak booking season as families start to plan their family breaks, and will run until March 2016.

The film features a family of bears representing what human family life is like today: distractions, work challenges, concerns about quality time with their children. In one scene, Mama Bear is stuck working late whilst Papa Bear is making dinner for the family and cubs are in other rooms of the house. The next day is a fresh start, as the family head out for a Center Parcs break. As they approach the forest, the stresses of modern life fall away: they immediately connect with the natural environment, the feeling of freedom and getting back to what is important – being together. The soundtrack, sung by Ben Madeley, is a beautiful rendition of “True Colours” which was first made famous in 1986 by Cyndi Lauper.

Colin Whaley, Sales and Marketing Director at Center Parcs commented, “Now felt like the right time to be bolder with the way we present ourselves. Families have been telling us that getting the balance between work, chores and quality family time is even more difficult nowadays and this was something that came out strongly from our research. It was important to us that the campaign captured that rewarding feeling of having time and space to reconnect with each other. As a dad of three myself, I know how hard it can be juggling everything and prioritising what’s important.”

“We want to inspire people to carve out more valuable family time together not just during the Christmas period but in daily life too whether it’s a picnic in the park, family dinner time, bedtime stories together or a short break at Center Parcs of course!” Colin concluded.

The new advert, “Bears”,differentiates itself from other short break destinations, in an idea conceived and created by creative agency Brothers and Sisters. Ben Liam Jones directed the advert through Mustard, with Electric Theatre Collective responsible for CGI animation. Media planning and buying is through Blue 449. Make it Rain handled online search, social content and engagement.

The animation for the new advert took 25 animators 10,450 hours, over five months, to produce the commercial from concept to completion. Studying footage of live bears to reference and capture their qualities in the advertisement, together with filming professional actors gave the director and production team the detail needed to create the animated ‘bears’ in photo-real CGI animation, when the bears were in ‘human’ scenarios such as the office and commute. Krystian Godlewski, who plays the Mama bear character, is known for his film role as Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy; and Dan Phillips who plays the Papa bear character, appeared in TV dramas Between the Linesand Stella. Four child actors and one adult stand-in were used for the girl and boy bear characters.

Bron: Persbericht Center Parcs

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zondag 3 januari 2016

Opkikkerdag voor langdurig zieke Roos

Even vergeten dat je ziek bent en genieten van een dag vol ontspanning en plezier. De 6-jarige Roos en de rest van haar gezin uit Nijverdal stond zaterdag zo’n Super Opkikkerdag te wachten.

Ruim 55 gezinnen werden in het zonnetje gezet in een tot Opkikkerland omgetoverd Center Parcs de Eemhof in Zeewolde. Daar hebben ze activiteiten beleefd die zij leuk vinden. Zo’n Opkikkerdag is een welkome afleiding in het dagelijks bestaan vol met doorlopende ziekenhuisbezoeken, spanningen en onzekerheden.

Het Nijverdalse gezin heeft de volgende activiteiten mogen beleven: een spectaculaire helikoptervlucht, na een rit in een prachtige koets op bezoek in het Koninklijk Paleis, een professionele fotoshoot met styling en paarden mennen op strand Almere. Tot slot werd er gezamenlijk afgesloten met een spectaculaire lasershow.

bron en hele artikel: Twents volks blad

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zaterdag 2 januari 2016

Stem op Center Parcs voor de Kids Vakantieaanbieder Awards 2016

Hoera! Center Parcs is genomineerd voor de Kids Vakantieaanbieder Awards 2016. We zijn in de race in de categorieën Vakantieparken XL, Actieve Vakanties en Groene Vakanties. Precies waarom gezinnen onze parken de perfecte vakantiebestemming vinden.

In onze parken heeft u alle ruimte om samen te genieten. Om samen vrolijk te plonzen in de Aqua Mundo, en te ravotten in buitenspeeltuinen en indoor speelwerelden. De kids zijn de hele dag bezig, lekker actief of creatief, midden in de prachtige natuur. En dankzij de frisse lucht vallen ze ’s avonds heerlijk in slaap – misschien zelfs wel in een Kindercottage of op een Woonboot.

En de Award gaat naar…
Wil jij iedereen laten weten dat Center Parcs de allerleukste bestemming voor kidsvakanties is? Stem vóór 7 januari op Center Parcs voor de Kids Vakantieaanbieder Awards en maak ook nog eens kans op leuke prijzen, zoals een nacht in een Jungle Cabana Cottage in het Heijderbos of dagkaarten voor het subtropisch zwemparadijs Aqua Mundo!
Je kunt stemmen op Center Parcs in de volgende categorieën:



Bron: Inspiratieblog

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