's Ochtends uitgerust wakker worden in je eigen comfortabele huisje, om vervolgens na een heerlijk ontbijt te genieten van de natuur en delicious food. Ontdek wat alle 24Kitchen-chefs allemaal voor je familie, vrienden en jou in petto hebben! Een hapje hier, een drankje daar. Of juist zelf actief aan de slag met de chefs. Dit is zo ongeveer hoe het 24Kitchen Food Lovers Weekend eruit ziet. Van 15 t/m 17 april 2016 wordt het zeker genieten bij De Eemhof.
Benieuwd welke chefs er allemaal komen? Rudolph van Veen, Miljuschka Witzenhausen, Roberta Pagnier, Giovanni Caminita, Danny Jansen, Angélique Schmeinck, Corria Houthuizen, Hugo Kennis, Mounir Toub en Estée Strooker. Al deze chefs geven een uniek kookcollege en een aantal chefs geven ook workshops. Het programma is zeer gevarieerd en gaat van culinaire hoogstandjes tot lekker experimenteel en van dagelijkse kost tot vernieuwende tips. Het Food Lovers Weekend is voor degenen die inspiratie willen opdoen, willen leren en willen ontdekken.
Vrijdagmiddag, bij aankomst op het park, word je allereerst verwend met een goedgevulde goodiebag. Daarna wordt het weekend afgetrapt met een VRIJMIBO (Vrijdagmiddag Borrel). De rest van het weekend zijn er allerlei workshops, kookcolleges, foodtrucks, een grote buiten BBQ, livemuziek, entertainment en natuurlijk The Battle of the Chefs. Voor de sportievelingen wordt op zondag de Zondagochtend Run gehouden. Maar wat maakt dit weekend nu echt zo bijzonder? Je bent nog nooit zo dichtbij alle chefs van 24Kitchen geweest. Je kunt ze namelijk persoonlijk vragen stellen tijdens de vragensessies.
“After 16 years and the loss of my husband, Center Parcs is like family to me.”
Myra isn’t sure of the exact date of her first Center Parcs break. What we do know is that she came to Sherwood Forest at the behest of her daughter and grandchildren in the mid to late nineties, way back when the Spice Girls were championing girl power and nineties fashion was ‘in’ the first time round. It was the start of Myra’s 16-year love affair with Center Parcs.
A love affair with Center Parcs
“We loved it immediately because it felt so safe. That was really important to us because the children were little and they would wander around without us worrying about them,” says Myra. “My husband and I came on our first break together in 2000 and that was it – we were hooked and we came every March and November from then on. He was in a wheelchair so we would go for long strolls around the lake and I would push him. When we got tired, he’d go back to our apartment and I’d head to Aqua Sana.”
Aqua Sana spa is Myra’s favourite part of her Center Parcs breaks. It offered a little respite and solitude where she could relax on her own.
Their twice-yearly breaks to Sherwood Forest were the perfect escape for the couple until March 2009, when tragedy struck. Myra’s husband suffered a heart attack and later died in hospital.
Heartbroken, the last thing on Myra’s mind was returning to Center Parcs, until a few months later when her next break – which had already been booked – approached. “I wasn’t sure if I could come on my own,” says Myra. “I thought about cancelling it and never going back, but a friend convinced me I should do it. I’m so glad I did because I saw all the familiar faces of the staff who knew what had happened and everyone was so kind.
“That break really showed me that I could still do things on my own, I could still enjoy myself. Life wasn’t over.”
Since then, Myra has continued her twice-yearly tradition at Center Parcs on her own. Except she doesn’t feel like she is holidaying on her own so much, because over the last 16 years, she’s made many friends at Sherwood Forest. So many, in fact, that she has to bring a list with her on her breaks to make sure she remembers to catch up with each one!
“I’ve been coming for so long now that I’ve got to know the people who work there,” she explains. “You have such loyal employees that I see the same faces every year. They’ve become real friends to me now.”
Myra’s list currently sits at ten people she makes sure to see on every break. They work all over the Village, from Aqua Sana to The Pancake House and Leisure Bowl to Housekeeping.
One of Myra’s friends is Gemma, the Assistant Manager at Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest. Gemma says: “Myra is a loyal guest and she always checks in with us when she visits. In November, she’ll always bring me a birthday present. This year she found out that I would be on maternity leave in November so she brought my present in March instead – it’s a cardigan for the baby that she knitted herself! I was so touched.”
In between her busy schedule of social appointments, Myra still loves going for long walks in nature on her breaks, and still stays in the apartments that she and her husband would visit.
Myra thinks that her breaks have helped her keep her independence after the loss of her husband. “It helps with loneliness. I still feel it from time to time, of course, but I know I always have my next Center Parcs break to look forward to.
“I’ve been coming for so long now,” she says, “and ever such a lot has changed. Aqua Sana has moved and of course there are many more Lodges than there used to be. But the important things have stayed the same. You can be walking around and someone in a Center Parcs uniform or a badge will stop and say ‘hello’. The friendliness hasn’t changed.”
“I only wish I could come more often – a couple of times a month would be perfect!”
Do you have a remarkable Center Parcs story? Are you one of our most loyal guests like Myra? We’d love to hear from you – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Extra hoge kortingen tijdens de Vakantie Voordeeldagen
Voordeel-fanatiekelingen opgelet! Tijdens de Vakantie Voordeeldagen boekt u al een weekverblijf, inclusief verplichte kosten, vanaf €549. Waar wacht u nog op?
Grote bossen om heerlijk in te verdwalen, uitwaaien op het strand, wandelen langs prachtige kasteelroutes. Ingrediënten voor een heerlijke vakantie in Frankrijk! Center Parcs heeft 5 prachtige parken in de mooiste regio's van Frankrijk.
Haal trucs uit op het wakeboard. Of houd het roer juist recht in de Kids Haven. Proef de zon op de Mediterraanse Market Square en loop dan even naar de buren van de Marina. Er valt zó veel te beleven in De Eemhof. Hieronder onze tips voor een avontuurlijk en onvergetelijk dagje.
Het Via Ferrata klimparcours
Houd je van buitenactiviteiten en heb je niet snel last van hoogtevrees? Dan moet je absoluut het Via Ferrata Klimparcours uitproberen. Deze spectaculaire outdoor activiteit maakt van klimmen een echte belevenis, tot wel 12 meter de lucht in. Dé uitdaging voor de echte durfals!
Surfen en zeilen op het Eemmeer
Watersporters voelen zich als een vis in het water in de Eemhof. Eemhof Watersport & Beachclub is pal aan het Eemmeer gevestigd, waar watersportliefhebbers hun hart kunnen ophalen met alle moderne faciliteiten.
De Flow Rider en de Turbo Twister
Gek op surfen? Leer bodyboarden. De golven van de Flow Rider zijn dan wel kunstmatig, maar je moet een echte inspanning leveren om overeind te blijven. Net als in het echt. De spectaculaire Turbo Twister in de Aqua Mundo van De Eemhof is de allernieuwste op het gebied van waterglijbanen en de enige in zijn soort in Europa. De glijbaan is 154 meter lang, 11 meter hoog en bestaat uit drie kegelvormige delen. Na de eerste afdaling beland je in de eerste kegel.
Fun for kids
Kinderen kunnen zich volop vermaken op de Eemhof. Orry, Rep, Whoops en Bing, de vier vaste bewoners van De Eemhof, treden bijna elke dag op in de Action Factory. De ene keer zijn ze aan het dansen met de kinderen en de andere keer voeren ze een toneelstuk op. Terwijl de ouders genieten van een drankje op het terras kunnen de kinderen zich heerlijk uitleven. Ook vind je in de Action Factory andere interessante activiteiten, zoals klimmen, bowlen en Laser Battle.
Even naar de buren van de Marina
Maak een wandeling naar het nabijgelegen Marina De Eemhof. Marina De Eemhof is een mondain resort met luxe Suites die uitkijken op deinende jachten aan de steigers, en een boulevard waar het heerlijk slenteren en goed eten is.
De Market Square
Sluit de dag af met een heerlijk diner bij een van de restaurants in de Market Square. De Market Square in De Eemhof is ingericht in Mediterraanse stijl. Je kunt hier uitgebreid tafelen, gezellig iets drinken of een souvenir kopen.
How to hack Daylight Savings Time and reclaim your lost hour
When the clocks spring forward on Sunday, we’ll lose an hour. Just like that. In the middle of the night, time will leap from 2.00am to 3.00am without so much as a blink, and those sixty precious minutes will be lost forever.
But don’t despair. We’ve brought in Karen Perkins, productivity expert, like coach and organisor extraordinaire, to help you streamline your life with the kind of efficiency that would make the Swiss rail network blush. Read on to see how you can reclaim your lost hour and many more besides by spending less time doing boring stuff, and more time doing fun stuff.
1 Be kind to yourself
From the start of any task, be realistic about how much you can achieve, says Karen. “Setting yourself up for failure will slow you down and you’ll waste time later feeling bad about not doing what you set out to.”
2 Get ready
Spending most of tomorrow at your desk? Give it a quick tidy the night before – nothing drastic, just enough that you can get straight to work in the morning without being derailed by papers in your way. “Those little obstacles like a messy work space take precious time to fix, and it’s often a waste of our most productive hours,” says Karen.
3 Loose time
You may be short on free time but long on loose time. Picture this: it’s Friday evening and one of your jobs for Saturday is the week’s laundry. You can’t do it tonight because the machine will be banging away while you’re in bed and it’ll sit wet until the morning. But you could gather it up, stick it in the machine and set it on a timer. By the time you get up tomorrow, it will already be doing its thing, freeing you up to do yours.
4 Habit stacking
When you wake up, check your emails once. Done? Good, now put your phone on silent and start ‘habit stacking’. “This is a technique I use with lots of clients,” says Karen. “Look at your morning routine and pick one nice task that you can put at the top of your list. It could be eating breakfast or making a latte or walking the dog – the important this is you’re happy to do it and won’t dread it. Then build the rest of your morning routine to follow this one task.” It will catapult you into your day in a positive mind set.
5 Must Do list
Your ‘to do’ list could be ruining your productivity. If you start the day with an 18-item-long list, you’re doomed to disappoint yourself when you don’t finish. “Instead,” suggests Karen, “each evening, write a three-point ‘must do’ list. These are the non-negotiable tasks that you have to do tomorrow. Anything else is a bonus. This will help you focus on your priorities and make your work seem much more manageable.”
6 Micro rewards
If you’ve ever struggled to get through what should be a 30-minute task in two hours, you may need to motivate yourself better, explains Karen. Rewarding yourself with a cup of tea, a sit in the garden or even an afternoon coffee with friends when you’ve finished your next task could be the boost you need. “That little ray of sunshine on the horizon will keep you laser-focused during your work, instead of the day stretching out ahead of you without any sense of urgency.”
7 Don’t forget the odd big reward
Always have a bigger reward in the diary. “A lot of my clients find they’re more productive at work when they have a holiday or a weekend away coming up,” says Karen. Knowing you’ve planned in quality family time with a short break will lessen those nagging feelings of guilt around spending time at work.
8 Learn how to delegate authentically
Many of us have no problem delegating in the workplace but would never consider doing it at home, says Karen, where we’ll try to take on every task ourselves. But if you have children, delegating to them could save you tons of time and help build their confidence. “Entrusting chores to your children shows them you respect their abilities,” she explains. “It’s easy to think ‘they won’t do it right’ but taking ten minutes to show them how to load the dishwasher properly will take a daily job off your hands and offer them a bit of independence. It’s a very brave parent that steps back, takes a deep breath and doesn’t interfere. But once you try it, it’s very liberating.”
Try a few of these next week and you’ll have clawed back that hour in no time at all. And remember: the more you get done, the more time for fun.
Karen Perkins is a Life, Career and Social Media Coach based in Sheffield. Follow her on Twitter or take a look at her website.
With the Easter holidays and the long Bank Holiday weekend stretching out ahead of us, there are an awful lot of days to entertain the children coming up. So if you haven’t been able to book a Center Parcs break this Easter and you need to be inspired with ways to spend your days, why not dig out the craft supplies and spend an afternoon making something special?
Our first craft, Easter Sun Catchers, is perfect for little ones with foraging, collecting and sticking. While the second, Potato Printed Easter Tote Bag, is great for the not-so-little ones.
Easter Sun Catchers
These sweet bunny and egg sun catchers are like nature’s stained glass windows, with petals and leaves gleaming in the cut-outs. You can take a family walk in the woods to collect the materials first. Using sticky-back plastic means there’s no mess from glue, making it easy for everyone.
Suitable for: ages 4-7 Takes: 30 minutes to one hour You will need:
2 sheets of A4 coloured card
Small leaves, petals and blades of grass
Coloured tissue paper, torn into pieces
1 Start by folding your piece of card in half lengthways. Draw half a bunny (without ears) with its middle along the fold, and add a round section in the middle for its tummy. Cut out.
2 Draw the bunny ears on another piece of card and cut out, also removing the middle section.
3 Cut out a big rectangle of sticky-back plastic slightly larger than your bunny and its ears. Peel off the back and place your bunny on top, with the front (the neatest side without any pencil marks) face down on the sticky side. Then add your ears to the sticky-back plastic at the top of the head.
4 Use your petals and greens to create a mosaic in the tummy and ears. Add your torn up pieces of tissue paper to the gaps – these will catch the light really well.
5 Once you’ve filled in all the gaps, cut another large sheet of sticky-back plastic and place in on the back, over all the petals and tissue paper. Then cut round the edge, leaving a small border to keep it stuck together.
6 For the Easter egg, draw half an egg shape on a sheet of folded card. Add a crack down the middle and cut out both sections. Keeping them folded in half, add a border a couple of centimeters in from the edge all the way around and cut out the middle, creating two frames.
7 Place on a sheet of sticky-back plastic like you did with the bunny and fill with petals, greens and tissue paper before sealing with another sheet of plastic.
8 Add a dot of blue tac to the front of each sun catcher and put up in the window.
Potato printed Easter tote bag
This handmade tote is a great first sewing project and the perfect accessory for an Easter egg hunt! The bag can be made by hand or on a sewing machine, and the finished piece is 26cm square.
Suitable for: ages 8-11 Takes: one or two hours, longer if sewing by hand You will need:
Thick cotton in a light colour, measuring 28 x 56cm
Fabric paint in whatever colours you prefer (we used turquoise and pink)
Black marker pen
80cm pink cotton tape
White and pink thread
Iron and ironing board
1 Lay the fabric out in front of you and fold the two narrow ends over by 1cm. Press with the iron, then fold over another 1cm and press again – this hides the raw edge. Sew all along the fold.
2 Fold the fabric in half with the folded edges facing each other on the inside. Iron the fabric to make a nice crisp fold line – this will help you see where to stamp later.
3 Cut a potato in half, lengthways. To carve the shape of a bunny body into your potato, it’s easiest to make a template in paper first that will fit onto your potato.
4 Place the template on the cut site of the potato and use a sharp pencil to draw around it, pressing down slightly to leave a groove. Remove the stencil and use a knife to carefully cut around the grooves to about half a centimeter deep. Then slice away the potato surrounding your bunny shape.
5 Open up the bag and place some newspaper underneath in case the paint soaks through. Using a paintbrush, apply your fabric paint to the potato and carefully stamp it onto the front of the bag, a little way above the fold. Push down hard to get a good print. Turn the fabric around the repeat for the other side.
6 For the bunny’s ears, paint a small leaf with turquoise fabric paint. Press the leaf onto the bag above the head and repeat the other ear. Add a little bunny tail onto one of the bunny prints with a dab of turquoise paint.
7 Use a marker pen to add a little face to the ‘front’ bunny (the one without a tail).
8 Cut the fabric tape in half. Fold the end under by 2cm and pin each end 6cm from the middle of the bag, along the top. Use pink thread to sew a square shape with a cross in the middle on the end of each strap to secure it in place.
9 Fold the bag in half with the bunnies facing each other and the top edges lined up neatly. Pin and sew all the down each side, 1cm from the edge. Turn the bag inside out and press with the iron to seal the fabric paint. Then fill it with Easter goodies!
These crafts were brought to you in partnership with Laura and Tia from Little Button Diaries. Take a look at their website for more crafting ideas, baking recipes and toddler activities.
Super Zip Wire: Langste Zipline van Nederland!? met Pasen al open
Op De Kempervennen wordt momenteel de langste Zip Wire baan van Nederland gebouwd (aldus Center Parcs) met een lengte van maar liefst 580 meter!
Er wordt gestart vanaf een veelzijdige activiteitentoren, u 'zipt' over het water naar een tweede platform, vanuit hier klimt u naar een ander platvorm en 'zipt' weer verder naar een derde platform, daarna naar een vierde platform en tenslotte zipt u weer over het water terug naar de activiteitentoren.
De Super Zip Wire is voor iedereen vanaf 8 jaar en minimaal 1.20 m.
De adrenaline giert door je lijf, een grote belevenis!
Vanaf het paasweekend kun je deze geweldige nieuwe activiteit doen. Dat moet je natuurlijk een keer komen proberen.
Of dit inderdaad de langste parcours van Nederland is, dat zal door Klimpark Biesbosch wellicht bestreden worden. Zij claimen namelijk "een zipline parcours van meer dan 700 meter over het water!! De langste zipline is 350 meter ineens over het water."
3 nominaties voor Marketing Talent 2016 bekend: Judith Franse namens Center Parcs
Genomineerd zijn in willekeurige volgorde: Daan Koek (PostNL), Judith Franse (Center Parcs) en Mart Postma (Heineken/Amstel).
Eén van hen mag op 31 maart de Award voor Marketing Talent 2016 in ontvangst nemen. De twee anderen krijgen – evenals een selectie van 4 kandidaten die niet in de top zijn geëindigd – een plaats in het MEC Merkmeesters Programma aangeboden. In het programma biedt het MEC hen een jaar lang begeleiding door een CMO uit een andere sector.
De jury staat naast voorzitterschap van Marc Lamers (corporate director marketing & communicatie van Wageningen UR) uit Dorkas Koenen, (CMO Essent), Erik Hoogenhout (Hoofd Marketing en Business Development Van Doorne Advocaten, Notarissen en Fiscalisten) en Jos van Haastrecht (director global brand, digital en communications DSM). Marc Lamers: 'We hebben naar een flinke groep Young Professionals gekeken die hebben laten zien dat ze een visie hebben op het vak en deze ook weten om te zetten in resultaat voor hun organisatie. Innovatie en creativiteit spelen een belangrijke rol in hun aanpak. Een deel is ook heel actief is in het delen van hun kennis en ervaring. Bij de beoordeling hebben we als jury laten meewegen in welke context deze jonge marketingprofessionals werken. Als laatste hebben we gekeken naar de manier waarop de kandidaten zichzelf hebben gepresenteerd: is het origineel, authentiek en wordt de case op een betrouwbare wijze gepresenteerd?'
Tell us what you love about your family to win a break
Families are great, aren’t they? They support you, care for you, annoy you and love you unconditionally. Every family is special and, let me guess, your family is the best, right? Well now’s your chance to tell them – and the world! – what the best thing about them is and you could be rewarded with a Center Parcs break.
It’s really simple. Just send us a short video telling what your favourite thing is about your family and why. Don’t worry, you don’t need Spielberg-standard recording equipment, most smartphone cameras will do the trick.
You have until Sunday, 3 April to submit your video. We’ll then select our favourites and put them forward for public vote. The winning entrant will bag themselves a fantastic Center Parcs break for themselves and their family.
Need some inspiration? Check out the video on the left.
So set up your camera or smartphone and shout it from the rooftops – why is your family so great? Send your video entry to our Facebook or Twitter page using #CPMyFamily or email us on email@example.com Terms and conditions apply, see them here.
Hoe een Rotterdamse sportwinkel uitgroeide tot vakantie-imperium Sporthuis Centrum
Sportzaken als Perry Sport en Aktie Sport zijn op dit moment voorpaginanieuws. Maar wie herinnert zich Sporthuis Centrum nog? Deze van oorsprong Rotterdamse sportwinkel groeide uit tot een internationaal vakantiesucces. Het Verdwenen Merk van deze week kent een bijzonder verhaal over kampeerartikelen, bungalows en subtropische zwemparadijzen.
Warenhuis in sportartikelen
‘Het is een verhaal dat maar weinigen (nog) weten: Het verhaal van de Rotterdamse zakenman Piet Derksen die zijn lokale sportzaak liet uitgroeien tot de bekendste bungalowketen van ons land. In 1953 opent Derksen in Rotterdam een warenhuis in sportartikelen: Sporthuis Centrum. Het blijkt een hole-in-one en al gauw groeit het bedrijf uit tot een landelijke keten van zeventien vestigingen. Derksen merkt dat met name de kampeerartikelen gretig aftrek vinden. Het spoort hem in 1968 aan om een bos te kopen waarop hij tenthuisjes plaatst en verhuurt. Zijn vaste klantenkring uit de sportwinkels omarmen het concept en de tenten zijn standaard volgeboekt. Al snel maken de tenten plaats voor luxere bungalows waarmee ook de beroemde Rotterdamse architect Jaap Bakema wordt aangetrokken.
Bakema raakt verliefd op de bosrijke locatie en besluit de bungalows in één lijn met de natuur te laten bouwen en in te richten. Alle bungalows krijgen een grote schuifpui en raampartij waardoor het lijkt alsof je echt midden in het bos leeft en slaapt. Binnenin worden de bungalows van alle luxe voorzien, zoals kleurentelevisie en een badkamer met bad.
We’re thrilled to share the news with you that we’ve come up trumps once again at the Tommy’s Awards!
For an incredible 13th consecutive year, Center Parcs was named as Best UK Holiday Provider, in front of a packed audience of household companies, celebrities and inspirational families.
As you may know from last year’s news, the Tommy’s Awards, in partnership with Bounty, recognise and celebrate the best family-friendly companies that help make the lives of parents and parents-to-be that little bit easier.
From a shortlist of five, Center Parcs received the most votes from the public to scoop the award. Jane Brewin, CEO of Tommy’s says: “We believe it is important to express our gratitude to those companies who go the extra mile. Being a mum-to-be or parent is tough enough and all the companies, both the shortlisted and winners do that.”
Speaking after the win, Helen Horner, Head of Brand at Center Parcs, expressed her pride and delight: “We are delighted that parents have again named us their Best UK Holiday Provider in the Tommy’s Awards. Quality family time is at the very heart of what we do and we strive to be the best at giving parents very special, protected time with their children from when they are tiny babies right up to when they become taller teenagers. It’s great to be recognised in this way and we’d like to thank everyone who voted for us.”
The awards ceremony also includes Individual Awards which includes the Center Parcs-sponsored Super Sibling category, which this year was won by Summer Nash-Cox, aged 7. Summer has been a supportive and loving big sister to her brother Paolo, who was born at 25 weeks with a number of health complications, including cerebral palsy.
To celebrate the launch of Adventure of the Senses, we travelled to Elveden Forest to bring you a glimpse of our new outdoor activity. Armed with a cameraman and real family in tow, you can watch the Adventure of the Senses video now. Afterwards I caught up with the superstar family, Helen and Pete Marchant-Hawes, and their children Jake, 6 and Heather, 3, to get their review of our latest outdoor family activity.
What did you think to Adventure of the Senses?
Mum Helen Marchant-Hawes says: “We really enjoyed the activity and felt it was perfect the ages of Heather and Jake. It appealed to them both in different ways. Jake loved the physical side of it – the touch zone – putting hands into the jars and solving the puzzles. Heather liked the smell zone, in particular the part where you push on the gnome’s belly to guess the smell. She absolutely loved that and still talks about it now!”
“Another great thing was that Jake is currently learning lots about senses at school, sensory features heavily in the Key Stage One curriculum, so the new activity proved to be quite educational for him too. He even wrote a poem about it!”
Center Parcs is the colour of green.
It smells like the fresh air in a forest.
It tastes like a huge slice of apple pie. It looks like adventures.
It sounds like laughing children.
It feels exciting, tiring, fun and happy.
What did you, as a parent, enjoy the most? “I liked that we could all take part together,” says Helen. “The great thing about Center Parcs is the range of activities for all ages, which often means Heather will want to do one thing and Jake another so we rarely have the chance to take part in a family activity together.”
“In terms of the course, I loved the part at the end – the Sensory Walk – where you get blindfolded and led by each other. Just great fun!”
Who would you recommend Adventure of the Senses to and why? “I would definitely recommend this activity to families, particularly if they have similar aged children to ours. It’s a real family experience and is something you can do together, it’s a chance to get that quality time.”
Visiting Elveden Forest soon on a short break? Book Adventure of the Senses now
Center Parcs wins national award for going the extra mile
Center Parcs were honoured as Best UK Holiday Provider for the thirteenth time at the annual Tommy's Award which took place on 11th March at the Landmark Hotel, London to a packed audience of household name companies, celebrities and Tommy's supporters.
The Tommy's Awards recognise and celebrate the best family-friendly companies that help make the lives of parents and parents-to-be that little bit easier. From a shortlist of five, Center Parcs received the most votes. This year 44,688 votes were cast on Bounty, the pregnancy and parenting website. This was double the amount of votes received last year. The awards are nominated and voted for by the public, in categories ranging from Best Holiday Provider to Best Skincare Product for Mums.
Jane Brewin, CEO of Tommy's commented "Being a mum-to-be or parent is tough and we believe it is important to express our gratitude to those companies who go the extra mile for families. All the companies, both the shortlisted and winners do that."
All the winners were announced at an awards ceremony at the Landmark Hotel, London presented by TV and radio presenter Katy Hill. Celebrities in attendance included Harry and Izzy Judd, Nancy Sorrell, Vicki Butler Henderson and Kirsty McCabe.
The awards ceremony also includes Individual Awards which includes categories for Super Sibling, Doting Dad, Inspirational Mum, Courage, Angel, Family Superstar, Little Champion and Mum's Voice, a new category this year for a mum who has spoken out about her own pregnancy experience and given hope to others.
Helen Horner, Center Parcs' Head of Brand commented on the win saying "We are delighted that parents have again named us their Best UK Holiday Provider in the Tommy's Awards. Quality family time is at the very heart of what we do and we strive to be the best at giving parents protected time with their children from when they are tiny babies right up to when they become taller teenagers. It's great to be recognised in this way and we'd like to thank everyone who voted for us."
Now in its 21st year, the Tommy's Awards recognise heroes of families who've have been touched by pregnancy complications, or the loss of a baby. Each year in the UK, one in four parents lose a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
Konijnenverhuur stilgelegd in Center Parcs Peer na bakken kritiek
Tot voor kort konden gasten van Center Parcs Erperheide hun verblijf opvrolijken met het bezoek van een konijntje. Voor een hele week extra bezoek telde je 24 euro neer, een midweekje met een konijn als huisdier kostte je 20 euro extra. Maar na massa's kritiek van dierenrechtenorganisaties ligt de verhuur van konijnen stil.
De konijntjes konden op heel wat bijval rekenen in het speelplein, speciaal voor hen ingericht aan het onthaal. Maar de verhuur van konijntjes kwam nooit echt van de grond. En ook dierenrechtenorganisaties waren niet te spreken over de 'stunt'. Daarom besloot Center Parcs Erperheide, in overleg met een dierenexpert, om de verhuur op te schorten. "Het belang van de dieren komt voor ons altijd op de eerste plaats", liet de zaakvoerder van Center Parcs Erperheide, Frank Van Ouytsel weten.
Baby geboren in Center Parcs: 'We hebben hem in de sauna warm gehouden'
Tijdens een vakantie Center Parcs begonnen opeens de persweeën van Gaby Reesink. "We waren totaal overvallen. We hebben de baby in de sauna warm moeten houden", vertelt de trotse vader.
Verloskundige Marianne Wigbers is in die 25 jaar wel wat gewend, maar de bevalling van baby Arthur noemt ze heel bijzonder. "Ik werd gebeld vanuit vakantiepark De Eemhof in Zeewolde. Bij een hoogzwangere vrouw waren de persweeën veel te vroeg begonnen."
Haast was geboden, dus reed verloskundige Marianne met piepende banden naar het vakantiepark in Zeewolde. "Een begeleider van het park liet me gelukkig snel binnen. Ik kon achter hem aanrijden. Ik heb als een malle gereden en gerend om zo snel mogelijk de bevalling te begeleiden."
Dat was maar goed ook. Nog geen zes minuten later kwam baby Arthur ter wereld. "Het ging allemaal zo snel. We hadden eigenlijk geen tijd om ons zorgen te maken", vertelt de trotse vader Tim. "Arthur was drie weken te vroeg. Maar hij is gelukkig kerngezond."
Aqua Sana Woburn Forest wins Residential Spa of the Year
Aqua Sana Woburn Forest is delighted to have been awarded the highly prestigious ‘Residential Spa of the Year’ accolade at The Professional Beauty Awards 2016. Hosted at the Grade II-listed venue, The Brewery located in the city of London, the awards took place on Sunday February 28, 2016.
Upon receiving the award, Donna Mckee, Aqua Sana Woburn Forest Manager commented;
“We have a wonderful spa which is truly unique and it is the team that makes our spa what it is. We're very passionate about what we do and it's great to know that others agree that Aqua Sana Woburn Forest really is something special.”
The Professional Beauty Awards is the most prestigious and established awards scheme for the beauty, spa, nails and aesthetics markets, recognising those who make a real difference to the industry. More than 250 award entries are received by Professional Beauty each year across the categories with only a few spas making the finalist stage. Once named a finalist, Aqua Sana Woburn Forest beat off stiff competition in their category from Hoar Cross Hall Spa, Lifehouse Spa and Hotel, Rockliffe Hall Spa and The Spa at Ribby Hall for the title.
Eve Oxberry, Group Editor of Professional Beauty magazine, commented;
“The competition was very tough this year. We had some phenomenal businesses and individuals in the finals so to win is an outstanding achievement. Anyone visiting one of this year’s winners can be confident they’ll receive a fantastic treatment and experience.”
The Aqua Sana Woburn Forest team attended the glamorous reception and gala dinner, where they celebrated their achievement. As the first of its kind in Europe, Aqua Sana Woburn Forest is an innovative spa less than an hour from the hustle and bustle of London. Offering a truly relaxing escape with six unique, nature-inspired spas to journey through, Aqua Sana boasts 26 experience rooms and 22 cutting-edge treatment rooms offering the deeply relaxing treatments and products of Decléor and Elemis.
Commenting on the accolade, Kerry Fenton-Kent, Aqua Sana Group Spa Manager said;
“I'm very proud of the team! To be recognised and receive this incredible award means that all our hard work is continuing to provide a spa industry-leading experience for our guests. The spa has been open less than two years but the team’s commitment is second to none. This is a real testament to their efforts.”
Amidst the natural forest and beautiful landscape, Aqua Sana Woburn Forest is the perfect spa to help you relax and be at one with nature.
Het afgelopen jaar zijn 148.000 Vlamingen die het financieel moeilijk hebben op daguitstap of korte vakantie getrokken met hulp van het Steunpunt Vakantieparticipatie van Toerisme Vlaanderen. Twintig procent meer dan in 2014. Populairste bestemmingen in Limburg waren Plopsa Hasselt, Bokrijk, Center Parcs en camping De Lage Kempen. Maar ook weekreizen naar warmere, zuiderse bestemmingen zitten in de lift.
“Eén op de vijf kinderen in Vlaanderen groeit op in een gezin dat zich geen week vakantie kan veroorloven. In 2015 hebben we het budget van het Steunpunt Vakantieparticipatie dan ook verdubbeld. Dat resulteerde in 25.000 vakantiegangers meer”, zegt Vlaams minister Ben Weyts. Drie van de vier boekingen trokken richting zee. Meest geliefde bestemmingen waren Plopsa De Panne, de zoo van Antwerpen en Planckendael. “De overgrote meerderheid bestaat uit dagtrips, goed voor 128.000 vakantiegangers”, zegt Stef Gits van Toerisme Vlaanderen.
Het Steunpunt Vakantieparticipatie werd in 2001 in het leven geroepen: mensen die financiële problemen hebben, krijgen geen geld van deze ‘dochter’ van Toerisme Vlaanderen maar het steunpunt onderhandelt wel met logies, attracties en gemeenten om korting te krijgen voor de doelgroep. Gemiddeld 40 procent, met uitschieters tot 60 procent.
Laatste twee jaar volledig ingezet op kinderactiviteiten
Center Parcs Erperheide werd uitgeroepen tot één van de beste hotels van Europa. Belangrijkste reden blijkt de kindvriendelijkheid te zijn “en daar zijn we heel tevreden mee, want we focussen al twee jaar enorm op kindvriendelijke activiteiten voor de allerjongsten”, vertelt Frank Van Ouytsel, General Manager van Center Parcs Erperheide.
“Vorig jaar kregen we al de prijs voor beste familie-accommodatie in België. We hebben een hele weg afgelegd de laatste twee jaren. Er zijn twintig nieuwe kinderactiviteiten bijgekomen. Zo is er het nieuwe concept van de ponyvakantie. In dat opzet huur je een huisje en krijg je er een pony bij die je voor de deur kan laten grazen, die de kinderen kunnen verzorgen en waarvoor ze nadien een diploma krijgen voor ponyverzorger. Het kind krijgt daardoor het gevoel dat het de eigenaar van pony’s is. Dat concept is zo succesvol geworden dat het nu ook in Nederland is overgenomen.”
“We hebben ook een kidssafari, waarbij kinderen met een kleine Defender met een helm op gas kunnen geven door een parcours en zelf kunnen sturen. We waren ook één van de eersten die een uitgebreide binnenspeeltuin uitbouwden. Dit jaar gaan we dat concept ‘Baluba’ nog vernieuwen en uitbouwen.
Heading to Woburn Forest soon? Get ready to tackle a veritable vertical playground as our popular Indoor Climbing Adventure is arriving this weekend. With towers, ladders, handles and footholds, see how many of our themed walls you can scale – you can even race a friend or family member up our double-sided see-through wall. Indoor Climbing Adventure is already available at Whinfell, Elveden and Longleat Forest. But if you’re a Sherwood Forest regular, don’t despair! It’s coming your way very soon too…
Aqua Sana takes top prize
Aqua Sana Woburn Forest has been awarded the highly prestigious ‘Residential Spa of the Year’ accolade at The Professional Beauty Awards 2016. The awards ceremony took place in London on Sunday February 28, 2016. The Professional Beauty Awards is the most prestigious awards scheme for the beauty and spa industry, with over 250 entries each year.
Commenting on the accolade, Kerry Fenton-Kent, Group Aqua Sana Manager, said: “I’m very proud of the team! To be recognised and receive this incredible award means that all our hard work is continuing to provide a spa industry-leading experience for our guests. The spa has been open less than two years but the team’s commitment is second to none. This is a real testament to their efforts.”
Extreme makeover: Sports Café edition
Work is almost finished in the Sports Café at Sherwood Forest and Elveden Forest. In a few weeks’ time, we’ll be able to unveil the finished makeovers, which are creating a contemporary, urban look. 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, Sports Café is the hub of life on our Villages. For a sneak peak of the new look, take a look at the artist’s impressions below.
Spice up your life
If you haven’t already heard, the new menu has launched at Rajinda Pradesh and it’s an absolute scorcher. There are amazing new dishes and mouth-watering photos. Take a look at the full menu or read our article to find out how we developed, designed, tested and photographed the new dishes.
A good hare day
Rare brown hares have been caught on camera at Woburn Forest for the first time. Lucie Vicentijevic, Senior Conservation Ranger said: “It’s great that the hares have decided to spend some time with us and are enjoying the environment we’ve worked so hard to protect and enhance. Hares have had a tough time in the UK and it’s good to see some recovery in their numbers.” Watch the video of their star appearance, left.
Tip top treetops
This month we revealed that four luxury Treehouses are being built at Elveden Forest this year. Work began on the Treehouses, which will be located on the secluded far west side of the Village, last December. They are due to be complete in the summer and set to be on sale to guests later in the year. Each one will be a flagship of high end forest accommodation – find out more about the project and what the Treehouses will include.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on the development of spring at our Villages over the next few weeks, so we can be sure we bring you the first glimpse of any adorable baby wildlife.
Center Parcs Erperheide verkozen tot één van Europa’s beste hotels
Jaarlijks rijkt de internationale site TripAdvisor de ‘Travelers’ Choice’ uit. Daarbij worden de 25 beste hotels in verschillende categoriën opgelijst. In de reeks 'beste familiehotels in Europa' is er dit jaar een plekje weggelegd voor de Limburgse stad Peer.
Center Parcs Erperheide bekleedt twintigste plaats in de top 25 van beste familiehotels in Europa. Hun belangrijkste troef is volgens de lijst de mogelijkheid om met kleine kinderen een prachtvakantie te beleven.
With around 130 million books existing in the world, choosing the right one for you can be tricky. To celebrate World Book Day today (3 March, 2016), we spoke to members of the Center Parcs team for their recommended reads.
Kathryn Smith, Head Office Facilities Manager
My favourite book is: Marilyn Monroe’s Personal Property
My fascination with Marilyn Monroe began when I was 26 years old. I used to suffer from Endometriosis, which became life-threatening. As a result I spent three years in and out of hospital, enduring nine major operations.
During my recovery a friend brought me a biography written about Marilyn Monroe. They said I’d find it interesting as she too suffered from Endometriosis. I went on to read as many books I could find on her; I found her life very interesting but also very tragic. I
In 1954 her x-rays from one of her surgeries for the condition fetched $54,000 at auction. In 1999 I became the proud owner of the Christie’s catalogue of Marilyn’s personal property that was sold auction in New York. I was really lucky to recover from all of my surgeries, but not quite as luck for one of my x-rays to be sold for $54,000!
Jessica Betts, Creative Services Assistant
My favourite book is: The Roald Dahl Treasury
I fell in love with Roald Dahl’s books as a child and would spend hours getting lost in the stories and the wonderful illustrations from Quentin Blake.
My absolute favourite has to be the BFG. My nanny and granddad bought me the treasury in 1997, which contains complete stories, extracts, rhymes and memoirs and I absolutely love it. I’ll keep it close to my heart forever.
I now read it to my nieces and nephew and I can see the Roald Dahl bug is already rubbing off on them. After all, as Roald Dahl said himself, “those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”.
Christy Eales, Starbucks My favourite book is: What the Ladybird Heard
I first came across this book during story time here. We do a weekly session, free of charge, at Starbucks, where we read a story together and do some arts and crafts relating to the story afterwards.
The first time I read What The Ladybird Heard during a session, the reaction was brilliant. It’s a book that children of all ages, and their parents, can enjoy and get involved in. You can make the animal noises and find the ladybird on every page, so it’s really engaging. Normally when I read it we get out some animal cushions for the children to sit with and choose their ‘animal’, then we’ll make and paint animal masks. As you can imagine, I see a lot of ladybirds!
Mandy Bates, Guest Services My favourite book is: Mort, by Terry Pratchett
I love all of Terry Pratchett’s books, but I’d have to choose this one because it takes his stories right back to the beginning. It’s the fun, laugh-out-loud lines that I enjoy. His books are fantasy fiction; he made a completely different world – Discworld.
His style changes from book to book, so you never quite know what to expect. But whatever the book, I get so involved in these mythical, magical worlds of golems and wizards. It’s quite literally a different world. For me, reading a book like Mort is complete, unadulterated escapism. We live in the real world, but it’s nice to escape sometimes, isn’t it? Do you have a favourite book that you love and would recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Alleen vandaag en morgen (3 maart) kunt u nog gebruik maken van de aanbiedingen in de Meivakantie 10-daagse! Kom samen met uw familie of vrienden naar een van de parken van Center Parcs en geniet met elkaar, midden in de natuur.
Talking shop: what’s new for spring and summer 2016
There may still be frost on the ground most mornings, but glorious sunshine and the odd early crocus has got our thoughts at Center Parcs Head Office well and truly tuned to spring and summer.
We’ve stopped lusting after heavy coats and cashmere scarves; our shopping trips now involve wistful gazes at sun dresses and wondering how those to-die-for sandals would stand up to an April shower. If you’re also craving a little retail therapy, why not indulge during your Center Parcs break? Our shops carry everything from the latest fashions from designer brands, to children’s toys and handmade fudge.
The latest lines are arriving now, so take a look for some summer wardrobe inspiration.
Crew has updated its timeless south-coast-nautical aesthetic with men’s light cotton polo shirts, perfect for balmy spring days, in a rainbow of colours (above left).
Joules is one of our favourite labels in Spirit. The quintessential British lifestyle brand is all about family, fresh air, time off and being outdoors – those are principles we can get on board with.
For Spring/Summer, their signature florals are modern and grown up, set against crisp white shirts, practical rain-proof parkas and their signature Harbour tops, with flattering three-quarter length sleeves and boat necks.
If that isn’t enough floral for you, you’ll love what Fiorelli are doing this year. Their SS16 collection is a combination of bold, trend-inspired silhouettes and timeless Fiorelli classics. The new print, inspired by the flowers of an English country garden, would be perfect for a summer wedding. Or if you’re after something more ‘every day’, there are tan and cream options in butter-soft leather.
Time For Shade
It’s all about our new sunglasses brands in Time For Shade this spring/summer. American Freshman is a lifestyle brand designing fashion-forward, wearable clothing and accessories for young people. They embody the freedom of youth at affordable prices, with sunglasses from £35.
Hook LDN is up next, with their edgy and urban designs. Worn by music artists including Oscar-winner Sam Smith, Hook LDN is a new British brand inspired by a shared passion for music, popular culture, festivals. and fashion. Their use of unusual materials and finishes like white marble (left) makes their pieces stand-out and recognisable.
If you’re after a pair of sunglasses you can wear as easily on the slopes as you can on the street, look no further than Revo, our third new brand this year. Revo has a focus on form, function, fit, comfort and style. They’re a leader in polarised lenses, and using technology developed by NASA to protect satellites from solar damage, it’s no wonder. Their pieces are great for sports from skiing and snowboarding to mountain biking and hiking.
A shoe that looks good, is breathable, practical and still feels great after a long day of activities is the holy grail of spring/summer. That’s why we’re so excited to stock the new Sketchers range in Sportique.
The GoWalk 3 (left) is available in loads of styles and colours with memory form fit, foam padding around the heel and a lightweight mesh fabric.
“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” J. K. Rowling
World Book Day Giveaway
We like to bang on about the importance of reading. In the last year, we’ve interviewed an award-winning children’s author, talked about the positive effect it has on children’s health and literacy, brought you our pick of the best 15 children’s books around, and even created a write-your-own interactive story.
So it only seemed right that we celebrate the fantastic World Book Day in a big way.
What is World Book Day all about?
It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading. According to UNESCO, it’s the biggest worldwide celebration of books and reading there is, marked in over 100 countries.
World Book Day is held on Thursday 3 March, 2016. Its main aim is to encourage children to explore books and discover a love of reading. More than 14 million children receive a £1 book token that they can use to buy a book of their choice, including this year’s range of specially published £1 books.
What can I win?
We have three bundles of the brilliant World Book Day books to give away to our readers. Each prize includes a copy of every special edition £1 book, from classics like Kipper and Roald Dahl to modern favourites such as Star Wars and The World of Norm.
All you have to do is send us a review of your favourite book in 50 words or fewer. We’ll pick our favourites, which will feature here on Under the Treetops, and the winners will each receive a bumper book bundle.
How do I enter?
Email your book review to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your name, age and contact details. Entries must arrive before midnight on Sunday 13 March, 2016.
To celebrate Mother’s Day, we’re giving away not one, but twoLuxury Spa Day for two packages, worth £250 each. The winners and their lucky guests will be treated to a full day of pampering whenever they wish. Arriving at the beautiful Aqua Sana spa of their choice, they’ll enjoy refreshments in the soothing, contemplative atmosphere. They can explore the World of Spa to their heart’s content, dipping between experience rooms, pools and relaxation areas all day. With a delicious lunch in the Vitalé Café Bar and a Marine SpaPedicure each, they’ll leave feeling like a new person.
After all, if anyone deserves a whole day of pure spa bliss, it’s mums. Who would you take with you – your own mum or grandmother? Or perhaps someone who looks out for you like a mother, or a friend who you think does a fantastic job as a mum…
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is share a bit of mum’s wisdom. Tell us, in 50 words or fewer, about the single best piece of advice your mum has ever given you. Email your entry, along with your name and postal address, to email@example.com before midnight on Sunday 13 March, 2016.
6 egg-cellent reasons to book an Easter break at Center Parcs
Some people are suckers for summer sunshine; others are autumn enthusiasts; others still love the wonders of winter. But right now at Center Parcs, we’re all about spring. The past few days of glorious sunshine have got us all excited for milder mornings, blooming flowers and the forests bursting into life once more. It’s a magical time to get the family together again for an Easter break at Center Parcs.
Here are our top six reasons to visit us this March.
1. Easter activities
We pull out all the stops on Easter breaks with a whole host of extra special seasonal activities for our guests – especially the little ones – to get stuck into. You can become a master chocolatier for an afternoon as you decorate your own Easter egg, put your heads together for our Easter Bunny Family Treasure Trail or drop into the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party…Change!
2. Head to the lake
As the mercury begins to creep up the thermometers, the picturesque water sports lake at the heart of every Center Parcs Village comes to life once more. If you fancy something low key, you can enjoy a stroll along the sandy beach or take a trip on the water in a row boat or pedalo. But if more action is on your agenda, then there’s all sorts to choose from, with hire and tuition including Windsurfing, Canoeing and Stand-up Paddle Boarding.
3. The great outdoors
With so many activities on offer for thrill-seekers, sport enthusiasts and artistic types, there’s never a dull moment on a Center Parcs break. This Easter, why not brave some of our adrenaline-fuelled outdoor activities? Explore our trails by bicycle, take aim with Field Archery or test your family’s survival skills at Den Building and Decorating.
4. Splashing good time
We’ve all got our fingers crossed for a dry, sunny Easter. But if the weather doesn’t play ball this year, you can still enjoy your own slice of sunshine in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. Heated to a balmy 29.5C all year round, and open every day from 10am until 9pm, there’s all sorts to do here. Enjoy a dip in the indoor and outdoor pools, ride the slides, stretch out on a sun lounger and sip a cocktail from the Canopy Café and Bar.
5. Come dine with us
You can’t spell ‘Easter’ without ‘eat’, and we know that enjoying good food together is an important part of your break. That’s why our restaurants serve up delicious food, from authentic Indian to classic American and everything between. With children’s menus, activity sheets and play areas in many of our restaurants, there’s a thoroughly family-friendly atmosphere to put you at ease. You can also try some of our new limited edition spring/summer specials.
6. Home from home
After a long day of swimming, Easter activities and great food, you can retire to your own little slice of the forest for the night. Our Lodges are modern and equipped with everything you need on your break, whether you choose a practical and stylish Woodland Lodge or a high-end Treehouse. Why not pick up a few Easter goodies from Treats and create your own egg hunt in your Lodge?
As Easter approaches, I usually can’t resist covering everything I bake in chocolate and mini eggs. But even for the most ardent chocoholics, there’s only so much of the stuff you can take at this time of year. So I decided to share my carrot cake recipe with you – this one’s for the Easter Bunny.
I love making these because they’re so easy and they come out plump, golden and delicious every time. There’s no laborious creaming of butter and sugar, which means it’s a great recipe to try with the little ones. You could even get them working their own production line of placing the tiny carrots on top.
If you’re not into piping, there’s no need to worry about that. To be honest, I think cream cheese icing should generally be smeared with a spatula – I was just showing off for the camera.
Tip: they keep well in an airtight tin – but I promise they won’t hang around for that long.
Happy Easter everyone!
Mini Carrot Cupcakes
Ingredients Makes 12
200g golden caster sugar
150ml sunflower oil
220g grated carrot (about 2 or 3 large carrots) – use the finer side of the grater
60g chopped nuts (walnuts are traditional but I like brazils)
220g wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
1 pinch of salt
For the icing 100g butter, softened
100g full-fat cream cheese
200g icing sugar (add a touch more if you want to pipe it)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line 12 muffin tray holes with muffin cases – the sturdy brown paper ones are best
Mix together the sugar, oil and eggs until smooth, then stir in the grated carrot, chopped nuts and sultanas
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, spices and salt, then tip this into the wet carrot mixture and stir well
The mix will now be quite runny – split it between the muffin papers and bake for 25 minutes until well risen and evenly brown. Allow to cool completely
For the icing, mix your butter and cream cheese together in a bowl until smooth and light
Stir in the icing sugar, mix well and add the orange zest. Then you can pipe or spoon the icing onto the cold cupcakes (if the cupcakes are still warm, the icing will melt and slip right off)
Top with a pinch of orange zest or – if you’re feeling arty – some fondant carrots.
You’ll need orange and green fondant, a skewer and a cocktail stick. First, make your carrot/cone shape out of orange fondant and some tiny green sausages for the leaves. Leave them to stiffen up for an hour or so. Stab a little hole in the top of each carrot with a skewer and press a cocktail stick against the sides to make carroty creases. Fold the leave in half, wet them slightly and stick them into the hole at the top of your carrot. Leave them to dry for a little while and then place them on your iced cupcakes.
Print our bunting template, cut out the diamonds and fold them in half along the dotted line. Glue them onto string and tie onto barbecue skewers to make a stand.
Could you survive a busy shift serving hundreds of guests in the most popular restaurant on our Villages, Huck’s American Bar and Grill? Get a glimpse of what a normal day looks like in this demanding job.
Hi Josh, introduce yourself to our Under the Treetops readers.
I’m Josh, I live in a small village in Bedfordshire and I’m currently a Food and Beverage Assistant in Huck’s at Woburn Forest. I’ve worked there just under a year and a half. I used to work as a waiter in a high street restaurant when a previous manager of mine told me about the Center Parcs role and, seeing all the benefits it offered, I went for it.
How would your workmates describe you?
Well, I did try to encourage the nickname ‘Handsome Josh’ but sadly it never took off.
I consider many of the team I work with to be my best friends. Center Parcs seem to choose their staff carefully; I think they understand that people can be taught skills and protocol, but their personalities are what make them great staff. It means I get to work with interesting, fun-loving, like-minded people, which makes coming to work a real pleasure.
What does a typical work day as Josh look like?
There are different shift patterns, but a regular day at work starts around 3pm. That’s great because it means I have most of the day to sort myself out and get my other commitments in order – or spend time fishing, ideally – before I head in to work.
Once I arrive, the first job on the list is to make a round of coffees. Then we set up the restaurant and wait for the first guests to arrive. On any given day I could be working behind the bar or making desserts, but most days I’m waiting tables. This is what I enjoy the most as I get to chat with guests, share stories and have a laugh.
So I take orders, discuss their break with them and generally try to make them feel welcome and special. I like to try and treat every guest as if they’re already a good friend. And if it’s a special occasion then I do everything I can to make it memorable – after all, I’d appreciate the extra effort if it was my birthday or anniversary.
Of course, not every guest wants loads of interaction, so I try and gauge it. Occasionally you can tell that they’d prefer a quiet night. But more often than not, our guests do like to talk and joke with us. I’m always happy to make recommendations from the menu too!
I love to travel, and working in Huck’s gives me the chance to talk to interesting people from all over the country and, often, the world.
What do you love about your job?
The best thing is the team I work with. They’re crazy but so much fun. I’ve made lifelong friends.
It’s refreshing to work for a private company that uses its size and success to contribute to and support others in its local community. I think this is quite rare, and it’s one of the reasons I’m proud to work here.
What do you need to be to work at Huck’s, in three words?