center parcs woburn forest

Center Parcs Woburn Forest Review

Woburn Forest

Our trip away to Center Parcs Woburn Forest was jammed packed with fun despite the weather being a tad unpredictable at times. As a family this was our first trip to Center Parcs and something I had been keen to try out for a few years and the timing seemed perfect now Tristan was old enough to get involved in some of the activities.

center parcs woburn forest swimming

Accommodation

We only live locally in North Bedfordshire so Woburn seemed like the ideal choice for us. It’s the smallest of the parcs, is only a few years old and it takes under 30 minuets to get door to door. We booked into a 3 bed executive lodged which accommodated four adults and two children happily. The open plan living with small children was ideal and the dishwasher and maid service made things that bit easier. All rooms had a TV and all three rooms had an en-suit (two walk in showers and one hydrobath). We had an outside BBQ that we didn’t use and also a sauna. We took along our Amazon firestick as the TV is a bit limited and if like us your children are small then you probably will spend a fair amount of time in the lodge in the evenings. WiFi in the lodge and around the parc was really great and I never had any issues connecting any devices. Remember extra dishwasher tablets as they leave you three and also remember cot bedding as this won’t be provided.

Center Parcs Lake

Getting about

We decided to book a lodge which was in the outer area (395 Oak) as from looking at the map it meant we would be at the end so would only have a neighbour one side, but it still looked close enough to the water front. We hired two bikes between us all which was handy for nipping back and forth, but generally we walked. Woburn has some big hills so bear it in mind if you do plan on lots of bike riding with small children. One of the bikes we did rent out was an electric bike, you still peddled, but it gave you an extra turbo boost for hills and was so much fun to ride. Our walk to the swimming pool was a bit longer but easily manageable with a five year old.

Pony Ride
Pony Ride

Eating out v’s eating in

I think it goes without saying that eating out can get expensive with a family of four. We ate out once whilst we were there at the Pancake house for lunch, it was good, but it wasn’t cheap. Center Parcs does have an option to order in and you can book deliver slots from 3pm and they have a large selection of food, but again it is much more expensive. For us we prefered to spend what we had saved on activities so we cooked in the evenings and made packed lunches. I did a click and collect food shop from Tesco on my way to Center Parcs and picked up odd bits from the supermarket in the parc. The supermarket isn’t cheap, but fine for a few odd bits. There is nothing stopping you from leaving the parc and going to a local supermarket and picking up extra food and alcohol.

Pancake House
Pancake House is worth a try.

Activities for children

They have some great activities for children and Miss J especially loved the Mad Hatters Tea Party, this was for three hours and we were able to leave her there and go for a swim. Miss J and Mr T also enjoyed a Teddy Bears picnic and Miss J fulfilled her dream of riding a pony and hasn’t stopped talking about it since, They run a crèche so you can also put the children in and head off to the spa to relax.

Teddy Bears Picnic
Teddy Bears Picnic

Activities for adults 

Besides bike riding the only other activity we did was the kayaking, we could have done much more, but we had so much fun with the children we didn’t feel the need to disappear off. Next time I will make sure I spend some time at the Spa though.

Kayaking
Kayaking

Swimming Pool

My favourite thing about the whole of Center Parcs has to be the pool, it really is great and it’s so easy to spend three hours in there with no idea of the weather outside. The children loved all the swimming and were thoroughly exhausted at the end of the day. I’m glad we did go with my parents so we could take turns watching the children and enjoy the outside rapids and water slides. Miss J was a big fan of the children slides and Mr T loved the wave machine. We found afternoons were quieter by the pool and would go after Mr T had his nap. The changing area is full of large family changing rooms and the lockers can be locked with your electric wristband which also opens your lodge.

Wildlife

On one of our days we got stuck in with horrible rain and spent the morning watching wildlife, We had plenty of squirrels, ducks, pheasants and even a dear to keep us entertained. The animals are all very friendly and used to children. I recommend taking some bird feed out with you and letting the children get involved.

Will we go back? 

We will definitely be heading back again and would ike to explore the other parcs too in the future. It really is the perfect family break and a great way of getting outside and appreciating all that England has to offer.

Exploring at Woburn Forest
Exploring at Woburn Forest

 

 

 

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Vini and Bal's curry sauce review

Vini and Bal’s curry sauce review

I’m a massive fan of a curry, but I’ve made a few failed attempts of recreating the tastes and flavours at home. My husband has a bit more success, but if we make it from scratch, buy a ready meal or from a jar it never matches up to what you get from your local curry house. I was approached recently from Vini and Bal’s and asked if I would be interested in trying out the range of their packet curry sauces and of course I was more than happy to oblige.

Here is an extract from their website to give you an idea of where they are coming from-

Here, at Vini & Bal’s, we use the finest blends of authentic Indian spices in our range of cook-in-sauces so you can create mouth-watering traditional Indian curries in your own home. All our ingredients are freshly prepared so there is no chopping, no mess and no fuss…just the great taste of Rustic Indian curry. Our sauces are healthy, nutritious, vegetarian, gluten free and nut free.

Simply select your choice of meat, seafood, vegetables, lentils or paneer to be cooked straight in the Curry sauce – Indian food made Easy in just 10 minutes!

I eagerly awaited my parcel and was keen to start cooking. You really can’t go wrong with getting these sauces right as you literally throw your meat or fish in the pan and let it cook whilst you cook your rice. I decided to work my way through the sauces starting with the most mild the Shashi first which was a hit with me and my youngest (22 months). The sauce was mild, creamy, but still full of flavour. We soon arranged a weekly curry night and worked our way through the rest of the sauces. My favourite was the Tharka which has quiet a kick to it followed closely by the creamy Shashi. My husband loved the Fiery Mirchi, but for me it was a bit too spicy for me.

I think it’s safe to say we are now Vini and Bal’s converts and will be sticking with our weekly curry nights alternating through the range. I’m hoping to get more adventurous and try to add in lentils and paneer to make them even more diverse and fun.

Vini and Bal’s sauces are sold at Morrisons and I would recommend giving them a try. Check our their website here for some great recipe ideas

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Our family visit to see Father Christmas at Frosts

As we did last year we decided to come back and visit Father Christmas at Frosts Garden Centre Willington . Last year we had such a lovely time and it wasn’t even an option not to come back. I decided it was best to get in early and avoid the crowds and to get us in the Christmas spirit after a bad few weeks.

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We booked our tickets online and arrived in good time and found it easy to park straight away outside the main doors. Inside the garden centre looks amazing and has really outdone it’s self this year. They’ve added some lovely new displays to have pictures with including a giant polar bear, Aslan the Lion and a unicorn. Miss J was ecstatic about getting to have a picture with a unicorn, but Mr T didn’t feel the same.

Mr T wasn't loving the unicorn like Miss J
Mr T wasn’t loving the unicorn like Miss J

We went off to Santa’s grotto and got all booked in and got to meet the lovely elves and real reindeer’s. The young ladies working as the elves had really got themselves into character and they put so much effort into entertaining my two whilst we waited. With the early booking and start time we were the only ones in our group so we had quiet a special, personal experience.

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The elves took us in for a sing-song, a few silly jokes and some making of reindeer food. The elves enthusiasm was magically and my daughter gave it her best to get stuck in despite being a little shy. Mr T was loving the lights and was keen to try and eat the reindeer food.

We were shown into see Father Christmas and sat down for a lovely story, another sing-song and a mince pie. It was lovely to see the same warm, kind face and real beard from last year and Miss J’s face lite up with excitement. Everything about it was magical and everyone kept in character perfectly and actually looked like they loved what they were doing. After a picture and chat we headed off to pick a present and were presented with some candy cains. Miss J took her time deciding from the large selection of toys and settled on a glitter tattoo and bead set whilst Mr T become besotted with an owl puppet. We said our farewells to the lovely elves and made our way back to the main shop.

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We spent another hour looking at the toys, displays and getting some new decorations and decided it was time for a pit stop at the restaurant. We got a lovely table over looking the large pond and had some lovely tea and cake before heading home.

We had a great day and have made some lovely Christmas memories. We will be back again next year I’m sure.

Miss J was a bit tired after all the excitement.
Miss J was a bit tired after all the excitement.

 

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