My top 10 tips for Center Parcs

My top 10 tips for Center Parcs

  • We love Center Parcs and have been quite a few times with Finn. I think we love it so much because Finn is in his element with the swimming & exploring the forest. He’s always shattered at the end of the day so we then get a chance to relax. I know people say it can be pricy but we try to keep the costs down. Hopefully these tips will help.
  • Go Swimming first
  • We always pack a bag for swimming and keep it handy for when we arrive. That way we can park up, get some lunch & go swimming. I think we make the most of the first day then & avoid the car park queues. The gates open about 3.30 for you to drive round to your lodge but we find it really busy at this time & you just waste your time queuing. I think its better to go swimming then wait for the queues to die down and drive straight round. We do similar on the last day but pack up, park the car and then go swimming and make the most of our last day.
  • Take Supplies & Shopping
  • The Parc market on site can be quite expensive. We usually bring things from home & go to the Aldi close by (Whinfell). We take our own fire logs, toilet roll, dishwasher tablets, snacks drinks etc… to keep costs down. Stock up on alcohol as well as this is expensive in the Parc market.
  • Pre Book your activities
  • Once you’ve booked your break you can start to book activities. I try to spread the cost of these by booking one every few weeks or one a month. That way you don’t have to spend a big amount when you get there. You can also pre book restaurants with a deposit. I use the app to book all my activities and you view your itinerary on here to see what you have booked.
  • Cook in your lodge & eat out at lunch.
  • We find eating out at lunch time a lot cheaper as a lot of the places have set lunch time menus. It’s also easier for us with Finn as we can then relax in the evening. We cook a few nights & just take easy to make things that way we can keep the costs down.
  • Look around for the cheapest weeks
  • We find staying Monday- Friday in term time a lot cheaper than a school holiday break or a weekend one. Also when you go to book you can scroll through the weeks to find the cheapest ones. If you’re not too tied down to set dates it’s definitely worth searching to find the cheapest week for you.
  • Pick your lodge for your Budget
  • We’ve stayed in the apartments, executive & the more basic lodges and I think they are all really nice. The executive are obviously nicer but if you are doing it on a budget I wouldn’t be put off by going to a more basic lodge. You can pay extra to stay in a central location but we never bother with this and don’t find it too much of a walk.
  • Take your bikes
  • You can hire bikes there but it can be expensive. We always take Finn’s bike or scooter, there’s plenty of bike racks so take a lock.
  • Make use of the free activities
  • There’s plenty of free things to keep you occupied there’s swimming, a beach & sandpit, parks and a massive forest to explore. We make sure we take advantage of these. We go for a walk through the forest each day and we’ve done bug hunts ( take a cheap magnifying glass) or a nature hunt. I also love the bird hide as well so we always have a walk to that. There’s a few soft plays as well so usually we go to the lakeside inn and have a drink while Finn plays in the play area.
  • Take Snacks/ Lunch for around the pool
  • Now Finn’s getting older we can definitely spend more time round the pool so next time I will take some snacks or lunch a few days so we can make a longer day of it. The subtropical swimming paradise is heated to about 29 degrees and has plenty of places for you to sit.
  • Plan your day around the quieter times
  • The pool is always busier first thing & after lunch so where possible we avoid these times. We also try and avoid the restaurants at busier times as well just to make it a bit more relaxing.
  • I hope you find these tips useful and I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.
  • Jodie. X
  • My top tips for self care

    My top tips for self care

    I’m sat writing this when I’m currently out of action with a sprained knee. I’m off work, Stu & Finn have gone out for the day and I can’t do my usual cleaning & tidying. My initial thought was honestly to panic, what on earth am I going to do for a whole day when I can barely walk. It really made me think how my whole life is defined as a wife & Mum. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love that this is my world and there’s nothing I love more than a family day. It’s really made me think though about making time for myself and remembering all the things I love to do outside of family time. It’s so important to make time for yourself, it’s a proper cliche but the saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup is so true. You need to make time for yourself so you can be your best self for your family & most importantly you. I’ve made a list of some self care tips that will hopefully benefit me & you. I’m not really a shopper & I like to save all my money for holidays so I’ve tried to keep these tips as budget friendly as possible.

    Have a bath

    One of my favourite things to do is have a long bath, when I say long I can literally sit in there for hours if I have the time. I love to read in the bath & feel like I can totally switch off. Definitely something I’m going to make more time for.

    Reading

    I love to read but this definitely took a back seat when I became a Mum. This year I am attempting the 52 book challenge so am trying to read 52 books in a year. I’m not sure if I’ll manage to complete it fully but it’s definitely made me fall back in love with reading. Reading makes me completely switch off and I think I sleep so much better if I read before bed.

    Get an early night

    This is something I definitely don’t do enough and I really need to do more. I think by the time Finn’s in bed we’ve had tea & tidied up I then feel like we need a few hours to catch up on TV or I spend my time blogging or editing videos. Or even more annoying I spend ages scrolling through my phone. I’m going to make a conscious effort though to go to bed before 10pm at least once a week in the hope of getting more than my usual 5/6 hours sleep.

    Go for a Walk

    Last year I made an effort to get up early a few mornings a week to go for a quick walk before Stu went to work. I used to love it, I’d listen to a podcast and enjoyed the quiet time. Definitely something I want to start incorporating into my day again.

    Have a pamper

    I don’t necessarily mean an expensive spa day or treatment, unless you want to but it’s definitely nice to make a bit of time to pamper yourself. I try and do a face mask or hair treatment every now and then, it’s nice to just switch off from time to time.

    Make time to watch your favourite film/ series

    Me and Stu are definitely guilty of sitting down to watch something together and then both scrolling through our phones. I’m going to try and make more time to catch up on the things I enjoy.

    Have some phone free time/ social media free time

    I’ll be the first to admit I’m a phone & social media addict but there’s definitely some benefits to having some phone free time. I also delete or hide people from my social media that are negative or make me feel bad. I think it’s nice to make your social media a positive space.

    Have some time with your friends.

    It’s so important to make time for your friends, I feel so much better after a catch up. A lot of my newer friends I’ve met or grown closer to since having Finn so it’s nice to spend time with these away from the kids.

    Blog or write a diary

    I know a blog isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I feel so much better after writing things down. Even if it’s just something you do for yourself it’s worth a try. One thing I also like doing is a gratitude journal, this helps me to feel more positive. Just writing down a few things that are positive in your life write now can make you a whole lot more grateful.

    Mindfulness

  • Something I like to do when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed is use a mindfulness app. I love Headspace, it helps me to feel a lot calmer and have a much better sleep if I use it before bed.
  • I hope you found these tips useful and I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.
  • The TWW when trying to conceive

    The TWW when trying to conceive

    Some of you maybe looking at the acronym TWW wondering what on earth I’m going on about. Those of you who have been on the whole trying to Trying to Conceive (TTC) rollercoaster will probably know that I mean the two week wait. The two weeks from Ovulation to your period due date. I’m sure I’m not alone in being drove absolutely mad in this time and feeling every single symptom possible. We are about 10 months into trying to conceive this time around and it was about 3 years with Finn so I’m experienced with the TWW.

    I honestly drive myself absolutely mad every month, feel slightly sick that’s it I’m pregnant. My boobs are sore, definitely having a baby (lets all ignore the fact I’m poking them a million times a day to see if they are sore). Feeling tired, better get that Mothercare shop in. I joke because that’s my way, stiff upper lip and all that, but the pain is real. Each month seems like a little reminder of the agony & when my period does arrive it often brings a few dark days for me. I do try to be a positive person generally but it can be so tough when something is out of your control. Let’s not even start on the tests, your a true member of the TWW club when you know internet cheapies ( 15 for £3.50 off Amazon anyone?) are you new best friend. I have to ban myself nowadays as that one little line can set me on a downward spiral.

    I’ve developed a few self care mechanisms now to help myself through the TWW and when my period arrives. I really think having these in place can help your state of mind. There’s the obvious usual ones; a nice bath & pamper, an early night with my book., going for a run/walk. Or I even sometimes manage to plan a nice Meal with a Few gins out or at home. Might as well make the most of the gin while I can hey. Also never discount the cathartic effect of a good cry & a rant. It’s a proper rubbish situation and letting it all out is healthy. I try my hardest to be strong for Finn but I’m human so there’s nothing wrong with a good old moan.

    Does anyone else suffer during the TWW what are your coping mechanisms? I’d love to hear some.

    First Doctors appointment for Secondary infertility

    First Doctors appointment for Secondary infertility

    I’ve recently had my GP appointment to see about getting referred to the fertility department at the hospital. I also wanted to ask about what happened during my c-section as I was told one of my fallopian tubes got cauterised due to a burst cysts. Obviously I wasn’t really ready to take it all in post birth so I’m not exactly sure what happened. My GP said she couldn’t see anything on my notes about this so she will write to the hospital.

    She said my symptoms definitely sound like PCOS (irregular, heavy painful periods, facial hair etc..) I already knew I had this as I was diagnosed about 10 years ago but my symptoms do seem to be a lot worse lately. My GP said you can actually go through cycles of it being worse then better which I didn’t really know before.

    One symptom of PCOS is that you may not ovulate every cycle so I am going to do Ovulation kits & BBT ( basal body temperature) to pin point ovulation. For those who don’t know BBT is where you take your temperature every morning before you even sit up. A surge of at least 0.3 degrees for at least 3 days means you’ve ovulated. I use an app called glow so I can track my cycles.

    My GP also recommended I loose weight, this will help with my PCOS symptoms & help me to conceive. I’ve started a healthy eating plan to help me.

    The outcome isn’t really what I wanted in the sense that I’ve not been referred to fertility but I am having an ultrasound to check for cysts etc.. she has then said we can take it from there, hopefully then we can get answers.

    I’d love to hear from any of you with PCOS and what you found helped with your symptoms?

    Secondary Infertility

    Secondary Infertility

    The pain of secondary Infertility is something that’s crept up on me. We had years of trying for Finn & I had a few miscarriages so was in a quite dark place and thought when I had Finn it was all behind me. Without sounding flippant I was in a newborn bubble so it’s just not something I thought about until he was a few years old. During my c -section I had to have one of my tubes cauterised due to burst cysts but I didn’t really even give this a second thought as I was too engrossed in my new born. Now the time has come I’m starting to wonder what effect this will have along with my existing PCOS.

    Recently (well the past 9 months or so) we’ve been thinking about a second baby and have gone with the whole ‘we’re not trying we’re just seeing what happens’ approach at first. I suppose it’s inevitable though that it soon becomes all consuming. All the sadness of first time round has come rushing back and I find myself endlessly on conception forums and doing my BBT before I’ve even opened my eyes in the morning (if you’ve been on the rollercoaster you’ll know.

    I know we’re really lucky as I’ve friends struggling to conceive their first child so I know just how lucky we are to have Finn this time round. Despite this It just doesn’t stop the pain though and it’s the whole thought of not giving Finn a sibling which is hard, it’s such a special bond and I’d love Finn to experience it. I’ve had all the heartless comments as well from ‘You can’t let him be an only child it’s selfish’, ‘he’s started pre school now don’t you think it’s time you had another’, ‘ are you not getting on with another yet’ to the most annoying ‘just relax it will happen’ yeah okay you put yourself in my shoes and relax.

    I’m also really conscious this time around that I want to be really positive for Finn, last time I could wallow a bit in self pity but it’s harder to take time out now. For now though I’m putting my positive head on and awaiting a referral to hospital, I’ll keep you updated on that whole process. I know this is really garbled and rambly but I wanted to get it all down. I wish I would have wrote about it first time round and I hope this will not only help someone else but help me to get all my thoughts out and in one place.

    I’d love to hear from anyone with fertility issues whether first, second or more times round as I really do think as a society we should be a lot more open about it.

    Our April

    Our April

    I’ve recently seen a few people do the month in review Blog Posts and I love the idea. It’s so nice to have a record & see all the things you have got up to. All the little days out get forgotten so it’s lovely to look back on.

    We started the month with Easter Sunday, we had dinner at my Mum & Dad’s and a park trip to burn off the millions of eggs Finn had ate.

    We then had an amazing swimming lesson from Finn, which was a big turning point. He was really nervous and held onto his teacher when he first started but this was the point he slowly began to make progress and gain confidence m.

    We had a trip to Bents Garden Centre in Warrington which Finn loved, there’s a fab park & a lovely cafe.

    I then ended up in hospital for 2 nights with tonsillitis, I think though I was really run down. I’d been working loads & doing a lot of late nights & early starts. Luckily a few days later we went on our Amazing holiday to Costa Teguise in Lanzarote. We stayed at the HD Beach resort which you can read about here.

    When we come home we met my Mum & Dad in Chorlton & went for food & a play in the park.

    Another day another park visit, followed by Finn’s favourite coffee & cake.

    We went to Messy Mallie’s which is about 20 minutes away from us in Buckley. It was brilliant and Finn loved painting his own money box.

    After the Easter holidays we were entitled to more hours at nursery. I was sad in one way as Finn stared doing more days so we lost a day in the week together. It’s meant though that I’ve gone from doing 4/5 late nights a week to 1/2. I’ve loved the little things like us having tea together as a family & doing bath, story & bed time.

    Finn’s first go at Crazy Golf, followed by a Wagamama’s.

    A visit to Little Al’s Urban farm in Eastham. We love it here.

    Yet more amazing swimming from Finn, he’s managing to swim now with just the woggle & not holding on to his teacher.

    Finally a zoo trip, we are members of Chester Zoo so we go all the time. This time Finn played in the sand & water for over an hour.

    Costa Teguise, Lanzarote- The restaurants we loved

    Costa Teguise, Lanzarote- The restaurants we loved

    We have recently come back from a week in Costa Teguise and we went to some amazing restaurants. There was such a lot of choice & they were all really reasonably priced. We love Spanish food so we’re absolutely spoilt for choice.

    El Navarro

    We went here after a recommendation from a friend & reading good reviews on both trip advisor & Lonely Planet. It was a bit of a distance from our hotel but definitely worth it. When we first got there I thought it didn’t seem very child friendly but I was wrong, the staff were brilliant with Finn. I went for the prawn, spinach & ricotta ravioli to start followed by hake & mussels in a butter & lemon sauce. Both were amazing! I love mussels & I’d say these were the freshest & tastiest I’ve ever had. I had a creme brûlée for dessert which was lovely as well. Stu had the porks cheek & really enjoyed it. This was the most expensive meal we had at around €80 but was so worth it.

    El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    La Tabla

    I found La Tabla on trip advisor & it was highly rated for Tapas. Again we weren’t disappointed. It’s on a little courtyard tucked away but it was lovely & peaceful. The tapas was brilliant value at €21 for 7 dishes and we enjoyed them all. It was so busy with people being turned away on a Tuesday evening so definitely book (the number is on trip advisor and you can send them a WhatsApp).

    La Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    La Aulaga Casa Felix

    Another tapas restaurant we found on trip advisor, although they did a wide range of meals here which all looked really good. This was again excellent value with each Tapa priced at €3. This is some of the best tapas we’ve ever ate and we are big Tapas fans.

    Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    La Pardela Restaurant

    We fancied Paella one night and La Pardela came highly recommend on trip advisor. We opted for the seafood & it was amazing, packed with fish & seafood. The staff were brilliant with Finn and really made you feel welcome. We had starters as well but really didn’t need them as the paella was massive. It’s in a lovely location as well over looking the sea.

    La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    Beach Bar Melia Salinas

    We never ate here but I’ve got to mention the Beach Bar, we loved it. Perfect surroundings, amazing cocktails & chill out music. We loved going at nap time and some evenings with Finn as he loved playing in the sand.

    Beach Bar Melia Salinas, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Beach Bar Melia Salinas, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Beach Bar Melia Salinas, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    HD Beach Resort, Costa Teguise Lanzarote

    HD Beach Resort, Costa Teguise Lanzarote

    We have just returned from a fab week at the HD resort in Costa Teguise Lanzarote. I thought I’d do a quick review of the hotel, we really enjoyed our stay and I’d definitely recommend this hotel to anyone looking to stay in Costa Teguise.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    The first impressions of the hotel were really good, it was really bright & modern and on a beautiful beach front location. The Staff were all lovely, especially the staff in the restaurant they were so friendly & spent time chatting to us and made a big effort with Finn.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    We stayed in a Junior Suite with sea view, I always get a sea view where possible as I normally find I’m up before Finn in the morning so it’s nice to sit out there and have a coffee & it’s nice at the evening as well if he’s in bed. The views from the balcony were amazing and really peaceful. The room was really big with a double bed and pull out sofa bed. There was a fridge, kettle, toaster, coffee machine & microwave so everything you needed even though it’s all inclusive. The bathroom was big as well with a large walk in shower & 2 sinks.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    The hotel was is a good location right on the beach and about a 10/15 minute walk down the prom to the main centre with bars & restaurants along the way. There was a few supermarkets & shops close by as well. One night we got a taxi to the centre as well and it was only €3. There’s a taxi stand right by the hotel on the main road. It took about 40 minutes on the transfer bus to get to and from the airport but if we we were to go again I’d just get a taxi as I found out when we were there that it’s only €21.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    We stayed all inclusive and on the whole really enjoyed the food but we did eat out 4 of the 7 nights. We do this anyway when we go away as we like to try the local restaurants, especially in Spain as Spanish food is our favourite . The restaurant was on the ground floor and was quite big, there was a section with a semi open room so if felt a bit more airy. I think my one disappointment with the hotel is there was no outside eating area which is a shame given the beautiful views. The food was good with loads of choice, the breakfast was really good with plenty of fruit, cereal, pancakes, pastry’s, hot & cold items. Lunch there was always lots of choice of salads, paella, meat fish etc.. The evening meal was similar to the lunch & had different themes, as I say we only ate there twice So I can’t really comment, but Finn loved the chocolate fountain. We also ate in the A la Carte one evening which was really nice. There was a good choice of drinks as well with juice, fizzy drinks, wine, beer, spirits, cocktails & cava. There was a self service bar around the main pool.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    There was 2 pools which Finn loved, there was a big pool with a smaller kids pool this pool had lovely views out to sea. There was also a splash pool with slides and sprinklers. The only downside to this pool is there was minimum seating around it. The pools were quite cold but the adults seemed to mind more than the kids. There was also a park & pool table.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    We didn’t really go to the entertainment but there is a kids club & mini disco and various acts on each night. We just preferred to go for a walk in the evening but the bits we did see looked really good.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    All in all we loved our stay and would definitely return it’s a perfect hotel for families in a fab location.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt at Erddig Wrexham

    Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt at Erddig Wrexham

    We recently joined the National trust hoping to have lots of family days out. We are quite lucky that we are within an hour of some amazing National trust properties. We are also planning some U.K. breaks this year so it will be handy to take our cards with us incase there is any properties close by.

    I joined by Direct Debit so pay £10 a month for a family membership, I like this option to spread the cost & knowing we can always have a free/cheap day out.

    Over the Easter Weekend we decided to do the Cadbury’s Egg Hunt at Erddig in Wrexham. This is the first time we have visited and we loved it. We were with friends so had a few children in the group so just stayed in the ground. The gardens are beautiful with loads of trees, flowers & a lake. The kids loved running around and it was all really safe for them.

    Our favourite bit was there 2.5 Hectare natural play area the Wolf’s Den. It was brilliant and I reckon we spent a good hour in there, we could have been there longer as well if we didn’t want to finish the egg hunt. There’s den building, loads of stepping stones, a wooden play shop, a rope swing & plenty more. They run activities in here throughout the year like tree climbing & den building so we will definitely be back to try some of these.

    We didn’t get a chance to try any of the cafe facilities (except for a coffee, which was a good strong coffee) but we will definitely be trying these next time we are back as they looked really good.

    We all really enjoyed the Easter egg hunt, we were given a map and had to follow the trail looking for signs of Spring. At the end they kids were all given a full size Cadbury’s egg.

    We really enjoyed our visit to Erddig and will definitely be back soon to make the most of our membership.

    Creating memories with Lifecake 💙

    Creating memories with Lifecake 💙

    I have recently downloaded the Lifecake app and I’m loving adding all of our memories to it. If you haven’t used it before Lifecake is a free app (10gb of storage, extra storage can be purchased ) that allows you to upload your photos which are then viewed in time order. I absolutely love this feature and have already spent far too much time flicking back to the photos of Finn as a newborn. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m forever running out of phone memory and I never get round to putting them onto our computer so the fact they can  all be stored in the app is so handy.   

    Another feature of the Lifecake app I love is the fact that you can invite friends and family members to privately view the time line. It’s like your own private social media as you can like & comment on the pictures. I’m forever sending my parents photos of Finn as they live in a different City, I like to keep them updated on what we’ve been up to. I’ve sent them both a link to the Lifecake app so they can view all Finn’s photos. I love that it’s private as well  as you don’t always want to share every photo to social media. 


    You can order print products directly from the Lifecake app including; prints, phone cases, tote bags, posters, Polaroid prints, fridge magnets, picture books, mugs, calendars and invitations. I forever plan on getting pictures of Finn printed off but never actually get to the shop to do it (and can never work the machines) so being able to print directly from the app is perfect. Family members you have invited can also order print products as well. We usually get the Grandparents a personalised gift off Finn for Christmas so Lifecake will come in handy for that. 


    I used the Print Shop to order a phone cover. I chose a picture of Finn with Woody at Disneyland as it’s one of my favourite memories so I love being able to look at it all the time.  It’s really simple and quick to upload your photo and you can edit it on the app to make sure it all fits on the case. You can even add personalised text which would be a lovely touch for a gift.  The phone cover arrived in 2 Days and is really high quality. Overall I was really impressed and will definitely carry on using the app and print shop. 


    For any of my readers downloading the Lifecake app you can use my code ‘mrsdavies’ to receive 25% off your first order and an extra 10gb storage. Perfect if you’re looking to buy any personalised Christmas gifts. (Valid until 31st January 2018) 

    * Disclosure- for the purpose of  this review I was able to pick a Lifecake product. All views expressed are my own.