It finally happened, last week I turned the big 3-0. The hubster had promised to make it a birthday to remember and the Friday before my birthday we set off for a short break away to Center Parcs. It is honestly one of my favourite places to holiday in the UK and when I found out the week before I could finally get excited before going
The hubster started the weekend in a spectacular fashion, presenting me with a brand new camera! My old compact was starting to fail and my phone can be a bit temperamental, although I love my dSLR it’s a little bulky at times
Thinking we were heading to Longleat I was shocked when we started trekking up the M3 towards London. It turned out we were going to the newest Center Parcs site which we hadn’t been to before, Woburn!
We stopped for a swim and lunch, and then decided to do a small pottery activity to pass a couple of hours before heading to the lodge. I’ve never painted pottery before but really enjoyed it, although J soon got a little bored with painting a giraffe yellow and instead painted plates, her hands, the table, pretty much everything she could find!
I like being the detective for any surprise as I’m not a fan of them so when we arrived in our lodge and it was a 4 bed instead of a 2 bed I was pretty shocked. After realising there would be people on our break with us I had a little cry in surprise and the door went. It was my cousin and her family, and my sister and her boyfriend. Still in shock from the lodge size I didn’t quite know what to say and cried a bit more after asking them what the bloody hell they were doing there, ever so polite eh?
It continued throughout the evening, with person upon person arriving and more tears and shock from me. In total there were 20 of us there, 14 adults and 6 children in 3 lodges. I was completely and utterly overwhelmed, and incredibly humbled, I didn’t think I had that many close friends, and I genuinely didn’t think they would have all come up to celebrate!
The hubster stood me in front of everyone and announced the plans for the weekend, a hired cabana in the Subtropical swimming paradise on Saturday morning, a ladies spa day on Sunday and the main event on Saturday night – a Cooks Cabin quiz. The group was to be split in half as heroes vs villains with myself and the long running quiz winner CJ as the opposing team captain!
They had even organised for outfits for everyone and the hubster had arranged for mine to be batwoman. They hadn’t quite finished with the surprises and shortly afterwards presented me with a minion birthday cake which my cousin had taken the day off to make. She is very talented and it was very yummy!
On Saturday morning we all left to go swimming to get to our cabana. Having been to Longleat and Elveden I was expecting it to be a long walk because we were on the outskirts of the park which is usually quite far away and it really wasn’t. Credit to Woburn, everything was within a 15 minute walk and the swimming and sports hall were pretty close together. I did miss the size of it at times as I love the walking around Center Parcs but it was amazing for a big group as we could easily meet up and the children handled the walks pretty well
Following swimming and an epic ‘family’ raft ride on one of the flumes (I say ‘family’ loosely as I was convinced it would be family friendly but it shocked us for sure!) we settled in the Pancake house and went for a game of crazy golf. I’m pretty useless at crazy golf and ended up in last place quite spectacularly after telling everyone I’d score well (its the taking part that counts…isnt it?)
We soon headed back for our quiz night and nachos and pizza which kept appearing from each of the lodges. Everyone put in so much effort into their outfits and it was so nice to see everyone all dressed up. We had music rounds, eating rounds and a scavenger hunt which saw me and an opposing member run to the lake which was 15 minutes from the house (I didn’t quite make it though)
Our lodge neighbours even joined in helping to take the team photos although there was an episode with ghost chilli sauce and the opposing team which resulted in lots of milk yogurt and bananas being consumed by various members of the team. My team won, and we took home the first ever Cooks Cabin trophy which is now proudly on display in my house
It was a great idea to have a spa morning on Sunday as we were all knackered and in need of some chill out time. The mums were particularly excited about time away from the men and children and we set off to the spa with a Starbucks in hand. I love the steam rooms, outdoor swimming pool and waterbeds and had a lovely snooze before meeting up again with the other ladies. It was the icing on the cake for me and I am so glad everyone joined in
We spent the afternoon chilling out with the family and friends, swimming and just enjoying the time we had left before settling for our last evening. Quite a few people left early on the Monday morning as they didn’t want to hit traffic, my cousin also originally thought we were in Longleat Center Parcs and booked a day at Longleat Safari (haha) so after we had said goodbye to a chunk of the group the remaining 12 of us decided to go in the boating lake for a bit and went on the pedalos
Having never been on a pedalo I didn’t quite know what to expect but all I can say is after the running on Saturday night all I had was calf burn! It was great fun though, J tried to ‘splash’ everyone with her imaginary water and we settled down for a lunchtime picnic post pedalo before bidding farewell to our York based friends who also wanted to be home before the rush hour
The remaining 7 of us decided to go for swimming in the afternoon and have what we call the Center Parcs special, Hucks! We love Hucks, it has an indoor soft play and it serves the most amazing desserts that we couldnt let the trip pass without stopping there. Unfortunately we didn’t get to have dessert this time as we needed to get home but there’s always next time
Arriving home pretty knackered and pretty late Monday night we decided to cancel our plans for longleat and instead chose to go to West Wittering for the day. A lovely family birthday after an amazing weekend away
All in all, I had an amazing, memorable birthday and it was absolutely mind blowing to have so many people there. My hubster was amazing at keeping it a surprise and organising it all – I have no idea how I would manage! And my friends and family are just simply the best
We still have post Center Parcs blues but pretty much the entire group has been converted and are talking about going again next year for another group break. I can’t wait!
Linking up with:
Katie for the Ordinary Moments at mummydaddyme
Fiona at Coombe Mill for Country Kids
And Victoria at VeViVos for PoCoLo