Tag Archives: centerparcs

Day 5/Final day of our pretend holiday – London Museums

Quick post tonight. Day 5 was fab. Trip into London (short side trip to buy Pickle new tap shoes) and off to see The Dinosaurs at The Natural History Museum.

Pickle needed convincing as it had been nearly 2 years since she’d last seen the animatronic T Rex. Eventually she agreed and we headed down the dark path to see him gnashing his teeth. She squealed, she hid behind legs, but she eventually looked and took it all in. The Monster just leant forward in the buggy and said “Rarrrrrrrrrr” at it. Hubby and I quite enjoyed it, I like to suspend disbelief and imagine it chasing me down. I live a very uneventful life.

We met up with a friend who Pickle is mad about and the two of them wandered off discussing all things dinosaur and we made our way out and over to the cafe for a bit of lunch. Food was excellent, hubby and I fell out over a “comforting of small child” incident (or lack of actually) and then we headed over to see the blue whale and the human biology exhibition which had lots of interactive stuff which Pickle loved.

After that, a quick ice cream, a falling incident (The Monster) and the a goodbye to the friend and over to the Science Museum which is right next door. We got in and then immediately had to go the basement for nappy changing (TM) and toilet breaks (the other 3 of us). By the time I emerged we discovered TM’s toy dog had been lost so I had to retrace our footsteps and discovered him propped up on a curb around the corner.

Then straight down to the basement where all the interactive stuff is. Both kids had fun with all the sound stuff then they each donned a plastic bib and headed straight to the water play where they spent the next 20minutes. A quick dabble with the giant Lego and we headed home.

It was a fantastic day and I’m pretty sad the week is over. :(

Day 4 of our pretend holiday – Legoland

I AM EXHAUSTED, but it’s been fab. Today was Legoland in Windsor and we set off at 9.30am.

We arrived and safely navigated the car parks arriving with two excited children (well, one really. The Monster had no idea what the heck was going on). First stop was the Stars Wars exhibit, which we loved but Pickle had no idea what it was. Then we got the train down ( little train) and went to Duplo world where the kids played, watched a theatre show and we ate at a buffet. Then onwards Pickle to get her drivers licence and The Monster to sleep.

20120913-204552.jpg. At this point I was fairly unimpressed with Legoland. The sculptures were weather worn and looked tired, the food options were a bit slap dash and we found the maps difficult to follow and therefore did quite a bit of walking. As well as all that Atlantis was shut so we couldn’t go on the submarine (whatever that was).

Things did pick up though and Pickle ended up going on tonnes of rides with each of us. Swings, Carousel, Knight train, Spinning Spider and then eventually the Viking ride where her and hubby got drenched. In between there were a few traditional play parks and we had lots of fun playing on it, doing a pirate training course and watching others on rides that were too scary for us. There wasn’t a lot for The Monster to go on and he got quite fed up being left out, well, actually he screamed a lot if he saw Pickle on anything. Especially the helicopters, because I had initially thought he could go on it, but he wasn’t tall enough.

We left the Viking ride at 4.50pm which gave us 10 minutes to dash down to mini world where Countries of the World are on display in full Lego splendour. We took loads of fab photos and then headed back to the car as the park was closing.

We honestly thought the kids would fall asleep enroute to Windsor, but they made it and we de-camped to Pizza Express right outside the castle. We were prepared to deal with a meltdown from one or both kids but they were brilliant and very funny and we left to get home about 7.30pm.

Journey home was a result too, because they both stayed awake, Pickle making up THE most ridiculous songs on the way home, keeping us all laughing and most importantly keeping her brother awake long enough for us to sling them into bed when we got back just after 8pm.

Exhausted, happy and looking forward to our last day of pretend holidaying tomorrow. Day 5.

Day 3 of our pretend holiday – Cycling

After such a fab day yesterday I was really looking forward to Day 3. Unfortunately my hubby woke up feeling decidedly under the weather and groaning a lot, but we just had to get on with it and he would have been fed up at home so it was onwards and upwards.

We had a rather complicated setup ahead of us. We had decided to cycle from Twickenham to Richmond along the Thames path which was doable for our 4 year old on her little cycle. We had managed to borrow a bike with a child seat on it from a friend in Twicks and because I had a Brompton and had plans to do something in Richmond we had to park one of our cars nearby for me to stash the bike there rather than lock it up. Precious, I know, but it cost me £810 and I just wasn’t prepared to risk it. So, we both drove a car to Halfords to buy The Monster a bike helmet, then on to designated free parking in St Margaret’s to drop off my car. Then hubby dropped me and Pickle and our bikes at Twicks (are you keeping up?) and he drove on to our friends to get bike and cycle back to us.

Yes, fairly exhausting already.


Pickle and I rode up to the park where she had a lovely time and when the others arrived we cycled on to a park at the foot of Richmond bridge. Pickle did moan ALOT but I was expecting that and to be fair, she did ride the whole way. Another park, some more fun and some half eaten sandwiches and then I rode my bike to the car at St Margaret’s and left it in the boot. Then walked back to the park and Pickle and I left hubby and TM to ride back to Twickenham and we headed off to the cinema. Disaster occurred though as my carefully researched cinema times appeared to have addled my brain and the 1.20 showing was not on. Next showing was 3.45 and after panicked texting to hubby and some friends we were supposed to visit later, I bought the tickets and Pickle and I had 2 hours to kill.

Cycling – TICK

We visited a bookstore and wandered in a few shops before ending up in Starbucks with a tea, a babycino and a choc chip cookie. We had a lovely time actually, chatting and watching an artist sketch next to us. In the end the artist turned out to be a hairdresser and he chatted to the two of us about his artistic family and then told us about a basic art app for the phone. We promptly downloaded it and Pickle spent the next 20 minutes sketching on it.

THEN we watched Brave, the new Disney movie. Very scary in places but a fantastic movie that provides a good anecdote to the “princess gets rescued by the prince” storyline we are often subjected to. My daughter has fallen asleep tonight giggling about the boob swan dive. Watch it, it’s very good.

Washing – 1 emergency knicker wash.
wine – 0 tonight (I need a night off)

So Day 3 is over, which is a bit sad, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far. Bring on Day 4

Day 2 of our Pretend Holiday – Soft play and Arts and Crafts

Day 2 started much better than yesterday. I woke up hearing the sound of Pickle chatting to her daddy downstairs as he got ready to go to work (this is his only work day this week). I stayed in bed for another 20 min and then came down not too long after he left.

First on our list was soft play. There is a lot of soft play at Centerparcs and it’s just sort of there in every area of the park. I don’t do soft play because I’ve never had a good experience with it. Pickle has been to several boys parties at soft play and she inevitably ends up crying at least once, if not several times because she is pushed, punched, scratched or just generally overwhelmed. I want her to be a bit tougher and try not to make a deal of it, but she’s just like that and I have to understand that.

I chose a massive soft play at Syon Park that we’ve been to for parties and arrived not long after it opened. I deposited both of them in the 2-5yr old section as The Monster is pretty capable. They both had a fab time but Pickle got a bit bored after about 30 min and I suggested going to the big multi story part. We found a section (ball pit with slide) and after both seemed ok I sloped off for a catch up with an NCT friend I hadn’t seen since The Monster was born. I didn’t know she’d be there and we aren’t very close, but it was nice to see her.

After a while we all decamped to the outside area and they had a ball out there on an assault course. We then went back in for the opportunity for The Monster to go in the toddler area. Obviously Pickle dashed in too under strict instruction that the little ones have priority and she wasn’t to go on the bouncy castle if any other children other than her brother was on it. There was some sort of music/dance thing going on and Pickle was right in there, shimmying along. Exactly the sort of thing I would have paid for at Centerparcs. At midday we left after we bought a tractor for TM (£2.40) and a doll for P (£1.20)(we couldn’t eat our packed lunch in there) but rather than a picnic we went to the Garden Centre next door, had some yummy drinks and then finished it off by a trip around the fish section looking at Koi and other exotic fish. The kids thoroughly enjoyed this bit and I remember paying about £10 to see something similar on The Isle of Wight.

Softplay TICK

The Monster slept in the car in our garage when we were back and Pickle went off to play with the new doll and I sat on twitter for an hour, which was bliss.

In the afternoon we did a craft that I had per planned. TM wasn’t very keen and wandered off about 10 min (to do a massive squelchy poo, as it turned out) but P loved it. It was great to do this with her.


She then made an alien with the googly eyes and a piece of paper and then it was 4.30pm and I put ET on the telly and tidied up and made tea.

Craft Class TICK

I did do one lot of washing, but it was nappies and was needed. Had we been away I would have had paper nappies, but I was happy to chuck a wash in.

No washing. NO TICK

Glasses of wine TICK

Overall, its been my favourite day and its amazing how just having a holiday head on keeps you happy despite any challenges.
Day 3 has been a bit complicated in its planning, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Day 1 of our “pretend” holiday

Day 1 didn’t start on a great note. I woke at 6am with a leg cramp (I don’t usually get these) so I screamed out in pain. I then had my sleep in cut short because the children were playing with noisy toys and hubby didn’t shut the lounge door properly. At any rate, if we were heading off today to Centerparcs, it would have still happened but we would have had the stress of packing a car on top of it.

The first step on our plan for today was for The Monster to attend his first swimming lesson, Yes, at 20 months old it does seem a bit old (Pickle was 5 mths old) but as a 2nd child he is some what neglected, taking 2nd place to his sister. We all took our swimming costumes though and whilst hubby and he had the lesson, Pickle and I mucked about in the section next to them and then they joined us afterwards.

Swimming TICK.

We the had about 3 hrs to kill before Pickle’s swimming lesson and the original plan was still up in the air. Trip around Kew or to the London Wetland Center (we are members, so not a novelty, although it included Nature and a walk). In the end, hubby took the bull by the horns and suggested we go into central London to see the Olympic parade. It was only 19 min on the train from where we were so we did. The kids loved the train ride and the sights on the way although They were both quite moany. Thats not uncommon though. The parade was fab and emotional and I took lots of photos. We had to leave with just 3 buses left in order to make it back.

Unexpected trip to London with Olympians thrown in. TICK.

We got back to the swimming pool where Pickle started her first after-school lesson (although she hasn’t officially started school yet) and despite being tired she went in the pool without an instructor being in it, did overarm and jumped in the pool by herself. Result.

Back home and quick meal of pasta and pesto which we all ate and Hubby and I had a glass of wine. Thats two rules we’ve stuck to.

Day 1 has been marked a success. Wonder what Day 2 will bring.

PS: Pickle keeps referring to our holiday as The Pretend Holiday, hence the name now.