I hate nature. Like, hate nature. Born and bred in a busy suburban town, the darkness and quietness of countryside freaks me out. For a while it's been a joke between me and Rich that a trip to CenterParcs would be the worst possible holiday for me. So what did we decide to do before Christmas? Go to CenterParcs, of course. No, I don't know why either. I think it was my idea too, which just makes the whole thing even stranger.
We really were in the middle of nowhere! Note my "I love nature" face!
Our second day was much more eventful. I'd planned to start it by feeding the reindeer but, when we arrived, they were all booked up. I was disappointed for long though as it turned out you couldn't get close to them at all and had to feed the (tiny) reindeer through a hole in the fence. Instead, I was happy to stand at the edge of the enclosure and just watch them.
After watching the reindeer, we headed back to the Plaza to watch the pantomime. I'd been really excited about seeing a traditional panto right before Christmas and we'd paid a pretty hefty sum for tickets. Needless to say, we were very disappointed when we were sat in a dingy function room and unfortunately that was just the start of a limp experience. The actors did their best but the play was poorly-written and completely fell flat. In fact, a lot of people left in the interval. It would have been fine if it had been a low-cost way to fill the time but the fact that we paid more for tickets than we would for the (brilliant!) panto at our local theatre was really frustrating. Definitely not something I could recommend!
We ended up leaving the pantomime about 10 minutes early as we were booked in for a Twilight Spa Experience at the Aqua Sana spa. This involved use of the varied spa facilities for five hours and a body massage. On arrival at the spa, which is tucked away in a quiet corner of the site (pro tip: hire a bike to get there), we were provided with big fluffy dressing gowns and towels and, after changing, had a light bite to eat in the Vitale Cafe before spending some time in the World of Spa. Within the spa are a whole host of different experiences to sample from Japanese salt steam rooms and Finnish saunas to water beds and reflexology foot baths. Oh, and a heated outdoor pool!
This is not the pool. This is the lake. Of course I couldn't take photos inside the sauna.
We only had time for a quick look around before we needed to meet our massage therapists. Mine was called Hannah and she was absolutely lovely, immediately putting me at ease. The majority of the massage was really relaxing with soothing music and gorgeously scented oils. Of course, like every massage therapist I've met, "light pressure" meant something completely different to Hannah- and my back was pretty tender afterwards- but I certainly felt relaxed! The treatment included a scalp massage which was a great finishing touch and afterwards we were free to explore the World of Spa properly. My favourite experience was either the pool (naturally) or the Balinese multi-steam room which had a different fragrance in each part of the room. Unfortunately, 9pm came along way too quickly and it was time to trek back up the hill to our lodge. (Believe me, you'll really want to hire bikes).
Once settled back "home", we exchanged our gifts. Laura and Matt had got me a slushie maker and Rich an ice cream machine based on our devotion to the respective treats in Florida last year.
As we had to leave our lodge by 10am on our final morning, we were up bright and early to get some breakfast from The Pancake House. As I'm not a huge fan of pancakes, I settled on the Ultimate Chocolate Waffles. Yeah, chocolate for breakfast. Deal with it!
Oh, and a Decorate Your Own Gingerbread Man, of course!
The Pancake House was decorated beautifully for Christmas, with wreaths and garlands from every surface. We were seated in the most festive table of all underneath this gargantuan wreath!
After filling up, we had a few hours spare before our next planned activity so we spent some time in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. Oh, man, it was amazing, but more on that later!
We dried off and started our hike back down towards the spa where the sports centre is located as this was the venue for the Jingle Bell Rock n Rollerskate Disco. Visiting a rollerdisco is one of my 101 in 1001 goals, and I bloody love Christmas songs so this seemed perfect! Of course, rollerskating is way harder than it looks!
Despite the difficulties (and pain! Who knew rollerskates would hurt so much?), I bravely battled on... when I wasn't laughing at Rich and Matt, who resembled a bear and a spider respectively.