Chances are you’ve heard of the term “selfie” (or even Elfie, if you’ve read this). In fact, selfies – the Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year – are almost a rite of for young and old. And it’s now so popular that the most famous Kardashian on the planet has released her top tips to help you take the perfect pic.
Santa’s little helpers take ‘elfies’ during their Christmas training at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest
Elf yourself: Center Parcs’ spin on the selfie
This Christmas, the selfie – Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year – has been given a festive makeover at the Elf Academy at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest.
Set to take the elf community by storm, ‘elfies’ are created when excitable elves share their up-close-and-personal pictures while being put through their paces in the festive training course. Center Parcs guests can join in on the action by booking their place at the Elf Academy, where they will make crafts and design festive wreaths before making it official at the Elf Graduation Party.
Juicing them is one way to use up those unloved veggies. But despite the many health benefits, does it actually taste good? Amy Dickson finds out …
Green with envy? My efforts in both juice and shot form
Love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts are a staple of every Christmas Day. Through the years mums up and down the country have tried new ways to get this potent little veggie from plate to palate, from boiling them and caressing with butter, to teaming up with crisp cuts of pancetta. Well now the infamous sprout has had another makeover, thanks to the Juice Club who will sell its Fresh Juice – made from Brussels sprouts – in Fortnum & Mason over the festive period.
How will you spend your New Year’s Eve?
New year, old problem.
Where to spend the night? Who to invite? What to do? You know the drill. Plans are made, re-made, people are invited – drop out – then re-invited.
The pressure is enough to make anyone crawl under a rock and hibernate until January 2. But what if there was a way to get everyone in the same place to create an unforgettable evening? These tips will ensure the most stressful thing you do this New Year’s Eve is popping the Champagne cork.
Ringing in the New Year calls for grander settings than the local pub or a gazebo in the back garden. Sure, a party at home is an option, but who wants to clean up the mess the morning after, all bleary eyed and bedraggled? Going away for a short break over New Year could be the answer to all your problems, and at Center Parcs, we’ve got it covered.
This month we finally catch a glimpse of our first animal, while a local school proves that charity is child’s play
Seed gathering. Credit: Gwen Hitchcock
Since 2012 when the building of Woburn Forest began, we have been recording construction through photography and filming. Broadcast Media Services (BMS) are our crew; technically-minded Adam, aka Cookie, and enthusiastic Greg are two members who have remained throughout, with assistance from other colleagues in their Nottingham team. We have captured foundations being laid, tree planting, glazing and tiling, to name but a few, but the one thing we have struggled with until now is snapping the wildlife.
Footprints in the forest
We know they are living at Woburn Forest because we hear reports of them all the time, but until last month we hadn’t captured a single solitary critter. On occasion, it had felt like they were taunting us; rustling in the forest floor, singing from the treetops or leaving footprints. On previous visits Greg had taken to literally darting off into the forest without warning when hearing the sounds of a creature nearby, with camera firmly in hand only then to reappear looking disappointed and slightly silly.
Feast your eyes on the treats in store at ParcMarket
Whether you’re a first-timer or a Center Parcs expert, knowledge is power when it comes to going away with the family. To make sure your stay is relaxing and stress-free, we’ve put together ten tips to help you get the most out of your break.
- Our villages are set in 400 acres of woodland – that’s a lot of space! If the location of your accommodation is important to you, you can choose a particular villa for a small charge. Use our interactive village map to explore further.
- You can book bikes, activities, events and restaurants up to six months before you arrive; this will give you a real head start to enjoying your break and, because places are limited, no one will be disappointed at missing out on an activity. To book, you’ll need your booking reference number – and don’t forget to print out your itinerary!
Christmas with the family
It’s slowly creeping closer and closer. Every hour gets quicker; days turn to weeks which become months and, suddenly, it’s October. We close in towards that time of year when most of us start to reminisce about the good old days of Christmas past. A time when the Christmas break was full of excitement, presents, family time together and the very likely possibility of a slightly intoxicated Nan.
Rewinding the 25 years required to take me back to my childhood, Christmas was so easy. You’d wake up, open your presents, eat chocolate until you felt sick, have an enormous dinner, fall asleep in the afternoon and wake up just in time for the evening film. If you were lucky, you might even have time to play with the mountains of toys you had the pleasure of tearing into hours before. It was perfect day spent with your family and loved ones, which was somewhat repeated the day after.
In 2008, a phrase was coined to capture the nation’s increasing tendency to take a UK holiday or short break. Since then, the term ‘staycation’ has cemented itself in British vocabulary and has become a popular focus for the UK’s media, with reports in October stating that domestic tourism pumped £25bn into the economy in 2012 alone.
But why have staycations become so popular – and how much staying power do they have?
According to the latest industry report published by the World Travel Market (WTM), this change in holiday behaviour was caused by the global financial crisis. This had the effect of, as the UK tightened its belt, many families having to sacrifice their summer holidays. Holidays in the UK, however, are a more cost effective way to spend time with the family, plus there is a significant reduction in travel time.
Frequent exercise improves the academic performance of teenagers, according to a new study.
The study, by the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee, was carried out on about 5,000 children and found significant links between exercise and exam success in English, Maths and Science.
It found that there was an increase in performance for every extra 17 minutes boys exercised and every extra 12 minutes for girls. The research also suggested that children who carried out regular exercise did better in exams aged 11, 13 and even 16.
But in a world of games consoles, tablets, smartphones and TVs, how can you encourage your teenagers to be more active?
As we wind down for winter, excitement is ramping up with the emergence of wildlife, completed buildings and recruitment drive
Complete Woodland Lodge in Woburn Forest
On a very wet, autumnal October day, I ventured down to Bedfordshire to our new Village, Woburn Forest, and it really is looking grand. If you didn’t peek through the window of lodge 100, you would be convinced that guests were about to arrive.
When walking by some of the completed clusters, a construction worker stopped me. He was keen to tell me all about the wildlife he had spotted, including deer, birds and squirrels. It’s great to see the forest is flourishing, from its history as commercial woodland that cut down its trees for sale.