A day in the life: Housekeeping

From feeding babies and changing nappies to peeling potatoes and knitting, no job is too big or small for Maggie Cardy, Whinfell Forest’s answer to Mary Poppins

Maggie-web-2My Center Parcs history
My name is Margaret Alice Cardy and I’ll have been working at Center Parcs for 15 years on May 17th. I’ve always worked in the housekeeping department, but I started as a cleaner and am now assistant supervisor. My job mostly involves checking other people’s work to make sure it meets our standards. I’m meant to just check but more often than not I’ll give the girls a hand.

I enjoy my job; after I’ve finished I come out with a feeling of satisfaction. More importantly, guests pay a lot of money to be here and they deserve quality accommodation that is properly cleaned.

Before Center Parcs I was a full-time carer to my partner, who had cancer. Before that I worked in an old folks’ home. When my partner died I just needed to get out the house and get back into work, so I applied for a cleaning job here at Whinfell Forest. I was gobsmacked because I’m awful at interviews and wasn’t expecting to get the job. But here I am, 15 years later.
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The evolution of family holidays

shutterstock_109891241We are a nation obsessed with travel. This is as true today as it was in the Victorian era. Our method of getting there – and the destination – has changed, but the desire has been prevalent since 1863 when Thomas Cook led a tour to Switzerland on a 21-day whistle-stop tour. Holiday trends have sparkled, lost their gleam and come full circle to shine again once more. But there are four very definite eras of travel that lead to where we are now.
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The Wildlife Diaries with Kev Gustard

Spring, the season of growth and renewal is well underway and this month I’ve been looking after baby harvest mice and baby robins. All together now: “Awwww”

Harvest mouseIf you read my last post, you’ll know that spring is my favourite season of all. It’s a season of growth and new life and, on months like this, I feel truly lucky to be a Ranger at Sherwood Forest.

I’ve been introducing some new friends to the Village – harvest mice. The harvest mouse is the smallest rodent in the UK and are very cute little creatures. But their numbers in decline; they’ve been having a really tough time of it due to habitat loss and changes in agricultural methods. In a bid to turn this around, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has launched an initiative to re-introduce the species locally. I’m pleased to say that we have been helping the plight of the harvest mouse by acting as a release site for the project.
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Why Center Parcs is the centre of my family memories

Her family photo was seen by thousands of you, now super-guest Teresa Weekley shares her stories from years gone by

TimelineIf you’re a Center Parcs Facebook fan, you may have been one of the 2,714 people that ‘liked’ the photo, right, that Teresa Weekely posted of her children and their cousins while visiting Elveden Forest, to celebrate her parents’ Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

They say a picture tells a thousand words – or rather 800, in the case of this post – so I got in touch with Teresa to find out more about the Center Parcs breaks her family have enjoyed since first visiting 22 years ago.

Family time
Teresa says: “We first went to Elveden in 1992 with my parents, Jean and Roy, and our daughter Lilli who was just 6 months old. We loved it so much that the following year we returned with my brother Colin and his wife Tracy, with their baby boy Robin. As our families grew, we continued to go each year and we would always try to get a group photo of the children as they got older. This year we decided to re-enact that shot from all those years ago.”
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It’s official: we’ve got the hots for curry

James Haywood on why our guests think the spice is oh-so-nice at Center Parcs’ Indian restaurant, Rajinda Pradesh

Dining in Rajinda PradeshRich, meaty and spicy curry, fluffy rice and crisp poppadums…it’s well documented that Indian cuisine is the adopted dish of the UK, so it’s no surprise that we have our very own contemporary Indian restaurant at our Center Parcs Villages.

Rajinda Pradesh has been immensely popular since its inception in 2001; in the past year alone, 145,254 guests have dined at the eatery at either of our four locations.

I caught up with Yogendra Sharma – known as Yogi – who is Head Chef at Rajinda Pradesh, Sherwood Forest. Yogi has worked in this restaurant for nine-and-a-half years following an illustrious career that took him around the world, gaining invaluable experience along the way.
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Center Parcs duo go toe-to-toe in marathon challenge

Eddie McAdam and James Barrett are raising £5,000 to support charity partners, NSPCC ChildLine

Eddie, left, and James at last year's London Marathon

Eddie, left, and James at last year’s London Marathon

Each year, around 36,000 men and women don their trainers and sportswear – or outrageous fancy dress costume – and compete in the London Marathon, a 26.2-mile course around our capital.

This year, on Sunday, April 13, the streets of London will be the setting for a head-to-head between two fierce rivals. No, we’re not talking about Olympic champion Mo Farah, this is the battle between Center Parcs’ very own Eddie McAdam, Food and Beverage and Retail Manager, and James Barrett, General Manager of Elveden Forest.

Protect a generation
But the two marathon men are running for more than just pride and future bragging rights – they’re raising money for one of our charity partners, NSPCC ChildLine, supporting the ChildLine Schools Service. This ground-breaking service aims to protect a generation of children, by having specially trained volunteers visit every primary school in the UK to help children understand abuse and give them confidence to talk.
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Local artist lands commission to create iconic Woburn Forest illustration

Work with Center Parcs leads David to leave full-time job and start up own business

David Litchfield hard at work. Credit: Andrew Foster

David Litchfield hard at work. Credit: Andrew Foster

A local artist has been chosen to create an illustration of the new Center Parcs at Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire.

David Litchfield, who lives in Bedford with his wife and son, was approached by Center Parcs in August last year to draw his interpretation of what the iconic Subtropical Swimming Paradise will look like once finished. His artwork is set to become synonymous with the new Village, as it will be used on welcome gifts to commemorate the launch.
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