Sunday, 27 February 2022

All inclusive resort in the UK?

 Potters resort in Norfolk, England is a venue like no other. 


Butlins? Nope. 

Pontins? Definitely not. 



Abroad even? Possibly. 

But this a staycation of a uniqueness in the uk. 

You see, at Potters, everything is included. The food and drink (top notch!), the activities, swimming, entertainment (think Broadway), and the comfiest accommodation. 


Here is the VLOG of the weekend.


Fully inclusive in other ways too, this resort is accessible and the chef is very thorough when dealing with special dietary requirements. I’m impressed. 














Although this trip wasn’t perfect. Because I was unable to book for next year. Sad times. 

There is something called gender balancing with a dance weekend. Just to prevent there being a heap of ladies sat on the side of the dance floor, awaiting a partner. I mean, bopping along or tapping your feet is acceptable, but we come to jive. To do Ceroc, and the best way is with a partner. I understand this. And I think the idea is a good one. That said, jasmine (my daughter), and I travel together and this makes things tricky for us. 


Shamefully, I think I should have known that the booking was open. Why? Because, well, I’ve been going since the first year it opened. Another story to ge told for that (I smile as I type, remembering discoving drink dancing and Sambuca)… and because I’ve been dancing for 21 years on the Ceroc science, longer on the modern, ballroom and Latin scene. But alas, this doesn’t qualify me for a ticket if I’m not first in line, nor does it prevent me growing older, and my kids growing up. 


Another hiccup.

Jasmine is really finding her groove on the dance floor now. She was dancing a year before lockdown, and the interruption stopped the flow, but now, she is in great demand. That used to be me, and yes, a part of me is sad that the lead men ask her to dance and don’t return for me. Is that weird or normal? Are my feelings valid? Who wants to feel like a has-been? But, thanks to Craig, I did compete in the massive ballrooms of London, and became a finalist, and loved it. Time to hand it over to Jasmine now and maybe she will get that medal that was at my fingertips. 

I’m proud of her. 

I’m proud of me. 

I still go and try. Even though “they” told me to stop. “Get in the wheelchair after a ten-minute session on your feet.” They said. I’ll do my best to keep my mobility and I believe movement, music and smiles will help with that. 


Potters, it was a total pleasure. 

Ceroc, wowzers, loved the music and dance. 

Food..well, it’s not my friend at the best of times but it was delicious. 


Want to know where we are travelling to next?  

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Monday, 7 February 2022

A strange story from Center Parcs

 In this video, you won't believe how many things went wrong after we left the spa.

We got locked out, the security couldn't even get us in. He let us sit in his van and the wipers randomly went off... finally, we got in, the place was freezing as the door was being fixed, so I lit a fire. You won't believe what happened next but suffice to say a nurse, stitches and blood were involved *trigger warning. The next day was breathtaking as we were due to leave. I did the usual 'man's job' of going to collect the car. It was thick frost, bright sunshine and completely wonderful. Is this how I was really feeling? Or was I feeling his absence?



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Sunday, 6 February 2022

A look around aqua Sana spa at Woburn Forest, Center Parcs

 It was the day to head to the Aqua Sana spa at our Woburn Forest Center Parcs break. We were excited to get into a relaxing state of mind and have some treatments done.

Unfortunately for me, a few things went wrong, which was upsetting, but I quickly looked at the good bits, laid on a waterbed and enjoyed the rest of the day, which was VERY zen. After that, we headed home to a disaster waiting to happen. Watch the next video to see what happened!

Center Parcs playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwf5UN3J86KJjrhBUrvPCL1Vg2ae49znv

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Tuesday, 11 January 2022

The Pancake House at Center Parcs

Tradition brings us to Center Parcs, and the pancake house.


So often, people are saying how expensive it is to visit Center Parcs. I'm here to help you find some really amazing breaks.




As usual, some people are tied to children’s school holidays and tend to luck out.  Traveling at this time of year can prove amazing for value for money. The best suggestion I have if you want to travel with school-age children is to find the closest park to you, leave after school on Friday and go home after dinner on Sunday. You will get two nights, and we paid £350 for this break (up to four people). 


Breaks could cost between £2000 and £3000 in the summer holidays, or could just end up at £80 per person for a four-night midweek break in January. Of course, there’s always the opportunity that you’re going to spend more money once you’re actually there. And I guess this is the benefit of making great value breaks, affordable so that once you are there you’re spending more money and enabling the parks to keep staff wages paid.


It is our time to visit Woburn Forest, as is tradition for us to do once a year now, since 2016.  And as we arrive, it’s always a tradition that we visit the pancake house.









Sitting in the window of the pancake house looking out over at the lake, with drips of rain sitting on the tables and chairs outside, I remarked to my daughter Jasmine how many different people we have brought here with us over the years.


We usually sit outside with the dog. There were no lodges available for dogs this time, and apart from that, Harley really cannot walk very far now. And we have to use a dog pram for him. 

After a lovely drive of 1 1/2 hours, we sat at the table and ordered lunch online.


Centre Parcs are currently cashless, so ordering online was the best thing to do. Unfortunately, I had forgotten any purse or any cards. I would usually pay with Apple Pay, but thankfully my daughter is at the age now where she can pay, and I can do her quick bank transfer! Much is this sounds comical, as if I’ve done it on purpose, it truly wasn’t.


As always, I was thrilled at the pancake house it caters for gluten-free diners like myself. So often, when you go to certain types of restaurants if you are gluten-free, you’re out of luck. 

I was excited to try a waffle. I remember how much I enjoyed them on our last trip. Although as we tried to order online, there was no option for that. We called the waitress over who informed us that their waffle maker machine (which is kept separate from the usual waffle maker machine to ensure it’s gluten-free and not cross-contaminated), was out of order and waiting to be fixed. 

I completely understood and respected this. Instead, I went for an apple pancake which was dusted with cinnamon sugar. 


Completely delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed this and felt so full up. After that, it was time to do plenty of walking for the rest of the day and a little swim to try and help use some calories.




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Sunday, 9 January 2022

How to travel abroad from the UK in January 2022

 Finally, I am hoping it's time for us to begin to open up the travel pathways once again.

I have truly missed being on those beaches, feeling the warmth on the skin, the little tickles on the ankles from paddling in the warm sea. The wellbeing we feel from such happiness can't be matched. Have you missed it?



The advice can seem a little daunting if you haven't travelled since before Covid times and I would love to help make some sense of that - so I created this video:







And all of the advice which I mention can be accessed here: (Do let me know if it helps you) and please take note that my Youtube channel will be centred around travel more this year than it was last year. Let me know if you have requests or questions! 


Requirements to travel from the UK:

 

See the Gov website here and enter your country of travel:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

 

And this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-abroad-from-england-during-coronavirus-covid-19 takes you to all of this information:

 

1. Check foreign travel advice for the countries you want to go to

This will tell you if:

·       the country will allow people to enter from the UK

·       you will need to show proof of vaccination status or proof of a negative COVID-19 test

·       you will need to quarantine on arrival

Foreign travel advice will also tell you if the UK government advises against all but essential travel to the country.

Check foreign travel advice for all countries you will visit or travel through.

2. Arrange any COVID-19 tests you will need to enter the countries that you will travel to

You cannot use an NHS test for this. You must use a private test provider.

Many providers of day 2 and day 8 travel tests also provide these tests.

Find a travel test provider.

https://www.gov.uk/find-travel-test-provider

3. Find out how you can use the NHS COVID Pass to prove your vaccination status abroad

Some countries require proof of vaccination status before you can enter.

Read about how you can use the NHS COVID Pass to prove your vaccination status.

You should do this before you travel.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-covid-pass

4. Check what you will need to do when you return to England

What you will need to do when you return to England depends on:

·       your vaccination status

·       where you have been

Find out about taking COVID-19 tests and quarantine rules when you return to England.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19

 

Travelling with children

The England testing and quarantine rules for children depend on their age.

Read more about testing and quarantine for children.

You should also check the rules in the country you are travelling from as they may require children to take a test at the start of your journey to England.

Ireland, the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

Check the rules on travel from England if you’re:

·       travelling to Ireland

·       travelling to Northern Ireland

·       travelling to Scotland

·       travelling to Wales

·       travelling to the Isle of Man

·       travelling to Jersey

·       travelling to Guernsey

Exemptions for work, medical or compassionate reasons

There are medical exemptions from:

·       testing before travel to England

·       quarantine for people having medical treatment

Some people are exempt from some or all of the requirements because of the job they do.

 

Tui Travel advice:

Tui contacted me- as we are going to Tunisia later in the year. This is what they said: 

We hope you’re looking forward to your TUI holiday and we are delighted that travel is now even easier, thanks to the government simplifying UK re-entry requirements. And at TUI, we’re here to support you every step of the way. 

If you’re fully vaccinated or under 18, you no longer need to complete a pre-departure test before your return flight to the UK, or self-isolate on your arrival. And, from the 9th January, the day 2 PCR test on entry to the UK can be replaced with the cheaper antigen (rapid flow) test – available through TUI’s testing partner, Chronomics, from just £15. 

Plus, our TUI Holiday Promise is designed to give you total peace of mind.  

Our Holiday Promise

Flexible changes* 

If you change your mind, we promise you the flexibility to make fee-free changes to your holiday including date, duration, hotel, flight or destination. 

    • If you’re due to travel on or before 31 January 2022, you can make fee-free changes up until 14 days before departure 
    • If you’re due to travel between 1 February and 30 April 2022, you can make fee-free changes up until 28 days before departure 

And, for all our customers, whenever you’re due to travel, if your situation changes and you’re unable to travel due to the following reasons – you can make a fee-free change right up until your day of departure (subject to conditions below*): 
    • If you or someone in your party tests positive for COVID-19 
    • If you’re officially required to self-isolate* 
    • If there’s a local lockdown in the area you live in and you’re unable to travel*  
    • If vaccination, testing or quarantine requirements have changed since you booked and you are therefore no longer able to travel*  
    • If we let you know of restrictions in your destination that have been introduced after you booked that will significantly impact your holiday enjoyment*  

Easy and affordable testing

Whether you’re heading off on a package holiday, or you’ve booked just your flights or hotel stay with us, testing is now easier and more affordable than ever. We’ve teamed up with government-authorised suppliers Chronomics, Klarity, Randox, Screen 4 and ExpressTest to offer a range of testing options from as little as £15.  

MORE INFORMATION

Package holiday refund guarantee

If you’ve booked a package holiday, flight or hotel stay, you’re entitled to your money back within a guaranteed 14 days in the unlikely event that we have to cancel it. But you’ll also have other options, including changing your package booking to another holiday, fee-free. 

 

Red list pledge

 

 

We won’t take you to a destination that’s on the red list or where the government advises against all but essential travel. If your destination is moved to the red list before you go, you can change your holiday to a different destination, or to a later date. Or, if your destination is still on the red list at the time of your departure, we’ll let you know that your holiday’s been cancelled, and you can request a refund in full within 14 days.

If your destination is moved to the red list while you’re on holiday, we’ll do our best to bring you back before the quarantine requirement begins. Plus, you’ll get a refund for any holiday nights lost. 

TUI standards secured

Before you go, we’ll let you know if there are any restrictions in your destination that we believe could significantly impact your holiday enjoyment, and we’ll give you the chance to change your booking. Plus, you’ll be supported 24/7 during your holiday, thanks to the TUI app. It’s super-easy to use, and it’ll mean we can keep in touch with you every step of the way. You can chat to us via the app, or – if you prefer – you can contact our resort team 24/7 by phone or SMS. 

From the whole of the TUI team, 
we’re looking forward to welcoming you on holiday. 

JUST SO YOU KNOW…Most holiday insurance policies now include cover for medical expenses and other costs due to contracting COVID-19 – please ensure you check your policy for details. We recommend AXA 

*IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON OUR TUI HOLIDAY PROMISE

*Just so you know, you’ll need to make a change to your booking within 48 hours of these requirements being introduced. 
• For bookings that include a non-TUI Airways flight – if you notify us of a fee-free COVID-19 related change within 72 hours of your planned departure, you’ll need to change your holiday to one that includes a TUI Airways flight. 

• Our standard booking terms & conditions apply for amendments made within 14 or 28 days of departure – depending on which policy applies to your booking – and for departures from 1 May 22 with the exception of those changes that arise as a result of COVID-19. 



Let's hope we all get on a plane soon and enjoy a lovely, safe time 


Love, as always


Louise xoxo






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