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Lost and Found in the Woods

Our summer fun concluded this year with a long weekend at Center Parcs in Elveden Forest. We love Center Parcs so much that the kids find it hard to decide whether they prefer it to Disneyland Paris. If I was ever lucky enough to be presented with such a choice in real life, I would struggle to make a final decision too. In the end it would depend on how burnt out I was feeling. If I needed to find inner peace and relaxation, then Center Parcs would win hands down. 

Forests are always my go-to "happy place" when I need to imagine somewhere I feel content and relaxed. I love the smell of trees and the earthy feel of forests. Lots of other people seem to prefer beach scenes for relaxation, but I'm all about the forests, lakes and mountains. I dream of a holiday in a log cabin in Colorado or a chalet in the Swiss Alps. In the absence of those experiences I will happily take a weekend in Center Parcs. 

It was nice to have the opportunity to get playful and creative with photography on this holiday. I have a tendency to plan really frenetic holidays and it can be hard to slow down and take time with taking photos in the midst of all the hustle and bustle.

I also got a bit playful with the editing. I hate to admit that I used a few presets as the base of my edits on these photos. It always feels like cheating to me and in the end I feel that it isn't really my own work. I love the end results of these photos too much not to use the preset though. The fact that the style is all over  the place is another matter.

Panning shots on bikes are an absolute favourite of mine. Anything that creates movement in photos and I am totally on board!

Bear is not quite ready to ride on her own yet so this tandem bike was a huge hit. It was such a joy to hear her squeals of delight as we whizzed through the forest. 

The Drop is a new addition to Elveden. I was supposed to go on it but they refused to let me on with my ear cuff, which I cannot remove. My husband and the boys said it was absolutely terrifying, so maybe it was lucky for me. 

We love the range of activities at Center Parcs. It is the perfect blend of activity, adventure and relaxation. I have no photos of the spa, which my husband and I take turns to use. We usually love it but it was a bit too full of annoying hen dos this time around. 

Now that the kids are older I am planning to teach them how to use my DSLR. One of the advantages of this would be that they could take some pictures of my husband and I. We can count on one hand the number of photos we have of just the two of us since Roo was born 11 years ago. I am not a big fan of photos of me but the absence of photos of us as a couple is a shame. 

So, Roo was given instructions to take some photos of mum and dad on their own. It took a moment for everyone to get used to that idea...

... but then he captured some real keepers. 

We had a few items to tick of on the Summer Bucket List. It was the perfect opportunity to play with some big bubbles. 

One of the main things that brings us back to Center Parcs is the pool. The water slides are just amazing. It is also the only public pool I know that allows use of cameras. I almost bought an underwater camera especially for this trip but I couldn't justify the cost. We used Roo's Vivitar camera and managed to get some good ones. I played around with the editing for ages because I really wanted to keep the colour. 

In the end I decided that they just worked better in black and white. 

If only I could play around with underwater shots more often. It was a wonderful weekend and the perfect way to say goodbye to the summer. We got home and started putting together our autumn bucket list straight away.