I just love a Centre Parcs holiday. Last week marked our fifth. The hilarity of watching novice cyclists careering into trees or one another on the first day still isn’t lost on me! Each year our girls change dramatically so our holiday is always different. As they get older so we can do more as a family and returning to the same venue is almost a yard stick of how they are growing in ability. It’s wonderful to see, and yet in some ways this year it was a little sad to see just how big my baby is. Perhaps she’s not really a baby anymore.

Oh shut up. Of course she is!

I try to stop myself from going through such negative thought processes, but it’s hard. They just pop right into your head. I wonder what the thought process was for one woman who when packing was faced with a choice of bikini. “Do I pack the bikini with the pants or a thong? Hmmm, it’s a family venue, lot’s of kids, I’m indoors so no hope of getting a tan…..I’ll go thong.”

As all parents know, the thought process of a four year old is simultaneous with ‘saying it out loud’ so I was delighted when my little one yelled across the pool “I CAN SEE HER BUM MUMMY.” I immediately submerged myself under the water and didn’t come up until the bum had gone round the corner. That meant not only did I avoid the embarrassment, but the topic of conversation had quite literally disappeared so I didn’t have to explain why the woman wasn’t fully dressed.

But where did she go? Did she go down the blue slide – with a bare bum? And quite apart from the potential hygiene issue … did that hurt? My children get slide burn if they get naked skin on a slide. And then did my children go down that slide!?!?!?

I’m up for other women being empowered by their beautiful bodies and feeling that they can display their wares if it makes them feel amazing. I really am. But not their arses on my family holiday. No! Even if I had the body I wouldn’t wear a bikini at Centre Parcs because I would be worried my boobs would fall out or my pants might fall down and that would stop me from having fun. I wore a tankini this year – the bottoms are large enough to be run up a flag pole. My approach to underwear and swimwear is Victorian. Whilst I wouldn’t force that approach on others I would highly recommend it. Years of marriage have taught me that my husband finds me most beautiful when I’m just being myself, regardless of what I’m wearing.

The official Centre Parcs Health and Safety Advice states

We have various safety measures in place and several rules which we ask all guests to adhere to, to make sure the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is a haven for everyone.

I would surmise that women with their bottoms out is causing stress to middle aged mothers with mouthy kids. If the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is to be a haven for all, then all need to wear pants that cover their bottoms!


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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure.  She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right. She is also passionate about helping and supporting parents through the early years and lobbying for a better understanding of them and the issues they present.  Occasionally she also speaks up for the kids too!



  1. Sarah – I am so with you on this! I wear one pieces (or two pieces that look like one pieces) + large roomy t-shirts worn over swimsuit until splashing into water. (To protect red-head fair skin from sun & over-observance!) ⛱😎⛱

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