Youthfulness – a little bit of what you fancy

One youthfulness tip that stood out for me from my Words of Wisdom initiative was to “do a little bit of what you fancy”. This can obviously take different forms for different people, but I wanted to share my interpretation of this one.

Birthday treat

For my last nine birthdays, since I’ve been a mum in fact, I’ve treated myself to a day at a health spa. I have spent many of these days on my own – bliss. It doesn’t always fall exactly on my birthday, but near enough, and I always go on a week day, forcing me to take a well-deserved day off work. This year my birthday fell on a Sunday, so a month or so ago, I’d already decided on Monday 11th December and booked a day off work. For the last four years I’ve been going to Eden Hall Day Spa and was keen to go there again this year. It’s approximately an hour from my house, with good roads most of the way, if not my favourite to drive on.

Plan B

Many living in the UK will know that we had a heavy snowfall on my birthday (a first in my memory) with Black Ice Monday forecast by the media for my cherished spa day. I caught myself in a momentary grump, having checked the weather forecast and looking up the spa booking T&Cs online. But then I had a brainwave: if I can’t make it to the spa, I can recreate the spa experience at home. So, I actually put a Plan B together, in case I couldn’t make it. This included a long bubble bath – with nice smelling candles, a tasty lunch – with some fizz, wandering around in my dressing gown, reading my book and maybe a yoga DVD. I even contemplated seeing if any local therapists had a free slot!

The journey

Ultimately, when I woke up on Monday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I would be able to make it out of my village after all. So, after an almost uneventful drive (running out of screen-wash several miles before my destination on a day where the roads were full of salty residue) I pulled up at Eden Hall. I jumped out, put the bonnet up and started filling the container up with the various water bottles I carry in my car, lest I forget later on. A kind maintenance guy had obviously spotted me doing this and came over to see if I was OK. Very sweet, but I actually felt quite proud of being able to sort this one out on my own.

Time to move

After booking in and a quick scan of the timetable, I quickly changed and headed down to the studios. I particularly love Eden Hall as it combines the spa and treatments side of things with a gym and exercise classes.  I love classes, but I don’t often get the chance during my normal hectic life, so I’m always keen to participate in a few at Eden Hall. It’s also a luxury to attend a class without any notice or prior preparation and to just get on with it. This year, I did a Pump class (weights to music), followed by Clubbercise. This is probably the 5th year I’ve done Clubbercise at Eden Hall, so I knew what I was letting myself in for with that one (great fun). But I’ve probably not done a Pump class since at least 2005. At the end of these classes, I was feeling nicely worked out, if a little humbled by the Pump. Note to self – more strength training in 2018!

Tepid Tub

With 40 minutes ‘free’ until my allotted lunchtime, I went for a quick dip in the outside hot tub, (or rather tepid tub due to the Baltic weather). I was delighted that this put most people off and I was soon left to a few peaceful moments without a soul. I then went back inside to dry off and warm up, sitting by the pool, reading my book for a few minutes.

Tasty lunch

I hardly need to say that this is one of my favourite days of the year. It really is one day where I don’t have to be accountable to anyone else. And more so, I don’t even have to be accountable to myself (one of the hardest taskmasters I know). The only time I feel remotely lonely is at lunchtime, where I sit at a table all alone, while others around me talk, laugh, drink wine and pull crackers – on my birthday – such a cheek! The food is delicious by the way, a mix of the healthy and not so healthy. I just wish my belly had a little more capacity at times like these.  I leave the table feeling full and ready to dive back into my book.

Time to relax

Complimentary tea and coffee are served in the conservatory after lunch, so I sit comfortably with my feet up, snuggled in a blanket, sipping green tea. And I read. During the daytime. Pure Indulgence!

Then to top it all off, I went for a 30 min lie down in the ‘slumber room’ – for digestive reasons of course.


One of the daily highlights is the beauty treatment, which was mid-afternoon for me this year. It’s fair to say I’d been a little disappointed the last couple of years and also slightly annoyed by the appointment interrupting my otherwise clear day. I had planned not to book a treatment this year, opting for a massage at another time and place that I’d value more, but they were running a special offer at the time I booked. I have to say I was not disappointed by the Comfort Blanket treatment – an exfoliating scrub, followed by a massage. The therapist was truly lovely, explained everything and checked periodically on the pressure of the massage and temperature, which I often find lacking. After this, I was then escorted to relax further in the Post Treatment Lounge, surrounded by people in a similar state of relaxation.

Once recovered, I had but 30 mins left to relax in the spa area – trying the different heated ‘rooms’, humidities, temperatures, smells etc. – before I had to shower be on my way. This was lovely and relaxing, but alas I was already thinking about the journey home.


Overall, I had a wonderful day: relaxing, pampering and being accountable to no one. It really does feel good taking time out to do a little bit of what you fancy. Very restorative.

A final note to self – check the calendar next year before booking to deconflict with the school Carol Service. It’s amazing how all the effort I spend relaxing can be undone so quickly when trying to beat the traffic in rush hour.


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