Much Needed Girly Weekend

I was supposed to blog about this last week but in true ‘me’ style – I came down with a rotten virus thing that wiped me out for most of the week, ugh!  Anyway, back on my feet now – and back on here.

So last weekend, I got to have a much needed girly weekend with some of my favourite people in the world.  Since I’ve been pregnant it’s been go go go, work work work with lots of hospital trips thrown in.  Not much time to relax.

I also haven’t seen the girls since May – and we wanted a meet-up before I get too fat to enjoy anything!

Before I go any further I’ll explain who the girls are!  They are my best friends from uni.  We all lived together for two years in Leicester in a fairly grotty house that we shared with a family of rats, but our house parties were legendary!

Anyway we graduated waaaay back in 2004 but have stayed firm friends ever since.  And I miss them everyday.

We wanted a night away somewhere that was fairly easy for us all to get to – with one up north in Manchester, one in Cambridge, another in South London and me, South East London.  We also wanted a bit of relaxation, pampering and good food – so chose the wonderful Champneys in Henlow, Bedfordshire.

I’ve been there once before, and also to their Forest Mere site, but none of the girls had ever experienced the Champneys treatment before so I was excited for them to see what it’s all about.

The weekend started on Friday night when I met Hannah off the train from Manchester.  We went for a gorgeous catch up dinner with my fiance Jay at Bill’s in Soho.  A lot of eating and a LOT of talking!  (I had the mac and cheese by the way which I’ve been thinking about ever since – amazing!)

Saturday morning, Hannah and I packed up the car and headed off to Henlow – ready for some proper TLC.

The brilliant thing about Champneys Henlow, is how it surprises you when you realise you’re almost there, because it’s hidden away like a little gem – and then suddenly you’re greeted with this – it’s STUNNING

 

 

The beautiful Champneys, Henlow

The beautiful Champneys, Henlow

 

 

the house 3

 

 

You feel like royalty rocking up here for the weekend!

You feel like royalty rocking up here for the weekend!

 

From the moment you arrive you really are treated like royalty.  The staff are just so lovely, and well-used to dealing with gaggles of excited ladies who haven’t seen each other for ages!

After packing us up with welcome packs, goodies and a load of instructions – we went off to find our rooms, which are just as stunning as the rest of the house.  And EVERYTHING is thought of – a fruit bowl, beautiful smelling toiletries and of course the obligatory Champneys white fluffy bath robe and slippers!

Before you’ve ever been to a proper spa, the idea of walking round for a weekend in just a dressing gown kind of freaks you out a bit – it did me the first time.  But you’d actually look weird if you WEREN’T wearing one – because everyone else is!  You even go to breakfast and lunch in them – honestly by the end of the stay it feels odd to wear actual clothes!

So after the excitement of realising that we had a whole 24 hours together – we went our separate ways for our treatments (can’t go there and not be indulged in some way).

I opted for the Beautiful Bump treatment (£55 for almost an hour of pure heaven).  When you’re pregnant there are so few things you’re allowed to have because certain oils and massage techniques can be bad for the pregnancy so I was so excited that I could actually have a treatment that is tailored for me and bump.  Right at this point I must confess that I was SO  relaxed (almost asleep) during my 55 minutes that I can’t recall exactly what my lovely lady used, so I’ve cheated and nicked the description off the website!

‘Relaxing, pampering for expectant mothers, your treatment starts with a soothing foot soak and back massage. This is followed by a localised collagen boosting body mask enriched with olive, shea, mango and cocoa butters. A relieving foot, leg and scalp massage completes this wonderful pre-natal treatment.’

Couldn’t have said it better myself!  It really was just so gorgeous and lovely and I actually want another one before I give birth!

Oh, almost forgot, I got to bring home this amazing box of Blissful Bump treats!

In the box you get; room spray, stretch mark body oil, shower cream, body butter - all safe and paraben free for beautiful bumps :)

In the box you get; room spray, stretch mark body oil, shower cream, body butter – all safe and paraben free :)

After a couple of hours of treatments / swimming pool / generally pottering around, we all met up again for tea and cake – be rude not too!

From left to right; Lyndsey, Elaine, Me - in the drawing room having tea, cake and erm, gossip

From left to right; Lyndsey, Elaine, Me – in the drawing room having tea, cake and erm, gossip

 

 

From left to right; Hannah, Elaine, Lyndsey, Me - in the conservatory. Which we soon realised is a quiet zone - probably not the best place for us!

From left to right; Hannah, Elaine, Lyndsey, Me – in the conservatory. 

 

The brilliant thing about a place like Champneys is – you can do as much or as little as you like.  When I’ve been before I’ve done exercises classes, used the gym and even gone for walks and cycles.  But I think when you’re with the girls and you only have 24 hours AND you haven’t seen each other for ages – you want to spend that precious time catching up with each other and chilling out. Which is precisely what we did.

One of the things I was most excited about for the weekend, was being able to have  proper catch-up over dinner.  I knew from previous experience that Champneys food is to die for.  Not literally actually because it’s uber healthy! They tell you exactly what is in everything – and advise you on what you should be eating for a balanced lifestyle.  They also do loads of veggie stuff which is great for me, because veggie food can still be a real challenge even in 2014.  Alcohol isn’t on offer during the day – which actually feels totally appropriate while you’re there, but in the evening you can have wine or champagne.  None for me obviously, lemonade will have to do for another few months.

We had the loveliest catch up.  The best of friends are the ones where you always feel like you’re home when you’re with them I think – does that make sense?!  It’s been so special growing up with these ladies – right from being nervous little Freshers at Uni to being career women with weddings, babies and all sorts of adventures thrown in.  (Sorry I’m gushing a bit now, just love them to bits!)

The only time we wore actual clothes! Left to right; Hannah, Me, Lyndsey, Elaine x

The only time we wore actual clothes! Left to right; Hannah, Me, Lyndsey, Elaine x

 

 

Left to right; Hannah, Me, Lyndsey x

Left to right; Hannah, Me, Lyndsey x

 

The rest of the weekend consisted of – yep you guessed it – more catching up over breakfast and lunch before we had to all shoot off back to our busy lives.

It really is the perfect place if you need a little gettaway – with your girl friends, for a chilled out hen-do, or with your mum or partner.  I even know people that go alone just for a few days R&R.

It didn’t feel like long enough together, which is always the downside.  So I think we’re maybe planning another trip next year after I’ve had the baby.  I’m thinking Jay can do Daddy Day Care and me and the girls can go get pampered again!

Sounds fair to me?!

Charlie

x

Champneys details here

Due Date

I don’t think I would have remembered that today is my 2nd due date, if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been at home in bed all day with a stinky cold.  Scrolling through Facebook I realised that today is Baby Loss Awareness Day.  It then dawned on me that it is also the due date of our baby girl that we lost earlier this year.

October is actually a bit of a crappy month as far as due dates go.  Our first baby was due 5th October, so the two are very close together.  I did have a bit of a moment 10 days ago when I stopped to think about it.  Had our first baby lived, it would be 1 now, and life would be so different.

But had the past been different, then so would my present.  I wouldn’t be carrying this baby now, who although I am yet to meet – love with every inch of my being.  This pregnancy has been so different.  I’ve been privileged enough to watch my tummy grow week by week, to see wonderful scans and to feel every reassuring kick letting me know that he or she is thriving in there.

Pregnancy is different after loss though.  I am different.  My world is different.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t suffer some sort of anxiety that this pregnancy may end badly.  I worry that by blogging, and telling the world about my pregnancy – I am putting a curse on it. But I want to do it – to give others hope.  The other day I bought baby’s first outfit.  Even though I smiled and politely chit-chatted with the sales assistant about due dates, inside  I was dying.  I was secretly overcome by the familiar feeling of panic and paranoia, that somehow the action of buying a simple baby grow could  jeopardise the future health of my precious baby.

I think all women, loss or no loss feel anxiety during pregnancy. It’s natural, and apparently part of Mother Nature’s way of preparing us for a lifetime of anxieties as a parent!  But pregnancy anxiety after a loss goes deeper, it’s rooted within us.  Knitted within our layers of flesh and consciousness.  I recall reading a brilliant blog from an Australian lady (can’t remember her name, how bad of me) who described pregnancy after loss as lacking ‘the Hallmark factor’ and I couldn’t describe it better myself.  Despite being happy and elated, the gloss has gone.  I fear things like baby showers, rather than get excited by them.  But I know that I have to try and embrace the milestones, rather than fear them – or this pregnancy will be gone in the blink of an eye, and that is another reason that I chose to blog about my journey and experiences, and face the things that scare me.

One thing that is for sure though, the loss of my pregnancies has changed me so much as a person, I’d say for the better.  I am calmer, more centred and believe I have a deeper level of understanding for others going through a difficult time.  I have discovered that many, many women are truly amazing.  Every day on Instagram and blogs like mine – I see women who’ve gone through loss after loss, but still manage to offer words of comfort to others.  One day I will write a whole blog entry on some of the angels I’ve met along the way on this journey.  Some of my relationships have also changed for the worst.  I now know that is inevitable and it no longer upsets me the way it did.  Not everyone has the emotional resources to reach out to a friend in need.  People are just different.

Baby Loss Awareness Day and Month is important.  It must be easy for those who’ve never been affected to just skip past the Facebook posts – but the fact is 1 in 4 women will lose a baby in their lifetime, which means most people will know someone who has suffered or is suffering.  Baby loss, no matter how early, isn’t just a loss of cells.  It’s a loss of hopes, dreams and love.  It’s a deep, deep pain that is quite literally indescribable.  Yes the pain fades, but it never leaves.

If you know someone that has been affected – maybe just ask how they are every once in a while.  The seconds it takes from you – will stay with them forever.

Charlie

x

Click here for support from Saying Goodbye

 

Image courtesy of Saying Goodbye

Image courtesy of Saying Goodbye

 

 

my star - that reminds me everyday x

my star – that reminds me everyday x

 

 

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