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
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!
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!
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 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?!