I’m a tomboy, not really a “Spa” kind of a girl. I’ve never been waxed, well apart from once when I was dragged kicking and screaming to the brand new local salon when I was only about 18, just to try it out. The cheapest thing you could have inflicted on yourself at the time was an eyebrow wax so I went for that….it hurt, a lot, needless to say, I never returned. I’ve never had a body contouring spray tan, an oxygenating facial or a hot stone massage… no bleaching, plucking or skin smoothing, as you can probably tell, I’m a bit of a fish out of water in the world of beauty/spas/salons etc.
The closest I get is the gym, the one I occasionally visit, when the mood (guilt) takes me, has some spa facilities, a little beauty salon, a sauna, steam room and a hot tub. I’m usually found “old lady swimming” in the pool and day-dreaming about what I’m going to have for lunch when I’ve completed my arduous exercise regime. On occasion I’ve become aware of small groups of girls in their late teens/early 20’s wearing fluffy white bath robes, giggling and hogging the hot tub, my after swim treat…Grrrr…!! Or, even worse, overly affectionate couples, also robed up and blatantly flouting the “No Petting” rules clearly stated on the large sign on the wall, ewwwwww….. noooo, not in the sauna people!!!!
I think its fair to say I’m a wee bit uncomfortable with the whole beautification/forced relaxation industry. I’m regularly horrified as crazy Zumba lady from the gym drops her towel in the changing room and proceeds to engage me in a conversation about the temperature of the pool or some such nonsense, whilst aggressively drying her bits. My changing room prudishness is reducing the longer I am frequenting the gym, I’ve at least stopped hiding in the toilet cubical to change, but this typically body shy Brit draws the line at unnecessarily enthusiastic displays of body parts that are usually covered by underwear.
Whining aside I decide to risk my embarrassment and possibly my dignity and take the spa day plunge. A close girl friend has been feeling pretty rotten of late and we concluded over tea and cinnamon buns, that a proper girly day/night away with some spa stuff, good food and maybe a little prosecco was well deserved. We hit Groupon hard!!!
- Should be no more than 90 mins drive away.
- Must have a swimming pool with a good selection of loungers surrounding it.
- Nice looking bedrooms with massive TV’s.
- A bar
Rowhill Grange was the winner, and very lovely it was too. I’m always a bit suspicious when I get such a good deal, but I was wrong to be cynical this time, leafy green surroundings, plush room, nice lunch, all good so far. We had our treatments booked for 4pm, I’d plumped for a full-body Swedish massage and was, although not really knowing what to expect, actually quite looking forward to it. We sat down in the dimly lit fragrant reception area and were handed the obligatory health and safety forms, ensuring that the spa takes no liability should you spontaneously combust during a shiatsu head massage or waste away to nothing midst your seaweed body wrap. I’d been worrying about the form filling part, I’ve not done anything like this before, let alone after 2 rounds of cancer surgeries and meds, which I know can limit the treatments available to me, here we go….
The look on the poor girls face when she looked at my form was a picture, there was barely enough room on the A4 folded sheet to elaborate on my past and present conditions as the document requested. We got through it together, I told her where she could and couldn’t poke and prod and my lovely therapist did her very best to relax a mildly freaked out spa virgin with some lymphatic drainage issues… mental note, next time have a bloody manicure!!
Although the massage wasn’t as soothing as it might have been, through no fault of my lovely therapist, it was a good experience. The atmosphere is calming, the nice smells and low lighting all add to the indulgent ambience, and the company, the selection of bubbly pools to splash about in, loungers to lounge on and magazines to skim through, more than made up for it.
Typically I really enjoyed the people watching aspect, a favourite pastime of mine wherever I am, I was peeping over my slightly damp copy of Grazia…. Who comes to a spa like this?…. Well on my day at the spa, you have the other women doing the very same as us, a secret mid-week treat away from the office, house-work, husband, kids or all of the above, you then had a hen-do of very glamorous ladies in their 30’s who were sporting their brightest tropical printed “Marbs” style beachwear round the poolside and were dressed for a posh cocktail party at dinner, I wore my cosy velour onesie and flip flops, Oh the shame… The overly affectionate couples had also been let in apparently, I know you’re all probably far too deeply in love to give a shit, but lust doesn’t come with a free invisibility cloak unfortunately, we can still see you, so please read the fucking sign; some business types tapping away on their laptops and taking full advantage of the hotel facilities and generous expense accounts, and lastly an extremely content looking woman, all alone with a pile of books and a never ending glass of fizz!
In conclusion it’s never going to be a regular thing for me, or my dream way to spend a weekend, but I may just take a peek at Groupon every now and again and when reality is getting a little too real for me, I think I could be tempted to dig out my pineapple print bikini, swing by WHSmiths for a stack of glossies and take up residence on a heated marble sun lounger somewhere!