Recently, I got a promotion to director at work, and when I told people I had to hold my tongue so much when people said, “aren’t you lucky”, I nearly bit it off. The truth is: I am not remotely lucky. I joined my advertising agency as a junior executive 4 years ago and I have worked my way up through Senior, Manager and now to Director. Notice the verb in that sentence…. WORKED.
We won a “household” name client that started with us in January, and I have been put in charge of them. For six months, I have worked like I have never worked before. You might think that because I work from home three days a week, it means I get three easy days, but it doesn’t work like that. Any “easy day” at work is inevitably followed by two weeks that are so busy I feel like I don’t know which way is up.
Safe to say after six months of early starts and late finishes, I was READY for a spa weekend.
Sometimes, I manage to do something nice with one of my Mum friends alone for the day. I was going up to see my friend and my Godson, but he went to his dads the weekend leaving us free to do whatever we want. One activity (well I say “activity”) that I will always LOVE is the spa. Call me a Princess, spoiled brat, whatever I don’t care. The spa and holidays are my favourite parts of life in general (aside from eating REALLY good food).
Lifehouse Spa in Frinton has been my favourite spa for a long time. Set in English heritage gardens, it has a thermal pool and a salt inhalation room, as well as all the usual spa amenities. I have been to a fair few spas, but most of them have been in the South East of England. When my friend suggested we go to the spa at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest, I had no idea they had a spa or that you could visit for the day. I don’t really know why, because she once managed to book us a hotel room that didn’t even have windows, but I trusted my friend to know her own area, booked us a day and a treatment each and didn’t think much of it.
Then when I got the confirmation email, I realised how big the spa was. It even had a map.
Yes, the SPA had a map.
Two floors of pure relaxation. It was like the equivalent of a theme park for kids, but for adults. My physical and mental health were both in absolute tatters by the time I tiredly sat down on the EMR train to Chesterfield. It was Jubilee weekend and I was more than glad to be travelling AWAY from Kings Cross because the world and his wife seemed to be travelling TO Kings Cross. I think the Queen is a cute little old lady and that, but I can’t say “Jubilee fever” hit me as much as I had seemed to hit the fully grown man on platform 10 wearing a cardboard crown. I sat back and waited for the tea trolly. One of the main reasons I always say I love EMR is because you can buy a cup of tea on board.
We had a good couple of days with my Godson then on the Saturday we dropped him to meet his dad, and then we headed off to Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest. The spa there, Aqua Sana, is its own entity, and day packages start at £129 which is really cool as you get breakfast, lunch, soft drinks and teas and coffees and then a glass of champagne each, as well as a bag to keep forever. As I mentioned before, I am a little bit of a professional when it comes to spa weekends/day, so I managed to get the times for things perfect. We would arrive, have our breakfast (which was included in the spa package price), then our treatments, then lunch, then we would have the entire afternoon to explore all the rooms and the spa.
Although I technically do not drink anymore, I have always said I will make allowances for nice champagne, and that is exactly what we were welcomed with when we went into the restaurant, as well as a choice of pastries or granola and Greek yoghurt (I had the granola) for breakfast, which was a nice surprise as I didn’t realise breakfast was also included in our day spa package. My friend got a massage, but I am not too keen on people touching me, so I got an Elemis Facial as a little treat. Sitting here, typing this out two weeks after the facial, I cam say that indeed it did work and made my face a little bit softer and tighter.
Feeling refreshed after our treatments, we met up for lunch in the restaurant. I know what you are thinking, we haven’t even gone into the spa yet, the suspense was killing us as well, but we needed to eat. My friend is a vegetarian, so we got the sharing veggie platter which had things like Focaccia, stuffed vine leaves, roasted tomatoes, and olives. There was quite a lot there, enough for us to both be full.
Then the time FINALLY came for us to explore the two-floor spa. When you first enter, there is a big, central, heated pool that is basically outdoors, and all the other rooms with saunas etc in are built around that. It wasn’t particularly cold that day, so we did take a swim, however out of the corner of my eye I noticed something a little more enticing. Nestled in the trees, there are two outdoor hot tubs. If you need to relax, sitting outside in heated bubbles looking at a bit of nature will certainly help. As we relaxed, we did notice everyone going into a room that was up some stairs, so we went to investigate.
I can handle the heat quite well in a spa, so when we saw that the stairs led to a treehouse sauna, we went in to give it a try. The sauna had floor to ceiling windows to give panoramic views of the forest. People tend to think of me as a bit of a diva, but I am honestly so outdoorsy, and I LOVE things like this. After that we were wandering around just looking at rooms, and we found what was to become one of my favourite rooms. It was a log cabin, and it had a sofa that went all the way around the room. It was slightly heated, and there was a “campfire” in the middle. It was so relaxing, and because it wasn’t as hot as the sauna, we chilled in there for a bit and read our books.
Next up we used the foot spas, which for me were well needed because I walk LOADS the days I go into the office. After having a little bit of a rest in the individual pod campfire bit, we decided to make use of the different saunas, steam rooms and pool. The “Alpine” steam room had eucalyptus in it, which was a bit strong for me, so I found another steam room and spent some time alternating between that, the “lava sauna”. I also made sure I took a turn in the salt steam room and the “Nordic” sauna because there is no point in going if you aren’t going to try EVERYTHING.
The showers and the changing rooms were also lovely, and spotless too. They even include toiletries such as shower gel, shampoo and conditioner so that you can wash your hair.
If you want to find out more about what is available at Sherwood Forest Center Parcs Aqua Sana, you can check out the floorplan here. If you want to see more visual content, feel free to check out my friend’s TikTok she made of the spa day.
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