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Pic courtesy of Champneys website

I think the period after Christmas but before the first Monday of the new year when everyone goes back to work is one of my favourite times of year. There’s none of the frenzy of before Christmas, and it’s an opportunity to hunker down and take stock before the good intentions but general greyness of January takes over.

This year I eased myself particularly slowly into 2015 by taking my mum and I up to Champneys in Henlow, Bedfordshire for a spa break of the final weekend of the festive period. My mum was marking a special birthday and I thought a post-Christmas re-charge at Champneys would be a good way to celebrate.

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The spa is located in a beautiful old Georgian manor house surrounded by several acres of park and farmland (you can watch the local sheep grazing while you lounge by the pool) which has been extended to accommodate the facilities. We were lucky enough to be staying in one of the big rooms in the main house which was beautifully furnished with antique furniture and had gorgeous views out towards the house’s river and wier. Once we’d unwrapped our welcome packages and donned our robes (Champneys robes are always as cosy and fluffy as you’d hope) we headed down to the spa for an afternoon of relaxing by the pool, sweating out some December toxins in the sauna and sipping tea and green juices in the lounge.

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I was seriously impressed by the food on offer at Henlow. Dinner was a range of healthy but delicious options, with huge amounts of information on each dish’s content and nutritional value and a wonderful selection of organic wine to accompany if you chose. Although Mama South London Yogi and I undid any notions of being virtuous by celebrating her birthday with a bottle of champagne and handmade chocolates!

On the Sunday I decided to make sure I scheduled in a yoga class, not least because since finishing my YTT three weeks previously, despite all good intentions, I’d actually failed to set foot on my mat all through Christmas. Oops! Champneys has loads of classes and activities on every day so you can do as much or as little as you like. Once you take in to account mealtimes, classes and treatment bookings it’s almost easy to forget to schedule in any time for just flopping by the pool! The class was an Iyengar class, a style I’d done very little of before, but the focus on anatomical structure and correct placement was the best way to get back into my practice after a few weeks break. And as a newly qualified teacher, it was hugely useful to see how the woman leading the class worked with a wide range of levels and a room full of people that she’d never seen before.


I’d booked myself in for a seaweed wrap, which was one of the best treatments I’ve ever had. My therapist was super efficient (no muddy mess anywhere!) and gave me a wonderful scalp and foot massage while the wrap was working on my skin.

Henlow is only 35 minutes out of London by train but felt like a world away from the bustle of the city. I left feeling perfectly re-energized and ready to see what 2015 had to throw at me. (Hopefully a return visit!)