Today, is my seven year wedding anniversary 🙂 seven years?!?! That time really has flown.
If you read my post last week you’ll know I went to great lengths to ensure Mo and I celebrated in style, booking us a luxury stay at The Malvern Spa Hotel. I wanted to wash away memories of ruining last year’s surprise (when I sun-bleached our wedding album) and have been excited about our trip away for months.
Well, I can now tell you that this year’s anniversary saga was yet another catastrophic event.
Ok maybe I’m being overly dramatic there, but let’s just say it didn’t go to plan.
I’ll start from the beginning….
Early last week I had an allergic reaction. Which triggered a headache. Which caused a fever. Which brought on stress. That then caused ulcers. Which hindered me from eating. Causing loss of energy. Increasing said stress levels. Bringing on more ulcers. Which eventually led to further dental complications. Even drinking became painful. And caused the vicious cycle of headaches to start again. This all started on Tuesday so by Friday I’d had enough and made an emergency trip to the doctors. I was told these were all symptoms of severe stress (which I probably got from being ILL) and they advised to me to completely switch off and once my stress levels reduced… the symptons would start to disappear.
Well I didn’t feel great at all but Mo and I both decided that if rest and relaxation was what I needed, then a spa break at The Malvern Spa Hotel couldn’t have come at a better time.
So off we drove to Herefordshire. I say we, but I didn’t really contribute much (or at all) to the driving. I slept most of the way down, waking as we hit the M5. Perfect timing as it happens, the view as you drive into Malvern is quite something. Those hills really do make the most spectacular backdrop, even if the skies were looking a little grey.
Right I’m all about honesty, so trust me when I say – do not be put off by this hotel’s location. Why do I say that? Well you’ll find it’s on a retail park. Not at all what we were expecting and even when you pull up, it really doesn’t look that great from the outside either.
I felt my stress level lift a mini-notch as I was worried this was not going to be the relaxing surprise I had planned for hubby, but I made a silent prayer that all would be ok and we headed in, an hour earlier then expected.
I am very pleased to share that the boxy outside is in no way a reflection of what’s going on inside. *Insert huge audible sigh of relief*
First of all it smelt amazing… I instantly felt better. It was pristine, the familiar sight of clean white towels and gowns lined the area behind reception and the staff were helpful and welcoming. They took our luggage, gave us our robes and slippers and off we trotted on a mini tour of the facilities.
Tour ticked off, robes put on, with an hour or so before our first treatments we decided to have a light snack. Food looked good! I was still having severe gum and ulcer issues but I was so hungry after not being able to eat anything the night before I decided I would attempt to fight through the pain.
Orders taken, we admired the landscapes on the restaurants walls until one of the waitresses arrived offering fresh bread rolls. I know it seems like a really weird thing to mention but it reminded me of our honeymoon as I literally ate fresh bread rolls every day before our meal in Morocco (yes, bread is one of my weaknesses) and I instantly picked out a soft white bun. Oh it was so fresh and smelt so good and the butter melted the instant I scraped it on. Never has one bite caused me so much happiness and so much sadness at the same time. I wanted to eat it SO BADLY, yet I was in too much pain to finish.
The fish finger sandwiches arrived, thankfully on even softer, fluffy white bread making it slightly easier to eat. You’d have thought I would have played it safe and ordered soup – but I REALLY wanted that fish finger sandwich. And I made sure I powered through as much as I could. The fish was lightly battered and not too crispy, sauce wasn’t too heavy on the capers and the fresh orange juice washed it down nicely.
Let’s just say every bite was worth any bit of pain I went through.
The spa treatment rooms are in two different areas. I headed off past the manicure stations for my facial. After discussing the treatment, checking I had no allergies, asking if I had any product preferences Bree left me to get settled.
I had asked for the heated blanket to stay on as I was still feeling a bit under the weather and I snuggled into the massage bed ready for my facial. One of the first things that stand out here is how insanely comfortable the treatment room beds are. The most comfortable ones I’ve come across – and I’ve been to my fair share of spas. I instantly felt better.
Selected treatments: Malvern Express Facial; ESPA Full Body Massage and a Manicure.
It was a Saturday so as expected, there were quite a few people at the spa that day, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t enjoy the facilities. There are two hydrotherapy pools – one inside with a swim through tunnel that takes you to the outdoor one (Ok so technically there’s just the one pool). There’s also a steam room, sauna, salt grotto, foot spa and like every good spa a total relaxation room.
I also loved the area by the spa reception desk. A central skylight flooded the room with light, there was a tranquil marble fountain surrounded by olive trees and cushioned chairs and recliners.
We booked dinner for half 7. It wasn’t too busy when we arrived, but within half an hour of being there that soon changed. The restaurant was a popular choice that night and the staff were run off their feet. However – at no point did that affect the service we received. The dining room was a well-oiled machine and the quality of the food was superb.
I tried to choose better suited dishes in the evening, to suit my pain issues. I ordered a soup and pasta and stayed away from attempting bread. Even when Mo was enjoying his rosemary spiced fresh bread roll, I played it sensible and waited patiently for my soup.
After a (kinda) busy day I was looking forward to an early night. And after finding our zen in the spa… the journey definitely continued once we were back in the room. Tones of grey and midnight green, blackout curtains – a very good call – squeaky clean bathroom, a choice of pillows… I wasted no time getting into my pyjamas and snuggling up in bed.
For the first time in a long time I slept through most of the night.
With checkout at 11am, we decided to robe up and head to breakfast before getting ourselves ready to go.
Sunday Morning Breakfast
My heart sank when I saw the breakfast menu. There was so much I wanted but alas I couldn’t face a thing. I encouraged Mo not to let my loss of appetite stop him from indulging. He chose a full English with vegetarian sausage, and a couple of freshly baked mini pain au chocolats. It’s very clear that so much of what’s on offer here is homemade and it makes one heck of a difference.
Feeling quite disheartened by all my sickness issues, Mo and I headed out for a short stroll in the Malvern Hills. If getting better meant switching off from the world, then being outdoors with my boots on is probably the best treatment.
Just a short drive from the hotel was the North Quarry car park, a mere ten minutes. From the advice sheet in the hotel, this was labelled as one of the less crowded options.
If you’re worried about where to go there are many, many walking routes on the hills. The paths snake all the way round, up and down. We headed towards North Hill – we didn’t make it to the top, bearing in mind I hadn’t had much to eat all weekend. Not that I was going to let that stop us from getting to a point with a good view. Food or no food I wanted to climb just a bit of that hill.
I wanted to see all the wild flowers, follow the butterfly’s and say hi to the many well behaved dogs (and humans) on the way up.
Even from North Quarry car park you don’t have to walk far to see some good views. Twenty minutes up the path and I found my clearing, bench with a view. It was bliss. Malvern is a truly beautiful looking town and I loved that as we watched the scenery laid still in front of us, every so often a train would shimmy it’s way across in a perfectly straight line along the horizon.
Afternoon Tea at Colwall Park
After a morning in the hills, I was definitely ready to attempt to eat again. Our next stop was the Colwall Park Hotel, again not far from where we were.
It was fairly quiet when we arrived and although we were again slightly early, we were allowed to relax at our table in the dining room. I love a good old country hotel and this was exactly that. Lots of original features and all the décor was in keeping with building, although it looked like it was ‘modern traditional.’
Stand outs from afternoon tea? The smoked salmon sandwich was my favourite from the selection – but the cakes were definitely the star of the show. My mum makes the most amazing carrot cake in the world, but the one here at Colwall was a pretty good rival. It wasn’t overly sweet and the texture was very light and not at all dry. Felt like eating clouds.
The staff at both hotels were really understanding, especially as I had been feeling so guilty for not being able to finish my meals. It may not have cured me (yes, I am still suffering) but it’s definitely stopped all the headaches and fever issues I was experiencing… so I’m hoping that means the end of this frustrating sickness is near.
All in all it was a lovely weekend, I only wish I hadn’t been so ill!! I will admit, I did have a few meltdowns out of frustration but Mo and I did laugh it off as this was exactly what we should’ve expected from our weekend away.
I mean, it would have been so boring of us to have just a normal smooth sailing weekend away. We’ve explored 17 countries together, travelled from one end of the world to the other and near enough every journey has had some crazy story to tell.
Serenading street sellers, Getting lost, dealing with vomit, waiting all day for an event that wasn’t till the next day, missing boats, disappointing tourist spots, extreme weather, kayak fights, making new friends, falling out of love with takeaways and so much more!
We often joke about visiting a pharmacy on every holiday (on our trip to Thailand we went to one nearly every day LOL) and I suppose after seven years of travelling together… what’s one more trip to the chemist?
One of my favourite things to do when we go away is try out the food and it was definitely the element I missed out on most this weekend.
I suppose this means once I am better… I’ll just have to go back, right? 😉
Happy Anniversary Mr P, thank you for putting up with my dramas time and time again!
(not just talking about this weekend)
*** Thank you to the Malvern Spa Hotel and Colwall Park Hotel for their hospitality over the weekend and for inviting us to stay. All spa treatments were purchased and of course as always, all opinions are 100% my own. In line with my new keeping it real policies, none of the photos have been edited. ***