This is my last blog post before having the baby and what better way to sign off, than telling you all about our recent Pregnancy Retreat at Ribby Hall Spa Hotel!
It has been a stressful few weeks, with all of the extra appointments due to the baby measuring below the 10th centile - we have been going to the hospital for check-ups multiple times a week and it was starting to get a bit overwhelming and exhausting.
A couple of weeks ago, Dan and I had got to the point where we really needed a break, so when Ribby Hall Spa Hotel contacted us to see if we wanted to try out their new Pregnancy Retreat, I jumped at the chance!
The retreat was for two days, so it meant spending our first night away from Alfred EVER. I know a lot of people have done it by the time their child is two years old, but we've never felt the time was right, until this year. With the new baby arriving next month, we knew this was our only chance to spend a night away from home, for a long while!
On the day we left, we got up nice and early and said our goodbyes to Alfred. The drive there was EPICALLY SLOW. We got re-routed multiple times on the motorway and I had to keep stopping at service stations (pregnancy problems).
Dan and I live in Essex and Ribby Hall is in Lancashire, so even without the delays it is a long drive, but the journey was worth it!
The staff were very kind and accommodating and knew we could be late. As soon as we'd arrived and checked in, I was whisked off in a bus to a Pregnancy Hypnotherapy and Deep Relaxation class, whilst Dan got to try out the Aqua Thermal Journey at the Spa.
The Deep Relaxation class was run by the lovely Gemma Webster. The room was dark, with little lights like stars on the ceiling and everyone in the room laid down on mats, with a pillow and a gorgeous heavy blanket.
Jo talked us through the hypnotherapy visualisations in a calm, slow voice and it really helped me to relax and connect with the baby. I almost fell asleep, it was so relaxing!
After the class, I went to the Spa to get the Elemis Peaceful Pregnancy massage, whilst Dan got the Deeper Than Deep Hot Stones Massage.
The woman who did my massage was very friendly and instantly put me at ease and the massage was AMAZING.
Because it's a pregnancy massage, you lie on a cushioned bed, that molds to every bump in your body.
It was incredibly comfortable - I want one at home! Maybe then I will sleep and the pregnancy insomnia will go away... one can only hope!
Your body goes through a lot of strain during pregnancy and this was such a treat, with the bonus of being moisturised with the Elemis Japanese Camellia Oil. It was perfect for my achy body and again, I think I might have fallen asleep for one minute (noticing a theme here?).
Dan loved his massage too, as well as the Aqua Thermal Journey. To give you a bit of extra information, the Aqua Thermal Journey is a series of hot tubs, hydrotherapy pools, foot spas, saunas and steam rooms, in a roman-esque style layout. You can make your way around each station in your own time and enjoy the different heat treatments. There is even an ice bucket, where you pull a chain and ice falls over your head, if you want to take your treatment one step further. As Dan is a bit of a nutter, he did the ice bucket multiple times... If I had had the chance to use the Aqua Thermal Journey, I think I would have given that a miss (I'm such a wuss with cold things).
After our massages, we made our way back to our hotel room. My favourite thing about our room was actually the shower. It was one of those ones with a big surface area, that jet water from directly above you on the ceiling - it was so nice and I didn't want to get out... it made up for me not being able to do the Aqua Thermal Journey (in my mind anyway haha).
Another lovely thing about the rooms, was that there was fresh milk and bottles of mineral water in the fridge. It was a very welcome detail after a day of travelling.
For dinner that night, we were treated to a delicious two course meal. The dishes were very tasty and it was lovely to be able to sit, eat and chat quietly together, without a two year old trying to run laps around the other diners.
One of the big bonuses about this trip, was that my gorgeous friend Hannah and her husband Ben were also there!
They are expecting their second baby soon too and it was brilliant to be able to catch up and talk about anything and everything with them. We got drinks after dinner (mocktails for me and Hannah) and stayed chatting until far too late in the evening.
That night, Dan and I were completely ridiculous and didn't sleep very well because we missed Alfred! I suppose it was strange being away from him and all of the extra stress with this pregnancy has actually made me more clingy with him.
He was fine, sleeping at home with my mum, of course.
It's always the way, isn't it? You moan about never getting enough sleep and then when you have the chance to sleep, you can't!
Luckily, we got some sleep in the end and managed to get downstairs in time for breakfast. I am SO glad that we made it, because the breakfast was my favourite meal of the whole retreat! There was a variety of cooked breakfast options and whilst you waited for it to be prepared, there was a continental buffet. The pastries and waffles were amazing and our cooked breakfasts were super delicious.
After breakfast, we checked out and Dan went to the Spa again, whilst I made my way down to the yoga studio, for a pregnancy yoga class with instructor, Jo Eastham.
It was nice to get my body moving and energised, ready for the day, as well as connect with the baby some more and just focus and be in the moment. We did a variety of movements, all connected to our breathing and also used a birthing/yoga ball for a lot of the sequences. I was really pleased about this, as I have been using my birthing ball a lot at home recently, to help get the baby in the right position and to take the strain off my back.
The photo above makes me giggle, because we are both holding our bellies. I don't know about anyone else, but I can't stop holding my baby belly at the moment, like it might run away from me or something!
Anyway, back to the retreat.
After the yoga class, Hannah, Ben and I made our way up to the hotel to meet Dan for lunch.
The meal was two gorgeous courses again and we took our time eating and enjoying the good company and conversation.
Once we finished, we all said our goodbyes and Dan and I made our long journey home (which wasn't as bad as on the way there, but still a good five hours!!)
It was a wonderful mini break, with lots of fun and relaxing things to do. The itinerary for the two days had just the right amount of planned events and personal relaxation time - I also loved not having to plan anything and just turn up and be told where I needed to be.
The facilities were amazingly clean and the rooms comfortable. One of the best things about Ribby Spa Hotel in general, is the staff. They are all really friendly and brilliant at their jobs. This is something that makes a huge difference to hotel stays and really stands out when everyone is helpful and jolly.
I would definitely recommend staying there and do look into their retreat packages - they are so worth it.
To check out the Pregnancy Retreat at Ribby Hall Spa Hotel, click the link below;
Ribby Hall Pregnancy Retreat