champneys tring

Factory reset

When 48 hours away feels like a fortnight on holiday

I went to Champneys last week for a long awaited treat to celebrate my friend’s 50th and, as I packed, I mentally ran through possible posts I could write for this. Should I write about my treatments? Maybe make it a travel piece? Perhaps I’d hate it, having never been to a ‘health farm’ before. Would I feel Covid secure? Was it even safe to go? So many questions.

We met in the pub down the road for some lunch and, still having our cars to deal with, I had a sparkling water.

“I’d best order some chips'” I said. I’m not even a chip eater usually, but the thought of nothing but salads and cucumber water (or similar) for the next day or so made the rebel in me surface rather quicker than even I had anticipated. Plus, as wine was a non-starter, it had to be chips.

“I’ve brought a fridge with me,” I added as an afterthought, “and some champagne to celebrate with.”

“Oh good I bought some wine,” Karen said.

“Vodka,” said Caroline.

“Cocktails,” smiled Mush.

With this news, I knew even with cucumber water our toxins would stabilise at their usual levels, so I cancelled the chips.

It looks like we’re taking a photocopier with us!

Perhaps, just knowing we could drink if we wanted to, ensured that we didn’t go mad. We celebrated with the champagne and the rest came home with us. There’s nothing as contrary as a woman!

That first afternoon we swam, we chatted, we giggled a lot and we had a very nice time. As luck would have it we awoke the following morning to blistering sunshine and after an early run (I know, shocking) and swim followed by delicious breakfast, that did have food not dust and smugness for slimmers, we stripped off to our bikinis and hit the lawns and sun loungers and this is where I was surprised. This is what I’m going to write about.

I didn’t realise until a few hours of breathing in on a sun lounger that I have been conditioned by social media, and the media as a whole over the last year or so. I have not been going to the gym, I have not been swimming, I have not been on a hot holiday. I have not been around scantily clad women for nearly two years, and because of that I have been subconsciously comparing myself to photoshopped celebrities, models flogging clothing and those that strip off on Insta for whatever reason, usually because they have good bodies.

I have truly thought that once everything opens again, perhaps I should save up and use my ‘holiday not spent’ money on a tummy tuck. That I really should join James Corden on an epic WW journey, that carbs are bad, that alcohol is more lardy than doughnuts and that I should really sort myself out, and pronto you big fat mess.

Now, what I will say, is that I am in my mid forties and have a real Mum bod, but I am a Mum so…der… go figure! I could always tone up a bit, but tummy tuck? Catch yourself on love!

In one lovely sunny afternoon, on Champneys lawn, surrounded by (social distanced) women of all sizes and shapes, the vast majority of whom undoubtedly didn’t adore their stomachs either, I felt a great wave of relief. A relief that we are all just lovely the way we are, all laughing with our friends, or enjoying a good book, or sipping a coffee or cucumber water. Whatever we were doing, we were doing it together, on some posh grass in Tring, and frankly, I didn’t even know Covid had skewed my perspective so. It wasn’t until it became clear to me that all the isolation has made my thinking so introspective and damaging that I was able to see it for what it was, totally bollocks.

I asked my friends, each of whom is also a mother, and we giggled, we compared stomachs, legs, pelvic floors basically we talked about things only suitable for face to face old friends in bikinis to talk about. And, although my age defying facial was amazing, spending time with them and laughing and resetting my perspective was a lot more age defying than any serum ever invented.

So, this summer, as the sun beams down and we slip slap slop, I urge you to get that bikini on and enjoy a picnic that includes whatever you enjoy, because it’s a hell of a lot more fun than comparing yourself to models and show offs and berating yourself for being you.

Happy summer all, and to my girls, thank you for everything xxx

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