As a busy mama who blogs, writes, works nights and takes care of her energetic toddler; being invited to a relaxing pamper day and Afternoon Tea at UThyme Spa in All Saints Hotel in Bury St. Edmunds this past Wednesday was a blessing!

My mind is constantly brainstorming, racing to finish products, coming up with new ideas and I often suffer from burn out.

Regardless if you have a full-time job or a stay at home mama, taking a break for yourself is important. Self-care delegates the way we take care of our families and function at work. So, it proves that giving ourselves time to escape or unwind is refreshing to our souls and beneficial to help us function successfully. You can choose to lock yourself if the bathroom and light some candles, grab a book and take a bath- or to really unwind…book yourself that spa day you know you should.

Thankfully, I couldn’t resist an afternoon of indulgence while my son just happened to be at nursery for the day. Instead of hoovering the living room, doing my family’s laundry, or the dishes that was starting to give me anxiety… I escaped for some me time and UThyme Spa inside All Saints Hotel in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.

They kindly gifted me with a luxury spa day that included a Five Element Aroma Facial, UThyme Back Bliss Massage and scrumptious afternoon tea.

On Wednesday in the late morning, I headed to the hotel. I had found myself in a large parking lot, which made it very convenient to park just outside the spa, with its own beautiful entrance.

I was greeted by Haley, my beauty therapist for the day who handed me my robe and slippers along with a glass of lemon water as I sat down to fill out an informational packet that asked me about any conditions or health concerns.

With nothing to report, Haley escorted me upstairs to the treatment room and sat me down near their foot bath ritual before I was to start my facial. Haley informed me of the Earth element based products they use according to which area of attention I needed according to another quiz I filled out, turns out I accept I am drier than the Sahara Desert and I’m tenser than a tight rope.

Not a problem, I decided to let this all go as my feet soaked in the delicate porcelain foot baths. I took sips of my lemon water and decided to grab a few pictures- but really wanted to let myself enjoy this experience…and work later.

As Haley took me into the treatment room for my facial, she let me choose a few scents to smell so I could also have a decision in which scents I would be experiencing throughout my treatments that day. As I laid back for my facial I can remember being transported out of my thoughts, and when a random thought would enter my mind…I just let go. I know how difficult it can be to try to clear your mind as much as possible, but I took the opportunity to try to meditate my way through the experience. With the blissful music playing in the background, the fresh feeling of my skin being renewed, balanced and rejuvenated I felt a total escape for the hour.

When I finished my facial with Haley, I took a few moments to lay still alone with the calming music. I took that moment to remember the next time I found myself with a toddler scribbling on the walls, screaming at the top of his lungs or when I found myself overwhelmed with the stress of work or a messy house.

I exited the treatment room and headed to the pool, down a corridor I entered the locker rooms and deposited my clothes and life baggage. I wanted to sweat off the worry and absorb all the fine essential oils my face and neck was covered in. I headed into the steam room and felt completely relaxed. I felt all the oils from the facial absorbed into my skin with the steam and could feel my skin glowing even more than before. I suffer from dry and sensitive skin, but after the steam room, I felt like an aquatic dolphin who could easily glide through life.

After a dip in the pool, I headed back and changed into my robe and slippers. I then headed into the relaxation room, which had loungers, pillows, blankets, magazines and more lemon water. I sat in the lounger closer to the ground and appreciated the space and decor. I really loved the bohemian lighting fixtures on the walls which gave off this calm and colourful lighting to the whole room. Sat in calming music again, I picked up a few magazines on life in Suffolk and sipped on my citrus water. This was nice.

Then, I was taken back downstairs to be greeted by this feast of delicate bites for afternoon tea prepared by the chef from The View Restaurant in All Saints Hotel. Included in my afternoon tea, was smoked Suffolk ham and English mustard, classic tuna and mayo along with egg and watercress sandwiches. But my favourite of all being the smoked salmon, cream cheese and chive sandwich. And finally, for the savoury, I had the most delicious sausage rolls I have yet had while here in the UK. I’m not sure pork or the sharp salted, pretzel-like crust- but I defiantly would have to say I really enjoyed them.

Okay, so you’re wondering about the sweets? If you know me at all you would know this is that I really excel in my culinary mastery…but seriously. If you would have a traditional afternoon tea, you must have a good fruit scone. Not only did I have a good fruit scone but I enjoyed a blackberry brownie, banana tea loaf with a caramelised banana on top (one of my favourite things), passion fruit pavlova and a creamy dreamy white chocolate and custard eclair. British desserts presented with a flavoursome flair of simple yet special.

All of this presented so well on a wooden tray with grazing like an effect for myself to enjoy, slowly.

After my stomach was happy I went back upstairs to the relaxation room for a little laydown and read a few spas focused magazines- dreaming about more days like this. I also think I decided I know what I’m getting my husband for his birthday.

You see, for our honeymoon we both spa’d…if you want to call it that. My husband and I do love a good spa. And we often find ourselves boasting about treatment for months. On our honeymoon, we stayed at an adults spa resort in the Wisconsin Dells and my husband got a facial. He came outside to the infinity pool and floated in the sun with me, and all he could talk about was how good his skin looked and how good he felt.

This is why going to the spa shouldn’t feel selfish, guilty or ‘ too posh’. While going is an experience and indulgent- how you feel afterwards…the more in tune you feel with yourself, how reflective you become and aware of how you project yourself is not selfish, filled with guilt or posh. It is caring. You can simply do an activity that makes you feel this way, it doesn’t have to be a spa day. It can be as simple as going to a coffee shop alone with a book or going for a walk in nature. Surrounding yourself, with yourself is what is important too. Taking care of young children, making sure you regain a centre in yourself to remain calm in situations that cause stress is important for parenting. I find myself feeling less stressful which in turn helps me cope with questions of gentle parenting and the way we act in front of my child. Doing something that is considered selfish is reflective in a positive way for a child so that they may understand self-care as well and positive personal space and mental health.

Oh, its time for my massage…

Haley leads me back into the treatment room for my final escape act of the day. I suffer from very painful shoulders and ‘knots’. As Haley asked me about my pressure, to which I reply with firm…very firm, it did not seem to challenge her like most therapist I had seen in the past. I normally have a massage and find myself ‘pushing back’ or adding more pressure to the very knotted spots. For Haley, this wasn’t a problem. I actually found myself saying ‘WOW’ silently and even my eyes opening staring straight down to the floor. I normally feel very tense in a massage, but the effects of the afternoon were rubbing off on me. I noticed my posture and how relaxed my shoulders felt. Normally I am tense and trying to find places to put on the pressure. But with Haley, I let it all go. I think she worked out the most knots I have ever had and even found some new ones. My shoulder blades felt less stiff and I could feel the weight I was caring on them lift for the time I was on the massage table. THAT was the best massage I have ever received. I couldn’t believe getting a massage at a spa actually worked. I have tried this many times, and even went to see a chiropractor but nothing released the pain in my shoulders like my massage with Haley.

Completely and utterly calm, relaxed and rejuvenated my time and treatments had come to an end. I had to leave this blissful place and go back into the world. Normally I would feel a sort of tense edge to my day but I came home, greeted my family and spend the night watching movies and playing with my son. I put down my phone and turned off the TV an hour before bed and just sang my son to sleep.

Self-care is important. It’s a new age and thought this generation is figuring out. I am starting to accept this and be okay with this. I learned to be proud of how hard both myself and my husband works and I am taking away from this experience how beneficial it is to self-discovery for the good of our family as a unit. Be strong ladies, book that spa day or head to that coffee shop with the book you always wanted to finish, HA!

A special thanks to the team at UThyme Spa for my special day.

x Mama Cates

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