Ponies and pampering: A Spa Weekend in the New Forest

Careys Manor in the New Forest
Careys Manor & SenSpa in the New Forest

The first couple of weeks back at work after my very chilled Christmas and New Year’s break couldn’t have been more of a contrast to the seemingly endless days spent lazing around on the sofa and eating chocolate.

Not only has life at Glam been super busy, but, like most of the country we are also currently focused on all things health and fitness. Prepping for an exciting upcoming event called Mode Wellness Week – more on this soon – I’ve mainly been busy sourcing healthy snacks like Bounce Balls, Propercorn and Nakd Bars (and trying not to eat them all myself) as well as organising some quirky and cool fitness classes. 80s Trampolining or Pop Aerobics, anyone?

Sweetly Simple
Sweetly Simple’s vintage truck

Anyway… To get the world excited about Mode Wellness Week, the Glam team spent two days cruising around London in a vintage Citroen truck called Maurice, which we hired from juice company Sweetly Simple. Its founder, Jodie, had spent two nights cold-pressing her healthy concoctions for us and so we set off to hand them out to our guests.

We had a total blast, however, what with London in the grip of a brutal cold spell, even my faithful Zara duck down coat didn’t stop me from getting very. cold. Trying to look sporty, I was wearing just plain black cotton leggings and my comfy New Balance kicks – frreeeeeeezing!

Sweetly Simple
Jodie handing out some Vanilla and Cinnamon Almond Milk, yum!

You know when you get so cold that the icy feeling crawls under you skin and you pretty much have to soak in a hot bath for hours to warm up again? That was me. Convenient then, that months earlier, I had booked a spa weekend at Careys Manor in the New Forest for the following weekend. With my friend Liz of foodie website Not Easily Pleased (and a couple of juices from Sweetly Simple) in tow, I set off on the short train journey from London Waterloo to Brockenhurst.

Why are hotel beds always better than your own?
Why are hotel beds always better than your own?

It was just what the doctor ordered. After checking into our beautiful room (and jumping around on the queen-size bed for a good few minutes – obligatory), we decided to go for a walk in the forest to find the wild ponies. And it didn’t take us long to track them down; just a short ten minute walk from the hotel, there they were, grazing away peacefully. And no, you’re not supposed to touch them! Or take one home, for that matter…

Ponies, ponies everywhere...
Ponies, ponies everywhere…

With our New Year’s resolution to exercise more still on the agenda, Liz and I decided to follow a five mile loop track through the woods to get some fresh air and Vitamin D.

Walks for days...
Walks for days…

The weather was on our side: it was sunny, mild and not too windy. The forest floor, however, was still recovering from the rain, and my new-ish Dune Black biker boots got a serious battering in the mud! Still, the gorgeous scenery more than made up for it.

Pretty kinda dirty... boots
Pretty kinda dirty… boots
Into the woods!

Back at the hotel, we warmed up over a delicious Thai lunch in one of the hotels three restaurants before finally hitting the pool. In the past I have had some mixed experiences when it comes to spas: they look pristine and inviting on the website, but when you get there some are a little bit rough around the edges.

Jump right in!

Not SenSpa at Careys Manor, though. From the ceilings illuminated by twinkling fairy lights to the pearlescent mosaic tiles, it was perfection. The hydrotherapy area especially offered everything you need to totally and utterly forget about your worries and your strife.

The hydrotherapy area
The hydrotherapy area

After spending a good while floating around in 36 degree warm water – just like a giant bath really – we discovered the Crystal Steam Room, possibly my favourite part of the spa. Pink lightbulbs turn the aromatic mist into a rose-coloured haze, while a huge purple gem sits majestically in the centre of the room, infusing the hot air with minerals.

The Crystal Steam Room
The Crystal Steam Room

There was just enough time for a massage before we had to get changed for dinner and boy, did I need it! I tend to carry a lot of tension in my shoulders and have rather tight muscles in my lower back, so the specialist KORE Therapy treatment, which focuses on the treatment of musculo, skeletal, digestive, energy and emotional issues and the physical pain these can cause, was the perfect remedy for this stressed Londoner. You’ll be able to read my review for Glam UK on the site soon.

Yup, we've had all the food.
Yup, we’ve had all the food.

After a quick change into my new Illustrated People print dress, Liz and I headed for dinner in The Manor Restaurant, which serves up traditional British dishes with a French influence. We shared gnocchi and scallops for starters, followed by a giant steak for me and duck for my foodie friend. With minimal room left in in our bulging bellies, we just about managed to squeeze in a toffee popcorn cheesecake. Just.

Italian goodness on a plate.
Italian goodness on a plate.

Snuggling into the marshmallow soft pillows, back in our room we drained the last sips of champagne from the paper cups we had earlier smuggled into the hot tub.

“Sometimes life is not so shit,” I said to Liz.

For more information and to book, head to www.careysmanor.com

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