With just weeks until my due date, I wanted a weekend away for some 'me' (and bump) time. It turns out that Grayshott Spa in Surrey, just an hour from London, is the perfect retreat for burnt out, bulging out, mums-to-be.
I arrived Friday evening in time for a quick swim in the indoor pool (there's an outdoor one too that's open in summer). Being pregnant meant I couldn't use the steam or sauna, but the Jacuzzi with massaging hydrotherapy jets was the perfect temperature for a quick dip.
Every night, complimentary nibbles and non-alcoholic cocktails are served in the cosy 'Bubbles' bar. Lots of squidgy sofas, candles in the fireplace and smiling waiters meant I stayed for a second pregnancy-safe Virgin Bloody Mary.
Thanks to the super comfortable bed and dark room I overslept and only just made it to breakfast. Meals at Grayshott are served in the light and airy wood panelled dining room, with views over the grounds. Breakfast is buffet style with an inviting selection of fruits, nuts and cereals. I chose the Grayshott muesli which was a tasty combination of fruits, nuts and yoghurt, bircher style, followed by scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Nothing about the choices felt restrictive or diet-like. Ideal for pregnancy there's decaf coffee and tea options, as well as fresh orange juice to satiate vitamin C cravings.
Lunch is a similar buffet with lots of salads and protein dishes, but not like the salads you make at home. These are super-charged healthy plates of goodness, oozing with colour and texture. I couldn't resist a little pile of each (only one was unsuitable for pregnancy as it contained goats cheese).
Normally I’d be first inline for the circuits or aerobics class, but now I get puffed out climbing up stairs. Instead, I joined the ‘Grayshott Walk’ which was a gentle guided amble through the adjacent National Trust grounds. Back indoors I tried the ‘Breathing and Relaxation’ and ‘Flex and Stretch’ classes. Both were ideal for pregnancy as they focussed on techniques to help destress and stretch out tight muscles. I also poked my head into the super quiet gym which featured lot of cardio machines and a separate weights room.
In Grayshott’s cosy cinema-cum-library, theres a daily program of wellbeing and nutrition talks, as well as movies. I joined 'The Carbs Conundrum' presentation, where nutritional advisor Will Blake debunked some of the common myths about dieting and explained how the right food choices can make all the difference to overall health, weight and energy levels. It was informative without being boring and I picked up handy tips like adding cinnamon to my porridge to reduce sugar cravings, and choosing starchy colourful carbs such as veg rather than bread and rice.
Grayshott has a number of spa treatments suitable for pregnancy. I tried their Classic Massage, where the therapist laid out a special pillow featuring a large hole for my bump. It meant I could enjoy a back massage without having to lie on my side, which I tend to find uncomfortable. A Maternity Reflexology session followed and left my feet feeling very pampered.
Evening meals are a la carte with three or four options per course. Portions are quite small compared to what I usually serve up myself - probably indicative of my own greed rather than Grayshott holding back - but everything was really tasty. I loved the soups, from green pea and mint to pumpkin and carrot, while the mains included some surprisingly creative combinations. Even dessert offered small indulgences such as chocolate fondant and fruity crumble.
I wasn't the only solo diner either. Aside from the couples and mum/daughter combos, I counted at least four other women enjoying a break alone.
While it’s not somewhere to take the kids, Grayshott is a silent haven - perfect for mums (and those expecting) to get away from it all.