On Thursday it was our fifth wedding anniversary. The past five years have flown by, and neither of us could quite believe it's been that long - but on the other hand, I think it's fair to say we've packed quite a bit into that time.
Needless to say, we wanted to celebrate with a special day together. We had an Experience Days voucher for a spa day at the Bannatyne Spa in Bristol, including an hour-long treatment each, and use of the spa facilities - so our anniversary seemed like the perfect time to make use of it. I plotted out a day trip including a visit to IKEA (which happens to be just around the corner), and afternoon tea at Patisserie Valerie.
We popped into town for breakfast before heading for Bristol, and we were just pulling out of the car park when the exhaust started to make an alarming (and very loud) noise. We quickly turned around and headed for the garage to see if they could do a temporary fix, which wasn't the relaxing start to the day that we'd been looking forwards to. However, the garage did manage to bolt everything back into place, in such a way that we just hoped it would survive until we could get the new part fitted the following day.
Our first experience with the spa, then, started with a frantic phone call to try and rearrange our massages for a later time slot. Fortunately they were able to move us from the morning to the afternoon, with a minimum of fuss, which somewhat reduced the stress of our car falling apart. The change of times also meant we could get the IKEA trip out of the way first, before heading to the spa to relax.
I'd never been to a Bannatyne spa before, it isn't a brand I'm familiar with, so I didn't really know what to expect. We arrived ahead of our (re)scheduled treatment slots, so we started off with a visit to the pool. Andy isn't much of a swimmer, but he enjoyed the jacuzzi while I alternated between sitting with him and doing lengths in the pool. It was fortunately really quiet when we visited, which is the best way for a swimming pool to be, if you want to do anything more than splash around (although I did notice that they had lanes set up for different speeds, which would have come in handy if it had been busier). The pool temperature was just right, warm enough that it wasn't off-putting, but cool enough to be a refreshing change from the warmer water of the hot tub. We also enjoyed short visits to the sauna and the menthol-scented steam room, something I wish I had chance to do more often (but unlike my Finnish friends, I don't think I'll be building a sauna in the woods any time soon).
Since we were there to relax rather than to work, we skipped past the gym (which looked to have a standard range of exercise equipment) and went straight on to our treatments. Andy was booked in for a full body massage, while I'd chosen to have a mini facial followed by a back and shoulder massage. Both of my treatments were very relaxing, professionally done by friendly staff, and the products smelled amazing.
Our new appointment times didn't quite match up, so while I waited for Andy to finish I headed downstairs to check out the cafe. I was pleasantly surprised by the prices, with a pot of tea at just £1.25 - given the captive audience, that seemed like a bit of a bargain. (The main meals for about £5 would also have been good value, if we hadn't already made plans to eat later.)
Once Andy emerged, though, we were off to Bath to meet up with his mum and head out for our afternoon tea. I think she found it very strange that we wanted to go out for tea rather than dinner to celebrate our anniversary, but we had a lovely time, despite the rather troubling noises coming from our car.