January : A Good Start to The Year – Queen, Spa & Yummy Veggie Food


January is always a bleak month isn’t it? I always try to plan a few things to make sure it’s not and It doesn’t have to cost a great deal of money…

I’ve had lots of warm nights in with candles flickering and the wind howling as well as star gazing on snowy but freezing nights. My two top picks this month are: going to see Queen at the Phones4U arena back home in Manchester and heading up to Centre Parcs in Nottingham to visit their Aqua Sauna spa.

Seeing Queen in Manchester was…

Simply amazing! I’ve never been to a concert before because music nowadays doesn’t really get me excited. I only place exception for Queen, The Who, Fleet Wood Mac, Tina Turner and Beyonce. Quite a mix I know.

I grew up listening to my nan raving on about Queen especially Freddie Mercury. Sadly Freddie is no longer with us but Adam Lambert (who’ve I’ve never really heard much of) was a fantastic addition to the band. Charismatic, cheeky  and boy can he thrust those hips!

Queen with Adam Lambert : Manchester
I’m not sure how many seats are in the Phones4U arena BUT there was no seat empty!

They covered all of the traditional songs but my favourite performance was ‘Love of my life’ because Brian May played on the acoustic guitar and got the audience to join in. I was bold over by the thousands of people that joined in, the acoustics were fantastic from the Manchester audience.My favourite part was when Brian  May got us to all do a Mexican Wave and then take a selfie of it.

But it wasn’t just the band themselves or the audience that created such a fantastic atmosphere, the people back stage did a tremendous job with the set design, lighting, sound and the running of the show – it is a team effort!

My first concert experience was a 10/10!

The Aqua Sauna Spa in Nottingham was…

(Wasn’t allowed to take pictures so the ones below are off the website!)

Beyond words. I love spas – you may have noticed I go whenever I can. However this particular spa has set the bar so high that I fear I’ll be disappointed from now on.

I’ve always wanted to stay at Centre Parcs so I’m glad I got to see a slice of it. Designed like an Italian villa, with a central court yard occupied with an azure blue pool complete with a starry night sky, thanks to it being an open top, it had a built in Jacuzzi and little water fountains that pounded your neck and back.

Centre Parcs Nottingham Aqua Suana

After a good swim, I was treated to not 1, 2 or 3  but 16 rooms of pure bliss. The building comprised of two floors, cleverly built around the pool, it had saunas, steam and mediation rooms all equipped with water fountains, gentle music, and their own unique smells. My favourite steam rooms were the Indian and Japanese rooms – smelling of white Lilly and something more exotic in the Indian one but I didn’t know what it was.

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If the heat got too much, there were a number of relaxation areas so you could spoil yourself with a nap on water beds with fluffy blankets, or even the hot stone beds where you could take a book and chill.  If you really needed some air there was a Japanese garden to wander around or a huge wooden hut, again equipped with fluffy blankets, cushions and over head heating. We didn’t stay out too long not with it being -3 outside!!!

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Our session was 4 hours long and after 2 hours of pure indulgence, I was getting a little bit hungry so we were treated to Anti Pasto with a glass of champs (which I swapped for orange juice). Breads, olives, cheeses, sun dried tomatoes etc and of course I had to have some cake…

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We then went back for a few more hours and went for a long swim. The sun had set and the sky now black but it lit up with tiny little stars. As the steam rose from the pool into the crisp night air, I knew that this spa experience was going to be with me for the rest of my life!

So, it’s been a great month! I also learnt how to make dough-less pizza consisting of cauliflower, cheese and egg which makes the ‘dough’ and by god it was good!

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I visited my favourite veggie Chinese place too whilst in Manchester and it’s now become a tradition. Check out the pineapple fried rice!

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I’m excited to see what’s in store for February – how’s your January been anyway?

C L Haden

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