Several of the spa breaks I've been on have either been gifts bought from sites like Red Letter Days or Wahanda, or have even been the result of my dedication to vouchers and loyalty cards. I try and be pretty savvy with things like remembering to click through to Quidco/Top Cashback when shopping online, and using points cards, and if we have cashback or points saved up I always think it's nice to treat yourself rather than spending it on something boring! I was recently contacted by Avios to show me how easy it is to collect Avios points and then spend them on something fun, from experiences, flights, hotels and even Eurostar tickets. I used the Avios Points Calculator and discovered that I miss out on around 13,000 Avios points a year by not using Avios - that's enough for return flights to Paris, just on things I buy anyway. You can collect them on fuel from Shell garages (and having a 50 mile a day commute means I could definitely benefit from that!) or even from online shopping at places like John Lewis, or on your groceries at Tesco. I've made a mental note to definitely sign up - a little break to Paris would be an amazing treat (I can thinking of that when I'm filling up my car on the way to work!)
To show me the sort of thing you can get with 13,000 Avios points, they kindly arranged a little Twilight Spa Evening for me at New Park Manor in Brockenhurst. Tom and I went one Friday after work - it was definitely the perfect treat to be able to leave work and rock up to a beautiful spa hotel in the middle of the forest for a bit of pampering.
I wanted to come to New Park Manor on my birthday but all the spa breaks were fully booked, so I was really excited to be able to give it a try this time. We arrived at about half past 5 and instantly climbed into robes and slippers and had a dip in the pool. We then went up for back, neck and shoulder massages, which were totally amazing. Both Tom and I agreed that they were the best we have ever had. We'd both had quite busy, tough days at work and so having back massage was the perfect stress reliever, and just what the Doctor ordered. I've been getting a lot of pain in my neck and between my shoulders (probably through sitting in an office chair all day) and the masseuse spend ages really kneading all of the knots out, it was amazing!
After a nice long stint in the steam room (I'm a massive steam room fan, I feel like you can just feel the toxins flowing out of your body!) and a few laps of the pool, we left New Park Manor feeling totally relaxed and already planning our next visit.
We didn't want to go home straight away, so we decided to pop to my favourite pub, the Hobler Inn, for a cider and a pub dinner. The open fire definitely added to the feelings of relaxed-ness, it was so cosy (the baked camembert also gave me some pretty amazing cheesy dreams, haha...)
It was a totally perfect evening and an amazing way to end a long week. Now I've seen the sorts of things I could get if I was clever about collecting Avios points, I'll definitely be signing up! Are you a savvy shopper, or are you (like me) the one who always leaves the vouchers stuck to the fridge, and the loyalty cards in your other wallet (oops) - maybe a trip to Paris could convince you otherwise?