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That time I was the same size as Alexa Chung. Or maybe not.

You know the whole One Size Fits All thing? Well, it turns out that a size 16 mother of 3 is not the same size and shape as model and all round tiny, gorgeous woman Alexa Chung

How do I know this? Well apart from physics, common sense and having a pair of working eyes, I once ended up in a spa with the lovely Chung in New York and what followed was so awful that I can only now laugh about it, years later.

I had gone to New York to see my husband who was working at the time for Arctic Monkeys and Alexa was dating the singer.  We had met and hung out a few times and being the thoroughly lovely and welcoming person she is, she invited me on a girly day out with one of her friends.

After a fab morning shopping at Bloomingdales, we met for brunch and I felt like I was in a film, though to be fair, I always feel like I’m on a movie set when I am in America.  I am just a normal girl from Sheffield, there was no coolness from me, I was like a giddy kipper.  Anyway the plan was to go get our nails done, but when we arrived it was mentioned about going to the day spa.  Neither Alexa or I had any swimwear but the receptionist assured us they could supply bikinis, I wasn’t super hyped about this but thought I would go along with it as I DO love a spa.

So we pay and then this smug faced receptionist hands us two small bags, the size of the bag immediately worries me as inside were our swimmers.

“Whose is whose?” I asked.  “Oh they are one size fits all!” she chirpily replies.

alexa chung

I looked to my left at the tall, model-like stature of my pal and then down at my chunky arse and wider than average tummy and then back to the receptionist, “You are fucking kidding, right?”

“No” she replies as she shoos us down towards the changing room, “believe me, they’ll fit!”

Before I could even think I am in a changing room looking down at the smallest pair of paper pants and bikini top imaginable.  I am considering just doing a runner when I see Alexa’s face is as aghast as mine.  “It’ll be fine!” she says with a fake cheer.

We undress.  In an open changing room, because seriously, who needs privacy here?! I put on the pants and am relieved they go over my hips but realise that I must walk with my knees together so they don’t rip up the sides and I don’t get arrested for public indecency.  The paper bikini top covers my nipples.  That’s it.  Just nips.  I want to fall into a deep hole and die.

Chung puts on her bikini and we stand side by side looking in the mirror.  Her pants are pulled up to her chest and the bra is hanging off.  For a moment, there is a stunned silence.  Then we burst out laughing.  We look fucking ridiculous and there is no way around it but to hysterically laugh.

ileostomy bag bikini swimwear beachwear holiday

Inside I am dying a little, I am stood next to a gorgeous model, fit to burst in a paper bikini with my stretch marks, big boobs and cellulite hanging out.  Then she says to me “my tits look ridiculous in this, yours look amazing”.  And I realise that we judge ourselves, we are always so harsh on our own looks that we don’t actually bother thinking about other people.  I was scared she would laugh at me when actually, like most women, she was simply concentrating on her own image.

We ended up using both of our paper bras to fashion one mega bikini top to hold my puppies in place whilst she went in her own bra.  (Why on earth we both didn’t just wear our own knickers and bras I have no idea!)

As we hung out in the spa in what turned out to be a lovely day, we talked about our sizes and how difficult it was to be in the public eye.  She has been slated time and time again for her size, and it made me think about how hung up we are on a woman’s size and shape.  You can’t win, you are either too fat or too thin, too wobbly or too muscly.  Judging women based entirely on their shape is a tool to shut us up, it is a way to objectify us and discredit our worth.

I am far more than the size of my arse, the number in the back of my dress bears no relevance to my character.  Body shaming is everywhere these days and even as I go around the UK talking to women about self esteem and body confidence, the response I get back is often negative towards thinner women.  The term ‘real women’ pisses me right off, as if those under a size 10 are some robotic alien dolls sent back from the future to make all other women feel shit about themselves.

And ladies, we have to take responsibility for this because we are our own worst enemy.  Don’t judge and shame the woman next to you, don’t assume anything about her because of the shape of her body or size of her ass.  Don’t be so free and easy with the ‘skinny bitch’ comments.  (Most) people wouldn’t dream of telling me to get a salad, yet more will happily tell a slimmer woman to eat a pie!

Let’s just start on loving ourselves.  Even when you are in a paper bikini stood next to a model.

 

Sam x

 

 

Sam x

Clumber Park – New Leaf Spa

I was invited to go hang out at the lovely New Leaf Spa at the Clumber Park Hotel and Spa and how could I refuse?? I LOVE a spa but have never been to one alone and so this was a new experience.

Located on Blyth Road near to the top entrance of Clumber Park, the spa is easy to get to, just a few minutes off the A1.  The spa has a separate entrance to the hotel, there is a big car park and so after easily parking I entered the building to start off my fab day!

The receptionist was really friendly, she was warm and welcoming, explained where everything was, gave me a form to fill in and let me know about lunch.

climber park new leaf spa review

I have been bitten by hotel spas before so wasn’t sure what to expect, as a note to hotels, a small, cold pool does not a spa make!  The New Leaf spa is small but perfectly formed, a warm pool with jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and outdoor hot tub.  There is a lovely restaurant and bar area with a relaxation to sit and have a tea or coffee.

The changing rooms were immaculately clean and your locker is free (a total bonus as I never have a pound coin to hand when I need it!), you get a towel, dressing gown and slippers plus lovely shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in the showers and then a dressing table of lotions, potions and cotton wool pads etc.  It just felt like thought had been put into everything to make it a pleasant stay.

climber park new leaf spa review

I was there on a Tuesday and there were around 8 other guests there when I arrived, this dwindled to zero throughout the day, at one point I had the whole pool to myself, though it picked up again later.  The steam room and sauna are quite small, fitting only perhaps 4 or 5 in comfortably, this was no problem for me as it was so quiet but I can imagine at busier times you may have to wait.

climber park new leaf spa review

The pool is surrounded by loungers and with the warmth and the relaxing music I fell asleep TWICE! I can’t believe how relaxed I was!! The steam room and sauna were lovely, I used them a few times throughout my day.  The pool was a great temperature and the jacuzzi fantastic.  I almost didn’t bother with the outdoor hot tub as it was a grey, dreary and drizzly day but you know, I am SO glad I did.  It was really relaxing sitting back in the heat surrounded by trees and the wintery cold day.

My lunch was included in the package and so at 1pm I headed for the restaurant, they reserve your seating for you and so it was smooth and relaxing with no waiting.  I ordered from the ‘Light Bites’ menu (my food was included but the prices on the menu were very affordable, my dish was around £7) I ordered the homemade fishcake with chips and mushy peas.  I wasn’t expecting much as it was a ‘light bite’ but the portions were great and food delicious.  The presentation was what I would expect from a nice restaurant rather than a spa and the food tasted fresh and beautiful.  Water is available freely and I was treated to a glass of prosecco!

climber park new leaf spa review

My treatment was an Elemis Facial that lasted around an hour and included a head and scalp massage as well as a neck and shoulder massage.  My therapist was Joanne who was so lovely, the room was beautiful, treatment bed really comfortable (some are so hard!!!) and thought had been put into every part of the treatment right down to the flowers laid on the treatment bed.

climber park new leaf spa review

The facial was AMAZING, I would usually go for a massage but I am not comfortable on my stomach for long periods at the minute and I have to say I am now a facial covert! It was so relaxing and the neck and shoulder massage was HEAVENLY!!!!  There is a chill out area with sofas to relax in before and after your treatment.  I returned to the pool area feeling like I was floating on air and chilled out for another hour or so before heading home.

I was genuinely impressed by the spa from start to finish.  All the staff were really friendly, the place was so clean and the facilities great.  I have been to some large hotels where the spas have been disappointing.  Guests not being provided with dressing gowns, no relaxation areas or jacuzzis, dirty facilities but Clumber Park New Leaf Spa was fantastic and I would definitely recommend it.  I spoke to a few other guests through the day and only heard praise of the facilities and staff, one lady said she regularly goes to day spas and this is one of her favourites, not the largest but the friendliest and most relaxing.

So feeling tempted? The New Leaf Spa are offering So Bad Ass readers an amazing offer, why not treat yourself or use the offer to buy a christmas relaxation gift for someone you love?

Readers of So Bad Ass can claim a whopping 20% off spa days when booking for a day for 2 people!

Simply quote Bad Ass when booking to claim your discount, valid between December 2014 to March 2015 terms and conditions apply, take a peek at their website and get booking!

Go to www.clumberparkhotel.com/sherwood-forest-massage now.

 

Love Sam x

 

I have not been paid for this post but my spa day was complimentary from the spa in return for an honest review.  All opinions are entirely my own.

If you would like me to review your business, product or event, please get in touch x