I arrived on a Friday night to be met with a smile. The place is grand and gorgeous, and you instantly regret not getting the broken wing mirror on your Clio fixed when driving in. We stayed in the Lancelot Suite . I was told it was 'only' a Junior suite, but that included a huge bed, wardrobes, separate shower, self-standing bath, two sinks and a huge terrace.
An unassuming seaside village on the Roseland peninsula in Cornwall, St Mawes reminds me of my childhood. I go there regularly to pick up shells and sea glass from the pebbly beaches, paddle in the sea, walk along the coastal path, have picnics and stare for hours at the changing colours of the ocean.
Are you pregnant and feeling scared, confused, sick, elated, a bit rubbish, amazing, possibly all of these? When I was pregnant I veered from being a manic, over-organising machine ordering too much baby gear to curling up like a grannie on my sofa with a blanket on my knees sipping endless cups of green tea.
Once the Christmas party season is over, thoughts inevitably turn to those twin January obsessions: diet and detox. But instead of signing up for an expensive gym membership that you'll never use, why not escape the winter gloom with a few days on a spa break, with nothing more strenuous to do than choose your treatments and splash in a pool?
'Purple soap!' Yes, it's the little things in life that prompt such glittery exclamations. But this is no ordinary coloured soap, this is a Red Flower creation, a soap infused with luxurious French Lavender that feels like velvet. Even my guests exclaim at its awesomeness. And that is just the soap. Shutters on the Beach in its entirety, is no less indulgent.
Stereotype is a funny thing, not least of all when it comes to spas, but it is also something that has the capacity to be extremely dangerous. While the vast majority of people associate spas with time out and something enjoyable, the range of details of what one might do on a day or break seems to remain remarkably narrow. The association between spa and relaxation is engrained, but often the details remain elusive.