It was mine and the Mr’s 5 year anniversary on 1st August. Like most couples, we have been through lots of ups and downs over the years with some very big downs but also some huge ups too. in 5 years we have moved house 5 times , finally buying our first house November last year (we got sick of renting and moving). We have moved from Newcastle to Durham which is where we are now staying in our lovely new home. We have changed jobs, made new friends and even adopted a second fur baby, but the most important change in our life has been our little guy. Our relationship moved pretty fast, with us moving in together after just 4 months of dating and then just over 1 year later I find myself pregnant with our little boy. So we certainly have been busy in those 5 years and now with us being home owners we have accomplished a lot in that time.
We really wanted to celebrate this anniversary and although we are saving currently we decided to just go for it as we don’t actually get many date nights or get chance to spend time just us two anymore. I searched around for deals and something different and fun to do but nothing jumped out at me. We really wanted to go back to Alton Towers after our visit with our son a few months ago (read about it here) but we wanted to go just us so we could actually go on all of the rides. We remembered that it was the summer holidays and didn’t want to even risk going there as it probably would have been very busy. We ended up looking in to an overnight stay at a hotel with dinner and a spa but due to the holidays everything was coming up so much more expensive than normal. I felt like giving up hope as although I wanted to spend a bit of money, I didn’t want to go too over the top for our anniversary. I also begrudged paying 3 times the amount of money just because it was a weekend in the summer hols.
We ended up booking a spa day and lunch at The Garage Spa in Barnard Castle as we had heard really good reviews and I had gone to a Spa VIP evening there a few days before and loved it. We also saw a Groupon deal for a meal for two with wine at one of our favourite local restaurants so decided to book in for that on the evening. We decided this was a better option as we were getting to do so much more for our money if we didn’t stay at a hotel. My mum then surprised us with an overnight stay at the Morritt hotel where the spa was, so we ended up with a night away after all! I was really excited to be going there as I had heard so much about it and had been wanting to go for a while. We ended up booking the Groupon meal at our local restaurant on the Friday and went to the spa and hotel on the Saturday. So we ended up with a full weekend of fun booked in.
The meal was at our favourite local restaurant called The Italian Farmhouse. They do the best pizza’s there and the Groupon deal was brilliant! We got a bottle of white wine and a big pizza each for £19. We also bought some sweet potato fries as they are always so yummy and it was nice to have a meal out together. The service was great as usual and the food was amazing and I surprised myself again by eating every last bit of the gigantic pizza. Once we had finished the meal we decided to go home and chill as we had to pack our bag for the hotel. We also had a super early morning on the Saturday as we needed to be at the spa for 9am, which was roughly a 40 min journey. We watched a movie and then had an early night ready for our fun weekend.
Although our actual anniversary was on the 1st which was a Monday, we decided to treat this weekend as our anniversary as the Mr was at work on the Monday. We decided to give each other our gifts on the Friday night with us going away on the Saturday. We had set a budget as we always go over the top and decided with us already going away we shouldn’t be spending so much money on gifts. We said a budget of £20 – £30 which we both sort of stuck too, although this was very hard for me as I get a little carried away sometimes. I was so happy when I saw the effort the Mr had gone to and how sweet his presents were. He got me the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a bottle of fizz and a bottle of my fav drink, Baileys. He also bought me a dream catcher because I told him I’d been having bad dreams recently which I just thought was so thoughtful. Also 5 year anniversary is apparently wood so he said that he got a wood one for that reason. My gifts were just things I knew he would love. He is a big film fan and I knew he wanted The Man From U.N.C.L.E. on blu-ray so got that along with a bottle of red wine. I then remembered his fav pan had broken so got him a new one from TK MAXX and bought him some cable sweets which are also his favourite.
On the Saturday we had to leave really early at about 8.20am to get to the spa in time. We had booked the Morning Indulgence spa package which included 4 hours in the spa and then a 2 course lunch afterwards. On the day we also decided for an extra bit of fun to have a Rasul Mud treatment which was only £15 each and lasted about 40 minutes. This was quite funny as you were taken in to your own private steam room and given a pot of grey coloured mud that you rubbed in to your skin. You then sit in the steam covered in the mud and relax, we obviously had to grab a quick photo! After the steam finished water would pour down from above and wash away all of the mud whilst you massaged your skin with a salt scrub which was also provided. This treatment was a bit weird and there were times when we weren’t sure if the steam room was working as it would just start to get nice and warm and then it would blow cold air. We were told afterwards that this is normal as it allows the mud to set but it did seem a little odd. It was a bit of fun nevertheless and we did look rather funny.
The spa was just such a beautiful setting and although I hadn’t actually had the pleasure of booking in to the spa before I did get to have a look round at the VIP evening a few days before, so knew what to expect. The Spa wasn’t your usual spa and didn’t have a swimming pool but instead had various hot tubs with a quirky steam room, Shepherds hut sauna and a salt relaxation room. The best bit for us was actually the outdoor sitting area, especially with the sun shining. Just sitting relaxing in a big comfy chair with the sun on my face was so nice and relaxing. We did also really like the indoor barrel style hot tub which was gloriously toasty and warm. We felt very chilled out and relaxed and it was nice to just chat and spend time together without being on our phones or laptops! The fact that there was absolutely no signal and very little internet did help with that!
I wasn’t expecting much for the two course lunch that was included in the spa package, however I was very pleasantly surprised when receiving the menu. I was expecting maybe soup and a sandwich or just something very small but soon discovered that it was a full two course meal. We had the option of a starter and main or a main and dessert. I decided to go for grilled chicken which came with chips, onion rings and tomato, then a cheese board for afterwards. The Mr went for Smoked Salmon and Prawn for starter and then Rib-eye steak for main. The food was absolutely amazing and cooked to perfection. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and couldn’t get over how much we had eaten. We were also impressed with the fact that we had 4 hours of spa time and such a big quality lunch for a price of just £45 each. We felt that it was very reasonable considering everything that was included.
We checked in to our room after our lunch and were told that reception had a bottle of Prosecco waiting for us and to let them know when we wanted it, which was nice. We decided to have it later on as it was still only early and we wanted to go for a wander around Barnard Castle. We got changed and then headed out to the town for a wander around in the sunshine as it is a really beautiful place and I hadn’t been in years. We also wanted to work off our huge lunch a bit as I felt ready to burst and needed to do some exercise. We had such a nice time wandering around Barnard castle, holding hands, having a laugh and a giggle and looking in some of the quirky little shops. We had to stop off at the toy shop to get something for little man as we missed him a lot. We also needed a little break as after a couple of hours our feet started getting a bit sore so we stopped at a little cafe for coffee and ice cream. I felt so relaxed, happy and carefree all day which was so nice and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so chilled out like that. Although I adore my little family and our son, it is difficult for us to spend quality time together. Plus with me being a blogger and the Mr working in an office and writing a movie review blog we spend so much time on the internet. It was nice to completely tune out from all of that for a bit and just talk.
Once we got back from wandering around Barnard Castle we decided to have a drink in the sun at the hotel, which had beautiful surroundings. We then headed to the room and freshened up after having a couple of drinks and by then it was around 7pm so we headed to the bar. We weren’t really that hungry after our huge lunch so instead of having a meal we decided to order some nachos in the bar and have some more drinks. The nachos were amazing and the cheese to crisp ratio was brilliant! Normally you get nachos and they can be a bit rubbish but these were very tasty and were topped with fresh salsa. I would say the food was definitely the best thing about the hotel and we are definitely planning on going back for lunch some time. We had quite a few drinks and got a little bit tipsy, well…I was pretty sober, but the Mr started slurring his words a bit. We decided that was the time to head back to the room and chill. We had our bottle of Prosecco to enjoy still so thought that it would be better to have drunken conversations in the comfort of our room, where other people couldn’t hear our terrible drunken chat!
We managed to last until about 10.30 pm and then we passed out for the night. I think it was the spa and walking around Barnard castle that wore us out but then again, it could have been the wine! We are like an old couple now and can’t last much later than 11pm anyway! We did have a very long and fun filled day however so didn’t feel bad at having an earlyish night. I woke up the next day with a huge smile on my face as I really had, had the best time and our relationship felt even stronger somehow. Like all we needed was a night away from everything every now and again to just give us that boost. It was so nice and something we wouldn’t normally do. It made us realise that we needed to take out more time for us even if it is just a date once a month. I have to admit that I did miss my little man and couldn’t wait to see him though. He’d had a great time with the grandparents and we got to see lots of lovely photos on Facebook when we got a bit of internet. We all had a great weekend and I had the best anniversary! Here’s to many more years of happiness and many more great memories.