Airth Castle spa hotel

Friday Diary: A week of being 34 by daintydora

After the excitement of last week; birthday week, a Thursday birthday and a weekend spent in spaaaa bliss, everything else feels a bit...flat. Sometimes it's hard to re-motivate after a crescendo of activity and planning and chatter and fun. But life is about finding joy in the everyday, in the little things. Being mindful. Seeking out happiness.

Three days and nights of enforced relaxation is a bit strange though with everyone (me) glued to technology and social media and keeping up with keeping up. But I enjoyed the time away from my computer, from home, from housework and from 'normal life' because it creates the space to decompress and just be.

Airth Castle Spa Hotel

Husband and I stayed in a lovely four-poster room at Airth Castle Spa Hotel in Stirlingshire, Scotland, and battened down the hatches against the cold and rain and wind and snow. There were also many moments of beautiful sunshine, as seen above.

We had robes and slippers and we made full use of them in the spa. I swam and sat in the Jacuzzi pool and closed my eyes in the sauna to fully immerse in the beautiful, aromatic scent of wood and heat. And then I took a cold shower because it got so hot!

Airth Castle Spa Hotel View

Drinking in the afternoon and cocktails before dinner and candle-lit dinners were the order of the day.

Breakfasts consisted of watermelon and continental cheeses and croissants and pots of tea. One snoozy afternoon I succumbed to two enormous hot chocolates bubbling over with marshmallows. After dinner on the first night I enjoyed the divine art of a Calypso coffee.

I had two spa treatments in the Elemis spa followed by green tea with lemon and then reading by the pool.

I saw my collage chosen to be featured on the Brown Paper Mag site alongside a colourful array of other entries, all in response to the theme of 'New Landscapes'.

New Landscapes Collage

I read magazines in the daytime that I hadn't had time for before. It felt super-indulgent. On Sunday, after all that relaxation, I got into bed with my clothes on for a nap and it felt amazing.

Crisp white hotel sheets and the decadence of a daytime nap.

I slept for hours - all part of the detoxing and unwinding process.

And then (this would never happen at home), we put the TV on and the afternoon film was about to start -  James Bond 'View to a Kill' - so we lay and watched it, wrapped up in a time-warp away from the world of 'things to do'.  I enjoyed watching Grace Jones whip about as one of the villains with her strong outfits and chiseled angles. And then I was tired again. We skipped dinner and I fell asleep between 7 and 8pm. What? This is unheard of. I must have needed it.

Fairy Lights at Airth Castle Airth Castle Spa Hotel by night

I'd set my alarm clock for early the next morning so we could have a swim and a last blast in the sauna and the steam room before breakfast and check-out. We had the spa area to ourselves and the water temperature in the pool was perfect. I savoured another solo trip to the sauna and thought of Helsinki.

By 9am the snow was swirling down and it made the fact we were in a castle even more romantic and exciting. A castle in Scotland in the snow!

We were home in no time, but it was exhausting being out of the spa environment. I call this a 'spa hangover'. A 'spa-over'.

I gave into it and continued reading, not stopping until I'd finished my book (Jo Nesbo page-turning Scandi-noir). It felt like I'd tricked time somehow because I would never normally do anything so decadent on a Monday afternoon (though it did feel like a Sunday.)

On Tuesday I got back to normal and posted up my latest photography experiments. But then I was so sad to hear from family in Cape Town about the fires sweeping through the southern peninsula. Some of the images looked so surreal they could almost be described as beautiful if it weren't for the damage they spoke of. I think the worst is over but the devastation is still to be quantified.

Reading the names of the places involved took me right back to the stories that my Nana used to tell me of growing up there; of Muizenberg and Kalk Bay and Hout Bay. I must write that story.

On Wednesday I was ready for another adventure and ended up out for lunch and dinner and a welcome trip to the Kadampa meditation centre for midweek meditation. I always leave feeling so relaxed.

Breathe in glorious, positive bright white light, breathe out thoughts and worries in the form of black smoke.

So simple yet so powerful.

On Thursday I couldn't believe it had been a week since my birthday.

I worked on my book (#amwriting) and did some knitting and scrapbooking and thought about Spring coming, now, on its way. New life sprouting up in the garden. Daffodils and tulips and greenery getting greener. Nature quietly working away.


Today, well today I'm feeling a bit like a jellyfish again. All discombobulated from strange, intricate dreams and perhaps too much sleep and time is sliding quietly sideways.

And in many respects my first week of being 34 has been just a normal week. Boring, almost. No love letter left for a stranger, no influx of birthday messages. But then that's the ebb and flow of life. And it's often the small things, the tiny, insignificant details of life that make it into something significant.

A vast experience of little moments that add up to much more than the sum of their parts. Thoughts and feelings and emotions that boil up together into an exotic brew like George's marvellous medicine for everyday with pockets of surprise and serendipity and magic.

What's going to happen next? Who knows, but I plan to enjoy every second.

Happy Friday!