I was chatting to someone the other day who told me that her boss had insisted she scheduled half a day a month into her diary for ‘reflection time’. Sighting that some of her own most productive ideas came from those half days. On those days she didn’t have to do anything major, just go to a movie, check out an art gallery or go for a walk just so long as it was away from the norms of work.
As well as thinking, ‘what a pretty ace boss you’ve got’ I also thought ‘what a great idea’! And one that I think Mamas should adopt for ourselves, as a time just for us. We’re so busy managing other people’s needs constantly that actually taking half a day a month to ‘reflect’ would be an utmost luxury!
So with this thought in mind I decided to implement this strategy into my own monthly calendar and stared out in rather impressive style with a trip to Harrogate’s most famous tourist attraction, the Turkish Baths! It’s an achievable goal, as the sessions are only two and a half hours long, start from £15.50 and if your other half can watch the kids for you just one short session a month, then you’re winning at life!
Harrogate’s Turkish Baths
If you live in Harrogate and have never been to the Turkish Baths you should really put it on your to do list! Visitors travel from across continents to experience them, as they are one of only seven original Victorian Baths dating back to the 19th Century still in operation, and we’re lucky enough to have them on our own doorstep!
The Baths are beautiful to behold, they are Moorish in design with great Islamic arches, glazed brickwork walls, painted ceilings and terrazzo floors (laid by the very best Italian experts). All these things combine to add to the historic fantasy qualities of the Turkish Baths.
You can not help but be amazed by the surroundings when you’re in them. I loved the intricate tiled mosaic floors, the marble carved sinks, and the glazed walls. It’s such an inspiring environment to gaze around. I love all the history of the Baths, that the facilities have been there for such a long time and they’re all still in great working order. I love to sit and wonder who has sat there in the years gone before me and whether the same thoughts wandered through their heads as they took time out for themselves.
How it Works
The Baths work on a staged heat process. You start out in the relaxation area called the Frigidarium this rest bed area has a temperature of around 35 degrees, which helps your body adult to the temperatures of the Baths before and after you enter them. A pretty perfect temperature for me (I like it hot).
Then there are a series of three heat chambers, each divided by a set of heavy chenille curtains. The heat is a dry heat, not as dry as a sauna that come sometimes take your breath away, but it’s not wet like a steam room.
To start with you enter the Tepidarium (the warm room) which get to a heat of around 45 degrees which heats your body to prepare it for the more intense heat ahead. The next chamber is the Calidarium(hot room) which increased to around 55 degrees which helps your muscles relax further and finally there’s the Laconium (Hottest room) which reaches temperatures up to 70 degrees at which the heat helps purify and detox your body.
When you’re in each chamber you just relax on one of the benches or chairs, chat with a friend, read quietly or sit in reflection. For me having that undivided time to chat with a friend is the perfect tonic to accompany the relaxing experience. It helps gets things off your chest that you didn’t even know you were holding on to!
In-between each chamber the idea is that you cool off by visiting the Plunge Pool which at 20 degrees improves your circulation and flushes out toxins in the muscles and provides a toning effect. I can tell you it feels a lot cooler than 20 degrees when you have been lolling around in 70 degree heat! It is officially invigorating! There are also hot and cold showers, to help you cool off in-between hot bursts and also a separate Steam Room which has eucalyptus aromas in.
What you need
The Turkish Baths run on sessions both day time, weekend and evening. Each running for three hours and it’s best to book as it does fill up and numbers are capped so that everyone can enjoy the experience without over crowding. There are mixed sessions, where you need to wear swimwear and single sex sessions, where you don’t! Prices start at £15.50 and increase to £29.50 at the weekends. You are provided with a towel, so all you need to bring is your swimwear, £1 for the lockers and any shower products you might like to use for after the Baths. Hairdryers are provided and hair straighteners there’s space to do your make-up too. It does seem a bit unusual doing your make-up and hair in a more open area and when it’s a mixed session I was taken by surprise to see men around, but no more than surprised!
The relaxation beds are a lovely space to wind down after your session and become fully relaxed and chat quietly.
I loved my experience at the Turkish Baths, it’s so lovely to be a part of the history of our town in such a tangible way. It’s also an enormously relaxing experience, perfect for any Mama out there and in such beautiful surroundings. It’s great to sit down, feel warm to the bone, think by yourself or chat through your worries of the moment with a good friend. I would highly recommend going, or popping a session on your Christmas list!
Disclaimer: The Turkish Baths invited me to try the Baths with their compliments but the views are my own.