Girls Just Want to Have Fun

By: Graham Baylis

Becky wants to do something really special for her mum, this Mother's Day - something to show her just how much she's loved and appreciated.

Becky and mum Jane have always been more like sisters than mother and daughter. They have the same wicked sense of humour, enjoy the same music and TV programmes, and even share the same clothes. Of course, there are always the predictable flowers and chocolates, but they seem a bit... well, tame for Jane. She's not really that sort of mum and anyway, she's hopeless at flower arranging and seems to be on a permanent diet. So that's no good.

Becky remembers a friend having raved to her about a spa break she'd had recently. Apparently, 'sparties' are the latest craze to sweep the nation - loads of fun and sure to appeal to a young-at-heart tearaway like Jane.

Without further ado, Becky's on the Internet, investigating the possibilities. This looks ideal; a night in a luxury serviced apartment near to the centre of Cheltenham. Booking is a piece of cake and now all that remains is for the two of them to pack their overnight bags and hit the road.

Cheltenham Spa is a stunning regency town and is perfectly positioned for visiting Bath, the Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon. The town's main street, The Promenade, is considered to be one of the most beautiful in England, with a plethora of shops to visit. The one-bedroom serviced apartment is on the ground floor of an elegant regency building within the beautiful location of The Park, just a ten minute stroll away from the town centre and all the many delights that Cheltenham has to offer. Jane gasps in delighted disbelief when she enters the spotless and roomy, tastefully decorated apartment. It has a fully equipped kitchen with every appliance needed; washing machine, dishwasher, electric oven, gas hob, microwave and fridge freezer. There's a spacious, comfortable lounge with TV and CD/DVD player and a superb dining area with huge floor to ceiling windows, offering splendid views of the bustling street below. The shower room/WC has a smart white suite and decorative tiles, totally in keeping with the heritage of the building. They even have broadband internet access, although they both suspect that they'll have better things to do! A well-appointed, light and airy double bedroom boasts an invitingly soft bed. But no time for snoozing yet - it's off to the town for some 'girlie' shopping. It's a tough job, suggests Jane, but someone has to do it. Becky agrees.

Arm in arm, they set off on their mission for some serious retail therapy. Very shortly, they find themselves in the very fashionable area of Montpelier with its wealth of boutiques, bars and restaurants. Chatting excitedly over a glass of chilled white wine and a club sandwich, they plan their strategy - first some clothes shopping. Two hours later, Jane's laden with bags containing a number of designer outfits that she doesn't need but must have, and Becky's similarly encumbered. Laughing together, they conclude that it's not really an extravagance. They'll end up swapping things around anyway, so why worry? Before heading back to the apartment, there's just one more task to do - quite obviously, to get a few tasty snacks and the wherewithal for some punchy cocktails, in readiness for the evening ahead.

Back at the apartment, Jane decides that some music is needed to start the party - or 'sparty' - off with a swing. Choosing a suitably manic CD, she and Becky kick off their shoes and boogie around the lounge like a pair of lunatics, pausing just occasionally for the odd cocktail or vol-au-vent. Becky's a little concerned when Jane keeps increasing the volume, but as Jane reminds her, they can make as much noise as they like - it even said so in the details on the website. Becky has to accede to her mother's wisdom.

When the fully qualified spa specialist arrives at the apartment, the music becomes far more sedate and atmospheric. By soft candlelight, Jane and Becky are treated with a relaxing facial and a soothing hot stone back, neck and shoulder massage. This is ninety minutes of pure bliss that they don't want to end! By the time the therapist has taken her leave, they are both feeling deliciously relaxed and mellow. No aching muscles, no tension; simply a sense of tranquillity and well-being. Just a couple more cocktails and they're ready for bed, giggling and gossiping like school friends on a 'sleepover', until they finally drift into a deep, contented slumber.

In the morning, Jane is still refreshed and rejuvenated from her luxury spa treatment, feeling remarkably supple for a woman of her age. The only slight snag is that she has the suspicion of a throbbing in her temples. Could be that she had one Harvey Wallbanger too many... but never mind, it was worth it...

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