A Women’s Health Mum's Journey to Putting Herself First

With two school-aged children, a household to look after and a full-on job, sometimes “me time” falls completely off the list. 

We all know the value of self-care can’t be underestimated, but it really does take considered effort to smash those me-time goals.  

 So, when I was invited to a belated celebration for a friend who passed away during Covid-19 in Port Douglas, I decided to carve out some quality time in Cairns to do exactly what I’ve been pushing aside for so long. 

 I checked into the brand-new Crystal Brook Riley Resort, and headed straight to the resort pool for a swim.  

At reception they told me they were planting a tree for me, and every guest staying tonight to celebrate Earth Day. As I made my way to the pool, and floated through the water, I reflected on the awesomeness of this idea – and felt even happier to be taking time out somewhere with a huge sustainability focus. 

While I sat poolside (with the latest copy of Women’s Health, of course) a particular feature on Jessica Alba stood out to me. It was about how she’s trying to be more forgiving of herself, and “understanding that sometimes wellness means breathing and crystals, other times it means taco’s and tequila.” Don’t I know it!

Next up, a 1 hour massage at the Spa Ele’me. 

This spa.  


It’s a totally luxe experience.  

After I changed into a robe I was taken to a serene lounge where I was given a glass of water and had ten minutes to start to relax alone. Then my therapist Sarah (who has THE MOST SOOTHING voice I’ve ever heard) came and welcomed me into a beautiful spacious treatment room. She gave me a choice of three essential oils for my massage, and the hour of bliss that followed was truly something special. I stopped myself running through my to do list, and instead focused on what I’m grateful for – as my body relaxed from scalp to toe.  

Gratitude really is so healing. A night away to focus just on myself, a beautiful spa experience and thoughts of my treasured family.  

At the end of my massage I was back in the serene room with some healthy nuts and peppermint tea on offer, followed by a glass of sparkling wine! That’s my kind of balance. 

On my way out, I decided to head out for a quick walk. After just a few hours on my own, I could already feel the endorphins flowing – I was starting to feel a recharge coming on.  

Back at the hotel I decide to frock up (even though I’m dining solo!) and wear my new Camilla to the roof top bar Rocco for a drink before dinner. I sip a gin and soda with lime and mint while gazing out over Cairns. It’s spectacular, a little luxury up close to nature.  

It’s unusual for me to be at a bar alone so I didn’t stay long before I moved on to Paper Crane for dinner. At the Asian fusion restaurant, I ordered kingfish carpaccio (healthy & divine), and spicy beef in coconut (SO good) because it feels right in the balmy weather. After a glass of Pinot Noir, I’m off to bed for an early night in.  

The plush king bed feels like a dream, there is complementary environmentally friendly boxed water (no plastic) and I’m feeling on top of the world. 

Anne-Marie getting ready for the gym.

I wake earlier than usual after a great sleep, put on my new Puma gym top, and head down to the gym for a workout. I spent time on the bike, cross trainer and then did a 20-minute weight circuit.  I’ve recently joined TRIBE Functional Training (no mirrors, no judgement, with classes for everyone from beginners to advanced) and have been taking strength classes every week so I’m gaining confidence and getting stronger. In just a month I’ve doubled the weight I’m lifting and feel pretty happy with myself that I know my way around most of the equipment in the gym! #workoutgoals 

Then I head to the pool for a few hours of not much! Some valuable R&R before check out. 

24 hours of me.  

So worth it.  

I feel new. And proud that I planned a day to value myself. And I vow to put self-care and me-time on the list more often.

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