A novelist writes about the mind, body and soul.

Archive for the tag “The Park Club Acton”

The Park Club – Acton

If you want to be healthy, you do really have to do some exercise, we all know this and yet it can be really hard to commit.  I am not a gym bunny and in fact I don’t like any form of high-octane exercise. I’d rather go for a walk than  a run, or swim and sit in the steam room rather than an aerobics class and I don’t live near a lovely beach, which is just inviting me to walk down it. In fact I live between two busy London Streets, filled with noise, people and traffic.  I attempt to keep active by swimming and  going to pilates classes; sometimes I think about getting a small, well-behaved dog, which would force me to take long walks in the park.

I have been a member of various health clubs for the last twenty years, it’s a luxury but a really worthwhile one. My first club was adults only and it suited me fine at the time, as I was single and carefree. The second one I joined after getting married and having babies. The rule stated that children were allowed children in on a Wednesday afternoon to swim, which was not very satisfactory, but I kept going in a rather selfish way, because I was addicted to one particular yoga class taught by one particular teacher.  About four years ago, I gave in, wrenched myself away and joined a family friendly club – the Park Club in Acton.  I now can’t imagine my life without it.

I interviewed my children yesterday to find out what they thought about it. My daughter who is nearly 8 said she loved the cafe there, “which has nice cookies, lollipops, crisps and water for free! So you don’t have to waste time queuing when you’re hot.” They serve healthy food too, but she’s not at all interested in that. She loves their assault course, which is tucked away in one part of the 27 acres of land.  “They have giant viking boats that go really high, a giant swing, a wobbly thing you have to stand on, and a standing see-saw.” She also likes the pool (there is an indoor and outdoor one) “because you can learn to swim and have fun.” And she also added to my surprise that, “the rules are really sensible, like children are not allowed in the jacuzzi, or in the gym, because they could hurt themselves.” My ten-year old son, says he likes the fact that you can just turn up and find someone to play football with and he says, “there is brilliant coaching.” So all in all a success. It’s particularly comforting to sit on their terrace on a sunny Sunday, sipping tea, reading newspapers and not worrying that the children have met some pervert in a public park. (I kid you not, a park policeman once warned me about a man who had been arrested in our local park for spying on children behind a tree!)

I absolutely love it at the Park Club,  and it’s great in the school holidays. The children could actually spend all day there, running around, or going to a holiday camp  and they have a certain amount of freedom to roam.  I was depressed recently, when I went to see Swallow and Amazons and was once again reminded about the level of freedom kids were given in those days – 1929. The children were allowed to go to an island and camp out on their own. Who would let their children do that now? The Park Club, admittedly is not an island but it does feel like a welcome oasis in a busy, urban, sometimes scary world.


All I want for Christmas

1.I’d love anything from Neom Organics, a superb company that uses natural organic products, but packages them in a really stylish way. This Christmas I’d like to receive their body scrub, as my skin is a bit dull and grey and lifeless during the winter months. They also have perfect presents including reed room diffusers and candles.

2. Anything from Korres. Their  sun tan lotion is the best I’ve ever used. I know thoughts of sunbathing are not exactly appropriate for this time of year unless you happen to be flying off to the sun for Christmas. I’ve tried their new pomegranate skin lotion. It’s absolutely wonderful and I’ve used it a few times without moisturizer and it’s still made my skin soft. It’s also great for taking off makeup and tightening pores. I also have their Vanilla plum body milk and guava body butter and there is nothing synthetic about the smell.

3. A years supply of Lovea shampoo and conditioner. These products really do make your hair shine.

4. A years supply of Liz Earle muslim cloths and face cleanser.

5. A life time membership to the Park Club in Acton. 27 Acres of grounds, including an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts (both inside  an allweather  dome and outside)  and every class you could think of, including acqua zumba, pilates and yoga,  keep me sane. I have been known to swim in their outdoor swimming pool in the middle of winter when snow is falling! Extremely child friendly too.

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