The best thing you can do for yourself in the wake of a break-up.

Image: Thinkstock

It is probably true that money cannot buy love.  But we should not also conclude that money is unable to buy love’s cure. Which is to say, five star ultra-luxe spa lodgings and a good body treatment is the fastest road to recovery after a break-up that I know.

I have sustained two major emotional injuries in my adult life and a number of minor dumpings and by the time I got to the second or third “I’m leaving you because you need to learn how to love, Helen” (if you ever hear this, a fairly reliable translation is: “I have met someone who showed me her tits on webcam”) I got jack from talking to mental health professionals. I mean. You leave their suites blotchy and $200 poorer just to hear “it’s not your fault”. It struck me that my beauty therapist would tell me the same thing for about fifty bucks less AND apply a hydrating mask.

By the time I got to the third or fourth “I just need some time to work on me” (if you ever hear this, a fairly reliable translation is: “I fear I cannot keep my naked webcam chats a secret for much longer so one of us has to move out”) I had upgraded from simple beauty therapy to a full-blown spa retreat. Two years ago when I was left for a webcam, I checked into the Lake House in Daylesford an emotional corn husk and left a fully moisturised peach.

Welcome to The Lake House.

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Frankly, if there’s a hard financial choice to make between improved skin tone and a bunch of tedious “mindfulness” exercises, I’m spending my wages in the place that serves cucumber water every time. If it were not for glycolic acid, Diptyque candles by the hot tub and a menu of dainties than included what I have now identified as the western world’s most heartbreak-appropriate dessert (white chocolate jelly with violets), I don’t think I would have rebuilt myself at all after the last tsunami of tears.

Oh, alright. I probably would have but it might have taken much longer and been a lot less fun and I wouldn’t have been able to make a convincing case for a return trip to the heartbreak hotel when I learned that my friend had been ditched by a total idiot.

My old pal Clem Bastow is a sterling girl of whom, save for her appalling taste in suitors, I approve entirely. And so it was when her latest Man-Baby dumped her at the DFO (AT THE DFO. I wish he had done it at Miu Miu or something. Getting the sack next to remainder bins and racks of parallel imports just seems especially humiliating) I said, “Right. Wax your bush and pack your elasticised pants because you’re eating and exfoliating your way out of this one.”

Helen Razer

Daylesford is a striking postcard of a village an hour out of Melbourne and it is full of spotless style and produce. Its ragtag rhododendron gardens and impeccably rustic main street were probably conceived by homosexual set designers raised on a strict diet of Audrey Hepburn and understated tastes.

Its natural spas are probably the result of geological forces, but who cares about minerals and shit right now, because here we are in a town full of nineteenth century bathhouses and uncommonly good country coffee. We’re gonna beat a retreat from emotional defeat, Clem. Appropriately, we were to do this in the Lake House’s premium villa known as The Retreat.


Here it is: The ultimate resource for the recently dumped

Beautiful things can work marvellously well to slow the hurtling heart and the rooms were full of cardiac rest for Clem. “Look at this!” she said quietly and pointed to a Cornell-inspired boxed assemblage on the wall and then “look at those!” as she calculated how many outsize tubs she’d need to take before using all of the spa amenities. This was quite a gear-shift from our bus journey which had been largely given over to frenzied talk of the Man-Baby. Here she was lying on a giant couch wading through a Vogue already installed in her fluffy robe whose pockets she had stuffed with artisanal bread.

Beautiful things can work marvellously well to slow the hurtling heart and the rooms were full of cardiac rest for Clem.

“Oh! Look at this,” as she made her way to the Nespresso machine. “I’m not a coffee drinker but that’s so pretty, I’m going to start now!”.

The caffeine come-down took a while. But, after I administered a medicinal Hendrick’s from the in-room honour bar, we were both calmed enough again to look at pictures of Man-Baby on Instagram and agree that she was much better off without someone whose tendency to wear a grill on his teeth would only end in expensive dental decay.

Spite is a tonic nearly as good as gin and so, relaxed, we each departed to our private quarters to ready ourselves for dinner and yell “HASHTAG #MINIBREAK” at each other through the walls as we tweeted boastful pictures of our feet poking out of improbably large and lovely baths.

Never underestimate the power of a bath. Especially if it's as cavernous as this one.

Clembo emerged looking like a glamorous human who had never nursed a Man-Baby but instead spent all of her time idling through fashion magazines in luxury resorts. I was a little prune-coloured and textured from an eighteen-hour bath but the wait staff at the two-hatted restaurant did a wonderful job of making me feel less like dried fruit than peach.

The post-breakup appetite is erratic and so tidbits like bug dumplings in a kimchi beurre noisette work very well to bring it back to measure. The more we ate, the less we grieved Man-Baby and by the time she was done with her poison and had started on a logic-defying spherical dessert called “The Apple”, she had pretty much sworn off all penis and vowed instead to marry chef Alla Wolf-Tasker’s celebrated food.

Oh. This reminds me. If you are going to do as I did and take your broken-hearted buddy on a therapeutic #minibreak, ask the staff to remove all wedding magazines from your luxury villa. “Love is a lie!” said Clem as we both hissed at one gormless Vera Wang bride after another. “He’ll only end up dumping her at a DFO” I agreed and the next day, I asked Larissa, Alla’s daughter and the hotel manager, to remove all traces of matrimony from the room. She were terribly apologetic and said “we should have known!” and I am absolutely sure if there was a magazine called It’ll Only End in Divorce, all issues would have presented on our coffee table.


Breakups are not just vile, they’re shattering. They fragment you right at your foundation.

But instead, a little assortment of soothing aromatherapy sprays were on Clembo’s pillow. In our wedlock-free anti-hens’ weekend, we passed hours thinking about all of the lovely activities in which we might engage but probably wouldn’t. There were robin-egg blue fixies with matching helmets on our private porch should we fancy a spin ‘round the lake and guides to picturesque walks and culinary tours. I find it very relaxing to think that there is a world of wonderful leisure at my disposal while remaining on the couch and fortunately, so did Clem. She did go and say hello to the ducks. I imagine chiefly to Instagram them. But mostly, we lay around in our private lodgings and wondered why we the urge to talk about Man-Baby had all but disappeared.

Of course, even the laziest anti-hen makes her way to the beauty shop and I had booked us the Signature Bliss treatment in the couples’ room at the Salus Spa. I reasoned that a skin-sloughing treatment would be a sort of symbolic renewal and also, I thought it would be funny if we got to laugh at each other in disposable underwear. It was. “Ha ha! I look like the Man Power all-male strip show in my pouch!” said Clem. And after a brief bonding moment of Magic Mike, we were massaged, hot-stoned, exfoliated, moisturised and vichy-showered into more hydrated and smoother versions of ourselves.

Broken hearted? Time to get stoned. Or just a hot stone massage. (Thinkstock)

Breakups are not just vile, they’re shattering. They fragment you right at your foundation. Cracks appear in the very stuff of the self when the other rejects it and frankly, I was expecting a lot more “WHY WHY WHY?” shrieking from Clem as that’s how I disposed of the first three months in the void after my last divorce. But really, we had a hoot and by all reports, the ultra-luxe delirium of our two expensive days has had a good ongoing effect on Clem.

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Now, some might think us shallow for finding solace in luxury and if they looked at all the tweets we hashtagged #MINIBREAK, the case that we are absolute ditzes could be made. But, whatevs, as they say on social media. Beautiful things and a turn-down service that includes a fire-pit lighting make you feel good when you need it most. True and unwavering hospitality just works.

Our #MINIBREAK and all its treats helped immensely and not so much because of their intrinsic qualities, which in this case were stupendously high, but because they reminded us to love ourselves sick. And we did and we do and yes we are both completely conscious that this is a Carrie Bradshaw approach to heartache. Which reminds me. When you and your pal check in for a post breakup anti-hens’ weekend, remember the DVD boxed set of Sex and the City. The Burger post-it episode would have made our #MINIBREAK perfect.

Have you ever been broken hearted? How did you overcome it?