Hartwell House Hotel and Aromatherapy Associates – Anti-Bucket List 2015 Update

Health & Beauty, The Anti-Bucket List, What's Happening?

One of the best things about putting ‘visiting Spa’s’ on my Anti-Bucket List is getting to do one of my favourite things…. visit spa’s!

Last weekend I had the complete joy of visiting a new spa near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, at Hartwell House Hotel with my lovely friend L.J. Ross.

Our rather stunning room

Our rather stunning room

The old manor house has been turned into a hotel in the most beautiful way.  It has retained the feel of a house, keeping four large drawing rooms with fire places for guests to relax in (or read and write within as was the case with us – what can I say, it’s all rock n’ roll when two writers go away).  With such a number of drawing rooms and a library available to use, it never feels crowded.  There was more than one moment when I felt like I was in Downton Abbey, especially when walking down the engraved, ornate staircase.

The Spa is in the old stables and has been wonderfully converted, again very sympathetically, complete with the required beige stone and soothing music.  The Spa uses Aromatherapy Associates a product that surprisingly, I hadn’t tried before.  The smell was delicious, not as fragrant as other products but I think that is a good sign.  It shows that there aren’t high levels of chemical perfumes added.

Unknown-3I had the Aromatherapy Associates Essential Rose Facial with Back Massage.  Starting with the back massage the therapist focused on my shoulders after I told her it was my area of concern and then went into the facial, complete with an amazing head massage.  I honestly felt like a new woman and my skin looked so clean and radiant, wonderful.  My wonderful co-assistant reviewer had an Indian Head Massage which she enjoyed but would have liked more time spent on her head and less on her shoulders as her back is so ticklish.  Thank God I don’t have that problem, couldn’t imagine not liking back massages!

I was very impressed by the products and went on to buy the Rose Face Mask and Rose Facial Tonic, which I am enjoying using.

Overall, I loved Hartwell House Hotel and Spa.  So much so that I am planning on taking husband there and it is high on my list of favourite hotel.  An amazing big tick of the Anti-Bucket List 2015, but I think I will happily add it again and again! 🙂

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Breathing Space Spa, Harpenden & ESPA Review

Beauty Treatment, Health & Beauty

Walking into Breathing Space, you walk into a busy cafe selling delicious healthy juices and meals, with a buzzy reception desk and people heading to Yoga or Pilates in their studio but as you walk upstairs you are transported into a wonderful calming haven.  Large sofas with luxurious throws.  Dark, beautifully carved wooden furniture that looks like it has just arrived from Bali.  Dimmed lighting and  the obligatory calming music means you could only be expected to do one thing, relax.

I hunted out Breathing Space because I am in love with ESPA treatments.  I don’t mean the products (which I also love) but the actual treatments.  ESPA have very specific training and way of doing treatments they expect all therapists who use ESPA to keep to.  Having trained in them myself when I worked The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge, London, I really do know just how fantastic they are.  One of my favourite things is their philosophy that a treatments should be holistic and dedicated to you.  Their treatments are also very effective but non-invasive, a perfect combination.  I could go on and on about how fantastic ESPA is, but I think you get the point.

As with all things, an ESPA treatment is only as good as the person giving it.  I had a massage and facial and both were fantastic.  They upheld ESPA’s high standards perfectly and my skin felt and looked radiant afterwards.    The therapist took an interest in what I wanted to get from the treatment and could adapt the treatment to make sure that was what she focused on.  In the massage that was a lot of extra work around my shoulders.  In the facial, using regenerative and hydrating products and doing a lot of draining and massage on my face to help clear the layers underneath the skin and tension I hold in my jaw.

I do think Breathing Space is quite expensive, but I do think that you are paying for quality and in this case, it was worth every penny.

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 25 – Oat Bath

Complementary Therapies, Health & Beauty, Health and Beauty Tips

Nourish Your Skin

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 25 – Oat Bath

An oat bath is often recommended for kids who have chicken-pox which is actually how I found out about it.  But it’s not just chickenpox’s that its good for, Oats and Oatmeal are fantastic for the skin.

How?

Put some oats in a cloth and tie it around the bath tap so that as the bath is running the water is coming through the oats and cloth.  This will produce a wonderful milk from the oats.  Another little tip – I often use a hair band to secure the fabric around the tap.

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Why?

  • An Oat Bath is Cleansing – the oat particles stick to dirt and dead skin cells allowing them all to be washed away.
  • It’s Soothing – which is why it is often recommended for chicken-pox or eczema.
  • Its Moisturising – the oats restore moisture into the skin and balance the skins natural pH.
  • It’s Protective – the milk from the oats leaves a lovely protective layer over the skin that makes you feel like you’ve moisturised as soon as you get out of the bath.

Happy bathing x

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 18 – Honey Mask

Beauty Treatment, Health & Beauty, Health and Beauty Tips

Yummy Honey

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 18 – Honey Maskimages-1

Honey makes are great mask as it helps reduce and prevent wrinkles & softens the skin.  Plus it couldn’t be easier.

  • Cleanse your face so lovely and clean
  • Rinse with warm water to open your pores
  • Smoother your face in lovely Honey
  • Leave for 10 or 15 mins and wash off.
  • Admire your lovely honey skin!

Happy masking x

 

Bring on the TOWIE – Chloe’s Beauty Bar Opening

Beauty Treatment, Cancer & Me, Health & Beauty

Last week I was invited to Essex for the opening of Chloe Sims Beauty Bar and meet the lady behind the venture.

Chloe came across as a sweet, genuine woman with a real passion for what she is embarking on.  Years of personal experience have brought her to a place where she is able to open something that, even in an area surrounded by beauty salons and hairdressers, stands out as something unique.

So what makes Chloe’s Beauty Bar unique?

It’s a one stop shop to look completely fabulous.  Chloe has deliberately and successfully pulled together chic and glamour to let men & women look their best.  There are no lengthy treatments lists and detailed price structures.  Easy, affordable fabulousness is all you will have to worry about at Chloe’s.

Achieved with a Look Book of 5 different Make-Up looks and 5 different Hair Styles for you to choose from.  Such a fabulous idea, because sometimes you know what you want but can’t explain it, this way you can just look at the book and choose, perfect.  And they are all one price, none of this starting at…. and you have no idea what you are going to end up paying, it’s upfront, nice and easy.  Obviously Chloe’s skilled stylists and make-Up artists can do different looks if you want but its a great starting point.  And the Hair Stylers don’t just have to work with your own hair, they have a whole host of extensions and pieces to get the look just right for you, no matter what the length or thickness of your hair is.

It doesn’t stop at Hair & Make-Up…  

The theme of looking gorgeous continues with Nails including Gel Treatments, 1 hour Spray Tans (yes one hour, no more waiting overnight and all that drama – Godsend), which are both available from Chloe’s own brand Starship. Eyelashes & Brows and the necessary evil; Waxing!

The Beauty Bar itself…

This feeling of chic glamour is not just in her treatments and products but within the space itself.  With its beautiful white drapes and subtle gold sparkle  and even a bar Chloe has achieved a beautiful space that anyone will feel decadent within.  Chloe told me that she did have an Interior Designer to create the look but it was her vision and ideas that were brought to life.

One the day, we were treated to a treatment…  

I had a VIP hairstyle and even my straight as a ruler hair was transferred into beautiful curls.  My lovely friend Emma tried the 1 Hour Spray Tan using the product from Chloe’s Starship range and we were so impressed with the results.  I took this picture of her tan line about 30 minutes after her spray and I think anyone who has had a spray tan will think that’s amazing.  The Spray tan has been especially designed to work with your skin to bring out your natural skin tone in the tan, avoiding that awful orange look that can put many of us off spray tanning.

One of my favourite things about Chloe’s Beauty Bar…

Is the ‘reveal’.  I’m sure we all know that feeling.  Sat in front of the hairdressers mirror for however long under unforgiving light and uninterrupted scrutiny meaning that even the most vain and confident amounts us will start to pull themselves apart and see faults that no one else will notice including every tiny spot or wrinkle.  I seriously hate that but none of that at Chloe’s.  The mirrors are covered with beautiful white curtains and then at the end you get a real ta-da moment when they pull the curtain back.  As Chloe explained;

photo 3 copy“It can feel a bit uncomfortable staring the mirror, I do it all the time, sit there thinking ‘I wish I had put my make-up on’, but once all your hair and make-up is on, then we reveal it at the end, everyone should feel really good.  You never see what you look like until the end.”

Talking about her inspiration Chloe said…

“I visited a ‘Blow Bar’ in Los Angeles and I liked the way it was all clear with accent colours, here I have gone for gold.  I liked how they had clear price lists with a menu, because sometimes in Beauty Salons they have so many treatments with al different prices, your not sure what it is.  I wanted to keep it simple, 5 hair styles, 1 price that’s that. So that is what I have tried to bring to Essex.

Obviously a blow bar just does hair but I wanted to incorporate my hair, tanning, nail and make-up ranges to make it a one-stop-shop. I wanted it to be very relaxing so that when people come here they feel like they’ve had an experience and  a nice luxury treatment done.”

For my Cancer Chemo Superstars…

As well as just generally feeling better for having a bit of pampering I sussed out some specific treatments for all my Cancer and Chemo Superstars.

  • Eyelash extensions are in strips, perfect for if you’ve lost your natural eyelashes as they are attached to the eyelids.  You can have them applied in Chloe’s or you can purchase just the stripes and apply them at home.
  • Hair Pieces that cover a little over half the head, so when hair is starting to grow back they can do fabulous styles, using your natural hair at the front and a piece at the back.
  • Home Tanning because when you are feeling a little washed out a bit of colour can make you feel a thousand times better.  Chloe sells her 1 hour tan for home use – instant pick me up!

A few extra things from Chloe…

If she could have anyone visit it would be Rhianna or Kim Kardashian.

Her outfit was all high street (girl after my own heart) – Shoes & Skirt from Zara, Top from Rover Island, Choker from Top Shop and Handbag from New Look – but she still looked a million dollars.

If you love the sounds of Starship products but can’t get to Essex…

I have fab news.  A lot of Chloe’s products and hair pieces can be bought for use at home.  Very generously Chloe is giving me discount codes and links, to pass on to you lovely readers so keep your eyes peeled and I should have them up in the next couple of days.

I do have one very big complaint about Chloe’s Beauty Bar…

It’s not in Hertfordshire (where I live)!  This is honestly the sort of place that I have dreamed of.  Somewhere you can go before a big event and night out, walk in looking normal and come out a Goddess.  Chloe I gently urge you to start a chain and down right beg you to make the next one in St Albans!

I want to hear from you…

What’s your favourite thing about visiting a beauty salon or what do you wish yours had?  Leave a comment in the box below xx

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Spring Health & Beauty Tip 11 – Sugar Scrub

Beauty Treatment, Health & Beauty, Health and Beauty Tips

Exfoliate your skin in the sweetest way

Spring health & Beauty Tip 12 – Make Your Own Sugar Scrub

Exfoliating is great for your body as well as your face.  The fantastic news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy products, you can make delicious products at home.  I personally LOVE this recipe.

Mix some Sugar with a little Olive Oil into a stiffish paste.  Add a drop of Geranium essential oil (Lavender will work well too if that’s what you have).  And that’s it, a delicious Sugar Scrub.

Warm-Vanilla-Sugar-Scrub-3

In the shower, scrub, rinse, done!  You are all exfoliated and soft, no trouble!

If you prefer a Salt scrub, swap the sugar for Salt.  I personally find that Himalayan Salt has the best result and makes the skin feel best.  But I am assuming that you already have Sugar in the cupboard so may be best?!

Happy Scrubbing x

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Spring Health & Beauty Tip 7 – Steam Clean Your Face

Beauty Treatment, Health and Beauty Tips

Give your face a spring clean

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 7 – Steam Your Face Clean

Steaming your face can be a non-invasive way of opening the pores, unclogging and deep-cleaning your face.  Brilliantly, it is very easy to do at home.

  • Boil a kettle of water and pour into a large bowel, ideally wider than your face, but leave for a few minutes.
  • Lean over the bowel, but not to close, about 18inches away and put a towel over your head and the bowel so that all the lovely steam stays in the area, working its magic on your face.
  • You can add a few drops of essential oil to help, Rosemary is particularly good for unblocking pores, Lavender is great for the skin and relaxations generally and the two go really well together.  A couple of drops of each in a large bowel will be plenty.
  • After 4 – 10 minutes (no longer), wash your face with clean water as the cold water will help your pores to close again.
  • To finish tone, to remove any dirt that has been dislodged and make sure the pores are closed and moisturise.
  • Finally, admire your gorgeous skin!

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As with all these things, don’t do it to often as it can overstimulate the skin and produce more  of the dreaded oil.  Once a week is fine.

Happy Steaming! x

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 3

Health and Beauty Tips

Eyes Bright x

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 3 – Don’t Overload the Eyes

The skin around the eyes is incredible sensitive and very thin, meaning that it is unable to absorb cream and moisturisers in the same way as the rest of the skin on the face.  When the skin just under the eyes doesn’t absorb it can create those little white spots that women sometimes get.

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To avoid it, don’t put any cream above the your eye socket bone under the eye. The skin directly under the eye will then act as a blotting paper, slowly absorbing what it needs and making sure it only takes just the right amount – such a clever thing the body!

The Joy of Head Massage

Complementary Therapies

Commonly known as Indian Head Massage this gorgeous treatment is pure relaxation.  We hold so much tension in our heads, jaws, shoulders and neck and all these key areas are worked throughly during a Head Massage treatment.

There are a number of different Head Massage techniques but in the tradition Indian practice, you keep your clothes on, no oil is used and you stay sitting up in a comfortable chair.  The massage therapists will the massage, apply pressure and treat the shoulder, neck, jaw and head areas to dissolve knots and relax and release the muscles.  This can release headache-causing blockages and to encourage better circulation of the cerebral fluid, relax the entire head, neck and shoulder area, encouraging circulation and stimulating hair growth.

The benefits of Head Massage can include;

  • Relieve built up tension that can often result in headaches, migraines, neck and back pain.
  • Detoxify the body by stimulating lymphatic drainage
  • Boost overall immunity
  • Improve circulation
  • Promote clarity and increased concentration.
  • Boost cerebral spinal fluid circulation.
  • Relieve sleeplessness, restlessness and insomnia
  • Provide relief from stress and promotes relaxation
  • Renew energy levels
  • Increase feelings of peace, calm and well-being.

The Joy of Reflexology

Complementary Therapies

Over the years I have trained in a number of treatments but Reflexology always remains a firm favorite of mine.  As well as being the most wonderfully relaxing treatment, it is truly Holistic, which means that it treats the Mind, Body & Soul at the same time.

Reflexology is an ancient Chinese therapy that works on the principle that nerve endings and energy pathways all travel down to the feet and present a map of the body on the feet. By massaging and stimulating these areas, Reflexologist are able to assist in treating the body internally and removing any blackages in the body’s energy.  Reflexology is a very individual treatment that is tailored to you and your needs & current health.

reflexology

What Does Reflexology Do?

Reflexology increases movement in the circulatory (delivering blood, oxygen and nutrients to the cells and organs) and lymphatic (removing waste and toxins from the cells and organs) systems on a very physical and cellular level – you are basically flooding your cells with the good stuff and encouraging the removal of the bad stuff. Reflexology is a natural treatment that encourages your bodies own systems to work more effectively. Having said that you need to do your bit to help. Drinking lots of water being step number one to keep flushing the cells clean.

Another effective function of Reflexology is that it balances the endocrine system which is in charge of all your glands, hormones, mood balancers, stress, which can go into overdrive when stressed or run-down. Balancing the glands again, can help with that lethargic and de-motivated feeling and can help to calm you and give you more energy. You will also feel like you have more energy once you body starts to detoxify…. another massive benefit.

As part of the balancing effect on your hormones, Reflexology can be very effective in regulating ladies menstrual cycles, something I have found Reflexology particularly helpful for in my clients.

As Reflexology is primarily a holistic treatment that looks to being about reducing stress and aiding relaxation this can have a wonderful effect on any stress induced conditions in the body such as headaches and sleep problems.

On top of all this Reflexology is a very relaxing treatment that also offers wonderful pampering – heaven! 🙂

reflexology 1

What Can I Expect From a Reflexology Appointment?

On your first appointment, your Reflexologist will take a brief medical history and make sure everything is OK for you to go ahead with the treatment.  You will remove you shoes, socks and pull your trousers up so everything below the knee is exposed then, sit back and get nice and comfortable.  The Reflexologist will apply gentle pressure to the feet, ankles and lower legs.  This pressure shouldn’t be painful, but not so gentle it will tickle either.  I Have the most ticklish feet in the world but I am fine, it is a very different sort of pressure to someone tickling you.

How Will I Feel After My Reflexology Appointment?

You should very relaxed and calm.  Most clients also tell me that they sleep better and their general feeling of well-being is improved after a Reflexology treatment.

Reflexology During Pregnancy

Reflexology is completely safe during pregnancy as long as you have passed the 12 week point (which really is only advised to be an extra precaution) in fact I would go as far to advise it as strongly as is possible!  I had Reflexology religiously through both pregnancies and I couldn’t recommend it enough.  It helps with your energy levels as well as your general well-being.  Towards the end Reflexologyists can start working on reflex points to assist the body in getting ready for labour.

Are There Any Times I Shouldn’t Have Reflexolgy?

  • During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • Any contagious skin disease ie. impetigo, scabies, chicken pox, mumps etc.
  • Any untreated severe medical condition, or acute pain (Reflexology may hide a condition which needs medical attention)
  • Severe varicose veins i.e. phlebitis (Reflexology may increase pressure of blood to veins)
  • Any form of infection, disease or fever (can make client feel worse and spread infection to the therapist)
  • Diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • Cuts, grazes, open skin, rashes, bites, burns, severe eczema or psoriasis, fractures, athletes foot, verrucaes, inflammation or bruising on the feet.
  • Cervical spondylitis
  • Haematoma
  • Epilepsy
  • If you have any condition, disease or illness that you are currently visiting a GP or specialist for, you should get written consent from them that you are able to have Reflexology treatments before you begin.

 

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Treatments are based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, close to the station. To purchase a Gift Certificate please call 07834 789 107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com