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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Where To Get The Best Massage in Harpenden

Beauty Treatment, Health & Beauty

People often do ask where I as a massage therapist go to get a massage and in Harpenden I truly do have one favourite place.  Sabrina.

It may not be the most flashy salon in Harpenden but they have what matters, a secret weapon, amazing therapists!  In particular the amazing Amy!  She honestly gives the best massages.  Concentrating on any areas of concern she covers the whole body, including the jaw and scalp, where I hold a huge amount of tension.  I always leave feeling revived, relaxed and like I can’t wait for the next one!

images-6

If Amy isn’t there then you may get to have a massage from Sabrina herself, equally wonderful.

Although I am yet to try anything else, Sabrina offer a whole host of Beauty treatments, Hair dressing, Wigs, Tanning… plenty to keep you looking and feeling wonderful… what to try next?!

Happy relaxing x

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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.

What’s the Deal With – Aromatherapy?

Complementary Therapies

We hear the word Aromatherapy and Essential Oils quite a lot nowadays.  From shower gels to washing powder everything seems to have the words ‘contains essential oils’ or a list of plant extracts on it.  It can seem a little confusing when we are talking about true Aromatherapy and Essential Oils.

What Exactly Are Essential Oils?

The oil (it’s not always an oil to start with) is extracted through various methods from different parts of the plant.  This could be the leaf, bark, petal, twigs, roots, leaves, seeds, any part.  Different plants keep their life force in different places.

Some would consider essential oils the ‘heart’ or ‘life force’ of the plant.  The reason being that it is this special part of the plant which has the ability to change the chemical compound of the plant, telling it when to drops its petals and grow new leaves.  When these essential oils interact with us through our senses, they have the ability to alter our chemical make up too.  It truly is all very clever!

Lovely Lavender Fields

Lovely Lavender Fields

What Exactly is Aromatherapy?

Directly translated ‘Aroma’ means pleasant scent and ‘Therapy’ means treatment.  Aromatherapy it the name for the application of these essential oils, through a variety of means, letting the essential oils promote health and wellbeing both physically and mentally.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils

How Can I Use Aromatherapy?

You can absorb essential oils through the skin or by smell.  The most common way is Massage and most Aromatherapists will be qualified in Massage, which is fab because then you get all the benefits of the massage as well.  You can also put the oils in burners or vaporisers, a couple of drops on a hot or cold compress, or a few drops in the bath.  If you are adding oils to the bath, you can dilute then into some full-fat milk as essential oils don’t mix with water.

Pop 3 drops of essential oil onto a cotton wool pad & place on a warm radiator. The heat will cause the oil to evaporate and fragrance the room.

A Few Things to be Aware of;

Aromatherapy is generally a safe treatment but there are things that you should be aware of and certain conditions that you should not have Aromatherapy treatments…

  • Essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin & should be diluted into a carrier oil such as Sweet Almond Oil or Grape seed oil.
  • Essential oils are highly flammable.
  • Always keep away from animals and children.
  • They can be highly toxic if ingested.  They should never be taken orally.
  • If you have highly sensitive skin or allergies you should carry out a patch test first.
  • If you are pregnant I would always recommend seeking advice from a qualified Aromatherapist.
  • Aromatherapy is best avoided if you have epilepsy, high or low blood pressure, diabetes, spastic conditions, dysfunction of the nervous system, recent operation, varicose veins, fever, infectious disease, cancer, thrombosis or embolism.

If you are unsure you can always contact an Aromatherapist and ask for advice.

Easy Quick Healthy Tip 9, 10 and 11

Complementary Therapies, Health and Beauty Tips, Journey Back to Health

I have missed a couple of days (life getting in the way) so you are getting 3 for the price of 1 today.

Easy Quick Healthy Tip 9, 10 and 11 – Holistic Therapies

Holistic therapies are not only my speciality, they are also amazing. Right now I am talking specifically about Massage, Reflxology and Aromatherapy.

9. Massage
Yes massage is good for the health – isn’t that the best news?!  You actually have a reason to go for a massage! Massage stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic systems, meaning it helps blood deliver all the good stuff to your cells and takes all the crap away, keeping you nourished on a cell level. It helps to relax you and we all know the damamge that stress can do to your body. Unknotting muscles can help with your posture and with headaches. Basically go and get a massage, your body needs one!

10. Reflexology
Like massage it assists the circulatory and lymphatic systems and stress. Reflexology treats the body from the inside out. For a more comprehensive article on how Reflexology can help, view my Time for a Reflex Detox article here.

11. Aromatherapy
There are essential oils for everything. The best thing to do is contact an Aromatherapist (such as myself) and find out which ones are best for you specicifically. But its January so we are thinking detox!  Grapefuit oil is a winner for stimlating the systems and getting everything moving.  You should never put Aromatherapy oils directly onto the skin put you could add a drop or two to your body lotion in the morning and massage it into the skin.  That lovely summer citrus smell alone will get you motivated… especially in this weather!

Enjoy x