Archive of ‘Beauty’ category

My Spa Experience

I’m not sure I know anyone who wouldn’t jump at the chance for a little bit of TLC…and when the pampering location is right on your doorstep, well, there’s definitely no reason not to!

With an ethos of making day spas accessible and affordable for everyone, Spa Experience offers a relaxing thermal spa area, complete with sauna, sanarium, ice room and plunge pool as well as a relaxing area to chill on hot beds and a range of treatments available to book.

The new spa is located within the Olympia Leisure Complex, meaning a handy location and easy parking.  However, as you step through the spa doors, it is a world away from a leisure centre feel!  Being in this location, although convenient, I was unsure of what to expect, but it both looked and felt high quality.

On arrival I was welcomed with a gown, flip flops and towel and given a quick tour of the changing area and thermal spa which I was to further explore at my leisure.  I helped myself to a complimentary apple and glass of water to relax on the heated lounge chairs before deciding my next move.  Of course you have to try each area out but needless to say, the ice areas and cold showers, although being fully aware of their theraputic values, weren’t given much time!  The sanarium (which just feels like being on a beach – the perfect amount of heat!) was my favourite and where I ended up spending most of my time.

I signed up to the Total Spa Experience treatment and was guided through to the individual rooms when my time came.  A quick run down of how many layers to remove (is it just me who feels uncomfortable with knowing whether or not under garments should be removed?!), comfortably positioned on my heated bed (optional), music selected, scents decided upon and we were good to go!

The Total Spa Experience (£48 for 50mins) was just what my body needed on coming out of hibernation from winter layers and heating systems!  It began with a full body exfoliation, after which I was cocooned in blankets to allow the product to fully do it’s work.  At this stage I had my face and scalp massaged – top to toe relaxation.  The exfoliant was then removed before hot stones were placed on key areas, ah, even the thought of it now is making me feel relaxed!

Thank you to Spa Experience (and in particular, Isabelle) for my afternoon of relaxation, I plan to be back, even just for an afternoon in the sanarium;)  Here’s your chance to check it out…!


The Mummy Makeover

Okay, before we begin, this is a long one!  But if you are in need of a push in the right direction of regaining a positive mindset to build a body shape you feel content with, read on!

Six weeks before Christmas, I thought it would be a really good idea to begin a new exercise and eating program that lasted twelve weeks – yes, that means that week six fell right on Boxing Day – great idea!

But I had had enough.  I had had enough of my eating, enough of watching my body sag a little more every day, enough of saying I plan to do something (anything!) and ultimately enough of doing nothing. I am not overweight, I am not unfit but I am a normal person with a busy schedule who actually just needs to prioritise her body and her health for once.

I kept seeing The Mummy Makeover flashing up on Facebook and after clicking in a few times, I decided to start the ball rolling and finally do something.  So I filled in the interest form, and made an arrangement with Gary (the man with the inspiration behind the program) for a phonecall to get an overview of what was ahead if I signed up.

After watching his wife struggle with her changing body after having their two boys, Gary (already a gym owner and personal trainer) decided to put together a program that would assist other mummies in the same position, that they could complete at home, in their own time frame but with a support group running in the background, ultimately helping them to gain control of their own body again.  My little boy is now 7.  It’s taken me this length of time to make excuses, to sit on the sofa, to eat as much cheese as is humanly possible but finally, in The Mummy Makeover Program I had found something that motivated me enough to take the first step.  Result!

During the initial call, Gary chatted about not only what I should expect to be doing over the course of twelve weeks, but he also laid out what would be expected of me – an opportunity for him to see how serious I really was.  Apparently I was ready, and so I began The Mummy Makeover!  12 weeks of clean eating, exercise 3 times a week, a new body (hopefully!) and possibly most importantly, changing my mindset.  Obviously there is a cost with the program (£297 or as I looked at it, £25/week) but again, to me and for what the program was offering me, it was worth it.

The perks of the program?

  • You measure yourself (hips, bust and stomach) rather than solely looking at weight – the idea is to focus on your new body shape that changes with both eating habits and exercise (I also wish I’d measured my around my bum and my thighs to see the difference there!)
  • You are given a link to a page that contains all the information you need – your menu plans (to use as you wish), an exercise program (word document and videos to follow step by step) and motivational videos created by Gary
  • You are always accountable (via Gary and the other girls in the group!)
  • You have access to a private  Facebook group to share stories/food ideas/stresses with other mummies on the program
  • You have a group call once a week to discuss successes and any issues you are having
  • The call is followed up by Gary adding a challenge to the Facebook page, one to keep you on track and motivated
  • Challenges are also added randomly e.g. the first person to drink 2l of water
  • If Gary knows you have been struggling, he checks in on you and keeps you motivated
  • If you are local, Gary owns a gym in Portadown so you can arrange to see him if necessary
  • There is a Graduate Program which allows you to continue for another 12 weeks, or as I did, you have the opportunity to sign up for some personal training sessions with Gary to continue on your next phase

What I have learned on the program

  • I have an understanding of food – admittedly understanding what I was eating had never really crossed my mind before, but it was explained in a way that made it easy to build into my lifestyle
  • Sticking to the 90% clean and 10% treat rule is easy (most days) and is now how I continue to eat
  • I need to drink at least 2 litres of water a day – I have felt the difference and now know from experience how important it is
  • I don’t love exercise so I just need to make myself do it
  • In order to achieve what you want, you need to change your mindset

Mummy Makeover

Would I recommend this program?

Yes, Yes, Yes!  For the first time in my life I have taken responsibility for my body – my eating habits and my exercise regime (although this has definitely been my biggest challenge).  I am still on this journey, and admittedly since finishing my twelve weeks I have really struggled to continue with the exercise but my mindset is transformed which is making me think about myself and my goals, thus keeping me on track.  I will get back to it properly!

So, feeling ready?  It’s time to take that first step and get your body back!  Click here or here to find out more…


Starting 2017 with Bliss and Dermalogica

Is it too late to say Happy New Year?!

I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions but this year I tried to set myself a few goals (inspired by The Mummy Makeover, more to follow!) and taking time for myself to do the things I enjoy was at the top of the list.  We all know how the daily routine, the job, the home, everyone else’s needs but our own take priority!

So of course it was essential I kicked off this new year goal properly.  And just in time, Michelle from Bliss contacted me to see if I would like to try out a new product and enjoy a facial to help get my skin routine sorted.

Michelle at Bliss, Dromore

So first up, let me tell you about Dermalogica’s latest product, Daily Superfoliant. Designed to fight biochemical and environmental factors which lead to skin ageing, while giving you your smoothest skin ever.  I cleansed my skin before pouring a little of the Superfoliant onto my hand.  Expecting a lotion, it came out in little tiny particles with charcoal as one of the key ingredients.  As I moistened it and rubbed it on my skin, it was definitely not the time for the postman to arrive at the door;)  It is called ‘Daily’ Superfoliant but Michelle recommends it’s use every 2-3 days (but this also depends on skin type so seek advice!).

And of course, most importantly you want to know how my skin looked and felt the next day?  Well, I was up bright and early so it was hard to see if I looked perkier but it most definitely felt better.  That dry feeling that lingers over the winter, gone…and gone for a few days, ready for my next use!

The bonus of buying this product before the end of January is that you can also choose a free treat – and who doesn’t need something for free in January?!  Choose either a three piece Age Smart Set for a home treatment, or head in to Bliss for a Post Party Peel.

Dermalogica Superfoliant

In the relaxing surroundings of Bliss Skin and Beauty, with hassle free parking, and a knowledgeable beautician who makes you feel like you are her number one priority, I enjoyed the Post Party Peel.  Michelle tested my skin for moisture and then began the treatment.  The products used are designed to give intense hydration to your skin – at points you feel like you have pins and needles on your face, not really in an uncomfortable way but more a way that it really feels the product is working!  This is an express treatment but you don’t feel rushed and your skin gets the boost of hydration it needs.

Go check out Bliss Skin and Beauty and get your orders in before the end of the month to enjoy this treat:)  Now, I’m off again to rushing around, doing all those jobs, until that next slot when I can take a little time to myself!


More Ways to Feel Good at Boots

For the past 50 years, Boots has played a big part in the lives of many – from the firsts to the dependables.  It is where I bought my first eye shadow, experimented with lipstick, pondered the many options for making my hair thicker and also where I bought most of my little boys baby clothes!.  But ultimately where I frequently go to pick up the essentials…and then leave with a bag full of other goodies!

And as a bargain hunter, resisting the 3 for 2, the free treats when you spend a certain amount, but mostly the Advantage Card points, it has always been my go to location.

So when I was invited along to celebrate Boots 50 years in Northern Ireland, I of course couldn’t wait to see the new treats on offer.

In the Penthouse Suite of the Europa hotel, the floor was set up like any Boots store you would see on the high street. A range of counters with an array of products just waiting to be tested!  As Boots advertising says, ‘More ways to feel good’!

I was heading on for a night out after the celebration so my make up was already just as I wanted it but I will never argue with someone willing to transform my hair!  A little back combing, a little bit of Bumble and Bumble, and voilà!

My outfit for the event/evening ahead…

With tips on how to recreate various looks, a bag full of products to make the look happen and an open invitation to visit any counter in store for a little bit of assistance, I think Boots will remain my go to for the next 50 years to come!

Thank-you Boots for making us all feel good…and thank you Jane at JComms for the invite!


Learning the Value of Alone Time at The Culloden Estate and Spa

Put up your hand if you are reading this in the moments in between all the things you ‘have’ to do?!

Life is busy, it’s hard to find quiet, and if you are anything like me, even when you do, you think of that one thing you meant to google earlier in the day!  It’s full of demands – some of these demands are placed on you by yourself, some placed on you by others.  But regardless of the source of the demand, it still has the ability to cause pressure when sometimes all you need is a break.  I have tried over the past few years to relieve the demands and take a bit of time out.  Time without housework, people, work – time for me to do what I want to do.  After spending many years in the company of others 24/7, I nearly had to re-learn how to be alone.

Hastings Hotels gave me the chance to rectify this – well for one morning anyway!  I had a few days where my little boy went off on adventures with family, so after I had spent the first day on the usual clear out (how is it possible to gather so much paperwork?!), day two was dedicated to relaxation.

During the summer holidays, one day easily rolls into the next so of course, I had thought of the great plan to take my relaxing day, but hadn’t yet booked it.  I phoned The Culloden on Sunday and was pleased to hear there was availability.  Big plus Number One!

I had been gifted the Spa-Tisserie Experience which included one Spa Treatment (55 minute treatment choosing from ESPA Aromatherapy Full Body Massage, ESPA Aromatherapy Facial, ESPA Body Envelopment, Manicure or Pedicure) followed by Afternoon Tea.

On arrival, I was greeted and given a quick tour before changing and entering the Relaxation Room before my massage.  After enough time to sit back, relax and flick through a few pages of Harper’s Bazaar, my therapist Chris brought me into the Treatment Room.  As you would expect, the mood was calm, the music relaxing and the decor conducive to helping the mind and body unwind.  I had opted for a full body massage; squeeze out any lingering stresses before getting ready to welcome a new term.  I was given the option of a relaxing or energising massage (I went with energising) and then given different oil options to suit my mood.  With just the right amount of pressure given, the massage had the desired effect, thank-you Chris!

I had booked my Afternoon Tea for an hour after my massage, giving me the time to head back to the relaxation room to finish my magazine, before heading for a quick dip in the pool.  Perfection.  There was also a sauna available but I can’t do the heat!  At this point, I’ll just add my one request – room signs!  As you enter the spa, there are no signs on the doors.  In my complete state of relaxation I got a little disorientated and nearly disturbed someone else’s massage time! Mind you, I would have happily snuck in to a Treatment Room for a little more pampering;)

When ready, I headed to Zest Juice Bar which was situated just by the pool, to enjoy my Afternoon Tea.  Greeted with a cup of coffee and a fresh iced water, I waited for the my treats to arrive.  I am a savoury girl at heart so happily devoured the delicate sandwiches and scones smothered in cream with a fresh cup of hot coffee (the service was impeccable!).  After a short breather, I dipped in to the sweet treats but they defeated me – thankfully they could be boxed up ready for home!

I still find it very hard to be alone and do nothing however – I managed to write most of this post while dining!

Unfortunately my time had come to an end, I was due to set my ‘me time’ to the side and get back to duties.  A quick shower in the spacious changing room and on the road again, feeling relaxed and revitalised!

I had an amazing experience in the Culloden Spa – it is a place to enjoy time alone or with others but whatever your grouping, a place to feel completely at home and just breathe.  Thank you to the Culloden Estate and Spa, Hastings Hotels and Michael at Duffy Rafferty for this experience.


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