Last month we spent my birthday weekend at the Macdonald Houston House near Edinburgh. The main building is an impressive 16th century Tower House and the hotel is equipped with a spa, a 2 AA rosette restaurant and a very cosy bar. Although slightly dated, our room was massive, spotlessly clean, with an extremely comfy bed. I was also pleased to find that the room was snug and warm as I really feel the cold, so am a little wary of old buildings!
After checking in, we had a quick explore of the hotel and gardens before I headed off to the spa for a facial. I really do love a facial and as I don’t have them often it was a real treat. The waiting room was lovely and relaxing with scented candles and bubbly spa music and the facial itself was amazing. My therapist was lovely and put me at ease – I am usually a little nervous at the start of a facial as it is a bit weird having someone prodding your face! Within ten minutes I was more relaxed than I had been for months and I think I even drifted off for a while!
With my skin all preened and feeling very soft, we headed to the bar for our dinner. The bar is in a snug room with the thickest walls you’ve ever seen and a roaring log fire to keep it toasty. We both ordered a burger and a glass of wine and continued relaxing. The food was fantastic and just what we needed after the drive down to Edinburgh and the strenuous (!) facial!
Next morning, after the excitement of opening birthday presents was over, we had a hearty breakfast in the restaurant before catching the train into Edinburgh. The train station was just a fifteen minute walk away with regular, direct trains into the city. All day we were looking forward to that evenings dinner! We hadn’t remembered to book the Jeremy Wares restaurant in the hotel in advance so we ended up having to eat incredibly early, I think around quarter to 6, as that was the only slot available when we checked in! There was no way we were going to miss the chance of eating in the 2 AA rosette restaurant – we would have taken any time slot they gave us! The meal was totally worth hurrying back from town. The service was impeccable and food was delicious. Everything was cooked to perfection and we really enjoyed the whole experience.
We’d definitely love to visit the hotel again. It was such a relaxing weekend and we both managed to completely switch off which was nice as we had been so busy for what felt like months beforehand!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations Linda! I will pass your email address on to BuyAGift.co.uk who will be in touch with your spa voucher!
I am off on holiday today so thought I would run a competition while I am away. BuyAGift.co.uk have kindly offered to give one reader a spa day for two people at Virgin Active! The spa day includes use of the health club facilities for two people and either a 40 minute ESPA facial with head or hand massage, or a 40 minute back, neck and shoulder massage with head or leg massage. There are 46 Virgin Active Health Clubs across the UK so there is sure to be one near you!
Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter – you only need to do one of the options but the more you do the more chances you have of winning!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway closes on July 28th and I will announce the winner as soon as I can after that. Good luck!
Here is another quick gift guide, this time with different beauty products which would make great Christmas presents….
1. Arbonne Ginger Citrus Body Butter: I love this body butter, it smells wonderful! RRP £23 for 340g
2. The Bubbles & Butters Company: I love the fun, colourful packaging of these products and they are not too expensive either. The Super Soft Bath Bubbles cost £6 for 450ml and the Skin Nourishing Body Butters cost £6 for 275ml. You can buy this range online here.
3. Calcot Manor Beauty Products: This is a spa range available from Tesco. I have the body scrub and de-stress shower gel and they are just gorgeous.
4. Ajala Spa Botanical Bath & Shower Oil – Energising Amyris & Bergamot: This is a brilliant oil and is really moisturising – perfect for winter skin. It’s not as expensive as other spa brands and you can but it online. RRP £12.99 for 100ml
5. Benbow & Blake: There are some great looking products in this range. I have the Bath & Body Wash which smells amazing! RRP Bath & Body Wash £12.50 for 15ml
6. Ahava Red Ornament Christmas Gift: This is a really lovely Hibiscus & Fig Botanic Cream Wash in cute packaging. RRP £6 for 85ml
After finishing my exams a few weeks ago I decided to treat myself to a spa day. I bought a voucher from the Spa Days Cardiff section of the Wahanda website for a 2 for 1 Bannatyne Pamper Spa Day. If you’ve not heard of Wahanda before, it’s a website where you can buy vouchers for spa days and treatments at a number of different spas across the UK. It makes it really easy to find a good deal as the information for the different spas is all in the same place! The voucher is emailed to you, so I was able to phone up the Bannatyne Spa booking line the same day to book my treatments.
The 2 for 1 Bannatyne Pamper Spa Day voucher cost me £65 and included a 30 minute facial or back massage for both me and a friend, a 15 minute scalp massage and use of the pool and gym for the whole day. I took my sister to the Cardiff Bannatyne Spa and we both went for the facial. Our treatments were so relaxing and our skin felt amazing afterwards. The therapists were lovely; they explained what products they used but didn’t hound us to buy them which happened last time I had a facial.
We arrived just after lunch so that we could spend a few hours relaxing by the pool before our treatments. The pool itself was nice enough, if a bit gloomy because of the dark floor. We were a bit disappointed by the rest of the spa day though. The bubbles in the Jacuzzi weren’t working properly and the steam in the stream room didn’t smell too good either. It might sound a bit silly but I always think of a spa as having relaxing music playing gently in the background and nice hand cream in the toilets, but the Bannatyne Spa didn’t have this. I’m not sure if anyone else has been to the Center Parcs spa, Aqua Sana, which is amazing? I think, after being there, I am disappointed when other spas days aren’t as nice! I think I also thought that the spa would have its own sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi but actually we had to use the health club. The health club looks like the perfect place to go if you want to keep yourself fit but it’s not really a “spa”.
I’d definitely go back to the Bannatyne Spa again for treatments and I think our Wahanda voucher was good value even if the pool area wasn’t what we thought it was going to be!
Because I hate posts without images, I thought I’d post some photos of gorgeous looking spas I found on Pinterest….
Here are a couple more ideas in the run up to Valentine’s Day….
MITCH is a new range for men from Paul Mitchell. There are quite a few options from gels and glues to pastes and creams. I was sent a sample of each product which Nick has been trying out – he was really surprised at how many different products were in the range but seems to like all of them so far!
Sranrom are a luxury home spa range from Thailand. I’ve tried out their hand cream and it is gorgeous so definitely a brand to subtly hint for (or just buy for yourself!). I really want to try one of their candles….if you’re reading Nick……! A word of warning though – I found their website quite hard to find my way around as the tabs across the top have hand wavy spa type descriptions rather than helpful ones!
Anyone got anything planned for Valentine’s Day this year?
My little sister’s 18th birthday is coming up this week (which makes me feel so old!) so we spent the weekend at the Sherwood Forest Center Parcs to celebrate and had a brilliant time. The pool is lots of fun, although it was majorly busy when we were there! We had a tasty and very filling meal at Huck’s, ending with the biggest ice cream you’ve ever seen – even between 5 of us we couldn’t manage to finish it. Spent a few relaxing hours in the Aqua Sana Spa as well which was amazing. There are so many steam rooms, saunas and relaxation rooms that you don’t want to leave. We also managed to fit in a game of bowling which I haven’t done in ages and I can’t believe how bad I was (there were no side barriers up though in my defence and it is a lot harder than it looks to throw a ball in a straight line!). Our villa was really nice; it even had a sauna and the beds were sooooo comfy. The only downside to our stay was when I stupidly lost the key to my bike lock and had to sit for half an hour on a fence waiting for someone to come and cut my bike free!
A couple of months ago I review an Aromatherapy Associates Candle which I really loved so I couldn’t wait to try out the Miniature Bath & Shower Oil Collection. It is made up of 9 x 3ml cute little bottles of natural oil, each with a different scent. They all smell beautiful, make you feel as though your bathroom is actually a fancy spa and really are very relaxing! The only downside to these oils is that they will make you fall in love and want to buy the quite expensive full size bottles which are £37 for 55ml. I was planning to ask for a full size bottle for my birthday but not sure if I can wait until November! I think these would make a lovely gift – maybe a good idea for Mother’s Day which is coming up in a few weeks?