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?
I spent last weekend at the Sherwood Forest Center Parcs with my family and boyfriend to celebrate my 21st birthday!
We arrived at lunch time on Friday and after dropping the bags at our amazing villa, we headed straight to the Aqua Sana. We were booked in for a few hours relaxation at the spa which I’d been looked forward to for weeks and it didn’t disappoint! The spa is really peaceful with lots of different types of saunas, steam rooms and general relaxation areas with bean bags, water beds and calming music. My mum, sisters and I even had a half hour session trying out different luxurious skin care products. We all, (even the boys!) had a brilliant afternoon and I’d recommend anyone visiting Centre Parcs to splash out for a couple of hours in the spa – it is definitely worth it!
We spent Saturday morning lounging round the villa. We were staying in a New Style Executive Lodge which has 4 bedrooms to fit everyone, in as well as a games room with a pool table which kept the boys entertained! All of the bedrooms have en suites with brilliant power showers so there was no fighting over whose turn it was. On the Saturday we also visited the pool which was great fun – there are both indoor and outdoor pools as well as loads of slides.
On Saturday evening we all went to Forester’s Inn for my birthday meal. The food was gorgeous but the portions were so massive that I couldn’t actually finish my main course which is almost unheard of! The atmosphere and the staff were very friendly – our waiter found out that it was my 21st and brought me a birthday cocktail!
Sunday was our activity day. The boys went off to try ‘Dirt Buggies’ which, from what I can gather, is off road go-karting. At the same time, the girls went for spa treatments. My sisters both had ‘File and Paints’ but one of them managed to smudge her nails within 5 minutes of leaving the Aqua Sana. Me and my mum both had facials. This was my first facial so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’ve got to say that I was quite surprised when the therapist started to wash my feet after I lay down on the table! After that it was more like I had imagined – my face was cleansed, toned, moisturised and I was left to ‘relax’ for 15 minutes with a face mask on. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep at this point! I felt so sleepy after my facial but I loved it and my skin was left feeling very clean and soft so I’d love to have one again.
Monday was my actual birthday but we had to be out of the villa by 10am. I had an amazing weekend and really didn’t want to leave – it was the perfect place to spend my birthday weekend.
A few days ago I got back from 2 weeks at a campsite called Sérignan Plage near Béziers in the South of France. We had two Eurocamp vans for 8 people which was a bit crowded but didn’t really matter as we only really used the vans to sleep in due to the amazingly hot and sunny weather.
The campsite is brilliant. It has direct access onto a long sandy beach as well as a pool with slides and a spa for over 16s. We spent lots of time on the beach but the spa was really enjoyable as well. It has a pool for swimming and a pool with lots of massage jets and also has very comfy sunbeds! Only two people from each tent/ caravan can go into the spa at once meaning it doesn’t get overcrowded and you can always find a sunbed.
The campsite has a cute little shopping area with a mini-supermarket, pâtisserie, boucherie, poissonnerie, hairdressers and gift shops. The buildings look like original farm buildings but could just be built to look that way, I’m not really sure. Every day there are also a number of stalls where people sell jewellery clothes etc.
We had two hire cars so were able to go off site and look around some of the nearby towns and villages. The closest town to the campsite is Béziers which is around a 15 minute drive. We happened to be there during their festival so it was very busy with lots of food stalls everywhere although all of the normal shops were closed. The old part of the town is nice and there is a massive cathedral with a fantastic view over the countryside.
Sète is a small town about an hour from the campsite. There was also a festival on here so we went along to watch water jousting which none of us had ever heard of before. We arrived a few hours before the jousting started but all of the seats were already taken and you couldn’t move for people! The actual jousting ended up being a bit boring but the atmosphere before with all the stalls and music was fun.
We drove up into the mountains one day to have a wander round a few villages. One tiny village called Roquebrun was especially lovely. It is on a hill above the river and there’s a little beach where you can swim and look up at the whole village.
When we left France it was 36°C and we arrived back in Bristol to cloudy grey sky, pouring rain and 14° which was quite disappointing! Never mind, at least the weather is better here today!
Just a few hours at the Aqua Sana in Center Parcs is enough to completely relax anyone. As soon as you walk through the doors you feel your cares and worries begin to float away. Your experience begins properly when you walk into the changing rooms to the sound of relaxing music and are given the fluffiest of white robes and a towel. The changing rooms look much more luxurious than your average leisure centre with the nice extra touch of hand cream by the basins.
Next, you make your way through towards the spa area with a fantastic number of different saunas, steam rooms and relaxation areas. Everyone is very peaceful and it all smells just like a spa should! In between relaxing in the saunas and steam rooms, there are plenty of areas where you can relax with bean bags, water beds and just general comfy seating. You can either bring a book or read one of the magazines dotted around. There is also a Zen garden, foot baths, multisensory showers and an ice fountain which is brilliant for cooling you down after a few minutes in the sauna. Each Aqua Sana has a bubbly spa pool with massage jets. (There are 4 Centre Parcs resorts across England and each one has its own Aqua Sana.)
If you get peckish there is a cafe serving food as well as refreshing drinks, indulgent cakes, chocolates and even Champagne.
To really make a day of your spa experience, there are other treatments available such as massages or facials. These cost extra but there are often deals on at different times of the year. You could also book yourself in for a manicure or pedicure. For my birthday my Mum treated me to a dual treatment massage finishing with a glass of Champagne and chocolate truffles. It was very relaxing and I loved being pampered!
A while ago I wrote about my new hand cream from Champneys. Since then I have tried out a few other Champneys products and they have all been just as good, if not better! I used their mud mask which was brilliant and kept my face really soft for days. Their moisturisers also make my skin soft but are not too greasy. Everything smells very luxurious and makes you feel like you are at a spa for the day rather than in your boring old bathroom and the fancy packaging is nice to look at! I can’t wait to have a lovely relaxing bath with Champneys Aromatic Bath Essence followed by a Reviving Foot Soak after my long day of lectures today.
They do products for men, not just women. My boyfriend has been using Champneys Daily Cleansing Face Wash and loves it!
Click here to go to the Champneys website: http://www.champneys.com
They also have a Facebook page where you can find extra information and become a fan: http://tiny.cc/zzPr7