Thursday, 14 May 2015

An Afternoon at Huddersfield's Alexandra House

It wasn't too long ago I was thinking it was high time I had a facial. Not just for its skin-soothing benefits; my ridiculously-hormonal face (yep, I'm in my 30s and still suffer blemishes - sob!) but for the sheer relaxation only a half-hour treatment in a spa can bring.

Well, let it be said that the lovely team at Faith PR, alongside the therapists at Alexandra House - a spa I've been visiting for regular facials for some years now - can clearly now also read minds. As lo and behold an invite to sample the Huddersfield-based holistic spa popped into my inbox. And oh how welcome it was!

Since going freelance full-time at the back end of last year, I've not only been coming to terms with managing my own time and 'being my own boss' ("Another cup of tea, Lauren? Yeah, go on then Lauren!") but working from home has been sending me stir crazy.

An afternoon of zoning out was just the pick-me-up I needed - and would you just look at the beautiful surroundings of Alecandra House's newly renovated spa....

In bloom: the beautifully idyllic surroundings of Huddersfield's Alexandra House
There's a reason Alexandra House's slogan is 'A spa with a heart'; the staff can't do enough for you when you visit and there's a lovely holistic approach to each and every treatment. But it doesn't end there. Everything is geared up to ensure you leave the spa not only looking great (as far as glowing skin goes) but feeling as light as a feather, too.

My visit to Alexandra House followed a busy morning at a networking event with my friend and fellow spa lover, Ellie (pictured below). The afternoon was just what we needed after a few hours on our feet and we were pleased to be greeted by friendly spa owner, Maxine and her equally lovely team of therapists.

In no time at all, we were given comfy slippers and robes and shown into the retail therapy room before our treatments - a chance to relax while taking a look at the many holistic-themed products on offer.
Top left: My spa-ing partner, Ellie. Top right, Eve Taylor products, on display in the Retail Therapy room. Bottom left: One of the treatment rooms. Bottom right; Enjoying a foot soak and a smoothie

Choosing a deliciously healthy pear and banana smoothie from the extensive drinks menu, we were first treated to biscuits and a gorgeous hot foot soak, complete with a mountain of bubbles - absolute bliss.

After a morning pounding the halls of a huge exhibition venue, we were more than ready to take the weight off our poor feet. 
Left: the Retail Therapy room. Top right: Alexandra House's therapists working their magic. Bottom right: the relaxation room

It was then time for a relaxing foot massage from the lovely ladies you see above, before we were led into our individual treatment rooms. Ellie opted for a soothing Indian head massage, while I went for my favourite - a 30-minute Eve Taylor facial. 
The beautifully-decorated treatment room
The therapists at Alexandra House have been using Eve Taylor for almost as long as I've been attending the spa (some four years or more) and they're some of the best products I've been lucky enough to try during my time writing this here blog. When my skin's been at its worst, I know Eve's products - thanks to their soothingly gentle formulas - will give my complexion the boost it needs. I've used the brand's cleanser regularly in the past, and the products' aromatherapy scents are relaxing without being overpowering. 

It's interesting, also, that Eve - a big advocate for holistic therapies - won't allow her team to blend the aromatherapy oils during a full moon, or when they're in a bad mood. Apparently, it affects the energy of the product and therefore the effectiveness of its ingredients. Mmmm. I'm not sure I'm 100% with Eve on that one, but that said I've always come away from the spa feeling as if I'm walking on air - and good or bad energy aside, that'll do in my book.

The treatment itself was just what the doctor ordered (actually, can that be a thing now? Facials on the NHS!); a mix of gentle music, aromatic scents and one of the best facial massages I've had in a long time. Hats off to the lovely lady who managed to put me in something of a spa-induced coma for 30 minutes.
Recommended Eve Taylor homecare products
But the fun wasn't over just yet. Making our way into the relaxation room, we enjoyed a little more time with our feet up before we had to head out into the real world and endure Huddersfield traffic at rush hour. Just what I needed to pull me out of that coma. NOT.

If you're looking for a West Yorkshire-based spa that delivers great treatments in beautiful surroundings, head here. You won't be disappointed.

A huge thank you to Alexandra House and its team for a lovely, much-needed afternoon - I'm sure I'll not leave it quite so long until my next visit!

Disclaimer: I was offered an afternoon's pampering at Alexandra House for review consideration. I have not been paid to write this post, neither am I affiliated with the brand in any way. All opinions are my own and 100% honest, as always.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Want to Do Your Bit for Charity? CoppaFeel Teams up with I Love...

If you need to stock up on shower gel, you can do a lot worse than head to Boots and grab a bottle or two of Perfectly Peachy by pampering brand I Love...

Teaming up with breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel! to become the first ever cosmetics company to add breast cancer awareness signs and symptoms labels to its limited edition Peachy Passionfruit Bath & Shower Creme. 

It's part of the charity's new #SHOWERHIJACK campaign, with the shower gels available from today (Monday, March 23).

I Love...Perfectly Peachy Shower Creme: In association with CoppaFeel

Will you be heading down to Boots to pick up your bottle of Perfectly Peachy? Remember, it's for a great cause...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Looking for a New Spring Scent? Try Oriflame's Volare

If you've never heard of the brand Oriflame, chances are your Mum has. It's a Swedish-based company that was popular some years ago, thanks to its Avon-like ordering system and budget-friendly products.

My Mum waxed lyrical about the brand, so when I found myself doing a spot of copywriting for Oriflame, I was keen to hear more.

Just a few months later and I was attending a fun London-based bloggers' event on behalf of the brand and Faith PR.

While I'm certainly going to show a little bias towards the brand, what I will say is this: the company offers some of the best mid-priced products I've tried - and I ain't just saying that.

One product stood out to me at that London event and I have to be completely transparent and say that - like a lot of bloggers - it was the packaging that piqued my interest. I mean, just look at the bottle...

A stunning rose-shaped design, Volare really stood out amongst some of the other fragrances we'd carefully laid out on the Oriflame stand. And I hoped I'd love the scent contained inside, for the very reason that I'd already assigned it a place on my dressing table. I knew it'd look just lovely - and isn't that one of the main reasons we pick up a product in the first place? Ah, call me shallow...

So, by now you're probably wondering what the scent itself is like.

Who remembers those purple parma violet sweets? This fragrance is basically those, bottled. With a hint of peony and rose. To me, it's stunning - and if you've ever owned Guerlain's Insolence, this is pretty much that - without its hefty price tag.

A stunning spring scent, it's gorgeously floral. But what I will say is it won't be for everyone. While I love it (it's fast become my go-to daily fragrance), others haven't. My Mum remarked that it was much too strong for daytime wear, while others have described it as sickeningly sweet.

Decide for yourself and let me know what you think...

Monday, 16 March 2015

Label M's Brunette Texturising Volume Spray: A Review

As far as my beauty routine goes, it's my hair that seems to suffer the most. While I have, in recent months, laid off the straighteners and curling tongs, I do little else to keep my 'do in tip top condition. As a result, it can look flat and, to be honest, a little bit lifeless.

So I bet no one was more pleased than I was to discover this little gem existed. Meet Label M's Brunette Texturising Volume Spray - an absolute Godsend for anyone looking to inject a bit of that old va-va-voom into their locks.

An official London Fashion Week product, this spray - while a bit on the bulky side - can be chucked into your handbag for an on-the-go hair refresh. And that I've been doing, as this really does work wonders when you want to add a little bit of lift to an otherwise drab-looking 'do.

On first use, I think I probably overdid it - go too crazy and add a bit too much to your hair and it'll immediately feel heavy. Instead, a couple of sprays is all you need; then, simply mess up your hair with your hands (following styling, of course) and you're good to go.

I'd certainly recommend it if your hair's in need of a bit of added volume. Give it a go - and don't forget to check out the Label M website for similar styling products.

Are you a fan of Label M?

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review consideration. I have not been paid to write this post, neither am I affiliated with the brand in any way. All opinions are my own and 100% honest, as always.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Schmoozing on a School Night: Beauty Matters' Garforth Launch

It ain't very often I get to escape the monotony of mid-week nights in front of the telly to pop on the old gladrags and head out for a glass of bubbly and a much-needed mingle. So when an invite to the launch of a brand new beauty salon in Garforth (near Leeds) landed in my inbox from Faith PR I didn't hesitate in confirming that I'd definitely be there. With bells on.

I mean who can pass up the opportunity to schmooze on a school night, indulge in complimentary beauty treatments and, more importantly, support a local beauty business?

Beauty Matters isn't new to the cosmetics scene by any means; the brand's founder - Melanie Philbin - has successfully run and managed a branch in nearby Rothwell for some time. And it was testament to a job already well done that so many people turned out to see the new - and very spangly - Garforth premises.
Beauty Matters' Garforth launch: top left, Jess from Forever Miss Vanity gets a free manicure, bottom left: delicious canapes, bottom right: a close up of the treats on offer on the night

From the stylish fittings and fixtures, to the gorgeously-displayed beauty products, and beautifully-presented canapes, no elegant detail had been overlooked on launch night. 

The team, too, couldn't do enough for everyone who passed through Beauty Matters' doors, taking us on tours of the deceivingly-large building, ensuring prosecco glasses were topped up, and offering free beauty treatments. It was evident on arrival the brand had seen a huge investment, with plush interiors, highly knowledgeable staff and more treatments than you probably even know existed.

Having already painted my nails before I arrived (damn!) I decided to forego a complimentary manicure and instead opted to discover more about my skin - and its needs - via a special skin scanning device operated by one of the therapists. 

Surprisingly (and perhaps, worryingly) my ghost white skin showed up with a few patches of sun damage, with tips being dished out on how best to look after various imperfections. In all, an eye-opening experience I probably wouldn't have had the chance to discover otherwise. 

But thanks to a rather generous goodie bag of Environ (a skincare collaboration between Elle MacPherson and Naomi Watts) products, I'll certainly be paying more attention to any dry, damaged skin.

Also on offer at the new salon is 3D-lipo, a non-surgical, non-invasive treatment which promises to help you lose inches, banish cellulite and tighten skin. Certainly worth a try if you're not a huge fan of going to the gym (who is?!) and want a quick fix in preparation for a big occasion.

As someone who loves the chance to discover new skincare and beauty salons, it was lovely to be able to find what looks like a great  not too far from my doorstep. 

If you're in the area and fancy a beauty treat or two, I'm sure you'll have a wonderfully indulgent time at Beauty Matters. Don't forget to check out the brand's website for a full treatment menu and more.

What's your favourite pampering treat? Have you had chance to check out Garforth's Beauty
 Matters yet?
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