Review: Hot Stone Massage at Dove Spa

12 August 2012

I'm like most indulgent people out there and love massages. I get really tight muscles whilst my partner is away on deployment, mainly from worry, and so I've been having quite a few massages recently! This week, I had a massage at the Dova Spa franchise courtesy of Wahanda. Now, I wanted to pick the Dove Spa for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's all well and good me reviewing a treatment at a gorgeous spa somewhere, but you may live absolutely miles from where I live, and so that isn't exactly going to help you in your quest to find the perfect massage. As there are Dove Spa's in a number of places around the country, it seemed like the better solution, and hopefully if you find my review informative enough, it may make you want to try Dove Spa's. Secondly, the Dove Spa I wanted to use was in the big and busy Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex about 10 minutes from me. I wanted to experience the idea of shopping, then having a serious relax in the form of a massage, and then going back to shopping. Many of us associate spas with rural retreats and stately homes, so it would be interesting to see if it would work in a shopping centre. Thirdly, I enjoy using some of Dove's products and having their own spa intrigued me. Apologies for some of the photos as the lights were dim and I didn't have my camera with me!

In Lakeside, the Dove Spa is down Brompton Walk which is a quieter walkway leading to the restaurants. I was greeted by a lovely receptionist who took me through to the 'relaxation room' and showed me where all my amenities were, offering me coffee, tea or water. I then met my therapist called Francesca who said she'd be with me in 5 minutes and that I needed to fill in the health form (which is basically about your skin and any problems or illnesses you have). The 'relaxation room' was lovely - big white leather chairs, a tv giving demonstrations, the usual plinky plonky calming music and a jug of iced lemon water available. I loved the quote on the wall from Sophia Loren too, and the amazing glass drop light even more so! I popped to the loo and even the toilet was relaxing, and had Dove's own spa range soap and moisturiser, and proper towels in a basket which I always love. By the time I'd finished the form, Francesca came and got me and it was time for my massage.

I've never actually had a hot stone massage before and had booked 45 minutes, so she briefly explained what it was and how she'd be doing it. Hot stones are heated in a water bath at certain temperatures, and then some are placed on 'energy points' and some are used by the therapist to massage your body. Francesca left so I could change and popped myself under the towel. The room we were in was lovely and had a designated wardrobe/cupboard with shelves and hangers for all my items which was nice. More relaxation music was playing and there were candles and oils burning - my eyelids were dropping before the treatment even started!

The massage itself was really fantastic. She made good use of the hot stones, so when she was massaging my legs with a stone, I had stones placed on my back whilst lying there which was so warming and calming. The massage isn't gentle, so if you don't like any massage above medium pressure, this may not be for you, although they will always ask if the pressure is ok - don't lie! It's their job to know what pressure you like and they don't want to hurt you. My therapist noticed my neck and upper back were tense (I didn't tell her before so I was impressed she knew) and she actually spent a little more time on my neck which was kind.

After the massage, I got changed and went back to the relaxation room. Francesca brought me a glass of water and a hot 'huggy' which are the fluffy heated neck towels which are amaaazing. I sat there for 5 minutes or so adjusting to the light and waking up a little, and then went to the reception and finished my payment. Paying with Wahanda was incredibly easy, as you print off the e-voucher, give it to the receptionist and that's literally it. Couldn't be easier.

So, would I recommend Dove Spa? I really would, and especially through Wahanda as they seem to have some brilliant deals that you might not get on the Dove Spa website. I enjoyed the element of shopping, stopping for a relaxing break, and then continuing shopping - it felt so luxury! I'd also love to have a hot stone massage again..the warming element of the process did it for me I think, not to mention my muscles felt amazing after. I also loved that you could buy lots of Dove products, and even if you weren't having a treatment, this was available.

Dove Spa have locations at Hagley, Merry Hill, Egham, Chorleywood, Streetly, Canary Wharf, South Wimbledon, Hale Barns, Merseyside, Reigate, Sunbury, Epsom, Mayfair, Kensington, Streatham, Chester, Bromley, Jersey, Poulton, Notting Hill and Chiswick - is anyone going to think of booking? I think I'm going to rebook before I go back to work in September! Many thanks to Wahanda :)

-Tamsin xxx

Cuffs of Love cord bracelet

9 August 2012

Friendship like bracelets have always been my favourite type of bracelet to wear (other than diamonds, darling) and I've always have various cord like bracelets wrapped around my wrists since I was about 6 when I discovered them on a family holiday to Menorca. The newest addition to my collection is this friendship bracelet from i.d x-change called Cuffs of Love.

i.d x-change are an American company specialising in these friendship bracelets ranging in prices, and the 'Cuffs of Love' bracelet is meant to be completely and totally associated with friendship and love - isn't that lovely? The bracelets are made of different colour cords which can fit all wrist types (you can adjust the size of the cord around your wrist and they come in different sizes) and the bracelet links together with two handcuffs. The handcuffs are 14 carot white gold and look extremely effective. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Snoop Dogg and the Pussycat Dolls have been seen wearing the bracelets to name a few. I've been wearing the turquoise colour bracelet for the last 2 weeks now and have really enjoyed wearing it. It's an extremely light bracelet to wear, and because you can fit it to your wrist, it's never too tight or too loose. Engraved with the 'i.d' on the cuffs too, it doesn't look at all cheap. It's like a friendship bracelet with a twist, and I love the idea of the cuffs being actual handcuffs, which kind of gives it a rough around the edges feel. Plus, the whole theme of love and friendship and being bound together is really lovely.

These would make fabulous presents for so many people. As men can wear them, I'd maybe think of buying them at Valentines or Christmas or something, so you could both get the same bracelet (in different colours maybe?) and then you have your own couples bracelets and they don't look too girly or manly. From, these bracelets retail at £26.99 which I think is a great price considering the handcuffs are 14 carot white gold. These bracelets are truly lovely with a wonderful idea and meaning :)

-Tamsin xxx

The Best Peanut Butter Frosting in the World

6 August 2012

After finally deciding to get out of bed on Saturday at 9pm (wine flu related), I headed off to Tesco to pick up some ingredients for some impromptu baking. I often find baking is more exciting when you just suddenly decide to whip up something. Seeing as I was going to a bbq on Sunday, fairy cakes seemed a good thing to bake, topped with my beloved peanut butter cream cheese frosting. It might seem a bit big headed to say it's the best in the world, but it truly is, and if you love peanut butter, you won't be making this frosting quick enough! Due to demand from Twitter and Instagram for me to post the recipe, all the photos taken are the day after.

What you need:
115g unsalted butter (at room temp for at least 20 mins)
220g full fat cream cheese
280g smooth peanut butter
400g icing sugar
Couple of tablespoons of milk

  • Mix the butter and cream cheese together in a big bowl. If you're using a mixer, use a decent mixer..otherwise you will soon have a congealed mess and be picking it off the blades. This is also why it's important to have the butter at room temperature, as the softer it is, the easier it is to work with.
  • Next add the peanut butter and mix together. Once mixed, I often find using an old fashioned wooden spoon to mix the remainder a good way to check it's all blended. Plus, you get to lick the spoon.
  • This next bit is the bit you have be patient with. Start mixing the ingredients again, and slowly but surely add the icing sugar bit by bit. 400g icing sugar is quite a lot, and if you do it too quickly, you will have a powdery mess and you need to get the consistency right. If you think the mixture is too powdery, add a tablespoon of milk. If it's looking too runny, get adding the icing sugar.
  • Make sure the mixture is well mixed, and that the consistency is very smooth, not lumpy or too runny. I like to put in the fridge for a couple of minutes to make sure.
  • You can then spoon into a piping bag and frost your cupcakes, or you can spread in a cake, over a cake, or into your mouth if you're feeling naughty.

In the bowl in the photo is what I had left, so the recipe does make quite a bit of frosting, but it is the best frosting in the world so why would you complain? Hope this has made your taste buds dance, and if you're not a fan of peanut butter (although 'why' should be the question) you can always substitute the peanut butter for nutella..too good for words!

-Tamsin xxx

fotd: surprise party

4 August 2012

Makeup used:
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation
Rimmel Hide The Blemish concealer
MAC Strobe Cream
MAC Sun and Moon blush
No7 Candy Pink blush
MAC Satin Taupe
Fashionista Steel eyeshadow
Collection Skyscraper mascara
MAC Everhip (not pictured)
Eylure Naturalites 107

So last night was a surprise pre wedding drinks for a family friend. It was a really good night but I've since spent the whole day in my pyjamas watching the Olympics on tv and snuggling with the dog, and generally feeling a little sorry for myself, I'm not gonna lie! When I eventually get up, I think I'm going to do some baking and then refresh myself with a nice bath complete with pamperous luxuries. I hope you're all having a lovely Saturday!

-Tamsin xxx

L'Occitane Ultra Gentle Cleansing Milk

3 August 2012

So I've mentioned before that my skin is very dry, quite sensitive and is always in general need of some serious skin lovin' in the form of products. On the hunt for my new moisturiser, I picked up a 50ml bottle of Ultra Gentle Cleansing Milk from L'Occitane to try out as well. I do like a good cleanser, but they're not at the top of my 'to buy' list when I'm out, but this particular item has swayed me. Since using this, my skin has seen a lot of changes. For those who are unsure of cleansers or have never thought of using them, cleansers are a sort of multi-functional product which helps to remove excess make-up, clear pores, and remove dead skin cells, oil and other nasties from the face.

The Ultra Gentle Cleansing Milk is slightly thicker than a milk, but I quite like the consistency - it's not a gloopy mess but doesn't run everywhere when you get some out of the bottle. The smell is typical of the shea butter range, which I adore, and just smells clean and fresh and like you're wrapped in cotton wool. Lush. Other ingredients in the cleansing milk are liquorice extract to sooth, rosemary leaf extract and sunflower seed oil, and there are absolutely no parabens, so it's safe for most skin types. I have generally been using this after my showers, face mainly clear of excess make-up, and quite often before I go to bed, so almost as a cleansing face mask. I use a small 20p size amount (or 10p if I'm feeling generous) and massage the milk into my skin in little sections, and if I feel an area needs more, then I can apply more. After use, my face feels plump, hydrated and really rejuvenated. I've found in the last couple of weeks I've been using it that my skin feels a lot clearer and fresher, especially in the mornings.

It's a brilliant item, and since using it, I don't think I could not have it in my skincare collection. It's one of those items that you could take on holiday, or on a work trip or just after a long day, and know it will do the job in a simple easy step. If you have oily skin, it might not be the cleanser you're looking for as it is 'ultra gentle' but it would definitely give your skin a refreshing and hydrant boost. The full bottle retails at £15.00 and you get a massive 200mls. It also comes with a pump for easy use. Using this cleanser is now one of my more recent rituals, and I recommend you pop down to L'Occitane to see if you can sample this lovely product.

-Tamsin xxx