It’s rare as a mum that I have any time for myself, let alone to pamper myself in any way. Getting my hair cut now is generally considered a treat. It’s all too easy when you have a long list of priorities to keep pushing things for you down the list. This year, I am determined to push self care a little further up my agenda so I’m trying out products, activities and places which help me feel more relaxed, or energised. Let’s face it as mums we need both these elements. If we don’t take time to wind down then we can get up snappy and grumpy which our kids don’t need, or even ill. I have a couple of minor ailments which are aggravated by stress so I need to take this seriously. But I also have a child who wakes up between 4am – 5am, so I also need something to give me a boost.
This is why I took a day off, left Small Boy and nursery and headed off to a local spa for the day. It was an amazing experience. I booked a half day spa package which lasted about three hours and consisted of a full body Swedish massage, facial, afternoon tea and blow dry. I went to The Health and Serenity Spa in Newport, South Wales, but if you’re not local do look for somewhere near you. It’s honestly worth it!
It was so lovely to go somewhere where the welcome was an adult saying hello with a big smile and without the sound of kids toys in the background. I was immediately made to feel comfortable and led through to a large lounge area with two sofas and lots of armchairs. Magazines, cakes, tea, water and information on treatments were all on hand. I sat back and relaxed, with no noise than the quiet voices from the reception area outside. I don’t think I’ve sat on a sofa without having to move building blocks or toys for two years – basically since Small Boy left the moses basket! It was utterly joyous to be left alone as I flicked through magazines and helped myself to a slice of cake.
The first treatment was a Swedish Massage. If you are like me and spend a lot of time climbing around soft play, or being quite physical with your work or other activities, then it’s easy for muscles to become very tense and knotted. If you body feels tense, it won’t perform properly and can cause you all sorts of bio-mechanical issues – I speak from experience. The warm oil was wonderful and the therapist definitely helped get rid of some knots in my back which have been cause me some issues. The pressure was just right but she went through what I would feel comfortable with first. All good therapists will do this so if you haven’t had a massage before don’t be put off by that, or concerns about modesty as you are well covered up with towels. The room was quiet except for some gentle music. The lighting was subtle. It was so relaxing. I was surprised that after almost an hour I wasn’t asleep, but I did feel like every bit of tension had left my body. I didn’t feel like a greasy chip either! Of course you can recreate many of that at home with your partner but let’s be honest, there’s never a substitute for a trained professional.
This was the first time I’d used any AromaWorks products but I would definitely use them again. The range is designed for all skin types, adding moisture where needed and absorbing excess oil elsewhere – at least that’s what the therapist said and she should know. The facial lasted around 30 minutes and included a deep cleanse, facial message, exfoliation, masque and moisturise. My skin felt tingly at times but not in a bad way, more a case of feeling fresh. Even better, when I looked in the mirror afterwards it felt brighter and so soft. This was exactly what I needed and the perfect addition to my new skin care routine (basically trying to remember to moisturise and use a serum every day). I always think that if your skin and your hair feel clean you always feel brighter and more energised.
Once I’d finished the two beauty treatments I was taken downstairs to a small room off the lounge area for afternoon tea. This was included in the package but the Health and Serenity Spa can provide it as an optional extra. Am I wrong to thing this was the highlight of my day? It was so lovely to sit and enjoy something to eat that was delicious and also didn’t have sticky toddler hands rummaging around in it. It consisted of a cake selection, fizzy lemon drink, tea and coffee, cream and scones, mixed cheese sandwiches,salad, egg and cress sandwiches, and a beautiful platter of strawberries. I’ve had many afternoon teas at different establishments and hotels and this would certainly be up there. Okay, it might not be hand made macaroons and fancy pants pastries, but honestly it was perfect and beautifully presented. It wasn’t too sweet either – a perfectly balanced plate. It was also lovely being in a small corner on my own as I didn’t feel pressured to rush it or have my peace spoiled but other chatty diners!
My experience was finished off with a wash and blow dry at their onsite salon. They offer a full salon service, but as I’d already had my hair cut I just opted for wash and blow dry. It’s only £15 for wash and dry so it’s worth it if you are planning to do anything after all your treatments, otherwise your hair might look a bit unkempt or greasy – after all someone has been rubbing creams into your face and massaging your head. This is definitely a bonus for me. As a busy mum once my relaxation time had ended I needed to get on with my day and nursery run so I at least turned up presentable! The stylist was fabulous and made an effort to dry my hair in it’s regular style, which I appreciate can’t be easy if you haven’t cut it or really seen it “done.”
The Health and Serenity Spa is a hidden jewel. Its offers lots of treatments in a relaxed atmosphere. The on site salon is a bonus! There’s limited parking but I didn’t have any issues and it’s only a short walk from the train station and the city centre. They run new offers every month so you can grab a deal, as well as running a membership scheme.
I would be hard pressed to find a negative, but I would recommend that if you have any mobility issues you tell them when you book so they can accommodate. I only say this as the spa is an older building with rooms over multiple floors. The lounge, reception, hair salon and toilets are all downstairs, and one treatment is on the ground floor however.
The package and experiences contained in this review were provided free of charge by The Health and Serenity Spa for the purposes of my review. This hast not coloured my opinion in any way. The review remains my honest and impartial opinion.
To find out more about activities and places in South Wales, follow me on Facebook or check out my Welsh Life pages.
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