October 30, 2014

spa guide | maison talbooth

Last weekend I had the pleasure of staying at Maison Talbooth in Dedham, Colchester. If you're a regular reader of my lifestyle blog then you may have already seen my blog posts on The Pier in Harwich and Kesgrave Hall in Ipswich, all of which are a group run by the same company. Unlike the other hotels, Maison Talbooth has spa facilities including a heated outdoor pool and jacuzzi which are situated in a pool house area down a short gravel path away from the hotel itself. 

After becoming well acquainted with the pool and almost having to be dragged away it was time for my hot stones massage. I'd never had a hot stones massage before so had no idea what to expect, and it had been a couple of years since I'd had any form of massage for that matter so I was well in need of one. I can honestly say that it was by far the best massage I've ever had, and since it covered pretty much every area of my body I felt completely revived afterwards. There are tons of wonderful treatments to choose from, including gel nail manicures and mud wraps to facials and waxing. 

The rooms are the ultimate combination of both luxury and comfort and are all kept looking immaculate. There are lots of different styles and sizes to choose from with varied price points meaning you can go as fancy as your budget allows for. I had a snoop around all of the rooms whilst the hotel was empty and preparing for a wedding later on in the day.

The room we stayed in was named Betjamin and on the second floor overlooking the beautiful countryside. I really loved the cosy and tucked away feeling that the room had, making it perfect for an Autumn weekend break. Not to mention the incredibly comfy bed which is what I see to be a trademark of the Milsom hotels, it's so fluffy and soft that it actually feels as if the bed is giving you a cuddle. The bathroom is stocked with Ren products too which is of course a beauty blogger's dream come true. 

As sun was setting it was the perfect excuse for another trip down to the pool, we had it all to ourselves once again which made for the most wonderful evening. Inside the pool house is lots of seating along with sofas and a flat screen television and a fully stocked bar which you can help yourself to. I often just hopped out of the pool and chilled by the fire to warm up.

Food wise, there's a transfer service in a fancy range rover that takes you to and from the restaurant (Le Talbooth) which is a two minute drive away and you can be taken back again whenever you feel like it. The food at Le Talbooth is absolutely sublime and the setting next to the river is beautiful, my starter was gnocchi with truffles and was in the top five of tastiest dishes that I've ever had. The cocktail menu is well worth a good look at too, I always go for a cosmopolitan. The next morning was time for breakfast in bed which came in the form of full english breakfast along with croissants (spot the cinnamon whirl) and a huge pot of tea. Breakfast finishes at 9.30am which is something I couldn't get my head around, in my head it should most definitely go on until 11 or at least 10.30. That all being said, if the only flaw I could find with the whole experience was breakfast finishing too early then the hotel is doing a damn good job at everything else. 

Maison Talbooth is currently offering a Sunday night stay including a three course dinner at Le Talbooth, a full english breakfast the next morning along with full use of the spa facilities and a £45 spa voucher each at £175 per person. Alternatively, you can opt for a spa day package which includes a full body and face polish, facial drainage massage, full hot stone massage and a two course lunch along with use of all the spa facilities for £115. 

October 27, 2014

french pharmacy skincare favourites

This month I jetted off to France twice (yes, twice!) and wrote all about it on my lifestyle blog. It would be criminal of me to have not stocked up on French skincare while out there so I made sure to make the best of it by searching on google maps for the largest pharmacie around and proceeded to walk a mile to get there. All in the name of skincare of course. I picked up two bottles of Vichy Normaderm face wash, one for me and one for a friend who I will be making sure is as converted to it as I am. I opted for the S├ębium version of Bioderma rather than the regular Sensibio which I usually go for as my mum has oily skin and I picked this up for her, I hear that it's working really well on her skin. Embryloisse is my ultimate holy grail, can't possibly live without, skincare product that I will use for the rest of my life. I'm not exaggerating, this stuff is insanely good. I suffer with dry skin which looks dull and results in cakey looking foundation but whenever I use Embryolisse as both a night and day cream my skin looks dewy and five years younger. It's quite hard to track down, even in France, but if you aren't fussed about having it at a low price then you can get hold of it online in the UK for around double the cost which is still well worth it. I also got myself some Vichy Normaderm Hyaluspot as I had a breakout whilst away and it somehow magically cleared away a rather large spot overnight, if you struggle with blemishes I'd strongly advise you to give this one a go. 

If you're interested in trying out some French pharmacy brands then check out Escentual as they currently have 1/3 off brands throughout October, plus they have the best range of products that you can find online.