An afternoon at The Vineyard Spa, Berkshire

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 15 - 2013

A few weeks ago, I was invited along to experience the facilities and treatments at The Vineyard Spa, located just outside Newbury in Berkshire.  It’s only a short hop up the A34 from where I live and a blisteringly hot day meant that by the time I’d pulled up outside the hotel, I was more than ready to cool off in their swimming pool.

The spa offers a range of pampering options, specialising in treatments by Darphin and some rather special Grapetherapy – well, they are The Vineyard, after all.

Facilities include a large circular pool, jacuzzi, steam room, and a sauna with changing areas and plenty of relaxation spots in the main atrium.  The spa is attached to the hotel and as such, offers a more informal setting with unisex facilities and even designated “children’s times”.

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I’d booked myself in for two treatments, a full body massage with some added hot stone loveliness and an eye reviving treatment which I hoped would plump those fine lines that are slowly creeping in to view.  On arrival, we were checked in and had our treatment appointments confirmed before being shown around the facilities and directed to the ladies changing room.

Inside the lockers you’ll find the obligatory robe and slippers, although the mood lighting is lovely… I did spend a good five minutes trying to retrieve the set of keys that I’d managed to drop into the abyss, and then nearly left my phone at the back of the locker because I didn’t spot it on the way out – one of those motion-sensing (i.e. locker door opening) lights would be really beneficial in there.

My other grumble about the changing room would be the toilet facilities.  There’s a single loo… with a frosted glass door and no hook inside to hang up your dressing gown/towel/whatever else you might be holding.  Basically, it’s all rather… public.  If someone’s having a wee… anyone using the changing room will hear you.  Now, I don’t know about you… but I’d rather wee without worrying whether other people are imagining that Austin Powers scene!

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Having said that, there were plenty of things to make up for these shortcomings… Darphin skincare beside the sinks, plentiful clean towels, complimentary bottled water, and hair-dryers that make short work of actually drying your hair.

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I spent an hour relaxing by the pool, catching up with some friends before being collected by one of the therapists for my first treatment.  The treatment rooms are located in a different part of the building… a little walk away from the spa area.  To be honest, I didn’t enjoy walking through the hotel like this… past the reception area, past the kitchens, along the corridor and up the stairs.  It’s a little humiliating, fresh of face, wrapped in a towelling robe and shuffling along in a pair of slippers.  I thankfully only passed one small group of guests on my way but they looked rather bemused to see someone in this attire!

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I’d been looking forward to my first treatment for a long while, my first full body massage and my first experience with hot stones.  What can I say other than I loved it?  My therapist, although small in stature, applied plenty of muscle-relieving pressure that literally undid the knots that I’d been feeling in my calves.  Combined with the reassuring warmth from the hot stones, I enjoyed an experience that I didn’t want to end.  I’d recommend the Hot Stone Ritual to anyone.

The ambiance in the treatment room was perfect… gentle, repetitive music that lulled me into a deeply relaxed state and a cocoon-like room temperature that tempted me into hibernation!

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Back in the atrium, beside the pool… lunch was served.  I opted for the lamb which was served bento-style with creamy mashed potato and a tomato salad.  It was truly delicious, generously dished, and cooked to perfection.  Dessert was a classic strawberries and cream with a slice of sponge.  The meal was filling without being too heavy or rich, nicely balanced and… well, I’m making myself feel hungry just remembering it!

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After lunch, I returned to the treatment rooms upstairs for my second pampering session of the day… this time, the Darphin Eye Reviver.  Sadly, I wasn’t quite so enamoured of this treatment as I was with the hot-stone massage.  I felt that for the length of time given to the treatment (25 minutes), too much of that was spent cleansing and toning my face… time which I would have preferred was spent performing manual lymph drainage or other massage technique.

Having said that, once again, the whole experience was incredibly relaxing and I did emerge with temporarily refreshed-feeling eyes.  I’m just not sure I’d pay for that treatment again.

The Vineyard Spa in Berkshire is a great choice for a more informal spa day.  Spa connoiseurs may feel that the hotel/spa setting doesn’t quite deliver the level of privacy or finesse that they expect but if you’re a little intimidated by the thought of protocols surrounding spas and treatments this would be a great venue for an introduction to the spa scene.  The staff are welcoming, friendly, and knowledgable… the food was delicious and the facilities more than adequate.

I’d be particularly tempted by one of the Vineyard’s spa evenings for two which includes four-hours of spa time, a main course, and a 25-minute treatment each for £105.  A lovely (and not too expensive) idea for couples to spend a bit of relaxation time together over dinner.

To find out more about The Vineyard hotel and spa near Newbury, visit their website, find them on twitter, or call them on 01635 589415.

* I was a guest of The Vineyard Spa for the day and received one complimentary treatment.


 

Fifty years ago, there was very little we could do about most cosmetic imperfections.  Children wore port-wine stains and birthmarks on their skin their entire lives and men and women alike have always suffered from cosmetic abnormalities that range from the mildly irritating to the full-blown debilitating.  Nowadays, of course, things are very different and the one technology that has made the biggest difference to non-invasive treatments is the not-so-humble laser.

You don’t need to read far back through this blog to discover the impact that cosmetic lasers have made to my life, I have a greater sense of self-worth now that I’ve achieved and am maintaining a worthwhile reduction in hair growth, perhaps a shallow sentiment but it’s easy to underestimate the devastating effects that cosmetic flaws can have on our self-esteem and confidence.

I headed back to my local Sk:n Clinic one morning in November to see what could be done about a skin imperfection that I’d noticed had gotten worse since giving birth to my daughter in 2009.  It’s a ‘condition’ that affects many women (and men) around the world and is particularly prominent among those of us with a classic Celtic complexion.  I’m talking about thread veins.

Thread veins, spider veins, broken veins — whatever you want to call them — come under many guises but these delicate blood vessels are generally harmless little blighters that may be clearly visible across the thinner areas of skin.  In my case, it was the tip of my nose that suffered a permanent red (purple in cold weather) flush.  Making me look not unlike a total lush.  The photo below shows my skin on the day of my consultation, it’s freshly washed and moisturised so a little more ‘stimulated’ (read: irritated) than it would be later in the day.

The majority of my thread veins are minor and conceal well with a good application of a medium-coverage foundation.  The one on the tip of my nose however, has slowly become more resistant to concealer.  I’m prone to redness and see it as part and parcel of who I am but when faced with the opportunity to correct the imperfections genetics has dumped on us, why not?

My consultation was enlightening, I discovered more about the causes behind these little red road maps that traverse my face just under the surface of my skin.  I couldn’t resist asking if squeezing spots too recklessly as a teen (ok, older) may have contributed to their irritation.  The nurse at Sk:n said that whilst it may have been a contributing factor (as with any physical skin damage), the biggest likelihood pointed at simple genetic inheritance.  Thanks Mum!

The procedure itself was painless.  Not ‘uncomfortable’ just completely painless.  For some reason, I assumed that due to the particularly bony location I might have felt a reasonable amount of discomfort.  Nothing, nada.  Does not even compare to laser hair removal (which I find pretty ‘uncomfortable’).

The biggest caveat the nurse at Sk:n warned me about was the likelihood of bruising.  And er… I’m glad she did, as the photos will demonstrate.

Nice.  I don’t look *at all* stupid.

No, ok I really do look stupid.  There is no concealer in the world…

Scabby McScaberson.  DON’T PICK THE SCABS!

 

Halle-frickin-llujah, it fell off. Followed by: “Is this dent ever going to go away?”

“Oh, thank God for that”.  OOOOOooooohhhh where’s it gone?!

16 days people.  From start to finish.

A couple of laser bolts (not the technical term) fired at the tip of my nose, lots of giggles and comments about not needing “Rudolph” this Christmas and a fortnight later and cheerio biggest thread vein conurbation.  I’m really pleased to be able to show you something so tangible, often with all this beauty stuff results can be subjective and OK, it’s not the most groundbreaking cosmetic procedure in the world but it makes all the difference when a red nose isn’t the first flaw your critical mind picks up on when you look in the mirror. (I’ve moved on to something else, of course!)

The cost of this procedure? £99 for a single, very minor treatment.  That’s all it took to shift mine and over a month later, it hasn’t returned.

I hope this helps to give an accurate timeline and a little background information into what you can expect if you decide to go for laser thread vein removal.

In the words of The Fast Show’s Mancunian teenage, “Aren’t lasers BRILLIANT!?!”

 

You can read more about the facial thread vein removal services offered by Sk:n Clinic by clicking through to their website.

* complimentary treatment courtesy of Sk:n Clinic

RANDOM

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