Sunday, 30 September 2012

Champneys Spa Stay at Henlow Review (Feature for STRUT Magazine)

Luxurious stay at Henlow Champneys

Extravagant Luxuries- Our STRUT Features Writer, Cat Quigley
 reviews Champneys Henlow 


As soon as you drive up to Champneys Henlow, you feel that you are arriving at a luxurious and gracious place that is very welcoming. The Georgian mansion is set in the beautiful Bedfordshire countryside, hidden away from any noise, traffic and distraction.  The residential spa has been open for 50 years and was once occupied by Cistercian Monks who found peace there. 

Front of House Reception 
Beautiful Grounds as you drive into Champneys Henlow 
I would say this Champneys has the best location for people looking for a quick getaway from urban living, as Henlow is under an hour from London and 45 minutes from Essex or Hertfordshire. When time is of the essence, it is an easy place to escape to and unwind. 

Stunning Entrance

Inside Champneys reception

Celebrities adorn the walls giving their approval

Once you step inside the reception, you leave all worries at the door as you are greeted by a personal receptionist, who sits you down to go through your booking. Whilst your bags are brought to your room, the receptionist answers any questions that you may have and shows you what treatments you have booked or what classes you might like to take. 
I loved the feeling of having people looking after me, every step of the way so that I could zone out into a state of relaxation as soon as I arrived The feel of the building is sheer luxury and coziness, with soft lighting from chandeliers, rich burgundy carpets, wooden staircases and graceful furniture that is comfy yet stately. Along the corridors you will see pictures of celebrities who have stayed at the health farm such as Joan Collins, Kate Moss and TV soap stars like Barbara Windsor who have given 
their mark of approval. 

With the rooms you can pick from a Standard, Superior Room, Premier Room or pure opulence with a Suite which is what we went for. The Suites are available with either double or twin beds. The Suite is situated in the Main House and super close to all the facilities so you feel like you are at home with everything. The decor is grand and luxe but not so intimidating that you can't relax. 
More endorsements of happy celebs

Amazing lounge room with your own dining table and settee
Great touches like magazines, Sky TV and fresh fruit make the Suite worth booking
You have two rooms in the Suite (Bedroom area and lounge area) to relax in. The lounge overlooks the front of resort and the bedroom has views overlooking a waterfall. 
I loved the little touches in the rooms, like the water crystal jug and decadent lampshades. 

The bathroom is luxurious marble with Champneys goodies included.
 There is a giant bath with a TV in the wall for that rock star feeling and a walk-in shower.

In the Suite you get:
  • Still and sparkling mineral water on arrival and is replenished daily
  • Shawl collar gold embrioded towelling robe to wear
  • Slippers
  • Fresh fruit on arrival
  • Daily newspaper
  • Daily maid service and nightly turndown  
  • Located in prime area of the resort
  • Flat screen TV
  • Sky Sports
  • DVD player
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • Towels
  • Mini toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Dressing table
  • Rain macs
The bedroom reminded me of the film Dangerous Liaisons, as there were rich fabrics, plush decor and elegance. The bed was huge and really comfy with another TV opposite it so you could never get bored. The  rooms are light and airy and have a Laura Ashley homely feel to them.
Comfy bed fit for a Queen 
Cosy room with all the mod cons
Outside of my window, I had a lovely view of the River Hiz that flows nearby, which was very soothing.

Stunning views outside my window 

In your room you receive a dressing gown and slippers, which people wear around the spa, except for dinner in the evening, where casual dress is fine. 
A comfy dressing gown and slippers are all you need
For an overnight stay, arrival is 2pm and departure is 4pm. You get full use of the facilities which include use of the sauna and steam room, 25-metre indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, tennis court and bicycles. The swimming pool is big enough that you can swim to your heart's delight all day without being disturbed by other spa goers. There is also a large jacuzzi, great for getting your hen girls together for a chat. The loungers are what caught me out, as I read some magazines and dozed off as the sun poured through the large windows. It really felt as if I was abroad in the Med.

Large jacuzzi, ideal for groups
Vast pool area, warm enough to be comfortable swimming

The Classes are varied- I enjoyed a fun Zumba class, a (keep your hair dry) Aqua Fit and a tranquil Relaxation class which left me floating. I loved the diversity and choice on offer for fitness and felt like I had a proper getaway. I also hired a bicycle and took a tour into the local town, but soon came back as I missed my fluffy dressing gown.

Zumba time 
Easy to use gym available

Food-wise, there are nutritious balanced meals are included in your package. My favourite meal, the buffet style lunch, included every type of hot food and salad that you could imagine; I am ashamed to say I piled my plate high and devoured the lot. I just had to try a bit of everything! 

Lunch is the best meal laid out buffet style
Dinner is more formal, so wear smart clothes

I loved the feeling of the evening restaurant as if you were really being treated. If you ever want to come on your own there is a communal table there, which I have heard is quite the conversational table. I was happy that the dessert choice was naughty but still nice in calories and content. Then breakfast was quite basic, but you did have the choice of purchasing a hot one if you wanted. You don’t feel starved or under pressure to have all healthy food as there are many daily options to choose from and you can purchase wine if you wish, which was lovely with the evening meal for a well-earned chill out from the day’s activities.

Meals were well earned with daytime activities

For a treatment, I picked the Mediterranean Bliss Stone Indulgence treatment out of eighty indulgent spa therapies on offer. I wanted something different that was going to revitalise as well as relax me, as often massages are lovely but send me into a lazy slumber and I really wanted to enjoy my weekend away. The treatment with my lovely therapist Maydel, started with a full body exfoliation that sloughed off my dead skin cells and made my skin feel amazingly soft. I then had a wonderful hot stone massage using the indulgent Mediterranean spa ingredients of fig milk, green tomato and olive. The massage used a reviving aromatherapy oil to uplift the senses whilst the heat of the stones melted away my tension and made me feel relaxed and refreshed. The scent was divine and my skin was glowing. This treatment lasted 55 minutes and costs £65. There are so many other treatments to pick from that you are spoilt for choice. Henlow also offers some unusual exclusive treatments such as the Paraffin Wax Bath, Hypnotherapy and Chinese Body Therapy.

Comfy waiting room for treatments 
Treatment room clean and professional 

I would definitely come back to this Champneys and found this place great for going in a couple but equally would be a great girly break as their personal touch makes you feel really special. The accommodation is so inviting that you feel really at home straight away and great to recharge your batteries in the beautiful surroundings around the mansion.  For my next stay here, I will definitely be booking onto the fantastic boot camps that they do here. I have heard great things from some residents who were on one of the courses during my stay.  The camps enjoy a mix of group activities and exercise, fantastic cuisine and of course a little pampering. With an average weight loss of 6.3 lbs and an average inch loss of 4.5 inches, these Boot Camps are a great way to get fit, have fun 
and see great results!

With all the latest fitness trends, pampering spa therapies and delicious cuisine, there’s plenty to refresh and energize mind and body. For more information visit
One night Pamper Break packages (£30 more on a Sat), start from £249 per person in a standard room, which includes: 

  • Arrival 2.00pm
  • 1 Nights Accommodation
  • Choose two treatments from the following list:
  • - 25 minute Champneys Massage
  • - 25 minute Champneys Facial
  • - 25 minute Aromatherapy Wrap
  • - 25 min Scalp Massage
  • Unlimited use of resort facilities
  • Up to 20 different classes per day
  • Nutritious Dinner, Breakfast & Lunch
  • Depart 4.00pm

Tip- If you want the Suite experience then this starts at £449 but it totally worth it if you want to treat yourself completely. The GlamourCat says Go For It! 


Friday, 21 September 2012

Sweet Trees - great for Christmas gifts

Festive Sweet Trees – the latest trend in Christmas treats.

 I found a fantastic website called Rustic Angels. who specialise in shabby chic, vintage and retro gifts and accessories. They do the new 'Sweet Trees' That everyone is going crazy for. I'm going to get the Christmas one for work!

An incredibly cute, edible tree hand made from Maltesers, drizzled with white chocolate and planted with chocolate raisins – what could be a more sumptuous gift this Christmas?  With their new range of handmade Sweet Trees, Rustic Angels have come up with a gift that would delight pretty much everyone on your Christmas list – and make the recipient extremely popular with the rest of the family! 
The Sweet Trees looks as good as they taste.  Each tree sits prettily in a terracotta pot (not edible!) which is planted with chocolate raisins, fudge and coconut mushrooms, and stands approx. 30cm high, making a wonderful presentation gift, or table centrepiece.
The sweets are lovingly arranged on the tree so they are easy to pick one by one for pure indulgence at the end of a leisurely meal, or can be sneakily plucked by passers-by when no one is looking!
Rustic Angels stock a variety of Sweet Trees, all made from traditional family favourites.  Choose from:

 Galaxy Counters with edible Holly (standard £29.95 or mini - £13.95 + p&p)


Allsorts Sweet Tree - £22.50 + p&p

Maltesers Sweet Tree - £24.95 + p&p


Sweet Trees and many other beautiful vintage, retro and French country gifts and home accessories are available from

Friday, 14 September 2012

Aveda Trend Report - New York Fashion Week - Spring Summer 2013


Here is a sneaky pick of a new make-up look for next year from Aveda hot off the press from new York.


Aveda Global Makeup Director Janell Geason pairs luminous skin with a bright, bold lip using the Aveda Spring/Summer 2013 Color Collection at the William Okpo Spring Summer 2013 Presentation.
“The makeup is natural but daring at the same time,” says Geason. “The skin looks lightly bronzed and glowing, like beautiful summer skin. The bright lip is fun and fearless with a matte finish to balance the radiant complexion.”

 1) Prep skin with Aveda Enbrightenment Brightening Correcting Creme to hydrate.

 2) Balance the complexion with a mixture of Aveda Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisture and Inner Light Concealer as needed.

 3) Apply Aveda Uruku Bronzer in Brazilian Sun in a “C” shape from the temples and along the jaw line to contour the face. 

4) Highlight cheek bones by sweeping Aveda Petal Essence Eye Color in Illumination across each.

5) Add vibrancy to the apples of the cheeks by applying Aveda Petal Essence Face Accents in Hibiscus* with an Aveda Uruku Bronzing Brush. 

6) Line and fill in lips using Aveda Lip Pencil in Barberry Bloom*. Smooth the color with a small eyeshadow brush for a matte finish, rounding out the cupid’s bow. 

7) Apply Aveda Petal Essence Eye Color in Lantana* from the lash line to the crease and Bare Bellis* starting at the crease and fading into the brow bone. Blend. 

8) Apply a generous coat of Aveda Mosscara in Black to the top and bottom lashes. 9) Define brows using an angled brush and Aveda Petal Essence Eye Color Trio in Gobi Sands. *Shades from the Spring/Summer 2013 Collection, available February 2013
Q: What was your inspiration? How did you collaborate with the designer to create the makeup look?
Janell Geason: “The makeup look is inspired by the colors and texture of the collection. The clothes are both effortless and daring. This girl likes a natural look with a little energy, which comes in through the orange lip. ”
Q: What inspired your Spring/Summer 2013 Collection?
Darlene and Lizzie Okpo: “The collection is inspired by downtown streetwear. It’s a young and cool style.”
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