Dragon Fly Tea: Green Tea Party Time

dragon fly

So I’ve just hosted my very first green tea party – probably not the wildest event I’ve ever thrown, but basically, it was a great excuse to catch up with the girls whilst sipping some of Dragon Fly Tea’s new green tea range.

When I was approached by Dragon Fly Tea and asked if I would like to sample and review their green tea range, their tag line had me sold:

“You know Green Tea is super good for you. You know you should drink it. But, you find many green teas just taste bitter…

Don’t worry…the search for Green Tea that tastes great is now over with Dragonfly Tea’s new Green Tea range!”

I felt I was exactly this person. As a lover of many fruit and herbal teas, which I drink for health benefits, I have never become a fan of green tea, not even finishing a cup of the stuff.

The green tea party goers included Becky, a daily green tea drinker; Ellie, completely uninterested in green tea; and finally Rach, feeling the same way about green tea as I.panel memersSwapping Mimosa Breakfasts for Green Tea (Rach far left, Ellie second left, then Becky and finally me on the end)

To ease ourselves in, we started with the fusion green teas, first up – citrus green. Green tree paired with lemons and bergamot citrus. The tea had a really fresh citrus aroma and the flavour of the fruit really complimented the green tea. For me, it took the edge of the taste green tea typically has and made it an all round more enjoyable experience, I even finished my cup!

citrus green

Next was Berry Green, this was actually my favourite of the range but received mixed reviews amongst the panel. I thought the flavour of the berries really came through when drinking this and masked the green tea flavour, whereas others felt the tea didn’t have a strong enough taste.

berry green

Finally it was the real deal, the Pure Green! Knowing how to party real hard, a blind taste test was suggested by Becky. Therefore as well as providing our venue of the night, she also made our next secret brew (I know, such impeccable hosting skills on my behalf!).

We tested Pure Green against a well known bargain supermarket chain’s own brand green tea. We all voted Dragon Fly Tea’s Pure Green Tea as the winner. Becky, having the most sophisticated palette pointing out its much less bitter flavour and after taste.

The Dragon Fly Tea’s green tea range costs £1.65 for 20 tea bags and the range is available from their website: www.dragonflytea.co.uk, Waitrose and Ocado. This is more expensive then budget options but cheaper when comparing to other well known brands.

So the final question… Would I buy Dragon Fly Tea’s new green tea range again?

Most definitely! I particularly enjoyed the infused Citrus Green and Berry Green tea. The natural flavours really complimented the green tea and by making it drinkable I’m able to reap up all the health benefits of green tea. I will make sure I keep a look out for Dragon Fly Tea when I do my next tea round and can’t wait to host another green tea party – except this time at the party guest’s request, with cake!

cheersCheers to the next green tea party!

I’d love to hear if you have tried Dragon Fly Tea’s new green tea range? Or what your favourite way to drink green tea is? Be sure to let me know.

Stay BeYOUtiful

Eleri

Cocktail Sampling @ Red Door Chester

If you read my wellness diary, you will know one of my favourite things to do is get together with my girls; and of course, I’m never one to turn down a cocktail or two. So when an opportunity arose for both, in the form of an invite for cocktail sampling at Red Door in Chester, I jumped at the chance.

Now I’ve actually partaken in several late nights at Red Door, and consider it one my favourite Chester venues to end my night, to some massive tunes. I have to say, before the event, I hadn’t even realised they had a cocktail menu and had never really thought about it as a start of your evening venue- making me hugely intrigued to experience Red Door at a quieter time and okay, drink lots of cocktails!

Spa Me Away is still a baby in the blogging world and this was my first blogging event so I was a little bit nervous, however our fabulous hostess, Sam, provided such a warm welcome and I also got to meet the lovely Camille @cococamiblog and Polly @ThePolway making me super excited for any future events I might get to attend.

polly red door

Polly & I with our ‘The One With The Balloon’ cocktails

Quite aptly, you enter red door via a red door! As I walked in, it all felt very mysterious with décor that I can only describe as something from a set of a crime noir picture. The red colour scheme continued with mahogany leather booths and stools,  wooden panels and exposed brick adorned the walls; and there was a huge bar central to the room.

The star of the show and our mixology master of the night, James, stood behind the bar. James had some seriously impressive cocktail making skills and put on a very passionate performance creating one of my favourite drinks of the night – Caramelised Rum Punch. The description for this tipple is Mai Tai Meets Zombie so be warned, responsible drinking might go out the window after a few of these fruity tricksters. Unfortunately, I actually drank my punch before taking a photo (blogging novice over here!) but instead lets focus on how cool James looked creating it?

fire

I felt there was an excellent and varied selection of cocktails for the night, all equally delicious as each other.

The price for a cocktail started at around £7 and on checking out the menu, I found an even more extensive range of cocktails. For me, the unexpected always adds an air of excitement and the Red Door menu certainly delivered this because the menu included some really interesting, original twists on cocktail classics. Such as, Big Dill, a refreshing water melon and dill infused take on the g&t.

big dill

As you can probably tell – I really enjoyed my cocktail experience at Red Door. The entertaining showmanship together with the laid back music, created a fun but relaxed atmosphere. To me, this makes Red Door the perfect setting for catching up with friends over beautifully presented, thought out cocktails. I will definitely be returning for cocktails with the girls in tow and I can confirm as the night drew on and the tempo of the music increased, Red Door maintained its status as being the best dance floor in Chester.

Top tip: book a booth or arrive at around 8pm to guarantee seating.

If you want to know more about Red Door, check out their website for more information. Red Door also has other city locations you may wish to visit.

I’d love to know if you have been to Red Door and how you found it. If you haven’t, what do you think of my Red Door cocktail experience? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

 Disclaimer: While I was invited by Red Door to sample the cocktails for free on this occasion, all opinions are my own.

Stay BeYOUtiful

Eleri

Spa Review: Despacio at H10 Andalucia Plaza Hotel, Puerto Banus

If you head over to my instagram you’ll see lots of my Marbella pictures, where I happened to be for the legendary SJP’s hen do. We were staying in the large 4 star H10 Andalucia Plaza Hotel, which is located about 10 minutes walk away from the marina and nightlife in Puerto Banus. The hotel was handpicked by her bridesmaid and I was absolutely delighted when I found out there was a spa attached! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side for pretty much the whole of the trip, but in this case, every cloud definitely does have a silver lining, as the rain meant I visited Despacio spa on several occasions.

To access the spa it cost 15 euro for a two hour thermal session, however, there were lots of treatment packages available that included use of the thermal suite and offered savings. On my final visit, I paid 39 euro for a 30 minute Thalgo mini facial and use of the facilities.

As I entered Despacio, the reception area was softly lit and had rich, neutral decor with really exotic, elegant features and accessories – think marble, orchids, sunbeam mirrors and hanging lanterns. This theme flowed throughout the entire spa, creating a calm and tranquil space.

The receptionist explained the spa rules including the requirement to wear a swimming cap when in the pool and then showed me around the facilities. To reach the thermal suite you walked down a corridor, past the changing areas. The suite included a hammam, a sauna and a small pool that was cool in temperature. At one end of the pool there was jets, cascades and a swan neck fountain, this enabled you to have a hydrotherapy style experience. The pool slowly changed colour from blues to greens and whilst reclining on the large, comfortable beds facing the pool, it felt very therapeutic.

In the midst of my trance like state, my therapist collected me and took me for my treatment. The treatment rooms were located at the other side of reception and there was also another room with a private Jacuzzi which could be used at an extra cost.

Copyright uses for H10 Hotels for sales and Marketing promotions

Although the treatment room was a good temperature, my therapist noticed I had wet swimwear on, so offered me disposable underwear to avoid me getting cold – this was highly appreciated as I hate being uncomfortable during a treatment! The products for the facial were pre-chosen and I wasn’t offered a consultation, so if wanting to target specific skin concerns I wouldn’t recommend this facial. However the treatment was incredibly relaxing and included a neck and shoulder massage whilst my face mask was on. I would definitely like to try more Thalgo products as my skin was left feeling really soft and stayed hydrated for the flight home that afternoon.

After hours of being pampered, you might ask what else could a girl want? Well, my only wish, was that the sun had been shining after my treatment. If it had been, I would have continued with my resting in the exclusive, outside area for spa guests.

Hotel H10 Andalucía Plaza.

What had the ‘Spa Factor’ –  the decor, it made me feel like I was hidden away in a far away land. I was also mesmerized by the pool lighting and was very grateful for my therapist’s considerate nature.

What would add to the ‘spa factor’ – The spa was spotlessly clean but I really wasn’t feeling the swimming cap. If the pool had been warmer I would have made better use of the hydrotherapy features.

Stay BeYOUtiful

Eleri

Smile Your Way to Wellness: My Diary

As you know from my last post, it’s National Smile Month. In the spirit of this, I am writing the #SmileYourWayToWellness series. As part of this, I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek into my ordinary, everyday life to show you how I keep myself well each week using the 5 Steps to Wellness – I’m hoping my diary will demonstrate how simple and inexpensive it is to do this.

Thursday 12th May

If you follow me on instagram you will know I had returned home from a 5 night Hen Party in Puerto Banus, Marbella on the Wednesday evening. We had an absolutely wicked time but my body wasn’t thanking me for so much partying and I woke up with a rotten cold.

Luckily, the weather was on my side and the sun was shining, making it slightly easier to roll out of bed and face work. To make the most of the sunshine before a day inside, I sat outside with my coffee and whilst waiting for its magical effects, I relaxed and really engaged my senses. For example, I focused on what I could feel, see and hear. This is a great mindfulness exercise to really clear your head.

garden wellness

As it was such a gorgeous day, my partner and I met up with some friends for drinks in the pub (orange juice for me!). Whilst we were there, someone commented they weren’t looking forward to work the next day and another person said ‘don’t wish today away’. I love an inspirational quote and this comment really bought us back to being able to appreciate where we were, who we were with and forget about work in that moment.

pub wellness

Friday 13th May

I mean a Friday is always a good day right, #friYAY and all that? Being Friday I woke up in a much better mood and slightly improved physical state and headed off to the office. It was another warm day, so I took the opportunity to meet up with a friend for an alfresco lunch. Sitting away from my desk at lunchtime really helps me switch off, making for a much better afternoon and ensuring I’m up to date on any gossip!

Later on, I was texting a friend and we organised to meet up last minute. We realised it was Fizz Friday in our local so it did end up being more than ‘one drink’. I don’t advocate alcohol for a way of keeping well or masking problems, but for me, a glass of prosecco is usually a recipe for on point banter and putting the world to rights. It was a great laugh and we ended up bumping into other people we knew and subjecting them to our humour (harmless of course).

bubbles

Saturday 14th May

A downside of alcohol is that is does make you feel tired and I didn’t wake up feeling so fresh, but I took this as an opportunity to sit outside and bask in the rays  – we all need to allow ourselves a little rest and relaxation now and again, don’t feel guilty for doing nothing.

A visitor, in the form of my boyfriend’s brother, emerged from the guest room later in the day and we organised a BBQ. Given the size of the lunch and the heat, a little (ok, several hours) siesta occurred. It must have been needed though, as I woke feeling much better and as it had cooled down a little, decided it was a good time to go for a run.

I did my usual 5k route and I am pleased to say, after a week off I was still capable of doing it. In my triathlon training post, I talk about how exercise has benefited me. I returned feeling much more motivated and finished off all the jobs that all week I had been saying I would do ‘tomorrow’.

Sunday 15th May

dog wellness

I’m sorry to start off with the weather again, but it’s short of a miracle that we had another glorious day! I could have easily lazed around all day, but quite often, that means me & my partner will spend more time on our phones than talking to each other, and to be honest, that can make me quite grumpy. We were short on time as we’d had a pretty mammoth lie in and he was starting the first of his night shifts so we decided to go for a walk. We volunteered at a local animal shelter and took some beautiful doggies out in the country side. It was a win-win situation as I felt like I was being active and doing a good deed, albeit a very enjoyable one.

Monday 16th May

Considering it was a Monday, I actually woke up really cheerful – I’m putting it down to the hibernation that occurred on the weekend.  I didn’t have the best day for eating (someone bought in Brie and Tiger Loaf – I mean c’mon how can you resist that?!). As I had pretty much devoured a cheese board for my afternoon snack, I was quite sluggish returning home. So I changed straight into my gym clothes and went for a run, which gave me the boost of energy I needed.

As my boyfriend is working nights, we only really cross paths for about an hour at tea time, so we try to ensure that our time together is well spent. This means, I put my phone away! I am a self confessed phone addict and I constantly mindlessly scroll through it especially if it is in sight, so I do have to be quite disciplined or put it somewhere I’m too lazy to reach!

Since it was a night in for one, I had a blog evening and posted #bbtag fun questions & answers. I can’t believe Spa Me Away is just over a month old. Blogging is more of a skill then I realised, but I absolutely loving learning everything that I need to know and I’m finding it really exciting too.

selfie

My #bbtag selfie

 Tuesday 17th May

It was me, myself and I again on Tuesday. I try to avoid being glued to the computer all night as it can make me feel a little lonely and as I’ve talked about before, can leave you in dangerous territory of over analysing and comparing your life.  To avoid this, when I’m on my own I always do something that makes me feel positive. On this night it included whacking a hair mask on and ringing my mum for a natter.  I need to make phone calls ALOT more, there much more meaningful and really allow you to share your emotions.

Wednesday 18th May

After work, I met up with the girls and we went out for tea and a prosecco, okay two (there’s no such thing as too much prosecco right?). Meeting up with my ladies is always a very funny occasion, filled with gossip and if the news is lacking (very rarely is) we just make up our own! A couple of years ago, we’d all been a bit hopeless at meeting up regularly– mainly because life just happens, but this year, with a little bit more organisation, we’ve been on top form! Knowing I have such an amazing group of friends around me makes me feel invincible.

insta wellness

Well that’s my week, as you can see, I haven’t done anything or visited anywhere mind-blowingly exciting; but I hope it shows, that I have lived in the moment, had lots of fun and this has left me feeling confident and happy. Apart from a few prosecco bubbles, there really haven’t been any costs in doing this, and these principles of connecting, being active, learning, giving and being mindful are super easy to apply to your life.

Do you think you apply the 5 steps to wellbeing in your everyday life? If you do, what do you do? If not, how could you start?

Stay BeYOUtiful

Eleri

Smile Your Way to Wellness: An Introduction

smile wellness

Well, it’s officially #NationalSmileMonth –don’t worry I’m not going to be giving you any oral health advice but I am going to be talking about why smiling is so good for us.

Smiling does this wonderful thing of releasing happy hormones, resulting in us feeling brighter and more positive. Apparently, even a fake smile gives our endorphins the nudge they need to get moving (Has anyone else just started smiling to see if this works? What did you think?)

smile wellness 4

You should already know all about Spa Me Away (and if you don’t – go and check out the rest of my blog). The whole idea of Spa Me Away, is to promote every day, accessible and fun wellness ideas. One thing I’ve actually loved since starting my blog is how my friends have been sharing all things wellness with me. I think my favourite was the suggestion of joining a toneless choir – are you saying I can’t sing Rachael?!

Probably, one of the most insightful pieces of wellness wisdom I have received was about the importance of being happy in the moment and not focusing on what happens next. This was straight from a happiness guru’s mouth- well via a friend.

Of course, I’m not saying don’t set yourself goals or plan things that make you excited – but don’t wait around for these life events to happen in order for you to feel content. There are so many things you can do now to allow yourself to feel good, feel much more confident to reach your goals and to cope with any adversities that head your way.

You may be asking, what are these things I can do to make me happy and strong? Well, the government has set out 5 steps to mental wellbeing and for once their talking some sense!

Connect                               Be Active             Keep Learning

Give to others                   Be Mindful

Over the next month or so I’m going to be completing a series called ‘Smile Your Way to Wellness’. Within the series I will be sharing advice and ideas of how to include the 5 steps to Mental Wellbeing into everyday life.

If you would like me to share any of your ways to wellness in the series (no matter how typical or eccentric they seem), leave me a comment, and I’d love to include everyone’s ideas in the blog where I can.

smile wellness 2

For now, keep smiling and most importantly…

Stay BeYOUtiful,

Eleri

#BBTAG 10 FUN QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Thank you to Natalia @xoxomakeBlog for the tag! So here goes, find out about all my beauty secrets & dreams…

Light, Medium or Full coverage foundation?

I really admire people who pull off a natural look, so during the day, I try to go for a light, dewy finish. I always remember buying the YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint foundation for my first term back at uni a few years ago, I was told I looked shiny and new by one of the men off my course – English wasn’t his fist language so I interpreted it as glowing, and took it as a compliment! At night, nothing beats full coverage and I am a MAC girl through and through. Nothing makes me feel as flawless as my Pro Longwear Foundation – this bad boy has serious staying power.

Favourite drugstore and high end brand?

I don’t really have a favourite drug store or high end brand per se. I tend to search for makeup/skincare that works depending on my budget at that time – Beauty Blogs help so much in the quest for the perfect good value product.

Do you have a dream item you want badly?

I’m forever trying new products and love reading about the latest trends. At the moment, I want to adopt a Korean Skincare Regime, so I’m looking for the perfect items… keep your eyes peeled for the blog post!

What is our HG makeup or skincare item?

Well, I’ve already mentioned my love for MAC Pro Longwear Foundation, which has treated me very well on all occasions. However, my newest holy grail is Benefit’s Watts Up Highlighter – it just gives me the most gorgeous subtle glow and blends seamlessly into my MAC Pro Longwear Foundation. I can see this relationship lasting.

What kind of product do you have the most of?

My cleanser, as I always do a double cleanse in the evenings. You wouldn’t believe how much makeup and grime is left on your skin after only one wash. Since starting double cleansing, my skin is a lot clearer. I also use SPF 50 on my face every day without fail. I felt like I was beginning to get fine lines on my forehead, and, placebo effect or not, I feel like SPF has delayed any premature aging!

Celebrity makeup inspo?

I’m yet to master contouring but Kim Kardashian just has the most stunning eye makeup. A dark, smoky, feline eye is my favourite and makes me feel fierce.

A good spa day or the same value in make up?

A good spa day of course! What else did you expect? For me, there is no better feeling than being pampered all day. After being in a state of total relaxation, I always have the BEST night’s sleep and wake up fabulous.

Preference: Straight, Wavy or Curly Hair?

Day to day I tend to wear my hair up because it’s easy. However, when I want to make an impression I always go for curly – the bigger the better! I learnt how to do Pin Curls whilst in Marbella & I was pretty chuft with the results…

selfie

Sephora or Ulta?

As I’m from the United Kingdom, we don’t have either! However, my top tip for when you need new makeup from higher end brands, is to book in to get your make up done at MAC (or any other beauty counter). For around £30, you end up with professional make up, and get your money back in products – result!

Matte, Metallic, Creamy or Glossy lips?

Anyone who can pull of a bold lip, I salute! I think a bold lip is seriously glam and oozes attitude.  However, I’m a girl who likes minimal effort and a good gloss works for me so much better. My go to colour, is a nude shimmer because it goes with everything!

My Questions

  1. What is your proudest beauty moment? Share a photo!
  2. What is your most daring beauty moment?
  3. Are there any beauty looks/trends you would like to try?
  4. Have you had any beauty disasters?
  5. Would you like to make any changes to your skincare/beauty routine?
  6. Of course it wouldn’t be SPA ME AWAY without some spa related questions! What do you do at home to pamper yourself?
  7. What is your favourite spa treatment? If you’ve never been to a spa, what spa treatment would you like to try?
  8. What is your feel good beauty product?
  9. Where/who is your favourite beauty place/person and why? This can be your beautician, local make up counter or store, hairdresser, spa or anyone or anywhere in between! Spread the love & tag them!
  10. What beauty blogger inspires you most and why? Tag them!

I tag the lovely:

Sally @SalElizabeth0

Hayley@PRHayley

Rosie @LoveRosiee1

I’d  love to hear everyone else’s answers to the questions above too please!

Stay BeYOUtiful

Eleri

Book Review: Lean in 15

A common line of mine is that if I had a chef I would eat salads every day. In other words, I am too lazy to cook but do enjoy eating nice, healthy food. Quite often, recipes I find use about a zillion expensive ingredients that takes ages to cook. So although I start off with good intentions I usually end up with a greasy takeaway mid week, resulting in me eating rubbish, feeling lethargic and on top of this wasting money.

When I saw a friend instagram her #LeanIn15Selfie I was intrigued. Did these supposedly 15 minute meals taste as good as they looked? Apparently so – my friend gave rave reviews about the recipes she had tried and confirmed they really did only take 15 minutes unless stated otherwise.

lean in 15

My BBQ #LeanIn15Selfie (the burgers were eaten before photos could be taken!)

That was me sold, and on my next trip to the shops I bought my very own Lean In 15 recipe book. The book is split into 7 chapters including a bit about “the body coaches” background and ethos, an outline of the plan, recipes and a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) plan.

The body coach comes across as hardworking, passionate and proud of both himself and others, this makes him extremely likeable. In addition to this, on Instagram he posts pictures of himself going out for a Nandos or having a booze, which makes his lifestyle feel incredibly achievable and just shows everything in moderation works.

The book is really easy to read and understand. In short, the plan is about eating in line with your energy demands. This means, eating carbohydrate meals post-workout and at other times eating reduced-carbohydrate meals that are rich in healthy fats and protein. Alongside this, is a HIIT plan which should be followed alongside the diet to achieve that lean and fit physique.

Having tried HIIT before, I’m not a huge fan, so I can’t give a critique on the workout plan. However, I know people who absolutely love HIIT and judging from Instagram’s #90daysssplan transformations, it works!

bodycoach

However for me, the most important thing to do, especially, if you are just starting to make changes to your lifestyle is giving lots of things a go, finding out what works for you and most importantly doing what you enjoy. Even if you don’t follow the plan, the book is based on nutritional, tasty, and quick recipes which will certainly help you to make positive changes in your life.

I’ve made quite a few recipes from the book and they have all been lovely and extremely satisfying. I have noticed that the portions can be large, so it is worth remembering the plan is based on being active and adjust your meal size accordingly- you can always make a packed lunch if there is too much. The recipes I have cooked can easily be adapted to suit your tastes or what’s in the cupboard. As the body coach doesn’t use too many ingredients, I’m pleased to say my shopping bill has not been affected either.

goan fish curry
My favourite recipe so far is the Goan Fish Curry. It is full of flavour, filling and quicker to make than getting a takeaway! The only problem I have had, is that my boyfriend was unaware of what a piece of ginger looked like; so being helpful and cleaning the cupboards he decided it must be some form of gone off, unknown vegetable and chucked it…
#KitchenDrama but by no means a reflection on the book!

Let me know what you think of Lean In 15 and please share any recommendations of equally delicious but easy recipes you have.

Stay BeYOUtiful,
Eleri

Spa Review: Kinspa at the Kinmel Hotel

You may have read that I recently completed my first ever sprint triathlon. Well, quite soon after booking the triathlon, I suggested it would be a great idea to book a spa day; this of course was to help us recover. Any excuse hey?

Lucky for me, my friend is a well seasoned spa goer herself and didn’t need any persuading, so off we went and chose the Kinspa. The Kinspa is attached to The Kinmel hotel in Abergele, North Wales. It was really easy to find as it is set just off the main road and is a great location if you want a base to explore North Wales.

The entrance to the spa faces away from the road and overlooks the beautiful Welsh country side. Even though it is close to a busy road, all you could hear were the birds singing. To get to the entrance you walk through the large patio and garden area, which were both immaculately kept and so pretty. There was lots of seating and I imagine sitting outside on a summer’s day would be absolutely glorious.

On arrival to the Kinspa, we were greeted very warmly and instantly made to feel comfortable. The Kinspa felt very contemporary and the features made it feel very zen, instantly putting you into a spa day mindset.

We were shown around the facilities which are set on two levels; the upper level included the gymnasium, treatment rooms, the tranquillity suite and Chiang Mai – a Thai restaurant. The lower level was home to the thermal suite which had: a petite swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, and aromatherapy steam room. Upon entering the thermal suite it felt very intimate due to the low level lighting and warm temperature. Spotlights lit the thermal suite, with pink and blue lighting accenting certain areas. The colour scheme throughout the thermal suite was muted greys and browns, with beautiful shimmery bronze mosaic tiles, giving it a glamorous look.

Kinspa pool area May 2015 with good spa guide badge

I was really impressed by the thermal suite, the steam room was by far the best I’ve experienced. It was designed with curved seating making it even easier to recline and unwind. My favourite part of the thermal suite was the hydrotherapy pool. There was a waterfall that acted as a doorway but allowed the hydro pool to flow through to a bright, airy space which had large sliding windows overlooking the gardens. It was really nice being able to choose what type of setting I wanted to relax in.

hydro kinspa

After a mammoth thermal session, we headed upstairs for our treatments. I’d opted for the Elemis deep tissue back of the body massage and my friend had the Elemis fruit active glow facial. We both felt the therapists were extremely friendly, interested in our treatment needs and knowledgeable about which products would be most suited to us. The treatment rooms were decorated with subtle colour tones and played soothing music. There was a heated blanket on my massage bed – which added spa factor points as I love feeling cosy, and from experience, I feel so much for anyone who has had to endure a massage in a cold treatment room. I found she used the perfect pressure throughout the massage and she had pre warned me about one technique that could be sensitive so there were no surprises mid massage.

Post treatment we headed to the tranquillity room, which was exclusive to spa guests. The tranquillity room had floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the Welsh countryside and coast line, although lovely, it should be mentioned in the distance the road runs through the views. To enable you to lie back and take in the surroundings, there were reclining beds with fleecy blankets facing the windows. I particularly enjoyed looking out at the field full of baby lambs whilst sipping the complimentary tea and fruit juices.

Kinspa Tranquillity Suite with Good Spa Guide Badge

I think that leads us nicely on to our amazingly delicious lunch. We chose from the Thai lunch menu and had two courses. There were several good options to choose from for each course, I had Tom Yam Gong soup followed by King Prawn Phad Thai and my friend had Satay Chicken Skewers and a Green Thai Chicken Curry.  All the dishes arrived beautifully presented as well as fresh and flavoursome. Whilst dining we sat on the heated balcony and looked out onto the garden and surrounding hills. Our dining experience was further enhanced when the sun decided to shine onto the balcony, supporting my view that this spa would be even more wonderful to visit on a bright day because of the fabulous outdoor space.

Regardless of the time of year, I would definitely recommend visiting the Kinspa and would happily return. Spa days start from around £89 for a 60 minute treatment, full use of the facilities and lunch. However the Kinspa regularly run special offers providing great value packages with added extras. We purchased a spring offer and for £69 we had a: 45 minute treatment, a 2 course lunch, a smoothie and the option of a fitness class.

 Given the nature of the spa trip I can’t say whether the fitness class would have been a worthwhile addition or not, but, we both thoroughly enjoyed our very leisurely day, spending almost 10 hours there!

What had the ‘Spa Factor’ –  the location was easy to find and is in a great area to explore the rest of North Wales, the friendly and knowledgeable staff team, the garden view hydrotherapy pool, well designed steam room, everything about the Chiang Mai restaurant,  and the sun trapped stunning garden areas.

What would add to the ‘spa factor’ – there was a mix of pre and post treatment spa guests in the tranquillity room. Although there were no unruly guests, a second relaxation room for those who like to snooze following a treatment would be a welcome addition.

Do you think you would like to visit the Kinspa? I’d love to hear.

Stay BeYOUtiful

Eleri

Just call me a triathlete …

Woohoo! I have just completed my first ever sprint triathlon. The whole event was a complete adrenaline rush and I’ve got the most amazing feeling and biggest sense of pride ever. In case you’re not sure, a sprint triathlon is made up of 400m swimming, 25km cycling and 5 km running. Now anyone who knows me will know what a journey this has been, but it’s a story I’d love to share with you.

Although, I like to consider myself quite active now, in my teenage years I did anything I could to get out of physical activity. After the triathlon, my mum was reminiscing about some of the letters she would write to get me out of P.E; I was obviously a very disease ridden child…

Unfortunately, my body didn’t agree with this lack of movement and combined with a seriously boozy fresher year my weight started to creep up – so things had to change.  In the past, I have gone through phases of doing exercise (usually before a holiday) and then stopping (usually for the whole of winter, okay… most of autumn and spring too). Basically, my motivation was severely lacking. This was a combination of factors really: the fact I found exercise hard, I was fearful of doing exercise by myself, and I just didn’t really enjoy anything I was trying.

I always proclaimed if I had a bike this problem would be no longer. Well, my boyfriend came up absolute trumps, when his first ever surprise present to me was a bicycle, turning 2015 into the year of cycling.

bike

I overcame my fear of exercising alone because the more you go out on your own, you realise that everyone does this anyway and there is absolutely nothing to feel self conscious about!

But alas, even though I enjoyed bike riding, after my last summer holiday and when the darker nights started to roll in, the cycling ceased.

Now fast forward to January 2016, exercise free for several months,  the idea of a triathlon is suggested by my naturally gorgeous and fit friend, Rach. I reminisced about my summer of cycling and enthusiastically signed up (prime example of me not thinking things through as discussed in About Me).

I soon realised I couldn’t do front crawl without choking; 1km of running almost killed me; and the first trial run of the bike ride took us longer to complete than lasts years final position. It’s safe to say having a goal to work towards (and the fact I’d paid £40 to enter) really helped motivate me and I was determined to complete the triathlon regardless of the challenges.

Staying motivated wasn’t always easy and there were times I really doubted myself. On one bike ride Rach didn’t think I was going to get myself back up after we reached the top of a hill and I plonked myself down, exclaiming it was too hard. A proper adult tantrum!

Tantrums aside, I actually found having a fitness friend really beneficial.  We didn’t necessarily train together but we regularly updated each other on our progress, shared our thoughts on the training and gave each other encouragement when needed – most useful when dramatic texts referring to death were flying around.

I don’t think I’m setting a particularly positive basis to start exercise here, but I PROMISE it got so much easier, and there were so many benefits- so keep reading!

hill

See – same hill on triathlon day & I’m smiling!

 In terms of self-encouragement, goal setting was essential. A goal should always be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. For example, I slowly built up my run by 1km at a time. Setting myself unrealistic goals would have resulted in me feeling pressured and like a failure.

Whereas, SMART goals were massively beneficial because I could see my progression and accomplishments which made me feel in control:  #IGOTTHIS became my motto.

Keeping track of my progress was also really important in staying motivated, especially when I was building up my running distance. I used the Map My Fitness app on my mobile – the voice telling me how far I’d run, made pushing myself that little bit further, much easier. Motivational talk was also a great tool to use at times when I was struggling during exercise – I’ve got a whole post dedicated to positive thinking if you want to read more.

Another factor that aided my training, was the kindness and help I received from others; whether this was pity or not, I don’t mind or care, as I can now swim and breathe at the same time. So a big thanks to the lifeguard who got the floats out and taught me the front crawl and to the other lifeguard who lent me her goggles until I bought my own!

Of course, there were still times I really didn’t want to leave that front door. All I can say, is just changing into your gym clothes, helps switch your mindset to fitness mode. Once you are out that door, you just do it and feel great afterwards.

Exercise has given me so many benefits, physically but more so mentally. It truly makes me feel more inspired, strong, confident, happy and positive. One example of how exercise has helped me is the fact I’ve started my blog. This was something I’d talked about for a while but never actually committed to, until after a bike ride, where I thought what’s the worst that could happen? I went for it and so far I absolutely love it!

triathlete

Triathletes!

 

I really believe I’ve finally begun to enjoy exercise and will keep it up. I hope this post has shown you that anyone can exercise – you just have to take that first step, literally.  I’d love to hear what your fitness goals are for this year, how you stay motivated, and how exercise has helped you? If you have any questions you would like to ask me it would be a pleasure to answer them.

Stay BeYOUtiful

Eleri

Break the Wellness Debt Cycle

In the April 2016 issue of Cosmopolitan I read the article “Are You Caught in the Wellness Debt Cycle?”  The article explained that being healthy is becoming increasingly fashionable. This is resulting in women and men trying to keep up with wellbeing trends, in detriment to their finances and other areas of their life – hence the term the Wellness Debt Cycle.

It is clear within the piece that one of the reasons people are being caught in the cycle is to feel accepted and like they belong to a community.  These feelings are influenced by social media where a “like” equals approval. Although I think that social media is a great platform for networking and a good source for inspiration and motivation; it also plays a role in us making irrational and unhelpful comparisons to others.

Whether we want to or not, we live in a world where we are always going to be situations that make comparing each other easy. In my positive thinking post, I talk about how negative thoughts are natural and explain that they can be helpful providing you respond constructively to them.  For example, if you are being critical of yourself when looking at a fitness blogger, ask yourself, is it because your health is important to you.

In the article TV psychologist Emma Kenny says it important to ‘take positive inspiration from those around you, but ultimately your fitness journey is your own and it has to exist within your boundaries’.

My interpretation of this is about us setting ourselves achievable, affordable and maintainable wellbeing goals.  I myself can find this hard, especially with good promoters and me being a sucker for ‘superfoods’. To avoid blowing my monthly food budget in one week on chia seeds and quinoa, I find it helpful to take a step back, weigh up the situation and consider just as good alternatives that suit my lifestyle. The reason I want to eat ‘superfoods’ is for their health benefits but it is worth remembering that a ‘superfood’ is just a label, given by clever advertisers. The daily mail has a great article suggesting other foods that are similar to new ‘superfoods’. For example, brown rice or lentils have similar nutrients to quinoa and are just as healthy but lots cheaper.

quinoa

It was pleasing to see that cosmopolitan had suggested more purse friendly alternatives for wellness items such as meals, juices and active wear. However, I was more than a little surprised when a few pages later their fashion feature for sportswear advertised luxury brands such as Sweaty Betty.  I think cosmopolitan missed a trick here and could have done a great job of covering what affordably stylish and technical fitness clothing there is currently available on the high street.  Such as these floral print leggings from Florence and Fred’s active wear range; they are bang on trend and an absolute steal at £16!

leggings

Power flower fitness at a fraction of the cost

 

I think a feature such as this would have really reinforced the message cosmopolitan wanted to share to help people break free from the wellness debt cycle.

I’d love to hear how you keep well for your budget.

Stay BeYOUtiful,

Eleri