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Innovation, Style and Pampering Perfection at Sanctorium Beauty, Princes Street Suites, Edinburgh.

The Sanctuary at the Suites – Princes Street Suites, 16 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG t. 0131 557 1766.  t. 0131 558 1600

sanctuary 2
The Sanctorium is a hidden gem of a Spa, downstairs at the Princes Street Suites, the deluxe, designer serviced apartments in Edinburgh.

Princes Street Suites,  Edinburgh

Princes Street Suites,

Located at the East End of Princes Street, (conveniently just a few minutes walk from Waverley Railway station and also the new Tram route), this is certainly a perfect place to stay if planning a cultural or business trip, romantic getaway or weekend with the girls. The range of one to three bedroom apartments offer a home from home environment.

Designer chic suites

Designer chic suites

The Roof Terrace is a real asset – a private Penthouse Garden with tables and chairs where guests may sit with a bottle of wine and snacks at from lunchtime to cocktail hour and admire the city views.

Roof Terrace - a private garden for guests

Roof Terrace – a private garden for guests

Due to the quality, contemporary furnishings, décor and guest facilities, it won Serviced Apartments, Style Award, at the Scottish Hotel Awards 2014.  But you don’t have to spend the night or two here to enjoy a range of beautifying treatments at the Sanctuary Spa – it’s open to all.

As I live in Edinburgh, I spent an afternoon here recently to experience a couple of signature rejuvenating treats for the body and face.
The Spa is small and intimate offering a bespoke personal service. The moment you step through the door, the hustle and bustle of the city centre disappears as you enter a tranquil haven with an Art Deco touch of glamour. Sitting in the smart reception to fill in the questionnaire, I sipped a glass of champagne and began to relax immediately.

Sanctuary Spa - a tranquil haven

Sanctuary Spa – a tranquil haven

Then I was taken to one of the two warm, comfortable Spa Salons for my treatments. The heated bed was luxurious and I settled down ….

The Spa menu covers all the usual suspects for body, face, eye and hand and feet beauty care, from Swedish and hot stone massage to Shellac nails, eyebrow grooming to Facials.

What is special here is the fine selection of unique cosmetic brand products from Tibby Oliver and Eve Taylor to offer a different experience from other Spas.  The Tibby Olivier Empire founded by Julieann Parry, has grown from a small British company to open in Canada, America, Japan, Spain, Korea, Russia and Australia. The pure organic cosmetics are handmade in the UK, free from synthetic fragrances, artificial colours and not tested on Animals.

“I would not ask anyone to use a cosmetic product that I would not put on my own skin. I only use the best cosmetic ingredients that I can trace back to its origins, Eco friendly and preferably Fairtrade.” Julieann Parry

The Tibby Oliver range of treatments includes Faith Lift, the Non- Surgical Face Lifting Skincare System, and the Shrinking Violet Body Wrap. So, as I need to be beach bikini slim for the summer, I though I should try this “revolutionary” inch loss programme.

Wearing no more than a pair of disposable pants, my therapist Ashleigh measured my thighs, hips, waist and bust for the Before and After comparison. Then she rubbed a blend of cellulite-active oils over my entire body, before wrapping me in heat inducing “cellophane” style sheeting.

I then just had to lie on the bed to relax under a cosy duvet, while the oils penetrated the skin with fat-busting energy. The soft ethnic mix of music soundtrack was ideal. (Some Spas get it so wrong with orchestral muzak). After 20 minutes or so, still wrapped snugly, Ashleigh began to prepare for my second treatment – an Eve Taylor Ultimate Facial.

Eve Taylor (London) Ltd was founded in London in 1963, and today the world renowned company exports over 60% of its products worldwide. Eve Taylor started her career in the beauty industry as a beauty therapist and quickly became fascinated by Aromatherapy. After extensive research and study, she decided to develop her own range of pre-blended aromatherapy oils along with specific treatment methods and techniques.

My facial was certainly very distinctive in its “journey” from deep cleansing exfoliation to a gentle facial massage – the aromatherapy oils were lavender, ylang ylang and geranium. Two masks were applied to penetrate the skin layers for sublime softness and smooth appearance.

And finally, time to remove the Wrap and to find out if the Shrinking Violet magic had worked. Yes, in total I had lost 8 inches – simply by being rubbed with these active oils, and the heat within the skin tight wrap does the work over two hours.

As they say, “All I Need to get into My Little Black Dress Is Shrinking Violet Body Wrap”.

You are advised not to drink alcohol or caffeine over the next day as the oils continue to work under the skin. It’s a very popular treatment, news of which is spreading widely.

Pampering Parties in one of the Suites

Pampering Parties in one of the Suites

Pampering Parties for a small group of Ladies is also offered by the Sanctuary – a package of selected treatments – facials, massage, manicures, and glamorous makeovers can be experienced in one of the apartment Suites.

This brilliant concept is absolutely geared up for visitors to Edinburgh – an ideal weekend destination for Hen parties, Birthday celebrations, or Fashionable Girls who shop till they drop. And of course Pampering parties are a fun Day Out for ladies who live nearby.

Your tailor-made package can also include champagne, chocolates, canapés and light lunch snacks for a super indulgent “Me Time” with friends and family.  The Pampering Parties were awarded with an Innovation Award at the Scottish Hotel Awards 2014.

As I have not personally experienced this day of beauty and bubbly, I shall leave it to these guests who have recently visited the Sanctuary at the Suites – and by all accounts, had a seriously wonderful time. !

Pamper Party perfection

I was arranging a hen party to Edinburgh for 10 girls and decided that a spa day would be a perfect way to end our trip. At Princes Street Suites, we started with drinks on the roof terrace which has amazing views of Edinburgh. We then moved into the suite and given robes and slippers. I had a back, neck and shoulder massage followed by an ultimate facial. All the girls agreed we had never felt so relaxed. The champagne did not stop flowing. All of the beauty therapists were lovely and friendly. They really did a fantastic job. The experience really was one of the highlights of our trip. I am already thinking about taking my mum to Edinburgh and we will without a doubt be visiting the Sanctuary at the Suites again.”


“I booked a full body massage and shellac pedicure for myself and my mum (a birthday pressie for her) the massage was amazing and my toes look fab. Afterwards we sat out on the Roof Terrace and it was great. We are looking to go back and I would definitely recommend this place”
“What a lovely relaxing morning a friend and I had at the Sanctuary! The staff were all lovely, we got fizz and chocolates on arrival and the massage itself was amazing. I have had a few massages over the years and this one has to be one of the best I have ever had. I look forward to going back!”


“A Change in Fashion” by Susan Gale: a stunning debut novel set in Yorkshire and Paris

A Change in Fashion - the front cover captures it all

A Change in Fashion –
the front cover captures it all

“A Change of Fashion” is Susan Gale’s first novel and it’s a stunning debut.  This is a heartfelt dramatic story spanning a decade, shifting from winter in England to the sun-drenched Cote d’Azur with well defined characters and evocative settings.

Susan Gale was born in Yorkshire and spent her teenage years in a small market-town at the foot of the Moors. She studied French at University and during the 1960s, experienced a year living and working in France, teaching English.

Those youthful memories of a new, carefree life in Paris must have lingered in the mind.  “A Change of Fashion” is not exactly autobiographical, but her travel adventures matched with an interest in design from Biba to Chanel, her passion for fashion is now all perfect material for this fictional tale.

Susan Gale in LBD - a lover of fashion

Susan Gale in LBD
– a lover of fashion

As she explains, “I store up pictures in my head which I draw on whenever I need to describe a place or create an atmosphere.”

They say do not judge a book by its cover. But the simple yet effective black and white image of the iconic Eiffel Tower with the silhouette of a young girl in mini skirt, heels and bobbed hair, represents the novel’s place and period perfectly.

Within a few pages, I was drawn into Holly Barton’s life and times. It’s Paris, 1967.  The atmosphere is captured in precise detail, clothes, food, people,  the apartment, as are the feelings of this rather naïve young girl – sheer excitement as well as nervous trepidation at the challenges ahead of her,  both professional and personal.

The mousse of asparagus soufflé was delicious, the sole in tarragon and lemon sauce exquisite and the Chateaubriand rich and succulent. White wines from the Loire gave way to deep red Bordeaux…. Throughout the meal she was constantly aware of the eyes opposite her, disconcerting, dancing with amusement at her obvious unease. ..”

The narrative is brilliantly cinematic, in fact expressed through all the senses, as the reader is taken on an emotional, time travel trip. Neatly placed flashbacks take us to rural Yorkshire in the early sixties to Holly’s family home.

December is one of the darkest periods of her life. During the short hours of daylight the skies periodically blacken to release yet another blinding snowstorm upon the moors. Vast sweeps of white level the landscape …deep drifts block the lane from Black Ridge Farm into the town”.

Then as soon as we are comfortably settled around the Yorkshire moors, we fast forward six years to a front row seat at a Saint-Laurent fashion show:   

Holly could see Diana Vreeland chief editor of Vogue, scribbling furiously in her notebook.  Jewel-coloured evening gowns in richly embroidered silks and satins, velvets and brocades followed, each one would make the fortunate wearer feel like royalty.”

Susan Gale must have done extraordinary amount of research to be able to convey the competitive work of the designers, models, fashion shows.  I love the authentic “real life” ambience, mentioning Chanel, Dior, Gucci, St. Laurent, et al. The graceful gowns, the cut of a coat, shimmering silk, all come clearly into vision through the words only without a single photograph required.

As well as the backdrop of Parisian’s elite society, another essential part of the plot covers feminism, women’s emancipation for equality and the fight for change in moral attitudes.

For those who love “The Devil Wears Prada”, are fascinated by fashion, past and present, and enjoy a page-turning dramatic love story, this novel is a must read.

Reminiscent of the classic tale of “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier, this has a similar plot where a young, innocent girl has her life turned upside down following a brief encounter, within a rich plot of dark memories and a secret family mystery.

Gale wisely steers clear of “Fifty Shades of Grey” erotic encounters – instead, sexual feelings and quiet moments of intimacy are illustrated with gentle simplicity – to entice your own imagination.    

The time seemed too precious to lie by the pool or on the beach at Cannes. Often they set off to explore the surrounding countryside, driving up tortuous Alpine roads past orchards of peach trees, vineyards and olive groves. .. they ate outdoors in little restaurants where the midday sun shining through the vine leaves overhead dappled their clasped hands on the table-cloth. …..”

Following Holly’s painful, passionate journey from wild windswept Bronte country to the glamorous hot spots of Paris and Monte Carlo, the contrasting locations and enchanting romantic tale would surely make a magical film. 

And if you want another opinion, I agree so much with this reader’s verdict.

“ I read this book in only three days – finding it difficult to put it down once I had started.  It is written so well you just fall into the world (of fashion), the backgrounds of Yorkshire and Paris, and the lifestyle of the decade.  And of course the love story.  I can definitely recommend it.”

Publisher – Susan Gale Publishing in conjunction with WRITERSWORLD 

ISBN 978-0-9576584-0-0.

Available from all good bookshops and on Amazon. 

Susan Gale

Susan Gale

Posh Punches and Cool Cocktails for the Festive Season …. and Party-time year round.

Egg Nog  - classic Festive tipple

Egg Nog – classic Festive tipple

There’s more to the Festive season than Egg Nog.  The tradition began in England and Europe around the 17th century as a winter warmer Egg and Grog (rum) punch, served in a noggin, a wooden mug.  This creamy, silky boozy concoction of eggs, milk, sugar, brandy, rum, whisky, flavoured with vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon is today more of a classic Christmas tipple in the USA.

This year liven up your parties with a few fashionable new cocktails and flavoursome Punches for a fabulous Festive Spirit.  

Toussaint Espresso Martini

Toussaint Espresso Martini

Toussaint Coffee Liqueur was named after the famous Haitian soldier and statesman, General Toussaint.  The smooth Liqueur is created from natural tropical ingredients – fine Arabica coffee with a hint of Cocoa, Vanilla, Liquorice and Caribbean rum. 

Sip this rich concoction on its own over ice,  to accompany a creamy chocolate dessert perhaps, or with a Cognac as the perfect digestif at the end of a meal.  Alternatively get the Cocktail shaker out:  

 The Toussaint Espresso Martini

35ml Toussaint Coffee Liqueur

35ml rum

A shot of fresh espresso

Pour all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice. Shake hard and fine strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with three coffee beans.

A refreshing Gin and Tonic - perfect anytime

A refreshing Gin and Tonic – perfect anytime

When Gin met Tonic – the match made in heaven.

Until a few years ago, if you requested a “Gin and tonic please” at a bar, the bartender was not so likely to have asked if you had a preference.  (You were usually given the one advertised by Gordon Ramsay).  Today, gin lovers will certainly ask for their favourite brand, as well as selected style of tonic – the G&T connoisseur can enjoy as much choice as a vodka or whisky drinker.

G & J Greenall has been making gin for 252 years, (the second largest distillers in the UK), so they should know a bit about blending botanical flavours.  They recently re-launched their London Dry Gin, creating a bittersweet botanical mix of juniper, coriander, lemon peel, ground almonds and cassia bark.

Greenall’s Gin was recently selected as one of the best 10 gins around today in a survey by The Independent.

For the contemporary tippler, there’s more to gin than just ice and a slice.  Try these two cool and sophisticated cocktails –

Greenalls' White Lady

Greenall’s White Lady

Greenall’s White Lady

2 parts gin

1 part orange liqueur (similar to Cointreau)

1 part lemon juice.

1 fresh egg white

Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.

Greenall's Ginger Cocktail

Greenall’s Ginger Cocktail

Greenall’s Ginger Cocktail

2 shots Greenall’s Original London Dry Gin

½ shot of fresh lime juice

1 slice of fresh ginger

240ml Ginger Beer

Shake the gin, ginger slice & lime juice with ice and strain into a chilled high ball glass, fill with more ice cubes and finally top up with ginger beer and garnish with mint leaf to serve.

Sloe Bloom Gin

Sloe Bloom Gin

Take it Sloe-ly ….

The first Sloe Bloom Gin from the producers of the premium Bloom London Dry Gin, has been launched by Quintessential Brands.

Bloom Gin is distilled in a traditional Copper Still by G&J Distillers in Warrington, Cheshire, which has been distilling fine spirits since 1761. Master distiller Joanne Moore selected hand-picked sloe berries macerated in Bloom Gin.

Sloe Bloom has a dark ruby red colour with the earthy aroma of kirsch and almonds, complementing the sweet honeysuckle-scented gin.  This is a delicious aperitif straight up,  or jazz it up in these “shaken not stirred” cocktails.

Sloe Bloom Fizz

Sloe Bloom Fizz

Sloe Bloom Fizz


Top with Prosecco and serve in a chilled champagne glass.

Sloe Bloom Punch

Sloe Bloom Punch

Sloe Bloom Punch


Dash of lemon juice

Dash of apricot brandy, peach bitters and top with cranberry juice

Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice, fine strain into a cocktail glass.

SLOE BLOOM is a limited edition and exclusively available from Harvey Nichols’ stores and online. 

“Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.” 
F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Just like puppies and kittens, Cocktails are not just for Christmas.  Cheers!

For more information on these speciality spirits:

Quintessential Brand Spirits

Quintessential Brand Spirits

Oriflame luxury cosmetics for a glamorous look this winter

With icy winds, rain, sleet and snow through the long British winter months, it’s vital to care for your complexion – just as you would protect your skin in the summer sun.

Oriflame’s Ecollagen Skin Perfector is a magical serum to help restore your skin while you sleep.  I have been trying this for over a week, applying a tiny amount under my usual night cream.

The texture is light and luxurious with a gorgeous cooling effect as I smooth it evenly over the face.  It’s amazing that just a tiny pea sized drop is sufficient, using the easy to use “pipette” inside the attractive green bottle.

Ecollagen Overnight Skin Perfector

Ecollagen Overnight Skin Perfector

Nourishing and moisturising the deep skin layers overnight, it helps to stimulate collagen and therefore fine lines and wrinkles are reduced. I honestly saw a visible difference with a tighter, toned appearance.

Oriflame Skin Perfector is indeed a unique and truly luxury anti-wrinkle serum, created to rejuvenate your skin for the “perfect” beauty sleep.

So now, with youthful skin, you just need to enhance your complexion for all those festive season parties.

Oriflame Giordani Gold Foundation and Mascara

Oriflame Giordani Gold Foundation and Mascara

I have also recently sampled Oriflame’s Giordani Gold, a most ingenious foundation in a mirrored Compact.   I liked the white and gold oval shape, and inside is a neat half moon sponge applicator for the hard yet creamy and crumbly foundation-powder.

The shade I tested was Natural Beige, which looked rather too dark for my very fair skin, but using a very little on the sponge, I spread this thinly over my face.  I did not want to look as if I had applied too much fake tan!.   I was surprised that it blended in pretty well, although a fairer shade would be more suitable for me.

However my task was to test the Giordani Gold foundation as a product. I really liked the texture and it clearly achieved what it says “on the tin.! ”  …. “designed to make skin look instantly flawless … its velvety texture glides onto skin and leaves a silky powdery finish”

Yes, I agree.  A most unusual combination of foundation and face powder which gave me a refreshed, smooth and youthful complexion.

To complement the foundation compact, also try the new Giordani Gold Panorama Mascara, rather a lengthy name, but it offers glamour in an instant.

I had expected luscious gold packaging, but it’s just black.   However, the shape of the mascara brush is amazing – like a tiny Christmas tree. !   Applying the mascara, the lower thick “branches” reach the lashes at the outside of your eye, while the slimmer top end of the brush lightly touches the inner lashes.

It’s a clever design following the natural curve of your eyelid, so that one easy stroke gives all your lashes a separate, evenly distributed, lengthened effect and neat curl.   Perfect!

For more information on Oriflame skincare and cosmetics and  to purchase online through the nationwide network of Consultants:

Keep Fit with Miranda Hart

Fans of the hilarious antics of TV comedienne Miranda Hart,  are in for a treat as her new DVD is released in time for your post- Festive season diets and a keep fit regime for New Year.

Maracattack with Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart’s Maracattack is an authentic fitness routine which skilfully combines exercise and Miranda’s zany and unique style of comedy.  First, a medical health warning  – this is a serious exercise programme in which you take part in your own home.

Miranda Hart is the first to admit that she is rather too tall, slightly socially awkward, ungainly, often clumsy and loves to eat.  She also cannot abide any form of exercise and the starting point in the DVD is a series of amusing sketches illustrating how physical fitness is not her favourite leisure activity.

We observe her confronting a personal trainer at 6.30am, visiting a gym (with snacks to keep her going), jogging in a park and throwing herself into an Army Boot camp.

Having given up on all this as well as Yoga and Zumba classes she has decided to devise her own unconventional fitness regime involving shaking a pair of Maracas to classic pop tunes with intensive floor exercises.

As Miranda explains “Maracattack is based on one key concept. Fun. Fitness should be fun.  Funness. It’s about playing, not working out.  There is no need to dread the gym anymore.”

“Get off your sofa!”  Miranda screams at the viewer to get the session started.  Actually, I simply sat on my sofa watching the fun and games (but may try it properly later…).

The setting is Miranda’s flat, all pretty pink and turquoise decor,  with a fruit bowl on the coffee table.  Her preferred fruit? A large mountain of Chocolate Oranges!.

Miranda and Kirstie make their own Maracas

Miranda and Kirstie make their own Maracas

Before we can start getting fit, we need a pair of Maracas.  Enter Kirstie Alsopp (described as a cross between the Queen and a Blue Peter presenter), who attempts to help Miranda create home made “papier mache and balloon” Maracas – with hilarious slapstick results.

Another guest is Patricia Hodge who tries in vain to teach her the principles of healthy nutrition.  Miranda has some crazy ideas about food which does not count – eating on a plane (too high up), birthday cake (calorie free as it’s someone else’s cake), and snacking while cooking (but it’s a pre-meal!).

The Exercise programme then begins in earnest with the professional assistance of fitness expert Amelia Watts (size zero, toned and healthy).  Towering over her is Miranda, dressed in a pink T shirt with the slogan Chic, Chic, Chic across her ample bosom.

Keeping fit in the company of Miranda will certainly make you laugh – which is exactly her point.  It’s all about “funness”.  Cue Abba music and start shaking those Maracas for an energetic cardio session to work those legs and bums!.

It’s SO Miranda

 “Instead of looking at it as an exercise DVD,  I took more notice of the music – I was still exercising but having a laugh at the same time. As for making me fitter I actually lost 2lbs after making no changes except doing the whole DVD twice.”  Beach Babe, Amazon review.

Miranda Hart Maracattack.  BBC Worldwide Ltd.  DVD  rrp £ 19.99. 

Miranda puts Holly and Phil through their paces

Miranda puts Holly and Phil through their paces

Cool, Contemporary Cocktails at Juniper – with a prime city view

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”.

Cocktails with city view

Cocktails with city view

Eating and drinking out in Edinburgh has just got oh so more sophisticated with the opening of the fabulous Twenty Princes Street Grill & Smokehouse (exquisite cuisine), and next door the cool and classy Cocktail Bar, Juniper.

With window views over Princes Street Gardens up to the Castle, the décor is all about glamour.  Relax on a funky purple sofa or comfy wing armchair and indulge your taste buds with some seriously wicked alcoholic concoctions.

Glamorous decor

Glamorous decor

Given its name, Juniper, this is a Gin Joint but there’s more than a classic G and T on the drinks list.

As the Festive season stars fizzing, the inventive Bar tenders here have been cooking up some tempting new colourful and culinary tipples.  Being a lady with a daring streak, I selected the Russian Roulette, a deliciously refreshing blend of two Stolichnaya Vodkas, raspberry and vanilla, the spirit softened with St. Germain elderflower liqueur and lemon.  It hit the spot in an instant and I loved the vodka soaked raspberry on top.  

My drinking buddy was also daring and asked the waiter to surprise him with something different.  He was presented with a Wibble!.  Plymouth Gin with Sloe Gin sharpened with lemon and pink grapefruit juice. Sipped slowly, this was voted first class.

The bar tenders shake their stuff

The bar tenders shake their stuff

The Drinks List is divided into Edinburgh themes: The Old Town (Classics with a twist), such as the ingenious Full Scottish Breakfast – single malt whisky, with orange marmalade, flavoured with smoky bacon foam and dark toast.  Perhaps not to be sampled first thing in the morning!

Under New Town (modern classics), are the Russian Roulette and Wibble, as well as Wobble, a long drink of gin, vermouth, prosecco, and the Zombie, a hearty Caribbean Rum punch with tropical fruits.  The section, West End, offers classy cocktails such as a modern take on the Sidecar, with Cognac, Cointreau, shaken not stirred with sweet plums and vanilla. 

To learn more about Cocktails you can book a Masterclass tasting session to watch a bartender create a few special tipples.

book a cocktail masterclass

book a cocktail masterclass

If you prefer Bubbles, there’s a full page of Champagnes from Moet & Chandon by the glass to a Vintage bottle of Dom Perignon. (treat yourself!). And of course, a full range of spirits, beers and wines.

Juniper also serves a selection of Street Food including Oysters, Chicken Wings, Lobster Sub –all rather posh to match the gorgeous surroundings.  From January, Fondue Fridays will start the weekend off in style.

Check out the Juniper website for all the Festive events over the Christmas and New Year party season.

Juniper has been a hidden gem of a gin joint for a couple of months but now this is the place to be seen for the fashionable crowd around town.  (But Sshh  don’t tell everyone!).

I can’t wait to return to try an Inkie Blinkie (tequila, lime, squid ink!), and perhaps a Falldown, (gin, lemon, Moet).



20 Princes Street,

0131 556 4901

Sophisticated elegance for leisurely drinks

Sophisticated elegance
for leisurely drinks

Natural Gorgeous therapies inspired by the Sea

This is the third instalment of my exploration around the Gorgeous Therapies centre of beauty and wellbeing.  I have experienced the Hair Salon, the charming Hanna Cherrie’s Tea room and recently returned to have two face and body treatments.

Gorgeous Therapies  Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Gorgeous Therapies
Stockbridge, Edinburgh

A small team of specialist practitioners offer relaxing Homeopathic, health and beauty therapies, with the emphasis on organic skincare products.  Feel gorgeous from top to toe  with an Indian head massage, relieving stress and improves circulation, and Reflexology, the ancient art of soothing the feet to affect the body’s balance.

As I like to keep fit and youthful, with the aim to look 10 years younger, I selected a rather luxurious Thalgo Marine anti-ageing facial.  Thalgo is a world leader in Spa treatments based on scientific marine research and Thalassotherapy using natural sea water to assist with nourishing and hydrating the skin.

My therapist is Lynda Kennedy-Hawkes who specialises in Oceanus Therapies including Thalgo facials,  Reiki, Aromatherapy and Lava Shell massages.  Wrapped cosily under towels and a blanket, with a pillow under my knees, my face is thoroughly cleansed and exfoliated.  Various creams and lotions – all based on natural algae – are applied, including a nourishing serum rich in minerals, protein and vitamins while hot flannels are gorgeously refreshing.

A mask, which feels like a thick paste, is smoothed over the face, and left on for about 20 minutes before being peeled off slowly like a thin rubbery layer of skin.  The result ?  A glowing, radiant complexion with a soft, delicate texture to the skin.

I also experience a detoxifying, holistic body massage using warmed Lava Shells. These natural tiger clam shells, from the Philippines, are activated with a saline product to create a natural heat.

Starting with the legs, arms, and then the back and shoulders,  Lynda applied a sweet scented oil and then massaged each part of the body, deep into the muscles with these smooth polished shells.  Heat is often used to benefit aches and pains and Lava Shells act to remove toxins, enhance blood flow, relax sore, stiff muscles and can be used to soothe arthritic joints.

These natural sea shells are an extremely effective, eco-friendly massage tool, described as creating “the warmth of the tropics in the palm of your hands.”

Experience a taste of the Tropics and other relaxing face and body treatments at

Treat your body with a therapeutic massage.

Treat your body with a therapeutic massage.



Gorgeous Therapies, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

The Stockbridge district of Edinburgh, just a short stroll down the hill from the New Town, is an upmarket Bohemian urban village, around the Water of Leith.

It’s the perfect place to live and also to visit and stroll around with an attractive range of restaurants, bars, cafe, quirky gift shops, art galleries, Sunday food and crafts market, quality charity clothes and book shops, as well as fashion boutiques,  hair and beauty salons.  Stockbridge is a mini city within a relaxing riverside environment away from the city centre.

New on the scene is Gorgeous Therapies, the creative brainchild of Rachel Kidd, who is a hair stylist, an organic cosmetic entrepreneur and homeopathic practitioner.  Working with a team of other hairdressers, health and beauty therapists, the spacious multi-functional salon offers head to toe pampering.

“Feeling gorgeous is as much a state of mind as it is a healthy body – elegant and eco-friendly, that is the Gorgeous Therapies’ philosophy.”

The Salon offers a menu of natural therapies (including massages, reflexology, facials, reiki, herbal, holistic and homepathic treatments, podiatry and nutritional advice), a Hair salon, a shop selling Rachel’s organic skincare products, and Hanna Cherrie’s Tea Room.  This is definitely the place to stay all day for a few indulgent treats.

My first experience was for a new look hair style and colour.  Rachel discussed what I would like and suggested a rich copper shade with blond highlights, perfect for the summer sun. Then she neatly trimmed my hair into a funky pixie crop. I love it!

Over the past week, I have been trying out a few of Rachel’s hand made organic Gorgeous lotions and potions: a silky Eye cream with soothing avocado, aloe vera and cucumber; a creamy facial cleanser, enriched with almond oil, cocoa butter and scented with lemongrass and mandarin; refresh the face with a cooling Toner, a blend of rose, lavender, ylang ylang floral waters;  the light Facial moisturiser is indeed gorgeous to use –  the rich yellow buttery mousse is made of organic evening primrose oil, avocado and rosehip to rejuvenate the skin.

These Gorgeous lotions are pure and made from natural organic ingredients – smoothing these magic potions over my face just makes me feel cleansed, moisturised and definitely 10 years younger.

I shall return to Gorgeous Therapies next week to experience a couple of body and face treatments and I shall let you know all about it.

Gorgeous Therapies, 29 Hamilton Place, Edinburgh EH3 5BA.

Gorgeous Potions - organic skincare products

Gorgeous Potions – organic skincare products






Oriflame Instant Nail Protector

If like me. you have soft, weak nails which occasionally crack and split, then a new nail care product from Oriflame Cosmetics will help you grow stronger nails with one simple stroke of the brush.

That is not marketing speak, but my personal opinion too, having tried and tested a sample bottle.

Made in France,  Oriflame Instant Nail Protector is more like a soft pink nail polish than the usual clear protective undercoat, and it really does create a supporting shield for brittle nails.  I have experimented with this polish over the past week, giving myself a couple of manicures and my nails are stronger and smoother, (covering ridges on my thumb too), creating harder tips which have not split at all.

Over recent years I have tried other, more expensive, brands, such as Sally Hansen, but they do not work.

I can guarantee that Oriflame Instant nail care polish does strengthen your nails immediately from the first application.   I like the light silky texture and it works as both a nail strengthener as well as a glossy polish to use on its own, or add a top coat of your favourite shade of colour.

Oriflame’s Nail Protector, RRP £4.95, is now available in the UK.  A special launch price of £3.45 is on offer until 2 August.
Purchase on line at  or through a network of consultants,

Oriflame Instant Nail Care protector

Oriflame Instant Nail Care protector