Time Out of Time: Lusty Beg Island

Take time out, they say. It’ll be grand, they say. Truth: there is nothing like a nice weekend away, much less one that involves pampering. I’m honoured to have been hosted at spa hotels all over the country, but the sensation of being on an island almost exactly in the middle of this island added even more of that special feeling of ‘being away’ than I’ve experienced so far.

Lusty Beg Island sits in Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh. The drive from Dublin to Enniskillen was a manageable 90 minutes-ish on the bus, and travelling from the depot to the island took about half an hour. When we crossed a bridge onto Boa Island, I was a tiny bit bummed and said to the driver, ‘Oh, so… this is like Achill? You can just drive on?’ He said, ‘You’ll see,’ and in moments, I did: after going up a boreen (okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t a dual carriageway), we came to a dock, and zipped onto a tidy little two-car ferry.

It was a journey of less than five minutes, if that, but once we disembarked, everything changed.

Lusty Beg Exterior (11)

Lusty Beg accommodation — one of the many options

From the Irish for ‘small lodge’, Lusty Beg was once home to monks, and within moments, I felt like I was stepping in their contemplative footsteps. Even with all the accommodation — 40 rooms, and an assortment of chalets, lodges, cabins and apartments — I felt like I had the place to myself. Even after having a lovely lunch in the bar, and seeing actual other people in the place, once I left to get my treatment, I had an uncanny sensation that I had the whole island to myself.

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THE SEAWEED BATH

Deep bath + VOYA seaweed = bliss!

I am masso fan of Lazy Days Seaweed Bath from VOYA, as I have described here; in fact, this was one of the very first products I ever blogged about. I haven’t had one in ages, so the chance to enjoy one, practically at the source, wasn’t something I was going to pass up. I’d already had a facial in the Island Spa that used VOYA products, and as such was pretttttty relaxed, but the soak in the seaweed-infused water finished me off, in the best possible sense.

There wasn’t a toxin left in me by the time the 30 minutes was up — and I didn’t actually make it for the full time. The tub, straight out of a sexy, renovated TV-decorating show bathroom, was long enough for me to stretch out in, and I added a bit of hot and cold water as necessary… but the drinking water from the pitcher that was set tub-side ended up going over my head to cool me down, as much as it went into me. I crawled out to take a break, and just as I was about to go back in for more, the knock on the door landed. As much as I wished it could have gone on forever, half an hour was in fact exactly enough.

I made my way to my self-catering log cabin (the kitchen was nicer than the one in my apartment), didn’t bother unpacking, and sat myself down on the couch, because:

THE VIEW

Utterly relaxing, rain…

And the next day, I spent a good few hours there again, because:

THE VIEW2

…and shine

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It’s not all seaweed baths and contemplation: there are numerous activities to avail of as well, of the casual adventure-type — although, having said that, the off-roading probably gets pretty hairy; from my own experience in the speedboat, don’t eat before embarking, because even if the lake’s not rough, which is was when I was taken for a spin, then the speed may make you want to vom.

THE BOAT

Yeah, okay, it looks as smooth as glass — it was not

Or you can try archery for the first time ever in your life and MAYBE HIT THE BULLSEYE.

BULLSEYE!

BOOM

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I adore a good illustrated map.

LUSTY BEG MAP

I literally didn’t even get to explore anything but the long skinny part #GottaGoBack

I can’t recommend the place more highly: it’s perfect for families, couples, solo travellers, you name it. Don’t bother thinking you can have your wedding there anytime in the new few years though, someone told me they’re booked out ’til 2018 — and I can’t imagine a better, low-key, fun, beautiful place to get hitched. See here for all the ins and outs and special offers, but honestly rain, shine or hail (I am pretty sure we got a little dose of that at some stage), this is one of the better breaks I’ve ever had — and I think it shows:

GLOWING!

Relaxed and glowy

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Elizabeth Arden Oxygen Blast Facial is Amazers

I know I say this every time I go to Arnott’s but: there is nothing like the buzz of a beauty hall. I adore the sounds of happy people mooching around looking at lipstick and the sight of all that product. Can’t help it, just love it.

That buzziness, though, is not perfectly ideal for a treatment — or it hasn’t been, until now. The Oxygen Blast Facial from Elizabeth Arden errs on the side of fast rather than pan-pipey zone-out, which is great, because it’s designed to get you in and out of the chair and on your glowy way in 20 minutes or less.

I got one the other day and it was fab. Having gone in barefaced, I nevertheless got a double cleanse, a tone, the blast of the mineral and seaweed extracts that serve to get deep into my cellular layers, and then the follow-up blast of oxygen. The latter two elements were applied with an airbrush, and my aesthetician Lauren made sure that every pore got a good dose of both.
THE AIRBRUSH
Apparently you can get this done over your existing make-up if you’re heading out on the town after work and want to look as though you’ve been lying around at your leisure all day. I kind of get it: after all, we’ve been told for years to use pressurised spa water to set our make-up. Lauren says it totally works, and I believe her.
THE AFTERCARE
Prevage Serum Quotidian and Anti-aging Triple Defense Shield Sunscreen SPF50 were applied after the treatment; I was only sorry I didn’t need to do my face, because my skin felt like new, and like it would be the best make up application ever. My pores felt nice and tight, and the overall glow was impressive indeed.

This is ideal for last-minute revitalising is you’re all made up, and perfect for the day before — even the day of! — a big occasion.

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Elizabeth Arden’s Oxygen Blast Treatment is priced at €20 for approximately 15 minutes, redeemable against any Elizabeth Arden purchase. This is exclusive to Arnotts, and an appointment is necessary. Ring 01 805 0400.

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Wind-ter Getting You Down? Moisturise at Night!

I don’t know about you, but the gale force winds are wrecking my head, espesh with being out on the horses in it. I haven’t minded the noise at night, though, and I’m doing my best work in the dreamtime to keep my skin from getting wrecked, never mind my head.

Lashings of cream at night is my only man these blowy days. I’m a big fan of sleeping through the hard stuff, and by deeply moisturising at least three times a week, at bedtime, I feel that I’m keeping my complexion in good nick.

Here are three of my favourites.

GREEN ANGEL
Yeah, I know it says ‘daily’ on it, but GREEN ANGEL Seaweed Daily Moisture Face Cream with Jasmine, Neroli & Vitamin E {€24.95} is well able for double duty at night. Anything with seaweed in it is going to be alright by me — add in those oils, and this is bliss in a jar.

NUXE
NUXE have a new addition in their Merveillance Expert Rich Correcting Cream {€40}, and it’s a good one. I’m happy to use this as directed in the morning, but have been finding it to be great at night, too. Actually? Rather better, as the consistency of the cream is rich and thick. While it does absorb nicely, I’m finding its thickness and richness to be better at the end of the day as opposed to the beginning of it.

ORIGINS
Oh, hello, darling. I love, love, love ORIGINS High Potency Night-A-Mins Renewal Cream {€45}, and wish they would make a version that was for the entire body. I hoard this, TBH, because it is like a miraculous new-face-in-a-jar. It never fails to make my skin glow the morning after the night before; the only thing I’ll say against it is that it smells so good, sometimes I keeping myself awake breathing it in. Just me…?

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I had long wondered about the day cream v night cream debate — as in, what’s the difference? — and posted about it here

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Do This At Home? bliss fabulous skin-reviving rubberizing mask

You know those really excellent masks you get sometimes, when you’re getting a professional facial? The ones that are actually exactly like masks, that peel off in one go, and feel like they are taking every impurity with them? Our pals at bliss have come up with an at-home version of this via their fabulous skin-reviving rubberizing mask.
01 THE BEGINNING
You get six mixes in the box, which includes one measuring cup to fill with the amount of water necessary to create each mask, and six spatulas to use in the mixing and application of it. I cleared the decks in the bath and after cleansing my face, I got to it.

02 JUST ADD WATER
I was surprised at the purple hue, which I would not have been had I been paying attention to the ingredients. Bilberry figures largely, as does seaweed and vitamin C. I was already feeling under pressure, even as I mixed, because the packet cautioned me to apply the mask as quickly as possible.

03 MIXED UP!
Yeee, there it is, ready to go — get to work!

The impossibility of two things became apparent fairly sharpish:
1} I couldn’t take photos of the application and apply, simultaneously.
2} The spatula was not nearly as speedy and effective as the need for haste implied.

So, I took matters — ha, ha — into my own hands.
04 ABANDONED THE STICK

When you are lying flat on your back with your eyes closed, certain things may pass you by, like, the texture and appearance of the mask itself. Unless all rubbery facial masks are not like this? It may merely be the result of non-profesh application + gravity. Drippy!
06 DRIPPY!
I tidied that up as much as I could, and went into the sitting room to recline.

The sensation of the mask on the face was cool and invigorating> a word I use when product is tingly, but not in an irritating sense. Although I don’t mind an irritating tingle every now and again.

It did eventually dry, without drying out.
07 DRIED UP

TIME TO PEEL.

I have always wanted to ask to see the mask that the aesthetician peeled off, sure I was going to see every single thing that had had the potential to criminally block my pores, but I’d be so zoned out at that stage, I’d always forget to ask. I was eager to see what my DIY efforts would yield!

Hmmm.
08 ALMOST GONE
Those lumps are not oogy bits of sebum*, they are proof of my inability to mix anything well by hand, and why I don’t bake. Needless to say, this didn’t come off all in one go. I left the flakes of mask to collect in the sink…
09 THE AFTERMATH
… and hopped in the shower to wash off the rest.

Which I possibly should not have done, as there are two warnings regarding the disposal of the mask, right there on the packet, which say not to send it down the drain. This stuff is not the most dissoluble in water: I got some of it on the fleece I was wearing during the treatment, and the bilberry mix didn’t come off in the wash.

Luckily, I had wiped up the main bits of it, post-treatment, with some kitchen roll, and put it in the trash.

So, was the mess worth it?
10 POST BLISS I gotta say yes. Under the circs, as ever with an iPhone in the bathroom, the image is not A1, but oh! my skin felt so soft, and clean, and my pores felt tight, but not too tight, and I just felt all glowy and fresh.

I didn’t really mind making a mess, and reckon I’ll get better at this with practice. At €49 for six masks, that’s about €9.80/mask — that’s good value for the very spa-like result.

As ever, when you use a high quality product, the aftereffects last that much longer. I didn’t put on makeup for days afterwards, and when I did, it went on like dream — meaning: it didn’t feel like my foundation looked like a mask.

So: do it at home? DO ITTTT.

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See blissworld.co.uk for more information.

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* I wish they were oogy bits of sebum.

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Green Angel and Barnardos: Win/Win

Typing too quickly, that title came out ‘Win/Wine’ — which is not exactly wrong.

I’ve been off the Green Angel frequency in the last while, and am looking forward to giving some of their new products a go. In the meanwhile, here’s some infoGREEN ANGEL event about their fundraising fashion show in conjunction with Barnardos, at the Ballsbridge Hotel on 22 March.

{Click on the image to enlarge.}

The company use a lot of seaweed, which I love love love. I’ve gotten me paws on some Seaweed Cleansing Lotion with Cucumber and Sage Extracts, which I am gasping to pry out of its package and take it for a spin {TWSS!} There’s also some Seaweed & Aloe Eye Gel that I’ll be happy to test, as well. Sure, I’ll try anything! {She also said that.}

Do support the initiative above, and make a day of it: go and get a blow dry, and/or your makeup done, and then take your bad self out and show it all off.

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The Green Angel website is under construction; email them at shop@greenangel.com for stockist information.

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Haiku Review: VOYA Organic Marine Eye Treatment

Voya’s seaweed treat:
The eyes have it, and also?
Hydrotherm mattress!

I have been fairly blasé about eye creams, eye treatments, and the entire eye area in general. This view {ha, ha} has been altered somewhat since the great Botox/Restalyne adventure. Areas that have been plumped up are now highlighting, in an averse fashion, areas that are not so plump. Which is the first step down the slippery slope to pillow face.

In a bid to delay injections of stuff into the eye area, which just makes me go ‘Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!’, it seems like a good idea to A} start using eye cream, and B} check out a treatment that targets the delicate area, and see what kind of improvements can be made organically.

Organic being the key word when it comes to VOYA. You can read all about their use of seaweed here, and as I’ve said in the past, I adore a good marine-based therapeutic experience. There is nothing like water for healing what ails you, from the physical to the emotional. I was delighted to avail of the leisure centre in the Rochestown Lodge Hotel before my Organic Marine Eye Treatment. Got some laps in, in the 15 metre pool, sat in the steam room, sat in the sauna, sat in the Jacuzzzzzz — ah, God, hot, bubbly water. Best. Thing. Ever.

Already completely relaxed, I entered the hotel spa, Thérèse R Wellbeing and Beauty. I chilled for a bit in the room on the left, and then in the room on the right:

Both proved to be excellent venues for putting up one’s feet and almost falling asleep.

The 45 minute treatment, like all good ones, involves more than the eyeball area. Whilst they were, of course, the focus {ahhhh}, I also got some decolleté action, and a scalp massage. A scalp massage!

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.

>First: general cleansing, of the face and the chest area, followed a misting-by-toner, which was great. Christine, the beauty therapist, sprayed it like, four feet over my head, and the anticipation of it wafting down on to my skin was half the pleasure.

>Second: lymphatic massage. Still haven’t really satisified myself as to what the lymphs are, besides glands. I am sure I looked this up before, and probs even posted about it. It has not sunk in. Whatever it is, it felt great when Christine administered it, all around my eye socket and then down to my neck and shoulders.

>Third: Seaweed eye patches. Seaweed eye patches! Now these — I definitely want these for home. The patches are loaded with vitamins, and they were so cooling and soothing… just what I’d like to lay on my lids after a hard day’s blogging. They did their job during my scalp massage, which is just the next best thing ever, after hot bubbly water.

>>>Meanwhile, let us not forget the hydrotherm mattress, which gently supported me, warmly and whooshily, throughout the whole process.

>Finally, the application of VOYA’s Bright Eyes cream. Why does it feel so much more effective when someone else applies it? My eyes looked amazing after, and I never thought I’d ever recommend something like this, but this would be the perfect treatment to get on the day of a big event. I would never recommend doing anything after a treatment, apart from going home and napping, but this was relaxing without being completely … emptying, if you know what I mean? This would be an excellent bridal thing, on the Big Day.

I hope I get into the habit of this eye cream thing. I have, somewhat, since I am testing a bunch for the Herald, and I’m lining up a few that seem to make a difference. We’ll see. {Sorry.}

The VOYA Organic Marine Eye Treatment, €52, is available in spas nationwide, ring VOYA on 071 9168956 for more information.

Okay, Two Words: Hydrotherm Mattress

HYDROTHERM MATTRESS.

So, up I got, onto one of the massage beds in Therese R Wellness and Beauty, in the Rochestown Lodge Hotel, preparatory to receiving Voya‘s latest treatment, and holy wow: the plinth was warm and it was moving.

‘What is this?’ I gasped, and my consultant replied, ‘It’s a hydrotherm mattress.’

A hydrotherm mattress. A mattress that is filled with water that is warm. So you lay there, and whilst your face and decolleté are getting their treat, your whole entire back is warm and floaty.

I will write more after the weekend about the treatment itself, which uses the Irish brand’s Bright Eyes cream, and involves lymphatic massage and seaweed eye patches, but wow, seriously: the HYDROTHERM MATTRESS*.

*Clearly, I have a thing for therapeutic furniture: I waxed lyrical about Zeba Hairdressing’s massage chairs only t’other day. Also, click the link for info regarding their fundraising event this Sunday!