The cost of relaxation

Blogging is definitely a method of relaxation for me. Sitting with a cuppa by the window and editing my photos and writing away seems to send me into a little world of my own. And the best thing is, blogging doesn't cost you anything (well, perhaps the internet connection but that doesn't really count) But one thing that does cost us something is the subject matter we are writing about. Lunches, new dresses, lipsticks and even baking ingredients if you're a cupcake fiend. As a lifestyle blog if I didn't do/have these things, then what would I have to write about?

In the month of November I have been on the hunt for relaxation, as I mentioned in my last post. Taking myself away from the busy city and into the quiet of a spa and the countryside seemed like the right thing to do (and of course I was going to blog about it) But what is the true cost of relaxation? I'll be honest, if I hadn't been gifted the next few experience for review purposes then I probably wouldn't have been able to afford them at this time of year. Here are the gems where I have been relaxing my weary head recently...

I took a jaunt through to Edinburgh at the start of the month to The Guerlain Spa at the Caledonian Hotel for their Festive Spa and Sparkle Package.

The package included full use of the Spa facilities, a personalised fragrance journey, luxurious footbath, body exfoliation, on the move manicure and pedicure, touch of colour makeup application and a glass of champagne. The spa surroundings were beautiful and my therapist Jennifer could not have been more helpful and knowledgeable about Guerlain (who are renowned for their classic fragrances) I think this package would be perfect for before a Christmas night out or even earlier on in the day to kick start a day of Christmas shopping in Edinburgh. I always look at spa prices and think WOW, why so much? But if you break down the prices of each individual treatment then you are actually making a massive saving. This package in particular is the best one I've seen which offers so many treatments included in the price. The only thing I missed out on was the manicure because I already had shellac on and they didn't have anything to remove it with. So if you go then don't make the same mistake as me. Apart from that, it was festive and sparkly and lovely :)

Festive Spa and Sparkle - £140 for 1 hour 30 minutes

Shopping and spa treatments seem to be a combination that go very well together. A couple of weeks ago I was invited along to the Next store at Braehead, for a wander around and look at their new Christmas range. Along with gorgeous party dresses and christmas jumpers they also have the loveliest collection of gifts and homeware so I managed to pick up a few bits of christmas shopping while I was there too. You guys already know how much I love Next as there is something for every member of the family there so I won't gush on about it too much.

We then popped along the motorway to Mar Hall for afternoon tea and a spa treatment. Mar Hall is in Erskine but sits on the clyde looking across in the direction you would drive to Loch Lomond. I had an ample amount of cakes and sandwiches and proceeded to fall asleep during my treatment, it was so relaxing, I didn't want to leave :( I'd had quite a stressful week beforehand and was feeling quite anxious that day, so this was the perfect chance to properly wind down and relax and I am very grateful to Next for treating us so well. That day really cleared my head and prompted me to get all of my christmas shopping done, and I'm all organised now so that's one less thing to worry about as the shops get manic and far too busy.

DECLEOR Aroma Full Body Massage  - £75.00 for 55 mins

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to kick start a healthy body as well as a healthy mind, so to get back on the fitness wagon I went for a Shrinking Violet Wrap at the beautiful Chamomile Sanctuary Spa in Edinburgh. The science behind this wrap is that is uses Lipolysis via heat transfer, which disrupts and changed the permeability of the fat cell membranes. This causes the cell to release intra-cellular fat and reduces the size and shape of fat cells without affecting the surrounding structures of skin, blood vessels and peripheral nerves. In simpler terms, they brushed me down, covered me in oil, and wrapped me up in a sort of heavy duty cling film for an hour! But the method definitely works as I lost a total of 6 and 3/4 inches from around my body.

You get marked and measured before the treatment begins, then measured again at the end. While wrapped up in my plastic cocoon I had an express facial, and despite the overall wrap experience not meant to be relaxing as its priority, I fell asleep (again) and actually woke myself up snoring! Which I hope is a compliment to the therapist as I was very relaxed and comfortable in my surroundings :) I was worried that the wrap was going to be a bit claustrophobic, but it was actually very cosy and warm and I was quite sad when she cut me out of it at the end :( I wanted to stay wrapped up like that for a few more hours!
 Overall I lost 3/4 inches from one thigh, 1 inch from the other, 1/2 an inch from around my bum, 1/2 an inch from my abdomen, 1/2 an inch from my waist, 2 inches from under my bust and 1 and 1/2 inches from above my bust.  This treatment would be perfect if you're looking to kick start healthy eating and fancy a bit of a detox to get you started. 
Shrinking Violet Wrap - £50 (normally £65) for 90 minutes

What do you do to stay relaxed? If money was no option then I would go for a spa treatment once a month. It's always the sort of thing that you would buy as a gift for a friend but never book for yourself (as I said before, we are pretty rubbish at being selfish) But afterwards you feel amazing and I always think I NEED to do this more often. My sanity would benefit from it greatly!

This is a sponsored post and all experiences were gifted to me for review purposes. Which I am so, so grateful for - and you will still always receive a completely honest and unbiased opinion!

Home comforts

While I wish every day was full of lunch and dinner dates like in my last post, I've still been spending a lot of cosy time around the house while I've been off. Dying my hair, gutting out my wardrobe, lots of cuddles with the cat and doing my business accounts (the joys of being a limited company) Today I'm waiting on our new washing machine getting delivered and some other mail arriving so it's a great excuse to stay in my pj's! I can promise you that hanging upside down in my Hello Kitty dressing gown trying to disconnect a hard wired washing machine is a great look. Who said we need men around?!

I definitely don't need any men around to get some beautiful flowers delivered through the door. These fresh beauties from Bloom & Wild come sort of 'flat packed', which means they can fit through your letterbox and then you arrange them yourself (see how it works here)

Here's my beautiful autumnal bouquet! The flowers came with a handy advice guide of how to arrange them. I'm hoping I did okay... and I can't wait for those lovely lillies to bloom.

What do you think about fresh flowers through your letterbox? I was worried about how intact the buds would be but they were all perfect. The larger flowers came wrapped up in a delicate netting, with a miniature tube of water at the end to keep them fed while they're on their way to you. I got these on halloween and they're lasting well. Bloom & Wild promote the fact that they cut out the middle man (and ultimately the time the flowers sit on the shelf) so we get longer lasting flowers. I'll keep you posted on how long these ones stay good for. Doesn't look like they will be wilting any time soon :)

As well as flowers, I also like alcohol (see how flawless my linking skills are?) Last week I took a jaunt to Malmaison Hotel and sipped cocktails (an amaretto sour is my favourite) while oogling over Paul Mitchell's Christmas hair care range. As a new blonde they gave me some goodies to take home (to be honest I was kinda more intrigued by the range they do for Pets, a water-less shampoo would be amazing for Dexter!)

My roots are coming in already, but a couple of weeks ago I used the Bleach London bleach and toner to go all out blonde on what had previously been a gradual dying process (sorry Mum) I have been alternating between the Bleach London Silver Shampoo and Conditoner and the Paul Mitchell Blonde range above (shampoo, conditioner and dramatic repair spray) to keep my locks in check. The Bleach London products eliminate those brassy tones out of my hair and the Paul Mitchell products have been great for really nourishing my hair and keeping it soft and in good condition. It's been a great wee combo so far, and the PM products smell AMAZING (sorry Bleach London, you make me smell like a man)

I'm actually laughing at my silly linking skills as I mention smelling like a man onto a lovely new perfume that is making me smell great! Orliflame My Red is a new fragrance my Demi Moore, which is said to be floral with notes of red jasmine and cranberry. It isn't too sweet and once it settles down there is a long lasting red berry scent which I think is perfect for this time of year. The 50ml RRP's at £30.95, which is pretty decent so I hope this one keeps me going for a while.

I ordered some personalised vinyl from Wrappz for my macbook and iphone, and despite having my macbook for around 4 years I still managed to order the wrong size :( I'm a numpty! I applied my new Totoro vinyl anyways and I think it will do for now, but it would have been perfect if I'd just ordered the right size in the first place. Doh! The sticker is of great quality and a nice thick vinyl so you can remove it and reposition it easily without stretching or ripping. I have to work with vinyl a lot in work so you'd think I'd have a hang of it by now... but I'm still pretty rubbish.

Bit of a brave move removing the sturdy case Chloe got me and applying this vinyl sticker/skin (I'm a serial phone dropper) but I love it! Totoro definitely reminds me to keep smiling.

Upon spending a lot of time at home and partaking in many a hot beverage I have stumbled across something lovely called Fruitbroo. You know how herbal teas smell amazing but don't really match up taste wise? Well Fruitbroo tastes the exact way it smells (which is lovely, by the way)

Greig came over to look after me one day I wasn't feeling too well and we tried a few different flavours from the range. The instructions say you only need two teaspoons but I used rather large mugs so you can see from the photo above how much I used to get the taste right for us. It felt like quite a lot but in a normal sized mug it would be much less. The peach, pear and honey is my favourite so far! Only 15 calories per cup and no caffeine so definitely less of a guilty option when you're used to drinking tea and coffee with two sugars all day.

This post has ended up being a lot bigger than what I initially intended, so as usual I'll leave you with a few more eclectic insta pics from what else I've been upto...

New bodysuit from American Apparel and skirt from Forever 21.

Dermal is starting to heal (I've heard the horror stories... but I really like mines)

Night out with the boys in Glasgow last weekend.

Playing around with Kyles mini polaroid camera in his office before we went out :)

Come the Sunday morning I had a very sore head, but my new cat nap pj's from David and Goliath soothed my soul all day. I expect no sympathy... totally self inflicted!

Going places

I've been enjoying a bit of down time with work this past week or so, which has allowed me to have lots of lazy mornings in bed doing 'life admin' stuff and plenty of catch ups with friends and family.

I met Luisa for breakfast last week in a local cafe and we chatted babies, boys and work!

We went for a walk around Queens Park afterwards and I wore these new lovely mid-top navy spot wellies from Surfdome. I can't believe this sort of weather is already upon us!

You can check this page for more similar wellies. How lovely does Luisa look? Shes absolutely glowing, and I can't wait to meet her baby boy in February.

Later on in the week I took a drive into the wilderness with Greig and we went to the Drovers Inn for some lunch.

Hearty food and a pint by the fire. Nae bad at all!

The Drovers is famous for its eerie atmosphere, with taxidermy covering the walls and tales of the ghosts who haunt the building. The place had been decorated all halloween-esque with their famous bear donning a top hat for the occasion.

Wrapped up again to brave the chilly Scottish air, I matched my yellow raincoat with these floral boots from Spartoo. They're the 4th pair of shoes I own from Rocket Dog, who just keep on getting it right with the cutest selection of footwear I've seen in ages.

I told you it was cold - not impressed!

A third impressive meal of the week happened at the Corinthian in Glasgow, where I was invited down by Chobani for a yogurt inspired dinner.

Risotto to start.

Lamb for main.

Cheesecake for desert.

I'll be honest, I actually really don't like yogurt at all. I was badly sunburned when I was in my teens and have memories of my mum using natural yogurt to help my skin and since then the smell and texture has always been a massive no no for me. You'd then think I would be mad to go to a yogurt inspired dinner, but I wanted to give Chobani a chance to change my mind and I think they were successful. It was intriguing to see how yogurt can be used in certain recipes and actually isn't as obvious or overpowering as you would think. The meal was fantastic and we were surrounded by great company too. The berry yogurt cocktails we had upon arrival were also pretty amazing - converted!

Some more eclectic bits of news before I go...

Finished up on Susan Boyles new music video last week which should be hitting your screens very soon. She was absolutely lovely!

My flatmate and his pals stumbled across this old episode of Taggart I was in when I was 11. What a giggle! Apparently I've not changed much?

After seemingly going through somewhat of a quarter life crisis and dying my hair blonde (more about that in the next post) I got a new tattoo and a dermal piercing on my wrist. My dermal is still bruised from healing, and the tattoo is a bit scabby but here's a picture from after it was done. Keep moving forwards eh? ♥