A full and honest review of my experience at the Rural Retreat Beauty Salon in Shorne, Kent 

A full and honest review of my experience at the Rural Retreat Beauty Salon in Shorne, Kent 

Today I was treated to an ESPA Face, Back and Scalp Treatment at the Rural Retreat. I was so excited as I love having massages and haven’t had one for so long. Being a mum of 3 means I don’t get much me-time anymore so this was an ultimate treat for me.

There is customer parking to the front of the salon, but this was full when I arrived (on a Saturday), but I found there was lots and lots of spaces to park less than 30 seconds from the salon, I parked along the street about 15 steps from the doors.

Entering the salon, it’s such a lovely, beautifully decorated and calm space. The reception is gorgeous and has lots of products on display as well as some lovely crushed velvet chairs to relax whilst you wait, and straight away Ellie welcomed me and put me at ease. I used the toilet (as every mum does after a drive!) which smelt divine – to me a nice smelling toilet is important!

Ellie led me to the treatment room and it was lovely – cosy, comfortable, low lighting, low chilled music and the most important bit – a comfy treatment bed calling to me with a luxurious furry blanket on it. Even without any treatment, an hour and a half of laying on this bed is going to be a treat!

Ellie explained about the treatment and what order things would be done in, and told me how naked I’d need to be and what to do. She left whilst I undressed and I got in the bed very excited at the imminent pampering I was about to receive.

The back scrub and massage was first, which was amazing – Ellie asked what pressure I usually like and I like it HARD (haha) and she did not disappoint. First my back was brushed down with a spiky brush (nicely spiky!) and then a scrub rubbed all over it and taken off with a lovely hot towel. Then the massage with oils that I had selected at the beginning. It was incredible, I’m sure I was dribbling by the end of it. But this was just the start…

For the facial, I got to select which scents/oils were used and Ellie looked at my skin under a special light to see what type it was (I’ve never known what my skin type is!) and advised which products would be best for me – the facial was totally tailored to my needs.

I feel that the word facial isn’t really reflective of what the treatment is, it’s so much more than that, it’s like a face hydrating treatment and cleanse with a wonderful neck/shoulder and face massage with so many times of product application I felt like it lasted SO long, the use of different scrubs/cleansers/hot towels etc it was just divine. I think I fell asleep towards the end as I was so relaxed. It was perfection. For anyone who has never had one or has been thinking of having one – please do it!

After the facial ended, Ellie gave me the scalp treatment which involved a mask for your hair (which was optional if you didn’t want this bit!) and this was such a lovely ending to a completely relaxing experience.

After the treatment I had a lovely cold glass of water, and I was given an ESPA card with some of the products used on it, but no hard sell to buy the products. Ellie was really knowledgeable about what I could do to help my skin day to day and gave me a little sample to take away.  

I was so impressed with the entire treatment, impressed isn’t really the word, it surpassed all my expectations and I felt SO relaxed at the end, the most relaxed I’ve ever felt in my life. For a mum who doesn’t get out much (haha) it literally was the perfect treatment. I felt renewed, indulged, relaxed, pampered, rested, and the skin on my face is still glowing!

This treatment is honestly the perfect way to de-stress and indulge, or to treat someone who needs it. I can’t recommend it highly enough and will definitely be treating myself to one every now and then!

Thank you to Ellie and the Rural Retreat for being so welcoming and for making me feel properly relaxed for the first time in a long time!

*Disclaimer – I was not paid or asked to write this review and this is my own personal opinion of the ESPA Face, Back and Scalp Treatment, cost £68.50

The Rural Retreat website is: http://www.theruralretreatsalon.co.uk/

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The Weirdest Secret Santa Gift Ever…

The Weirdest Secret Santa Gift Ever…

After having child no 2, I worked part-time doing admin for a lovely charity in the City (of Laaandan). It was a really nice place to work, and I loved it.

One Christmas, we did the usual Secret Santa within my ‘team’. The team was mainly women and the boss man of our little team was, indeed a man. He was a nice man, maybe in his 50’s… very odd a little bit odd at times, but who isn’t. It was difficult talking to him sometimes, he seemed very quiet and a bit reserved. He was the sort of man I imagined stayed indoors a lot, didn’t own a TV and read old books all day. He looked at me like he thought I was an annoying child.

The budget for Secret Santa was really small, as it was a Charity, understandably. £2 per person. I found a really lovely gift for my SS recipient, as you do. I wrapped it up and wrote a label in bold handwriting so she didn’t know who bought it. On the day of the exchange, everyone looked at the little pile of presents to find the one with their name on it. We all stood in a circle and opened the wrapping simultaneously.

As I peeled the wrapping paper off my gift, I couldn’t really tell what it was. It was something flat and light. As I pulled it completely out of the packaging, I felt confusion wash over me. Inside the festive wrapping paper was….. ……..wait for it……

No really…….. sit down……..  get ready……

A. Gift. Bag.

Like, you know, a GIFT BAG that you buy to put a gift into.  Someone had wrapped up a gift bag for me. Was this a joke? If it was, I definitely didn’t understand the joke. I tried to mask the confused look on my face by smiling and looking pleased. I peeked inside the gift bag, in case there was an ACTUAL gift inside. Nope. The bag was still flat and in the cellophane as it was in the shop. Everyone by now was holding up their gifts and telling each other what they’d got, laughing and joking. I stood silently looking at my Gift Bag, smiling still in case the person who bought it was watching me. All of a sudden it dawned on me that Odd Boss Man had clearly bought this for me. Who else in their right mind would buy someone a gift bag as a present?! To be fair, it was a very pretty gift bag. Very girly, with flowers or butterflies or something on it. It had a massive £2 label on the front, and was from M&S, which was the shop just outside the tube station. I pretty quickly worked out that Odd Boss Man had clearly walked into the shop, panicked at what to buy the irritating young female co-worker he probably despised. He probably clapped eyes on the gift bag and thought, brilliant, £2, job done. Maybe he thought it was a hand bag.

One of my lovely colleagues called out across the circle… “Jo, what did you get??” I didn’t know what to say… so I slowly held up the gift bag, smiling, as everyone in the circle turned to look at me. She looked confused too. Thank God.  I think she sensed my awkwardness so she changed the subject.

Afterwards we went back to our desks where Odd Boss Man sat opposite me. I couldn’t regale the team with the weirdness of the gift because he was RIGHT THERE looking at me. I popped the gift bag in my top tray and kept trying not to laugh every time I looked at it.

At some point that day he made a comment about me liking my gift. I said it was lovely. It was…  Very pretty. He looked pretty smug. I wondered if he really thought it was a hand bag.  Seeing his happy face at buying something I liked was sweet. Made me feel bad about it being so weird though, I never would have told him the error of his ways and burst his bubble. But it will always be the best Secret Santa buy ever. I often wonder if he ever bought anyone else a gift bag as a gift, because it went down so well!

I used the gift bag a month or so later, to put a gift in. I felt the bag needed to fulfil its purpose in life.

So anyway, I will always remember the time someone bought me a gift bag.

*It wasn’t this exact gift bag, this is a random pic from eBay. But you get the jist.

**I wonder if this post wins an award for the most uses of the words GIFT BAG???

gift-bag