Getting in my comfort zone at Mecure Holland House

Last week I had the best facial of my life. My skin was glowing for days! I was invited to try the new Comfort Zone treatments at the Spa at Mecure Holland House Hotel on Newport Road. 

Comfort Zone is a European brand and Holland House is the first place in Cardiff to offer their treatments and products. 

The brand promises a ‘complete system of care for the skin, body and soul’. The lady from Comfort Zone analysed my skin  while telling me about the brand’s scientific approach to skincare. They even have a neurologist studying the way changes in our brains are evidenced on the skin – intelligent stuff! Of course, I watch a lot of Greys Anatomy so I knew *exactly* what she meant……ha ha.

The brand also promotes healthy and sustainable lifestyles; for example using natural products on the skin, eating healthily and exercising. A very holistic approach to skincare. 

So after a glass of Prosecco (whoops there goes the healthy eating part) and skin analysis (apparently I’m more wrinkly on the left side my face than the right, possibly because I sleep on my left side) it was on to the treatments.

  

We started off with a Himalayan Salt Massage (55mins £60). I lay face down on the (heated) bed, and the wonderful therapist, Liga, started off massaging me with warm Himalayan salt stones, before exfoliating me with a salt scrub. This does not sound relaxing, but it really was. I nodded off, which I’m told is the ultimate compliment to a beauty therapist (!).

Liga then wrapped me in a cocoon of blankets where I was left to relax while the oils sunk in, before all the salt was buffed off.

The salt scrub is said to completely detoxify the body and while I’m not sure whether it did that, my skin felt lovely and soft for days afterwards, especially on my back. I kept thinking that this would be a perfect pre-holiday or pre-event treatment to get your skin looking fab. 

Next it was on to the Comfort Zone Skin Regimen facial (30 minutes £45) Here comes the science; ‘Supreme Nutricosmeceutical System targets primary causes of accelerated cellular ageing reflected in the skin – inflammation, glycation, oxidation and methylation.’ Got it? What you need to know is that it promises an intensive anti-aging treatment with visible results in just half the time of a traditional facial.

The facial starts in the usual way with cleansing, toning etc. Then Liga applied an acid peel to my face (I kept thinking of that scene in Sex and the City when Samantha has a chemical peel, luckily it was nothing like that), my skin was tingling like mad, I could really feel it doing something.

The treatment also used the Kabat massage technique which involved moving my arms around in certain ways and at one point being told to push my hand against Liga’s hand. It was supposed to align my mind and body but felt a little strange – like doing a bit of yoga mid-facial. Not necessarily a bad thing, just different.

I love facials but often come out feeling a bit disappointed that you can’t see visible results, apart from slightly oily skin. Not this time!  

I hate taking selfies but how amazing does my skin look?!? I had no makeup on in this pic, apart from a bit of staining on my lips from the red lippy I had been wearing earlier. 

Holland House would never have been my first port of call when looking for a city centre spa. But with 13 lovely-sized treatment rooms and the most gorgeous relaxation area – I’ve been missing out. 

 

After our treatments we were treated to wine tasting, canapés and an evening meal in the newly refurbished upstairs bar and restaurant. It’s been well done out, creating a modern, relaxed space – a far cry from how it looked before and perfect for people watching over Newport Road. 

The Comfort Zone treatments will be available mid-May. I’ll definitely be going back! 

I was invited to try the new treatments at Mecure Holland House for free, in return for an honest review. 

Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival 

  
We had a fun morning at Cardiff Central Library. As part of Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival we went to hear professional storyteller Vanessa Woolf read Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy. (Professional Storyteller – how amazing does that job sound?!)

Five Minutes Peace was a favourite of mine and my sisters when growing up so I was excited to introduce it to five-year-old J.

The session was fun and interactive with songs, actions and sensory materials to help the children really get into the book. It was only £3 too – bargain! 
 

 

I was invited to attend a session at Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival for free. 

What we did during the Easter holiday….part two

Gosh, Easter seems ages ago doesn’t it? We’ve been mega-busy. 

The second week of Easter was a big one in our family though – J turned five! 

  

This amazing Millennium Falcon cake was made by my talented husband! J loved it. 

As he was still recovering from his tonsillectomy, J couldn’t have a party so it was his choice of what we did that day. We told him he could choose anything he wanted (within reason!) Luckily he made a sensible choice of a game of indoor golf at St David’s shopping centre in town, followed by a burger. 

We’ve been to the Treetop golf before and it’s really fun. It costs £7 for adults, £6 for children and £3.75 for under fives. If you get there before midday you get an extra game for free. It’s best to get there early anyway as it does get busy later and you end up having to wait for your turn around the course. Let’s not kid ourselves, we were both pretty rubbish at it, but J loved it, which was the main thing. 

  For lunch we went to Locke and Remedy, after checking that they had burgers on the kids menu of course. They were fab with J and really made a fuss of the fact it was his birthday, even bringing him a free brownie and ice cream. 

The adults meals were good too – we both went for the pizza which was so thin and crispy, just how I like it. G would’ve preferred a deeper base though. I opted for half pizza and half salad which was perfect for lunchtime and meant I had plenty of room for cake later! 

  
The rest of the week was spent in London. We had loads of fun doing really touristy things like Madame Tussaud’s and Buckingham Palace. My favourite thing was visiting the Sky Garden, a free venue on the 35th floor overlooking the Shard and the entire London skyline. I would really recommend a visit. Book a slot so you don’t have to queue. 

   
   
We walked for miles around London with baby F in the sling and we were all exhausted afterwards. All in all it was a fab Easter break. 

Read what we did during the first week of the holiday here

What we did during the Easter holiday…..Part one

It’s been a quiet couple of weeks on the blog – because it’s been a busy couple of weeks in our house. J had an operation to take his tonsils out just before the Easter break so we were forced to take it easy while he recovered from the operation. Add to that the fact that he needed to stay away from other children and possible infection for two weeks and we were basically confined to the house for a while! 

Luckily the operation and recovery went well and towards the end of week one of the holidays J felt well enough to get out and about.   

 Our first trip was to Thornhill Farm shop. A fab little shop and cafe selling local produce with a working farm attached. You can walk along the animal paddocks for free and there’s a small playground. In fact the playground had been updated since our last visit and J enjoyed playing on the tractor and digger game.   

There weren’t many animals out for us to see (it was still very cold) but we did spot a few Llamas (J loved them, especially after watching the Farmer’s Llamas at Christmas) and some lovely lambs bounding about in the field. It was a great first outing, especially as he wasn’t really up to doing too much more. I also treated us to a few goodies in the farm shop, including some Field Fare frozen croissants (seriously, you’ll never buy packet croissants again) and some vegetarian treats from the Parsnip Ship

The next day my Mum watched baby F while J and I headed to Caerphilly Castle. J has been talking about visiting since we popped by to see the dragon last month

  
The dragon has now moved inside so if you want a picture with it you have to pay the entry fee, although you can see the dragon from the entryway so you can still get a peek if you don’t want to pay to go in. 

  
However I would say it is really worth the money to go inside. Entry is £6 for adults and free for children aged four and under. Being as it was the day before J’s fifth birthday, we had a real bargain! 

  
 The castle was running a treasure hunt game during the holiday which was a really fun way to get us exploring and learning more about the castle. We stayed for ages and explored every part! However I was glad I’d left baby F at home for this visit as much of the castle is inaccessible with a buggy and the spiral stone staircases would’ve been a bit tricky with a baby in a carrier. 

  

J took this (wonky) pic of me with the dragon! 

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What we’ve been up to this week…..

Baby F has hit a few milestones this week, she turned five months and had her first taste of solid food. I love this stage.   

I’ve been marking her milestones by taking pictures with these cute cards from Little Maldod. The results make a great record for the future and are very Instagram-able. Little Maldod is a website run by a Mum from Cardiff, do check it out if you’re looking for baby gifts, there are some gorgeous things on there. 

  
As usual, I’ve spent most of the week in various coffee shops, I’m making the most of baby still being happy to sit or sleep in her pram. I had a stunning chickpea and chorizo soup at The Orchard (above) and a delicious courgette and mint soup at Wyndham Tea. (Soup is healthy and means there’s also room for cake, OK?) 


Bought this lush coffee from Wally’s deli. Baby F and four-year-old J seem to think 5-6am is the perfect time to wake up at the moment. A good black coffee is the only thing that makes this semi-acceptable.

  
Made the most of the nice weather and went for another brisk walk / jog with the pram along the Taff Trail this week. The Cardiff half in October is definitely in my sights now.

  
On Friday night I went out. Out, out! I wore heels and lipstick and everything. The girls and I started with a few proseccos in Bill’s (I also ate a stunning beef burger and sweet potato fries) then we went on to Be At One on St Mary’s Street for cocktails. The espresso martini was stunning. I was home by 12.30. My clubbing days are definitely behind me. But it was so good to go out! 

   
 On Saturday we blew the cobwebs away with a walk along the beach at Barry Island. J had a go at the climbing wall and we stopped for a coffee and cake at Bay 5, a really lovely cafe overlooking the beach. It’s reasonably priced too, considering the location and view. Two coffees and three cakes was less than £15. 

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What we’ve been up to this week 13 March

  
Strong coffee and spring flowers at The Orchard in Radyr

  
Went to see Into the Woods at my old high school in Whitchurch. It was an excellent production as always. I came out wishing I could sing….

  
Lunch at The Fig Tree in Penarth. Read more here.

  
Had a blissful facial at Enerchi in Radyr. You can read all about it here

J has had a couple of parties this weekend, one was at Parc Play, which is probably my favourite play centre in Cardiff. (I can’t really bear the rest of them, but they’re a good way to run off energy when the weather’s bad). 

I also took him to have his hair cut on Saturday at Funky Chickens. He still really hates having his hair cut and often cries and ducks away from the scissors but the hairdressers there are so patient and kind. Even when he’s having a tantrum. Personally I needed a large glass of Shiraz by the time we’d walked out of there….

  
We’ve also been loving the spring sunshine in Cardiff. Long may it continue! (Yes my almost five-year-old still demands to use the baby swings at the park……)

Facial at Ener-chi, Radyr

I’ve written before about the lovely treatments at Ener-chi, the beauty salon in Radyr. 

My fabulous sisters bought me a voucher for a facial at Enerchi for Christmas and this week I finally got around to using it (my Mum watched baby F so I could have a few hours to myself, thanks Mum!) 

  

The facial was so lovely. The therapist, Holly cleansed, toned, exfoliated and moisturised my face, in between massaging my neck, shoulders, hands and feet. Holly also used hot stones as part of the massage, which I love. I came out feeling relaxed with glowing skin. Highly recommended! 

  
My facial was paid for in full by my lovely sisters :-)