The Relaxation Den – Review and Thoughts

Yesterday, I embarked on what is now The Most Girly Thing I Have Done To Date, and definitely on the way to getting another thing crossed off THE LIST in my earlier posts – being a spa day…

The biggest surprise was that I actually really enjoyed it.

Anyone who knows me at all well knows that I’m not really one for pampering at all -with the exception of long baths, which is a guilty pleasure, usually involving a book and hot drink.  However, I have slowly been adopting routines to look after myself a bit more as I creep closer to 30. By looking after myself a bit more, I don’t just mean physically, although that’s certainly a part of it, but mind and soul as well. Part of this includes making sure I have a bit of time to myself occasionally, and take a break and wind down. I’ve always been someone who’s on the go ALL the time, and if my calendar is anything to go by at the moment there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon! So a chance to kill multiple birds with one stone would be welcomed with open arms.

So in the spirit of adventure and all that, I took advantage of The Relaxation Den’s kind invite via their Twitter offer (if you want to know what they do then go and follow them @RelaxationDen) and booked myself in for their free skin scan service and also my freebie. Based on Ecclesall Road, they have recently celebrated their 2nd birthday, with a party and ‘Butler in the Buff”, which I’m told all went down really well, so have had sometime to settle into their surroundings and the business.

As usual, I got there a little early, and stepped from the bustle of approaching rush-hour traffic of Ecclesall Road into a calm, cool and serene room. The lady behind the counter was on the phone trying to fit someone in to their seemingly busy schedule with difficulty, which was quite reassuring to me, as a complete newbie to all of this, as if somewhere is popular, then it tends to be good…

This gave me a chance to look around the reception area, which was clean and cosy – comfy brown sofas, and neutral walls adding to the atmosphere, and making my wait a very pleasant one. A clear cabinet containing products was against the wall, but not made in any way to stand out or have attention drawn to it.

I was then greeted by and booked in by Kerry, who explained she’d be seeing to me for the day, and promptly gave me a form to fill in with contact info etc, which I duly dotted and crossed whilst she finished preparing the room. All credit goes to Kerry as she managed to put a rather trepidatious me at ease within three minutes with her calm and professional manner. Upon her return she explained exactly what would happen and what she was going to do for me without either using a lot terms and assuming that I was an old hand at this, or without being patronising. I understood what was happening, andwas quite happy to be shown upstairs to the Skin Scan.

The upstairs had a similar feel to downstairs, no clutter, and neutral colours adorning the walls and wooden floors. The skin scanner sat with two chairs towards the rear of the room, and before jumping in, Kerry asked me to tell her about my skin – what I felt about it, any specific concerns and whether I do a lot of things outdoors, what products do I use etc, which I happily stated. We then proceeded onto the scan – which involved sticking my head underneath the hood of the machine, and showing different areas of my face to Kerry, whilst being seriously illuminated by UV light, allowing Kerry to see underneath the skin.  After telling me that on the whole my skin was pretty healthy, She then proceeded to talk me through what she could see, and possible reasons for this, these things being predominantly pigmentation spots, caused by UV exposure, oiliness, and dehydration (which is not the same as dryness). After this she asked me to look in the mirror, and point out the things I was able to see on there.

The first thing that sprang out and quite shocked me, was the amount of pigmentation – which looked like cheetah spots all over my face. Being pale, I do tend to wear sunscreen on bright days, but probably high enough SPF, if I’m honest, and not everyday. Kerry then expained what this meant, as well as how to improve it and prevent it getting worse in the future. The second thing I spotted was the white speckles on my nose, forehead and left cheek brow – which was oil. again knowing that I have combination skin, which has been more oily since getting back into the city, this wasn’t a vast surprise to me. The final thing was my ‘zombie eyes’ – the area under my eyes especially and spreading out onto my cheeks was dark and looked really sunken. Kerry then explained that this was the dehydration she had seen, which was especially prevalent there.

Kerry then told me she’d use this information to prepare my facial – personalising it to the information she had gathered, from both looking at my skin, and from the things we had talked about. I was then taken back downstairs, and left to prepare in the room we would be using, which was darkened and candlelit, with soft instrumental music. I was asked to remove my top, to prevent anything spilling on there and climb onto the heated massage table.

Being someone who gets warm quickly, I wasn’t sure that a heated bed would be necessary, as the room itself was the perfect temperature, however, once I was in and under the blanket, I immediately felt the heat hit my back, after a long day at work, and was extremely grateful!

Kerry then came back in, wrapped my hair (which I apologise now, as it was not in the best state!) in a towel, and after outlining what how she was going to approach things began.

Having never had anything like this I had no real idea what to expect, however a few minutes in, I didn’t really care – I just let myself actually relax a bit, and let Kerry do her thing – which was LOVELY. IT seemed like layer after layer of “stuff” went on, and the really inquisitive part of me would have liked an explanation of  what’s and why’s, that part of me was very quiet – which was an amazing change!

The facial included a neck, face and scalp massage as well (again I apologise for the state of my hair!  Since moving back to sheffield the water has caused havoc with it – leaving me with either really lank hair which requires gunk in it to try and salvage it – as was the case that day, or I end up with squeaky clean anime flyaway hair at the other extreme… but that’s a blog for another day!), and knowing a bit about massage, I know that it was done really well, and that really rare event of my head actually quietening itself to silence actually happened for once, which is always an amazing experience for me..

After Kerry was done, she explained what she had done and used during the facial, and why, and we also talked about changes I should consider making to my routines going forward – including using an exfoliant, and the best type to consider, suggesting the one she had used that day – which was as hard sell as it got, which was really good, and as a result am a lot more likely to consider the product, being a stubborn sod who instantly rebels against a hard sell, and the biggie for me, being upping my SPF and ensuring that I use it a lot more than at the moment – which is an easy fix. She also advised me to avoid toner that contained any forms of alcohol, as this would dehydrate my skin, and cause more oil to be produced as a response, which is a fair comment, and to make sure that I moisturise to get as much moisture in as possible. I was then left alone to sort myself out (and reluctantly get out of the lovely warm bed!) and head back out to the reception area, where Kerry and her colleagues who popped in and out were more than happy to make general conversation. Kerry also explained which treatment she had customised for me (being the Dermologica Prescription Facial) and gave me a price list for the the place, which having had a cheeky scout around, is pretty reasonable for what is offered.

Overall, I have to say that I was very impressed. The only thing that *might* have made it better (and this is very personal to me and my brain) was to be told what each application during the facial was for, although I am a little 50/50 over this, as it would sate my curiosity, but would detract from the atmosphere they work hard to produce and definitely wouldn’t be right for everyone.The big pluses were the atmosphere and environment of The Relaxation Den itself, Kerry’s manner and rapport, and the lack of hard sell of products, despite being a Dermologica UK specialist centre. The treatment itself was absolutely lush, and I went away feeling very relaxed, and definitely intending to return when money allows.

Thanks to all there for the wonderful welcome and making my adventures a little easier… Hope to see you all soon. 🙂





I decided whilst thinking about a review I was  starting writing last night, that I should probably have a new place to store some of the things I write…

I do a lot of writing, some reviewing, and some musing along the way, and it tends to get a bit cluttered sometimes, between the four blogs and places I contribute to… that and I know all my gamer friends will most likely *not* want to hear about how I’m trying to fit a bit of lady-like-ness into my life…  😉

So, with all that in mind… welcome to A Cinderella Fable. Everyone knows the story of Cinderella – and whilst I don’t necessarily aspire to become the belle of the ball and the envy of the land (I’m not sure *ANY* fairy godmother could achieve that for me anyway…:P ) I do, however, look to dip my toes in the waters of girlydom after taking way too long to realise that actually, it’s not necessarily a bad thing… and maybe, just maybe, I might find a handsome prince one day, and rather than a glass slipper, a custom-made pair of Wolverine Converse…

What can you expect to see on here?

Reviews of things I try out, my thoughts on various things – with a bit more of a leaning towards health and beauty things, but not necessarily just that… I may well post some of my thoughts of being a woman in the world today – the difficulties AND the advantages that brings, and anything else that would fit in here… I may well pull some of my other posts elsewhere onto here as well from the past which fit as well… but hopefully you’ll enjoy reading along and seeing one kinda crazy lady’s take on the world of girl….

Biting the Bullet

I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging and writing front for a couple of months, with no real explanation, for which I can only apologise – I’ve had real life stuff to take care of – like moving into my own place after three months or so in limbo, so my life seems to have been consumed by work and boxes of late!

So – now that I have furniture and stuff all set up and am getting established there, I have taken the plunge and actually gone to the gym, after signing up a couple of months ago. What follows is part review and part thoughts on the experience…

As I’d said before – I signed up with Pure Gym as the offer was a good one – location wise is close enough to work for me to go, and also handily on a bus route home (and round the corner from a good friend’s so if I’m REALLY dead, I can go flounce there for a bit afterwards… ;-)) I’d had a look through on the website a few times, and had a look at the classes as well as the other information on there – the site is well laid out, easy to navigate, and not full of jargon. My only complaint here is needing my PIN number, which is 8 digits to log in… meaning that I’ve had to go and search my email every time I want to log in, which is a little annoying, but it does make sense.

So last week, I logged in, and booked in a gym induction. I expected this to be a case of being shown around and shown how to use the machines. From my experiences of gyms in the past, the latter was often really complex, and for someone who lacks confidence, feels out of her comfort zone, and is generally quite shy, this was actually the killer, because I ended up not being able to use any of the machines that weren’t really straight forwards.

Times have changed however! I arrived there nice and early on a Saturday morning for the induction, had a look in through the windows to see that it was busy, but not heaving, which was good, and then made my way in. Entry and exit uses the PIN number again, which I was aware of so prepared with it on some paper, and I’ve just about learnt it now, so wasn’t an issue there. After getting through the little entry pods, which reminded me of a decontamination chamber somewhat, I found myself in a lobby with no real clue where I should go from there. I wandered around for a bit and eventually found someone, and introduced myself, and after a short wait, was taken round on my own, where the lady pointed out all the useful helpful info, and was generally, very approachable, didn’t assume or patronise, and listened to the answers when asking a question. She then gave me an introduction to the equipment and the machines and how they worked, which has gotten a lot more simple than when I was last in a gym! Colour coding means if it’s yellow, I can adjust it, and red is a guide line.

I left feeling fairly confident I’d be able to deal with being in there, and finding my way around, not at all daunted by the prospect, and knowing that I’d feel OK asking for help if I needed it. Took several guides home to read as well, which had useful information, and am actually quite looking forwards to going for my first proper workout!