Who knew that paradise had an outpost in Polmont of all places? Yes, almost halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh there is a spa which is as sumptuous and luxurious as any in either of the cities between which it nestles. The Macdonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa may not be in the most prepossessing of surroundings but it is a haven of tranquility, with a restaurant that achieved a rare 8/10 from the Sunday Herald’s not-easily-impressed food critic, Joanna Blythman, very comfortable rooms, and – most importantly – it has a spa, which I visited for the first time on Monday.
The French beauty company Decleor had invited me
to try a treatment that is exclusive to the Macdonald chain of hotels and
spas – and it was certainly worth the trip. Paradise Escape is the name of this two-hour “spa journey” which harnesses the benefits of a Madagascan fruit called the boabab. This fruit has six times more Vitamin C than orange and is grown on trees that are 80% water and live for 100 years..
The treatment begins with a full-body exfoliation using boabab seeds which smoothe and rejuvenate the skin. Then it’s on to the paradise part of the experience: a back, neck and shoulder massage using warmed balms and Decleor’s unique massage tool, the “Acacia Massager” which provides an intense massage. A gentle facial follows, and during the mask part, the therapist massages the legs and arms.
I must say, I drifted off to sleep several times during the treatment (always a good sign) and positively floated back to my room afterwards. My lovely therapist, Amanda, gave me some great skincare advice and no hard sell products-wise, and couldn’t have done more to ensure that it was as relaxing as possible. Indeed, the whole spa set-up is designed to ensure that guests feel as pampered as possible: I was particularly impressed with the candle-lit relaxation room, where you can chill out before and after your treatment – which was every bit as luxurious as others that I’ve experienced in much swankier/more expensive hotels.
* The Paradise Escape treatment costs £110 from Monday-Thursday and £115 from Friday-Sunday and is available from Macdonald Spa Hotels. Rooms at the Macdonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa start at 71, and there is currently a special offer on for an overnight luxury spa break
Being a natural-born sun-avoider who is happy to look pale, I am very popular with my tan-loving girlfriends since I often give them self-tanners to try out. My pal Siobhan has been using these products throughout our 22-year friendship so she was the ideal person to try a face tanner I was given a few months ago. Here’s her report on Sisley Self Tanning Hydrating Facial Care (£78):
“It has a nice light texture and has that adorable smell that some of their other skincare products have (I am thinking in particular of the Express Flower Gel which I was lucky enough to get from my sis a couple of years back). Anyway, it’s not like putting on a tanning product at all – a good thing. Having said that, it is so light in texture that I felt the need to apply a second layer of moisturiser over the top. The colour is pretty subtle and only started coming out after the second application – it suggests applying two-three times a week and I’d probably go for three. All in all very pleasing – I hadn’t used a face tan for a while so was quite tentative, but soon realised this was a subtle product in every way – smell, texture and colour-wise. A real treat to use for which many thanks!”
The most glamorous night – oh, okay, the only glamorous night – in the Scottish jazz calendar is the Glasgow Jazz Festival’s fundraising ball. This year’s event took place on Thursday and it was very unusual to be wearing a full-length gown, rather than jeans, while hanging out with jazzers.
It seemed the perfect occasion to debut the latest gorgeous eyeshadow palette I’d been sent. Dior 5 Couleurs Croisette Edition in Aurora (£41; from May 14) may comprise Riviera-inspired shades but they seemed to suit my distinctly non-Riviera-like colouring; the gold, ochre and brown eyeshadows look terrific with blue eyes and blonde hair, while the slightly scary burnt orange adds warmth and works well with a coral or red lipstick. Thankfully, I had been sent a replacement Sisley Eyelid Shading Brush (£38.50) – I lost mine earlier in the week – or I’d not have done such a professional job on the eye make-up!