SO SPA, SO NEAR
What could be more blissful than having a massage, followed by a sauna and a dip in a hot tub, all in the privacy of your own personal spa? That’s the ingenious concept at the Gilpin Hotel & Lake House in the Lake District, which offers five luxurious spa lodges within the grounds, each with its own fully equipped en suite spa.
Our YOU tester explains: ‘You choose from a menu of treatments ranging from a hot-stone massage to a holistic facial, all using the spa’s locally made Jetty Spa products. I chose an aromatherapy massage delivered by an expert therapist, which eased my tense back and shoulders.
‘Even better was not having to get dressed again or wander round in a dressing gown in front of other guests, as you do in many spas. Instead, I relaxed in the steam roomof my lodge listening to soothing music on the integrated sound system, then lay in the hydrotherapy hot tub on the decking outside, overlooking the beautiful countryside. It was absolute heaven.’
You can order room service if you want to stay inside your cosy lodge, or stroll across to the Gilpin’s Michelin-starred restaurant or Gilpin Spice, its Asian-inspired eatery. ‘The next morning, I walked to Lake Windermere and then had a sauna to round off a truly relaxing weekend,’ says our tester.
For those who cannot visit the Gilpin Hotel, you can re-create your own spa experience at home. Spa lodges are available from £595 per night for two adults on a half-board basis. For more information, visit thegilpin.co.uk
CREATE YOUR OWN AT-HOME SPA
• Clear at least 24 hours in your diary and award yourself the time out.
• Buy your favourite simple-to-prep food and drink; we love Soupologie’s scrumptious and nutritious range. For stockists, visit soupologie.com.
• Stockpile magazines, books and the odd DVD.
• Turn off your watch and hide digital devices (eg, phones and tablets).
• Make up your bed with fresh linen, fluff up the towels and relax in a scented bath.
• Book a local massage therapist or facialist if your budget will stretch to it. Local therapists will often come to you, or you could try at-home services such as My Personal Sanctuary (mypersonalsanctuary.co.uk), which has good reviews, or Soothe (soothe.com), an international company, which currently covers Greater London and is expanding throughout the UK.
Nutritionist Jenna Barclay beams when I say her new Skinny Lemon drink tastes homemade. But then she did develop it in her kitchen as an additive-free mixer for vodka, or to quaff on its own as a deliciously healthy thirst-quencher. It’s perfect for dry January and people who don’t drink alcohol, like me. Astonishingly, the two-calorie blend has just three ingredients: pure Sicilian lemon juice (not from
concentrate), natural sweetener stevia and lightly carbonated water. Look out for Jenna’s soon-to-be-launched Skinny Lime. Both flavours, £2.10 for a bottle, skinnydrinks.co.uk.
THREE OF THE BEST
SMART-TECH WINTER WARMERS
Hotsquash Soft Drape Cardigan (£55 in black or grey, hotsquash.com) My chilly colleague says this chic cardie is perfect for a cosy
top-up without adding bulk. The comprehensive range features ThinHeat technology, so clothes are breathable and wick away perspiration (with no pong).
Rohan hooded top (£65, rohan.co.uk) Lightweight, crease-resistant, washable and super-warm, this charcoal marl hoodie is very well cut. In merino and polyester, our commuter tester found it fulfils its promise to regulate body temperature both outdoors and in.
UNIQLO HEATTECH leggings (£12.90, uniqlo.com) I don’t leave home – and never go riding – without my Heattech leggings, which fit perfectly and (vitally) stay up. Mysteriously, the fabric now contains argan oil for super-softness. There are great T-shirts and camisoles available in Heattech fabric, too, and also men’s and children’s clothes.