Luxe skincare - Antonia Burrell

I haven't posted a product review in a while. This is due in part to my ban on unnecessary purchases and for the fact that for the past few months I have been trialling the products I sell via My Showcase. The range that I have been the most impressed with on the skincare side has been Antonia Burrell.


Antonia is an amazing facialist and works out of the Urban Bliss Retreat in Ladbroke Grove. Her treatments are of the highest calibre and I am thrilled to have been introduced to her and her products through My Showcase. I had been searching for a truly excellent skin guru ever since arriving in London and i'm so pleased to have found someone with such amazing knowledge, who focusses on women aged 30+ with problematic skin.  My first facial with her was so good that I went out that night without wearing makeup and I promptly rebooked to see her again.

Her range, entitled Antonia Burrell Holistic Skincare, is 100% natural and predominantly organic. The products come housed in violet glass which feels luxuriously weighty and helps to preserve the natural ingredients inside.

The Natural Glow Cleansing Oil is the first product from her range that I have tried and I knew within the first few uses that I will be repurchasing it when my rather large, 200ml bottle runs out. It smells incredible making my nightly cleanse a treat and being an oil that you apply with dry hands to a dry face means that you really spend the time to massage it in. It is easily removed with warm water as it emulsifies from an oil to a milky liquid. After I use it my skin is unbelievably soft. £39.50 for 100ml and £59.50 for 200ml.


The second product I have tried is the Luminous Light Polishing Powder. I had been unhappy with my exfoliating regime for a while. Using acid toners as I had been for the past 12 months doesn't give you the satisfaction of sloughing off the dead skin, yet I was also aware that I have to be careful not to over scrub my problem areas. This Polishing Powder has a lovely texture that transfers to a foam as you apply water. It buffs the skin rather than scrubbing it so it doesn't feel abrasive. The smell again is rather lovely in an earthy way and the jar comes with a spoon to help dispense the product. £45.50.


Next on my hit list for this range is the Pure Therapy Facial Serum, the Forest Dew Skin Conditioner and the Cream Supreme Facial Moisturiser. I am so impressed with the range so far and I really can't wait to give these a try too. You can buy Antonia's products via My Showcase here. Although not widely available, you can find these in Australia, to view the stockists click here.


The Sanctuary Spa Review

Last Friday, as part of my Christmas haul, I spent a day relaxing at The Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden. I had wanted to check it out ever since reading Paula Joye's review (which you can check out here). I'm not a seasoned spa goer and tend to find switching off completely a challenge, however I was determined to spend the day and give it my all.

My first dealings with Sanctuary Spa were somewhat challenging. I tried to book by leaving a message which was never returned. I then tried again to ring through a few days later only to be left on hold for more than 15 minutes per time. I ended up having to harrang them on twitter, and finally a few hours later someone returned my call. It was a touch exhausting. 

The outside of the Spa. You would never guess that 5 levels of bliss are hidden behind these walls ....

The outside of the Spa. You would never guess that 5 levels of bliss are hidden behind these walls ....

When booking I opted for the Perfect Pamper Day which included a couple of treatments and use of all the facilities over an 8 hour period. My first impressions upon arrival were good - the check-in process was amazingly smooth, the change rooms were buzzing with staff and fellow spa goers. They had really thought of everything in terms of robes, plastics bags to carry paperwork with you, mini juice shots to enjoy and more.The spa is set out over 5 levels and includes 2 swimming pools, sauna, steam room, the koi lounge, tons of treatment rooms, a cafe and very well stocked shop.

Once I was changed and orientated, I went for a swim in the exercise pool followed by a stint in the sauna. The Koi Lounge was a really nice chill-out area where I had a spot of morning tea while reading a magazine. I came back to this area a lot over the course of the day. 

The Koi Lounge, image courtesy of Sanctuary Spa

The Koi Lounge, image courtesy of Sanctuary Spa

My first treatment was a 25 minute Hot Lava Shell massage on my back, neck and shoulders. I am a big fan of a hot stone massage and this didn't disappoint. I glided out of there on a cloud to my next session which was a 30 minute sleep retreat. This was held in a darkened room where you lay on chaise lounges which gently vibrated as you were taken through a guided meditation. I'm not one to meditate but I must say, I did find this thoroughly relaxing and as I held fairly low expectations for this one, it was an unexpected treat.

Lunch was immense - two courses with a glass of wine thrown in. I'm not sure I would recommend the wine. I felt quite zonked for the rest of the day after that. My final treatment was the Sanctuary Prescription Facial and it was really just so average - no proper analysis of my skin under a bright light, it was like the facialist was on auto-pilot. She massaged the most grainy exfoliant all over my face which I was not impressed with as I suffer from broken capillaries and have always been told to avoid using anything granular. I felt as if my skin was being rubbed red raw. There was no explanation as to what masks she used after that and honestly by that point, I was not even bothered to ask. I kind of just wanted it to end. It was a shame really as up until that point the day had been very enjoyable.

At the end of the day I did what I do best, I shopped. 

At the end of the day I did what I do best, I shopped. 

All in all this is a really lovely place to spend a day and make full use of the facilities. The facial really let it down for me so unless you are like Paula Joye and get to see Nichola Joss herself,  I would stick to the body treatments. Having said that, I would definitely go again to relax as I really enjoyed the pools and the overall ambiance. Oh and the shop sells their lovely range of products which are all really reasonably priced!  You can check them out here and in Australia you can buy them through Priceline here.