You know how it is, you make plans with friends and promise that you’ll see each other soon, but those plans never materialize. Before you know it, months have passed. That’s how it had been for Jenna and I. For each other’s birthday, we had promised to treat ourselves to a day at the spa. A day where we could relax and have a good old catch up. So this half term, we decided to visit the spa at the Macdonald Kilhey Court Hotel, in Wigan.
We’d purchased the Time Together Valentine Spa Day for a total price of £109. Although more expensive than their competitors, we felt that the deal offered good value for money. Included was an Elemis 60-minute deep tissue massage, lunch and a glass of champagne,and full use of the facilities. At £54.50 each, it sounded perfect.
Arriving just before 11am, we were welcomed by a long wait at reception. Five minutes later, their receptionist arrived looking flustered but welcomed us pleasantly. We later discovered that their staff are so busy accommodating their customers, that a short wait is sometimes inevitable. However, we could not complain as our every need was fulfilled. We were pleased to see that we could help ourselves to tea, coffee and water whilst we filled in our details. Whilst we contemplated our skin type and meal preferences, we were given robes and slippers. A short tour of the facilities later, we had slipped into our costumes and robes and sat relaxing in the Jacuzzi whilst we awaited our treatments.
At 12.30pm prompt, Katie escorted us to our treatment rooms. Pleasingly, she gave us the option of choosing a 30-minute deep tissue massage with a 30-minute facial, or using the full hour for the full-body deep tissue massage. As my back was still sore from a weekend in London, I chose to have the back, neck and shoulders massage with the facial. Maybe it’s just me, but my mum has instilled the importance of looking after your skin in me. I was so glad that I chose that option. Using Elemis products, Katie left my face feeling as soft as a baby’s bum. For hours afterwards, I could still feel the products effects. I really valued having the choice and the expert advice I was given during the facial was invaluable.
I wasn’t alone. Jenna left her treatment glowing. It was clear that she’d also chose the same treatments as me. We sat in the relaxation room afterward, lusting after the Elemis products which had made our skin feel almost teenage again. High on our list was the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Scrub, closely followed by the Elemis Daily Moisturiser. We sat in our robes trying to convince ourselves of the many reasons we clearly needed both products in our life.
Before long, it was time for lunch in the restaurant. Fully dressed, our rumbling stomachs were escorted over to the restaurant with our healthy dinners awaiting us. I chose chicken cous cous with a side of cucumber and celery, with a tzatziki side. I was so glad to see that there was a chunk of carrot carrot waiting to award me for my healthyish lunch.
After lunch, we were free to enjoy the spa facilities in our own time. Neither of us had brought our gym kits, this was no accident, so we returned to the pool. Can you believe that we had it to ourselves? For the hour we spent enjoying the pool, sauna and steam room, we could talk openly and give up our body confidence issues.
When we were suitably pruned, we headed back to the relaxation room where dim lights and meditation music welcomed us. Pouring ourselves a coffee, we dried off and continued to neglect our books whilst we talked and talked and talked.
By the end of the day, when the only thing left to do was shower, I felt so relaxed. My massage had eased the pain in my shoulders and I was already hatching plans to return. Honestly, I couldn’t recommend it enough. If you fancy a spa break at Kilhey Court, they’re offering a Mother’s Day Spa break for the bargain price of £89, for two. Alternatively, you can book a taster session for £40 each at Spa Breaks.
*Post not written in collaboration with brand. All opinions are my own as I felt a good deal deserved sharing. Thanks Macdonalds hotels.*
‘Some rare delight in Manchester town…that was my favourite dress.’
My Favourite Dress by The Wedding Present
Today marks the halfway point of the 100 Day Spending Ban. I’m pleased to report that I’ve made it this far, this far without any purchases. No clothes, shoes or accessories. It’s been a long hard slog, one that has been filled with temptation, gingham patterns and a lot of frustration, but I’m still smiling. The spending ban has made me more aware of my disposable income and I’ve been able to spend my money on other things; things for the home, my summer vacation and day trips away. It’s certainly helping me on my way to my New Year’s resolution of becoming financially responsible.
So far, it hasn’t been easy. On a recent trip to the local charity shop, as I was donating some clothes I spied a beautiful pastel pink polka dot jumper for £1. Just £1. It would have fit right into my life, making itself a home between my grey marl dress and skinny jeans. But, a ban is a ban. No exceptions. Then, there’s the endless emails that arrive in my inbox daily. The emails that I have to delete straight away before the little voice in my head persuades me to just have a look and see what’s hitting the Spring collections. It’s a saucy little temptress.
As I write this, I’m trying to contemplate how I’ve survived. I can only attribute my good behaviour to finding key pieces in my wardrobe that I absolutely love. Who would have thought that a plain, fine knit jumper would become one of my favourite items of clothing? I’ve featured every piece of this outfit on Polkadot Pink before, however I find myself drawn to them.
// Coat :: Topshop // Dress :: River Island // Jumper :: H&M // Shoes :: Primark // Bag :: Cambridge Satchel Company // Necklace :: vintage //
As you know, Rachel, Lena B, and Debbie are also taking on the 100 Day Spending Ban, but have you heard about Emma’s challenge? Recently, whilst procrastinating on Twitter, I happened to catch a tweet from Emma. She is undertaking a challenge with a difference by deciding to give up the high street for an entire year. Yes, you heard me right! A year! Naturally, I was intrigued, so I asked what you’re probably thinking, ‘Where are you allowed to shop?’ Emma tweeted back explaining that she’s hoping to create a unique wardrobe by only allowing herself to buy items from eBay and charity shops. I’m excited to read her updates, her thrifted hauls and curious to know if I’d be able to complete a task such as this.
Looking back, I would purchase new things almost weekly. Nothing ever too expensive, but every reasonably priced dress adds up. I’m ashamed to admit that a lot of these purchases are still hanging in my wardrobe brand new with tags. To overcome this guilt, in March, I will be eBaying my closet. All over again. If you caught the start of my eBay series last year, you may be pleased to hear that I’ll be bringing it back. Bringing it back when I can offer fresh advice from current experience.
What will the next fifty days hold? I have no idea. Taking a guess, I’d say a lot of unnecessary lusting after high heels, mooning over handbags and picking out my Spring wardrobe. A girl can dream.
Have you ever undertaken a challenge that has tested your willpower?
You can read all about my first day of sightseeing in London, here, and see what I wore on day two, here.
As you know, John and I checked out of our hotel early on Sunday morning and headed to the heart of Shoreditch. With a quick pit stop at Costa Coffee, we snaffled breakfast en route and went in search of street art. John had researched some exciting new pieces, who was I to deny him his first love? Within minutes, we’d come across this group of early risers perched two-stories high on top of a train.
A friendly wave and a few cheers later, we were seeking out the Star Wars themed work of the French street artist, Invader. Once found, it seemed that we’d struck street art gold. I’m no stranger to Berlin and its vast array of street art, but walking around the streets of Shoreditch was an eye-opening experience. It was visual delight, an open air exhibition of some of street art’s iconic artists. Every corner held another piece of art. Another surprise, another game of who can name the artist the quickest.
We spent a couple of hours strolling Shoreditch’s streets, snapping artists that we recognised and art that just plain took our fancy. We found ourselves on Leonard Street across from the Pure Evil gallery. Popping in quickly, we spied more pieces of art that we would have dearly loved to have taken home. Sadly, art it expensive. It just wasn’t to be, not this time.
After being accosted on the street by an amorous gentleman (boyfriend found this hilarious) we decided to check out the Howard Griffin Gallery to see The Bestiary, an exhibition by Sheffield street artist, Phlegm.
After a morning spent earning girlfriend points, we headed towards Brick Lane, stopping only at the Mr Penfold adorned ice cream parlous, Benets, for a blood orange cone. The sun was shining, it would have been rude not to. Brick Lane had transformed in the few hours since we’d been there, people milled and marketers yelled.
I’ve always wanted to visit Brick Lane. Personally, I blame Kirsty Allsopp. She made me believe it was the mecca of vintage finds, just waiting to be upcycled and taken home. Not that I could have carried furniture home, but you get my point. Whilst I wasn’t destined to strike gold, I loved the atmosphere. It seemed the sun had brought everyone out and had certainly put me in a good mood.
The boy and I had been on Brick Lane the night before, we had planned to meet Erica and her other half, Dean, for a curry. With chaotic weather disrupting transport, I didn’t get to meet my lovely, be-fringed friend but I did get to experience Brick Lane. We passed Rough Trade records and I made John promise that we would visit the very next day. True to his promise, we did. He didn’t understand my excitement, but my 18 year-old self was giving me big thumbs up whilst I fought the urge to buy a tote bag.
We spent the afternoon popping in and out of shops, mainly vintage. Sure, we have vintage shops up here in the north, but these vintage shops were different. Our favourite find? A shop which sold vintage clothing and vintage cameras. John was happy to browse the rare cameras whilst I cursed the spending ban and daydreamed about owning all the pretty dresses. All of them.
With hours left before our train home up north, we decided to check out C215’s ‘Back to Black’ exhibition at the Stolen Space Gallery. Previously, I’d seen C215’s pieces in Kreuzberg, Berlin, so it was exciting to see them back on home turf and presented in a different medium. From cans to suitcases, post boxes to wall space, it was unique. Our timing in London couldn’t have been more perfect.
Have you spent a day in Shoreditch?
As always, much love,
What I Wore in London
“In the city, it’s alright.” 22 Grand Job, The Rakes
Dressing for a city break aint no easy task. Considering the recent storms, lashings of rain and blustery winds, my outfits for two days in London needed to be practical and fit inside a tiny Kanken rucksack. No easy feat, trust me. However, when John surprised me with this gingham dress on Valentine’s Day I knew that he was the one it would be the perfect dress to take to London.
Waking early on Sunday morning, we checked out of our hotel before 9am to hit the streets of Shoreditch. With the forecast promising at least a morning filled with sunshine, we wanted to see as much of London’s street art as possible before the weather turned. Passing the most quaint and wonderful street en route, it seemed the most perfect setting to share my outfit with you.
As you know, I’ve been coveting a monochrome dress for the longest time. First setting my sights on The White Pepper smock dress, then the YMC checkerboard dress, until this beauty entered my radar. The Boohoo Polly Dress, perfectly priced at £18. Since the start of the spending ban, I’ve been deleting any tempting emails that come through. I’m working on the premise that if I don’t know it’s there, I won’t want to buy it. Until now. In conversation, I may have mentioned Boohoo’s dupe dress to the boyfriend.
I’m not alone with my love of monochromed gingham, Helen also blogged about gingham with her ‘This is England’ style FCUK shirt. Perfection. I’m looking forward to layering this dress with a biker jacket, or a chunky knit. It’s the perfect go-to dress, I also wore this on Saturday night when I was supposed to be meeting Erica and Dean. If you hadn’t heard, the weather ruined our plans. Sigh.
|// Dress :: Boohoo // Rucksack :: Fjallraven Kanken // Boots :: Topshop // Belt :: Topshop // Scarf :: Urban Outfitters (Mens) //
I’ve had to compromise in quality. The buttons feel like they’ll fall off after a few wears and the fabric is thin. However, I don’t care one little bit. I can sew the buttons on tightly and wear an underskirt. If anything, it’s renewed my dedication for the spending ban, 45 days in and 55 to go!
What do you wear on a city break?
Do you think fashion or comfort?
Can there ever be both?
As always, much love,
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