The Sanctuary Spa

Monthly Favourites - January

Since putting myself through a month long ban on any makeup purchases which I (almost) stuck to, this months favourites are all about skin care. Travelling from one side of the globe to another this past month definitely put a strain on my skin, but luckily I found some amazing products to help with the transition.


Shiseido Benefiance Pure Retinol Instant Treatment Eye Mask

I attended my 20 year school reunion while I was in Sydney and there was no way I was going to that with bags under my eyes. These are so easy to use. You just pop them on for 5-10 minutes while you get dressed and do your hair, and by the time you are ready for makeup you just remove them and delicately massage in any excess. I think they did pep me up a little and gave me a perfect base to go in with my corrector and concealer. £ 59.00 here.

Sanctuary Spa Thermal Detox Mask

I picked this up in a mini travel sized sachet in Boots and took it away with me. I was so impressed with it that I purchased the full size last week while at the Sanctuary Spa. What makes it different from other deep cleansing masks is that it heats up once applied to your skin. The heat feels amazing! It is so reasonably priced and has been really good for my combination skin. A definite thumbs up. £10.20 here.


Kora Organics Hydrating Mask

I have been using this in tandem with the detox mask above. I use this one on my cheeks, forehead and all other areas of my face that are not congested while I use the detox mask around my chin area. Living in London in winter with the dry heating being pumped through the house makes your skin so thirsty and this mask does a good job of replumping the skin. £37 here.

By Terry Or de Rose Blush Prestige

I picked this up for half price while at the By Terry store in Paris in December and have been using it constantly. There are a few ways to use it, but my favourite is to add a pump to your foundation to give your skin a radiant glow. If I have any extra left on my hand, I lightly dab the remainder along my cheekbones for some added highlighting. Did I mention it was half price? 

By Terry Baume de Rose

I finally took the plunge and purchased this late last year. It is so good that I am dedicating an entire post to it so stay tuned. £38.00 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.

Scented Candle Library

Library, yes library. I am swimming in scented candles and am at the stage where I should catalogue them in categories depending on the needs of my different moods. What started as a little obsession with Diptyque which was allowed to develop due to the downright reasonable prices of them here in London compared to Sydney, has now expanded to a love of candles from a multitude of brands. Let me talk you through them.

The Big One - Fornasetti Scented Candle


More a work of art than just a candle. Just look at it. The packaging of this is just sublime. I almost can't wait for the candle to be finished so I can use the canister to store things in. This one doesn't come cheap at £99.00, but as I said before, it really is a work of art.


The Wee One - Diptyque mini candle in Rose (£20.00). Diptyque will always win the prize for strength of fragrance in my opinion. Even these little ones have scents that permeate your home. I have tried many of the different fragrances, and my favourites include Rose, Gardenia and Mimosa. The small size means if you like variety you can mix it up more often and once finished, they make adorable storage pots.


The Relaxer - This Works, Lavender and Vetivert candle. I picked this up at my local TK Maxx in the pre-Christmas sales for a very reasonable £15.00. The lavender and vertivert soothes and relaxes to help you slow down and unwind. Perfect for a night time burn. This no longer seems to be available, but you can view the other candles in the range here.


The Newbie - Sanctuary Spa Unwind Candle.  I picked this up at the Sanctuary Spa last week so it is brand new and hasn't yet been burned. I have been so pleased with the products I bought there so I have high hopes for this one. It cost £12.25 and was part of a 3 for 2 deal. 


Come Fly With Me - My Realistic Long Haul Flying Routine

Throughout the year I do my fair share of flying, but it is usually short hops within Europe with the odd trip to NYC thrown in. However, once a year I fly home to Sydney and that flight puts the LONG into long haul. For those British readers who are unaware, to get to Sydney you must endure two flights, each of which are between 8-12 hours. Your entire body is confused, your stomach wants a steak at 6am and no amount of coffee or alcohol can make you feel better. This joyful experience is happening to me and my family next week and the only way I can cope with the thought is by planning a few little in-flight skin treats to look forward to.


Once you have taken off and got your little ones settled, slip into the bathroom and do a quick cleanse of your face. I think this is one of the only times that Caroline Hirons supports the use of facial wipes, so go for it. They are easy to transport and cost effective. Take off all your makeup as if you are going to bed. Then it is time for some moisturising action. If you can't get to the bathroom, you can even do this step in your seat.

I picked up these masks in Boots recently on a 3 for 2 offer. The Moisture Boosting Mask is the one i'm going to use on-board. Once my face is cleansed, smooth this on and like it states on the back - 'leave on overnight for an extra moisture injection'. Apply some really good lip balm, I am using the Malin + Goetz Mojito one which you can read about here, and I will continue to reapply this incessantly throughout the flight. Now sit back and relax.

Face masks by The Sanctuary Spa, available at Boots

Face masks by The Sanctuary Spa, available at Boots

Before you land, slip back in to the bathroom and wash off the mask with water. Apply a layer of Hydraluron (you can read more about this wonder product here), then apply a generous layer of moisturiser. For this purpose, i'm using my Keihls Ultra Facial cream (details here).  

If you want to take it one step further, I recommend a quick application of tinted moisturiser and concealer before you disembark to pep you up. Slide on some lip gloss and you are good to go. As a good friend once advised me - 'you've got to touch up before you touch down' !! 

I'm also slipping this little multi-purpose balm 'Coiffette' by Jao into my carry-on, the makes of the fabulous Goe Oil. It moisturises cuticles, hair and skin and smells lovely.