Tag Archives: St Albans

Sensational Spa Day at Luton Hoo Hotel

Just before Christmas I had the opportunity for some much needed personal time and pampering. In the midst of all the holiday hype, I managed to find a morning where I could indulge myself into the relaxing retreat at the Luton Hoo Hotel Spa. img_0929It’s quite a magical place that helped me escape for just a little while and recharge my batteries.

From the moment you pass the majestic hotel gates and drive through the
countryside/golf course entrance you enter into an almost fairyland-esqe world that  begins melting and leaving the stresses of everyday life behind. Seriously; The Luton Hoo grounds are beautiful.

After parking my car and wandering through the woodland trails to the elegant spa entrance I was cheerfully greeted by the reception team, given a tour of the facilities and offered a cosy, terrycloth dressing gown to begin my experience.img_0940

 I  was booked in for the customized Luton Hoo Signature Treatment, but as I arrived early, had some time to decompress and take advantage of the offered facilities.

There’s a very calming atmosphere from the locker room to the spectacular (one of the best I’ve ever seen) oak framed pool area complete with infinity pool, vitality pool, and heat therapy suite.

img_0942After a little swim and sauna, I had a some time to spare before my treatment; Naturally, I ventured upstairs to the Relaxation Room to sample some herbal teas and dried fruit snacks while entranced by the sound of soothing music and the almost-sedative inducing fish tank bubbling. I almost didn’t need the treatment, though, as I was pretty much relaxed and ready for a nap.

I’m glad I held-out for the treatment, though (as if I’d miss it). The Luton Hoo Signature treatment, with the lovely Senior Therapist,  Becky, in charge, is 80 minutes of blissful calm. An ESPA-customized treatment specifically for Luton Hoo, the ritual takes you from a cleansing footbath to Balinese massage and can be incorporated with the most warming of hot stones. The ESPA oils are personalised to your liking and smell fantastic. Needless to say the overall experience left me ultra-relaxed and ready to take on the world. I’m even considering the Luton Hoo Spa membership just so I can unwind on demand.

Click here for more information on the Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa & here for Luton Hoo Spa Membership

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Review: “Mrs. Armitage and the Big Wave” A Great Family Day at the Theatre

Mrs. Armitage and her faithful dog, Breakspear, are off to the seaside for a day of surfing; but what happens while they’re waiting for the big wave makes Quentin Blake’s story a sincere display of true companionship, trust, problem solving, and eternal optimism.

I recently had the privilege of experiencing the Ga Ga Theatre Company’s adaptation of this lovely story at the Abbey Theatre in St. Albans. We took the whole family to this hour-long production and it was a wonderful, interactive way of giving young children a taste for the theatre, as well as having a lovely morning together.

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The entire play uses two clearly talented actors each portraying a handful of upbeat, amusing characters. Different voices and accents are used to give real variance and depth to the characters and certainly keep the audience, especially the children, interested.

The main characters endure many situations as they’re ‘waiting for the big wave;’ and with each comes the choice of either giving up or staying positive and finding a solution. These scenarios also made for some good discussion with the kids after the show.  mrs_armitage_0393

The combination of quality acting, funny lines, simple, yet clever, props, and animated, projected sketches make for a well-integrated way of interpreting Blake’s story. Well done to the Ga Ga Theatre Company for this fun production. Looking forward to your next project soon.

For more information on the Ga Ga Theatre Company and their coming productions, see the website, here: http://www.gagatheatre.co.uk

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Guest Post: Are “Running Clubs” Just for Professionals?

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Everyone’s heard of their local running club, or has that one person on Facebook who seems to be forever running marathons up and down the country; but are running clubs just for seasoned pros, or can anyone get involved?

We think the latter – the more people who get fit and active the better! And St Albans Half Marathon agree. Race Director, Katie Foweraker, says “We have over 6500 people taking part in our event each year, and the majority of them have never run a Half Marathon before! We are a community event and so our focus is on getting everyone in the area active and putting on a fun-filled community event to raise money for local charities”.

“We got some feedback after last years event that many women wanted to participate but just couldn’t get into running. The intention was there, but they didn’t know how to start, where to run or how to progress past a 60 second jog”.

Following this, St Albans Half Marathon started a Ladies’ only running group, Athena. About to launch their Spring Groups, which will be the second cohort since they started in January this year, Athena meets throughout the week with trained leaders to help the ladies progress reach their running goals.

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“The Spring Groups are a perfect time to start.” Says Katie “We will take the Athena ladies right up to the St Albans Half Marathon on 12th June 2016, where they can join ‘Team Athena’ in any of the races and reach the finish line together with their new found friends!”

The St Albans Half Marathon also has a Walking Half Marathon and 1.5k Fun Run so there’s something for everyone. And with a free ice lolly at the finish line and Athena ladies at your side, you will be smiling to the finish line!

As it’s a big community event, there will also be food and drink, children’s sport activities, face painting, arts and crafts plus inflatable fun, so you’re sure to have a great day, enjoying the sunshine and being active with the family!

Why not come along and get involved? Visit www.stalbanshalfmarathon.co.uk for more information on St Albans Half Marathon and Athena. Or if you’re not local, why not start your own beginners running group?! Just gather a few friends and set off with a St Albans Half Race as your motivational goal. Remember – a little run is better than no run!

“Be that person on Facebook sharing your finish line photo with your ice lolly in one hand and your medal in the other – you can do it!”

If you’d like to run the St. Albans Half Marathon then use code MUMSNET for 10% off all races – valid for the first 50 people only!

Post written by St. Albans Half Marathon staff writer.

 

 

LOCAL RESIDENTS JOIN FORCES TO RAISE MONEY FOR NEW PLAYGROUND

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A group of local residents has joined forces in a new fundraising initiative to turn a dilapidated playground in St Albans into a fantastic new play facility.

The Friends of Victoria Playing Field (FVPF), who organise the annual Larks in the Parks on the site, have launched a fundraising appeal via crowdfunding platform Spacehive to raise £20,000 to help fund a new playground for children of all ages.

FVPF are working in partnership with St Albans District Council who have already pledged £44,000 which will replace current equipment in the playground. The additional £20,000 will be used to improve the playground even more, including using sustainable materials on the playground.

The Friends’ aim is to extend the range and type of play equipment. This will include new features such as a multi-play activity circuit with tower, slide, climbing, balancing and interactive elements. There will also be the more traditional swings, seesaws and climbing frame.

Local dad and Friends’ member Tim Leicester says, “We are hugely enthusiastic about installing equipment which will help children develop their physical skills and fitness in a fun environment. We understand that raising this amount of money will require a major effort but we have had an excellent early response with pledges ranging from £2 to £50 in the first few days. There is a long way to go and we hope the people of St Albans and maybe further afield will support us by giving their contributions – small or large – and be part of providing an improved play facility for current and future generations.”

For more information and to donate to the project visit: http://spacehive.com/StAlbansPlayground.

Follow the activities of the Friends on Facebook: facebook.com/fvpfstalbans or on Twitter: @friendsvpf

Project contact details:

Tim Leicester

email tim.leicester@gknaerospace.com

mobile 07771811986

REVIEW: Verulamium Spa: A Local Luxury

Just moments from the heart, history, and happenings in St. Albans sits one of the county’s secret little treasures: The Verulamium Spa. With views of the park and the imposing cathedral, the spa resides within, but separate from, the fairly newly-built Westminster Lodge Leisure centre. The facilities cover two floors, and include everything you’d need and expect to ensure a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.

receptionAlthough the spa entrance requires passing through the buzzing fitness facilities, the reception offers an immediate feeling of friendliness, quietness, and calm. I was welcomed courteously, handed a dressing gown and slippers, asked if I wanted anything to drink, and it was off to the dressing room to change.

Once in my relaxing kit, I was provided an orientation on the offered facilities: the treatment rooms to the left; the bistro to the right offering an array of healthy smoothies, salads, and herbal teas; the indoor and outdoor (Summer) relaxation areas offering a deafening silence of lounging rest; and then downstairs for the heated chambers (Tepidarium, Lanconium, Calidarium, etc) and sauna. There are also additional areas for manicures and pedicures that are slightly separate from the more relaxing side of the spa. Overall, the facilities aren’t covering a huge area, but the layout and light, bright decor create a real sense of space.

I started my experience in the downstairs heat and steam area. I was a bit chilled from outside, so I immediately headed for the heated loungers, sipping my green tea, and caught-up on my magazine addiction.  I popped in and out of all the heat rooms and after about an hour and fifteen minutes of warming my bones and soaking my joints, it was time for the scheduled event, my 40-minute Back, Neck, and Shoulder massage. I’ve had some issues with my back and neck recently (due to too many children climbing into my bed at night), so I was really looking forward to this.

treatment_room I made my way back upstairs surfacing from the warmth and tranquility below and headed for the indoor relaxation room to await my massage. There was only one other person (sleeping) in the room, so I was able to sit back in peace continuing with my Hello glossy.

The moment arrived, off for my massage. The treatment room was decorated, again, with calming colours of comfort and plenty of space. Aromatherapy oils were filling the room with scents of flowers and fields (non-allergic, ones, thankfully!). The fresh-faced therapist asked all the precautionary health questions and if I had anything I needed focusing. I mentioned my neck issue and, although my injury isn’t healed completely, she certainly did something to ease the pain and loosen the area. The massage was lovely and although I could hear a slight bit of noise coming from the bistro from time to time, the experience was great.

All in all, I was delightfully impressed with this local St. Albans gem. It’s certainly not your grand, country hotel spa, but it’s not trying to be. It’s an urban spa offering a lovely, relaxing place to unwind, warm-up, and beautify; and for great value, I might add. I thoroughly recommend the Verulamium Spa and am looking forward to planning my return.

If you’re interested in some December party prep (valid through 31 Dec), the spa are promoting a great-value offer called the Party PackageYou can choose from three of any of the following treatments all for £50! I think this is a fab, seasonal deal:

jessica – Jessica geleration application on the hands

– Jessica geleration application on the feet                                           

– Express facial

– Lash & Brow tint

– Half leg & Bikini

– Full body application of the Clarins tan

For more information on the spa, check our listing here: http://local.mumsnet.com/hertfordshire/fitness-wellbeing-other/287863-verulamium-spa

FASHION COMES TO ST. ALBANS

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Look out London, Paris, Milan, and New York, St. Albans is arriving on the fashion scene and arriving big during the week of 27 October through 2 November.

Building on the success of the inaugural 2013 fashion week, this year’s campaign is focusing on a “Lose Yourself in the Fairytale of Fashion” where well-loved fairytales are fabulously updated by the local fashion and beauty scene, showcasing local retail and design talent and all delicately placed within St. Albans historical and iconic settings.

Throughout the week, St. Albans venues will be transformed into the hip, high street, and the haute. Days are jam-packed with events for all things fashion and beauty. Highlights include a Cathedral Catwalk (showcasing the longest indoor catwalk event in the UK), a luxury wedding event at Hatfield House, a sophisticated and elegant Luxe Fashion Show evening of cocktail dresses, tuxes, and martinis, as well as pop-up shops, workshops, and events for children.

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The organiser and founder is one of St. Albans own fashionistas, Ellena Ophira. What started as her blog, “Style in My City,” is now an fashion sector/event consultancy and is the driving force behind the concept, passion, and promotion. Ellena says, “I’m so proud that we have three shows this year. The climax of the week will still be the Cathedral Catwalk, which will focus on high street fashion, young talent and local designers, but each show will be  a spectacle in it’s own right, with it’s own unique style, atmosphere, and ambiance. I want to showcase the incredible fashion and beauty and young and local talent we have on our doorstep and give St. Albans a week that people will never forget.”

For more information on the week-long events: http://local.mumsnet.com/hertfordshire/other-local-events/308558-st-albans-fashion-week

Many events are free, but for ticketed events click here: http://stalbansfashionweek.com/ticketedevents/