Every year we are treated to a weekend of pampering when the city of Edinburgh hosts ‘Spa in the City’. Normally this just takes place in St. Andrew’s Square but this year it spread out across 3 sites with the addition of the Grassmarket and in front of House of Fraser on Princes Street. Spa in City gives all of us health and beauty fanatics and all curious others a chance to try some freebies, including beauty products, treatments and food and drink. But, what I think is more important, is that this weekend allows us to meet local therapists and businesses so that when the weekend is over we have more knowledge about what is available to us all year round. So if you’ve walked past a day spa and wondered what goes on inside – this is your chance to find out!
I have enjoyed these events in previous years; I joined a free Zumba class, had diamond microderm abrasion, relaxing facials and sampled healthy ‘mocktails’ and not so healthy (but tasty!) cakes and brownies and met lots of lovely therapists. But unfortunately I missed out on this year’s event as I was gallivanting up mountains in Italy (my hubby ‘drags’ me to the Giro d’Italia every year – men in lycra, gorgeous scenery, amazing food – it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make!!). I really think this annual event is an important part of the Edinburgh calendar so I really wanted to include it on healthy edinburgh; I put out a plea on facebook for some ‘roving reporters’ and had a great response. So, if like me, you couldn’t make it to Spa in the City hopefully these guest blogs will give you an insight into what takes place and some inspiration to try some of these treatments throughout the year.
GUEST BLOGGER: TERESA DICKSON OF GLANCE OBSERVE CAPTURE PHOTOGRAPHY
Teresa is a commercial photographer who loves to find beauty in every day experiences. You can find more of her amazing images on her blog Glance Observe Capture Photography. I’m thrilled to have Teresa share her gorgeous pictures as well as her experience of Spa in the City….
Saturday morning we were up bright and breezy ready to register for some of the treatments on offer at Spa in the City. We arrived at the Grassmarket at 9.15 – I figured there would be less queues here than at the main area at St Andrews Square. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed at first, as there weren’t many tents at this prime location. As a result, most of the appointment slots were already booked for the morning (even though it was early) thankfully we managed to get booked in for the afternoon for a manicure. A girl really shouldn’t complain ….after all these treatments and taster session are all free!!
With the morning to kill on the recommendation of the girls at the registration tent, (armed with our freebie tote bags and samples) we wandered up to the West End where we booked in for make up sessions later that morning. There seemed to be a real buzz, with www.beswitchedon.com – handing out love heart sweets in preparation for the flirting workshops to be held later that day.
My daughter Mia and I had both booked in for a session with Benefit as we like their products and have a fair few between us. Janna from Benefit was really friendly, and gave great advice. We both got to try out different products, including the skincare range which felt super on my skin. Both of us go for a smoky eye/natural lip look and Janna recommended Gimme Brow, to define my brows. I was so delighted with how it looked on both of us, I popped into the Benefit counter at House of Frasers and bought some.
Lush Spa on Princes Street was our next call for a complimentary hand and arm massage (free all weekend in store). You could choose from the lovely range of massage bars (with names like Tender is the Night, Each Peach and Strawberry Feels Forever, who could resist?) The relaxing massage was finished off with dusting powder to absorb the extra oil and leave you feeling silky smooth.
Back to the Grassmarket, we stopped to buy olives at the Farmers market and then onto our manicure. Whilst Mia was getting her nails, filed, buffed and polished in two shades of blue, Leslie from Sublime Hair Design said he could give me a quick consultation regarding my hair, whilst I was waiting. I was really happy with the new shape of my nails and received some great after-care advice.
The Hula Juice Bar tent was vibrant, packed with fruit and vegetables and had a great atmosphere, with the girls handing out taster size portions of juice to passers-by. I love Hulas juices and we had planned on heading there for late lunch but the queue was out of the door!
Everyone we met was super friendly, welcoming and helpful. Time was not rushed and each session felt personal. All in all we had a great girlie day out, got some great tips and met some lovely people. This was our first visit to Spa in the City and I will definitely be going along next year!
GUEST BLOGGER: JAN BECKETT
Jan is an Edinburgh resident who has been an active contributor to the ‘healthy edinburgh’ community. Jan, a nurse and social worker, hails from Lenzie but is now resident in Edinburgh and enjoys exploring health and wellbeing in the City.
Here’s what Jan got up to at Spa in City….
This was our second year at Spa in the City, and we were blessed with such a lovely sunny day last year! Since then, the event has expanded from one to three sites, which offers a chance for more treatments, if you are quick at online booking or walking on the day!! On the Sunday we woke to grey skies and drizzle 🙁 , but nothing ventured nothing gained and, together with a huge brolly, we joined a small but enthusiastic queue in St Andrews Square for registration.
The Square looked great with small Marquees representing different shops and brands and with treatments offered inside!
There was even a Jazz band in one tent who, like the Titanic Orchestra, played bravely on as the waters rose! I had looked at the pre-plan on the facebook site, and thought about a Lush treatment this year, but opted for Neal’s Yard again for their great massages, and the hubby fancied one too. Overall the staff were friendly and there were free Goodie Bags as usual, though a bit more sparse this year and they couldn’t find the ones for guys, despite quite a few men in the queue!
We took a detour to Nero Cafe in the nearby Multrees walk for a restorative coffee in the company of Edinburgh Marathon runners, including Minnie + Mickey Mouse; running for British Heart Foundation :). Glad we could use our brolly rather than the black plastic bags runners were gamely donning for the rain!!
The Neal’s Yard massages were great, a back + shoulders for me, and one for hubby focusing on his sore knee. Both lovely girls, and very experienced therapists. With free Herbal tea, discount vouchers for future treatments, as well as advice – we left very happy campers!
Next we were off to the West End for my pre-booked facial, which was in the Pure Spa tent done by Elemis. Nice to see about four Marquees in the West end too, and friendly atmosphere despite the rain!
The girls even offered Graham a free manicure, although he quickly turned this down being a bit of a Scottish cave man! 😉 I had a Biotech facial; this is like a normal facial but with techy bits like electrodes to stimulate muscles + puffs of Oxygen to hydrate. Great fun, and as the lovely regional Elemis Rep said, ‘it’s like taking your face to the Gym!’ If that sounds sore, it wasn’t… just tickly! And, the soothing face massage afterwards was Pure Bliss! 🙂
We didn’t make it to the Grassmarket site, but instead opted of for lunch at the “Lioness of Leith”. We were happy with our free Spa Day, which was a success due to the enthusiasm and professionalism of all the contributors, despite the Scottish weather’s best efforts to dampen the day!
See you there next year!!
GUEST BLOGGER: TABATHA GLANCY OF BACON SHORTBREAD CHRONICLES
Tabatha hails from a small town in the USA where the only traffic jam to ever happen was when some cows got loose on Main Street. Before her first trip to the ‘burgh she had to use Google to find out what country she was in fact visiting. Seven years later she’s a full time Edinburgh resident enjoying life on this side of the pond. Her blog, Bacon Short Bread Chronicles details Tabatha’s misadventures adjusting to life in Scotland as an ex-pat.
Here’s Tabatha experience….
Spa in the City was off to a great start on Saturday. The morning was dry-ish by Edinburgh standards and the beginning of a bank holiday weekend. The event involves free mini treatments from vendors and businesses based in Edinburgh. Most of them were high street, well-known names such as Super Drug, Boots, Pure Spa and John Lewis. It would be great to see small/independent businesses encouraged to participate in the future.
This year Spa in the City was over two days at three different venues with themes of indulge, inspire and invigorate, taking place at the west end by House of Fraser, The Grassmarket and St Andrew’s Square. I went for the St Andrew’s square location to get some shopping in and because the treatments on offer were more Spa-like which is exactly what I wanted.
I pre-booked a treatment when they went up on Facebook earlier in the week which was a relief when I noticed the queue.
One of the friendly event staff came up to me with a goodie bag and signed me in. The goodie bags were in branded shopping totes which was a nice touch, however the contents were a bit of a let-down with a few sachets of wrinkle cream (which I don’t use in abundance at the age of 27) shower gel and 2 wee perfume vials. There was also nail polish and a fruit energy drink as full size products. It wasn’t until later when I saw on the event Facebook page there were books of offers which would have been handy to include in the goody bag.
As I waited for my manicure with Super Drug I enjoyed the chilled out band playing chart songs on string instruments. My treatment was a manicure in the Super Drug tent. I wandered in promptly at half nine and met Megan who would be doing my nails. She was super friendly and just finished school ready to head off to Uni in the fall. We had a great chat which I enjoyed as much as my manicure. She gave me a quick file and let me pick my colour. I went for sky blue hoping it would influence the weather outside. After a few coats of colour and before my top coat Meagan informed me I was the first person’s nails that she has painted. Ever. We had a laugh and I told her it was a good strategy to save that confession for the end of the treatment.
After 25 minutes I was on my way having a wander around the various tents. There were loads of nice looking treatments, unfortunately the event limited everyone to just one treatment. Most of the venders didn’t have any samples or even fliers to take away with information on the treatments/services which I think is a shame they didn’t use the event to its full advantage from an advertising standpoint. The tents were quite spaced out and there really wasn’t enough to see and do if you came into the city just for this event. The weather was very Scottish over the weekend so that may have accounted for the lack of numbers. Spa in the City really needed a warm sunny day to do it justice. I was really glad I didn’t go for a massage with the chilly wet weather, though it did take ages for my manicure to dry whilst I walked around holding my wiggling fingers out like I was starring in a flash mob. Overall it’s a great event idea and nice for a wee oasis while out shopping. I left feeling relaxed and ready to tackle the rest of the weekend.