As I arrived at the C-Side Spa, the mist was raising off the grass and the steam off the pool. I took a moment to appreciate the toddler free few hours of pampering that lay ahead.
I was greeted by Kirstie from Pinks Boutique for the first stage of my treatment; we drank coffee, chatted and browsed through a ‘your pregnancy journey’ booklet. The questions are so detailed, a fabulously tailored service for a personal treatment journey; from medical aspects to the positions you feel comfortable in. Once Kirstie and I had finished chatting it was time to change, ready for the second event of the day, a massage.
Once changed, I waited in the relaxation room and had a browse of the ‘Organic Pregnancy and Beyond’ booklet. It was packed full of information about the benefits of organic; from what is good and bad for both you and your baby’s skin, to the environmental impact of sourcing ingredients and ethical values.
I was greeted by my masseuse, Beckie, who escorted me to the treatment room. Beckie asked all the relevant questions about painful areas, preferred pressure then, to my delight, handed me a music menu. (Something I find a little bone of contention, for me the wrong music and the relaxing mood can be instantly killed). So, Zero 7 started playing on the stereo and I moved on to choosing my oil, energising orange or calming rose. Rose was the order of the day.
During my own pregnancy I attempted so many massages and was sorely disappointed each time, from the position of the massage to the professionalism, just because I’m sitting up… does not mean I want to chat!… And I’m not just a big Grinch, I just love to shut down my thoughts during treatments.
My 60 minute full body massage with Beckie was amazing. I was wrapped in a sarong and sat over an exercise ball leaning on the bed. Beckie then spritzed the room with the rose scent, a lovely touch to tune in all of the senses. The positioning was perfect to get the symmetry that is always lacking during a pregnancy massage. Though a little tip… Keep your pants on! I’m usually a nudie for a treatment, but legs akimbo over the ball; the paper pants don’t cut the mustard!!
The next part was lying on one side with a body length pillow that fits you body’s contours. Beckie started at my feet worked up my legs to my back and along one arm, including all the details like working each finger. Instead of the dreaded roll over, the Pinks Boutique have thought every detail… no roll over, I gracefully changed ends! Beckie did the same wonderful routine on the other side. I did not want it to end… and it didn’t! I was then turned into my back, and covered under a warm towel with just my tummy exposed, ready for a bump massage, such a wonderful detail. So relaxed I didn’t want to get up!
After my massage I caught up with Kirsty for a peppermint tea in the relaxation room to learn more about Pinks Boutique. The level of detail that has gone into the research is amazing. Kirsty has looked at the different trimesters and broken them down, the treatments they are offering are not one size fits all; their specific treatment guide explains which treatments work well in each trimester.
The treatment didn’t end at the end of the spa day, I went home with recommendations of at-home massage techniques to reduce ankle swelling, carpal tunnel and other pregnancy problems. I was also given a booklet full of lots of guidance for keeping those nasty hidden chemicals off baby’s skin, it included information on products from bottles, to nappies to wipes and bath products. Kirsty also unpicked the grey areas of the beauty industry’s claims of ‘no more tears’ and how many natural ingredients it really needs to contain to have ‘organic’ gracing its bottle.
During my own pregnancy I was determined to do everything I could to keep the stretch marks away. Massaging the affected areas in circular motions daily to manipulate the skin was the recommendation. I, like so many others, went out and brought myself a bottle of Bio Oil, that’s good for stretch marks right? Wrong. Daily use was not doing anything at all. So I then switched to a completely organic product and still maintain it’s the reason I kept them away. The Pinks Boutique booklet gives ingredients comparison of Bio Oil vs Rose Jojoba Oil. I was shocked to learn that Bio Oil, and so many other products, use paraffinum liquidum – a derivative of petrol – as the main ingredient. I certainly don’t want to rub that into my skin, let alone have its chemicals transferred to my growing baby.
The day included lunch in the Manor, which I attended in my robe. It’s not usually a custom of mine to eat in a bathrobe, but hey… when in Rome. After a wonderfully relaxed two courses overlooking the grounds, it was back down to the spa to have a relax by the pool. Cowley and it’s family friendly attitude really is a fantastic backdrop for organic pregnancy and beyond treatments.
Kirsty and husband Luke, with their Pinks Boutique, truly have spectacularly filled a gap in the market. I would have loved this during my pregnancy; what makes it such a fabulous experience is that it’s so well researched. Kirsty has experienced pregnancy, researched the treatments available and explored the possibilities. Pinks Boutique have delivered not just a treatments menu, with excellent in depth knowledge of it’s staff, but a well presented accessible guide to organic skincare that goes beyond the boundaries of the spa and into everyday living.
A Guest Blog from Kate Ransome
Kate is a Cheltonian mum of one and photographer at Little Cheltenham.
Kate was gifted this experience by Cowley Manor and CheltenhamMaman but all opinions are her own. Find out more about the Cowley Manor and Pinks Boutique offering here.
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