Elemis Superfood Home Facial

Elemis Superfood Home Facial

I don’t know about you but I have been looking for an array of things to help me take my mind of everything that is going on at the moment and self-care has been one thing that I has kept me going. There is nothing I miss more than a relaxing facial treatment and I am missing my visits to Soprano Ice’s Facial Spa located in the south of Edinburgh. They recently came to the rescue and very kindly supplied me with a range of vegan and plant-based products from the Elemis superfood range.

The first thing you obviously need in order to carry out the facial is the products. Luckily Elemis Superfood products are an affordable range and are available on many online stores. They are vegan and plant-based and full of prebiotics that helps calm, hydrate and smoothes the skin. What’s even better is that it’s suitable for all ages so if you wish you can get the whole household to join in.

I thought I would use the range to do a nurturing facial at home that you guys could incorporate into your routine to help boost your skin’s health whilst helping you relax and unwind. So find a quiet place in the house, light up your favourite candle, put on some relaxing music and let me show you how to carry out your very own facial at home.

Step One – Double cleanse 

Double cleansing the skin helps remove makeup, SPF and any impurities that may have built upon the skin throughout the day. It also prepares the skin in order for it to fully absorb all the products that will be used in the facial.

First Cleanse

The first cleanser is the Superfood Facial Wash, this gel has a really thick and hydrating texture. It is filled with prebiotics to help balance the skin and includes an array of nutritious super greens such as kale, wheatgrass and broccoli.

Superfood Facial Wash

Directions – Apply the cleanser to dry skin, massage and take a moment to absorb the lovely fresh and uplifting scent (which reminds me of a really nutritious green smoothie). Using a warm damp face cloth, gently remove the cleanser from the face.

Breath in those lovely aromas

Second Cleanse 

Cleanse your face again but this time uses the Superfood Cica Calm Foam Cleanser. This cleanser provides antioxidant protection from fermented green tea seed oil. It also includes olive, mango and rice water which keeps the skin hydrated and provides the skin with nutrients.

Superfood Cica Calm Cleansing Foam

Directions – Apply a few pumps into the hand and massage onto a wet face and then with a dampened cloth, delicately remove the product from the skin.

Step Two – Tone

After cleansing its time to tone the skin with the Superfood Keri Tea Mist Spray. It includes rooibos tea which is a rich antioxidant and also has aloe Vera and coconut water which again provides extra nourishment. This can be used at the toning stage but it also throughout the day to give an added boost to the skin.

Superfood Kefir-Tea Mist

Directions – Close your eyes, spray over the skin and allow to absorb.

Step Three – Exfoliate

The next step of the facial is exfoliation and this is done using the fantastic Superfood Blackcurrant Jelly Exfoliator. Not only does this product smell amazing it also contains small blackcurrant particles to exfoliate and remove any build-up of dead skin cells. The addition of glycerin leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft.

Superfood Blackcurrant Jelly Exfoliator

Directions – Apply a thin layer to the skin and leave on like a mask and whilst those nutritional ingredients absorb fully it’s time to do a facial steam. You can purchase facial steamers online but this can easily be done by using simple items in the home. Fill a large bowl with hot water and place a your head above the steam. In order to capture the steam further place a towel overhead. For an added spa-like experience, add some essential oils to the water and breath in those lovely aromas. Do this for around ten minutes.

Before removing you can really take the opportunity to sculpt the face and use massage techniques in order to encourage lymphatic drainage. This helps depuff the face and release toxins. Ria from Soprano Ice has some tips below:

Afterwards, massage the skin fully so that the blackcurrant particles exfoliate further and then remove with a damp cloth.

Step Four – Face Mask 

It is time to treat the skin using the Superfood Vital Veggie Mask. This particularly helps with dull skin as its full of brightening and nourishing ingredients. As well as being packed full of super greens it also has passion fruit acid in there which hydrates the skin. The mask doesn’t use clay which can often dry out the skin.

Superfood Vital Veggie Mask

Directions – Apply a thin layer to the skin and allow those nourishing ingredients to get to work. Now is a great time to sip on a lovely green tea, listen to some tranquil music, lay back and relax. After 10-15 minutes, rinse the mask off using a warm dampened cloth.

Step Five – Calm, Hydrate and Moisturise

The last step really depends on the condition of your skin. Lately, mines has been very dehydrated, so I am going to use a combination of products to help with this condition.

The Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice is a really light gel moisturiser designed to help cool and calm the skin. It includes aloe Vera and cucumber, so really good if you have any sensitivity issues. It has a light uplifting scent and leaves the skin refreshed.

Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice

Directions – Apply a small amount to the fingers and massage into the skin and allow the product to fully absorb.

Using an oil not only helps seal in those previous products but also adds a further boost of hydration to the skin. Superfood Facial Oil is filled with rich omegas from broccoli, flaxseed and rosehip oil and has a really fresh and uplifting fragrance.

Superfood Facial Oil

Directions – Apply a few drops to the hand, warm into the palms and press into the skin on the face. Although the oil has a thick consistency it is easily absorbed and leaves your skin looking dewy and refreshed.

To final step of the facial is to apply the Superfood Moisturiser which comes in both a day and night format. Although they are both filled with vitamin-enriched super greens the night cream has a richer consistency and has the inclusion of lavender and ylang-ylang oil.

Superfood Cream

Directions – Apply a few pumps of the product in the hand, warm it between the fingers and massage into the skin.

Glowing skin

I was very impressed with this range of products and even though I don’t normally gravitate towards vegan skincare, using this range really surprised me. My skin was left glowing, supple and healthy-looking which is what everyone wants from a facial right? I know its not the same as going out for a treatment but trust me, after using these products it will not only give a boost to the complexion it will give you a moment to help you escape the anxieties and stresses of what’s going on around us. I can’t wait to get out again and visit The Facial Spa, but until then this easy to follow facial will help rescue me from my lockdown skin issues.

Head to my IGTV video to see the facial in action.

Almond & Lemon cake

Almond & Lemon cake

It appears that for many people this lockdown has unleashed their inner Mary Berry and that includes me. This week let me transport you directly to Italy with my version of a Torta Caprese Al Limone (an almond and lemon cake).

I first experienced this cake whilst visiting the Amalfi Coast and its delicate citrusy flavour and light texture had me hooked immediately. Usual recipes include the addition of cream and butter but this version is light, airy and might I dare even say “healthier”.

Ingredients:

5 medium eggs

2 tbsp of fresh lemon zest

100g of granulated Sugar

150g Ground Almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp white vinegar

Pinch of Salt

Icing sugar for dusting

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and pre-grease a 9-10” cake tin.

2. Add ground almonds, baking powder and ground cardamom to one bowl and whisk together.

3. Add egg yolks, 50g of the granulated sugar and lemon zest to another bowl and beat until smooth.

4. Add the egg yolk mixture into the dry mixture and beat with a wooden spoon into a thick paste.

5. Add some lemon juice for extra flavour.

6. In another bowl whisk the egg whites until bubbles appear. Add the salt and vinegar and continue to whisk.

7. Once the mixture continues to rise, add the rest of the sugar a small amount at a time.

8. Once the mixture is silky smooth and forms stiff peeks the eggs whites are ready.

9. Add a third of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and slowly fold in with a wooden spoon.

10. Continue adding the egg white mixture one spoonful at a time.

11. Don’t forget to enjoy some Prosecco whilst preparing the cake 🙂

12. Pour the mixture into the pre-greased tin and place in the oven for thirty minutes until golden brown.

13. Dust with icing sugar or get creative and add your very own toppings.

This is such a simple and easy recipe that even I can do it! Sit back with a strong espresso, a slice of this citrusy cake and feel like your under the wonderful Italian sunshine. Head to my IGTV to check out my full baking video and keep your eyes peeled for more Italian inspired posts throughout the week.

#BluBlazerGuyBakes

Rook Perfumes

Rook Perfumes

It comes as no surprise that fragrance plays a huge part in my life. I discovered Rook Perfumes in 2018 and I immediately gravitated towards their fragrances due to their unusual scents and intriguing notes. For me, fragrances mark moments in life thus with only one spray, they have the power to transport you back to that very moment. When Perfumer for Rook Perfumes Nadeem Crowe (pictured below) said “People go on holiday and fall in love with a place, they buy a fridge magnet to remember the trip, I buy a fragrance” I immediately resonated with him. On each vacation I drive my partner crazy, perusing the perfumeries and trying to find the exact scent that will remind me of our time in that destination.

Image by Rankin Photography Ltd

Nadeem Crowe, the man behind these impressive and unique scents also has a career in emergency medicine and acting. These two careers have contributed to the production of these fragrances due to their scientific and theatrical backgrounds. After a complete re-brand and re-launch of Rook Perfumes in February 2020, I was once again captivated by the new contemporary look and range of luxury fragrances. At the core of the brand is the simple yet impactful triangle not only representing the top, middle and base notes of a fragrance but also the balance of Nadeem’s career in performing, perfumery and medicine.

 

Forest

The first of the fragrances I am going to talk about is my absolute favourite called Forest. I am a nature guy at heart so this is what initially attracted me to this scent. However as soon as I spritzed it upon my skin, it immediately transported me to a moment in my childhood. Each year I would visit the Scottish highlands with my family, going for long walks and playing in the forests. With just one spray it felt as if I was standing there looking up at the towering trees and inhaling the fresh pine-scented air. It’s a beautiful green, woody notes are both uplifting and comforting, transporting me directly into nature. This is much needed due to our current situation.

 

Forest – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Cypress & Pine,

Middle – Black Pepper, incense and green notes

Base – Patchouli, Cedar and white musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 4.5/5

 

Undergrowth

Undergrowth again exudes a stunning range of natural and uplifting notes that at first glance I didn’t think I would like, but it completely took me by surprise. On the initial spray, you get a hit of refreshing garden mint and grass. It somehow reminds me of a lush green garden after the rain, where the sun slowly warming the soil and the aroma scents the air.  As the mint dies down the rich woodiness of the vetiver and earthiness of orris really comes through, which settles beautifully on the skin. Again, if you need a hit of nature, I would definitely recommend this as I can imagine it being a refreshing scent in the summer months.

 

Undergrowth – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Soil, Garden Mint, Grass

Middle – Green notes, mandarin, orris

Base – Vetiver, patchouli and white musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 4/5

 

Rook

This scent wasn’t my favourite fragrance in the group, however I understand completely why others would like it. For me, It’s quite a daring combination and I am usually quite safe with my fragrance choices so it’s all down to personal choice. Rook is impactful from the first spray and is described as “strong and phenolic with a big puff of smokey firewood and birch tar”. Even though these notes are not my personal choice, this fragrance makes a good evening scent with great longevity due to its unique ingredients. I find it too overwhelming for my liking and prefer a fresher scent but if you’re an adventurous individual who’s looking to turn heads then this is definitely for you.

 

Rook – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Birch tar, tobacco

Middle – Castoreum, cardamom, ginger, civet, agarwood

Base– Incense, ambrette, ambergris, guaiac wood and musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 3/5

What I truly love about this fragrance house is all the scents are unique and interesting. I am so thankful that due to the power of social media I was able to connect with this forward thinking brand. Like all small businesses and perfume houses it is a very difficult time at the moment, therefore it is very important to support them in any way we can. So why not play your part and treat yourself to a luxury fragrance from Rook Perfumes. In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Nadeem Crowe and all his NHS colleagues for everything that they are doing at this time.

 

Surviving social distancing and working from home.

Surviving social distancing and working from home.

I don’t know about you but working from home and social distancing has been a huge adjustment for me. Although I am thankful I am safe, spending so many hours in the house can take its toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. I thought I would share some hints, tips and products that I have been using to help keep my body and mind in tip-top condition.

Stick to your usual routine

If you are working from home, try and stick to your normal daily routine. Get up at a normal time, have a relaxing shower and change into some nice clothes. It’s very tempting to just stay in your pj’s but this is not very motivating! Trick your mind into thinking that it’s leaving the house.

Washing your hands

Washing your hands is paramount but using alcohol gel and washing all the time can dry out your skin. I’ve been using This lovely Black Tulip scented hand-wash from Shay & Blue which is both delicate and conditioning. Along with the nourishing hand lotion, it helps keep my hands silky smooth and hydrated. All their products are handcrafted in England with real flowers, fruits and spices.

Skincare

Your usual skincare regime can sometimes slip when you’re in the house all the time but it’s important to take care of your skin and also treat yourself at the same time. I highly recommend MODM Vitamin Repair face oil from The Method in Edinburgh. It’s full of high-quality cold-pressed oils that really nurture the skin. I use their MODM Gua Sha Facial Tool to massage the oil in and this depuffs, sculpts and releases tension in the face.

Self Tan

Isn’t it funny how a little bit of colour on the skin makes you feel and look healthier. For a while, I’ve been on the lookout for tanning products that look natural and are easy to apply. I recently released a blog post on my favourite James Read Self tanning products, head to blublazerguy.com to find out more here.

Skin Protection

If you are working from home and your desk is situated near a window it’s still very important to protect your skin against any UV rays which penetrate the glass. I recommend House of London Face Repair Cream which not only protects you from UV but also Infrared. Their products are organic and aim to feed, correct and protect the skin naturally.

Fragrance

Just because you aren’t going anywhere special doesn’t mean you should skimp on a fragrance. Pick a scent that ignites memories of positive times or one that lifts your spirits. My favourite just now is Italian Citrus by D.S. & DURGA as it’s uplifting, energetic and full of sunshine inspired ingredients.

Home Fragrance

Candles can add an immediate relaxing ambience to any room and coupled with a lovely scent can help calm and soothe the mind. I’ve just started burning this Buongiorno candle from Italian brand Acqua Di Parma. It’s refreshing aromas of freshly cut grass and sun-dried linen transport me to a summers day.

Another great candle is the Oceana candle from Essence of Harris. Oceana washes away worries with the cleansing aromas of samphire & sea minerals. These candles are hand-poured in the Isle of Harris in Scotland. The team are so lovely and have been helping their local community throughout this tough time.

Aromatherapy

Incense is also a great way to lace the air with relaxing aromas. I recently purchased these Azoth – Lavender and Marjoram stick from Lifestory lifestyle store in Edinburgh. The comforting essential oils immediately make me feel at ease. If you are looking for a contemporary incense stick holder, check out Concrete Goods who sell a fantastic range of styles and colours.

A Shakti Mat

This may not be for everyone but I absolutely love it and have been using it daily ever since I got it. The Shakti Mat is based on the Indian bed of nails concept. The mat has thousands of sharp spikes which apply pressure to the skin. The first contact with the mat can be overwhelming but once you get used to it you soon slip into this indescribable state of relaxation, so much so that I sometimes fall asleep on it. The Shakti mats are handmade in the holy city of Varanasi by 72 woman which not only helps the individuals but their family and their community.

Exercise

Working at home can be a challenge both mentally and physically. One of the things that have been helping me is moving my body more. Setting my Alexa alarm hourly reminds me to get up and stretch, lift weights or carry out some cardio. I also make sure I adhere to the government guidelines and get out once a day for a long run and fresh air whilst keeping my distance from other people.

Sleep

I’ve been finding it very difficult to sleep as of late but I found this amazing pillow spray from Drowsy Sleep Co. This spray contains 7 natural oils which help stimulate sensors in the brain to help aid sleep naturally. The fragrance is beautiful and it’s a fantastic additional tool to calm the mind so you can drift off into a deep sleep.

Hydration

Indoor heating and poor hydration can dehydrate your body and your skin so it’s very important to remember to hydrate both inside and out. Fill a water bottle and make sure you take sips frequently and avoid too much coffee, tea and alcohol. For your skin, I’ve found that hyaluronic acids applied before your moisturiser provides a fantastic additional boost of hydration. I recommend Hylamide SubQ skin, Niod Multi-molecular hyaluronic complex and Image total pure hyaluronic filler.

Nutritional Supplements

If you are eating healthy then you should be getting all the nutrition you need from your diet. However, If you require additional supplementation, I’ve recently been trying a new product from getting Nourished which I have been very impressed by. All you have to do is complete a simple questionnaire on their website and they will determine what supplements you need. The vitamins are then 3D printed into one convenient gummy stack which is vegan, sugar-free and tastes absolutely delicious. It’s a really unique and convenient way of taking your daily vitamins and nutrients.

Talk

Last but not least is to make sure you talk and communicate with friends and family on a regular basis. In a world that had become so disconnected, it’s amazing how technology is now helping us to stay as connected as possible with the likes of face time and social media. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, reach out as we are all in this together.

I hope you enjoyed this little guide of things that are truly helping me get through each day at home. Let’s keep adhering to government guidelines and protecting each other by staying home. For information always look at official government websites for the most up to date and accurate advice. We will get through this testing time together and I send all my followers and readers lots of positive vibes. #stayhome #savelives #protectthenhs

Float Philosophy

Float Philosophy

This time of the year is all about recalibrating the body and mind and I am always on the lookout for new ways of doing this. I recently came across Float Philosophy, a fantastic place that provides floatation therapy. I had heard about floatation therapy from a few friends and had been wanting to try it out for a while. I must admit I was a tad nervous as I really didn’t know what to expect, however as I arrived at the stunning countryside setting those anxious feelings had begun to dissipate.

The owner Nick has beautifully converted a previous farm barn on the outskirts of Edinburgh into a tranquil space. The relaxation room is where visitors can relax and unwind before and after their treatment. It is a calming blend white walls, artwork displaying positive quotes and comfortable contemporary furniture which is set off by a beautiful large window that frames the surrounding countryside views.

For those of you that don’t already know, floatation therapy involves lying in a bath of water combined with large amounts of Epsom salts (which allows the body to float) in a specially constructed pod. The pod is then closed and you are completely shut off from the outside world allowing you to truly disconnect and enter a zone of peace and tranquillity. Many countries around the world already use this therapy and in some places its prescribed by their doctor for a number of ailments. Due to stressful lives, sensory overload and the inability to switch off, there have been many studies into the psychological benefits of this therapy including:

·         Deep relaxation and Stress Relief

·         Promotes Wellbeing

·         Disconnection

·         Improves Sleep

As well as benefits to mental health it can also help with a number of physical conditions including;

·         Chronic Pain Management (such as muscle tension, Fibromyalgia and Arthritis)

·         Sports Recovery

Each pod is located in its very own room with a shower, including toiletries and towels, so you really don’t need to worry about bringing anything but yourself. When I first thought of lying in a pod in complete darkness, the fear of feeling claustrophobic did cross my mind but as soon as I saw the pod, I was pleasantly surprised. The state of the art pods are very spacious as they were originally built for athletes, so much so that they are in fact the size of a small car.

Before entering the pod you are asked to take a shower, ensuring you are clean and free of any skin products. As you are showering the pod automatically fills with the water and Epsom salt solution, then the soothing lights and music starts to play. After inserting earplugs (which are also provided) it was time to lay back, close the pod and experience floatation therapy.

As soon as my body entered the water and started to float I honestly felt an immediate relief from all my body pain (due to recently starting the gym and sitting at a desk all day) so much so that I let out a huge sigh! The water itself is continuously heated to body temperature so you tend to forget that it’s there and it feels almost if you are laying on a cloud. For ten minutes the soft light and music played and then slowly phased out leaving complete darkness. It is here where the true test lies as every one of your senses is cut off (sensory deprivation) and you are left with your own thoughts. At first, I became a tad restless and started to think about normal everyday thoughts but after around ten minutes I began to drift off into a state that is quite difficult to describe. My body became so relaxed that it would drift around in circles (that’s how big the pod is) and my mind became very silent and still.

My worry prior to the therapy was that I would fall asleep and drown or have some sort of accident. However this is literally impossible because soon as your body begins to turn on its side, it automatically goes on its back again. The whole session lasts around an hour and I was completely surprised when the lights and music gently came back on, it honestly felt like I was in there for no more than twenty minutes. As soon as I got out and had a shower I felt so relaxed as if coming out of massage treatment or a really nice nap.

After getting changed there is also a separate vanity room where hairdryers and mirrors are provided, yet again taking the worry out of having to bring lots of things with you. You then have the opportunity to sit in the relaxation room and enjoy a warming cup of herbal tea and read one of the many books on offer. What I especially loved was that you don’t feel rushed and the whole experience is truly geared towards making you feel as comfortable and chilled out as possible. I had dabbled before in meditation and mindfulness but was never able to fully focus. This however allowed me to truly switch off and not reach for my phone (well except once for blog reasons 😉 After a hectic year and busy festive period, I was looking for something help me to completely disconnect and this was the perfect solution. I can only imagine that continued use of floatation therapy would definitely benefit individuals who suffer from the ailments above and each time falling into that zen state would get easier. Float Philosophy is definitely a place I would return to.  When I left I felt as if I was on cloud nine and that night I had the best sleep ever.

Float Philosophy
6 Roddinglaw Business Park
Roddinglaw Road
Edinburgh
EH12 9DB

email: info@floatphilosophy.com
Telephone: 0131 285 8770

 

Radisson Collection Hotel – Royal Mile

Radisson Collection Hotel – Royal Mile

Situated in the heart of Edinburgh’s iconic old town, Radisson Collection Hotel Royal Mile takes pride and place near some of the city’s iconic sites. Surprisingly its contemporary exterior blends perfectly into the historic surroundings. If you are visiting Edinburgh then this hotel is definitely placed perfectly for you to enjoy the best of what the city has to offer. Not only are you located near the beautiful Royal Mile but just around the corner is the stunning Edinburgh Castle which sits majestically overlooking the city. 

From the historic streets outside, the foyer of the hotel is a complete contrast, displaying many contemporary elements. A stunning sitting area with neutral table and chairs and metallic lights is backed by a beautiful modern fireplace which adds warmth to the space. This is perfect place to sit and relax before exploring the city.

Lounge Area

A long marble table lined with lights is backed by an open shelved wall displaying works of art, sculptures and candles. The reception area echoes the same decor with metallic desks which appear to float above the ground. 

There is an abundance of room types to choose from, including; The Collection Room, Collection Superior Room, Collection Premium Room, Collection Premium Room – Skyline View, Family Room, Junior Suite and the indulgent Designer Suite. I stayed in one of the Junior Suites which was located on the upper floors. As you enter the room the first thing you notice is the stunning uninterrupted views of the city.

The floor to ceiling windows makes it feel as if the room was floating above the city and it allows you to see aspects of the city that are truly unique. Being a longstanding resident of Edinburgh and having stayed in many Edinburgh hotels, this was one of the most striking views that I have ever seen. 

The room is extremely spacious, bright and separated into two separate areas, the lounge/dining area and the bedroom/bathroom area. The neutral decor of white and grey is accentuated with a wall of artwork and prints.

Dining Area

A large circular seat with printed material is the perfect place to sit back and relax and enjoy the huge projector and screen that’s provided in the room.  

The large and comfortable bed is backed with a smoked mirror which adds depth to the room but also reflects the beautiful views from the outside.

Bedroom

What I loved is that you can simply lie back on your bed and look out the window, admiring the historic skyline of Edinburgh.

Bedroom View

The bathroom is separated by a heavy mirrored door and is a complete contrast to the neutral decor, surprising you with a colour tone of bright pink and black.

A relaxing monsoon shower, a bath, fluffy bathrobes, comfy slippers and lots of bathroom amenities are the perfect way to start or finish your day.

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If its food and drink you are looking for then look no further than the hotel’s award-winning restaurant called Cucina which provides a range of seasonal dishes. Although I didn’t eat dinner at the hotel this time, I did opt for a few cocktails in the hotels Epicurean Bar. The bar sells an extensive range of outstanding cocktails created by some of the best mixologists around. The bar carries on the contemporary feel with low mood lighting and highlights of red leather seating.

Epicurean Bar

I experienced breakfast at Cucina with a range of continental breakfast options including cereals, fruit, pastries, meats, cheese and also a menu with hot food choices. I opted for the smoked salmon and scrambled egg which was a fantastic warm and tasty way to start the day.

 

Overall I had a brilliant stay at Raddison Collection Royal Mile. I loved the decor, the staff were extremely friendly yet non-intrusive and the beautiful views from the room made my stay truly exceptional. 

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View from Window

The hotel is perfectly placed to enjoy the best parts of the city yet was extremely quiet being located so close to the centre. If you are looking for modern facilities and decor in a historic setting then this is the place to book.

Blu Blazer Guy Rating:

Location – 5/5 – In the centre of historic Edinburgh.
Customer Service – 4/5 – Friendly and informative but non intrusive.
Rooms – 4.5/5 – Spacious and unique with stunning views of Edinburgh.
Cleanliness – 4.5/5 – Spotlessly clean
Food and Drink – 3/5 – Atmosphere in the bar and breakfast area could be better.

Aesthetica Edinburgh – Black Tie Facial

Aesthetica Edinburgh – Black Tie Facial

Men, let’s admit it, previously we have often overlooked the importance of good skincare. Thankfully nowadays we are beginning to see an increase in men who genuinely take an interest in this area and more and more clinics around the country are creating treatments geared towards the male client. I recently visited Aesthetica in Edinburgh to see what treatments they have to offer for men’s skincare.

Aesthetica, is an aesthetic medicine, cosmetic surgery and beauty therapy clinic lead by founders Dr Liliana Laird and Jacque Fenner. It is located in the west end of Edinburgh and situated in a quant basement setting underneath the streets of New Town. On entering, the clinic opens up into numerous different rooms and provides a relaxed and tranquil space.

The clinic has recently launched their new Man Plan, a dedicated webpage detailing information and the treatments to suit all men’s aesthetic needs. From skin peels, anti-wrinkle injections and mole removals, there are lots of treatments available which you can view here. If you are a tad dubious about what treatment to choose from or you require further information, the clinic offers complimentary consultations for all procedures.

My skin at this time of the year, always feels a little lack-lustre, so I opted for their Black Tie Facial. This 60 minute bespoke facial uses a combination of Medik8 and ZO Skin Health products and aims to nourish, hydrate and invigorate the skin. This is perfect for an instant skin pick me up, especially during these cold winter months.

I was treated by the lovely Emma Smillie who is one of the Clinic’s Aesthetic Practitioner. Emma who has worked within the industry since 2005 has travelled the world working in various areas gathering knowledge along the way.  You could tell how passionate she was the minute I walked through the door. She described the Black Tie Facial as “suitable for all skin types and excellent for a range of concerns as it can be completely tailored to suit each individual”.

After a quick questionnaire and consultation with my therapist I was ready to experience the Black Tie Facial.

The procedure:

Cleanse – My face was cleansed using Medik8’s Surface Radiance Cleanser. I use this product at home and absolutely love it. Not only does it contain numerous acids to help with tone and textural issues, it also contains Mangosteen and Raspberry which are renowned for their anti-oxidant protection properties.

Exfoliate – I love a good exfoliation and this part of the process provided exactly that. ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish was gently massaged into my face, stimulating the skin and removing dead skin cells. The texture was quite granular and left my face feeling invigorated and cleansed.

PeelZO Skin Health Peel Prep was applied to my skin to remove excess surface oil so that the subsequent peel could be applied evenly. ZO Skin Health Stimulator was then applied to my face for a few minutes. This peel contains a trio of AHA: Citric, Lactic and Glycolic to aid cell turn over and reveal a radiant complexion. On application, there was a slight tingle but this soon subsided and the whole process was comfortable and relaxing.

Neutralise – In order for the deactivate the peel, ZO Skin Health Neutraliser was applied to my face.

Mask & Massage – A cooling ZO Skin Health Brightening Sheet Masque was then laid on my face. Its ingredients of Aloe Vera and Green Tea help to soothe and hydrate the skin and brighten up the complexion.

While the masque got to work, I was also treated to a fantastic shoulder massage.

LED Light Therapy – I have had this a few times and absolutely love it and it is said to have many benefits! The Red Light is said to stimulate collagen and elastin, DNA Synthesis, boost fibroblasts growth and strengthen the skin.

The Blue light has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, helping reduce any redness after the treatment. I was given 10 minutes of the red light and 5 minutes of the blue along with a relaxing head massage.

Hydrate – As the last step, Medik8’s Post Treatment Moisturiser and a broad spectrum SPF was applied to my face.

I found my visit to Aesthetica both relaxing and informative. Emma was able to guide me through each of the steps and explain the different ingredients and how they worked to benefit the skin. The inclusion of the shoulder and scalp massages were an added bonus and truly made the whole process relaxing. Not only was my skin left glowing and supple but I also felt extremely de-stressed and invigorated. What surprised me was that there was no redness or skin irritation after the peel, so with no downtime, this is a perfect treatment before an important event or occasion.

Black tie facial – £80

Aesthetica Edinburgh

3A-4B Randolph Place

Edinburgh

EH3 7TQ

0131 281 1251

Enquiries@aestheticaedinburgh.com

 

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With Will Sturgeon – Personal Trainer

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With Will Sturgeon – Personal Trainer

After a long absence from the gym or any fitness-related activities in that matter, I sought out a personal trainer to help me get back into a sustainable fitness routine. I discovered Will Sturgeon owner of Will Power Personal Training located in Edinburgh’s prestigious hotel, The Balmoral. You will have seen in my previous blogs what the gym and spa facilities in The Balmoral are like. I thought I would catch up with Will to ask him about his company and what it offers.

Hi Will, can you tell us a little bit about yourself; What your journey has been and how did you get into Personal Training?

I have my primary school to thank for a life of sport. It was incredibly small but focused heavily around sport. It led me to play football, golf and table tennis to a high national level. I always wanted a hands-on job in the fitness world. Becoming a personal trainer was an obvious step.

When did you start Will Power Personal Training, and can you tell us more about it?

Will Power Personal Training was created at the turn of the millennium at David Lloyd health club, where I was offered a freelance trainer opportunity. It was shortly after that we moved to our current residency at The Balmoral hotel after being headhunted by the manager at the time. We currently have 3 in our team, Akwa, Hajni and myself. All with our own unique skill set, but all experienced, friendly trainers.

Despite the obvious, what other ways do you think Personal Training helps with an individuals fitness goals?

Personal training is largely about showing people what intensity they should be training at, and how to maximise the time you invest in exercise. We all know how to be fit, and exercise where possible. We show you a more efficient way to train, and show you how to push your limits sensibly.

Will putting me through my paces

You use the Balmoral gym as a base for Will Power Personal Training, as well as being in a fantastic location and such a stunning historic building are there any other reason you chose this particular hotel?

Actually yes. It is a stunning location, but more than that, it fits our training ethos perfectly. We chose not to constantly chase clients in a busy gym where you have to wait for equipment and have a high turnover. We have a quiet modern equipped gym where we can focus exclusively on our clients and really connect with them without always competing for space. As a result, we have a very loyal long-standing client base. On average we have clients with us for 7 years, with a few clients up to 14 years.

For those people out there who are perhaps a bit dubious about reaching out to a personal trainer to help them with their fitness goals, what can someone expect on their first meeting with you or a member of your team?

We are a team of friendly trainers well experienced at putting you at ease. We want you to enjoy yourself. We’re not here to bark orders and be intimidating. We always invite people for a complimentary session to start. Either to go through some measurements or just to show you the facilities and to chat over a plan.

Many people will be starting the new year with a fitness-related resolution, what advice can you give that will help keep them on track?

Without a doubt, the most important thing is to make that exercise time available. After a few weeks of fitting in a workout, it will become routine. Once it’s routine, it will last. Adding something new into your day can be awkward at first, but perseverance will pay off.

Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand when trying to sustain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. With so many unhealthy temptations around what is your advice on maintaining a healthy diet and having a positive relationship with food?

They sure do. I don’t rule with an iron fist with a clients nutrition. We take a very pragmatic approach. We all love a nibble of something sweet, or the odd overindulgence. That’s ok. Generally, I work with the old rule of “Breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; dinner like a pauper”. Carbs morning, protein evening.

Is protein a must when working out and if so what are the benefits?

Protein is the building block to muscle. It’s vital in its function. Most workouts should involve some muscle work. Protein is key to  toning, building and maintaining that muscle

For me and I suppose many other people, working out is not an easy task and requires dedication and persistence. What advice can you give to maintain that will power in order to reach their goals?

Don’t get too caught up in detail. Whilst it can motivate some, being too specific and detailed takes away the spontaneity and enjoyment. Your energy levels fluctuate with hydration etc. See how you feel on the day. You don’t have to hit your personal best on the chest press every day.  Chat to the trainers on what variations you can do. Keep it fresh, not driven by numbers.

Finally, there is an abundance of personal trainers and gyms out there, what makes Will Power stand out from the crowd?

Anyone can become a personal trainer now. At least on paper. But a great trainer has the attitude, knowledge and personable nature to go with it. There is a reason we have clients stay with us for years. Did I mention we’re also the best price? Haha

Thanks a lot Will for taking the time out to do this. If you want to find out more information or even what to come in for a consultation you can contact Will here, he doesn’t bite, I promise!

Will Power Personal Training – The Balmoral

Will Power Personal Training – The Balmoral

After a very indulgent festive season I feel like I need to recalibrate my fitness and get back in the gym. For this, I have listed the help of Will Power Personal Training who are based within the 5-star spa at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.

Will Sturgeon

Will Sturgeon, the owner (and my personal trainer) has a wealth of information and expertise and it comes as no surprised that he has many VIP clients under his belt. After playing a number of sports, attending college and university and working in previous health clubs, Will decided to start his own business in 2000, thus leading to the birth of Will Power Personal Training. It is at the Balmoral Spa where Will Power has emerged as an acclaimed industry success. After gaining VIP clients such as international rugby players, politicians, bankers, CEOs and several celebrities, Will Power was awarded ‘Fourth most recommended personal trainers in Scotland’ in a National newspaper poll. 

After a long absence from the gym or any fitness-related activities in that matter, I was a tad nervous about my first day but Will has that magic ability to instantly make you feel at ease. The Balmoral gym itself is located next to the swimming pool and is split into four different zones: two cardio areas, one free weight area and one machine weight area.

We first started off with an initial consultation which explored my concerns, my goals and also my dreaded measurements (which are only taken in order to measure progress). 

I decided to ease myself into the process and carry out two sessions per week. I am not usually good at being told what to do but Will’s positive enthusiasm is like a breath of fresh air. He also has extreme patience, which is good when you are training someone like me. I have only been attending for a few months now but have found each session to be invaluable. After a slow start due to my lack of fitness and a few “I’m going to vomit” moments, Will has continued to push me in the right direction and after each session, I am feeling fitter and stronger. I still have a long way to go but Will has instilled the importance of carrying out the right techniques at a pace that is right for me to reach my desired goals. Will has got the three P’s; Positivity, Patience and Perseverance which in my eyes is all you need in a great personal trainer.

Here are some of the typical exercises you will experience at Will Power Training (of course this will differ due to each individual and goals discussed with your personal trainer).

Chest

 Shoulders

Arms

 

Back 

 I caught up with Will Power to find out more about him and his personal training company so keep your eyes peeled for my next “Blu Blazer Guy Chats with Will Sturgeon” blog post. 

 Also check out my previous blog post on the fantastic spa facilities at The Balmoral which really help you recover after a good workout.

The Balmoral hotel – Spa Facilities

The Balmoral hotel – Spa Facilities

The Balmoral is one of my favourite hotels in Scotland and I have previously spoken about it in my article for Guild Magazine. It may be known for its elegant rooms, commanding architecture and its prominent mark on the Edinburgh skyline. However what people may not know is that beneath its floors lies a treasure trove of wellness and recuperation. Descend the hotel’s golden elevator and the doors open to reveal a tranquil retreat that both residents and non-residents can enjoy. The small reception opens up into a spacious spa with a swimming pool, gym, treatment rooms, steam room and sauna.

Swimming pool, Steam room and Sauna.

The recently revamped state of the art steam room and sauna located at the far end of the swimming pool is the perfect place to unwind. Situated adjacent to each other and separated by a shower area, the steam room and sauna have been an utter godsend for yours truly. Not only do they help ease my muscles, but they are great for circulation which is fantastic at this time of the year.

Relaxing in the sauna

The new décor of navy blue and gold accessories have added a more contemporary flair to the area.

The new look sauna and steam room area

The 15-metre swimming pool is perfect for relaxing in or swimming laps. What I love about this swimming pool is that it is always at the perfect temperature.

The surrounding lounge beds provide such  comfort, enabling you can lay back and relax or read your favourite book or magazine.

I especially enjoy the tranquil seating area where you can enjoy numerous complimentary hot drinks, Scottish mineral water infused with seasonal fruit and an array of smoothies, drinks and food that can be purchased via the reception. 

Treatment Rooms

Within the wellness area are numerous treatment rooms offering an array of treatments catered to your every need. Even though these rooms seem to be in close proximity of the central area, each room is a tucked away so that you can enjoy your treatment without hearing the outside world.

With soft music in the background, glimmering candles and an array of scents that linger in the air, these rooms provide a tranquil safe haven that are the perfect place to de-stress and unwind. There are two main skincare brands used within the spa. Firstly, Irene Forte skincare which is a range of luxury natural products handmade in Italy and created by Wellness Director at Rocco Forte Hotels, Irene Forte. As well as renowned brand Ishga who use seaweed sourced from the Hebridean Islands of Scotland.

Treatment room

I chose a a bespoke facial using the Irene Forte range. The Irene Forte Facial is a personalised facial tailored to suit your skin’s needs. There are three to choose from: Forte Purifier, Forte Brightener and Forte Hydrator. If your skin requires a combination then these treatments can be adapted. 

After completing a consultation and discussing it with my therapist we decided to go for the Forte Hydrator, because my skin felt a tad lack-lustre and a little dry. My therapist gave me chose of two oils to smell. I had to choose which I preferred to be used in my treatment, I of course chose orange blossom.   With the candles lit and my body settled into the comfortable bed I already felt my tensions ease away. Due to the fact that the Irene Forte skincare is inspired by Sicily a small Sicilian bell is rung before the facial, which is said to calm and relax the mind, it certainly made me feel extremely relaxed. 

Cleanse: Firstly my face was cleansed with Irene Forte Almond Cleansing Milk. This hydrating cleanser contains Almond, Olive, Rose and Jojoba Oil along with soothing Aloe Vera juice. It was great to take in the beautiful aroma as this was massaged onto my face and the nourishing texture really sunk into the skin.

Tone:  The Irene Forte Helichrysum Hyaluronic Toner was then used. This toner prepares the skin for the remaining products and includes Hyaluronic Acid which is an ingredient known for its hydrating skincare properties

Exfoliate: Irene Forte Almond Face Scrub was gently massaged onto my skin. Unlike some other exfoliators that can feel too harsh on the skin, this felt nourishing and very moisturising. The Almond Face Scrub is filled with Almond and Hazelnut granules, Aloe leaf juice, Hyaluronic acid as well as Olive, Avocado and Shea oil. This was then followed by my previously chosen Orange Blossom Face oil which is used to brighten and tone the skin. 

Mask and Massage: The Irene Forte Pistachio Face Mask was layered on the skin and felt immediately comforting. This age-defying mask is full of Antioxidant-rich ingredients and replenishing oils and again has a fragrance to die for. This was accompanied by a relaxing shoulder massage using the Orange Blossom Body Oil.

Moisturise: A trio of different product was used as the final part of the treatment. The Hibiscus Serum was applied first which lifts, hydrated and minimises fine lines and wrinkles. This was followed by the Prickly Pear Face Cream full of rich nutrients and anti-oxidants and finishing with Almond eye & lip cream.

I found this facial extremely relaxing and it was a great introduction to the Irene Forte skincare brand. I especially loved choosing my desired oil at the start, which added a sensory interactive experience to the treatment. The additional shoulder massage was a great way to include a relaxing aspect to the facial and left me feeling very de-stressed. My skin felt extremely supple and glowing afterwards and it’s definitely one I would do again, especially in the winter months when my skin suffers the most. 

After a long period of not visiting the gym, I thought I would also sign up to there in house personal training, Will Power Personal Training. Keep your eye on my next blog post to find out how I have been getting on.