Where to go when there’s bad weather in Melbourne: The Peninsula Hot Springs

In October, I visited Australia for the first time However, whilst I had managed to navigate three airports, multiple time zones and spent countless hours in duty-free, when I reached the baggage carousel at my final destination, Melbourne, my bag hadn’t arrived at all!

After over 24 hours of flying, with no sleep, puffy eye bags and a bit of dehydration, I was exhausted and I wasn’t too happy about the prospect of having just the clothes on my back with me for my three days in Melbourne! I spoke with the airline and left, accepting the bag had not boarded the plane with me in Perth and there was nothing I could do at that point. I was staying with my uncle and aunt in Melbourne, so we agreed to call the airline the next day to follow up and so that night I crawled into my bed drifted to sleep, ready for some much needed sleep.

Well, turns out the universe had other plans and my jetlag disagreed with me. 2 hours later my jet lag kicked in and I was wide awake.

I just needed to sleep!

I was wide awake but absolutely exhausted, after an hour of squeezing my eyes shut hoping I’d fall asleep I gave up and gave in to scrolling through Instagram and Bloglovin to kill time.

By the time I finally fell asleep properly, it was 9am and I managed to sleep until midday! It was safe to say any plans for an active first day were put aside. I had missed the morning sunshine and the weather was windy and grey.

My bags eventually were dropped off that afternoon by the airline, leaving not much time for sightseeing. We had a much needed coffee (Melbourne’s coffee is truly excellent!) and my uncle and aunt mentioned that they’d managed to secure a late afternoon booking at some hot springs near Melbourne. In my tired state I left it to them – as I hadn’t a clue on where else to go in Melbourne when the weather is bad.

Those hot springs just so happen to be the Peninsula Hot Springs, an absolute hidden gem that I just have to share with you!

It was just what I needed! Some much needed R&R to melt away the stress of travel.

The One place you must visit if in Melbourne

The world and Google, in particular, has no shortage of suggestions for sightseeing in Melbourne. There’s absolutely loads you can do – it’s a place full of beautiful scenery, relaxing beaches, amazing vineyards, super friendly people and fabulous wine-bars.

What I hadn’t come across in my research was the fact that Melbourne is nearby to the Peninsula Hot Springs in Rye. I was about to discover an absolute hidden gem!

Melbourne is known to be a place where you can experience four seasons in a day – regardless of the weather, or whether you are jet lagged, or whether you’ve a busy itinerary already… the Peninsula Hot Springs are an absolute must-do! We had a cooler largely grey day, with bursts of sunshine and also warm rain. Despite all of this, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

The Pools

The Peninsula Hot Springs consist of completely natural thermal hot springs, outdoors, just over an hour from Melbourne. There are more than twenty bathing experiences, from warm paddling pools, massaging thermal baths, a traditional hammam style steam room, cold plunge pools, and deliciously hot natural pools, which feel just like a Jacuzzi.

As if these incredible thermal baths aren’t enough, they also offer activities such as yoga and aqua aerobics there during the week – unfortunately none were on whilst we visited – I can imagine if I moved to Melbourne I’d plan my week around those!

 

The pools raise in temperature as you walk from the lower pools and head further up. The hottest pool has a temperature rising up to 42 degrees Celsius. The varying heats are meant to assist with relaxation and the elimination of any toxins in the body. What I loved is that each one feels different, no two are the same in temperature, views or style and I honestly think you could spend hours exploring and not get bored. It is incredibly relaxing to ease in the first day of a holiday in such a breathtakingly beautiful place.

 

The steps lead up to my absolute favourite of the hot springs, a hilltop thermal bath with 360 degree views of Victoria. It’s green and lush, you can see vegetation and animals and birds in the distance. So incredibly relaxing and beautiful, and so peaceful, for any time of the day. They reminded me of a slightly more built up version of the hot springs I visited in Thailand a few years ago, but the scenery was completely different.

Top Tips

  1. Book ahead – the Peninsula Hot Springs have to control the numbers to ensure it’s a relaxing experience so do phone before you go and book in!
  2. Take two towels – one to dry off between the thermal springs and one for post showering (on the showering note it’s fairly simple so you may want to take along some nice toiletries!)
  3. Don’t forget flip flops – it can be slippery on the wet stones
  4. You can hire a robe when there but I’d recommend taking a cover-up, as walking between pools is quite scenic and the cold shouldn’t be stopping you from stopping to take it all in!

What I Didn’t Expect

We spent a good 3-4 weeks planning that trip, even though it was a last minute one.

But here’s what I didn’t plan for.

I didn’t expect my bag not to arrive with me.

I didn’t expect to be so jet lagged that I’d “lose” half a day to snoozing in Melbourne.

I didn’t expect that my first day wouldn’t be spent sightseeing in the city.

I certainly didn’t expect that I’d start my trip with somewhere completely off the radar!

But all of that meant that I went somewhere we never planned to, that turned out to be the best start to the trip I could have ever asked for.

So if you find yourself in Melbourne, with or without bad weather and you need to relax but don’t know where to go in Melbourne – head straight to this hidden gem, the Peninsula Hot Springs. Trust me, you couldn’t possibly regret it!

The Peninsula Hot Springs can be found at:
Springs Lane, Fingal, 3939
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

Website here.

 

At home beauty treatments: USPAAH

Lifestyle Enthusiast - At Home Beauty Treatments - Nails, Massage and Beauty

So many of us have had times when we’ve worked late or couldn’t predict when we will be free in order to book in for beauty treatments. Maybe you’ve had a stressful week where all you want is to roll out of bed and have a massage as you’re stiff from the gym or from being at a screen all day, (surely it’s not just me?!), or you have chipped nails that desperately need fixing – USPAAH literally solves all of these problems.

USPAAH is an app I’m not new to, I met Iglika, USPAAH’s CEO and Founder in Summer 2015, and warmed to her business concept and charisma instantly. Iglika was a city-worker, busy in her career and recognised the gap and need for an on-demand luxury beauty services app. I have since had a curly blowdry, a last-minute Swedish massage and a gel manicure and pedicure through USPAAH.

My massage with Tracy was truly wonderful – one of the best massages I’ve had – and afterwards it was so lovely to drift off to sleep in the comfort of homely surroundings. I absolutely love spa’s (as you may have seen in this post) but there is definitely something wonderful about being able to have a spa experience at home and being able to spend the rest of day in the post massage zen (rather than heading into traffic or the London underground), I cannot recommend it enough!

As I’ve now used USPAAH a few times here are my top tips for making the most of a massage treatment:

Before:

  • light some quality candles (I love this one)
  • put the heating on to get the room temperature right – I know this is an obvious one but once you’re under just a towel you’ll probably feel a bit cold if you miss this!
  • put your phone on silent and disconnect your landline (if you still have one!)
  • have a kettle filled ready to pop on, and a teapot at hand to fill with your tea of choice – you’ll then simply have to top up with hot water post-massage

After:

  • drink lots of water for the rest of the day
  • allow the oils to sit in your skin for at least an hour before you shower
  • if you can get away with it I would highly recommend what I did – put on a good movie, get comfy under a blanket and fall into blissful post-massage sleep!

Petya was the spaahrista in charge of my nails. Both the manicure and pedicure were absolutely brilliant, I went for “Soho in love” for my manicure, a subtle nude colour, and a bright “shock me red” for my pedi. The experience was flawless and I’ve already had so many compliments on my nails!

I genuinely think USPAAH is a must-have app – it’s so easy, just download the app, put in your service request (or call the concierge if you prefer), put your feet up and hey presto you’ll have a spaahrista over to put you at ease.

You can download the app USPAAH and use code REENA15 to get £15 off your first treatment. Give them a go and do let me know what you think. I’d also love to know what your must-have apps are?
Lifestyle Enthusiast - At Home Beauty Treatments, USPAAH - Shade 'Soho in Love'
Thanks USPAAH for setting me up for a brilliant holiday with the complimentary mani and pedi! I absolutely loved it!

What to do in London: La Parisienne by Sofitel

Lifestyle Enthusiast - St James, London - La Parisienne by Sofitel

On the 26th October I had the pleasure to be invited to a launch cocktail party of a travelling photography exhibit “La Parisienne by Sofitel” at the wonderful St James Sofitel.

Sofitel is a luxury French hotel chain and so I was excited to see how this traveling exhibition tied in with their campaign but boy it just works!

The travelling exhibit of “La Parisienne by Sofitel” started in Paris (of course) and is globe-trotting, bringing its two part exhibition all over for everyone to experience. It consists of a selection of 22 iconic photographs of Parisienne’s from the 1950s to the present day, which include some amazing archived shots of Jane Fonda, and more modern images of Ines de la Fressange – the exhibition presents a unique insight into the lives of the world’s most famous, and celebrated, women. The contemporary part of the exhibition is made of up of 10 brilliant photos which were the pièce de résistance selected from the photography competition for amateur and young professional artists across France, who were asked to scope according to what “La Parisienne” embodies in this day and age.

If you’re staying in London it’s worth noting that the hotel are also offering incredible Paris-inspired style services created alongside Ella Catliff from the blog La Petit Anglaise as well as hair styling crafted by Paul Edmonds!

I loved “La Parisienne by Sofitel” – the experiences being offered sound amazing and the exhibit itself is nothing short of fabulous. The photography is brilliant and takes you quickly away to Paris, it’ll be displayed at Sofitel St James for the coming weeks until Mid-November before it moves on to travel Sofitel across the world. If you work nearby it’s totally possible on a lunch break or a perfect place to visit before dinner in London.

Do let me know what you think if you visit!

More details are available at this link.

 

Lifestyle Enthusiast - St James, London - La Parisienne by Sofitel

 

Lifestyle Enthusiast - St James, London - La Parisienne by Sofitel
Lifestyle Enthusiast - St James, London - La Parisienne by Sofitel

Note: all photos included here are from the exhibition themselves and not taken by me. Go check them out if you’re nearby!

T Spa, Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como

In April 2015, I made a day trip to Lake Como whilst on a work trip to Milan. It was grey and foggy most of the time but even then, there was something mystical about it. After a pretty manic few months, the Mr. and I jumped at the prospect of returning for a summer break. This time, I intended to properly explore and unwind in Lake Como, and I haven’t looked back since. Last time, we visited the T-spa at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo and we couldn’t wait to return, especially because it has been expanded to include the three-storey Villa Emilia.

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - Grand Hotel Tremezzo

This time, we were kindly given a very handy press discount by Grand Hotel Tremezzo (they’ve also kindly allowed me to use a few of their photos where I hadn’t captured). As the T-Spa was just voted “Best Glamourous Getaway” at the Tatler Spa Awards 2016 and Virtuoso Best of the Best spa awards “Best Spa 2016”, I was pretty excited to say the least!

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - Scenic views over the lake

The hotel is super chic, luxurious, charming and pretty. It’s a hotel just brooding with old-world romance; think – the Grand Budapest Hotel filled with the warmest, most charming staff, pastel bean bags and bursts of its orange colour scheme throughout. The spa is almost neoclassical in style with gorgeous mosaic flooring and scents of rose and bergamot everywhere.

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - Soaking up the sun on the private beach

Having set ourselves up on the private beach, we spent the morning soaking up the sun on the most stunning floating outdoor pool and laughing at our lack of ability at using the Boomerang app. It was perfect! The pool is literally water on water; the turquoise pool floats directly on Lake Como; the gentle lapping of the waves makes it exceptionally relaxing as you feel like you’re being cradled gently. It’s an unforgettable experience to watch the sun rays shimmer and dance on the surface of the water against a stunning backdrop of mountainous Italian countryside.

After a good sun soak, rotations of bronzing and dipping in the crystal clear pool to cool off, and then a spot of al fresco lunch, we were ready to spa it up. The spa is probably the only thing that could tempt me away from dozing off on the big bean bags by the water!

 

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - Finnish Sauna

The spa has recently been renovated so now hosts a Finnish sauna, Mediterranean bath, steam baths, two relaxation rooms, an outdoor jacuzzi, a hammam, the best cold mist shower ever (around 10 degrees Celsius with scents of mint and tea tree), an ice bath and a stunning infinity pool with incredible water jets. It’s become an enchanting oasis and is truly a haven of relaxation with gorgeous laso marble and handcrafted wood furnishings. I absolutely loved it!

 

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - Marble and woodcrafted furnishings

 

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - T-Spa

Ileana and the team at the T-spa made us feel like royalty. We spent the afternoon in utter bliss; between the incredible treatments, panoramic views, treatment showers, multiple relaxation rooms and pools, we emerged with the sort of glow only possible after full relaxation. I’ve had ESPA treatments before and they are consistently great so I had high expectations that were met every step of the way. My masseuse, Luna’s Swedish massage was no exception – absolutely fantastic. I also had one of the best facials I’ve ever had when Georgia gave me a rigorous but relaxing personalised ESPA facial. My skin is still glowing (and it’s been three days!)

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - Swedish Massage at the T-Spa

 

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - T-Spa Lobby
Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - Relaxing at T-Spa

 

With the booking of a treatment, you can enjoy all of these facilities so it’s definitely worth allowing plenty of time around a treatment to explore.

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - T-Spa and the Grand Tremezzo Hotel

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Lake Como - Candle

I can’t imagine anyone not falling in love with the T-Spa and the Grand Tremezzo Hotel, we absolute did. It’s a must do for a relaxing break in the Italian lakes or a perfect day trip from Milan.

I’d highly recommend the Grand Hotel Tremezzo for one of the best spas I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. It’s a little slice of heaven that I’ll look back on with nostalgia many times for sure. I’ll be back for certain.

Phone: +39 0344 42491
Grand Hotel Tremezzo website link here
Email: reservations@grandhoteltremezzo.com

Il Baretto, Marylebone

The day I tried Il Baretto was a dazzingly sunny one. The skies were clear blue and the sun bursting bright. I reunited with best friends from university to celebrate Sonia’s birthday. These two are essentially like family, and so a family-style meal worked well. I’d been recommended Il Baretto a number of times and was keen to try it, they pride themselves on an authentic menu and it’s safe to say I’d agree.
We started with an assortment of bread and the ooziest burrata served with grilled courgettes.
Lifestyle Enthusiast - Il Baretto - Burrata, Grilled Courgette and Basil

 

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Burrata and Bread

Some sort of homemade bolognesa that Sonia ordered, rich, bold and tangy and dusted with Parmigiano.

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Homemade Bolognesa dusted with parmegianno

Perfect delicate homemade tortelli of spinach and ricotta in a sage butter

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Homemade Tortelli of spinach and ricotta in a sage butter

 

and a salad of avocado, spinach, bacon, chives and pomegranate

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Salad of Avacado, spinach, bacon, chives and pomegranate

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Spending time with good friends over good food

The intention to be healthy was there, but frankly, this wasn’t the time. We had a birthday to celebrate! On the menu, we all were won over by the sound of chocolate fondant. It generally is my go-to pudding and it’s safe to say this really didn’t disappoint. The charming waiter brought us each one of these rather squidgy looking fondants with vanilla ice cream, hot and decadent. The ice cream sat on top and started drooling and I bet you are too now.

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Icecream

 

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Icecream

Excuse me for the poor photography you can’t really tell but this fondant had the most perfect liquid centre, rich and chocolatey perfectly balanced by the icecream. You really can’t go wrong with ordering this.

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Icecream

 

We ended our meal happy, content and in need of a post-chocolate-feast nap! Il Barreto serves really good, classic Italian food done really well. It’s sadly not particularly cheap but a nice place for good ol’ italian dining. My preference is still for fun places to eat and this is more of a “grown up” restaurant but I’d still recommend it for the great Italian food.

We headed out to catch some sun and for a walk to pretend to balance out all the gloriously rich food!

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Catch up with friends

 

Lifestyle Enthusiast - Apres Bar - Cocktail Quote

How fantastic is this quote outside Aprés bar? I love it.  This is the first summer I’ve been in London for the summer properly as it had always been my plan to scoot away abroad over the summer holidays. I’ve been lucky enough to have done parts of South America and South East Asia over the last few summers but this year I’m really loving being around. What are your plans for the summer?

My first staycation was looking pretty likely to help top up the tan if the sun keeps shining! This was a beautiful day… I was lapping up the sunshine and loving having the girls around… today I’m shivering indoors and not loving the blur of grey and rain outside… Summer where have you gone?! I desperately need the sunshine back.

Il Baretto is at 43 Blandford Street, London, W1U 7HF  Go for that gorgeous chocolate fondant and let me know what you think. Pretty yummy comfort food executed beautifully, just right for a London staycation. Link here.