Category Archives: Spa

New Year’s Fitness Resolutions

The New Year is always a good time for reflection on what you achieved last year. Look back at what you accomplished fitness-wise and decide what you will do to make those changes. Here are some tips from Senior itness Instructor Phoebe McCully to help you stick to your new resolution.

Be Realistic

This is one of the most important tips to think about and remember when setting your new fitness resolution. If you go straight in and set yourself a huge goal of losing a stone in a month or jumping straight in to 7 gym sessions a week you might find yourself slipping off the path you set yourself on.

Decide what type of challenge you want to set yourself for the new year and then break it down into smaller step by step amounts which you will achieve, keeping you motivated and on the right path.

For example if you’ve set yourself the goal to run 10k, don’t jump straight in and try and run the 10k, if you don’t succeed you may end up de motivating yourself. Set yourself chunks, first session run 2k, then 3k then 4k and so on. Or run the first 3k, walk 1k, run 3k, walk 1k. As your fitness improves you’ll see that you will be able to make more of a dent in the 10k before you have to walk.

Being realistic isn’t just a tip for those wanting to start fitness; those of you who have been using the gym for years will still need to be realistic when planning your new personal workout targets.

Make a Plan

Once you have decided on realistic new targets for your fitness, it’s time to get organised. By creating a step-by-step guide to reach your aspirations, it will set you up for success.

If you don’t make a plan, you are more likely to stop going to the gym and end up doing nothing. With the colder temperatures lingering about, it’s beneficial to have a specific schedule that you can work with – meaning no excuses not to come.

When you set your schedule remember to set yourself rest days, if not you may end up burning yourself out and setting yourself back to where you started.

An example of a plan could be to attend a mixture of cardio and strength classes so you work a variety of different muscles. If you prefer to train on your own you could split the different muscle groups into different days. This way you won’t feel like you have to rush your gym session to fit in each area you want to train.

If you’re new to the gym you could start by attending one fitness class a week and as you feel yourself getting fitter you could pick it up to two classes a week and so on.

Reward Yourself

We need to remember to reward ourselves when we reach our little targets that help us get to our main goal. By rewarding yourself it will keep your mind on the right path, and it’s always good to make yourself feel good about what you have achieved.

When you set your plan, decided what your rewards will be when you reach that particular goal, this will help you stay motivated and focused on getting there.

Remember you can always come and talk to one of our fitness instructors in the gym for advice, if you feel personal training sessions are what you need to help you get to your goal, then come and speak to one of us today.

Mum-To-Be with Little Butterfly

Little Butterfly London is Britain’s first organic-certified luxury skincare range for “babies” only. Our Spa offers the products to take away and treatments to enjoy here. Hannah, our Spa Director, tells us more.


Dewdrops at Dawn, Bubbles in the Breeze and Fall into Dreams are some of newest products we have introduced to the Spa this month. These names are just an insight into the beautiful new range that is “Little Butterfly”.  The most precious natural and organic ingredients are generously blended to delight the senses and nurture delicate skin. Created in London and manufactured in England, Little Butterfly London has an air of elegance, with chalky pastel hues, fine wooden closures and luxurious cartons. Delicate skins deserve the kindest, safest skin care. All products are suitable for newborn and eczema-prone skin and are free from mineral oil, paraffin, parabens, SLS, silicones, DEA, TEA, PEGs and artificial fragrances.

The products in the range are:

Dewdrops at Dawn (Body Lotion)

Bubbles in the Breeze ( Top to Toe Wash)

Soft as Moonlight (Nappy Change Cream)

Floating on Clouds (Bedtime Bath Milk)

Fall into Dreams (Mother and Baby Massage Oil)

For the “Mum To Be” there is the Dreamy Pregnancy Massage available as a 55 minute or 80 minute option and suitable after the 14th week of pregnancy. This heavenly treatment incorporates the Mother and Baby oil with a full body massage which has been designed to soothe, calm and relieve the strains of pregnancy. For the mum to be that is experiencing disturbed sleep, aches, pains and puffiness, this dreamy massage will give you a moment to rest and restore. A new, “Fall into Dreams Mother and Baby Massage Oil” will be opened and used for your treatment, allowing you to take the rest of the product home with you; to nourish, soften and promote peaceful sleep for both you and baby.

For more information please contact the spa on 01635 551188.

Spa-rkle for Christmas – Prepare for Party Season

We are now entering the party season, the time when going out on “a school night” is actually acceptable, whether it be a night out with friends or the annual Christmas work do. Often it means treating ourselves to a new party outfit or two and a pre party pamper treat. Hannah our Spa Director offers top tips to prepare.


To prepare your skin for the festive season, ensure you drink a lot of water, 2 litres a day is the recommended intake. If over indulging is on the cards your water intake should be increased. There are ways to help the skin feel more hydrated and therefore be refreshed, glowing and allow make up to have a flawless finish. At home you can exfoliate your skin once or twice a week to remove any dead skin cells and use a hydrating mask once or twice a week to combat dehydration and infuse the skin with much needed nutrients. In the spa treat yourself to the collagen smoothing facial which will give your skin a collagen boost and correct the signs of ageing as they appear. The collagen mask smoothes fine lines and has a plumping effect, after the treatment your skin will be radiant and its collagen reserves restored.

To prepare for the LBD at home, skin brushing and a good body exfoliation will help to increase the circulation and leave the skin looking radiant and feeling smooth. In the spa the Thalgo slim and sculpt treatment is perfect for targeting stubborn unwanted curves and cellulite. You can combine this treatment with a full body exfoliation to save having to worry about how to reach your back or those difficult-to-reach areas. If you want to add a nice shimmer to the skin use the Polynesia Sacred Oil which gives a lovely gold shimmer as well as hydrating and nourishing. The other alternative is to have a spray tan or apply self tan at home. In the spa we use the Vita Liberata spray tan, an organic luxury anti ageing brand, with three different strengths of tan. You can choose from a touch of colour, a week away or even a two week holiday tan.

On-trend colours for make up this festive season are very much plums and purples and shimmers are back. A smoky eye is sultry and seductive, apply a shimmering, mid tone eye shadow to the moving part of the eyelid, use a brush to blend from lash line to socket line, use a darker shade on the outside corner of the eye, sweeping along the lash line and slightly into the socket line, add a little under the lower lashes, working inwards. Line the eyes with eyeliner to the lash line, for a more dramatic look apply to the lower line as well. Finish the look with mascara on the upper and lower lashes.

For nails, add sparkle to the ring finger or a touch of glitter to all nails.

Change Your Routine to Keep Seeing Results

You’ve set yourself a hard gym routine to help get you through the summer season, now it’s time to make a change to keep on seeing those results. Phoebe McCully, a Senior Fitness Instructor at our Health Club, gives us some top tips.

 Matrix gym cardio suite at Donnington Valley

Sticking to the same routine can be very easy and comfortable, but at some point, your routine may not give you the results you want, so you need to shake things up. Changing your workout routine can be a motivator and may make things more interesting for you.

You work hard in the gym trying to find the routine that suits you. You start the routine and you notice that it is helping you make the changes that you want, so you stick with it. However, after a few months you may notice that the changes you liked to see have stopped appearing. The reason this happens is because repetition means the body can adapt. It will know what to expect and will then use less energy.

So here aresome signs that you can look for when deciding if you should change up your routine.

Do you get bored in the gym? Are you noticing fewer results? You find the workout less challenging? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you need to mix things up!

Instead of just spending your amount of time on the treadmill, or cross trainer at a constant speed, I recommend our clients try our new ‘Sprint 8’ software. It is designed to help improve fitness levels, and burn away fat. It will be hard and will kick-start your body into making those changes again.

Mix up your strength routine by adding in a super set, to challenge your muscles even more. Finish the reps on the exercise that you are doing and then go straight into another one for the same muscle group. Super sets will help improve your endurance and build muscle.

If you make changes you will keep seeing results, and you will stay motivated. Try to make a change every four to six weeks. To help you make the right changes, why not book in for a review with the Fitness team? We would be only too happy to help and you never know how it will change the way you feel about your routine fore the better.

Uncomplicated British Beauty: delilah

Every woman wants to feel special every day with minimal make-up fuss. Last Monday, the delightful Rupert Kingston introduced delilah, his luxury beauty brand, to our product range.

Delilah Cosmetics
Uncomplicated British beauty from Delilah Cosmetics

Remember that understated glamour you feel every time you don a new colourful lipstick or every time you wear your favourite perfume? That’s how luxury and select make-up range delilah made us feel last night.

And as we learned, there’s no reason why we can’t feel that way all (or most!) of time with the right products. Borne of twenty years international experience in beauty buying and make-up artistry, delilah was carefully formulated in Italy from the finest ingredients. This capsule collection offers women a touch of understated luxury that they can enjoy everyday.

Importantly, delilah does not contain parabens, those modern-day nasties which recent research attests is no good for our skin at all. Instead, the products feel great, lightweight, and let your skin breathe.

Rupert offered a host of excellent tips and tricks as well, such as always to wear an SPF (I’m so guilty of forgetting but skin will be grateful in the long-run), that a brow pencil can so easily enhance your look, and that your choice of make-up brushes can dramatically enhance the application. Invest – or choose wisely initially – for long term gain.

Touching and feeling the products really brought this to life – the packaging is gorgeous and feels on a par with YSL or Chanel – very important in making a product feel extra special. With a host of pretty corals, daring poppies for the lips, warm browns, peacock greens and sultry purpose for the eyes, Rupert also aided our decision on choosing colours. Essentially, while the ‘barely-there’ is great, if you feel daring, don’t be afraid to wear colour!

The main takeaway was that make-up should be fun, easy, and make your skin look good (rather than being obvious). And delilah products very much did the job. I’m placing my order right now.

Delilah Make-Up at Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa

Delilah Cosmetics

Inspired by a multitude of quintessentially English influences and driven by the lack of boutique British brands Delilah is the creation of three strong team, Rupert Kingston, Hannah Nicholson and Juliet White.

Each of the team brings their own passion and expertise to the brand. Rupert spent many years as a make-up artist and creative director developing numerous award winning cosmetics. Hannah has had a long career as a beauty buyer specializing in product development and working with the worlds most prestigious cosmetics manufacturers. Juliet, a photographer whose work has featured in the New York Times and Rolling Stone brings her expertise in imagery, graphics and design to Delilah.

Rupert will be joining us on Monday 22nd June at 6pm to launch the Delilah range at Donnington Valley Spa. Join him and us for a glass of fizz where Rupert will be demonstrating some make-up tips and techniques to get the most professional result from this fantastic range of cosmetics.

Please call the spa to book on 01635 551188

Tickets are £5 per person which may be redeemed against purchase of Delilah cosmetics on the night.

Spring clean your skin

Facials at Donninton Valley Hotel and SpaWe spring clean our homes at this time of year, so why not take some time to spring clean your skin. There are different reasons for wanting to do this, for example a break out on the skin, the skin feeling tired and lacklustre or just you feel your skin needs a bit of tlc.

For the body:

Body Brushing
For the body a fantastic way to stimulate the circulation and remove any winter dead skin cells is to body brush using a cactus bristle brush.

Tip tips for body brushing:

  • Always start from your feet and work in an upward direction.
  • On the abdomen brush in a circular direction.
  • Make sure you don’t apply too much pressure.
  • You can go over an area more than once if needed eg. The thighs and buttocks may benefit from this.
  • Boost your circulation by alternating water between hot and cold when showering.

Detoxifying Bath or Shower Time
Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath and Shower Oil is a great way to start off your home skin detox. Containing a blend of essentail oils including pink greapefruit, rosemary and juniper berry this oil is perfect to help awaken you for the day ahead. Aply to your bosy for a few minutes before showering or add a capful your bath water.

For the Face

Clarisonic Brushes
The Clarisonic Cleansing system uses a patented sonic frequency and is suitable for all skin types. Clarisonic can be included in your skin care routine as it is six times more effective than a manual cleanse. You can use it in conjunction with your existing skin care products, such as your favourite cleanser, serums and moisturisers for healthy looking skin. The cleanse is so thorough your other skin care products will be absorbed much better.

Plasmag Gel
The Plasmag gel is applied to the skin prior to the MMA (Micronised Marine Algae), it encourages sweating whilst symultaniously helping to replenish minerals. It helps to tone and detoxify the skin while softening and moisturising. It encourages the absorption of minerals and trace elements.

MMA (Micronised Marine Algae)
A 100% natural sea bath to enjoy a concentrate of thalassotherapy in the comfort of your own home! Ultra-rich in minerals and trace elements, these algae promote wellness and encourage figure refining. Or mix with a little warm water and apply to the face avioding the eye area for a deep cleansing and revitalising mask.

Spring Freshening Facial
To experience all of these products in one pampering treatment, we have launched a spring freshening facial. Spring Clean Your Skin with our new signature Donnington Valley Facial using the Thalgo skincare products to suit your skin. A double cleanse is carried out using Clarisonic brushes to start the purification process and thoroughly deep cleanse the skin. This is followed by an exfoliation to suit your skin type and extraction if required. The Plasmag Gel is then applied to the skin with the Marine Algae Mask, while this is on the skin a hand and arm massage is carried out to aid relaxation. The face is then massaged and the facial is completed with the moisturiser to suit your skin.

This facial throughout April is £40.00*.

Call us on 01635 551188 to book

Hannah Henley-Thrift
Spa Director

*Subject to availability Monday to Thursday excluding Bank Holidays and cannot be used in conjunction with members discounts.

Get yourself prepped for the Winter season

Facials at Donninton Valley Hotel and Spa

Get yourself prepped for the Winter season

This is best time of year to start getting your skin back into shape and to nourish and restore it prior to the Winter season.  For example treat some of the skin problems left over from summer, prepare your skin for the cold of winter or get your skin looking its best for the Festive / party season.  The main aim is to rehydrate and nourish the skin after the Summer to restore the moisture before we go into the season with the colder harsher climate.

Autumn / Winter Make Up Trends
This season is all about electric hues and splashes of metallic, with an emphasis on the lashes and definition around the eyes, remembering to maintain a flawless complexion.

Post Summer Hair Care
Our hair also needs some post Summer pampering, to treat it from overexposure to the sun or even after swimming.

MoroccanOil Restorative Hair Mask is a 5 to 7 minute revitalizing treatment that quickly repairs hair that is weak, damaged or colour-treated.  Its high-performance formula which is rich in Argan oil and protein to fortify and restructure hair that has been damaged by chemical treatments or heat styling.  It actually infuses protein back into the weakened hair shaft, so hair becomes stronger and more beautiful.

Post Summer Skin care for the face
To completely rehydrate the skin try the Aromatherapy Associates Rose Facial.   A pampering treatment that rehydrates and restores radiance using Luxurious rose essential oils, long known for their rejuvenating properties which help condition and deeply nourish the skin.  The result is a smooth, radiant complexion and a relaxed state of mind.

If you feel your skin needs a bit of a pick me up and is in need of brightening try the Aromatherapy Associates Enzyme Peel Facial.  Exfoliate without any harsh abrasives and leave your skin looking and feeling softer, smoother and more radiant.  Fruit acids of pineapple, passion flower and grape work together to remove dead skin cells while carrot oil, rich in Vitamin E and anti oxidants, helps to diminish the signs of ageing.  The skin is left beautifully glowing and with an even tone.

Post Summer Skin care for the body
The perfect time of year to treat your body to an all-over body exfoliation.  The Aromatherapy Associates Bespoke Skin Polish is a treatment, which uses richly nourishing products to leave the skin looking radiant and feeling wonderfully smooth.

S.A.D is a depression that starts in the autumn and lasts all winter, but you can fight it!
Seasonal Affected Disorder (S.A.D) is thought to be due to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, caused by short days and lack of sunlight.  Aquasun Therapy, which was originally designed by the medical profession, is a unique system that combines the sun and spa water experience in one, thus helping sufferers.

The Concept
The concept behind Aquasun Therapy is to emulate the less harmful UV sun rays by strong control and filtering, allowing the benefits of UV rays to overcome the negative impact on the skin, combined with bathing in warm Dead Sea mineral water and hot air jets massaging the body to promote a sense of well-being. Aquasun Therapy treatment mimics a Mediterranean beach scene during those cold winter months, lightly tanning the body and invigorating the mind.

It Really Works…

Clients who use Aquasun Therapy as a way of reducing S.A.D are always extremely impressed with the results.

Top up your tan
A deeply bronzed tan this time of year is generally going to look unnatural.  That does not mean the tan needs to be put away.  Think of a glow rather than a tan.  You can always focus on just the face, neck and shoulders, as this is the area that is exposed.  The other thing to remember is to continue to moisturise the body throughout the winter.  Your skin is at its driest and going from freezing air outside to hot air inside can take a toll on its regenerating abilities, so move from a body lotion to a body cream or oil.  This will help to extend the life of a tan and keep the skin rejuvenated and glowing.

To book any of these treatments or for more information please call 01635 551188 or see

Hannah Henley-Thrift
Spa Director

Spring and Summer Beauty Essentials at Donnington Valley Spa

Beauty Essentials at Donnington Valley Spa

Beauty Basics are best for this time of year…

Don’t overload the make up this Summer as the heat can melt away eye shadow and foundation! You know the saying less is more, too much can actually add years to a person.

Stick the the basics:

  • Sunscreen or use a tinted moisturiser or BB cream with sunscreen in it or self tan
  • Concealer for under the eyes and any blemishes
  • Mascara or get your eyelashes tinted
  • Light coloured lipsticks or lip gloss
  • Soft eyeshadow

Minimize the damage caused by hair dryers:

  • Use a towel to wrap your hair turban-style and gently squeeze out excess water
  • Leave it to dry three-quarters of the way before you pick up your hair dryer
  • Do not hold your hair dryer too close or too long on one area of the head
  • Stop drying while your hair is still a bit damp

As the sun is here, we are now thinking about wearing our latest swimwear. This means exposing our bodies which have been hidden all Winter and therefore feeling tired, dull and dry.

To prepare your skin for the Summer, start by using a loofah or body brush, this lifts the dead skin cells and helps to improve blood and lymphatic circulation, use all over the body and try and work in the direction of the heart. This can be done daily, leaving skin smooth and revitalized. Use body polish or body exfoliator also to soften the skin, remove any dead skin cells and also nourish the skin, this will leave your skin glowing. This will also prepare your skin for the skin, helping you to get more even, fresher longer lasting tan. Just remember your sun protection.

One thing that worries a lot of women is Cellulite.

The bad news
Cellulite affects 90% of women

The good news:
Cellulite is reversible

Cellulite can be treated in the following ways:

  • Drinking lots of water
  • Exercise
  • Topical Cellulite treatments
  • Cellulite creams

It is necessary to increase the blood and lymphatic circulation to break down fat cells and help eliminate toxins.

Popping your pimples!
The sun can bring out these dreadful creatures.
You should maintain a strict hands-off policy when it comes to your spots. Messing with a pimple can extend its staying power up to seven to ten days instead of the normal two or three, since the dirt from your fingers can force bacteria into your pores and cause an infection.

Feet First!
Now it’s time for the sandals to come out of the wardrobe, treat yourself to a pedicure and wear those sandals with pride. This will exfoliate your feet, remove any hard skin, toe nails cut and shaped and the cuticles will be tidied up so the nails can be polished with a colour of your choice. For that summer special add some crystals or glitter for the summer sparkle.

Protect your eyes!
Don’t forget to protect your eyes this summer, sunglasses are a necessity to keep those damaging sun rays away from the eyes but they also add a bit of glamour and can be true fashion statement.

With holiday season fast approaching we’ve put together a special pampering package to help you slip into that holiday frame of mind.


  • A polynesia spa ritual (1hr 25 minutes)
  • Spray tan or file and paint fingers
  • Jessica pedicure

£100 per person for members,

£125 per person for non members

Monday to Thursday, Subject to availability.

Call us on 01635 551188 to book

Semi-permanent eyelash extensions

Relaxation room at Donnington Valley Spa

Guest Blogger: Nikki Butler

The beauty of individual semi-permanent eyelash extensions

Semi-permanent eyelash extensions have been sweeping the nation over the last couple of years, helping women achieve the beautifully stunning eyelashes they have always wanted.

This treatment really is fantastic and one that I am extremely passionate about.

Firstly, let me start by reassuring you that semi-permanent eyelash extensions are not about giving you overly long, curly or false looking lashes! The lashes that I create are beautiful and elegant and are designed to enhance your eyes, not overwhelm them. They do not look false in any way and many of my clients keep their lash extensions a secret, maintaining to friends and family that they are blessed with naturally gorgeous lashes…just with the help of a good mascara. It remains our little secret.

Eyelash extensions are perfect for every day wear, as well as special occasions. Many clients will have eyelash extensions applied for a special occasion and then become addicted! All of my clients will tell you that their lashes given them a little confidence boost…I’m sure you’ll love them too.

Let me explain a little more about the treatment and answer some of the FAQ’s;

What are semi-permanent eyelash extensions?

Semi Permanent eyelash extensions are created by using very fine, soft synthetic lashes and bonding them to your own lashes. The synthetic lashes are attached by using a high grade specialist glue to bond the synthetic lash to your natural lashes. Each lash is individually applied to a natural lash and placed slightly away from the lash line and do not attach directly to the eye lid itself.

The lashes are waterproof and you don’t need to wear mascara, they are perfect for parties, weddings, holidays and also for every day wear. They are easy to care for and full aftercare instructions will be given at your appointment.

How long do the lashes last?

The lashes come out with your natural lashes throughout your lash cycle, which is typically 8 -12 weeks. Maintenance appointments are recommended every 2-4 weeks (depending on your lash cycle) to keep your lashes looking fabulous.

Will lash extensions damage my natural lashes?

No, there is no damage caused to the natural lash. The extensions are attached to your natural lash and will come out with your natural lash during your lash cycle.

Are eyelash extensions suitable for everyone?

No, I’m afraid not. If you have no eyelashes then this treatment isn’t for you. The extensions require natural lashes to bond to.

What will happen at my appointment?

Firstly you will have a full consultation and complete a pre-treatment questionnaire. Your eyelashes will then be assessed and we will discuss and agree the perfect look and style for your extensions. You will then be asked to lay on a therapy couch and make yourself comfortable.

A small amount of tape will be placed onto the corners of your bottom lashes to help secure them. Hydrating gel eye pads are then placed under the eyes to secure the bottom lashes and to give your eyes a welcome treat. You will then be asked to close your eyes, lay back and relax.

Your appointment will take between 1.5 – 2hrs for a full set of eyelash extensions.

OK, I love them! When I can have them done?

I am at Donnington Valley Spa and Health Club on Thursdays.

To book an appointment please contact the Spa reception on 01635 551188 or email

If you’re curious out semi-permanent eyelash extensions but not sure you want to have a full set, why not try the taster/half set. The taster set will give you a lighter look and let you experience having the extensions in, before committing to a full set. The taster set still gives stunning results and is a great introduction to the treatment.

I look forward to seeing you soon!

Please read the full treatment details on the website