Monday 24 June 2019

Pamper in Paradise

When your world shifts from 'me' to 'we', what are the best ways to pamper yourself? Aoife Reilly discovers the nicest and most luxurious ways to recharge and relax

Perfect for pampering: The spa at Castlemartyr Resort in Cork
Cliff House
Relaxation: The Farnham Estate Spa and Golf Resort
Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa
Urban Veda Soothing Facial Oil, €39.99
Lush April Showers bath bomb, €5.95
Castle Leslie
e.l.f Hydrating Gel Mask, €14.95
This Works Deep Sleep Shower Gel, €19.50

If you're a new mum or a mum-to-be, chances are you're sorely in need of some pampering. From hedonist hotspots to ultra-indulgent massages to some simple 'me-time' in the comfort of your own home, there are endless tricks, tips, techniques and treatments to help relax your body during this time.

But as an expectant or new mum what does one consider as pampering? Is it an extravagant getaway in one of Ireland's most decadent hotels? Is it a day in a city spa filled with indulgent treatments? Is it 30 uninterrupted minutes in your own bathroom with a treasure chest of beauty products? Or do you simply take what you can get? While some options may seem more attainable than others (even a moment to yourself in your own bathroom may seem like a long shot), taking care of your mind and body during this busy time is essential. It may not have the same wow factor as Diana Prince's spinning Wonder Woman transformation, but the evolution from woman to expectant mum/new mum is just as amazing (albeit more tiring) and deserves to be treated that way. Dealing with issues like sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, back pain and swollen ankles while caring for a newborn can be straight-up exhausting, which is why taking care of yourself and listening to your body is so important. To help you on your path to pampering we're serving up a variety of solutions that cover all your beautifying needs.

The DIY Pamper:

Sometimes it's ten minutes, sometimes it's more, but taking some time out to take care of what your body needs is vital, even when you're in the comfort of your own home. Whether it's incorporating a hydrating mask into your night routine, using a sleep spray before bedtime or carrying out a regular head-to-toe pampering session, taking the time to look after yourself at home is incredibly beneficial.

Scroll through any social media app on a Sunday and you will see a plethora of product postings with the hashtag 'sundayfacial'. At-home facials have become hugely popular due to the improvement in the quality of budget brands and the availability of expert advice at the click of a button. As a new mum, chances are you won't be able to dedicate your Sunday to a salon-inspired facial but taking some time (even as little as ten minutes) every week to treat yourself will not only calm your post-pregnancy skin, it will help relax your mind. Take the This Works Deep Sleep range for example, a beauty editor favourite and a brilliant aid for sleep deprived mums. The collection, which includes candles, pillow spray and bath soaks, contains essential oils like lavender, chamomile and vetivert which are designed to relax the mind and body. If time is not on your side, swap your regular shower gel with This Works Deep Sleep Shower Gel, €19.50. The scent is heavenly while the moisturising formula softens and protects your skin.

It's no secret that hormonal changes during pregnancy can make your skin dry so if you can find the time for a weekly boost of hydration your skin will thank you for it. Designed to treat very dry skin, e.l.f Hydrating Gel Mask, €14.95 is a brilliant addition to your beauty arsenal. It contains aloe, coconut and chia seed which helps cool and soothe tight and dry skin.

If your skin is incredibly dry, follow with a nourishing face oil like Urban Veda Soothing Facial Oil, €39.99. It's designed to diminish redness and harmoinse sensitive skin thanks to its mix of sandalwood, avocado and sea buckthorn. If you live in a house with young children, the idea of taking a bath is often unimaginable (because you live in a house with young children) or undesirable (because your bath is filled with toys that look like they belong in a Disney movie). However, if you can put said sea creatures to one side, try to take a relaxing bath. Pop in Lush April Showers bath bomb, €5.95, and you'll forget your surroundings right away. This bath bomb is designed to lift your spirits thanks to its rich ingredients of cedarwood and cypress oils. It also contains cocoa butter, which will help soften and soothe your skin.

The Deeper Pamper:

Between exhaustion, chronic constipation, hormonal spots and your throbbing swollen feet, there's never a time you'll need a spa day more than when you're expecting. Spas come in all shapes and sizes and now cater to more than hair, skin and nails. They are wellness centres where you can retreat to recharge your mind and body.

For some, the idea of recharging and rejuvenating comes in the form of movement. At Oslo Health on Mespil Road in Dublin, there are a number of small and intimate classes for expectant mums and mums-to-be including Mummy and Me Yoga and Pilates Fusion. New mums are invited to bring their little ones to a class that focuses on pelvic floor and spine stabilisation and core conditioning while being mindful of post-pregnancy hormones and your changing body. They also cater for mums-to-be with pregnancy yoga, pilates and barre classes. For a full range of price options check out

At the fabulous Simplicité Wellbeing and Beauty Clinic in Straffan, Co Kildare, the emphasis is on feeling, looking and living well. It carries the Made for Life Organics range, which is an award-winning, 100pc certified organic skin and body care range made by hand in Cornwall. The Made for Life Pregnancy Indulgence is a relaxing treatment for mums-to-be who are more than 12 weeks pregnant. Soothing massage techniques are used to calm and alleviate aches and pains and the oils can help prevent stretchmarks. See

Nestled on 1,000 acres of undulating Irish countryside, it's obvious why Castle Leslie is so popular with young families - the countless nature walks around the estate (pictured above), the regal interiors that could have come straight from a novel and the on-site falconry training to name but a few. While it may have an endless list of outdoor adventures, it also boasts a tranquil spa in the form of The Victoria Treatment Rooms. With seven treatment rooms, a relaxation area and an outdoor hot tub, it's an ideal place for some much needed 'me time'. If you are expecting, the spa has a number of mother-to-be treatments including the Head-to-Toe for Mum-to-Be treatment, €125 - a total body treatment that treats all areas of concern that you may have.

When you step into the Spa at the Shelbourne, it's hard to believe that you are in Dublin city. It's incredibly peaceful and I always leave blissfully relaxed. Admittedly, it was the interiors that first drew me in. It's incredibly cosy and inviting and you instantly feel at home. There's also something comforting about being able to switch off from the real world when you're right in the heart of the city (pictured right). For mums-to-be, I'd recommend the Cocoon Mother-to-Be Massage, €160. The massage has been adapted to each stage of pregnancy and it helps relieve tension in the back as well as reducing swelling in the hands and feet. The techniques used by the therapists here make this treatment stand out from all the rest. You're left feeling connected and recharged.

As one of Ireland's premier seawater spa destinations, Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa (pictured left) offers a different way to relax and recharge with Ireland's first ever seawater spa. Along with the traditional spa offerings, it has a great range of treatments for mums-to-be including an Island Spa Foot Ritual, €70, which begins with a milk and honey foot bath and exfoliation for dead skin removal followed by a hot stone massage for your feet and legs, finishing off with a cooling leg gel to help improve circulation. If you have been plagued with swollen ankles during your pregnancy, this is heaven.

The Overnight Pamper:

When it comes to luxurious and indulgent hotel spas, we are spoiled for choice in Ireland. Whether you need to recharge your batteries, switch off from the pressures of family life, or simply recover from sleep lost to a nocturnal infant, you don't have to go too far for a night away from regular life. Luckily, many of these relaxing sanctuaries cater to new mums and mums-to-be with spa treatments designed to pamper your changing body and treat any concerns, rannging from dry skin, to tense back muscles and swollen ankles.

With a backdrop of the striking Ardmore coastline, the Cliff House Hotel is an ideal spot for those who want an intimate and tranquil spa experience. The hotel's Well Spa (inset above) has an entire menu for mothers-to-be with treatments that are designed to recharge your energy and relieve stress during pregnancy. If you carry a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders, try the Me Time package, €120. Luxury scalp therapy is followed by a cleanse and tone on the face, a full leg massage and a luxury pedicure. An overnight stay here is from €199 to €389 for a deluxe seaview room including breakfast for two people sharing, depending on the

A five-star luxury estate in the stunning surroundings of East Cork will always sound inviting.

With one of the largest hotel wellness centres in the country, the Castlemartyr Resort is the perfect location for a girls' trip or baby shower. The hotel's spa boasts 10 treatment rooms including a VIP room for groups. They even go one step further and offer a Pampering Party package which includes a personalised facial, a back, neck and shoulder massage and a salt and oil scrub at €70 per person. An overnight stay costs €185 including breakfast, based on two people sharing a deluxe room.

The Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa was made for sleep-deprived parents. As soon as you arrive, you are put at ease thanks to the quiet surroundings (pictured left) and the stunning picturesque views of the Lakes of Killarney. Thanks to the layout of the spa, it can feel like your own little hideaway with multiple thermal suites and treatment rooms. If lack of sleep is your biggest concern, try the Voya Mindful Dreams treatment, €140. The 90-minute treatment focuses on improving your quality of sleep and relaxing a tense body and mind. It begins with a visit to the thermal suites followed by an inhalation and grounding ritual, a relaxing facial cleanse and massage, a de-stressing scalp massage, a full body massage and calming foot techniques. One-night bed and breakfast rates start from €209 per room.

There is something to be said for the surroundings of the Farnham Estate Spa and Golf Resort. From its peaceful nature walks to its tree-lined driveway, it's hard to believe the resort is just minutes away from Cavan's busiest town. If you can, book a bedroom suite in the original 400-year-old Farnham House. Rooms are dressed in classic regal designs mixed with stylish modern furnishings - the ideal place to retreat to after a day at the hotel spa. The Farnham Estate Spa is one of the most accommodating spas for mums-to-be, providing a huge range of Yon-Ka maternity treatments such as the Polish and Skin Smoother, €85. It's a full body grain-free exfoliation which refreshes the skin. This is followed by an application of a warming balm which leaves the skin feeling incredibly smooth. Stay for the night to really enjoy and relax with overnight stays from €129 per room midweek including breakfast.

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