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Strawberry surprise

There's nothing worse than waiting for your pedicure to dry. Okay, so there are actually many things, but there is no better way to pass said time than by dipping fresh strawberries into chocolate and scarfing them down.

I had this blissful experience in Exhale Beauty Salon. Located in Kilcoole, and the toenail-painting and strawberry-dipping was preceded by a really fantastic Coconut and May Chang massage.

May Chang is an essential oil that is very effective in inducing relaxation; it's also great for when you feel a cold coming on. Massage therapist Suzy Dean had dotted the towel on which I lay my head with some of the stuff, and it was lovely. She used coconut oil during the massage, and the resulting blend of aromas made me feel like I was on holiday.

The massage was exceptionally thorough, and I quickly dropped into the zone. It can be difficult, when you're reviewing a treatment, to balance the part of your mind that's filing away information, and the part that just wants to zone out.

To be truthful, zoning out won -- which is as good a testimony as a salon could hope for.

It was over all too soon and, while I was looking forward to getting the toes seen to, I hated the idea of having to stumble out to a technician's station. Happily, I didn't have to move a muscle and was let continue blissing in the zone while Therese Rooney worked away, lightly and gently, on my feet.

I was intermittently filing away information -- very good soundproofing in the room, not so great that the door opened and threw light on my eyes -- but ultimately gave myself up to relaxing.

The last little indulgence that made the experience special? The strawberries. With chocolate! Surely Cleopatra didn't have it any better than that!

Exhale Beauty Salon is located in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow. The Coconut and May Chang massage is €65; the Deluxe Pedicure is €45. See www.exhalebeauty.com for details, or ring 01 255 7847


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