When we moved house I inherited a rose garden, which was wonderful. So now I get up early on summer mornings to deadhead roses like some Victorian lady of the manor. I can’t waste the lovely petals so I make real confetti with them as a gift for anyone getting married.
For me the fragrance of roses is the smell of summer. Even in darkest winter the waft of a rose scented product makes me smile and think of sunshine. I use a rose based perfume as my signature scent, so I set about testing rose products with glee.
Aromatherapy Associates has a lovely range of rose products, from which I plucked their Renewing Rose Body Wash (£27). The square pump container is transparent so you can see the golden liquid inside. It contains rose, geranium and frankincense. It’s the Frankincense you notice first, a strong, rather spicy smell which I thought would overpower the other fragrances. But while using the gel in the shower, the warm water brings out the rose and geranium fragrances very nicely. The gel is rich and creamy, it foams well, and my skin felt clean and soft. The fragrance lingers gently on the skin. Perfect by itself on a summer’s day or to underpin a rose body cream or perfume.
The ila products come in bright pink boxes with vibrant gold writing on them which cheer up my dressing table. I tried the Face Serum for Glowing Radiance (£75) and the Day Cream for Glowing Radiance. (£66) Who doesn’t want to glow?
I love the fact that ila support farming and tribal communities around the world to grow their ingredients. I have had some amazing results from ila treatments in spas, so I was more than ready to try out these products.
The Day Cream comes in quite a small jar (50g) and at this price I was worried that it would not last long. The clue is in the tiny white plastic scoop supplied with it. You only need a small amount as its very rich and spreads quickly and evenly onto the skin. It smells gorgeous; the top note Rose Damascena reminds me of rose petals with morning dew on them. Then the soft, warm sandalwood fragrance comes through.
The Face Serum comes in a pump action white bottle. This has a more subtle smell combining rose with white lily and moringa oil. The moringa oil is made from a tree that grows in the Himalayas and has long been used by locals as a hair product. It is high in oleic acid and Omega 9 and which are thought to help prevent skin aging. I love the light texture and the way it soaks quickly and easily into my skin.
My Germaine de Capuccini products arrived in a very chic black box – the Rose Hip and Night Success luxury Gift Box (£71.95) - containing two of their hero products, Rose Hip Oil and Night Success Renewal Mask.
When I opened the jar of Timexpert Rides Night Success Renewal Mask (individually priced at £51.65) I was surprised to find the transparent gel had tiny spots of pale pink it in. When I put this on my face would l look as if I have measles? Not a good idea when getting into bed next to your best beloved. As a dedicated Spa Spy, I proceeded with my duty and scooped some of the light gel and applied it over my face. To my amazement the pink spots disappeared almost at once and the gel was quickly absorbed. It has no pronounced smell and does not come off on the bedclothes, which for a night-time product is a good thing!
Most mornings when I wake my skin feels tight and the sleep creases take a while to fade. After using this Night Success mask, I woke to soft relaxed skin. Looking in the mirror my neck, normally showing my age, was much smoother than usual. I am hooked. The instructions say to use the Night Success mask 2-3 nights a week but I cannot resist using it again the next night, just to check that it really does work. It does and I am still using this every couple of days…pink spots and all.
The Germaine de Capuccini Multi- Regenerating Rose Hip Oil (£40.75) has a warm rose hip rather than a floral rose scent. Facial oils can be heavy and sit on the skin: this is lighter than most, but I still found it best to use at night and allow time for it to soak in. The instructions suggest mixing a few drops with a daytime moisturizer and I found this worked wonders. The two products combined easily and felt much richer than a moisturizer alone. On my dry, dehydrated skin it made a noticeable difference, softening the lines and wrinkles. It is a combo I use all the time now.
In order to feed my rose fragrance compulsion and help me deal with the surprising stresses of WFH, I now have an ila Fragrant Candle for Inner Peace (£46) burning in my dining room…er I mean home office . Its gentle rose and tuberose fragrance is just enough to lighten my mood without being overpowering.
And I have replaced at least some of my endless cups of coffee with a Soothing Rose Tea (£6.95) from Camellias Tea House. So, now I can work peacefully in a rose scented heaven.
Lockdown Sanity Saviour: Hilary Mantel’s final book about Thomas Cromwell – The Mirror and the Light. I love the first two books of the trilogy but was slightly intimidated by the 875 pages of this third part. Thankfully, despite a huge and sometimes confusing cast of characters, it is a very good read and it kept me going for the first six weeks of lockdown. Somehow Hilary Mantel persuades you to actually like Thomas Cromwell even though you know he is a psychopath with a father fixation and has tortured innocent people for political ends. Quite an achievement. Getting drawn into political life in the 1530s gave some relief from the realities of politics in 2020. At least we don’t have our heads chopped off for breaking lockdown!
22nd May 2020
Warm treatment beds; fragrant steam rooms; therapists who listen to what you say; unexpected treats such as back massages that start with hot towels on your feet.
Small towels; crowded changing rooms; black mould in the showers; therapists who sniff; anyone who doesn't take my lavender allergy seriously - until I'm actually sick on them!
Behind the scenes