Confessions of a Spa Junquie
When one has to eat for a living, a foray into a day spa resort serves one well. Even Sydney-sider, Donna Hay, another chef, food stylist, and author takes a break to detox and diet, nourish and replenish. The skin changes, of course, due to weather, diet and overall lifestyle. Although one can create a home day spa there is something about getting away for a reprieve and sanctuary in a purpose designed sybaritic spa. As with people asking me often where is my favourite restaurant, so many students and readers ask which my preferred spa is.
Among my past remarkable jobs was to work as a live-in chef/instructor for Cal-a-Vie, The Palms in Palm Springs and The Oaks in Ojai, California, where guests pay $5,000 a week to get fit and revivified. Other signature skin food formulas come from my travel spa writing for Day Dream Island and Couran Cove spas in Queensland. I actually lost weight with all the exercise and treatments at Couran Cove and the entire five days were a luxury beyond belief. The only thing I couldn’t do was quit caffeine. I’ll always remember I fell on the floor during yoga because my head ached so badly from withdrawal. I actually crawled away and found some hidden beans. Naughty. Still I ended up looking beautiful for my beach wedding even if that didn’t work out either.
In Bali I experienced Mandi Lulur, a traditional spa ritual for brides, and in Perth, a jasmine rice scrub at the Body Works in Applecross and an enriching exfoliant and facial at a particularly delightful and tasteful spa called Eight Degrees.
This last day spa is situated on the 4th level of the Kirin Centre in Mount Pleasant. As soon as I entered, I enjoyed breathtaking views over looking Perth city and the Swan River from their relaxation room. As with a finer day spa anywhere in the world, from 8 Degrees I took home much more than great memories…I benefited by a refreshed spirit, a revitalised body and rejuvenated mind. Hallelujah!
Behind the development of the Eight Degrees Day Spa, the Australian School of Natural Beauty Spa and Australian School Clinical of Aromatherapy has been an incredibly committed group of people. The dream was first created by Dr Wee, Malcolm Wee and together with Meredith Pullen’s ideas and expertise, supported by an outstanding Research and Development team of people.
My treatments there included a facial and massage with a nourishing milk cleanser and D’mask rose hydrosol with fine bamboo polish-exfoliator. The pure C serum comes in an opulent opaque single serve pump, to be gently massaged into the face, neck and décolletage afterwards.
Now that I have been the thrilled recipient of these treatments, I skin tested a few of these recipes at home. Imagine my delight when I found the Rose Hydrosol is simply rose essence in water, not oil, and my culinary rose water for Mid-Eastern cooking is the perfect ingredient.
After paying “a bit much” for a jasmine body scrub at Body Works, I made up my own from the kitchen cupboard. Any mix of organic brown, jasmine or basmati rice works well. Simply soak rices, covered, in filtered water for 30 minutes. Scoop and scrub rice grains over the body with an exfoliation glove or your own nice hand. For a gentler exfoliation, process the rices to coarse flour.
Back from Bali, I made up my own divorcee lulur paste with rice flour, turmeric, sandalwood and jasmine essence mixed with filtered or distilled water. After letting this aromatic paste dry on my skin, it was easily buffed off with a body brush or exfoliation gloves. Hey, we all need nurturing, especially celibate chefs.
The next phase of the Mandi Lulur is to mix plain yoghurt and honey with heavy dashes of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger freshly grated nutmeg and/or cloves to your discretion. Smooth that all over your body and lie on a cool cotton sheet and wrap up.
Do some Hatha Yoga deep breathing and meditation for at least a half an hour and rinse off in a tepid shower.
For a deep cleansing scrub created from a pre-bridal week at Couran Cove – this time it was me – try this muesli rub! It must be made fresh each time.
120 ml EA oatmeal and bran
Spices of choice for aromatic bouquet
2 tsp EA sea salt and organic milk
Mix all dry ingredients, then add milk a little at a time until you have a paste that is moist to handle but not too sticky.
Rub into skin by hand or with a body brush. Concentrate on rough areas, heels, elbows, thighs and buttocks. Send white healing light to those areas as you scrub.