I was 10 years old, peering over the till of a rather rustic looking sweet shop with my naughty brother and literally dying in a frenzied fit of laughter as the shop keeper kept repeating the price of our candied goodies.
'That'll be farty five pence my love.' We could hardly breathe through our suppressed chuckles but sensing an opportunity to prolong the merriment, managed to mutter, ' Sorry what was that?'
'FARTY FIVE PENCE.'.....Sorry what?....FARTY FIVE!'
And so my love affair with Ireland and its people began. I adored the accents, the green pastures, the idyllic country pubs...and the potato-based snacks with funny names such as Tayto.
|How could anyone say no to Tayto?|
A couple of months ago, I was invited to visit the charming Galgorm Resort and Spa in Northern Ireland and try their Organic Muslin Bag Massage. Having never been to the northern side of this lush n' green land I jumped at the chance and took my beloved buddy Hiba, aka Bumder (dont ask).
After we jigged off the Air Lingus flight (too much?) we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a plush Galgorm Range Rover, there to whisk us away in comfort to the resort which resides in a pretty green village of the same name, just 30 minutes away from Belfast.
Our friendly driver catered to our every (slightly demanding) whim, stopping off at numerous food establishments so that we could stock up on plentiful snackage for the evening ahead (being the 6 meals a day type of girls that we are).
We were ecstatic when we were shown to our spacious room and rejoiced at the chocolate treats that welcomed us. A nice touch Galgorm. A nice touch....
After an evening of ridiculously girly conversation and fine cheese feasting, we called it a night, remembering to fill out our breakfast forms of course....
|Too much maybe?|
After devouring our delicious Irish breakfast platter we skipped downstairs to the spa in eager anticipation of our massages.
The newly refurbished spa at Galgorm is truly stunning. Decadent crystal chandeliers, elegant velvet sofas and bubble gum pink lighting give the place a fabulously girly, boudoir feel - which is why I suppose it was named 'The Boudoir.'
You can always tell a good spa by their product houses. The most exclusive, luxurious spa can be bitterly let down by the dodgy, low quality products they sell and use. (not mentioning any names...)
|Anyone know where the spa be around ere?|
I was very impressed with the high quality skincare that adorned the glass shelves of 'The Boudior.' Aromatherapy Associates - one of my favourite spa brands and Voya - exceptional, certified organic products enriched with locally sourced, antioxidant-rich Irish seaweed.
The Organic Muslin Bag Massage that I had later that morning used soaked and warmed muslin bags filled with Voya's detoxifying seaweed and herbal concoction.
After five minutes on that heated treatment bed, at the mercy of the expert strokes of the therapist, I found myself drifting off (It was also an early morning and being the night owl that I am, was surviving on the 4 hours sleep of the night before).
The base oil of sweet almond nourished and hydrated my skin. The muslin bags felt smooth, yet invigorating, pummeling away all the tension and stress of the city that languished within my weary muscles and induced a deep, tranquil state of mind.
Benefits of Galgorm's Organic Muslin Bag Massage
- Celulite busting
- Circulation boosting
- Stress releasing
By the end of this epic full body massage, my relaxed and happy self was led to an inviting relaxation area to meet Bumder - who had just returned from an equally blissful massage and was delightfully spaced out.
|'Fancy chilling in this relaxation area? um.....DO I?!'|
After flicking through the various magazines and gloriously numbing our minds with mindless celebrity gossip, we made our way down to the resort's thermal spa and were truly flabbergasted by the pure magnitude of the place - and I don't use the word magnitude lightly. Oh no.
|Come. Swim in my inviting azure waters|
We yelped with joy as we plunged into the gorgeous blue water of the incredibly elegant pool. Ok, maybe it was more like gradual ebbing inch by inch rather than plunging but we were still rather excited about it all.
After a few laps, we decided to explore the outside section of the spa and gasped as we discovered not one but two bubbling hot tubs, steaming away against an idyllic backdrop of green pastures and...wait for it...a babbling brook.
When our fingers were suitably wrinkly after our excessive soakage we made our way to the spa's steam room...where we remained for most of the day, laughing, debating and.,..well, opening our pores.
Dinner that evening in the resort's Italian restaurant, Frateli's was a belt-busting affair. Oh how we gorged on sumptuous dishes such as baked aubergine and tomato and massive rib eye steaks that although divine, sadly defeated us in the end with their abundant meaty nature. We still, of course, made room for a hearty portion of desert - a trio of indulgent chocolate, lemon and cherry puddings.
|Queasy Bumder after excessive meat consumption|
The next day before we left for bustling London streets, we walked around Galgorm's spacious, scenic grounds. We agreed it was a place of true escapism and beauty - vital for us city dwellers to take time out in to relax our perplexed minds.
|Posing by a brook that is babbling is mandatory|
Galgorm Resort and Spa is one of those magical places that remain in the memory long after you leave. The warm hospitality, good food, beautiful grounds and luxurious spa make this idyllic countryside retreat an Irish haven full of lucky charms...
Prices start at £115 for an overnight stay at Galgorm Resort and Spa (based on two people sharing), breakfast and full use of the thermal spa.
The Organic Muslin Bag Massage costs £110 for 85 minutes.