Into the (comfort) zone
The ultimate soothing, sleep enhancing massage at The Barn in Loxton, North Somerset
What is it with us women? We work SO HARD, whether it’s at home with the kids, or at work or at both, and we just don’t make enough time to be good to ourselves. I’m such a hairshirt on the weekend, looking after the kids, buying the food for the week to come, tidying the house. It’s like I deliberately put myself right down the bottom of the ‘love yourself’ list.
Anyway, I bucked my own stupid trend recently and went to see Kelly Hooper at the award-winning Barn in Loxton, just outside Axbridge in north Somerset, to try out one of their new relaxation and well-being therapies, the soothingly named Tranquility Pro-sleep Ritual.
As well as offering cutting edge treatments, holistic therapies and cosmetic procedures – and winning awards for it – The Barn’s a real rustic retreat, a tranquil haven away from the stresses of everyday life. It’s in a 300-year-old barn (it’s the countryside, innit?) but one that’s been rebuilt and restored using the original stone and oak timbers, to create a beautiful, light-filled space in two acres of land with a wonderful view of famous Somerset landmark, Crook Peak. Can I come and live here please?
Inside, it’s cool and contemporary. There’s no pink fluffiness here, only natural wood, flagstone floors and white walls providing a neutral canvas for the on-trend furniture and bold copper lighting, utilitarian scaffolding shelving and touches of the Middle East – check out those neat leather pouffes and babushka slippers.
And for the ultimate hedonistic bathing experience, scatter some rose petals and a sprinkle of mineral salts into this raw copper bath and….relax…. *sigh*.
OK, I’ll stop drooling over the fixtures and fittings and tell you about the treatment, or rather, the ritual.
The Tranquility Pro-sleep Ritual is aimed at anyone who’s stressed (check), unable to relax (check) and finding it hard to sleep (check) or jet-lagged. It uses oils made by a company called [comfort zone] (that’s the way they write the name) whose mantra is ‘skin, science and soul’. I take that to mean that they do a lot of scientific research into the skin and to the stuff they make to put on it, to help us feel fantastic inside as well as out. The oils are science-based formulas made from natural-origin ingredients, so they don’t contain silicone, parabens, mineral oils, artificial colours or animal derivatives.
See those little brushes on the left? That’s what the therapist uses to what I can best describe as ‘anointing’ the body during the the ritual. Think Liz Taylor as Cleopatra being prepared by her slaves to meet Mark Anthony. The soft stokes of the massage, warm oils trickling across the body, the smell of the cedarwood and sweet orange essential oils and the subtle music (not waves on a shore, thankfully) combine to give a sensual and deeply relaxing experience lasting about 90 minutes – that was a roundabout way of saying, it was flippin’ gorgeous.
Afterwards I sipped on some chilled water with slices of lime and admired the view over towards Crook Peak. What’s lovely about The Barn is that when you’re ready to leave (I could have stayed all day and almost did, sorry guys), you don’t step right back in to the hustle of the real world when you leave – you walk out into the beautiful countryside and can drive back into real life in your own time.
You can find out more about [comfort zone] at the launch on Weds 2 November, 6.30pm-8.30pm (tickets just £5 and redeemable against products bought on the night) – or take my word for it and just book yourself in for a treatment.
The Barn, Loxton Lea, Sevier Road, Loxton BS26 2XE. Tel 01934 732893. thebarnsomserset.co.uk