Beauty at Brickstables, Colchester
Most of us have been to local salons for treatments at some point, whether they are torturous waxing sessions with your leg thrown high in the air or a tanning session where you hopefully don’t emerge as orange as Donald Trump. Sometimes these are high street spaces with a small treatment room or two, sometimes a humble garden office. My point being the venue isn’t usually the main lure, but the treatment.
Beauty at Brickstables is unique in its location, so close to the A12 yet in a handsome grade II-listed 800-year-old farmhouse reached by a gravel drive in the middle of some seriously picturesque grounds. The salon shares Brickstables House with a posh dental practice, and it is reached through a cottagey low door to the rear. The experience feels more like coming to a lovely old country house hotel for a spa day rather than an hour’s treatment. There’s even an old well in the grounds.
Inside it’s a cute mix of characterful old-world charm with low beams and flagstone floors with vintage-chic hearts on ribbons and flowers. There are only two treatment rooms and the one I am having my serious-sounding 50-minute ESPA Intensive facial in is upstairs reached via a small Alice in Wonderland style door. It’s a charming room with sloping, uneven floors and a view of the grounds through leaded windows.
After a consultation about what my concerns are (baggy eyes from poor sleep, for the record). We begin with a nice session of choosing which essential oils to use on my skin, Katie dabs them on my wrist. I choose a fresh, lemony fragrance and a more musky version. I love the routine of this facial; oils are expertly massaged - both acupressure and lymph drainage - into the skin then removed with hot flannels, then there’s a gentle, but thorough exfoliation and a deep penetrating mask while my tired old eyes are covered with cotton wool pads soaked with ESPA’s fresh Soothing Eye Lotion. Katie also uses her fingertips to stimulate around my eye area. The icing on the cake is a deeply relaxing Oriental Head massage.
Before, my skin looked dried out from a heady winter mix of central heating, the cold and my car heater and I also had those aforementioned shadows under my eyes. Now my complexion is clear and smooth plus my eye area has improved. It’s as if I’ve spent the day in a country spa, instead of an hour just five minutes from home.
*ESPA Intensive facial, £48, alisonbyrne.co.uk