Beauty at the Bay, Colchester

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I have to admit that I’m a sucker for spa treatments. I’m never happier than when my face is being steamed, wiped and smothered in masks. Shallow but true.

Beauty at the Bay, set in leafy Braiswick on the edge of town, is a very welcoming place. Marie, the owner greets me as if I am her family, gets me a cup of teapigs herb tea before I’m led to one of their new treatment rooms in a converted stable to the rear of the premises. Warm underfoot, I’m snuggled on a massage bed where a 30-minute aromatherapy back, neck and shoulder massage irons out many of the knots on my shoulders.

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But it’s not over yet. Now it’s time for my all time favourite beauty treatment: a facial with added technology. South African brand Environ is a product line newly-introduced to the salon. Although well established, it’s not that widely known outside of salons, but it should be. A warm pad is placed under my back before Lilli gets cracking. Relaxing but thorough cleansing precedes the application of a serum A&C serum 1 pushed into the skin with pulsed currents and sound waves to penetrate the skin and make the products work effectively. ‘You might see flashing lights’ warns Lilli. Later a thick, putty-like mask made of algae is applied even over my mouth and eyes, two probes attached, and the treatment continues to work. I’m a bit claustrophic but strangely don’t mind this mummification in the name of beauty. I look smoother and less tired, which can’t be a bad thing...

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* Back, neck and shoulder massage £27.50; Active Vitamin facial, £65,