Spa Days: Volair Spa, Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park

Despite a promise to look after myself a bit better this year, beauty treatments and spa days have been pretty thin on the ground. Other things and other people come first, which as a mum is how it should be, but it was definitely my turn for a bit of TLC. Real life friend and fellow blogger Liz from Expression and Confession and I hopped in the car for a day at Volair Spa at Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park. We had been invited to the spa for the day to check out their facilities and to find out more about the treatments they offer.

Volair Spa at Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park

We arrived at Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park and not being locals we had no idea what to expect. It is a large, very modern leisure centre. It’s an interesting state of the art building, filled with sculptures, interesting art works, the biggest swimming pool I’ve seen in a while, a gym, squash courts and lots more.

We headed upstairs to the Volair Spa. We were greeted by Hayley who gave us fluffy robes and slippers to change into. Once we’d got changed we sat in the relaxation room and chilled out with a cup of herbal tea while we waited for some more people to arrive. This is a really restful place, with soft mood lighting, scented candles and comfortable chairs or beanbags to sit on.

Volair Spa at Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park

After a short welcome and health and safety talk we were shown downstairs to the Thermal Suite. I love thermal suites, they are always my favourite part of a spa. The thermal suite at the Volair Spa was small but perfectly formed. It had one steam room, a sauna and a jacuzzi. Everything looked new, scrupulously clean and very very tempting.

We were given some Lycon Spa Essentials exfoliating sugar scrub to scrub ourselves all over with before we began. There were lots of different scrubs to choose from, but I went for the pomegranate. We scrubbed and showered, and with fresh glowy skin we slipped into the jacuzzi to let the de-stressing process begin.

Volair Spa at Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park

We had an hour in the thermal suite, and we tried out the sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. We felt deliciously relaxed and reluctant to leave for lunch. A two hour session in the thermal suite costs just £9.50, or two people for £15 which is excellent value. If I lived locally I could happily spend the day here, swimming for an hour or so, then unwinding in the thermal suite for a few hours.

Volair Spa at Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park

After a light lunch and a glass of fizz we found ourselves in the capable hands of Beauty Therapist Hayley. Hayley gave us a fascinating hands on workshop on how to take our make up off and give ourselves a lovely home facial. My skin already felt pretty fantastic after applying the AromaWorks facial cleanser, toner and facial oils.

We were then ushered into one of their treatment rooms. The rooms are quiet, lit softly and are lovely relaxing spaces. I volunteered to have a Crystal Clear Micro-Dermabrasion treatment. It works by gently exfoliating the outer layers of the skin and gives immediate results for a range of skincare niggles including fine lines and wrinkles, open pores, blackheads, pigmentation, blemish scars and acne scars. I have pretty good skin for my age, but they promised to blast out some of my stubborn blackheads, clean my open pores and give me a general freshen up.

The Crystal Clear Micro-Dermabrasion didn’t hurt at all. Ultra-fine crystals are blasted onto your skin, but it feels quite gentle, just a little bit like someone is gently pushing your face with something like the rubber end of a pencil (that’s the only comparison I could think of, I’m sorry). It took around 20 minutes and afterwards my skin was moisturised. When I got home I took a photo…

Volair Spa at Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park

… and I was impressed by how fresh and glowy my skin looked. It was visibly cleaner (yes I do wash every day) and brighter. Everyone who has clapped eyes on me since has remarked on how well I’m looking too.

We had a thoroughly relaxing day at the Volair Spa at the Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park. It’s a lovely, modern spa with good facilities, great treatments, a restful atmosphere and free parking. It was so good we’ve booked to go back next month!

The Volair Spa is at Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park, Longview Drive, Huyton, Merseyside, L36 6EG Tel: 0151 443 2580

We were invited guests of Volair Spa, but all images and opinions are our own. We were under no obligation to blog about our spa day.

Days Out: Another Place, Crosby Beach

There’s something about being cooped up over Christmas which makes me and the boys want to bundle up and get some fresh air. We’ve taken to having an annual day trip somewhere between Christmas and New Year, last year it was Attingham Park in Shropshire, this year I was itching to go and have a look at the Antony Gormley figures on Crosby beach, so with wellies on and a bucket and spade in our boot, we headed to the coast for a winter wander.

It was a beautiful day, perfectly clear and crisp, the air was fresh and the sky was that beautiful blue you only really get in the winter. The boy was in love with the almost white sand dunes and the tide was slowly rolling in. 

What I love about Crosby beach is that if you look to the left you can see a hive of industry, Liverpool docks covered in cranes and containers, with huge ships coming in and out every few minutes. But turn your back on that and you’d never know. It’s a good walking beach, you can amble for miles and we did. It’s busy with families and dog walkers, not to mention people like me who had come to see the statues.

Crosby beach
Liverpool Docks

It’s easy to forget that this is a beach next to a busy port, so whilst the sand dunes are beautiful, the beach itself is a bit littered, I collected a bag of the more dangerous bits of litter I spotted, and I did see some used sanitary towels and such like, so maybe wash your hands after you’ve been on the beach. Don’t let that put you off though. It’s still well worth a visit.

Crosby beach

There are 100 of these “Iron Men” on Crosby beach. These cast iron sculptures of Antony Gormley are spaced out across a 2 mile stretch of the beach, each facing out to sea, it is called “Another Place” and the figures are beautiful and eerie at the same time. They’ve been looking out across the Irish Sea since 2007 and they are decaying beautifully over time.

Crosby beach

Crosby beach

Looking at the figures, these eerie  silhouettes littering the shore remind me of the Stevie Smith poem, Not Waving But Drowning. You can see why people mistook them for people in need of rescue.  

Some of the figures set back from the sea are decorated by visitors, some wearing hats, some festive wreaths and one even dressed up as Father Christmas. He was popular, people were queueing up to pose with Santa (he’s the tall one with the beard)!

Crosby Beach

We had a very good walk, we blew away some cobwebs, the boy dug a few holes and I managed to do a bit of beach-combing, I think this would be a great beach to explore regularly if you like beach-combing. I suspect it has great sea-glass potential too.

Crosby Beach

Once we’d walked our wellies off we went to a nearby cafe and art gallery – Waterloo Place, where we warmed up with hot soup and excellent doorstop sandwiches.

I can see us coming back to Crosby Beach time and time again. It’s beautiful, restful and charming, and the Antony Gormley figures are fabulous. A great little day out.

Days Out: On safari at Knowsley Safari Park

Last weekend we hopped in the car and visited Knowsley Safari Park, we’d been invited to one of their family workshops, but once that was over we decided to buy a ticket and drive round the safari park itself.

We all have favourite animals, but we were all excited to see the scary lions and the cheeky monkeys. As we drove through the gates we didn’t know what to expect, it’d probably been about 20 years since I was there last and even longer for my husband.

It was Easter weekend and it was really very busy, the cars queued up to look at the ostriches and then queued some more to get into the lion enclosure. We locked the car and closed all the windows, I gripped the door handle, lest the small boy decided to make a bid for freedom at the most inappropriate time. He didn’t, thankfully. The lions were beautiful, majestic and very, very sleepy. I was very much in awe of them, such powerful creatures.

We drove on around the park catching glimpses of rhinos, zebra and an array of antelope; but we were most excited to see the cheeky monkeys. The small boy delighted in them leaping from car to car, running and capering around. Some vehicles had lots of monkeys all over them; we soon realised that despite notices, people were feeding them to encourage them onto their cars. Naughty!

Knowsley Safari Park

We didn’t have any food, nor would we have fed them, so it did take some time to lure a monkey onto our car, much to the screams of excited delight from all of us inside. We saw lots of baby monkeys and lots of mummy monkeys cuddling their babies. A few cars did get a “monkey MOT” which mainly involves removing or damaging windscreen wipes, aerials, mirrors and anything grabby, snappy and bendable. We managed to escape with our car intact.

We loved Knowsley Safari Park, which has much improved in the last 20 years and the small boy has talked of nothing else but the “cheeky monkeys on the car” ever since. It’s a grand day out!