21 December 2010

Elaine Butler-Doolin at Bespoke Beauty: “Set Adrift On Memory Bliss Of You”*

I’m a big fan of an aul' massage but, somewhat counterintuitively,  I find they can be more than a bit stressful. It’s just not a natural situation to strip off and lay yourself out on a table in the hands of an absolute stranger. To fully benefit from the experience you’re dependent on the skill of the masseuse to put you at ease and make you feel relaxed, rather than vulnerable.

Unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way and I’ve had some less than soothing experiences: there was the time in Budapest when my full body massage turned into a vicious pummeling of my legs and thighs. By a large, burly gentleman who couldn’t understand a word of English -- nor I, to be fair, a word of Hungarian. There was the time in Prague when I was handed what I thought to be a headband, only to be greeted by hoots of laughter by my masseuse who showed me, in gestures, that it was in fact an elasticated cotton thong I was utilising to keep my hair back from my face. And there was that time in Dublin when the therapist working on my knotted back had clearly missed her calling as a hairdresser, so intent was she on chattering to me about holidays and my plans for the weekend.

The lovely Elaine
So when I recently decided that my aching back and shoulders required more than the odd half-hearted rub from Himself, I did my research. I wanted a personal recommendation so I threw it out on Twitter. A few people suggested Harvest Moon or Melt, in Temple Bar, which are both fine institutions but, to my mind, lacking that luxe or pampering feel that I was seeking. Anne Marie from Whatshewears very kindly asked for me on her Facebook page and came back with The Tethra Spa at the Merrion which looks divine, but was a step too far in the other direction, being well above my pre-Christmas budget. So I posted my query on beaut.ie and was delighted when Kirstie came back almost immediately to recommend Elaine Butler-Doolin of Bespoke Beauty.

The website sounded perfect:

“Aimed specifically at the discerning client who values one-to-one attention and tailor-made treatments specifically geared to their requirements, this concept in beauty, until now, has been all but lost.
At Bespoke Beauty you are guaranteed to have the same therapist on each visit. Not only that, but we will ensure that every treatment you have, is given to you to improve not only your beauty but your well-being too.”

And so I took myself and my aching bones and big stressed head out to Donnybrook, to see if Elaine could help.

Bespoke Beauty is housed in the basement of a gorgeous redbrick Georgian house and it feels soothing and relaxing from the moment you step through the door. It’s been decorated in muted colours with an eye for detail -- I particularly liked the lavender-filled hollowed out candles in the bathroom -- and Elaine herself was really lovely and welcoming.

The treatment room had the pampering vibe I was looking for and was all set for me with candles and soft music. We had a chat about what I was after  and I lay back under a heated blanket to enjoy a 45 minute De-Stress massage, focusing on my poor knotted back, neck and shoulders.

Elaine used a divinely-scented jasmine oil on me, explaining afterwards that jasmine is uplifting, invigorating and relaxing -- just what I needed. She did a lot of work on my neck and scalp and, where previous head massages have left my hair looking lank and greasy, the jasmine oil didn’t affect my tresses one bit.

I felt so relaxed by the end of the treatment that I actually did doze off for a while, coming to only when Elaine returned to the room with a cup of fruity herbal tea. I’m pretty sure that I got more than my allotted 45 minutes and, at €60, felt I got real value for money: a treatment tailored to my exact requirements and delivered with great professional skill and care. I was given some expert advice at the end of the session too, including a couple of excercises to work out the tension in my neck and shoulders.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to manage the massage a month that was recommended, but I will definitely be back – I already have my eye on this intriguing candle wax treatment for next time… 

 Appointments at Bespoke Beauty can be booked by calling Elaine on: 01 667 4912 or emailing bookings@bespokebeauty.ie. 


* Post title: Lyric from PM Dawn ‘Set Adrift On Memory Bliss’
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