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Is your skin acting the maggot this weather? If you're dealing with congestion, blemishes or excess oil, then a good clay mask is your only man.


I find these three great for drawing out impurities, calming breakouts and leaving my skin both looking and feeling fresher and more balanced. With each, I exfoliate first, leave for about 10 minutes and remove with a flannel cloth, before finishing up with toner and moisturiser.
ONE: Origins Clear Improvements Active Charcoal MaskAn old reliable, I count on this to draw out all the nasties and keep breakouts at bay. With active charcoal - from which it gets its colour - and white clay, this does a great job at clearing out clogged pores while dissolving dirt and oil. My one bugbear is that the price keeps rising - it was about €25 when I first bought it a few years back but it's now pushing €30 -you'll find it in Arnotts or Boots (including boots.ie).

TWO: Seavite Purifying and Detoxifying MaskSeavite is a lovely Irish organic, seaweed-based skincare brand that is brilliant for sensitive skin. This mask is no different: both fragrance and colour free, it draws its mint green colour from the seaweed and clay within. It leaves my skin soft and smooth while fighting oil and spots. Plus, at just €14, it's also a bit of a bargain - find it online here. 

THREE: VOYA Get Glowing Illuminating Clay Mask If your skin is oily but also dehydrated, then VOYA's new marine clay mask is a brilliant pick. Another homegrown brand using nutrient-rich organic seaweed, this does two jobs in one: drawing out impurities while brightening the complexion. Unlike the other two, this never fully sets - if you hate the tight sensation of a traditional clay mask, this is the one for you. It smells lovely thanks to the rosemary and patchouli in the mix; it's €38 and you'll find it online or in selected spas.
Do you have any favourites of your own? Do share them in the comments!
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We love a good Irish beauty brand so, when Ultrapure laboratories sent us some goodies, we were more than happy to put them through their paces. This small, natural skincare business is based in the West of Ireland and can be found exclusively in Irish pharmacies. While it's been around since 1998, it's new to us - offerings include mineral salts, toners, essential oils and you can check it all out on their website.
Emily tried the Ultrapure skin toners Let’s face it we’ve all, at some point, wondered why bother with toner. Still wondering? Well, basically, it’s another opportunity to get some good stuff on your face and these three toners from Ultrapure are examples of the different ways you might do that.

The Witch Hazel toner is great for tackling particularly spotty areas. It tightens the skin and helps dry out any break-outs. Because it’s drying you need to rinse your face a few minutes after applying. Definitely best for the bad skin days.

This Rose Water toner will help you to remove any remnants of cleanser sitting on your face and will help moisturise and hydrate your skin. Quick and easy, perfect for everyday use.

If you have oily or problem skin the Witch Hazel and Rose Water toner will help cool and soothe your skin. I moved on to this after treating a break-out with the Witch Hazel toner. This one is best teamed with a moisturiser afterwards.

These 125ml bottles are the perfect size for trying out which one works best for you- and they're just €3 a pop.

Emma tried the Ultrapure Epsom Salts I zoned in on this as soon as I checked out the Ultrapure site. I’ve documented my sleeping issues and magnesium is a wonder product for people who can’t switch off. It helps with insomnia, aids relaxation and eases tired muscles, too.  I take it as a supplement, but Epsom salts, which are just magnesium sulphate, allowed me to trial it in a couple of different ways.

Adding the salts to the bath works to restore magnesium levels in the body, reducing stress and leaving skin with a nice, healthy glow. It’s also great if you have sore, stiff muscles. You just chuck in a couple of handfuls, add your favourite bath oil, and float off.

I’m also using the salts as a DIY face treatment once a week.  You can add a spoonful to your cleansing cream and massage it onto the skin for a nice, deep cleanse.  I’ve been loving both uses, and there’s still plenty in the bag. €4.99 for 1kg is great value for such a beneficial, multi-tasking product and I’ll definitely be buying this again.

Allsún tried the Ultrapure Rose Hip Oil I’ve added the oil to my skincare routine for about the last month, using it a couple of times a week.  After several previous attempts at using oils, and ending up in a shiny mess, I have to say I really like how this works with my skin. Rose hip oil is known to have so many benefits for the skin. It is one of the top anti-aging oils on the market and great for reducing the appearance of fine lines. Now that I am in my 40’s (hides face) this is firmly on my radar.

There is only one ingredient listed on the box - certified organic rose hip oil – which delights me because I’m becoming more and more interested in natural skincare.  The oil is made by cold-press extraction methods which separates the oil from the seeds.

The bottle comes with a dropper so it helps you measure out exactly what you need.  I like to apply two or three drops to my face and neck after cleansing, and massage it in. I generally use it before applying my moisturiser.  My favourite thing about this product is that it is so easily absorbed and leaves my skin feeling really soft after I use it.

On occasions I have also added a dropo to my foundation, which gives a lovely natural glow that lasts all day.  Without a doubt my skin has really benefited from using this; it feels more hydrated, softer and doesn’t feel irritated by the cold. It's €18.99 which is a fair price for a quality product - and this is an absolute keeper in my books.
Let us know if you've tried anything from Ultrapure!
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Thinking about a wee winter staycation? The Rose Hotel, formerly Fels Point Hotel, has been home to the Rose of Tralee festival since 2007. And if it’s good enough for the Roses...

In the heart of the Kingdom, this welcoming four-star hotel is just a stroll from Tralee’s town centre and has beautiful views of Kerry and the Slieve Mish mountains. The hotel has been under its current ownership since 2015, when it was refurbished and transformed into a plush, elegant and, above all, friendly, home from home.


The décor is very glam, all velvet armchairs and crystal chandeliers. The piano in the lobby is adorned with a Halloween pumpkin display, and the loos are incredibly fancy, with ornate mirrors and quilted satin doors. There are wee nods to the festival here and there with photos of Roses past and present, as well as the odd sighting of a previous participant passing through.

With its soft warm lighting and cheery bartenders, the bustling Dotts Bar is very inviting. Plenty of  little touches encourage you to stop and stay a while: the copper ceiling tiles, the dark wood furniture, the fact that the bar staff know their way around a fancy gin and tonic. The live music is lovely - the singer/guitar player has a fantastic voice and I am (loudly) amazed to find out his real name is John Boogie. We find out the next day that it’s Buggy, which is slightly less amazing and makes me wish I’d gone to bed a little earlier.


And an extraordinarily comfy bed it is too, in a huge room – probably required, Mr Fluff informs me, so that the Roses can practice their talents and conduct their many outfit changes. Who knew he was such an expert?! We have a great night’s sleep which is helped along by the lavender left on our pillows.

The next day our scheduled kayaking is off, thanks to Storm Brian, so we get a lesson in Irish dancing at the National Folk Theatre, Siamsa Tire. Turns out it’s not my sport, but we have a great laugh trying and promise we’ll be back for a show.

We return to the hotel and, if I’m honest, to my comfort zone – I might not be a natural dancer, but I can definitely spa with the best of them. I’m in my element in the Serenity Spa, with its tranquil water wall feature and tempting treatment menu. My massage is incredible (my calves are tight and I agree with the suggestion I’m a runner – ha! – but really, it’s the dancing lesson. Say nothing!).


It’s only the promise of dinner that makes me prise myself out of the big comfy recliners in the relaxation room – and it’s totally worth it. Served in the fancypants Rose Room, it’s an elegant, tasty affair and I’m still telling people how delish I found my asparagus soup. We end up back in Dott’s bar for a nightcap or three although this time, sadly, Mr Boogie doesn’t make an appearance.

We thoroughly enjoyed our break and there are lots of lovely seasonal offers to avail of right now. Spa Escapes include a two-night spa break with a bottle of Prosecco on arrival, dinner on one evening in the Rose Room restaurant, breakfast each morning and a choice of spa treatments at the Serenity Spa – all for €480 in total, for two sharing.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve family breaks start at €209 (total stay), including access to the kids club, a four course evening meal, family pass to the nearby Aquadome and breakfast. Or why not welcome 2018 in style with the hotel's New Year’s celebrations? These range from €229 per room for an overnight stay for two, six course New Year’s eve dinner and glass of champagne. Check out the latest offers on the hotel website.

Have you been here, or are you tempted?
Fluff and Fripperies was a guest of the hotel. 
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Not only is Kildare Village one of my favourite festive venues over the Christmas period, it’s also one of the best places to get things ticked off your Christmas list. I headed out last Friday to experience the magic of their Christmas Collective, which is open from now until Christmas Eve.

This seasonal pop-up houses a plethora of gift ideas that celebrate Irish design. Excitingly, it offers a bespoke design station where you can get a range of gifts personalised for that special someone.

 


The personalising station was an absolute hit and I headed straight over to see what it was all about.
Here you can get beautiful unique hand-cut crystal Christmas baubles from Criostal Na Rinne ,which are lovely keepsakes and can be brought out year after year to hang on the Christmas tree. 

They also offer a service where you can get personalised gift wrapping paper from Abigail Warner.  Abigail is already housed in Harrods, Selfridges and John Lewis in the UK so it is very exciting that Kildare Village now houses her playful paper. Seeing Fluff and Fripperies' Emily’s name up in lights - or should I say on wrapping paper - brought out the little kid in me, it really is such a lovely idea.

Finally for the littles ones in your life and for the big WOW factor you can get personalised Santa sacks. You are encouraged to create your own unique sack by using a variety of coloured ribbons and seasonal tags - an all-round great idea.

The Christmas Collective also offers some unique present ideas.  One that caught my eye - and one I know my Mum would adore - was by Mark Grehan, of the Garden at Powerscourt.  He has a selection of beautiful, handmade wreathes that would make any Christmas table look breath-taking.


After exploring all the treats on offer in the pop-up store, I wandered out into the Village itself. Of course I headed straight for Prada, as the outlet store just opened that day.  Queues were forming outside the shop itself which made it all the more exciting.  When I finally made it in they had an exceptional display of bags, sunglasses, clothes and unfortunately I wanted everything (another list for Santa).  The shop was buzzing and there are definitely bargains to be had.  Let’s just say I will be back.

Without a doubt I will taking another trip to Kildare before Christmas to explore it a bit more and to soak up more of that fabulous festive atmosphere.
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With its associations with Pamela Anderson and old, old episodes of Friends, a nude lip used to feel a little bit dated - at least to me. But in beauty, as with fashion, what goes around comes around and the fungus effect has been inevitable: basically, it's grown on me again.

No, you wouldn't call it fun and it doesn't exactly make a statement - though neither does a trench coat or a flattering pair of jeans. And, just like those staples, I've gradually discovered how versatile and classic a good nude lip can be.

The perfect finishing touch for a more minimal, 'no-makeup' makeup look, a great nude lipstick also balances a strong eye really nicely; I like how sophisticated it looks, too, when worn with similar neutral shades on cheeks and eyes.  (You can take the girl out of the 90s...)

It might take some trial and error to find your perfect shade (or shades - personally, I love a good concealer lip, as well as peachy, rosy or even mauve toned nudes) - so you don't want to rush out and spend a fortune straight away.

Luckily, there's zero need to, with the high street offering up such lovely gems as these. 


ONE: Rimmel London Lasting Finish Colour Rush Intense Colour Balm in Drive Me Nude
This semi-sheer, vanilla-scented crayon is pinker on the lips than the packaging might lead you to believe; it has the slightest bit of shimmer which gives lips a bit of oomph and feels lightweight and comfortable to wear.

TWO: L'Oréal Paris Collection Privée Les Nudes in Eva
This soft, warm shade is the closest colour here to my natural lip colour which makes it an easy, wearable, everyday shade. I picked it up after trying two other colours from the range, and falling for the luxe-feeling, creamy formula. These are €11.99. 

L-R: Rimmel Drive Me Nude; L'Oreal Paris Eva; L'Oreal Rouge Caresse Nude Ingenue; Rimmel Apocalips Nude Eclipse; Maybelline Tantalising Taupe 

THREE: Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipstick in Tantalising Taupe
This creamy, caramel shade is a lovely, elegant nude that's not too matte and not too glossy, but gives a lovely smooth finish with just the slightest sheen. It looks and feels expensive but at €9.49 you'll get change from a tenner.

FOUR: L'Oreal Rouge Caresse Lipstick in Nude Ingenue
I have lots of love for these lightweight, glossy, balm-likelippies, €11.99, and Nude Ingenue is one of my most reached for shades - it's a glossy, sheer peachy-beige that's so easy to wear.

FIVE: Rimmel Apocalips in Nude Eclipse
A brilliant, near opaque peach-beige nude with a smooth, creamy finish and a hint of a sheen. I wrote about these here; they're €7.95 and I'm on my second tube.

What do you think of the nude lip: boring, or classic? 
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Want a new perfume for the autumn/winter months? We’re sharing our current favourites to let you spray and slay, all day.


Emily wears Narciso Rodriguez EDP, from €83 for 50 mlComing into the winter months I tend to move away from overly floral scents in favour of muskier fragrances. I don’t do this consciously but with woodier scents in the air it’s nice to mimic this in your perfume and this one from Narciso Rodriguez is my new obsession. It’s a sophisticated scent, combining amber and cedar with hints of rose. It lasts well throughout the day, perfect for taking you from day to night but you might need a top-up before you head out.

And can we take a moment to appreciate the bottle? The cubic glass with muted colours of beige and white is beautiful in its simplicity and a real stand-out piece for your perfume collection.


Allsún wears Chanel Chance Eau de Tendre, from €73 for 50mlThis circular shaped bottle has a slight pink hue and is simple, classy and elegant: everything a Chanel perfume should be.  The fragrance contains soft and tender notes all of which are my favourite kind. There is a powdery sweetness along with pink grapefruit and the result is fruity yet floral.   A slight zestiness is also noticeable which makes it perfect for wearing during these autumnal months.

Even though this is light, airy and feminine, it does have great staying power.  Two or three spritzes will be noticeable well into the day.  Not everybody will be wearing this perfume which makes it all the more appealing to me as I do like to be unique.


Emma wears L’Occitane Terre de Lumière, from €65 for 50ml While this was released in springtime it’s a perfect year-rounder – a delicious, warm and cosy scent that I described here as being like a soft and warm embrace.  It combines the warmth of honeyed amber and spice with the citrussy freshness of bergamot and I just can’t get enough of the stuff.

I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t love this fragrance and, if you’re stuck for Christmas pressie ideas, it’s been relaunched in a jazzy new festive bottle.


Photo credit: Rua Photography
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It won’t surprise you to hear that, round here, we’re big lovers of lipstick. Nudes, reds, pinks, autumnal browns…oh yes, we love ‘em all. But turns out there’s one major beauty autumn trend, that rolls around each year, that the three of us tend to avoid. Deep purple vampy lips, it transpires, are outside each of our comfort zones. But for the sake of the blog and our readers we’ve womaned up and tried out the trend. Here’s how we got on…and completely coincidentally (as in, this post is not sponsored!), all three lippies are under €3 from Essence. Bonus!

I’m wearing Essence’s Ultra Last Instant Colour lipstick in #5, So Un-grey-tful with the soft contouring liner in #11, Sucker for Grey. I was intrigued by this muted, cool-toned grey-mauve at first sight. Part granny-chic and part modern grunge, the colour is very current and cool. Of course, it’s also terrifying for me as I hurtle towards my 40s.

Formula-wise, this turned out a little more sheer than I expected which suited me fine, because that makes it a lot more wearable. It’s not drying and feels nice and lightweight on the lips. I feel pretty badass when I’m wearing it (as I think you can see from my photo above!), but also more self-conscious about my teeth - it’s not the most flattering on the aul’ gnashers. I’m glad I tried it though and I will wear it again on nights out when I want a bit of a confidence boost.

Emily wears Essence's Good Girl Bad Girl in the shade #1, It Wasn't Me.“This particular lipstick from Essence looks a little more daunting in the bullet than it really is. It looks almost black but, on application, it’s a blackberry-purple that’s (surprisingly) suitable to walk out of the house in. It has great pigmentation and a creamy texture which gives it a bit of slip on the lips and a glossy finish - but unfortunately, here lies its biggest problem.

Strong-coloured lipsticks can be a lot of bloody effort to put on and maintain which is why I usually go for matte finishes with those colours. This one, to be fair, lasted longer than I expected given the texture but it did start to wear off in an unflattering way. So, mixed reactions from me! I suggest giving this trend a go but be careful about the formula of the lipstick you choose.”


Allsún wears Essence Shine Shine Shine lipgloss in #12, Runway, your way. “This is not a shade I would usually pick up. Essence’s dusky pink shades are much more in my comfort zone - but it’s nice to experiment once in a while. (Read: Emma made me do it.)

The sweet berry scent of this gloss hit me straight away. I like it, but it might put some off. Unexpectedly, the colour is a winner: a warm, vibrant plum that I think would be flattering on most people. The gloss is more sheer than you’d think and two layers gives the perfect finish. It feels moisturising and isn’t sticky in the slightest, but it does settle slightly into the fine lines on my (rather dry) lips. Lasting power isn’t amazing but for less than €2.00, it’s better than I’d expect.  I’m so impressed with the formula that I’ll be adding a few more of these glosses to my makeup bag.” (Speaking of which, have you checked out Allsún’s autumn beauty bag?)

Ok, so, there are two main takeaways from all of this. Purple is kinda scary but it’s still more wearable than you think. And if you are going to try a new trend, head straight to the chemist and pick up something cheap and cheerful to experiment with.

Will you be trying this trend?

Photo credit: top photo by Rua Photography
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We’ve opened up the contents of mine and Emily’s makeup bags for your viewing pleasure – now Allsún’s getting in on the action, and sharing her very favourite beauty bits this season!
ONE: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Multi-colourEven though summer is well and truly gone, this bronzer is a staple of my makeup bag.  The powder is so finely milled it seamlessly blends into your skin - sure, what else would you expect from Chanel? I like to swirl the shades together to warm up my complexion for a natural, sun-kissed look that keeps me happy during the colder months.  
TWO: Smashbox LA Lights Blendable Lip and Cheek Colour in Hollywood & HighlightDewy and radiant makeup isn’t just for summer so for me, a creamy highlight is a year-round must.  This Smashbox crayon is an all-time fave.  It comes with a handy sponge at one end that blends and diffuses the colour. I use this liberally on my my forehead, bridge of my nose, chin and cheekbones for a lovely pearly gleam that doesn’t make me look like a glitter ball.

THREE & FOUR: Clarins Eyebrow Pencil in 02 Light Brown, and Too-Faced Brow Quickie in Universal TaupeWe all know eyebrows define the face! I’ve used so many products to try to get the perfect brow and this combo is the dream. The Clarins pencil is hands-down one of the best. The colour is great for me and the waxy pencil defines while the spoolie grooms and tames the brow. The Too-Faced gel finishes things off – it both tints and sets my browns in place.  It’s easy to apply and also easy to build, without any fear of Scouse Brow. 
FIVE: Too Faced-Melted Matte liquid lipstick in Cool GirlAt this time of year I’m all over brown and nude lip colours, like white on rice.  I love a matte lipstick but the cold weather is hard enough on the lips. This Too Faced lippie has the least drying formula I’ve tried to date -  they’ve added avocado oil and vitamin E to make it comfortable to wear.  This shade is a lovely milk chocolate and it lasts all day. I'm wearing it below.

SIX: L.O.V Lip Affair lipstick in # 521 Verena’s RoseThis is the perfect autumnal lipstick shade and feels so moisturising and creamy. It’s no secret that I love this brand and for me this another winner - both the shade and formula are fab.
SEVEN: Cargo Water Resistant Blush in Los CabosIn autumn I move away from my usual pink blushes and have been loving the coral tones of this one, It has a little bit of shimmer and it’s water resistant so it won’t budge with our unpredictable weather. It really helps battle against the rain and wind and still stays put.
EIGHT: The Body Shop Go for Gold Eyeshadow QuadI love this little palette with its warm neutrals – so wearable especially at this time of year. All four shades are richly pigmented, finely milled and easy to use.  Except for the palest shade, each of the colours offer buildable coverage.  I especially love Amazonian Earth, a rich deep brown. This is my go to palette for either a day or night look.

Tried anything here? And what are you loving this autumn?

Photo credit: top two photos by Emilia at Rua Photography
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Essie’s Ready to Boa may be from last year’s winter collection but, to me, it’s the perfect autumn nail shade. Described as a bronzed mahogany, this has a lovely warmth and is shot through with a fine metallic shimmer. I think it has a really cosy vibe. Formula-wise, it’s all good – a smooth two-coater with no streaks. And obviously I love Essie even more now we can find it for €9.99 in the local chemist.

For Emily, it’s all about Chanel’s Mythique, which she included here in her seasonal faves. “I love using nail polish to help ease myself into a new season, it's the perfect transition piece especially if the weather isn’t quite ready for wardrobe changes just yet. To give a nod to the changing seasons I like to shop my own make-up collection to rediscover old favourites and opting for seasonal coloured nail polishes is a dead handy way to give a nod to the progressing year without too much effort!



This is a particular favourite of mine. Mythique is a deep burgundy that’s a little more brown than red and, after two coats, it’s perfectly opaque. It’s a dramatic colour that manages to be warm and soft at the same time. An ideal addition to the rota for the autumn/winter months. And, of course, it’s Chanel.”

Whereas Allsún is all about Auburn Affection from LOV. “My new favourite beauty brand has done it again. This is a pinkish brown that, on my nails, is a creamy chestnut colour that goes perfectly with any autumnal outfit.  While the first coat can end up sheer in patches, two gives perfectly full coverage and brings the high-shine formula to life.


For me it’s the brush that sets this polish apart from all others: it’s one of a kind. The rounded shape coats the nail evenly and precisely in one stroke. I have notoriously shaky hands and bad eye to hand co-ordination, so this is the bomb.  The polish lasts through plenty of house cleaning and gym sessions, and doesn’t lose the glossy shine. It has great lasting power and only starts chipping around day six, which is great for an affordable nail polish. Snap it up in Shaws Department Stores or selected pharmacies for €5.95.”

What are you wearing on your nails this weather?
Photos by Rua Photography
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Camping is not something Fluff and Fripperies does very often. However, for a friend’s birthday celebrations, we reluctantly agreed to visit the great outdoors for a night (ok, it was glamping in a yurt but still… there was no spa!).  In anticipation of us requiring a bit of pampering afterwards we booked ourselves in for some recovery time at the Radisson Blu Galway.




Located in the city centre and with views out across Lough Atalia it’s the perfect spot for either a big night out or just a relaxed evening in after a hard days shopping.  We were only fit for the latter but there was a great buzz about the place with various groups getting ready to hit the bright lights of Galway!


But first to our room which was modern, light and spacious with lovely scenic views (see the evidence in the bottom left corner below). The bathroom, coming from a campsite, was heaven. I own almost as many toiletries as Emma so it’s nice not to fight over space to set them all out!


After settling in we were treated to the newly launched afternoon tea, served in Coopers Bar by two rather dapper gentlemen.  Consisting of savoury delicacies and sweet treats we really felt spoiled - especially with a glass or two of prosecco to go with all the delicious eats!  While everything we tasted was amazing. I have to single out one of the best dishes I have ever eaten and that is the Potted Crab, served on melba toast with apple, coriander, lime and crème fraiche. It was to die for and I probably ate about ten of them on my own (apologies to the other diners, but I have no regrets!).


The afternoon tea costs €22 per person or €27 if you add the prosecco (and why wouldn’t you?). Considering the quality of the food this is excellent value. It set us up nicely for an afternoon of spa-time during which Herself blissed out with a head, neck and shoulder massage, which sorted her out nicely after a night in a field. I enjoyed some me-time in the pool and thermal suite and was starting to feel like a new man by the time evening rolled around.


The hotel has been spruced up since our last visit – not that we thought it needed it then – and is a stylish spot with lots of velvet furniture and striking copper light fixtures. It’s a good pick for couples or groups of all sizes, and I wouldn’t hesitate to base myself here for any future Galway jaunts.

You can experience it yourself with their current Teatime and Treatments offer, which includes your choice of 70-minute spa treatment followed by afternoon tea. Available Wednesday to Sunday for €110, or make a night of it and add bed and breakfast from an additional €159.  Check out the hotel website for more.
Fluff and Fripperies was a guest of the hotel.
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