This week we caught up with Bec, the owner of The Retreat Spa. We have really been missing our beauty treatments and so thought we would ask Bec for a few tips and tricks to keep us going until she can open again! If you haven't been already, The Retreat is a relaxing sanctuary tucked away in the coastal village of Brancaster. The space itself is extremely calming. You are greeted with white washed walls, an abundance of plants, natural light, and beautiful scents the second you walk through the door. We are counting down the days to getting back here for a little R&R.
Bec, as you know, I have been for a few appointments with you in the past, but please, tell us a little bit about yourself;
When I first left school I wanted to be a dancer so at 16 years old, off I went to the The Urdang Academy in Covent Garden, London to train in Dance and Musical Theatre. After 3 amazing years (that I will never forget or regret), and a year living and trying to get work in London, I decided to take a break and come home to Norfolk.
After a couple of years of working in various jobs, going travelling and feeling a bit lost, I signed up to a beauty course at evening school. I thought it would be quite fun and give me something to focus on, but soon realised I could quite easily make a career of it. I completed my NVQ level 2 in Beauty Therapy and went on to do a Holistic Therapy Diploma.
Over the years I worked in both salons and spas in Norfolk and South Wales. Four years of which were spent working at the Aqua Sana Spa at Center Parcs, Elveden Forest. It was there I gained a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as returning to college to complete my NVQ Level 3 in Beauty and Spa Therapy.
In 2010 I took a break from the industry. I had met Lee, my now husband, and we really wanted to travel before settling down. So off we went and spent 3 months travelling through Asia, a year living, working and travelling round Australia and a month in New Zealand, before returning home to Norfolk (again) with the dream and ambition to start open my own salon. That is when The Retreat was born.
In Spring 2019 the salon moved to the newly renovated Old Stables, at Brancaster Hall. The Retreat is upstairs and The Old Stables Pilates Studio downstairs. Together, creating a real sanctuary and space for personal wellbeing.
When I’m not working (haha!) I’m mummy to William and we will soon be welcoming TWO new additions to our family as I am currently pregnant with twins! As a family we enjoy catching up with friends and family and luckily people are always wanting to come and visit us with Holkham beach and park on our door step.
What inspired you to start your business?
I’ve always wanted to work for myself and it was whilst taking a break from beauty therapy and travelling round Australia I realised I missed the industry and wanted to get back into it. I knew it would have to be working for myself, doing things my way. I’ve worked in a few different salons and spas and knew exactly how I wanted to do things, (and how I didn’t)!
Obviously you are closed at the moment due to Covid-19, however it would be great to hear about your plans for re-opening, do you have any exciting new ideas for The Retreat?
We just want to get re-open! We know we are going to be super busy getting everyone feeling and looking how they are used to so that will be our main priority. Then, going forward I love training and expanding myself, and the girls knowledge. So, my aim is to get all the girls trained in all of the treatments we offer, plus we are always on the look out for new treatments and the latest trends to add to our offerings so no doubt we will be making some additions to what we offer.
So many of us are really missing our beauty treatments at the moment, what would you say is your most popular treatment and why?
Oh that’s a tough one, it’s a close call between nails and facials. Having your fingers/toes done is an instant pick-me-up! You can see and feel the results immediately. Looking down and seeing a splash of colour on your fingers or toes always brings a smile to your face. But facials are a close second! We have two skincare brands, both offering different styles of facials, which are super popular. Having a regular facial is a good habit to get into for skin health and maintenance.
What are the top 3 beauty products you cannot live without?
It depends what I’m going through in life. At the moment I’d have to say;
1) Elemis Japanese Camellia Oil, as I’m pregnant and it’s great for helping prevent stretch marks!
2) Jane Iredale's Dreamtint, tinted moisturiser. It have an SPF 15 for broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection and a subtle colour wash which just makes you look super healthy and like you’re not wearing any makeup.
3) Environ Vita-Peptide Eye Gel, it’s botox in a bottle and is the best eye cream I have ever used.
What's your daily beauty regime?
I have a really strict skincare routine which I do every morning and night without fail. I always cleanse, tone, moisturise and apply an SPF in the morning. Then, in the evening I remove makeup, cleanse, tone and moisturise, and 2-3 times a week apply a sleep in mask or use a hydrating oil capsule from Environ. I mix up what products I use to try things out, and always tailor my routine to what my skin needs at that moment in time.
What do you love most about your job?
How sociable it is. You become friends with so many clients and feel like you’re part of their lives. Also, trying out new products. I’m like a kid in a sweet shop with our tester stands!
What's your secret guilty pleasure?
A cream cake! I have been known to buy a selection box of cream cakes and eat the lot within a very short space of time (I’m not saying how long because it’s pretty shocking)!
Where is your favourite place in Norfolk and why?
Holkham! We live in a house my grandparents lived in for 60 years. I spent my childhood visiting and staying here and it holds lots of memories. My husband and I met working at The Victoria and there really is no better place to live. We have the beach and Holkham Park on our doorstep and feel very lucky!
Your favourite pub?
The Victoria, Holkham
Your favourite family day out?
Favourite Norfolk town or village?
Bec, thank you so much for speaking with us and huge congratulations on your pregnancy. Twins too, so exciting! We cannot wait for you to open up again and will be booking ourselves in for the full works immediately. Please do let us know when you have an opening date and are taking appointments again so we can share this with our readers, I am sure they will be looking to get in asap too!