Sunday, August 16, 2015


At One Day Spa

We know that a healthy diet and plenty of physical activity are important components of a healthy lifestyle and optimal wellbeing, but everyday life can just get in the way sometimes which can make it difficult to adopt and maintain healthful habits. The UK workforce works the longest hours in Europe and thus we are encouraged to ensure we set aside some ‘me time’ to socialise, relax or exercise. One of the things I like to treat myself to when it’s been a long, stressful and busy month is a spa treatment; sometimes I will recommend the option of a spa treatment to my clients when they have achieved one of their dietary goals, rather than treating themselves to a burger and fries or bottle of wine.

At One DaySpa is a Birmingham-based spa that I like to attend for body massages, facials, waxes and the odd manicure. Beth Davies is the Spa owner and her outlook on health and wellness is similar to mine, and as a fellow health-related business owner in the city with a successful spa bustled with clients, she’s an inspiration to me -  I decided to interview her as part of my Birmingham Wellness Scene series to find out more about establishing the business, her health and wellbeing tips and her view on the growing wellness trend. (NB: it’s a bit of a long one so you may want to pop back to read the rest if you’re interested)


  •     When was At One Day Spa established, and what fuelled your desire to set up a spa business in Birmingham?

I set up At One Day Spa in Great Western Arcade in December 2010.  We were a complete start-up with no existing client base, I was new to Birmingham with very limited beauty industry experience, it snowed like nobody's business throughout December and I was 7 months pregnant!  I'm still not quite sure what fuelled my desire to put myself through that, other than a masochistic desire to punish myself!   

  •      What is your business’ ethos in terms of the services/products you offer?

Initially we took the "spa" approach of relaxation and holistic treatments, but we have gradually refined and adjusted that to meet the needs of our clients.  I don't believe that I (or any of my team) have all the answers and so we try to listen all the time to what our clients want and need and adapt our approach accordingly.  This means that we constantly introduce small changes to allow us to deliver to our clients' expectations.

We primarily serve the needs of the local business community, in particular women working in the corporates in Colmore Business District who want a great professional image but need to fit their beauty routines into their working day. So we have moved away from our original raison d'etre in some ways.  We used to offer Elemis treatments but we have moved to Dermalogica because it serves the needs of our core clients better.  With the help of my Manager, Lynsey, we have upped our game in respect of beauty treatments such as nails, waxing, tanning, etc. We still retain an element of relaxation you'd expect from a Day Spa but I would say we are now much more of a hybrid Beauty Salon/Day Spa.

  •      What types of treatment do you offer? Also, what is your most popular treatment and do you have a personal favourite treatment?

We offer a whole range of treatments from truly holistic therapies such as our Signature Healing Therapy, through to truly beauty treatments such as brow and lash tints.Our most popular treatments are our massages, facials, waxing and manicures.  We have a great team and each of us has our own specialisms which means that we can recommend treatments that personally we may not deliver, but we know that one of the team does brilliantly. My personal favourite treatment to be on the receiving end of, is a good long facial with a scalp and face massage included.  It is absolutely guaranteed to send me to sleep!

  •       When you think of a spa, you often think of an overnight retreat in some rural area, how do you think your ‘day’ spa in the city centre compares?

I think that we fit into a position in between an overnight retreat spa and a high street beauty salon.
To explain, if you go to an overnight retreat spa you get a great quality product, sophisticated surroundings and lots of bells and whistles.  However it's not a convenient location for regular visits, the treatment you get can be hit and miss depending on the therapist you get, you don't develop a relationship with your therapist, it can feel a bit like being on a treadmill, and many people find the environment or approach rather intimidating.

By contrast, when you go to your favourite high street beauty salon round the corner from your house, you may be a great quality treatment because you have built up a relationship with your therapist and she knows what you want.  However, the surroundings may not be so high quality, you won't get the little added-extras, the products may not be great, and whilst the location may be convenient sometimes the opening hours aren't if you commute to work.

We have positioned ourselves to deliver great quality in both products and treatments in beautiful relaxing surroundings.  We add some of the bells and whistles so that you get a more luxurious experience, but you also get "normal" people delivering your treatments so we are not intimidating.  We have a low staff turnover so you can build a relationship with your therapist, and we are conveniently located to fit into your daily schedule - with opening hours to match.

  •        Health is at the top of many peoples’ agenda these days, which is great news; how does At One Day Spa fit into the evolving health and wellness scene, particularly in Birmingham?

We want to help people to tackle health and wellness on a number of different fronts.  From a very practical point of view, for example, we offer sports and deep tissue massage to help alleviate back pain and discomfort arising from too many hours spent at a computer!  We also offer a fabulous range of Dermalogica skincare which is designed to protect skins from the pollution and stresses inherent in our modern environments.  And our holistic therapies help to improve our clients' mental wellbeing.

However we also offer treatments that can help people to feel better about themselves.  Whether we like it or not, our image is a key part of who we are.  I know that I, for example, behave totally differently and feel much more confident meeting others if I'm in a business suit with my nails done, my hair tidy and my make-up in place, than I do if I'm dressed in my spa tunic and slightly bedraggled after a day of massage.  People view me differently too.And so we want to help men and women to achieve that well groomed look that makes a difference particularly in corporate life.
In addition to all that, we also offer a pop-up service so that if you need massage or holistic treatments in work we can do that, and we also carry out health and wellness talks for businesses, on topics such as nutrition and stress management.

  •       You have recently renovated your premises to create an even more beautiful and modern haven for your customers. What initially inspired you to do this and are there any other exciting business plans/projects in the pipeline that we can be privy to?

The inspiration for the project was a combination of practical issues!  We were running out of room, our storeroom and washing machines were at the far end of the Arcade, and we needed to repaint our premises.  At the same time, our lease was up for renewal and the premises next door to us became available when Julian Graves went into liquidation.We had a choice - we either continued as we were which was very much a "make do and mend" approach to our premises, or we really went for it and invested in premises that would see us through for another 10 years (hopefully).  I decided to do the latter.  I'm very pleased that we did it because the premises are much more suited for purpose now and better meet the expectations of our clients.  However, it was a massive investment and that still keeps me up at night!

In terms of future plans, we have a few in the pipeline and you can expect to see some changes to the way we approach things before the end of the year, but I don't want to say too much because we are still very much in the planning stage.

  •      I know you sell beauty products and I’m sure you practise what you preach. Can you briefly describe your health and beauty regime?

I try to eat healthily although living with a 4 year old and a junk-food addict husband makes this quite challenging.  And I try to exercise when I can, but I need to do more of that and lose some of the weight I've gained since I gave birth! I was always useless at beauty regimes but Lynsey has made me realise the error of my ways and educated me properly!  I now use Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse and Essential Cleansing Solution, Daily Microfoliant (which I just love because it makes an instant difference to your skin), Multi-Active Toner and Skin Smoothing Cream.  I've been experimenting with Dermalogica Power Firm and also their PowerBright range since I've seen the difference that has made to some of our clients' skins.  And I use the Skin Hydrating Mask when I need a boost.
From a make-up point of view, mineral make-up has been a complete revelation for me.  I started off using BareMinerals but I've now switched to YoungBlood which we sell in the Spa.  And I can truly say that the coverage is fantastic, and it's the first make-up I've ever used that doesn't give me breakouts.  I absolutely love it!

Everyone assumes that because I own a Spa, I must get loads of facials and massage but really nothing could be further from the truth!

  •  You are a former ironman triathlete, which is amazing. What is your outlook on living healthy and do you have any healthy lifestyle tips you can offer your customers and my blog readers?

Doing Ironman was another example of just being a masochist!  The training was crazy as I was doing 15-20 hour serious training each week alongside a full time job that involved at least 2 hours commuting most days.  It wasn't unusual for me to be up at 5am doing hill repeats in the pouring rain with a headtorch on before heading off to work and fitting in a spin class en-route.  To be honest, Ironman at the "hobby" level I was doing it, was as much about being mentally determined to get round as being physically able to.

I've moved on a bit since then, gone through a divorce, moved half way across the country, changed career, started a business, had a child and I'm about to get married again, so my priorities have changed somewhat! 

However, my healthy lifestyle tips really fit into whatever position you are in:

  1. ·        Do something every day that makes you smile.
  2. ·        At the end of each day, think about 5 things you have achieved that day (even if it was just getting out of bed and into work!).
  3. ·        Challenge yourself - never let life become boring.
  4. ·        Never be afraid to take a risk - think about what's the worst that can happen, and make your decision from there.
  5. ·        Don't stay in a bad place because you're scared to move on. 
  6. ·        Try to eat healthily and if you're in a job where it's difficult to do that, plan ahead.  When I was doing Ironman I was spending half my week living in a hotel and I would take my own mini fridge with me so that I could eat properly!
  7. ·        If you can't work out how to fit some exercise into your life, look at your working day.  Could you park further out and run into work?  Could you get an earlier train and walk the long-way to work?  Could you cycle to the train station?
  8. ·        Don't spend all day sitting at a computer - it's important to take breaks and go for a walk, talk to someone, get a glass of water...or anything really.  Non-stop computer work will mess up your back in the long run!
  9. ·        Don't underestimate the impact of stress.  Be aware of your personal triggers and warning signs, and do stuff that makes you feel better every day.  I love singing along at the top of my voice to the hits of the 80's in my car...where no-one else has to hear my awful voice!
               Thank you Beth

         Disclaimer: I pay for all treatments at this spa and have not been sponsored to write this post or promote any products or services. 
                      Photos courtesy of At One Day Spa


  1. Morning Colleen! Well, actually this morning I woke up just thinking I need a SPA treatment as well, feeling pretty stressed and tired lately. She is truly great and seems also a very down to earth girl. Have enjoyed her interview, especially the last part with her lifestyle tips, her life must have been pretty challenging too. Have a good week ahead Colleen, many kisses! xo

    1. Yes the lifestyle tips were very useful and realistic! x

  2. I simply loooved this interview and I love when you feature places in Birmingham! She is so right, to never underestimate stress. I love holistic therapies and she was an ironman athlete - also very courageous to start up a business being new to the city and being pregnant! I really liked everything she said, things that I think, too, and some that I have learned through this very nice interview! I really want to visit this spa!

    1. I know I really applaud her for that too, starting a business with no spa experience, in a new city and heavily pregnant - very inspirational!

  3. Dear Colleen,
    I never was a whole day or weekend at a SPA, but I'm surimi will love it. Sometimes I treat myself a massage or every second week a physiotherapy. I'm addicted about it. I feel so much better after this.
    I enjoyed reading the interview with Beth. Very interesting, especially the tips.
    Wish you a great week, dear Colleen.

    1. I love massages, i don't have them enough unfortunately.

  4. It's so cool that you got a behind the scenes look at the spa, and was able to interview Beth! I love going to get a facial done after a long week, but I've found the prices where I live are getting too steep, and I can get almost the same effect with some masques at home. The massages on the other hand..

    Angelina Is | Bloglovin'

    1. Yes prices can be quite steep at some places but it's always worth keeping an eye out for offers on social media pages, that's what I often do - thanks Angelina

  5. such a beautiful relaxing place Colleen ,the interview is very intersting,, tge owner seems like a cool , down to earth person and i realy loved to read her health and beauty rutine! spa is my is a ultimate treet .. so this post is written for me! xo

    1. It's a really beautiful spa, especially since their renovation and it's right on my door step practically, so i'm quite fortunate x

  6. Great post!i like your blog , maybe you would like to follow each other? let me know and i follow you back! kiss

  7. Dear Colleen, obviously this is a wonderful day spa! When I was much younger I was used to go to the spa but stopped this about 10 years ago :) But watching the beautiful pictures and reading this text made me think to reviving my former habit :... Hopefully you will have very often the possibility to visit this place! Have a wonderful weekend, dear Colleen. xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena


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