Archive for the ‘Fota Island Lodges’ Category

Enjoy an Egg-cellent time at Fota Island this Easter

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Spring is really in the air with some beautiful sunshine over recent days and many kids are also enjoying off school on their Easter midterm break. If you considering a family hotel break or even just a short hotel break in Cork then Fota Island Resort should be your destination of choice this Easter Holiday. As one the leading luxury Cork hotels and with a new choice of reduced rates, you are guaranteed to have an Egg-cellent Easter Break!

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Plan your Christmas at Fota Island Resort

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

The Christmas season is fast approaching and there is so much planned at Fota Island Resort to mark the festive season with plenty planned to cater for both the whole family and even your corporate Christmas party throughout December.

If you’re considering that special festive family hotel break or a to help celebrate Christmas in style then there are some great packages available including the very festive overnight Pre Christmas Special from €86 per person sharing. If you fancy pampering yourself just that little bit extra then you can always avail of the Pre Christmas Overnight Package or the great value 2 Night plus Dinner Package.  ’Believe at Fota Island’ will also be running from the November 30th until Decemeer 24th as the woodlands surrounding the hotel and golf club are transformed into a quite unique winter wonderland.   (more…)

LinkedIn – Group Discussions

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Trying to increase your company page followers even more on LinkedIn? I have found that getting involved in group discussions is another way to increase followers. When you join a group you are able to contribute with those who have posted questions. It is a great idea that when you are choosing groups to follow on LinkedIn that they are in your areas of industry – for Fota Island Spa I have joined a Spa industry group and for the Golf Club I have joined a number of golf industry groups.

For example, after joining a fitness group on LinkedIn I got involved in a Fitness group discussion where I responded to a members query on what are the best social media platforms to promote their new fitness classes at their gym. I was able to engage in this discussion because of my experience of working with Fota Fitness. The one thing I have found when joining in discussions is that you are posting as yourself – not as Fota Island Resort. If you were able to post using your company logo I feel it would generate a lot more interest among those in your group and so increase your followers.

I hope that everything I have been posting over the last few weeks has helped to get your company page started and the number of followers increased! Increasing followers is a long and continuous journey – over the space of a month I have increased the number of Fota Island Resort’s followers by 50 or more. This may seem small, but trust me when it comes to LinkedIn it is a huge success.

Trying to increase your company’s followers on LinkedIn?

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

It’s not as easy as you think!

Fota Island Resort’s Facebook page is reaching nearly 20,000 followers – which is a great accomplishment! Regularly updating interesting and useful content has made our Facebook page into a great success.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, is an entirely different social media outlet. It is a platform where professionals connect with each other– whether they are actively looking for a new career path or they are recruiting someone for a company.

Where do company pages on LinkedIn fit into all of this? They are used by companies to share up to date information and also to post job vacancies and engage with people who follow them. Followers of company pages see live feeds on their home page containing all of these updates. So increasing the number of followers on your LinkedIn company page is essential.

There are a number of steps which I have found useful in increasing the number of followers on Fota Island Resort’s LinkedIn company page. One method in particular has been sharing updates and advice on our company page. Such updates include golfing advice, beauty and skincare advice from our Spa Therapists and fitness advice from one of our Fitness Instructors’ -  Kadi. When posting these updates I always make sure to include a picture that compliments the information.  I have also featured a link to Fota Island Resorts‘ LinkedIn account on Facebook and encouraged our followers to join us on LinkedIn also. All these steps increase engagement with all the connections of Fota Island Resort on LinkedIn.

Next week I will share some tips on how to interact with Group discussions on LinkedIn.

Antioxidant-rich foods

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

We’ve all heard the words “you are what you eat”… But what exactly does this mean? I’ve always taken it to imply that eating well will help you to feel better about yourself! But even if that is what this means, what exactly should we be eating? To help answer this question, I’ve decided to write a little bit about a food nutrient that may help us improve our health and general wellbeing  – antioxidants!

Just in case you’re not familiar with the word antioxidant (I must admit I only learned about it recently!), antioxidants which are present in foods are essentially minerals and vitamins which are strongly involved in preventing cell damage by protecting the cells in our bodies from free radicals (you can find a very reader friendly article explaining the terms antioxidants and free radicals here). Vitamins C and E are examples of these heroic antioxidants. I call them heroic, Dr. Richard Cutler (an expert in antioxidant research) calls them “directly proportional to how long we live” – either way the consensus seems to be that these little guys have an important part to play in our health. Indeed, research has suggested that a diet which contains plenty of antioxidant-rich foods may strengthen your immune system and fight the signs of ageing.

Ok, so to the important bit! In what foods can we find these antioxidants? I could just list all the foods rich in antioxidants, but you can find that easily on google, so instead I’ve put together a list of 5 antioxidant-rich foods that appeal to me most (and hopefully they will appeal to you too):

1. Berries

Not only are they delicious but they are full of antioxidants. You could even try heating up some raspberries and adding a little bit of vanilla ice-cream:  a really yummy treat and so easy to make. Try it on a rainy day when you’re looking out the window feeling depressed and let down by the weather. It’ll help – I promise!

2. Broccoli

Perhaps the healthiest way of preparing broccoli would be to steam it and eat it with your dinner. A favourite of mine, though, is Chicken Broccoli Bake – the first dinner I ever cooked for a group of people, you know when you’re running around the kitchen fearful of anything that could go wrong and for some reason everything does seem to go wrong! But it tasted lovely in the end and it’s been my special dish ever since.

3. Popcorn

Recent research has suggested that popcorn actually has more antioxidants than vegetables and fruits. Obviously the butter and salt in popcorn could diminish the health benefits, but everything in moderation as they say. I’m from Portugal, where we don’t add salt or butter to popcorn. We add sugar! I bet you’ve just thought “that’s horrible!” – if you did I don’t blame you, after all that’s the reaction I get from everyone I mention this to. But if you gave it a chance I bet you would like it. Again, only add a little bit to try and keep it healthy (-ish). A healthier alternative would be adding cinnamon to popcorn. I haven’t tried it myself, but I guess it would be worth a shot. If this still doesn’t appeal to you, you can also click here for some more suggestions of healthy popcorn recipes.

4. Dark Chocolate

Ok, so you might be thinking “is she just listing foods she likes and saying – why yes, they are full of antioxidants!”. But it is a fact that dark chocolate is an antioxidant-rich food. Remember you have to eat it in moderation, and it does have to be the dark type. Unfortunately white and milk chocolate do not provide the same benefits. When I was in primary school, I  remember always thinking dark chocolate wasn’t real chocolate: “if it’s not a Kinder chocolate or taste remotely like it it’s not real chocolate!”. But as I got older and exposed my taste buds to more foods, I found that dark chocolate is actually quite tasty, especially if you let it melt in your mouth.

5. Green Tea

It might not sound as appealing as the comforting Barry’s or Lyon’s Tea with a drop of milk we love so much but green tea is a potent source of antioxidants. At the end of the day, as cliché as it sounds, we should always think about the bigger picture and if you think about the health benefits of drinking green tea it should surely be worth a try (especially when you consider that green tea has been linked with prevention of cancer). Click here for a nice 11 point list of the health benefits of green tea.

Thank you for reading my blog, and if you have anything to add please do leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you, and it would be great to share tips and stories.

Until the next blog! :-)

Ana

Feet Treatments – Top Spa Trend 2012

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

With so many Spa treatments available it can be a challenge to know which one you should chose. In Fota Island Spa alone, for example, we offer over 60 treatments! So how do you decide which one you want? To try and sort out through all these treatments, I decided to have a look at the top Spa trends of 2012 to see what’s in this year. It wasn’t long until I found that feet treatments are at the top of the Spa trends for 2012 according to SpaFinder’s 2012 Spa Trends Report. But why is this? (Warning: The content of this blog may tempt you to get a foot treatment done – I cannot be held responsible for this!:-)).

Feet Treatments
If you’re small like me, or have to dress up for work or nights out and dinner parties and often rely on heels to give you that extra bit of height, you’re probably familiar with that heavenly feeling of relief you get when you arrive home and the first thing you do is throw the heels away. Even if we don’t wear heels, fashion trends have politely forced us to trade our lovely and comfortable runners for little pumps – which my Dad insists on calling socks. And he’s probably right. Pumps are pretty, yes, but they don’t exactly offer our feet much more support than a sock would! The result? Very sore feet!

According to health and fitness expert Tammy Foster During a typical day, the average person spends approximately four hours on their feet and takes around 8,000-10,000 steps. So this means that your feet support a united force equal to several hundred tons of repetitive stress in every day”. (I suddenly feel very sorry for my feet…Poor feet!)

If we take all this into account it is no surprise that feet treatments have climbed their way to the top of Spa trends, and I don’t just mean pedicures. In Fota Island Spa, for instance, we offer a [Comfort Zone] Lushly Polynesian Foot Ritual. What’s that you ask? Well, imagine this, a foot ritual inspired by shiatsu massage which cleanses and exfoliates the feet. As you close your eyes to savor every second of this magical pampering treat you feel a sumptuous balm enriched with Polynesian tiare flowers being massage into your feet through a shiatsu inspired pressure massage point. Yes, I wouldn’t mind one of those right about now!

So next time you’re browsing through the many Spa treatments available and deciding which one you should choose, look down at your feet…They deserve some pampering too :-) !

Please feel free to share any of your own comments and opinions, and I will be back next week with yet another blog! :-) Thank you for reading!
Ana

June’s Myth Buster: “Women will look big and bulky if they do weights”

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Being a woman myself, I know that as women, we all dream of that “perfect body”! And even if we don’t exactly spend time dreaming of it, we wouldn’t be appalled if one day we woke up looking like we could be on the cover of a magazine. But instead we wake up in our onesies (or maybe that part is just me)! We try to do our bit to make ourselves feel somewhat fit and pretty. We try to watch what we eat (or at least pretend we do!), we spend a fortune on clothes that we can’t really afford, we join gyms, go to fitness classes…we hear a couple tips on how to become fit and feel good about ourselves here and there, and there’s not a lot we wouldn’t at least think about trying. Well, except for one thing…yes, the one thing we will not try: WEIGHTS! And why? Because weights will make us big!
But is this fact or fiction? As women, will doing weights really get us looking big and bulky? This month, I made it my mission to check if there is truth behind these claims.

I got my answer fairly quickly when I posed Marc (one of the fitness instructors here at Fota Island Resort) the question:

“Will doing weights make me look big and bulky?”

And he replied:

“You don’t have enough testosterone, so…no!”

And just like that, after spending many aerobic classes developing this sudden thirst that I had to immediately satisfy every time the instructor brought out the weights in an attempt to avoid any contact with these little things that were going to make me look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, I found out that – it’s virtually impossible for women to get bulky! We’re missing one little thing: testosterone (or at least we’re missing the high amounts that male have)! After some more research into the topic, I’m fully convinced that this myth has indeed been busted! Here are a few things I learned, and I hope you find them useful too:

Short supply of testosterone – No big & bulky appearance

The fact that women don’t have high levels of testosterone like men do means that they will never be big and bulky like men, or at least not from just doing normal weights and classes. At this point you will probably argue: “But I’ve seen females who do have a very bulky and muscular body!” As it turns out, female professional athletes can and do have very muscular bodies, but they get that way through a vigorous and intensive workout routine – not like anything most of us would do in a gym or weekly fitness class. So we don’t have to worry!

We can tone but it’s difficult to get big muscles

We can obviously build up some muscle! But since we don’t have the high levels of testosterone needed to get big muscles, our muscles will develop but, and I must stress this, they will not get big!

Muscle and fat are two separate things

Another common fear is the notion that if we were to gain a bit of muscle by doing weights, it would immediately turn into fat the second we stopped our exercise routine. This is also not possible! Muscle and fat are two separate things, so one can’t turn into the other. Just as apples don’t turn into oranges, muscles don’t turn into fat. (I apologize if my apples and oranges metaphor seems a bit random, but I had a math’s teacher in school that used to always say “you can’t mix apples and or…[pause for the class to finish] and you can’t mix x’s and y’s” to help us learn algebra. To this day…I have nightmares about it!)

So there you have it – fear no more!

I hope you have found this month’s myth buster useful and if you have any thoughts on the subject, or would simply like to suggest another myth that I could look into, please do leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading :-)
Ana

DIY Beauty Treatments: Do They Work?

Friday, June 1st, 2012

You know that moment when you find yourself standing in the middle of the beauty aisle in Tesco, or Boots, looking through the hundreds of different moisturisers, cleansers…your boyfriend/husband/significant other is next to you telling you “c’mon, hurry up, they’re all the same”, and you look at him, and you look back at the shelf, and you look at him again, and plead with him “just one more minute”, and you look at the shelf again hoping one of the creams will just magically jump out at you this time.

But you know it won’t because this is a decision that requires effort, and you can’t be rushed. You need to read through the back of every bottle to find that one that is just perfect for you. You find yourself reading “directions for use” at the back of every bottle, even though you know they’ll all say “apply a thin layer all over the body”, and how else would you use a moisturiser? But there’s just something inexplicable about a bottle of moisturiser, or cleanser, that just needs to be studied to the last detail (and don’t get me started on shampoos and conditioners, I could probably quote the numerous types of Herbal Essences). And the funny thing is, the better part of you knows that what the bottle says probably isn’t true anyway, but you still can’t take your eyes off it. “Must find the perfect one” – the words that run through your head as the world around you becomes blurry and non-existent…And for those few minutes, it’s just you and the writing on the bottle. That’s what beauty product shopping does to you!

Uhm, I just realized something: I hope this isn’t one of those situations where you share a thought you’ve had for ages and expect people to enthusiastically utter the words “oh, yes, I’ve always thought that” so you can have a good sigh of relief “I thought I was the only one”. But instead they look at you, with that wide eyed look, and you just know you’ve said something you shouldn’t have and the person has no idea what you’re talking about (if the latter is true in this case, I ask that you politely pretend that you know what I’m talking about).

So this week, to try and figure out how to minimize all the time spent browsing through beauty products on the shelves (which to me seems like time very well spent, but unfortunately my boyfriend would tend to disagree with me on this) I decided to go back to basics and try my luck with DIY beauty products. I figured that instead of spending time reading through every bottle on the shelf, I would just turn my kitchen into my very own beauty salon. Step One: simple! Just type “DIY beauty treatments” into Google. Step Two: tricky! Picking which ones to try! Being the DIY beauty treatment novice that I am, I decided to start with 2 simple (and yummy) recipes:

1. Dark Chocolate Mask
2. Cleopatra Bath

1. Dark Chocolate Mask

The ingredients for this mask couldn’t be easier to find:

• 100g of dark chocolate (you can use more if you want a thicker consistency)
• 1 cup of milk
• 3 table spoons of salt

Benefits?
Supposedly dark chocolate facial masks will leave your skin feeling firm, soft, smooth and tight. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants which are good for skin cell repair and prevent skin cell damage. Chocolate also contains copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc, which promote cell growth and repair. The salt, on the other hand, helps to kill bacteria and keep the skin clean (and it will keep you from eating the mask. I tried it-tastes horribly salty!).

How to make it?
Dissolve the salt in the milk. Melt the chocolate. Now just add the milk to the melted chocolate and stir it well until you have a nice consistency. I used too much milk on my first try and ended up with an almost see through paste (I don’t know if you could actually call it is paste, it was more like really watery soup). So maybe add the milk little by little so you get the result you want before you ruin the mask and have to start all over again like I did! Wait for it to cool down a little before you put it on your face to avoid burning yourself (I speak from experience :-P ). I also read that you should use a wooden spoon to spread the mask on your face, but I found it easier to just use my fingers, although it can be quite messy! And voila! Now you can just relax with the mask on for about 10-15 minutes.

Don’t do what I did initially and decide to clean the dirty dishes in the kitchen while you’re waiting. Not only does that defeat the purpose of relaxing and pampering yourself, but you’ll also find that when you’ve finally caught up with the dirty dishes you now have to clean the lovely trail of dark chocolate mask you’ve left after you. So just go lie down and relax for a few minutes. When you’re ready to wash off the mask, just dampen some cotton wool pads in lukewarm water and use them to wash off the chocolate. Lastly, splash cold water on your face to help close the pores, so you can keep dirt out for longer.

Extra Tip: Before you put on your mask, soak a face cloth in hot water, squeeze it, and spread it over your face. The hot steam from the cloth will help to open your pores so the mask can penetrate your skin better.

Positives?
Once I allowed myself to lie down and enjoy my first DIY beauty treatment, I must admit that it was actually a lovely experience. At the start you do find yourself thinking “what am I doing with chocolate on my face?”, but as you feel the mask tightening, you know something must be working. The smell of chocolate is quite calming, which I didn’t expect, and as Natural Remedies for Skin Care put it – you find yourself feeding your senses as well as your skin.

When I washed off the mask, I guess “cleansed” and “refreshed” would be the best words to describe how I felt. And I mean that! My skin really felt like it had been somewhat purified, if that even makes sense. I felt healthy! I felt fresh! I could still smell the chocolate when I went to bed – a beautiful and indulging fragrance.

Negatives?
I did have to spend some time cleaning the bathroom after I finished washing off the mask. The chocolate mask sneakily dripped off my arm and onto the floor and my clothes. And the sink…Well, let’s just say it was a little less white than usual!

2. Cleopatra Bath
The ingredients, once again, are easy to find. You can probably find them in your kitchen:

• 4 cups of full fat milk
• 1 cup of honey
Lavender Essential Oil (or any essential oil that you like)
• Candles (very important!)

Benefits?
Milk & Honey Baths were one of Cleopatra’s famous beauty treatments, which immediately inspires a sense of curiosity in this treatment. Reportedly, this luxurious bath exfoliates, softens and nourishes the skin. The lavender essential oil is a nice addition not only due to its antiseptic properties, which are excellent for the skin, but also due to its refreshing fragrance, which helps to eliminate headaches, nervous tension, emotional stress, and anxiety. And I know we’ve all experience at least one of those!

How to make it?
Mix the milk and honey together in a bowl, and add a few drops of the lavender essential oil. Fill the bath tub with hot water, and pour the milk and honey mixture into the bath. Don’t forget to light a few candles and turn off the lights. This is guaranteed to create a calming ambience which helps to transform this milk and honey bath into both a body and mind treatment. Stay in the bath for about 20 minutes and when you’re ready to get out, simply pat yourself dry.

Positives?
My name is Ana and I’m a
stressaholic! I always find it hard to stop and relax, and unsurprisingly spent the first few minutes of my bath thinking “am I wasting my time here? Maybe I’ve been here long enough? I should just get out…” But once I focused on the candles, everything changed! As I stared at the flickering lights, and let my mind get lost in the midst of a calming lavender fragrance and silky smooth honey and milky water, I found a place, somewhere in my mind (or in my bathroom), where I felt calm and peaceful. This is probably one of those situations in which you think I’m exaggerating, but I guarantee you I’m not. If you haven’t tried this Cleopatra Bath, definitely give it a try. It’s a special treat and so easy to achieve! The smell of honey and lavender that lingers in your skin is just delightful.

Negatives?
It’s difficult to judge what temperature you should have the bath at. First I was too cold. Struggled to reach the hot water tap with my feet to turn it on (lazy trick!) and after a few minutes I felt too hot. So I found myself playing a game of “let’s make it a little hotter, ok, no, let’s make it a little colder”, which did distract me a bit from the relaxation aspect of the bath.

I can’t say that DIY beauty products are better than the real thing, if I’m honest, but they’re quirky and it was nice to try them! These are only two of hundreds, even thousands of DIY beauty treatments available. I’m eager to try out more, but I thought I would bore you if I just went on and on and on…I hope to try some more out in the coming weeks, and report back with the results! If you have any suggestions or any other tips that you would like to share, I would very much appreciate hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! :-)

Thank you for reading, and I hope we’ll meet again next week! Ana

May’s Myth Buster: Is it Fact or Fiction?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

NOTE: Exciting competition at the end of this blog!

“If I was a woman, maybe I’d go, but I’m not!”

“I haven’t been; it’s for women to go and gossip”

“That’s for women to go and get their girly things done, I don’t need that”

I’ll give you a few clues to try and figure out what these quotes refer to: It’s three letters long, starts with an S, ends with an A, and it’s not Sma (mainly because that’s not a word :-) ). But you’re right, Spa, that’s what these quotes are about…and they were taken straight from the mouths of men, when they were faced with the question “Have you ever been to a Spa?” For fear you think I’m making this up, these men were my friends, and please also note that these men were Irish!

There has been a long lived rumour circulating our society: “Spas are for women”. I bet you’ve heard it too! But why is that? Surely being pampered is something we all enjoy. Why wouldn’t men love getting massages, for example, as much as women do? They feel amazing! If you’re a woman and you’re reading this, I bet you’ve heard your boyfriend/husband/brother/friend cheekily ask you: “Can I have a foot rub?”. And if you’re a man and you’re reading this, I bet you’ve at least thought about asking for one. And why wouldn’t you? Taking this into consideration, I’ve taken it upon myself to investigate the “Spas are for women” myth further in order to determine: Is it fact or fiction?

I figured the best way to go about investigating this issue was by performing two simple tasks (well, maybe simple is the wrong word, but two tasks anyway!): (1) trying to get inside men’s heads to try and understand how they view this myth (here’s the not so simple part of the tasks, although yes, it may be slightly easier than getting inside women’s heads), and (2) carrying out a little experiment.

Task 1: Getting inside men’s heads
As I posed the same “Have you ever been to a Spa?” question to a number of different men, a pattern clearly emerged. I’m sure you’ll see it too:

“No…but I’d go if it was a “fix” me situation”

“No…but well, if I got a present of it I’d obviously have to go”

“No…but if my girlfriend made me go I’d have to go I guess”

For every “No I haven’t been” answer there seems to be a counteracting “But I’d go if I was “forced” to go” excuse. So here is my theory: the issue isn’t that men don’t like going or don’t want to go to spas, but rather, that they may need an excuse to do it! Spas are seen by the majority of people, as girly, feminine places. Maybe it’s the scented candles, and warm fuzzy robes. Maybe it’s the simple word Spa that acts as a synonym for beauty: something that only women should be concerned about (or at least that’s how most of us think anyway). Women want to be beautiful, men don’t. But I beg to differ. I think both women and men want to be beautiful; but where as women actively try to feel beautiful, men don’t. Not because they don’t want to, but because it wouldn’t fit their manly image, especially when we think about the unmerciful peer pressure these men feel from their friends to act in a certain “manly manner”. As the quotes above suggest, the only way men can accept the need or want to feel pampered and “beautiful” at a Spa is by transforming it into a “I had no choice but to do it” scenario.

Task 2: A little experiment

Ok so, onto my little experiment! The quotes that opened this blog got me thinking about the misconceptions that men have about Spas. Words like “gossip” and “girly things” set immediate alarm bells off in my head. Is it that men think that going to a Spa involves women going for nail and waxing treatments, as they sit around drinking tea and chatting about the fact that Britney Spears has finally signed her US X Factor contract? Don’t get me wrong, obviously women do love having those chats (I know I’m guilty of starting many of them!), but a Spa isn’t generally the setting for these kind of chats. A Spa is where people go to be pampered, and feel relaxed. It isn’t a social setting per se, saturated with nail and waxing treatments. It’s so much more than that. If anything, it’s the one place that allows you to go to be “selfish”, and simply focus on you, and your wellbeing; not so much to gossip.

To show that men might indeed appreciate a visit to a Spa if it weren’t for the misconceptions they have, I undertook the following experiment: I told men about a Spa treatment, without referring to it as a Spa treatment, and noted their reactions. If their reactions were positive, my theory would be proven, that is, leave the word Spa out, and men are instantly more attracted to the idea. The chosen treatment: Floating experience! This Spa treatment involves lying in a floatation tank filled with a salt solution so dense that allows you to float weightlessly, with no effort.

So here is how I put the treatment to my male interviewees:

“Have you ever heard of the Dead Sea? Where you can go to kick back and relax: floating on the sea water, feeling weightless…”

The reactions, as you can imagine, were pretty upbeat:

“I’ve always wanted to go there…Imagine floating like that on the water!”

“Someday I’ll go there! It must be something else to just be able to lay back and float, no worries, just happy out, floating in the sea!”

As I wrote down their answers I felt a sneaky and rewarding thought enter my head “Ha, I was right”! Technically speaking, it can be argued that these men would indeed like to experience this “floatation” Spa treatment (and this is only one of many treatments available at a Spa that don’t involve waxing or nails). Yet, if you asked these same men to go to a Spa, they would reply “no”! So it appears that, for the moment, my theory has been confirmed: the word Spa alone blurs men’s views.

So what can we take from all this? Well, I’m happy to say that the “Spas are for women” myth seems to be fiction! The issue isn’t that Spas are for women, but rather that: (1) men are loyal to their manly facade, and (2) men have strong misconceptions about Spas. Once you remove these two factors from the equation, however, it seems that men would appreciate what a Spa has to offer just as much as women do. But a key question remains: “how exactly do we remove these factors from the equation?” This question has prompted me to undertake an additional task!

Bonus Task: Competition – Prize worth €125!
To help me find the answer,Fota Island Spa Hotel Cork has come up with a brilliant competition: I’m looking for you to nominate a man to be put to the test by experiencing a complementary Half Day Package at Fota Island Spa, and telling us about his experience!

To be in with a chance to win this fantastic prize for your nominee, all you have to do is email me directly on ACOliveira@fotaisland.ie, and tell me why I should pick your nominee to win, his first name, age, and the days of the week that he would be available for a Spa treatment. The worthiest nominee will be the winner! Competition closes on Friday, 25th May. I look forward to hearing from you, and seeing how our winning nominee gets on :-) .

Thank you for reading, and as always feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions,
Ana

To fear or not to fear…

Friday, May 11th, 2012

So here I am: first week working in Fota Island Resort Hotel Ireland, and first time writing a blog. As the popular saying dictates “there’s a first time for everything” and hopefully today will mark the beginning of a series of blogs you’ll enjoy reading (that’s the aspiration anyway!). As a new marketing associate of Fota Island Spa Cork, I hope to discuss spa, fitness and beauty issues that are relevant to our every day lives, and perhaps even add a few little quirky bits into the mix.

Trying to decide on the topic of my first blog was no easy task. After all, first impressions count for everything (or at least they count for a lot), so I found myself going from idea to idea, to idea… But in the end, I can’t lie, I had a little help from my car radio. I was driving to work, when I heard: “Up next: why women are afraid of going to fitness classes”. My ears pricked up as I wondered “why are we afraid of going to fitness classes?”, and after a Justin Bieber song, I finally got my answer. A recent study has shown that a high percentage of women (can’t remember the exact number I’m afraid, but I can assure you it was high) are anxious about attending fitness classes due to low self-esteem. They’re afraid of how they’ll look in gym wear and of appearing uncoordinated in front of others, and indeed in front of themselves.

As I reflected on what I had just heard, and on my own reasons for not attending fitness classes as often as I should, I realized that there may be a lot of truth in the results of this study. We’re often so worried about how others see us, and that’s true for most walks of life, so why would that change just because the setting is a fitness class and not a work Christmas party? Yes, in a fitness class you’re not expected to look your super glamorous self, but there’s still that element of “what will others think?” that travels with you every where you go. Of course that’s not to say that that’s all women think about, and everyone is different, but I do believe there is that certain little voice in the back of our heads telling us “you’ll look silly”.

So, what do we do? Well, it seems that we have two choices: (1) we give into our fears and shy away from putting ourselves in a situation in which we feel others may judge us, or (2) we try to put things into perspective. I’m inclined to go with the second option. Of course the fear of having people judge you is very real and it can be quite strong, but I guarantee you that the person next to you won’t be worried about you or how you look, they’ll be worried about themselves and how they look. I would bet my life on it! As Eleanor Roosevelt put it:

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

What we have to think about is the bigger picture; what do we want to gain from these classes? Perhaps we want to be fitter, or feel healthier, or lose a few pounds, whatever the reason is, there’s always an end goal that we envisage when we think about joining a fitness class. And that’s what we should focus on! If your goal is to become fit or toned, that should be your driving force, and you can’t let the fear of how you’ll appear to others become an obstacle. It’s about positive thinking. Easier said than done, I know, but if we always gave up on things we found difficult there is probably a lot of things we wouldn’t do!

The Secret, a best-selling book by Rhonda Byrne, talks about the Law of Attraction and explains that “like attracts like”: if you focus on positive thoughts you’ll achieve positive results. It may sound cliché, and you may argue that those are empty words that don’t actually carry any meaning. If that’s the case, I may even agree with you to some extent. It seems fair to doubt such a grand and general statement. And yes, it’s possible that having positive thoughts won’t always give you the positive results you want, but I think the issue, or the real lesson learned, is that we have to start somewhere, and our attitude counts for an awful lot!

We have to learn to focus on the positive and the things that matter (the things that really matter). If you’re worried about how you’ll look in a gym or in a fitness class, don’t be! We all have our own fears, our own self-doubts, and it’s just not worth it. Someone once described fear to me as “nothing more than a state of mind”. So what we need to do is control our state of mind! Think about how great you’ll feel after the gym or the class, and how happy you’ll be when you start to experience your body getting fit and toned. Focus on that and don’t let the mean voice inside you stop you from achieving what you want to achieve. This is a conscious decision that you need to make, but one that you won’t regret!

Thank you for reading my blog! I would be delighted to hear some of your own thoughts and opinions! :-) Ana