The Lily Room Spa offers treatments for all our residents as part of their all-inclusive care, here to enhance mental health, relaxation, comfort and inner peace. Our residents absolutely love the Lily Room Spa as it gives them time to enjoy some R&R, so we thought it was about time we spoke to our star beauty therapist to find out a little more about the lady who makes the magic happen in the most relaxing room in Cumnor Hill House…

So, Charlie, what got you into beauty therapy?

Well, from an early age, I was always fascinated by the beauty and fashion industry, so after leaving school, I decided to pursue it! I studied wig-making, beauty therapy and hairdressing, but it was make-up artistry and beauty therapy that I was most passionate about, so I stuck with it. I spent two years working in a top-class Oxfordshire spa, building on my experience, and I’ve never looked back!

How did you get from there to where you are now?

I used to work as an in-flight beauty therapist for Virgin Atlantic Airways, which was incredible. It was my job to pamper the elite, and my clients included celebrities, musicians, Royals and other affluent individuals. My role included worldwide promotions, fashion shoots and regular TV and magazine work, so it really was the dream for me. After 14 years, I felt like it was time to spend some time back on land, so decided to find a job closer to home.

I then spent some time working as an assessor, trainer and beauty lecturer for Oxfordshire College, along with a great stint at ‘Six Senses’ elite worldwide spas, resorts and hotels, specialising in natural beauty. I absolutely love Thai massage and Reiki, and I’ve even travelled to Thailand for inspiration, training and qualification.

I now spend two days a week here at Cumnor Hill House and with the rest of my time, I run my own business, both from my home in Abingdon and as a mobile therapist, visiting private hospitals and luxury hotels.

What made you want to come and work at Cumnor Hill House?

Initially, I visited Cumnor Hill House as a guest on one of the famous entertainment evenings! I arrived with my elderly mother, who is a member of a local memory club; kindly, Cumnor Hill House regularly invite the group to come along and enjoy the entertainment.

My mum lit up when she spoke about this new and wonderful place – she was so happy, bright and full of chat, so I went along with her! I was instantly struck by the genuine warm welcome on arrival. Both staff and residents extended such kind hospitality and there was a real buzz, and such a happy and positive vibe! At Cumnor Hill House, nothing is ever too much and only the best is good enough. It was as close as I had come to experiencing such a high level of customer care and attention since leaving the airline industry.

Of course, I was intrigued! I introduced myself to management to thank them and find out more. It soon became apparent that a tranquil room named the Lily Room Spa existed and I knew in that very moment I could bring a first-class holistic and beauty service to Cumnor Hill House.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

It’s fantastic to see what a difference the beauty treatments make to our residents’ quality of life, as some time in the Lily Room Spa really does help them to relax and destress, and the health benefits are fantastic too. Indian Head Massages, for example, help to increase circulation and muscle tone, and improve immunity. Reflexology is great for residents with limited mobility or for when someone feels like their body needs a bit of an energy boost, and the traditional Japanese treatment, Reiki, reduces stress, aids relaxation and promotes healing. At Cumnor Hill House, we want to offer the best care possible, and that includes beauty therapy – after all, everyone deserves to feel special!

What’s your most popular treatment?

Throughout life, both ladies and gentlemen like to maintain a certain level of care when it comes to their appearance, as this is what keeps us feeling good both physically and mentally – it’s the feel-good factor! Therefore, each week I find myself extremely busy performing maintenance treatments such as manicures, eyebrow shapes, waxing and skin care etc., and alongside this, we have gentlemen’s grooming that includes our popular wet shave and scalp massage.

A huge variety of massage treatments are very popular too, along with facials and Reiki. There is never a quiet moment as everyone simply loves to be pampered, and for many residents, this is the first time they have EVER had a treatment in their life! It’s incredibly rewarding for me, to see someone who is usually anxious and confused completely relax, even if it’s just for a short while.

Often, the salon and spa are full of residents laughing and chatting whilst enjoying a treatment, complete with their favourite drinks and cream cakes with a side order of a relaxing massage. It seems like the perfect treat to me! Alternatively, one-to-one therapy with mellow music and the aroma of soothing aromatic oils fill the air. It’s so relaxing as there’s no rushing and no regimented appointment times, just a place to relax and enjoy a pamper session at your own pace!

What have you learnt from working at Cumnor Hill House?

I think the main thing I’ve learnt is how physically and spiritually uplifting holistic and beauty therapy treatments can be for all age groups. Even if an individual is living with dementia, they still seem to recognise me as the lady that does nice things – they may not recall my name, but they always recall this emotion!

It’s truly fantastic to see what a difference the beauty treatments available here make to our residents’ quality of life. Even seeing their faces light up as I walk into work makes me so happy and I now know that given time, a reluctant resident will soon become a regular client. It also makes our residents’ families feel good, seeing their loved ones looking good and taken care of – and as I’ve mentioned, the health benefits of treatments are huge.

I strongly believe in the power of touch, along with eye contact and a warm smile; everyone at Cumnor Hill house has these qualities, making it not only a place of care but a real home. Cumnor Hill House is where people come when they reach that point in life when they need a helping hand, but it doesn’t mean that they should stop living and loving life – they’re still free to experience the magic moments life has to offer as they would have done in their younger days, they just do it slightly differently. And here, the opportunities remain the same. I feel extremely proud to be part of this team and working for such an innovative, outstanding care home. Here, it’s all about health, happiness and wellbeing, which is what makes beauty therapy here so important and cherished.

Next time you pop in, why not say hello to Charlie and Denise, our fantastic hairdresser? We’re here to assist you and your family members with whatever you need or require, and a full treatment menu can be found on our Bistro tables and online.

If you have a friend or family member living here at Cumnor Hill House, make sure they’re making the most of our beauty therapy treatments – we’re one of just a handful of care homes in the UK to have an all-inclusive, in-house spa! We will always do our best and can take our services to a resident’s room if circumstances dictate. Nothing is too much trouble and it is our absolute pleasure to take care of you. We hope to see you very soon.