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Muddy reviews – Elysium Beauty Salon & Private Academy, Bassingbourn

We can't resist a wellbeing treatment at Muddy - what's not to like about lying down for an hour or two? Elemis massage and facial at Elysium Beauty Salon, please!


You’ll find Elysium in barn on a beautiful farm (no chance of squelching in mud or dodging livestock to reach your treatment, I promise!) in an idyllic rural setting between the villages of Bassingbourn and Litlington, just 20 minutes from Cambridge. The spa has unlimited free parking as well as a private academy, where you can learn from the directors and experienced guest lecturers and become qualified in the art of all things beauty yourself. Or, do as I did and just let the experts lull you into a dream-like state by booking in for a treatment!



Complete serenity is the best way I can describe this salon – not your man-made, sound-proofed, pan pipes CD on repeat kind of serenity, but the sort that you can only achieve from being set on a farm in the middle of the countryside. During my treatment I could hear birds tweeting outside and the rustle of the wind in the fields surrounding us and nothing else. It’s seriously relaxing.

The space itself is pretty bijou, just two treatment rooms, a reception area and a training room upstairs, but all this is about to change… the salon has a rather exciting project in the pipeline. In early 2020 they will be moving into a purpose-built salon/academy/ tea shop on the same site. I’ve seen the plans and it looks AMAZING! Enough about the architecture though, as the focus here is very much on the treatments and overall well-being, which is, obviously, the important bit.

You really are in safe, silky hands here. The directors, who opened Elysium four years ago, both have over 30 years experience in the beauty industry, so you can trust that all their treatments (and there are a vast array to choose from) will be delivered safely and with well-honed skill. There’s everything here from non-surgical face lifts and pamper days to electrolysis and epilation.



I felt relaxed as soon as I met senior therapist and lecturer Justina Howard-Bearder – she has one of those calming auras (probably from years spent in a serene spa environment) that takes you from manic stressed mum to no-cares-in-the-world zombie in minutes. She made sure I was comfortable from the off – the massage bed was like something from the Princess and the Pea, how I managed to stay awake is beyond me – and checked at various intervals that I was still in a state of bliss.



It’s always such a dilemma for me when I’m perusing the menu at any spa – massage or facial, massage or facial..? I love both treatments equally, so it’s a hard choice (I know, it’s a classic #firstworldproblem), but I am a rather indecisive type. So, you can imagine my delight when Justina suggested the heavenly two-hour Elemis massage and facial combined treatment for me.

It starts with the massage and with lots of that instantly calming pressure that therapists apply with the full length of their arms while you’re still covered in the towel (or cosy duvet in my case). The beauty of a two-hour treatment is that every part of it lasts longer than the usual just-getting-relaxed-when-they-move-onto-the-next-body-part that I normally experience with a 30- or 50- minute treatment. Justina’s hands are magic and she manages to work out my knots without hurting me.

After a back, neck, leg and arm massage, it’s time for the facial. By this point I’m practically dribbling, so I have to rally myself. Justina cleanses my skin, then applies a gentle exfoliator and various different Elemis hydrating moisturisers. Then it’s time for the face mask, which is cool and gloopy (but bizarrely enjoyable to feel being brushed onto your face), which is removed later in one big solidified sheet, which is also a strangely satisfying sensation. My skin is always dry, but afterwards I can actually see with my bare eyes how much plumper and hydrated it is.

At the end of the treatment I was concerned that I was stuck to the bed, my limbs were so utterly relaxed I couldn’t move for a minute! Fortunately Justina knew exactly how to rouse me – sugar! A lemon sorbet to refresh my dry mouth and some lemon water. Afterwards I really appreciated the secluded location as I stepped out into the Cambridgeshire summer sun with only the farm animals and birds to bear witness to my oily, scarecrow hair, before I drifted home at 16mph in second gear (sorry busy South Cambs commuters!).


Ultimate Elemis Experience, £95pp, which is great value for a two-hour session using Elemis products.

Elysium Beauty Salon and Private Academy, The Black Barn, Low Farm, Brook Road, Bassingbourn, Hertfordshire, SG8 5NT

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