Norwich woman gets a makeover for the body and mind

A makeover is not always just about changing the way you look, as reader Angie Giles found out when she went on a personal development day at a new spa in Blofield. By Emma Harrowing.

Nestled in quiet Blofield Heath, just a stone's throw away from Norwich city centre, lays the tranquil oasis of new retreat Imagine Spa. As with other spas it's a place to unwind, revive and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There is a range of treatments on offer, a relaxation room and a thermal spa all aiming to make you feel thoroughly pampered from top to toe.

Spas have become more than a pampering treat offering personal development, style and confidence training to create a complete wellbeing makeover package. Imagine Spa is no exception, with theme days, advice and therapy for people lacking in confidence.

Angie Giles, from Norwich, had her confidence knocked when, in the space of a year, two major changes happened in her life.

'I was made redundant from Aviva in 2009 after 20 years' service,' says 43-year-old Angie. 'The redundancy was upsetting as it was so soon after the last reorganisation, but the break allowed me to focus on my hypnotherapy and counselling studies, and I also had time to look after my mum as she was unwell.'

Shortly after Angie was made redundant, her mum died suddenly. The shock sent Angie on a downward spiral. Says Angie: 'It took me quite a while to get over losing mum and to deal with the loss. I felt really low at times and although mum was in her early 80s she was a very active and youthful person.

'After a few difficult months following her death I sought the help of bereavement charity CRUSE. They told me that it was ok to feel the way I did and helped me work through my grief. I began to find an inner strength and a resolve to live my life to the fullest.'

Most Read

Angie's hypnotherapy and counselling training led her to decide to go self-employed a year ago. She set up HypnoShape and her own hypnotherapy and counselling business at the Norfolk Clinic Complementary Healthcare Clinic on Magdalen Road in November 2010 and she has a private treatment room on St Benedict's. The move has made her feel as if she is making a difference to others and herself.

'Deciding to become a self-employed therapist and coach was a massive step for me and has taken a lot of guts, determination and absolute belief in myself to see it through,' says Angie.

'My mum always encouraged an interest in alternative health and as a child I remember enjoying doing yoga with mum and her friends at our house. I remember being asked by my dorm mates when I was at school at Wymondham College to talk them through a full body relaxation when we couldn't sleep. So I guess you could say I'd been preparing to be a hypnotherapist for a long time!'

Angie's life has changed dramatically. She has regained some of her confidence by helping others, but now it's her turn to get a little bit of TLC.

Life Matters sent Angie to a Dream On event at Imagine Spa. Dream On is an organisation set up by Bridget McIntyre to help women 'discover the best they can be' with a series of style, health and wellbeing workshops. The community interest organisation helps women from all walks of life and provides free advice to women who may not normally have access to this kind of facility. The aim of the day is to combine pampering and relaxation with advice on how you can improve your style and confidence.


You can wear any colour, the key is to get the tone of that colour right to suit your skin tone. Finding out what shades suit you can be tricky so Amanda Stiff from Dream On was on hand to offer colour advice.

Says Amanda: 'Wearing the right tones to suit you will make you look vibrant, younger and even tanned, it is amazing how some shades can make you look drained and tired.

'When you find out what tones suit you it doesn't mean that you cannot wear other colours; we like to give women the knowledge to understand what tones suit them best and then they can experiment with their look.

'Of course, if you wear the tones that suit you close to your face such as on a top, scarf or even a necklace you will look and feel better.'

Having changed into a soft white towelling robe and slippers, Angie's face was devoid of colour. Amanda used this as a base to start adding different colour and patterned scarves over Angie's shoulders to find out what tones suited her best.

Says Amanda: 'There are three colour directions to look at to distinguish the tones that suit you. The first is whether deep or light tones suit you best, the second is whether bright or muted tones suit you best and the third is whether cool or warm tones suit you best.'

Amanda tested each one in turn by placing a deep colour scarf on one half of Angie's neck and a deep patterned scarf on the other. She then replaced the scarves with pastel coloured scarves to see what difference they made to her face. This technique was repeated with bright and muted scarves and cool and warm coloured scarves.

Angie's warm hazel eyes and complexion best suited the deep, bright and warm colours, therefore chocolate browns, camel, bright pink, pillar box red, lime greens and teal are some of the tones that she looks best in.

The tones you wear next to your face are just the start of a style makeover. Choosing clothes that flatter your shape is also important.

The next workshop Angie went on was the shape workshop led by Bridget. The workshop aims to help you understand your face and body shape and how you can make the best of these with what you wear.

Says Bridget: 'For us there are three main body shapes: Curvy – you have a defined waist; Tapered – you have a short ribcage; and Straight – you have no waist. The way you can discover what shape you fall into is by measuring the gap between your bust and waist. If there is a big gap and you go in at the waist you are curvy. If the gap is smaller you have a tapered shape and if it is a big gap but you don't go in at the waist you are straight.'

Bridget discovered what Angie's shape was by tying her gown belt around her natural waist to measure the gap between her bust and waist. Angie has a large gap and goes in at the waist, so she has a curvy body shape.

Says Bridget: 'Curvy body shapes suit the wrap dress and high waist trousers. Belts can be worn around the waist and they can be wide as this will accentuate the waistline.'

Next Bridget measured key points across Angie's face to see what face shape she is. This can help you decide what hairstyles, glasses and sunglasses suit you.

Angie's face shape is a rectangle, meaning that she can soften her look with a wavy or curly hairstyle or she can create a dramatic style by having a straight, angular hairstyle.

Says Bridget: 'Once you know what clothes, colours and hairstyles suit you play around a bit and experiment with your look. These rules are not set in stone and it can be quite fun to wear something that 'the rules' say doesn't suit your body shape. The important thing is that you feel comfortable in what you are wearing and you can use these rules to help you look and feel better.'

Body and mind

The final workshop's aim was to re-balance body and mind to boost confidence and increase energy. Dream On's body expert Sally Carmichael offered advice on how to become more self-aware about what is going on in your body through stretching and balancing exercises.

The day finished with a manicure and pedicure and a dip in the spa's thermal pool.

The verdict

Says Angie: 'The day at the spa was really special for me. I felt encouraged to be more experimental with clothes and colour and I was reminded of the importance of being aware of both my body and mind for my overall well being. I feel fabulous!'

Imagine Spa holds many themed spa events throughout the year. The Dream On day Angie went on will be available through the spa later in the year. Places on the Dream On at the Spa day cost �145 per person. For more information call 01603 712550 or visit