© She & More
Dr Wendy Isbell has made a bit of a name for herself in Christchurch as a health guru with strident views on how women can empower themselves to lead energy-packed lives. When she moved into her rambling old romantic mansion in stately Bealey Avenue six years ago, she had a strong feeling that the house would grow to fit her lifestyle formula.
Now, once every three weeks on a Saturday, her home becomes the Lighthouse Health Spa, a luxury all-day getaway for over-stressed Cantabrians. For $250, spa-goers receive a holistic programme aimed at refreshing the body and mind and rejuvenating the spirit.
In between the personal training, the yoga sessions, the fullbody massage and seemingly endless tasty and nutritionally balanced meal breaks, there's plenty of time to indulge in some female bonding that makes Women Who Run With The Wolves look like sissy stuff. Dr Wendy believes in taking control of your own destiny, getting motivated and serious goal-setting. Who would have thought that a long, languid soak in the spa pool was a pathway to personal growth?
Over the past year the group therapy attitude at Bealey Avenue has chilled out somewhat and the spa is now more of a solitary mission. Or at least as solitary as it gets when you're sharing the hot tub with ten other spa-dwellers.
Previously, too, beauty junkies didn't get a look in as the spa focused more on meditation and exercise. These days there is pampering aplenty to be had in the afternoon half of the session, with facials, a hot pool and a newly installed sauna.
The other new, less attractive, feature is men. The spa had its first male in attendance recently. "He was there on trial and he was no trouble," assures Dr Isbell, who has now taken down the No Boys Allowed sign on the playhouse. Grown ups, she insists, seem to cope quite happily sharing their face-pack space with blokes.