11 August 2009

...And Relax!

We all need a bit of ‘me’ time. We all love being pampered, don’t we?

Before I got married and had children, when I was young, free and footloose I would regularly treat myself to a facial or a pedicure. I’m not sure that I enjoyed it, but it was something that my friends did. Like coveting expensive shoes, matching accessories to outfits and buying too many handbags. Like going for coffee and cake and moaning about rubbish boyfriends and putting on weight.

Before I got married and had children I would be plucked, rubbed, buffed and polished to within an inch of my life. I must have told my husband about this. For Christmas he gave me a voucher for a ‘Pamper Experience’. Initially I was delighted. It will be a break from the children, it will be relaxing. Yes, exactly what I need.

I had my first child in September 2007, I had my second child 363 days later. The phrase ‘you’ve got your hands full’ was written for me. Two babies is hard work. I don’t get much time for myself.

I found the voucher in a pile of stuff in April. I finally got round to making a booking in July. Oh, they’ve closed the Preston premises, can you come to Lytham? Oh, okay.

On the day it was a rush to get the boys up, fed, washed and dressed and over to Grandma and Grandad’s. I didn’t know where the beauticians was in Lytham, thank goodness for SatNav! I arrived with seconds to spare. At least I had seen the sea, always a pleasure.

I took a deep breath and went in.

I was dreading my pamper experience. I’d had two children in quick succession. I’m lucky if I leave the house in clean clothes. My beauty regime consists of washing my hair when it gets really greasy. I’ve put on weight. I still wear maternity clothes. In the car I’d been tortured by imagined scenes of laughing size zero pretty young things, making puke faces. Hahaha you get to massage the whale.

Vicky took all my details and let me to the treatment room. Not a smirk. So far so good. She instructed me to strip to the waist and lay face down on the bed with a towel over me. She left the room. I checked for possible CCTV, I couldn’t see any cameras, they could be behind the mirrors. Oh dear. I’m here now. I swiftly followed her instructions.

My first treatment was a back massage. This should have relaxed me. But all I could think was how disgusted she must be at having to stroke my love handles. I know she’s getting paid, but there must be times when she hates her job. Or perhaps it’s more satisfying for her to squeeze flabby flesh than to be careful not to break someone’s ribs if she applies too much pressure? I didn’t ask. I worried that she could smell the garlic I’d had for dinner the night before. I thought of the boys. What age-inappropriate toys would they be playing with? Would they be out in the sun without hats and factor 50?

I wasn’t relaxing. Argh!

Next I had to perform a turning over manoevre that would have frightened small children, had there been any in the room, and had Vicky not been holding up a mercifully large towel magician’s assistant style.

It was time for a re-polish. She asked me if I usually painted my toenails. I replied no, not since I’d had children. Oh dear she was going near my feet! How long were my toenails? How much hard skin was there on my feet? Were they even clean? They couldn’t have been too whiffy as she applied a good six coats of polish in the colour shell. For those unfamiliar with the colour shell, it is pink.

I laid back and listened to the musak blaring out of the CD player. It was a bit loud and a bit odd. I would have expected floaty zen waves, I would have settled for pan pipes. What I was subjected to was incidental film score. I could see Audrey Hepburn in sunglasses and a headscarf driving an open-top sports car around the hill roads in Monaco. I could see an old man walking slowly through the drizzle to leave a single red rose on his late wife’s grave. I could see new life in the Spring, ferns unfurling, melting snow. I could feel I was starting to relax. At last!

Mmm, now a facial. Vicky had a magnificent, confident touch. She cleansed, toned, exfoliated, massaged, moisturised and balmed me. She wrapped my face in hot towels and gently wiped it with cotton wool. I could feel my skin breathing in the lavender (as was I) and de-stressing (as was I). I drifted off while she massaged my neck and shoulders. Bliss.

That was it, my pamper experience had come to an end. I slowly came to and very slowly sat up and admired my pretty toes. I drank a large glass of water. I dressed, forgetting about all those cameras.

I didn’t buy any products, neither did I book any further appointments, but I politely took all the leaflets. I was sent on my way with a list of instructions for the rest of the day:

  • Don’t drive – I’ve got to drive forty miles to pick up the boys and get us home.
  • Don’t drink alcohol - some chance!
  • Don’t exercise – okay running around after a toddler and a baby isn’t exactly an Olympic sport, but it’s not sedate either.
  • Do rest – see above!
  • Do drink plenty of water – at last one I can follow.

And relax? That night I slept like an exhausted new mother, does that count?



  1. What a brilliant post :)

    And I'm so with you - despite being a complete girlir girl, I just can't get on board with the whole 'stranger pummeling and polishing and scrubbing' me thing. I never go to the hairdressers (plus point of crazy curls - i can get away with trimming them myself!), have never had a 'proper' massage, and the thought of someone 'doing my feet' makes me shiver!

    Glad you got a good night's sleep out of it though :)

  2. From one exhausted second time new Mum to another....great post!

    I've never had a pamper session as pretty much all the thoughts you had prevent me LOL!

  3. I know were you are coming from!! I've got a voucher for Champneys to use, going to share it with my sister so I have some company

    Glad you had a little me time x

  4. Oh poor you...I know exactly how you feel. It takes me ages to relax enough to enjoy it ...just as the treatment comes to an end. That's if I've managed to last the course without feeling claustrophobic when they put a fabric mask on.
    You'll have to do it more often- maybe then it gets easier. LOL X

  5. I go for a facial sometimes and it does me so much good. It is good to take time out for yourself every so often.

  6. This made me laugh, it's really hard to relax during these pamper things. The more you try the harder it is! Sounds like it was worth it though. Makes me want to go and paint my toenails.

  7. Leslieanne, thanks :-) If you did fancy a proper massage I'd recommend going to an alternative clinic and getting an holistic massage. Eek, I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow - expect a post about that!

    Insomniac Mummy, thank you! I'm glad it's not just me who has those thoughts. It was fine in the end though :-)

    New Mummy, I used to work at a Champneys (before it was a Champneys)! Behind the scenes it was like Fawlty Towers, but this was 23 years ago - crikey I'm old - so I'm sure it's lovely now x

    Chic Mama, yes, that's the answer, I need to go more often, then perhaps I'll relax quicker each time :-) x

    Gaelikaa, yes the facial was my favourite bit this time. I don't think it did anything for my skin, but it felt wonderful.

    Whistlejacket, I'm glad I had a few treatments, otherwise I wouldn't have relaxed at all! My toenails need another coat too :-)

  8. It is great to get some "me" time and I can imagine it can't be easy with 2 boys under the age of 2. Relax - what is this relax you speak of?? lol. Great post, made me nod and made me laugh too. x

  9. Gosh if anyone so much as suggested a massage to me right now I think I would pass out cold with tiredness. I always fell asleep when being massaged and that was before the no sleep longer than 2 hours maximum.

    Thanks for your lovely comment. I am taking one day at a time and writing it all out cleared my brain and I am moving on.

  10. Oh this resonated with me! Last week I finally used the voucher husband gave me for Christmas for a massage (it had expired, but they let me use it). I couldn't relax either and came home to find none of the housework done while I was out - why did I bother?

  11. Oh, I wish it was more relaxing for you! I love love love the Spa. But, I can see how odd muzak can ruin the mood! My spa had their system broke and it was stuck on dance music..thats not zen! Turn it off! :) Hope you had a great day.

  12. OMG! Cant remember when I was last plucked and polished - if ever! Usually takes place in a locked bathroom with 3 mins to wax legs!

    Pleased you slept well - all that stress coming out in one way or another!


  13. Ha! Going to a spa has been on my wishlist for ages... I think I'd be like you and find it too hard to relax though. I have a day off in two weeks and I'm toying with the idea, really...toying.

    I did have a few pregnancy massages and I would really recommend them.

    Platespinner x

  14. Laura C, thanks :-) Yes, the elusive 'relax'. It does exist!

    Dancinfairy, ah, you poor thing. You don't know tiredness until you have a baby! I'm glad you feel better for writing down how you feel. It does get easier x

    Working Mum, it's good that they let you use the voucher. Yes, being pampered can be more trouble than it's worth!

    JennyMac, hahaha, it was muzak! I did enjoy it by the end. I spoke to my best friend from school last night and she suggested a spa weekend for our fortieth birthdays next year. I'm sure I'll be able to relax if I'm away for a couple of days :-)

    RM, I know, my 'beauty routine', such that it is, is teeny tiny compared with a few years ago! We all need a stress release x

    Platespinner, ooh you could really treat yourself on your day off. I would definitely have another facial given half a chance. Apart from yoga, the only treatment I had when I was pregnant was reflexology (fabulous). A pregnancy massage sounds wonderful x

  15. Wonderful thought! Never had a pedicure myself, but maybe I should try it...

    I could just about feel the relaxation creeping in there.

  16. Sounds like the end result was worth the trauma - just! I know how you felt though, just going to the hairdresser is bad enough for me. I did a spa day with Mum a couple of years ago and cringed the whole time the poor therapist was having to massage my back fat (oh and enormous thighs too into the bargain - needless to say I did NOT choose which treatments!).

    Mel xxx

  17. Mwa, I do like a good pedicure. Yes, I just about relaxed!

    Mel, it would be better if we could choose our treatments, then we could avoid to much of the hands-on stuff! Next time... I've just written a post about my hair. I had it cut today! x


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