It’s no secret that I LOVE being pampered. I love looking after myself and taking a bit of time to spoil myself, but if someone else can do it for me – oh boy. Massages, hair appointments, manicures… the stuff that dreams are made of, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not something I’m yet able to treat myself to on a regular basis; my last massage appointment was nine months ago on holiday, when we couldn’t leave the hotel and I felt like I had no option but to head to the spa (any excuse…) but it’s something I always plan to save up for. Luckily, on this occasion, my very generous other half stepped in, and treated me to a spa afternoon of my choice, with a budget of £200 (tax rebates FTW…). It was initially offered to me during the process of buying our flat, as I was very highly-strung about the whole thing, but I only just got around to booking it a few weeks ago for a couple of days after my birthday, meaning it’s kind of turned into a really elaborate birthday treat. Not that I’m complaining!
After much deliberation, I chose to spend my budget at the House of Elemis spa, in Mayfair. I LOVE Elemis; I’ve been lucky enough to get some products as Christmas and birthday gifts over the years, with my favourites being the Frangipani Monoi range (particularly the body oil) and the Jasmine & Rose bath milk. Oh mama. I knew that this would be an experience to remember and a real indulgence for the afternoon; just what I needed after the most stressful year of my life.
I opted for the Couture Touch treatment – a massage and a facial, selected from a small menu of tailored treatments. It’s expensive, yes, but this is definitely a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of treat for me, and we all need to live a little, right? Thanks to my terrible office chair and my overstuffed handbag, I have knotty shoulders and an aching back, so I booked in for a deep tissue massage to iron me out. I’ve also been suffering with terrible skin recently (another side effect of stress, so I’m told), so I was looking forward to the facial, with the therapist choosing an appropriate one on the day to suit my needs.
So the day dawned, and after two days of trotting around Amsterdam and hauling a suitcase about, I was more in need than ever. I took myself off to London in the pouring rain (oh July, what happened?) and founded the spa with ease. It’s tucked down a gorgeous secluded little lane just off of Regent Street – an oasis in one of the busiest parts of London, I promise. I was greeted by a team of friendly therapists and given a consultation form to fill in, so that they could assess which facial to give me and which products to use. I was tucked away in the waiting area with a glass of water, sat on a chair made of the softest, butteriest grey leather I have ever felt in my life. The whole place oozed luxury, without feeling ostentatious. Even the loos were incredible – I had to take a snap!
After about ten minutes, my therapist, Lauren, came to collect me. She was super friendly and put me at ease immediately, discussing my consultation with me and talking me through what was going to happen. She led me up to my treatment room; it was amazing! We climbed a tiny spiral staircase right up to the top of the building, and tucked ourselves away in the most comfortable of rooms. The treatment room felt like Elemis personified; cool, sleek and calm, but so opulent. The massage bed was comfier than my own bed, and piled high with fluffy towels and a seriously chic grey wool herringbone throw. I loved the little wardrobe to hide my belongings in, so there was no clutter anywhere. Totally relaxing for a tidy-freak like me.
Lauren gave me plentiful time to strip off and get under the coverings on the massage bed – no panicked diving under the sheet with my socks on here! When I was settled, she came back in and switched on some soothing music and set a green glow to the lighting – super tranquil. We started with the full-body massage, which was just heavenly. Very firm, but exactly what my tangled shoulder muscles needed! I believe that Lauren used the De-Stress Massage Oil (forgot to check, but this sounds very much like the scent I was experiencing!) and it worked wonders; my shoulders felt like they had dropped several inches, and my aching calves felt totally renewed. There’s something just so indulgent about a massage; I had always imagined that they might be a bit embarrassing, and sometimes it is a bit cringe, but I felt so incredibly relaxed here and just zoomed away somewhere else in my head.
When it was time for the facial, I was a bit apprehensive, with this being my first time. However, Lauren again totally put me at ease and talked me through what was going to happen and what she was going to use to help my poor skin. My skin is a real bone of contention with me at the moment; I have always been very lucky to have (overall) very clear skin, with only the occasional hormonal spot. However, in the last six months I have seen my skin absolutely ravaged by cystic acne, with the root cause thought to be stress/anxiety. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, with me feeling stressed about me having bad skin and it just makes it worse… In any case, I am never without makeup in front of anyone but Lewis, and even then that’s right before bed. My poor face is red and spotty and AWFUL.
So, you can understand that I was worried and even embarrassed by having my makeup removed and my skin examined so closely, even by someone who does this for a living and has probably seen the full spectrum. But Lauren was very comforting and focused on the positives and how she could make a difference. I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting the results to be as good as they were, but more on that in a minute…
The facial lasted an hour, and was tailored exactly to my needs. I wanted to ease the angriness of my blemishes, and inject some moisture and clarity back into my skin. Lauren removed my makeup and talked me through the issues with a mirror, which was very difficult for me but again, she focused on the positives as much as she could. She alternated every product with a toner and a hot cloth, which heightened the experience as some of the products were very cool and tingly. Lauren started with a wash, which was the Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash, which works to renew and resurface the skin, adding a proper dose of moisture too.
After the hot cloth, she tapped the Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Serum into my skin, all over, and left this for a minute while she prepared the next round of treatments. She also placed a very heavily-scented lavender eye mask on me, which was just so calming. After this was wiped away, she applied an incredibly cooling, tingly mask – the Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask. She applied this very liberally, and it was so cold – it felt amazing. While this was on, Lauren also applied the Pro-Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks to hydrate under my eyes, and then proceeded to give me a scalp massage. I honestly could have fallen asleep right then. It was AMAZING. After another toner and hot cloth, she used the facial wash and lavender eye mask again, and then tapped in a final application of the facial serum, before I had a lovely neck and shoulder massage. I was in another world by the time she removed the mask and told me the treatment was complete.
When I had sat up, Lauren got the mirror out again to show me the difference, and I was amazed. The angry redness of my skin had reduced quite a bit, and the “good” areas of my skin, like my cheeks and forehead, looked fantastic – so clear and bright and glowing. That and I felt like I’d had a trip to the heavens and back…!
I was left to regain my composure and get dressed, and met Lauren downstairs to talk through the products and enjoy some rejuvenating refreshments; the carrot, ginger and turmeric juice was delicious! Sadly, a week before payday I couldn’t afford to treat myself to some of the products to recreate the experience at home, but I am setting some cash aside to make sure I can in the next few months. There was no hard sell, no pressure, no stress – exactly what you need after an experience like that. I was just sad I had to dash home in the pouring rain in London rush hour – not what you need after an experience like that…
So, the morning after, what can I say? In all honesty – I am blown away. In the last six months, my skin has never looked better. Lauren told me to forego my usual night-time skincare routine for the evening after the treatment, and not to reapply makeup, but my skin feels so soft and lovely, you’d never guess I went without moisturiser! Angry blemishes have calmed right down, raised bumps have now disappeared, and the overall redness and scarring has dramatically dropped. I am amazed; this was truly a wonder treatment for me, and I wasn’t expecting it to be so successful. If the antibiotics don’t put a stop to the spots for good, then I’ll be foregoing buying clothes to make sure I can experience this every month!!
*Sorry there’s no before and after photos – but I couldn’t bear to go au naturel at the moment, not even for you! You’ll have to take my word for it on this one, you’ll be impressed.
The Couture Touch experience is £95 for one hour, £185 for two hours. The House of Elemis is based in Lancashire Court, just behind Bond Street station. As previously stated, I paid for this experience entirely.