Mother's Day Pampering
For some mums a calming day at an indulgent spa is the perfect treat. For others a manicure or personal shopper might be just what the doctor ordered. If travelling seems like an unappealing chore this Mother's Day why not arrange for a treatment or experience (a re-energising, calming yoga session or a makeover) to take place in the comfort of your mum's own home? Take a look at our pick of the bunch for some of the best experiences around.
Bethnal Green's former Turkish baths have been refurbished - at a cost of £1.4 million - and turned into a modern day spa complete with aroma steam rooms and a plunge pool. spa LONDON is the perfect place to treat mum to some much needed 'me' time on Mother's Day. The centrepiece of the spa is the Thermal Spa Experience with six chambers, each housing a different heat treatment. Try the Hammam, Turkish baths, aroma steam rooms or the sauna. The idea is to alternate the heat of these rooms with an icy dip in the plunge pool to get the circulation going. If you're really feeling brave, take ice flakes from the ice fountain and give yourself a real wake up call. The spa is run by Greenwich Leisure Limited and Tower Hamlets Council making it one of the few pubic sector day spas in the city. This doesn't mean it's necessarily more affordable than private spas but it can compete with the kind of havens posh people pay a fortune for. This place is plush: think fluffy white towelling robes, herbal infusions, hot stone massages and pampering pedicures making it the perfect place to send your mum for a relaxing afternoon she deserves.
One of London's top day spas and beauty shops is US import Bliss. And it really is Bliss by name, Bliss by nature. Combining a shop and a spa, here you'll find the famous triple oxygen facial, lash tints and a manicure at the quickbliss nail bar and there are eight multi-purpose spa treatment rooms dedicated to body buffing, thigh pummelling and your spot zapping. There's also fresh fruithie smoothies and round-the-clock screenings of Sex In The City making this the perfect girlie hangout. The Sloane Street location on the border of Chelsea and Belgravia puts it firmly on the ladies-who-lunch and shop at Joseph list. It may have been going since 2001 but the trick at Bliss is that it still feels modern and fresh - and such is the continued popularity you can expect to wait up to two weeks to book an appointment if you want an after-work slot. With plenty of salubrious brasseries, cafes and boutiques in the 'Brompton Cross' area, mum can turn her spa visit into an indulgent day out.
Beauty emporium Space NK is one of the most renowned cosmetics chains in the UK with 27 branches in London alone. Inside you'll find a floor-to-ceiling display of cult products on clinically clean shelves. In addition to the London stores there are two Space NK branches where you'll also find a luxurious city spa, Spa.NK, offering top of the range treatments like Eve Lom facials and Aromatherapy Associates massages. The shop, set up by Nicky Kinnaird with the first branch opening in Covent Garden in 1993, sells imported luxury cosmetics and skin care products, stylish must-have toiletries, cosmetics, lip balms, camouflages and powders, as worn by those in the know. Exclusive, hard-to-find brands like Nars, Philip B. Laura Mercier, Shu Uemura and many more are all under conveniently found under one roof, displayed against a clinically clean white backdrop. Staff really know their ointments and lotions and are always happy to help with make-up demos and skincare samples; it's as if they genuinely love their jobs. Playing with make-up all day, who wouldn't? Shopping here isn't like the usual desperate last minute Mother's Day dash to Body Shop, instead you could be here for a while - and you'll probably find a lip balm for yourself before you're finished
Space NK, Westbourne Grove - Information
This fantastic, no-nonsense spa is a great way to treat yourself to a day of pampering, without pushing the boat out too far. Comforting massage, meticulous manicures, precious pedicures, vital waxing, cleansing facials, therapeutic reflexology, hydrotherapy and even flotation are on offer. Set in leafy Chiswick, Jurlique Day Spa is the perfect antidote to the hubbub of central London. The comforting but firm touch of a masseuse can do wonders, and the feeling after a purging facial will leave you feeling revitalised, as well as de-toxified, re-balanced and fully hydrated. Day spas are becoming more and more popular, with new establishments appearing around the city every week. Jurlique combines great treatments, friendly staff and affordable prices. Mum will love it.
More than just a pampering place, the Elemis Spa is a temple of touch, taste and smell. Using therapies from Bali, Tibet, Polynesia, Japan, Morocco and Thailand as well as all the tools of the modern spa, the Elemis offers the chance to step back from the city and just... relax. The sheer breadth of choice here may well bamboozle a son buying his mum a present so the gift vouchers are ideal. From the Sole Delight Pedicure, to the Hawaiian Wave Four Hands Massage there's something to suit everyone's mum. They claim to be a "temple of touch and aroma" and who are we to argue? Everything inside this luxurious day spa is just so - the attention to detail is palpable. Bang in the middle of the West End, hidden down a cobbled alley of Bond Street, it's a great place to tack holistic therapy onto the end of the retail variety. A calm oasis of beautification right in the heart of the city's designer district.
The luxury Aman Spa in the basement of the marvellous Mayfair hotel, The Connaught, is the first and only UK spa from the world renowned Aman Resorts. This is five star pampering at its most indulgent. The Connaught is a grand old building which recently emerged from a dazzling £70m-plus refurbishment which included the grand unveiling of the sparkling new spa on 25th November 2009. The spa in the hotel's new West Wing has been kitted out with a sleek Asian inspired interior and Thai silks and spa users have the pool and exercise room at their disposal too. The overall effect is a feeling of being in a unique cocoon. Reassuringly expensive - Aman resorts are famed across the globe for their celebrity clientele - a simple treatment list includes a holistic facial, Oriental oil massage and Chakra balancing treatment. For the ultimate extravagance, there's the Aman Spa Experience - a little pricey at £280 but for that you get two and a half hours of unadulterated bliss. But the real attraction is the way they make guests feel like they're queen for a day - and this is down to the therapists who are not only skilled in beauty techniques but in treating you like royalty too.
Being a mum is a rewarding but exhausting experience. Most mums have to find time to brush their teeth let alone do their make up. As a present or simply a self-indulgent treat, a professional makeover is the perfect way to make the most of Mother's Day. Get hair and make-up lessons, bridal beauty or a complete makeover at Blush, a make-up consultancy where they'll even come to your home or office. The make-up artists at Blush are professional specialists and travel to customers' homes or hotel rooms, whatever is easier for you. They have heaps of experience and have worked with all kinds of different skin types and looks. All customers are given one-on-one attention and a look that is tailored to their needs. From the sparkly, seductive evening look to honeyed, subtle, daytime eyes they'll help you get it right. At the end of the makeover customers receive a comprehensive information pack detailing all the products used on their face. Mums will also come away with a whole raft of ideas and tips for doing her own make-up.
Deep breaths, that's just what stressed out mums need and where better to take them than Triyoga, one of London's top yoga centres. There are three Triyoga locations to choose from - the original and the largest in Primrose Hill also offers yoga for new and expecting mums while the centre at Kingly Court in Soho is ideal for a post-work de-stress, and finally there's the third and smallest branch in Covent Garden. Classes at Primrose Hill and Kingly Court are scheduled to take place throughout the day so you can visit any time from 6am (to calm yourself at start the day) to 9pm. The Primrose Hill branch also includes a yoga shop and the Madder Rose Cafe so you can combine your Mother's Day yoga class with a healthy girls' lunch. Classes cater for all levels from beginner to advanced ashtanga and they also do specialised sessions like 'hypnobirthing' - using hypnosis to aid relaxation before and during the birth - and post natal yoga for new mums and babies up to a year old. After work classes do get busy but there is usually room for everyone and the teachers, all experts in their field, take the time to walk around the class, checking on everyone's positions. If your mum can commit to more than a class, there's an interesting choice of workshops and 6-week courses you can give as a gift. Importantly, and in keeping with the spirit of yoga, the vibe is friendly and unpretentious. All classes end with a deep, intense relaxation - just what mum could do with more of.
Mums will love being treated to an indulgent manicure at this fantastic 1940s inspired beauty boudoir. There is something very indulgently luxurious about having your nails done professionally and this Soho salon is particularly sophisticated. Located in the trendy shopping area of Kingly Court, The Beauty Lounge boasts a funky, art deco interior adorned with comfortable arm chairs. Before the nail experts begin, mums are able to choose from a rainbow of 45 colours to brighten up their fingers and toes. Nail varnishes are supplied by 3Free so they're free from bad-for-you ingredients like formaldehyde and carcinogens. In addition to the manicure and pedicure, hands and feet are also treated to a luxury exfoliation and massage and, thanks to the special long lasting polish, nails are left looking chip-free for days. The overall result is to make mums feel relaxed, spoilt and absolutely gorgeous.
Treat your mum to a luxurious organic spa session. Oxygen facials, warm crystals and specially selected dosha oils are all part of the experience at O Spa where relaxing and beautifying treatments are performed using products made with organic and ethically sourced ingredients. There are some weird and wonderful sounding treatments to be indulged in here, the pada-abhyanga treatment, for example, is an ancient ayurvedic Indian foot, ankle and lower leg massage ritual which can be traced back 5000 years. Himalayan salts and essential oils to rebalance the chakras are used in this stress busting session while the therapist works on your marma points to relieve tension in the lower limbs. They also offer better known treatments like Swedish massage, mud wraps and body exfoliation, manicures and pedicures as well as iLipo slimming treatments and acupunture. Men are catered for too, opt for the full hot towel shave and you get a skin treatment followed by vitamin recovery masque. Given that O Spa uses luxury products featuring high quality ingredients - coupled with the fact that the spa is located in a prime shopping location on New Bond Street - prices are very reasonable too.
Did you know??
- Mums in the former Yugoslavia didn't get much pampering on Mother's Day. On the second Sunday before Christmas, children would creep in and tie their mother's feet to a chair, shouting "Mother's Day, Mother's Day, what will you pay to get away?" She then gave them presents!
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