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Top tips for treating yourself to a home spa

Things can feel a bit gloomy at this time of the year with chilly weather, especially if there are a lot of grey and wet days. The idea of escaping for a trip to a spa may seem like a distant pipe dream when you have a young family, especially if both time and money are tight. In fact, you don't need to spend a fortune to have a spa experience, as our top tips for having a home spa will explain.

Getting ready

  • Arrange childcare. This is the first and most important tip if you are to make your home spa truly relaxing. If possible, try to arrange for a relative or friend to have your baby or toddler for a few hours so that you can really relax. If that's not possible, you could always opt for an evening spa experience once you've tucked your children up in bed.
  • Create the right atmosphere. Think about what you equate with a spa whether it is scented oils or candles or soft fluffy robes. Buy or borrow a relaxation music CD - tinkling bells, Celtic singing or whale music depending on your taste!
  • Get organised. Gather together all the things you'll need in advance for pampering your face, body, hands and feet.
  • Tidy up and create a clear space for your spa. If you're going to be using your bathroom, take out all the children's bath toys and unnecessary clutter so that you can feel relaxed rather than niggled by the urge to start tidying things.
  • It will help you feel in the right mood if you have a nutritious meal before your spa, or some healthy snacks at hand. You could plan a simple meal of fish or chicken and salad, a large plate of crudities or chopped fruit and some nuts and seeds. It can spoil the whole experience if you end up resorting to some unhealthy snacks. You may also want to have a jug of filtered water with a dash of lemon or a selection of herbal teas.
  • You may want to share your home spa experience with a friend if that would make it more fun, or you may prefer to take the opportunity to indulge in a little time entirely to yourself.

What to do

  • To get yourself in the mood, you could start with a meditation session. You don't have to go for the full-on meditation experience if it makes you feel uncomfortable, but just sitting quietly for a while and not doing anything is probably very unusual for you - and can be incredibly relaxing.
  • You will want to include some kind of home facial. Depending on your skin type and what you enjoy, you may want to try starting off by cleansing your face with a wash or cleanser, then exfoliating with a gentle facial scrub, steaming your face over bowl of hot water (you can add a drop of an essential oil like rose or lavender) and using a face mask suitable for your skin type. End up by moisturising your skin and neck.
  • A warm bath with a good body scrub will leave your skin glowing. Alternatively, you may prefer to brush your dry skin gently before having a bath or shower. Again, thoroughly moisturise your whole body afterwards to soften the skin.
  • A pedicure can feel really luxurious as you probably spend most of your day on your feet. Start by removing any old nail varnish and soaking your feet in warm water. You can add a foot soak, bath salts or a drop or two of an aromatherapy oil to the water. Using a pumice stone, you can then remove any patches of dead skin - you may wish to use a commercial foot scrub for this. You can them moisturise your feet using a foot cream before starting on your toenails. File the nails and clean them with a nail brush before pushing back the cuticles with a cuticle stick and then applying polish, starting with a base coat and then two coats of your chosen colour.
  • Finally, it's time for a manicure. Start by washing your hands, brush nails with a nail brush to get them clean. File nails with an emery board, making sure the edges are smooth. Apply some oil or cuticle cream, and then gently push back the cuticles. Moisturise your hands and nails thoroughly using hand lotion. Finally, apply polish - start with a coat of base coat and then a top coat of colour.

You should be feeling suitably pampered now, and ready for another final session of quiet meditation before heading back out to the real world suitably relaxed and refreshed. If you enjoy your home spa session, there's no reason you shouldn't make it a regular occurrence. Having a young family is often exhausting, and taking an evening for yourself now and again may be just what you need to give yourself a boost.

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