It may be foolish to launch on April Fool’s Day, but please reserve judgment until the 31st.
For the month of April 2014, I’ve set myself a challenge: to learn something new every day. The something new has got to be useful, if only to me, and I’ve got to share it, if only with you (the three – or is it four? – people currently reading this blog. Thanks for stopping by).
The rules and/or general parameters are simple:
- I post something right here every day. But like any good boss, I’ve generously given myself weekends and bank holidays off. (Yes, that includes Good Friday and Easter Monday – quite a good month to start, I’d say.)
- These ‘learnings’ are generally good practice-type tips for living, or cool stuff about the changing world around us, or some other kind of ephemeral. This is NOT about theatre shows (you can follow my other blogs and tweets for that), this is about Life, yes, with a capital L.
- I can be as random as the mood takes me
- You are encouraged to comment and share (Please, comment and share, or I’ll get lonely…)
I’m sure eventually I’ll get round to telling you why I wanted to set myself this little challenge, but for now, I’ll keep the why’s and wherefore’s shrouded in mystery, and just get stuck in. Sound good?
So, here goes. Let’s start with “Indulgence on a Budget”. I am addicted to massage. I could have two-hour massages every day of my life and still feel like I’m not getting enough. Apart from the length (and sadly, the maximum I’ve yet found offered is 90 minutes), the ingredients for a good massage are:
- very firm pressure (like bone-crunchingly firm – if it doesn’t hurt, what’s the point, as far as I’m confirmed)
- a female masseuse (with masseurs, I can’t help but worry about my cellulite and bikini line in direct proportion to how handsome they are) who does NOT want to chat
- soothing music
- divine-smelling oils (preferably lavender)
- minimal outside noise (that includes loudly ticking clocks).
Over the past few years, as work pressures mounted, I resorted to massage escapes (and the odd facial) more and more frequently to help me relax. But such pampering was one of the first things to go when I lost my job in December. And while I’m not able to earn for the next few months (LONG story), I didn’t envisage being able to indulge again any time soon.
That is, until I learned about The London School of Beauty and Make-up and its fantastic student salon and spa. Okay, yes, it’s run by students, but what those students may lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm for what they’re doing and really sweet customer-service. All of their procedures are overseen by lecturers, and as part of the treatment, you’re asked to immediately fill in a feedback form, which is handed in to their lecturer and counts toward their grade and progress (so they really are very keen to ensure that you’re satisfied).
The School offers all the treatments – including massages that tick all my above-mentioned boxes – you’d find in any good salon. And, crucially, they are cheap, cheap, cheap, wonderfully cheap. An hour’s Swedish massage for £25, a full facial (an hour and 15 minutes of bliss) for only £19, an eyebrow shape and wax for a measly £7. That’s a good 50% to 75% cheaper than the most affordable option in my neck of London (SE1). View their full price list, agog, here.
On the advice of a professional beautician – who, sympathetic to my budget restrictions, tipped me off – I think the only thing I’d avoid doing at the School is getting any part of my body waxed (apart from my eyebrows). But to be honest, I haven’t bothered with any of that unconscionably painful malarkey since I was single anyway. (My armpits prick with the mere memory of it.)
The catch, if you’re bound to normal office hours, is that the Salon is only open Mondays to Friday, 10am to 7pm and/or if you have any other impediment to getting over to their Smithfield premises in east London (EC1A 9PL, closest Tube: Barbican). But if you can juggle your diary around to nip out for lunch or slip away from the office early, do it.
And that, my friends, is what I learned and shared today.