Hannah here: I was lucky enough recently to go to the St James Sofitel spa in London with Laurel, one of my best gals. We bought the ticket for each other, to celebrate turning 30, as part of a few activities we’re spreading through the year. It was so so good. An hour long full body massage, time to sit with a magazine, low lighting, afternoon tea. I took some tips home with me and and along with my mission to look after myself a bit more, I have been perfecting my ‘home spa’ ever since. A sweetly scented creamy candle lit bath is such a joyful full stop in my week.
I have a toddler so have taken to bathing with her, candles and all. Not only does it save water, but it’s also relaxing and quite magical for her (toddlers+ candlelight= magic!), and precious distraction free bonding time too. She loves to wash my hair! Thankfully she doesn’t want any toys in the bath-in fact she’s quite militant about it but even if she did the low light would obscure them from view!
Here are 2 easy DIY recipes to make a decadent, affordable home spa bath
Candles are essential to both. The lowered lighting has the triple benefit of enhancing relaxation, encouraging sleepiness and obscuring the state of the bathroom from view! I particularly love Neom organics. They burn so beautifully and evenly and smell totally divine. Friends always comment on the scent when they come round. Tea lights are just fine though.
DIY Lavender epsom salt bath.
Epsom salts are truly amazing. They are naturally occurring, anti inflammatory and packed full of magnesium and healing powers. Apparently lots of us are lacking in magnesium and it could be the cause of lots of health problems. Our skin is the biggest organ of our bodies so it makes sense to me that bathing in medicinal baths would have benefits. But most importantly, it is supremely relaxing.
I have been using epsom salts in my bath since I had Frankie as they are perfect post birth: they heal, reduce swelling, and are anti bacterial. I make jars for all my friends who have recently had babies too. To make your own:
1) Simply add 3-5 drops of Lavender oil per around 1 cup of epsom salts, stir, then add another cup, another few drops and continue until you have a decent jar full. I buy my salts and oils from Summer Naturals. Alter the amount of essential oil to your own scent preference.
2) Add dried lavender if you have any, although be warned, as a friend whom I had gifted a jar too post birth said, they look like dead flies in the bath. Thanks Emma! They also offended my daughters minimalist bath sensibilities so I ended up laboriously scooping them out. One for my next solo bath me thinks.
2) Add 2 cups full, yes, 2 whole cups, to each bath and soak as much of your body as possible in the hot water for at least 12 minutes.
3) Finish by massaging a nice oil into your skin- I use Argan oil or coconut oil.
Porridge, milk and eucalyptus bath for winter.
This is the perfect winter bath: Porridge and whole milk are amazing, moisturising treatments for dry, winter chapped, itchy skin, and those with eczema or psoriasis report very good results too.
1) Measure 2 cups of organic unprocessed oats. Either tie them inside a muslin bag (bigger than the one pictured- I couldn’t find the one I normally use) or an old pair of tights and pop it in the bath. Alternatively blend the oats in a coffee grinder or similar until it is a fine powder and toss it in directly.You can also use the muslin bag as a creamy sponge to clean your skin.
2) Add a pint of full fat milk and swirl it around with your hands.
3) If I have a cold, I pop a couple of bunches of eucalyptus in the bathroom too. Simply tie the ends and hang under the hot tap as it runs. I do this in the shower too. The hot water releases the Eucalyptus oil and helps to open your airways.
4) Finish by massaging a nice oil into your skin- I use Argan oil or coconut oil.
Post kids, I don’t get to bath all that often, but I try to do one of these baths twice a week. I do create time every day however for another daily pampering ritual:
I have recently discovered the joys of oil cleansing. Yes, joys. I have very oily skin so always dismissed oil as I thought it would make my skin greasy, but basic science tells us that oil breaks down oil. It’s taken me 17 long years to realise this. After trying every face product under the sun in the numerous years since spots first tortured my face as a 13 year old, my skin is finally less greasy and my break outs are calming too. Oil cleansing is also a sublimely relaxing end to the day.
1) Place a hot clean flannel over your face until it cools. (Mmmmm)
2) Massage a little Argan oil (or oil of your choice) onto your face for a minute or two. Close your eyes and sink into it. I particularly love running my fingers along the sides of my nose to my cheeks, I can almost hear my sinuses sighing with pleasure.
3) Rinse the flannel, add more hot water to it then hold it on your face until it cools. Rinse and wring the flannel and do it again.
4) To finish, you can either use a little more oil to moisturise, or if you have spots, then you could apply a herbal solution. I have just started using a DIY meadowsweet toner which is full of salicylic acid. (steep 2 teaspoon meadowsweet in a glass of boiling water. Let steep for a day, strain into a bottle and apply with corner of the flannel. Lasts for a few days). I also mix a little teatree and lavender into a bottle of witch hazel for spots.
I use a fresh flannel every day because I don’t want to risk spreading infection. I had a pack of baby flannels I never opened so use them, and old baby muslins would be a good too - Eve Lom style.
So, this is how I find a bit of bliss in my everyday. This post comes to you, rather fortuitously on a Friday, so perhaps this might inspire you to create a little spa at home this weekend? My mister loves these baths too- they are definitely not just for the girls!
P.S Thank you ever so much for the incredible feedback on our last post about the importance of loving and parenting ourselves. I was blown away. It seems to have struck a chord; many of us need to create a bit more time for ourselves. With that in mind I hope you have a gentle weekend ahead...