As part of my return to ‘normality’ post-baby I thought it important to carve out some me time, particularly some time where I do something nice for myself. I think it’s so easy when you become a Mum to put everyone else and their needs before your own, and generally that’s OK, kind of just what Mum’s do, but when I realised that I hadn’t graced a hairdresser for over a year and since returning to work my shoulders were so tight with stress they sat up by my ears, I just knew that I needed a little tending to.
The perfect opportunity arose when Sasha from Balanced Beauty Bristol offered me an hour-long facial massage. Sasha provides her treatments from home and thankfully she can be quite flexible on time so I was able to visit in the evening once I had put my beast to bed. Now, often in situations like this I can find myself becoming increasingly uptight. I worry about what the ‘rules’ and correct etiquette might be and if I will get it wrong, I have reynaurds syndrome and get cold really easily which generally distracts from the enjoyment and my mind can spin off into an unhelpful slightly anxious downward spiral. I also really don’t like people touching my face so I was mildly anxious about the treatment itself.
I was instantly put at ease however, by Sasha just being Sasha. She is relaxed, warm and funny, a perfect combination for helping someone relax a little. I felt I could trust her to aid the de-stressing of a very tired parent, in part because she herself recognises what it is to be a tired parent! The treatment room is small and has a real homely feel to it, a single armchair, an array of interesting books on the shelf and a meaningful poster on the wall all instantly created a relaxed atmosphere. As Sasha left the room I de-robed and lay on the bed in the middle of the room, I was more than a little excited when I felt that the bed was generating warmth, and not just due to relief that I hadn’t somehow wet myself. Finally, I could have a treatment where I am not concerned that my feet would fall off through cold!
Surprisingly the treatment started with hot flannels to my hands and feet. Again though, this really aided my comfort as I was wrapped up and warm which is so rarely the case when I get a massage.
Sasha used products from Faith and Betty, a Bristol based skincare brand, I don’t know much about them but they smelled divine! I think knowing that the products used were locally sourced actually enhanced the experience a little too.
The facial was near enough a spiritual experience! Oh my goodness, it was bliss. As I mentioned before, I have in the past felt quite uncomfortable with having my face touched but I can honestly say that after a short while I didn’t really notice, which sounds weird but I think I was just able to relax so much my body just accepted the enjoyment of it. Throughout the treatment I was extremely relaxed, I think I managed to stay awake, but I could feel my thoughts drifting easily into that tangential stream that appears as you slide toward sleep. At the same time I felt present in the moment, aware of the movements of Sasha’s hands on my skin and how pleasant that was, this was a refreshing change to the usual thoughts I experience when having a massage such as ‘why did I say that in work today?’, ‘will I ever get a full night sleep?’, ‘is it normal to not feel your feet, have they fallen off…?’ etc etc.
Once the facial was complete a face mask was applied, with little rollers like when painting a wall but on a much smaller scale. Sasha then sort of wrapped me up and tucked me in which took me back to the early days of parenting when I really couldn’t seem to grasp the art of swaddling, it did feel reassuring, I understand why babies like it now! Once wrapped Sasha then massaged my hands and feet. Yet another blissfully relaxing experience. I am fairly certain that Sasha has magic fingers, she seems to naturally know the perfect amount of pressure needed and she seemed to generate a warmth while massaging.
By the end of the treatment I felt nothing but relaxed, in fact I would have happily slept on that warmed treatment bed all night. I felt more than just relaxed though, I felt as though someone had given my soul a huge hug and that I was now somehow lighter of my stresses. It was, without a doubt he best facial I have ever experienced! The next morning my skin was still glowing from the treatment, and my skin felt sort of cleaner than usual.
What I learned from this was really how very important it is to look after myself. Sometimes I need to feel swaddled and hugged after being the person who gives and gives and gives to an endlessly demanding small person. I endeavour to save some money by so I can enjoy more treatments throughout the year. Balanced Beauty Bristol will be hearing from me again!