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Sunday 16 October 2011

Sunday Bath Ritual

Whatever my Sunday consists of; preferably a lie in, listening to my favourite Bollywood radio show, enjoying a roast dinner with friends, rummaging through car boot sales or more often or not, working: the evenings have a theme to them…they always end in a relaxing candlelit bath. The ritual is not new, when I was growing up we didn’t have a shower, we just had a bath tub and to save money we only had baths once a week (bucket and jug wash downs in the week.) I know it sounds like I grew up in the 1940s’ but for some reason my parents waited until I had left for university before they installed luxuries like a shower and washing machine.
 Anyway I have terrifying memories of Sunday nights; home work complete, spelling tests done, uniform laid out and my mum scrubbing at my skin until the dead skin cells peeled off (people pay for this kind of treatment at exotic hammams) and shampoo foaming in my eyes.
  These days the routine is much more civilised. There’s no ironing for a start – I never iron my clothes, but thankfully in 2011 most fabrics don’t need it and I’m not the smart cotton shirt wearing type. I get home from the gym at 7pm, spend a couple of hours getting my flat in order for the week, tidying up, washing up, putting the rubbish and recycling out and preparing dinner so that come 9 o’clock I can leave the stresses and strains of the week behind me and look forward to a clean, new start.
 We’re not talking a quick in and out and towel dry, but a blissful indulgent hour of ‘me time’ with the door tightly locked and no distracting noises or glare of artificial lights.
 And is what I have planned for tonight!
My giant rubber duckie and me will be bathing with a polar bear bath fizzer, the delicious Kenneth Turner candles I recently got, two new 'after-bath' products I’ve been testing recently; Elemis Spa Home Pro-Collagen Body Cream and Celestial Spa Authentic Clarity Cooling Foot Cream and not forgetting my faithful burger bath sponge.

To put it into context I collect burger memorabilia. Here is some of the collection: my hambag, CD case, two portable mirror and a burger bento box.

Yes you read that correctly and here it is in its full glory. It was a present from my brother in law. I knew he was going on a work trip to China (where they are made) so I put in a request but he returned home empty handed claiming that while quirky, kitsch plastic things are made in China you can’t buy them there. Then later in the year whilst working in Costa Rica he found one!

(And to prove the mirrors work, here’s the evidence!)
Any now onto the two newest beauty products I’m the proud owner of. First up, luxury brand Elemis's new Pro-Collagen Body Cream (£49). The only other Elemis products I’ve owned have been travel sized toiletries I’ve swiped from hotel bathrooms and earlier this year I had a lovely foot treatment at the Elemis Day Spa in London so it’s nice to finally have one in my collection and being a complete cream obsessive I’m in a good position to review it!

No one wants wobbly bits but we haven’t all got time to get them toned through exercise and even if we did, a little help is always welcomed. Body firming creams are a much nicer way to de-wobble then getting sweaty (well I think so and I’m a gym bunny but would still much rather swap the hard work it entails for a massage!)
 With it’s silky soufflĂ© texture and magnolia colouring it reminds me of a yummy vanilla dessert, thankfully without the calories. It feels softening from the first application and has anti-ageing properties too so it's extra moisturising and makes your skin look fresher. It has certainly smoothed out my thighs and made the skin tone look more even (I’m convinced I am not imagining this….I apply cream daily so I can spot a change easily!) Because of its price tag (it contains some pretty impressive exotic oils and marine extracts), it’s not one I use too liberally, it’s a definite ‘one of the Sunday bath list’ but if you can’t get along to a real spa the next best thing is to own some products that are spa treatment quality and this is one of them!

Next the Celestial Spa Authentic foot cream (£18.50). Because my Sunday bath takes place post-gym, my feet are generally feeling knackered and this is the perfect remedy. I’m not big on foot lotions, the runniness just doesn’t work with the thick skin on feet, but this is a product that’s very different.
 There are two ranges in the collection, Comfort and Clarity which contain different mineral and gem combinations. The Clarity Cooling Foot Treatment contains Gemstone Malachite, a protective Gem that helps to detoxify and cleanse the skin of impurities.

It has the consistency of clay, a bit like a clay face mask but is extremely soft, melting into the skins with ease. It has a surprise fragrance too, it doesn’t look like it, but it has a citrus aroma that’s uplifting and refreshing thanks to essential oils of Bergamot and Orange Flower, Sicilian Lemon, Sandalwood and Galbanum. I’ve been using the cream for over three weeks now, not just after my Sunday bath but after every trip to the gym, before bed and it’s a real pleasure. After cleaning them my feet feel irritable and dry then once this pampering cream goes on they are the happiest feet in the world! I am not looking forward to it running out!
  My top 10 recommendations for the ultimate Sunday bath
Before I start my preparations for tonight’s regime, here’s some tips to help you get started on yours:
     * Plenty of hot water: If you live in a shared house where hot water runs out, then give it a chance to refill before running the water, there’s nothing more disappointing than dipping your toes in to find it’s cold.
    * Candles: Light these around your bath room and turn out the main light. You’ll instantly feel like you are in a private spa cabin.
    * Music: Ipods loaded with your favourite music plugged into battery operated speakers are ideal.
    * Pampering products: On my Sunday bath I use different beauty products to the ones I use during the week. For general showers I have ordinary face wash and shower gel but when it comes to my Sunday bath I use a more expensive shower cream, take time to rub in a nice body scrub and even use a face mask…it’s what makes the ‘Sunday bath’ more special.
    * Glass of water to hand: When the doors are closed behind you it can sometime get a bit steamy and you don’t actually want to fall asleep so sip on water whilst in the bath to keep you revived.
     * Rubber duckie: No explanation needed, a bath is not the same without a duck swimming past!
    * Bubbles: Whether they are created by the bath foam or you blow them from a bottle, every bath should be full of popping bubbles.
    * No clocks allowed: Never set your alarm or take a watch with you and if you do have a bathroom clock cover it up! As soon as you think about the time you will loose the relaxing vibe and there is no room for stress when you’re bathing.
    * Clean fluffy dressing gown on standby: After a bath the last thing you want to do it put on restricting clothes (especially a bra!) so wrap yourself up in a dressing gown instead just as you would if you were on a spa retreat
    * After-bath goodies: Once you’re dry it’s time to massage in some lovely body cream, lotion or oil to keep your skin moisturised. If you’ve got someone to help you with this stage, even better…but if not, don’t worry. You’ll be feeling fresh, content and happy, ready to contend with whatever next week has to bring.
 Happy bathing!
 Elemis products are available from www.timetospa.co.uk in spas and salons and  selected John Lewis, Debenhams and Harvey Nichols stores.
  To view the full Celestial Spa Authentic brochure of products and treatments go to www.celestialspa.co.uk/brochure or buy them online at http://shop.nirvanaspa.co.uk

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