How to host a DIY pamper evening

It's hard being a woman in January. Strictly is off the box, it's cold outside and impossible to arrive anywhere without a runny nose and frazzled hair, the shops are still full of Sales stock, and our purses are running pretty dry regardless. Add to that the likelihood of the children and hubby being in a post-festive grump and January can be as much fun as pairing socks.

So, what's a girl to do to lift her spirits? There's only one thing for it, we think, and that's a month in the Seychelles. Pack a suitcase, cancel the milk, leave a note for the kids and head for the airport. Hurray!

But if that's not a possibility, we'd at least suggest a pamper evening with your girlfriends instead. It's all the luxury of a posh spa, at a fraction of the cost, and in the comfort of your own home. Austerity pampering, if you will. Here are our top tips for a DIY spa evening:

1. Buy yourself some time and space

Send the children to bed early with a bag of sweets, and get hubby a DVD box-set of 24 (series 8). It is guaranteed peace for, well, 24 hours, if you’re lucky. The clue is in the title.

2. Invite three friends around

Four is the perfect number for an at-home beauty session. It's an even number for treatments that need a helping hand, and it's not more women than you have bowls to soak feet in.

tisserand essential oils
 

3. Set the scene

Choose low lights in a relaxation zone and task lights in the activity zone; you don't want to be painting nails in the dark! Put on relaxing music, and get the oil burner going. Try one of Tisserand's essential oils  there are gorgeous scents to suit all moods. 

4. Use the evening to try out new products

Ask your friends to each bring something different that they can recommend, and split the product types between you. So, for example, one brings face mask, another brings massage oils, and so on. Our suggestion for products you may not have tried before include Weleda Skin Food  (loved by beauty professionals) or why not try one of our great value single use face masks, we have many to choose from, to suit all skin types. Have a look here. 

Urban spa bedtime booties
 

5. Get handy

Manicures and pedicures are great treatments to do with friends. Don't worry about being too particular with them. When you're used to having your hands bashing a keyboard or changing nappies all day it's amazing how relaxing it can be to have someone else massage your mitts and paint your nails. We've got some great ranges of natural nail polish . Once you've masssaged your feet with cream, why not pop on these Bedtime Booties to speed up the sofening process? 

6. Don't be shy

Take around a dressing gown, and get comfy. Have a soak in a hot bath, complete with scented candles Korres Fig Body Milkand aromatherapy bath oils. Take the time to apply a nice body lotion afterwards. That's something that doesn't happen often at home, right? Why not try Korres Fig Body Milk. 

7. Massage can also go a long way between friends

Check that your pals don't have any medical conditions, full-blown aches and pains that need professional attention or are pregnant. With the all clear on these, take turns to massage easy-to-reach areas like arms, hands and shoulders. Check that the pressure feels good, and stick to circular motions. Try Weleda Massage Balm with Arnica or Burt's Bees Mama Bee mother and baby massage oil. 

8. Play with make-up

It's not strictly a spa activity, but your home is not strictly a spa either. It's not advisable to use each other's make-up, as it could be unhygienic, but it's fun just taking time out to see what other women have in their make-up bags. Mine is packed with mineral make-up at the moment, and I'm very keen to spread the word. 

cucumber
 

9. The eyes have it

A favourite treatment of mine as a young teenager (oh yes, I've loved to pamper for as long as I've loved to breathe) was cucumber circles on the eyes. Goodness knows why I felt my eyes needed to look fresher at 13-years-old. Anyway, four sets of eyes isn't much of a drain on a cucumber, and there's the added fun of trying to keep the pesky slices in position too. If you'd rather eat cucumber than wear it, try Jason Ester-C Ultra Eye Lift. It utilises Jason Natural's 10% Complete Vitamin C Complex™, Vitamin E, Certified Organic Aloe Vera Gel and rosehips to refresh eyes and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

10. Make time for your hair

If you're anything like me, hair conditioning treatments spend more time on the shelf than they do in your hair, such is the speed that I fly through the bathroom these days. A spa evening is the ideal time to break open the treatment pot and lavish your locks. Try Akin's Lavender & Anthyllis Intensive Leave in Conditioner which is especially good for coloured hair.

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