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Take a time out from stressful Christmas shopping and pamper yourself

Article by Lauren Naylor

THE Christmas holiday period is a time for celebration, but there’s no doubt it comes with a whole host of stress, including shopping, overspending, overindulging and excessive partying. A recent experiment by eBay featured 100 participants in London wearing a Lightwave wearable and concluded that Christmas shopping is indeed far more stressful than we anticipate. The results of the research showed that 60 per cent of shoppers hit festive shopping fatigue just 32 minutes into their jaunt, with heart rates increasing by 33 per cent! Rhian Bartlett, Retail Director at eBay said: ‘Bite size browsing, such as taking 10 minutes shop via your mobile on your commute, or purchasing single items during a lunch break can decrease stress and promote more mindful shopping.’ With this in mind we decided to compile a ‘take the stress out of the last few days shopping guide’, and make way for a spot of pampering at London’s hottest beauty spots – just don’t forget to order those presents after! Take time out for a pre or post-Christmas pamper courtesy of our top beauty hotspots in London.

MASSAGE – ESPA INNER CALM MASSAGE, £140, ESPA LIFE CORINTHIA HOTEL, SW1 (At the Corinthia the treatment is a higher price point but Inner Calm starts from just £55 nationwide) espalifeatcorinthia.com and espaskincare.com
If you haven’t been to the Corinthia Spa – you haven’t lived! This is, without a doubt, my favourite spa in the heart of London. It’s spread over four floors and 3300 metres, and the extensive thermal floor area provides a dedicated space to completely relax and unwind – for me, mostly on the heated beds watching the crackling fire, just finding my inner zen.

Launched this summer, the Espa Inner calm massage will help teach you to quieten your mind, release physical tension and will help to nourish the skin over this 55-minute massage treatment. I opted for the Espa Fitness massage oil, a warming oil with restorative Indian Bay and Clove Bud oils, which help deeply soothe and relax muscles. There’s also the added benefits of lavender to help calm a busy mind, while sweet almond oil deeply nourishes and helps keeps skin soft and supple. Controlled breathing helps alleviate and release stress and anxiety bringing mind and body back to equilibrium. The piece de resistance is a calming scalp massage (such an overlooked treatment!) where Rose Quartz Crystals are connected to the heart chakra encouraging healing, improved circulation, and reduced stress. The therapists are simply the best in their field, booking a treatment automatically gives you a pass to the spa – so make sure you take advantage of both.

NAILS – SHOREDITCH NAILS, E2, (Starts from just £20 for a shape and polish, £2 per nail art), shoreditchnails.com
Not only are ALL of the SN girls absolutely pleasant to be around, they’re incredibly talented when it comes to all things talons. Committed to making each and every client feel special and believing that everyone deserves super nails – the salon is always a veritable hive of activity. Just off of Boundary Street in Shoreditch in a cutesy workshop – the Shoreditch Nails girls have had an array of creative clientele and influencers – just check out their Instagram feed! Each and every manicurist is trained to a high standard to create the nail art of your choice, and basic (but never basic) manicures, pedicures, and shellac gel polish – I’m currently sporting reverse half moons and gold dots thanks to super talented Hayley – two weeks later and still going strong.

FACIAL – ELIZABETH ARDEN RED DOOR SPEED SERVICES, From £15, DEBENHAMS W1, elizabetharden.co.uk
Inspired by the original Red Door spa in New York with unrivaled service and sophistication, combine your last minute department store shopping with an Elizabeth Arden facial. Facials can often be seen as a time indulgent treatment, and time is the one luxury most women can’t afford, which is why Elizabeth Arden introduced the Speed Service menu – the perfect antidote pre Christmas and as little as 15 minutes. Tone it Uptown is a targeted eye treatment, it includes a microcurrent device that targets hard to reach areas such as eyebrow furrows and crow’s feet. Then a powerful acupressure lifting massage is applied over Advance Ceramide Capsules (something that you need to put in her Christmas stocking, boys!) The Booster Bar customised oxygen blasts are my personal favourite, having experienced these many times – choose from four exclusive formulas: Lifting, Detoxifying, Brightening and Hydrating. This refresher starts with cleansing and toning (removing all the grime and pollutants from charging about Oxford street!) then the customers’ preferred Oxygen Blast Serum – which has stabilised oxygen and is nutrient rich with 8 trace minerals and potent antioxidants like green tea to help revitalise and re-energise skin. Best of all? The treatments are only £15 and redeemable against purchases – so stock up on the iconic multi-tasking 8 hour cream for the winter months.

BROWS – SHAVATA BROW STUDIO, HOUSE OF FRASER CITY, EC4 (Starts from £18), shavata.co.uk (check online for further details of Shavata studios)
There’s no going back once you’ve threaded your brows unless of course, you’ve had them micro-bladed (another service on the menu!) The ancient Indian precision hair removal technique leaves brows looking ‘on fleek’ (an Instagram term coined in early 2017) aka near on perfect! Relax and unwind as Shavata’s expertly trained brow use a combination of threading and waxing to create the ‘perfect arch’. Hide the stress of shopping and that furrowed brow by giving your face a mini lift with a great brow shape from the convenient studio neatly tucked away in the beauty section of House of Fraser City. Many a hungover Friday night did I drag my weary body to the expert fingers of the Shavata team, feeling enlivened and beautified in as little as 15 minutes (then, of course, went on to spend far too much money in the rest of the beauty section).

TEETH — SMILEPOD, E14, From £49, smilepod.co.uk (plus 6 other London locations)
If you’re short of time but don’t want to spend the festive season with bad breath and stained teeth, in just 15 minutes, Smilepod’s Smile On The Run service can make your teeth look and feel much cleaner. It is the perfect choice for time-pressed shoppers who need instant results plus you don’t need check-up’s or pre-booked appointments – just give them a call and they’ll find a spot in one of their 7 studios. The friendly dentists will either use an ultrasonic scaler to remove tartar with a special gentle tip which helps flush bacteria out from below the gum line or use hand scaling to remove small pieces of build up missed. If you have more time, definitely opt for the High Gloss Diamond Polish that restores your natural sparkle and whiteness by using diamond polishing paste to blast away any stains and polish your teeth to polar white stratospheres. This is my bi-yearly go to treatment which gives me instant breath confidence and brighter teeth.

BLOW DRY – BLOW LTD, WC2H, Starts from £40, blowltd.com
If, like me, your hair is your daily struggle (curly haired girl problems) a blow-dry is one of those feel-good treats that saves you spending 40 minutes tussling with your locks. BlowLtd have flagship beauty bars located in Covent Garden, Canary Wharf and Oxford Street – but why go to the salon when the salon comes to you?
Download the Blow Ltd app through your Google Play or Apple store, select a service from bouncy blow dry to a festive makeup look and a qualified expert will arrive at the venue of choice. I’ve not personally tried this one yet but many girlfriends have, and absolutely love the accessibility and ease of service (but obviously you have to wash your hair yourself prior to the stylist’s arrival!) riddle_stop 2

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