I’m obsessed with Lush. It all started in the late 90s when my mum took me and my sisters into the Carnaby Street store (when Carnaby Street was still really cool and punk and a bit scary) and we all fell in love with the bright yellow exterior, the funky branding and the weird and wonderful soaps they sold. They smelt of sweets.
Now, 15 years on, my love affair with Lush has matured. While their soaps are still brilliant, I’ve discovered so much more besides. I can’t live without their face moisturiser, no bath is complete without a bubble bar, and their hair conditioning treatments and face powder beat anything from Boots. Anything. Their products grace my Christmas and birthday lists, pepper my bathroom and dressing table, and – as sad as it sounds – make my days a little brighter. But that’s another blog post.
So, when Lush launched a spa you can imagine it went straight on my to-do list to try it out. I got round to finally booking myself in at the Kingston branch for a Tailor Made but – I’ll be honest – I was dubious. Lush boss the handmade cosmetics thing but could they do spa treatments too?
Tailor Made for me
I was introduced to Jess on the very busy shop floor of the Kingston Lush and she took me upstairs to the spa area. Through the door was the cutest little sitting room doused in twinkly lights and the smell of Lush products. Freshly cut flowers sat on vintage wooden furniture and it was quiet. No manic Christmas shoppers here.
Jess, who is the loveliest massage therapist I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, sat me down and handed me some cucumber and lemon water (I know) and talked me through my treatment. It was a 30 minute deep tissue massage to the sounds of the sea, birds and sailors singing sea shanties from the 50s and 60s. The treatment is designed to holistically transport you to the high seas and relieve knots and reawaken muscles.
I worried I’d get sea sick. I didn’t tell her that.
We talked about problem areas that need more attention than others (my troublesome left shoulder) and she then brought a tray of goodies to the table for my attention – all of which are available in the shop. I had to chose which massage bar I wanted her to use and like all Lush staff she knew the products inside and out, telling me the benefits of each. I chose Therapy (the one with the sticky out nobbly bit) because the calming neroli, lavendar and orange oil seemed to be just the ticket after a particularly stressful week at work. Jess then dropped the Big Blue bath bomb into a jug of boiling water to fizz away and release the smell of arame seaweed, lavender oil and lemon oil – which would be placed under the massage table to fill the room with scent reminiscent of the sea.
Jess showed me to one of the treatment rooms which was much like the sitting area – gorgeously decorated with chintzy china, old furniture and prints of British birds in retro frames. With a cosy massage table in the middle. She talked me through what I needed to do (strip down to my pants and get into the heated bed, covering myself with a blanket before ringing the antique brass bell for her to come back in) and before she left, she popped the bath bomb jug under the bed, set off some dry ice to fill the floor with atmospheric smoke and popped on the sea CD. This was bloody heaven already.
The massage itself was wonderful. She started on my neck and the top of my chest and then turned me over to concentrate on my back, and like every good therapist she asked about pressure to make sure she got it right for me. It was just the right mix of relaxing and soothing vs deep tissue tension relief. The smell of the room, the feel of the oils from the massage bar and the sound of the sea, the jolly shanties and the creaking ship created the most relaxing environment I think I’ve ever been in. I didn’t feel sea sick in the slightest (which is pretty miraculous for someone who feels sick on a swing). I could’ve fallen asleep it was so heavenly. And I really didn’t want it to end. Dammit, I should’ve booked The Good Hour.
My only complaint is not really a complaint. As I said, I have a long term problem with my left shoulder and while Jess concentrated on that area for some of the massage and got a good number of knots out, half of me would’ve loved her to spend the entire time on it because it’s so buggered. But this wasn’t a sports massage or a specialist shoulder treatment and I should probably go elsewhere to get my shoulder sorted once and for all.
When I dragged myself out of the treatment room after the massage I was asked to take a seat back in sitting room where I was greeted with a cup of tea, and offered a drop or two of ships rum to go in it. Oh and a ships biscuit – which is a shortbread finger to you and me. Jess and I spent some time chatting about some of the other treatments available, all of which have their own soundtrack and holistic approach, and when I was ready to face the high street again, she packaged up the massage bar and sent me off on my way – floating down the stairs back to my Christmas shopping. Not before I used the spa loo and sampled some of the 20 Lush products they had scattered around the sink.
I’ve never been to a spa quite like the Lush Spa. There is so much that sets it apart from everywhere else. The little extra touches – from the cucumber and lemon water and interior design, to the atmospheric dry ice and the rum tea – make it so special. Jess was, like all the Lush staff I’ve ever met, so lovely and knowledgeable – and fully trained in giving a great massage. I wasn’t rushed out of there for the next client to be wheeled in. I was given time to enjoy it all.
The entire Tailor Made experience was perfectly relaxing. And well thought out. Which is why Lush is so bloody brilliant. Silly me to doubt it for a second.
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