There are many perks to this job (being a journalist, not being a mum-to-be, though granted that has its perks too), and one of those is getting rather fantabulous invites to try out nice stuff on your behalf. This week was a trip to the Sanctuary, Covent Garden's leading pampering zone, for a Mum To Be Indulgence treatment session.
As I'd been back from a two-week holiday for a whole 24 hours and felt like I, well, you know, really needed some more rest and relaxation, I jumped at the opportunity for a beauty treatment. Or at least skipped, now that jumping, at six months pregnant is getting harder.
I love going to the Sanctuary. It's been established pretty much since the word pampering was invented, and I love the almost secret door on Neal Street. It really does feel as though you're being transported through a magical portal away from the hustle and bustle of shoppers and tourists into a haven of peace, tranquillity and girly-scented loveliness.My treatment was with Arpita. I must admit that most therapists come and go in my life (hark at me!) and I'm more likely to remember their hands than their name or face, but Arpita was very sweet and couldn't do enough to help me de-fluster and relax. Good job too as the treatment room was up three flights of stairs, a big no-no for pregnant ladies in their mid to later stages. Note to The Sanctuary, please do the mum-to-be sessions in your lower rooms!
The entire session lasted a full 85 minutes, and included gentle cleansing and exfoliation of the whole body (bump excluded if you prefer) with Sento Invigorating Detox Body Scrub, a cold stone treatment which claims to help with fluid drainage and was surprisingly quite nice for what felt like being stroked with two frozen pebbles from Brighton beach (one to try at home folks), a jolly good massage, a bump wrap in Mum To Be Collagen Boosting Body Butter, a gentle facial massage with Mum To Be Facial Super Hydrating Facial Oil and a spritz with Fatigue Fighting Spritz, all Sanctuary products available to purchase afterwards.
The massage is done in two parts, while you lay first on your left side and then your right, an experience which felt remarkably different than a pre-pregnancy back and front massage jobby and not quite as satisfying for me. I was desperately hoping they would have one of those massage tables with a hole cut out for the bump to rest through as I'm dying to lay on my front again. Arpita was very happy to focus on my troublesome areas though - lower back and calves - which made up for it, almost!
I loved, loved, loved being pampered, though personally felt a bit weird about the bump being touched by someone other than me or the other half. There's no obligation at all though, and the baby zone can be easily avoided. You have to be between 13 and 28 weeks for the session, during which only entirely safe products for pregnancy are used, all of which smell lovely.
Afterwards I had a chance to sample the ultimately relaxing Koi Carp lounge and atrium pool (the famous one with the swing), though not quite for long enough. Note to you, if you do go for a treatment, give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the added perks and lovely environment. Other zones, like the sauna and steam room, are no-go during pregnancy.
I left the Sanctuary feeling great, I must admit. I did feel as though I'd enjoyed something really treaty, my body felt lovely, I definitely felt relaxed and pampered, and very very sparkly and fresh. Next time I'd probably request a treatment room lower down, take a friend and spend a whole day there!
The Sanctuary's Mum-To-Be Indulgence treatment costs £92.98 for 85 minutes. Find out more