10 Indulgences {#1}

Sometime at the beginning of my year off to figure stuff out, a helpful lady pointed out that I didnt enjoy life enough. It may seem trivial, but it kind of wasn’t. I didn’t enjoy life as much as I should have.

She said that I should know better than to set my needs aside every chance I got, to bottle them up so deep that they became almost inexistent – that I couldnt even tell what they were anymore. If that’s something you feel familiar with, then alarm bells should be ringing – it’s not good stuff. You should know what your needs are, always.

The kind lady said that not everything in life needed to have a point or be done in an optimal manner (I’m cutting a long story short here. There was a long boring part where I didnt agree, she thought I was really nuts but politely nodded and calmly asked why I thought everything should have a point, I explained, she didn’t agree, I didn’t agree again, she said see you next time… and on, and on). She eventually asked me if I could make a list of 10 things I did in life “just because”. An indulgence list. “An indul-what?” I asked. “Indulgence”, she answered. “You know, the kind of stuff you do which you are a bit ashamed of? Guilty pleasures…? You know you really shouldn’t because it’s a waste of time, or money, or both, but you do it anyway just because you feel like it. It doesn’t harm anybody but it definitely makes you feel better. Like, say, watching the Kardashians”.

This was going to be a long year.

To start with, I couldn’t even list three (I hear you laughing quietly there in the corner – but just you try…). I had:

1. Lie in bed with chocolate and a Grey’s Anatomy DVD. (I think I’d need to be near dead to forget my need to watch this show, it’s so good – and no, I don’t even feel guilty, so does it count as an indulgence? You learn A LOT with Grey’s Anatomy. Like, for instance, what a wipple is. Or, say – what to do in the presence of a pregnant man, a woman with a fork in her neck or a girl who thinks she’s a boy. Really. Crucial. Stuff.)

2. Dance again. Not as in the Jennifer Lopez song (even indulgence lists have their limits…), as in: in a club. Or at a studio, for a class. It’s the only thing I could come up with where I knew I looked stupid but really didn’t care. There was no reason, I just really let go. Most people who haven’t met me generally assume I’m really drunk when they first see me dance. It always takes a while to explain that no, I wasn’t tipsy at all that night, I just really, really enjoyed the music. (Certainly won’t mention here what I look like when I am tipsy and dancing…)

Those were suitablyindulging, but I got told that “going for long walks alone” didn’t count because it actually had a point (blowing off steam, exercising, coming up with ideas for the next Nobel prize. In anything.) Also – I didn’t like walking at all, I only put it down because I figured I ought to; so it wasn’t an indulgence really. More like another chore. So that left me with two indulgences on my list. And a whole EIGHT to find.

It took a while, but I managed. And before I go on to described the first item in my little bag of joys, let me suggest that you take pen and paper and try your hand at it, too. It shouldn’t be too long before you realise that it actually isn’t easy at all to come up with a list of 10 things you do “just because”, let alone work you way through it. I dare you to try!

********************   So anyways, I was lucky enough to attend session no. 3 of Indulgence #1 (because I came up with the first two so easily, I decided to come up with 10 brand new ones). And it is SO GREAT that I feel the whole world should know about it. At least, half of the whole world, because I think women might enjoy it more than men. Women living in London. Which is a bit less than half of the whole world, more like 0.06% according to the 2011 Census. But I digress…

Clarins Spa at Selfridges, via elle.co.uk

Twice a year the Clarins Spa in Selfridges has its heavenly little Sales moment too – and that’s when women in the know rush to book their next three (or six…) Clarins TriActive facials. Because they are such nice people, twice a year, at the Clarins Spa that for each two facials that you buy, they give a third one FREE. “BTGOF” – or something. And because the facials start at £59, that means your HOUR AND TWENTY MINUTES OF HEAVEN will cost you roughly £40. Now I don’t know about you (you might live in a cheaper city than London), but we generally have to sell an arm, our left kidney, and sometimes even our grand-mother every time we need a lil’ pampering around here.

If you’re convinced, here’s what you’re in for. First – choose one of six variations of the facial. Second – you will be invited to lay on a reclining massage chair – what am I talking about; it’s more like a really, really comfy BED – under a soft duvet, take three deep breaths and, erm, well – relax. That’s about all you’ll have to do in the next hour and twenty. The therapist will then closely examine your skin to decide what your skin type is, which proved most helpful in my case since I was about to embark on a fourth decade on earth using all the wrong products (due to the confusing signals my skin was sending me). Hyper-moisturizing it one day, rubbing it dry the next (or rather: three weeks later, which is when I usually remembered that I needed to do something, anything to keep pretending I had a beauty routine). Doing stupid things like attempting extractions myself (yuck, I know). Moaning endlessly, in brief, because it just wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. Which was: be plump, blemish-and-spot free, rosy like a baby’s.

Having decided what type of approach best suits you that day, the therapist will use up to three Clarins Pro products, each treatment comprising a comprehensive cleanse, several gentle exfoliations, a lymphdraining massage and a deeper, circulation-boosting massage – that’s Clarins for you.

Yesterday’s face, neck and shoulders massage was pure bliss – using just the right amount of pressure, the therapist even managed to undo a few knots in my neck and shoulders. What you’d expect from the best deep tissue massage, not from a facial…

If you’re thinking this doesn’t sound too bad, just you wait…. Because they couldn’t possible be, say, checking their smartphones once they’ve applied a mask on your already blessedly grateful face (I now wonder what it is therapists at other spas do when they give you a mask), the lovely Clarins ladies get busy with your arms, hands and feet as soon as the mask starts to dry… cleansing… exfoliating… massaging… this is where I kinda lose track of time every single time. Because all of a sudden somebody gently touches your shoulder, tells you to relax a little while longer and is off to fetch you a glass of water. And just like that, you’re sent back into the craziness of one of London’s busiest department stores. It feels a little unfair to be honest, like somehow you’d have deserved to be adopted by that cocoon of softness and warmth. And to stay. Forever.

If you take good care of your skin, like your mamma taught you, your three facials should last you about four and a half months – they recommend you should have one every six weeks or so (check the maths skills. My left brain totally rocks). If you don’t (or didn’t) take good care of your skin, like me, then your therapist will recommend that you have them closer together to begin with, say the first three within 3-4 weeks from one another and then a little more spread out. Either way – that purchase will keep you happy-busy for a while, and it’s totally worth it. I mean, they’re practically paying you to do it at this price. No?

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