As a student I could probably be categorised as someone who is in need of having a pamper session – what with endless deadlines, a severe lack of money for food and an unnerving lack of routine, I’m generally always teetering uncomfortably close to a break down. However, I’m probably equally as likely to be categorised as someone who is most unlikely to be able to give myself the break that I need.
I’m now in my final year of uni too so all of those aspects have tripled and there have been several times through the past term when I’ve reached breaking point. And the way I know I’ve reached that point is generally through a few tell-tale signs that my body gives me. Not only am I exhausted, with bags under my eyes and the inability to stay awake but my skin starts to become blotchy and then, the biggest sign of all, comes through in my hair. It becomes brittle, lifeless and, as I have an awful habit of pulling it out when I’m stressed it also becomes thinner. With that combined with the fact that due to having Beano, I’m constantly in and out of the heated home at this time of the year my hair is often in desperate need of a bit of tlc.
So, midway through the Autumn term, with all of the above starting to rear its ugly head, I knew it was time to take a step back and in the midst of coursework stress, a reading list that was as tall as I was and with seminar prep coming out of my ears, I booked my mum and I an evening relaxation session at Nirvana Spa in Wokingham as a birthday present for her and a simple treat for myself. And boy was it needed. We were only there for 5.30pm until 11pm and it raced by at an unfair speed but every second was perfect. I don’t actually think I’ve ever felt as refreshed as I did when we stepped out of the main doors at closing time.
From the second that we arrived the staff were wonderfully welcoming and on the whole, despite the venue being a little bit colder than I would have liked, it was as brilliant as expected. The facilities were immaculate and despite there seeming to be quite a lot of people on site at the time, none of the rooms ever felt crowded. And so, armed with free soft and hot drinks all night my mum and I meandered from sauna to swimming pool with a drink in hand and as the night progressed I could feel the stress dropping away from me. We ended the evening with a session in the floatation pool and while I was very uncertain about it to begin with I must have relaxed towards the end as I had drifted off to sleep by the time the lights slowly switched themselves back on! I can therefore say that floating around in those thirty minutes in water from the dead sea, with a star lit ceiling and gentle music playing in the background was definitely the most perfect way to end what had already been a beyond brilliant evening and that I will 100% be heading back there again in the future!
Obviously though, taking a trip to a spa is not something that I can do on a regular basis as a student so when I’m at home I have to find cheaper alternatives to keep my skin and hair healthy. Having a horse wreaks havoc with my body at this time of the year, I’m out in the cold for long periods of time and moving from my heated home to the freezing outside sends my skin into a meltdown. But I have to admit I’m not the best when it comes to taking care of my skin, besides upping the amount of moisturiser I carry around with me, adding a few extra glasses of water to my daily intake and slapping on the occasional facemask when I remember to anyway.
For my hair however I like to take a bit more care as to a certain extent it acts as a safety blanket for me. As a part of our Nirvana Spa package my mum and I were able to trial a selection of the dead sea products that the spa sells following on from the floatation treatment. I was particularly taken by one product that we were recommended to leave in for as long as possible (and that I cannot remember the name of!), as I was told it would by staff the product really did leave my hair feeling soft and smelling incredible for DAYS afterwards. Unfortunately though, as you can only purchase the products on site and as this is largely impractical in the long run I decided that I needed a cheaper and more accessible long term option.
And then, just as I was getting ready to begin my search again and as I was gearing up to try a new brand for the billionth time, I was gifted the John Frieda luxurious volume* shampoo and conditioner. Now, after several weeks of use I can say that I am sold. On days when I’m particularly stressed and my hair is in need of an extra boost, a small bottle of root booster never goes amiss and has become a wonderful addition to my weekly hair-care routine! But, with that being said I still think that the shampoo and conditioner has been sufficient enough on its own, which is something that I’m particularly impressed with considering that my hair is always at its worst at this time of the year. I’m definitely planning to keep up with my monthly usage of coconut oil as a part of a deep-cleansing routine but for the days and weeks in between, I’m more than happy to continue on with my John Frieda products for now!
And while my new shampoo and conditioner of choice doesn’t quite replicate a relaxing evening spent at a spa, I think it’s doing its job as a household staple fairly well and teamed with what I hope to become a yearly trip to the spa, I think my hair should hold out quite well for the foreseeable future (providing that I can stop the habit of pulling it out anyway).