Since having kids, pampering yourself may seem like a distant memory or a luxury that you can no longer afford. However, it is actually an essential tool for keeping yourself relaxed and for controlling your stress, making you a better parent and person.
Still, it can seem like an impossible dream when your budget is being eaten alive by the arrival of a baby and the myriad of expenses that the recession has thrown into the mix. Not to mention the lack of time to do it in!
Now that Valentine’s Day is lurking just around the corner, it’s time to start looking after yourselves. Yes Dad, that includes you. So here are some tips and tricks on how to indulge yourself, ease those stresses and feel fantastic without spending much needed money.
To start with, mums (and those dads that are more open minded about this sort of thing) instead of saving up for a rare beauty treatment every six months, why not consider making appointments at your local beauty school? You pay a fraction of the usual price for beauty treatments because you’re, essentially, a guinea pig for trainees.
The treatments will take slightly longer as the students are learning as they go, but you can get as many as two to three treatments at a beauty school for the price of one treatment at your local salon. Of course, this will vary from area to area. To find a list of beauty schools in your area go to BeautyFinder. Always give them a call beforehand to find out if they offer this service, what their charges are and to make an appointment.
You can do the same for your hair, if you are brave. Personally this is one expense that I will always save up for as my hair is a bit mad, but if you have a simple cut that just needs neatening then getting a student to do it for only a fiver is a bargain.
Brave souls can even offer up their locks to local hairdressing schools for their examinations and tests. I did this once; I entered as a brunette with shoulder length hair and left as a pixie-cropped platinum blonde. I loved it but it was fairly extreme, so be sure that you’re prepared to take the risk. You may have to do some local footwork in order to find a nearby school and whether or not they actually allow for this.
Set aside one evening a week to do an essential pampering night in for yourself. Create your own spa treatments, light some candles and play your favourite music (quietly so as not to wake baby, of course).
Make a natural body scrub by mixing coarse sea salt with 20 drops of your favourite essential oil and four cups of almond oil. If you’re pregnant remember to check with your doctor before you start playing around with essential oils as these can have negative affects in pregnancy.
Stir up the mixture thoroughly before using it and the rub into your skin in a clockwise, circular direction. This boosts circulation, gently exfoliates your skin and eases the oils into your skin.
Men who’d rather not smell of lavender or citrus should invest in a natural bristle brush that has firm threads made from natural fibres. Use this in the same way as the sea salt scrub and it will have the same effect, without the smell!
Once you’ve finished with the exfoliating and scrubbing, run a toasty bath (not too hot) with bubble bath and light some candles. Place these around the bathroom for maximum mood effect, turn on the music, pour the wine and get into the bath together. Yes, together! While there are bound to be many loved-up couples still doing this in spite of baby, most of us have forgotten what it’s like to get stuck in a tiny bath together and giggle over bubbles and red wine.
Once you’ve managed to negotiate yourselves into the tub don’t get out for at least twenty minutes. At first you’ll lie there feeling jittery at all the things you have to do but soon you’ll start to relax. It will make the world of difference to your relationship if you can set aside some time to do this together every month.
If you’re a car owner why not get some benefits from paying the exorbitant insurance and upkeep costs. Take a long and relaxing drive as a family. Don’t take the busy highways or byways, instead plan a route that takes you along the sea or through scenery of outstanding natural beauty.
Don’t have a destination in mind either, that will only make you feel rushed. Just put on some relaxing music, ease your foot onto the pedal and enjoy the fresh air, the beautiful vista and one another’s company. This works for toddlers too! You can get them to spot wildlife or different coloured cars as you go and some will even nod off as you go.
There are plenty of fantastic ways of pampering yourself as parents without worrying about the expense. So nab these ideas, make some of your own and take the time to relax. You deserve it!