Every woman I know loves to be pampered. If I could stay at a spa for a week, I would. Sure, I’d miss hubby and the kids, but every mama needs some “me” time and the spa is my favourite place to spend it!
Despite what you see on television, unless you’re one of the Housewives of Beverly Hills, you probably don’t get to the spa very often. If you’ve got kids, you know that there’s always something better to spend the household budget on. But sometimes you just need a day of relaxation with the girls. What’s a mama to do?
Create your own spa day! (Unfortunately, sans the hunky masseurs – sorry! 😉
As with all things fab and frugal, my #1 rule is to keep it simple. So, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Plan your guest list with space constraints in mind; you don’t want to feel cramped. A small space might only accommodate three people, so keep it intimate and invite your two best girlfriends. If you have the luxury of more space, by all means take advantage of it! Tip: if it’s summertime (and not blistering hot), consider hosting your spa day in the backyard, if suitable. Sitting on a comfy chaise lounge in the shade with cucumbers on your eyes will make you feel like you’re on some swanky hotel rooftop.
- Hire an aesthetician, if your budget allows, for doing manicures and pedicures. Tip: contact local aesthetics schools to hire students for a fraction of the cost. If hiring a professional is not in the budget, stick to spa treatments like facials, manicures (guests do their own) and footbaths that won’t take away from your time with each other to relax and unwind.
- Set out spa treatments such as facial masks, lotions for hands/feet, cucumber slices for eyes and an array of fun nail polishes on a table near your lounging/seating area. Don’t forget to include nail polish remover, orange sticks, cotton pads, tissues and fresh washcloths for your guests’ use. Tip: save money and go green by making many of your own spa treatments; not only is it frugal, but there’s no packaging to recycle or throw away! Try these homemade facial recipes from Marie Claire.
- Greet guests with their own personal pampering gift bag. Some ideas: flip flops and a pair of toe separators (for pedicure); fun and fruity lip balm (try EOS spheres – hot new product and only $4!); travel-size shea butter (try L’Occitane, my go-to brand).
Plan a spa-inspired menu:
- Cucumber or orange water in glass pitchers is refreshing and pretty
- Mimosas or sangria are a great drink choice for adding a bit of elegance to your event; or, keep it simple with sparkling wine topped with frozen berries
- Fruits, vegetables & crackers are healthy and easy to prepare; better yet, order pre-made trays from your local grocery store; add a variety of dips to jazz it up – chocolate and whipped cream for fruit; hummus & tzatziki for crackers and veggies.
- Salads with a twist are always a hit; they’re light, yet flavourful, and allow your guests to feel no remorse when indulging in dessert later! Try this recipe for Arugula & Spinach Salad with Prosciutto from acclaimed Miraval Spa.
- Finger foods that can be made ahead are your best bet. Avoid anything that needs to be served hot, as it will take away from your enjoyment of the day. This easy yet delicious recipe for Vine Ripe Tomato Napoleon fits the bill nicely.
- Desserts that are beautiful, decadent and bite-sized are the perfect ending to a perfect day. I try to stay away from complicated desserts (forget the flan!) and, instead, stick with tried-and-true favourites like cupcakes, beautiful cookies (fancy shortbreads, chocolate-dipped biscotti), mini-cheesecakes and sorbet.
- Finish with tea and coffee, offering spa-inspired choices such as peppermint and assorted fruity herbal teas to cleanse the palate.
With a little preparation and planning, you can host a fun, chic and relaxing spa day – one your friends will appreciate and you won’t soon forget.
Here’s to “me” time!