I very rarely visit beauty salons, I guess I’ve sort of thought of them as places other people go and not me. As we’ve established, I haven’t always prioritised my own appearance since becoming a mum and I suppose, in turn, that can create a bit of a vicious cycle of feeling a little nervous and not quite glamorous enough to visit them. I’ve also been guilty of viewing treatments as things we get done before big events and not just as part of a general beauty regimen…prime example, a pre-holiday wax and tan. The thing is though, I’m MetamorphoMum now *dons fluttery cape*, so things are different…plus, it was my birthday this week so I decided to take the plunge and book in somewhere for a little treat.
Being somewhat out of the beauty loop, I canvassed my more groomed looking friends on Facebook as to which venue they thought I should select. They sagely suggested I try a place in South Liverpool called Lifestyle Collective. I have to admit, I was mostly intrigued by the name at first. I liked the feelings of togetherness and collaboration that it conjured up in my mind…also, ‘collectives’ are all the rage at the moment if the recent happenings on the UK political scene are anything to go by 😆. Yep, Lifestyle Collective – I liked the sound of it…and so it was that I booked an appointment for the morning of my 39th birthday. Then when the day came, off I popped to Allerton Road for a luxury manicure and an eyebrow shape!
Lifestyle Collective is a beautiful, light and welcoming nail spa with a contemporary, almost Scandinavian feel. The exceptionally comfortable armchairs used for treatments certainly have more than a touch of hygge about them. The spa offers a wide range of treatments for nails as well as various waxing options and eye treatments. In addition to this, there’s a huge table for customers to enjoy offerings from the cafe menu. I know from a friend that the venue also hosts workshops and events as well as catering for private groups of friends who fancy a pamper evening, together (there’s that word again).
My treatments at Lifestyle Collective were fantastic, I’d recommend them – I especially loved the manicure. The sun was shining outside so I chose a lovely, fresh green colour as a nod to spring. The manicure I’d opted for included a luxurious hand massage which was so relaxing, especially as I sat back in those comfortable cushioned, chairs (with the weight off my broken foot), sunlight filtering in at the windows, soft music in the background. I could almost start to feel like a new woman…a woman who visits beauty salons when she doesn’t even have a wedding to attend!
As fantastic as all of the above was, it was another kind of magic that happened at Lifestyle Collective that morning that really made me feel refreshed and re-energised. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it was a wee bit revelatory. Let me try to explain.
In the comfy chair next to mine, also having her nails done, was a lady I’d never met. She was having a chat with the technician who was performing her manicure and I gathered she’d visited before. After a little bit, being the nosey beggar I am, I joined in their conversation. I can’t remember how it started, I think we were talking about her grandkids or something like that. It was what happened over the course of the next hour that really gave me a spring in my step – that was, we talked. It sounds like nothing when I type it here but I mean we really talked. We talked about politics, people-power, family, work, business, kids, dogs, yoga, education, attachment theory in child development (a subject about which her expertise and experience was fascinating) and plenty more. We were interested in the same things and we even discovered that we’d worked for the same local borough at one time. I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from our interaction and I felt that we’d made a genuine human connection.
This fellow customer and I talked even after our treatments were complete and the lovely staff allowed us to continue. There was no rush from them, they understood. You see, Lifestyle Collective aims (and succeeds in my opinion) to be more than just a nail spa – it’s a place for customers to relax, unwind and spend quality time with friends, whilst enjoying excellent treatments over locally sourced cake and drinks. It’s a place to connect and feel connected. No wonder they use the word ‘collective’ in their name. This concept, of a beauty salon as a place of social interaction, closeness and human connection, had honestly never occurred to me before. I’d literally never even considered it as one of the benefits, focusing rather on how the treatments themselves made me feel. This unexpected conversation with a stranger altered my perspective. I get it now. I’ve realised that people visit places like Lifestyle Collective for more than just a manicure, a bikini wax or an eyebrow tint…it’s about the whole experience and a big part of that is the quality time spent bonding with others in a calming environment.
I’m all in – I’ve booked to go back next week!
Disclaimer: I have no evidence that the lady from this post didn’t go home to her husband and say “My goodness, I was trying to have a relaxing manicure this morning at my usual place and some girl in there wouldn’t shut up!” 😆🙈