A Birthday Manicure & Revelatory Chat – the Social Side of Beauty Treatments

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!” 😆🙈

A Style Setback – but Still Smiling!


So, you may have noticed that I’m slightly late with this post of mine…and, you don’t need to be Poirot to detect from the picture above that I’ve had a little mishap 🙈 This was not the type of knee high boot I had in mind this winter, but I guess busy mums with fifth metatarsal fractures have to work with what they’ve got! Besides, it’s all about the peep toe now anyway, as I’ll explain shortly.

I do have a lot of stuff to carry to be fair!

I bet you’re wondering how I ended up in this fetching foot apparel aren’t you? (who said ‘No’?! 😆) I wish I could tell you I injured myself whilst gliding down the Alps in Verbier or that I toppled from a horse on the Appalachian Trail….anything more glamorous than the truth, that I stumbled off the kerb in front of my house whilst unloading baby yoga equipment from the car. How do you even fall off a ‘towering’ six inch kerb whilst sober?! I don’t know – but somehow I managed it and found myself on the ground, specifically in the road, unable to get up. A nearby builder spotted me in my beetle-like position and dashed over to help. Unfortunately for me that help didn’t extend to actually assisting me back on to my feet, rather he regaled me of various building injuries he’d had through the years whilst I was still on the deck. Interesting but ultimately ineffective 😁. Luckily for me a neighbour came to my rescue and hauled me up out of the road before any cars came along and added to my troubles.

So, as mentioned, I have a fracture to my fifth metatarsal. You may, or may not, remember way back in 2002 David Beckham had a similar injury which threatened his World Cup eligibility. The one where the nation was trying to will his bone back together by closing their eyes and touching pictures of his foot on the front of newspapers. I won’t be missing any important World Cup type events but I will be wearing my snazzy fracture boot (whilst trying to be a self-employed mum to a five year old) for a good few weeks yet. Not ideal footwear for a person who’s trying her darnedest to ‘metamorphosise’ into somebody a bit more, dare I say, stylish…or at least a bit less of a style disaster. Not the ticket at all…well, that’s what I thought, but apparently I was wrong.

Yes…on this occasion, for once in my mummy life, I’m actually ahead of the game in the fashion stakes. I’m currently rocking (literally) the latest trend, a version of a thing that’s going to be huge for autumn/winter 2019 – the peep toe boot! Who do we have to thank for this I hear you ask. Well, coincidentally, it’s none other than style icon, and Mr Metatarsal’s wife herself, Victoria Beckham! VB’s collection during London Fashion Week (which came to an end only yesterday) was full of her new line of peep toe sock boots, in various materials, patterns and hues.

Photo: Getty Images

Admittedly Victoria’s peep toe boots are sleek and attractive with towering heels – they certainly have less of the orthopaedic-velcro/hospital look that mine has. In truth, I very much doubt she was inspired by David’s fracture-recovery footwear from seventeen years ago. Definitely not in fact. Another thing I can guarantee is that her toenails were painted infinitely more precisely and beautifully than mine in preparation for the peep toe. Compare and contrast our photos. My own tootsies had a speedy slick of gold polish messily daubed over them on the way out of the door to A&E (talk about keeping up appearances 🙈). It’s ok though…I’m still claiming this boot as a fashion win for me – because really, any positive you can find when your broken foot is stalling your MetamorphoMum journey has to be a plus, right?!

Thanks for helping with my positive mindset Beckhams!

On a serious note, thank you to my lovely friends and family for supporting me this week. Thank you lovely baby yoga mums and venues for being understanding about me delaying our next term. Thank you darling L for picking up your little toys from the floor for mummy. xxx