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Stay cost-conscious and pretty with an at-home spa

The Beauty Spy Pamper yourself at home with these great tips and products.

You won't see her, but she's there, in the salons, spas and shops, and she's happy to share her secrets on the at-home spa.

There can be few more relaxing experiences than going to a spa. The soft lighting, the candles, the music, the pampering experience. But it is expensive, not to mention time-consuming.

So in this special (Budget) Fashion Issue, I am going to tell you how to create a spa environment at home. The first thing you need (and possibly the most difficult to get) is an hour or two to yourself. If you have children, ask anyone who happens to be available to look after them. Then go into the bathroom and lock the door. Already in there you will have prepared some of the essentials for your spa journey at home. Candles are a must; they can be from Ikea (cheap and cheerful) or Diptyque or Jo Malone (both the ultimate). I also like to have some incense on the go or one of those little oil burners you can pick up from TheBody Shop with a soothing oil such as lavender or jasmine.

Music is essential as well, not hip-hop (not that I ever listen to hip-hop) but something classical to relax with. Sit down in the semi-darkness and try some deep breathing; breathe in for four and out for six, 10 times, banishing thoughts of tomorrow's deadline, or shopping or admin chores. This is time for you. Focus on nothing but your breathing.

While you are breathing your bath should be filling up with steaming hot water. I like oil and bubbles, and the combination of Marks & Spencer's Rose Bath Cream, and The Body Shop's Moroccan Rose Oil is heavenly. I also love the Champneys Spa Indulgence range. I used to go to Champneys in the UK and these products transport me back to the lovely spa there. Go for the Exotic Retreat Bubble Heaven, which is just what it says on the box.

While you are luxuriating in the bath put on a face mask. I love the Clarins Hydra Quench. You should also have your hair wrapped in a towel in a hot oil treatment.

After all the lingering it is time to exfoliate. The Champneys Oriental Opulence Body Glow is great; stand up and let some of the water run off, then start with your legs, focusing on dry areas such as the knees and the ankles. Work your way around your whole body - you may need to recruit someone to do your back - and try not to miss any bits. Exfoliating removes dead and dry skin and boosts circulation. Then shower to ensure all the grainy bits and face mask residue as well as oil in your hair are washed away.

The final touch is a moisturiser, and what can be more luxurious than Chanel? I love the Chanel No. 5 Body Cream, makes me feel like a pampered princess. Even when used at home.


3 of the best

A workman is only as good as his tools. Get the best make-up results with these high street brushes

THE BODY SHOP EYESHADOW BRUSH, DH38 It's hard to go wrong with a Body Shop brush. Every conceivable shape using natural ingredients at great prices.

MARKS & SPENCER FOUNDATION BRUSH, DH70 A smooth brush with a decent amount of bristles. Achieve a light, even coverage with this honest, no-frills range for every budget.

BOOTS BLUSHER BRUSH, DH72 A tapered, sturdy little brush that does the job beautifully. Small enough to carry in your handbag for an instant top-up.


M loves

THE MIRACLE WORKER One of the upsides to living here is the on-tap mani/pedis. But your nails end up brittle and broken. Cue Sally Hansen's Nailgrowth Miracle Serum, which is made with peptides and biotin technology and transforms your nails and cuticles within days. A must for nail-obsessed girls, which is all of us.

Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Serum, Dh55, available at Boots, Carrefour and Spinneys

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