There are relatively few universal truths, but I think we can probably all agree with the following:
- Triangular sandwiches taste better than square ones
- Putting kittens in the oven doesn't make them biscuits
- It is impossible not to feel better after some good quality pampering/grooming
While I tend not to dabble in the baking of felines, at-home or salon maintenance is a non-negotiable for me, particularly when I'm busy. When work is hectic, life can feel as though it passes by in a haze of meetings and deadlines, punctuated by the occasional nap in front of Gardener's World or some other televisual tamazepam. Although taking time out can often seem like too great a luxury, treating yourself to a salon visit almost forces you to relax: there's nothing to do, nothing to think about. You can just be.
This was just the experience I had when I visited Edward James London salon in Clapham last week. After an immensely busy few weeks, and on the night before a big presentation, I stepped off a perishingly cold Northcote Road and into the warm, Aveda-scented glow of this small yet bustling salon. As soon as I'd made myself comfortable, restorative glass of prosecco in hand, I was greeted by Craig, the salon manager, who was to provide one of the bounciest blow dries I'd had for a long time. After a chat about my hair and the products I normally use, he gave me some excellent insights into my hair type that have been entirely absent from previous consultations. We agreed that a blow dry with some movement was the order of the day, and then I settled back to enjoy a wonderful head, shoulder and neck aromatherapy massage which is included with all treatments.
The stresses of the day already dispensed with, I was then seated in an incredible massage chair while my hair was washed and treatment applied. The chair creates the feeling of floating on a gently undulating sea - chairs which just enable you to have your feet up are now very much yesterday's news in my book! It was then back to Craig, via a chat with Edward, the salon's charming owner. I'd noticed Edward chatting to all of the salon's 'guests' (everyone in the salon uses this over the slightly seemy 'clients'!) and it all felt like we were at a rather laid back party; the ever-present host ensuring that we were all enjoying our experiences. I felt so welcome, something which I'd never really thought about when visiting a salon, but Edward's easy manner creates the most wonderful, friendly atmosphere, something that is extremely rare in salons of this standard. It feels very much part of the community, and it is easy to see why the salon recently won a Best New Business award. Being there really made me want to move to Clapham!
Finally, it was back to Craig to impart as much gloss and bounce into my hair as I've seen in a very long time whilst we swapped stories of being northerners in London, and I was subject to yet more relaxation in the form of a hand massage. If I wasn't sufficiently fond of him for giving me great hair, I will love him forever for telling me that he liked this hat!
After saying my goodbyes, I stepped back into the cold feeling altogether restored, and after looking at the time, I was shocked to see that little more than an hour had passed. It reminded me that it really doesn't take long to bring some balance back to your life, and when it leaves you coiffed and confident, so much the better.
Edward James London is at 18 Northcote Road, Clapham. Blow dries start from £28.