How To Create A Day Spa At Home

Want to decompress but can’t make it to the spa? No problem!

When you’ve got to laugh, or you’d cry

Ugh, I don’t know about you but I’ve got a serious case of the January blues. I just feel like this is the month that won’t end! Usually, I’d have a chat with myself and shake it off but if I’m wishing for this year ahead to be more hopeful and kind, then I really should extend that to myself too.

I don’t care what people say, candles are an essential item

So, this week, I treated myself to a spa day. All at home, of course! I picked a day that was totally clear for me, switched my phone to airplane mode and got chilled. Switching off from emails and work calls was super important in helping me to fully relax. If you can, a digital day detox is so worth it – I can’t recommend it enough!

First up, let’s talk attire. Only your fluffiest slippers and lounge wear will do. A fluffy robe is ideal if you have one, I’d even condone stealing a housemate’s/husband’s/sibling’s if required.

Clothing is always optional

Then, get that kettle boiled, music on and candles lit. Setting the mood is crucial. I just searched for “Spa Playlist” on Youtube; it totally did the trick.

In between endless sips of jasmine tea, I slathered on a face mask. I always get a couple of these in my stocking but if you don’t happen to have any to hand you can knock up a simple homemade one using porridge oats, honey, olive oil and an egg yolk. A couple of chilled slices of cucumber wouldn’t go amiss popped onto your eyelids, or if,like me, you’ve made a batch of cucumber raita then two chilled teaspoons work just as well!

Pretty in pink clay

Nails are next on our agenda. The one excellent thing to come out of last year is my new found obsession with nail art Pinterest. If you’re not artistically inclined, a good clean and cut is sometimes all you need. Don’t forget your tootsies too.

Nothing better than tidy claws

Finally, draw yourself a bath – almost too warm and let it steep and steam up that bathroom. I added some Epsom bath salts, some rose petals, a little bicarb of soda, rose and sandalwood essential oils and a scoop of coconut oil to create my own mermaid lagoon. Be careful to read the instructions when using essential oils – I had a friend who once inadvertently overdosed on lavender oil and had to be rushed to A+E.

Having a bubble in the tub

Now the rules really do go out the window here; I chose to spend my soak doing some meditation with a couple of crystals but if you want to have a glass of prosecco and binge How To Get Away With Murder in the bath then more power to you. Wait until your fingers go wrinkly and the water is tepid before getting out.

After moisturising – which yes, I’m not ashamed to say I did add a touch of fake tan to – I curled up on the sofa with a good book, (currently enjoying Claudia Winkleman’s Quite) and let the rest of the afternoon slip by. I honestly had the best night’s sleep after my day of pampering and have promised myself to make it a monthly extravagance during this next lockdown. Well, maybe let’s make that a weekly thing… ~L.

Me making a clean getaway from 2021

Not-So-Basic Banana Bread

It’s lockdown, of course we must have banana bread.

Slice Appeal

This third lockdown is hitting a little different isn’t it? Discounting those four weeks in November of last year, our only other experience of lockdown was during the spring. Getting out and safely enjoying your local surroundings is much tougher on a cold, dark evening. In fact nearly everything that lifted my spirits last time just isn’t cutting the mustard this time round. I think the key to getting us through the next few weeks, or indeed months, is changing things up!

I’m taking full advantage of all the activities I didn’t turn my hand to in the initial lockdown and top of my list is baking banana bread. E treated me to the new Nigella Lawson cookbook Cook, Eat, Repeat for Christmas and this recipe is very much inspired by her gluten-free version. Mine is best served still slightly warm with ice cream or early the next day, fridge cold and lathered in salted butter.

Serving Size:
10 generous slices
1 hour + cooling time
lemon squeezy


  • 175g flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 bananas (the more bruised the better)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 100g walnuts
  • a spoonful of Nutella (for swirling purposes)


  • Preheat the oven to 150℃ and stick some baking paper into the base of your loaf tin.
  • Mix together your flour, almonds, baking powder and salt
I do find this recipe so very appeeling
  • Peel and mash the bananas, a good old fork will do for this. Then, take out any aggressions you’re harbouring, possibly towards certain politicians who will remain nameless and beat in the vanilla, yoghurt, eggs, oil and sugar. Make sure you do these one by one so as not to overwhelm the mixture.
Cracking series, that
  • When you’re happy that everything is well combined, tentatively mix in your flour. Again, unless you want your kitchen floor to look like you got into a fight with a pastry chef, go slow. Or if you’re using one of those fancy KitchenAids, frankly you’re cheating.
A great excuse to finish off any baking bits left over from Christmas
  • Here’s the fun bit, fold in the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, I’ll allow you a blitz in the blender if you really loathe chopping. And just to be extra decadent, I added a spoonful of Nutella and swirled it into the cake batter to make a marbled effect.
She’s a beauty!
  • Gingerly tip into the lined loaf tin and pop her into the oven for an hour. At this point I poked a kebab skewer (of course I don’t have cake testers) into the centre and it was still pretty liquid. I turned the heat down to 120℃ and let her sit there for another 20 minutes whilst I went on a walk.
  • Tempting as the smells may be, leave your loaf to cool down before you attempt removal! It’ll be worth the wait, trust me! We had ours for pudding with freshly sliced bananas and cream. It’s healthy because there’s fruit in it, right?
It’s worth the wait – you can crust me

You can always swap the nuts out if you prefer or use rice flour and GF baking powder to turn this coeliac friendly. I’m sure E has some tips for a vegan version too! Happy baking ~L.

It’s so good – you won’t beloaf it

The Big 3-0 In Lockdown 3.0

L celebrates her “milestone” birthday during the UK’s third national lockdown.

Well, I had hoped it wouldn’t happen, but it has. I’m finally joining the rest of my loved ones in celebrating a Lockdown Birthday. Now, let me be clear before I type another word: I know there are terrible, frightening things happening in the world right now, of much more importance than this little Capricorn, but I still felt “funny” about it all…

Growing old is inevitable, growing up however…

I was chatting with some of my friends last week, who all felt similar about celebrating this milestone under the current restrictions. It’s not that I had grand plans of a dirty thirty in Bordeaux, although that would’ve been delightful. I think it’s that being born in January, my birthday is quite often a bit of an after thought. This month is not only long and dark, it’s also the time of year we typically introvert, diving head first into fun activities such as Dry January, Veganuary, countless diets and detoxes, returning to school and last minute tax returns. Hardly puts you in the mood for a party, does it?

VB eat your heart out

Turning thirty had a lot riding on it. It’s the mystical age I often used growing up to set as a measure. As Emma Bunton articulated in Spice World: “do you think I’ll always be Baby Spice, even when I’m (gulp) thirty?” It would also firmly put in me in the “Overs” category of the old X Factor format. “Overs”…how rude is that?

Thirty, flirty and thriving

All this having been said, I am shocked to confess that this birthday is probably one of the best I’ve ever had. Having zero expectations for the day and no added pressure from my loved ones asking: “have you had a good time?” meant that my simple, relaxed day was really enjoyable.

I spent most of the morning mooching round the house in my new pyjamas that I treated myself to at Christmas, playing nostalgic tunes from my childhood as loudly as I wanted. Vince popped out to get me a takeaway vanilla latte after my brunch of Nutella pancakes. It’s always the little things that matter most, am I right? Whilst he was out, our local Postie arrived with cards, flowers and an embarrassingly large box for me to open.

Love these so much I could burst!

I settled down to watch 13 Going On 30, (honestly worth a watch if you haven’t seen it before. Mark Ruffalo in a romcom – what’s not to like?) and cracked open the bubbles!

There had better be a pot of gold with my name on it underneath that!

To work up an appetite, we headed out on our daily walk. We’ve been doing around 50km a week since Christmas and we’re loving our rambles. Mother Nature treated me to a special present on this day – check out that light!

Once the sun went in, we headed home to check out our local Chinese takeaway – which did NOT disappoint and provided left overs for the next day too. I often think leftovers are actually better than the main event. By the time I’d zoomed the family and caught up on my messages, it was midnight and I’d officially made it 30 times around the sun.

Over the past year there have been so many projected scenarios for my birthday, including spending it in Cardiff with my Phantom cast, locked in a hotel room abroad quarantining, a small family shindig for our support bubble and a lockdown party for two. As E reminded me on Facebook: “lockdown birthdays are all the rage at the moment”. As ever, she was right, and I wouldn’t have had the day any other way. ~L.

Happy 29+1th to me!