Anyone who knows my mum will know at least these two things about her: she has an incredibly clean house and always has immaculately manicured nails. What they might not know is that she maintains both of these things entirely by herself; she would never even think of asking someone else to do them for her.
I do not take after my mum.
Despite my desire for a clean and tidy house and perfectly manicured nails, I need help to achieve both.
Don’t get me wrong, I am far from an unhygienic, slovenly wreck: I’m extremely particular about both bathrooms and floors. But tidiness often evades me as I like to start a lot of projects, read a lot of books at the same time, and sometimes find putting clean clothes back into the cupboard is a bit like coming into contact with Kryptonite.
I also like to do my nails but my hands are, more often than not, a manicurist’s worse nightmare, with stubby nails that I purposely prefer to keep short, terribly dry cuticles regardless of how much they’re moisturised, and a decidedly nasty habit of picking at the skin around them when I’m anxious. I also lack the required dexterity and patience to paint my nails as perfectly as my standards require, so I will occasionally treat myself to an office-based manicure from Karen Radford of Tips in the City (this is a flash-based site, but you can email her if you want to know more about the services she offers in London).
Given this lack of attention to my hands, it might be surprising to find that my feet have, by and large, received a similar lack of attention.
I’m a fan of colours and decoration, and I definitely prefer to have painted toe nails than embrace their natural beauty whether or not anyone else sees them, but I have to admit my feet had got into a bit of a state. The nails were fine, no issues there, but the skin? Well, there was no doubt about how dry and calloused they were; they had definitely not been shown a lot of love, despite the hard work they put in every day.
In a fit of deciding to care about myself from the bottom up, I decided to investigate the best intensive pedicure options around. All I knew was that i) I didn’t want to visit a chiropodist because I have very clear and slightly harrowing childhood memories of watching both my grandparents have their feet scraped and shaved and ii) I didn’t want someone to just replicate what I could do myself. I wanted a luxurious treatment to disguise the perfunctory nature of what was needed to bring some life back into my feet.
Now I am probably showing my naiveté when it comes to iconic beauty brand knowledge, but so what? I found what I was looking for not because it was the latest fad (no fish are ever going to eat my feet), but because the services offered matched what I wanted: a genuinely luxurious experience that is primarily concerned with improving the health of your feet. Luckily, the results create the perfect canvas for all the ephemeral decoration you want (please note that Margaret Dabbs only deal with human feet. If you looking for something like this for your dog then you’ll need to go elsewhere).
Obviously this experience has a pretty hefty price tag attached; at £80 for 45minutes, the medical pedicure (performed by a podiatrist, not a pedicurist) definitely isn’t cheap. But if you’re only going to go occasionally (I asked how often people generally have this treatment, and the average is once or twice a year) or if you’re already having regular pedicures that cost around £20 or £30 a pop, there’s definitely room to skip a couple and invest in a podiatrist-led treatment. You’ll not only end up with genuinely baby-soft feet but also be given a general foot health check that most pedicurists aren’t able or tasked to do. The nail polish will be extra, but you’ll probably want to admire the natural beauty of your feet for a while.
I’m converted. With a couple of reasonably priced products to use at home in between very occasional treatments (sorry Body Shop I’ve upgraded, though your foot range remains a close second), I’m confident that, while I can afford it, I’ll never have to feel like my feet are unloved again.