No time for a supermarket shop or salon appointment? No problem. We’ve tried and tested the best at-home services making life for new mothers that little bit easier
As any parent of small children will agree, there’s no time for an emergency manicure or last-minute blow-dry with a baby in tow. And when it comes to food shopping, the chance for new mothers to pack away the pushchair and hang up their meal-planning hat (at least for a little while) sounds nothing short of heaven.
Thank goodness, then, for the new breed of on-demand services bringing everything from pampering facials to market-fresh ingredients to our front doors. We’re talking spa-standard therapists, nourishing foods for the whole family and relaxing treats to enjoy while your little one is napping or playing.
To help you see what’s out there right now, we put five companies to the test, all dedicated to busy mothers. It’s time to sit back, breathe, and let these experts help you look and feel your best…
Chloë Collyer, Creative Director
What is it? If you’re a new mum, taking care of yourself in the way you did pre-baby goes on the backburner. You can only dream of finding a window to paint your nails, let alone have the time to wait for them to dry. That is why Blow Ltd’s premise of ‘fast beauty’ cries out as being the ideal way to get that pampering fix, all the while keeping one eye on your snoozing baby. You can book online or via the app, and the brand has two salons in central London.
Chloë says: I decided this face was in need of a pep-me-up, so I opted for a facial. All of these come as part of a package, so I paired mine with a gel manicure. Sara, my manicurist, arrived promptly with her tools, and just as my hands were having their top-coat dried, my therapist, Denise, arrived to start the facial. She explains that although it can be done lying down, it’s designed to be done sitting upright. And when she tells me my particular facial was initially created for the models backstage at Stella McCartney, my hopes sky-rocket!
The verdict? I was apprehensive about how much I’d enjoy having a treatment at home, but I was quickly put at ease. The facial was quick – living up to the company’s mantra – but I still felt very relaxed. Another advantage of having this done at home was allowing myself to stay make-up free and let the oils sink into my skin overnight. I woke up glowing!
Prices from £35, blowltd.com
Rebecca Moore, Managing Editor
What is it? As well as the mental aches and pains, newfound motherhood can bring about
a strain on your body – but escaping the house for a massage is the last thing on a very long list. Thankfully, mobile beauty service Milk offers treatments in the comfort of your own home through its website. Plus, it’s easy to amend your appointment within 48 hours
if something else crops up.
Rebecca says: When I heard Milk had launched its new full-body coconut massage, I was sold instantly. Simone, my therapist, arrived right on time with everything needed for the treatment – even a small, lavender-scented beanbag to fill the room with a calming aroma. Although slightly apprehensive as to how a relaxing environment could be achieved in my noisy London flat, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I managed to switch off. After swiftly setting up, Simone put on some soothing music and the blissful hour-long treatment began.
The verdict? The massage itself was both professional and relaxing. Naturally, the coconut oil left my skin feeling soft and rejuvenated, and it was a treat to completely drift off, if only for an hour.
Priced £70, milkbeauty.co.uk
Kate Finney, Editor-in-Chief
What is it? This on-demand mobile beauty service promises to bring the ‘polish of a professional nail salon to your London home, office or hotel’. The app is easy to navigate, on a phone or desktop, and allows you to book treatments that fit your busy schedule and lifestyle – whether it’s a quick fix or a longer and more luxurious treatment. Plus, LeSalon works hard behind the scenes to provide flexible working opportunities for its professional technicians, many of whom are mothers themselves.
Kate says: One of the few places I refuse to take my baby or toddler is a nail salon. There’s no definitive research on whether phthalates – the chemicals present in many polishes – are harmful to babies or not, but I’m not willing to take any chances. So, I jump at the chance to try a Shellac manicure and pedicure at home one evening after bedtime. Christine, my technician, is incredibly professional and skilled, and gets going quickly. We chat about motherhood and compare toddler horror-stories, and before I know it my fingers and toes have been transformed.
The verdict? I’m delighted with the results and can’t believe how easy and enjoyable the whole experience had been, I only wish I’d found LeSalon sooner.
Prices from £25, lesalonapp.com
Annie Quinton, Editorial Assistant
What is it? Ruuby is London’s first beauty concierge app – perfect for busy mothers who simply don’t have the time (or energy) to venture outdoors in the pursuit of self-indulgence. Using its little black book of salons and therapists, you can book a plethora of beauty treatments, from deep-tissue massages to a speedy cut-and-colour, to enjoy at home. Simply download the free app, and pay as you book. Alternatively, you can book and pay for services on the website, too.
Annie says: I booked a blow-dry at home with hairstylist Nico. I had been instructed to wash my hair before his arrival, which was perhaps the only downside of the whole experience – who doesn’t love having their hair washed for them? Nevertheless, he arrived promptly with his magic case of lotions and potions, ready and willing to tame my mane. Many hairdressers underestimate the amount of time it takes to blow-dry my thick hair, often resulting in a half-hearted ’do that quickly loses its shape. Nico, on the other hand, took the time to do the job properly.
The verdict? Despite the lengthy process, Nico kept me amused with celebrity anecdotes and tales of his Italian homeland, and even spoke kindly of my poorly made offering of coffee. He left me, more than an hour later, with bouncy, glossy tresses worthy of a night out.
Prices from £28, ruuby.com
Danielle Wilkins, Features Editor
What is it? Of course, every parent has the intention of putting healthy, home-cooked meals on the table for their family. But with hectic schedules, little ones to look after and post-work hunger often ruling our less-than-healthy choices, it’s not always possible. Step up, then, Mindful Chef, which allows busy parents to dish up nourishing meals by delivering fresh, seasonal ingredients and recipes straight to your door.
Danielle says: I ordered the ‘Classic’ box for two people, which offers meat, fish and plant-based recipes that change weekly. A purely plant-based box is also available for vegans.
The box arrived promptly on Monday, in time for the busy week ahead, and I have to admit, it was a delight to not have to decide for myself what I was going to eat that night.The ingredients for each recipe are separated into brown paper bags and had been kept perfectly chilled. The vegetables were vibrant and undeniably fresh, and the 30-minute recipes were easy to follow. Night one saw us create tamarind chicken and yellow pepper kebabs with red rice. The following evening we enjoyed a rich lentil and tomato bolognaise with courgetti and pine nuts. It was so tasty, even my usually carnivorous partner wasn’t worried about the lack of meat.
The verdict? Creative and convenient, Mindful Chef will definitely save new parents valuable time, and drag you out of your cookery rut. All the recipes are gluten-free and made with organic produce. In short, it’s the subscription service that makes healthy dinners a doddle – and that’s something I can get on board with.
Two-person and four-person boxes available, from £7 per person. mindfulchef.com