Walking into The Potting Shed Spa for the first time I inwardly muttered a little “wow”.
I had heard so many great things about the place that to be honest I was worried I may be a tad disappointed.
This little haven of creative comfort looked absolutely nothing like I was expecting.
I knew the selling point of the Potting Shed was the fact it had distanced itself from the ‘normal’ beauty salon experience.
But I didn’t expect it to look ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like a beauty salon.
And there lies its appeal.
In an industry that has become so fiercely competitive, I as a regular customer to getting my nails done/having a massage/getting new lashes has become a bit disillusioned with what’s on offer.
There’s no uniqueness, no real stand-out experience, with a vast majority of salons massively lacking in what they should strive to achieve.
Buying beauty is about treating yourself and the Potting Shed treats you top notch.
For me I want to feel cocooned from the outside world and I want a service that’s worthy of my cash, especially given I should be using it for credit card debt.
As the name suggests, the Potting Shed theme is all about gardens and gardening.
It feels a bit like a very plush shed.
There are gnomes at every turn, watering cans, pastel-coloured bunting dressing the shelves and signs exclaiming “I’m in the garden” or “Thyme for a rest”.
The reason for this? Very simple, as owner Sam Pearce explains:
“Eastthorpe Hall was my home and in order to turn it into a spa my mum and dad moved into the potting shed.”
Taking centre stage inside the Potting Shed are comfy leather chairs for weary ‘gardener’s’ hands and feet to be pruned to perfection.
The treatment brochure is cleverly crafted into sections offering things like ‘Pruning and clipping neglected hedges: waxing treatments – to look after a lawn properly you need to do more than mow it once a week’.
In other salons a bikini wax would be advertised as such, here it’s much more fun: Lady Garden – Borders Only, or, Removing the Turf – Full Landscaping.
The fun is intentional.
Sam says: “The industry is all so predictable and I wanted to shake it up, to make people laugh.
“There’s a conception that the beauty industry is all about very beautifully manicured people with scraped back hair and perfect white uniforms. We are the complete antithesis. We all wear jeans and a pinny.”
My time at the Potting Shed was spent indulging in a boutique facial complete with scalp and shoulder massage, lava shell foot massage and express manicure.
I was tucked away in a darkened room, enveloped on a bed while my therapist Rebecca worked her magic.
I have had many massages in my time but there was something way above average here.
During my facial, Rebecca’s two hands felt like the hands of a dozen people.
Movement was seamless and continuous; every centimetre of my face was kneaded putting me into a state of deep relaxation.
Using products from organic skincare company Pinks Boutique, my skin was left revitalised and glowing. (In fact, I went straight to the supermarket afterwards wearing NO MAKE UP without putting the fear of God into shoppers).
The lava shell foot massage was amazing. Having never had my feet massaged, it was surprising to realise how much tension there was and it tipped me over the edge into a state of practical unconsciousness.
Afterwards, somehow I managed to stagger off the bed and slump onto one of the leather chairs for the manicure.
Three months of wearing fake nails has done nothing for a girl’s hands and my talons are practically dead.
But with some gentle care and the help of a lime (very good for cleaning the tips of discoloured nails apparently) I have started to see signs of life.
It would be very easy to keep rambling on about great things at the Potting Shed.
It’s a bit like the beauty equivalent of a chocolate addict’s trip to the Willy Wonka Factory.
The longer you are there, the more wonderful things you experience; the speciality tea, the little bags of seeds scattered around, the TVs for clients to watch (yes, TVs in a beauty salon, it really works!)
But I guess these are all reasons for you to go and try it out for yourself.