After the let-down that was my “Garra Rufa” fish pedicure (click HERE to read more) I was hankering after a proper, full-on pedicure. Not just a ‘file and paint’ or a bit of a tickle with some crappy Strawberry Delight foot-scrub, but a well-considered and thorough treatment. I wanted the hard bits of skin removed, the health of my nails checked, those pesky bits of hang-nail taken off without me ripping off half of my toe-skin. I had heard of Margaret Dabbs before – her signature Medical Pedicure had been recommended to me time and time again, but I had never found the right time to book myself in. Oh. Silly. Me.
The Margaret Dabbs foot experience is one that every lady (and man!) should have at least once. I say at least once, because even if you did just go the once it would change the way you treated your feet for the rest of your life. It differs from a normal pedicure in that your treatment is carried out by a fully trained podiatrist – a foot expert who has spent years and years looking at feet and feet only. A podiatrist can not only treat all kinds of skin and nail complaints but can spot when a more serious medical condition may be afoot. (SORRY!)
I booked in at the Margaret Dabbs Sole Spa at Liberty in London. I think it only opened late last year, and it certainly looked very sparkly and new! There were two treatment rooms (one shown above) and then a reflexology room with a gorgeous ‘chill-out’ area. A nice little haven in the basement of a historic building in the centre of a bustling, noisy city. I was in one of the treatment rooms with my wonderful podiatrist Tamara. Now I have to devote a few sentences solely (SORRY!) to Tamara because she was so passionate about feet, and so fiercely loyal towards Margaret Dabbs and the whole concept behind the brand. For Tamara, it’s not just about ‘sorting out the feet’ and sending the client on their way, it’s about providing a luxurious experience with long-lasting effects. It’s about educating the client so that they can maintain the condition of their feet in between visits and it’s about doing all of this in the same amount of time that it would normally take to have a standard file and polish.
I found Tamara fascinating. She passed on so much great information that I won’t be able to fit it all into one post – there’ll be a fair few foot-related pieces coming up over the next week or so! We didn’t stop chatting for the whole hour that I was in the chair.
But enough chit-chat, onto the feet! What were my feet like before the treatment? I’ll show you. Look away Foot Fearers!
Tamara set to work with her tools and the lovely nail technician started on my manicure. For the ultimate time-saver, you can have a file and polish or a full manicure carried out whilst you have your medi-pedi, which is a great way to multi-task whilst actually having to do nothing at all for yourself! If only you could get your roots touched up and your eyebrows plucked at the same time!
Whilst Tamara took care of my feet, we discussed the nail bar up the road from me. Let’s call it…”Jimmy’s Nails.” It carries out ‘Full Pedicures’ using reusable metal instruments that look like vegetable peelers. You sit in a huge massage chair with your feet in a paddling-pool at the bottom and the ladies beaver away at your soaked feet, filling their laps with shavings of your skin. It’s pretty spectacular to watch, but I have my concerns about the health and safety aspect..
Rightly so apparently. The instruments are usually only ‘sterilised’ between uses by placing them back into a tub full of disinfectant! Ugh! At Margaret Dabbs all tools are one-use only. Blades are in sealed packets and are thrown away afterwards – the same goes for the filing tips that fit on the ends of the drills. Everything is perfectly hygienic and there’s no soaking the feet in a paddling pool – apparently it’s far better to work on the feet dry, not wet – the final effects are much more long-lasting. I suppose I won’t be going back to my local ever again then!
After 45 minutes – which, I must stress, were all absolutely painless – my feet were perfect. Tamara had removed excess hard skin with a surgical knife, scraping away tiny bit by tiny bit (impressively fast!) until my feet were completely smooth. (I’m sure that the actual shape of my big toes has changed slightly – where there was a build-up of hard skin, I used to have a massive bulge and now it has pretty much gone!) My toenails were completely clean and free of skin, the cuticles removed without cutting, the ends smooth and perfectly shaped.
The Medi-Pedi was finished off with cream and oil from the Margaret Dabbs product range – both amazing. I’m going to be talking about these in another post, though, because Tamara has told me exactly how to maintain my perfect feet at home and I’m going to pass on the instructions!
I think that the Medi-Pedi is incredible value at £75 – considering that a bog-standard pedicure in London can cost upwards from £45! The Margaret Dabbs experience would be worth the money just to have a trained podiatrist go to work on your feet, but you also get a top-quality pedicure with polish! (Polishes are Rococo, by the way – kind to nails and amazing shades to choose from.) My feet felt lighter and refreshed afterwards and I will most certainly be hot-footing it (SORRY!) to the Sole Spa again before the summer sandals come out!
To browse treatments or find out more about Margaret Dabbs and her clinics, click HERE!