Tea is many things to many people. But to those of us inclined toward a bit of self-indulgence, tea can be the ultimate way to pamper yourself. It will also add that spa touch to your tea time. Such versatility!
Pampering Yourself with Tea
You work hard, play hard, and even rest hard. Time to stop and get a bit of pampering. And tea is here to help!
1 Have Some of Super Special Tea
Many of us have stashed away a super special tea saved for special occasions – a finer white tea, a rarer pu-erh, or even one of those first flush Darjeelings, for example. Get some out and enjoy. You deserve it. And that’s what this is all about. Steep in that special teapot and serve in a special teacup (even if it’s one you use everyday).
2 Give Yourself a Tea Facial
Green tea is usually the choice for a tea facial. [Health claims: Very high in anti-oxidants having anti-aging effects. When applied to the skin, green tea is said to repair scar tissue, prevent wrinkles and blemishes, and help with warts, psoriasis, acne, and rosacea. As a sunblock, green tea is supposed to reduce or erase sun damage.]
You can make one at home following this simple recipe:
- Heat 1/3 cup of water to 160°F.
- Add in a teaspoon of loose green tea (using an infuser ball is a good idea) or use one teabag.
- Steep until the water has cooled from steaming to lukewarm.
- In a small bowl, put in one tablespoon of sugar.
- Add in one tablespoon of tea liquid. (The green tea will be cool enough not to dissolve the sugar.)
- Add a second tablespoon of sugar and mix again.
- Add in a little more tea until you get a consistency like applesauce or a little thinner.
- Apply to your face either with a cotton pad or with your fingertips, rubbing in circular motions and avoiding your eyes and nose.
3 Add Tea to a Favorite Recipe
There are bunches of recipes that you could start with. A few that look especially tempting to me:
- Smoked Tea Duck – Lapsang Souchong makes this duck extra special and avoids a smoke-filled kitchen.
- Peach Tea Cobbler – love this! Fresh peaches are a must to make this dish the best it can be.
- Chocolate Earl Grey Truffles – Combines the joy of chocolate with one of the favorite flavored teas of all time: Earl Grey.
- Masala chai baklava – Uses a breakfast tea blend to add a special flavor and aroma to this classic Greek treat.
4 Better Yet, Go Out to a Special Tea Room
Just be sure the tea room you go to is truly special. Too many are just fancy cafés where tea is almost an afterthought. Look online and ask friends and family before taking that plunge. A bad experience is not self-pampering. Been there, done that. (The last experience was so bad that I’ve sworn off of tea rooms but you might fare better.)
5 Even Better, Have a Catered Tea Time
Yes, there are places that specialize in catering tea parties – and weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Christenings, and other special events (retirements, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.). They will provide wonderful teas and treats in a very pampering manner.
Whatever you do to achieve that pampered feeling, I hope when it’s all over you feel refreshed and ready to take on the world – or at least the normal tasks in your life. If not, you may need to try the spa approach as shown below.
Adding That Spa Touch to Tea Time
Time to de-stress, detox, and generally recover from indulgences, parties, and other excesses (such as going too long without sleep). There is a sure-fire way to do this. You need to add a spa touch to your tea time, and here’s how!
What a Typical Spa Offers
- Massage — You get a trained professional who knows how to rub you the right way! Types: Swedish, Couples, Deep Tissue, Foot, Reflexology, Shiatsu, and Tui Na.
- Facials — They begin with a cleansing and analysis of the skin under a bright light. Then: Exfoliation, Extraction, Massage, Mask, and Moisturizer. The main determining factors: your age and skin type.
- Body Scrubs — The usual types are dry, fruit, sugar, and salt scrubs. Getting off layers of dead skin cells and stimulating blood flow are the usual goals.
- Body Wraps — Your whole body gets wrapped, with the goal of improving skin appearance, metabolism, etc. Types: Algae/Seaweed (rich in vitamins and amino acids, absorbed through the skin), Cellulite (reduces dimpled skin), Herbal (to heal and detoxify), Mud (for increasing circulation and removing toxins from the skin), Slimming (solution-soaked wraps to release excess fluids).
- Hair/Nail Services — Basically cosmetic in nature: Eyebrow and Lash Tinting, Hair Styling and Care, Hair Extensions, Lash Extensions, Makeup Instruction/Application, Manicures, Pedicures, Waxing.
- Water Treatments — Hydrotherapy (saunas, whirlpool baths, baths, and wraps), Scottish Hose (hot and cold water sprays to the body), Thalassotherapy (seawater and marine-based products), Vichy Shower (overhead jets release water of varying pressures), Watsu (massage and dance-like movements performed in water).
- Energy Work — Reiki (Rei meaning spiritual consciousness and Ki meaning life-force) practitioners claim to see the flow of life-force through the body.
- Others — Varies by spa, and some are too yucky to even mention here.
What Your Spa-Like Tea Time Would Entail
First, relax, there is no need for you to go to such extremes as wrapping your whole body in some weird substance or Saran Wrap, or getting scrubbed down with salt. A few simple touches can give you the main things that you get at most spas: a relaxing atmosphere and a feeling you are being pampered.
The relaxing atmosphere can be achieved by the following items:
- Candles — Yes, plural. A single candle is just plain wimpy and leaves things too dark, meaning you need lights on or have to hold your tea time in the daylight hours with a curtain or two open. Several candles add sufficient light and can allow you to indulge after the kids are in bed or simply as a way to relax before your own bedtime.
- Wardrobe — The key here is comfort. And sufficient warmth. Wear a comfy robe or at least comfy clothing and items that will keep you warm enough so that you don’t feel chilly. That would include your feet, which would feel good in extra thick and soft socks with or without fuzzy slippers.
- Proper Setting — Tea in the bathtub is an option. A cozy corner with a comfy chair is a great choice. If you have a fireplace, light it up and sit on the floor in front of it. And then there’s tea in bed – ultimate self-pampering.
The Pampered Feeling Can Be Achieved by These Items
- The Right Touches — An extra cushion or two and a soft throw or blanket will keep you feeling warm and safe.
- Being Served — Nothing beats having someone prepare and serve your tea and treats to you. Few of us have such luxuries as valets and personal maids, but that’s what spouses are for! At least occasionally.
- Tuning Out — You are focusing on you. No phones, emails, social media tweets and bleeps and boops, and no family, friends, and neighbors. You get to choose the tea just right for you and the perfect food accompaniments, if any.
Set aside those chores and daily tasks and have some “me and tea” time in spa-like fashion and be pampered.
© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text