Avid and vigilant readers of this column (thanks Mum!) will know I have shared a few things with them over time. Firstly my fondness for wine, whinging and cigaretting, secondly my delight at anything that glitters, namely golden Bond Girl creams , and thirdly my pathological, verging on the babyish, dislike of facials .
I would no sooner spend an hour horizontal, in a gently darkened room, listening to whale song, while someone pats creams with little tappy fingers all over my reclined visage, than hook up with Paul Ross for a ‘little bit more than a chat’ on a roundabout near Maidenhead.
But then again life is for learning, I’m quite fond of Paul, and if a name like The Black Chicken Facial doesn’t peak one’s curiosity and make one swallow one’s prejudices along with the unctions then I don’t know what else could.
So off I went to BeautyWorksWest , a progressive and achingly hip salon in the glamorous Notting Hill district. It is owned by an old mate of mine, Susie Rogers, who in the days of yore when I was a blushing bride trying to squeeze into a, frankly, rather too small poofy frock, used to screech the word “Pencil!!!” at me three times a week, to encourage me to imagine having a pencil up my fanny in the name of hardened-core Pilates. But Susie has moved on and expanded (cleverly, not the same direction as me – actually I am convinced she has a portrait in her attic because she looks the same/actually better than she did ten years ago).
Sadly, she was off having fun when I turned up to her small, yet perfectly formed salon, where I was meeted and greeted by Elise Moritz: the woman behind the Black Chicken Facial – a treatment she developed over six months working with organic natural ingredients in Australia.
Now apparently, according to any Aussie worthy of her thongs, sunnies and tinnies, the Black Chicken Balm of Ages is THE handbag essential no one would leave for the beach without. It can be rubbed anywhere and cure almost anything including eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, nappy rash, split ends. The name itself has nothing to do with tasty chicken, black, burnt or otherwise, and all to do with ancient crones known as 'Black Chickens' who cured the sick, dolled out herbs, spells and little bit of old lady magic.
So it was only natural for Elise to team up with their team and come up with a delicious cacao and lavender facial that is designed to hydrate and soothe and plump the backside out of your best-side.
So I lay down, with my teeth gently gritted, and prepared to have the sides of my nose annoyingly patted while slowly beginning to smell of pudding. However, the patting, poking and poncing that I find so unbearable never happened. Elise simply exfoliated, cleansed and popped on the delicious mask and while I fermented she proceeded to give my arms, hands, neck and shoulders the massage of their life.
It was quite off the scale. Admittedly I had fallen asleep the night before as if in a coma - mouth open catching flies - and had woken up unable to move my head, but she was amazing. She found knots and lumps and points that had never been mapped before and all the while my skin was doing a happy tap dance underneath her organic, sustainably-resourced, super mask.
One hour later, I peeled myself off the padded terry bed and started to giggle. I felt so ridiculously jolly. I don’t know what button she’d pressed or what muscle she’d tweaked but I skipped out of the salon like a small pony in a field of fresh spring grass. Not only did I have a glowing face but much more importantly, a positive attitude. Forget the God damn turkey; all you want for Christmas is a Black Chicken Facial.