Sandie Duncan has worked at London’s oldest Spa, The Porchester for, by her own admission, a very long time. During her time she has developed her own body scrub based on an acute understanding of what her customers want and what works best on sensitive skin – creating a product that’s both indulgent and natural.
A perfectly pink glass jar (fully reusable) is filled with sweet almond oil, sea salt, citrus essence and brown sugar and the tag line ‘rub me’. Oh go on then. Sandie sells her Tia & Anda Scrub from The Spa direct, with talks in the pipeline for it to roll out to some big name beauty outlets in the UK. The joy of this means, that if you’re going in to grab a pot, you may as well sign up for Sandie to give one of her signature Brown Sugar Scrub downs.
The Porchester, being an old Victorian bath house doesn’t fall into the ‘gleaming interiors/candles/puffy white towel’ cliche of a modern spa. It’s a steamy, naked, down-at-heel place within a grand building that has as many opulent flourishes (the breathtaking plunge pool and it’s elegant statues) as it does basic facilities (rickety lockers and tiny unglamorous changing rooms). Primarily The Porchester is a space to relax and get clean rather than be wrapped up in cotton wool and cucumber slices.
There are two steam rooms, a sauna with original tiling that’s lined with wooded recliners, an icy plunge pool, showers, relaxation area and adjoining council pool. Sandie’s treatment room has two stone beds on which you’re washed, brushed and scrubbed with vigour. Afterwards the unctious oils seep into your skin as you kicked back in one of the hot rooms, until eventually you’re left buffed, energised and velvety smooth.
I liked the fact Sandie has developed the scrub as a one woman show, sticking to her guns with natural ingredients and remaining true to her instincts on everything from packaging to colours and fonts. The scrub is named after her children and really is so inoffensive to the body, that during my scrub down a little slipped down my shoulder and fell into my mouth and my goodness it tasted delicious! How many beauty products really are good enough to eat?
Spa opening times: Daily: 10.00 – 22.00 Ladies: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Sunday (until 4pm)
Men: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday Couples: Sunday (4pm – 10pm)
The Porchester Spa is open seven days a week from 10am-10pm and offers a pay as you go or membership option. The Spa operates mixed or male / female only sessions. 020 7792 3980