Has pampering fallen down your priority list since kids arrived on the scene? Louise Emma Clarke tries out the Manicure & Pedicure service at Caboodle Pamper & Play.
I wouldn’t label myself as high maintenance, but my one indulgence has always been manicure and pedicures. With a 14-month old in tow, this is easier said than done. I saw a great quote recently that jokes: “The Only Time a Woman is Helpless Is When Her Nail Polish Is Drying“ – and how true when you have a toddler in the house. The glossy, groomed nails of my pre-child self are now usually naked or embarrassingly chipped.
With this in mind, I jumped at the chance to head along to Caboodle Pamper & Play for their manicure and pedicure service. The idea is that frazzled mums can relax in the pamper area with their feet up and a magazine as their nails are groomed, while their children enjoy the play area next door with one-to-one supervision. It sounded like the solution to my grooming woes.
Arriving at the premises on the second floor of Dubai Mall, I was greeted by a friendly reception team and lead to the pamper area. Pointing to my seat and passing me a stack of magazines, one of the assistants chirped: “Let’s make Mum comfortable” and that’s when my blood ran cold. My son was still sat in his buggy alongside me - and while a lot of their customers might have been happy to hand over their child without a sideways glance, I was not one of those mums. I insisted on carrying him into the play area, meeting his carer Ayla, and making sure he was settled – and it was only when I saw him toddle off to the play house in the corner happily that I made my way back to the pamper area. Having said that, the team seemed unfazed by the self-enforced settling in period, so I am guessing that the rule is to let mum be the guide.
The play area itself is fairly small, but packed with things for little ones to do; rails of dressing up clothes, tables for craft work, a vast array of toys for all ages scattered across the soft floor tiles, and a television playing child-appropriate DVD’s. I felt reassured by the fact that Caboodle now offer one-to-one care (recently changed from one-to-two) and I liked the fact the pamper area was so close that I could hear my son babbling away next door.
Now ready for my manicure and pedicure, I was invited to head over to the selection of nail polishes (all organic and chemical free, so suitable for little fingers and mums-to-be too) and selected a bright and summery coral. With one therapist for both hands and feet, I settled back with a magazine and cup of herbal tea as she made a start on my toes. I don’t know quite what I had been expecting, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the attention to detail, which included scrubbing, filing, cuticle work, nail filing, hydrating gloves and socks, a blissful massage, and expert painting.
The pampering area reminded me of a Wild Western saloon with it’s swing doors, dark wooden décor, and large mirrors on the walls, but feminine touches like rose-printed cushions, wooden birds, and cream and pink printed wallpaper gave it a soft boudoir feel. As relaxed as I was, I must admit that I loved getting glimpses of my son every now and again as he passed the swing doors with Ayla hot on his tail!
With my toes painted and the therapist now working on my hands, Ayla came to tell me that my son seemed tired. I asked her to put him into in his buggy and let him sleep, but not to let him see me or he’d want me to pick him up (and that would be one smudged manicure). She did exactly what I asked, parking his buggy around the corner and staying with him while he drifted off to sleep.
Exhausted from all the playing, he was still out for the count when I was finished 15 minutes later. I asked my therapist for some quick-dry drops so we could leave quickly and she happily obliged – and just a few minutes later I was strolling back through the mall feeling pleased as punch with my bright shiny nails as my son snoozed peacefully.
Caboodle gives Mums a great excuse for ‘me time’, whilst gently easing little ones into independence. And when it comes to prices, I am very impressed – Caboodle stays competitive with nail spas in Dubai, despite the fact childcare is also included. So will I be back? I’m already planning my next visit for when the nail varnish starts to chip!
Caboodle Pamper & Play Manicure and Pedicure Service costs Dhs170 (Dhs120 for the manicure and Dhs50 for Kid’s Playtime). For more information, visit www.caboodle.ae.