Propping Up The (Nail) Bar

I was having A Shit Day last week and, for one reason or another, had a day off work that was being wasted so I thought I’d have a mooch down to John Lewis and check out the Jessica Nail Bar in The Beauty Retreat they have there.
I did the worlds laziest bit of half-arsed research ever beforehand. I merely googled the Jessica Bar in John Lewis and the Nails Inc Bar in Fenwick’s and decided on the Jessica Bar based purely on the fact that they’re nearly £10 cheaper for a manicure that’s 15 minutes longer. Frankly I just needed my nails tidying up fairly quickly for roughly £25 and a bit of TLC to help combat the afore mentioned shitness.

The Retreat in John Lewis is tucked into a little nook beside the beauty counters, set back from the hustle and bustle of the store. The Jessica bar is situated at the front of the retreat.
I didn’t have time to book so I casually strolled in, only a tiny bit desperate, and asked if they could fit me in that day. The girls arranged for me to come back at 3pm as they were currently very busy. Not quite a walk-in but perfectly acceptable. I was in no hurry, just pleased to be seen to that day.

When I popped back just before 3 o’clock I was shown to a lovely quiet, plush seating area at the back of the Retreat while they finished with the last customer. I was then moved to the front and the lovely girl (I’ve forgotten her name already) set to work on my poor nails. She was very chatty and talked me through each treatment as she applied it to my nails. She was perhaps a little chattier than I’m used to but I can’t emphasise enough how much this was a GOOD thing. Let me remind you, loyal readers, that I was having A Shit Day. I really needed and appreciated having someone being nice to me and bending my ear a bit. She did a great job of my nails too and I was really pleased. I love a good french manicure. I’ll ask for her again when I go back I reckon. She explained to me that Jessica don’t trim your cuticles because it makes them grow back thicker. Who knew? See, still learning. So they just push then down, which suits me. My nails looked just as glossy and lovely and felt really strong when they were finished. I had the 30 minute Jessica Prescription Manicure (£21).

The lovely chatty girl then took me back to the big sofa area and brought me a fruit tea. She warned me it might not be very nice (it was rank) and told me I could stay here for as long as I liked, as my nails dried. I thought that was particularly great as I hate being rushed out of a salon with wet nails, unable to pay, open doors or exist in a busy society without holding your hands out, spread in front of you like a moron, gingerly avoiding touching things lest you smudge or chip a still-wet manicure. I barely last 10 minutes in this situation before I’m cursing and trying to smooth over an accident.

In short, I had a really good experience. Simple things like this can really brighten up a day. Having an excuse to put some nice boots on with your skinnies and chat to a stranger while being lightly pampered is the perfect way to make yourself feel better and unwind a bit, and you walk away with a fresh new set of french manicured nails. Nail bars are a great way to achieve this without having to trek out of your way to a salon or book weeks in advance. Maybe I’ll try the Nails Inc one next time, although to be honest I really rather enjoyed my trip to Jessica Nails…

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