Real Lives: Did I say we were going out for dinner?

Don't fancy braving the cold? You don't have to. A new industry is devoted to meeting your every desire - on the settee. EMMA COOK reports

Luci Morgan wouldn't dreaming of relaxing anywhere else. Not for her the mass appeal of a Clarins beauty centre - too far away. Luci stays at home and the experts come to her. As well as a personal trainer, she's now visited by a masseur once a month and, if she's feeling flush, a beauty therapist for a manicure and facial.

Our own homes can now make Holmes Place look like Somerfield on the scale of luxurious pampering. Can't be bothered to drag yourself from the sofa? One of London's leading masseurs, Nari Sadhuram, based in Maida Vale, will let you sleep on it with his full body massage and Indian head massage. Naturally you pay a little more - Nari charges pounds 110 an hour. "I'm travelling to the client because his time is worth a lot of money. It's not my time they're paying for - it's their own." Not exactly logical perhaps, but who cares when you can languish in front of the TV while Nari drains your lymph?

Caroline Aston, based in Notting Hill, will charge pounds 60 for an aromatherapy session, pounds 50 for a Swedish massage and pounds 40 for a facial. In the past three years her "home delivery" service has flourished. "After a massage, the last thing you want to do is get in a taxi," she points out. You can even hold your own aromatherapy parties. Knots Elementals will visit your home and show you how to create shampoos and conditioners from various unguents and oils.

The availability of these services reflects our growing desire to take serious self-indulgence behind closed doors. This appetite for couture cocooning makes holing up with a takeaway, 10 Silk Cut and a bottle of wine look positively primitive. And you can forget pyjamas and woolly socks: if you're being visited by a mobile therapist, you need the wardrobe to match.

Toast, the Welsh mail-order company, has around 45,000 regular customers buying into its luxurious lounger range: embroidered slippers, velvet drawstring trousers and cashmere bedsocks. "We're interested in the whole idea of closing the door and pulling on some cashmere," says Jamie Seaton, co-owner and designer of Toast. "It's a sensual thing and it's also nice to draw the line between the work day and the evening." The internet has enabled us to retreat into another world from the comfort of our desktop, and it seems fashion and beauty have followed suit.

According to Chris Bates, associate director with youth marketing agency Informer Interactive, this phenomenon is another symptom of an increasingly individualised society. "We want instant gratification and we want it on our terms, on our patch," he says. He cites an upmarket takeaway in London's Battersea that offers every type of food, from Chinese to Indian, Malaysian to French and Italian. "It's a home service culture and it's only just started. I see a time when you can phone one number for everything: food takeaways, dry-cleaning and massage."

Tann-Rokka, another mail-order company and shop in Camden, London, can't keep up with the demand for fluffy beanbags and silk pyjamas. "There's definitely a market here," says owner, Lisa Lee. "People don't want to answer the door in scruffy old pyjamas. They want to relax and look good."

Meanwhile, Ilse Crawford, vice president for Donna Karan's homes collection, has published a homage to this sybaritic nesting tendency, The Sensual Home. She points out in the book that where once the kitchen and the sitting room were the home's focal points, the bathroom and the bedroom now take centre stage.

Charlotte-Anne Fidler, beauty and style director of Elle, agrees that the market for home comforts reflects our desire for a tailor-made service. "Beauty is becoming more personalised," she explains. "If you go to somewhere like Clarins you're having what everybody is having. These days we want our therapies to be designed just for us - we want couture massages for our individual needs. It's also about wanting a unique service where you're on a limited client list and very few people have the number of the person who's treating you."

Prestige is certainly a key factor. Nari has travelled to Paris and Bombay to see clients in their homes. "I visited a famous Bollywood actress in Bombay recently and it was very much about her being able to say that she had her own masseur in London who was visiting," he says.

It's great to be able to boast to your friends about a one-to-one with the best masseur in town, but there are potential downsides. As I sat in my living room and waited for Nari to give me a taste of home indulgence, I realised I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of stripping off in my home for a complete stranger. He's well aware of potential anxieties - "I always give people the choice of what they want to wear and try to put them at their ease," he told me as he unfolded what looked like a hospital bed. I lay and stared at the ceiling, cursing the cobwebs and the cracked plaster I'd never noticed, while Nari got to work with a dry skin brush. He started the deep massage, climbed over me to knead my back, while I felt a little disoriented, naked on my stomach, staring at the fridge and last night's washing up. It didn't help that I was freezing - my central heating clicked off half way through. Still, by the time he left, it was all I could do to stagger to my bedroom and collapse.

Which is, presumably, the appeal. Cath Kidston, a furnishings designer, enjoys regular visits from a mobile masseur. "It's nice to be at home and potter around in a stupor after the massage," she says. "Being at home makes it more relaxing." Luci Morgan says the same of her personal trainer. "You can have a workout, have a bath and do the washing up - all in the space of an hour. It's so much more enjoyable."

Until you have to get your chequebook out. Luci pays pounds 100 a week for two sessions. Think how many pizza deliveries you could get for that. I know which I'd prefer.

PERSONAL SERVICES - PUT YOUR FEET UP

Massage

5 Nari Sadhuram offers full-body massage in your home from pounds 110 (tel: 0831 818846).

5 The Shiatsu Society will put you in touch with practitioners who do home visits (tel: 01733 758341).

Aromatherapy

5 Knots Elementals offers home tuition sessions in aromatherapy for a bargain pounds 7 per person. (tel: 0181 941 0759).

Clothes and comforts

5 Tann-Rokka, shop (in Camden, north London) and mail-order company, is dedicated to luxury lounging (tel: 0171 722 3999).

5 Toast, mail-order company, specialises in sensual home comforts (tel: 01558 668800).

Fitness trainers

5 The Association of Personal Trainers can provide a nationwide list of trainers prepared to come to your home (tel: 0171 836 1102).

5 If you want to brag about who you share your trainer with and are prepared to join a waiting list of the well-heeled and famous, Matt Roberts, based in Mayfair, London, will visit your home for pounds 55 per hour (tel: 0171 491 4232). Or try Anastasia, who counts Ben de Lisi among her clients and charges around pounds 40 per hour (tel: 0958 520082).

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    £70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...

    Year 4 Teacher required for 2 terms

    £21500 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

    Accounts Assistant - Sales Ledger, Sage Line 50 - St Albans

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful and w...

    EBD Teacher

    £120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?