Valentines Mansion re-opened its doors to the public on Sunday, offering a range of ways to treat your mind, body and soul! Just what was needed after days of horrible weather that made you want to hide under the covers!
Finally, a bit of a break! I ditched my umbrella and embraced the good weather as I headed towards Valentines Park. Ahead of me the mansion was standing proudly dressed in a veil of sunlight; a crowd gathered at its doors, eagerly awaiting a day of pampering. The staff looked delighted to be re-opening the mansion to the public. As the doors unlocked, we all flocked in and were greeted with beaming smiles of welcome. Incense floated dreamily through the air, melting me into a state of intense relaxation.
I followed this aroma right through to a candle-lit room which housed a tarot/spirit reader, and all the books and CD’s you could possibly need to help you unwind; Chakra seemed to be one of the most popular methods of relaxation. Something that completely dazzled me was the table full of stones, candles and wands. The vendor explained that the wands were all handmade out of Elder Wood and used for healing; they looked magical. The gentleman who handcrafted the wands gave a demonstration, and, I must say, his volunteer looked very peaceful, I was quite jealous!
As I wandered around browsing the stalls I felt a bit in awe of the mansion. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit, the beauty of the place never ceases to amaze me! It is just like stepping into a scene from a movie with its grand staircase, colourful stained-glass and portraits. I peeped into the other rooms discovering hundreds of different ways to relax; I never knew there were so many! I finally found a more familiar method when I stumbled across a room dedicated to yoga.
After browsing through the beauty stalls I headed upstairs, marvelled at the mansion a bit more, then went to the third floor for the Open Studios where artists were giving demonstrations. As I made my way down the corridor I bumped into the mansion’s marketing officer, Hardip Sohal, busy as bee yet she had time to express her glee at the buzzing event and the big queue that had formed outside. It was clear all the staff shared her excitement!
I continued along to the studios that were full of beautiful artwork, ranging from portraits to pottery. I was most intrigued by Sadia’s studio, she was there to tell me about ‘Sadia’s Tea Party’, a unique idea which involves a range of pop-up tea parties around London that allow you to indulge yourself by drinking tea in ways inspired by different customs and traditions. Sadia told me she was born and bred in Redbridge and has already held many events in the mansion as well as one just round the corner, Barkingside’s Mad-Hater tea party. Sadia claimed her love of the drink comes from the fact that she finds something so comforting about having tea – she said this all while, very appropriately, nursing a cuppa!
Feeling perfectly pampered, relaxed and highly cultured I glided downstairs and waltzed happily back through the mansion. Everyone’s walk and expression mimicked mine as we all fell into a blissfully chilled-out trance. Now all I needed was to head home to sleep, soundly, right through the afternoon.
Post Author: Raeesa Mukhtar
Photo credit: Hardip Sohal, Valentines Mansion