Make yourself at HOLM
are the play-on-words enshrined on the wall at House of Lady Muck - the millennial-pink haven buried in the deepest floors of Topshop, Oxford Street’s beauty section. It’s not hard to do just that when greeted by HOLM’s CEO: Laura Southern, “grab a chair” she tells me. “Water, Prosecco?”- it’s 10am, but I’m not complaining.
That’s the best thing about HOLM - you might be on one of the busiest streets in the world, but all your worries float away the moment you step foot into Laura’s pampering oasis.
I’m here for their signature ‘Lady Muck’ gel manicure, named after Laura herself who’s Mum refers to her as ‘Lady Muck’ due to her self-pampering ways (see, we told you she’s a woman after our own hearts).
As I settle down into the pink velvet salon chairs, I forget I’m in Topshop at all. However, the realisation is soon bought back to my attention when I realise the tunes from their in-house DJ are making me want to boogie out of my zen.
My manicure begins with the hardest task of all - picking a shade. HOLM carry a huge range of colours from The GelBottle Inc. but I opted for a glorious silver holographic shade from The GelBottle called Hola! Holo. The results are supposed to last up to 4 weeks with an extreme shine finish and are believed to support nail strengthening, so, in other words - I’m sold.
Next, the lovely Veronica shaped my usually short and stumpy nails into a smooth and natural shape, applying a cooling cuticle remover gel and pushing my remaining cuticles back to remove a somewhat decent nail-bed (much to my surprise!) The best part? Washing off my nail dust in the awesome pink and gold swan-sink. “Everyone comments on that!” laughs Laura as I snap my 37,546th Instagram pic of me washing my hands…
My nail technician Veronica tells me how she’s been a nail technician for decades, but that she’s never enjoyed working anywhere as much as HOLM. She credits the laid-back working environment, generous and kind bosses and a supportive space for her to be creative as reasons for her to be motivated and love the job that she does. To be honest, it’s not hard tosee why.
The next step is base coat. Veronica uses The GelBottle’s Rubber Base coat to help my weak nails to stay strong and prevent any damage to my manicure that may come from my nails flaking or snapping. She explains how she loves the products because they’re Vegan and prioritise the strength of the natural nail before anything else.
Then, it’s the fun part - colour time. The holographic gel glides on like it’s IRL Unicorn Tears and I get told off for trying to sneak a peak before the finished result. One thing I notice is that at no point in any part of the service do I feel rushed. For someone who used to feel like getting my nails done was just another errand which I needed to tick off a list, I was beginning to feel insanely pampered and longing for more.
We finish with one slick of The GelBottle’s Extreme Shine Topcoat and I’m just about to accept my time is up and the bliss is ending before Veronica douses my arm in hand-cream and cuticle oil and proceeds to give me the best arm and hand massage OF MY LIFE. Seriously, even if my nails weren’t now so darn pretty, I’d come here for this alone. Veronica spends 10 minutes working the creams and oils into my skin and relieving any tightness from my wrists, fingers and forearms.
The massage is one of HOLM’s unique selling points explains Laura, “you have to think from your clients point of view, what do they want and need? We add a massage and free mini bottle of Prosecco to every treatment over £30, it might be an added cost, but it’s all about enhancing our customer’s experience to the maximum so that they feel relaxed and that they are in a personable environment. That’s why people come back to us.”
At this point I’m prepared to book in for a block of 15 slots if needs be, as I walk out admiring my new holographic talons whilst waving bye to the wonderful HOLM team.
Now…I just need to speedily walk past all the super cute Topshop clothes surrounding the salon before I officially declare bankruptcy!