I don’t think you need me to tell you that this time of years is at least a little nuts. Between holiday shopping, work commitments, visiting family, and winter weather complicating the simple act of leaving the house (for me, at least), this time of year tends to leave me feeling simultaneously wound up and wrung out. It’s also an odd time for the social calendar—people you haven’ t seen in months pop up, and others come home for a visit. It’s easy to find yourself with far less time for your special somebody in order to make time for everybody else.
That’s definitely been happening to me. Between work, social commitments, book writing, house guests, and other rather mundane things, it’s been really hard to find a time when both my boyfriend and I are free. That leaves me wanting to make sure what time we do spend together is great, but not wanting to complicate things at an already complicated time of year.
So, here’s what we did last weekend—we went Christmas tree hunting (aka Vegetarian trophy hunting) in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, drank cocoa by the fire, strung up Christmas lights, watched Elf, and swapped some fantastic shoulder and foot rubs with this romantic massage oil. It was an utterly fantastic and uncomplicated December day.
Now, before we go any further we need to back things up a bit for some context: I love back rubs. Take me to a spa and I’m not interested in mud baths or seaweed wraps—all I care about is the massage. The longer, the better. Every boyfriend I’ve ever had has known I’m easily won over by a quality shoulder rub, and my friend Sarah and I have been swapping quid-pro-quo back rubs for a good 15 years now. So, when Denis Merkas of MELT: Massage for Couples got in touch with me about reviewing his latest online massage course, I know Sarah would be my vetting buddy (because if you can’t invite your bestie over to watch instructional couples massage videos together, who can you ask!?).
Denis promised me PG rated, hanky-panky free, fully clothed videos, and he kept his word. Sarah and I liked how easy and effective the techniques demonstrated in the videos were, and even after years of giving what we thought were pretty good massages, we quickly learned some great new techniques (we also thought the job of being the massage receiver in the videos had to be the modelling job of all time). We tested out Denis’ neck rub routine on each other (brilliant after a long work day) and left with plans to test out our new moves (and our new romantic massage oil) with our guys.
And so, after my boyfriend and I emerged from the Canadian wild with a fluffy fir tree in tow, we kicked off our boots and set our soggy socks out to dry by the fire. Under the guise of showing him what I’d learned and testing out my new massage oil recipe we sipped cocoa and swapped back rubs (for me) and foot rubs (for him). It probably sounds like a nauseatingly idyllic Canadian winter day, and maybe it was, but I don’t care. And best of all? The massages are spreading. Spontaneous kitchen back rubs seriously disrupt dish washing, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The massage oil I used is a simple one; a base of sweet almond, safflower, or grapeseed oil is blended with an intoxicating blend of essential oils. The base notes of the blend are sweet, vanilla-y benzoin and deep, complex dark patchouli. The patchouli isn’t overwhelming or dominant at all (I’d argue you won’t even be able to identify it as patchouli), it just adds a note of dry spice to the sweet benzoin. To that base I’ve added warm clary sage and rich, romantic rose. Clary sage is often said to be a women’s essential oil, said to have uterine effects (you’ll commonly find it in anti-cramp blends). I read that it was supposed to help with “frigidity” (that bit made me laugh) and generally boost romantic feelings in the ladies. Rose is a classic romantic scent, rich and floral without being overwhelmingly sweet.
The final blend smells nice in the bottle, but the magic is when it’s massaged into warm skin. You’ll notice the warmth and sweetness of the benzoin first, but with hints of deep, reminiscent patchouli. A note of black tea comes in from the clary sage, and rose brightens and softens the blend, adding an intoxicating complexity to the blend. The scent gently lingers on the skin for hours afterwards—it’s not overwhelming, but it’s there if you look for it. I’ve been wearing it as perfume. I love it, and I think you will, too.
Romantic Massage Oil
I like a disc-top bottle for massage oils as it allows for relatively easy, controlled dispensing.
Combine all the ingredients in a 50mL/2 fl oz plastic bottle fitted with a disc-top lid, cap, and shake to combine.
To use, warm the oil between your palms before applying to your lucky massagee’s skin. Use more as needed to keep your hands gliding and enjoy!
If you’re interested in upping your massage game with Denis, his 3 massage course + foot rub are on sale until Christmas Eve. It’d make a great gift for the couple looking for an excuse to get closer and work out some knots together 🙂
This post was sponsored by Denis Merkas & Melt, but I only agreed to do it because I was genuinely impressed with what he’s offering, I promise. I’ll never recommend anything that I’m not excited about, which is why you’ve never seen a sponsored post on Humblebee & Me before.