ON FRIDAY, I was a little naughty as I decided to forego my usual busy blogging morning for a morning of total and utter pampering heaven instead.
It did mean not having a Friday Five post for you all (I wrote a one off Saturday Six post instead) but I hope and am pretty sure you’ll forgive me. After all, who doesn’t deserve some relaxation from time to time right?!
When I was pregnant I had a number of massage treatments to keep me and bump feeling happy and well, trying everything from reflexology to Ayurvedic pregnancy massage. I was determined to look after us both and for the first in my life, treated my body like a temple. Albeit an ever growing, blossoming one!
But since becoming a mum, in all honesty – and I know many of you will relate to this – looking after myself has fallen way down my list of priorities. Which is why when the lovely Rachael from Instinctive Health asked me if I’d like to try out a couple of new treatments, I could have wept with joy. An hour and a half of serious pampering and me time? What is NOT to love about that?!
So on Friday morning when most people were battling rush hour traffic and hot footing it to their desks, I was battling the traffic for a very different reason.
I arrived at my appointment with Clare Slack – one of the three Instinctive Health therapists – just in the nick of the time and was promptly whisked upstairs to Instinctive Health’s calming treatment room. After a brief chat with Clare about any health issues I was concerned about, it was time to begin.
And first up, was the hot stones massage.
I’ve never tried a hot stones massage before so was just expecting to have a number of warm stones placed on my back and kind of left there to do their magic! After all, that’s what you normally see in hot stones pictures right? (Or am I just a total idiot?!)
But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The hot basalt volcanic stones were never placed on my back, but instead held by Clare and incorporated into her various expert massage strokes to gently heat and warm up my tired, aching muscles. The massage also included the use of coconut oil which smelt heavenly and left my back silky soft. Always a rather lovely bonus!
The massage was truly relaxing, one of the most calming in fact that I’ve experienced to date and I imagine it would be of huge benefit to any mum whose muscles ache from carrying around their wee ones on their hips or backs all day, as well as those who sit at their desks hunched over a computer.
I also love the fact that Instinctive Health offers hot stones at no extra cost to all massages. Which means if you have a different massage booked in with them, all you need to do is request the addition of hot stones, if you’re feeling a little tense or achey.
After feeling truly zen-ed out, it was time for my next massage ( yes, I was thoroughly spoilt!) and the one I’d been most excited about trying. Mainly, because I’m just obsessed by anything to do with the Far East!
Unlike ‘hot stones’, I had never even heard of the TSUBOKI facial massage but I was certainly intrigued.
As explained by Clare, the TSUBOKI facial massage stems from the Japanese belief that true beauty comes through good health. It is a 45 minute facial massage which massages over 50 tsubos (energy points) and 8 meridians (channels) throughout the face, neck and shoulders and is designed to promote wellbeing throughout the entire body.
The facial massage is carried out in four stages and started with a massage to the neck and shoulders to increase circulation to my face and reduce muscular tension.
Next, Clare used the traditional Japanese oil camellia to do a detailed face massage which was followed by stimulation of tsubos points and meridians. And finally, the massage was finished with gentle lymphatic drainage to eliminate toxins.
I’m not going to lie, at times the massage felt a little weird, especially when there was some occasional tapping going on at various points on the face.
But. But. BUT!
I gotta tell you, the TSUBOKI facial massage was AMAZING. Pure and utter heaven in fact. Totally relaxing – much, much than I’d ever imagined – and oddly energising too. And whilst it is possible that I may have been imagining it, I swear my face looked more glowing, more refined and less puffy afterwards. I absolutely loved it and really how I could not? A treatment that combines beauty with well being can only ever be a win win situation.
HUGE thanks to the talented and lovely Clare who carried out my treatments and to Rachael for organising them. If you live in Sheffield or surrounding areas, please do check Instinctive Health out and their fabulous services. You won’t regret it.
(Just make sure you get in there before me, because you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be back for a TSUBOKI facial massage very soon!)
All of it! Having one treatment after the other was not only extra wonderful, but is also a great idea for those people (like me) who are strapped for time. I felt incredibly relaxed after the hot stones massage, whilst the TSUBOKI facial massage left me feeling calm but energised and ready to tackle the world!
Not really a worst bit as such but it’s worth bearing in mind that because both massages use oils, you will end up with some of it in your hair. So if you’ve got plans scheduled for after, it might be worth taking a hat or pinning it up, to avoid the ‘greasy locks’ look!
Thanks ever so much for stopping by. Make sure you tune in tomorrow when I’ll be announcing another very special giveaway! (If you love pretty things, you WON’T want to miss it!)
*Disclaimer – Both treatments were complimentary and kindly offered in exchange for my honest review.
P.S Many thanks to those of you who have kindly voted for me in the MAD Blog Awards. It really made my week to discover that I’ve been nominated for ‘Blog of the Year’! Mwah! :)
Following on from yesterday’s inspiring post, are some more words of wisdom from the courageous Emma Atack.
As a little follow up to every ‘your secrets’ story, I ask everyone who takes part to share a few tips with us all. After all, what better way is there to learn, than from someone who has already been there and got the T-shirt?!
I’d also like to take a wee moment to say a huge thank you to everyone who has got in touch about Emma’s story. The response, as always with this blog series, has been supportive, encouraging and positive and I’m not lying when I say that it really does warm my cockles. Especially when I receive tweets like the ones below. Lovely readers, you are awesome! x
From @mummymode: “as an endometriosis sufferer I feel your pain and am inspired by you! Wonderful read xx”
From @CoutureSoul: “Well done Emma – big move for you doing that! Always there when i need you – Friends for life xx”
From @raredisease001: “so inspirational! With an unstoppable child with a rare disease; I believe we are only given as much as we can cope with.”
Emma’s tips on dealing with illness and finding the sunshine through the rain!
- Be kind to yourself and take care of your body. Respect it – think nutrition and allow yourself to rest.
- Don’t judge others. Remember the majority of disabilities we are unable to see and it’s not a competition. I remember following surgery asking a woman working in a shop to pass me a newspaper from the bottom shelf. She tutted and I felt obliged to justify myself why I had asked. She responded ‘well you think you’ve got a bad back, mine is terrible’. I just burst into tears.
- Mental health is exactly that – mental health. If you are offered help it does not mean you are weak, it simply means that your mind is poorly, just like other parts of your body get ill. I regularly see a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist at the pain clinic and have learnt just how powerful the human mind is.
- Grief is not only when someone dies, it relates to ‘loss’. In my case the loss of my old life.
- Tablets have a time, a place and usually side-effects. Of course take them if you really need to, but for me I’ve had enough of taking pain killers. I’ve gone on to find that acupuncture works wonders for me, as does keeping stress at bay and moving around. Going for a walk is the best medicine.
- Remember you don’t see people on their worst days as they are usually unable to leave the house!
- Try not to moan about work. Trust me work gives a person a sense of purpose, something to get up for in the morning. It may sound good the thought of not working but the reality is very different.
- When the chips are down, remember you really learn who your true friends are. In my case I learnt that I have the most amazing husband. We really have tried and tested the vows ‘in sickness and in health’.
Again, I’d like to say a big thank you to Emma for sharing her story with us on Pouting In Heels. It’s certainly made me realise how lucky I am to be healthy and pain free and also how I really need to start valuing and looking after my body more, to help ensure I stay this way.
What have you learned from Emma? Have you got anything to share which could help Emma or others suffering from chronic pain?
Till the next time, always look for that glimmer of sunlight!
Growing a little person is hard work at times, which is exactly why us mums to be need to take extra special care of ourselves!
To help you do just that, here are my maternity wellbeing must-haves and tips, to help keep you feeling great throughout the nine months. All have been tried, tested and LOVED by me.
So have a well-earned rest, put your feet up, grab a cuppa and read on ;-)…
- Pregnancy reflexology – If you can get past having your feet touched by a stranger, you can really benefit from this alternative therapy. I’ve had reflexology a couple of times whilst pregnant and really enjoyed it. It’s more relaxing than you might think but it’s also a very effective way of helping to correct any inbalance in your body. What’s more, if you do go over your due date, it can even be used to ‘get things going’!
- Pregnancy massage – I’ve enjoyed numerous massages throughout my pregnancy and cannot recommend them highly enough! Not only can they help get rid of neck, shoulder and back niggles, they are also extremely relaxing and soothing, perfect for if you’re feeling a little stressed or worn out. My favourite pregnancy massage? Easily the ayurvedic pregnancy massage I had in London. Bliss!
- Herbal Tea – It’s always important to keep hydrated, but in pregnancy it’s even more critical! Personally I’m not a fan of drinking endless glasses of water (I find it a bit boring!) so to keep up with my daily quota, I indulge in many a brew instead, of the herbal variety! My favourites includes peppermint (great for headaches and heartburn) ginger and lemon (didn’t work for me, but can help ease morning sickness) and camomile (good for helping you to stay calm when your hormones are raging!)
- Healthy Food – In the first three months of pregnancy, I was so sick, that I just ate whatever I could keep down which was mainly crackers, dairylea and McDonald’s cheeseburgers! So when the sickness did ease, it was a pleasure to get back to eating normally! Don’t forget to include plenty of fruit and veg, protein and complex carbohydrates in your diet and where possible always try and opt for the healthier option.
- Little bit of what you fancy! – Don’t however get fanatical about healthy eating. Pregnancy is hard enough without cutting out treats! Nobody – including your growing baby – will begrudge you a piece of delectable cake or a chocolate bar every now and then. Just don’t make the mistake of eating for two! ;-)
Advice & guidance
- You and Your Bump by Emma Cannon – I’ve spoken about my love for Emma Cannon before (she’s a fertility guru!) and this book for mums to be is just a godsend. With specific chapters for each trimester, labour and post-natal care too, this book provides simple and effective tips on how to achieve pregnancy wellbeing. Quite simply I’d have been lost without it.
- The Baby Diaries: Memories, Milestones & Misadventures by Tess Daley – Generally I’m not a big fan of celebrity books but if you’re looking for a personal insight into pregnancy, birth and beyond, you can’t go wrong with this book. Tess’ honesty and humour is refreshing and she shares many an excellent tip on everything from what to pack in your hospital bag to breastfeeding.
- Bump love – Help keep those stretchmarks at bay and show your bump some love with an oil, moisturiser or body butter. My personal favourites are the now-legendary Bio-Oil and Little Me Mum To Be Rich Tummy Cream. Whilst I haven’t got away completely scot-free (I’ve got a few tiny stretchmarks on my hips) I definitely think that using an oil or cream every day has helped my bump to stay stretchmark free for which I am eternally grateful! Massage in an oil or cream of your choice every day, morning and night. It may not stop those pesky stretchmarks altogether, but it’s well worth a try and both your bump and baby will appreciate the pampering.
- Relax in the tub – If you’re feeling tired, emotional or plain ol’ fed up, take a deep breathe and run yourself a bath. Add some luxurious oil (my favourite is the Abahna Bath Oil) or bubble bath into the running water and then get in and relax. Read a book, flick through a magazine or just close your eyes and do nothing. Trust me, you’ll feel much better when you get out.
- Be gentle to your skin – To deal with pregnancy sensitive skin, choose gentler skincare products and try to keep out of the sun! Ranges such as Dr Hauschka, Liz Earle and Angela Langford all offer amazing products made from natural products. If you’re a sun lover, make sure you slap on sunscreen and a hat to avoid pigmentation marks.
- Whatever you do, do some! – I’m far from being an exercise expert but we all know, that when we get our bodies moving, we feel better for it. So, on those days when you’re feeling pretty good and have the energy, try and do some exercise to get those endorphins flowing. Try pregnancy yoga or pregnancy pilates if you want something gentle or if you prefer, just go out for a walk! Get those limbs going and feel the benefits.
If you’ve got any tips on how to stay feeling and looking great in pregnancy, please do share below. x
Till the next time,
I love Sundays. Especially because I get to share some love and appreciation here on le blog! Here’s what has made my heart sing this week…
1) My amazing pregnancy massage – On Wednesday afternoon while most people were hard at work, I was oh so busy enjoying some much needed pregnancy pampering at the fabulous Ayurveda Pura’s Health Spa & Beauty Centre in North Greenwich, London. I’ll be writing about this experience shortly but let’s just say it was an hour of relaxation heaven! Thank you Deepa!
2) Catching up with my sister Sylve – My trip to London this week wouldn’t have been complete without a good catch-up with my little sister Sylvie. We don’t get to see each other often so when we do, we talk for England and it’s always a pleasure.
3) Walking out of a restaurant, not once but twice! – The older I get, the pickier I’m getting. If a restaurant doesn’t offer a friendly and polite service straight away or isn’t up to scratch, I’m outta there! In London this week, I (and Sylve) walked out of two restaurants in the space of 10 minutes. Awkward yes but weirdly it felt really good!
4) Mirrors and lights=art – This week I visited the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Tate Modern after reading a fabulous review of it a few weeks ago. The exhibition is particularly impressive but Kusama’s breathtaking Infinity Mirrored Room really is something else. It is without doubt one of the most magical things I’ve ever seen. The exhibition is on until 5 June. Go see it if you can. You’ll love it.
5) My own bed – You know what it’s like, it’s lovely to go away for a holiday or a short break but it’s always such a wonderful feeling to get back home and climb into your own bed. After a busy few days in London, getting between the sheets in my own bed was bliss. Sometimes it really is the simple things in life that make me happy.
6) Quidco! – My wise husband has been a fan of this clever money making site for a few years now but I’ve only just caught up! It’s the UK’s Number 1 cashback and voucher site which means that when you shop online, if you go through them first to your chosen retailer, providing they’re part of the scheme, you earn money for shopping! Amazing!
If you fancy joining, check out my refer a friend link. When you have made £5 cashback, we both earn £2.50 each! Fabulous ey? (Watch out for my intelligent spending blog post on this coming soon)
7) Foundation that works – I have really pale skin so often struggle to find a foundation that matches my skintone and doesn’t look too dark. Thankfully I’ve found a new ally in the form of Max Factor’s Lasting Performance Foundation. At the bargain price of £9.99, not only have I found the perfect shade for my skin, it also lasts ALL day! Try it, I think you’ll like it! ;-)
8) An impending holiday – Next Saturday, the husband and I are off for a week or rest and relaxation in the Lake District. Officially known as our babymoon! (Our last holiday as a two-some, eek!) Whilst I’ve got a busy week ahead, I’m already feeling relaxed knowing that in a few days time I’ll be escaping the hustle and bustle for a short while. I can’t wait!
Hope you’ve all had a gorgeous week!
Do share your Sunday love if anything this week has particularly caught your eye or made you smile too :-)
Till the next time,
Here’s a review I recently carried out for The Modern Girl’s Guide: Maternity reflexology by Bumps in Sheffield.
LAST week I did something incredibly brave… I let a lady touch my feet. Now to you, that might not sound like a big deal, but for me, usually, the very thought of anyone touching my feet is enough to make me want to run a mile!
At 21 weeks pregnant I really felt like I could do with some much needed mum-to-be pampering and so I decided to boldly go where I’ve never gone before and put my feet into someone else’s hands.
For those that don’t know, reflexology is an ancient form of practice that works on the principle that every organ, gland or part of the body has a specific reflex zone in the foot.
By using specific massage techniques, the aim of a reflexologist is to have a positive, balancing effect on the corresponding part of the body.
In pregnancy, reflexology offers a number of benefits including relaxation and harmonisation of the body and can even be used to help induce labour. Incredibly, specialists can sometimes even ‘see’ the baby growing in the feet! So you can see why I was keen to it give it a try.
Prior to the session I was a little nervous but was soon put completely at ease by the very lovely Rachael Hibberd, one of Bump’s pregnancy specialists.
After leading me into a quiet, relaxing treatment room, Rachel kindly provided me with some information about maternity reflexology before taking me through a number of questions about my general health and pregnancy. Then after explaining how the session would work, it was time to ‘kick off my shoes’ and let the session begin.
I was invited to lie down on a futon and get comfortable, in a semi-upright seated position. Rachael propped me up using lots of pillows to make sure that I was completely comfortable and that both my back and bump had plenty of support.
Then after gently warming my bare feet with a towel, Rachael began to stroke and massage my feet, starting with the right foot.
As Rachael massaged my right foot, I soon began to feel incredibly relaxed. So much so, that I even had to stop asking Rachel questions about the treatment as I became very sleepy!
Amazingly, the area that was a little sore had pinpointed that I was holding a lot of tension in my neck, a known hazard of being sat at a computer all the time and something which has been brought to my attention before on numerous occasions.
After massaging my right foot, Rachael then concentrated her efforts on my left and carried out the same range of motions and strokes. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed! Occasionally some of Rachael’s massage did tickle a little or feel a bit odd, but this never lasted for more than a few seconds.
After the session, Rachael provided me with a glass of water to drink ( it’s very important apparently to drink lots of water after a session to flush away the body’s toxins) and talked me through a few things that she’d noticed in my feet.
She discussed with me the tension in my neck and also mentioned that my kidneys were a little swollen so advised me to drink more water. (Again, something I know I don’t do enough of.)
Interestingly, Rachael had also spotted that my adrenal glands – which control your stress hormones – were a little enlarged and encouraged me to find more time to relax.
I have been working very long hours of late, so this wasn’t a total surprise but certainly brought home to me, that I need to slow down and take things a little easier, for both myself and the precious ‘bean’ that I’m carrying.
After being a little apprehensive about putting my feet in someone else’s hands, I left the session feeling much calmer and with an understanding that I need to take greater care of myself during my pregnancy.
In fact, I loved it so much, that I’m about to book another session and hope to continue with these up until the birth!
Rachael said that one of the things she found with her reflexology patients was that sometimes, just the very thought of the treatment itself, was enough to make her mums-to-be feel instantly more relaxed.
And oddly, as I’ve been typing up this review remembering the session, I’ve felt much calmer than I did earlier. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I for one, would put money on it, that there’s some truth in this reflexology lark. :-)
All of it! I never thought I would say this, but having my feet massaged was heavenly and just the kind of pampering I needed. I’ll definitely be going back for more.
The fact it had to end ;-) Seriously, I couldn’t find any fault with Rachael or her incredible reflexology skills.
Over-worked, tired or stressed out mums-to-be. Besides the relaxation benefits and balancing / harmonising affects on the body, reflexology can also be used in pregnancy to treat a variety of conditions including pelvic-girdle pain.
Till the next time,
All services are carried out at their premises in Sheffield City Centre but the team will occasionally pay home visits to those who cannot make it for health reasons.
It’s appreciation Sunday! Here’s what I’ve loved this week…
1) My first reflexology treatment – On Monday I did the unthinkable. I let someone touch my feet! Normally this would bring me out in hives (I’ve only ever had one pedicure, for my wedding and that was torture) but yet strangely it didn’t bother me one bit!
The experience was fabulous and provided some much needed pregnancy relaxation. I’ll be writing about it soon for The Modern Girl’s Guide so watch this space. Thank you Bumps Sheffield!
2) Bargain earrings – I’m a huge fan of big earrings. Think Pat Butcher but with a little more finesse! ;-) So when I came across a sale jewellery stand this week, I couldn’t help but have a look. Five minutes later, I was the proud owner of three new pairs of humungous earrings, all for the bargain price of £7. What’s not to love about that?!
3) Being a freelancer – Those who know me as Katie the freelancer will already be aware that I love working for myself. And this week, yet again, I’ve been reminded about the benefits of being self-employed. I’ve managed to juggle looking after a very poorly Husband with housework, freelancing and blogging and it’s only been possible because I work for myself.
4) Page 3 fame – Fear not ladies, this fame had nothing to do with me taking any clothes off, of any sort! :-) It was just a little coverage of my new title as ‘Yorkshire’s most luscious lips’ in the Barnsley Chronicle, my local newspaper and previous employer! (Where my journalism career began)
5) My new style book – I cannot walk into a book shop and leave without a book. It’s just not possible.
So when browsing for birthday gifts this week, I came across a book that just had to come home with me – The Fashion File: Advice, Tips and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men. As of yet I’ve only had a browse, but I already know it’s going to be a stylish delight.
6) My FREE moisturiser – This week I picked up Marie Claire magazine which came with a brilliant freebie – Neal Yard’s Rehydrating Rose Daily Moisturise. I’ve been using it for a couple of days and have already fallen in love with the way it leaves my sensitive skin, smooth and silky soft. Result!
7) Sunny Sunday! – Today really does feel like Spring has sprung! The sunshine and warm weather always makes me feel happier and more relaxed, so this morning I got out of bed early and went for a long, leisurely walk. Let’s hope there’s more of these beautiful Spring days to come.
8) International Women’s Day – Thursday was all about the celebration of women and a powerful reminder that there is still much work to be done, in regards to gaining equality for ALL women. Nearly every woman I know took part in one way or another on the day so just imagine how much more we could achieve if we celebrated our womanhood every day!
9) Giraffe’s Miso-Lime Salmon – Yesterday I caught up with a lovely friend of mine at the Giraffe restaurant in Meadowhall. A short while ago I was lucky enough to review the restaurant and so yesterday I decided to return and opted for my review partner’s recommended dish, the delicious Miso-Lime Salmon which was lip-smackingly good. Give it a try!
10) My bump! – Over the last few weeks my bump really seems to have grown and is now fully out there, loud and proud! Although it occasionally makes me a feel a little vulnerable, I’m really starting to enjoy my new shape and the well-meaning attention that the bump is beginning to bring. All of a sudden strangers seem much friendlier ;-)
What have you loved this week?
Till the next time,
Hello! I'm Kate - an award winning family & lifestyle blogger, freelance writer & mum.
1st book & 2nd baby both due in 2017. (Yep, I'm a little excited.)
Here I share my tales of how I try to strut my way - but often find myself hobbling (don't we all?!) - through life & parenting.
I do hope you'll enjoy what you read. Thanks so much for popping by. x