Category Archives: Health & Wellbeing

Floating away at Thai Square Spa

thai-square-spa-11

There is something so wonderful about waking up in the morning and knowing you are going to be spending it in a spa… but there is something even more special about knowing that the spa you are going to be disappearing into, is the magical Thai Square Spa in the heart of this busy, whizzy, spectacular city.

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Welcoming in 2016 at Cowley Manor Spa

Cowley Manor Spa

Last year, LM, Betsy and I took ourselves off for a New Year break to Bath, where we stayed at the Queensbury Hotel and spent a day at the wonderful Thermae Bath Spa.

We headed there on New Year’s Day, when the rest of the world was still sleeping/recovering and had the most gorgeous, relaxing time. We had time to think, chat, ponder and wonder about the year ahead, while being wrapped in warm fluffy robes and reclining in a deliciously warm and comforting environment. It was heaven.

We decided then that this would be our New Year tradition and so this year, we followed suit and found ourselves somewhere equally extraordinary.

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Squad Goals
with Birchbox & Skinnydip London

Birchbox Skinny Dip

I always wanted to be in a gang when I was little. Mostly because I’d get to sit in a treehouse, eat chocolate, solve mysteries and wear a badge.

It never quite happened like that, but when Birchbox told me recently that I (and you, if you’re a subscriber) was in their ‘squad’, I did a mini fist pump. On my own. To myself.

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Game On

GAME-Fitness-Anna-Schuchman-3

A few weeks ago I was feeling like I’d hit a bit of a rut with exercising. I’d had a couple of months of eating really badly – which happens to me whenever I stop being mindful – and I was feeling very blobby and heavy and bleurgh.

I am not a great self motivator when it comes to exercise. Work is a completely different thing – I am like the Tasmanian Devil when I get going with an idea or new project… but exercise is like a black hole in my brain.  A no go area. All I see is Monster Munch. And Crosstown Doughnuts.

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– ila Spa –
100% Natural, 100% Luxury

ila spa products

The words ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ seem to get touted all over the place and one can never be sure exactly which bits of the product the label is referring to…

Rest assured that ila spa products are all made in the Cotswolds and are completely and utterly organic… In fact, they are ‘beyond organic’ as they believe in embracing the utmost ethical integrity. And what’s more, the products are super duper luxy too.

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Detoxing at The Lifehouse Spa
(and win a two night Juice Cleanse for 2!)

Life-House-Spa-1-1

I have such good intentions when it comes to eating well and treating my body kindly. I fully mean to not eat ice cream for breakfast and to go for lots of runs in the mornings… but it just doesn’t seem to pan out that way.

And it’s not that I can’t do it, or that I’m avoiding it – I just forget. I forget to exercise. I forget to eat healthily. And I forget to not eat ice cream for breakfast. So, when the Lifehouse Spa invited me to try out their detox wellness break, whereby I would have to stick to their schedule and menu… and not have the opportunity to eat ice cream for breakfast, I jumped at the chance.

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Thermae Bath Spa – a little piece of magic

Thermae-Bath-Spa-5 As you know, I and LM popped off to Bath for a few days at the very beginning of 2015. We stayed at the glorious Queensberry Hotel and spent our time seeing and doing and eating and discovering some of the loveliest spots in Bath. One of the highlights of our mini break was our morning at Thermae Bath Spa. What a magical place.. and what stories it has to tell!

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Aromatherapy Massage & Total Relaxation
at Amida Spa, Chelsea

Amid Spa Chelsea

I am fast becoming addicted to spas. Havens of peace, calm and tranquility, where you can press pause on the world, switch off every beeping, buzzing thing and relax every bit of you… from your head to your toes… and of course, your brain. Which, if you’re anything like me, often gets forgotten when it comes to taking care of ourselves…

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– Reflexology –
a whole lot more than a foot massage

Reflexology

Pic from http://www.enfys.org.uk

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in Victoria, trying to find a secret door that would lead me to Tracey Smith – a very smiley, very friendly and very lovely lady… who is also a reflexology and research manager at the Association of Reflexologists.

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The Covent Garden Dental Spa: Open wide. And relax.

“Would you like cherry, cassis, tropical or mint?” No. I was not in a swanky cocktail bar.. I was at the dentist. The DENTIST.

I had popped into the Covent Garden Dental Spa for their special treatment – ‘Bright White Christmas Smile.’ This was not your normal ‘teeth whitening’ experience, but more of a super sonic clean. The cleans to end all other cleans. The clean that makes you actually do that thing with your tongue over your teeth, that they do in the adverts. That.

When it comes to going to the dentist, I’m used to sterile environments, out-of-date magazines, people looking stressed and the faint sound of a painful sounding drill zzzzz-ing through the wall… but no. Apparently Poppy was not in Kansas anymore. Dentist

As soon as I arrived I knew something was different. Is that classical music playing? Is that a coffee machine? Is that today’s Sunday Times? Comfy chairs, fresh flowers, soft lighting, a friendly receptionist who took my coat.. and yes, I would like a peppermint tea and a twenty minute massage on your ridiculously amazing massage chair to relax me. Thank you. (The spa was recently shortlisted for the ‘best care for nervous patients.’ It’s no wonder.)

Dentist
The AMAZING massage chair – you can book it for a 20 minute session before any appointment

As I listened to softly playing jazz while I had my massage, sipped my peppermint tea and allowed the gentle scents of the aromatherapy oils to whisk me off into a dreamy land… I decided that there was no going back. This is how dentistry should be.

“Which paper would like, Poppy?” Brilliant.

Dentist
Yes. It’s a coffee machine.

And then it was into the hygienist, feeling slightly spacey, very calm and so relaxed that even if she’d come at me with ten whizzing drills and a carving knife I doubt I’d have flinched.

I settled back on the very comfortable chair (if my dentist chair was a knackered old fiat, this dentist chair was an Aston Martin) and let the clever hygienist do her thing. Dentist

She removed all the stains on my teeth, and then polished them within an inch of their lives, using a fine air-polishing powder, to remove any other heavy stains. The flavours she offered me above, were for the air-flow machine – I could choose whichever flavour I wanted. Genius. Although I was tempted by tropical, I opted for mint…

The treatment lasted around 20 minutes and my teeth looked brighter and felt amazing afterwards. It is such a good alternative to teeth whitening, especially if you want to avoid using the peroxide based materials so often used for whitening procedures. Dentist

The really good news is that the treatment is currently half price at £67.50 (usually £135) and £2.50 of every Christmas Smile treatment they provide will be donated to Smile 4 Africa. They’ll also send you home with a complimentary Christmas Dental Survival Kit…

So, if you want to dazzle Santa this Chrimbo, get yourself down to Covent Garden and indulge in a bit of pampering. 

I mean, the dentist.


Covent Garden Dental Spa
68a Neal Street
Covent Garden
London, WC2H 9PA

www.coventgardendentalspa.co.uk

 
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Massages, tea and ahhhhhhh…

Jivita Ayurveda

Jivita Ayurveda


I had no idea that such a haven of calm and loveliness existed just up the road from me, on Chamberlayne Road. But it does it does it does.

And it comes in the form of Jivita Ayurveda – an organic (tea, cereal, herbs, you name it) wellbeing centre in the heart of Kensal Rise. Which, incidentally used to be somewhere a bit, erm , meh. And NOW it’s all oooooh and aaaaaah and la la la I want to live HERE.


Anu, the genius behind the gem, runs the show and offers everything from health consultation, body and beauty treatments, yummy eatables for the ayurvedic (what? More on that in a bit) and organic kitchen and lovely gifts for folk who like a bit of sustainable living.

Jivita Ayurveda originates from ancient Sanskrit (I just had a flash of Indiana Jones) and means knowledge and vitality for life. Which is exactly what I needed when I crashed through the doors, out of the pouring rain (I’m sorry – I’m still thinking about Harrison Ford..) a couple of weeks ago. I was completely shattered as had been up the night before with a sore eye (I actually had a sore eye. That’s all I know. It’s not sore any more – it just twitched a bit the following day) and had been ridiculously busy with life stuff. Life gets busy! My life gets busy. I thought it was Monday today. It’s not. It’s Wednesday. That’s how busy.

Anyway, it says on the tin that ‘a visit to Jivita Ayurveda will restore vitality and inner calm and empower you to lead a healthier and balanced life.’ 

You didn’t have to tell me twice.

In I crashed, out of the rain (done that bit) and was welcomed immediately by a very lovely lady (she was so CALM) who handed me a delicious and steaming cup of honey and ginger tea. (I suspect I looked a bit maniacal, what with the twitchy eye and wet, Worzel Gummidge hair.) I sat on a comfy chair and calmed the crackers down. 

Anu came and got me and I followed her into a room of loveliness. Candles, music, smelly things. Lovely lovely lovely. I would have started crying at the joy of finding (immediately, apparently) my new found inner peace, but thought that might make her feel a bit uncomfortable and maybe she wouldn’t want to give me a lovely massage.

This is not me, but this is where I was and this is how I felt...

This is not me, but this is where I was and this is how I felt…

Then it was naked Poppy (pants on) under warm fluffy towels and all I had to do was relax. I had a full body massage, which meant I got to lie down and be massaged from head to foot. It was amazing and is called, most aptly, ‘instant stress relief.’ (Keep reading for your chance to win a foot massage! Heaven…)

Ayurveda is an ancient science in healing, originating in India and the team at Jivita Ayurveda has been carefully handpicked based on their product knowledge, treatments and experience. They really know what they’re doing over there and they offer everything from massages to facials, holistic and lifestyle advice to personalised detox programs.

I floated out onto Chamberlayne Road on a cloud of calm and hopped on the 28 bus. 

I was so zen, I managed to miss my stop.

But being so zen and all, I didn’t care one jot.




www.jivitaayurveda.com

89 Chamberlayne Road
Kensal Rise
London
NW10 3ND


WIN A 30 MINUTE FOOT MASSAGE AT JIVITA AYURVEDA!

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Road to recovery

A very, very big squeezy thank you for all your lovely messages and words of encouragement. I’m recovering very well and enjoying having the best excuse ever to lie about on the sofa, watch shiny moving things on TV and do, erm, nothing. I am guilt free. And full of cake. (And for those of you that have no idea what I’m nattering about, you can read all about my de-lumped lumpy boob here.)

Cherry Jam Muffins - better than paracetamol

Cherry Jam Muffins – better than paracetamol

Feeling wobbly and woozy isn’t huge amounts of fun and I was given all kinds of clever drugs to keep up my sleeves to help make the process as comfortable as possible… but it’s been the small and simple things, which have made the beginning of my recovery as easy and lovely as it could possibly be; tea, cake, hugs, (you know who you are) High Society (Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly ahhhhh..) and an Urbanara cosy blanket are the top items in my Get-Well-Poppy-Kit.. I highly recommend all five.

Gotland Grey Blanket - Urbanara - £55 - 100% wool

Gotland Grey Blanket – Urbanara – £55 – 100% wool

 

I will probably be a bit slow to respond on emails, messages and comments over the next week or so, but intend to be back to firing on all Poppy cylinders before you can say Cherry Jam Muffins. (And I can say that really fast.)

Lots of love and I’ll be beeping here again soon..

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Lump in the night

CoppaFeel

There’s only one thing worse than lumpy custard, and that’s a lumpy boob. Especially when there’s a history of breast cancer in your family.. and especially when you find the lump in said lumpy boob at 3am and it feels like the size of gobstopper. Like those ones in the 80’s. Not the sensible re-sized ones for the millennium that you can’t choke on. Im talking mahoosive gobstoppers, like they had in The Goonies. Love that film.

So that was me a few weeks ago, panicking in the middle of the night that I had in fact grown myself a massive cancer monster gobstopper in my boob. It was not a good moment. Not.

Within 24 hours I was at my GP, (a big sloppy kiss to the NHS) and then a series of boob detectives proceeded to investigate.  I had two biopsies (yep, two. They’re not much fun, are they?) an ultrasound, (was quite relieved they didn’t say “Congratulations! It’s a boy!” I’ve watched too many episodes of Casualty..) a Mamogram (squish) and an MRI.

Can we just talk about that for a second.. WHO invented this machine? For crying out loud. I was on my front, boobs squished, legs bent, paper pants, head face down in a pillow, a line in my arm, a machine that sounds like a pneumatic drill and no cake, no crisps and no music, (was on my front so the headphones wouldn’t work.)

I had to stay still for 30 minutes. Stay still? 30 minutes? These things don’t belong together in the same sentence. But that’s what had to happen so that’s what I did. So I sang (OUT LOUD) Les Mis – from the very beginning “Look down, look down..” all the way to “BEFORE YOU SAY ANOTHER WORD JAVERRRRT!!” It’s hard to sing a duet by yourself, but I did it. I was almost sad when it was over – I was looking forward to my muffled rendition of One Day More… (it would have been excellent.)

Dermot O Leary Coppafeel

Dermot’s on board with CoppaFeel

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that the main boob detective at the hospital (he has a badge and everything) is pretty confident (99% sure) my gobstopper, (which is not nearly as big as a gobstopper) is benign… but he wants to whisk it out anyway. And I don’t blame him. No one likes a lump. Not in custard and not in boobs.
So tomorrow I shall be going to hospital for a gobstopper-ectomy and I hope to be home the same day and drinking chicken soup (courtesy of my amazing mum) by sun down.

Fearne Cotton Coppafeel

Fearne Cotton Copping a Feel…

I check my boobs. Do you? I have been very lucky and fingers crossed the lump will turn out to actually be completely benign (maybe it actually is a gobstopper) and that will be that. But I wouldn’t have found it if I wasn’t regularly checking. If you have no idea how to check your boobs, the brilliant charity CoppaFeel can show you exactly how here. Dawn Porter is a big fan, (and we know how much she loves boobies) and Fern Cotton is also a huge advocate – pop over there and have a look. They’re doing brilliant work and will even ping you a reminder to check your breasts… like a Boob PA.

Catching cancer early is key – so go off and check for any lumps and bumps. Any doubt? Go and see your doc and get him/her on your team.

For now, I have a date with a general anaesthetic and some paper pants.

I will see you on the other side..

 

NEW SIGNATURE

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Holy Hula Hoops, Batman

Hulahoops

This is Laura. She knows how to hula hoop.

I do love a good hula hoop me, but I’m not talking about crisps today. I’m talking about the full on, proper, wiggle your hips, hula hoop your bum off hulahooping.

 

If you’re bored of sit ups (tick!) the idea of going to the gym makes you turn a funny shade of ‘can’t be bothered’ (tick!) and you want a fun and sociable and, erm, different way to get in shape (tick tick tick!) then I may have found the answer for you.

 

Meet Laura. She’s a hula hoop veteran (eight years!) and she knows her stuff like you wouldn’t believe. Her top hooping moment was hula-ing at the London 2012 Olympics and if you want an idea of just how hoopahooly she is, just take a look at her busting some serious moves below:

Lucky for us, clever Laura has set up a couple of courses in Deptford, (South East London), where she will pay you lots of attention, (there are only eight twirlers in a class) and get you hula hooping like a pro in a jiffy.

Before you ask, yes. Hoops are provided! Although you can buy your own set of three hoops for £35, and they’re gold and glittery and everything!

 

The course begins next Wednesday, 21st August, so if you want a spot, you’d better grab your hoop, harness your hula and get in touch pronto.

 

NEW SIGNATURE

www.hulahoopparty.com

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Go with the flow: Yogaloft

Like Yoga? Like calm, beautiful and tranquil spaces to be yoga-ish in? Like Yogi Bear? (Me too, but slightly irrelevant).
Enter Yogaloft, brainchild of one, (very bendy) Susannah Tomkins, who has transformed the light-filled loft space on pretty, cobbled Lonsdale Road in Queen’s Park, into a beautiful yoga studio, complete with underfloor heating (hurruh! Hate being chillychops) and all snazzy kit and facilities required to practise yoga in blissful comfort. Sigh.
With Iyengar, Ashtanga, Hatha, (bless you) Vinyasa flow, Pregnancy classes, Baby Massage, Yin Yoga, Restorative classes and more available, whichever type of Yoga dings your dong, whether you’re a complete beginner or can scratch the back of your head with your toes (well done) you’ll be sure to find it at Yogaloft. You can pop in, email them or even book your classes online…they really have made it as easy peasy as it could possibly be.

 

The really good news is that Yogaloft is offering your first class completely FREE! Just go to www.yogaloftlondon.com/new to claim your first free class. They also offer an amazing unlimited first month of yoga for just £40 which means you can try out all the classes and teachers your beating heart desires. So get in touch both boybugs and ladybugs and get your bendyishselves down there pronto.
If you’d like to know more, just pop over to their website and get in touch.
I’m off to practise my downward dog. Don’t laugh – Poppy’s trying.
p.s. Here’s an event for your diary – all those with kiddiewinkies should head down to Yogaloft on the 22nd Sept as the delectable Florentine and Pig will be there, (well, their author will) reading the story and signing books! There’ll be whizz bang fun times for everyone, including tea, cake and other picnic treats.. and FREE kids yoga. Yes, FREE KIDS YOGA… but you do have to book yourselves a place for the yoga class so get in touch with Yogaloft if you’d like to join in.
Yogaloft
3 Lonsdale Road, Queen’s Park
London, NW6 6RA
Transport: 5 min walk from Queens Park and Brondesbury Park Stations
Win a free month of Yoga classes!
All you have to do is just one of the following things. However, each one you do counts as an additional entry, so you can be counted up to 6 times! (If you are already doing any of the below they will also be counted as entries).
 
1. Become a fan of my Facebook page (compulsory to be entered)
2. Become a fan of YogaLoft’s Facebook page
3. Sign up to my mailing list
4. Leave a comment below
5. Follow me and RT the competition on Twitter
6. Follow my blog by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button, top left of my blog, (under the Twitter sign)
 
Competition ends 22nd September – good luck Popsicles! x
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