Working From Home

tina-guadoin

‘I had a very interesting dream last night’, says my partner provocatively, by way of a morning greeting. I glance at the clock. 7.30 am.  Bloody hell. What’s he still doing here?  It used to be that there was no time in the A.M for discussing anything, let alone dreams. He was off on his bike for a 9 am, or an 8 am meeting if I was really lucky. This left me, in my freelance world, to make my own way peacefully into the morning – Radio 3, Darjeeling tea, and a dog walk, before starting work.

Now, in this new world of 24/7 partnerships, I have to at least feign interest. I half-heartedly prompt him for more: ‘It was about how to solve our data collection problem and it involved Plato – but the annoying thing is,  I’ve forgotten the vital bit’, he says slurping the dregs of his tea and banging the mug down on the side table.

I want to scream, but even I realise that might be a bit of an over-reaction. In any case it’s not even 8 am and the whole, sorry day, riven with angst over whether the internet can handle Zoom and simultaneous downloading , arguments over which of us speaks the loudest on the phone (him) and who left coffee grounds left in the sink (him), stretches ahead of us. Read More…

Ditch The Guilt

Household cleaning tools on a blue wooden floor

During the same weekend that I grit my teeth when the Duchess of Cambridge spoke about mother’s guilt  ( I tried to imagine Prince William ‘fessing up to the same thing – no me neither ), I read another article in the Observer by the goddess, Mariella Frostrup about tackling her insomnia. I don’t suffer from insomnia but have many friends who do and go to incredible lengths to try and ‘fix it’.

The big reveal was on its way:  what was Mariella going to attribute it to?  Hormones, the menopause, too much sugar, not enough sex… I can’t lie, I felt deflated when her answer did come.   For while anxiety and regular insomnia are synonymous with hormonal change in a woman’s 50s, it didn’t explain the nocturnal struggles experienced by younger women. On closer inspection she discovered, a picture starts to form that’s recognisable to any women who is knee deep in the mothering, marriage and career years. Read More…

Pressotherapy

Odd Bal Creature Humanoid on Planet Greyscale

I love treatments.  Not all treatments, but a selected few. Rarely do they have anything to do with VH or the work that I do, but on a recent research (promise I was working) trip to Hong Kong (before Coronavirus), I was a virtual resident in the fabulous spa at The Four Seasons.  Shabir is convinced that I spent most of my life-savings on those treatments, but the thing is that I rarely have time for treatments when I’m here, so I become a demented treatment spa-being when travelling.

It is well-known amongst my friends that I’d far rather have an early evening treatment and retire to my room with room service.  I’m done with restaurant hopping.  I don’t need to be ‘seen’, in fact I’d rather not be seen.  I spend most of my life hiding behind the newsletter and sunglasses.  I like it that way.

Anyway, back to treatments and I have been seduced so many times by words describing treatments, which just don’t live up to promise.  I’ve done most things, non-invasive I need to add.  I’ve rested my body on amethyst crystals, I’ve been gonged out of my brain and have rolled in mud.  I have walked over hot coals, steamed to oblivion and on.  I am super-critical and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve jumped off a treatment bed in the midst of a full-blown panic attack because the ‘energies’ are all wrong.

Of course there is a balance and for each disappointing, over-egged treatment, there are the fabulous ones.  A session with Anastasia Achilleos has such a deep far-reaching effect, I deliberately don’t drive when I see her because I’m too far ‘gone’ when I emerge.  When the amazing Ross Barr sticks a needle in my head and tells me it’s the ‘Heaven and Earth’ acupuncture point, I float and then send a series of emails begging for more.  Lest he should elevate me to the top of his impossible wait list. (This acknowledgement may further that cause – hello Ross – waving – blowing kisses – doing somersaults!).

It would be remiss of me not to write about Light Therapy because, as each of you know, I am such a strong believer.  It goes way past being just another beauty treatment; it is so much more, encompassing skin, health and wellbeing, which would explain the devotion I/we have to the Boost At-Home Treatment Mask, and now the stupendous Bib, the all-singing-all-dancing-at-home treatment that targets our necks and décolletage.

And then serendipity. I went to my hairdresser, Daniel at Hershesons. I couldn’t see out of my fringe.  Albeit that he has cut my hair since I was a teenager, I dance a dance of extraordinary happiness when I go to Berners Street, mostly because of all the treatments you can have there now.  This is where I had my first Light Salon treatment and the rest is history.

At this point, if I may, a call-out to Claire who does my colour, basically because she is amazing and madness descends upon us when we are together, but I diversify because I was talking about serendipity and as I walked into Hershesons, there they were.  Hannah Measures and Laura Ferguson, aka The Light Salon girls.  Serendipity indeed as it transpired.

I believe that everything in life is about journeys and relationships. If we take that back to the core, the whole ethos of The Light Salon is about the journey and in a sense we are only at the beginning.  The vision is such that having established themselves with their Facial Bar treatments, they are now establishing The Light Salon Skin, Health and Wellbeing rooms.  Such things sing to me.  As does Pressotherapy.

It went like this. Having discovered that Hannah and Laura both cite Pressotherapy as their favourite body treatment at the moment, the next thing I knew was that I had been scheduled for Pressotherapy that very afternoon, at which point I turned my phone off and went on the missing list.  Always a good thing.

So exactly what is Pressotherapy.  It is described as a treatment for the body and mind, allowing you to pause, repair and reset the body.  Keeping your clothes on, you are helped into the Pressotherapy trousers, which are yanked up over your stomach.  Creating waves of gentle (and not so gentle) compression, it helps ramp up the circulatory system, boosting blood circulation and helping to reduce fluid retention and puffiness.  That’s me.  Water retention and puffiness.

The Lymphatic System doesn’t have a pump, so it depends on muscle contraction and manual manipulation to move fluid, which is fine with me because my kind of exercise is letting somebody else do it for me.  That aside it also helps take down cortisol levels (the stress hormone).  Knowing that, I started to dream of the impossible – daily sessions.

Anyway, anyway, having wriggled into the Pressotherapy trousers, the switch was flicked on and pockets of compressed air tightly gripped my legs from the ankle and moved up and down my body.  The pressure is carefully measured and apparently it peaks at 80.  Does anybody get to 80, I asked.  Well yes, I was told by Sofia the therapist, one of my colleagues, but she’s the only one.  At this stage I was on 70.  Dial it up please (as my competitive gene kicked in), so she did, I managed three minutes at 73 and when I started hallucinating about morphing into the Michelin Man, we took it back down to 70.  The machine had defeated me and my gene.

So look, the thing is that the efficacy of the treatment doesn’t depend on higher pressure and there are apparently many settings for many different things.  ‘Fit In A Dress’ (aka fit in your jeans) is one of them.  Of course this isn’t going to happen after one treatment, but two treatments a week for three weeks should do it apparently.  And then there’s water retention, once a week would be good.

The bottom line here is that I really did feel different after the treatment.  I felt lighter and my puffy computer eyes had been banished somewhere in the process.  This treatment is clinically proven, but it gets even better because Pressotherapy is accompanied by a double dose of LED, body and face ending with a head, neck and shoulder massage.  Super brilliant when you’ve just had your hair done, but I didn’t care.  This is what I call wellbeing and I want more.

Weirdly, or otherwise, I told Shabir a few days before this happening that I wanted to write more and that I would write random articles outside of the newsletter and the addicts bulletin.  And now this, with love and gratitude to Hannah and Laura for allowing me to play with their treatments and, unknowingly, giving me fodder for the random.

In full transparency, the girls didn’t ask me to write this, I decided I wanted to write about it and so I have.  It follows my strong ethos of sharing fabulous things just because I can and there are no pound (or dollar) signs attached.  London-centric, yes for the moment, but there are plans for a UK nationwide roll-out in time.

The VH platform is for dancing on.  And so we dance.
With sunglasses on.

How To Embrace The Most Stressful Time Of The Year

festive

Edward Pola and George Wyle might have called it ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, but new research suggests that over 45 percent of us feel more stressed and anxious in December than any other time of the year. So much so, 16 percent of Brits would rather submit a tax return than see family at this time of the year and just over a quarter find Christmas Day more mentally draining than a job interview, according to a poll by Deichmann.

“It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but this research highlights how incredibly anxious people become in the run up to Christmas,” says Josephine Soei, marketing manager for Deichmann. “So much is expected of us and it’s a busy time of year. It’s ironic that we’re all supposed to be having a ball and yet nearly half of adults say it’s the worst time of the year.”

The spiralling cost of everything is the main source of stress for Brits. However, getting the right food in and making sure everyone is having a good time also add to our anxiety. So, how can you get everything done and keep your stress levels in-check?

Make a list: It’s one of the most simplest things you can do and yet when we’re up against it most of us forget to take a couple of minutes out and write a to-do list. Not only will it help you create a plan of action, but it will also ensure you don’t forget anything… as long as it’s on the list. 

Calm your nerves: In the most stressful moments our nervous system can be sent into overdrive. At this time of the year most of us aren’t getting enough sleep either, which makes us feel more jittery. While Magnolia Rhodiola Complex won’t cure this completely, the clever blend of herbs and extracts will help your body relax and manage spikes in your cortisol. 

Stock-up on magnesium: When we’re stressed and tired our magnesium supply can take a battering. While bathing in magnesium flakes might be one of the best ways to absorb the mineral, you can also take Neuro-Mag by Life Extension supplements or massage Better You’s dreamy Magnesium Oil Original Spray into the soles of your feet before your go to bed.

Embrace self-care Sunday: It’s a word we have heard a lot this year, but engaging in a little self-care each week, especially at this time of year, can really help calm your mind and refocus your thoughts. For this, we love nothing more than slipping on a Spacemask for 10 minutes. It lives up to its tagline and offers ‘interstellar relaxation’. 

Morning Anxiety: Five Tricks To Help You Feel Less Frantic First Thing

White Analogue Clock on Blue Background

If you’re not a morning person, you’re not alone. What most of us would give for a few more hours’ sleep during the working week. However, while most feel lethargic and a bit sluggish when their alarm goes off, there are others who wake up to quite the opposite scenario – a racing heartbeat, serious sweating and a whirring brain that refuses to slow down. Up until three years ago, I fell into the latter category, with my daily pangs of morning anxiety leaving me drained before I’d even gotten out of bed. Read More…

Why You Should Become A Tea Drinker

Tea

How many times has someone offered to make you a cup of tea when it feels like your world is coming crashing down? In the UK, a warm cuppa is seen as the answer to many of life’s perils and there is plenty of research to back up this assumption. Over the years studies have revealed that tea can help to not just improve our mood, but also support our heart and our mental health. Recent research by the National University of Singapore has found that drinking tea regularly could also help protect against cognitive decline as we age. Read More…