My go-to toddler white lies

Sometimes, a little teeny weeny white lie just makes life so much easier…..

1. If all vegetables have ‘crisps’ or ‘chips’ at the end of their name it makes them irresistible

2. Peas and sweetcorn are “sweets”. If you hand them to your child in a conspiratorial manner, sort of hesitate and say “I’m not sure you should be eating these but go on then”……it makes them even nicer 

3. Is there butter on that? Well,  that’s an interesting question. That’s just how the bread is, OK?

4. If you run out of orange juice, just tell them apple juice is like orange juice just a bit more applier

5. When they ask if everyone is asleep, you always say yes.

6. The TV shuts down at 6pm, doesn’t it?

7. You can only have one glass of water from the water dispenser at the Dentists, it’s the law. 

8.. The Peppa Pig Car Ride machine is sadly broken but you can sit in it for a minute. 

9. Peaches look a bit like pumpkins, and pumpkins are in Cinderella……so there’s a tenuous link to use

10. The police will always be called in utter crisis situations. And for emergencies there is Father Christmas. 

Thinking Slimmer: 21 Days Later…..

I have been using my slimpod for over 21 days now. It has honestly changed my outlook on good, diet and also given me a much more positive outlook on life.

On 15th July, I downloaded my slimpod and I took note of my weight: 14 stone 11lbs

Today, 14th August and I weigh:

I’ve lost lbs in 4 weeks. No diet, no stress, no guilt.

I am so proud of myself because this is something I have achieved, without a diet club or plan. I used to think the only way I could lose weight was to do things that way, but not now. I have managed to choose my meals and lose weight. 

My mindset has changed completely. I see food as fuel, something to channel me through the day rather than it being a major part of my life. When I’ve eaten my meal, I know that’s it, and I don’t need anything else. I enjoy my meals, and I make sure what I eat at every meal is something I really, really want to eat. I crave healthy foods, fruit and veg. I feel better inside and out for eating in this way.

Sugar

My dependence on sugar has reduced dramatically. I haven’t had a bar of chocolate in over a month. I haven’t had sweets either. My intake of diet coke has reduced. I don’t feel the need to eat a pudding after my main meals now. I feel this is the biggest factor in my weight loss: no snacking of sweet or sugary foods, even when I am low in mood. I just don’t think about food in that way. 

Yes, it’s not all been plain sailing and this is by no means a quick fix. I have had slices of cake, a few ice creams here or there. But instead of extras I am eating these things as part of my life, my diet. I am not eating an ice cream at 4pm then snacking and eating a massive main meal later on in the day, for example. It sort of balances out. 

A lovely relaxing Sunday at the Pub

It’s a sunny day, it’s a Sunday…….better go off to the pub for a lovely Roast Dinner

Ah, Sundays. I must admit, it isn’t my favourite day of the week, mainly because I always remember I’ve run out of milk at approximately 5.13pm when most supermarkets are shut. Sundays, especially if it’s raining and I’m the only adult in the house, can be very long. There’s only so much Bing I can take, you know?  

It wasn’t always this way. I used to love a Sunday. Hungover, lounging around in my PJ’s, watching Hollyoaks omnibus and eating potato waffles. Those were the days. Anyway, I digress. One of the all time best things about Sundays are ROAST DINNERS. 

There’s nothing like your Mums roast dinner. Or your Nans.  Just thinking about them now and I start to salivate. Roast chicken, crispy roast potatoes, fluffy Yorkshire puddings, gravy oozing from the jug….heaven. 

Being a family that is two thirds vegetarian, our Sunday dinners are not the same. Sometimes they’re not even a roast. I’ve had to adapt to cooking lasagne or macaroni cheese for my Sunday dinner. We even sometimes have PIZZA, for crying out loud. We do sometimes have roast potatoes but it’s not the same. I couldn’t roast a chicken if I tried and I have no idea what to do with its giblets. It would take me 3 weeks to eat the said chicken and I’d probably have fallen over with salmonella poisoning by then.

So, where am I going with this? Ah yes. The compromise. When I am feeling at roast crisis point, my lovely partner agrees we can go for a Pub Sunday Roast. It’ll be a lovely, relaxing trip to the pub…..

We always choose a child friendly pub with a mahoosive play area outside. That’s like, rule number one. Then we play Rock Paper Scissors to see who gets to have an alcoholic drink whilst we are there. I tell my other half to book a table as it’ll be busy. He scoffs and says, nah, it’ll be alright, and we get into the car. 

Now, we always get there and the place is rammed. I say, we should’ve booked! I told you! And my other half just rolls his eyes and nervously scouts around for a table. This time, there’s loads of tables outside. Great, it’s a sunny day, kiddo can play in the play area whilst I sip my wine and watch her enjoying herself. Perfect. 
We get outside, get a table and we pick our meals. Straight away Nancy is in the thick of the action. There is a slide/climbing frame combo and it looks like one of those buses in India where people are holding on, on the outside. Except, with children. They are hanging off every available piece of toughened plastic. Except, Nancy is not on the climbing frame,nor the slide. No. She wants to play with the gate to the play area.

“NO! You can’t come in!” She shouts at the children trying to negotiate entry. I have to get up and open the gates and try to get her interested in what she should be doing. As I sit down again she starts to climb up kid mountain. It’s not long before there is another drama, a bigger kid won’t let her on the slide, and I’m up and down like a yoyo, my rosè wine warming in the blazing sunshine. 

After a quick run around the pub garden to see the pet rabbits, throwing crayons on the floor, picking up sticks and a failed escape mission, dinner is ready.

“I don’t want FISH FINGERS!” she shouts.

“But you chose fish fingers” I say. 

There starts a ten minute conversation about eating our dinner, bribing with YouTube, ice cream and saying she can go back on the slide once she has eaten her fish/chips/peas. It is a long and agonising process, as she takes a bit of precious fish we take turns to stuff our faces as quickly as we can before negotiations start again. 

Once the stress levels have returned, I can finish my drink and Nancy goes off to terrorise the other children for a bit. The sun is so hot that I am sure I’ve burnt my shoulders. As she starts to climb on TOP of the climbing frame, about 5 feet off the floor, we talk her down and make a run for it, telling her she can have a lollipop from the shop if she gets in the car.

And there we have it, a perfect relaxing Sunday…….

Thinking Slimmer, Sacking Sugar #slimpod

As long term readers are aware, I have been on a mission to lose weight for just over a year now. I wrote this post about how I felt at the time, and in a  year I have lost 16 pounds. Not as much as I would have liked, but I have had a few family and emotional issues in this time, which did set me back a bit. I am pleased I have lost this weight, that I haven’t got any heavier, but I have been struggling with the whole yo-yoing up and down over the last 6 months – I have gained and lost half a stone in this time.

With my Dad’s cancer diagnosis, it gave me the signal I needed. I wanted to get healthy for the sake of my daughter, my family – I have to keep going with my weight loss and not give up. Easier said then done, however. Emotional eating is my downfall, and this very stressful time has meant I have reverted to comfort eating and stuffing my face with chocolates and sweets in the hope that would make me feel better. Feeling tired and not feeling like cooking has also meant more takeaways, more junk food and basically I was feeling very bloated, and yucky and basically fed up. I knew what I had to do, what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t find a time, a moment to stop what I was doing and get back on the wagon again. Couple all this with my general anxiety about my health and my fears of developing type 2 diabetes like my Mum, and I knew I needed to do something, but I was at a loss as to how I could move forward.

Then I saw a post by Kate at Striking Mums. It was asking for people who wanted to drop 2 dress sizes, and quit sugar. Something clicked, and I knew I had to take up this opportunity. I contacted Kate and signed up to a Thinking Slimmer focus group, which was focussing primarily on kicking sugar habits. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

What is a Slimpod?

A slimpod is a podcast that you listen to every night for 21 days and then after this you listen as and when you need it. It is a cutting edge weight loss solution created by Harley street neuroscience experts Sandra Roycroft-Davis and Trevor Silvester. The slimpods last for 10 minutes and in the time you listen, it re-tunes your mind to make healthier choices and to make positive changes to your life without even thinking.

Sounds….a bit airy fairy, doesn’t it? How can listening to a slimpod actually make you lose weight? Well, I had to give it a go.

You download the slimpod from the site, or you can purchase it as a CD. I have managed to download my slimpods on to my ipad, android phone and my kindle fire quite easily.

So, I started my slimpod over a week ago.

I have 2 slimpods – one is Drop 2 Jeans Sizes or More, and the other is a ‘habit-breaker’ The Chocoholic Cure. I listen to mine just before I go to bed, and listen to the slimpods one after another. It is up to you when you listen to your slimpod, but you can feel sleepy when you listen, as you are encouraged to relax, so I like to do it before bed. It doesn’t matter if you fall asleep listening, as your ‘ears are always awake’ as Trevor says!

I have found that I start to listen, and then start to drift off into a lovely sleepy trance. I either fall asleep or wake up just at the end of the slimpods. It is so strange when I do this, as I really can’t remember hearing any of them! However, I feel it is working.

You make a contract with yourself that is in the handbook that you download from the site. Every day you should write what good things or differences you have made that day, to help you focus before your slimpods. There is a lot of advice on the website, as well as the handbook. You also can join the facebook group for more support from other slimpod users. It feels very positive, supportive and non-judgemental.

The main thing I have noticed is that food is not the main subject of discussion. How you are feeling, positive choices, changing lifestyles are what you notice. The food element is there but it isn’t as important. It doesn’t matter what you eat, there is no diet. It is liberating, and the fact that nothing is bad, or wrong is a refreshing way to look at things. You can’t mess up, there is no ‘start again tomorrow’ as what I am finding is that I am naturally stopping eating when I feel full, I am choosing to eat fruit, and water rather than chocolate and fizzy drinks. I go to bed pleased with what I have achieved during the day, rather than feeling I have messed up, and waiting for a tomorrow that never comes. I haven’t eaten chocolate or sweets for over 2 weeks – I haven’t even felt interested in them, even when they have been in my eyesight!

I feel energised, more motivated to complete tasks at home and at work – things that I have been putting off previously. I feel confident to try new things and I even tried some size 16 clothes – stretchy ones – that actually did fit. I felt so pleased with myself.

The emphasis when you are listening to your slimpod is not about your weight, not to jump on the scales but to measure your success in other ways. In my first week I did jump on the scales and I lost 4lbs. However I haven’t felt the need to weigh myself again, and I just ‘know’ that if I keep on doing what I’m doing, I WILL lose weight and I WILL be achieving my goals.

I will write some more posts soon about how I am getting on, but I am loving what I am doing at the moment, and listening to the slimpod has definitely helped me feel more positive and in control of what I am eating and how I am feeling.

Are you Thinking Slimmer? How do you like the Slimpods? Let me know if you are!

 

 

My Week

My Week

So this week has been mostly occupied with work and seeing my Dad. He was admitted this week due to dehydration and side effects of the chemotherapy. He had started some palliative chemo to give him some extra time, but has spent the last two weeks in quite a bad way. This wasn’t made better by being admitted to hospital. Short staffed, lack of information and not getting his meds in time hasn’t been great. He’s still in hospital, and next week will decide where he goes from here in terms of treatment.

It’s been very tiring driving to and from their home and the hospital over the past week. Last weekend was lovely, my grandad and other family came to visit my Mum and Dad and we all went to Lyme Regis for chips. It was a really warm day, and the beach was packed. It wasn’t the best day to be there, but it was another memory to store away. I prefer Lyme Regis in the autumn or winter, a little desolate, empty and enough space to breathe.  There’s something about being by the beach, the sea and the smells and sounds of the waves that is really peaceful to me.

Nancy has been so good this week. We have had a few nightmare weeks recently what with chicken pox and potty training as well as a cough and cold to contend with. Chicken Pox was awful, she did cope well but a whole week of being stuck in the house nearly did us in. We were being woken up several times a night, held to ransom with shouts and demands of milk, and a real preference for mummy which was very difficult., as I wasn’t feeling so great myself.

She is more or less potty trained now. It has taken a long time for her to get used to wearing pants but she will wear them now, and accidents are getting few and far between. I am so proud of her, she has coped with this very well. She has also moved up to the bigger group at nursery now, which she was a little hesitant to go to at first, but now she loves it and is really coming on leaps and bounds now.

I’ve changed jobs at work, which was a much needed change and this has made my working life a little easier, and also more interesting as I am getting my head around new ways of working. My new job foccuses on supporting people with a learning disability who have behaviours that challenge. It’s really interesting so far. It has been a good distraction for me recently what with everything else going on.

My sister has now moved out of my house, after living with me for a year. It has been a year of highs and lows, mainly highs though. It wasn”t as bad as I thought it could be, and I know that we will miss her, but she is moving into a lovely house with her boyfriend. They are expecting a baby in January, so she really needed to leave my house. I can’t say I wasn’t panicking for a moment there that she’d be giving birth in my house, but now she’s gone and a new chapter in her life begins. She’s only 7 mins away from me by car so I am sure I will be seeing her often…..

I am trying to scehdule my time better, to make time for all the things I want to do, such as blog, read my books, have baths, watch TV shows, and some fitness too. I am looking at what free time I have, and am going to be more productive with it. Since starting Thinking Slimmer I am being more efficient in getting jobs done, and now I want to focus on getting some ‘me’ time slotted in. I read an article that successful entrepenuers timetable everything in their life, to make sure it gets done, so I am hoping to do a similar approach. I will let you know if I ever manage to do it!

I haven’t been eating as well this week, which I am a little disappointed about. It’s been hard as I’ve been driving up and down, and as a consequence I have felt very tired and not very creative food wise. I am still making better choices than I did before, but I have been aiming to eat as ‘clean’ as I can, and this week I feel a little sluggish as I have let that slip a bit. The best thing about the slimpod approach is that I don’t feel bad or guilty about this, I accept that this week has been hard and I have done what I can – I have written about my slimpod experience and I have lost 6lbs in a month which I am so happy about. It just makes me realise what foods are good for me, and make me feel better. I am trying my best to get organised this week so that I don’t fall into any old habits. I still haven’t eaten any chocolate or sweets, which I am very pleased with. Snacking has stopped altogether.

Anyway, this is my week. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it!

Emily x

Toddler Car Journey Moments 

That moment on the motorway when you hear “Hello Mum!” and realise that your child has escaped their arm straps on the carseat

That Moment when you realise you have a 3 hour car journey and only have one CD with you – ‘Cbeebies Party’

That moment when you know you should’ve stopped at the last services to change their bum, as the next services aren’t for 30 miles and you can smell a poonami occuring

That moment when they drop their toy on the floor and you try to scrabble around with your left arm behind you to find the said toy

That moment when they repeat the above again….and again….

That moment when the ipad battery runs out

That moment when you try and play I Spy with a 2 year old

That moment when they drop their milky drink all over the car floor and you have cheesy smelling car for weeks to come

That moment when they will not believe there isn’t a microwave in the car to make warm milk 

That moment when you spot a cow in a field and then they never get to see the cow because they looked the other way and now they are well annoyed and demanding another cow

That moment when you hear absolute silence…..

……because they have systematically taken every wet wipe out of the packet and are eating them

That moment when they fall asleep 5 minutes before you get home

That moment when you arrive and can get out of the bloody car

 

A Trip to Brighton with Travelodge #Bloggerlodge

We were really lucky when Travelodge offered us a 2 night stay in a family room in Brighton, to review their newly updated rooms.

Brighton is a lovely city and as we have family living there, we thought it was a great chance to take Nancy to Brighton to see the sights.

The journey to Brighton was relatively straight forward, and the Travelodge was easy to find. We were staying at the Brighton Travelodge on Preston Road.

brighton-trip-review-hotel-travelodge

Parking in Brighton is at a premium, luckily there was parking on site although this is first come first served. You also have to pay to park, it was about £15 for two days parking. However having been to Brighton before, I know parking is a nightmare and it does cost a lot, so I wasn’t phased by this, but its worth remembering.

The room was a Family Room, and it was large! We were really lucky as one of the single beds was in a little alcove which meant that we could have the lamps on it didn’t affect Nancy too much when she slept.  The bed was a good size, and there were tea and coffee facilities.The room was clean and also had the added touch of a Fan in the room which was great seeing as it was so hot! There was also a TV in the room too. WiFi is available with 30 minutes free and 24 hours costing £3 – the wi-fi was actually very good, and Nancy could even watch YouTube on it without buffering! One thing I really would have loved to have seen was a fridge – in a family room especially with Nancy liking a lot of Milk to drink, a fridge would have been a great addition to the room.

Travelodge-bloggerlodge-review-trip-brighton

The Bathroom was a little disappointing. The bedroom had clearly had a makeover, but the bathroom looked old and there were a few worn bits, although it was as clean as it could be. Still, it did the job. Well, at first it didn’t as the shower fell to pieces but the lovely staff at the Travelodge got this fixed in no time, and we were happy with that.

The location of the Travelodge is not near the sea; however it was a very quick bus journey of less than 10 minutes and we were right there on the seafront. The Travelodge is near a big park though called Preston Park which was just across the road; this was a lovely place to wander around in the evening, and there were also some gorgeous wild flowers that I stopped to admire. A 10 minute walk away is London Road with many lovely pubs and places to eat. On our first night we went to Hare and Hounds which has a mexican street food menu, and it was delicious. They allow children in up to 8pm so this was perfect for us and then we walked back to the hotel via the Park.

What To Do In Brighton:

Brighton has everything a seaside town should; it has the famous pier, with arcades and rides and the beach. There is a Sealife centre right on the front as well as The Big Wheel – which is a bit like a smaller version of the London Eye. We went into full tourist mode and went on the wheel, which Nancy loved, and although it was half raining, half sunny when we went on board, we could see some lovely views. Watch out though – you turn around and suddenly there is a photographer in your face taking your photo, and at the end they try to get you to buy the photos, so just be warned!

brighton-fish-chips-travelodge

The arcades are just such a british seaside tradition, and the arcade on Brighton Pier is a famous one. I remember my grandparents taking me to the 2p machines when I was young. Nancy loved the hustle and bustle of the arcades and even had a little go at the 2p machines, and her Dad even managed to win her a few prizes. Unfortunately it started to really rain at this point so we didn’t walk further down the pier to the end, which was a shame.

Brighton SeaLife Centre

The Sealife Centre was something I was really looking forward to. It has recently been refurbished, and it looked like there was a lot going on. The main arcade of the centre is amazing, and there are lots of fish and animals to see as you wander through. Nancy loved experiencing a rock pool, being able to touch a starfish and a crab, as well as shells. The rainforest section is well designed and Nancy loved going into the little view ports for children. There were snakes, turtles and other fish. Nancy thought the piranha looked a bit sad.

The main attraction for me was the walk-under tunnel, where you can see massive turtles and sting rays float right over your head. There is a glass bottomed boat you can ride in as well, for an extra cost (which we didn’t go on). There is a Jurassic style section but I didn’t feel this was well stocked at all and Nancy was not really interested in the sealife in this section. In general it was a good couple of hours to spend out of the rain and Nancy did enjoy it. Oh, and there is also a photo opportunity in the sealife centre, so again be warned!

The weather thankfully cleared up in the afternoon, and we headed to the lanes for a spot of window shopping and some tea and cake. I love the lanes, so much vibrancy and lots of lovely little unique shops to explore. After tea and cake we wandered down to the beach again and walked along the promenade to Hove, where we met with some family members for a catch-up.

After this, we walked into Hove and had our dinner in a great Italian restaurant. Hove is a lovely little place, with a village feel to it.  We got a taxi back to our Travelodge from Hove which cost around £8.

How Did We Sleep?

Our nights in the Travelodge were good. Our beds were comfortable and at night it was relatively quiet where we were staying. Having seen the location of the seafront Travleodge, right in the middle of all the clubs and bars, I was quite grateful for our location!

We all managed to sleep well despite the heat, and in the morning we had a complimentary breakfast (usual price £7.95). The breakfast was eat all you like, which included cereal, fruit, toast, yoghurt, croissants, bacon, scrambled eggs, baked beans, tomato, sausage, fruit juice, tea and coffee. I felt there was a good range for the breakfast and something for everyone and the cooked breakfast was very tasty and cooked well. £7.95 seems moderately priced for breakfast and you could literally fill up on whatever you liked. I have paid a lot more than this for a breakfast at other hotels so whilst not cheap, I didn’t feel this was too bad a price.

Checking out was easy, and it was great that we didn’t have to check out until 12, although we did check out earlier as we wanted to get going to visit Arundel Castle on our way back!

We really enjoyed staying in Brighton, it was a lovely break and there was so much to do. The Travelodge was a great base to explore Brighton from, and the room was comfortable and spacious.

We received 2 nights complimentary stay at Travelodge including breakfast in order to undertake this review. All views and opinions are my own.

I don’t want to stop living because my dad is dying

When I was at work the other day, I was talking about starting to go to the gym. Someone remarked that perhaps I shouldn’t be doing that right now, because, well, you know.
What they meant by you know, was that my dad is dying. And who wants to go the gym when your dad is dying? 

Well, I do, actually. 

Everyday I wake up, and everyday is another day when I know my Dad is not well. He has cancer, stage 4, the worst it can be. Nothing can be done to cure him. It is awful, and the thought of him not being here makes me feel very sad indeed. 

I’ve cried, we’ve all cried. I cried the day they told me, I’ve cried on the way to work. I think of a memory of me and my dad and tears well up in my eyes. I watch Nancy with him, laughing and smiling and cuddling her Grampy, and I feel so sad that he will not see her grow up.

But you know what? I am tired of crying. I am tired of grieving for someone who is still here. I want to live my life, the way my Dad is so proud of me doing. I want to do the things I want to do, enjoy my time, make nice memories for all of us. For him. 

I keep thinking how awful it must be for my Dad. He has to face up to his mortality, a fear we all hold, surrounded by people who are crying for him as if he is already gone. He is being strong, as usual, holding everyone together when inside he must be falling apart. 

I want to make this a happy time. I want to make this time full of smiles, and laughter, and happiness. Not just for my Dad. For me. Should I be feeling worse than I am? Is it wrong to want to go to the gym? To go on holiday? No, I don’t think so.

Maybe this is a selfish thing to say, to write. But I can’t help feeling that it is wrong to be so maudlin and so miserable when this is the only time we have left with my Dad. 

Life should go on, life is what we are here to do. And most of all, I realise that life is precious. Life is so precious and we all take it for granted. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. I keep thinking of the tragedy in Tunisia, which happened days after my Dads diagnosis. Here we are, crying over my dad and yet there are 30 people whose lives were taken suddenly and cruelly, no warning at all. No one knows when they will die, just my Dad has been given the heads up. He can say goodbyes, tick things off a list, enjoy the time he has left.

Which is what we should all do really, isn’t it? Enjoy the time we have. I am a great believer in mindfulness, and living in the moment. Our time is now, we won’t get these moments ever again. Let’s make these moments count. 

It is easy to look at everything and start to feel sadness. To look at the calendar and wonder which day it will be. I won’t let myself be held to ransom by Death.

I have reduced my hours at work, temporarily at least, to make the most of this time. Spend time with my family, to take time for myself. I think of my Dad, and I want to make every time I see him a good one. I also look at Nancy too. I want to make sure we have lots of memories and good times to share as well. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I will cry. When it will all get too much. But I need to balance this with some positives. I have to at least try to do this. I can’t feel like a dark shadow of doom hangs over me every day. I can’t pause my life, leave my life in limbo, waiting for the day when ‘it’ happens. And I don’t think that’s fair on my Dad either. Keeping some level of normality must help him somewhat to feel like life goes on too. 

It’s ironic however that the normal you crave, that my Dad and we all want has gone forever. It was gone before we even realised we had lost it. We can’t go back, but we can move forward, and move forward together, smiling not crying. This is an awful situation, but I want to make the best of it, for all our sakes. 

My Spa Day Experience – The Salt Scrub

I had never attended a spa day before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. This weekend I was on a spa day as it was for my sisters’ birthday.  Paper knickers, foil and chanting monks…..see what happened when I went for a Salt Glow treatment….

Now I must say that there is a reason why I haven’t been on a spa day before. I am scared of people, and I am a bit weird. I get anxious worrying about what will happen and what I am supposed to do. I am terribly self-conscious. I just say stupid things and do stupid things. I decided to just go for it, and just push my boundaries and have a Salt Glow Scrub treatment.

Prep

Preparation for the spa day took several hours. I had to shave my legs, my underarms and also attack my ‘bikini’ line which looked more like a ‘shorts’ line. I also had to slap on the make-up to make sure I looked good enough in all the spa day photos.

Arrival

On arrival I was disappointed we were not having prosecco, but then it was pointed out to me it was 10am and some people seem to think this is a little early to start on the bubbles. We were shown around the spa and allocated our robe and towels, obligatory uniform for a spa day.

The Robe

What do you wear under the Robe? Nothing? Underwear? Swimsuit? I chose a swimsuit.

The Salt Scrub

As I entered the room, I could hear Enya in the background. The bed was in front of me, curiously covered in a piece of foil.

“Welcome” gently breathed the therapist.

“Now if you would just change into these paper knickers, and then make yourself comfortable on the bed, then we can begin.” She handed me a small packet and then left the room.

“Oh OK! I’m wearing a swimsuit!” I said, not really sure why.

Paper knickers? I looked down into my hand, and unfolded a paper thong, one size fits all.

I haven’t worn a thong for at least 10 years. And not a paper one at that.

I looked at it for a bit to try to work out what way to put it on. I managed to get it over my hips and it just about covered my muff area. Now I realised why I was told to get rid of that ‘bikini’ area.

The bed appeared to be about 4 feet off the floor, I managed to ungracefully flop onto the bed, and onto the foil sheet, face down.

The lady then entered the room again. There was a small silence, and I wondered what was going to happen next. Then, without further ado, she started to rather vigorously slather my arms and legs in a hot oil, and then scrub the living daylights out of them.

The music changed to monks chanting.

She started to wrap me up in the foil, and then wrapped two towels around me.

“I will just leave you a moment to relax” she whispered, and slinks out the room.

I felt all cocooned, like a baby swaddled or back in the womb. I let myself drift for a moment and felt relaxed. But then I couldn’t stop thinking about a piece of chicken that was ready to roast. I also wasn’t sure when she was coming back and I was worried I was going to fart or something.

Back she comes, and starts to unwrap me. The chicken was ready.

She turns a shower on behind her, and for a moment of horror I think she is going to wash me.

“If you would like to get in the shower, and remove ALL the scrub, and I will be back in a moment”

“Er, do I wear these knickers in the shower?!” I ask, completely not understanding anything.

“Er. Well you can if you want….” She looks at me as if I am insane. I start to get off the bed, and then slip right off the foil sheet. I try and gain my composure.

I get in the shower, wash off the scrub, and manage to dry myself, put my paper knickers back on and then haul myself back on the bed for whatever else is happening.

Back in she glides, and the enya music is cranked up a notch.

She grabs my leg and we are back roughly massaging cream all over my legs. It does smell lovely.

“I shall now do the mini-facial” She announces, which is news to me as I wasn’t expecting her to touch my face.

She takes two cotton pads and gently wipes away all the make up I plastered on myself this morning. Typical.

As she is doing this, I start to become conscious of what my face must look like to her. Am I smirking? Laughing? Do I look calm and relaxed? I almost start to laugh out of nervousness and now I am aware of my face and what my mouth is doing I can’t stop smirk-laughing, Trying to look more calm and relaxed is making me look like a crazy axe murderer. My face has contorted into a strange strangled smile. I close my eyes and try to meditate, be in the moment, but then as I am thinking this I am suddenly aware that she is dabbing my face with her fingers like she’s finger painting. Dib dib dib.

Then everything stops.

There is silence apart from monks chanting. I wonder if the monks ever thought they’d be played in a room with a woman wrapped up like a chicken fillet and wearing paper pants. It’s a funny old world.

And then I hear a tiny pair of cymbals go

“ding”

“That is the end of your treatment” she coos. “And I will just go and fetch you a drink”.  I wonder if she manages to do a few spray tans in the time it takes her to pop in and out each time.

She hands me a glass of water, and tries to get me to buy all the stuff she smeared all over me today.

“I’ll think about it” I say as I sip my water, not intending to buy anything at all.

I thank her, and she leaves me to put on my clothes. I have a dilemma about the paper pants. Do I keep them on? I decide to take them off, and leave them on the bed. I feel sorry for the woman having to throw away other people’s paper pants.

And then I walk off, full of zen, and feeling relaxed, happy to have surivived a spa treatment and ready for my waiting prosecco.

Fish Fingers and Facetime Heartbreak

They told us in the most technologically advanced way they could, via Facetime. I was actually impressed. This was the only time my Mum has managed to Facetime us herself straight off.

I wonder if anyone else has used their ipads in this way. However it was the only way they could see us, virtually better than nothing at all.

As I saw their faces nervously stare back at the screen and I knew it wasn’t good.

As a nurse, I am used to bad news. I hear it, I say it. I am hardened to the cold, grey words.

But when it is personal, when it is your family, the colour and the pain sear into your heart.

Memories and thoughts flash through my mind. Some good, some bad.

I feel a sadness descend over me.

And then I have to snap out of it, and cook fish fingers and chips for my little girl, who keeps asking me what is wrong.

I sit with her and watch YouTube videos of cartoon Monkeys falling off a bed.They fall off, they get up, and they do it all over again.

She must know something is up as she has eaten all her fish finger without prompting, and I silently make a note to use this information at a later date.

I desperately want to forget about all of this. But I can’t, and it’s real.

I feel the sadness grow and spread just like the cancer that has invaded my family.