Friday, 31 May 2013

That's all folks! The end of my 30 Day Mind & Body Detox

So, it's the end of my 30 Day Mind & Body Detox programme... Or is it?!

Yes, the 30 days are up. Yes, it's been quite a journey with some big ups and downs and (cheesy though it sounds) I've really learned something about myself and my relationship with with food, my body and what goes on inside my head.

With Week 4 came a certain calm, a peace with leaving things on my plate and accepting that, better than 30 Days of Perfection, is a life long series of changes and better choices. My bum feels firmer (hooray!), my skin feels incredible and my boyfriend even commented today how he could really see a change in my shape. Yes ok, I still have a way to go before I feel uber-energised, cellulite-free and slim as a whippet but I'm SO on track for that and if I keep going on this journey then that is surely the direction I am heading in.

To that end, I am going to keep up with many of the facets of this programme ongoing. I do feel that there is benefit in short-term detoxes however what has become clear is that a gradual change is more sustainable. What isn't going to happen is the classic annual 'detox month' each year that allows me to "cheat" the other 11... remember, I'd only be cheating myself and I can honestly say that my desire to eat sugary or processed or wheat-filled foods has diminished hugely so resisting should be much easier.

But more importantly than all this outer bumpf (and yes, it really is more important) is the greater sense of inner calm and contentment and faith in my own ability that has come into it's own recently. I always said that age 26 was the age at which most women seem to make their final "adjustments", reviewing the character traits they dislike and learning to accept the ones they cannot change, perhaps even becoming fond of their quirks and idiosyncracies. It is then you can learn to love yourself and be at peace with yourself...

I now realise that this happens more than once as here I am feeling the same way about more recent changes aged 32. (I'm now also certain it will happen again and again through life). I'm excited to keep this personal development going as I feel I'm right on the brink of something big and exciting although i haven't a clue what... but I'll keep you posted :)

For now, I'm off out to celebrate a rather lovely piece of news I've just had but I'll be posting again in the next few days with the dreaded 'After' photos and a review of how I found each aspect of the programme and what I'll be keeping up with.

Until then, cheers! x

Sarah is an Holistic massage & beauty therapist, owner of Edge of Eden and Senior Consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies. You can call her on 01277 220301, email at or comment below and she’ll get back to you x

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Why you should never fake it - using Aromatherapy in my 30 Day Mind & Body Detox

The more I learn about aromatherapy, the more fascinated and impressed by its efficacy I become.

It's pretty widely accepted common knowledge that aromatherapy can have mood-enhancing effects such as helping you relax or waking you up, hence your zesty citrus morning shower gel or lavender-scented evening bubble bath. The most effective and healthy way to harness the power of aromas such as these is to use organic essential oils rather than synthetic scents, and when you do these powerful essences of plants can have profound effects on our physical state too.

Essential oils are the concentrated essence of plant and protect the plant from disease and infestation as well as attracting bees and butterfiles for pollenation. If you have ever rubbed a mint leaf and smelled the fragrance released then you have experienced the very freshest of essential oils :) This pure concentrated plant essence is very powerful and is also the only truly safe and natural way of fragrancing beauty products, perfumes, room sprays and candles if you want to avoid damaging petrochemicals and "parfum".

When you use essential oils it is important to remember not to apply them directly to the skin - they must be heavily diluted in a cream or in an oil. When you apply creams containing essential oils to your skin the oils then get to work in two ways, absorbing into your bloodstream in seconds and getting to work on reducing inflammation and encouraging healing, lowering blood pressure, reducing depression, boosting immune system and more. They also enter our limbic brain (the part that deals with emotions and memories) through the simple action of breathing in the scent and can trigger memories, relax you, give you more focus or energy and help relax you for deep sleep... just some of the reasons I have incorporated aromatherapy into my Mind & Body detox - it really ticks the boxes of both those categories!

Studies recently conducted have proven that aromatherapy either by inhalation or massage can lower blood pressure and improve sleep quality. In one study, patients undergoing arterial stent insertion who did 10 deep inhalations of a blend of lavender, Roman chamomile and neroli essential oils burning on aromastones before and after the procedure significantly reduced anxiety levels, reduce blood pressure and increased sleep quality.

In a second study, a weekly aromatherapy massage and daily body lotion containing a blend of lavender, marjoram, ylang ylang and neroli essential oils also lowered blood pressure and improved sleep quality. Interestingly, the placebo group also received massage and body lotion but with synthetic fragrance in it and did not get the desired results. As if we needed another reason to go natural and go organic! I use, recommend and sell only Neal's Yard Remedies. They are the only brand I trust to be truly green, clean and organic and to work as well as I want them to. I always think, our products smell lovely naturally so you will smell lovely, naturally...

Here are my top 10 tips for incorporating essential oils into your life:
1. Rub them into your skin via a base oil (such as in an aromatherapy massage) or your skincare products - avoid anything with "parfum" in it!
2. Put a few drops in the bottom of your shower - the warm water will make the scent infuse throughout your shower, or a few drops into your bath or into your bath foam - you'll absorb the oils through the water and inhale them through the steam.
3. Burn some in an aromastone - it's so safe and never overheats so you can even leave it plugged in all night.
4. Put a few drops in your hoover bag and scent the house as you clean.
5. Put a couple of drops on cushion covers and then tumble dry them.
6. Use candles, room sprays and reed diffusers scented only with essential oils to ensure your home not only smells nice, it's good for you too! You can also put little bowls of water or eggcups on your radiators with a few drops in too - this will also reduce the drying effects of the central heating.
7. You can pick up vaporiser bottles or little spray bottles very cheaply - try mixing a few drops with mineral water for a refreshing summer spray (keep it in the fridge for extra freshness).
8. Put a few drops on a hanky and keep it in your handbag to sniff when you need to relax or perk up.
9. Use a roll-on treatment to aid concentration, sleep, a sense of tranquility...
10. Clear your head and nose with a good ol' fashioned inhalation... add 4-6 drops to a bowl of steaming water and lean over the bowl covering your head with a towel. (Do not do this if you have asthma or are claustrophobic).

Don't worry too much about what oils to use; of course it would be ideal to visit a trained aromatherapist if your have a specific complaint to address but if you would just like somewhere to start then try a pre-blended mix to relax, energise, balance or cleanse. Alternatively, have a smell of a few oils and trust your intuition - you will often know the one you need.

My Personal top 5 oils are:
1. Bergamot - uplifting and focuses the mind, whilst relaxing
2. Women's Balance - an absolute must for all women
3. Night Time blend - peaceful and sleepy
4. Ylang Ylang - sensual and an interesting one to burn before bed ;-)
5. Roman chamomile - relaxing and calming

I have started burning bergamot essential oil all day every day! It's just lovely and lemony and comforting. I also love Night Time blend before bed and I often moisturise with Beauty Sleep body butter before bed too; I swear it makes a difference :) So have a go and let me know how you get on.

Mmmm... I can smell you from here! x

A safety note: You should not use essential oils on young children or if you are pregnant without consulting a professional aromatherapist.
Thanks for info in this post go to Neal's Yard Remedies and Natural Health News.

Sarah is an Holistic massage & beauty therapist, owner of Edge of Eden and Senior Consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies. You can call her on 01277 220301, email at or comment below and she’ll get back to you x

Monday, 20 May 2013

“How’s my Detoxing?” – What do you think of my 30 Day Mind & Body Detox?

You know those lorries that have an (I always think quite sarcastic) sign on the back saying “How’s my Driving? Call xxxxxxxx”…?

Well now I’m asking you about my Detoxing… how am I doing?

I know that I have been far from perfect but I really have changed my day-to-day life and am making significantly better choices than before (and they were already reasonably good!) Does anyone have any suggestions on additional actions I could be taking or disagree with any aspects of my programme? I’ve heard that deep breathing can be powerful? Does anyone have any meditation tips? Any other tips or ideas? :)

To recap, the ‘Mind’ aspect of my Detox includes attempting meditation and yoga 5 x week, getting better sleep (through going to bed earlier, turning off all wifi, mobiles, wireless phones etc in the house at bed time and using aromatherapy), and de-stressing by scheduling in creative time, nature time, quiet time, music, reading etc. I know these last items sound very juvenile but the simple fact is that if I don’t schedule time for these simple pleasures, I invariably end up hoovering or doing laundry instead – there is an endless rolling ‘To Do’ list in my head that never gets any shorter (something I suppose you can all empathise with). So I either dedicate "chill time" or lose it completely!

For the ‘Body’ aspect I am taking an ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ approach, although of course these are inextricably linked; I refer more to treatment from the inside out and the outside in. Yes, our outer shell is a mere reflection of what is happening inside us but our ‘outside’ is also very useful for delivering essential nutrients and expelling toxins… did you know that not only is the skin the largest organ in the body but that 60% of what we put on our skin is delivered into our bloodstream within 29 seconds of us applying it?? Now this is part of an essential function of our skin: to help us absorb medicines and nutrients we need, but if that’s not the strongest argument for using organic, synthetic-free skincare I don’t know what is!

So for my ‘outside’ body treatment I am keeping to a thorough but brief daily organic skincare regime and using a fluoride-free toothpaste morning and night. In addition I am boosting my skin’s absorption of anti-oxidants to neutralise trouble-making and ageing free radicals by using power-packed serums and body lotion. To boost my skin’s natural cell renewal cycle and encourage better toxin excretion and the absorption of these lovely lotions and potions I am also dry body brushing before my shower & finishing with an icy blast every day, as well as exfoliating, using a deep cleansing facial masque and soaking in a detox bath twice weekly as well.

To get the blood pumping and all systems firing I am also exercising 6 x week to varying degrees and having regular massage, another excellent balancing and detoxifying tool (it also feels grrreat!)

Finally for my ‘inside’ body treatment I am taking organic beauty supplements (including Beauty Oil, various teas & vitamin pills – see my last blog for details on which ones I’m taking and what to watch out for). I’m washing all this down with 3 (ok, more like 2 litres) of Highland Spring water from organic land and munching on an organic diet high in vegetables, fresh veggie juice and attention to eating in season and “eating the rainbow”, and low in meat, fruit, alcohol (except red wine), caffeine (except green tea), sugar, sweeteners, cow’s dairy, eggs, low fat foods, wheat, yeast and processed foods. And ok, no I haven’t been perfect at this but ye gods I’ve been better than I would have been.

It’s funny, I feel I’ve done really well on the one hand but not very well on the other so far. I think I had some idyllic sort of vision in my head where there would just be time and space for all these changes to come at once (I mean, that’s the nature of a 30 Day Detox, right?) but in reality I have to come to terms with what happens in real life… things work, others don’t and sometime it’s not a case of strong will power or the lack thereof, sometimes it’s just that sh*t happens ;-)

Anyway, onwards and upwards! I am going to knuckle down to earlier bed times, more meditation practice and trying to get more juice and water down me too. I think I’m ready for the next stage… I’m over half way and it’s time to notch it up a gear and stop dreaming about Pimms and pic-n-mix!

A final note, I met a lady the other day at some Neal’s Yard Remedies consultant training (I’m a Senior Consultant for them; gorgeous company & gorgeous effective products that I use on all my beauty clients). She runs her own company called Serenity Flow that does colonics (eek!) and she mentioned she thought it would be a very good idea for me to have a course of 3 colonics to support my liver and bowel during this detox, especially as I also suffer from IBS. Apparently one colonic is equivalent to 3 days fasting! I’ve got to admit I find the whole idea a bit gross but I think it’s time to bite the bullet and go for it… so I’m making my appointments now… watch this space (or don’t, look away; I definitely won’t hold it against you!)

Sarah is an Holistic massage & beauty therapist, owner of Edge of Eden and Senior Consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies. You can call her on 01277 220301, email at or comment below and she’ll get back to you x

Saturday, 18 May 2013

'Supplement'ing your lifestyle - supporting my 30 Day Mind & Body Detox

Supplements - do you or don't you? Does it somehow mean you have failed to nourish yourself properly from your diet if you take them? Is it an excuse to eat whatever you want because you can always get the good stuff from vitamin pills? Are they ethically produced or just another way of stripping the planet bare through overfishing for fish oils and intensive farming for low-grade plants and herbs?

And what about what goes into them? Some capsules don't dissolve which is a total waste of money, but when you hear what's in them it's probably a blessing... Chalk, sand, talc, glue and other unhealthy additives to supplements are commonplace. And even if there are no nasties in there, are the vitamins potent enough and in the right balance for you, and if they are potent but unbalanced could they actually be doing you harm?

I DO take supplements and I'll tell you why. Thanks largely to our over-intensive farming methods (no crop rotation, no fallow years, heavy fertilisation etc etc) it is much harder to get the nutrition we need from modern vegetables. For example, in the1950s a carrot contained 67% Vitamin A; these days it can be as low as 17%! A field that used to grow inorganic foods that has been converted back to organic takes at least 10 years for all the chemicals to leave the earth, so even with the best organic veggies in my diet I can't help but think a sensibly chosen series of supplements is a good idea :)

I have chosen a series of supplements to take during my detox, based in part on the recommended list of 18 supplements for optimal health in Women's Health magazine. These are: Iron (ferrous sulphate), Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin A, Folate (folic acid, 400mg), Biotin, B Vitamins, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin D (D3), Omega 3 (<3g daily), Melatonin (200mcg), Probiotics (multi),  Coenzyme Q10, Green tea, Grape seed extract, Reveratrol (found in red wine!) and Flaxseed seeds (for lignans) & oil. You can read all about why these are necessary and what amounts to take in their article.

The majority of these I get from the fabulous Neal's Yard Remedies Multivitamins and Beauty Oil, and I also take their Super Anti-oxidant Boost and Beauty Boost supplements in addition to individual supplements such as a probiotic. In addition I add Aloe Vera juice and various green 'superfood' powders to my morning veggie juice, including spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass and barleygrass for a super-duper boost and to aid my digestion as I have IBS. Finally I am also drinking organic green tea as well as NYR Detox tea, Summer tea (delicious and great for hayfever) and Beautiful Skin tea, although I must confess I don't really like this one as it is berry-based and I'm not a fan of fruit tea!

I guess this may all seem very confusing but the long and short of it is: Do your research and then Choose your path. Regardless of what you do, you should be taking a daily Multivitamin in my opinion and the Neal's Yard one is an excellent choice. Whichever you choose make sure that (like all Neal's Yard supplements) they are:

  • 100% active ingredients
  • 100% vegetarian natural and organic ingredients
  • Super absorption capsules - released in 15 minutes once in the stomach
  • Anti-oxidant rich botanicals
  • Vegetable capsules - free from fillers and binders
  • Absolutely NO GM ingredients, preservatives, synthetic binders or glues, synthetic fillers, magnesium sterate, colourings, animal testing, nano technology, irradiated ingredients, gluten or yeast.

Happy swallowing!

A final note from me before I head to bed following a busy couple of days offering free beauty
Neal's Yard Remedies mother & baby goodies at Ilford market
treatments at a fundraiser event for St Francis Hospice last night and then running a stall with beautiful organic NYR mother & baby goodies at Ilford mum2mum market today (plus a couple of massage & beauty clients!)

I was in Covent Garden the other day for some free training (all consultants receive as much free training as you like) and as we finished early I decided to go for a Massage treatment to aid my detox... as a Massage therapist sometimes it can be hard not to overthink the treatment you are receiving but it was very nice (not the best massage ever but then I am hard to please!) Having my naked legs rubbed and pummelled it made me think: a) Wow I'm glad I shave my legs every day (Intuition blades ladies, they're the future) and b) is there anything else I could be doing to bust my cellulite that I could add into my detox?

Of course the detox itself is great for getting rid of fat, and therefore cellulite, with my daily dry body brushing, twice weekly exfoliation and detox baths with Dead Sea salts, and icy blasts to finish my shower each day. However, I have also started using the Firming Body Cream from Neal's Yard so watch this space... fingers (and legs!) crossed this one works!  ;-)

Sarah is an Holistic massage & beauty therapist, owner of Edge of Eden and Senior Consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies. You can call her on 01277 220301, email at or comment below and she’ll get back to you x

Thursday, 16 May 2013

'The difficult second week...' - How my Detox fell apart & came back together again

Hmmm... you know how bands release a really good album and then follows 'the difficult second album'...? Well this was my difficult second week of my detox, hence the radio silence on this blog for a few days. It would be fair to say that I have not stuck absolutely to my plan this week!

Although I did climb back into the saddle after a bad morning for detoxing at Deal or No Deal last week, this past few days have been less than ideal. I have not had the energy to get up early every morning and meditate, exercise and juice veggies, and with the morning programme disrupted it was easy to let the rest of the day go...

Now I should just clarify that when I say I let the rest of the day go, it wasn't the all-out disaster of previous attempts to stick to a programme. I didn't head for the nearest takeaway menu or pick-a-mix but I did indulge in a couple of rather excellent buffets(!), one at a wedding and one at a 50th birthday party. Yes, I did eat the crudites on offer but, yes I also ate the sausage rolls! I suppose on reflection it wasn't too bad a failure but I am still frustrated with myself - it seems ridiculous that in a 4 week programme I could fluff the larger part of the second week!  :-S

I think the lesson I have learned from this past week is not to let things get too far off kilter - when I let myself get really hungry I eat things I shouldn't, when I go bed too late I get too tired to get up in the mornings, when I overcrowd my day I get too lazy to juice in the morning, etc etc.

Anyway, this week I am really reticent to get the bathroom scales or the tape measure out so I have decided not too. Instead I have treated today (the first day of week 3) as a whole new day and am happy to report I have done everything I should have done! I started my day at 7am with an hour of yoga, meditation and quiet reflection, then at 8am I did a new workout video (Tracey Anderson's dance cardio - man, that's hard!!), then I had my veggie juice, breakfast and shower. My halo is super bright today :-)

As a final note before I sign off tonight (ready to get up at 7am again tomorrow!) a few people have asked me what I am eating on this organic, no sugar, no processed foods, no cow's dairy, no wheat, no yeast, high veggie, low meat diet... Well I start my day with a breakfast like avocado or sliced tomatoes and organic beauty oil on yeast-free rye toast or very occasionally I have sugar-free muesli (although the grains are high in natural sugars) with goat's milk. Lunches vary hugely from greek salad to grilled chicken and quinoa to a mezze of homemade yummies or soup, and dinner can be fish, potatoes and grilled veggies, tofu stirfry, homemade vegetable stew or curry, stuffed peppers, or a million other things you can make with a fridge full of fresh organic produce... I also got some great ideas from Neal's Yard Remedies latest book, 'Healing Foods' (available here for £16.99) which has gotten rave reviews to which I would add my own; the book is divided up really usefully so you can find exactly what you are looking for, the recipes are gorgeous and not too "yeah man, this obscure and flavourless bean really does it for me" and diet really is a great way to improve your health... FOOD for thought ;-) Try it and see what works for you.

Sarah is an Holistic massage & beauty therapist, owner of Edge of Eden and Senior Consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies. You can call her on 01277 220301, email at or comment below and she’ll get back to you x

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Detox or No Detox - Confessions from a Detox

Wow it's a long drop to the floor when you fall off the wagon...

So on Thursday my partner and I went to see Deal or No Deal being filmed in Bristol (I love this show
so much and we were super lucky as it was a Halloween special they were filming... incredible AND we were front row right by Noel!!) Anyway, it was the morning from hell - the printer wouldn't print our tickets, we were late, the traffic was horrendous, we ended up snipping at each other... gaaaahhh! To cut a long story short, we thought we had missed the filming and arrived only to find that they had delayed it by 2 hours so we were second in the queue! (Thank you universe).

With time to kill and literally not a bean in my stomach as I'd gotten up at 4.30am that morning I was tempted by the studio diner van and when I say I fell off the detox wagon I couldn't have done any worse had I shovelled freshly pesticided soil into my mouth! A huge bacon and sausage wheat bap with sugary condiments (oh, and a cup of caffeinated black tea) later, I was feeling like I didn't know how I was going to undo this damage!

Now my normal reaction would have been to say "ah well, I've blown it now; might as well try and cram at least 6 of everything I'm not allowed to have into today and then start again tomorrow" but I didn't do that and managed to get back on track straight away (and yes, DOND was incredible). Part of the impetus for correcting myself was the thought that I can't just fall off this wagon and not get up again because I have to blog about it for another 3 weeks (accountability - a very useful tool for sticking to something), but I also just felt like this time is different. This time, it's my programme. This time it's not really about losing weight and toning up (well it is, but it's so much more too). This time, the change is secure, and yes I might screw up but then I'll fix it.

I also can't be totally hard on myself as I went for a run the other day too (something absolutely unheard of for me... I loathe running, mainly because I am bad at it!)

Now so far I've been doing exercise almost every morning incorporating interval cardio and strength training (usually a workout DVD or playing on my pole dancing pole) but the other day my neighbour and owner of (a great triathlon site, check it out) invited my partner and I for a run. Everything in my body was screaming not to go but I said yes... the funny things you'll do for a blog! Prefacing the warm up stretching with advance apologies and protestations that I would only hold them back we set off together and we ran (on and off) for 4 miles! I was delirious, but in a good way(!), and can honestly I didn't hate a single second. And the views from the high points of Thorndon Country Park were spectacular...

'The Reluctant Runners' as we call ourselves are even planning to go again! Wonders will never cease.

It'll certainly help me get toning on my legs which had lost the least in terms of inches after week one, and are certainly a key area of concern for me. It'll also help me get my 6 sessions of exercise per week in, a recommendation made by the chaps who wrote 'Younger Next Year', a brilliant book that they have now released in a lady-specific volume too. It's certainly worth a read but essentially deals with the fact that our modern sedentary lifestyles encourage the signals in our cells to read "decay" rather than "grow". It seems keeping active (and I mean REALLY active) can turn back the clock!

Before I go, a quick note to mention which should definitely be classified under 'Too Much Information' so read on at your own peril.

I am more regular on this programme than I have been most of my adult life! I suffer from IBS which bungs me up (for weeks) if I have cow's dairy, eggs, coconut and various other things, but even when I avoid these things I'm lucky if I go 4 times per week. Well at the moment it's 1-2 times per day! It's great! You can definitely tell I'm a grass-fed animal though...!

Now I have to dash as I'm teaching massage all day in London today at, in my humble opinion, the best school of massage in the UK, Essentials for Health. If you want to come and learn how to massage friends and family in one day for just £67 then visit their site and come along! It might even spark a career change in you like it did me... ;-)

Friday, 10 May 2013

A week's retrospective - the first week of my Mind & Body Detox

Well well well, I couldn't believe it when I stepped on the scales on Wednesday morning and found that I'd lost a massive 6 lbs this last week! WAHOO!

I'm so glad I resisted checking throughout the week; you fluctuate so much anyway day by day, and I wouldn't have had this big surprise! I'm truly happy that I've lost some weight (and 5 inches from my vital stats too, including 2 inches from my waist!) and my skin feels so super soft. I do still have some spotty bits on my face and decolletage (in fact more than before) but that's ok, the skin is excreting toxins. It feels great to know I haven't given it any extra ones to handle for a week!

It not plain sailing though. I do feel like the other 'half' of my detox, the Mind Detox, isn't going so well.

Now it's true that I have just lived through some of the most awful months of my life for various personal and family reasons, and there are still plenty of challenges ongoing, however I did think I'd be feeling a little less cluttered of mind and scatty of thought! Maybe that will come...
I know that detoxing does require quite a lot of work from the body to process and excrete all these toxins that are being released from your cells... maybe it's the same for the mind. I have certainly been feeling tired in the last few days and take that as a good sign, but it's bound to affect my state of mind.

Perhaps as well if I'm totally honest, I haven't been quite as on top of the 'Mind' side of things as I could be. A couple of mornings I've skipped my yoga and meditation in favour of an extra wee snooze, mainly because of not getting to bed at a reasonable time (I had aimed to be in bed by 11pm which isn't even that early!) Hmmm... think it's time to review the 'Mind' detox:

  • Yoga & meditation 5 x week - hmmm.. I think one of the problems with this, in addition to
    Aromastone for burning oils
    getting to bed a bit late, is that I'm not enjoying them as much as I'd hoped :( I find meditation with the guided meditation CD I'm doing kinda boring (!) so maybe I should try another technique? Any suggestions? I also am not enjoyed my sun salutations as much as I always have... gutted. Not sure why although it could be that I feel a little cramped for space at home - think I'll try somewhere else and maybe playing some music and lighting an aromatherapy candle or burning oils in my aromastone instead.
  • Sleep (before midnight, total darkness, wifi & mobile off, 6-8hrs, aromatherapy) - I could definitely work on getting an earlier bed time and using some aromatherapy. I genuinely slept better after my detox bath last week which I followed with the aromatherapeutic Beauty Sleep body butter - think I'll try more of that and burning a relaxing oil in my aromastone before bed too.
  • De-stress (creative time, time outside with nature, aromatherapy, quiet time, music) - Quiet time...? What's that?! I have definitely fallen foul of not having any of that. I'm the sort of person who finds the more I fit into a day, the more I seem to do, so maybe I should try fitting 'Quiet Time' into my diary? It sounds crazy but could it work? Time outside with nature I have definitely been enjoying (although we could do with that sun back!). I also noticed I hadn't had much music in my life recently - usually I sing in a band once a week and am practising for that or just listening to music a lot but not recently. So... today I have been playing my 'top rated' playlist all day, dancing and smiling like a lunatic!

Ok, a few pointers for me to work on there. Glad we had this chat ;-)

Now go put your music on, and dance like there's nobody watching...

Get yours here:

Sarah is an Holistic massage & beauty therapist, owner of Edge of Eden and Senior Consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies. You can call her on 01277 220301, email at or comment below and she’ll get back to you x

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Detoxing from the back garden & other stories - Day 4 of my 30 Day Mind & Body Detox

I hope everyone is enjoying their bank holiday weekend in the sun?!

We have been down in the back garden today turning the return of the triffids into something resembling an open space... needless to say I am barely able to type this evening as every single bit of me hurts!

It might not look like much but this little spot is going to become our own organic allotment and chill-out zone... as soon as we get rid of all the weeds!

Anyway, today I feel like I'm finally starting to get to grips with the new detox daily routine :)  Sunday and Thursday mornings are the two days per week where I don't start my day with meditation, yoga and an hour of exercise in favour of a little lie-in and a calm and gentle morning. I still had my hot water and lemon drink and my freshly squeezed veggie juice (great for using up any limp salad too I learned today!), and even my tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar to wash down the supplements. Once all that is done that's basically it for the day in terms of new stuff to remember to do other than drinking what seems like GALLONS of water and sticking to the diet rules.

I'll be honest, I'm finding it hard to drink 3L of water per day, in fact, so far impossible :(  I haven't managed it yet even though I set aside two 1.5L bottles of Highland Spring on the sideboard in kitchen and label them 'Sarah 1' and 'Sarah 2' (sad, I know!) I'm drinking Highland Spring as, although water can't be organic, this water comes from organic land - I don't like the idea of drinking tap water because of all the nitrates absorbed from the land into the water table and all the chlorine and flouride added. I do get concerned about all those plastic bottles even though we recycle them... it's tough to know what the right thing to do is :-S

Even in the garden all day I struggled to down enough water so I am currently sitting with a scarily full bottle labelled 'Sarah 2' to finish before bed and all I'm thinking about is my poor bladder. They say that it takes the body a couple of weeks to get accustomed to drinking more water and then the constant peeing should stop(!) 

More water talk to finish my blog tonight as, after all this hard work in the garden, I had definitely earned a relaxing bath while my partner made supper (a girl could get used to this!)

And what a bath I had! I went totally pamper-mad with a dead sea salts bath to detox, tone and soothe my aching muscles. I also exfoliated with the gorgeous Seaweed body scrub from Neal's Yard Remedies and did a mini-treatment for my face with the gentle Rose facial polish to scrub and the White Tea enriching mask to soothe and rehydrate. I love this mask as it is super hydrating and plumping for those fine lines but also really high in anti-oxidants to mop up any free radicals from the sun today and great for cooling and calming rosy skin... lovely.

I finished with the gorgeous Beauty Sleep body butter and am now tucked up in the duvet all snoozy and ready to sleep like a baby! Busy day tomorrow visiting mum and my gorgeous godson so we'll see how eating lunch and supper at other people's houses goes in terms of sticking to the detox! At least I know what I'll be drinking... water water water water waterzzzzzzz...

Saturday, 4 May 2013

My 30 Day Mind & Body Detox... Dispatches from the first 3 Days

What is it they say about the road to hell…? Paved with good intentions, you say?

Well the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that, whilst my last blog post dealt with the formalities of what my 30 day mind and body detox would involve, there have been no subsequent posts to check in on how I’m doing.

“Mixed” would be an honest appraisal of the last 3 days…  In the mornings I feel really proactive and then, I don’t know if it’s cutting out sugar and caffeine or whether getting up and getting on with the day at least 2 hours earlier are to blame, but I am dog tired come the afternoon!

Things I’m loving:
  • OK, it sounds crazy but I’m loving finishing my shower with an icy blast. My strangled yelp still causes consternation from my other half but he’s learning to just roll his eyes at the whole thing and is even getting on board with some (other) aspects of the detox programme
  • I genuinely feel my skin is softer, smoother and more toned since I started dry skin brushing and using my organic toning body moisturiser... can’t believe I’m seeing a difference already!
  • I have more energy in the mornings… noticeably
  • I feel happy I am being really planet friendly :)
  • Realising that I have done by lunchtime what would previously have been a whole day’s worth of tasks #oohgetme #superproductive
  • I can still drink red wine!!

Things I’m not:
  • Getting up with a ‘To Do’ list as long as my arm before I can start my day! Meditation & yoga followed by an hour of exercise, then hot water, lemon, manuka honey and root ginger to drink (actually this is yummy) whilst I make fresh vegetable juice, then it’s off to body brush and shower… phew! There must be a better way of doing this
  • The fact that I cannot stop thinking about what I’ll make for dinner while I’m supposed to be meditating, although I think this will just take practice (she says hopefully)
  • There is no longer any such thing as convenience food! A quick snack means prepping veggies and dips and whatnot… This has really highlighted to me that even though I thought I was good before, I have a long way to go before I am living as well as I think I am!

There have been challenges aplenty in the last 3 days to encourage me to stray off the path of the detox but I have overcome them, even managing to eat out before going to a show last night. OK so it wasn’t organic food but I didn’t have any wheat, yeast, cow’s dairy, sugar, processed foods etc and I still enjoyed myself!

Too much information:

Consider yourself warned. So I promised there would be photos and honesty aplenty, so here are my slightly horrifying ‘before’ shots… Aged 32 and following a pretty horrendously stressful time in recent months and a horrible eczema on my face after becoming allergic to a common preservative chemical (which is not in Neal’s Yard Remedies products!) I have really started to see some ageing and a general ‘tiredness’ in my complexion. My main body concerns have been excess weight, lack of muscle tone, cellulite and less than glowing skin.

Did you know that fat is often created as a ‘safe’ way for the body to store toxins? (Dr Mark Hyman has written extensively on this) So I’m hoping that in addition to upping my water intake and exercising more, this detox in general will help me shed some fat by cutting out pesticide toxins, chemicals in beauty products and all the gunk in processed foods… We’ll see in the next set of photos :-O

My face has started to get spots and the fine lines between my eyebrows where I frown and across my forehead are a lot more visible than even a few months ago. The visible pores around my nose and on my cheeks have been a concern too. Let's see what the next 27 days can do!

Sarah is an Holistic massage & beauty therapist, owner of Edge of Eden and Senior Consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies. You can call her on 01277 220301, email at or comment below and she’ll get back to you x

Friday, 3 May 2013

My 30 Day Mind & Body Detox... The Plan!

Did you know that this is the ideal time of year to detox?

Even though glossy magazines with bikini-clad babes sold in January may wish us to believe that immediately post-Christmas is the best time to detox and start working on that mythical beast 'the bikini body', in fact you are much better off waiting for Spring. Warmer weather is more conducive to feeling positive and eating salad after all, and longer lighter evenings mean more likelihood of getting to the gym or out to exercise even with a busy working/family life. And the lifting of the S.A.D cloak generally gives most of us some much needed extra get up and go.

So I've gotten up and gone on a mission - a gentle mission, but one designed to use the next 30 days to detox myself, not only through cleansing the body of the accumulated toxins of a winter's hibernation but also through focusing on the mind to soothe, organise and clear out any cobwebs... that's the idea anyway ;)

I have designed my own programme based on the accumulated knowledge of years of interest in Holism, my own experience as an Holistic massage and beauty therapist and more recent research into the affects of diet on cancers and other chronic diseases. All this is coupled with a small obsession with how to do things kindly (to myself, other people, animals, the planet) and this will be a key principle for me.

My programme is in no way supposed to recommend a course of action for anyone else, although I am very happy to share my thoughts and experiences with you all. I'll be honest, there will even be photos(!) and I do hope you'll find it interested and maybe even useful - either way please do leave me your comments below.

Here are the bones of my detox programme...

The Mind: I have always been fascinated by (but utterly useless at) meditation so I am going to try some 'guided' meditation CDs, starting with my reiki one that I haven't touched since doing my Reiki I course months ago. I'm also going to combine this with yoga practice as I often feel quite mentally relaxed after a class. To keep costs down (I want to start my day with an hour of this 5 times per week) I'm going solo so it might just be the sun salute for now as that's all I can reliably remember!

I'm also certain of the importance of the little things in life when it comes to 'detoxing' the mind. I have made a little weekly schedule for the next 30 days (I know, I know!) and have scheduled in some quiet time, creative time and some time outside with nature, even if it's just doing the weeding. I'll be exploring all of these aspects and more, such as how to get the best sleep and how much to have, the benefits of aromatherapy, music and more over the next month too.

The Body: In a nutshell, I'm going organic. I'm already pretty organic to be fair but I'll be upping the ante and cutting out processed food, sugar, sweeteners, wheat, yeast, cow's dairy, low fat products, caffeine (except in green tea) and alcohol (except in red wine, purely for its resveratrol content obviously!) I'm going for a high vegetable diet and a lot less meat, and I'm also going to be trying a few supplements including various vitamins, manuka honey, apple cider vinegar and some remedial teas and oils.

As the skin merely reflects the inner health of the body I'm confident I should see improvement in my skin anyway, but it can't hurt to focus a little organic attention directly onto it either; I've got a pretty good skincare routine anyway but I'm going to be adding some exfoliation, body brushing, masques, detox salt baths, cold water blasts (eek!), regular massage (yay!) and various other factors into the mix too.

Exercise is also going to play a key role as I'm aiming to get six 1 hour sessions in a week... this is considerably more than the zero I do now, but I'm going to start slow and listen to my body but push myself too... wish me luck!