Lovely Followers

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Pregnancy Massage at Calcot Spa.

A welcome distraction from the impending birth of my first child and the news I had been given the day before that due to gestational diabetes I would need to be induced early, was a trip to Calcot Manor and the Spa. I was feeling low about this as I had really wanted a natural labour. One where I could potter about at home, my husband and I could work through the contractions until we were ready to go to the hospital. But alas it is not to be, having taken in the news I have decided to concentrate on the positive aspects of an induction. That is, if it works, a hopefully short labour and we will know the date of her arrival. We will have her home in time for Christmas where we can celebrate as a real family together.

So I'd like to say a big thank you to Aromatherapy Associates for providing me with the opportunity to experience Calcot Spa and a pregnancy massage. I have had several pregnancy massages prior to this one so it was lovely to compare them. I don't know if it's just the stage I am at, but this one was by far the best I've had so far.

Set in beautiful manicured grounds just outside of Tetbury, Gloucestershire, the Spa is nestled behind the main manor where guests and visitors can relax in a tranquil setting. For the adventurous there is an outside hot tub, but for the less inclined, a beautiful indoor pool awaits you. My advice is to use it before your treatment as you'll be far too snug and relaxed to want to swim about.

I arrived characteristically flustered and just on time (thank you to UK Mail who never turned up with my delivery of a sink - how glamorous) So I was taken straight to the treatment room (pictured below).

I had the pregnancy massage which was an hour of body massage and a mini facial using Aromatherapy Associates pregnancy safe products from the Rose collection. Having used these products during my pregnancy I felt happy that I wasn't going to have any reactions or worries about ingredients. I have most of these products already but it is 100 times better having someone else massage them in! At nearly 8 months pregnant I am in the stage whereby even bending over is a challenge for my poor back and knees! This massage was divine and specifically designed for pregnant ladies. The back massage was performed with me on my side with a bolster to cuddle and a heated under blanket meant I nearly drifted off to sleep. I had to wonder whether I could use this in labour to relax, if only I could teach Mr OJ to massage as well. I guess it's not too late to get him trained up?

The staff were all very friendly and helpful, not because I was a reviewer or because I am pregnant but I could see them interacting with others in the same way. After the massage I was taken to the chill out area (pictured below) where I could (if I were not pregnant) use the sauna and steam room. So instead I read magazines and sipped on cucumber water. Downstairs is a little restaurant where a group of mothers were chatting and breast feeding happily. It's definitely a child friendly place as it also has a crèche facility if you'd like to slip off for a treatment or meal during the day. But it does have a grown up feel about it, smart and spacious, which is nice for mums as I get sick of coffee house decor and high footfall grubbiness.

Find out more about Calcot Spa by visiting their website, there is also a downloadable treatment and price list. I also purchased a few products whilst there to stock up on Aromatherapy Associates Nourishing facial oil (£39 for 15ml - which lasts about 6 months with intensive use), which I am running low. I can't live without this facial oil! I would also recommend the Rose Body cream, my skin felt very soft but not greasy afterwards. It's perfect for expanding tummies and puffy ankles. I am also already planning my next visit with some non-pregnant and pregnant friends so that we can enjoy the relaxing and warm atmosphere of the Spa together.

Do you have a favourite place, doesn't have to be a spa, that relaxes and recharges you?

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Pregnancy skincare tips

This post has been asked for many times over the last few months so it is the least I can do. It seems I am not the only one who has suffered with insufferable skin over the first few months of pregnancy. Crossing fingers and toes that I have reached an agreement with my skin, I've prepared a few tips for you.

My skin became very dry so I switched to using a facial oil during the day and night (normally I just wore it at night). If your skin does the opposite and becomes oily, consider adding a toner to your routine (I don't use a toner as I don't use cream cleanser but a damp muslin cloth) which will help remove excess oil without increasing production. Also reduce the amount of moisturiser and keep it to areas which need it.

My skin also broke out a lot, but not in white heads but just painful bumps under the skin. These types of spots were generally reserved for pre-period spots. The only thing I could do to alleviate the pain was to use a cold compress to keep the swelling and itching down. I also applied copious amounts of aloe vera gel.

The other reason for naff skin was coping with stress. And it is stressful being pre-3 months pregnant and being advised not to tell everyone! So you're stuck with this wonderful news but too scared to tell anyone! I had to wait until I knew that the baby was viable and over the danger time for spontaneous abortion and that it was more likely to survive.

There is little you can do about reducing your stress levels when outside events cannot be ignored or controlled. My husband and family rallied around to help me. My sister would visit and cook healthy meals (I had been surviving on cereal and toast at this point) and to generally cheer me up. Don't go through it alone and don't be afraid to lean on people a bit, they won't mind.

Let's also not underestimate the power of morning sickness, which thankfully ebbed away at 4 and a half months. At this point I was literally on my knees, desperate for it to end. Three and a half months of feeling and looking like death was enough for me!

On the occasions I did have to venture out and socialise I have some tips for make up:

Concealer is your best friend - for those insomnia dark circles and hormone spots.

Radiance enhancers - contrary to popular belief, there is no pregnancy glow, just more redness on the cheeks to cover up. I used a foundation by Daniel Sandler which has shimmery pigments in the formulation. It makes for a subtle glow all day and evening.

Blusher is really good for warming up a sickened and wan complexion. Choose something subtle and a few shades deeper than your natural cheek blush. If you don't know what this is then pinch your cheeks to increase blood flow and note the type of colour you get.

If you're not up to wearing a lot of eye make up then a subtle sweeps of something shimmery and of the taupe variety does for all occasions. Then add mascara. I decided to make my own eye shadow from the various pigments I had lying around. Cold pressed with alcohol it resembles a shimmery cream/brown which suits everyone. I really should market it...

Avoid perfumed glosses, nothing is going to make you feel more ill. If you like menthol/minty lip glosses then these are good for staving off morning sickness (which lasts all day I might add).

I am now just over 7 months pregnant (where did the time go?) and after a few months of feeling relatively normal and forgetting half the time I was pregnant, I am definitely starting to slow down.

I hope these tips are useful to you, either to prepare you for your pregnancy or if you're in the early stages and wondering who switched your skin over whilst you were asleep!
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