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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Review - Wakeman Road - London's artisan members wellbeing club

London is awash with private members clubs, restaurants and bars - all promising an air of exclusivity and the delightful feeling of pure unadulterated pomp.

I must confess that I'm rather partial to frequenting the odd members establishment or two. Although being the well-rounded London socialite that I am, I can also rough it in a mosh pit in Camden or rub shoulders with Hoxton hipsters living in dingy shared accommodations - who retreat to palatial family country piles come Christmas.

OK so I lied about the mosh pit...

When I heard about the opening of Wakeman Road - London's first private artisan wellbeing members club based in Kensal Green, I was intrigued and eagerly accepted an invitation to visit and submit my disheveled, overworked self to a spot of ardent unwinding.

Wakeman Road is the brainchild of founders Richard Lamballe and Emma Sinclair who felt London was lacking a suitable health and beauty haven for those in search of private pampering in luxurious yet homely surroundings.

Once granted membership to this exclusive beauty and wellbeing portal, you can nominate up to five prospective members a year and bring a lucky guest along on each visit.

Membership fees are £29 a month and can be redeemed on the health and beauty treatments on offer which include acupuncture, reflexology, facials, massage, NLP, homeopathy, manicures and even a naturopathic doctor consultation. If like me, you're a beauty addict who will probably book a treatment every month, your membership wont cost you a penny.

With my nutritionist buddy Mel in tow,  I arrived outside the understated, chic entrance to what looked like a well heeled individual's home before being welcomed into a cobbled front yard and led up a winding steel staircase.

By Jove I think I found it!
Upon entering the stylish interior we were impressed by the elegant furnishings and exceptional beauty and health products adorning the finely varnished shelves. I gasped in adoration as I spotted my favourite natural skincare brands including Spiezia, Oskia, ila and the highly coveted Antonia Burrell - the talented founder of which is a practising facialist at Wakeman Road.

Oh Oskia. How I loveth thee...

Mel was treated to Antonia's signature facial which uses her plant-based products along with her expert massage technique to plump up lackluster complexions and brighten sallow skin tones.

I indulged in a relaxing reiki massage treatment by reiki guru Katie Light. After getting comfortable on a heated treatment bed Katie explained how reiki is performed to re-balance energy levels or chakras - which become affected when we go through trying times. The practice is recommended for people with busy schedules and constantly buzzing minds who seek a calmer, more balanced outlook on life.

After my back and shoulders were satisfyingly pummeled, Katie hovered her palms over each of my seven chakras to feel for any 'blockages' caused by stress. I must admit to feeling quite skeptical at first but as the treatment ebbed on, I started to feel a substantial release of tension and was able to bid goodbye to the melodious medley of thoughts in my mind.

Come. Let me refresh  you with my bountiful organic wares
Om nom nom
Pass the remote mate.

Thank you Richard and Emma!
Can we live here now pls?

As Mel and I eased ourselves away from this cozy hidden sanctuary and stepped out into drizzly north west London streets, we felt that familiar mournful tinge typically felt when leaving a hospitable friend's house - only a lot more blissed out...

Friday, 15 November 2013

Review - Estelle & Thild Bergamot Body Oil

I have always been somewhat addicted to body oils. After a long, hot shower, I revel in the moment when I smooth a silky, evocatively scented body oil all over my skin, leaving a sultry sheen - and my bathroom smelling like a plush hotel spa....

My latest oily love affair is currently taking place with Estelle & Thild's Bergamot Body Oil (£25.80 from Urban Retreat) - a delightful skin-hydrating concoction of organic sunflower, almond and avocado oils - infused with the heady scents of neroli, sandalwood and bergamot essential oils.

I have been slathering it on my skin for over a month now and have noticed a significant improvement in its condition. My limbs now boast a seductively-smooth appearance and naughty dry patches have been banished to merry oblivion.

So natural, you can pluck it from the earth...

Estelle and Thild is one of my favourite high end organic skincare ranges due to their nourishing 100% natural and EcoCert certified organic products. I am also an avid user of their bestselling raspberry-hued lip balm, £14.00, - a kissable combination of organic shea butter, bilberry seed oil and beeswax.

The founder of this effortlessly chic Stockholm-based company, Pernilla Ronnberg, actually decided to start the brand after pondering the detrimental effects chemical-loaded mainstream skincare would have on the delicate peachy skins of her two daughters.

The bergamot body oil in particular, is a luxurious pampering addition to your bathroom routine. Pour a few drops in the bath for a deeply relaxing evening soak or apply over damp, post-shower skin to lock in moisture and leave you glowing - and smelling like a gaggle of giggling angels partial to rolling around a flower-strewn meadow.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Thai Energy Line Massage - Oolong Holistic

There are certain times in our haphazard, erratic city lives when our emotions get the better of us. We feel drained by punishing schedules, grueling relationship difficulties and pressing work issues. It is during such trying times that I book myself in for a good, chakra-balancing massage - and the healing hands of Abi Adams from Oolong Holistic always leave me feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the naughty niggles of life. 

Abi's Thai energy line massage can be carried out in the comfort of your own home (with the tantalizing addition of homemade cakes and herbal teals) or in Abi's gloriously zen-like treatment room within her tastefully decorated Essex home.

Massage by candlelight? Oh yeeeeeah....

Being a norrrf west Londoner and Essex virgin, I arrived at Abi's abode in leafy Woodford slightly flustered and prone to uttering expletives after a stressful journey on the central line.Yet within seconds of entering the twinkling candlelit treatment room with its opulent, white chandeliers and glistening golden Buddha, I felt a sense of encompassing calm wash over my frazzled self.

As I lay down on a warm padded blanket and gazed  at the meditative dance of the candlelight, Abi (trained by the renowned Thai massage teacher Felicity Keebaugh) expertly applied gentle pressure along my feet, calves and thighs before focusing on my stomach, chest, arms, back and neck.

The effect was instantly soothing and induced an almost dream-like state of mind. Abi's Thai massage is refreshingly different to the limb-stretching, back-cracking techniques most Westerners are used to. Before Abi starts her treatments, she intuitively feels your energy and aims to work with an intention - an essential element of any massage. 

Depending on the type of energy she senses, her intention could be to soothe a troubled mind, balance erratic emotions, detoxify the skin or alleviate troubling back and shoulder pain. These problems are eased by concentrating on the seven major energy lines within the body - also known as chakras.

With me, Abi focused on the Sen Sumana, which helped balance all of my chakras - to help evoke confidence and courage. I felt a sudden release of emotion in particular when my arms were massaged and later learned that as they are connected to the heart chakra, this is quite a common experience.

Abi explained post-treatment that such emotion-releasing Thai massage is useful for people suffering from depression (including post natal) and anxiety disorders - conditions she treats on a regular basis. 

After my whole body was blissfully manipulated and all seven of my energy lines invigorated, I was roused from my trace-like, sleepy state with a cup of fragrant hibiscus and cinnamon herbal tea from Organic Life  - a four generation Indian tea company based in London's eclectic Borough Market. 

As I stepped out into the inky black night with a tranquil mind and a positive outlook, I felt serene, happy and smug in the knowledge that my chakras had been adequately pampered. 

What more could a girl want?