Cowshed’s Udderly Gorgeous Maternity Massage

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[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or my birthday last year, Robin bought me a voucher for a full body maternity massage at Cowshed- specifically, the Udderly Gorgeous Full Body massage. I decided to save it for when I really needed it, which turns out, is right about now! Seven months of pregnancy has given me a basketball belly and an achy back and I couldn’t think of anything nicer than an hour inside a dimly lit spa room. So I booked myself in at the Carnaby Street store and that’s where I found myself on a Monday afternoon.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1518528586578{padding-top: 30px !important;padding-right: 50px !important;padding-bottom: 80px !important;padding-left: 50px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

Cowshed Carnaby Street

Ducking off to the left of Carnaby Street and onto Foubert’s Place, slightly away from the crowds, I entered the Cowshed store 15 minutes before my appointment. I was then checked in and seated around a big farm house style table with lemon and cucumber water- so far, so very spa like. Except, shoppers come and go around you to buy the famous Cowshed lotions and potions.

I sipped on my lemon water and attempted to de-stress, despite my bladder screaming at me and a baby that decided to learn the Macarena at that very moment in my womb. Shortly afterwards, my beauty therapist came to get me and brought me downstairs to the underbelly of this particular Cowshed location. My room was dimly lit, a robe was hanging up waiting for me to slip into, and in the corner of my eye, a tub of warm bubbly water to soak my feet was ready too.

I undressed down to my knickers (I figured there would be no paper pants for a basketball belly here) and into my fluffy robe.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”19274″ img_size=”1000×1500″ alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1518476153149{padding-right: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”19279″ img_size=”1000X1500″ alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”19278″ img_size=”1000×1500″ alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1518476141844{padding-right: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1518528725200{padding-top: 40px !important;padding-right: 50px !important;padding-bottom: 100px !important;padding-left: 50px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]Maternity massages differ from your regular massages as pregnant women are always advised to sleep or lie on their side (which probably doesn’t help with the backache!) So rather than lying back or on your front on a massage table, you’ll be manoeuvred into baby friendly positions instead.

Once my feet had soaked for a few minutes in the warm sudsy water, my feet were dried off and I was helped onto a stool facing the massage table. On the table was a large V shaped pillow- so you lean on the pillow with your arms and head, whilst the rest of you is seated comfortably on the stool as the masseuse gently prods you like a piece of focaccia dough. It’s lovely.

I was so comfortable. And it’s been months since I’ve been comfortable- the relief! I’d have bought that pillow on the spot right there and then because for the next few minutes I remembered what it was like to get comfy and drift off without grunting from side to side like a turtle stuck on their back.

The therapist gently massaged and soothed my aching back with warm oil- as we chatted, she told me about her own pregnancy experience, so she really knew which spots to work on to help those aches and pains (for me, my lower back has been a constant sore spot!) 

Too soon afterwards, I was helped onto the massage table that had been adjusted to support my back and legs specially. My feet, legs, arms and shoulders were worked on, and even my scalp had a little bit of soothing massage applied to it.

I was really looked after- regularly asked if I’d like to take a sip of water- and helped up and down from the massage table. I’ve had many massages before, but this was the first one where I felt considered if that makes sense.

I’ve only ever had spa treatments or massages at hotels when I’m on a holiday break, so going from a massage and back into my clothes was a little bit strange to me. I had to carefully towel myself down so I wouldn’t slick oil everywhere on the way home (although on the tube home, I found a nice dollop of it behind my ear) 

I wouldn’t even class this as a treat for mums-to-be- it’s practically medicinal!

I found it so helpful towards the aches and pains the last 7 months have accumulated in my body. I went to sleep last night for the first time without an ache in my back and slept much better than usual. In fact, I’m thinking about booking myself back in for a repeat treatment before baby arrives![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1518528433944{padding-top: 55px !important;padding-right: 50px !important;padding-bottom: 100px !important;padding-left: 50px !important;background-color: #fcf7f3 !important;}”]There are Cowshed locations all over London, I just happened to pick the Carnaby Street location. You can book online or call the shop directly- to be sure, tell them that you are pregnant and how far along you are when calling.

Cowshed Carnaby Street

31 Foubert’s Place


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Night at the Museum | Hokusai

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ast year was such a write off with home renovations taking over our lives (and sanity) that 8 months on, I’m still finding it a novelty that we can go out and do something fun that doesn’t involve building work or fixtures or…dirt. My husband has always loved the famous Great Wave print by Katsushika Hokusai and set about getting us tickets to the special exhibition at the British Museum. It was almost sold out bar a few late evening slots on a Sunday- which actually turned out to be an ideal time to go. The museum closes at 5pm, but the exhibition carries on- and means that the entire museum is pretty much empty. From Kings Cross, we walked through pretty neighbourhoods and stopped off for dinner before heading over to the exhibition.[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18269″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18268″ img_size=”1000×1500″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18267″ img_size=”1000×1500″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18262″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18265″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18263″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18261″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18258″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18271″ img_size=”1500×1000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18290″ img_size=”large” css=”.vc_custom_1516889457562{margin-top: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516889501505{padding-top: 120px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 180px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

Katsushika Hokusai was an artist and printmaker dating back from the Edo period of Japan. His most well known works are the Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji, created in the 1820’s, stemming from his own personal obsession with the mountain.

The Great Wave, his most well known piece of work, was created when he was in his 70s. Around this period, his work focused on nature and he travelled long distances throughout Japan to see and depict the beautiful scenes you can find his sketch books and prints.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516889584356{padding-top: 180px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 210px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]Over the years, Hokusai became obsessed with living to 100 and his work reflected this- depictions of supernatural beings and dragons, with inscriptions begging for longevity. Eventually he succumbed to an illness when he was 90- living a modest life with his daughter, Oi. He didn’t make it to 100, but his wish was fulfilled- his work is renowned over a century later.

The Hokusai exhibition is sold out, however, if you become a Member of the museum you’ll still be able to access it (and any other exhibition that the museum will hold) Totally worth it- the British Museum is beautiful– so very much worth the £64 fee (or buddy up with someone and it’s about £43) Details here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18289″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18282″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18281″ img_size=”1000×1300″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18255″ img_size=”1000×1300″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18254″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We spent about an hour inside the exhibit, looking at his lesser known works of art. My favourite part was getting to see his sketch books, laying open beneath a glass case- those sketch books, full of ink and pencil sketches seemed much more personal to me than his actual finished pieces of work.

Rewinding a few (ok, a lot of) years back, my art books at school were full of sometimes good and sometimes downright terrible bits of my own sketches, paint swathes and drawings. The books felt nice and weighty in my hands, they felt important. I get particularly nostalgic for my last two years of school, over the rest of my high school years, because I got to dabble all day in the subjects I actually liked- Literature, Art and Theatre. I was always covered in paint stains. I was always scribbling notes in books- whether it was a classic novel or a play. Those two years were amazing and I actually felt like I had some freedom and control over my future…

….and here I am, 17 years later, a date night with my husband at The British Museum to see beautiful works of art.


Broadway Market + Hackney City Farm


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his weekend, my best friend Ismay flew over from Dublin for a super quick visit- which is a Good Thing because I don’t think my waistband can keep up with the pace at which we ate everything in our path. The weekend plan was simple; loose and casual with some food thrown in- which is my specialty. As we walked through London Fields with just a denim jacket for warmth, seeing bunches of yellow daffodils blooming everywhere made me so happy and relieved that dreary Winter days are almost over. It lifts everyone’s moods. Tie in the beautiful weather with an infinite choice of food from Broadway Market, tiny animals at Hackney City Farm and a stroll through Brick Lane, made a pretty perfect Saturday.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15860″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15861″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15872″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15887″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15878″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15877″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516898591776{padding-top: 80px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 90px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

Hot food, fresh vegetables, flowers, cheese, bread, vintage clothes- there’s everything under the sun for sale.

But my favourite eats of the bunch? The fried dumplings at the market stall run by Bep Haus, and the King Prawns at Fin + Flounder.

The dumplings were crispy with a little bit of a chargrilled taste with a juicy filling. Sprinkled with soy sauce and a splash of sriracha, I could easily have had another portion (for £3.50)

Fin + Flounder are a brick and mortar fishmonger down the street, but the stall beckoned us over with their lobster mac and cheese and crab cake brioche buns. For £6, we shared a pot of fat king prawns with fresh and crunchy coleslaw.

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Leaving behind the bustle of the market, we walked (pretty much) in one straight line with the sole intention of getting a bagel. It was only by chance that I remembered that Hackney City Farm was on the way, and it would make a nice detour because little furry animals are my most favourite beings in the whole wide world.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15852″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15849″ img_size=”large” css=”.vc_custom_1516898645332{margin-top: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516898676372{padding-top: 100px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 115px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

The farm is free to enter, but heavily relies on donations to keep it running- just pop some money into the tin by the gate!

So here, we have Larry (or maybe Clover?) the Donkey. Larry takes part in the Nativity every year at Westminster (be still my heart!) Clover came along in 2011, because he needed a pal. Don’t mind me, that’s just my heart breaking in two.

There’s also the two pigs, who really were happy as pigs in poop napping in the corner, as well as goats, chickens, and a herd of geese. It’s such a lovely little spot to come to. My favourite bit? Spying a fluffy black and white cat bum poking out of the hay- it was just the farm cat having a snooze with the Nanny goat and her kids.

Obviously, my heart strings were being pulled left, right and centre. Definitely come if you love animals more than humans too.

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Onwards, we continued. Winding through pretty neighbourhoods, the not so pretty Bethnal Green Road, and then eventually the jackpot.

Brick Lane.

Brick Lane, where we especially came for bagels.

…until we saw the huge queue snaking outside the door and immediately went naaah

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Shoes | Dress (similar) | Jacket

Rather than queue, we went for tea, because my legs hurt and I needed refreshment to keep the grumpy goblin at bay, you know?

It was super lovely being out in the sunshine. It was even lovelier having my best friend with me again. Food, sunshine and cute animals, I mean? If I could have written down what would make an awesome day, those are pretty much the Big Three.

That’s enough of my waffling. How was your weekend?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Grab ’em by the Patriarchy

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]eople asked me why I was marching in London. What was the Women’s March, was it an Anti-Trump movement? “Grab ’em by the patriarchy!” What have we here in the UK got to do with what happened in America? Didn’t women already have enough rights? These are some of the reactions and questions I have been asked in real life and encountered online. The trolls on Twitter asked why didn’t we protest outside Saudi Arabia’s embassy for gender equality. Piers Morgan, hoping to steal Katy Hopkins Troll crown, declared he wanted a Men’s March. What was it that the Women’s March on London (and around the world) wanted to accomplish?

I’ve tried hard to articulate why I marched. But I did it because I was appalled with the rise of open ignorance and hate, I marched out of solidarity, I marched because despite it being the 21st Century I have a list as long as I am tall of all the misogyny and unfairness I have encountered because of my gender, I marched with thousands of people- men, women and children– because individually our voices are not loud enough but together they are. I marched because I felt helpless, pissed off, frustrated, outraged at tiny men like Trump and Farage, and fearful of the repercussions across the world.  It was the biggest global collective clapback I could ever hope or wish to be a part of.[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15209″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15220″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15212″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15219″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15210″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15216″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15196″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15233″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15205″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15236″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Make It Thoughtful

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][dropcap]I[/dropcap] put my hands up; I was so tunnel visioned with building work that November flew by and suddenly BOOM, hello December. But seriously, how fast did November go by? I’ve barely had time to take in what month we’re in, let alone get into the holiday spirit! The John Lewis advert always helps of course. Good old John Lewis! They’re just the loveliest, am I right? And I don’t say that just because they invited me over to their Narnia like rooftop for an evening of thoughtful gifting. The rooftop, at their Oxford Street store, was a forest of Christmas trees, little lodge cabins, hot mulled drinks and sweet gifting ideas.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14556″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14558″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14547″ img_size=”700×1000″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14549″ img_size=”700×1000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14557″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14550″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14610″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14609″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The rooftop is open all year round, but for this season it feels especially festive and lovely with all the cabins and trees. There are benches dotted around with folded blankets at the ready and Mac and Wild to one corner where you can order food and drinks (make it hot, make it mulled, make it boozy!)

I brought along my friend Luan and just by chance, one of the little lodges was sitting glowing and empty so we took the opportunity to call dibs on it. It was warm and toasty, full of bric a brac and could very well have been a shed in Santa’s workshop.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14551″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14611″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Under the orange glow inside the cabins were gifting shops; this particular one from Elemis engraved sweet messages onto the lids of their popular moisturisers. Spoiler alert- I got one for my mum. You can get this service inside John Lewis; it’d make an amazing stocking filler.

Other stocking filler gems came from Play Doh with personalised labels on tubs of the lovely stuff, and embroidered robes and blankets from My 1st Years; all available in John Lewis too.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14608″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14612″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14604″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I came away feeling full of feel good Christmas vibes and nifty gifting ideas (and also my first bag of chocolate gold coins)

This Thursday 8th December, John Lewis are taking over Piccadilly Circus; I’ll be following along with the #MakeItThoughtful to nab more ideas! (there are only THREE MORE WEEKENDS LEFT!)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

My ‘Not Gucci’ Coat

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s no secret that I have a hard time letting go of Summer but there’s at least one thing I can get on board with when the weather turns cold- a new coat! And, knitwear. I do like a good bit of knitwear. The more chunky and oversized, the better- in fact, I got the chance to wear both a chunky knit and my new coat over the weekend. Early on Saturday, I met up with my sister for a bit before she left to shoot a wedding. We had coffee in Pimlico, before we parted ways and I went off for an SW1 wander.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14038″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14053″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14037″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14055″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14020″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]So, about that cold weather thing.

I first spotted this coat from Mango, but decided to hold off buying it until pay day…only for pay day to come round and the coat had only gone and sold out! I was gutted. To me, it was perfect. It was a cross between this season’s Gucci military coat and the David coat from Isabel Marant in 2012.

The red piping, the gold buttons, the rich navy colour- I became a little obsessed with it.

And then…

ASOS only went and stocked it didn’t they!

Clicked, ordered, and arrived the next day. Woo! High Five for Premier delivery!

My coat and I have been inseparable ever since.

It’s since been restocked here and here[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14030″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14025″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14029″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Just off the busy main roads around Victoria station, the Victorian mansion flats are so pretty. Rich, red brick, marble steps and flower boxes sitting on iron railings-it’s so quintessentially London.

It’s the kind of place you’d imagine Pongo and Perdita emerging from, or the Banks family to stream out of- in other words, it’s Disney style beautiful.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14033″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14032″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14053″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14039″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I met a dog wearing a bandana…not sure afternoon walks get much better than that?

I popped my headphones in my ears and went on a nice rambling walk around the neighbourhood before finding myself unexpectedly behind Westminster Cathedral.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14021″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14040″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14044″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14046″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”14048″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It’s only when I go for a meander that I stumble across something- not always a cathedral! Sometimes it’s a nice cafe, or a shop selling cameras from floor to ceiling.

I stopped into Lush on my way home to pick up a few gifts before holing myself up with Downton Abbey (yep, it’s taken me this long to get into it!)

Another weekend of successful wandering! What did you guys get up to?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]