Book Reviews

Book review – The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read… by Philippa Perry

This beautifully kind, wise and compassionate book has been a wonderful reminder of the parent I aspire to become. It goes without saying, of course, that I am not a perfect parent. Who is? The joy of this book is that it does not set out to achieve perfection (which would only set you up for failure), nor does it reprimand you for mistakes made in the past. It gently encourages you to explore your words, actions and the examples you set to your child, observing how they might affect your child(ren), how they affected you when you were a child and the possible long term effects on your relationship with your child.

It’s not about how many times you mess up, lose your rag and end up crying in a corner (with at least one child screaming on the floor at the same time). It’s about accepting that these things happen, putting actions in to place to minimise them (ie recognising your own limits and how to manage them), and ‘repairing the rupture’ by being compassionate with yourself and authentic in your restorative actions.

It has great examples and case studies of where parents have struggled with their child(ren), even to the point of wanting to leave the family unit, and offers tender, considerate and often humorous responses to the challenges we all face in our parenting (and indeed all) relationships in our lives.

It ties in perfectly with the La Leche League philosophy of ‘loving guidance’, which is one of the many reasons I kept going back to La Leche League. I knew I wanted to follow the gentle parenting path, I think even before I became pregnant, and it was demonstrated so admirably by the mums present at the meetings.

It reminded me that loving guidance is a long term investment (it also has short term benefits too), that patience is a virtue (no one has taught me more about being patient than my son), and that if you’re not looking back at your life and cringing at certain moments, you’re not learning and growing as a person, parent and human being.

Uncategorized

Open, closed, open, closed, open, closed. Opening soon?

Well my loves, are we coming out of our third and final lockdown? Is April 12th the date I can re-open for aromatherapy, Indian head massage and reflexology again? Will I have finished all the painting and decorating, spider evicting and deep cleaning?

I’m feeling optimistic and have already had enquiries about making appointments, so let’s open the diary and get you booked in! It is of course, subject to everything going according to the government’s plan, and we’ve already learnt that things can change overnight. So let’s get you pencilled in, with a caveat that it may have to change, at the last minute.

I will be continuing with the changes made between the lockdowns – ie limiting appointments to one hour, disinfecting, wearing masks, disinfecting, washing hands on entry, disinfecting, and errr, a bit more disinfecting. My washing machine will be groaning again! But I will be happy to be returning to one of my favourite jobs, catching up with you all and helping to soothe away all the stresses of the last year.

I hope that come the summer, we might not need to wear masks, and that I can offer longer appointments again. I’d also like to bring back my upholstered chairs as the wipe clean ones are embarrassingly squeaky. But this obviously all depends on the aforementioned government plan, and there are some actions that are best practice anyway, so I will be keeping them up (apologies once more to my washing machine!).

I’ll be contacting my existing clients over the next few weeks to see if they would like to book in again. There is absolutely no obligation to do so, if you would rather wait until further lockdown restrictions are lifted, that is absolutely fine and totally understandable. I can’t wait to welcome you back, whenever that may be.

And hugs. When can we start hugs again? How I’ve missed them!

Uncategorized

Indulging my (our) inner crazy, part two

I didn’t anticipate there’d be a part two to the Indulging my inner crazy blog post when I wrote it in July. Going for a walk in the pouring rain in the summer when it’s relatively warm is one thing. Going for a walk in the pouring rain at the end of October is definitely taking it to the next level!

Walk, Derbyshire, walking, hiking, walking for wellbeing, wellbeing, mental health, rain, rainy day, weather, friends, Belper, aromatherapy, massage, health, dogs, dog walking
Me, Lucy and Laura

What you need, is friends like these, with dogs like these, who are all as crazy as you. I even offered them a way out by inviting them to lunch at my house instead but it was decided to head out to the Peaks regardless. And I’m so pleased we did. Even on the dullest of days, Mam Tor offers breathtaking views.

Walk, Derbyshire, walking, hiking, walking for wellbeing, wellbeing, mental health, rain, rainy day, weather, friends, Belper, aromatherapy, massage, health, dogs, dog walking
Romy

Walk, Derbyshire, walking, hiking, walking for wellbeing, wellbeing, mental health, rain, rainy day, weather, friends, Belper, aromatherapy, massage, health, dogs, dog walking
Mylo

Walk, Derbyshire, walking, hiking, walking for wellbeing, wellbeing, mental health, rain, rainy day, weather, friends, Belper, aromatherapy, massage, health, dogs, dog walking, Mam Tor, view, panoramic
The view from Mam Tor

The walk was originally intended to be a 3 mile circular route that would take us just over an hour. We got carried away chatting and it ended up closer to 6 miles and took nearly 3 hours. We traversed bogs, rocky paths and helped each other down muddy, slippery, steep slopes. I wasn’t the only one to fall over!

Walk, Derbyshire, walking, hiking, walking for wellbeing, wellbeing, mental health, rain, rainy day, weather, friends, Belper, aromatherapy, massage, health, dogs, dog walking, Mam Tor, Peak District
Bogs, mud and slippery slopes

By the time we got back to the car park we’d all discovered what it really means to have waterproof clothing, as oppose to showerproof. Thankfully, most of us had taken a change of clothes and we piled our wet stuff in the car boot and headed off to the pub for much deserved refreshments. Low and behold, by the time we’d eaten, drunk and most importantly dried off/warmed up, by the time we left the pub, the sun was shining.

Walk, Derbyshire, walking, hiking, walking for wellbeing, wellbeing, mental health, rain, rainy day, weather, friends, Belper, aromatherapy, massage, health, dogs, dog walking, Mam Tor, Peak District
Great, bonkers friends 😍. Photo courtesy of Lucy Hobson

It was an experience I won’t forget and would definitely repeat, with great friends who are just as bonkers as I am 🤪🥰.

Uncategorized

A Tea Tree in Sheffield

Sheffield, winter gardens, tea tree, essential oils, Aromatherapy, massage, Belper, Derbyshire, eucalyptus, aloe, plants, gardens,

I had a wander around the Winter Gardens in Sheffield the other day, a stunning feat of architecture with huge timber beams soaring cathedral-like towards the heavens.

Sheffield, winter gardens, olive, tea tree, Aromatherapy, massage, essential oils, Belper, Derbyshire, gardens

Inside is housed a collection of plants often found in temperate climates and sections devoted to Australasia, including a tea tree. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the flesh before so I was delighted!

Tea tree, gardens, winter gardens, Sheffield, essential oils, Aromatherapy, massage, Belper, Derbyshire

Tea Tree is one of the most commonly used essential oils as it has great antibacterial, anti-infectious and anti-fungal properties, to name just a few. It appears in many different products from skin cleansers to natural toilet cleaners. According to Tisserand, it is also an emotional tonic for lethargy, anxiety and depression. It is often known as the bottle brush tree due to the formation of the needles, as you can see below.

Tea tree, Sheffield, winter gardens, Aromatherapy, massage, essential oils, Belper, Derbyshire

There were also some great examples of New Zealand’s Norfolk Island Pines, which have been around since the Jurassic period.

Norfolk Island Pines, Sheffield, winter gardens, essential oils, Aromatherapy, massage, Belper, Derbyshire

As far as I’m aware, these pines aren’t used in aromatherapy. I dare say they are used medicinally in some way in their native home though. Other plants I found that are harvested for their healing properties were eucalyptus, aloes, jasmine and the olive pictured above.

Eucalyptus, essential oils, massage, gardens, Aromatherapy, Sheffield, winter gardens, Belper, Derbyshire

Aloe, aloe Vera, massage, essential oils, Aromatherapy, Sheffield, winter gardens, Belper, Derbyshire

A selection of Aloes

Jasmine essential oil, essential oils, massage, aromatherapy, Sheffield, winter gardens, Belper, Derbyshire
Jasmine, it caught my nose before it caught my eye!

There was also some beautiful colours dotted around, although I don’t know the name of those plants as there’s no essential oils produced from them! The Winter Gardens are well worth a visit, I’ll definitely be hanging around in there again soon.

Uncategorized

Dunroamin

This is a personal one for me, I’m not one for wearing my heart on my sleeve or being in the spotlight but I’ve felt the need to reflect on and share where I’ve been, how far I’ve come and how I want to shape the future for myself and my beloved son.

2.5 years ago I left my husband after our marriage exploded and left me in a heap on the floor (literally). There had been a few rumbles leading up to the explosion, but nothing could have prepared me for the destruction and devastation of that day, or the waves of shite that kept breaking over me and swiping my feet from under me, again and again in the months that followed.

Mother, son, depression, anxiety, personal, grief, counselling, psychotherapy, wellbeing, Aromatherapy, massage, Belper, Derbyshire, essential oils
Making the most of few times my son falls asleep on me 😍

When I got married, I had a house’s worth of savings in the bank. By the time I left, I had incurred more debt than I’ve ever had in my life, and ever will have again. Debt that did not benefit me or my son and yet was in my name. There were other issues during the fall out that caused deep distress and led to ill health, both physical and mental.

I have long been ashamed by the debt and the circumstances that lead to the state I found myself in. This, and the inevitable grief of a relationship ending, led to a period of depression. But as the great Brené Brown says ‘Shame can not survive being spoken. It cannot survive empathy’. Which is why I wanted to talk/write about my situation, to shine light into the darkness, for myself and maybe others too.

When I look back on that time in my life, I see a woman who had been trodden down, rolled around in the mud on the floor and expected to be happy down there. I didn’t see it coming, or realised it was happening until I stepped away. And even then it took a while to see just how much I’d been in denial. If I just did this, or that, then everything would be better. It wasn’t better. Not for me anyway.

I am supremely fortunate, and eternally grateful, to have a wonderful mum who took me in (and my son, who was 2.5 at the time) and has supported me in so many ways over the last few years as I have rebuilt my life, piece by piece. I have amazing sisters who have provided loving shoulders to cry on and fabulous friends who have mopped my many tears.

I felt compelled to write this post as there are two significant events that have marked the end of the troubled times and the start of new, exciting and enriching times. The first is the end of my counselling sessions*, that I’ve had on and off for the last 2 years. I highly recommend being brave and digging around your life with the guidance of an experienced, qualified and compassionate counsellor or psychotherapist. It has helped me to grieve, stand up for myself, see situations from a different angle, be more resilient and confident in my ability to handle whatever life throws at me.

The second event is that I will very soon be getting the keys to my own house. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this, and what an impact it will make on myself and my son. I’m also anxious about it, as it is a huge responsibility for one person. I’ve no doubt it will be challenging and stretch me in unfamiliar ways but I also know that I’m up for the challenge and can’t wait to have my own space. A home to put my own stamp on and express myself in creating a warm, welcoming and comfortable interior, and a relaxing, healing garden.

depression, anxiety, personal, grief, counselling, psychotherapy, wellbeing, Aromatherapy, massage, Belper, Derbyshire, essential oils, st mawes, Cornwall, rowing, gig rowing, happy place
Me in my happy place, doing a happy thing ☺️

I can see a path of where I want my career to take me, and the people I will help as a product of that. I have ambition again, fire in my belly that I’ve not had for a long time. I can see my son and I building a wonderful home together and making lots of mess along the way. I can see myself going on dating sites/apps for the first time in my life. That’s a very scary thought, but you don’t get to feeling brave without feeling scared first.

Thank you to everyone who has been there for me in the last few years. Thank you to everyone who has offered a helping hand or a spare piece of furniture for my new home. It has been the worst of times, and the best of times. To quote Hannah Gadsby, “There’s nothing stronger than a woman who has rebuilt herself”. Here’s to the ones who have rebuilt themselves 💪.

* I had free counselling sessions via the NHS in Derbyshire via talkingmentalhealth