The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Family Lifestyle & Travel

‘Appy kids with Calm Kingdom: a mental wellness app for children

Calm and Appy Kids!

Kids nowadays are so advanced when it comes to digital technology, it’s a wonder how the older generations have still not fully caught up. With their sponge-like brains, this generation’s children are consuming much more technology than any other generation before them which can be both good and bad, depending on how you look at it.

There’s also been articles and research into whether technology is linked to anxiety, depression, attention disorders and other behavioural problems. As their tiny brains get over=stimulated, it can be easy for children to then become restless and act out. This is why wellness activities such as kids and family yoga can really help to take kids away from screen-time and learn to practice mindfulness and being calm. However, not everyone might be able to access these types of classes and rely on digital sites and apps to provide them with this kind of support.

“Mindfulness is an important strength for children to acquire. While they may not always be able to articulate it, children are picking up and internalising the stresses around them.”
Adam Green, founder of CLEVERWORLD

That’s why the creators and developers at CLEVERWORLD have just launched a new interactive wellbeing app made just for kids called Calm Kingdom. The app is aimed at children aged between 2-7 years and is designed to help support children’s mental wellness and promote mindfulness. In the app, you’ll find videos on mindful breathing, calming techniques and gentle stretching and movement. They also have cool animal names like Reptile Relaxation and Sloth Stretches demonstrated by the animals (well, people dressed as the animals) too making it fun and easy for kids to remember.

According to mental health experts, keeping a reflection journal can help children to manage their emotions better and is said to be “one of the healthiest habits for a lifetime”.

The app offers even the youngest children to experience journalling through colouring and drawing in the app. This kind of colouring can help children to improve their focus, concentration and creativity skills. Children can also use their own voice to record their thoughts and feelings which is amazing.

I downloaded the app on my phone and Little Miss seemed to have had a good time exploring the app. It even has a parent portal section where you can get involved and observe your child’s journey through the app. The Calm Kingdom is not social app but for the journalling it does require a login connection via social media or email. There is a free and premium (paid) version of the app – we downloaded the free one.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Family & Lifestyle in London
Colouring can support children’s learning / Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

All of the children’s work ie. any voice recordings and journalling content is only accessible to the child and the parent. This should provide parents with some peace of mind that their children can safely explore the app and express themselves freely without their security or privacy being put at risk.

You can download the Calm Kingdom app for free on iOS and Android:

iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/calm-kingdom/id1383607910
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cleverkids.calmkingdom

It’s okay to not be OK…

threenager-meme

I came across a post on Sunday which resonated deeply within me.

A post that could’ve been written more or less by myself. So much so that my original post (which I’d deleted)  has now been re-written with a dedication to Aleena from Mummy Mama Mum for encouraging me to publish this. Thank you! 

For me, if it’s not admitting it then it’s accepting it that’s the problem…
Telling myself that sometimes I’m not OK is a struggle. Like a never-ending battle.

If you haven’t read her post yet…  I’m Not OK by Mummy Mama Mum

Continue reading “It’s okay to not be OK…”

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | I call it Mothermorphosis

Just like my mum: I call it ‘Mothermorphosis’

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | I call it Mothermorphesis

“I’m turning into my mother.”

The words I never, ever wanted to hear myself say but alas, it has become the inevitable. I call it ‘mothermorphosis’.

Mother-Morphosis
mother = a woman in relation to her child or children
morphosis = the manner in which an organism or any of its parts changes form or undergoes development

There comes a time in our lives as mothers that we start to follow a path that is all too similar… The path of our own mothers. This may or may not be a route we wish to follow but sometimes it happens. Sometimes it’s a good thing, other times not so good.

Don’t get me wrong I love my mother but there are some of her traits that I hate. Continue reading “Just like my mum: I call it ‘Mothermorphosis’”

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Meditation & Sound Healing Review

Review: Meditation & Sound Healing therapy in Greenwich

The Greemwich Mummy Blog | Meditation & Sound Healing Review

I am loving my fitness journey! I can see my body changing slowly and I am loving the effects of eating healthier; it’s made a great impact on my skin, hair (even though I’m still experiencing postpartum hairloss) and energy level. Being a parent can be really stressful – actually it is VERY stressful – but some of us are just better at managing the stress than others. I used to be so chilled when it came to parenting when it was just LO but with Baby Girl now in the picture, I find that I am a lot more stressed, have zero patience, constantly anxious and feel like I can’t shut off properly because every five minutes one of them is crying (screaming) or the house needs tidying… again for the tenth time.

Being away in the morning for my fitness classes really gives me that ‘time out’ that I need to keep myself sane and I really love it. So when Kalie (@pyschicladykay) sent me an email to let me know about a meditation and sound healing taster session she was doing last week I could only say yes. Time out to meditate and heal? Why would I ever try to decline that offer? I’ve only ever touched on meditation in yoga class and through my BeCalm mindfulness app but it can be so hard to switch off and meditate properly with so much going around. I was excited to see what Kalie’s taster session was going to offer. Continue reading “Review: Meditation & Sound Healing therapy in Greenwich”

Review: Spa Experience London Wimbledon was amazing!

Being pregnant and coming from a spa therapy background I completely understand how important it is to look after my body and my well-being. So when I was invited to review some prenatal treatments at Spa London Wimbledon, I grabbed at the chance with both hands!

When I worked as a spa therapist in Derbyshire, I trained in Elemis and specialised in advanced therapies such as pregnancy massage so it was a delightful surprise to discover that the treatments I was booked in for was the Elemis nurturing mother-to-be massage and prescription facial. With that in mind, I was really looking forward to reviewing the place.

Location
As much as I like to spa alone, it’s nicer to be able to share the experience with someone so I asked a friend to come along with me. The spa is located just a stone’s throw away from Wimbledon and South Wimbledon tube stations so getting there was super easy. It was a short walk away for me from South Wimbledon station and a 1 minute bus ride away for my friend who came via Wimbledon. The spa itself is nestled inside the Wimbledon Leisure Centre, on the first floor. There is also wheelchair access to the spa reception.

Arrival
Upon entering the Wimbledon spa, the lovely smell of oils and scented candles greeted my nose- it really brought me back to my spa therapist days which I miss a lot. We were greeted by two friendly faces at reception who checked us in and confirmed my treatments for the day. I wanted to book my friend in for treatments as she was only having the thermal spa experience but unfortunately they were fully booked.

We were then sat in a small waiting/retail area where we filled in our consultation forms. Our receptionist brought over some complimentary arrival drinks (cold orange juice in a tall shot glass) which I thought was a lovely welcome touch. After the forms were completed, we were each handed a lovely brown canvas bag that contained our spa wear; spa gown/robe, fluffy towel, sandals and a lock for the changing room lockers. ‘Dan’ (I can’t remember his name!) showed us how to set the locks then lead us to the changing area and instructed us to come back to the main reception once we’re ready and to take us on our spa tour.

Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy
Time for a quick changing room selfie!
My Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy
I wish we were allowed to keep these bags! 😦

The Spa
After donning our swimwear and gowns, we went to meet up with Dan again. He took us on our tour, leading us to the relaxation area which looked amazing and then into the thermal spa suite. When he opened the doors, it was surprisingly light and airy. I really didn’t expect that much natural light in a spa so it was really wonderful to see as most spas just have artificial lighting.

The thermal spa suite has a hydrotherapy pool with jets that you can turn on/off, hammam benches (which are heated tiled plinths you sit on), foot spas and monsoon shower with a hot/cold function, ice fountain, aromatherapy steam room and sauna. Dan told me because I was pregnant, I needed to avoid heat treatments so I could only use the foot baths, hammam bench, experience shower and the ice fountain. I was allowed to sit on the edge of the hydro pool but not get in because of the heat and the jets which would be too stimulating for me. Dan also told us to make sure we keep ourselves hydrated and drink plenty of water. My friend and I were in the suite for about 15 minutes and just had enough time to have a quick natter about how beautiful the spa before my therapist came to whisk me away for treatments.

The Treatments
My therapist (I can’t remember her name either so we’ll just call her ‘Ana’) was super friendly and made some small talk before leading me to the treatment room. She told me that we’ll start off with the nurturing mother-to-be massage and finish with the skin prescription facial. I was taken back a little when she said the treatments were going to be carried out on the bed. Don’t get me wrong, Ana adjusted the bed to fit with the contours of my curvaceous pregnancy body but I was just expecting the special Elemis beanbag to be used. After all, the main concept and USP of the Elemis nurturing mother-to-be massage is for the treatment to be carried on the floor surrounded with cushions and pillows and performed on a unique beanbag. I got over it in the end but just felt a little disappointed. I later found out from the receptionist that the spa doesn’t have the beanbag that’s why it wasn’t used. Fair enough.

“… in that moment, my mind was whisked away to somewhere peaceful and serene and I forgot about everything.”

Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy
This was the Elemis pregnancy massage layout I was expecting (Photo Credit: The London Mummy)

Once I was on the bed (which was heated too!) Ana started off by cleansing my feet and in that moment, my mind was whisked away to somewhere peaceful and serene and I forgot about everything. When Ana started to massage my tired and tight legs, it felt even more wonderful. She used a light pressure on my legs and a medium pressure on my back. After working on my legs and back she moved onto my arms, tummy and upper chest. I wished the tummy massage was a bit longer as I love my bump being touched. (If you have this massage in your first trimester, the stomach area is completely avoided.) After having my upper chest massaged, Ana got started on the facial and this is when I started to nod off. I don’t remember much of the facial (sorry!) as I kept drifting in and out of sleep.

I remember Ana applying the papaya enzyme peel which is my favourite exfoliator from the brand. The creamy exfoliator is applied like a face mask and left onto the skin so the fruit enzymes can gently slough away the dead cells without being abrasive or harsh. It’s the perfect exfoliator if you have dry, sensitive or ageing skin. I fell asleep again and woke up with a face mask on but I couldn’t tell which product she used this time. A blissful face and scalp massage (with oil) was performed while the mask was working its magic and I nodded off again. I woke for the last time to Ana removing the face mask with warm mitts then she applied toner, eye cream and moisturiser. I knew the whole experience had come to an end when I heard the gentle chime of the Elemis bells.

Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy
What the Elemis bells look like (Photo Credit: Google)

Ana brought me some water and recommended me the Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath and Cream which is great for soothing the skin and keeping it moisturised. It’s one of the Elemis products that’s suitable for those with eczema and psorasis. Ana left me to get dressed then escorted me the relaxation area where I met up with my friend again.

The Relaxation Area
I love the look, ambience and atmosphere of the relaxation area. The sheer dividers provide each guest with that extra little bit of privacy and the loungers were really comfortable. We helped ourselves to fruit-infused waters and fresh fruit (there was also herbal teas to choose from) and laid back on the loungers to chat about our amazing experience. We were also brought some extra fresh fruit and juices, courtesy of the staff and felt absolutely pampered!

Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy
Relaxation area and the thermal spa suite door in the distance (Photo Credit: Dale Sauna)

As we indulged on our berries and sipped on our juices, I had a little ponder about the layout of the lounge. It’s an open space so it’s not in a dedicated room like some other spas I’ve visited. To get to the thermal spa suite, you have to walk past the relax area. It just made me wonder if during periods it would get too noisy due to the increased footfall? Luckily for us, the spa didn’t feel busy at all and we didn’t hear a peep from any footfall.

All in all…
We both agreed the spa was excellent value for money; from the service and treatments offered to the spa facilities available, we couldn’t believe a place like this exists in such a central location. We will both be returning very soon for another relaxing spa day. For me, it’ll probably be after I have baby but for my friend, she’s already booked back in! This time for the Elemis hot stone massage and she’ll be bringing her sister along for the mother-to-be massage.

The spa offers all guests a generous 20% discount for re-bookings and special offers like book 2 treatments, get 1 free or book 4 treatments, get 2 free – how awesome is that?! Other spas need to take a leaf out of Spa LONDON’s book. When it comes to client retention I believe in times like these when everyone is on a budget but needing a place to unwind and de-stress, it’s deals like the ones mentioned that will turn first-time visitors into loyal regulars. I would highly recommend Spa London Wimbledon to anyone looking for a stunning day spa with affordable spa treatments and packages.

About Spa London
Spa London is an award-winning concept developed by GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited) that has revolutionised the day spa market by offering a luxurious experience at an affordable price. The GLL also work in partnership with local councils to deliver a quality service that locals can afford. GLL is a charitable social enterprise for all the community, a not-for-profit organisation with a firm belief in the power of social values.

*NB. I was kindly invited to Spa London Richmond for spa day and pregnancy massage. All words and opinions are my own. The photos used (if not mine) have been credited to their source respectively.


BLOG UPDATE: 30/05/2016
Spa London are re-branding themselves as Spa Experience by Better – this will come into full effect as of July 1st 2016.

The Greenwich Mummy | UK Family Lifestyle Blog

Have A Massage, It Helps!

So last night I had LO in bed with me and for some reason I can never sleep good on a low pillow, my head has to be raised at all times but with LO in bed I adopted a weird sleeping position and as a result, I really messed up my neck. The muscles are tight and stiff I could hardly move my head properly at work and was in constant pain.

A lovely colleague gave me a very brief but well-needed massage on the back of my neck and rubbed some Aveda Blue Oil on there – I am not joking, I could immediately feel some relief from the stiffness. I think it was the massage that did the job but the oil really helped to calm and relax me which helped to take away some of the tension I kept feeling.

It just made me aware how important having a massage can be for our bodies and how we can really benefit from a good massage. When I worked in my previous job as a spa therapist, a regular massage was always on the books as we had to make sure we really looked after our well-being. Now being in two office jobs, I’ve realised that a massage is even more important if you sit at a desk all day; (1) because it does nothing good to our health to be sitting and staring at a screen non-stop for about 4 hours, and (2) Repetitive Strain Injury is one of the most common work-related illnesses we can get as well as depression, back problems, bad posture and anxiety.

Massage can really help to alleviate these conditions and by promoting better wellness, we can live better and work better. Not only are their physical benefits to massage, there’s also psychological benefits too. It has been proven through scientific case studies and medical journals that massage can help to relieve stress as well as help relax stiff muscles and ease tension in the body. In some cases, massage had also helped reduce depression and anxiety.

As a busy working mum, my lifestyle can take its toll on me. All that bending up, down, and sideways to carry him plus all the house chores (bending back to scrub the bath, mop and sweep the floors) and at work sitting slouched at the PC really doesn’t do my body any justice. I’ve not get the best back as I suffer from a lot of back pain since my teens (I’m only 25!) so I know I should really watch my posture but when LO has priority in my life, I just forget about me. Most of the time, I just ‘get by’ with what I’m doing however I know in the long-term, my body could just give up due to exhaustion which is what I really don’t want to happen so I really need to sort myself out now.

So my advice for everyone this week is to have a massage. Whether you do it yourself, get a friend or family member to do it for you, or book in with a massage therapist, I highly recommend you add it to your lifestyle choices to give you that little bit of extra “me-time” but to also care for your body… after all, they do say “always look out for number one” 🙂

#WellnessWednesday

How To Do Spa Facials At Home

*Warning: Lengthy post*

For #WellnessWednesday, I thought it would be nice to do an in-depth “How-To” blog post. Coming from a spa industry background, I know how important it is to look after yourself from the inside out. One of the best things about spas is that it is a sanctuary not just for your body, but also for your mind and spirit – it’s the place of recuperation and improving your well-being.

People nowadays are far too stressed and so busy that they don’t fully take the time to relax – I know I am one of these people most of the times which is why I try to take some time out after LO goes to bed to rest my body and my mind. It’s nice to be able to have a facial at the spa – you can unwind and de-stress whilst the therapist gets to work on your skin, making it more radiant and youthful. However sometimes you just can’t get away or money is low and you are stuck for months without a good skin cleanse.

That is why this post is here to help! Below are 5 easy steps how you can achieve spa facial results in the comfort of your own home.

How To Do Spa Facials At Home

Step 1 – Cleanse

If you have makeup on, I recommend doing a “double-cleanse” to ensure that your face is thoroughly cleansed. To do this, use a makeup remover then use a cleanser to thoroughly cleanse the skin. After you have thoroughly cleansed your skin, rinse off with water and pat your skin dry, never rub.

Top Tip: Micellar water is a great alternative as it removes all your makeup (including waterproof mascara) and doesn’t need to be rinsed off – There really is no excuse to sleep in your makeup!

facial cleanse
Step 1: Cleanse

Step 2 – Exfoliate

When exfoliating, don’t be tempted to over-do it as over-exfoliating your skin as it can cause the skin to become sensitive, easily irritated and even break out. When rinsing off your exfoliator make sure you take time to do it thoroughly because you don’t want residue left on your skin when you do the next steps.

After exfoliating, steam your face with a facial steamer that you can buy online, or simply use a face flannel. Make sure it is hot but not boiling then place the flannel over the face for 30 seconds. Adding lavender or tea tree essential oil to a corner of the flannel will give you that spa-like pampering experience. Lavender and tea tree have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties so they can help with congestion or problematic skin.

Top Tip: Products with salicylic acid works best as it’s an active ingredient that helps remove dead skin cells. If you have congested skin, you are better off with a daily powder or enzyme-active product, avoid abrasive types as this can cause your spots to spread through bacteria if they burst.

facial EXFOLIATE
Step 2: Steam & Exfoliate

Step 3 – Massage

Massage, I believe is the reason why spa facials work and it’s the reason why you see results so quickly compared to doing just your skincare routine effectively. The reason being is that massage helps the muscles to relax and repair as well as help push the products deeper into the skin. A good facial massage at a spa takes around 15mins however at home, you are most probably short for time but even a quick facial massage is more beneficial than none. Click here to watch Lisa Elridge’s facial massage routine which I highly recommend. Those draining and lifting techniques will help to tone up the skin and flush away toxins.

Top Tip: You don’t need any fancy-shmancy facial oils. Simple oils such as coconut, grapeseed, rapeseed or olive oil are all excellent choices and all natural.

facial massage
Step 3: Massage

Step 4 – Mask

You can choose any type of face masks – it all depends on what you want out of it. If you have problematic/acne/congested or oily skin, use a purifying clay one or a peeling one. If you have no skin concerns or slightly dehydrated skin go for a hydrating face mask. If you have dry skin use a moisturising one to put back the moisture in to your skin. If you have easily irritated skin, use masks specially designed for sensitive skin types.

Top Tip: You only need a face mask twice a week at most, sometimes you can skip this step if you feel that your skin doesn’t need any extra help or if you have no real skin concerns and just want a quick-fix facial.

facial mask
Step 4: Mask

Step 5 – Tone & Moisturise

Toner is good for the skin as it helps to remove any remaining products on your skin, tightens the pores and provides additional hydration to the skin. Blot off any excess toner with a tissue or cotton pad.

Choose a moisturiser that is made for your skin type. If you have fair skin, it’s recommended that you use a moisturiser with built-in SP 30+ factor. You should also think about getting a day and night cream as night creams can help improve skin cell renewal.

Top Tip: If you prefer something more “natural”, swap the toner for rosewater which does the same job and is usually cheaper than good toners. Avoid any toner with Alcohol Denat especially if you have dry or sensitive as this can dry out the skin even more.

facial moisturise
Step 5: Moisturise

I hope you enjoyed reading this in-depth guide on how to do your own spa facials at home. If you do give it a try, let me know how it went!

Happy #WellnessWednesday

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My Review On The Wahanda App

In response to the Professional Hairdresser’s Wahanda App Anniversary

To celebrate #WellnessWednesday, this review is all about the Wahanda App. Wahanda is an online service platform that offers you all types of hair, beauty and spa treatments from thousands of providers all around the UK. The site launched its own app last year (downloaded 250,000 times in its first year) and around 20% of app users book their treatments within three hours which is an astonishing rate for a newcomer. Last week, the company’s app turned one!

What’s Wahanda?
Wahanda is like the Groupon of the spa/hair/beauty world. If you are looking for a cheap spa day or a group booking at your nearest 4* hotel spa, they will be able to find it for you. The salons and spas that join the site are very competitive with each other. To attract customers, the best companies would upload a brief description, a full price list and a list of special offers with value-for-money discounts. Another way of gaining customers is to also add a  description or further information about the treatments, which is what I personally look for. If you’ve never tried a certain treatment before but are interested in it, you want to be able to read about it so you know exactly what to expect and then be able pick out the right one for you.

“Wahanda is like the Groupon of the spa/hair/beauty world…”

The Pros
Now let us talk about the actual app… I love the app, I really do. It’s amazingly easy to use and everything is laid out clearly (with a clean design) to make navigating around the app a doddle. 🙂 You can search for treatments using the little icons (hair, beauty, spa, etc) or you can use the search tool which brings up a wide range of relevant results.

There are also filters which you can set to refine your search even more i.e. by distance, price range, user ratings (we all love reading reviews from others who have experienced it before us).

The Cons
The only thing that brings the app down for me personally, I would say, is the amount of time it can take to load. No matter how many software updates I complete to make sure the app is up-to-date, it’s as slow as a snail. My iPhone takes forever to load up the pages and then at times, it randomly crashes even though I have the latest software iPhone 4S can offer. (Maybe it works better on newer models?) I am not sure if it’s the app that causes the problems for my phone or whether my phone just can’t support this kind of app but whatever it is, it makes me so annoyed as I don’t have forever to wait around for my searches to show. Sometimes I get so fed up, I end up checking out the site on Safari page instead as it seemed to load up faster.

Summary
Overall, the Wahanda app is a brilliant service. If you love to check out spa deals or want to book your next beauty treatment that’s right for you, download the app to your iPhone or android phone. It’s completely free and you can create your profile account on it which saves all of the information you’d want to keep i.e. preferences, favourite salons, name and email address, etc which can also be accessed via the full site or mobile site.

Here are the salons to me that I’ve found on the app around Greenwich:

  1. Ayurveda Pura Health Spa & Beauty Centre, North Greenwich
  2. The Day Spa, Blackheath
  3. Precious Skin Laser Clinic, Blackheath
  4. Eizun Day Spa, Greenwich

I’m seriously in desperate need of a good facial, preferably a deep-cleansing one (or microdermabrasion) to get the skin cells renewing a bit better in time for summer…. All that’s left now is to book!

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UPDATE TO POST – 01/03/2016

As of 2016, Wahanda has now been rebranded as TreatWell