Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you have probably heard of the “magic” powers of juice cleanses. You have probably seen numerous insta-models showing off their fit bodies, supposedly having achieved thanks to the “natural this” and “organic that” fitness teas or juices…But do these cleanses ever work? I put myself through the test with London’s own Plenish, to give you an honest and personal account of what really happens.
I had bought Plenish’s products through Ocado in the past (because who has time to go to the supermarket?) and to my delight, I later discovered that they do personalised multi-day juice cleanses too. Plenish’s programs can be anything from 1 – 7 days long, with 4 levels of caloric composition available, depending on your needs, desired results and general fitness level. I went for a 3 day, level 2 cleanse (920kcal per day), because I felt that 1 – 2 days was too short to make a real difference, but I couldn’t quite summon the courage to last more than 3 days without solid food (I’m tough but I’m not that tough). What you get in this pack is 3 days of 6 x 500ml cold pressed goodness (that’s 3 litres of juice a day…yeah it’s a lot) delivered straight to your door.
DAY 1: Immediate reaction, I felt lighter, and refreshed. It wasn’t too difficult to go the full day without food, and it definitely helped that the last juice of the day was cashew milk with dates, so a bit of natural sugar when the night cravings hit was helpful.
DAY 2: Still feeling lighter naturally, but a tad less energised as my body was adjusting to the drastically reduced caloric intake. To be absolutely honest, day 2 evening was particularly tough for me to push through without sneaking in any kind of a snack. You may even experience a bit of a headache, but trust me…take a hot bath or shower, go to bed early and let the sleep do the rest of the work.
DAY 3: The worst part was over and my body had adjusted to the new regime. Energy level was back on track, and I saw a noticeable difference in my skin complexion. Not the mention the 2kg weight loss! Who wouldn’t be happy about that?! I loved the way I felt, but also knowing that I could go back to a bit of solid food the next day definitely helped me get over the mental hurdle.
POST CLEANSE RESULTS: Obviously if you are on a liquid diet for 3 days your stomach shrinks a little and you start eating a bit less than normal, which is great. I generally felt like eating less the next week, but most importantly now that my liver has gone through a thorough filtration, any heavy foods made me feel very uncomfortable and sluggish (…the french fries did not go down well).
Why go through this deprivation at all, you may ask? Well imagine your liver and guts are a sort of filter. And over time remnants of toxins and all kinds of other things get stuck in the filter and they slow down your metabolism. A juice cleanse is meant to basically clean out the filter and flush out a lot of these bad toxins.
FINAL VERDICT: I am a total convert, and having really felt the “magic” myself, I have been doing 1 – 2 day cleanses once a month ever since. I couldn’t recommend this enough, and I am certain that you’ll love the effects of Plenish’s juice cleanses. I guarantee that you once you try them, they will be your go to method for hitting that “reset” button on your metabolism every time you feel you need to re-boot (and loose a pound or two for that special occasion ☺).
Every few months, there’s a new beauty trend, and this year’s must haves have been micellar water and facial oils. We’re all over these products like a rash – but what are they in reality? Is Micellar water as magical and mysterious as it seems, should oil touch the likes of oily skin, or are they just more beauty gimmicks that won’t stand the test of time?
THE MYSTERY OF MICELLAR
Turns out Micellar water has been around for over a hundred years, yup, for real. Originally designed to help busy Parisians deal with the cities harsh H2O, the formula is made of micelles, which are tiny oil molecules suspended in soft water. Dermatologist and Simple skincare expert Dr. Debra Luftman notes “Micelles are attracted to dirt, grime, and oil, and they draw out impurities without drying out your skin”.
Instead of using your average ‘makeup remover’ which can leave behind harsh chemicals on your skin, micelles work to dissolve the leftover dirt and makeup on your skin, leaving behind a glowing, hydrated complexion to rival the likes of K-Mid.
We LOVE the Decléor Paris Aroma Cleanse Micellar Water (£23),and so do some of our Sparistas! Containing Rose Essential Oil, which protects the skin against aggressors, this solution will purify and settle even the most sensitive of skin. For a more affordable option and by far the most highly recommended by industry experts, is the Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution (£10.80). The decongesting ingredients prevent stains caused by irritations which are often related to your every day cleansing – say your goodbye’s to face wipes!
OIL IT UP
Having first crept their way into our hair care regime (Argan oil we’re looking at you), face oils are now slowly planting their bottled selves down in to our skin care regime. Although they may sound a little scary, especially if you suffer with ‘oily skin’, they’re actually great for ALL skin types.
The more good oils you use, like rosehip, blue orchid and African marula oils, the less your face will produce its own bad oils which lead to spots, blemishes and a whole load of uninvited problems. Read below for our favourite skin heroes, designed to rebalance the skin, leaving it super-nourished and moisturised.
A very luxurious option is African Botanics’ ‘Cell Regenerating Oil’, made from pure Marula Oil. This nutrient rich ingredient extracted from the Marula tree in South Africa is full of essential fatty acids, along with Vitamins C and E, which work to to build collagen and increase elasticity in the skin. It’s all about plant power in the beauty world, and we highly recommend this Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil by Clarins(£33). Ideal for the upcoming change in weather(RIP Summer 2017),this face oil(£80) made from pure plant extracts will nourish your skin.
We didn’t want to throw too much information at you all at once, so keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks for more insights into the best beauty waters and oils… Glowing, hydrated skin and a very full bathroom cabinet – what more could you want?
Name one thing that is more satisfying than a massage… Maybe don’t answer that, but you get our drift right? If you’ve had a stressful week at work and need to relieve some tension or you’ve finished a hard-core session at the gym and your muscles feel super tight, a massage is your next port of call. The question is, Deep Tissue or Sports? Read below to help you decide which technique is the one to fulfil your body’s desires.
DEEPER THAN DEEP TISSUE
A deep tissue massage is designed to improve a number of problems, including blood circulation, stimulating the muscle’s strength reflex, as well as draining toxins and targeting pain. Using warm oils, deep finger pressure and slow, firm strokes like kneading; your therapist will work out the tensions and smaller knots in your body, concentrating on the manipulation of the tissues that lie over the top of the muscle. Don’t panic if a little discomfort occurs during your massage due to inconsistencies within the tissues; think of this as ‘good hurt’, the kind that almost feels good at the same time. Remember that a little pleasure and pain never hurt anybody! According to Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine, and over-the-counter drugs. One massage, so many benefits -we’ll leave you to do the math.
HIT THE RIGHT SPORTS SPOT
Don’t be fooled by its name: a sports massage isn’t just for athlete’s -it can revitalise the muscles and ligaments of us all! It’s all about hitting the right spot, if you know what we mean…targeting specific areas prone to injury of course, which aren’t always sports related. Working similarly to physiotherapy, it targets sports specific injury areas like hamstrings, working out larger knots or muscle adhesions caused by poor training practices, or every day postural problems. “Today most of our work is sedentary and desk orientated, which brings a lot of postural problems and changes. Think what stress is placed on the body when eight hours a day spent at a laptop is followed by one hour of high-intensity exercise” says the senior soft tissue therapist for the English Institute of Sport, Andy Stanbury. Involving stretching, it will work to improve flexibility and realign the muscle fibres, giving your body a much-needed surge of strength. Iron man who?
MY BODY YOUR BODY
So there you have it! From my body to yours, everyone is different. Whichever massage you choose, the main thing is to communicate with your therapist about what to expect from your treatment, it may sound obvious but people are often too embarrassed to discuss their questions and wants/need from a massage. Open up, relax, and spoil yourself.
Massages starting from £69, choose from 60 mins, 90 mins or 2 hours.
So you’re waiting for your massage therapist to arrive, and you’re worrying whether you have to get naked, or if your therapist will mind if you haven’t shaved your legs since December! Whether you’re awaiting your first at home massage, or you’re a regular on the table, we’re about to spill the beans on the only things you need to think about before a massage. Heres to our Sparistas working their magic on you – mind, body, and soul.
One of the great things about massage is that it stimulates digestion. Not so great if you’ve just eaten a huge meal beforehand! Don’t eat a couple of hours before your appointment to prevent any, urm, sticky situations. And drink plenty of water before and after, you’ll get so much more from your massage if your muscles are hydrated.
We’re fully equipped to transform your home into a tranquil retreat, so please choose a quiet room with sufficient space. FYI, we’re unable to carry out massages on your bed or on the floor; we use our massage tables to give you the best, most professional home service that we can. Your spare room is about to get real Instagrammable!
Comfort is everything, so we recommend you remove as many layers of clothes and jewellery as you feel comfortable taking off. No massages however in your birthday suit, so underwear on at all times please. We’re definitely not that kind of service.
FOR THE LADIES
Don’t let your time of the month stop you enjoying one of the beauties of life! “A massage can actually be very beneficial in reducing pain and discomfort associated with cramps” says Josie Feria, Director of Spa Operations at Lapis Spa at Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
LET IT OUT
Don’t hold back from discussing any apprehensions or requests – the more feedback and information you provide, the better we can tailor the treatment to your needs. Treat our Sparistas like your own personal masseuse doctor!
I used to work in the City of London, thinking work-life balance is impossible when you’re spending 12 hours a day in the office. Then I started my own business, thinking, finally, I will capture that elusive unicorn of a notion, because now I have all this flexibility right? Wrong! Running a business is a 24/7 job and anyone that has ever attempted it will tell you so. So as women who want to achieve professional realisation and personal bliss, how can we even begin to overcome the feeling that we’re drowning??
There was a time, in the early days of the business, when I thought all hope was lost and this is just going to be my life now. I’m sure the same goes for anyone in a highly stressful and demanding career. Waking up with my laptop in hand, running from meeting to meeting, sitting at dinner with family and friends, while actually working on my iPhone 7+ (because when you stare at your phone for 10 hours a day you need the biggest screen possible). Not being able to fall asleep till the small hours of the night because you’re constantly thinking about how to make things better. Totally neglecting house chores or really anything or anyone non-related to your work…and worst of all constantly feeling guilty for all the above.For months and months, the vicious cycle was intensifying until one day the body inevitably gives up and you find yourself going through panic attacks, uncontrollable crying and shortness of breath that leaves you scared and totally knocked out. Something had to change.
Right around that time, which was about 8 months ago, by some sort of cosmic coincidence I came across a Forbes article that said “Gone are the days of work-life balance, work-life integration is the new norm.” A notion so simple, yet requires a seismic shift in attitude and perception, especially for anyone over 30, as younger millennials have been accustomed to this lifestyle from earlier on. It took me a bit of time to put this in practical terms, but since then, little by little, I have been making changes in my life that have helped me be more calm, focused, productive, and most importantly, emotionally and physically healthy.
1. DROP THE GUILT
First and foremost, whether you are an entrepreneur or an aspiring corporate star, you need to have a strong support group of family and friends. And even though as a woman you naturally have a heightened sense of obligation to please others, you need to stop punishing yourself and feeling guilty for not giving everyone enough attention. After all, if they are truly loving and supportive, your family and friends will understand that what you are doing is building something that you hope will last, and will benefit not just you, but everyone around you. Don’t feel guilty if you have to take that call during dinner, or if you can’t make that Sunday lunch or if you have to stay in the office till 2am. It’s not personal, it’s business. And you’re not being selfish, you are being responsible.
2. FORGET CONVENTIONAL WORKING HOURS
Unless you are bound by super strict market hours, nowadays, a lot of employers will allow flexible working conditions to fit around your life better. Take advantage of that, understand your body clock and adjust your schedule and habits accordingly. Work when you feel you’ll be most productive and break up your day with other activities. Some people are early birds and wake up at the crack of dawn. I most certainly am not. I’ve had enough of the early morning struggle during my 10 years as an investment banker. Nowadays, I am rarely in the office before midday. Much like Richard Branson, I like to spend my mornings at home or running with my dog (always a good way to relieve stress). In my previous corporate life, I used to sneak in a 30 min spinning class during lunch, which felt like hitting a reset button on my mind and helped start the second part of the day fresh. I don’t mind staying late in the office, as it’s actually quite nice to catch up on admin after 5 pm when everyone else has left. Dinner out or in, is usually till 11pm and most days I’ll stay up till midnight to catch up on more emails, as the quiet hours of the night also give me a more serene environment to work in. Everyone’s body clock is different and in order to achieve professional longevity and not burn out, you need to find a way to work around your clock, not around the company’s clock.
3. OUTSOURCE ANYTHING YOU CAN
There has never been a better time than now to be a businesswoman and still manage to keep the rest of your life in check. In London especially, you are a couple of clicks away from finding anything you want, anytime you want. At the end of the day, the one thing that no-one can produce more of is time. So any service that saves me time, is welcome in my life.
Used to take me at least 2 hours a week, but now with Ocado, it’s 10 mins a week. Unless to find some specialist foods, I’m surprised that anyone still goes to the supermarket?!
HOUSE REPAIRSAND SPRING CLEANING
Broken doors, plumbing or electrical problems used to send me into a right old panic. I had to spend hours trying to find a repairman to come. However, there was usually never anyone available less than a week away and god knows how good or trustworthy they are. Spring cleaning was something I had heard about from my mother, a mythical ritual, something of an urban legend that is supposed to bring freshness and good fortune to the household…but who has time to spend a whole day cleaning every nook and cranny of the house, right? Now I’ve discovered Fantastic Services and well, they are absolutely fantastic! It’s a London based company that provides anything from repairs, moving services, gardening, cleaning, and even pest control. I’ve gotten so spoilt by them, now I even call them to change the halogen light bulbs in the kitchen (they’re very high up and hard to remove, don’t judge! J). You can book Fantastic Services online or by calling 020 3404 1753, and you can get £10 off your first booking with code USPAAH.
LAUNDRY, DRY CLEANING, IRONING
I must admit I was very hesitant to let someone else handle my clothes, especially the more delicate pieces. But one must embrace innovation and one day when I was faced with a particularly mountainous pile of laundry, I decided to give Zipjet a go. It’s an app that literally takes the dirty work off of your hands! No more ironing and no more hung sheets around the house because the dryer didn’t dry them properly. With a few clicks I booked a laundry collection and delivery time, and suddenly the scary mountainous pile was gone. Now, the iron comes out in my house only in last minute crease emergencies. Try Zipjet, and get £10 off your first booking with code USPAAH.
WELLNESS AND BEAUTY (self promo alert)
Remember when you wanted to book that 8pm massage, or last minute pedicure before travelling, but the salon was closed or there were no appointments available last minute?? I DON’T. Because I haven’t been to an actual salon in almost 2 years. Thanks to USPAAH, I can literally get any of the wellness and beauty treatments that I need right in my home, or office, whenever I want them. For me, it’s important to maintain a polished appearance, so a weekly manicure is a must. I usually get it in the office while having a conference call or a team-get-together. A regular massage is an integral part of my wellbeing routine, and I try to get one every 2 weeks or so, usually on a Sunday. There really is no better way to calm your mind and prepare for the week ahead. Any special occasion that I’m going to, I’ll treat myself to professional evening make up, because even though confidence comes from within, a little extra help never hurt anyone J. If you haven’t surrendered yet to the convenience of having all these treatments at home, I strongly suggest you do. Download our app here, and use code BLOG for £15 off your first booking.
There are many more services one can use to make their lives easier. From pet walking, to mobile car washing, the resources are endless. You just have to embrace them and welcome the help of all these companies into your life.
You see, becoming a Superwoman is not a physical transformation, it’s a mental one.Having gone through a very real physical and mental burn out, and coming out on top, I know that anything is really possible because I don’t have to do it all myself. We are blessed to live in a cosmopolitan city which gives us many tools and resources to really enhance our lives and become the best version of our #bossbabe selves.