Posts Tagged ‘relaxation’

Ommm…

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Yesterday I needed to release a bit of anxious tension and escape my apartment (aka. the place where everything is breaking. My washing machine is broken. My email was broken. My hot water system is leaking. My internet is non-existent and therefore broken. My ability to find work is broken.) So my first stop was the CornerHouse – a cool gallery/film/café/bookshop space which has been my ‘go-to’ on several desperate occasions. Here you can find relatively reliable cake – something that is extremely important when you are me. I looked at the digital film currently in the exhibition space and then had a cup of tea and a raspberry ‘friand’ at a table that was magically lit by the sun spasmodically. It wasn’t really a friand because if it was it would have been smaller and oval instead of round, but it was delicious and it made my life better through sugar.

After filling myself with sweetness, I went for a wander through Manchester and headed to the Manchester Buddhist Centre in the Northern Quarter. I had read about their drop-in meditation sessions on Tuesday nights and decided it would be a good way to get me into a more ‘zen’ state. I had contemplated attending meditation sessions before but had always come up with an excuse not to go. This excuse usually revolved around me not being enough of a hippy and not smelling like incense. But I am in a “must try new things” mode at the moment where I am forcing myself to do things I would normally avoid. I am hoping this will eventually lead to me making some friends. So I went. And it was brilliant.

When I first arrived it was like walking into a hippy zone with lots of beads and incense sticks and hemp material, but I soon realised that hippy-ish people are REALLY friendly and welcoming so I was instantly invited inside, spoken to and made to feel at home. Soon the waiting area filled with people for the drop-in class and I was amazed to see so many people of such different walks of life. Young, old, casual-clothed, business-dressed, hairy, clean cut. Everyone was there. The meditation room was packed and everyone seemed really relaxed and excited about the hour of meditation that we had ahead of us.

The teacher was a gentle and well spoken man who carefully explained what would happen and it was so easy to follow along. There were plenty of other beginners in the class as well as people who must be regulars. The session involved deep breathing exercises and positive thought and I left the class feeling lighter, happier and more positive about myself and life in general. I plan on going to these classes on a regular basis and hopefully becoming a much more well-rounded and zen person.

Relaxing Times are Fun Times #4

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Some of you may remember my initiation into the world of beauty treatments in December 2010 when I had a facial and massage in Perth. It was one of the most gloriously relaxing moments of my life and so I had been contemplating having another for quite some time. While living in France, I have managed to sign up to various websites that offer promotions and deals on a wide range of awesome things and one day I decided to purchase a facial and massage for the bargain price of 35 Euros. The other day I realised my voucher was going to expire so this week I made an appointment.

Yesterday was the big day where I psyched myself up and entered the world of beauty treatments. I hate doing this – I really do. I feel so uncomfortable and out of place, and I’m fairly certain everyone is staring at me thinking “What is she doing here?” The girls running the salon were relatively nice but it is always a bit difficult when they realise I am not from these parts and I don’t know how to answer “What is your skin type like?” in English, let alone French. Apparently my skin is “sensible et reactif” to which I strongly agreed and further agreed when she started putting stuff on my face and my skin started to burn. I decided to go with it as it was quite relaxing and I couldn’t feel my skin peeling off just yet.

The facial was nice although obviously cheaper and it didn’t smell like biscuits like the last time. It finished fairly abruptly and I was happily dozing and almost asleep when I realised she was talking to me and telling me to get dressed and to meet her at the “vistabulle“.

When I purchased this ‘beauty treatment’ I thought I was buying a massage, with hands, nice smelling oil stuff, soft music and me feeling awesome at the end of it. Turns out I had signed up for the electric chair. Well, not quite but I was made to sit in a big leather chair that then proceeded to ‘massage’ me. Unfortunately the chair was designed for French people who are generally at least a head shorter than me. When I first sat down, my legs were raised and my knees almost came up to my chin. The girl frowned and suggested I move my legs so that my feet were hanging off the end as I am “bigger than most”. Once I was settled, I was handed this weird headset that blew oxygen up my nose and I was then left alone in the room for half an hour.

Vistabulle

I sat in one of these.

The chair thing wasn’t bad – but it was hardly the same as having someone give you a real massage. The main problem was that I was too big for the chair so when it was supposed to be massaging my shoulders it was hitting me on my shoulder blades. Boney things, shoulder blades. I eventually started to enjoy it and then it stopped. And I waited. And no one came. So I leaped out of the chair which had turned off in a reclined position, put my shoes on and went down stairs to where the girls continued to look at me strangely and bid me farewell.

I can’t say I will be going back and next time I will make certain that I am getting a human massage rather than the electric chair. I did manage to then wander through Paris looking like a puppet on a string, my arms and legs flopping along, and I walked ten times slower than I ever have in my life. But after an hour or so it had worn off and I was back to myself. Shame.

Promises

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

I promised to report on my adventures at the Revive Day Spa and WOW! It was AWESOME! I have never felt that relaxed in my life and I’m fairly certain I did leave the place looking like one of those long-haired, flower ladies. It was all a bit scarily new but I think the fear in my eyes was obvious enough that the women at the spa spelt out the instructions to me in a very step-by-step kind of way.

I think what I liked most about it was that it was so organised! There was a gentle ebb and flow of people moving around the place that no one was ever in anyone’s way and everyone was calm and serene. The lights were dim, the walls were painted a lovely dark aubergine and there were delicious smells everywhere. The girl (I’m fairly certain she was younger than me so I can call her a girl) who looked after me was very attentive and friendly, but also efficient and clear so I knew what I had to do and when. She stood and waited for me by the lockers and then told me where to put the key, and was always exactly where she said she’d be. It was a brilliant display of timing and if there’s one thing I love it’s efficiency.

I had a neck and shoulder massage which was glorious and almost put me to sleep, followed by a facial. At the beginning of the facial, the girl mentioned that I’d also be getting a scalp, hand and foot massage, “If that was ok.” Umm… yes. That’s ok.

I don’t spend money on facial products and I usually choose non-scented creams etc but MY GOSH. Some of the stuff she put on me was just delicious! In particular, I lay in a darkened room for about 15 minutes with what smelt like chocolate cookie dough on my face. She left the room for some of it and I had to stop myself from scraping it off and eating it, it smelt SO GOOD.

She used terms that I’d never heard of before and asked me questions I had no answers for but I learnt a lot. Well, one thing. Putting perfume on your neck and upper chest increases your risk of bad skin because it lets in more sun (or something.) So there you go, folks! A hot tip just for you. And if you want to buy me a present, a gift voucher for another massage and facial would be very well received. Thanks, Mum!

Bathrobes

I looked even more relaxed than these folks after my spa treatment