Flip-flops for orphans

Some of you know that my family and I were caught up in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami when we were on holiday in Phuket, Thailand. We had an incredibly lucky escape – we were out on a boat trip far away from land when the tsunami actually happened, and although we spent some hours up a mountain, we were together and safe. When we eventually got back to our hotel, my parent’s beach front room was devastated. Had they been there, it is unlikely they would have survived. We were incredibly lucky.

Others were not. I’ve just been listening to two brothers on Radio 4 this morning who were orphaned by the same tsunami, whilst holidaying with their family in Sri Lanka. They were very young at the time, but have gone on to start their own super-successful business selling flip-flops and using the proceeds to support other orphans.

My family still feel very strongly about the tsunami and how lucky we were to survive. My sister went to Sri Lanka in 2005 to help support the orphans there who were much in need of love and cuddles. Whenever we hear on the news that an earthquake may precipitate a tsunami, a cold shiver goes through us.

That’s why I was so thrilled to hear about these boys who have made such a success after such a traumatic experience. Please check out their website www.gandysflipflops.com and support them, to help others like them.

Powder, yoga, massage and carrot cake!

We’ve just returned from a wonderful week away skiing in France with my family and it feels almost spring-like today, despite the snow of last week. My daffodils have flower buds and my winter cabbage is finally looking like we’ll be able to enjoy it in the next few weeks.We missed the snowy, cold weather here and luckily our flight managed to leave Gatwick before the airports were shut.  Almost a foot of snow fell on our third day, so we had lots of fun skiing in the powder, even if it did mean early starts to catch the first lift!

Dave (my husband) and I also did a skill swap. I’m a committed skier and he is a committed snow-boarder… so we spent some time teaching each other our favourite sport. A lot of fun but also a lot of bumps for me as I fell over many, many, many times – luckily the ridiculously slow speed I was going meant no injuries! Needless to say I won’t be giving up my skis anytime soon! It was a great experience to remember how it feels to be at the very beginning of learning a slightly scary new sport, and gave me a good insight as to how my Mum feels on skis. As a very nervous skier, Mum spent her week practising her snowplough turns and made huge progress by getting down some blues by the end of the week. Dave proved excellent on skis and despite a running injury, might now be a convert…! The family holiday was in aid of my Dad’s 60th birthday, and we took out a home made carrot cake to celebrate – a nod towards my keenness in slipping in fruit and veg to most meals! Dad was thrilled to be serenaded by an elderly, French, retired ski-instructor playing happy birthday on an antique accordion at our mid-morning coffee stop en route across the three valleys.

As you can imagine, massages were much in demand last week! And we also had a giggle with family yoga sessions to help stretch out the muscles at the end of the day – followed by a well deserved, celebratory vin chaud!

If you’re heading out for a ski holiday anytime soon, do ask me to show you a few simple massage strokes when you next come for a treatment to help ease the legs after a day out on the mountain! And remember to stretch!




Sad news

I’m sorry to report that our little black cat, Keema (which means ‘monkey’ in Swahili), was run over a couple of weeks ago. We’re very sad. He was a friendly little thing who used to sit on the fence to welcome clients and sometimes greet you at the gate. Unfortunately he went missing for a week over Christmas and we found out a week or so ago that he had been run over. Poor little thing. Here’s a picture of him ‘helping’/distracting me from revising for my MSc nutrition exams a few days before Christmas.

So, at some point, we will be looking for two little kittens to keep me company and to act as your welcome party! Do let me know if you have any kittens in need of a good home!

PS – Just to reassure you, pets are never allowed in my treatment room or near my towels/blankets for those of you allergic to cats!

Local places for coffee and a browse while you wait…

Some of my clients like to come for a treatment with their partner. This means you can enjoy your massage with your partner in the room, reading quietly whilst enjoying the relaxing ambience of my treatment room, before it’s their turn for a massage. I think this is a lovely thing to do together as you should both feel really relaxed by the time you leave.

Others like to go for a coffee while they wait for their turn. So I thought you might like to know some nice local places for coffee or a snack, while you wait! With Cowley Road less than five minutes walk from my treatment room, you’re spoilt for choice really. My absolute favourite place to go is Door 74 – local, seasonal, delicious food and friendly staff – it is probably a 10 – 15 minute slow walk away as it is towards the ‘town-end’ of Cowley Road. There’s also the Truck Store – about a 7 minute saunter – I haven’t been myself but clients highly recommend it for it’s speciality coffee. Then there is Kazbar for a mint tea, Coco’s for lunch – both again around a 15 minute meander away towards town. There are also lots of new places springing up – Miro’s is a middle eastern and Mediterranean coffee bar which looks lovely and Rick’s is also good. There is also a Costa and Coffee Republic, but personally I prefer the little independent places.

If you come on a Saturday morning, there is a local farmer’s market which has fabulous bread, cakes, gifts, milk, cheese, meat, veggies – and a lovely cafe. It opens 10 – 1pm in the school hall behind Tesco.

There’s also a myriad of charity shops, hair dressers, jewellery and bike shops on Cowley Road all well worth a visit and a pleasant browse while you wait!

Training in the snow…

Well, like all of you who have also signed up to fitness type events this year, I am not sure whether I am excited or nervous about a half marathon in the new forest and Bicester triathlon – both in March!

I’ve been out cycling this morning – to the gym so I could combine it with a run – and blimey it was a cold cycle through the snow! It’s pretty difficult to get motivated in this snowy, slushy, freezing rain kind of weather – but it’s also a pretty quick way to warm up on such a cold day!

One of the reasons I’ve signed up for these events is to support my husband in his marathon training – Dave is running the London marathon on 21 April for Helen and Douglas House – a local children’s hospice. Doing this event for charity means he is determined to raise as much money as possible. And – as you may expect – he’s lining up his pre and post training massages from me!  Those of you who live in East Oxford, may know the great work done by Helen and Douglas House supporting terminally ill children and their families – if not, check out the videos on their website to be inspired. If you’d like to sponsor Dave, please visit: www.justgiving.com/DaveWheater.

What events are you signed up to this year? Remember to let me know if you’re training hard for an event so I can tailor your massage to give your muscles the quickest recovery time!