I’d wanted to visit the Lush Spa for absolutely ages, so Dave very kindly treated me to a massage for my birthday. I love firm, deep-tissue massages, so he chose one for me called The Good Hour.

According to Lush’s website, 

“A firm pair of hands rings out tension in time to the music, stretching and straightening you on the tide. Sea shanties fill the air, low and haunting before a gentle crescendo, always tempered by the steady pressure of your therapist’s hands grounding your body.”

Sounded good to me!

When I arrived, my massage therapist, the lovely Jo, ran me through the different products she was going to be using and let me choose the scents I liked. She also let me pick a bath bomb which I dropped in a jug of water to create mood-setting mist – so cool!


The room looked amazing and I loved the nautical theme, though I must admit I was a little unsure about the idea of 70 minutes of sea shanties. I ended up loving the music though – so much so that I’m planning to get the CD for whenever I have a pamper night at home. It’s certainly more interesting than the standard spa music you’d usually expect. The massage complemented the music perfectly and Jo’s hands moved in time, adjusting the pressure to match the lulls and climaxes of the songs.

It was quite intensive and focused on specific areas of tension, which for me was my neck and shoulders. Jo worked out the knots by applying pressure with her fingers and holding them there, before releasing quickly. I’ll admit, this was slightly painful, but I could feel it having an effect almost straight away.

The whole massage was wonderful, it felt very rhythmic and suited the music perfectly. I felt like she really worked me, kneading out my knots and stretching my muscles. Afterwards I felt like I was in a trance, my limbs felt like jelly and every single muscle in my body felt relaxed. A blissful experience!

The verdict

If you’re a fan of deep-tissue massage and have areas of tension you’d like worked on, then this is quite possibly the treatment for you. I’ve had quite a few different massages but this was by far my favourite, in part because of the wonderful atmosphere of the Lush Spa. I loved the way the whole treatment was more of an experience designed to appeal to all the senses, and the nautical theme, with the mist and sea shanties, was so well done. With every other massage I’ve had in the past, as soon as it finished that was it, but at the Lush Spa I was led to a lovely lounge area afterwards for some refreshments, which I thought was a great touch. The theme carried over to this part too, with biscuits and tea spiked with a little drop of ‘ship’s rum’!

Very generously, I was also given a massage bar to take home. Jo was great, very knowledgeable and friendly, and from start to finish I felt extremely well looked after. Plus, it was nice to have the shop next door to browse afterwards.

Oh, and one last note – the spa had the NICEST bathroom I’ve ever used, filled with loads of lovely Lush products to use. What more could you want, right?

 

You need to buy a good carpet spray!

We learned very quickly when we got Marty that ‘litter-trained’ doesn’t mean you won’t find the occasional surprise in the corner! Make sure you have some good carpet spray designed for pet messes (we used this one) and keep an eye on your kitten. If they start scratching a corner of the carpet, quickly pick them up and put them in their litter box. Eventually the accidents will stop, don’t worry!

Lemons = magic

Cats hate the smell of lemon, so it’s a great, chemical-free way of discouraging them from chewing things they shouldn’t. Marty was obsessed with eating cables, so we used a cloth to wipe some diluted lemon juice on them. We also sprayed a little bit on the carpet where he was weeing and it seemed to put him off.

Kittens come with fleas

I didn’t know this before, but kittens very often have fleas. When you take your kitten for their first vet’s appointment they’ll be treated for fleas (it’s important not to buy flea treatment from a pet shop as very often these will be unsuitable for kittens), but you should also comb them regularly to keep an eye on the situation. There are treatments available for your home (Acclaim is very effective), but your vet will advise.

There are SO MANY TYPES OF CAT LITTER

For something that’s designed to be pooped on, there really is a surprising amount of choice, not to mention some ridiculously fancy options.

The two main types are clumping and non-clumping. I personally prefer clumping as it means as soon as the litter becomes wet it forms an easy to remove clump. There are all sorts of other types, including scented – I wouldn’t bother, it makes little difference – and even a natural one made from puffed corn that’s designed to be flushable. Side note, the corn litter smells weirdly delicious (not something you should be able to say about something that, again, is designed to be pooped on).

The best one we’ve found so far is Cat’s Best ÖkoPlus. Its consistency makes it super easy to scoop, plus it doesn’t turn into a sticky ball of clay. As well as cleaning the tray out regularly, you may want to grab a bottle of litter freshener because man, these little cuties can sure whip up one heck of a stink.

You will hoover A LOT

For some reason kittens like to fling litter EVERYWHERE. Sometimes it just gets stuck to their paws, but I swear when we’re not around, they do some sort of litter dance to summon their cat gods or something. Guys, I don’t know, but it’s such an unreasonable amount of litter that I have to believe they’re doing it deliberately. Sometimes, if you’re very lucky, you’ll find a tiny nugget of poop mixed in with your floor confetti. Cute.

Pet shops are awesome

I’m not ashamed to admit I love going to the pet shop. I spend ages looking at all the cute products and fancy foods, and I can never resist picking up a few treats for my little rapscallions. Also, the staff are a mine of knowledge so I know I can always ask for advice.

If you sign up for a Pets at Home VIP card you get some great discount vouchers, plus your mail comes addressed to you and your pet – so cute!

Getting a second cat is tricky but doable 

After we’d had Marty for a couple of months, we decided that we wanted to get him a little friend. We would come home from work and Marty would be bouncing off the walls. He’s such a friendly, loving kitten that we were fairly certain he’d appreciate having a friend to keep him company.

We did loads of research and asked a lot of people before we made the decision to welcome little Plum to the family. It was hard at first – they fought constantly and had to be kept separate for the first couple of weeks. We purposely got Plum while Marty was still very young, as the consensus seems to be that it’s the easiest way to make the transition as smooth as possible.

We knew cats are very territorial and that Marty would take a little time to adjust, but they were incapable of spending any time together without biting and hissing at each other. I was starting to worry we’d made a mistake. We followed the advice the vet gave us and introduced them to each other slowly. Eventually they got used to each other and now they are absolutely adorable together.

When Plum came back from the vet’s the other day, Marty ran straight over to make sure he was alright. He’s always washing him and they spend most of the day snuggling each other. In turn, Plum seems to copy Marty, looking to him when he’s figuring out how to do things. They really seem to love each other and it melts my heart.

You don’t need to spend loads on toys

Marty and Plum have a few toys, but more often than not they will choose to play with pen lids, tissue and um…cotton buds. They love this cute little bee though!

Neither of them are particularly fussed about their scratching post (£25 well spent!), though they do use it as a napping perch.

What they do love however, is cardboard scratch mats. We got a small one to see if they liked it and it was such a hit that I also picked up a bigger, fish-shaped one from Tiger for around £5 (we have affectionately named him Scratchy Fish Face). So, when it comes to something for scratching, save yourself a few quid and just grab one of these.

They’re a handful…

They climb on every surface, try to eat things off your plate and kill your plants, headphones and your Nintendo Wii (yes, really).

…but they are so worth it.

I mean, how can you not love them?

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen that I’ve started a new chat for people who have experience with emetophobia. #ChatEmet takes place on Tuesdays at 7pm (GMT) and is a safe space for sufferers to share their story and discuss ‘Cure your Emetophobia and Thrive’ by Rob Kelly.

In the first chat we discussed our recent ‘wins’. A win is a breakthrough, no matter how small. It’s something you might have thought your emetophobia would never let you do. I would like to hear your wins – tell me what you’re proud of. Because you should feel ridiculously proud of yourself. Emetophobia is a terrible, debilitating phobia that had me starving myself and washing my hands until they cracked and bled. I want you to know that I understand and I’m so proud of you, even in those times when you think you’ve failed. Most importantly, I want you to know that you’re not alone. 

To get us started, here are some of my recent emetophobia wins. There will be a few OCD ones in there too, as for me the two issues overlap.

Eating chicken

Cooking chicken at home became a huge no-no for me and I would only eat it in restaurants on very rare occasions. I’m still a little bit nervous about eating it, but I’ve let friends cook it for me and am very partial to a cheeky Nando’s.

Washing my hands less

I still wash my hands more than the average bear but nowhere near to the extent I was before. Emetophobia Help was such a useful resource for me, especially for putting things into perspective when it came to norovirus.

Understanding the ways the virus can and can’t be transmitted, and that some of my safety behaviours were actually completely useless really helped me feel calmer. I quickly found it easier to ignore irrational thoughts.

Using the word ‘norovirus’

One of the strange things about emetophobia is how superstitious it can make you. Even though logically I knew it wasn’t possible, I had this strange belief that writing or saying the word norovirus would make me sick. I had little ‘knock on wood’ rituals and was very particular about the language I used when discussing anything to do with illness. Now though, when my brain tells me I’m being irrational, I listen to it. No more censoring myself!

I did the deed!

Yes, that’s right – I vomited. Three times in the last six months to be exact. And do you know what? I just got on with it. I stayed calm, cleaned up after myself and dealt with it how I think most people would. The first time it happened, that little bit of exposure helped me see that it’s actually not so bad, and gave me confidence in myself again. So when it happened again the next morning, I handled it just fine. SO. BLOODY. PROUD.

Do remember the sleepovers you had when you were a teenager? The kind where you’d stay up all night eating junk food, watching movies and talking about your celebrity crushes? If you’ve ever joined in with #PJChat (Monday nights at 9:30) you’ll know that what I’m trying to create is a mini version of that. An hour where you can get into your PJs (hence the name!), snuggle under the duvet with some snacks and have a good ol’ gossip with your online friends.

Now I wanna kick it up a notch. On Friday 29th September I want to pull an all-nighter with you guys. We can pick a movie to all watch ‘together’ and like always, I will have some questions to help keep the conversation flowing. I thought we could start late (say 11pm?) and just keep going into the wee hours.

What do you think? I’m open to suggestions! Come find me on Twitter and let me know if you’re on board. Nearer the time we can pick the movie and on the night we can put on ALL THE FAIRY LIGHTS, change into our snuggliest PJs and have the biggest online sleepover ever!*

*Maybe. I’ve not actually fact-checked this. But it’s definitely gonna be awesome.

 

Pavan Trikutam

Have you experienced emetophobia? I am starting a new chat for people with emetophobia to share their experiences and discuss the book ‘Cure Your Emetophobia and Thrive‘ by Rob Kelly.

The first one will be taking place on Tuesday 5th September and will be a chance to introduce yourself and talk about how the chats are going to go.

I’m not planning on asking set questions, so it won’t be quite like other Twitter chats. Instead, I’ll get the conversation started and then help to keep it flowing.

A couple of things to bear in mind:

  • #ChatEmet is not a substitute for counselling or any other medical treatment. We’re not experts; we’re just here to share our experiences and discuss the book.
  • Please be mindful of the language you use. Some sufferers are triggered by words relating to vomiting. At the start of each chat I’d like everyone to say what they’re comfortable with so we can all work together to make it a safe space.
  • Please don’t be embarrassed. This is a safe, supportive space. We are all in the same boat and we’re here to help each other. At no point will anyone make you feel silly.
  • That said, there are always trolls online, so you have my promise that I will do all I can to deflect any negative comments.
  • I want your feedback! If you want to do anything differently, please let me know. This is all for you – I’m just here to get the ball rolling and act as a moderator of sorts.

I look forward to chatting to you on 5th September. Let’s tackle emetophobia together!