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by Janette Ward
by Janette Ward
The topic for this month is Procrastination – that is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. Research shows that everyone procrastinates sometimes but that 20% of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions. I chose this topic because I have experience of procrastinating. I first became aware of it when I was studying and had assignments to write. Instead of getting on with them, I would clean the house, do the ironing, any jobs to put off sitting down and getting on with it. At the time it felt like strange behaviour because once I sat down to write, I did enjoy it. Procrastinating robs us of our peace of mind and can have a negative impact on our self-esteem.

There are several reasons why we might procrastinate. Not having developed sufficient self-discipline/self-control. In Psychology Today, is was suggested that having a harsh, controlling parent keeps children from developing the ability to regulate themselves, from internalizing their own intentions and then learning to act on them. Also perfectionists often procrastinate, often believing that it is psychologically more acceptable to never tackle a task than to face the possibility of making a mistake. Writer Robert Hanks wrote that it stems from a failure to ‘identify sufficiently with our future self.’ Also we often believe that we must feel good or ready before we embark on a task.

nrm_1410437857-procrastinationDr Joseph Ferrari, PhD Associate Professor of Psychology at De Paul University in Chicago, identified some behaviours of procrastinators. 1: They overestimate the time left to perform tasks. 2: They underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks. 3: They overestimate how motivated they will feel the next day, the next week, the next month – whenever they are putting things off. 4: They mistakenly think that succeeding at a task requires that they feel like doing it. 5: They mistakenly believe that they shouldn’t do the task when not they are in the mood.

He also identified three basic types of procrastinators:

  1. Arousal types, or thrill seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush
  2. Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success but in either case are very concerned what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability
  3. Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.

It is possible to stop procrastinating, though, it can be difficult. Here are nine strategies that might help – 1. You could break the task down into manageable steps. 2. Use rewards for completing the task or elements of it 3. Make a list of tasks and prioritise them, you can feel some satisfaction crossing off completed tasks. 4. It can be helpful to consider our future self and how our future self would benefit/feel when you have completed the task. I have made a habit of doing things for my future self and it has made me feel happier. 5. Remind yourself how good you have felt in the past when you have completed tasks and how good you will feel this time when you have completed the task. 6. When you feel negative emotions about doing the task, don’t give in, but acknowledge your feelings and just get started, the negative emotions will pass. 7. Minimise distractions, turn off the email, isolate yourself as much as possible and make sure that your environment supports you 8. Self-discipline is like a muscle that we need to keep exercising, practice saying no to yourself 9. Stop beating yourself up with thoughts such as ‘I should have started earlier’, that keeps you stuck – forgive yourself and move on.

The book, The Road Less Travelled by psychiatrist and author M. Scott Peck is wonderful and thought provoking and discusses that life is difficult and stresses the need for self-discipline and delayed gratification for our overall health and wellbeing. Delayed gratification is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward. He shares the example of a woman who procrastinated at work. She spent the first hour of her working day doing the most enjoyable tasks and then struggled to complete the further six hours. Scott Peck suggested to her that she force herself to accomplish the unpleasant part of her job during the first hour, she would then be free to enjoy the other six. She did this and experienced one hour of pain followed by six of pleasure and she no longer procrastinates at work.

I wish you success in letting go of procrastination and moving toward taking more control of your life and achieving your goals.

If you would like to contact Janette or know more about the work of Circles Work CIC contact or

A heart-warming scheme is bringing comfort to relatives and carers of Bradford hospital patients.

Bradford Hospitals Charity has recently spent £5,000 on 500 comfort bags which are handed out during difficult times to relatives and carers of patients at Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital.

Comfort bags - Paul Fernandez and Hayley CollisBoth hospitals are part of Bradford Teaching Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust and the charity is the Trust’s official NHS charity which works tirelessly to improve patient experience.

The comfort bags are filled with everyday items to help unexpected stays in the hospital a little more pleasant and include a toiletry kit, wet wipes, tissues, ear plugs, toothpaste, a toothbrush, blanket and socks.

Last Days of Life Educator, Paul Fernandez, said the bags had been a big success.

He said: “We hand out about 500 bags a year and they really make a difference, providing relatives or carers with some comfort during what can be one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“Relatives often stay on the ward but don’t have time or the inclination to go home and get everyday items like toiletries. Their priority is not to go shopping but to look after their loved one. So it’s one less worry for them.”

Paul has received several messages from grateful recipients since the bags were introduced across the Trust.

One grateful male relative wrote: “What a thoughtful and wonderful idea that brought us a little comfort and a familiar bit of delight (if that’s appropriate at this time).”

And a second, a woman who accompanied her husband to BRI, said: “What a useful bag. It’s well thought out and very much appreciated. Well done and thank you to the Palliative Care Team. I received it on ward 30 while staying with my poorly husband. God bless you.”

Bradford Teaching Hospitals Charity Fundraiser, Hayley Collis, said: “As a charity, we want to help those who are in need and facing a difficult time. That means, of course, patients on the wards, but also their relatives and carers, who need our support too.

“There’s no night or day-time on the wards. Relatives and carers just have to snatch sleep when they can. So the bags provide them with some necessities which they probably haven’t thought about so they can concentrate on looking after their loved ones. A small bag of comfort goes a long way during tough times.

“Staff think the comfort bags are a great idea too, and are something that goes above and beyond what the NHS can normally offer.”



Amira Abayas are offering a fantastic Easter weekend bumper sale where customers can buy one costume and get the other FREE!

ascaSince opening the store in January last year, Amira Abayas has become the talk of the town and has attracted customers from all over the country. Regardless of faith and background, Abayas have been purchased by women from all cultures. With an eclectic array of Abayas, Joobas (men’s equivalent) fragrances and Burkinis (one-piece swimsuits that cover up almost all of your skin when swimming), Amira has now built a loyal and wide ranging base of customers.

The owner Zubair Khan and the staff at Amira are very grateful to their customers who have supported them since their opening. With this in mind, the owner would like to thank his loyal customers by offering them an exclusive promotion which Mr Khan says “Is both original and fantastic value for our customers.”

Starting from Friday 14 April to [and including] Monday 18 April, Amira will be running the following promotions…

All Amira Abayas will on sale as ‘Buy one and get one FREE.’ This offer includes any Abaya of equal or less value absolutely free. Exclusive… Casual… Farashas… Batwing… Open/Closed.

All perfumes (sprays and oils) are also buy one get one free.

Amira is also on the verge of selling online and judging by the reaction of the store since its opening, Amira will no doubt go global in the very near future.

To take advantage of this fantastic offer, you can visit Amira’s Abayas at: 203 Westgate, Bradford, BD1 3AD. Tel: 01274 985858



By Qainaat Aftab

It’s February and it’s the infamous month of Valentine’s Day.

Every year we see the capitalist notion where hundreds of red hearted balloons and red roses fill up the shop shelves. Valentine’s Day is nothing but a capitalist con and another way to make singletons feel left out.

couple-rezsizedI find it odd how some of my friends get so caught up on the idea of being alone on Valentine’s Day. In reality, it’s just another day. But listening to their conversation, I couldn’t help but find their plans hilarious and outlandish. Therefore I have decided to share them with you.

My friends came up with a plan called ‘What every girl should do on Valentine’s Day’. Be prepared as no doubt, you will find some of their ideas bizarre and funny.

Firstly, forget about secret Santa, how about a secret Valentine? It might be a little clichéd but you can get a little gift and no one will be complaining.

valentines-day-wallpaperSecondly, every group of single girl’s need a movie night in. As my friends suggested, do it Bridget Jones style.

Thirdly, go out and wine and dine in style with your friends. If you are on a tight budget, call all your friends over and have a one dish party. It’s a great way of catching up too.

The fourth idea came from the hit comedy series Friends. As ridiculous as it sounded to my ears, it might be a great thing to do for a laugh. So, why not have a cleansing ritual? Burn and leave all the negativity behind you to allow new and positive things to come into your life.

Last but not least, forget a romantic weekend break for two. Why not adventure and explore away with your friends and have a girl’s trip away for the weekend. I can guarantee you some of your best memories will come from that

Some of you may find it humorous and some may pick up some great ideas. Whichever one it is we’d love to hear from you.


by Qainaat Aftab

It’s February and it’s the infamous month of Valentine’s Day.

Every year we see the capitalist notion where hundreds of red hearted balloons and red roses fill up the shop shelves. Valentine’s Day is nothing but a capitalist con and another way to make singletons feel left out.

couple-rezsizedI find it odd how some of my friends get so caught up on the idea of being alone on Valentine’s Day. In reality, it’s just another day. But listening to their conversation, I couldn’t help but find their plans hilarious and outlandish. Therefore I have decided to share them with you.

My friends came up with a plan called ‘What every girl should do on Valentine’s Day’. Be prepared as no doubt, you will find some of their ideas bizarre and funny.

Firstly, forget about secret Santa, how about a secret Valentine? It might be a little clichéd but you can get a little gift and no one will be complaining.

valentines-day-wallpaperSecondly, every group of single girl’s need a movie night in. As my friends suggested, do it Bridget Jones style.

Thirdly, go out and wine and dine in style with your friends. If you are on a tight budget, call all your friends over and have a one dish party. It’s a great way of catching up too.

The fourth idea came from the hit comedy series Friends. As ridiculous as it sounded to my ears, it might be a great thing to do for a laugh. So, why not have a cleansing ritual? Burn and leave all the negativity behind you to allow new and positive things to come into your life.

Last but not least, forget a romantic weekend break for two. Why not adventure and explore away with your friends and have a girl’s trip away for the weekend. I can guarantee you some of your best memories will come from that

Some of you may find it humorous and some may pick up some great ideas. Whichever one it is we’d love to hear from you.

by Sarah Taylor
by Sarah Taylor
Every year as Valentine’s Day approaches the high street becomes saturated with the colour red. From hearts and flowers to cards and gifts, vibrant window displays vie for our attention at every turn, and, as red has such a strong physical effect on us we can’t help but notice! Despite not being technically the most visible colour red gives the appearance of being closer than it is, so it gets our attention first. It also has a stimulating effect on the body, causing the pulse rate to rise, and can even activate our fight-or-flight response – hence it’s use in the traffic light system, car brake lights and warning signs the world over.

In modern society colour red has become synonymous with romantic love, desire and fertility, however it’s use in cosmetics dates back more than 10,000 years, as it is believed that women in ancient Egypt used red lipstick and rouge to enhance their appearance.

Those ancient Egyptian women were certainly onto something as pioneers of the painted red lip, and it’s power – which to this day should not be underestimated. Someone else who truly understood and capitalised on this was Coco Chanel, who when launching her own cosmetic line did so with a red lipstick. Since the launch of that the very first Le 1er Rouge in 1924 to the most recent Rouge Coco range, Chanel lipstick has evolved over the decades to become one of the most iconic make-up products of all time.

valentines-day-makeup-feature-OPTHaving spoken to many women about make-up through my work it seems to me that feelings about red lipstick are as varied as the range of shades out there on the market! From loving the look, but feeling it’s not for them, to not feeling complete without their ‘trademark red lippy’ everyone has an opinion about it.

My personal belief is that there is a red lip option out there for everyone. From the classic statement bold red lip, to the sheerest lip tint or stain so why not have fun finding, or even challenging your own red lip rules?

To help, here are my top red lip tricks and tips

When choosing a new shade If it’s not possible to test the product on your lips then apply it to the pad of one of your fingertips instead. The fingertips contain lots of blood vessels and are the closest skin colour to that of your lips. You can then hold your finger next to your face and see whether the shade works with your skin tone. This is more accurate than testing the lipstick on the back of your hand.

Find your perfect shade by first identifying your skin’s undertone. Cool skin tones suit true reds and blue-based reds, whereas coral or orange-based shades work well for warm skin tones.

Images-For-Valentine-DayIf you have a red lipstick in your make-up bag that isn’t working for you don’t be too quick to throw it away, you can adapt it to suit you either by applying either a sheer pink gloss over the top of it to make the shade bluer, or a gold gloss to make the shade warmer.

For the best result always prepare your lips prior to lipstick application. Use a lip scrub to remove dry or flaking skin and follow with a moisturising lip balm. You can also use lip balm to add gloss to a matte lipstick by applying it over the top.

Precision is key when applying red so outline your lips with a matching lip pencil to prevent bleeding, fill in your entire lip area with the pencil to create a base for your lipstick. This will ensure a longer lasting finish, and finally use concealer along the border of the outer lip to prevent the colour from bleeding.

Now go rock that red lip!

by Janette Ward
by Janette Ward
This month I would like to share with you about sleep and the difficulties we can experience and some ideas to help achieve good quality sleep.

These times have been when I have experienced depression or experienced burn out at work, when I did shift work and more recently earlier this year when my mum died.

We all have times in our lives when we can have problems sleeping, when we find it hard to fall asleep, find ourselves waking up in the night or have dreams that disturb our sleep. This is perfectly normal as these problems often resolve themselves after a short period of time.

However, if you have sleep problems that last weeks, months or years, this can have a huge impact on your day-to-day life. If you continue to sleep badly, this can affect your energy levels, moods and how much you are able to concentrate. It can also have an impact on your relationships, your work and social life. It may also affect your ability to carry out usual day-to-day tasks, such as studying, going to work and carrying out daily chores.

There are many reasons for sleep problems such as a poor sleep routine; a poor sleep environment; changes in sleep patterns; physical illness; medication; alcohol, street drugs and stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine; stress, worry and anxiety; trauma and mental health problems.

Mental health problems can affect our sleep and sleep can affect our mental health, for example, causing us to struggle with everyday life, feeling fatigue, exhaustion, negative thinking, anxiety, stress and depression.

There are lots of things we can do to help restore a nourishing sleep pattern. I would suggest trying some of these below before visiting your GP and possibly considering prescribed medication.

20160830071225-sleepEstablish a routine. You could try to establish a regular sleeping pattern by going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day. This will mean that your body starts to associate times of the day with sleeping. You may need to do this for several weeks in order to establish a regular pattern. If you are in a different time zone after a flight, do what you can to adjust to the new time. However tired you feel, go to bed close to the local bedtime, then get up reasonably early the next morning. Your body will hopefully then adjust to the new pattern quickly.

Your sleep environment. Before you go to bed, make sure that where you sleep is comfortable, your bed, bedding, your bedroom. That it is the right temperature, light and noise levels. We are all different but on the whole, dark, quiet and cool environments can make it easier to sleep.

Relax before bed. It’s important to relax and switch off from daily worries before you try to go to sleep. Stop any stimulating activities, such as working or doing exercise and avoid looking at screens, like your phone, a computer, the TV or a tablet, an hour before you go to bed. It may also help to do something calming before you go to bed, such as listening to relaxing music, meditating, praying, have a bath, reading, whatever helps you to relax.

Some foods that help. Protein foods that are rich in an amino acid called tryptophan – that helps boost the sleep inducing hormone melatonin. Chicken and turkey, milk and dairy, nuts i.e. walnuts and seeds are all good choices. Combine these with rice, pasta and potatoes to help the body get the most benefits from tryptophan. Green leafy vegetables help the brain use the tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland, which is a small gland in the brain, it has many benefits and helps to control our sleep and wake cycles. Lettuce contains lactucarium which has sedative properties and effects the brain like opium. Bananas have high levels of magnesium and tryptophan that can really help us to sleep for longer and get to sleep faster.

Some drinks that help. Chamomile tea is associated with an increase of glycine which is a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles and acts like a mild sedative. Cherry juice is helpful because it is rich in melatonin and a warm milky drink with honey and a pinch of nutmeg contains tryptophan.

Try to resolve stresses and worries. What works for me is journaling, so most nights I write how I am feeling and what has happened in my day, particularly if there is anything worrying me. Doing this helps get it out of my head and onto the paper, which enables me to sleep better. Writing a list of things you need to do the following day can help. Keeping a sleep diary, it can help you to identify the factors that are affecting your sleep, there are many sleep diary templates available online, for example on the NHS Choices Live Well website

Natural remedies. I am a huge advocate for Bach Flower Remedies and they do a night time remedy Rescue Night liquid melts, they dissolve on your tongue for a natural sleep and these can be purchased at health food stores, or chemists. Valerian is a herb and its root is used as a sedative and sleep aid which helps regulate the action of nerve cells and has a calming effect. Aromatherapy can be really helpful, I personally use lavender. You could put 3 or 4 drops in your bath, use it in an oil burner or a couple of drops on your pillow. There are lots of other natural remedies available in health food shops and chemists, I suggest that before using any you check that they are safe to take with any prescribed mediation you are taking.

Create a bedtime ritual. Following a regular routine for sleep can become a ritual, a habit that tells your mind and body that it’s ‘time for bed’, preparing for a restful night’s sleep. Some of the things your bedtime ritual might include could be – starting to prepare an hour before getting into bed, by switching off all technology, have a bath and getting into some comfy pyjamas, have a favourite night time drink, read a bit, write a bit in your journal, mediate or pray and then drift off to sleep.

I wish you a future of nourishing night’s sleep and if you are interested in attending a sleep workshop or one to one coaching to obtain a good sleep routine please contact Janette at or

by Janette Ward
by Janette Ward

I hope you are well. This month I want to share with you about ‘Hygge’ – a lifestyle I heard about from a lovely woman in a group I was facilitating, when we were having a discussion about the difficulties some people experience in the winter months.

Hygge is a phenomenon first documented in 18th Century Denmark and has apparently been crucial to the Danes ever since.

The Danes put their happiness down to Hygge, a particular lifestyle pronounced ‘hoo-guh’ or ‘ hue-ugh’. it involves a feeling of comfort and contentment, as well as indulging in all the good things and people in your life. In ‘The Little Book of Hygge’, the author Meik Wiking defines it as ‘togetherness, relaxation, indulgence, presence and comfort’.

According to the World Happiness Report, people who live in Denmark are the happiest people in the world. It could have something to do with minimum wages being £20 per hour, with powerful unions advocating for workers. Or it could be that Denmark has one of the world’s narrowest wealth gaps and a social safety net that provides free healthcare and education and subsidised childcare.

They are reputedly amongst the most generous in the world and citizens report having strong social support networks, meaning they have friends and family to turn to in times of hardship. They are less materialistic than other cultures appreciating low-cost activities and the simple things in life.

twinkly-lightsThe Danish are also known for being kind to themselves. This, in turn makes them happier and nicer to each other. ‘Research shows that people who are able to be kind to themselves rather than harshly self-critical tend to have better mental health and higher life satisfaction’ according to Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness. He goes onto say that ‘Allowing ourselves some hygge time to boost our own wellbeing leaves us better placed to contribute and help others. The most important contributor to our psychological wellbeing is the strength of our relationships and hygge definitely tends to encourage more close and intimate time with loved ones’.

It is hugely appealing to me because I have experience of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in the winter months, I use a light box, take extra vitamins, ensure I get outside every day and keep in touch with family and friends, when often I feel like hibernating through the winter. So when I heard about hygge and that it encourages you to enjoy and take a pleasure out of the dark nights and the cold, I was really interested.

In Britain we already do hygge to some extent by lighting our fires, pulling the curtains on and curling up on our settees… reading, watching television or being with friends having a cuppa.

Other ways to do hygge would be to put your PJ’s on the radiator, bake a cake and invite folk round to share it, wearing a big comfy woolly jumper or enjoying a glass of wine, guilt free.

hygge-photo-lutaviaistockStudies show a clear link between gratitude and wellbeing, it can be really helpful to our wellbeing to have a gratitude ritual. For example, like thinking of at least five things you are grateful for every night before going to sleep, or perhaps spending time thinking of past happy experiences.

Hygge is largely about making the ordinary special or meaningful, through ritualising everyday activities such as making a cup of coffee or having dinner. It is about taking pleasure in the simple things.

To me hygge also sounds very much like mindfulness and I would explain mindfulness as not worrying about the past or being concerned about the future but focusing right now on the present moment. When I do catch myself being caught up in worry, I stop, have a quiet moment and focus on the present minute and I ask myself what is there to be concerned about right now in this minute and each time my answer has been nothing and this calms me and enables me to appreciate the good in my life right then.

A more hygge-focused culture could contribute not just to happier individuals and families but also to more caring communities and a happier society as a whole.

So I invite you to think about how you might make your winter more hygge – more cosy.

If you would like further information about Circles Work CIC please contact or or 07775640213

by Sarah Taylor
by Sarah Taylor

Within moments of meeting with massage therapist Abie Ansari of Hands On Massage, it became abundantly clear to me that not only is Abie extremely knowledgeable about the subject of therapeutic massage, but she also has an enthusiasm for her work which is both infectious and inspiring.

Having experienced two different types of massage from the broad range of treatments, Abie offers (both equally wonderful and effective), I can attest that from the initial consultation, right through to the treatment follow-up, Abie works in a way that is both respectful and reassuring and following my treatments, on each occasion, I left the clinic feeling relaxed with troublesome muscle tension eased – and enjoyed the best nights sleep I’d had in a long time!

Keen to learn more about Abie’s work, and her distinctive approach to massage we met up. Over coffee, Abie offered a great deal of insight into the benefits of massage therapy, explained her background and journey to becoming a therapist – and also dispelled a few massage myths along the way!

Can you tell me how and why you became interested in massage therapy?

For me, it just seemed to be a natural progression coming from a science background with a science degree and interest in the functioning mechanics of the body that led from studying anatomy to an idea that a great many stresses and strains of modern day life maybe alleviated or even prevented through therapeutic massage. So, it seemed normal that I would go into something linked; but it was important that it should have a holistic element. One of the things that appealed to me is that massage branches off into lots of different areas and I decided to focus on a few areas. I initially chose to focus on pregnancy massage, 246229397_origprimarily because in the west there is a tendency towards viewing pregnancy as if it were an illness instead of a condition. There are a number of normal changes, and aches and pains associated with being pregnant, so I think for me, it was about offering a service which aims to normalize things, dispel a few myths and not just with pregnancy massage, but with massage in general. When you have clients approaching you, who are convinced that they have something really wrong with them, it becomes an educational forum to rationalize their fears, and help them understand that the human body does not always perform perfectly but, with therapeutic massage, the body can be encouraged to show progressive and sustainable improvements. It also offers a way to support, help and empower people in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For example during pregnancy massage I am acutely aware of the need for a client to adhere to and communicate with her midwife and other medical professionals any changes, fears and apprehensions. Massage is very much an adjunct to other disciplines.

With all forms of massage it’s about the client taking time out for themselves and routinely taking care of their body. Whether it’s someone who is spending a great deal of time training in the gym, a client who is pregnant, or one that has perhaps lost a lot of weight; massage can be incorporated into this as part of the process. Assimilating this process can be seamless, and this is where I can help. It becomes a partnership between the client and the therapist, where I endeavor to teach each client ways in which they can help themselves, so in that way it also becomes an empowering process for them.

How would you explain the massage treatment/session process?

Upon initial contact, I take a detailed health history, so any concerns, misconceptions anyone may have about the treatment process can be discussed openly, honestly and any contra-indications will also be addressed. Additionally, it is important to understand the reasons for seeking treatment i.e. specific aches and pains, relaxation etc. This approach means that everything can be tailor made for that client and appropriate advice given. It also allows me to address any misconceptions there may be about the treatment, such as massage being unsafe during pregnancy or bamboo treatment being some sort form of brutal assault!

With any client that comes to me, if they have any concerns about their health, or conversely if I have any concerns that may give rise to a treatment being contra-indicated I will always recommend that clients seek advice from their GP prior to commencing any treatment.

 During bamboo massage I use a compressed piece of bamboo of various lengths, which is gently heated, and rolled over muscles, much as I would use my arms and hands. The level and depth of pressure is altered to suit the client’s own tolerance and need, very much like deep tissue massage/ sports massage. For example if someone is looking for a relaxing massage it can be worked at a level similar to that of a hot stone massage, but bamboo massage also offers that bit extra as it means that I can work with all of the muscle groups, because of the way the bamboo is heated. For example I am able to work over clothing and it allows me to work on larger muscle groups like the gluteus muscle. Naturally, I am always aware and respectful of people’s dignity, but yes, it offers a way of working with all the muscle groups that isn’t always possible with other types of massage, without compromising the client’s privacy and dignity.

It’s also important to develop an open and positive client-therapist relationship where clients feel able to highlight that a particular area of the body feels tight, or they’re concerned about something and we can work together to address that, and hopefully see improvements over a number of sessions.

What would you say are the main benefits of massage?

Massage helps to improve or maintain suppleness and fluidity of the muscles, improve range of movement, which is important as humans we are designed to move, we are not supposed to be rigid and wooden. The muscles have an important job to do, they may be supporting the back, or supporting an arm so it’s important that flexibility is maintained, and the muscles can do their job. Massage can help prevent soft tissues strains or injuries – massage almost wakes the muscles up, so they can do that job without any restrictions or limitations. For example I may use massage to help break down scar tissue or prevent its build up, or maybe a client has poor posture so we maybe working to improve that with massage, stretching and lengthening muscles and providing lifestyle advice; all these things work together to improve alignment and massage is wonderful for preparation for or recovery from strenuous workouts. It can reduce spasms and cramping. It also improves the condition of the body’s largest organ – the skin.

Massage offers a fantastic way for people to have a little time out for themselves, to relax, and for some it’s that ‘hands on’ touch, which is so important. This is a big part of the pregnancy and baby massage work I do.

Baby massage, helps with bonding, helps to establish a routine with the baby (usually from about 6 weeks) in my classes, it’s a one-to-one process between the parent and the baby, I don’t massage the baby at all, and I use a doll called Tilly! I also offer a Dads group as I feel it’s important to have a Dad’s only session so that they have an opportunity to build support networks that they can link into, whether they’re a first time Dad or not.

What kind of feedback do you receive from clients?

I find that pregnancy massage clients come to me and say that they have enjoyed the best nights sleep ever and when can they book in again! The sense of relief for some of my clients is huge, it’s a special time and some aches and pains can detract from that and I feel my job is to assist with that.

I recently had client come to me for warm bamboo massage, who was a little skeptical stating that they were accustomed to a heavy sports massage. After an hour they left and I was so worried that nothing was said but the following morning I was touched to have received the following text…

“Hi Abie, just wanted to say that although I felt pummeled and viewed the bamboo sticks with horror and fear… I am a new person, no aches or pains, no bruising … I am booking again! Walking tall today!!”

I feel really touched that most of my feedback has been positive and it is quite humbling really…we all like a compliment! And additionally it helps me address areas that I may need to improve upon.

Abie currently works from the following locations:
Saltaire Therapy (Wednesday)
Skipton Spirit of Pilates (Thursday)
Ilkley Complementary Clinic (Friday)
Also starting at Neals Yard Leeds soon (Saturday)

 For further details, or to book an appointment please email or visit

by Sarah Taylor
by Sarah Taylor

As a Make-up Artist one of the questions I am asked most frequently by clients is how to choose the right foundation. There are so many brands and formulations now vying for space in our make-up bags that the choice is bewildering, from BB and CC creams to mineral powders and Cushion Compact foundations it can be difficult to know where to start. To help, I’ve put together a three-step guide to help you navigate the make-up product minefield, avoid the common foundation falterings, and ace your base!

Step One: Identify your skin type

Many make-up malfunctions can be avoided simply by using products that are appropriate for your skin type. For example liquid foundations with a matte finish and mineral make-ups work well for oily or blemish prone skin, whereas skin that is drier, or mature can benefit from creamier formulations, or products containing moisturising ingredients. If you find that your foundation tends to disappear (either entirely, or in patches) within a couple of hours of application then using a primer will help it to stay put. This can also happen if your skin is dehydrated, which can be a problem for many of us at this time of year, so be sure to keep skin well moisturised, and after moisturising wait a few moments before applying foundation to avoid ‘diluting’ your foundation, or causing the products to mix and bead up on top of the skin.

color-chart-e1434206869103Step Two: Choose your level of coverage

Now, this is completely down to personal preference, but I have found through my work performing countless individual make-up consultations that many of my clients have been using a foundation that provide a heavier coverage than they needed, and we have in fact achieved the even toned natural looking result desired by using a foundation product with a lighter level of coverage (and also by applying less product in general) and concealing any blemishes individually with concealer. When it comes to foundation it is true that, in my experience, less can often be more! The technique of applying less foundation and concealer only where needed also helps to provide a longer lasting result.

Step Three: Select your shade

When choosing your foundation, for the most natural looking result, look for the shade which when applied to your skin seems to ‘disappear’ as you blend it. Foundations that are too light or dark give the impression of sitting on top of the skin, and are difficult to blend away at the jawline. However, honing in on your perfect shade is easier said than done! I have found that the most efficient way to find it is to try no more than three shades at a time, apply a small stripe of each product close to one another on our cheek (close to the jawline) disregard any that are not a close match and repeat the process until you have narrowed it down to the shade closest to your skin tone. If you are unsure many make-up brands provide samples and I would always recommend trying a product for several days if possible before committing to it, as for many women foundation is one of the make-up products that is worn everyday, so it’s worth investing the time to find the right one.

Base Basics – Foundation Products at a Glance

Tinted moisturiser – Provides very sheer coverage, ideal for young skins or anyone who doesn’t like the look or feel of foundation.

BB Cream – Offers more coverage than a tinted moisturiser, but less than a standard foundation. With added skincare benefits such as built in primer, SPF or sun protection BB Creams (which usually stands for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm) are a great option for make-up minimalists and anyone looking for an all-round multi-tasking and multi-benefit product.

CC Cream – Provides sheerer coverage than a BB Cream the CC Cream (which generally stands for Colour Correcting) is designed primarily to target complexion concerns such as redness, pigmentation or sallowness.

Mineral Make-up – Often in powder form, mineral make-up is popular with those who like a natural make-up look and feel. Offers buildable coverage and skincare coverage. It is a good option for oily, blemish prone and combination skin.

Liquid foundation – A hugely versatile product which offers a variety of levels of coverage and finish, depending on the brand and formulation. Widely considered to be ‘standard’ foundation, and is globally the most popular foundation product type

Cushion Compact – One of the newest players on the foundation field Cushion Compacts offer the benefits of a liquid foundation with the convenience of a compact. Often with illuminating or hydrating properties they provide a buildable sheer to medium level of coverage.

Cream Foundation – A heavier texture than liquid foundation, which offers full, buildable coverage. They often contain moisturising ingredients so are a good option for drier skins, or those who like a heavier made-up look.