Admiration. And an App you should Download.

Tuesday, January 28



I sincerely admire anyone who has ever written a whole book.

I am contributing a Chapter to a book written by a midwife a Paediatrician and a GP, and I need to hand in my first draft to the Publishers on Friday.

I feel like this book writing has consumed me since we got back from South Africa,  thankfully today I finally feel that I'm slowly getting there.

I have moments of severe distraction and feelings of hopelessness.

And then other moments where I read something I wrote a few days before and I'm quietly satisfied.

Thanks goodness for my daily meditation sessions.

I am the most focussed directly after them. And so I've sometimes been sneaking in an extra one in the day.

Speaking of which, I recently completed the free Headspace take 10 meditation app, and it's brilliant.

You should go and download it now.

If you have been considering trying to meditate-I couldn't think of a better way to start.

Che and I are totally sold on Andy who guides you through.

He takes you through the kosha's, (yogi's you will know what I mean), and the 10 minute sessions feel like they are over in 3.

Let me know how you get on...

And I will get back to writing and researching and rereading and rewriting....

The Old Biscuit Mill, Cape Town.

Friday, January 24


I think I first heard about The Old Biscuit Mill Market last year when reading Bailey's blog, Vanilla Blonde.  

And I have been dying to go and see it for myself ever since!

Finally on our last full day in Cape Town this December, on the day of Paul and Lauren's Wedding, whilst Pete and the boys were doing their best man duties, Andy, Cayl's, Taryn and I went to Woodstock and met my brother Rich and Katie at the market for breakfast.  













The view of the mountain behind the Market is pretty amazing.

The food on offer is incredible, and there is a palpable buzz in the atmosphere that reminds me a little of Borough Market in London.

The boys managed to find beers (I know!)
and us girls went for a stroll around the market.  I think I may have been drooling at points. I wanted to buy nearly EVERYTHING that I saw in the home wares stalls.  Had I not been limited by an already bulging suitcase and a few flights to catch before getting back to London, I would left there a whole lot poorer.

I did buy a dress to wear the Wedding later though!


Next time you are in Cape Town, you need to pop past there.

It's only open on Saturday's though-so plan ahead.

It's very trendy and popular, so try and get there as close to the 9am opening time as you can, else parking looks like it could be a bit of a nightmare any later!

Have you ever been there?

Why I need to get Outside More.

Wednesday, January 22

I came across an article today about a study, that says that people who spend more time in nature feel more ALIVE.

My Parents Farm in South Africa
It went on to describe that people with this greater sense of vitality or feeling 'alive' not only have more energy to do more of the great things that they want to do, but they are also more resilient to physical disease.

So being outdoors = living longer?

Perhaps.

Im not sure about the living longer, but the feeling more 'alive', I totally get.

Being in the South African Summer, this past December - I was reminded of how much I love being outside.

My Family and extended Family who are Farmers and spend all day outdoors, will probably think this is the most ridiculous thing to write about, but I am concerned that I don't get to spend enough time being outdoors in my daily life in London.

In the summer we are often outside, and even just eating out on our little balcony brings me joy.

In the Winter however, I've even turned down social invitations to avoid entering the freezing cold outside.

Over the past few weeks, it has been very mild here, for London that is. So just boot and coat and scarf weather. Not boot and coat and gloves and hat and a freezing cold nose.

Pete and I loved our little cycle last weekend, and this past weekend we went for a short walk too.  The sun was shining on both occasions though.

And then yesterday I was watching an interview with some of the injured servicemen who just trekked to the South Pole in the freezing cold with Prince Harry and it really made me think.

I mean some of these guys are double amputees!

I need to stop blaming the British weather for my lack of time spent in nature, get some warmer clothes on and get outside...

SPD and Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy

Monday, January 20

Welcome to the next post in my series of the Pregnancy associated aches and pains that I frequently treat in my Physiotherapy Clinic.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or SPD during Pregnancy, is now referred to as Pelvic Girdle Pain, alongside Sacro Iliac joint pain.

Source
Pelvic Girdle pain, especially over the symphysis pubis can be extremely painful for a number of  women during pregnancy.  

What does it feel like?

Ladies usually complain of a burning or bruised feeling over their pubic bone, which may also radiate into surrounding areas.  Walking, stairs and turning in bed are usually especially painful.

Why does it happen?

The pelvis is a ring of 3 bones which are held together by strong ligaments.  The bones come together to form 3 ‘fixed’ joints. These are at the front symphysis pubis and at the bottom of the spine, the two sacro iliac joints.  Normally these joints don’t allow movements.

However, when you are pregnant, the relaxin hormone that that is allowing everything to loosen to prepare for childbirth, can result in over stretching of these ligaments and causing pain. The most common sites of this pain are over the Symphysis Pubis in the front (your pubic bone), and over the Sacro Iliac joints in the lower back (the two dimples on either side of your spine), but it can also be felt in the groin, inner thighs, hips or buttocks.

I find that women that are already inclined to be hyper mobile, (very flexible), are usually more severely affected by this, and I've seen some ladies require crutches or a wheelchair during pregnancy as they are in so much pain that they unable to walk unaided. 

What can you do?

Wear a Support Belt.
A number of ladies report that their symptoms improve with a belt such as this one that helps to hold the pelvic ring more securely, to compensate for the laxity that has occurred with the relaxin hormone release.

Avoid:

You should avoid one legged standing activities, adjust where you can such as sitting down to put your trousers on, then stand up to pull them up.

Be especially careful with how you stand up and sit down get in and out of the bath and the car, try keep your knees together, as much as possible.
So to get into the car, reverse yourself to the seat, lower your self down with your knees together, and then bring both legs around to the footwell together.

Strengthen:
You need to ensure that you are doing your Pelvic Floor strengthening exercises, as well as strengthening your lowest abdominals (transversus abdominals) and doing pelvic tilting exercises to safely strengthen your rectus abdominals to improve your stability around your pelvis. Your Women's Health Physio can advise you on how best to do these. Please contact me if you would like me to send you a leaflet on how to do them!

Physiotherapy:
Your Women's Health Physiotherapist may recommend that you get a belt, will advise you on how best to do daily activities and may treat painful areas with massage or acupuncture and stretches.  Your Physio will also teach you how to 'brace' when rolling in bed.

The Physio may even prescribe crutches to help with reducing pain felt when weight bearing when walking.

Will it go away afterwards?

The good news is that for almost all woman, once their hormones have returned to more normal levels and you are no longer pregnant, the pain is usually completely alleviated.  However for a very small percentage of the very severely affected women, the pain can unfortunately be ongoing post pregnancy, and require ongoing management.

Thanks for reading this, pop back next week for another Pregnancy related post!

And please let me know if there is anything that you would like me to discuss?

Boris Biking along the Thames

Friday, January 17






Last Saturday was a beautifully sunny and warm-ish day in London.  Pete and I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to be outdoors and so hired some of the Boris Bikes that are newly available in Wandsworth Town.

We cycled along the river path to Battersea Park and then around the Park and back.

It was beautiful and it felt so good to be outside and active in the crisp but sunny weather!

The photos above I took with my iPhone and are totally unedited.  I couldn't get over how beautiful the buildings reflected onto the river looked!

Next time you are looking for something slightly different to do in London, I would recommend you hop onto a Boris bike in Wandsworth Town and repeat our route.

It took us about an hour and a quarter, (with photo stops).

There are a number of little cafe's and restaurants along the way and if you are terrified big road cyclist like me- the river path provides the perfect traffic free cycling opportunity.

And if you haven't been to Cake Boy before- this is the perfect opportunity to!

I think this could become a regular little route for us :)

Have a Wonderful Weekend Friends!

Almond and Apricot Truffles - made with Love.

Wednesday, January 15


Book club was at our house last night, and I made these Almond and Apricot truffles.

Although a few times whilst making them I seriously doubted wether they would be a success, they turned out beautifully.


The girls loved them.

 They are full of all the healthy oils and have no processed sugar in them.

And so due to popular demand from the girls last night- here is the recipe that I got from Amber Rose's book, Love Bake Nourish.



Ingredients
to make 20 - 30 depending on the size you want.


150g blanched almonds

200ml coconut oil

2 tablespoons honey

250g almond or other nut butter

150g dried apricots, finely chopped

2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder

200g unsweetened desiccated coconut




Preheat the oven to 180'c

Place the nuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 6-10 minutes. 

Watch carefully that they don't burn. Once they have cooled, chop them into small pieces.



Now melt the the coconut oil and honey in a saucepan, stirring until thoroughly combined. Add the nut butter and stir again until fully mixed. 
Add the apricots, chopped roasted almonds and cocoa butter and stir well.


Pour the mixture into a bowl and chill for 45 minutes in the fridge, giving the mixture time to firm up.



Mine was still completely liquid after 45 mins - so I left it in the fridge overnight!



Take small amounts of the mixture and roll into balls (whatever size you like) and roll them in the coconut to coat thoroughly.

Store in the fridge until ready to eat, or freeze until required.



They were a bit of a labour of love, due to the mixture taking hours longer than the 45 minutes to set, and so they took a whole lot longer to make than planned.

But they were well worth the effort and the wait.



These are the perfect healthy snack for when you have an energy dip during the day!

And they quite honestly taste amazing...

Upper Back Pain in Pregnancy

Monday, January 13

Welcome to the Second Post in my series on the common aches and pains during Pregnancy that I treat in my Physiotherapy Clinic.

Pic Source
Whilst lower back and pelvic girdle pain are more common during pregnancy,  upper back pain can be a real source of discomfort. 

As your baby grows, your lower ribs have to move outwards and upwards to allow more room for the growing baby. 

Many women find that their entire ribcage gets bigger, and that their shirts, bras and jackets become too tight. Our ribs are attached to our spine via tiny joints. The displacement of these joints from the ribs moving can cause pain in the upper spine, most typically at the level of the lower part of your shoulder blades.

Going for a swim can help loosen up these joints, and this little stretch below is a real gem for helping to ease the pain.

Give it a try now even if you aren't pregnant! 

Make sure that you are standing or sitting upright, seated either in a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed.

Bend your elbows, and place your palms down onto your ribcage above your breasts.
Make sure that your shoulders are away from your ears.

Now gently tilt your upper body so that your right elbow is pointing towards the floor, and then come up gently and repeat to the left hand side. 
Do this twice each way, feeling that the movement is coming from your vertebrae  that are attached to your ribs, and not your lower back.


Now keeping your hands in the same place on your chest, and again remembering to keep your shoulders away from your ears, twist towards the right hand side so that your elbow is turning to point behind you.
Now do this towards the left hand side.
Repeat twice each way.

I hope that this helps!

Chakra Necklaces

Thursday, January 9









A year ago I walked into a shop and saw the most gorgeous Chakra bracelets.  The sales lady encouraged me to choose the one that I most drawn to by my own intuition, and I couldn't take my eyes off of the heart one.

Until I saw the price, it was so much more than I could ever justify paying.

The seven chakras in our bodies are energy centres that energy flows through.  A disruption in these centres blocks the harmonious flow of energy through our beings.

I got home and emailed my Aunt Heidi, who makes a gorgeous range of jewellery called Ninz, which she sells in South Africa.  I asked her to make me a Chakra bracelet or necklace.  She says that she got goosebumps reading the email as she had been thinking that week that she wanted to add some Chakra jewellery to her range.

Whilst we were home in South Africa, she gave me my beautiful heart Chakra Necklace, and sure enough the body parts that it balances are the areas where I have the lingering aches after my melanoma cancer surgery.

I love it. And I find that it serves as a constant reminder to me to try and be more Present in everything that I do.

I have some more of her gorgeous sterling silver pendant on silk thread necklaces to sell. 

They are sterling silver,  hand made and hand polished with love.

And they are a quarter of the price of the ones that I first discovered last year!

I have however still been surprised at how many have already been snapped up by my Family and Friends.

And even more amazed by how my friend with kidney problems was drawn to the chakra that helps balance kidneys, my friend who knows she should quit smoking was drawn to the throat and how everyone who has chosen one so far has nodded as they read what their particular chosen one helps with.

Click here to see which the one you most drawn to helps to balance.

If you would like to buy one, 

Email me at: lulujjohnson at gmail dot com stating which necklace you would like to order.

I will then send you a paypal invoice and pop it into the post for you ASAP.

£1 from each necklace sold online will go to my Yoga teacher, Rev Padma Priya's Charity in Sri Lanka.


Please note that £20 includes postage for UK residents, and that postage to any other countries may be a little more.

I can't wait for you to have one of your own too :)

 
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