Category Archives: Life

In praise of Hot Stones……

Image courtesy of gratuit under Creative Commons Licence

Image courtesy of gratuit under Creative Commons Licence

Hot. Stones. Massage.  The very words conjure up an image of blissful relaxation: a hushed atmosphere, ambient music and delicately fragrant aromatherapy oils to induce a state of calm in both mind and body.  And oh, those hot stones. Teasing out the knots in muscles which have been bullied into doing things they really don’t want to do — or perhaps worse,  denying them the regular movement which they need for optimum performance. Spending too long sitting at a desk in front of a computer is just one example of how it can all go wrong.

If you think of Hot Stones Massage as the luxurious preserve of those with time on their hands to indulge themselves, it may be time to think again.

The benefits of this therapy are gaining widespread recognition for its health-giving benefits — and not just those which result from a more relaxed, less stressed body and mind.

As well as the obvious benefits that muscle relaxation brings to the body and its systems, Hot Stones Massage can increase blood circulation
which in turn opens the chakras (energy channels), encouraging improved physical and emotional health.  The heat from the stones relaxes muscles to allow deep tissue manipulation and other benefits can include pain relief, improved sleep and the release of toxins.

Melanie Oakley is a qualified nurse who combines her in-depth knowledge of the body’s anatomy with her training as a Hot Stones Massage Therapist – and I can certainly vouch for her skills.  I was recommended to Melanie by my chiropractor to supplement treatment on my neck; as a freelance writer I commit the cardinal sin of spending too long sitting at the computer, despite my best intentions to take regular breaks.

The difference in my knotted neck and back after one of Melanie’s treatments is immediately noticeable and I can’t recommend the experience highly enough.  I’m relaxed, re-energised and ready to face the next challenge.  Yes, it’s pampering, it’s me-time, (which can be in very short supply with today’s rushed and hectic lifestyles), but believe me it’s an amazing investment in your health.

Mel is offering readers of this blog a 10% discount on treatments at her home salon (she is also a fully qualified beauty therapist).

Find out more here:


Fingers crossed….

Fallen Tree, courtesy Mark Hillary

Fallen Tree, courtesy Mark Hillary

Another hiccup for my New Year blogging plan as a tree fells the ‘phone line, cutting off us, our neighbours and local businesses.

16 days later it’s finally all been reconnected and it’s (hopefully) onwards and forwards once more.  See you with a new post soon!

Photo courtesy of Mark Hillary under Flickr Creative Commons

Happy New Year!

2014Here’s wishing everyone a peaceful, happy, prosperous and wishes-fulfilled 2014!

This lady’s not for turning……

Market © Barbara Hopkins

Market © Barbara Hopkins

A couple of years ago I posted a piece here about being a vegetarian and the assorted reactions I receive to this clearly rather outstanding confession (including the dearth of light bulb moments).  With the topic due for an update, a great article by Maja Dezulovic has spurred me to move the topic to the top of my blog post plan.

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The best laid schemes (as John Steinbeck would say)….

Courtesy of epicbeer under Flickr Creative Commons

Courtesy of epicbeer under Flickr Creative Commons

So the blog was dusted down, brought out of hibernation and some rather fetching plans hatched for it.  Then…..

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Out of Hibernation….

Rainbow, Bay of Plenty © Barbara Hopkins

Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
© Barbara Hopkins

How time flies!

As we wind down towards winter my blog is going into reverse, emerging from its temporary hibernation.  Rested, refreshed and with some new features it’s about to see the light of day once more, blinking in the (lately) unaccustomed glow of regular posts.

Thanks to all who have kept visiting; I hope you liked all that you read and will return for the new material.  Let me know what you think!

It’s not ‘goodbye’ — just ‘au revoir’

© Barbara Hopkins

‘Startled’ isn’t my default emotion, but I must to confess to the somewhat startled realisation that this blog has been up and running for two whole years.

Gaining confidence as I launched my writing career, my posts have ranged rather eclectically across topics including Travel, The Arts, Literature, Society, Food and Vegetarianism. I’ve reflected on being a recovering Catholic and New Year resolutions as well as posting some rants about attitudes to the over 50s, plot spoilers and toddlers in art galleries. Regular blog posts have been written on the topic of my favourite city — Paris — sharing my enduring passion for it under the tag ‘Passionate About Paris’.

I’ve loved writing the posts, sharing thoughts and experiences and, it must be said, having a platform for those occasional rants.  Many have been kind enough to read, comment (positively!) and follow. It has to be said that writing about Paris on a weekly basis does nothing for my persistent urge to leap onboard the next train bound for the City of Light.

But, ‘the time has come’ as the Walrus said and talk of many things includes a review of the blog in conjunction with my current working commitments. New projects and commissions mean that I have less time to devote to blog posts and so with some sadness but a lot of excitement the blog is being put into temporary hibernation.

It won’t all come to a complete halt, of course; there will be occasional posts and my publication record will be updated. Do please stop by and take a look from time to time and to those who have already been doing so, a thousand thanks.

It’s not goodbye then, but simply ‘au revoir’: see you later!