HEALTHY YOU, BEAUTIFUL SKIN, NATURALLY

www.abigailjames.com




To spa or not to spa

With such fast paced lives of multi tasking and often juggling too many balls at once, the importance of taking some time to our self is more vital now than its ever been. There is only so long before we will become less productive with increased stress, poor energy levels, impact on how the body absorbs its nutrients, poor digestion, skin becoming lack lustre and maybe breaking out, out of balance hormones, tense muscles and emotional stability, the list goes on and on! 

SO why do we see taking time to ourselves as a pampering luxury? A spa treatment is often seen as a treat to indulge in once or twice a year. The benefits of “spa” treatments and the environment of a spa are endless, not just feeling nice and a time to spend with the girls, but a time to allow the body to relax, properly relax, muscles eased, space for the mind to switch off with a calm nurturing environment, stress levels reduced and with some incredible botanical products, nourishment for the skin and senses. 

Most of our modern day spa experiences are created and developed from Eastern cultures which embrace these treatments and philosophies as an essential way of life. As a preventative method to maintaining balanced health, not just something to be kept as a treat. If we embraced the spa on a more regular basis then maybe we would find the juggle of life a little less challenging at times and who knows maybe enable us to be even more productive in our crazy lives. 


Some of my personal favourite London spas 

The Berkley roof top spa with swimming pool and herb gardens, serene and calm, you would never know you were in central London a total oasis to hang out in all day. 

- Soholistic spa at the Ham Yard hotel. The most amazing facial treatments, fabulous arty decor with a decadent marble steam room, high altitude training room and gym. 

- Akasha spa at Hotel Cafe Royal Offering a new holistic concept, 4 elements inspired menu including yoga, personal training, pool, nutrition and treatments 

Outside of London must visit spas 
LimeWood In the surroundings of the New Forest, cool, calm and holistic with beautiful cauterised views and walks in-between to pool, treatments and juice bar. (great cocktails in the bar as well!) 

Coworth Park Ascot. Grand but friendly, high tech but calm, a touch of city slick but in the most English countryside manner and just outside of the M25, its so easy to get out of the city for a day. 



SpringTox

Welcome to your May detox! A time for renewal, rejuvenation and cleansing, there is no better time than now to align with the changing seasons and undergo a mind and body refresh. A detox need not be drastic, many people get put off by the word; misunderstanding it to be something extreme, limiting and sometimes even detrimental to your health. However if you are realistic with your goals, kind to your body and dedicated, a detox can truly change your life and here’s how to do it:

Substitute
Making a simple swap doesn’t mean switching all food for air. For example a simple replacement of Dairy to Soya, Coconut or Almond based products means you can still enjoy your yoghurt-based breakfast but in the knowledge your skin will get the boost it needs.

Indulge
Now by indulging I don’t mean with a tub of ice cream instead use this time to connect with your body by weekly dry body brushing. Make sure to gently sweep in an upward motion to remove dead or dry skin. Doing so weekly will help to alleviate cellulite and you will notice smoother, silkier more radiant at as instant. Being in tune with your body will allow you to really achieve your personal body and skin goals.

Move
With the weather warming up there is no excuse to not go for that post work run! Take advantage of being up and out in the fresh air. It is no myth how much being outdoors in the sunshine can benefit the mind and body. Push yourself to try out a new gym class on a rainy day; I’m loving boxing right now! Getting physical will cause you to be more alert, active and naturally there is nothing better than feeling happy with how your body looks and feels after exercising!

Relax
All this effort deserves rewards, so give yourself treats. Epson salt baths are a  must for me because of their detoxing components and if you’re feeling really deserving I’d recommend a Nettle tea to compliment your down time. Not only will this combination make you feel utterly relaxed, your skin will glow in no time!

Write
I’m a true believer in the body and mind connection and many of us forget this crucial point when embarking on a detox. Cleansing of the mind is just as important as the body- it’s just not as obvious because we can’t directly see it.
When you start writing down your thoughts; be it worries, hang- ups or fear- treat it as a way of dispelling such limitations. Letting go of internal mental stressors will always result in physical ease- you may notice your body aches less, your hair feels thicker and your face looks more awake.


Keep your eyes peel for my Pre #SpringTox  Be the best version of you

AJ xo



Kalahari Melon seed oil


An ingredient to look out for is Kalahari Melon seed oil. From Southern Africa it's one of the new super oils used in your skin and hair care products. They grow wild in the Kalahari dessert, similar to a water melon, but with a bitter tasting yellow flesh, A lot of the benefits and goodness are found in the oil of the seeds. 
Packed with essential fatty acids especially high in omega 6. They have amazing moisturising, regenerating and restructuring properties. These EFA's contribute to maintaining the integrity of cell wall's  and benefit the hydration and suppleness of the skin and hair. They play an important role in regulating the hydration of the epidermis and helps maintain the lipid barrier of the skin. 



Great for providing gloss and hydration to the hair and also nourishment and balance to the skin and hair follicles. 



interesting fact  - A person can survive for six weeks on an exclusive diet of Kalahari Melon with no other food or water! 

Egg on your face

Egg White Face Mask 


Has the humble egg got the answer to youthful skin? well maybe not the long lost answer we have all been striving for BUT studies have shown that egg whites have some amazing ingredients that our skin will love.

Egg proteins can contribute in maintaining the elasticity of skin, they contains about 69 different types of protein and these are key for skin structure, collagen being a protein. 
They are high in Vitamin A a key skin health ingredient. 
Full of magnesium which is good for slowing skin ageing and Potassium for hydration and moisture.
They also has pore tightening effects and skin toning properties. 

If your going to try an at home egg face mask, mix or whisk the eggs first, it helps the mask stay on your face ! 

You can try it on its own for a tightening mask or try mixing with natural yogurt, honey or a touch of lemon juice if you have slightly oily skin. 

Being left with egg on your face is not as bad as it sounds! 

Inspirational Women

Nanny James is one of those quiet, unassuming ladies.  She wears no makeup and has always dresses simply but she is a total force of nature.  Whatever she turns her hand to she has done to the best of her ability and often becomes an expert.  One of eight born, she grew up during the First World War.  Her father was a military man so spent many years as a child travelling with her family.  After the death of her father, when she was still young and being one of the eldest children, she helped bring up her younger siblings in a bohemian, Birmingham, working class household.  Their mother Nan Evans wheeled and dealed on the local market stall selling clothes and rags to bring in what she could.  My Nan took to the stage as a contortionist, where she met my grandfather.  They married and while he spent time away during the Second World War, brought up three young babies in not much more than a bedsit, she became a wiz at the art of being thrifty, granddads old trousers would make 2 perfect skirts for the girls! 


She has experienced life with all its ups and downs.  They started a small fishmongers business and through shear hard work and determination grew that business into a very successful and well-known local trade.  She was behind the scenes, at the business helm, keeping a tight reign on things.  She is non-judgmental, a fantastic listener and has always provided wise practical advice.  For me a great ear and support when I was juggling my young family and suffering from postnatal depression.  As a life-long committed vegetarian her ethos was always to seek out health food shops and often would take her grand children with her.  Her nut roasts and cake baking are legendary.  As a keen knitter she was prolific but did not always produce the most wearable or desirable items for a teenager - lemon coloured tank tops are difficult to pull off by any standards.  Her interests and skills seem endless…crocheting, jam making, an accomplished painter, sculpture, bee keeping and rearing and farming chickens, grew fruit and vegetables to name a few.  If she wanted a cupboard making she went to night school so she could do it herself.  

There has been or will be a “cant”, rather a “you just watch me”.  

One of the worlds Little Red Hens and my most Inspirational Woman by far.

How to get glowing skin at home

Glowing, fresh skin is something we would all love to have, its one of the most common requests I get within my treatment room.  I hear a lot of comments such as. "My skin feels dull, I look tired all the time, I would just like to look fresh." Here are some of my top tips to help you achieve this at home and whats best to leave to the treatment room. 


Top tips to get glowing skin at home


The holy grail of glowing skin is to cleanse morning and night. Throw out the face wipes and use a proper facial cleanser! Double cleansing in the evening, the first to remove makeup, the second cleanse is to massage the facial muscles and work the cleanser. 

Add in your Vitamins to your skincare via serums - serums are super charged products that can enable key ingredients to be in formulas which can penetrate further and have more of an impact. Vitamin C is vital for skin health and glow and if you’re not pregnant Vitamin A also available from plant form will brighten a improve skin cell turnover

Face Masks - the power house of your at home routine, fruit acids, enzymes, witch hazel, white clay will all bring a glow and radiance to the complexion. I would recommend using a face mask twice a week on most complexions and apply while in the bath or after a hot shower when the pores are open

Ditch the latte’s, that much caffeine and milk in one almost pint size cup, just not good to get that glow!

Add in a green juice daily, not necessarily a detox but a daily part of your life routine 

We like it hot but the skin likes it cold too. Switching the water temperature to cold in the shower or after you’ve cleansed your face has so many skin radiance benefits, fresh blood flow, therefore fresh nutrients feeding the skin, and warm water on its own is just drying to the skin.

Leave it to the Pros 

Peels - these can be skin changers; peels can be scary yes some of down time and increase the level of skin peeling but this is for rejuvenation, they stimulate your natural water production, cell turnover, balance pigments, sebum production, calm inflammation. The benefits of the correct peel can be fabulous. 

Nutrition advice- yes read blogs, magazines and books, but if you’re suffering from more specific skin, health, gut, hormonal concerns get some professional advice and guidance. I regularly see clients with skin issues who I then may refer to a nutritionist, it can be life changing for not just a glowing skin but radiant whole health.

Technical facials - the benefits of combining some technology can be face changers, stimulating skin cells, muscles, collagen production in a way you just can’t recreate at home. 

Massage like a pro- yes please massage your skin at home to get more out of your at home routine. If you book in for a for facial the massage a well trained therapist will be able to carry out should be totally tailored and suited to your skin and facial needs to make a huge difference, supporting the lymphatic system for extra detox and drainage for radiant skin to natal face lift techniques. 



What is a moisturiser

Most of us have one, or use one but what exactly is a moisturiser and why do we need one?

A moisturiser is an ointment, cream, lotion or serum designed to prevent dryness, to maintain oil and water levels in the skin. Some studies have shown that those who have moisturised daily over 8 years did actually age less than those who didn’t! 


Why do we need a moisturiser? 
A little bit of technical talk about your skin 
The outer layer of the skin is called the stratum corneum, its about 15 layers of cells thick, a little bit like a brick wall, with lipids, amino acids, lactic acid and urea making up the cement between the keratinocytes which make up the bricks. This outer layer has natural Moisturising factors NMF which help to maintain hydrated even when the environment is dry, it helps along with other things prevent bacteria entering the skin. Also sebum production is really important in maintaining out skin hydration. So applying a moisturiser will help maintain this balance of hydration and protect the skin. 

keeping the outer layer of the skin  (Stratum corneum) hydrated is vital for healthy, hydrated, comfortable flexy skin. 
Things to avoid - Hot showers, foaming cleansers, bath soaks, shower gels, soap and detergents wash away this barrier. So the use of a moisturiser to help restore this is vital not just for hydration but our total barrier. 


Whats your moisturiser made up from?
Your moisturiser is usually made up of a balance of three types of ingredients. They all have different concentrations of each of these types of ingredients which make it suitable for different skin conditions. So using a moisturiser which is too top heavy in one aspect may cause your skin to become overly oil, so selection is key for the best results for your skin. 

1. Occlusives, this is like a full barrier, the oil part such as castor and jojoba oil
2. Emollients are softening, soothing and smoothing by filling in the gaps 
3. Humectants, these protect and maintain moisture by drawing water from its environment, such as glycerol and hylauronic acid. They are all intended to increase moisture in the skin, increase our natural Moisturising Factor and help maintain the skin barrier. but they achieve this in very different ways.