For many moons, women have gathered in circles to create a sacred space in which to connect with a supportive feminine community. They have practiced compassion, worked to build a network of support and connection, felt heard, listened, nurtured and deepened their self-knowledge.

I attended a local women's circle called the Mother Ring at The Shala in West Norwood in May. It was started by a collective of local mums with professional experience in holistic healing, reflexology, yoga, meditation just to name a few (the list goes on and on!).

Carly is a yogini, healer and holistic therapist, and Christina has a background in social work, focusing on empowering families, and ultimately enhancing the parent/carer - child relationship.

It was paramount in the creation of this special group to provide a safe space where women felt welcome, and supported to share their experiences and to open their hearts to receive the compassion and love that is all around them. As a mum of 2, I was quite surprised how everyone's journey was so different, but also how much we all had in common. It wasn't just a room of women who have all had babies, and the regular moaning about sleepless nights, nappies, feeding troubles etc. The circle was very much about what the woman was going through, the real nitty gritty emotional and sometimes hilarious situations we all deal with on an every day basis, having the space to speak our truths and have people actually listen.

Christina and Carly moderated the workshop with the kind of gentleness and kindness you could only dream of, no strict time table, no one talking over each other, no judgements. The Mother Ring Circle includes time for sharing, guided meditation, movement, mantra, breathwork, and affirmations with the intention of learning new practical practices to take home to nourish yourself and your family. 

I asked Christina what advice she would give to mums/ carers/ grandparents :

"Compassion is really what makes us feel good, people love to hear our vulnerabilities and they LOVE to do them a favour and let them do your laundry, or wash your dishes."

Be open to receive and you will have more to give!

The next Mother Ring will be on the 22nd July at The Shala in West Norwood, SE London. Click here for more detail and to book your space. Follow the Mothering on instagram here.

My dear friend Christina Lovely (yes that is her actual given surname) is a Usui trained Reiki Master Teacher, Massage Therapist, Intuitive, Sound Healer, major dreamer and nature lover. I asked her a few questions about her journey as an energy healer, and how it can help us navigate our own personal journey, which ever path we choose.

Ok, let's start from the beginning, what led you down this path of energy healing?

CL: To be honest it was a very long twisty road and for many years I worked as an esthetician/ massage therapist, and in various jobs in fashion. The simplest answer that I gave my daughter to this exact question over the weekend was, when I was a kid I wanted to be an artist and create and make special things with my hands. At that time all I could think of to use as my medium was paint or paper and so i tried my hand at art school and got very discouraged. From there I leapt into wellness and beauty, but mind you, this was back in the early 2000s in Arizona so the whole industry/movement looked very different then it does today. I was just floating along my path having things like aesthetics, and massage school happen to me, where I would train and learn about Reiki. However at that moment my mind could not wrap itself around what that meant to me and to others so while I was practicing this in my treatments I was also very much in doubt of my abilities at that time, which was what lead me to move into fashion, as textiles were my hobby.

I never fully felt at ease in what i was doing. It wasn't until i had my daughter 6 years ago that I came full circle back into wellness with Reiki healing and meditation. I needed something that was just for myself. I had used all my energy to make this tiny beautiful health person and yet i was majorly lacking something in my life. If you asked me then i couldn't tell you what it was, but i felt it. I went for a Reiki session randomly, and from that moment it all fell into place, one step at a time. I can't tell you who gave me Reiki that day or what i felt or that it drastically changed me. I knew that I need to care for myself in a way that I never had before and so I started my Reiki Training and from there realized I had been trained in it many years ago only this time it stuck and it resonated with me.

It's amazing that out of a moment of self care and acknowledging your own needs, you found your way back to the start of the path, but with a whole new perspective!

CL: I realized that feeling a persons vibrations was not so weird and different, it was just my way I could understand the body and so I leaned in with the sound healing sessions. Diving full force.  These last two years have really been me accepting my gifts and talents and working further with them in a way that makes the most sense to me and trusting in myself, though vibrational treatments and really leaning full body, mind and spirit in. It was until I started doing this that I realized I had achieved being my artist. I create on the regular the moment someone comes into my sessions. It is such a wonderful and also overwhelming feeling when you are able to do what is so naturally apart of who you are.  I am honored by the people who come to me and trust in this knowledge and energy exchange we share together during our sessions. It is so precious and I recognize that this is something we all have. It's not just myself but if I can show you the tools then I am happy to do so. 

Ok, let's break it down. What are the benefits of Reiki Healing?

There are so many healing benefits, but lets talk about a few of my favorites. Receiving a Reiki session either in person or a distance healing allows your mind to go into a Theda state which in turn assists your body in naturally healing itself. This is the state that your mind goes into when in REM at night asleep.  In this deep meditative state you are naturally healing yourself by distressing, relaxing and leaving unwanted baggage at the door. It helps to aid you in parts of your life that you might need some assistance.  Another benefit  that is often overlooked but very essential during a session is allowing oneself to be fully care for you in that moment. It is a very intimate energy exchange that can be tailored specifically  to your needs. You will have a true human connection that bridges the gap between you working on something alone and your practitioner being present to hold the space for you to release, relax, and move into the next phase of your goals.  I have had many clients who simply needed a nap and so that was what the treatment was for them, no shame in catching what you need in that moment. While other clients come with specific goals in mind for their treatment. The energy heals what is best suited for you in that moment even if you are not sure what it is you need. This is very reassuring. Allowing you to not have to come with all the questions and leave with all the answers. The more open you are to receiving the deeper the sessions will be for you. From my experience there is never a bad session. The sessions and treatments are always working towards your higher self and greater good for you. 

What can I expect during a Reiki Session?

Each Reiki Practitioner is slightly different, so there may be some variations. When receiving a in person treatment I like to speak before our treatment to find out what is something you are dealing with in the now and what is something you would like to focus on. We may begin with a tarot card pull to focus your mind and energy, or create a crystal mandala to prepare you for meditation. Once we have done this, I will have you lay down and get comfortable on a massage table where you are fully clothed and have a blanket on you. I will then lead you into a guided meditation either through sound gong or with words. 

Once I feel like you are in a calm state, I then gently place my hands in the areas that I perceive need balancing.  I will place crystals on chakras that need a little extra care, assist you in breathing during the treatment always checking in to see what state of mind you are in. We will use aromatherapy as a guide to seal our treatment. Once our session is over you will feel very relaxed and in a blissful state of mind. Sessions are generally 60-90 minutes long.  For a distance healing it is very much the same only you are hearing my voice through the phone. I place crystals in a grid to represent your chakras and talk more through this treatment so that you can navigate where I am on the body. I use sound healing through the phone as the vibration can carry and very much has the same effect in person as it does for long distance. After our session is over I give you a brief email or text with a recap, and send you picture of the crystal grid explaining why I placed certain stones on each chakra. I will also send you a picture of either the mandala I created for you or the tarot/ oracle cards that were pulled during our sessions. Some clients experience pressure on the body during our session, and this where I am talking to them directing their breath and reiki energy. You will feel rejuvenated at the end of our sessions unless we are working on very specific goals, that we will discuss during the session. I use tuning forks to help clear out any stagnant energy that might be lingering in your aura, body and mind and slowly ease you back into the present moment. 

a long distance chakra crystal grid

Girl, I feel relaxed just reading about your treatments! One last question, what is your favourite vegetable

CL: I can't decide! It's amazing all of the things you can do with vegetables and I'm constantly inspired to create new dishes, so I choose all of them- Eat the Rainbow!!

You can find Christina Lovely here or on instagram @christinalovelyreiki

Updated: May 21, 2018

Formerly the Beaufort, Nourish is an amazing Vegetarian and Vegan venture from Robbie Tack in Larkhall

To celebrate the new year and having my mom visit from the States, we left the kids behind and headed to Bath for a last minute girls trip. Neither of us had ever been to Bath before, so it was great to have the chance to slow down and explore together. 

I was surprised by the amount of vegan friendly restaurants, but we were really looking forward to one venue in particular- Nourish. The rave reviews from Happy Cow to Trip Advisor were overwhelmingly positive (even from omni guests) and the menu looked creative yet comforting. 

Unfortunately they were closed on the evening we wanted to visit, but the owner Robbie answered the phone, and kindly invited us down for a private lunch the next afternoon before we headed back to London.

Robbie greeted us with perfect cocktails, Old fashioned for me, cranberry & vodka for my ma, while we oohhhed and ahhhhed at the gorgeous interior. As they were not yet open from their holiday break yet, we had the whole place to ourselves. Robbie had chef's choice because we could barely decide as the menu was full of all the good stuff. 

We started with falafel croquettes on a bed of tahini sauce, with pickled cabbage. (pictured above) This was not your average boring falafel, this was authentic, crispy and perfectly seasoned morsels of heaven.

Next up was BBQ Jackfruit tacos with pico de gallo, guacamole, coconut yogurt & coriander dip, jalapeno and coconut crumb tofu tacos with pineaple & mango salsa, avocado and pickled onion. If you know me you know I LOVE tacos, and these were right up there with ones I tasted on the beach in Mexico. The texture of all of the ingredients were spot on and flavours were so fresh and light. I could eat these everyday!

We had the walnut red pepper cashew lasagne with roasted red pepper in a walnut & tomato sauce, fresh herb & creamy cashew cheese sauce & mozzarella. Served with garlic bread & dressed mixed leaves. Obviously this was also amazing- and the side salad was surprisingly delicious, no sad leaves in sight! 

Somehow we managed to make it to dessert, mostly because I rarely see pumpkin pie on menu in the UK and I was curious to see if it stood up to my mom's homemade pie. Sorry mom, but this pie was better than yours, AND better than mine! I definitely would not have guessed it was vegan at all. (And the fresh chantilly cream was dangerously good)

Before we left I was already planning my next visit, and the next few after that. Oh and I might have looked at the estate agents to consider moving closer.....

Ultimate thank yous and major props to Robbie for opening the restaurant a few hours early for my mom and I, I completely appreciate the work that goes into prepping for food service after the restaurant was closed for a few days. 

If you are in Bath or close by, I highly recommend stopping by Nourish Clean Eating- Tell Robbie we said hello! 

ps. I'm not gluten intolerant or celiac, but most of the Nourish menu is gluten free“Do you have a design in mind for your blog? Whether you prefer a trendy postcard look or you’re going for a more editorial style blog - there’s a stunning layout for everyone.”