• Aug
  • 22
  • 2011

Mangwanani Day Spa – A Pregnant Woman’s Paradise

Posted by Katherine Stott In Health & Fitness | Comments Off on Mangwanani Day Spa – A Pregnant Woman’s Paradise
Mangwanani Day Spa - A Pregnant Woman's Paradise

Saturday saw me getting up earlier than I would normally choose to on a weekend, but it was for a very good cause. My Chilling at Mangwanani Day Spabeautiful husband had bought me a voucher for Mangwanani African Day Spa to indulge in the African Shwe Shwe Package (African Revitalisation Package), and said voucher was about to expire. Without wasting R1,500 worth of indulgence, I booked my space and made the effort to roll my pregnany body out of bed early enough to get there by 08h15. It was more than worth it! The spa is not even 5 minutes from our house at the Indaba Hotel; one of the newer venues in the chain of franchised pamper stations.

I was greeted with smiles as organised individuals fed me hot chocolate and ticked their checklists while escorting me to my private table, complete with gift pack (I didn’t know this was a gift pack until later). I was waited on and asked what I’d like to drink… decaf cappuccino seemed the order of the day and it came to my table with muffins, yoghurt, a fruit skewer and muesli. As I dined on my healthy breakfast, I watched couples and groups roll in, chatting incessantly. I felt somewhat decadent and supremely chilled sitting in my own company, not having to make unecessary conversation but rather to sit and contemplate – one of my favourite pastimes. Once I was done with my breakfast I was shown to the change rooms where I robed up and prepared myself for a day full of bodily treats.

Mangwanani African Day SpaEverything works on a rotation basis. So essentially, you’re checked into various timeslots with different therapists who all take their time completing their assigned treatments. The schedule is pre-arranged, so all you have to do is remember your table number and they do the rest for you. This is a huge blessing, because after treatment number 1, you already feel like you’re wandering around in part-zombie-part-stoner bliss.

The scene is set for a luxurious African experience, complete with incredible birdlife, indigenous trees and bubbling streams flowing past thatched treatment areas. Everything follows the African theme, from the drumming ladies to the Zulu dancing and fabulous melodic voices of a choir of beautiful women. Only later I realised that the magnificent choir was made up of our talented therapists.

The treatments (also aptly named) I had the pleasure of partaking in were:

  • TLHAPISO – Spa Body Treatment – Choice of Body Wash, Exfoliation or Body Brushing; I chose the body brushing
  • NEO MATSOGO – Traditional African Royal Hand Massage (from fingers to elbows)
  • MOLALA – African Head, Neck & Shoulders Massage; with linseed oil that totally did it for my hair
  • NEO MAOTO – Traditional African Royal Foot Massage (from toes to knees)
  • IZIMANGA – Traditional Full Body Massage with Hot Stones – being pregnant, I couldn’t have the hot stones, but this wasn’t at all necessary. It was completely divine on its own
  • UBUSO – Revitalising Facial Spa with Pressure Point Massage – again, I couldn’t have the pressure point massage due to my current condition

In between each bout of sensory euphoria, we had about 15 minutes to sit by the pool, indulge in unlimited drinks Mangwanani African Day Spaor go to the loo to pee as was the case with me and another pregnant woman. We were never at a loss for anything to do and were regularly shuffled off in all directions by an able bodied staff. There was always an expectant therapist waiting on the other end, ready to transport me into the exact space I’ve been needing to go for the last 3 months; heaven. In between it all, there was time for a luxurious lunch of vegetarian (in my case) potjie, served in the cutest little mini potjie pots. Dessert was my ultimate; but that’s more than likely because I’m a hormonal freak at the moment and the sight of a  milk tart makes me want to do serious damage to any sugar vulnerabilities I might have had.

I take my hat off to all of the lovely therapists, but especially the 2 who had to deliver full body treatments to my rounded, pregnant self. Not only did they carry the tasks off with great precision, but they were extremely polite and helpful when I had to roll myself from one side to the other. The young lady who endured my snoring during the facial was also a real trooper. It’s not everyday that your client falls asleep on the massage table. It’s also probably not often that said client starts to snore either. Luckily I snored loud enough to actually wake myself up so she didn’t have to politely endure it for too long.

Mangwanani African Day SpaThe highlight after showering off all the oils and creams was when I went to hand in the beautiful black, hooded gown I’d been wearing all day. Apparently it was a part of the package and was mine to take home… a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Mike was literally gobsmacked when he saw me later that afternoon. Apparently I looked completely relaxed and he hadn’t seen me like this is a very long time. Quite sad that I actually display visible signs of tiredness, stress and pregnancy strain, but great at the same time that it can be alleviated with a little “me-time”. I never under-estimate the importance of taking time out for myself, but it isn’t always possible. I’ve decided that the “isn’t always possible” part of that sentence is actually unacceptable. As I’ve said before, we have this one life that we know of, this one vessel to carry us through this life… if we don’t look after it, who will?

  • May
  • 05
  • 2011

Hyperthyroidism in Pregnancy

Posted by Katherine Stott In Health & Fitness | Comments Off on Hyperthyroidism in Pregnancy

Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy: yes it is a mouthful, but more than that it is a huge burden to bear. This is what has been plaguing me of late… to those who’ve thought I’m listless, distant, grumpy, selfish or just plain lame; this is why. My selfishness stems from a basic need to actually feel like I’m surviving a day, or an hour, or a moment.

I have been doing my best to not inflict my woes on the world around me but it has been difficult. I thought that by writing a blog about it, people could get some perspective on why I can’t eat certain things, why I am always so frikkin tired, why I can’t commit to various ventures or outings and not assume that I’m just being difficult.

What is hyperthyroidism?

Simply put, it is an overactive thyroid. I’m no doctor, but basically your thyroid regulates your metabolism by secreting thyroxine and triiodothyronine. In the case of hyperthyroidism, it secretes too much  and it elevates the metabolism to such a point that hardly any nutrition can be gained from the food that is eaten. Bad news in any circumstances, but in pregnancy it can be particularly dangerous because the baby needs as much as it can get to grow healthily.

I remember in my less intelligent teenage years thinking how cool it would be to have an overactive thyroid. Then I would be able to eat anything and never gain weight; stupid is an understatement in this case and I have since reformed my thoughts and desires. Or perhaps I manifested these circumstances from those idiotic younger years? Who knows? The point is that I cannot eat whatever I like. If I choose to go onto thyroid-regulating drugs then I might be able to, but if this is something that I will be inflicted with for life then I refuse to take drugs to rectify it for the rest of my days.

My incredible husband and I have done extensive research into the matter and as it turns out, I can regulate it myself with healthy eating and yoga. The yoga is a no brainer; I love yoga and it will always be a part of my life, so that’s that part sorted. The eating part is slightly more difficult. In short:

  • No sugar
  • No dairy
  • No wheat or allergens
  • No overly processed foods
  • No curries, chilli’s pepperdews or anything spicy
  • No coffee
  • No alcohol!

What can I eat? I can eat anything vegan provided it doesn’t have sugar or wheat in it, I can eat as many vegetables and fruits as I want, anti-oxidants, anti-oxidants, anti-oxidants! I have to eat a lot of specialty foods that they only sell in Dis-Chem or health shops, even a harmless pasta is made from wheat. No toast, only rye bread… no cheese! My favourite. I found a vegan substitute thanks to my beautiful friend, Tammy, but it doesn’t quite match the Gouda that I love so much!

What happens if I don’t follow the rules?

Quite simply, my heart beats out of control, I become breathless, I lose every ounce of energy available to me, I can’t stand without needing to sit down, I can’t walk without becoming completely out of breath and feeling like I’m about to have a heart attack. I lose weight faster than I can think and in my current situation I need to be putting on weight. The heart palpitations are the worst because my heart is literally beating at double the speed it should and sometimes faster. This leads to the breathlessness, exhaustion etc. You see where I’m going with this.

I put it to the test last week and had 2 ferrero rochers, a slush puppie at the movies and a pasta with chilli in it. The next day I honestly thought I was going to go into cardiac arrest. I felt sick; I couldn’t do anything but bath and lie down. My poor family have to just put up with me and they do an amazing job of it.

I am an energetic, free-spirited person at heart; I love being outdoors, I love exercising, I love being a part of the world. But this has kept me in my bed, in the shadows and away from everything that I love. That is until I realised that I could beat it with the correct eating patterns. I’ve basically gone sattvic again like I did when I studied Ashtanga and it’s not so bad.

If you know me and are close to me, I need you to understand where I am coming from. If you want me to do something that is a seemingly normal occurrence and I say no; understand why and don’t assume it is for my own selfish reasons. My choices have to be about me at the moment, because if I don’t look after this beautiful life growing inside me then no one will. It might not be forever, but the implications of me not doing something about it will haunt me forever and that is not a chance I am willing to take.

  • Nov
  • 19
  • 2010

Lack of sleep (Day 4 of the 30 Day Trial)

Posted by Katherine Stott In Careers & Writing, Health & Fitness | Comments Off on Lack of sleep (Day 4 of the 30 Day Trial)
CappuccinoImage via Wikipedia
The vicious circle of lack of sleep has caught up with me. All this concern and worry about other people has got my knickers in a knot, resulting in countless sleepless nights – tossing and turning while playing out scenarios of ugly confrontation in my head. So what do I do to counteract the slump I find myself in the next day? I drink copious amounts of coffee. Actually not copious… Just one or two, but the canteen makes them frikkin’ strong so they count as three in one! 
So then… I get home in the evening – all wirey and pumped up because I’ve been blitzing my brain with caffeine, and I can’t sleep. And so the cycle continues. *sigh* 
Just talking about it is exhausting me.
So finally… it is the weekend and I can find some semblance of a normal life again and in doing so find my Zen. I don’t have to think about work; I don’t have to think about the kids tonight because they are sleeping out; I don’t have to think about me, you, them or us… I can just BE. And by the time Sunday evening rolls around I will have found my balance again.How incredibly marvelous.
For now, Mike and I are going to go and burn off the caffeine with some spicy, tantalising and delicious curry from Ghazal. Oh happy flippin’ BEAUTIFUL days! Happy Kat.
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  • Oct
  • 13
  • 2010

Om Tat Sat

Posted by Katherine Stott In Health & Fitness | 2 Comments »
Om grafittiImage via Wikipedia
The last two weeks have been hectic… I haven’t known my ass from my elbow and I’ve been an emotional freak! But now there is light again… I can breathe, my chest is light and my head is clear.
I don’t think I have stopped for a second since Pat died – maybe as a sub-conscious coping mechanism – but it has been two weeks, and life flipped turned upside down there for a moment.
  • I stopped taking the pill at the same time, so needless to say I have been CrAZy! 
  • I had a meltdown at work when asked “are you happy?” 
  • I cried everyday
  • Pat’s funeral came on the Thursday, we found out that Rowan Ferreira had also been killed in a car accident
  • I still remember Pat’s body lying in the casket… a skinny frame, without life wearing Pat’s favourite clothes… 
  • We cried, we drank, we celebrated his life, we reminisced…
  • And then it was back to reality where we were awoken with a smash and grab attempt on Friday night
  • I woke groggily to Saturday morning to start planning the kid’s party that was happening a few hours later, nothing had been done yet and it was the last thing we wanted – but it wasn’t about us, it was about the kids
  • Entertained for hours, ran around like a lunatic and then crashed for a few hours before waking up and having to sort out my window after the stupid brick-wielding asshole had it
  • Crashed again before having to wake up at 4am to fly to Durban for work
  • Sat in workshops under freezing cold aircon for an entire day while Durban danced a beautiful dance of light and warmth outside
  • Went to my hotel room, bathed, changed and went to a business dinner
  • Crashed, woke up at dawn and had to fly back to Jozi and go straight to work
So now I am sick. In bed. It all caught up with me. But on the bright side and I am now able to rest while my body soothes itself back into a state of health. It is all over at last…. everything was just a repercussion of everything that we felt for Pat and his passing. We will still cry and slip into that immense space that he used to fill, but for now, the worst is over and life can return to normal.
The clarity is amazing… like seeing life for the first time through a pair of spectacles that you never thought you needed. Everything is as it should be. Om Tat Sat.
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  • Jul
  • 10
  • 2010

Part 2: Ah…ah…ah….AAAATISHOOOOOO!

Posted by Katherine Stott In Health & Fitness | Comments Off on Part 2: Ah…ah…ah….AAAATISHOOOOOO!

OK, so the neti pot was great, a miracle worker in a little ceramic space. It worked like the bomb – for about 10 minutes. I tried a brisk walk instead of the Yoga coz I couldn’t stop sneezing long enough to breathe, I tried some fresh fruit and chilled water. And waited. Patiently. While my brains poured out of my nose. It didn’t work… none of it. And it ain’t pleasant having to endure this for 5 hours on a Saturday when you’re supposed to be chilling…

So its now onto Plan B – Part 2 – la segunda parte ….

Drugs. Over-the-counter pharmaceuticals with antihystamine and phenylephedrine that will both cut down the sneezing hysteria as it weaves its way along this path to my destruction, AND make me feel super cool at the same time. Like suuuuper cooool maaaaan!

I’ll save the natural healing for tomorrow.

  • Jul
  • 10
  • 2010


Posted by Katherine Stott In Health & Fitness | 1 Comment »

Hayfever. The bane of my life…

I can go through an entire week maintaining optimum health, and then come Saturday morning I greet the day with a procession of sneezes. Like hundreds of them, and that is no lie. These accompanied with watering eyes and – for lack of a better word – snot, pouring out of my nose make for an overall attractive appearance just in time for the weekend. YAY! Where these attacks come from, no one knows. It could be a hundred different triggers working symbiotically to make me go out of my head, but trying to pinpoint it is much like the old cliche: trying to find a needle in a haystack.

A lengthy yoga session and a few neti pots* eventually tame the beast, but that isn’t before marginal exhaustion hits from 1 – 100 sneezes a minute.

I like to agree with one perspective I’ve heard on the whole hayfever thing. That all the sneezes, the pouring snot and watering eyes are a way to cleanse the body of something that is not supposed to be there. A bug, perhaps… or maybe something bigger, something deeper. Something emotional that I haven’t dealt with on my own and so now my body is reacting physically to purge itself of the damaging goods. A physical manifestation of something else that I haven’t been aware of, until now that I am processing it all. So every sneeze fest is actually a little bit of healing for my soul… I like that :)

*A neti pot is a little teapot looking thing that you fill with warm non iodated salted water. You then pour it into one nostril through the spout, tilt your head at the correct angle and wait for the warm salted water to pour out of the other nostril. It’s a bit weird at first but there is NOTHING that cleanses your nasal cavities as well as a neti. A neti before a yoga session is magic for your breathing.

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