Brushing It Off - Hydrea London Natural Body Brush

I picked up the Hydrea London Natural Body Brush (phew, that's a mouthful) in Content many moons ago with the intention of using it every single day. Unfortunately it hasn't quite worked out that way, what with my tendency to hit snooze on multiple alarms and not always having time to drag a brush through my hair, let alone over my body. But if you are the kind of person whose life moves at a more leisurely pace, this little tool could significantly change the way you get ready in the morning.

The benefits of dry body brushing are many: it's a useful weapon in the fight against cellulite; it improves circulation and boosts lymphatic drainage, thus helping the body to eliminate toxins; it exfoliates the skin leaving it oh-so-smooth to the touch and unclogging pores, which in turn helps to prevent those pesky ingrown hairs we all know and loathe.

My main reason for jumping on this particular bandwagon was, of course, my bacne. I was hoping to increase circulation to the skin there and maybe even reduce some of the scarring at the same time. While I'm still sure this brush is capable of doing both of those things, my inability to stick to a routine means that I probably haven't been brushing on a regular enough basis to see the benefits others have.

That being said, I did see evidence of some of the above and also a couple of unexpected effects. Smoother skin? Check. You can actually see the dead skin buffing away in a cloud of dust - admittedly kinda gross but strangely satisfying. Fewer ingrown hairs? That's another check. Improvement in the texture of old stretchmarks? Yes, check! The biggest surprise for me was how the experience of dry brushing made me feel, in one word: alive. Whenever I do get around to it, I find the whole process so invigorating; it's like a rush of energy, so I can see why it's recommended that you do it first thing in the morning and not last thing at night!

Getting back to the brush in hand (or not, as the case may be), the handle is the perfect length for me and while I was initially worried the bristles might be too harsh for my sensitive skin, it's all about the amount of pressure you apply. Pink and tingly = good. Red and raw = bad. The great thing about dry brushing is the amount of effort you have to put in in order to reap the rewards: very little, five minutes will do in fact. However if you really want to relax and enjoy the almost meditative effect of the brushing motion, I'd allow at least fifteen.

A couple of things you need to know before you begin: dry brushing is best done before a shower, and the direction of your strokes is important; you should always brush towards the heart. I like to start with my feet, working my way up each leg then moving on to the arms. The stomach is the one area where it's recommended you brush in an anti-clockwise direction. Then it's on to my back, where I use downward strokes, and finally finish up with my neck and chest. Afterwards hop in the shower and if you're feeling brave, alternate between hot and cold water to really get things moving!

I'm Still Here

Regular readers of my blog (or those who have just recently stumbled upon it) may have been wondering where I've been for the past five months (yup, it's really been that long; I checked. If you still don't believe me, you can find my last post here). I didn't plan to take a break from blogging, it just sort of happened. Life happened. I went back to college. I gave up teaching in order to study veterinary medicine and hopefully one day save all the animals.

I knew being away from home would be hard. I knew I was going to miss my family and my pets like crazy. I even knew that being a mature student would present its own unique challenges (my fellow classmates do not get hangovers and many have never seen Titanic or The Matrix, I kid you not). But I was not expecting the absolutely horrendous homesickness that I experienced those first few weeks. I hadn't realised that I would no longer be able to sleep without the warmth and weight of a cat on my feet or at the end of the bed. Then there were the more practical issues, like finding my way around a new city, figuring out how to work the immersion/cooker/dryer, and even re-learning how to study and take notes.

I don't think I've ever been as busy (read: stressed) as I have been these last few months: Leaving my job. Finding somewhere to live. Moving out. Moving in. Cooking. Cleaning (so much cleaning). Meeting new people. Making new friends. Trying not to lose touch with old ones. Sometimes studying. Always learning.

I've missed blogging. I've missed writing about the things that I love (or don't). I'm hoping I can find a way to fit it all in. Every time I start freaking out over my decision to dedicate the next five years of my life to learning a completely new profession, I remind myself that good things take time. So with that in mind, stick around; things are about to get interesting.