Hello I’m Grainne McGarvey and welcome to my column which spots local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I will have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com
Blissed Out in IKEA
We’ve all heard the saying ‘shop ‘till you drop’ but IKEA took this to a whole new level by opening its first overnight spa experience in its Belfast store last weekend. I was one of the lucky, or maybe one of the mad people to take part in the event, and I’m not going to lie – it was pretty surreal!
Arriving at a store after hours is always strange and it made me feel like I was in that scene from Sweet Home Alabama, but this time we were in the bedroom department of IKEA and sadly not Tiffany’s jewellery department! Don’t get me wrong, I love IKEA and was excited to see what they had in store for us, especially as I’ve been so busy lately and in desperate need of some pampering.
The agenda for the evening consisted of an array of spa treatments and holistic therapies, an early night and then energising yoga and a light healthy breakfast; all designed to show us how easy it is to have a better start and end to the day.
It couldn’t come soon enough, as according to IKEA’s recent Life at Home study, residents in the north experience 13 bouts of stress a day. What’s more worrying is that two thirds of us feel stressed before we even get out of bed!
I must say that after a quick back massage and an Indian head massage I was feeling more relaxed, but not completely convinced about how relaxed I would be sleeping in the bed department with twenty other people! My other half was out for the count, which made it even more difficult for me to sleep. Thankfully the nice people at IKEA gave us headphones and mp3 players with sleep tips, highlighting that even after a few small changes we can unlock the healing power of the bedroom and bathroom and start and end each day better. So after the third or fourth play I finally dozed off. The early morning yoga was my favourite bit and a lovely start to the morning. I’m not sure how refreshed anybody can really be at 7am on a Monday morning, but I will definitely be trying out what I learnt in the comfort of my own home at the weekends.
If this has inspired you to find some relaxation time for yourself, the IKEA Belfast store is hosting the Ideas Festival this Saturday (13th) and Sunday (14th). The weekend-long event will feature interactive workshops, fun activities and offers.
In the meantime, here are some of IKEA’s top tips to start and end the day better – G Spots styleee. Sleep well!
G: GET UP If you can’t sleep, get out of bed. Lying awake staring at the ceiling makes you associate the bedroom with not sleeping, which can stop you sleeping in the future. So go to another room and read a book, mediate or even do the dishes. Come back to the bedroom when you feel drowsy again and you should drift off in no time
S: SNOOZING If you set your alarm too early so that you can hit the snooze button a couple of times, you are swapping good quality REM sleep for bad quality dozing sleep. Lack of REM sleep can leave you feeling tired and impair your mental functions all day. Instead, set your alarm for as late as you can get away with, and then get up straight awake. It may be tough, but you’ll feel sharper for the rest of the day.
P: PILLOW To avoid waking up with a painful crick in your neck, your pillow needs to support your head and keep the vertebrae in your neck aligned with the rest of your spine. But how it does this will be different for back, side and front sleepers. Find a pillow that is designed for how you sleep and you’ll miss out on those neck pains.
O: ORGANISE A messy bathroom with bottles and brushes all over the place can make your morning routine stressful. Having your beauty essentials stored properly will help you glide through the morning and out the door on time and in a good mood.
T: TUB A warm bath before bed relaxed your muscles and clears your head. You’ll find you fall asleep quicker, enjoy better quality sleep and a better day as a result of an evening soak.
S: STRESS Falling asleep is easier if you clear your head before getting into bed. If you are worrying about all the things you have to do tomorrow, you could try meditating, but if it isn’t your thing then try a to-do list. You’ll sleep better ad gave a plan for the day ahead.
More info on the IKEA ideas festival can be found at https://events.myikeafamily.com/