Ciona Johnson King

There’s so much talk but so little said. Everywhere you go – questions, opinions, gossip. No wonder our brains can’t settle! To really relax, take time out from chatting. It can be just for an hour, maybe a day, or even a week (there are retreats that offer just that). By not talking – and consequently not thinking too much – your mind can quieten and your head can settle. A gentle air of calm will come over you. In today’s world of 24 hour noise it might seem a very unfashionable thing to do but who wants to be a slave to the rat race? There’s so much talk but so little said. Time for you to really say something…by saying nothing.


So I had a different kind of massage yesterday – lymphatic drainage. As someone who likes my therapist to be like Dwayne Johnson beating up the bad guy when it comes to massage pressure, this was a bold move. In lymphatic drainage your body is only lightly touched not pummelled. There’s no need for anything full-on since the lymph nodes are just under your skin.Here’s the science bit about lymphatic drainage. Thankyou Wikipedia:‘Manual manipulation of the lymphatic ducts consists of gentle, rhythmic massaging of the skin to stimulate the flow of lymph (a nutrient transporting fluid) and its return to the blood circulation system. In the blood’s passage through the kidneys, the excess fluid that has collected toxins on its journey is filtered out and eliminated from the body through urination.’Oh, you gotta love urination. In short, more lymphatic flow = more weeing = fewer toxins. That’s a happy immune system. Here’s a diagram of where the main lymph areas (nodes) are. The picture’s not me, btw:

Ciona Johnson King

So in the treatment, the skin is first brushed to stimulate the glands before the main areas are massaged. My therapist started on the groin. Now I’m quite fussy about who touches my groin but I soon settled in. Then she moved to some usual places (legs, back, feet), some unusual (armpits), all without my favourite hardcore pressure. But once I got in that calmer zone, it was an incredible feeling. With its slower, more gentle pace you really appreciate the sensations more.

The session done – I’d fallen asleep for maybe 10 minutes of it – I felt spaced out. My body ached. I was incredibly thirsty. That night I was relaxed like never before, barely able to string a sentence together… but happy. I was asleep by 10pm.

Even today, I can still feel the effects. My body is relaxed yet tingly, calm but full of energy (I’ve just been for a run). I feel revived and focused. Inside I kinda get the feeling that my immune system is smiling too.

Fairy Tale Wedding

Ciona Johnson King

So I was very excited to be invited to Skibo Castle to provide hair and make up for a gorgeous client of mine. Working in the very place where Madge and Guy got married? Yeah, I’ll have some of that! The journey up there, however, wasn’t quite so glam…

I was in First Class on the sleeper train from London to Inverness but don’t be fooled by that ‘First Class’ bit. The room was like a cross between a disabled toilet and a prison cell. Yes, I admit I’ve often sneaked into the disabled loo when the queue for the Ladies is bladder-burstingly long and I’ve seen Deirdre and Gail in prison on Corrie so I know what I’m talking about. Well this had all the ‘charm’ of both but a quarter of the size.

Can they get away with calling it a sleeper train? Nah. No one sleeps, not even my friend who took ultra-powerful sleeping pills. Snoozing is impossible because to stop yourself rolling out of the bed you have to have one hand out onto the floor, with your arm locked – kinda like a human table leg – and the tiny mattress is sealed in plastic which is a recipe for a sweaty, slippy night. Not exactly Siberian goose down on a four poster…

Ciona Johnson King

Also, I didn’t realise until I spent the night horizontal on one, how much a train pushes and pulls in all all directions. One minute all the pressure of your weight is pushing on your neck, the next your left side, then your feet… stop, start… chunk, clunk… FOR 11 HOURS. Agony!

One great thing though – the communal toilet at the end of the carriage was always free, whether I went in the evening, the middle of the night or in the morning. Never any queues. Of course I didn’t need to go so much but it was a change from having my 8 stone forced on my neck. That said, it later dawned on me that no-one was using the public loo because there had probably been some multitasking going on with the sinks in the cabin.

I didn’t wash my face that next morning.

Finally we arrived. I bet Madonna didn’t get here like this, I thought, silently thanking God for the invention of baby wipes. But after a car ride through stunning scenery I soon felt perky again and Skibo Castle itself is a beacon of beauty, warmth and friendliness. As memories of prison cell gradually melted away in the clean air of The Highlands, I set to with my foundation, blusher and eyeliner and began creating the fairytale…