Review: Deep Heat Muscle Rescue

Deep Heat Muscle RescueGetting outdoors does wonders for your mind and body. Compared with sitting at a desk in the same position for 40 hours a week, I found six weeks of diving in Thailand a marvel physically and mentally.

I got stronger thanks to lugging heavy kit across sand and rocks and throwing tanks onto a boat. Of course, diving in itself put my body through its paces. The same goes for all outdoor sports – walking, climbing, canoeing, cycling… Getting in the fresh air clears the mind and shakes out your muscles.

But it can ache a bit afterwards. I’ve struggled with an aching back for years: it was particularly bad when I spent most of my life sat at a desk, getting stressed out, and the knots never went away. Then dragging said kit back and forth every day did add more strain. So when I heard that the makers of Deep Heat had created a bath soak and cream, I thought it was worth a try. And it might keep the massage bills down (not telling the other half about this review… I need the massages).

When I think of Deep Heat, I think of the distinctive smell. But the bath soak doesn’t assault your nostrils; in fact, it made me go ‘ooh’ with delight. Let’s be clear, it isn’t Deep Heat bubble bath – it contains essential oils of rosemary and orange, which instantly soothed thanks to their scent. Someone who makes a living out of this, medical herbalist Pamela Spence, says this isn’t just a figment of our imagination: “Scents activate the brain’s limbic system – where we store memories and emotions – which can influence our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.”

I was looking forward to getting in that steaming tub. My back could always do with some attention, but the night before I stupidly did a Pilates class and a Legs, Bums & Tums class back to back. I was using the bannister a little too much to get down the stairs and sitting down was accompanied by an elderly ‘eeeeehhh’. The perfect time to test the Muscle Rescue products.

Whether it’s my mind convincing me to feel better thanks to the warming smells or not, I did feel relaxed after my soak.  I tried out the neck & shoulder cream afterwards too. This is a particular problem area for me and massage therapists are always stunned by the state I’ve got in; my neck and shoulders carry all my stress and worry.

The PR line is that the product is a “soothing, warming cream”. Remember that with caution – the instructions do say to use sparingly, but it really does set on fire if you use a little too much. Start with the smallest amount and see if you react before liberally attacking all over! Yep, note to self.

The whole experience felt like I was creating my very own spa and that’s reason enough to do it at least once a week until my tired muscles are fully relieved.

You can find out more about Deep Heat Muscle Rescue on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

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The Career Adventure Girl – Becoming A Stuntwoman

When I meet people who’ve ditched the office for a life underwater, on the slopes or in the forest, I’m inspired and look at them like they’re smeared in Vaseline – as in, they’re in soft focus, not literally covered in a tub of petroleum jelly.

So when I met Anna Scott-Stephenson, I listened, gob open, to her adventurous life. She’s training to be an ass-kicking, slick-swimming, hard-nut stuntwoman. And unlike the boys in the industry, she’ll probably be doing a lot of it in high heels, looking stunning as a body double for a Hollywood actress.

Here, she exclusively tells The Adventure Girl’s Guide why she’s entering such a competitive and daredevil career, becoming one of only 100 women on the British Equity Stunt Register. And guess what she’s also training in? Scuba diving! Welcome to a new girly diver…

Anna Scott-Stephenson demos Aikido.
Anna demonstrates her skills. Do as the lady says.

This year started incredibly different to any other year of my life, as I began my training to become a stuntwoman. Having graduated from drama school with a degree in Acting & Stage Combat I had my heart set on working in the industry. Only afterwards did I truly learn how competitive it really is, being one of thousands of actresses all wanting the same thing. How many 5ft 9 brunettes just like me are out there? A lot! Having always been interested in stunts and from working on set, I started to learn more and more about the stunt world. One of the main things that stood out was that there are only around 100 women on the British Stunt Register. How many 5ft 9 brunettes? A lot less than actresses that’s for sure!

Qualifying as a stuntwoman is a huge challenge in itself. The level of skill required is extremely high and will take a great deal of time and money. However, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue, so in January 2013 I began my training.

Anna may be smiling, but there are guns in that get-up. And there's a pistol too.
Anna may be smiling, but there are guns in that get-up. And there’s a pistol too.

You need a minimum of 6 skills to join the stunt register. The skills I have chosen are Aikido (Japanese martial art), Rock Climbing, Scuba Diving, Trampolining, Gymnastics and Swimming. Each skill has its own requirements, all of which are to a very high standard. This training is far from boring. It’s more of an adventure, a journey, which is enabling me to achieve things I never thought I would. Yes it is hard, but extremely rewarding and enjoyable at the same time.

One of the skills I have chosen is Scuba Diving, which I had never done before. I was actually a little apprehensive before I started. I began in April and started progressing through the courses one at a time. The level I have to achieve is PADI Divemaster, which is a professional qualification. This is a huge challenge as I will have gone from a beginner to a pro in a relatively short space of time.

Anna Scott-Stephenson Divemaster
Well on her way to becoming a PADI Pro in the Red Sea.

I did my first three courses with a company called London Scuba, who were absolutely brilliant. I have just achieved my Rescue Diver qualification and I am due to start my Divemaster course early next year. London Scuba have helped, encouraged and guided me through my courses so far and made my training so enjoyable; they made me feel so comfortable in the water.

I wanted to get as much experience as possible so decided to book a Liveaboard holiday to the Red Sea. Owning most of my own kit at this stage, I had the most amazing week living on a boat and diving the Red Sea every day. My diving progressed so much throughout the week and I saw some fantastic sights that I will never forget… like swimming with a pod of 14 dolphins, seeing some of the world’s most beautiful reefs and exploring WWII shipwrecks.

I would love one day to be able to use my scuba diving skills in the film world, potentially doing underwater scenes, but until then my journey continues…

You can keep up with Anna’s adventurous career at www.annascottstephenson.com or follow her on Twitter. If you love sports and outdoor activities and want to follow in Anna’s footsteps, here’s some advice on becoming a stunt performer.

So when we see Keira Knightley scuba diving in a sword fight on a trampoline, it could be Anna…

The Pursuit Of Adventure

How many times in your life can you say you flipped everything 180 to see what would happen? I’m talking jacking in life as you know it and embracing the chance for a new beginning.

I’ve done it.

Those three short words belie the months, years even, of agonising I did over my latest life spin. You read about people quitting the rat race and becoming a nomad, travelling around the world, posting enticing pictures of the places they’ve seen – or those who’ve finally decided to give their business idea a go. I used to read these articles and feel the hope bubble up inside me. Maybe I could do it too? “But you’ve got a great job that you worked so hard for,” was the maxim I mostly heard when I shared my plans.

True. It’d taken a lot of hard graft to get where I was and I was pleased when I told people I was a producer at Sky. Anyone would be if they’re honest. I’d earned it – I’d done the years of lacky work and went back to uni to get a journalism qualification. Then I’d landed somewhere so seemingly glamorous.

Pictures of me posing with celebs popped up on my social media feeds; friends with squawking babies launched vitriol (all in good humour… I think. “I hate you, I’m mopping up sick,” is just banter, right?). There were exciting moments of working there – of course there were. I got to cross that mysterious barrier and step beyond the screen.Karli and Guy getting certified for an underwater clean-up in Marsa Alam, Egypt

But then I wondered… Why was I doing this? The foremost nagging point was keeping up a long distance relationship and the endless commuting was taking its toll. After 5 years of just snatching moments together, my other half and I decided enough was enough. And even though I loved living in London and the opportunities our fine capital presents, I couldn’t help but think I could be doing more.

Letting go of all the worry about what-ifs has given me the chance to go for something I’ve been dreaming about since I started diving…

Underwater MarigoldsIn a few days I’m off to Koh Tao, a tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand to volunteer for a marine conservation project. I absolutely love getting involved in marine conservation here in the UK and on holiday. Now, I can dedicate my time to protecting our oceans for six whole weeks – and develop my diving skills while I’m at it.

Koh Tao boasts world famous dive sites, but the organisation I’ll be working with, Eco Koh Tao, asks the alarming question: “For how much longer?” Every diver should take some steps to understanding the underwater world and how we can protect it. Without marine biodiversity, what would diving be?

I can’t wait to get started and share my new journey with you. I just hope the fact I’ll be doing it somewhere so beautiful doesn’t solicit more of, “I hate you, I’m mopping up sick.”

Have you ever waved goodbye to the 9-5 (or 9-9!) for an adventure? Tell us about it below or email theadventuregirlsguide@gmail.com with your story – I’ll share the best.

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Taking The Fish Fight To Westminster

Karli Drinkwater on page 2 of The Telegraph, campaigning for MCZs

 

Clad in bright orange with shiny, red claws and goggly eyes, I showed my colourful support for 127 Marine Conservation Zones with nearly 2,000 other campaigners.

Led by the passionate and articulate TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the march was noisy, full of enthusiasm and harboured a real respect for the future of our seas.

The Marine Conservation Society, BSAC, Sea Life and marine lovers gathered by the South Bank in London and admired each other’s costumes, inflatables, face paint and jumped on the spot to keep warm. The atmosphere was carnival-like and the mood was buoyant; we were excited to make a change and show the government that action is needed now.

So why exactly were we all gathered in fish fancy dress and marching to Parliament, waving our banners and shouting for change? (Other than simply loving being dressed as a crab and walking sideways… probably the most fun I’ve had in a good while).

We came to save our seas – 127 Marine Conservation Zones around the UK have been identified as needing protection. But after millions of pounds and 18 months of consultation, the government has only set plans to create 31 MCZs by the end of this year.

That’s not enough. Addressing the crowd outside Parliament, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said: “This is the sort of opportunity that may not come again. We might not have such a vital and appropriate timeframe as we’ve got right now to make real changes.

“If we leave it too much later, too much damage will have been done. It will be hard for a lot of the areas to recover.”

The message I found poignant was that this is a change to benefit everyone – it’s our future. It’s an anxious time for fishermen to adapt to new systems, but Hugh was full of praise for the areas that have already made protective changes, saying that local fishermen have felt the positive effects too.

Karli Drinkwater dressed as a crab or the Westminster Fish FightI’ve read some criticism for Hugh’s march and his campaign, imploring the public not to jump on the bandwagon without seeing the facts. Well, I’ve read the facts and today’s march wasn’t a frenzy, hyped by mob-mentality; it was considered with the intention of preserving our precious lifeline for generations to come.

Amid the grim statistics we read about species being on the brink of collapse; the reports on how we’re ravaging this natural resource, today was hopeful – we can reverse the trend and ensure the health of our seas for generations to come.

So what can you do? Let’s use the momentum of the rally for real action – there is a consultation open until the end of March, so have your say now.

Check out the 127 proposed MCZs

Send a letter to tell the Government you want more MCZs.

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What’s in your beauty scrub?

Holding out for a natural beauty scrub.
Credit: nandadevieast / Foter / CC BY

There’s nothing like scrubbing our skin free from city grime and stress to reveal healthier, more glowing skin.

But we could be damaging the oceans with our beauty regime if we’re choosing the wrong products. Many of the alluring little tubs promising younger, cleaner skin contain plastic particles.

And that means when we’re exfoliating our dead skin cells and rinsing the product off our face, we wash away those plastic particles into the sea, adding to the horrific plastic soup.

The solution is to replace these micro plastics with environmentally friendly alternatives – the MCS and North Sea Foundation are calling on manufacturers to use ingredients like anise seeds, sand, salt and coconut.

To make sure you’re picking the right products off the shelf, look out for the plastics Polyethylene / Polythene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) on the label.

And you can sign the petition to transform the cosmetics industry, seeing an end to micro plastics in our beauty bag – I’d feel better about natural products on my skin anyway, wouldn’t you?

Get Social With The Sea Champions

Championing the seas in the southParish notice, oceans lovers.

The MCS Sea Champions for the South and South East now have a Facebook page!

Excellent for finding out what we’re up to all across the region and a chance for you to share your suggestions and event ideas. If you think there’s something we should know about, could be doing as a team or you simply want a chat, just fire us a post.

We can only make a difference with your involvement, so give us a like.

Plus there might be some cute pictures of seals. Everyone loves a cute pinniped photo.

A showbiz shark snorkel

Stacey Solomon is a shark supporter

There are moments when I heart my job.

When asked by my good friend, Sam, editor of Sea Urchins magazine, whether I’d like to jump in The London Aquarium’s shark tank with a smattering of celebs, I thought what a smashing way to spend a weekday morning.

It was incredible being so close to these awe-inspiring creatures. They create a stillness when you simply sit and watch.

Here’s my report of the unusual and brilliant experience in full, as published on Sky Living Daily:

It’s not your average assignment, but when we were asked to jump in a shark tank with The Love Machine host Stacey Solomon, former Britain & Ireland’s Next Model contestant Imogen Leaver and presenter Jeff Brazier, jump we did.

Our little Sky Living family (and new recruit Jeff) visited The London Aquarium yesterday for a feature shoot with kids’ magazine Sea Urchins.

But Stacey wasn’t anxious about being surrounded by seas’ most majestic killers one bit – in fact, she couldn’t get in that wetsuit fast enough for a gander at the big fish.

It was a different story for Jeff, who nervously waited in his neoprene get-up.

But after a few dunks underwater, masks on, the gang were grinning like kiddies. We huddled together, only separated from the sharp-toothed creatures by mesh, and had a whale of a time.

Come on, you’ve got to allow us one fishy joke.

We spotted sand tiger sharks, blacktip reef sharks, nurse sharks and a shoal of shiny, inquisitive batfish – and kept our fingers well away from all of them.

Celebrity Fish Fact #269: Stacey’s favourite species in the tank was a bowmouth guitarfish. There you go.

Issue 2 of Sea Urchins is available from the iStore now – Stacey and the gang’s shark tale will feature in the next issue.

By Karli Drinkwater.