My Holistic July

My Holistic July

Welcome back!

Here’s how July went for me:

A- Z Blog:

In the “A to Z Blog Series” about how my treatments can help with common ailments, I blogged about the letters M and N.

Click on the links below for each in case you missed one

M is for Migraine

N is for Neck Pain

Powerscourt Estate and Gardens

In July we visited the beautiful Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow. Its so pretty and peaceful and a must see in it is the Pet cemetery 🐾 , the resting place for many a family pet, including ‘Black Beauty’, ‘Kilfane’ and my personal favourite ‘Eugenie’ and ‘Princess’ who were cows. ‘Eugenie’ had 17 calves and produced 100,000 gallons of milk and ‘Princess’ was an Irish Times champion. RIP my dear friends.. Universally beloved!

But by far my favourite part was the Japanese gardens. Future garden goals right there.

Moon Mna Diary

I was very excited when I heard about this diary online and as I couldn’t wait till January to start it, I got myself one in July. Each date has space for your daily ‘soul moment’ and ‘gratitude’ piece and it’s full of inspiration and beautiful quotes… and of course it details the moons movements and all things moon related. I just love it already!!

Galway International Arts Festival

The GIAF took place in July and here are some of it that I visited .

The Ghost Chapel in the Claddagh.

The people cardboard castle and exhibitions in Eyre Square.

Jenny Green and the RTE concert orchestra in The Big Top.

Wicked

We went to see the award winning Wicked-the musician in the Bord Gais in Dublin. Absolutely amazing and so entertaining I would definitely recommend it if you haven’t seen it. I got my tickets when it was announced last October but I do believe they still have tickets on the ticket master website if you take a look. You won’t be disappointed.

Books

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

📚 What took me so long to find this book?? This multi award winning book is read by ‘Death’ himself and is very powerful (at times sad and at times happy) in its story about the life of a 9 year old girl and her family and friends in the middle of war torn Germany under Nazi rule. It’s an excellent read and while I know a lot of people have already read this, I would recommend it if you haven’t.

‘Not my fathers son’ – Alan Cumming

I have huge respect for this actor after reading this powerful and very personal account of family life for Alan. I didn’t know anything really about him (only from The Good Wife) but when I started reading this, I couldn’t stop. This isn’t for the light hearted but I enjoyed it and do recommend it if you like autobiographies.

Not your Average Nurse – Maggie Geoff

This is an entertaining and honest true story of Maggies own student nursing days in 1970 and 1980s in London (and Australia) . I accidentally came upon this and surprising enjoyed it (surprisingly because I could never be a nurse, all that blood! 🙈). I listened to it on borrow box and laughed out loud on my commute home.

So that’s it, a busy July. I hoped your enjoyed it as much as me.

Stay holistic

Catherine

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My Holistic June

My Holistic June

Welcome back! Oh my God how are we half way through 2018 already.?? Its crazy when you are busy how the time flies.

Here’s how June went for me:

A- Z Blog:

In the “A to Z Blog Series” about how Reflexology can help with common ailments, I blogged about the letters K and L .

Click on the links below for each in case you missed one

K is for Kidney Stones

L is for Lower Back Pain

Other blogs and features:

1. French Vanoli

I was featured in the French Vanoli/CrossFit Galway newsletter. We chatted about, “How long I have been doing CrossFit? How training has helped me? What do I love most about training?”

You can catch it on the youtube link below if you missed it.

https://youtu.be/XqNr7ix-sCU

2. Base Formula

In April I was given the new ‘Joint and Muscle Massage Gel’ from Base Formula to try out. I wrote a blog about it in June, which was featured on their website. Click here in case you missed it.

3. WellFest

My blog on a recent Meditation challenge was also featured on WellFest’s ‘WellMind’ section.

Check it out on here.

Mayo GAA:

As we all know by now my beloved Mayo GAA team are out of this years race for the men’s senior football All Ireland Championship. In June we had three games against Limerick, Tipperary and Kildare and alas it just wasn’t to be. I am as always very proud of them and it’s been a long road and an exceptional few years for them. This is the county that has gone to 5 All Ireland finals since 2011. Such resilience and excellence won’t be down for long and it will only make them stronger and fitter for next years championship. Mayo for Sam 2019. ❤️💚.

On a side note here I’m been totally hooked on this years World Cup. My love of soccer has returned. What will I do when it’s over?!?

Books:

This month I read:

Paul Kalanithi – When Breath Becomes Air

A true story about the authors life (he is also a neurosurgeon), coming to terms with a terminal illness and all that comes with it. Very powerful indeed and definitely worth a read.

Margaret Atwood – The Handmaids Tail

This is a story of a future dystopian totalitarian theocracy. The chosen handmaids are assigned to bear children for elite couples that have trouble conceiving. The story is based on this and their struggles in a new society that is designed to keep them oppressed and belittled. I have yet to watch the TV series based on this book and would love to hear your views if you have. I enjoyed the book and will put the show on my ‘to do’ list if recommended.

In June I also took part in a “7 day book challenge on Instagram. Post 7 covers, for 7 days with no comments.”

Here are the 7, I posted about.

1. The Magic – Rhonda Byrne

2. The Hearts Invisible Furies – John Boyne

3. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

4. Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

5. The 5 People You Met In Heaven- Mitch Albom

6. Sweet Valley High – Francine Pascals

7. First – Rich Froning

Let me know if you have read any of them?

 

So that’s it, a busy June. I hoped your enjoyed it as much as me.

Stay holistic

Catherine x

My Holistic May

My Holistic May

 

Welcome back and here is the round up for the month of May:

A- Z Blog

In the “A to Z Blog Series” about how Reflexology can help with common ailments, I blogged about the letters I and J .

Click on the links below for each in case you missed one.

 

I is for Insomnia

J is for Joint Pain

 

Well Fest

I was delighted when I won tickets to attend WellFest. But with such a jam packed timetable to choose from I had to be super organised to make sure I got the most out of my time there. From the off I wasn’t disappointed. I started the day with some morning grounding in the WellYoga tent, had some fab food in the ‘SuperValu’ Food tent, bopped to ‘Britney v’s The Spice Girls’ in the GoodVibes area. Mediated and opened my heart chakras in the WellSoul tent after lunch. Which was followed by some inspirational talks in the WellMind Tent by Miriam and Gerry Hussey and finished my day with some belly laughs listening to Kathryn Thomas and Davina McCall. Add in the good weather we had and the beautiful location I will definitely be returning again next year.

 

Darkness into Light Walk

Unfortunately this event clashed with WellFest and so I couldn’t do it but I did complete this last year and am 100% behind what it stands for.

Ed Sheeran – Concert

I attended Ed’s concert in Galway and I absolutely have to say this was an excellent concert. I love his music and for a one man band to hold the audience’s attention for nearly 2 hours is no easy feat. Well done Ed..! #sheerinSupportingSheeran

 

Mayo GAA

Mayo for Sam 2018 here we come!! It’s never easy for a Mayo girl living in Galway when this match comes along. (Ok maybe the less said about this match the better).  Mayo didn’t play their best here and so it’s the back door for my team. We’ve a long road ahead if we want to win the All Ireland championship -10 games I believe but I won’t be writing them off just yet. Mayo always like been the underdogs. (This photo was taken when the Sam Maguire came into the office in May ❤💚)

CrossFit Regionals

We went to Berlin for a long weekend to support the CrossFit Regionals. This European regional is one of the hottest tickets in town and most competitive of all the regionals in my opinion. All the big names, Annie, Sara, Kristin, BKG, were there and these amazing athletes gave it their all. Some people say that soccer is the beautiful game but sitting there and watching the best CrossFit athletes moving fast through muscles ups, double unders, lifting weights and doing walking hand stands with such grace and perfect technique on a big competition floor is truly a beautiful thing. My monies on Annie Thorsdottir to really give Tia Clair Toomey a run for her money in the CrossFit Games this year. Patrick Vellner will not make it easy for Matt Frasier though. You have heard it here first 🙂 ( the photos below were all taken after the finals on the last day).

Berlin City

We had some down time in Berlin. It is a beautiful city with plenty of green areas and trees and beautiful graffiti on a lot of the buildings. We visited a part of the Berlin Wall and the Holocaust Memorial which had me in tears. No words could describe the feeling here but I would recommend it if you do visit the city. May is a lovely time there as the weather is warm but not too hot. Our hotel was lovely, walking distance to the riverside, in a quiet back street but near to public tram which can take you anywhere in the city.

Physio Therm Infrared Cabin

This was in the hotels gym. You sit in it, turn the heater on and select the intensity that you prefer and sit back and enjoy. It claims to provide benefits to the immune system, improves circulation and increases metabolism. It’s also meant to help reduce tension and soothe back pain. While the sweat you create from the heat may also promote purification and detoxification. It also has spa like music playing inside and has a choice of soothing colours to help relax the mind. All positive things. I sat in here for 20 minutes while himself did a session in the gym and loved it.

Books:

This month I read:

How I became the fittest women on the earth. – Tia Clair Toomey

Excellent read from the 2017 champion and a great insight into her upbringing and how sport was always a huge part in her life and what true talent, dedication, team work and a lot of hard work can do for you. Inspirational and a very humble and modest lady.

Dying to wake up – Dr. Rajiv Parti’s

I listened to this on Borrow Box. The author details his near death experience and his spiritual awakening and how it changed his life afterwards in his career, his lifestyle and family relationships and his most fundamental beliefs. A very interesting book that really makes you think about how small positive personal changes can have a domino effect on all areas of your life.

Margaret Atwood – The Handmaids Tail.

I started reading this in May and will review it for June’s round up.

 

 

So that’s it a very busy month.

Hope yours was as fun.

Stay holistic

Catherine x

K is for Kidney Stones

K is for Kidney Stones

Continuing on with my blog series on common aliments that Reflexology can help with is K for Kidney Stones. (And other urinary infections and issues).

Kidney Stones are caused by deposits of various substances including uric acid and calcium in the kidney. It’s thought it might be caused by too much calcium in the diet and lack of fluids.

A general Reflexology treatment to start of with, will benefit the persons whole body and will help the person relax into the session.

The Reflexologist will then focus on the reflexes of the particular area required on the foot for the Urinary system .

The main reflexes are the Kidneys, the Ureter and the Bladder and they can be found on each of the feet. The Kidneys are half way down the foot, straight down the second toe and the Bladder reflex on the inside of the foot just above the heel of your foot.

Like other treatments the Endocrine and the Lymphatic system is also worked on here.

As always a good honest consultation with your Reflexologist at the start will help determine the best treatment for you and your particular issue but in general I recommend 4 -6 treatments for any real and long lasting effects to happen in the body.

Please note, if you do suffer from any of the above issues, it is always recommended that you obtain medical advise before you try any reflexology treatment as while it may aid recovery, it is not to be used as a substitute.

Joint and Muscle Gel

Joint and Muscle Gel

Back in April I was contacted by a company called ‘Base Formula’ who are a leading supplier of essential oils and cosmetic bases in the UK and Ireland asking me if I would like to try out their ‘Joint & Muscle Massage Gel’.

The product: (as described by them)

“A therapeutic gel with Aloe Vera, Seaweed and pure essential oils of Black Pepper, Lavender and Plai to warm and soothe the joints and muscles.”

They recommend that it can be used before a work out to warm and stimulate the muscles, and after a workout, to ease tired, over-worked muscles and sore joints. It is also useful for musculoskeletal problems such as back pain, arthritis (which I have) and tendonitis.

 

Here’s how did I got on:

This product arrived right on time for me. Coming out of my personal best ‘CrossFit Open’ season I twisted my back awkwardly doing a deadlift and following a couple of weeks of no heavy lifting I returned to the gym tentatively. Add this injury with my Osteoarthritis (in my hip and knee) I  returned to the gym hyper aware of all aches and pains in my lower back and hips.

So I started rubbing the gel into my lower back and upper gluts  after my evening workouts and instantly felt it get to work. It has no strong smell so it would simply dry in and not have that lingering ‘deep heat’  after-smell that a lot of other muscle gels would leave. If anything the hint of lavender and aloe Vera smell is refreshing and clean and helped me relax and even get to sleep.

Over the next 2 weeks this massage into my lower back after a training session and shower has become part of my diary routine and I have also used it on my calves and feet after a long day walking.

For more information on this and any of the other Base Formula products please contact their shop on line here.

Stay holistic

Catherine

My Holistic April

My Holistic April

First of all… apologises for the delay in Aprils round up. I’ve been off the radar a little lately with studying and completing a work related exam but I’m back now and below is what’s been happening with The Holistic Toolkit:

A- Z Blog

In the “A to Z Blog Series” about how Reflexology can help with common ailments, I blogged about the letters G and H.

Click on the links below for each in case you missed one.

G is for Gallstones

Hi is for High Blood Pressure

 

Crossfit Break

I injured my back in April and had to take a step back from my regular CrossFit training while was quiet weird to begin with. But with a little help from my wonderful physio Michelle and some extra focus on lower back, hips,gluts (which was very tight and not helping the issue) through yoga stretching and holds, by the end of the month I started to see a huge improvement.

I also started using a new “joint and muscle massage” gel from Base Formula but more of that lately in my May Round up.

Wellgood Challenge

WellFest organised a Well Good challenge which involved daily inspirations, questions, fitness tips, health and wellness challenges for the mind and body. I love these types of 30 day calendars and really got into this one. If you missed my daily updates on this, check out my Instagram stories as I’ve saved the challenge in its own little story .

Gerry Hussey –  Awaken your spirit and unlock your full potential talk.

I spent an evening in the Druid Theatre listening to Gerry. He spoke about your brain, your mind, your body and your spirit and all about being and living in the present moment. “Each day is a lifetime and every lifetime is a day”. Such a great talk, I’ve definitely been moved by whats opened up inside of me that night. If Gerry is ever speaking in your area, I highly recommend you go and hear him speak. You will not regret it.

 

Earth Day

April 22th was Earth Day and there was no better way to celebrate it than going out and enjoying it. On the day myself and himself went to The Burren Nature Sanctuary and took in all it has to offer – countryside, fresh air, history, geography, green fields, fairies , animals and so much more.  I even said a wish or two in the fairy wishing well .

Books

This month I read:

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Based in 19th-century Ireland, a nurse is hired to watch a girl on a suspicious religious fast. Such an unusual but intriguing topic with an interesting ending.(no spoilers here) Let me know if you have read it?

The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking it’s all about the Danish search for the worlds happiest people so I’ve have downloaded it on my Borrowbox app and dip in and out of it when I need a little bit of positive motivation . So far I love it.

So that’s it, April is done and dusted, thanks for reading and  I hope you had a great one too.

Stay holistic

Catherine x

My Holistic March

My Holistic March

Hello again and welcome to my round up of March and see what’s been happening with The Holistic Toolkit:

A- Z Blog

In the “A to Z Blog Series” about how Reflexology can help with common ailments, I blogged about the letters E and F.

Click on the links below for each in case you missed one.

E is for Eczema

F is for Fertility

CrossFit Open

If you follow my CrossFit progress you will have known that my own aim for this years Open was to do 2 of the workouts RX (as prescribed) and I managed 3 of them so I’m very happy with that.

Read all about it here in this blog.

Most of all though I had fun over the last 5 weeks during this Open. Fun with my own workouts, fun watching the announcements and after shows, and fun cheering and encouraging our own community in CrossFit Galway.

CrossFit for me is about 3 things for me:

-Doing the best I can and being the best version of myself in the workouts.

-Setting myself little personal goals and slowly moving towards ticking off those goals

-Having fun in the community with the encouragement I give and get in our gym and the friendships I’ve made because of it.

So honestly it doesn’t matter where I finish on the leader board, as long as I know that I can continue to have these 3 things I will continue to turn up to my CrossFit class.

New York City

For St Patrick’s weekend I went to New York for 3 nights with some colleaguses from my day job and without making you completely jealous I had an excellent if a bit hectic time.

Like I said before in a previous blog about been in New York (click here)  its very hard to be practice mindfulness in the city that never sleeps. But I managed it atleast afew times when was I there.

Taking a few minutes to breathe and soak in the sun rays from the beautiful and quiet(ish) Central Park.

Watching the sun rise on an almost empty Brooklyn Bridge.

Taking in the vast and beautiful views from the top of the Empire State Building by night.

In the city that seems to never sleep it can be easy to get caught up in that, but its very important to remember there are always places to go and its ok to just sit back, reflect and take it all in.

Books

This month I read:

I found My Tribe – by Ruth Fitzmaurice

I only fully completed one book this month, which I highly recommend this one. Such an inspirational and deeply personal memoir of her life with her young family and how they coped with her husbands illness. Beautifully written and one that will stay with me for a while. Be warned I both laughed out loud and had tears rolling down my face with sadness at different parts. Let me know if you have read it.

So that’s it, March is done and dusted, thanks for reading and  I hope you had a great one too.

Stay holistic

Catherine x

How I added Meditation into my Toolkit…and why you should too!

How I added Meditation into my Toolkit…and why you should too!

Anyone that knows me knows that I am quite an organised person and I try to plan my time so that I can have a good balance for things. I set aside time for work, time for blogging, time for the gym, time for friends, family, even the “telly” time is all scheduled neatly on my sky planner.

However lately I was feeling that ‘my mind’ was always the last thing that I had time for. I was always jumping from one task to the next, not actually thinking about what I was doing but already thinking about the next thing I had to do.

So when I got an email from “Mind Body Green” inviting me to a try their 14 Day Meditation challenge with meditation teacher and all round guru Light Watkins I was intrigued. Could I really learn to slow down my mind? Could I learn to mediate correctly and let my thoughts be still?

It sounds simple, to set aside 10 minutes a day to sit in silence doesn’t it? Here’s how I got on.

Light talked through how to establish the right time of the day to mediate, the ‘tools’ you need to help you through it (clock, blanket, water at the ready), figuring out the best position to be in for the meditation.  (Surprisingly this doesn’t have to be crossed legged and hands in the air pose).  Being comfortable is very important because the state of our body has a huge influence on the state of our mind , for example if I’m not on a comfortable position I won’t be comfortable for the meditation and will be distracted by that.

He explained how to handle and manage thoughts during meditation by just letting them come and go,  using the mantra ‘I don’t know and I don’t care’. This is great as thoughts are meant to come into your mind as you meditate and it’s important that we don’t judge them or question why they have presented themselves now, just let it go in and out of your mind.  Tip here is to think of it as a cleaning out session, your mind is detoxing itself.

A good mediation can help rest the body and the mind as it begins to heal the mind it will then help release stress from the body, so thoughts might be busier than normal as it releases these stresses. It is seen as a corrective measure for imbalances in the body.

As the days went on I learned about using breathe as an anchor point and I found this great as I could always come back to it if I felt like my mind and thoughts were running away.

I always like to add an intention at the end of each session too as this would help me visualise where I want to be after the mediation.

So how do I know it was working successfully? Light stated at the start of the challenge that it doesn’t matter what you are thinking about as long as you allow your mind to get lost and that the less you expect from the session the better it will be.

For me I realised that after a few days I begin to look forward to my 10 minutes mediation time, I looked forward to sitting in silence and letting my mind wander and see where it would go and not judge it. I’m not gonna lie and say my world changed dramatically in those 14 days but I found that I was calmer afterwards, that my mind and decisions were clearer and that I felt like the world had slowed down a bit . (Even for a little while).

I have continued my daily mediation since this challenge and each day is different, some days it’s 5 minutes and some days it’s 10 but I don’t judge my mind. It knows what it wants and I allow it that time to just be, to detox, to reset, to just breathe.

Who knows where it will bring me.

Stay holistic

Catherine

The Open is Closed 2018

The Open is Closed 2018

The CrossFit Open season is closed for another year and my own personal goal going into it was to do at least 2 of the workouts RX (as recommended).

Below is my experience of it.

Open 18.1 – RX

20 minutes AMRAP

-8 toes to bar

-10 dumbbells hang power clean and jerk

-12 calorie row

I was determined to complete this RX as one of my main goals in 2017 was toes to bar and I was delighted when I achieved this last August.

My goal for this was to stay focused, try not to get caught up in all the hype and buzz from the heat I was in and just keep moving! The toes to bar were actually fine as I did them all in single reps. It was the 15kg dumbbell that tested me the most and highlighted that my left arm is not as strong as my right side at all. (I got a nice bruise on my shoulder is proof of that). But I’m thrilled that I got into my 6th round of this workout. (That’s 48 toes to bar for anyone else counting)

Open 18.2 – RX

1, 2, 3, – 10 reps for time

Dumbbell Squat

Bar Facing Burpees

18.2 A

1 Rep max Clean

What is it with Dave Castro (the CF Games Director) and the dumbbell?? After 18.2 I hope I never see another dumb bell again. I completed the 110 reps with 70 seconds to go and managed 3 cleans building up to my max clean in that time at 50.5kg.

Replaced hip…what replaced hip?!?

Open 18.3 -Scaled

This was the separator that we have been expecting for the past 3 work outs and boy was I winded after all that skipping.

I managed:

✔️100 skips ✔️20 overhead squats ✔️100 skips ✔️12 pull-ups ✔️100 skips ✔️20 dumbbells snatch’s ✔️100 skips ✔️12 pull ups ✔️100 skips ✔️20 overheads squats ✔️95 skips (Yes that’s 595 single skips, my poor calves !!!) and all in 14 minutes.

I completed 679 reps in total and even though this was the scaled version of 18.3 I was so happy as today I did 24 single pull ups . Last year I did 5 in the ‘pull up workout so that there is progression.

Open 18.4 -Scaled

21 deadlifts at 43kg then 21 Hand release push ups

15 deadlifts at 43kg then 15 Hand release push ups

9 deadlifts at 43kg then 9 Hand release push ups

21 deadlifts at 61kg then bear crawl 50 feet

15 deadlifts at 61kg then bear crawl 50 feet

9 deadlifts at 61kg then bear crawl 50feet

Time cap -9 mins

I could sit here and blame the fact that I had a head cold or use the excuse that the only time I could do this workout was at a very early 6am on the Friday morning as I was flying out to New York for the weekend or I could just admit that deadlifts and hand release push-ups are two of my least favorite movements and I suck at them.  But I did it and got 65 reps and at least I know what I’m going to work on for the rest of the year.

Open 18.5- RX

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of:

3 Thrusters  – 3 Chest to Bar pull ups

6 Thrusters  – 6 Chest to Bar pull ups

9 Thrusters  – 9 Chest to Bar pull ups etc..

Only 15 reps but I have to say I’m very proud of those reps because before that workout I had never done a ‘chest to bar’ pull up. By this I mean never even attempted one because for the past year I’ve been practicing my ‘strict pull ups’, ‘kipping’ pull ups and ‘toes to bar. So I never even thought of the chest to bar pull ups and in this workout I got 6 chest to bar pull ups (amongst a lot of no reps I tell ya) but I did it and I’m thrilled.  A nice way to end another Open season with a new movement for me.

Verdict:

My own aim was to do 2 RX and I managed 3 of them so I’m very happy with that. I surprised myself with my little victories and I have already got a training plan in place and some little goals set for me for the next few months training.

Most of all though I had fun over the last 5 weeks during this Open. Fun with my own workouts, fun watching the announcements and after shows, and fun cheering and encouraging our own community in CrossFit Galway.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, CrossFit for me is about 3 things for me:

-Doing the best I can and being the best version of myself in the workouts.

-Setting myself little personal goals and slowly moving towards ticking off those goals

-Having fun in the community with the encouragement I give and get in our gym and the friendships I’ve made because of it.

So honestly it doesn’t matter where I finish on the leader board, as long as I know that I can continue to have these 3 things I will continue to turn up to my CrossFit class.

Stay holistic

Catherine

F is for… Fertility

F is for… Fertility

Continuing on with my blog series on common ailments that Massage or Reflexology can help with is F is for Fertility Issues.

Fertility issues can affect both men and women and research has shown that it can affect 1 in 6 couples.  Reflexology has been known to aid in certain conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, irregular periods or ovulation and stress related fertility issues to name but a few.

 

In a Reflexology session, the reflexologist will start off with a general treatment to help restore balance and then focus on the Reproductive and Endocrine systems. In females this is the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus reflexes and in males it is the testes and prostate gland reflexes.  These reflexes can be found below the ankle bones on the side of each foot inside and outside.

The Pituitary, Thyroid and Adrenal gland reflexes are also worked on in this treatment. These glands control the hormones in the body and will help release any blockages in the body.

Like any treatment it is recommended that you get 4-6 reflexology sessions to allow the body to respond to the treatments.

Stay holistic

Catherine x