Sass and Spice

Close Encounter at Perth Zoo

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Going crazy like me figuring what to do during the school holidays? Perth Zoo is always a good idea and there is so much going on there at the moment.

A few months ago, Lily, Nyla and I were invited to our VIP day at the Zoo to sample the Orangutan Rooftop and the Bush Buddies Close Encounter Eye to Eye. Close Encounters take you behind-the-scenes to experience the animals up close.

The Orangutan Rooftop Close Encounter Eye to Eye is recommended for 8 year olds + so I’m sure they catered it for our younger age group. The primate zookeeper took us up the stairs to the roof so we could see the Orangutan exhibit from up high. Lily got excited that she got to throw a bag of food to the mother Orangutan who then gave it to her 4 year old daughter.

There is no age limit for the Bush Buddies Eye to Eye so it’s perfect for when you have preschooler aged children or toddlers. Lily’s favourite moment was when a quokka called ‘Sticky’ came up to her and she got to feed him. Sticky is actually named after the Kings Park play area ‘Sticky Beaks’ because that was where he was found! It is assumed someone stole him from Rottnest Island and abandoned him there.

There are lots more Close Encounter programmes and right now there is also a Eye to Eye Dino experience to give you a special tour of the dinosaurs at Zoorassic Park.

You can find more about these programmes on their website here: http://perthzoo.wa.gov.au/visit/close-encounters/

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WestSwim – Learn to Swim School

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I remember learning how to swim in primary school from the age of seven. It is very much the Australian way of life to be around water and to know how to swim.  Even though I can swim, I don’t think I’ve truly mastered it…which has a lot to do with the way I was taught and not doing lessons regularly enough. I really want my girls to learn how to be safe around water and be able to swim well. If they have this knowledge, I think they can be confident enough to master it (if they wish) and most importantly be safe.

Swimming WA (the peak body for swimming in the state) have established their own learn-to-swim programme called ‘WestSwim’. I took up a free trial to have both Lily and Nyla assessed and then have a follow on free lesson. Lessons are 30 minutes and conducted all year round in a 25 metre pool. The programme aims to build life long swimming and water safety knowledge for 2.5 year olds right through to teenagers.

The main point which differentiate WestSwim from other classes my daughters have participated in is that there is a big focus on correct technique and water safety right from the start. The pool is 1.2 metre in depth so in between the raised platforms they really have to swim. Parents also don’t have to go into the pool and there is a low ratio of instructors to students so I could see my kids getting a lot more attention than with their previous swimming schools.

Lily and Nyla also both had their lessons at the same time which I find very handy given I don’t have to wait around for another lesson and needing to entertain Lily or Nyla whilst the other one is in the pool. Lily’s lesson had her practising freestyle stroke with a board and she got a lot of one on one attention. Nyla actually had the instructor to herself and her lesson focused on her kicking, blowing bubbles and trying to raise her confidence with putting her head in the water.

WestSwim currently operates out of two (2) venues in Perth – Chisholm College, Bedford and Churchlands Senior High School, Churchlands. Check out their website to find more about their programme: http://www.wa.swimming.org.au/westswim

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Marnie’s Birth Story

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Meet Marnie! She is now 9 weeks and we love her to bits. Both Lily and Nyla adore her and surprisingly they have coped really well with the new addition. The birth went really well and I really do credit hypnobirthing for getting over my initial fear of childbirth and having calm birthing experiences.

My contractions started 6 days before my due date and half an hour after coming back from spending the afternoon with Lily at Kmart buying her art supplies. I messaged my husband to tell him I could be in labour and then had to arrange for our friends to come around and stay the night at our place in order for Lily and Nyla to be cared for since my family were all away. After an hour I knew I definitely was in labour so started bouncing on the fit ball during each contraction for pain relief.

At 7pm both my girls were asleep and I was frantically gulping down raspberry leaf tea and trying to relax with the hypnobirthing music. At 10pm, my friends arrived and I was ready to go into hospital. At this stage I was still able to talk normally and even had conversations with my friends before getting into the car.

When I arrived in the hospital I actually requested for the internal exam to see how far along I was as the contractions were about 5 minutes apart at this point. I was 4 cm and after I explained that it was my third labour and how quickly Nyla came they were prepared for a speedy labour. I tried the bath for the first time which wasn’t available for my previous births and it just wasn’t for me as I felt more comfortable standing up at this stage and the shower head could be directed at my pelvis which was experiencing the most pain.

I remember feeling a lack of confidence and frustration directed at that my parents being away, so knew these were the classic signs of the ‘transition phase’ and that the birth was close. My legs were trembling at this point and I was grasping for dear life onto the bar in the shower demanding my husband to direct the water all around my pelvis. After 10 minutes I felt this huge weight down on my bottom so felt the strong urge to push. The midwife calmly suggested I stay in the shower instead of turning off the shower and moving to the bed. This probably alarms most people but after Nyla’s birth I knew not lying down was the best position for me in terms of managing the pain and post delivery recovery.

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At 12:38am, after a few pushes, the baby was delivered in my arms before the doctor even arrived! I remember the shower still being on so I had a very quick rinse (quite handy actually) and headed to the bed. I forgot to even check the baby’s gender and when I saw she was a girl I knew we has to call her Marnie as Lily wanted that name if she had another sister.

I loved this birth as there were no interventions and post delivery recovery was fantastic as I didn’t need any stitches. I would have never had thought I’ll be the type of person to have had a birth this way as before getting pregnant with my first I was adamant that I would be having an elective Caesarean birth due to my fear of childbirth. I’m so thankful that hypnobirthing came into my life.

Our family really does feel complete now and even though I’m constantly getting the question of trying again for a boy, we have decided that three kids is the right number for our family – regardless of the gender of our children.

You can read Lily’s birth story here and Nyla’s birth story here.

S x

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Childsmart Product Review: BRIO Ride On Dachshund Dog

Nyla loves dogs but we decided to not get one as a pet just yet as we are still dealing with all the chaos of having a newborn. So for now, ‘Dachsie’ (The BRIO Ride On Dachshund) will have to do for Nyla and she loves it!

This iconic ride on toy is from BRIO and originates from the 1950’s.  Nyla pushes it along with her feet and it delights her to see the tail wag while she moves forward. It seems easy for her to manoeuvre and steer as she moves around very quickly. We have other wooden ride along toys but Dachsie is sturdier due to the solid wood design and the non-slip rubber wheels.

BRIO, originates from Sweden and have been creating quality educational toys since 1884. BRIO are known for successfully combining innovation with respect for their heritage of quality craftsmanship.  Since 2014, their wooden toys have been made from traceable wood coming from responsibly managed forests.  

I’ve been a fan of BRIO products since having Lily and I particularly love their clean and simple designs which are still bright and cheerful enough to appeal to kids. I know Nyla will get a lot of love and use of out Dachsie and I’m confident that it will be passed along to her younger sister still in great condition and hopefully she will love it too!

Product specifics:
Age: 12 months+.  Up to maximum weight of 25kg.
Dimensions: – L 57.7 x W 27.5 x H 39cm
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This post is part of the Childsmart’s Trial Club Program where I will be receiving products to provide an honest review. This is not a paid post and all opinions, words and views are strictly my own. 

Childsmart is the ultimate kids destination for little people and exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand of a number of leading brands for high quality products that satisfy toy, kids lifestyle and nursery customers. Click on the following links to purchase or find out more about this product:

Websitehttp://www.childsmart.com.au
Twitter (@Childsmartaust): https://twitter.com/childsmartaust
Facebook (@Childsmart): https://www.facebook.com/Childsmart
Instagram (@Childsmart): https://www.instagram.com/childsmart/

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Third trimester third time around

I’m well into my third trimester now as I’m officially 38 weeks so the countdown is definitely on. This is my third pregnancy (which has gone beyond the second trimester) so I’m pretty confident somewhat but having two young ones makes it hard to focus on myself like I did with my other two pregnancies.

Whereas my first trimester I spent most of my time trying to avoid throwing up and craving anything fried and salty like crazy, my second trimester was very much smooth sailing with a prominent bump forming. These were the same symptoms for all my pregnancies, but this time around, as soon as I hit my third trimester at 28 weeks, I noticed I was a lot bigger than usual and had already gained over 10 kgs. This didn’t happen for the first two pregnancies until I was 38 weeks.

And then after a hectic week involving work and Lily’s birthday I woke up in extreme pain and couldn’t walk. Not to go through the gruesome details, but a couple of needles and some huge doses of homeopathetics later, I’m on the mend.

Now that the holidays are over and I’m off work, I can really start to slow things down although it can still be hard when the kids aren’t in school and my usual support system besides my husband (i.e mum and sister) are off overseas.

So what is my advice for other pregnant ladies during their third trimester? I would say to focus on yourself and say ‘no’ a lot more to work and social gatherings. You have to look after yourself and your baby so that means plenty of rest (not running around in heels) and getting plenty of time to prepare for the birth. Oh and get lots of pampering…go and SPOIL yourself!

If this is your first birth, I would strongly recommend some birth training (i.e. hypnobirthing) outside the antenatal classes offered by your hospital or birthing centre. This is to prepare you with techniques for a natural birth but also useful to cope and calm yourself when birthing makes an unexpected turn to interventions such as inductions or emergency C-sections too. You usually only start this training during your third trimester. I would also recommend having a doula or private midwife as well as I regret not having one during my first birth as it would have taken a lot of stress out of my husband and myself who needed support from someone who was experienced with births and most importantly supportive of our birth plan.

Here are my final plans until baby arrives which are almost identical to how I prepared for Nyla’s birth:

    • Finish up pregnancy yoga and pilates
    • Walk
    • Continue with hypnotheraphy (affirmations, reading, rainbow relaxation)
    • Optimum baby positioning techniques – i.e. crawling position for at least 30 mins a day. Minimise slouching on couch.
    • Epi-Ntraining
    • Book final pregnancy massage
    • Attend final Osteopath session
    • Pack hospital bag and kids bags
    • Type and print out Birthing preferences
    • Book Acupuncturist on Week 40 (to avoid artificial induction)
    • Stock up on bulk newborn nappies and wipes

Before I know it, this baby will be here which is scary thinking I’ll be a cradling a newborn in less than two weeks!

What plans did you make during your third trimester?

 

 

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Product Review: Cleaning floor without chemicals – HAAN SI-A70 Multi Steam Mop Cleaner

Suffering from eczema and having kids makes me paranoid about using chemicals to clean the house. The only exception is probably using a bit of bleach now and again in the toilet but everything else I use mainly plant derived cleaners or just good ol’ water. Having white floors drive me mad as you can see every stain and mark the kids leave behind – but I’m still determined to not use anything chemical.

So I’m quite excited to be reviewing the HAAN SI-A70 Multi Steam Mop which I received from Crazy Sales. This steam mop uses zero chemicals and because of its high temperature, it kills 99.9% of household germs, bacteria and dust mites. The steam mop only requires water and can be used on a range of different surfaces including, carpet, tiles, timber and vinyl floors. It also features a swivel-head design for manoeuvrability and easy-fill water tank for convenience. The most attractive feature for me was the flexibility to use it as a handheld steamer so I could use it to sanitise counter tops, toys and even deodorise furniture and bedding.

To date, I have tested the steam mop on our wooden floors. First I had to vacuum up the dust and dirt and then the mop was easy to setup with each component fixing firmly together. As the steam mop is warming up, it is placed on a mat to protect your floors and then it’s ready to quickly to use – 20 seconds in fact! The unit is easy enough to move around and you will need to apply a bit more pressure for stubborn areas. The head was quite flexible as it had no problem with going up skirting boards and corners of the room. The microfibre pads placed on the head are reusable so it can be quite cost effective too.

Some of the features include:

  • Removable Hand-held Steamer
  • Fully Functional Steam Mop
  • Swiveling Low Profile Head
  • Removable Water Tank
  • Ergonomic handle
  • 15 steam jets
  • Environmentally Friendly – Runs on a Small Amount Of Water, w/ No Disposable Pads to Throw Away, No Extra Bottles to Take Up Landfill Space & No Chemicals to Pollute
  • Equipped with a variety of Nozzle Attachments such as Wire-Scrubbing Brush, Angled Nozzle & a Mini-Steam Head with a Cleaning Bonnet

I like that it’s very quick and easy to use, plus it is also easy to pack away. You get about 30 minutes use out of this device so I targetted the high traffic areas (i.e. kitchen, main bathroom and dining area). It’s also great that you don’t have lug around a bucket and there are no strong chemical odours or slippery puddles which are left behind. I hope to try the smaller unit soon on counter tops and bathroom tiles but since our home is still pretty new, I haven’t felt the need to use this just yet.

In summary, I do think this steam mop is worth the purchase but more because of sanitisation to use in conjunction with a weekly clean (i.e. typical mop) which I still think is better for get to the really stubborn stains – like what my kids leave after having pasta! For the clean freaks out there, the sanitisation aspect will give you peace of mind when the kids drop food on the floor and still proceed to eat it. If you don’t have messy kids, the steam mop should be be sufficient to replacing a typical mop.

To find out more or purchase, head to Crazy Sales which offers a great price and swift delivery.

*Steam mop cleaner was gifted for review by Crazy Sales. This is not a paid post and all opinions, words and views are strictly my own. 

S x

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Pregnancy Pick me Up – Endota Spa

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Endota Spa is certainly one of the few spas located right in the centre of Perth’s CBD where you can truly unwind, relax and replenish your mind and body. As you enter the spacious and candle lit relaxation lounge you feel like you have totally escaped the hustle and bustle of the city and into a calming and serene sanctuary.

The spa has an eco-architectural feel and both men and women will feel equally at ease as there are not frilly cushion or sparkles.  You instantly feel at peace.

Last week I went to Endota Spa and  enjoyed the magical ‘Pregnancy pick-me-up’ which is an hour and 15 minutes treatment that includes a footbath, facial, and head, neck and shoulder massage using the Endota organics range. As I entered the treatment room, I was explained that this range is made from Australian native ingredients and is safe to use during pregnancy.

The Endota organics range felt really gentle on my skin and there was no strong odours which is perfect for pregnant women. My favourite products were the daily renewal exfoliant which has Davidsom plum and Alma berry to defend against premature ageing (I actually ended up purchasing this product to take home), and the lip and eye power serum which contains Ginseng extract.

There were no special pregnancy cushions but I felt enough support with the cushions that were provided and lying in different positions. I felt so at ease that I even feel asleep!

My body was so relaxed afterwards and my skin was absolutely glowing. Even if you aren’t pregnant I would definitely recommend booking a spot for a massage or facial here especially if you work in the CBD.

At the moment they are running an Instagram competition, and if you tag them at @endotaspaperth #endotaspaperth you can win a spa package valued at $135. So go treat yourself or get a gift card to really spoil someone special for Christmas. Find out more about their services and products at their website here:  https://endotaspa.com.au/find-a-spa/western-australia/metro/perth-cbd

*Massage was gifted for review. This is not a paid post and all opinions, words and views are strictly my own.

S x

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Product Review: Aroma Air Humidifier 2.3L Ultrasonic (Crazy Sales)

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Lately I’ve been hearing about the health benefits of humidifiers and decided to trial one for a few weeks to see if it worked for me or my family. I’ve used one before for my kids when they were babies during winter but wanted something more portable which could last longer than half a night.

Humidifiers basically put moisture back in the air and although it’s more typical to use in winter, I find that it can get pretty dry in summer too in Perth.  Also with the warmer weather arriving, a lot of people at work get hit with the cold or flu so I wanted to prevent catching something during my third trimester being pregnant.

The health benefits of humidifiers include:

  1. Reduced risk of infections. Increasing humidity levels reduces the ability of airborne viruses to cause flu infections so viruses and bacteria can’t travel as well in moist air. A humidifier could help prevent catching a flu and reduces the symptoms like coughing and sneezing.
  2. Less dry and moisturised skin.  Lack of moisture can cause dryness, dullness and flaking of the skin which can accelerate aging. A humidifier can help prevent these damaging effects.
  3. Comfortable sinuses.  A humidifier can help keep your throat moist for a more comfortable night’s sleep by providing relief from stale and dry air.
  4. Healthier houseplants. A humidifier can help keep your houseplants healthy, which in turns keep you healthy as well.

I’m using the Aroma Air Humidifier 2.3L Ultrasonic which I received from Crazy Sales. At Crazy Sales you can save anywhere from 30%-80% off retail price on 10,000 products everyday. This humidifier features an operating time of up to 9 hours and also an air purifier (to reduce pollutants which causes allergies).

What I do like about this humidifier:

Delivery was super quick and it wasn’t too expensive. For the price, it also lasted the entire night, which lasted longer than the humidifiers I’ve bought before at a local chemist for the kids. I also like that it has the air purifier and I can use this for aromatherapy too.

What I don’t like about this humidifier:

Instructions weren’t that clear except for it being obviously directly translated from another language. I still can’t work out how to put on the coloured lighting for example! The humidifier also seemed a bit flimsy and awkward as several times the water would leak because I hadn’t screwed it on tight enough which freaks me out because it’s plugged into an electrical outlet.

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So the jury is still out with me as I’ve only been using it for 3 weeks and I don’t really notice the difference except for having a more comfortable night’s sleep. I did catch a bit of cold from someone at work but it didn’t seem to last long but not sure if this was due to the humidifier or luck to tell you the truth.

I am planning to continue using it and even thinking to use this during birth as the humidifier has an aromatherapy diffuser so I can add some calming essential oils since candles are not allowed in hospital.

If I’m convinced of the health benefits, I think I will consider upgrading to something which would be a lot more sturdy and has an even larger capacity.

To find more about this humidifier click here: http://www.crazysales.com.au/online-2-3l-ultrasonic-air-humidifier-purifier-steam-aroma-vaporiser-diffuser-mist-77483.html

Have you used humidifiers before? I would love to hear your experiences!

*Humidifier was gifted for review by Crazy Sales. This is not a paid post and all opinions, words and views are strictly my own.

S x

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Totally Jewel

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I’ve come to discover Totally Jewel recently, which is an online store that does a range of affordable jewellery that not only pleases minimal jewellery wearers like me, but also offers plenty for the statement jewellery wearer too with gorgeous bold pieces too.

My favourite piece is the roman numeral bracelet which I wear almost everyday to work and also versatile to wear at night on the weekend too. For night, the ear cuff is very cool and I also adore that smiley face necklace on Lily. What a perfect stocking or advent calendar gift for young girls!

Today’s post I got to interview the two inspiring woman behind Totally Jewel: Junn and Soon.

1. Describe the pivotal moment for both of you of deciding to start this business together?

After finding the perfect affordable bridal party outfits, for our best friends wedding day from a large choice of suppliers in Sydney, we went on the hunt for great accessories to glam up and individualise the look of the bridal party. Of course the bride wanted everyone to look stunning, and so we went on the search for the perfect jewellery. What we found were great one off or ‘designer’ pieces that were far too expensive for the budget, or mass produced, poor quality pieces, that just cheapened the whole look. It was at this point, after walking around the city for several days in search of affordable quality jewellery that we said to each other, ‘we should do something about this’. We both felt there was huge potential, and so we started to research the market and look at suppliers who could deliver a quality product.

2. What excites you most about running Totally Jewel?

Our ultimate goal is to send a box of sparkling happiness to all Australian women. So far in our journey we have met some incredible women. We are proud to to be associated with organisations like ‘Women in Focus’ and charity events run by Ronald MacDonald House. The connections we make and the joy our customers get when receiving their jewels, really excites us both. We both work really hard on providing great customer service and when our customers post their pictures on Facebook, Instagram or write a review, we really do both get a real kick out of it. We are about giving back to the community where possible, being based in Sydney and concentrating only on the Australian market, we feel we really do represent Australian women.

3. What are the latest trends with jewellery right now?

The Tassel is huge right now in Hollywood, starting in Europe during their summer season, its coming to Australia and will become the must have accessory for summer. Even Guy Sebastian was wearing a tassel necklace during the X Factor final. Luckily we have just received some great new ‘tassel’ pieces for our summer collections.

4. What are your favourite pieces from Totally Jewel and how would you wear them?

Junn: There are so many gorgeous pieces to choose, but my absolute personal favourite is the Crystal Dove Necklace. I wear it for all sorts of occasions. I pair it with a little black dress for busy days in the office and have also worn it with jeans and a white tee to casual functions, and in the weekends. I always feel feminine and its easily matched with any outfit.

Soon: For me its the Raw beauty of the Badala Stone collection. Each piece is unique, and beautifully hand crafted. They are easily mixed and matched and can be layered to add that extra dimension.

5. Are they are any Christmas specials or any specials which would be available for Sass and Spice readers (e.g. one day discount code or Christmas sales)?

From December onwards we are offering a beautiful selection of mid statement necklaces’ and Earrings for Christmas at the special prices of between $5 – $10 only. Ideal to add Sparkle to that Christmas gift list.

For Sass and Spice readers we are offering even extra sparkle this Christmas with a free gift with every purchase until 24th December. At checkout, simply write in the discount box ‘sassandspice’ and hit apply to receive the extra sparkle!

Thank you Soon and Junn for taking the time to share the story behind Totally Jewel. Shop and find out more about Totally Jewel here: http://www.totallyjewel.com.au

*Jewellery above were gifted for review. This is not a paid post and opinions are my own.

S x

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Pregnancy Massage – Yummy Mummy Day Spa



One of the things I’ve always recommended whilst being pregnant is to have time to spoil yourself with some serious pampering. After all, you have mostly likely gone through morning sickness, heartburn, swelling, cramping, crazy hormones, weight gain…and not forgetting growing a little person inside you! It’s a lot to go through for 9 months right?

Pregnancy can be a joyous and exciting experience. But also, anxiety and stress are at an all time high which leads to both mental and physical discomfort. I personally find that indulging in a relaxing massage to really help.  Pregnancy massage has a range of benefits including pain relief, helping to reduce the swelling of the feet and just having that time to be fully relaxed and calm. I find that time also a great way to really connect with my breath, my body and my baby.

Last weekend I was lucky to make a visit to Yummy Mummy Pregnancy Day Spa to experience the signature third trimester pregnancy massage. It was such a heavenly experience and I thoroughly recommend it!

On arrival, I filled in quite a detailed questionnaire which had questions on specific concerns related to pregnancy like acne so they can customise the treatments especially to you. This was my first time at the Brisbane Street location and I was impressed with the spacious rooms and it instantly felt relaxing with the dimmed lights and candles flicking.

I was then treated with 90 minutes of uninterrupted pure bliss. During this time I didn’t think of anything else except for feeling good and feeling totally relaxed – a rarity these days for me!

Pregnancy safe essential oils which contained a blend of Tangerine, Lemon and Geranium were used as it helps with circulation and reduced swelling. One of the best things about Yummy Mummy is that they use cushions which are specially designed for pregnant bumps. This means I could comfortably and safely lie face down and on my back with the indented cushions providing just the right level of support.

I also requested a firm massage and some special attention to my back (since I’ve experienced some discomfort recently) and was happy they could accommodate. I can also get quite ticklish but was so relaxed that I forgot to laugh!

After the massage, I got to unwind with some small snacks and tea and surprisingly didn’t feel the hot 35 degree heat.

The signature pregnancy massage is $189. Be sure to also take a look at their Christmas bundles as you don’t need to be pregnant to have a massage here. I would recommend ‘A little Love’ which a hot stone back, neck and shoulder massage, and you also get a Sugar Plum Candle and Pink Love Bath Salts as a gift.

Find out more about Yummy Mummy here: http://www.pregnancydayspa.com.au/

*Massage was gifted for review. This is not a paid post and all opinions, words and views are strictly my own.

S x

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