Ice, ice baby! Why the Cryo trend is red hot

You wouldn't choose to go out in the snow wearing just your underwear, right? You wouldn't then choose to stand there for a solid two minutes, right?

Well, I wouldn't...but when I was approached to try the hot new trend in Cryo therapy, I jumped at the chance. I knew it would be cold but I didn't expect it to feel like that!

Sure, cryotherapy is nothing new - burly footballers have been using ice baths for decades to aid muscle recovery, aches and pains.

But in our time-poor society, there's a quick fix concept gaining momentum.

Instead of soaking for 15 minutes in an ice bath (brrrrr), you can just step into a futuristic chamber of nitrogen mist for only two minutes... and I know which one I'd rather pick from the two options!

A post shared by Karishma Sarkari (@karishmas) on

HOW IT WORKS

The Cryo process involves dropping your body's core temperature so low that your body goes into survival mode and your blood focuses on your core organs before freshly oxygenated blood rushes back to your skin and extremities when you return to room temperature.

The increased metabolic rate from that process has also led to Cryo also being hailed a beauty and weight-loss treatment, not just a therapeutic one.

So, I decided to give it a crack.

I'll admit I was nervous to try it out - I had seen a report on 60 Minutes about people dying in the chambers when the procedure wasn't done properly. Turns out I didn't have to worry about that. As soon as I walked into CRYO Clinic in Sydney's Edgecliff, I was put at easy by the friendly staff (I think nerves were written on my face but they were pros about it).

I visited the CRYO clinic in Edgecliff, Sydney (pictured). Image: Supplied

I visited the CRYO clinic in Edgecliff, Sydney (pictured). Image: Supplied

My main concern, given my less than tall stature, was being able to have my head stick out of the cooling tube, as was required.

So before I stripped down, I was taken for a test run to see if the adjustable platform could be elevated high enough. Turns out it could be...so, happy days...I didn't have an escape clause.

RIGHT, LET'S GET STARTED

I was taken into a small closet type room to get changed while a video played on screen, telling me how it all works but as I watched, my eyes wondered below the screen, to the warning note.

"If you feel dizzy, faint or nauseous you must tell the clinician immediately". Ummm.... "is that a common side effect?" I wondered (OK, panicked!)

Never-the-less, I went out to the treatment area in my plush robe.

"How are you feeling?" lovely Rochelle asked. Again, I'm sure it was written on my face.

"I don't know if I need to pee or if I'm just nervous!" I confessed with a giggle, while simultaneously looking around for the bathroom.

Apparently though, it's a common feeling and funnily enough, just hearing that suddenly made me feel a whole lot calmer.

Before getting into the chamber, which dips below -110C, I was given gloves and fluffy ugg boots to wear over the socks you're asked to bring with you. Once you step into the cupboard-like tube, you disrobe, wearing only your underwear, along with gloves and booties to protect your extremities.

INSIDE THE CRYO CHAMBER

As the blast of cold air started, cool tunes played - including Ice, Ice Baby! - to keep the mood light. I was instructed to walk on the spot as the nitrogen mist (think dry ice) moved around my body.

The one mistake I made was with my hands. You don't move them like you do your feet, so you can put them anywhere. I chose to keep my arms crossed in front of my chest but staying in that position without any movement and in the cold, left my triceps feeling that painful sort of stiff for a few hours.

Being in the Cryo chamber certainly didn't feel as intimidating as it had looked in photos.

Yes, it was cold as the temps dropped to around -115C but I didn't get the shivers or the shakes as I expected to or sometimes do when it's very cold outside.

As a beginner you only spend two minutes inside the chamber and it went fairly quickly as the clinician chats to you, almost in an effort to distract you.

Temperatures get cold...soooo cold! Image: Karishma Sarkari

Temperatures get cold...soooo cold! Image: Karishma Sarkari

HOW IT FEELS AFTER

Heading back into the room to get dressed, another video started to play revealing how you can expect to feel in the next 24hrs.

"You may feel lighter," the video tells me. "YES! Yes, I do feel lighter! Hoorah, it's working," I thought.

I was told most clients feel a burst of energy over the next couple of hours after a rush of Endorphins fill the system and people will often have a deep, solid sleep the night of a treatment.

I was so excited to hear this as we said our goodbyes - in and out in about 15 minutes - not only had I survived but a superhero-style "hour of power" was imminent.

Back down to Earth (and room tempertaure). Image: Karishma Sarkari

Back down to Earth (and room tempertaure). Image: Karishma Sarkari

Sadly, I waited all afternoon for that to kick in, and I only felt more tired as the day went on. And sadly again, while I was more tired, I didn't sleep more solidly than any other night.

I had returned to the gym earlier in the week after a few weeks off, so I had a few aches and pains I was hoping would be helped along after the treatment but they pretty much remained the same.

And while my skin did feel ever so slightly firmer for the next couple of days, I quickly realised there's little benefit in a one-off appointment, you need multiple treatments to really see the glowing skin or weight loss rewards that some people boast about.

If I were to do it regularly, it might work in this way - the science adds up and it's not too harsh on the hip pocket to give it a regular try.

However, I'm not sure I felt enough in the first instance to rush back for more.

Scottish castles you can stay at IRL for that Outlander fix (Jamie sadly not included)

The countdown is officially on till Outlander is back on our screens.

Season three is only 36 days away (but who's counting!?!) but for fans wanting their Outlander fix right now, listen up.

The hit TV series is filmed at a number of heritage listed sites across Scotland, including Doune Castle, aka Castle Leoch, with the 13th century also used in Game of Thrones.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

Image: Sony Pictures Television

Then there's Linlithgow Palace, better known to fans as Wentworth Prison and Midhope House is Jamie’s family home of Lallybroch.

All of this means fans seeking a little Jamie and Claire inspo in real life, can visit the sites by day and stay in a bunch of Scottish castles by night, to really get that real Outlander fix... but with all the mod cons - like electricity and running water #winning.

However, we should manage expectations here... Jamie Fraser won't make his way into your room in the middle of the night, or be looking after the horses at a nearby stable.

Sadly, Jamie is not included in your Castle hotel stay. Image: Sony Pictures Television

Sadly, Jamie is not included in your Castle hotel stay. Image: Sony Pictures Television

So, if all that's got you ready to book a holiday to Scotland stat, here are some of castles you can actually stay at to feel like a laird and lady for yourself.

Ackergill Tower

Ackergill Tower is a 15th Century stunner, located in Northern Scotland on a 3,000 acre estate with magnificent water views.

The five-star hotel features individual rooms across the five-story complex, or guests can book the tower exclusively or one of five cottages perched in a sycamore tree.

Ackergill Castle. Image: Supplied

Ackergill Castle. Image: Supplied

The luxury hotel and lodgings are a favourite of celebrities, including Michael Douglas, Jack Nicholson and Billy Connolly.

More details here.

Borthwick Castle

This 15th Century Edinburgh castle is steeped in in Scottish history.

Once a refuge for Mary Queen of Scots and used to house valuables during World War II, now this small but stunning hotel is available to book into.

Borthwick Castle. Image: Supplied

Borthwick Castle. Image: Supplied

There are 10 "uniquely designed bedchambers with lavish bathrooms" along with a cottage and Gatehouse, which means the hotel accommodates 26 guests at any one time.

It also features a stone arch gateway on the property along with intimate dining and lounge areas and a spiral staircases.

More details here.

Crossbasket Castle

This stunning 17th Century structure near Glasgow is one of the most popular castles for weddings (not surprising given it looks like something out of a fairytale!)

Crossbasket Castle Hotel. Image: Supplied

Crossbasket Castle Hotel. Image: Supplied

Featuring a stone spiral staircase inside, this beauty's interiors have been restored to it's original glory.

Every bedroom features original antique furniture, including luxurious oversized beds, bed dressings, and period windows.

More details here.

Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Inverlochy Castle near Fort William is nestled among the foothills of Scotland's mighty Ben Nevis mountain, boasting stunning views.

Queen Victoria has previously stayed at the 19th Century castle, saying she couldn't pick a "lovelier or more romantic spot".

Inverlochy Castle. Image: Supplied

Inverlochy Castle. Image: Supplied

There are three dining rooms at the hotel, decked out with furniture which was gifted by the King of Norway back in the day.

More details here.

Sherbrooke Castle Hotel

For those city slickers wanting to stay in a castle, Sherbrooke is the perfect place.

Located 10 minutes from Glasgow Airport and just a five minute drive from the city centre, this is the best place to stay for a "best of both worlds" vibe.

Sherbrooke Castle Hotel. Image: Supplied

Sherbrooke Castle Hotel. Image: Supplied

The baronial building, which accommodates 200 people, includes luxurious bedrooms and has been refurbished to make it more stately.

More details here.

Castle Hotel Huntly

Seven acres of parklands and a nearby golf course, make the Castle Hotel Huntley one of the places to stay and play.

The hotel also claims to be the perfect spot for trout and salmon fishing, as well as walking distance to other nearby castles and even the local Whisky distillery - with Whiskey capital of the world Dufftown just 24kms away.

They even offer guests complimentary Sherry (oh and wifi).

More details here.

Castle Huntly Hotel. Image: Supplied

Castle Huntly Hotel. Image: Supplied

This story was originally published on Whimn and has been republished here with permission.

Downton...DON'T! Has Hollywood learned nothing from Sex & The City 2!?!

Millions of people are eagerly tuning in to watch the beginning of the end as Season 7 of Game of Thrones kicks off.

The international juggernaut will end after Season 8 and is set to spawn no less than four spin-off series... but here's hoping they DON'T try to bring it back for a special Season 9 on the big screen.

That's because it's a tried and tested method, which has failed more often than not!

It's the beginning of the end for GoT fans as Season 7 kicks off... here's hoping they don't take it to the big screen for Season 9. Source: IMDB

It's the beginning of the end for GoT fans as Season 7 kicks off... here's hoping they don't take it to the big screen for Season 9. Source: IMDB

Recently, Sarah Jessica Parker admitted to one of Hollywood's worst kept secrets - the Sex & The City movies, especially number two, didn't quite hit the mark.

"I can see where we fell short on that movie, and I’m perfectly happy to say that publicly," she told New York magazine's editor-in-chief Adam Moss, at the Vulture Festival in May.

Yes, Carrie Bradshaw herself admitted they'd stuffed up and as she'd say: I couldn't help but wonder... would this serve as a warning to other TV shows contemplating a movie?

Even Sarah Jessica Parker admitted Sex & The City 2 missed the mark. Source: IMDB

Even Sarah Jessica Parker admitted Sex & The City 2 missed the mark. Source: IMDB

Turns out, no.

Sadly, another TV show which ended all neat and tidy (like SATC did) is being given a big screen reboot.

Downton Abbey's opening music used to signal tea-time with a side of (read: bag of) chocolate on the side at our place on a Sunday night. 

I enjoyed the ritual as much as the show and was upset when Julian Fellowes announced it would be wrapping up at the end of Season 6 in 2015.

But now, as I finally get used to the new normal of a Sunday night, there's talk of a comeback. "Say it ain't so!" I think. But then come the news it'll be a film.

Downton was done-and-dusted so why is it coming back to the big screen? Source: IMDB

Downton was done-and-dusted so why is it coming back to the big screen? Source: IMDB

In an attempt to appease fans across the globe, they've chosen a cinema release. Noble? No. Cash grab? I think so.

In all the years Downton Abbey screened, they've had an annual movie-length Christmas episode, so I have no doubt the team can write something that stretches out the hour-long format... but there's no denying the big bucks to be made from releasing films in cinemas, instead of on TV.

I understand the built in TV audience that comes with these film releases but is Hollywood that out of ideas they need to throw crazy amounts of money at something that's essentially done-and-dusted?

All you have to do is look at the recent "just one more" movie specials of wrapped up TV shows - not all, all bad - including Absolutely Fabulous, Entourage, Inbetweeners, Power Rangers, CHIPS, 21 Jump Street, Veronica Mars... just to name a few. 

Now I'll admit, some of these got it right.

Plus popular TV shows such as Mission Impossible, Charlie's Angels and Star Trek have turned into popular fiIm franchises years later.

Another example of a movie reboot getting it right is the recent Baywatch movie.

Baywatch - same, same but very different! Source: IMDB

Baywatch - same, same but very different! Source: IMDB

Made just long enough after the original TV series wrapped up, in 2001, it doesn't take itself too seriously.

Most importantly, it doesn't try to recreate the show and in fact, makes fun of the series on a number of occasions - giving it a fresh quality, not just a reheated feeling.

But with all these TV shows "doing a John Farnham" and coming out of retirement, often soon after wrapping up, "I can't help but wonder" why they called it quits on the series in the first place. Were they out of ideas? Was it a publicity stunt? Do they now need the money? Did they realise they made a mistake?

Regardless of the reason, if you've gone to all that trouble to wrap up a series and finish something very definitively, I think the door should be left firmly shut - I mean, you don't see Kramer zooming into the room. That's because Jerry Seinfeld refuses to compromise his quality of comedy for a stint on the big screen.

Jerry Seinfeld has turned down loads of money and offers for a Seinfeld movie. Source: IMDB

Jerry Seinfeld has turned down loads of money and offers for a Seinfeld movie. Source: IMDB

"I don’t do movies because I think generally the size of that content does not lend itself to great comedy; it lends itself to people saying, ‘Hey, I made a movie’," Seinfeld wrote during a Reddit AMA.

No matter how much fans "really want to see it back" and how much you could make with a cinematic release, sometimes it's not worth tarnishing the whole brand and all those years of TV success for a few quick bucks.

So Downton creators, if by some stroke of luck you're reading this... please don't! Leave the series in the past, like the time it's set in.

Table for one! Going to dinner with no phone, no book, no friend, just...all by myself (sing it!)

Having recently moved somewhere new by myself, my iPhone has become my best friend - keeping me company when TV is crappy, when I'm waiting at the bus stop, while I'm grabbing a coffee.

It seems any time I'm by myself for a moment I feel the need to check my phone... you know, just in case a tonne of emails, messages and missed calls have come in in the 60 seconds since I last checked it.

I think in reality, it's more about keeping busy and not looking like a loner in those moments by yourself.

After complaining about my increased dependency on this little palm-sized device, I was set the challenge to go out to dinner - no phone, no book, no friend, just me.

In the 24 hours leading up to the "night without my phone" challenge I got a little anxious - not because I haven't spent an evening without my phone, more so because somebody told me I had to.

"I mean, it's for a story, so it could be fun. I'll take a few photos... oh wait, nope, can't do that."

"I'll just jot down in my Notes how I'm feeling while out... oh nope, can't do that. Does it count if I pull out an old school notepad instead?"

Having become so used to keeping my fingers busy typing, scrolling or turning pages, I wondered if I would suddenly succumb to the fascination of fidget spinners.

As soon as I left the office for the day, the challenge began.

For the bus trip out of the city, I would normally be glued to my phone, checking emails, but this time round, I noticed things - the guy on his phone, the singing child, the woman annoyed by said singing child who kept giving the family dirty stares.

Getting off the bus, I thought "shall I go to dinner now, or go home and drive back to the main strip in case of rain later? Is it going to rain later? Ooh I'll just check the weath... oh no!"

Looking up at the sky, old school style, I noticed the stars twinkling above "clear skies then this evening I guess?".

But where to eat? Normally I'd Google the best spot for whatever I'm craving, this time I had to just take a punt.

Walking into a small Italian restaurant and asking for a "table for one please" was a little intimidating because there were only couples in there. Hmmm, so it's not exactly the place to make conversation with strangers on the next table.

After being seated next to a loved up pair, I didn't just read the menu, I study it.

I take as long as possible to analyse every ingredient in every dish listed on the one-page menu in an effort to stretch out the dinner to a reasonable amount of time.

As I wait for my dinner I find myself eavesdropping a little on other people's conversations but I’m unsure where exactly to look.

Despite the slow mid-week trade, I feel eyes on me.

I notice chefs in the open kitchen peering out at the restaurant and looking at me with a mix of pity and surprise as I continue to look around the room.

I notice the music, how bad my glass of wine is (my fault for choosing something cheap) and how being still and by myself wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

I mean, it's not my first rodeo.

I’ve dined out by myself before but I'll often go to brunch and pour over the newspaper or flick through a magazine and the idea of knowing I'm not allowed to do any of that made me think I'd be tapping my nails on the table impatiently.

I ordered the house special pizza and perhaps I subconsciously knew a woodfire pizza would be quicker than ordering something like a well-done steak, so the waiting around period wasn't too long or too bad.

But after my food arrived, I was surprised by how much time I spent looking down at my plate, unsure of where else to look after 15 minutes of gazing around the small space.

"Is this bite too big? Yes, it's too big, I should cut that in half."

"Is there enough rocket on my fork?"

"Wow, this prosciutto is so thin. I wonder if they slice it themselves."

"Oooh...is that a crumb on my skirt?"

I was hyper aware and pouring over every morsel on my plate.

As I ate, more diners arrived.

I noticed as soon as one man was left alone at his table, out came his phone to keep him company (yay, I'm not alone!)

I also noticed him glancing at me like I was some kind of weirdo for not doing the same and I saw out of my peripheral vision when his friend came back to the table from the bathroom, he made a face while leaning his head towards me.

I had expected something like this to happen. I thought I would feel really awkward and uncomfortable. Instead, I had to stifle a laugh. It's actually quite comical when you think it's now not only socially acceptable to be glued to your phone at the dinner table but almost strange if you're not.

I enjoy people watching while on holidays (I mean, who doesn't!?!) but I've never thought to do it in my own city.

Dinner was done and dusted in 30 minutes - much faster than it might have been if I had company but it certainly felt much longer than half an hour.

The rest of the evening was easy enough. I think I was able to unwind and felt sleepy enough by a decent hour, rather than scrolling through social media late into the evening, just because.

But again the next morning as I got ready for work how was I to know what to wear?

"It's sunny but how cold is it outside right now?" I thought, about to check my trusty weather app. Oh no, not yet. No phone till I get back into the office.

Half an hour later: "It's so sunny, I should get the ferry to work today. I wonder what time the next one is?" Not so fast! That's on an app too.

By the time I got into the office, I wasn't dying to check my phone... and when I did, I realised how little I had actually missed.

However, the whole experience did make me appreciate what an impact smartphones have had on our lives and just how integrated they are in our day-to-day.

I've spent many an evening at home with my phone plugged into the charger and tucked away in another room and I haven't missed it. But maybe now I'll try to unplug over dinner once in awhile too - even if just to laugh at people making faces about how odd I seem.

 

This was originally published on 9Honey and has been reproduced here with permission. 

How I learned to be a #girlboss

Feminism’ is the buzzword of the moment.


From Wonder Woman’s butt-kicking on the big screen to the push for more women in commercial kitchens.

But until a couple of months ago, I didn’t realise the new wave of feminism - a movement known as #girlboss - could help, inspire and empower so many… including a cynical journalist.

The idea of attending an all-day conference with 500 other women filled me with notions of high school-style cliques, sly stares and competitive ‘I’m better than you’ conversations.

But when I rocked up to the inaugural Girlboss Rally earlier this year, I was surprised by what I found instead - an overwhelming sense of community and sisterhood.

Over 500 women attended the inaugural Girlboss Rally in Los Angeles in March. Source: Getty Images

Over 500 women attended the inaugural Girlboss Rally in Los Angeles in March. Source: Getty Images

This group of women, who were as well-dressed and well-heeled as they were smart and determined, chatted as they waited to get into the loft space in Downtown LA.

It looked like an army lining up, ready to change the world (or at least hoping to do so).

These women from all over the globe mingled with each other, bonding over their mutual goal to live like a #girlboss.

The term Girlboss was coined by drop-out turned multi-millionaire businesswoman Sophia Amoruso, who launched an online eBay store from her bedroom at 23 and turned it into a millionaire fashion empire before she was 30.

Amoruso went on to release a biography by that name as well as a Netflix teen drama, detailing her (quite literally) rags to riches tale and later turned the phrase into the name of her foundation, giving grants to women to help them realise their entrepreneurial dreams.

The original #girlboss, Sophia Amoruso. Source: Getty Images

The original #girlboss, Sophia Amoruso. Source: Getty Images

But attending this rally, I realised ‘Girlboss’ wasn’t just a brand. It was a movement.

The rally, the first of its kind, featured 45 speakers across three rooms and among them, only one male - Kevin Systrom, the CEO and co-founder of Instagram (and a friend of Sophia’s).

It was clear from the line-up, the day was about sharing inspirational stories of triumph, with tips for the audience on ‘how to do it yourself’.

Despite knowing this, I didn’t expect to find myself taking notes and relating to what was being said, because well, yes, I am a girl… but I didn’t think I was a boss.

Turns out, I was wrong. So wrong.

At the time of being there, I was transitioning from employee to businesswoman but it was more than that. 

The event featured 45 speakers sharing their inspirational stories. Source: Getty Images

The event featured 45 speakers sharing their inspirational stories. Source: Getty Images

The day wasn’t a how-to guide on opening your own business - it was about being the boss of your own life and your own choices.

It was about feeling empowered to take the first steps to doing that thing you thought was “not possible” or “just a pipe dream” and blocking out the inner voice many women have (even if we don’t admit it), which tells us we’re not good enough or not smart enough to try what we really want to.

And, it turns out, I wasn’t the only one.

I met plenty of others, who were looking to jump ship and wanting to learn where to find the confidence to actually do it.

Women from many ages and backgrounds all seemed to be looking for inspiration to take control of the next steps of their lives. Source: Getty Images

Women from many ages and backgrounds all seemed to be looking for inspiration to take control of the next steps of their lives. Source: Getty Images

Some attendees were university students wanting inspiration for what to do when they finished school and others were working in male dominated industries, looking for tips and tricks to going it on their own.

There were women already in business and seeking expert advice on taking their own empires to the next level and others who used the event purely as a chance to network and promote their companies.

Occasionally, the rally seemed a little more like a cult, but the power of this kind of sorority shouldn’t be underestimated either.

Women hung off guest speakers’ every word, cheering loudly as their icons shared inspirational stories.

The crowd hung off the guest speakers' every words. Source: Getty Images

The crowd hung off the guest speakers' every words. Source: Getty Images

It was about hearing from others who attempted that “crazy”, “stupid”, “brilliant” idea to help you find your own inner drive to take the reins in uncharted territory.

But it wasn’t just a happy utopia to build up people’s hopes.

There were also discussions about when it all fails… and the answer is, to keep on going.

Learn the lessons of what you did wrong and try again with your modified and educated new model, rather than build fear or think of yourself as a failure.

And the best example of that is Sophia herself.

The original Girlboss’s company Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy in November 2016 but there she was, on-stage, owning it and focusing on the new road she was heading down.

It seemed she had just as much (if not more) determination to succeed - not only to prove others wrong, but to prove herself right. And that, to me, is the essence of being a Girlboss.

The inaugural Girlboss Rally was held in a loft space in Downtown LA. Source: Getty Images

The inaugural Girlboss Rally was held in a loft space in Downtown LA. Source: Getty Images

This was originally published on 9Honey and has been reproduced here with permission.