HoMedics Gel Shiatsu Back & Shoulder Massager – Review

Homedics chair with heat

After a long day on your feet at work or sat at your desk, what could be nicer than a full back and shoulder massage to help you relax and unwind?  Of course it’s not practical to be booking yourself a nightly massage (imagine the expense apart from anything else) but, with the HoMedics Gel Shiatsu Back & Shoulder Massager you can enjoy soothing heat and a relaxing massage across the full length of your back, shoulders and neck!

Being tall, Dave and I both suffer from discomfort in our backs – mine tends to be from doing the same thing for too long – too much sitting / standing / walking – and it will start to ache, especially in my lower back.  I also find I hold a lot of tension in my shoulders.  My parents have recently invested in a small but powerful massage cushion which I use when I visit and whilst it is effective, it has it’s downsides.  The size of the cushion makes it easy to store and convenient to use, but it does mean it can only target small areas at once so it can take a while to massage all the way up your back and the rotating balls are hard, leaving me feeling tender and bruised after use.  The HoMedics Gel Shiatsu Back and Shoulder Massager promises a more gentle massage experience with super soft Gel Massage Technology to mimic a more natural feeling massage.

Homedics back massage chair with gel

The HoMedics Gel Shiatsu Back and Shoulder Massager is designed to fit any seat – we’ve tried it on both our dining chairs and the arm chairs in the living room.  Whilst it does fit the dining chairs, and the straps allow it to be held in place, I found the upright position was less relaxing and also made the massager less effective, I couldn’t really feel it working up my spine in the same way.  (This might just be because the shape of my body means my back isn’t as close to the massager in this position.)  For us, the optimum place to use the massage seat is in the living room on our armchairs as it feels the most comfortable and relaxing position.

HoMedics Gel Shiatsu Back and Shoulder Massager

Once you’ve got the HoMedics massage chair in position it’s really simple to use (there are some bolts to remove before your first use but they come out with the allen key provided and this only takes a minute or two).  The seat is plugged into the wall (it has a nice long cable allowing you to be flexible about where you use it) and a remote control which is attached to the seat and stored in a small pocket on the right hand side.  The first time I used the chair I tried out the demo function which does as it says on the tin and runs through each of the features of the chair.

Homedics remote control

The Gel Massage Technology is definitely more comfortable than the harder massage cushion I’ve used in the past – it’s firm and effective but doesn’t leave my spin feeling tender to touch afterwards.  The HoMedics massage chair offers two different types of massage – shiatsu and rolling – both which work their way up and down your spine evenly unless you choose to stop them in a specific place for targeted spot relief.  This is something I tend to do it if I notice that a particular area of my back is less comfortable – just a press of the remote means the massagers will stay in the same spot until you feel ready to move them on again.  The remote control allows you to customise the intensity, width and height of your massage, so whilst you might just start with the massager running up and down your spine, you can then choose to move it further out for a more thorough experience.  There is also the option to add heat (which I do every time) – the heat is gentle and combined with the massage not always noticeable, but I do often apply heat to my back so I think I’m probably a little desensitised!

Homedics chair with heat

The HoMedics back and shoulder massager features a split zone design which means you can enjoy a shoulder massage or a back massage independently – or you can just enjoy them all at once (frankly why wouldn’t you!)  The shoulder massager moves up and down to allow you to position it perfectly (of course there are limits to how low it can go within it’s zone).

Homedics back and shoulder massage

It’s sorely tempting to just sit on the massage chair all night!  It’s so relaxing and has quickly become part of my daily routine.  If you’d like to try it yourself I’ve got a discount code for you which offers 20% off when purchasing from the gel massage range on the HoMedics website: ADVENTURE20  (the code expires 31st December 2018)

*I was sent the HoMedics Gel Shiatsu Back and Shoulder Massager free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own.*

*Read more reviews here*

Compulsive Habits and Our Little Girl

This little girl of ours causes me such worry at times.

Little girl with compulsive habits - how do we help her?

Over the last few years she’s had a range of compulsive habits – it started with twirling massive knots in her hair whilst sucking her thumb when she was  two – this escalated into pulling the knots out and causing significant thinning on one side of her head, picking a scab on the end of her nose preventing it from healing for six months (this has happened on two separate occasions), sucking on her coat collar until it makes her face sore and now we’re back with pulling her hair out.

We have tried everything – distracting her, being cross with her, ignoring it, reward charts, covering her hands with welly socks to her arm pits or eczema sleeves (or even both!) at night to stop her from being able to get to her hair / nose / whatever else she can’t leave alone. But every time we think we’ve cracked it and broken the habit, she replaces it with something else.

On their own, each of the habits I suppose could be seen as a fairly normal childlike habit that you’d expect her to grow out of but the fact that we break a habit only to then find her reverting back to the same one months later concerns me. 

Little girl wearing bright orange hat and smiling broadly

Her hair had all but grown back, I was planning on cutting it into a bob this month to even it all out but last night I notice that, out of nowhere, she has created herself a significant thin (borderline bald) patch again. I worry that her hair won’t recover, that this will be a lifelong issue for her, or that if I can actually manage to stop her pulling her hair out, she’ll just start doing something else.  I worry that it will be more serious as she gets older.

I don’t think it’s an anxiety thing, so much as comfort.  She’s such a happy little thing – people are always telling me she’s one of the happiest little girls they’ve ever met.  The habits often seemed to be linked to sucking her thumb – she would twirl her hair whilst sucking her thumb, pick the scab on her nose whilst sucking her thumb – the coat thing I suppose also relates to finding comfort from sucking.  

Dave was fairly determined that we needed to stop her sucking her thumb to break the other habits whereas I felt that stopping everything at once was too stressful for her.  As it is, we have reached a point where she wears her sleeves for bed which means she can’t get to her thumb anyway, but she still sucks it during the day. 

We think the hair pulling is happening in bed in the mornings when she has taken her sleeves off so I’ve asked her to keep them on until we get up with her.  I’ve watched her closely today and have seen her hand rise to her hair once or twice but she has stopped herself, I’ve praised her and given her her favourite cuddly toy to hold to try and keep her hand busy. 

How to help child with compulsive habits

I’m sure you can tell that I’m worried about her.  Dave and I have decided the time has come to seek some advice on this now and are planning on taking her to the GP next week – we’re going to go together so that one of us can wait outside with Amy whilst the other speaks to the Doctor before we take Amy in for them to see her.

Essentially the purpose of this post is that I want to record where things are up to for her, so I can see how things improve (or deteriorate) over the coming months.  And, to ask if you have any experiences or advice to share that can help us to help Amy break these habits. 

#ReadyforChristmas with Halfords

Halfords Bradly Wiggins Bikes

*In collaboration with Halfords*

One of the main Christmas presents I remember from my own childhood was a red bike – I’m not sure if this is because I’ve seen a photograph of myself and Nic stood outside the garage proudly displaying our new bikes or if I actually remember it.  If you’ve ever been for a walk on Christmas Day, you’ll know you are bound to be met by any number of children showing off shiny new wheels!  In this age of screens and tech, a new bike, scooter, skateboard or roller skates still features highly on many Christmas lists and make for the perfect presents for keeping the next generation active and out in the fresh air!

This festive season, Dave and I have been helping out Father Christmas by making a secret trip to Halfords to look at their range of bikes and scooters.  Ben has shot up recently and is definitely in need of a new bike, whereas the girls currently have bikes which suit their needs but are growing out of their scooters – Amy especially.


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Supply Teaching – Six ways to get re-booked

This term marks six consecutive years on supply for me – including a short stint when I was recently qualified, I’ve now spent getting on for half of my 15yr teaching career on supply.  I’ve been working for the same agency for the past six years and I can honestly say I can count on little more than two hands how many schools I’ve been to in that time as I almost always get re-booked.

People often ask me if I struggle for work as a supply teacher, and thankfully thus far that has never really been the case – of course there are times of the year when it’s quieter but for the most part I get as much work as I need.  Maintaining a good relationship with your supply agency and being flexible are key to keeping the work flowing but what you really want is for schools to be asking for you by name and re-booking you.  With that in mind, I wanted to share my top tips for getting re-booked!

Supply teaching - school pencil Read More »

Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 48 – 2018)

#TriedTested badge

Welcome to another Tuesday – how are your festive preparations going?

In case you are new here – let us tell you what Tried & Tested is all about. We all know how useful reviews can be. Most bloggers do them – be it things they have bought themselves or have been asked to review. They are a useful tool for people looking for honest and thorough reviews of products they need, things they are considering buying, or even to introduce people to exciting new products they have never even heard of. You can find out more about how to join in here.

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Geomag Mechanics Gravity – Review & Giveaway

Ben was first introduced to the joy of Geomag earlier this year when we reviewed a Geomag Panels set and  Geomag Mechanics set.  We keep both sets at my parents’ house and he makes a beeline for them every time we visit – spending hours fiddling around and constructing various creations.  The latest addition to his Geomag collection is the Geomag Mechanics Gravity Motor System.  The Geomag Mechanics sets are more complex than the Panels and as such are aimed at the more expert player – children who have already figured out how the Geomag systems work.

The Geomag Mechanics Gravity Motor System contains 11 magnetic rods and 32 steel spheres along with 126 plastic mechanical elements – the set can of course be used independently or alongside an existing Geomag collection.  Once you’ve constructed the set according to the instructions, gravity pushes the steel spheres through the Geomag gravity motor spiral and, once this is set in motion, a combination of gravity and magnetism will keep it going until  you stop it again.  There’s no batteries or electricity required for this one!

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Raising a Puppy with a Newborn Baby

We're going on an adventure - Thomas at 10 weeks

When we got our puppy just months after having our first baby, everyone thought we were mad.

We hadn’t planned it that way but our circumstances were a little unusual.  We didn’t go out looking for a puppy as such, but we had always said that when Mum bred from her bitch Molly, we would have one.  It just so happened that my baby and Molly’s puppies were born just three weeks apart.

We're going on an adventure - Colette with baby Ben and Thomas - getting a puppy with a newborn

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Why Villa Holidays are Great for Young Families

*This post is in collaboration with Villa Finder*
I’ve written so many times about why, as a family of five, we tend to gravitate towards self-catering accommodation – both for UK staycations or foreign holidays.  There’s a time and place for an all inclusive hotel set up, but today I wanted to share some of the reasons why we’re going to be looking at a villa holiday next summer.
beach holiday - family villa holiday

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Handy Money Hacks for Travellers

*Collaborative Guest Post*

You’re about to set off travelling, maybe for a few months or even longer and you’ve got everything pretty much set.  You’ve had some great help and advice from Creditfix and you’ve got your water purification tablets ready.

Now all that’s in order, you need to think about how you can keep your finances in similar good order throughout your trip, so here’s nine great ways to keep a handle on your spending.

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Roller Skates for Kids

I flipping loved roller skating as a kid – I had a pair of those Fisher Price adjustable roller skates that you fastened on over your shoes.  What I really wanted was a pair of proper roller boots like my friend, but they were expensive and I remember Mum saying there was no point buying something like that when we’d quickly grow out of them.

vintage Fisher Price adjustable roller skates

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