We all know the best way to lose weight - eat less, move more, drink more water and less alcohol, and don't get chips and cheese after a night out.
Seems like a simple formula, but proves to be incredibly tiresome after about six weeks (unless you are a reality TV star slimming down for a lucrative exercise DVD - then you have to keep at it until at least three months after it hits the shelves).
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If you are trying to shape up for an event or holiday, the week before is when intense guilt sinks in, becoming furious at yourself for every little transgression. That cupcake you ate at the bake sale in work, the champagne you drank when another friend announced their engagement (yawn!), or the sneaky Chinese you demolished because you decided life is too short to sip chicken and kale soup on a Friday night. If you are looking for one last gasp attempt to lose inches, then your research might lead you to a Shrinking Violet Wrap.
I read about the wraps initially with a healthy dose of skepticism. An oil is rubbed all over your body, you're wrapped in cling film and your fat cells shrink. Really? Turns out it's a bit technical and the oil contains an active phospholipid solution that changes the permeability of the fat cell membranes, causing them to release intra-cellular fat to reduce the size and shape of the fat cells. Thankfully, my beauty therapist Claire translated this into English for me - if a fat cell is normally a grape, the treatment causes them to lose cells and shrink like a raisin.
The newly opened Yuu Beauty in Glasgow had a great vibe, lots of bright colours and personal touches (my mum would definitely dust off the word 'funky' to describe it). I was in the Hepburn Suite, aptly named because adorning the wall was a quote by Audrey Hepburn: 'I believe in manicures. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls.' I repeated this over and over to myself as I stood in my underwear in front of a complete stranger - I figured if I smiled enough it would be ok that I totally forgot about the undressing part and in my pre-laundry day haste, I was sporting frayed white and pink polka dot cotton pants and a sexy black lacy bra.
I mumbled an apology about my stubbly legs (seriously? What was I thinking!) as Claire measured various points of my body - calves, knees, thighs, hips, waist, midriff, chest, wrist and upper and lower arms. A quick blast of a body brush and she was ready to start applying the Shrinking Violet oil. Then came the bit I was most excited about - the wrap. As she spun the cling film around my legs, torso and arms, I slowly resembled a tray of burritos. By the end of it I was a tangle of plastic body parts and totally rigid, sort of like a night with Tara Reid. With absolutely zero poise, no grace and plenty of hilarity, we attempted to tip me from my standing position onto the bed and under the covers. It reminded me of that scene in The Wolf of Wall Street, so if anyone is lamenting the demise of Quaaludes, rest assured you have a reasonable substitute nestled next to your kitchen cupboard next to the tinfoil.
Under the soft blankets was cosy and warm, and I wasn't phased about spending an hour all tucked in but I was delighted to find out that during the 60 minute burrito time the salon offer a add on treatment, including head massage, hand and foot massage, facial or CryBaby mascara application (I was hoping to try out this new semi-permanent mascara, but you'll need to pop in for a patch test at least 24 hours before your wrap). I plumped for the hand and foot massage and can report back that it was supremely relaxing.
One aspect of my time with Claire that I really appreciated is that when we were nattering away she said "if you want to lie and relax please feel free, don't feel you have to chat away." I love relaxing during a treatment, but if I have a laugh with someone then I don't mind talking. Having the option is bliss, because you don't have that pressure to keep the conversation going that awkward-silcenceophobes like me are terrified of.
Before I knew it the 60 minutes was up, and like the sweaty wee caterpillar I was, it was time for me to emerge from my plastic chrysalis into the svelte butterfly I'd transformed into. Being cut out of my cocoon was the weirdest feeling. The cold air merging with my warm, taut, oily skin was refreshing and strange at the same time. I was re-measured and impressed to discover I'd lost five and a half inches across my body, not bad for one hour's chatting. If gossiping dropped that many inches normally, I'm pretty sure all Real Housewives would be in real trouble.
I made the mistake of going for the wrap the night before I went on holiday - I'd definitely recommend going three days before your holiday or event. When I was getting ready Claire advised me not to wash the oil off my skin for between 24-72 hours, not to go into the sun, and not to drink alcohol. As I'd hoped to deal with my less-than-smooth pins the next morning, drink some Smirnoff ices on the coach to the airport and get straight onto the beach when I arrived I was slightly perplexed. I reneged on the shower, opted for getting ready instead of hitting the beach, but started drinking around 18 hours after the treatment - not ideal but no-one's perfect. As well as looking pretty trim, I noticed my skin was baby soft for a few weeks after the treatment. Although you'll see results from one treatment, a course of six is recommended to see real lasting benefits, and I'm definitely planning to go back to test the results properly (after weeks of pious dieting, I'm not ashamed to admit I went home every single night of my three night break with something deep fried - a variable that I fear interfered with the scientific results of this experiment).
A Shrinking Violet Wrap at Yuu Beauty costs £60, with add on treatments costing from £12. Kooky & Creams readers are invited to join Yuu Beauty's VIP Membership scheme which costs £35 per month, for which you receive £50 credit on all treatments, priority booking, invites to VIP launches and events and discounts on beauty products. 0141 280 1887 (Glasgow), 0131 555 1656 (Edinburgh).