Kicki Carlsson

Goodnight, Sleep Tight ….

Sleep is one of the biggest contributing factors to excellent physical and mental health and wellbeing but its importance is sometimes overshadowed by the media focus on healthy eating and exercise. Insufficient sleep can impact quite detrimentally on your health in a variety of different ways.

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copyright: ThinkStockMedia

The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person, but on average the majority of us need about 8 hours a night. Young children and teens may need more as sleep supports their growth and development.  When we sleep our brains have the chance to repair and rebalance the hormones that govern the emotions that help us to stay calm, relaxed and happy.  It corrects any chemical imbalances and leaves us rested therefore we are more alert and energetic when we wake.

Studies show that a consistent lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain. Tiredness can cause your brain to crave high calorie foods for energy but when your body is tired, it isn’t as effective at breaking down fat cells and tissues, so fat is stored more easily.   You are less likely to want to exercise due to low energy and general sluggishness. According to a leading insomnia specialist, Kathryn Pinkham, a good night’s sleep can balance out the hormone fluctuations that provoke appetite.

Our immune system needs sleep to be able to function properly.  If we don’t get enough sleep it can affect how the it responds to infection, making it harder to fight off coughs and colds for example.  However, you can boost your immune system by using a sauna or steam room where the heat dilates blood vessels thereby increasing circulation throughout the body.    The heat can also help to relax you leading to better sleep.

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Kelo Sauna Room – Dröm UK Ltd

Sleep can also help to rejuvenate your skin as it rebalances the hydration levels in the body. While we sleep there is a rise in growth hormones which allows damaged cells to be repaired. Lack of sleep results in under eye puffiness, dryness and the appearance of more wrinkles.   It also leads to increased stress hormones in the body which can lead to the increase in the breakdown of collagen which gives the skin its firmness and translucency.  If the skin cells don’t get a chance to repair themselves, the result is a more noticeable sign of ageing.

The less we sleep, the more it affects our mental wellbeing.   According to Mind, the mental health charity,  it can be a vicious circle:  If you have a mental health problem it can affect how you sleep and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health.  Not enough sleep can lead to negative thoughts and can leave you feeling anxious or depressed.    Tiredness can leave you feeling physically and mentally unable to cope with the day ahead, and can be quite isolating as you don’t feel up to socialising with others.

So what is the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep?

There are many suggestions on how to do this and again, it will vary from person to person.   Generally, the time before bed should be calm and relaxed rather than spent in front of a screen with flashing images or loud music!   Take a warm bath, try some breathing exercises, drink warm milk, spray lavender fragrance onto your pillow, or even meditate.  Doing regular physical exercise can also help with sleep.

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Avoid caffeine drinks and don’t go to bed either too hungry or too full.   Create a routine of doing the same soothing actions each night so that your body learns it is time to sleep.  Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated and that your mattress and pillows are comfortable.

For more information on the above and how best to combat sleeplessness please visit these websites:

http://www.theinsomniaclinic.co.uk/

http://www.mind.org.uk/

http://www.dromuk.com

 

 

 

 

 

Beat the Winter Blues with Thermal Wellbeing

Christmas is over, Dry January is gone and just as we start to look forward to longer days, lighter evenings and the odd glass of wine,  it seems as though the cough, cold and flu season has arrived with a vengeance to stop us in our tracks.

There is no known medical cure for the common cold but there are plenty of ways to look after yourself and reduce the risk of catching the virus.   And even if you do succumb, there are some tricks around to help reduce the severity and length of your suffering!

The best way to avoid flu is to take advantage of a flu vaccine.   Contrary to some beliefs, this does not infect you with the virus and is a great help with staying healthy.   It is even safe for pregnant women as it can protect newborn babies after birth and during the early months of life.  Catching flu whilst pregnant can lead to a variety of complications and can be quite dangerous.  Flu vaccines are available free to the elderly, children and ‘at risk’ patients, and are also easily available from supermarkets and pharmacists for around £10.

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If you do catch a cold make sure you rest, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetomol and ibuprofen to reduce a fever.    Although there is no scientific evidence to prove it, taking vitamins such as Vitamin C and Zinc can help shorten the lifespan of a cold but won’t prevent you catching it in the first place.   To avoid spreading germs, always wash your hands whenever you sneeze or cough, try to catch it in a tissue that is thrown away immediately and don’t touch your eyes and nose as droplets can enter the body through here.  Keep surfaces clean and disinfected and don’t share towels or toys.

A great way to make yourself feel better is to breathe in steam scented with 100% pure Eucalyptus essential oil.   If you don’t have a steam room to relax in, a great alternative is to add a few drops of the oil to a bowl of hot water.   Cover your head and the bowl with a towel and inhale deeply a few times.   This can clear the sinuses helping you breathe more easily.  Pine Needle essential oil is also good for helping find relief from infections, coughs and colds and can also help relieve aches, pains and fatigue.

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Kicki Carlsson Essential Oils available from Dröm UK Ltd – 01932 355655

 

Spending time in a salt room can help relieve the symptoms of cold and flu and also help prevent reoccurrence (if used frequently).   The salt ions in the air open the airways in the nose, helping to clear the sinuses and killing bacteria.   As the salt particles dissolve in the air and are breathed into the lungs,  they attract positively charged impurities which can then be coughed up or leave the body during metabolic processes via the bloodstream, helping remove all toxins and germs.

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A salt room can help alleviate symptoms of colds and flu

Sauna bathing is another great way to help battle infections.   The high temperatures in the sauna create fever like conditions in the body which in turn stimulates the white blood cells, giving a boost to your immune system.  This fights off infection and helps kill infected cells before they multiply further.   Sweating caused by high temperatures also opens the skin’s pores and helps reduce the levels of toxins and impurities in the body.

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The Herbal Sauna at Hotel Campiglio Bellavista, Italy

Add a few drops of healing essential oils to the water that is ladled on to the stones and breathe in the scented steam to help clear nasal passages.   Or place fresh eucalyptus, peppermint or pine needles into a herb bowl, suspended over the heater.   As the herbs heat up in the water, their aroma is released into the room.  As before, breathe deeply and let the decongestion benefits work their magic.

However, the simplest way to stave off the dreaded lurgy is to live a healthy lifestyle.   NHS UK recommend eating a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables, taking plenty of exercise and drinking lots of fluids.

 

For more information on the health benefits of thermal bathing click on the link below to view our stunning brochure:  Drömology, Wellbeing Personified  http://www.dromuk.com/online/dromology/

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Dröm Dryathletes raise money for Cancer Research

It’s been a long September for three members of the Dröm UK team who have been taking part in the Dryathlon on behalf of Cancer Research!

 

breast cancer ribbonOur CEO, Kicki Carlsson, was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Christmas last year, a week after hearing that her mother had been diagnosed with the same disease.  2015 saw both ladies endure gruelling chemotherapy, before undergoing operations and finally starting radiotherapy.   Thankfully, they have both been told that the treatment has been successful.

However, Kicki’s mum (who already had a rare form of Parkinson’s disease), recently underwent a brain scan which tragically showed metastatic cancer in the brain, which the family have been told is terminal.  This is a huge blow to them after how she so bravely fought the breast cancer.

 

We HAVE to find a way of beating cancer and ending the pain for both sufferers and their families.

So Kicki, her husband Barry and their office manager Sarah all decided to stop drinking for the month of September and raise money for Cancer Research.   This was a very difficult challenge, especially for Barry and Sarah as they are known for their love of a glass or two of wine and champagne!  It wasn’t made any easier by the fact that it was Barry’s birthday during September and Sarah had tickets to an England Rugby World Cup game!

 

Barry's belated birthday celebrations!

Barry’s belated birthday celebrations!

 

Sarah’s first Prosecco! Followed quite quickly by water …

 

But they stuck with it and between the three of them raised well over £7,000 donated by friends, family, clients and suppliers 🙂

It was a great opportunity for them to take the time to really concentrate on wellbeing and to see if they noticed a difference with not drinking for a month….

The first main difference they noticed was that they started to lose a little bit of weight! Alcohol is full of empty calories, by cutting it out you automatically cut your calorie intake. And because you have more energy once the alcohol is out of your system, you find that you can exercise more which helps reduce the beer and wine bellies!

Once you start feeling better, it is a great opportunity to start eating healthier.   Gone are the days of the junk food ‘munchies’ as you try to cure a hangover. Incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet to maximise your health and vitality.

Reducing your alcohol intake can also result in sleeping better at night.   There is no ‘dull head’ in the mornings, leaving you fresh and alert to face the day.   Concentration and focus is improved, making the working day easier.

And as well as maximising your overall wellbeing, not drinking is good for your financial health too!

Although they are now ‘allowed’ to drink again, it was a huge learning curve for all three dryathletes.   They found they didn’t ‘need’ to have that drink when they got in from a tough day at work.   They found other activities to fill the gap that alcohol used to fill.   And they all feel much better, both physically and mentally.

Knowing that they have raised so much for Cancer Research though was the biggest boost to them all 🙂

There is still time to donate.   Visit http://www.JustGiving.com and search for Kicki Carlsson, Barry Smith or Sarah Gibson.   Can we take a moment to say a huge thank you to everyone for their support and kind donations for such a brilliant cause.

 

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Dröm UK head to Sweden

After 18 years of working closely with our Swedish suppliers Tylö, the Directors of Dröm UK have been talking for a while about taking the whole company to visit their offices and showroom in Halmstad, Sweden, which is also where our CEO, Kicki Carlsson, grew up.  So while the trip was mainly work related, it also gave the employees a chance to kick back and relax after a really busy few months, socialise with each other out of the office, make new friends and enjoy the delights of this beautiful Swedish town.

So 8.00 a.m.  Thursday found us all at Gatwick airport eagerly waiting to board the plane to Copenhagen.   From Copenhagen we took the train across the Øresund Bridge, then along the stunning coastline to Halmstad.

Train Journey

After hastily dropping our bags off at the Hotel, we drifted out in various groups to investigate our surroundings.   The weather was gorgeous, hot and sunny, and it wasn’t long before we all found deckchairs by the river and sat down to watch some unexpected live music taking place alongside the pop up bars and cafes.

deckchairs

Eventually the more curious amongst us headed over the river into the town itself and found a bustling marketplace and fun fair in the central square!   After a bout of shopping (had to be done), we settled in an outside bar and watched an alfresco salsa class taking place nearby!

Dinner that night, with a couple of our Tylö friends, was in a sports themed restaurant, with a bowling alley.  So of course, after dinner we all headed over and had a mini competition between two teams.   Obviously we let Barry, one of the Dröm co-founders, win overall 🙂

BOWLING

Friday was an early start as we had a full day of product and technical training to fit in.   This included information about new products and packages, with most of the saunas, steam rooms and showers available to view in the Tylö showroom.   The morning session culminated in a factory tour.   Here we learned about, and watched, how heater elements are made, saw where steam generators were put together and tested, watched profiles being cut into the sauna timbers, learnt about the quality control process, and came away with a massive dose of warehouse envy……

After lunch we continued with some more product information then spent some time learning about the latest control panels (concept, programming, design).   Then it was time to test the rooms ourselves!   It was pure bliss after a hard days training to relax in the various saunas and steam rooms that we had been learning about, cooling off in between with quick dips (and dives) into the inviting plunge pool!  Cheeky mojitos were served in ice tumblers, which we then used to rub over our skin in the saunas to help us cool down!   Dinner was served in the Tylö restaurant, followed by awards for us all!  Good students deserve diplomas 🙂

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Tylo August 15

Then we went into town with Torbjorn and Anki from Tylo to sample the local nightlife!  We found a nightclub which had a welcome outside bar space, and also a couple of black jack tables therefore catering for all tastes.  As you may have seen in our ‘Happy’ video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj5t5g1Wxus) we have a couple of staff (well, mainly Kevin really) who can really throw some shapes and that night was no exception!   So we couldn’t help but take some more videos of his dancing, where he was partnered by Jake …..

On Saturday we moved across to the Tylösand Hotel situated on the coast, which is part owned by Per Gessle, vocalist and guitarist with Swedish rock band Roxette. (http://www.tylosand.se).  Tylö have been involved with the spa environment here for many years and it was our opportunity to see and experience it for ourselves.  The boys headed straight for the gym while some of us relaxed on the loungers overlooking the sea.   We roused ourselves long enough to sample the saunas, steam room, kneipp walk and experience showers before cooling off in the pools.Spa

There was a fantastic foot-golf course close to the hotel, so a group went across to play.   Each hole had obstacles to contend with, so it wasn’t as easy as they had first thought.   Their accuracy needs some work too ….

The sun wasn’t shining when we first arrived at Tylösand, but it didn’t stop us taking some pictures of the stunning, windswept scenery.  Luckily the sun came out again around lunchtime, so we could take some even better pictures – what a contrast!

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The remaining group headed out for some lunch in a little restaurant on the dunes which started to fill up rapidly during the time we were there, due to visitors arriving for the ‘After-beach’ party that Tylösand host each year.   It started as a concert for those heading back to the hotel after a day at the beach, to prolong the enjoyment of their day, and has developed into a major Summer annual event!   So we headed out with a bottle of Prosecco to reserve a spot on the sand dunes and enjoy the music!

 

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sand dunes concert

We all had a bit of a surprise as we returned to our rooms to change – the car park looked a bit different than it had earlier…….

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All too soon it was dinner time on the last evening 😦    And it was very, very, chilly as we took our places at our outdoor table!   Once again, the food was absolutely delicious – we couldn’t fault the menus all weekend.   Blankets were handed round to protect us from the breeze and maybe we were a bit disappointed that it was so cold as we had been really looking forward to the last outdoor concert of the summer that evening…..

Chilly

But the moment the music started, the blankets came off (what cold temperatures??!) and the whole restaurant and hotel came to life with dancing, singing and the odd drink here and there!   The group – Duo Jag – were brilliant!  They sang covers of all types of songs from Eminem to Beyoncé and we quickly learnt the words to ‘The Sun is shining’ – a song none of us had heard before, but now play regularly in the Showroom!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h30CEnMdVH4

It was a very tired, but happy, group that headed homewards the following day!   We are still talking about what a great time we had, and laughing at the photos, a week later!

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Thank you to Kicki, Barry and Tylö for their generosity and hospitality.  When are we doing it again??!

 

 

 

 

Keep it Clean!

There is nothing worse than entering a sauna or steam room in a beautiful spa or leisure facility and being assailed by the smell of sweaty, stagnant air!

Hygiene is possibly one of THE most important aspects of any commercial venture, both in terms of how the rooms are built and also how they are used.

Whether you are currently refurbishing your spa or residential wellbeing space, or even building new rooms to complement your existing set up, it is important to take the following points into account.

The correct air flow in a sauna prevents air stagnating or hot spots being created.  A correctly located passive air ventilation system will ensure fresh air is replenished and the heat is distributed evenly throughout the room.  Fragrances can also be added to further enhance the bathing experience bringing in refreshing, pleasant aromas.  Kicki Carlsson Essential Oils are a great way to add that perfect fragrance to revitalise or relax!

Ensure consideration is given to the type of products used for the construction of the rooms.   The wooden benches in a sauna help prevent the spread of bacteria but the floors can harbour the growth of dermaphytic pathogens which can contribute to fungal foot disease.   It is advised to choose large format, easy to clean tiles for the floor.   Clean the sauna floor with an ordinary cleaning detergent daily.  It is important to never keep water in a sauna bucket for longer than 24 hours, so ensure you change the water and clean the bucket daily to prevent bacteria growing.

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Always encourage guests to sit on a towel while bathing

Advise, and encourage, guests to always shower before and after sauna bathing.  This helps remove perfume and after-shave, the smell of which can become stronger in the heat of a sauna.  It can also leave unsightly marks on the timber.  The water also removes any chlorine on the body or swimwear which can become volatile in the high temperatures and cause irritation to eyes and lungs.  Bathers should also be reminded to sit on a towel when using a sauna to avoid having to sit or lie in other peoples sweat.

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Shower before sauna bathing to remove perfumes and after shaves which can leave residue marks

Corian is a brilliant low maintenance, hygienic material to use for steam room benches as there is no grouting to clean.   Always have benches sloping away from the walls to avoid having to sit in stale pools of water which have collected on the seats!

Corian is grout free and easy to clean.  Perfect for steam room benches.

Corian is grout free and easy to clean. Perfect for steam room benches.

It is also a good idea to install Kneipp hoses in steam rooms so that guests can cool themselves down and also wash down the benches after use.

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Use a Kneipp hose to cool down and clean the seating!

 

 

Keep it clean ……… !

Christmas Wellbeing

So the tree is up at Dröm House and the Christmas party beckons this weekend.  The festive season is in full swing and everyone is looking forward to two weeks of eating, drinking and enjoying themselves!

Christmas Tree in the Dröm UK Showroom

But don’t forget, it is still important to look after yourself during the holidays.  Wellbeing should be an important, regular part of your regime throughout Christmas.   It is easy to say that the diet and gym sessions will start in the New Year but if wellbeing is a habit all year round, then looking after yourself at Christmas will be second nature and the effects of all that eating and drinking won’t be so difficult to shift in January!

Utilise the sauna to help sweat out the toxins that have built up during the excesses of the Christmas season, but bear in mind it is NOT a cure for a hangover as it will dehydrate you even more.   The best time to sauna bathe in this case is the day AFTER recovering from the hangover. Remember to always drink plenty of water to replace fluids and minerals lost during bathing.

Don’t forget to cool down as part of your thermal bathing experience.  Snow and ice are ideal ways of cooling off (see our previous post ‘Don’t Sweat the Ice Bucket Challenge’), so let’s hope we get to enjoy a White Christmas this year!

Enjoying a sauna or steam bath will also help to reduce the stress levels caused by battling the hordes of Christmas shoppers all looking for that perfect present, or from various family demands or even from having to get everything done before finishing for the Christmas break at work.   Add a drop or two of your favourite essential oil to relax or rejuvenate you for that perfect bathing experience.   Essential oils also make great Christmas presents …… !  (Dröm UK stock a range of Kicki Carlsson Essential Oils in Lavender, Pine Needle, Eucalyptus, Lemon and Grapefruit.  Call 01932 355655 for more details).

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Kicki Carlsson Essential Oils

However you celebrate this year, stay well, stay safe and have a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2015!

 

Why I chose to expand the Company during the Recession

As the UK recovers from a debilitating recession, guest blogger Kicki Carlsson, CEO and Founder of Dröm UK, reveals why she chose to expand the Company in difficult economic times:

Whilst a number of other businesses tightened their belts and nervously saved their money, Dröm UK refurbished their 4000 sq ft Surrey showroom with a luxury range of bespoke saunas, steam rooms, feature showers and spa areas.

The reasoning behind this was simple.  It is all too easy to start to worry and even begin to lose confidence in yourself, your company or your products.  Stay focussed, believe in your ability and never react to other people’s loss of confidence in a negative way.  A downturn in the  economy forces people to take a good hard look at their assets and outgoings.  Luxuries such as expensive spa days and gym memberships are put on hold.   Instead of moving, a lot of people look to refurbish their homes, with bathrooms being high on the list of renovations as future resale values could bring up to 80-100% return on investment. So we decided to focus on the products that gave us the best return with the least risk and concentrated on showing the market how you could invest in bringing the expensive gym wellbeing experience into your own home at an affordable cost to enjoy for years to come.

Wellbeing is very important during the stress of a recession, or any difficult period.  Everyone wants to feel better, and the health benefits of water and hot and cold treatments are well documented in a variety of newspapers and magazines, and have been enjoyed since Ancient Greek and Roman times (see our previous blogs on Warmth and Water:  The basis for life).

We did however have to adapt the product range we had to offer and reluctantly stopped selling some of our lower profit making items.  We also felt that we had to show our customers the type of quality products we offer – just viewing our images in a brochure was not enough.  We had to entice them in to the Showroom to feel, touch and experience for themselves.  It is important to maintain the trust and confidence of our market, and especially the high end sector, who are getting more careful with which suppliers they use for their projects.   They need to know that their chosen company has confidence in itself and will be around in the future for maintenance and warranty work if required.   It is important to prove that you believe in yourself.

So we took the risk and invested. We rebranded and unveiled a new website too. We very quickly saw results from this as more architects and clients visited the showroom and the feedback from this has been excellent, resulting in a greatly increased order book.

A decision to diversify slightly to maximise on all potential sales opportunities was taken. As well as offering a consultancy service to architects and clients we also decided to focus more on our after sales service. Don’t forget the importance of this. Customers appreciate a company that is willing to take responsibility for their products and to ensure that they stay in optimum working order over the years to come. Our Service department is now thriving as our clients ensure their saunas and steam rooms are regularly maintained and serviced, thus keeping their investment alive.

My advice to work through the difficult times would therefore be:

  • Don’t get carried away by everyone else’s doom and gloom!   Things may not happen as quickly as they used to so patience and hard work is essential.
  • Even though the risks are obviously higher, stick with your beliefs and have faith in your abilities.   Never underestimate determination!

Some important points to remember are:

  • Products – source good quality, innovative, unusual products.   Have a curious mind and a passion for what you’re selling.   Customers need to have confidence in the quality of the product they are buying in difficult times (and the good times too!) and your enthusiasm and complete faith in what you are offering will help to reassure them.
  • Customer Service – This is obviously of the utmost importance.   Give the customer the best service possible at all times and always remember to LISTEN to their wants and needs.
  • Employees – it can sometimes be very easy to blame employees for difficult workplace situations in the depths of an economic recession.   Look after them and value them, in good times and bad, as they are your support and often your inspiration.