A Message From Babette

13th February 2021

Babette Bluett-Duncan


I spend a fair bit of time here writing, writing updates on FB or Whatsapp groups, answering emails to friends or some of you with whom both lockdown and cancer have allowed some friendships to develop. One such new friend and I have been talking about the loss of her best friend, and specifically how this best friend, before passing away, helped another person in her last moments on earth, and how positive that time was for her and how good one could make such an experience.

It struck a chord with me. Here at the clinic, what is so lovely is that we are all more real than if we met in "normal" circumstances. Whether about not pretending to feel good if we don’t, or more socially embarrassing, about the different noises that our bodies can do when we are on the electromagnetic mats together, (the aptly described as Passing Wind..).

However I still see occasions where some are battling with being real and desperately wanting to remain in charge or in control, but somehow it is far less than "out there", and also maybe somehow, I am developing an ability to stop engaging when I feel someone is too loaded, or too narrow minded. So when it has happened here sometimes, I have used my diagnosis to escape, as in “sorry everybody but I am tired now” but it got me thinking about why do we, do I, not do more of this in “the real world”?

The main thing to fight is the fear to be rude I believe, or be seen as rude, but discovering here that my diagnosis is a boost, a permission to take that risk, I want to continue being like this even when I go back home.

It is actually not that difficult, it is "just" a question of not responding/engaging with behaviours that I do not wish to accept. It's a bit like being in touch with the autistic part of me, our eldest is mildly Asperger, cannot lie, and is a great inspiration on that topic. How many times has someone come home, said hello to him by name and with a kind smile he says "I am sorry but I do not remember you/r name". I can see how refreshing it is so I will learn to be less socially acceptable, no, that is not correct, it will be acceptable because I can and will do it kindly, it will just not be socially habitual.

Arcadia is a very special place
The Stay - Arcadia Praxisklinik (arcadia-praxisklinik.de)

The building is airy, smart, functional, not fussy and warm. There are two parts to the building linked by a set of two staircases which allow you to go from a semi level to another. At the bottom is the Nurses’ area, where the medicalised treatments take place, where the rooms look like hospital rooms, though the view is unbeatable. Then the reception level where the softer treatments take place, and where people from outside Arcadia can come, it is the area where we have to wear masks, and where all massages and baths take place. Level up is the Doctors and office area, where each of the three doctors has their own room, and also where the creative room is, a place to make puzzles, paint, draw, and lie on the electromagnetic mats twenty minutes at a time. Next level is the “pension”, sounds very French, that is where our rooms are, with a small kitchen area and two decent reception rooms. Also at this level is the big meeting room where I sing song.

But what impresses me more are the people. There is such a lovely atmosphere, starting with Tina the housekeeper, always smiley, ready to find me the right hair dyer, stuff to clean my shoes, or to make me cold press orange juices on a couple of occasions when she saw me looking drawn, or the cooks I have mentioned before (two of which are mother and daughter). Whether it is the nurses, be it a very happy Vietnamese born Hang, who asks me to correct her English and cheers me up when I have to go in the “pressure cooker”, be it Nina, whose daughter Katarina is finishing her nurse’s training and is just joining Arcadia, be it Carmen, whose sister is on the reception team to do reiki and massages. There are a few more of them and so very often as I lay in one of the treatment rooms, I hear giggles in the corridor. These ladies get on, they laugh together, and they bend over backwards to help us. There are also Maike, Enke, Anja, Nadia who are in the massage team. Yesterday as I was rather exhausted by my whole body treatment, Nadja came to my room to give me reiki and massage as I felt too tired to go to the treatment room. I am regularly overwhelmed by the attention to detail, by the care around me. So this morning I asked Henning what the secret of this place was, because I see four pairs of family members (the two doctors who help Henning are brothers) and this together with the energies running around, does not happen just by chance. I went on to tell him that nobody struggles with running a business or a family when there are no problems, that is fairly easy. But when there are problems, that is when we see the difference, so how does he deal with problems? He looked at the nurse who was there, smiled and said “we sit down, eye to eye, and we talk” and explained than this Eye to Eye is a German expression, meaning that people are physically at the same level, they are peers, there is no use of power nor position. That sounds so like Art of Living at many levels, it confirmed what I had been able to see for three weeks plus, and it brought me even more joy.

And then there are the clocks! In the treatment rooms there are some sober clocks, minimalists, no numbers but they create a small light around the clock every 5 seconds. It is peaceful, gentle, and a help for deep breathing. And in the bistro the clock has birds instead of numbers, cute, and on the hour, it… sings! delightful.

The German Constitution
I wanted to share why Germany recognises complementary medicine. After the war and its horrors, a group of true German democrats got together, and put the individual on top of the state and the sentence “The Dignity of the Individual is untouchable” was introduced in the Constitution of 1949.

Naturopathic medicine is very close to what Hippocrates stated 2.500 years ago when he said “True healing comes from within”, “Most diseases come from life styles” (most people then believed diseases came from the gods), and “Above all Do no Harm”. So Germany is now a country where doctors can rely on thousand year old practices without risking to lose their licence.

On a different note, we are snowed under here, with 16in of snow, and temperatures dropping as low as – 22c. I have been struggling this week with my hair thinning out, I fear it will just drop altogether… a real challenge for me, though Andrew helped me yesterday by telling me that “maybe as you have had the experience that we still loved you without hair” I would find it a bit less hard. And he was/is right: I am kind of accepting the experience. So if they do thin out too much, I will cut them and re-use my white wig of two years ago, or I might look for a blue one, though when I did look before, the blue ones were always electric and really in your face… Can one dye a wig I wonder… Anyhow, I am not yet there, just letting go of the outcome in order to regain internal peace and be happy with what is coming up my way!

Have a good week-end.


Covid-19 Update

Andrew Bluett-Duncan

Director, Art of Living cookshop

Disclaimer: this information is correct at the time of publishing 06/07/2020, our situation will be under continuous review. 

  • Art of Living's Reigate and Cobham shops are now open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 3.00pm.

    At the entrance of the shops, we have a unit that I built with sanitiser and we are encouraging you to use it, especially if you want to touch things in the shop. This also applies to people wearing gloves. 

    We are all wearing visors, which is a great find (thank you Em) because they are far more pleasant to wear than masks, and enable us to be facing you without the 2 metre distance, and above all they allow us to be understood by customers and colleagues alike. I have built a screen in front of the tills and these are working well. We also have more sanitiser there.

    We are still allowing only 3 customers in the shop at any one time. If you come in as a couple, we would ask you to stay together if there are other people in the shop. 

    We’ll be asking you to pay by card if possible and the floor is marked out to give you a guide on distancing.

    Our website shop remains open, alive and kicking.

    Kind regards

    Andrew Bluett-Duncan

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are pleased to say that we are operational, our website is open for you to place orders and we are dispatching at an unprecedented rate. Our incredible warehouse team have been working non stop to make sure we can still pick, pack and dispatch your orders as quickly as possible. As with most companies, we are operating with fewer staff than we normally would be, so we hope you understand that it may take a little longer than usual to answer your phone calls and respond to your emails.
Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

To make sure we can answer all customer queries as quickly as possible, please consider the following Frequently Asked Questions before contacting us:

When should I expect my order?
We are currently asking customer to refrain from calling us to chase up delivery dates for orders. This allows us to prioritise actually getting your goods out for delivery. Unfortunately we are not able to answer telephone queries at this time, though you can leave a voicemail message for us. This may, at times, mean that our response times are a little slower than usual but we would ask that you bear with us. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience, but please rest assured that all customer enquiries will be dealt with.

Our warehouse team is working hard to make sure that most products are dispatched within our standard lead time and many items are going out much quicker. Some items do have longer lead times due to our suppliers also working with fewer staff and taking longer to deliver to us.

Depending on whether you gave us your email address or mobile number when you placed your order, we will email or text you once items are dispatched and on the way. Your order confirmation will give you a 'worst case scenario' delivery date.

Why have we suspended taking telephone orders?
We are currently unable to take orders over the phone and so we ask all customers to visit https://aolcookshop.co.uk/ to place orders.

I received my order, but it was incomplete.

We do sometimes part ship orders to ensure the products arrive as quickly as possible. So if you receive a delivery and think something is missing, please check the delivery note as this will let you know what should be in the parcel and if there is anything to follow in future deliveries.

My delivery tracking shows my items have been delivered but I haven’t got them.
Our carriers are currently operating “Contact free” deliveries. If you receive confirmation that something has been delivered but haven’t received it, it’s worth checking around your property or in your designated safe place before contacting us.

Do you have plenty of stock?
In short, yes we do! We are constantly ordering more stock so that we can not only continue to fulfil orders as they are placed, but also reduce the amount of time you have to wait. However, a number of our suppliers have gone from delivering to us in 24 – 48 hours to 10 - 14 days and this, along with a spike in demand means that some items may be delayed, or temporarily unavailable.

I have another question or problem

We would like to assure you that we continue to be here if you need us. Like most of our customers, many of our staff are spending the vast majority of their time at home and we realise that cooking and baking are becoming a sanctuary. We are committed to making sure we do everything we can to continue to supply you with the best quality products at great value.

Please email info@artoflivingcookshop.co.uk.

Thank you for your continued custom and for your support and patience at this challenging time.

We really appreciate it and wish you all health and best wishes.

The Art of Living Team