If you only do one thing this week… Follow These 5 Steps To Achieving Your Dreams

If you only do one thing this week… Achieve your goals with these 5 steps


I recently listen to a podcast with Ben Nemptin from The Buried Life. For those of you who have not heard of the buried life (I hadn’t until very recently) it is a super cool reality TV show airing in the US. The series features Duncan Penn, Jonnie Penn, Ben Nemtin, and Dave Lingwood attempting to complete a list of “100 things to do before you die.” These guys managed to hustle there way into the White House to play basketball with Obama and went to a Playboy Party completely uninvited. There is no task too great or too small for them. They are an example of where a dream and a lot of determination can get you.

Here is what I learnt from him:

1. Stop thinking about it and start writing it down

There is something about seeing your goal in writing that makes it more real. It helps you to believe that it is more achievable and is the first step to commitment.

2. Start talking about it 

Not only is this good for business – you never know who might help you – but it is also a great way to apply a bit of pressure to yourself. You are less likely to back out, even if you get a little scared, if your friends and family know about it and are supporting you in your quest.

3. Be Persistent

In other words – don’t give up. And definitely don’t fall at the first hurdle, second, or even third. JK Rowling had 12 ‘nos’ from publishers before she got her ‘yes’ for her first Harry Potter book. And Richard Brandson, discovered Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, which had been previously turned down by many other music publishers, but Brandson just knew it would be a big hit. He then had to persuade a very shy Oldfield to go with his brand new record label. The album became the first album released by Virgin Records. And the rest is history. Don’t give up. You never know where your determination may lead you.

4. Be Ballsy

Find the confidence to step outside of your comfort zone and do brave things. You will never know the answer unless you ask for something. Ask for help. Ask for money. Ask for a hug. Just ask. You may just get the answer you have been looking for.

5. Help others

Paying it forward is not just good for your karma – it is an important part of success. You never know where those people you help my get to. One day they might just end up running the company that you have been dying to work at your whole life.

Sleep Problems Solved: How to Get Your Beauty Sleep

Bad sleeper, Frankie Rozwadowska, flies to Verona in search of the perfect slumber

Sleep well. Two words that, in my experience, do not belong together. At all. Saying I’m a bad sleeper is an understatement. I am awful – bordering on the lines of insomnia. It takes me hours to get to sleep, and if there’s any noise or even a crack of light, I can forget it. This means I am constantly tired and lacking in energy, I can’t concentrate and I have to carry earplugs and an eye-mask with me wherever I go. Sexy. From herbal remedies, sleep sprays and meditative music, to valium and one (or two…) large glasses of red wine – I’ve tried everything. Needless to say, I was tired of being tired. So when I was invited to try the new Sleep Programme at the Lefay Resort & Spa on Lake Garda, Italy, I (quite literally) jumped out of bed at the chance. A programme promising to tackle energy imbalances and promote sleep? It sounded too good to be true…


So a little bit about Lefay itself. After a short flight from London to Verona and a 1hour 20minute drive (along windy, rural roads with a rather handsome Italian driver – great start) you will enter the Alto Garda Natural Park, home of the Lefay Resort & Spa. Nestled amongst the snow-capped peaks of Mount Baldo and set on 27 acres of gentle hills, woodlands and olive trees with breath-taking views across Lake Garda – it’s no wonder why the Leali family chose this spot for Lefay. Aiming to “create places of our dreams”, they have incorporated luxury, space, nature and silence to bring about a concept of overall wellness. Built using bio-compatible materials (eco-sustainability is a huge part of the resort, from renewable energy to bio-architecture) it was inspired by local lemon houses typical of the area and uses natural fabrics and materials throughout. It has also been awarded the prestigious titles of Best Luxury Wellness Spa and Best Luxury Destination Spa for Italy at the 2013 World Luxury Spa Awards. So very hip and healthy.

There are 90 suites in the resort, each offering the most amazing view of Lake Garda. The beds are enormous (perfect for me, I can’t sleep if I can’t move around), there’s a living area and a dressing room, a Jacuzzi bath and there are speakers in the shower so you can dance whilst you douche. Amazing. This feeling of space continues throughout the resort, with its high-ceilings and natural light and brightness flooding in through large windows and glass surfaces There’s a state-of-the-art gym with views out across the infinity pool to the lake, two restaurants offering up seasonal, fresh and delicious Mediterranean fare, and a chic bar area where you can kick back with a cocktail and watch the lake glitter beneath you. In short, it has everything you could possibly want. And that’s without mentioning the spa…

Unlike most resorts that shove the spa out the back or in the basement, Lefay’s 3,000sqm spa is right in the heart of the hotel – forming the core and centre of the resort. There are five types of sauna, numerous treatment areas, an indoor pool (where you can swim through doors to swim under the stars), an Energy and Therapeutic Garden, meditation areas, and an indoor salt water lake (more on that later). Basing its treatments and courses on the ancient principles of Classical Chinese Medicine, Lefay incorporates modern Western techniques to help restore energy and help guests achieve balance of the body and the mind. It’s according to these principles and beliefs that the Sleep Retreat was developed. As with the other programmes carried out at Lefay, their highly regarded Scientific Committee work together to ensure you are getting the highest level of expertise and really see and feel the results

Sleep Lefay

The Sleep Programme is the latest addition to Lefay’s list and works over 5 days to realign your body and mind by stimulating energy lines. According to Classical Chinese Medicine, insomnia and sleep problems are due to an imbalance of energy – from physical ones (such as hormonal changes and digestive disorders) to mental ones (including stress and intellectual hyperactivity). The aim here is to rectify these imbalances and restore your Qi (energy) so you can sleep soundly and let your entire being rest and be rejuvenated.  Upon arrival you will have a consultation with Dr Maurizio Corradin who, with a reassuring arm around your shoulder and warm smile, will ask you about all aspects of your life – from diet and exercise to relationships and work. Within minutes he had me completely sussed and had detected some kidney problems (through pressing points along my back) that were definitely not helping with my insomnia issues. I was then given my own specially brewed herbal tea to help flush out those toxins (using an ancient form of phytotherapy and an array of over 40 medicinal plants with diuretic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties) and I was ready to fight my dream-stopping demons.

Your days will fly by in a whizz of massages, acupuncture, reflexology, hydro-aromatherapy sessions and rebalancing physical activities. You’ll meet with a personal trainer and have a nutritional consultation – ensuring your body is reset from the inside out. You’ll get to try moxibustion (a Chinese therapeutic technique where heat is applied to areas of the skin near acupuncture points to clear energy pathways) and float in an indoor salt lake. Yes, really. I could live in it if I could – a salt-water pool as warm as your bath where you can lie sprawled out in any shape you fancy and you stay afloat. Great fun. The mineral salt content is incredibly draining and detoxifying as well as utterly relaxing. Just lie back, sprawl out and gaze up at the giant moon-lamp above you. It’s like being in your own personal fairy-tale. I’m also now addicted to Qi Gong – a physical practice that teaches you how to balance your body, breathing, mind and ‘shen’ (the spiritual part of you that binds everything together). This means you can really become aware of who you are and you can bring your body back to life by delivering energy to every single cell.

pool view

The person leaving Lefay was definitely not the same person who arrived. I didn’t look like a puffy-eyed maniac for a start. I felt invigorated and alive yet peaceful and content, and from my head to my toe I felt the effects. But, most importantly, I could sleep. I could finally kiss goodbye to the endless sheep I’d been counting and the practices and principles I learnt were so easy to incorporate into my daily life. The only problem is now I need to go back and try the other programmes… Lefay is, in all senses of the word, the dream destination. Sogni d’oro.

The Deets 

British Airways (ba.com, 0844 493 0787) flies twice a day from London

Gatwick to Verona, return fares start from £101.31 including taxes.

The five day sleep programme at Lefay Resort & Spa (www.lefayresorts.com) costs £1,544 (Euros 1,800).  The price includes all treatments, meals and use of Lefay’s pools and saunas.

Image by Sophie Delaporte, for vogue Italia, May 2005


Health Speak with Health and Travel Writer, Caroline Sylger Jones

Author & Journalist Caroline Sylger Jones is the founder and editor of Queen of Retreats, www.queenofretreats.com, a brilliant travel website for independent reviews and advice on spas, retreats, healthy escapes and transformative holidays around the world. We chat to her about breakfast, Bolt Head and her biggest luxuries in life…

What is the first thing you do in the morning? 

Open my curtain and look out at the sky and green fields through the window of my Devon home. If our little daughter isn’t yet awake, my husband and I then drink a cup of hot water and lemon in bed, luxuriating in the peace and our ability to have an uninterrupted conversation!

What do you eat for breakfast?

After a short yoga practice, it’s a fresh juice such as carrot/ginger/apple/wheatgrass, then usually an egg with homemade bread, or granola. If I had my way, though, I’d eat Asian or Indian breakfasts every morning – I get really hungry and love their rice and veggie combos.

What is your work place like?

When I’m at home I write in a little study overlooking our flower-filled garden – well, it’s mostly flowers, though even the weeds in Devon seem to look pretty.

What do you eat for lunch?

When I’m writing, something quick and easy. I love leftover veggie curry from the night before, or there’s another dish I make a lot – bulgar wheat, which takes minutes to cook, mixed with chopped raw courgette, red pepper, tomato, fresh mint and flat leaf parsley, cubes of grilled halloumi cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Do you snack?

Yes, if I’m peckish – I love avocados on their own, or I’ll have an apple and a huge chunk of any type of hard cheese – I especially like Manchego, an utterly delicious sheep’s milk cheese from Spain.

How did you get into wellness travel?

I was working as a travel writer for various publishers, and at the end of a particularly fascinating but gruelling three-month trip I ‘found’ meditation and yoga on a Thai beach. It was the start of a journey that had me moving from London to Devon, taking up yoga, changing the way I ate, then putting my combined passions together and writing my first book, Body & Soul Escapes. After that I started to specialise in writing about spas, retreats and healthy holidays for newspapers and magazines, then wrote a second book, Body & Soul Escapes: Britain & Ireland. I launched www.queenofretreats.com in 2012.

What is your favourite spot in the world?

My local coastal walk around Bolt Head in Salcombe – I’ve been walking it since I was five years old, and it always makes me feel grounded and inspired all at once.

Why is travel so important to you?

It gets you out of your head and reconnects you with the rest of the world.

Where are you off to next?

I’m heading to Sicily at the end of this month to experience one of the health programmes at Verdura Spa Resort for Tatler. The following month I go to Silver Island, a new yoga retreat on a privately owned island in Greece, for Condé Nast Traveller. After that I’m taking my family to try out a new ‘rough luxury’ fitness week, the LUX Experience, in the South of France, for various papers. You’ll be able to read and enquire about all of these places on www.queenofretreats.com.

How do you exercise?

I do a daily yoga practice, I go on an hour-long coastal walk at least twice a week, and I swim twice a week too. I can’t stand gyms and my knees don’t like jogging.

What is your skincare routine like?

I’m a bit rubbish at sticking to one product. I’m using a Bare Minerals facial wash at the moment. Then it’s ILA rose facial oil, followed by whatever decent moisturiser someone has sent me to try – right now it’s rather a lush product from Santa Maria Novella in Italy.

What do you never travel without?

My large cashmere travel wrap from The Travel Wrap Company – I feel the cold very easily.

What is your biggest luxury in life?

A very long, very hot bath with ILA himalayan bath salts, candles and a very good novel.

What three things can’t you live without?

Friends to connect with, good novels to read, and getting out into the fresh air.

What gets you up in the morning?

My husband Tom and daughter Annoushka – both literally and metaphorically!

And what do you go to bed thinking about?

Usually Queen of Retreats – an enquiry from a reader, perhaps, or something I want to put up on the site.

What motto do you live by?

It changes all the time. This is my favourite right now, and it feels appropriate for our over-busy, do-everything-now world: ‘If you don’t know what to do, do nothing’ – Susan Hill.


Barry’s Bootcamp comes to London: Hip and Healthy finds out what all the fuss is about…

words by Harriet Chubb

This conversation happened in the office about a month ago, Me; Have you heard of that new bootcamp in London – Barry’s Bootcamp? American colleague: ‘OMG Barry’s!? That’s the BEST bootcamp in the WORLD!’ At this point to me it still sounded slightly hysterical, let’s be honest, the name does make you want to giggle, and giggle most people did when I said to any British friend that I was trialling it for Hip and Healthy. My American friends however, know it to be, as previously mentioned, none other than THE Best Bootcamp in the world, and I think they could be right.

Embarrassingly I was late for my trial class and so I have to admit that it did all fly past in a whirl of sweat, lights and sounds. I profusely apologised for being late but the staff couldn’t have been more helpful and reassuring. Whilst grovelling however, I nearly missed the sheer quality and style of the gym space, coming in from the hectic Euston dual carriageway to the super sleek, super chilled area made me feel like I had stepped into a swish LA gym. This is where I fear that unless you are American, the name of the company doesn’t quite reflect the ultra luxurious and high-tech surroundings you are greeted with; not to mention a free towel service – one of the finest fitness services in life. The actual class space is made up of a row of up-to-the-minute treadmills across one side of the room and benches and equipment the other – all with 360 degree mirrors. What I loved about the room, however, was the lighting. I hate working out under the intimidating gaze of bare strip lighting but this is dark, dark with the occasional coloured light, reminiscent of a club. And who doesn’t look good under club lighting? I didn’t mind the mirrors at all and in fact they are necessary to make sure that you are doing the exercises using the correct techniques, something we are all guilty of from time to time.

The class was Core & Ab’s specific but I certainly felt it to be an all over body workout  with particular focus on core and ab exercises, I believe this is the same for all of the classes – there are many to choose from, Chest, Back & Abs, Full Body, you can work every area of your physique.  The classes are split up into treadmill and equipment work and it is dependent on the instructor how long you will stay on each but it’s normally 50/50 with a quick changeover – you certainly get a full 60 minutes of hardcore exercise, no faffing or long demonstrations, which I was grateful for. As the class got underway I noticed that the instructor referred to everybody by name, which is always an incredibly good sign of any fitness class. Equally, it can make you, the new person, experience the familiar ‘newbie’ pang of resentment (or welcome anonymity), however I was shocked when 30 seconds later she came over to me and said ‘keep going Harriet, well done!!’ I swear I did not tell her my name at the beginning of the class. Extremely impressive.

I am ashamed to say that I thought I had a reasonably (ok, average at best) fitness level but I found that I could only do about 60% of the class properly. When I say properly, I mean that I couldn’t quite run on the level they were asking me to and I couldn’t quite hold that plank or do another 20 reps of the floor exercises, but it didn’t matter, I still pushed myself to my limit and came out sweating as if I had just completed a hot yoga class. In fact, I was so impressed with the class that I have signed up to a month’s worth of pain, stay tuned and I will let you know how I got on…

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Visit www.barrysbootcamp.com for more details.






If you only do one thing this week… Fit Marathon Training Into Your Week


By Joe Byrnes

I am a 26 year old broker working long hours in the office and indulging in a lot of post work entertainment. I’ve got a busy work and social life, which severely challenges the confines of healthy living. Alcohol and sleepless nights play a part. However, these vices make it even more important for me to pursue a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time. A major part of this is exercise, which is why I set myself goals of running marathons – to ensure that I have something to be training towards and thus making it important for me to find the time. A marathon will simply not run itself.

Running a marathon is a big commitment and you do need to make a few changes in your life in order to allow you the time to train sufficiently enough to complete but more importantly compete. What is the point in training for months and go through hours of marathon pain just to collapse across the line? Having said that, it is no easy task to fit all the training into a busy schedule like mine, but with a few shortcuts and some well-chosen sacrifices there is no reason you can’t do it.

You have no excuse, so grab your trainers and get organised…

Organisation is the key: Life is busy and time is precious, therefore plan your training as efficiently as possible so that it doesn’t impact on your life. Incorporating your training into your commute is one of the best ways of doing this. I arrive at the office on Monday morning with enough clothes and items for the week that allows me to run in and out of work every day. Fringe benefits include saving money on travel, avoiding the stress of tube/train travel and kick-starting your metabolism first thing in the morning!

Front load your week: Train hard Sunday-Wednesday because realistically Thurs-Sat night is party/chill time. If you go hard early in the week you won’t feel guilty later on when your social life or a great movie takes you away from training.

Nutrition: Take supplements to make the stress on your muscles easier. They are fantastic with not just assisting your body during training but also helping with the recovery phase. I use a range of vitamins, protein and green supps to ensure I remain healthy right up until race day and beyond. Treat yourself like a car – you put good fuel in, you get good performance out!

Sleep: No shortcut here – sleep heals everything! The better rested you are, the better you train and the faster you recover. Simple as that.

Mix it up and enjoy it: You don’t feel like running 10 miles one night? Go for a swim, go for a cycle, do some yoga. Be flexible in your training because boredom will kill your enthusiasm. Don’t loathe it, love it or there is no point.

There’s no hard or fast rules to marathon success. For me organisation is the key to being able to train properly without it consuming your life. Sit down, have a think, plan what suits your lifestyle and implement it.

Binky Does Bootcamp: the Made in Chelsea star tells us how she shed over a stone

Made In Chelsea star, Binky Felstead, 22, decided she had wanted to get in shape for summer fun on the beach in Ibiza. She had let her weight creep up to 10 stone and was feeling a bit ‘gross’ (her words not mine). So she packed herself off to No 1 Boot Camp on the trendy north Norfolk coast to lose the extra weight in time for the big beach reveal – every celebrities nightmare.

Binky was aiming to lose around a stone of weight – and also get rid of some stubborn fat on her hips. And she did it. Binky lost an impressive 1.5st – geting down to 8.7st. Binky said: ‘I was in bad shape and I felt gross so I went to No 1 Boot Camp in Norfolk for seven days. It was amazing. I lost a stone and a half and the trainers were amazing and the food was insanely good, even though the portions were tiny.’

The No 1 Bootcamp regime is notoriously tough. She was awoken every morning at 6am by loud music to do activities such as circuits and tyre flipping. Then she had a specially prepared breakfast before embarking on two hour and a half long sessions of cross, circuit and high intensity interval training. Calories at the camp are limited to just over a thousand per day for females and each meal was a blend of slow release carbs, lean protein and essential fats. Military-style hikes of between seven to eight miles filled the majority of the afternoon to maximise fat burning. When the hike was complete, the day culminated in a High Intensity Interval Training session followed by an ice bath to aid recovery and reduce injuries.

Binky explained: ‘Afterwards you have a two minute ice bath to cool your muscles down and get your circulation going, it’s a shock because you’re frozen and numb but it does help.’ Ex-Special Forces fitness trainer, Lee Andrews, took Binky through her paces. He said: ‘Despite being relatively sedentary, Binky had a high level of physical fitness. We were able to use advanced interval protocols to rapidly boost fitness and help shed the pounds.Each workout was different, worked the body as a whole unit and heavily taxed the cardiovascular system at the same time.’

For more details go to www.no1bootcamp.co.uk or ring 0208 524 3430.


If you do just one thing this week… take a breath

If you do just one thing this week… take a breath

 words by Rose Dahlsen


Just as the tide of the waves rock continuously back and forth, so too does our breath. The rhythmic engine of our lungs work ceaselessly to deliver oxygen from the air into our blood, nourishing the trillions of cells that form our beings. We breathe in and out on average 22, 000 times a day. Yet, it’s rare that we stop to consider our breath.

In its natural state, our breathing patterns move in various shapes and forms. The character of our gulps and gasps fluctuate depending on mood, the recent consumption of food, body temperature or thought activity. With the turbulent motion of our lives, comes the turbulent movement of our breath. The bustle, stresses and tensions of our everyday living can manifest themselves in erratic unconscious breathing patterns. The jolt of bad news commonly causes us to gasp in alarm, whilst the onset of stress or anxiousness takes the shape of shallow inhalation. “Regulate the breathing, and thereby control the mind” acknowledges B. K. S. Iyengar, one of the world’s leading yoga teachers and founder of Iyengar yoga. Our breath may be irregular, but it can be managed.

Pranayama, a Sanskrit word meaning “extension of the life force”, is a formal yoga technique to control the breath and lies at the heart of all yoga practice. Prana, the “vital energy” or “life force”, was taught by the ancient practitioners to be refined and nurtured through different breathing exercises. The varying techniques break the instinctive erratic breathing shape, and instead introduce a longer, smoother and more easeful breath. The process of the practice invites a calmer, rejuvenated and more uplifted mind.

Whilst it is recommended that pranayama should be practiced under the guidance of an experienced teacher, there are simple techniques that can be put into play to re-configure the breath and revitalize a weary mind. Gentle diaphragmatic breathing and various techniques to lengthen your exhalation take just minutes, but can have lasting results.

Put it into action: try this basic breathing exercise…

Lie comfortably on your back with your knees bent. Place your feet flat on the floor about hip-distance apart. Rest the palm of your hand on your abdomen and begin to breathe comfortably for a few moments. Observe the quality and movement of your breath. You might find it’s tense, strained, shallow or perhaps uneven. Gradually start to take control of each inhale and exhale, introducing a minor pause after each in-breath and out-breath to make your breathing as relaxed and smooth as possible.

Once your breath begins to feel more fluid and easeful, start to notice the movement of the rest of your body. As you inhale, the abdomen naturally expands. As you exhale, notice the slight contraction of the abdomen. Begin to gently expand the abdomen on the inhale and contract the abdomen on the exhale. This supports the natural movement of the diaphragm, whilst allowing yourself the delight of a rich, full and relaxed breath. Continue the practice for 6 to 12 breaths.

Benefits: This gentle introduction to diaphragmatic breathing encourages you to breathe more consciously with fuller breaths. The practice quietens and calms the whole nervous system, reducing stress, anxiety and improving self-awareness.

When: At least once a day, at any time. Incorporate gentle breathing exercises to the start, middle or close of your day.

Image by Jai Mayhew

Lovely Spring Lovage Soup Recipe: Have a Hip and Healthy May Day

Spring Lovage Soup

Spring has sprung and so have all the delicious spring vegetables in our garden including the seasonal herb lovage, featured in this recipe

With a very bold flavour, lovage has been described by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as “parsley and celery combined with a hint of aniseed and curry”. Intriguing, no?  Oh yes. And it makes a delicious addition to soups, salads, risottos and pasta. Medicinally speaking, lovage is also used to stimulate digestion, get rid of flatulence and aid stomach pains. What’s not to love about lovage!



2 cups peas
2 leeks, diced
2 medium potatoes, pealed and chopped
6 Large lovage leaves
Juice 1 lemon
1 garlic clove
750ml vegetable/ chicken stock (homemade is always best)
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large pan, add the leeks and garlic and sauté in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. When softened, add the potatoes and peas with enough water to cover. Boil until the potatoes start to soften. Add stock, lovage leaves and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Serve with a crusty slice of spelt bread.

Aim for the Spas, Kiddo: They could just solve all your health problems

I am going to tell you a little secret, I say ‘little’, it’s huge: spas are not what they seem. Over the years, spas have developed a threefold reputation as being expensive, decadent, and the predominant domain of women.  In 2013 however, none of these are true unless you want them to be.

Thanks to the proliferation of booking agents and voucher models, not to mention the forced re-evaluation of priorities brought about by recession, spas have responded to the financial requirements of their customers to make health and beauty more accessible.  There are also an increasing number of options where these facilities are available, from leisure venues offering spa areas, to specialist venues.  As for spas being the domain of women, treatments catering specifically for men are a vital part of the modern day spa (for which all of us, girlfriends in particular, are supremely thankful).

This point about decadence is an interesting one however. Key to the traditional perception of spas is the idea that they are simply treats – a luxury for the odd occasion. While I am not going to be so bold as to suggest they are a weekly tonic for life’s trials and tribulations, they can offer a lot more than a manicure and a glass of champagne in the hot tub (although naturally that is available if it’s what the doctor orders, so to speak).

When it comes to health, spas can provide a mine of resources and information. As a society that knows more about health than ever before, it is often the thing that comes bottom of a list of priorities, behind taking the kids to school, work, catching up with your friends, and then dragging yourself out of bed earlier than desired the next day to do it all again. But to ignore health is to shoot ourselves in the proverbial foot.  Taking a little time out to assess how you are and make yourself feel better every now and again can do a world of restorative good; reducing stress, paying attention to any little niggles you have been ignoring, and let’s not forget, having a little fun as well – never underestimate the power of a genuine smile!

The beauty of the modern day spa is that many of them are now home to a wealth of health and fitness knowledge and advice, with specialists housing themselves within the inner sanctum of calm to help guests whether they have specific health issues – sleep problems, skin problems, IBS, menopause, Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD), or advice when you are simply feeling ‘not right’.

Grayshott Spa and Hotel in Surrey is a prime example of the services that specialised spa venues are able to offer, with staff who have a wealth of expertise advising on nutrition and lifestyle surrounding the menopause, and also as one of the hubs from which sleep specialist, Tej Samani, operates his clinics for anyone with insomnia or sleep concerns.  Equally, Lifehouse Spa and Hotel, where the spa packages are tailored by in-house naturopath, Sue Davis, combine a relaxed spa atmosphere with the option to discuss specific issues and to address them in an unobtrusive manner if guests would like.

Alternatively, Gleneagles, who introduced their ESPA Life program last year, choreographed by naturopath, Louise Westra, have introduced the initiative to make the facilities and natural surroundings that they have readily available, work a little harder.  Westra provides treatment based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic principles, two of the oldest practices that remain a medicinal standard in China, alongside contemporary knowledge.  Where her expertise is of particular use isn’t just in aiding lifestyle changes and helping with health concerns directly, but also in supporting the body alongside conventional treatments: “I look into why a condition has occurred, and also how to help the body support itself while undergoing treatment – particularly in the case of chronic problems like Rheumatoid Arthritis, where the effects of the medication can be quite unpleasant.”

Of course, spa isn’t necessarily an alternative treatment for many health concerns, but rather something that can complement more conventional advice, or even alert you to a problem and suggest a visit to your doctor if necessary. On a number of occasions therapists have reported that they have found a lump while delivering a treatment to a guest, which they have recommended they have seen to, subsequently detecting cancer in its early stages.  Equally, the likes of Spabreaks.com have created spa breaks specifically for anyone who has or has recently had cancer in order to provide a little respite and gentle care to help guests start to feel like themselves again.

Contrary to our schedules, health isn’t something we can relegate to one day a week, or half an hour a day, it is something we live with all the time. It’s now. However, looking after it doesn’t have to be a 10 mile slog in the rain, and it doesn’t have to be an endurance test.  It can be a swim, a massage, lunch with friends, and a natter with a therapist. Ultimately, this is about time – something supremely valuable that most of us don’t quite have enough of – dedicated to paying a little attention to you and your body, checking in, making sure it’s all ok. No one knows your body better than you do, but sometimes we just need a little space and guidance to hear what it’s trying to tell us, and that is what you find in a spa.

 image: The ESPA Spa at Gleneagles

words by Bonnie Friend, Editor at www.spabreaks.com

What Type of Eater Are You?

words by Dr Christy Fergusson PhD founder of thefoodpsychologsist.com and author of Hot, Healthy, Happy: The 21 day diet to eat, think & drink your way to self-love & skinny jeans and the epitome of all things hip and healthy…

The Emotional Eater

Does food equal comfort? Your brain is a pleasure seeker. Stressed out or depressed it wants those foods that will release mood boosting chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins.

Danger: This type of eating can often lead to excess weight and bingeing.

Top Tip: Balance your blood sugar levels. Eat low glycaemic load carbohydrates, good quality protein & essential fatty acids every 4 hours. Nourishing your brain with vital vitamins, minerals & amino acids will help steady those moods and help you resist the chocolate during that time of crisis.

The All or Nothing Eater

The day begins with great intentions. Breakfast went to plan but someone has brought cake to work. A little turns into a slice and now your diet for the day is ruined. You decide to start fresh tomorrow and spend the rest of the day indulging.

Danger: All or nothing eaters tend to be yo-yo dieters. Their eating pattern is either ‘on a diet’ or ‘starting a diet tomorrow’. This shatters self-confidence and can leave you feeling weak-willed.

Top Tip: Shift your thinking away from your weight to your health. Eating is about nourishment. Forget the all or nothing mentality if you eat something ‘off plan’ then help your body deal better with it by spending the rest of the day filling it with healthy foods.

The Calorie Counter

Do decisions about what to eat revolve around calories or points?

Danger: This type of eating can leave you eating harmful foods just because they are ‘low calorie’

Top Tip: Remember your body does not care about calories all it wants is food that isnatural and unprocessed. Instead of reading the calorie counts focus on ingredients. Avoid those with hidden sugars, sweetners, MSG, additives & preservatives.

Picky Eaters

Are you fussy about your food?

Danger: This type of eating can leave you with a really repetitive diet making you vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies and intolerances.

Top Tip:  The best way to address this is to begin by listing what meals you like. Then slowly begin to incorporate different foods into those meals. Also experiment with preparing the foods in different ways as it can sometimes be the textures of foods which are problematic.

Article by Dr Christy Fergusson PhD, CPsychol, MSc, BA Hons, BSc Hons, DHyp, PNLP, MBPS, MBANT, MBSCH – a Chartered Health Psychologist, Nutritional Therapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist & NLP Practitioner find out more about her here: www.thefoodpsychologist.com

Image by: Vogue Italy, taken from Beauty IN Vogue, June 2006



My Desert Island Beauty Picks: Editor of The Beauty Shortlist, Fiona Klonarides, shares her must have beauty buys

 Editor of The Beauty Shortlist, Fiona Klonarides, shares her must have beauty buys

REN Photoactive Sunveil SPF15 – First up, a daily favourite! No white residue and never cloying, REN’s clever triple action micro-mineral daily SPF15 is sheer genius and it IS sheer – thankfully. Goes on over or under makeup. I don’t leave home without it. £26. www.renskincare.com

Balance Me “Minis” I love a good travel range and Balance Me’s cute little travellers often come with me.  Their Super Toning Body Cream is one to earmark for summer £6. www.balanceme.co.uk

Neals Yard Remedies Garden Mint & Bergamot Hand Lotion – I “cross-utilise” products a lot and this is one of them, which doubles as my hand AND body lotion in warmer months because it’s really light and hydrating,and the fragrance always reminds me of being out in the garden. This sat on my kitchen window last summer and lasted until early September! £12.50/200ml  http://www.nealsyardremedies.com/Garden-mint-and-bergamot-hand-lotion

Dr. Hauschka – Toned Day Cream Three words. “I am addicted”. This popped up during our 2013 Awards last month and at first I found it a little dense because it almost has the consistency of acrylic paint. But I’ve been mixing it with moisturiser and using daily and have yet to find a foundation-style product that gives this kind of radiance factor in 30 seconds. Instant glow for dry, mature or perhaps normal skin (but definitely not for oily). Well worth trying and very conveniently Dr. H. do a £4 mini sample size too. http://www.drhauschka.co.uk/products/face-care/toned-day-cream

Label.m’s Organic Hair Care Range is a new favourite of mine, particularly their Lemongrass and Orange Blossom shampoos and conditioners. The Orange Blossom shampoo £13.95 leaves hair feeling really fresh, the conditioners are rich and silky and the ingredients read like one big Mediterranean fruit bowl: including “Tuscan Mandarin Fruit, Organic Mediterranean Bergamot*, Regal Maltese Oranges, all Steeped in a base of Cypriot Orange Flower Water” http://labelm.com/uk/product/248/label.m-organic-orange-blossom-shampoo



If you only do one thing this week… Slow Down

words by Gemma Bolton of Buff-Beauty.com

According to Gandhi ‘there is more to life than increasing its speed’ and we couldn’t agree more. Too often days becomes a whirl of racing to and through work, gym, social life and dinner before snatching a few hours of broken sleep. The result? A serious chance of burnout.

Slow your breath
If there’s something a baby has over an adult it’s knowing how to breathe properly; just watch how their tummies rise and fall with each breath. Breathing shallowly from the chest alone is more akin to hyperventilation, keeping your brain in (an unhealthy) fight-or-flight mode. Practise makes perfect: breathe deeply, focusing on pushing the abdomen out on your inhalation and pulling it back in as you slowly exhale. It feels weird to start but, trust us, it’ll feel great when you get it.

Slow your lists
It’s no wonder we’re all hyperventilating when you look at the length of our to-do lists. But does everything really need to be done before your 12pm? It’s amazing how just shuffling your schedule around can free up a spot of brain space. First, take a moment to scale your list in terms of importance: if there’s anything under a seven, push it back to a calmer time. Next, look at your top to-do and break it down into achievable chunks.

Slow your food
Ever scoffed a sandwich without realising? If your eye’s on the inbox or you’re racing to the train there’s a good chance you’ll end up more bloated, more hungry and less appreciative of your food. Digestion starts in the mouth and requires a relaxed tum. Sit down and – just as your mother told you – remember to chew. If you’re stressed out, take a few deep belly breaths before you continue. Lunch will taste so much better!

Slow to a walk
Good news for the jogging-phobic, our scientist friends in the US say walking is just as good for our hearts as running. What’s more, walking gives you the time to actually see and enjoy your surroundings. Grab a friend – canine or human – and get out there. A golden star if it’s somewhere green where you’ll feel the awesome calming powers of nature. A platinum star if you find time to stop for a long and leisurely picnic.

Slow to stillness
Perhaps one of the hardest at first, but the most addictive of all: schedule some time to be still. That’s absolutely still. No Twitter, no TV. Just you, your breath and your thoughts. It feels truly amazing and, as acupuncturist Andy Green (http://shiatsuandacupuncture.wordpress.com/) assures, ‘when the time for action arrives, we are focused and efficient because our efforts are in harmony with the world around us.’ Start with just five minutes a day and see how you go.

Image by Marcus Ohlsson represented by LUNDLUND for Elle magazine, Sweden