Viewing entries tagged
yoga retreat

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

A simple chocolate cake that can be served as a dessert or serve a slice with a cup of your favourite tea. No eggs, flour or sugar and sweetened using only dates. 

Shopping bag

  • 15 small dates soaked in boiling water for at least 30 mins (medjool dates are best)

  • 200g ground almonds

  • 1 teaspoon gf baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • 4 tablespoons coconut or olive oil

  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

  • 60 ml non-dairy milk

  • Pinch salt

Directions

Pre-heat oven 180 or gas 4. grease and line a round cake tin.

Drain most of water just leaving a small amount and blend dates and water in a food processor. Add the pureed dates to a bowl with all other ingredients and mix well before pouring into the greased tin. Bake for around 20 minutes. 

Blend coconut cream and fresh berries of your choice to serve with the cake. 

 
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'It was a start of a journey for me...' - interview with Hannah

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'It was a start of a journey for me...' - interview with Hannah

On a snowy, stormy and extremely cold Friday afternoon we all arrived to Elie to discover that the house suffered a heating problem. Which meant NO HEATING on the coldest, most windy and awful day in Scottish history! We are talking horizontal rain with snow and all. We had a choice: stay and make the most of it or go. After a few organisational changes, purchasing an extensive amount of portable heathers (thank you B&Q Leven), Phil bringing more heaters from the studio and a delicious dinner at Ship Inn in Elie, we settled in for the night. 

Five incredible women remained with us through that experience and we have had one of the most transformative and exceptional retreats. The heating was restored the next day, but not until Debbie made soup from scratch in the oven (another blog just on that coming soon).

Today we cough up with Hannah who came to the retreat and this is what she thought of it.

What was your favourite thing about the retreat and why? 

I don’t know if could choose my favourite part as each and every minute was my favourite part for different reasons. Probably cosying up by the fire and doing the relaxing yoga before bed and having the best nights sleep I’d had in months. I also loved how amazing everyone was. We were all very different but all got on so well. We all felt so looked after and nurtured by both Daria and Debbie.

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What did you think about the accommodation?

The accommodation was gorgeous. Homely and cosy but modern and luxurious. It was the most lovely place to relax and I was surprised at how at home we all felt. The beds were so comfy too and it was so nice to have a relaxing bath.

Was yoga THIS scary?

None of it was scary. There were parts which were out of my comfort zone but in a positive way. I felt I was able to be encouraged in a positive way which made me feel I had achieved. It was so satisfying and empowering!

How did you feel?

I’ve never felt so relaxed. It brought lots of emotions to the surface and made me realise the issues within my life and what I wanted to change. It gave me a positive outlook and a way to make positive changes. I felt connected with everybody there and it didn’t matter about age, lifestyle or our individual reasons for going on the retreat in the first place.

What did you think of the food? How yummy was it?

The food was AMAZING! There was plenty of it and each dish was so tasty and filling. It was so nice to have such fresh, nourishing but yummy food which catered to everyone’s needs.

What did you learn? Was it an inspirational experience ?

I learnt a lot about myself, about my life, my job, my friendships, my family, my exercise routine, my eating and what I wanted to change as well as small changes to make to achieve this. It was VERY inspirational and the start of a journey for me. My friends, family and colleagues all noticed the difference in me after the retreat. This also made me LOVE yoga even though I was a beginner and didn’t think I had time for it before.

Retreats are not just holidays... they transform lives.

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YOU MATTER

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YOU MATTER

Here’s the thing NON-yogis 🔻You don’t need a yoga body to do a yoga retreat. If you have a body (and I hope you do) and you come to a yoga class -then you already have a yoga body. 🔻you don’t need most bum firming, expensive and fashionable pants. But something that is stretchy and doesn’t have a hole in your crotch and you are set 🔻you don’t need a buddy to go with you, you will be fine! Seriously, none needs to hold your hand, we will do it and it will be the most caring hug you have ever had. Alone you will have the freedom to air your mind and connect with people - and guess what - like-minded folk normally attract one another and chances are, you will be lying in savasana next to someone who has gone or is going thru the same thing.

Stop overthinking something that is so simple - YOU MATTER!

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Incredible yoga retreat in Poland - interview with Ashley

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Incredible yoga retreat in Poland - interview with Ashley

What was most memorable?

I’m not sure I could pick just one memorable moment, the whole retreat was fantastic, from moment of arrival to departure, everything was perfect. If I had to pick some highlights, then it would probably be the food and being away with some amazing people! 

How did you like the idea of an active holiday?

Using yoga as a way to energise and prepare you for the day and restorative yoga to wind down and relax.

The yoga was amazing, but it always is when Daria is teaching! Starting your day with yoga is fantastic, I always feel so much more energised and ready to take on the day. The afternoon yoga was fun and always a bit of a challenge and ending your day with restorative yoga was just bliss! 

What did you think of the food? Did you inspire you to try new yummy recipes? Did you learn something new about Polish cuisine? 

The food was probably the highlight of the whole trip, delicious 3 course meals, 3 times a day. I even ate mushrooms, which I usually hate but I couldn’t not try them when they were so fresh and beautifully presented!

We also had our own barista to make us coffee, absolute heaven! 

How did you like Kwaśne Jabłko?

The accommodation was wonderful, definitely a 10/10 from me. From the kitchen/dining area to the beautiful bedrooms, everything was just perfect! 

What did you think about the area?

Kwaśne Jabłko is very remote and is surrounded by beautiful Polish countryside. Didn’t see too much of the surrounding area but we went on a few walks which were lovely. You get a true sense of being secluded from the rest of humanity in a perfect little bubble of relaxed bliss, honestly the ideal retreat if you want to just get away to re-energise recharge. 

What was the weather like? 

The weather was fantastic, the sun shone from sunrise to sunset. Suncream was definitely needed! 

If you were to describe the retreat with one word, what would it be? 

Incredible

Want to join us in ur next summer adventure in Poland? we are there again in May 2019. Just click here to learn more. 

 

 

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craving something sweet? Quick hazelnut cacao butter

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craving something sweet? Quick hazelnut cacao butter

Your own butter as a response to a very strong urge for something sweet? nothing easier...

you just need to...

  • 300g hazelnuts roast for 19 mins at 180 degrees C
  • Allow to cool in tin
  • Blend to a butter in a powerful food processor for 10 mins
  • Transfer to a clean bowl with 3teaspoons raw cacao, pinch salt, splash of maple syrup (about 2 teaspoons and a teaspoon of vanilla essence 
  • Transfer to sterilised jars

It's THIS easy!

Just put it on a slice of bread, pancake and leak it straight of the spoon...crazy...isn't it?

You can eat clean and healthy every day and it takes less time than going to shops. 

 

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Vegan chocolate berry muffins - yummy HEAVEN

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Vegan chocolate berry muffins - yummy HEAVEN

Who doesn't love muffins? What makes them so amazing and yummy?Even the name 'muffin' is amazing in makes you crave one right when you hear it.

Are you already thinking about a muffin?

Or maybe it's their unique shape. I reckon a muffin without its distinctive dome wouldn't be anywhere near as enjoyable. Just like a bagel without that circular shape and the hole in the middle. 

Mmmmm.... muffins....

Those muffins will revolutionise your world. 

What do you need?

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  • 1.5 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 60g raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 100g buckwheat flour
  • 20g arrowroot or tapioca flour
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 170ml maple syrup
  • 120ml coconut oil
  • 170ml coconut cream
  • 1 smalll sweet potato - peeled cooked and mashed
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 100g raspberries

Instructions

Pre-heat oven 180 degrees C. This will allow you to make 8 muffins

Combine the flax seed with 90 ml water and let it stand for a few mins. Add raw cacao, bicarbonate of soda, buckwheat flour, ground almonds, arrowroot and coconut sugar stir until well combined.

Stir in the coconut oil, coconut cream, mashed sweet potato and salt and combine together before gently folding in raspberries last.

Line a muffin tin with paper cases and divide mixture between the paper cases. I like to add more sea salt on top before cooking.

Cook for around 25 minutes in the centre of the oven. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin.
As there are no refined sugars and due to the fresh berries and sweet potato content the muffins will only stay fresh for a few days in an airtight container.

NOTE: If you don’t have arrowroot or tapioca just add 20g extra buckwheat or ground almonds.

 

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Barcelona Urban Adventure

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Barcelona Urban Adventure

We are just back from the amazing Barcelona, a beautiful and such vibrant city. While we were there Barcelona had a few major events: the Carnival, the Santa Eulàlia Festival and the first snow in decades! Apart of the snow that caught us by surprise the festival and the carnival just added more colour to our trip.

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Santa Eulàlia is the patron saint of Barcelona City and lived here in the Roman period. At the beginning of the 4th century the Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered the persecution of the Christians in his empire. This led to the 13 year old Eulàlia being arrested, tortured and finally crucified. This is the famous festival when the Castellers build human pillars.

Whereas the Carnival, is simply the time of joy, exuberance and joie de vivre, before Ash Wednesday when the 46-day Lent to Easter begins. We often didn't know what is celebrate at what time but certainly enjoyed the parades! 

When traveling to a city as exciting as Barcelona you must have a tour by a tour guide who can tell you stories no-one else knows. We were really lucky and got a very well incomes, funny and very entertaining guide who was able to talk not only about the history but also the past and current political situation in Catalonia.

The food of Spain is packed with flavour and character! I don't think I have ever eaten better guacamole.....

Finally, the views and the fun we had was never to be forgotten!

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Most yummy retreat!

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Most yummy retreat!

Debbie if our amazing food magician. She can flick her fingers and create most delicious, full of flavour and colours dishes. Let's see what she thinks about a yoga retreat...

What was your favourite thing and why?

I have so many amazing memories from my first yoga retreat I co-hosted last September in Elie. Relaxing with the guests in the lounge on arrival I knew instantly we were in for a great weekend. There were so many amazing things we enjoyed together full of fun and laughter. From having photographs taken on a sunny day in the beautiful grounds to having more photographs taken the next day doing crazy yoga poses with a group of amazing women holding me up in splits! Whilst preparing lunch throwing my apron off and a second later heading off to the beach for a walk with everyone, as we had collectively decided getting out in the fresh air was what we needed and lunch could happen 2 hours later! Sleeping on the top bunk for the first time in around 45 years because my roommate was scared of heights! Making connections and new friendships. Switching off from technology because the phone signal was rubbish!

What inspired your food?

I’ve always loved cooking ever since I was a teenager. Today my cooking is inspired by my desire to take care of my body in the best way I can; this includes regular yoga practice, exercise classes and cooking foods from scratch using the best possible ingredients. Removing refined sugar and all processed foods from my diet have made such a difference to how I feel as well as my energy levels. I love experimenting with new healthy and wholesome ingredients and cook with lots of grains, pulses, seeds and nuts. I still bake cakes and treats, but much healthier versions! I gain so much pleasure from cooking and sharing what I have cooked with others, as well as showing how they can cook in this way too. My cooking is inspired by Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella), Kimberly Parsons (The Yoga Kitchen) and Bear Grylls (Fuel for Life). A selection of my cookery books are always on hand for people to browse and chat with me about the recipes they may want to try.

Why do you love yoga retreats?

Yoga retreats are so special, offering an opportunity to truly relax and recharge your batteries. Everything is taken care of allowing you to switch off from the usual responsibilities and stresses and indulge in some well deserved me time. Spending the weekend with a small group of like minded people who engage, support and inspire one another can feel very uplifting and leave you feeling refreshed. There’s something unique, perhaps powerful even about the yoga and the yoga space when your mind and body are so relaxed. I often reflect on the yoga retreats I’ve attended and when I take myself back to the yoga and the yoga space I instantly feel comforted and relaxed.

Hosting a yoga retreat is special too...an honour and privilege to be able to nourish and care for those attending through my delicious food prepared with love.

Why Treescape was so unique and special?

Treescape really is a true home from home where you can instantly feel comfortable and relaxed. The house is spacious, but still small enough to feel cosy and offers a feeling of togetherness for the group. Everything you could ever need is right there with some special little luxuries too that make if feel even more indulgent, such as an area on the landing to chill and read a book! The kitchen met all my expectations and more, making it a fabulous space to busy myself preparing food. The grounds and garden area are so peaceful just to sit in and relax, enjoy some outdoor yoga or have a little wander to stretch your legs.

What did you think about the area?

The East Neuk of Fife offer fabulous walks along the Fife Costal Path and Elie itself boasts a gorgeous beach worth exploring whatever the weather. Walking around Elie gives a sense of being away from it all without having to travel too far from home. There are several little gift shops and coffee shops too, if like me you need real barista coffee to help you function at your best! The Ardross Farm shop is worth a visit as well as nearby Bowhouse whee they often have food festivals.

Temped? Visit our calendar and join us...

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Your yoga retreat experience - interview with Lisa

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Your yoga retreat experience - interview with Lisa

We are just back from the Barcelona retreat and can't wait to show you our pictures.  Lisa who attended the retreat is sharing today her experience ❤ 

What was your favourite thing about the retreat and why?

For me, it was the connections and friendships made with the other ladies on the retreat.  I loved that we had yoga in common among our very different lives.  We shared something about ourselves every evening over dinner as well as during our yoga practice.  There was a really sense of connection which grew over the days we spent together. 

How did you like the idea of active holiday - using yoga as a way to energise and prepare you for the day and restorative yoga to wind down and relax

The yoga teaching was excellent, very well prepared and thought out. The energising yoga in the morning woke us all up quickly and pleasantly, and I felt proud of myself for achieving challenging poses whilst the restorative yoga in the evening took away aches and pains from any walking and activities during the day.  The evening yoga also encouraged a lot of contemplation and rest, and therefore felt luxurious and special.  

What did you think about the city tour? Was it a good idea? Did you see & learned about the city more than if you did yourself? 

The city tour was interesting thanks to the expertise of the tour guide, who seemed to be passionate about history and about educating people.  It definitely helped me learn more about the city in a historical way, and added a new layer of interest.  I would not have had that perspective without the tour, and it's made me have a new appreciation for Barcelona and Spain as a whole.  

What did you think about Aire de Barcelona (Ancient Baths)

The Ancient Baths were incredible!  I would never dream of doing something like that normally. it was absolute indulgence. It felt like a different world and the experiences offered were great fun - the hot and cold baths and the freezing cold plunge pool to help enliven the body, then the rapid jacuzzi for sore muscles and the best of all - the sea salt pool to encourage floating and complete rest. It was Heaven. And I loved that the staff were so intuitive to our needs.  They provided everything, but their attention was unobtrusive.  

How did you feel about you finished your Aire de Barcelona experience

I thought that having it on the first day just a few hours after we arrived was the perfect way to set us up for the rest of the retreat. My energy levels switched immediately to calmness and I felt prepared.  It changed my mindset from frantic business into me-time.    

What did you think of the food? Did you inspire you to try new yummy recipes? 

The food definitely took me out of my comfort zone but in a fantastic way.  I have tried more different foods over the weekend than I have in years.  I normally hate cooking but it's inspired me to try many new things. My stomach feels better too and I've learnt more lots about my digestion and am now seeing food as medicine. I still can't believe we had vegan tacos made from banana skins! It was yummy. I now love coconut and soya milk, and have realised there are lots of veggie alternatives of foods I normally enjoy.  It was wonderful having the Las Ramblas market so close by too.  (Boqueria?) 

What did you learn? Was it an inspirational experience? 

The most important thing I learned is that the world will not end if I take time for myself.  I learned that art is very important to me, as I had time to visit the Picasso Museum and La  Sagrada Familia. Although I'm used to journalling and self-help, I felt very cared for and guided by Daria, who genuinely wants us to be the best we can be.  She is inspirational.  I drew strength from the belief she had in us.  It was a very nurturing weekend which pushed us to love ourselves more and try new things.  Thanks Daria ❤ 

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Why yoga retreats are so god damn amazing

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Why yoga retreats are so god damn amazing

Does this ring a bell: 'I’ve been exhausted lately’, 'I’ve been just hanging in there riding the avalanche of my to-do list, running from one place to another and feeling constantly behind in a state of near overwhelm’? 

Then you say ‘no, I can not take time off’ and finally... ‘I will be fine’. 

You probably will be fine as each of you is strong and limitless in your actions. However, sometimes you just need a little help and encouragement to move past the annoying little slumps and simply recharge.

What if I told you that you actually CAN take time off. That your job is still going to be there when you come back. That your parents can take the kids for the weekend. That you have just spent £££ on sales, even more on make up, coffees and you purchased items not experiences or real rest.

So, in a moment of deep realisation you go ahead and book yourself into a yoga retreat...

Holy healthiness, peace and serenity here you come! Doesn’t this feel amazing?

Then you arrived to Barcelona and it’s warm and bright! Actual sunshine not just permanent gayness. Then you see our beautiful accommodation - specious, bright and full of natural warmth. Suddeny, everything feels so much lighter. Your body feels lighter.

You are greeted with a big bowl of yummy amazingness followed buy a restorative yoga making all the aches and pains go away! You go to bed with a happy belly and excited for the weekend ahead.

This is just the start. The next day you wake up naturally to a bright Spanish light, the smell of coffee and yoga! Yes morning yoga is not such a bad thing. It wakes you up slowly, and gets you moving in a way you have never thought is possible. Then you eat more yumminess and go exploring the city! And you know the day is going to be amazing as there is nothing better than more food, yoga, relaxation and a fun group of like-minded people. 

Finally, when you almost don’t remember any of the stress or tiredness that was present everyday for the past million years - you realise that the best is still to come - the Ancient Thermal Baths experience!

Oh my goodness, is it even possible to feel so relaxed? Yeah it really is! At the heart of Barcelona, there is a place where time does not exist. An old warehouse built at the end of the XVII century, turned into a temple to disconnect your mind and body from the surrounding reality. This is a space full of magic in which history and water provide you with a unique total relaxation experience.  A journey through sensations, by candlelight, smell of herbs and water, that consists of a tour at your own pace through the different baths at different temperatures.

C’mon! This could not get any better! So, get ready to start an unforgettable journey.

And this is why yoga retreats are so God damn amazing!

I, personally, always feel so filled-up, loved-up and restored afterwards. It doesn’t take that much to slowly shift back into feeling whole and good again but we rarely give ourselves the time and space to do it. 

Retreats are ALL about giving back to yourself. They’re all about honoring your needs and desires and creating the space where you can achieve that. 

Our retreat runs between 9-12 February and we have one more twin room and a single room left. Join us!

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Cool things about Prague

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Cool things about Prague

Prague is a gorgeous city. It is so well preserved and renovated after the wars, with a rich history, expansive parks, Vegas-style nightlife, and even a hint of romance. It really does remind me a little bit of Paris or Venice with the mesmerising river and cute little pubs. I used to come to Prague often when I was much younger but haven’t been here for over 12 years and a lot has changed. There are way more tourists, prices are higher, the food is more international, everybody can speak English, and more foreigners live in the city. But the city’s core - cobblestone streets, quaint medieval houses, incredible charm that make Prague — is still there.

We spend 3 days here and it was good amount of time to explore the city. Our friends were Czech, which made it easier and wonderful but you can do all of this alone too as the city is really safe and easy to discover and explore.

Don’t be afraid to stay a little bit outside the main city centre as the trams and metro are really easy to use and Uber is affordable although apparently illegal in Czech Republic. I wouldn’t use it in rush hour as you will get stuck like everybody else and you will quickly realise that it was much better to just walk (talking from experience, we were once late over 30 minutes). 

Yoga

As a yogi who loves to try classes in different languages I dragged my tired legs to one of the classes available at Dům jógy Anděl which was lovely. Great little studio with lots of classes, even Aerial Yoga and really friendly staff. Loved the tea they make for everyone. Who doesn’t like a nice cup of tea??? 

You can also do Yoga during summer for free! There are free yoga lessons at Letna park, the meet-up is at Sparta tram stop, every Thursday at 7 PM, then there’s 50 CZK (2 euros) Yoga on Tuesday, same place & time. It’s a beginner’s yoga in Czech but it’s not so hard to follow others. They speak really fast though, I normally can understand Czech if they speak slowly as Polish is similar but even I was struggling:) it was great fun though!

Ice-creams

Summers in Prague can be excruciatingly hot. Especially in the past few years, as Czechia (they are now using the new abbreviated name for the Czech Republic, although all Czechs I have met absolutely hate it) has been getting more tropical weather from the South. As temperatures reach 30C, the cobblestoned streets heat up, and air-conditioning is hard to find in the Unesco-protected historical centre. So be careful and eat Ice-creams(which are delish…)

Random info that I have discovered: Trdelnik 

This is pretty random piece of information, but somebody must write about it. Trdelnik aka chimney, the donut-like pastry baked on metal rolls is literally everywhere! You can buy it in every shop and cafe or stall in the city centre. It may also be the most Instagrammed thing from Prague. All those stands with the “traditional Bohemian” pastry weren’t here some years ago when I used to come here with my family. Apparently trdelnik is the essence of a tourist trap in Prague. (And it's NOT a donut, people!). It is a great piece of street food tho: the caramelised sugar and cinnamon smells amazing and very tempting and the rotating movement practically spins money out of your wallet. It’s not as great as you think and from what I have heard it’s not even an old recipe! 

Beer! (now that’s a better topic)

Naplavka is the Prague’s best and newest hipster hangout. I don’t remember if it was there when I was younger but even if it was my parents wouldn’t probably take me with them. 

Prague has an endless amount of beer gardens and parks. While there are often long, never-solved debates as to which of Prague’s famous beer gardens is the best place to beat the heat or enjoy a nice autumn day, Naplavka, has emerged as something just a bit different and my absolute favourite.

Naplavka is a stretch of pavement next to the banks of the Vltava, under the Jiráskův bridge. In the colder months it doesn’t even exist as the boats hide away, but it is in the summer when its warm this place truly comes alive. Bordered by boats and modest riverfront restaurants, during summer evenings Naplavka transforms from a boring stretch of riverbank into one of the liveliest and nicest social pace in Prague. You can sample a variety of local beers and listen to different kind of live music. If you are feeling a bit peckish, Naplavka will not disappoint. The culinary choices are dizzying and you can either grab a meal from a nearby food truck or even a passing grill boat, or cash out on a restaurant (on a boat of course). We opted for burgers and my vegetarian burger was mouth-watering!

Beer cosmetics

This probably should be in the ‘random information’ section but Czechs love their beer so much that they even have beer cosmetics which will moisturize your skin and soften your hair. Beer cosmetics by Manufaktura with high content of beer, vitamins B and glycerine is suitable for everyday use.

What to see in Prague is coming soon...

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Must see in Warsaw

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Must see in Warsaw

Walk around the old Town Market Square and definitely go to see the Royal Castle

The Old Town market square dates back to the 13th century where it used to be the centre of Warsaw’s public life, hosting political speeches and executions. The buildings around it were wooden at the time, but what we can see nowadays dates back the 15th century, although it was almost completely destroyed during the two World Wars and rebuild afterwards. Today the market square offers a wide range of good restaurants and cocktail bars as well as street art and souvenirs. Once on the market square, you can also visit the Literature Museum and the Historical Museum of Warsaw. Warsaw’s Royal Castle, was reconstructed in the 1980s after World War II bombing. It used to serve as the residence of the royalty between the 16th and 18th centuries, and since the last century it has been functioning as a gallery.

One you are there you MUST try pierogi (Polish dumplings) and the Polish beer. Just be careful, the beer is strong :)

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Located on the former site of the Warsaw Ghetto in the Muranów district, the museum celebrates the history and heritage of the Jewish community in Poland. Designed by Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamäki, the modern glass, copper and concrete building houses a 43,000 sq ft permanent exhibition space with multimedia displays including reconstructed parts of historical Jewish synagogues, an interactive 3D model of Kracow and its Jewish neighbourhood of Kazimierz and a Holocaust gallery. There is also a kosher restaurant and café on-site.

Warsaw Rising Museum

The museum commemorates the 1944 Warsaw Uprising (in which over 150,000 civilians were killed). A multi-level interactive exhibition features everything from photographs, recordings and videos revealing everyday life before, during and after the uprising, and a replica of the Liberator B-24J bomber used by the Allies for relief flights. There is also a recreation of basement sewer tunnels used by the resistance to move around the city. You can watch a 3D movie of Warsaw destroyed by the uprising, and visit an observation tower at the top of the building with panoramic views of the city. It's one of the most eye opening, horrifying and incredible experiences of your life.

Royal Łazienki Park

Warsaw encompasses over 20,000 hectares of parks and other green areas. Some of them are uniquely historical, offering an insight into Poland’s monarchical past and its rich Baroque architecture, whilst others are dedicated to creating an opportunity to relax by hiking, bike riding, roller-skating or even skiing. If you want to get to know Warsaw away from the busy urban life and skyscrapers, visit the parks!

The Royal Lazienki Park is the biggest and most beautiful park in the city, and one that bears the most significance and is so diverse. It was designed in the 17th century in the Baroque style and is home to a number of palaces (such as the Palace on the water), an amphitheater, and several orangeries. If you are visiting Warsaw in the summer, you may want to stop by to participate in the free-entrance Chopin music concert cycle entitled ‘Chopin’s concerts’. Also, each Saturday morning the park hosts free yoga and meditation classes.

Palace of Culture and Science

No building in Warsaw produces such divided opinions as the Palace of Culture and Science. Given as a ‘gift’ to the Polish capital by Stalin, the Palace was intended to be a building ‘for the people,’ but was despised by many Poles as the most ostentatious symbol of Russian ruling. As the tallest building in Warsaw, it dominated the city’s skyline for decades, and nowadays provides a striking visual comparison between historical and modern Poland – sitting in between increasing numbers of sleek, silver skyscrapers. Containing theaters, conference rooms and Warsaw’s highest viewing platform, the Palace provides visitors with a unique chance to experience Stalin’s visualizations of the city.

If you are visiting the Palace then you must go to the top to see the city panorama.

Vistula River Bank

In recent years the river bank has become the heart of Warsaw’s summer nightlife, attracting crowds of tourists and locals. During the day it’s a perfect spot for cycling, skateboarding and simply relaxing on the grass by the water. The adjacent district of Powiśle on the left side of the river is also worth exploring, as it offers many great restaurants, bars and shops.

Multimedia Fountain Park

The park has been a popular sight for visitors and locals since its opening several years ago. The display comes to life throughout the summer months, providing a cooling, open space to sit during the daytime. Summer evenings are when the display comes into its prime, the fountains are lit up in an enticing display of colors and lights for an audience that comes from across the city to watch. To check times please visit their webpage. Sadly there is no English version but you can figure it out (or use google translate :) The best ones are on Friday and Saturday at 9.30pm. If you click on 'Lokalizacja' you will see where it's being held. 

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summer yoga retreat - connect to your strength

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summer yoga retreat - connect to your strength

Yoga retreats are truly magical and each offers unique experience. You can’t compare them to normal holidays or gateways. The first retreat I’ve ever attended was a decade ago when I thought I may as well go as the price was just the same as going for a long weekend and having to eat out every day and stay at impersonal, soulless hotels. I couldn’t have been more wrong about what a yoga retreat is about though. In my head I assumed it will be a wee bit creepy, way too much yoga (I was a complete beginner back then), I will never cope and people will make me sit in lotus and meditate for hours without food. I will feel alone, won’t know anyone and no-one will even speak to me as I can’t rock a wheel, handstand and the most mortifying: my heels don’t touch the ground in a down facing dog. Clearly, I was a little bit dramatic back then.
 
First of all, you don´t have to be a superstar yogi to go on a yoga retreat. The feeling that you´re not advanced enough, not flexible enough, not skinny enough to go on a yoga retreat is a common theme that often prevents people from signing up or even coming to a yoga class in the first place. It’s that type of negative and destructive self-talk we do every day that yoga or yoga retreats try to challenge. 
 
From the moment you step into your yoga retreat house you feel welcomed, you feel important like everyone has been waiting just for you. Even though there are 10 other participants, you know that you matter. Every day you wake up before the alarm as your mind can finally relax and slow down and waking up isn’t a major challenge. Yes, you do yoga, but this type of yoga is completely different to the one you experience at your yoga studio. You can do more, you are stronger, and you are more tuned to what feels right and what doesn’t. In fact anyone can harvest the benefits of practicing yoga everyday in the most perfect environment - you just can´t go wrong with that – nature, sunshine, delicious healthy food, being away from the stresses and strains of modern life. Of course it all seems to be easier! You finally don’t judge yourself for not being able to touch your toes. You are just happy where you’re at now.
 
The small group classes on retreats offer a personalised approach to yoga, where everyone´s individual needs can be taken into account, making it a truly holistic experience. When you lie in savasana (your final relaxation or sleep time as my students call it) you know you have done something absolutely amazing, you feel proud of all the incredible things you can do and adventurous about everything you are still to conquer. Sometimes you can feel your own heartbeat and that makes your entire nervous system shiver, it feels just amazing!
 
Through the day you eat delicious food, connect with other like-minded people who may be there for similar reasons. All of a sudden you realize that people are more connected than you think, they may carry similar baggage or experiences and the bond you create may sometimes last way beyond the retreat itself. Yoga retreats offer a unique opportunity to find that connection with yourself that everybody talks about these days. It all happens in a special way, and creeps up on you unexpected. Sometimes it's in that heart beating savansana moment or quite often after you are back at home when you realize you breathe more and you don’t get as anxious as before. You connect with other people while sharing mealtimes, adventures and creating a sense of community that may be missing in our busy city lives.  
 
Each retreat is carefully designed, from finding the most convenient location to food you are consuming. You can always expect being able to do things that nourish your mind and the body like long baths or quiet ‘me time’, or loud and cheery wine testing. These days you can travel anywhere in the world, sink into faraway lands? and swear you will never get as stresses out as before. Three months later, you can barely remember where you went. When you take a trip that involves working on you as a person, listening to your own body’s needs and routines rather than stuffing yourself with food you don’t really need, activities that don’t help you relax, abusing alcohol, you then realize what I mean when I say 'magical experience'. That’s when you see that things start to shift. You don’t come back and feel more tired than before your holiday. You come back with tools, techniques or routines that you are more likely to continue to apply at home. Those techniques preserve that shift and help you tap into that state of relaxation and strength during your life back at home. You suddenly remember every day of the yoga retreat you attended and you love it.
 
My summer yoga retreat in Poland is based at the heart of the Warmia, the most peaceful and stunning part of Poland. It reminds me a little bit of the Lake District in England but it is more sunny. We are staying at Kwaśne Jabłko (that translates as 'sour apple’:) which is a stunning farmhouse. Those who came to my Highland retreat know I really like the ‘rustic’ look where you feel at home from the moment you enter the house and you aren’t afraid to touch anything in fear of breaking it. It's got a very modern twist, which makes it feel bright and inspiring. The house is surrounded by apple trees, fields and a wee lake. You can rest under an apple tree in a hammock or set yourself for a wee adventure to discover the beauty of the local area. 
 
They even produce their own cider, which we are going to try on one of the evenings! Interestingly, in May 2015 their products were even very 'highly recommended' by the jury of the British Cider Championship.
 
It is the most perfect place to relax, let go of fear, remove blocks that you've been building through your life and connect to your strength. This connection will be the main theme of the retreat. So, don't wait.
 
You will get yoga every day (and yes, if you want to sleep in it’s fine to do so!). We will organize shared transport from and to Warsaw airport, which makes it so much easier. We will use essential oils to enhance your yoga practice, luxurious shared accommodation will also be offered. You will try fabulous, home cooked food. This includes homemade bread in the mornings! We have a Spa Day where we are going to soak our bodies and souls in warm outdoor baths. There are bikes there that you can use if you want to explore the local area. Finally, we are also going to indulge ourselves in an evening with their homemade cider.
 
Since my first yoga retreat, I have had a few ‘normal’ holidays, weather it was surfing, or volunteering or just travelling across a part of the world I have never seen. But to me nothing matches the experience that a yoga retreat can give you.

To book visit the retreat section of this website.

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