As some of you may know, if you’ve been following our journey on instagram, this past weekend saw me and the boy head off on our travels to a weekend retreat (held by Hope Bastine of Fresh Perception) ready to relax, reset and practice living in a much more mindful way. This is something that we always try to focus on but honestly speaking, life in London can be a bit like being on a runaway train, there doesn’t ever feel like there’s a chance for you to get off and so often, your safest bet is to just buckle up and ride it out… The danger in this scenario is that days and weeks can pass without you feeling like you’re really doing anything at all for yourself and it can leave you, quite frankly, frazzled and out of touch with what’s important in life.

AKA  ‘the grind’.

So, early Friday morning we packed up the car (Griswold style – minus Nana strapped to the roof!) and set off on the 5+ hour journey back up North (see our tips for a successful road trip here). We were both nervous about the weather (I mean, it is the Lake District after all!) and kept watchful eyes on the changing clouds, trying to guess which way they were blowing… Thankfully we arrived in Millom slightly late but welcomed by a gorgeous day and bright skies overhead. We were also welcomed by Hope and the rest of the gang with delicious nibbles and glass of something bubbly, we then settled into our stunning room before enjoying 90 minutes of gentle hot yoga, stretching and meditation… just what our road weary selves needed!

Post yoga we tucked into a delicious, healthy 3 course dinner… Aside from the welcome snacks (pictured above) menu was meat, dairy and gluten free but we did enjoy fish both nights, a nice compromise for those that can’t imagine being vegetarian but want to give their digestive systems a bit of a break from meat. I must admit, we both pulled a bit of a face when we realised there was no milk for our morning coffees but I actually got quite used to drinking it black. I really wish I liked almond milk in coffee but sadly I find it watery and yack! After dinner we relaxed in the hot tub with a glass of wine looking out at the awesome view. It was a bit overcast but I imagine it would make the perfect star gazing spot, perfect for that romantic moment, if you go with your special someone!

The next morning it was up bright and early, to enjoy a super healthy smoothie (and coffee, of course!) to get us ready for the busy day ahead! On the agenda? 90 minutes of hot, power yoga followed by breakfast, followed by a hike up Black Combe mountain, followed by dinner, followed by a gentle yoga and meditation session held in candle light aimed at loosening us up and getting us ready for bed. This was amazing and we all wandered back to our beds in a pretty blissed out state, after we treated ourselves to a little slice of celebratory raw cheesecake (it’s all about balance, right?!). Whilst the nighttime yoga was the element of the weekend that resulted in Dan feeling the biggest, positive energy shift, the hike was definitely the catalyst for me… It wasn’t crazy challenging but I still felt like I had worked and honestly felt much happier and lighter by the time we reached the cottage. It was also pretty cool to have the doggles with us! They handled the hike like absolute champs especially after we calculated that they must have taken near to 75,000 steps! A lot of them uphill!

The final day of the retreat saw us sleeping in a little longer than usual before enjoying our final yoga session of the trip, perfect to stretch us out after Saturdays hiking antics! After that and breakfast Dan and I took the opportunity to sneak off and take ourselves and the dogs to the beach, I’m so glad we did as it was absolutely gorgeous, we really lucked out with the weather! Then it was back to High Lowscales for final treat of the weekend… an amazing 30 minute massage, seriously amazing! It’s included in the price of the retreat but if you go ahead and book a spot on one of the upcoming retreats, my advice would be to ask Hope if you can book a full hour or even 90 minutes and pay the extra, so, SO worth it! I’m quite critical when it comes to massages but had I known how good they were going to be, I would have booked longer for sure! I would also recommend staying the Sunday night and leaving at your leisure mid afternoon on Monday. We both had to be back in London due to work commitments but that extra night and then a day to go off wandering on our own in the sunshine would have been the perfect way to end a brilliant trip.

The upcoming retreats are booked in on the following dates;

  • 11th – 13th December 2015 – Weekend
  • 22nd – 24th April 2016 – Weekend
  • 22nd – 27th July 2016 – Inclusive week
  • 23rd – 25th September 2016 – Weekend

(You can book a spot on the website, which I have linked to at the top of the post.)

So that’s it, in a condensed version but yet in a slightly longer post than you’re used to finding here on B R E A K T H E L O O P (If you’re still here, congrats and thanks for sticking with it! Ha!). Dan will reflect upon the trip from his point of view very soon so keep your eyes peeled if you would like a slightly more male perspective on the Fresh Perception mindfulness retreat!

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