"A day without laughter is a day wasted" Charlie Chaplin

We have just said goodbye to our gorgeous guests and I was truly sorry to see them go after a week of health, fitness, nutrition and most importantly huge amounts of laughter. On more than one occasion I heard someone say that they haven’t laughed like this for years! Laughter really is the best medicine. I was really excited and more than a little apprehensive the morning of their arrival. Waiting at the airport one by one each of our guests came through baggage collection looking tired from a super early start, slightly frazzled and ready for some rest and rejuvenation. Some had never been on retreat before and were understandably nervous about spending five days with complete strangers, others were regular retreat goers but still unsure about what to expect. Each guest had their own agenda for what they wanted to achieve during their time with us be it weight loss, increased fitness, a greater knowledge of healthy eating or simply rest, relaxation and time out.

Our wonderful guests

Two weeks prior to arrival we send out a health questionnaire to each guest so we can understand what their individual goals are, we then have a pre-retreat meeting with our chef, Pilates instructor, masseuse, fitness instructor and anyone else our guests are with during the five days to ensure we deliver a bespoke programme for each of them so they can fully support them in meeting their individual goal during their stay with us.

I was nervous about the weather as it was showing rain rain rain all week - eeeeek how would the daily walks work? Would they be disappointed that it was so wet? I needn’t have worried. The energy and magic in the house surpassed anything I could have hoped for and after a delicious lunch on arrival, an optional 60 minutes exercise class and a massage for each guest in their rooms our guests then got to know each other better over a three-course candlelit supper. After supper we explained the daily plan and let them know we would be waking them up with a gentle knock and hot drink at 6.30am for Pilates. They all shot off to bed where we had placed a Yuyu hot water bottle for each to snuggle up to. My goodness if you haven’t had a Yuyu hot water bottle you haven’t lived. We have an exclusive 15% discount code for those who want to order - drop us an email if you’d like us to send it to you. The following day went like a dream.... all the guests adored their hot water bottles and said the last time they had one was when they were kids. They loved them. The day continued with a yummy breakfast of poached eggs, avocado served on locally produced gluten-free bread loaded with probiotics. Plates were left empty and we set off for a gorgeous 10k walk. Back for green lemonade packed with green apples, celery, kale, lemon and ginger - taste bud tingling! Time to put their feet up in front of the fire followed by a two-course lunch. An optional exercise class at 3.15pm then a massage, Epsom salt bath, candlelit three-course dinner and early nights all round.

The week could not have gone any better. Seeing our guests day by day truly truly relax more and more was such a joy. Their shoulders were no longer lifted, their faces were starting to glow, their eyes were clear and bright and each stated that they felt more energy than they had for years. This was my dream and we were delivering it - the feeling then and still with me now is indescribable. On the last day everyone wanted to go and buy some of the artisanal bread they’d tried so we took them to the boulangerie. Run by a husband and wife team she is the most glamorous lady around! In fact, when she started the boulangerie last year word has it that never have the men been so keen to do the daily baguette run! One of our guests took this picture below - think Hotel Chocolat!

On the way back to the airport the minibus was full of unabridged hilarity - we all had tears of laughter streaming down our faces as we re-lived some of the hysterical moments we’d had during the week. We started a WhatsApp group and true friendships have been formed. I miss everyone already.

Not everyone wanted weight loss and not everyone wanted to be weighed - some people loathe being defined by a number, so we let everyone decide whether they wanted to weigh themselves. Scales are provided on day one and then again on the last day. Two guests chose to weigh themselves. One lost 7lbs and the other 5lbs! Phenomenal! The rest were very happy in their roomy jeans!

Carolyn and I are dying to do the next Pure Vitality - Feb 28th! Personally, I could not have asked for more and I know that I have found my ‘thing’. I cannot put into words how rewarding the whole experience was for me. Yes - hard work but pure fulfilment through and through. Happy, happy days!

#PureRejuvenation #MarieClaire

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