Tag Archives: retreat

August Al’s Adventures….

Hey! How are you all?! Sorry it’s been a while since I wrote, but things have been crazy!

You may remember from Aprils Al’s Adventures that I had started a new full time job, started a Cafe venture, Toast Herne Bay, and the Holiday let was finally ready to launch! Well, that’s why I’ve not had a moment to think clearly let alone write. But for the first time in 4 months, I have a few hours of no paperwork, cleaning, shopping or chores to do. Well, not for a few hours at least!

So where to begin? Let’s start with the new job.

As you know I was thoroughly fed up of Insurance. It’s going through quite a rough patch and it will only get worse for a few more months yet. I’m starting to see friends leave – either being made redundant, or just walking away. Some of those I’ve known 20 years, it’s not easy to watch. Times are changing – some bits for the better, some not. However despite that I have found an amazing role where I’ve learnt more in the last 4 months than I have in the last 4 years. It’s totally outside of my comfort zone, but surrounded by some of the best in the business it’s such fun. Everyday is a school day for sure! It’s great to flip things on their head and see life upside down sometimes – exactly what this role has given me. Next. Level. Business.

Next – Al’s Beach retreat. It’s finally finished and guest are staying! Thanks to my friends who stayed when there wasn’t any curtains or internet – deffo a discount next time! It’s going well, I have had some wonderful reviews already from guests far and wide, that’s the wonder of travel I guess – I’ve had guests from Bogata, Belgium, Germany & France – all in my first two months! Everyone has been so kind. It’s a wonderful experience to bring such a project together, and see the results. To me it’s like having a baby, it took 9 months to create! As you can see from Instagram (alsbeachretreat) it’s changed a bit. With new windows, electrics, heating, and walls removed – it certainly wasn’t easy. Thanks to all the tradesmen who helped – and tolerated the snow, cold & my stubbornness! Life hack – make sure all workmen have enough tea, coffee & biccies. Your welcome.

Next stage is to build a website (no idea) and get it advertised. It’s on fb and Instagram as Als Beach Retreat and Air B&B here:

Woop woop!

Last, but certainly not least Toast Cafe. The new and second baby of the family. Slowly growing up, making friends and discovering new things everyday. I couldn’t have begun to understand the sheer learning cliff. From setting up a Company, to writing staff contracts, payroll, tax and VAT returns, to rotas, design, promotion and events – in 4 months we have done it all. Sleepless nights, tears and joy – I’ve never experienced anything so rewarding. I don’t have any children of my own (lots of godchildren and friends gorgeous ones to spoil) but I now habe 2 baby businesses!

I absolutely adore this business and all the people in it. From the moment my biz partner Sherry & I were introduced I knew we would work well together. We couldn’t have begun to imagine what we have achieved but we have had such a lot of fun doing this and we could not be prouder. In a short 4 months we have Team Toast, and our passion has spilled into all of them, leading to PROFIT already, 3 months ahead of plan.

So I need to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us, helped is build this, visited us or liked any of our social media. You all lead to us succeeding. Every single one of you – THANKS.

Hopefully now some of you will understand why I may have not been in touch, or been a little silent. In between bulding Al’s Adventures Ltd I’m trying to stay healthy, sane & loving my seaside life when I can. Everyone here has been so bloody lovely I couldn’t feel more loved across all my amazing friends – wherever you are. The best news for me is not a single panic attack this year. Maybe some anxious moments, but no days lost to panic or anxiety. That is huge. So yay me!

I am amazed at what has happened this year and I truly am thankful. They say things happen for a reason – my 2 angels are working their magic at last. Truly blessed for once. To be honest it’s about time!

Right – enough from me for today. I’ve got a plan to write…

Lots of love

Al xxx

Jamaica? Nah, she went on her own….

Sorry, couldn’t resist it.

This year for my January lay down after the end of year chaos of my world,  I chose Jamaica. Why? Half of Europe were under snow, Asia seemed 3 hours too far for a week, and basically I love the Caribean!

I was given a tip off through Instagram  by the wonderful Clara Amfo – Radio 1’s finest. Clara had been there recently and her pictures were beautiful- and just what I was looking for. A laid back, relaxed, not fussy place to hide for a week and recharge. No one bothering me – except to feed me & teach me some yoga a couple of times a day.

I landed after a fabulous day flight with British Airways – yes I am loyal. They are in my opinion are still the best airline and take care of me whilst travelling, important when you spend as much time on planes as I do! Job done. Already chilled out, and raring to relax.

Now, here is my one complaint about Jamaica – sort out your roads! From a chilled flight to a two and a half hour drive across the bumpiest and dangerous roads. Relaxed out of the window – quite literally!

Finally, I arrived at my destination – tired, semi whiplashed and just wanting to sleep amongst beautiful scenery and peace (unlike the drive) here to Go Natural.

Go Natural Jamaica is just that. Natural. No frills, all ethical and truly beautiful. I didn’t realise how beautiful until the next morning when I stepped spend of my 10 hour coma (that never happens at home) and saw this….

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Now for the kinda weird bit. Well it was for me. We naturally started the day with yoga (perfect and one of the main reasons I am here for) but prior to that – Oil Pulling. No, not in that way you cheeky lot and nothing to do with Oil so to say (given what my day job entails working with Oil Companies, I was slightly freaked out), this is the Ayurveda principal for good oral hygiene and dental care which involves putting a tablespoon of oil (coconut in this case) into my mouth and swilling it around for a minimum of 5 minutes. Now, for those of you who know me and have had the pleasure of my Company first thing in the morning, I’m not exactly cheery or up for a challenge – especially putting oil i my mouth first thing – always tea in my world.   However, I persevered and gave it a go. I won’t lie, like most things the first time was not a pretty sight or one I wish to remember, & followed by tongue scraping with a bit of copper I did wonder what I was doing here. Had I finally gone insane!  Sometimes you need to push those boundaries, and after an hour and a half of yoga and a wonderful brekkie of the most amazing selection (DIY Granola in this case) I calmed down a bit and cancelled my flight home the next day! (only joking).

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The days progressed with beach visits (blue skies and white beaches), waterfall trips (quite scary – take waterproof shoes & pray) all very relaxed and easy. No airs and graces, a little rough around the edges, but I felt so welcome by all the peeps I met who are so wonderfully chilled and friendly, and with these surroundings, who can blame them.

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The yoga was great for me, lots of new versions that I can take home with me and try to do outside of my usual classes at home (thanks Lisa!) and some of it literally either made me elated, chilled or wanting to cry (letting go apparently). But all of it made me feel good. Every night I slept at least 9 hours, and as each day progressed I felt a LITTLE cheerier in the morning. Baby steps.  And with these views by sunset, who could resist.

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I learnt a lot about food too. Now, as a 40 year old food lover I thought I was an expert, but I learnt how to eat. Finally my Mum would say. Food combining makes sense – protein and carbs separately and fruit on its own basically! And the results show. The practicality is a little different without a full time chef on hand, but I am trying to adopt it as much as I can.

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Some of the lessons on natural cosmetics passed me by to be honest, I’m sure they work but not for me. I’m happy to buy them. Sorry!

I can highly recommend Go Natural for a chilled time.  It is down to earth, friendly and simple, in the most wonderful surroundings (mainly viewed from this hammock)…..

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Jamaica still has its challenges and where I stayed at Go Natural was not in a tourist area, but was perfectly safe and extremely welcoming. There is plenty to see, across the island and the locals are more than happy to take you along for the ride.

So my advice – bite the bullet and go, push your boundaries and mind – Oil pulling not required.

See you all soon

Al xx

Oh my…. Oman 

So,the time had come. Work was done, and my driver had collected me from my office in Dubai to drive me across the border to Oman, destination – The 5 star, and stunning Six Senses resort in Zighy Bay. Now, as a bit of background, I had booked this only 8 days before I arrived, desperate for some me time, I was well and truly on empty. My body looks the worst it has in years, and my brain can’t take anymore pressure. The valve needed releasing to say the least. 

When we crossed the border (only 1 hour and 45 million minutes from my office) it was dark. So climbing the mountain and going down into the resort was a little scary but no worries from my driver who took it all in his stride (despite me gasping for breath and worrying).  

As we pulled up to reception my arrival team awaited. Literally. I was whisked into reception, seated, given a hot towel, a date and mango smoothie (delicious) and the warmest of welcomes. I was escorted to my Villa (yes Villa for 1) by my Guest Experience Manager (GEM) who was utterly charming and friendly. He explained all the stuff I got included, along with his services 24 hours a day. Wow. 

The Villas are beautiful. Spacious, but large features! Large bed (I slept diagonally most nights) a bath to get lost in (or have a party in 😉), separate indoor and outdoor showers, living area with a full tea/coffee/fridge/wine cooler fully stocked arrangement. You also have a stunning pool with water as warm as a bath, sitting area, sun beds and a mini shack for seating in – a Bedouin area. All lit in the warmest and comforting way. 

  

I flopped into bed after a lovely dinner in the restaurant accompanied by a cracking Chenin blanc (organic so good for you) and slept like a baby for 12 hours. I woke to the sun streaming through my window, and with the biggest smile on my face. 

I strolled up to breakfast, and was stunned at the high quality and variety of food on offer. Juices, smoothies, any combo you wish. Fresh fruit, breads, fruits, nuts, sugar free jams, wow. Heaven indeed. I sat out on the balcony scoffing my vast choices for a good hour, with the most wonderful attentive staff who throughout my whole trip knew when to serve, clear or ask if all was ok, without being over the top or ignorant. Now that’s quite a skill, especially when I travel alone, some people find it necessary to practically sit with you out of pity (note to waiters – I’m cool on my own I choose to be!), or ignore you pretty much as I should be grateful for any service only spending money on one meal! Not here. I’ve never been anywhere that gets it spot on, thank you! 

  

The day continued with a trip to the private beach, where I was refilled with ice cold water every half hour, and refreshed with fruit kebabs at regular intervals. And what a beautiful beach it is, white sands and turquoise seas, it truly is stunning. With plenty of activities on hand (paddle boarding, boat trips, or,for the more adventurous of you paragliding! Too scared for that personally, but it looked fab!

  
Now, the point of me being here was to relax the body and mind, but to restart my health campaign. Work has kinda got in the way over the last year, and I am sooo unfit and flabby. Here no one knows me, so I can get to the beetroot face/cowboy walk stage without fear of ridicule! The spa here has a gym area, with all the kit you need. I decided to have a little workout on ,y first day, them get my free Personal Training sesh the day after forgetting how unfit I was……

After my workout (beetroot face from sweating and sun) I decided to use the outdoor shower. How liberating! And refreshing. Showers will never be the same again post gym. My reward – a fab dinner from a stunning buffet of local foods, BBQ seafood, salads and sides to die for. Food coma onset, I retreated for another nights sleep setting my alarm for a 6.30 AM start, in order to join the 7am yoga. Now, if you know me I am NOT a morning person, but I do love my yoga so the early start seemed worth it. It certainly was, not just for the yoga but the stunning sunrise observed from my villa sipping a coffee. It actually brought tears to my eyes, and that doesn’t happen often. And here is why. 

   
 
Inspired and Gym kit on, off I trotted for my personal training session. Trotted is the word as I was hurting a lot from my,first session on my own yesterday, as if I needed any obstacles! But my trainer Daniel got it spot on. The exercises were challenging, but didn’t make me want to throw up or faint (past horrific trainer experiences). An hour flew by, with me triumphantly finishing feeling energised and very happy. That post gym feeling I’d forgotten about. Happy, tired Al.

Every day after I had a training session with Daniel, and it was worth every penny. Thank you Daniel for getting me back on track and making me laugh all at the same time (quite an achievement I am a grumpy gym bunny normally). 

Each day I had the pleasure of a Spa treatment, mostly stunningly relaxant restorative. I did opt for one session that didn’t work for me. I do not like it when I don’t know what is going to be done, so the special guest for that week didn’t do it for me. Holistic doesn’t work in my world, so don’t not tell me what you are going to do, don’t flick things on me, and then just leave the room when the treatment is over without some kind of indication the session has ended! I’m being picky, but it did not sit well with me, and I didn’t think it was worth the money. However, my deep,tissue massage and reflexology done by the Spas regular therapist was the best i have ever had. 

  

The daily routine continued- Sunrise, Gym, outdoor shower, breakfast for a good leisurely hour, beach, pool, spa, dinner, sleep. For 4 whole days. That doesn’t sound like long but it was the most restorative and invigorating 4 days I have ever had the pleasure of. 
Soon enough it was time to leave. I didn’t want to. I’d experienced such serenity and a sense of wellbeing eye, whilst being made to feel like a Princess. I know that’s what I paid for, but on many of my trips that is not how it feels! So with a heavy heart, but a reinvigorated one, I was whisked back up the mountain and out of the resort back to Dubai Airport in under 2 hours. That two hours gave me time to make myself some promises. Work less, exercise more. Eat well, laugh more. Be adventurous. Smile more. Breathe deeply. Wake up earlier. Live life how I want to, not how I think I should to please others. So thank you Six Sense Zighy Bay. You’ve rebuilt Al, and I won’t forget you anytime soon. 

  

#alsadventures #sixsenses #zighybay #spa #fitness