We know, we know… It’s not quite Pancake Day yet, and here we are, posting ideas for an Easter retreat.
But then that’s how we’re wired over here at Neal’s Yard Holidays. Always looking ahead for the next bank holiday and the next chance to get away. And we figured we’re not that different from anyone else, so if we’re thinking about going on an Easter retreat then you might be too. (By the way, now that we mentioned it, we’re thinking about pancakes too. We’ve started scouting out wholesome Shrove Tuesday grub – check out this great little recipe for lovely oaty pancakes. You’re welcome!).
More to the point, Easter weekend is right at the start of April this year (3–6 April), so planning your Easter retreat early is a good idea. Get your booking in now and make the most of those bank holidays. Also, it might just help to bring you some much-needed zen for when you see these novelty Easter eggs in the shops next month.
Red roses, heart-shaped chocolate boxes, expensive dining, mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards…
You get the picture. One of the most commercialised holidays of the year is just around the corner. Right about now you might be thinking about how best to shield yourself from the usual Valentine’s Day paraphernalia. Regardless of whether you are your own Valentine or there is a significant other in your life.
So we thought we’d help you reclaim February 14 and make the holiday your own. We’ve selected for you some of our favourite wellbeing getaways this Valentine’s Day. More than just an escape, they are sure to help you rediscover romance and time just for you.
Thanksgiving and feeling deep gratefulness are two different things.
Are you convalescing after a festive period full of family visits, indulgence and unwrapping of presents? If yes, chances are you will have spent a great deal of your time saying things like ‘Thank you’. Or ‘Ta’. Or ‘Thanks, Auntie Jane, I feel very much like a stuffed turkey myself.’
Giving thanks is a common social convention. We are often truly thankful for the tangible presents we get at specific times of year. Even if we have learned to expect and to deserve them.
But, now the festivities have passed, what of other, unearned gifts? Moments of beauty, like a falling flower petal. The chance glimpse of a shooting star. The freedom of riding a bike. All of them have the power to lift us with their unconditional, unexpected nature.
It’s our gratefulness for these that generates a wave of happiness. That’s the proposal of David Steindl-Rast in the 2013 TED talk ‘Want to be happy? Be grateful’. Happiness follows on from being fully aware of the gift we’ve been presented with – the essence of being grateful.
Winter is the best time to start planning your next wellbeing holiday for spring and summer, there’s time to contemplate and then enjoy looking forward to the holiday.
We have lots of retreats on offer that provide activities from yoga and Pilates to windsurfing and mountain biking. Take your pick! Read more…
When you’re planning your next spring or summer holidays, you’ll want to make sure you get the best deal on flights. But how far in advance should you book your plane ticket?
Skyscanner and CheapAir analysed over 200 million flights over three years and came up with a formula that lets you know the answer to the question we all like to know:
When is the optimum time to book my flights?
The formula for cheap air tickets
According to the research, the optimum ‘window’ for bagging cheap air tickets is from 29 days – 104 days before date of departure.
The research shows that the cheapest time to book flights in advance from the UK is as follows:
Spain – 5 weeks
USA – 21 weeks
Italy – 6 weeks
France – 6 weeks
Greece – 3 weeks
Turkey – 13 weeks
Portugal – 5 weeks
Germany – 9 weeks
Cyprus – 4 weeks
Croatia – 6 weeks
However, air fares can fluctuate and so it’s advisable to sign up for price alerts so you know when the lower prices become available. Nonetheless the research is interesting and we decided to try it ourselves. Read more…
Christmas is fast approaching and that means you might be experiencing quite a few emotions from excitement to anxiety, stress or depression.
Christmas has always been portrayed as a happy, joyful time, where we spend the day with family and loved ones, but it’s not always easy. If your budget is tight, then the weeks leading up to Christmas Day can be very worrying too. Read more…
Are you eating on the go? Or are you tired after a meal?
Try these simple Ayurveda tips for good digestion.
Ayurveda relies on balance of the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha – for good health. A healthy digestive system therefore relies on balance of the doshas and in particular – pitta, which governs the metabolism and digestive system.
Digestive problems are common and usually caused by a combination of poor diet and eating ‘on the go’. Many people rarely take the time to eat a good breakfast, usually eating a slice of toast in the car on the way to work, or not eating anything at all. Lunch time is much of the same with people eating at their desks or wolfing something down quickly before their next meeting.
Ayurveda can help improve our digestive health by not only focussing on what we eat but how we eat it. Ideally we should eat in a comfortable, relaxing environment or at least sitting down without distractions. This helps us to focus on the food, the taste and smell, and when we focus, we eat slowly, which helps digestion.
Another way to aid digestion is to stimulate the digestive fire or ‘agni’
Another way to aid digestion is to stimulate the digestive fire or ‘agni’, which is controlled by the pitta dosha. If the agni is weak, then this can make us tired after eating. If it is too strong, then it can ‘burn’ the food. Ayurveda recommends finding a balance so we can digest efficiently. To boost your digestive fire, try eating a 1-inch pinch of fresh ginger with a drop of lemon before meals. Read more…
It’s normal to eat and drink to our heart’s content over Christmas and New Year. But come January, most of us want to cleanse our bodies of the damage and be healthier again. One way to do this is to go on a detox retreat.
Chef Heston Blumenthal recently went to Bali where he spent four days on a detox retreat to recover from …‘exhaustion’…
He lost 8lbs and said it was ‘amazing.’ He also enjoyed yoga and meditation. You can read about his adventure here. Read more…
Will you be travelling around Christmas or New Year? – Do you want to find the best cheap train fares?
Travelling around Christmas and New Year can be expensive but instead of forking out huge amounts, you can save money – we’ve done the research for you. Cheap train fares are available, you just have to know where to look.
Did you know you can actually split your journey in half and buy two tickets instead of just one for the whole trip? It’s called split-ticketing and it’s completely within the terms and conditions of train operating companies. Read more…
By Jane Feinmann
If menopausal symptoms strongly interfere with your daily life and your sleep then you may be considering HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
Most women apply a skin cream before bedtime. My daily regime is a blob of oestrogen gel, a hormone replacement therapy that my GP has prescribed on the NHS ever since I went through the menopause. Yoga and a healthy diet has kept me healthy enough in my sixties.
But it’s the HRT that stopped hot flushes, mental fog and other menopausal problems – and given me strong bones postmenopausally. That’s not just my view. There’s evidence that it works.
But surely, you ask, there are huge health risks in taking HRT? Read more…