Fitness Retreat Spain

It is pretty rare that I feel compelled to share an experience with you all, but this is one such occasion. When I first started speaking to Target Human Performance last year about their fitness retreats, I thought they were a good idea as I struggled to get out from behind my desk and that it would make a welcome break for me. I booked one with some excitement a few months ago but as the date drew nearer for me to go, I have to admit I panicked about the impact of me not being behind my desk and how much busier I would be when I got back. The week before I went in May was the climax for me- I was probably the most stressed I have ever been. The better things go in business the busier I become and the more responsibility I shoulder. I love what I do but knowing there is a limit to every person’s endurance no matter how dedicated- I packed my little case and headed for London Gatwick.

I arrived my usual positive self but a little jaded. Considering this was a fitness holiday and not just a jolly, I had one of the most incredibly positive weeks! So many small things aligned on this trip to make it very worthwhile:

1)      Fitness. This is such a huge passion of mine but I frustratingly do not get to indulge like I used to when I was in employment. I was probably a good ten pounds lighter and I would estimate 5% body fat more toned. My physical appearance bothers me when I don’t train but it is so much more than that. The mental stimulation associated with exercise cannot be beaten for me. When I arrived I was three weeks post London Marathon so had concentrated my efforts on running. I hadn’t been in a gym yet all of 2016. Most of their sessions take place outdoors and involve the typical HIIT (high intensity interval training) that I love. Hard work over short periods of time. Think- dragging a tyre round, burpees, squats, pushups and many other body weight exercises. These are interspersed with boxing, stretching, running and posture training. The day always started with an early morning hike and ended with yoga-esk cool down. It was challenging at times but that’s why I was there and you could go at your own pace if you wanted. James and David delivered the sessions and tailored it to each attendee’s objectives. For example, I struggle with a sore neck frequently because of long hours at a computer and the posture classes taught me something that I can take back to the U.K.

 

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2)      Location. They have teamed up with Almond House in Spain to provide the setting for their Spanish retreat and what a choice! It is a villa/ rustic house in the middle of nowhere. So quiet you can hear a pin drop (over the sound of me working out) anytime night or day. I find it hard to put in words just the feeling of tranquillity that I managed to achieve while here. Its run by an English couple Paul and Jules who are just lovely. They share their home with four dogs, six cats and a few horses. You have to be an animal lover really but they are only in the communal parts. My bedroom was ensuite with its own private terrace and bursting with charm. The surrounding areas made the perfect setting for our hikes, challenging terrain and not another house for miles. They also do normal accommodation when the fitness retreats aren’t on so you can still benefit from the place if you needed a break. The sun shone all week which is a definite bonus!

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3)      The schedule. The say started at 07.30am with healthy juice. And typically followed a set schedule. Hike, breakfast, rest for 90 mins, HIIT type work out, one or two more classes, lunch, afternoon class and stretching, rest for 90 mins and 8pm dinner. Fortunately for me there was enough time to schedules calls to the UK for the business and to keep on top of my emails. However, if you were able to relax in this time there were plenty of rooms and a secluded pool to do so. I felt the balance between rest, keeping in touch with back home and working out was just right.

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4)      Company. I attended the retreat solo but the group is up to six so you still feel the benefit of almost personal training. They were all busy professionals mostly execs who like me were looking to escape. I was the youngest of the group but not the fittest I am ashamed to say. There were varying levels of ability but not determination. Everyone there was serious about fitness and I felt a competitive edge helped me to keep going. We did take advantage of the local wine on offer a few evenings and we became quite a close group by the end- many colourful game of cards was played and anecdote exchanged.

 

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5)      Food. Now usually I wouldn’t add a section on this but it could have formed its own blog it was THAT good. All home-made with passion they managed the near impossible of making even soup seem interesting and all healthy options super tasty. Let me just clarify- the pics don’t even do it justice!

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My experience really was a brilliant one, the retreats run throughout the summer and can be found  here.I know they are growing and will soon be adding more venue and dates. Thanks so much to THP and Almond House for forcing me to take a break, I feel fitter more relaxed and ready once more to plough on as an entrepreneur with renewed vigour!

 

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The Link App is hiring: Marketing Exec

One thing I have learnt since I started out in business is that there is NOWHERE more exciting to work than in startups. They are fast paced, long hours and a little bit of a rollercoaster but there is no substitute for the buzz of being involved in something at seed stage and contributing to its growth. My company is hiring so I thought I would share it with you guys too…

MARKETING EXECUTIVE

Company Profile:

The Link App is a technology startup based in London. We began our journey almost two years ago from the seed of an idea our Founder Lauren Riley had as a lawyer. We are truly innovative in the legal space and have gained national and sector specific press already. Our technology is both mobile and desktop app based and sold exclusively to law firms in the U.K. We save law firms time and money and help them to gain a competitive advantage as well as multiple other benefits.

The Role:
An exciting new position for an ambitious Digital Marketing Executive to join our small dynamic team near Old Street on a full-time basis. Ideally suited to a recent graduate, this varied role is a great opportunity to develop a wide range of skills in an exciting, entrepreneurial business. You will play an integral role within our team from day one and will be responsible for helping to build our brand.
You will get the unique and exciting buzz of working for a startup and although the predominant role is marketing there will also be variety in the day to day of the position and we will expect you to be flexible. There will be a chance to focus on a more specialist area of marketing as the company grows. Working alongside our CEO for a small company who work hard but are genuinely committed to making their environment THE best place to work.

Responsibilities:

  • On-going maintenance & development of the existing website with the aim of increasing website traffic and generating quality leads
  • Reporting monthly website analytics & analysis of the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
  • All aspects of social media marketing, especially highly targeted use of LinkedIn & Twitter
  • Create, design & enhance digital communications including social & e-campaigns, e.g, e-zines to members & prospects.
  • Basic graphic design duties to include amending existing templates/logos, creating new graphics/themes for innovative campaigns.
  • Video shooting at events & editing footage for website use.
  • Writing professional copy for website content & promotional marketing communications.
  • PR – identifying publicity opportunities, drafting & distributing press releases.
  • Updating & refining CRM system (salesforce) to ensure targeted marketing.

Skills Required:

  • Excellent skills in digital, design, social media, audio visual.
  • Practical understanding of marketing coupled with creative talent.
  • Excellent written & oral communication skills.
  • Professional & presentable (attendance at law firms and exhibitions may be required).
  • Entrepreneurial attitude to help drive the business forward
  • Educated to degree level, ideally with a Marketing degree

Salary Competitive.

We would love to hear from you, please apply by sending your CV and brief cover email to Lauren at: [email protected]

 

Bloggers Fashion Week- Pampering Must- Haves

No matter how much I preach the mantra of balance (between business and personal) or of how you can take pride in how you look and still focus on the career goals, its inevitably not a flawless plan. At the moment I am in one of those phases where I am pitifully comparing myself to photos of before I  started my own business. So when the opportunity came to write a blog revolving around pampering I knew I would manage to squeeze it in and it would be as good for me as it would be for my readers.

Next week is Bloggers Fashion Week hosted by Bloggers Hangout. Think London Fashion Week for the blogging community. I am actually not attending this one as I will be sunning myself on a beach, or more likely surfing. Either way I am taking a well deserved break from business to recharge my batteries. However, I have attended before and to prepare like a true blogger is a joy. We get to try out the latest and best products and share with you our favourites so here goes…

 

Starting with the basics, body wash. Urban Veda: Purifying smells pretty divine and that’s a must for me. When I come out the shower I want to be clean and smell lovely, this lived up to that expectation. There are a number of products in this range and they’ve won plenty of awards too.



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Now Batiste Stylist Dry Shampoo is something I am such a big fan of. If you are as busy as me then anything to look good while saving time is an absolute must! I’ve used dry shampoo for a while but this is a twist to cater to the style you are trying to go for.
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Now typically day-to-day I will be wearing a pretty casual style, usually driven my necessity to be up and ready for meetings rather than any style choice. Typically this might look like this:

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A 30 second spray and ruffle of my hair with my fingertips later and here was the result. I was impressed. A beauty must-have for all!

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When you are run down there are many things that might suffer. I am usually pretty meticulous about looking after my skin but when training to run a marathon, my feet are taking a battering of late. This next product provided instant relief to dry skin, it smelt slightly on the medicinal side (think tea tree) which is not a criticism and I suppose the things really designed to heal will contain these ingredients.  I’d recommend if you have dry skin and there is currently 10% off everything using code SALE10 Weleda.

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Now oddly I know way more about fragrance than is healthy for a lawyer turned entrepreneur. The reasons for that are the subject of a whole other blog but for now I used my finely tuned nose for this next product. A reed diffuser by Kenneth Turner. In the modern world we get used to synthetic fragrances. Even the high-end brand names we all love are largely synthetic if you do a bit of digging. The finest fragrances source natural ingredients and that’s what this reminded me of. It was a beautiful but earthy scent and everything about this brand from the scent to vessel whispers luxury and I am always looking for ways to treat myself!

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Now these are genius. Great French or patterned manicures that layer on in an instant. When I got these I promised myself that by the time I went on holiday I would have done them so A) I could show them off to you and B) for once I had amazing nails. Unfortunately I haven’t had time to get to grips with them but I will be taking them on holiday so look out for a tweet @misslaurenriley showing them off. Again looking good but not spending ages getting there is a winner for me! IMG_9633

And last but not least my attempts at being a ballerina wearing this Jones + Jones black skater dress. I really love this dress there is enough of a lace and leg combo to feel dressed up but not too much, it remains a classy piece. I can be a little old fashioned when it comes to dresses so anything ‘skater’ that flares out makes me feel that bit more of a princess. This is preferable to me than a skin-tight look. I felt this could be night out with girl or date night easily,

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There you have it, my tips shared from typical prep for Bloggers fashion week. With thanks to The Bloggers Hangout.

From Edinburgh to Essex- Why it was important to take my business on tour!

If any of you are following me on social media, you will have no doubt seen that I have been doing a LOT of traveling with my business recently. I thought I would share with you some of the reasons why I did it and what I have learnt from this process.

Where you will usually find me...

A little over 18 month ago, I founded a technology company called The Link App. I did so because, as a lawyer I could see there was a better way of working and that technology could make the difference. As part of The Link App’s commitment to customer service I decided it was important to make it out from behind my desk and begun a series of visits to lawyers in various parts of the UK. The purpose of the visits is not only to find out what lawyers current and future needs are for simplifying client communications, but also to Continue reading

Named in the top ten for Technology in the UK by LinkedIn

12568357_1643897072542992_48947378_nAs you have probably have read before, I am a fan of celebrating the little wins in all aspects of life. It is one of the things I focus on most when I do my public speaking. Anyway January 2016 has given me quite a few things in business to celebrate but the subject of this post is my recent LinkedIn accolade.

I have been named as a LinkedIn Power profile. That means I am officially in the top ten most viewed profiles of all the people in technology in 2015. LinkedIn now has 20million users so to be in the top ten is amazing. I share the list with some key influencers in the Continue reading

Winter Fashion Fix

For those of you who caught my last vlog on my channel… http://youtube.com/c/misslaurenriley will know that in 2015 I didn’t get the balance quit right. Hard work is vital for the success of a business and I will continue to work hard but this year for me is about balance. More ‘me time’ and indulging my passion; fitness, travel, well being and fashion! So welcome to my first ever fashion blog. I hope you like it. It was a lot of fun to put together for you guys.

Now I am not a fashionista but I do like to feel I look good and fashion is a big part of all of our personal brands. I put this together entirely from ‘high-street’ fashion piece and shopping online. When you are super busy, being able to give your wardrobe a boost from behind your desk is key and the feeling when all those parcels arrive is like Christmas all over again. For this blog I chose all the clothes from the same simple to use online retailer Jane Norman and the shoes were from a very special collection indeed: H & M Balmain. The bad news is I got the shoes in 2015 although this is the first time I have worn them, they sold out in minutes and I was very lucky to get them. The good news is you can shop the rest of the look at the end of the post. Continue reading

When Technology Meets Fitness

So, my business is tech, my passion is fitness: imagine my excitement when I was invited to try, IMHO (that’s text speak for ‘in my humble opinion’, for those of you not yet familiar with the lingo that youth is speaking these days), the most fun fitness equipment going. It’s an anti-gravity treadmill whose technology was developed by AlterG founder Sean Whalen.

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New Year New Me: a look back to 2015 and forward to 2016

What's everyone's New Years resolutions??? Happy new year all!! A big year for me and @thelinkapphq I hope everyone's 2016 is ridiculously amazing!!!!

Happy new year!!! My first blog of 2016 to give you an honest look back at last year and what went needed to change. And more importantly a motivational look forward to 2016 and what it holds for me!

 

I have recorded a video for you to watch on my YouTube Channel.I hope you enjoy it and that you continue to share my exciting journey into 2016…