So onto the next part of my trip, 5 nights at the Barberyn Reef Resort on the South West Coast of Sri Lanka. As the name suggests this is on the beach and when I arrived it was my first glimpse of the ocean since landing. The instant I see the sea I smile, I have always been the same. To add to it, the beach front location it in an alluring mix of chaos and calm- The waves coming in from the ocean are quite rough but they break about 20 meters out on the reef. That leads to a few good things; you can walk on the reef, you can hear the waves very clearly at night and the water directly in front of the resort is almost motionless. Great paradox. Which brings me nicely into my reason for being here; the contradictions of modern life. Ones quest to feel happy and fulfilled versus the pressures of the everyday commute, bills, deadlines, the failure associated with not posting to Instagram daily. There are a lot of things at odds and I wanted to learn another way of balancing them.
Here I go- off on another adventure. Oh no wait, that was the old me. The new me just works all hours under the sun in pursuit of her dreams. Now I am not complaining, I love being an entrepreneur BUT to function at optimum levels one needs balance & that is what I am seeking in my latest series of blogs all about wellness.
OK so I am exaggerating slightly, but only slightly. As a tech entrepreneur, I look at some of my fellow tech startups and think that’s genius. It started with the likes of Uber, Deliveroo and Just Eat finding success catering to just how lazy we’ve become- ahem I mean how savvy we are to use technology and our time so wisely. Que a string of apps to have almost all of our needs delivered right to our door. This is one of the most enjoyable and fascinating blogs I have been a part of- just look at all the things I achieved without leaving my house…
Handy- London’s fast and easy home cleaning service. I found it had easy online booking but do keep in mind it’s reoccurring automatically. Super convenient and great service but perhaps over rigid- by that I mean your choices have to fit into very definite boxes. Like the addition of one bedroom window I wanted cleaning the only option was to charge for the whole house. Overall good service and you can’t help but love the convenience of rattling through the to do list via an app.
Hello Fresh- now I’m by no means a chef but even I can do this and I loved the experience. Once a week you get all the ingredients delivered to your door. Everything you need to make fancy dinners from scratch. Step by step guides too. Childs play and forced me out of my boring food routine. I genuinely feel I’ve learnt things I can take forward and (as you know if you follow me on snap chat lauren_riley22 or Insta @misslaurenriley) They are all pretty healthy and I’ve discovered some rather interesting vegetables too. I highly recommend giving them a try.
Bevy- an app that’s designed to supply alcohol and various other associated products to keep the party going- think nibbles etc via an app. Swift and friendly delivery under an hour in fact and good communication in the meantime. I ordered only Gin and chewing gum and only wish this existed when I was a bit less business and a bit more of a party. Please drink responsibly!
TruBe- personal trainers to your door. Exactly what you are imagining. The UX (user experience) is very intuitive and I love the idea of those people who aren’t confident enough to leap head fist into the gym having this option. Gyms can sometimes be daunting places. I like it because I am so busy, this can fit around my lifestyle easily. It is important to keep fit and healthy where you can.
Spa by car- another one doing exactly what it says on the tin. Spas are always a favourite of mine and I the fact I was sat on my own sofa watching tv while having my nails done was a big bonus. It surprised me how much better the experience was minus the trip to the salon. I also had a massage, a must for a those leading a busy lifestyle.
Nutriseed- juice diet delivered straight to my door (as you can probably see the particular door was my office on this occasion). All nutritional work and portion control done for you. All you have to do is keep it refrigerated and drink five times per day. It’s not going to be suitable for everyone and I don’t encourage dramatic weight loss methods but pre-holiday I wanted to give my body a detox from all the naughty stuff I put in it living life a million miles an hour. For me the best benefit was how amazing an apple tastes afterward, totally resetting your taste buds.
This was such a fascinating experiment and I will certainly use these great apps again to suit what I have going on at the moment. Thanks to the brands involved in making this happen and you for reading. Please do give this a share.
When the wonderful people from Virgin Experiences got in touch with me about the opportunity to explore a little bit more of the UK and escape the city I didn’t need asking twice. I had a look at their many and varied staycations online, each a little different from your usual break but I settled on Wales. Continue reading
I have been pretty open to date about the highs and lows of business and how stress can sometimes creep into the entrepreneurial journey if we don’t keep a close eye on our wellbeing. When an opportunity to visit the tranquillity of The Lake District and try out a brand new luxury B and B came up, it was bit of a no-brainer. It was a wonderful weekend and I am happy to share the experience with you.
I took just one day off from The Link App (if you don’t count being on my emails constantly) and drove over 200miles to ‘The Lakes’. It took almost ten hours, which was unusually long and may be the subject of a much less exciting blog. Once there, totally worth it for the dramatic change of pace. I live in London so I don’t drive too many places the prospect of a road trip is even more exciting. We arrived at The Malabar at about 6pm on Friday evening. The Malabar luxury B&B is situated on the edge of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales at the foot of the Howgill Fells. Run by first-time B& Continue reading
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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!
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,
There you have it, my tips shared from typical prep for Bloggers fashion week. With thanks to The Bloggers Hangout.
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