Why You Need To Go On A Yoga Retreat In Austria | Holzhotel Forsthofalm

Friday 20 July 2018

The last few months have been filled with so much. I found myself travelling back to back with one day in London here and one day abroad there. They say travelling is good for the mind body and soul which is is. But I've found myself so exhausted from constant travelling that when my latest travel opportunity came around I couldn't resist it.

Those who know me know that I'm not much of an exerciser. I don't go to the gym and I sure don't do yoga. So I was very skeptical about a yoga/exercise retreat in Austria.  That said, the moment I landed I knew this was exactly what I needed.

When it comes to exercise, I would much rather sit at home on the sofa with a large pizza so I thought I would really struggle when it came to the classes at the retreat. But instead I was surprised. I was surprised at firstly, how much I enjoyed it and secondly, how much motivation I had. Especially on the last day.

In early July we headed to Holzhotel Forsthofalm in Austria which felt like a million miles away from the noise and overcrowding in London.

Landing early in the morning, we headed to the hotel 1050m up in the mountains where we were greeted by the lovely owners. A brother and sister who live and breathe everything to do with the hotel. They are so passionate about their hotel, their beliefs and making each of their visitors feel at home that they are always found doing one job or another around the hotel.

We started our day with a walking tour lunch of the hotel. This entailed viewing different rooms around the hotel and each room offerring a different dish; salad, soup, ravioli and salmon...followed by a three course sit down full on lunch. One thing you will notice with Forsthofalm is that they are very keen on food. The food is absolutely delicious and there is so much choice.

After lunch we checked into our rooms and got ready for our first session of yoga. As a yoga novice, I can't believe how comfortable and relaxed I automatically felt. A week of yoga sounded quite daunting, but heading to the exercise class room and looking out the window to the beautiful mountains just made it all feel 100% right. Each of the exercise classes and hikes are free of charge. So if you're feeling adventurous, you can book yourself into any of the classes and not worry about any additional fees.

Yoga was followed by a quick shower and another four course meal. The menus change everyday as they use fresh ingredients. You have the option of meat dishes or vegan dishes as they cater to everyone. If you do not fancy the set menu, you can choose from the a la carte for an additional fee.

The next morning I woke up early to do a few shoots around the hotel and also to sit on my balcony and just take in where I am. Nestled in the trees on a mountain with views of other mountains is just insane!

Breakfast was followed by a hike on the ski mountain. During the winter Forsthofalm is a ski destination. During the summer or warmer months, once the snow has all melted, that same mountain becomes a sport for hiking, and the local farmer brings his cows there to feed on the grass. Once we arrived midway, we stopped and done some outdoor yoga. I never knew there were lots of different yoga methods. But I now know there are loads of different exercises and each create a different mood.

Another class we attended that day was jumping fitness. Although it looks super fun it is extremely difficult! I only managed to make half of the class as my hay fever was killing me, but I was exhausted after. We then headed to the outdoor fire area for a bbq that we got to cook ourselves. There was a large fire pit which they cleaned and added oil in which we could then lay our food on and cook. This is available for all guests to do, you just need to book it in advance. After the bbq, we made vegan pancakes with vegan toppings which were absolutely delicious.

Another thing that the hotel offers is a wonderful spa. The spa consists of massages and treatments two saunas, an outdoor heated swimming pool and a chill out room that has the most incredible views. When selecting your massage there are a range of different things to choose from and each choice results into the type of massage you will then receive. Usually spas are quite dark and lights are turned off, however at Forsthofalm, there are large glass windows in the spa rooms overlooking the beautiful scenery which made for a wonderful change.

That evening we again sat down for a delicious four course meal followed by cocktail making at the bar. The hotel bar is very rustic and cosy, I would love to visit in the winter during the skii months to see the large fire place set alight and drinking and Irish hot chocolate.

Each morning we started our day with a relaxing yoga session to help us wake up and stretch our muscles in preparation for the day. We then headed to Leoganger Klettersteig for a hike up 2160m. I thought this would be my least favourite activity, however it turned out to be my favourite. Hiking up a mountain, in between the clouds, listening to the fresh streams and looking at the vast greeeny and glacier just makes you feel super overwhelmed. I never thought I'd be doing something like this and I am so grateful for such an amazing opportunity. We filled our water bottles with the fresh stream and water never tasted sweeter to me.

We arrived back to the hotel to an outdoor picnic set up for us. So many delicious sandwiches, cheeses and sweet treats you can imagine. This was followed by our last class, bootcamp. By this point, we were all shattered and a few of our group decided not to join in. I myself was planning on skipping, but my legs took me to the class before I ever realised where I was going. Does this mean I was actually enjoying physical activity? Who knows, but I left feeling so energised and ready to take on the world.

I then headed back to my room for a wonderful bubble bath to relax my muscles and get ready for our last dinner.

The hotel itself is mainly built of timber wood. Each room has the wood on show and just makes you feel super calm. I usually struggle to sleep, I usually go to bed very late and end up laying in bed struggling to fall asleep. But since visiting this hotel my sleeping pattern has improved a lot more and it doesn't take me that long to fall asleep anymore.

Overall, the hotel is perfect during the winter for skiing, but during the warmer climate it has so much more to offer. From exercise, to hiking, to the relaxing spa, there is something for everyone. As someone who's not very outdoorsy, I highly recommend visiting Forsthofalm, even if it's just to look at the views because it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.



Monday 16 July 2018

Last month I was lucky enough to attend Tel Aviv fashion week. Firstly, I've only ever attended London fashion week. And this year, I was a little over it all. I was fed up of seeing the same things over and over again and was looking for something new and exciting. That's excatly what Tel Aviv Fashion Week was. A breath of fresh air.

One of my goals this year was to say yes to things that scare me. On this trip I managed to conquer many things that scare me. First and foremost. Travelling alone. I've flown alone many times, but I am usually met at the other end by my mum to have a family holiday. So travelling to Tel Aviv alone and not knowing anyone on the other end was extremely petrifying for me. But, it was great! I got to spend the time on the plane working, and not knowing anyone else attending made me step out of my comfort zone and meet so many amazing people that I am lucky to say I have built a genuine friendship with.

Now to the main reason of travelling to Tel Aviv was for their fashion week. Something that has been running for seven years now. I didn't know what to expect from the country let alone the fashion scene out there.

For three days Tel Aviv was taken over by some of the most inspiring fashion I have ever seen. Taking place in an old Train station that has now been renovated into a complex filled with cute cafes, restaurants and boutiques, it was a hot spot this season.

When I think back to the shows, there's one thing that I remember with a huge fondness in my heart. That word is diversity. From the minute I arrived in Tel Aviv I was greeted by a range of different publishers from all over the world, to the models on the catwalk. All a range of different races, shapes and sizes. A true inspiration for other fashion weeks around the world.

My entire experience in Tel Aviv was a whirlwind. Between shows we were taken to dinners and trips to some of the most luxurious hotels the Tel Aviv has to offer. Having seen the best of fashion from Tel Aviv, their designers each created a different ambiance during each of their shows. However, there was one thing each show had in common. It was the excitement to be there, the excitement to show their designs and to represent their country.

Since coming back there's so many reasons I want to travel back. Fashion, food and history being one of the few reasons.

Before heading out to Tel Aviv I ordered a bespoke handbag from SolaMia. On the SolaMia website you can customise three different bags into anything you desire. I decided to go for an all black shopper style bag that would be great for all my travelling. You can customise straps, colour, interior, material and so much more. As each of the bags are individually designed, there are no exact same bags out there which is exactly why I love my new SolaMia handbag.

I would like to thank the team at Tel Aviv for giving this opportunity to me. I can not wait to come back to Tel Aviv one day.


Gillham Vineyard North Cyprus

Friday 6 July 2018

When it comes to travelling there’s so much to see in this world. But one place I find myself travelling back to year after year (sometimes twice a year) is North Cyprus. It’s my home away from home. My family were born there and a lot of them are still out there so there’s always something pulling me back to this small island I call home.

This June, I headed out to North Cyprus for a family engagement. While out there I had the opportunity to visit Gillham Vineyard in Ilgaz Kyrenia. The first of it’s kind in North Cyprus and only open for just over a month; the hotel stands out compared to the rest on the island.

Gillham Vineyard is in itself a vineyard that offers to bring a new lease of wine tasting to the island. With wine tours including tasting sessions the hotel looks at offering more than just another bottle of wine. They’re looking to bring more wine culture to the island and to educate those interested in wine further.

Alongside this over the next few months they are working to finish building the spa area that will offer a range of different wine treatments. Something I am intrigued about and will definitely be heading back to check out once it’s open.

The Hotel

Gillham Vineyard also hosts 60 people in their boutique hotel. The hotel is an adult’s only facility up in the mountains offering you the most peaceful of breaks you can imagine.

If you’re looking for an escape from everyday Gillham Vineyard is the perfect spot for you. You’re up in the mountains with a view of the Vineyard, the mountains and the sea.

Even if you’re not a huge drinker, there’s still a lot to do in Gillham Vineyard. There’s an outdoor pool with the most incredible view overlooking North Cyprus. There’s a chef restaurant that offers some of the most delicious local ingredients found in North Cyprus with a twist. This is fine dining at it’s finest in North Cyprus.

If you’re travelling to North Cyprus this year I recommend spending a few nights here for utter relaxation. If you’re not looking to stay here then make sure you take a wine tour and learn more about the wine they make and serve at Gillham Vineyard.

I’d never been wine tasting before and the staff at Gillham are so knowledgeable that they have shown me what to look for and how to truly taste wine for the best experience.

Have you ever been wine tasting before? Have you visited North Cyprus before?

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