FEEL-GOOD BEAUTY: MULTI-PURPOSE, BEAUTY ON THE GO

Welcome back to feel-good beauty on the Mad To Live Blog.  Next-up, we have a segment on multi-purpose products that are awesome for busy women on the move.  I spend most of my time living out of suitcases and backpacks now, on the move travelling with my retreats, Mad To Live Retreats, and as a travel writer. and freelancer.  I pack light, always - hand luggage nearly 100% of the time so in terms of beauty products, the few products that I do like to use and pack need to have multi-purpose attributes. 

FEEL-GOOD BEAUTY: MULTI-PURPOSE, BEAUTY ON THE GO

 

GARNIER SKIN ACTIVE PURE ACTIVE CHARCOAL 3-1 WASH, SCRUB MASK A bang for your buck 3-1, I am obsessed with this, especially as a mask.

CHARLOTTE TILBURY OVERNIGHT BRONZE & GLOW Super hydrating and soothing, go to bed with this baby on and wake up with a subtle glowing tan. 

CHANEL LES BEIGES HEALTHY GLOW GEL  Loaded with SPF, hyaloronic acid and antioxidants.  Glowin' like a peach after this. 

CHARLOTTE TILBURY BEACH STICK If I am after a pop of colour or want to look a little bit more put together, I can use this beach stick on my cheeks, eyes, lips, and it smells good enough to friction' eat. Paraben free too.

CHANEL LES BEIGES BLUSH NO.23 Adds a flush of colour and super easy to pack.

FACEINK BRIGHTEN UP SHEET MASK Loaded with collagen, pearl protein, hyaluronic acid, these puppies pack a dream in a bag.

NAILS INC WHITE OUT I just pack one nail varnish, Nails Inc long-lasting polish in White Out which doesn't chip nearly as fast as other brands.

RMS LIVING LUMINIZER Made with all natural-ingredients, this baby is a WONDER.  Use on eyes, cheeks, lips, body, it is dreaaaaaa-m-eyy.

Thanks and stay tuned for the next video on summer beauty!

 

 

WHY I: INTERVIEW WITH MAUD LE CAR

I was lucky to spend a few days with the Vans pro surf-team recently in the lushly wild Mundaka, a pocket in the Basque region of northern Spain that brims with adventure, surf, and a raw, primordial energy that is apparent and palpable in it’s vast mountains, Neolithic cave-painting remains and breath-taking vistas.

Sharing waves, camp fire stories and heart-pumping hikes with the Vans team, I sat down with 25 year old French-Caribbean surf queen Maud Le Car to chew the fat, and find out more about this intoxicating force of nature, delving deeper into her motivations and passions.  

Settle down for a read with the phenomenal Maud Le Car.

25 year old Maud Le Car Rips. Whether she’s busy following the WQS  (Women's Qualifying Series) surf tour circuit (where is is currently ranked in the top 30), free-surfing for shoots and videos (including this video of her surfing in high heels, which went viral some time back), or exploring her creativity through art, Maud seemingly throws not just vast amounts of hard work into her work, but equal parts of passion.  I love watching her surf, with a radical, unique style that is highly impressive and always fun to watch.

Maud has been surfing since she was 12 years old, practically considered old in the modern day, with groms taking to the water younger and younger.  But if there is something that is apparent from talking to Maud that has clearly stood her in good stead, spurring her on, progressing, seeing her take on a number of wins on the QS, is her ethos towards bettering herself and continuing to progress and move forward from both successes, and failures.  Reflecting that

I think in everything you’re doing in life, you sometimes hit a wall, in that you have bad moments and good moments, and you just to grow from these experiences…”.   

 

Competitive surfing, and sport in general, can be a double-edged sword, and with the mental game playing as big a part as the physical, Maud shares that

There is a quote I love, they say you fall maybe 8 times but you stand up 9 and that is the real thing… this is how a contender and a champion make the difference. Because it's not about the same talent, we all have the same capacities.  It’s a matter of how you’re going to use it, and how you handle the failures and bad moments, how you’re going to rebound”.

Failures can be formative in any profession, and I love how Maud attests that this has been a major motivation and impetus for her to continue prospering as a professional surfer on the tour.  I wonder what else helps her to stay grounded and to not let the pressure overwhelm her?

“I just remember…the simple things and why I’m surfing, and my passion...I’m super grateful for everything surfing brings to my life, and just the simple fact of being in the ocean and connected with nature”.

Seeing Maud playfully surfing during our sessions in Mundaka, I was struck by her unique style, fusing aggressive, hacking manoeuvres with a creative, powerful feminine style.  It is brilliant to watch, and excites me when I ask her when is in store for her with her surfing now?

“I just want to keep improving my surfing…push myself a little bit harder every day. and just be the best I can be.

"This is my full motivation, to be at 100% of my capacity, … we have no limits, so I just want to go further than I can, and be proud at the end”. 

With positive role models like Maud flourishing on the womens pro- circuit, it seems there has never been a more inspiringly progressive time in women’s surfing.  With champions like Stephanie Gilmore, Carissa Moore, Tyler Wright and more holding a motivating flame, illustrating that the days of women needing to surf like the guys to be considered on their level is long extinct, that feminine creativity and expression, fused with strength and powerful executions, makes for an incredible display of surfing.

Close friends with fellow pro surfer Coco Ho, Maud expresses that “its just just good to always be with passionate people who are always pushing themselves surfing”.  With a dominant force of female chargers on the competitive circuit, the professional side is prospering.  In the every-day surf realm though, sometimes it is still common to see a more masculine-heavy lineup at most surf spots.   I ask Maud why she thinks this could be, why aren’t there more women in the water, it is, after all 2017?  “I think the problem is that women sometimes have limits because that’s true it's a physical sport, and there's a lot of men doing it, and you won't want to look shitty at the beginning doing it

The thing is ..some people are like oh you're lucky. you're a surfer, you're blond, tanned, it's super sexy…No, surfing is NOT sexy! You have water in your nose all day, dreadlocks, sand everywhere and you fall, you fall, you go in the sand… You just have to get past those things... It's like ok, maybe the boys are good at surfing, but it's not only exclusively for boys… I truly think a girl surfing is way more graceful and more beautiful to watch."

There Is nothing shameful in the fact that sometimes women may worry a little more about what we look like, seeing as we are still often judged on our outside cover.  Maud shares that her girlfriends have similar fears when she pushes them to try surfing expressing that, “everyone's gonna tease me.  I’m like bah, no one cares, we all begin from a point, nobody is looking!”.

I think that as Maud proposes, once we let go of the fear, of worrying what we look like or what people are thinking of us, then we can really embrace the task at hand.  Fear can be a paralysing obstruction to personal endeavours, and once we shake off those fears, it is incredible what can be achieved.

Maud’s passion for surf goes hand in hand with her passion for art, with much of her inspiration stemming from her travels on the road as a professional surfer.  I wonder where the main sources of inspiration for her art stem from on the road?  “I think it’s a period in life…I know my drawing is a lot inspired by what I’m feeling at every moment in my life, and it’s a way of expressing for me, for what I’m feeling.  I think I’m inspired by everything I’m living around, especially my travel, you go to countries, the Caribbean, or Australia or America, and the art is so different.  I just love to be inspired by the art I see in the street, or local artist and what they are doing and what inspired them, and just looking all around, and change your perception of things.

From holding her own art shows, displaying her art which is a mix of paintwork, sprays and drawings, I enquire as to what exciting projects she currently has on the go? “For the moment I'm doing my quiver, it's half animal half woman.  I love to draw women’s faces, it really inspires me;

"Because I love women, and I think they are really beautiful.  There’s something strong that makes me (think) ...ok I really want to that way, to be a bit feminist (haha)”.

Two thumbs up to that.  And with surfers, the marine-dwellers that we are, spending so much time in nature’s great soup-bowl, conservation is often is at the forefront of people’s minds, and is also playing a big role in Maud’s art with a forthcoming project “drawing… mermaids with recycled plastic glass just to raise awareness to people for recycling … I give money to an association to give money to recycling, getting plastic out the water, cleaning the beaches…”.

It’s good to see professional surfers like Maud playing a critical part in not just raising awareness of the importance of the conversation of our marine life, but also being an active participant.

 

After we wrapped up a busy few days in Mundaka, one thing that really struck me about Maud was an infectious, happy energy that was palpable in talking to her, and watching her out in the water.  Asking what stokes her out most in life, she visibly glows as her shares :

"I love the sparkle in life...and just enjoying the little, simple things. I'm just stoked by a brief...moment in the day, by watching a wave, and having a good feeling on my board”.

And with that, we're off for a hike through the verdant forest of Mundaka, smiles on our faces, and adventure in our hearts.

 

The new Vans Ultrarange versatile shoe is out August 1, learn more at Vans.com/UltraRange

 

STAY TUNED FOR MORE IN THE WHY I SERIES, COMING SOON.

MAD TO LIVE RETREATS REVIEW IN SURFGIRL MAGAZINE

On the recently wrapped leg of Mad To Live Retreats x The Surf Experience in the epicentre of all that is surf and adventure in Europe, Portugal, we had the pleasure of welcoming the warming ray of radness that is SurfGirl journalist Carly Truss as a guest.

Straight off the bat, Carly was a total pleasure to have join the crew.  I am stoked that she really got involved with everything that Mad To Live is about, and delighted she had a great experience.  Check out what she made of the retreat in her write-up for SurfGirl magazine, the most awesome purveyors of all that is women's surfing. 

FEEL-GOOD BEAUTY: BEACH BABE

Now in the full-heat of the summer, it's never a better time to embrace a fresher face and make the most of glowing skin, and strip back on products if you are prone to using a lot.

These are some of my current favourite products that work to enhance natural beauty that shines during the summer months.  Check it out below, with an accompanying Vlog!

FEEL-GOOD BEAUTY: BEACH BABE

DECLEOR HYDRA FLORAL FLUID A go to essential, I use SPF every day and it's definitely stood my skin in good stead so far!

CHARLOTTE TILBURY SUPERMODEL BODY I love this product from Charlotte Tilbury, gives tanned skin a gorgeous sheen and smells freaking delicious too.

CHARLOTTE TILBURY GODDESS SKIN FACE MASK How I love a face mask...pretty sure I would already be looking like a well worn moccasin if I didn't use face masks regularly. This is a new favourite for me - actually works wonders.

CHANEL WATERPROOF MASCARA My go to waterproof mascara from Chanel don't budge - ideal for water-dwelling creatures like me.

CHARLOTTE TILBURY IBIZA NIGHTS LIP GLOSS On the rarer occasions I might want to dress up a bit, in the summer a shade like this from Charlotte Tilbury adds a bit of colour and shimmer for summer nights.

BAREMINERALS LIP COLOUR I love this natural shade from BareMinerals, looks awesome with a tan.

CHANEL LE VERNIS CORAL NAIL POLISH Everything from the Chanel Les Beiges collection sits well with natural-beauty / makeup phobes like me, and this coral nail colour works a dream with sun kissed skin and a smile.

DECLEOR AROMA SUN EXPERT - HIGH REPAIR AFTER SUN BALM Not in the video as this was a new addition which has blown my mind.  A 100% natural balm loaded with oils, I road-tested this on a  recent surf trip and it worked wonders on sun scorched skin at the end of the day.

SURFGIRL ARTICLE ON MAD TO LIVE RETREATS & TRAINING

The recent leg of Mad To Live Retreats hit epic Lagos, Portugal for our annual collaboration with the righteous The Surf Experience,  bringing together all-time crews of women for the ultimate surf & fitness adventure.

We were psyched to have the brilliant Carly Truss, surfer, warm-hearted soul, badass, and journalist from our favourite women's surf journal, SurfGirl Magazine, along for the ride.

We love this piece Carly detailed on why the retreats are put together the way they are.  Want to know why I put together surfing with horse-riding, boxing, yoga, trail running and mountain biking?  Read on...

With thanks to the brilliant Carly and SurfGirl Magazine.

Like what you see?  Book on to the next Mad To Live Retreats x The Surf Experience adventure this September HERE!  Only a few spaces left!

EXPERT'S CHAT: ARTIST HARVEY SAUNDERS

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I first came across artist Harvey Saunders whilst we were completing our surf instructor course on the familiar shores of Newquay, Cornwall, earlier this year.  As I always find with surfing, conversation is made easy, as you already find a common interest with a fellow human being in riding waves.  Discovering Harvey was an an artist, through small, smart-phone imagery, I was quickly drawn into, and entranced, by his art, and ethos’ around it.

An almost fate-like coincidence days later saw me at the new boutique hotel Amouage by Surf Maroc, admiring some large-scale geometric collages hanging through the hotel.  Created by, coincidentally, none other than Harvey.  Delving further into Harvey’s art and creativity, I loved how his incorporation of symbology, geometry and earnest stoke for surfing is visibly manifested in his art.  I was keen for him to create an artwork in the vein of Mad To Live, leaving a brief open to his interpretation.

Settle down for a piece with the phenomenally talented Harvey Saunders. Artist, surfer, creator and one of my favourite, and most interesting interview subjects to delve into to date.  

Harvey Saunders, somewhat like me, seems to thrive on his work being closely linked, and interwoven, with his love of travel and surf.  Growing up outside Brighton, in the south of England, and currently based on the South West Coast of Spain, Harvey’s work now sees him taking up artist residencies around the world, most recently having completed a stint at Amouage by Surf Maroc.  I found myself mesmerized by the huge works which so beautifully rest in the break-side Taghazout hotel.  A project that lasted over 3 months whilst Harvey created 2 large collage pieces for the new hotel,  Harvey shares that

"Surfing and creating everyday in such a location was a great experience, and I'm real grateful to the whole crew. The first piece I created for them took exactly one lunar cycle to complete, full moon to full moon. I'd work, see there was a wave, jump in, surf, jump out, and do it all over again. “

An active interest as a child in  “hanging out in trees, being mischievous in the countryside, football, ice hockey, chess, symbolism, mythology, archeology, geology" saw his passion for both art and surf ignited early on.  A former pro inline-skater, a couple of concussions saw Harvey drop the blades and turn to skateboarding and surfing.  Surfing since the age of 12, having badgered his dad for years to take him, what really stoked the surfing fire for Harvey was “my Uncle giving me a video over from Oz called Good Times, a Taylor Steele film which had just come out at the time. It had some sick sections and a rad SoCal punk rock soundtrack. That was my introduction to punk rock bands like Strung Out, Pennywise, The Vandals, Bad Religion, Blink 182, AFI, and heavily influenced my music taste from that point onwards."

Family seems to have played a rich role in his development as an artist, and I love talking to Harvey about his grandparents, “both great artists in their own rights, and I have always been inspired by their sense of style in one way or another…" 

"I didn't know my grandfather very well, he was a master printer and the founder of a very successful design company. Recently my Dad found some  8mm videos my grandfather shot in the mid 60s in Italy and the footage is golden. I have a clear memory of being in their Brighton Flat overlooking the sea on a sunny day sitting on a Charles and Ray Eames lounger chair with my grandfather spinning me round listening to Enya, haha say what you will, Enya is bliss!"

Harvey’s recent art works sees him “specialising in large scale geometric collages using found imagery.”  His large-scale works are staggering, and the intricacies of utilizing materials such as magazines, which are “simple and easy to work with whilst travelling, and easy to get a hold of” make for breathtaking works of art.  Harvey is also keen to “make some pieces out of wood. To work in a wood shop and develop works in a sculptural format would be fun..."

"Wood is great, all the concentric rings that form as it grows each year. . . Stone as well, working with both wood and stone is a very hands on intimate process, which is what I appreciate.”

On research I found out sacred geometry is something highly influential in Harvey’s work.  Admittedly not being overly familiar with what exactly sacred geometry is, I asked Harvey to explain.  "Geometry was originally the measure of the earth, practiced by the Egyptians and the Babylonians. Sacred geometry takes it to another level where there is a  philosophical and symbolical connotation to the forms, the patterns, the proportions and the relationships that one finds in the geometric realm.

“Sacred Geometry looks at the way that geometry manifests throughout all the levels and realms of creation, from the microcosmic to the the macrocosmic and everything in between and how geometry serves as a unifying body of principles or relationships that ties all of those domains together. That includes the human domain.”

The layers of his inspiration seem to mirror the physical layers of his art’s materials, which also so visibly to me tell stories about his other sources of inspirations.  So rich the tapestry of his works, they feel as though they reflect many a story and indeed, Harvey attests that his inspirations also include “ancient civilizations and cultures, religion, board riding culture, fashion, music, art.  I've been particularly inspired by Native American culture. …

“I had an interesting moment with a Native American friend, when I first met him we talked, and a second went by where it felt like a freight train went by my ear.  He felt it too, and later told me that he was told that I should look after his peace pipe that was given to him by Native Elders, for the evening. I had some strong dreams that night . . .”

I have often wondered, where an artist’s work, and the act of creating it, can take them, if anywhere.  Harvey answers:

"I would like to say a zen like state, but It's basically a form of meditation for me, building a work by making thousands of cuts of paper. It definitely feels to me like a form of therapy, cutting the bullshit and making a microcosm.”

I was incredibly excited to see what Harvey had created with his brief of MAD TO LIVE, and with such an open brief, I wondered where he drew his inspiration from:

"I got a good feeling from you Sophie, you were an inspiration to the people around you. Energetic and fun! After looking at Mad to Live and developing an understanding of what the essence of the vibe of the blog is, I was inspired to create a vibrant piece, energetic and fun, and which worked with the colour palette of your logo."   

 

(Thanks Harvey ;))

"I started working on the piece in England using some of the imagery that I found whilst creating my pieces for Surf Maroc. I then travelled to the south west coast of Spain and finished the piece using surf magazines spanning 1 decade that I acquired from a friend."

I am blown away by what he has created, and how it completely captures the MAD TO LIVE vibe, so beautifully and patently in an art form.   The piece comprising "the central octagon (which) has some pictures of microbes from the an Arabic Monthly from the mid-seventies, as well as circuit boards.  I think they are special parts to this piece, as I like to hint at the natural and the digital realms. "

A well-travelled surfer (Santa Cruz, West Coast of France, Eastern Oz and Morocco include some of his favourite places to surf) Harvey is now, like me, in Lagos, Portugal over summer, busy working on projects, including developing a clothing brand, which he finds “fun because it's the project that I feel draws from all my areas of influence.”  

Travel appears to be a central nucleus of Harvey, and I ask where is next for him: “I've been reading about Bhután quite a bit recently, I would love to go there. You know Bhutan is the only country whose largest export is renewable energy. It's also the only country in the world which absorbs more CO2 than it gives out.

But Mexico is at the top of my list. The Cave of Naica maybe. Peru, Indonesia, Cambodia, Hawaii, The Philippines, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Japan, New Zealand, The Pyramids, Kailasa Temple, Mount Kailash, China. “

A future rich in creating and travel looks to be on the cards for Harvey, who is looking to

"Stay happy and healthy, live close to some good waves, surf, create, innovate, and learn, become wise and grow a wise man beard."

Amen to that!

To find out more about Harvey and his art, head to

https://www.instagram.com/harveysaunders1.0/

https://www.facebook.com/harveypaulsaunders/

 

STAY TUNED for more Expert's Chat landing on the Mad To Live Blog soon!

 

 

 

 

MAD TO LIVE RETREATS PORTUGAL WRAP!

Every time I wrap a leg of Mad To Live Retreats, I, as I hope my guests, am left in a stoked out, energized bliss, wondering what the heck just happened.  Collaborating with long-time friends and the number one surf and lifestyle camp in Europe, The Surf Experience, and with a weeks itinerary bursting with adventure and stoke-inducing possibilities at every turn, we welcomed our righteous crews of women including including Jess, Lucy, Poppy, Carly, Nicola, Charlotte, Holly, Naztasia, Debbie and Pixie to the wondrous shores of Lagos, Portugal.

The Surf Mansions house were prepped for all the guests, with goodies from our partners including The Raw Chocolate Company, Roxy, SeaFolly Australia, Imsy Swiwmear, Plenish juices and Pip N Nut to welcome the ladies, and get them settled in and ready for the incoming adventure.

From the welcome sunset yoga on the beach, toasting the upcoming fun and radness to be had, to full surf days in warm green waves in Lagos, horse-riding in the stunning hills of Benzafrim, mountain biking along the cliffs peeping over the crystal green waters of Ponta de Piedade, gettin' sweaty and stoked with surf-specific training on the beach in the morning, saluting the days adventure with restorative yoga in the dreamy old-town Theatre, and busting on the pads with a 1-1 boxing PT session, the crews threw themselves at everything on offer.

With in-depth surf coaching and a video analysis session, it was awesome to see the women progress and charge over the week, taking in some of the Algarve's most beautiful breaks along the way, and benefiting from multiple swells hitting the south coast.

How special it is for me to see these women, from all across the world and all walks of life, bond and stoke-out during the experience.  How incredible the energy is, of everyone lifting each other up, and the firm friendships made every week, how it seems to become more powerful and real each time these adventures happen.

Check out the full video edit of the weeks below, and HOLD UP! We have announced a THIRD date in September added due to popular demand! BOOK HERE - limited spacing available!

And stay tuned for 2018 dates........

Hannah Edy Photography

 

 

Travel Piece For Cooler Magazine on Morocco, and Why The Waves Are Always The Best Place To Make Friends

I love fussing my love of travel and writing, and with my recent trip to Amouage in Morocco, I penned a piece for the bible of all that is women's surf and adventure, Cooler. In this piece I explore the emergence of new luxurious surf destinations, and why waves will always be the best place to meet new friends.  Check the piece below!

With thanks to Amouage at Surf Maroc

http://surfmaroc.com/en/location/amouage/

 

 

 

 

A LOVE LETTER...TO PORTUGAL

How rich a lover I am of travel it is well-versed on these blogs pages.  I have loved being a child of Europe, coming from mixed parentage, and spending my young years in Greece, learning French with my Belgian mother, schooling in England, living in France, loving Spain, snowboarding Austria, arms out-stretched in Italy.  One country though, seems to have had me in it's loving and warm grasp since I was first taken there, not even yet a citizen of this planet, in my mother's pregnant belly.

Travel company and all-round purveyors of brilliant travel advice, tips, booking ease and awesomeness KAYAK are sharing a campaign that I love, and is all about their love of Europe, and sharing a personal love story with it or an individual country.

Portugal, where I have lived, loved, worked, and have spent and continue to spend so much of my time, has always been a constant in my life.  Somehow, every time I am here, I fall more and more in love with this wildly beautiful country.  I have penned and created my own Love Letter to Portugal as part of this campaign... This is truly a special one for me, something I loved to write, I loved to create.  It is from the heart, as Portugal is a part of me, body, soul, mind and more.  

You can create your own Love Letter using #loveeurope and #KAYAKloveeurope to a country in Europe that you love.  Get inspired and check out mine below!  This is from the heart!

Find out more and visit KAYAK at www.Kayak.co.uk

A love letter to Portugal

Oh Portugal.  Since I took my own first steps on this planet, upon your very own rich and awesome soil, you had me at the get go.

I’ve lived and loved you every year I have spent on this earth, and every time we’re together, I fall in love with you a little more.

Where can I start, is it the rich, golden glow about your varied, ancient lands, which have traces of so many wild and different cultures imprinted across it, doused in your foods, in the intoxicating, bewitching smiles of your peoples, in the shape of your lands, the ruins, the curves of your cobbles, the ancient rock, and whispers of the spirits and energies who were here in an ancient time.

Is it the crispness of your salty air, the endless hours of play and love I have had in your roaring and wild waters, the first touch of sand on my babe toes, the first swim, the first time I lay my belly on a board, and felt the defiant surge of your power, the first time I stepped both feet on a surfboard, the beginning of an enduring and wild love affair that to you, Portugal, I am eternally grateful.

It could be the smiles from your local elder statesmen, pitched up at their spots every morning, the knowing smiles of the elderly fisherman as I leave when the sun is peeping over the horizons for an early run into the hills, pit- stopping for one of your delectable coffees in the unassuming and perfect stand-up coffee shops.  Or perhaps it’s the sizzling sardines, the freshly grilled treasures from the ocean, doused in lemon, garlic, wine and love.  The endless trays of prawns and clams, of thick, hearty stews, of crusty, moorish breads, of my memories of my dad bringing still-warm croissants from your local bakeries to our home every morning. Of the toasts made of your local wines, to the many events, the many loves, and many moments imprinted forever in my heart.

Perhaps it’s the wild dancing, the abandoned screams to the moonlit skies with charmed feet moving nonstop to the beats of your ancient music’s and land.  Of the fervent frenzy of never wanting to stop dancing, of the laughs and exhaustion, dancing barefoot home with the sun rising in the sky, the moon sleeping to the west, searching for that warm croissant to put me to sleep.

Is it those seminal friendships, those hugs, the first taste of your beer, the toasts, the love, the celebrations of high school, of university, of our first jobs, of our second, of our first loves, the loves for life, of weddings, of children, is it those moments you have been instrumental in, been the heartbeat of, to which I am eternally grateful? 

It could be the simplicity of those walks with my mother on your golden sands.  Once a child, taking such pleasure in searching for your oceans treasures, collecting shells, hand in hand with Her. Those moments which have never changed, as I am still  child of your lands, yet the vision now of my own mother.

Portugal, you enrapture me and have loved me as I have loved you honestly, passionately, relentlessly since you first welcomed me to your intoxicating world…how I can’t wait to see how this Great Love continues…thank you for all of your gifts… I love you Portugal. 

FEEL-GOOD BEAUTY: FIRST VIDEO - INNER & OUTER GLOW

I am so excited to introduce a new segment to the Mad To Live Mix.  In feel-good beauty I will be talking about some of my favourite products which help me feel my best and maintain a happy inner and outer glow.

As you can probably tell from my perpetual beach/jungle Mowgli looking condition (even in London, ha!) I don't like to use too much makeup.  I more love products that help me feel my best and that help my skin against damage including pollution in the city, or the sun and saltwater whilst I am away running my retreats.

Image: Gavin Withey  

Image: Gavin Withey

 

I believe living a healthy life doing as much of what you can to make you smile and feel awesome is step number one, and products that help to enhance your natural beauty. 

First up in the mix is a video on inner and outer glow!  Check it out below, and find the full list of products.

FEEL-GOOD BEAUTY: INNER & OUTER GLOW

CHANEL BLUE SERUM Inspired by and using ingredients from global blue zones, regions of the world where people live better and longer (including Costa Rica, my favourite).

DECEOR NEROLI A perennial favourite, one of my non-negotiable musts.100% natural with essential and botanical oils, feel-goodness guaranteed.

CHARLOTTE TILBURY HEALTHY GLOW Basically summer in a tube, a glow-giver if I am feeling a little lacklustre!

BAREMINERALS STROKE OF LIGHT Under-eye illumination that works a treat if I have been working late, too many early morning starts.

BAREMINERALS BRILLIANT FUTURE AGE DEFENSE & RENEW CREAM With my peepers constantly out in the sun on my surf retreats, I just want a product that combats damage and refreshes.  Enter BareMinerals, to combat environmental stressors.

MOROCCAN OIL LIGHT TREATMENT Infused with antioxidant rich argan oil & vitamins.  The Hair Dream.

DR SEBAGH LUMINOUS GLOW CREAM Awesome at erasing any signs of fatigue, serious glow-giving.  On this note, the INCREDIBLE facialist Tine Hargelquist who works closely with Dr Sebagh is based in London and runs THE most amazing signature facials from her beautiful zen-out apartment.  She truly believes about what is happening with your personal happiness and overall health manifests on your skin, and carries out her signature facial massages whilst imparting pearls of wisdom to leave you feeling quite simply on top of the world.  

GARNIER SKINACTIVE MOISTURE BOMB TISSUE MASK My FAVOURITE all-time face mask.  Hydrating as heck, oozing with glow-giving rehydrating serum, and non-wallet damaging.

VITA COCO COCONUT OIL A head-to-toe glow giver.  Not just for the kitchen.

NEAT NUTRITION WHEY PROTEIN Packed full of essential amino acids. Nutrient rich to improve overall wellbeing, a must post-training for me.

Thanks and stay tuned for the next video on multi-purpose/products that are awesome for travel!

TRAIL FIT TRAINING PROGRAMMES

My collaboration with KEEN for the launch of their women's-specific all-terrain shoe, the Terradora, saw me create 3 separate training programmes to demonstrate the versatility of the shoe.  This was a super fun project, as I love to show that you don't always need access to a gym, you can make any space a place to have fun and train.  

So here you go, 3 different workouts, CITY, PARK, OUTDOOR, for you to use and stoke yourselves out with!

www.keenfootwear.com/trailfit

 

PARK

Duration: 60 minutes

  • Light Jog: 500 metres
  • Bound for 50 meters, running with the longest strides you can take, like a triple jumper’s first two steps.
  • Run with “high” knees for 50 meters, lifting legs as high as you can.
  • Skip for 50 meters, trying to get as high off the ground as possible.
  • Sprint for 100 meters, keeping your body relaxed.
  • Regressed press up 3 sets of 8- 12 reps This is press up with hands on raised surface: you can use a bench, wall, higher surface ground. Elevating you hands is less mechanical work, but you’re keeping the same biomeachincs of the press-up movement, whereas if you drop the knees as an easier modification, you don’t require as much core stability. Start in a normal push up position, with your hands on a raised surface.  Lower down and press up.
  • Bear crawling – forward and back. 5 sets
    Come down on all fours, trying to keep your hands underneath the shoulders and knees underneath hip. Raise the knees up, and start to crawl, using hands and feet to travel. Bear crawl forward for 20 metres and without resting, then bear crawl backward 20 metres.
  • Dead bugs – 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions
    Lay flat on your back with your hands extended above you toward the ceiling. Bend your knees in 90 degree angle and raise your thighs until they are perpendicular to the floor. Now deeply exhale and embrace your abs to bring your rib cage down and flatten you back onto the floor. Slowly lower the right arm and the left leg down to the floor simultaneously while exhaling, then slowly return to the starting position while inhaling. Alternate sides and continue the movement for three sets.
  • Bird Dog 3 sets 8-12 reps
    Start on your hands and knees, with a neutral spine. Extend a leg and learn how to feel your glutes moving your leg rather than your lower back. Once you can do leg, the extend the opposing arm at the same time.
  • Backward Walking Lunge 3 sets 8-12 reps
    Stand straight and step the right foot back, keeping the weight on the front foot, with both knees drop to 90 degrees. Step back to meet the left foot, and repeat on the other side.
  • Long/Broad Jumps 3 sets of 12-15
    Get into a squat position with the feet shoulder-width apart on a soft surface. Squat down deep and explode up, using your entire body to thrust yourself forward. Land softly on the ground and immediately move onto the next jump.
  • Sprint up hill to end

CITY

Duration: 45 minutes

Take one minute rest between sets in set exercises. Depending on fitness level or to increase difficulty, decrease rest time to challenge yourself, down from 60 seconds, to 45, to 30

  • Walking lunges
  • Forward/backward leg swings
  • Side-to-side leg swings
  • Jogging in place with butt kicks
  • Toe taps on walls
  • HIGH knee skips
  • Split squats 3 sets of 8-12 per leg
    Position yourself into a staggered stance with the rear foot raised on surface and front foot forward. Bend the front knee and hip to lower your body down. Keep the front knee in line with the foot as you perform the exercise. At the bottom of the movement, drive through the heel to extend the knee and hip to return to the starting position.
  • Regressed press up 3 sets 6-8 reps
    This is a press up with hands on raised surface: you can use a bench, wall, higher surface ground.  Start in a normal press up position, with your hands on a raised surface.  Lower down and press up. For a harder alternative place your feet on a higher surface.
  • Stair Jumps 3 sets 5-8 reps
    Find a height and distance that is optimal for you and jump forward to your desired step, landing in a squat. Jump back down and repeat. This is great for high reps and cardio. If you want to mix it up, use your momentum and consecutively leapfrog to higher steps until you reach the top of the staircase. This will test your explosiveness, stamina, and core stability.
  • Stair Sprints  3 sets
    This will improve coordination and explosiveness. Sprint up a flight of stairs, using your arms for momentum. Jog down for active recovery.
  • Box jumping 8 reps, 3 sets
    Get in a half squat position with your arms in front of you. From this static position, jump up and onto the box. You want to jump from a still position, do not allow any counter movements. Land in the middle of the box and stand all the way up. Reset after each jump.
  • Add multiple jog and sprint sections at areas of your trail where you can run, in between the strength sets.

    Look for areas where you can add interval training sprints, sprinting for 30 seconds and recovering for 60 seconds, at least 5 times. Increase difficulty and decrease the recovery time.

 

OUTDOOR

Duration: 60 minutes

Warm Up

  • Double heel lifts
  • Walking lunges
  • Butt kickers
  • Leg swings
  • High Knees

Walk at a fast pace for two to three minutes, then jog for five minutes.

  • Weave in and out of trees (suicide runs): agility runs. Run for 30 seconds, rest for one minute. Repeat 5 times.
  • Suicide runs are high intensity sprint, working on endurance, agility and speed. Suicide runs can be done nearly anywhere – outdoors, in a park, gym, courts, all you need are shoes and some props to serve as markers which in this case are trees, weaving through trees.
  • Finger planks (good for climbing) 30 seconds, 3 sets.  Hold a high plank (or raised pushup position) using your fingers to hold you as high as possible. This will really build finger strength and core.
  • Body rows off tree branches. 3 sets of 5-8 reps.  Utilizes your own body weight without placing stress on the lower back, working the back, biceps, traps, and all the stabilizer muscles.  Get creative and find a lower branch. Grab the branch with an overhand grip (palms facing away from you). Contract your abs and try to keep the body in a completely straight line. Your ears, shoulders, hips, legs and feet should all be in a straight line. Pull yourself up to the branch until your chest touches the branch. Lower yourself back down.
  • Pushups against trees (regressed push-ups) 3 sets 6-8 reps
    This is a push up with hands on raised surface. Elevating your hands is less mechanical work, but you’re keeping the same bio-mechanics of the press-up movement. Drop the knees for an easier modification, where you don’t require as much core stability.
  • Wall sits utilising large trees3 sets of 60 seconds (advanced, 45 seconds (intermediate), 30 seconds (beginner)
    This exercise works the quads, hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings. Stand with your lower back against a straight tree, walk your feet out at hip distance apart and lower your glutes to sit against the tree. Press the lower back into the wall by shifting weight to your heels off the toes, and relax the abs and shoulders.
  • Skater Jumps 8-12 reps 3 sets.  This exercise develops lateral strength and power in the quads and glute muscles. It also places the entire load on one leg, which helps with balance and reduces the tendency to favor the stronger leg during two-legged jumps.  Get into a squat position with your feet close together and the majority of your weight on your right leg. Push off your right leg to the opposite side. Land softly on your left leg and move your right leg behind it like you were performing a Curtsy Lunge. Repeat on your left leg.
  • Trek and light jog, increasing speed to add HIIT. Look for paths with inclines to accelerate up, increasing difficulty through speed control or elevation. Sprinting for 30 seconds and recovering for 60 seconds, at least 5 times. Further increase difficulty by decreasing the recovery time.

PROJECT ROUND-UP: TRAIL FIT WITH KEEN

I was super psyched to connect with Keen some time ago, a US-founded adventure shoe company, partnering up on a project that is very close to my heart.  Keen, like myself, has it’s roots firmly entrenched in a genuine love of the outdoors and living an active life, with a healthy dose of adventure and connection to nature.   I live my life, both professionally and personally, in the persuit and existence of the activities and lifestyle that I adore so much ,and I believe this  rewards me with me so much, both physically and mentally.

In the creation of the Terradora women's performance shoe, Keen have sought to bridge the gap between the gym and the mountain the backcountry ad the city, with an all-terrain versatile shoe that reflects it’s TrailFit philosophy, of not just training and workout out, but getting stoked being outside, just moving In the outdoors, and enjoying the connection to those moments. 

Tasked with creating three separate training programmes, CITY, PARK, and OUTDOOR for the launch of Terradora, plus hosting these events through London, inviting groups of women to participate and join in, we have just wrapped the final event in the beautiful Epping Forrest.  As with so much of my work, the greatest satisfaction I get from my work now is being able to encourage women to participate in activities and a lifestyle to make themselves feel awesome, and to get to meet so many incredible ladies doing this is the icing on the cake.  What incredible crews of women I met on these events; from the Park stop in breathtaking Hampstead Heath, to bouldering around Waterloo and Southbank with an all-time crew of adventurous chicks for City, and capping it off with a soul-stirring session in Epping Forrest.

I think these days, many women, myself of course included, have or do put ourselves under a lot of pressure to train like wild banshees: we’ve got to follow that fad, to do this type of workout, and feel guilt perhaps if we aren’t doing that, or are too busy, or heck, just too tired to fit in that session of class after a busy working day, or around family life.  TrailFit, and Terradora is about just getting out there and adventuring-that doesn’t have to be going hell for leather, you are in fact, training, working out, and reaping physical and psychological benefits, by heading out your door, hiking your local park, running up the steps to the top a local viewpoint.  And adventure is within your gasp, even if you are a city-dweller, something I really love to illustrate on my platforms-adventure is within your grasp, you just might have to open your eyes a little more.

Stay tuned for my next blog post which details the CITY, PARK, OUTDOOR workouts I created for Keen & Terradora, which you can follow anywhere, no gym equipment needed!

Check out the recap videos below of all 3 sessions.

GET OUTSIDE ✌️✌️✌️

www.keenfootwear.com/trailfit

PARK

CITY

OUTDOOR

 

 

 

MOROCCAN MAGIC

I love to travel.  Sometimes, you think you've found your spots, the places that set your soul on fire the most, somewhere you might keep returning too.  I love being surprised, finding a new love for a place I first visit, and falling completely head over heels for it.

Morocco is a close neighbour to us in Europe, and whilst I have been to Marrakesh, I'm not quite sure how the coast of Morocco, a staple surf destination for most European surfers, has somehow evaded my visit.  Setting off for the dreamy,  spice-scented shores of Taghazout, with my good friend Victoria along for the ride, we pitched up at Amouage, the new boutique hotel concept from long-time Taghazout surf-trip experts, Surf Maroc.  

I was interested to discover more about this metamorphosis of surf-trip offerings, with surfing having entered the public consciousness in a big way, and so many people around the world now surfing, the choice in surf trip and accommodation has expanded dramatically.  Enter Amouage, a luxe offering, newly opened at the closing of 2016.  

A new concept with a premium edge, Amouage, the new flagship hotel from surf Maroc, sits atop Anchor Point, one of Taghazout's most infamous breaks, and is a distinctly more premium offering than other spots in the town.  Perched on the edge of the ocean, the woozy, hazy, golden glow of Agadir quickly enveloped me into it's arms, and as they say it was love at first sight.  Sitting down to huge communal tables with the other guests, feasting over heaped plates of fresh vegetables, fruit-soaked tagines, colourful beetroot grains and fresh fish, fast bonds and easy conversation are quickly made.

There's something beautiful about a place which manages to embrace surf culture and also stay true to it's own heritage and roots.  With Amouage taking the heat of searching spots yourself, every day our guide would take us to the best wave, enabling us to see much of the coast, from the infamous Devils Rock, to a right-hand break of dreams which I'll keep my lips sealed on, but had me going until my arms couldn't paddle anymore.  With wandering camels, the scent of grilled fish and the smiles of locals every day, the charm of this unbelievable nook of North Africa is unparalleled.  There is an authenticity to it, to the people and it's locals which is genuine and enveloping.  

Our surf guides Yacine, Elias and Tariq were always on hand with any coaching advice and answers to questions about the breaks.   The guides at Amouage and staff on hand are second to none, and the whole vibe of the hotel allows for you to make friends as soon as you pull a rug and cushion up to a table of strangers, or else stay secluded and enjoy downtime, in one of the many hidden chill zones of the hotel.

Zenning out to yoga on the roof every evening, overlooking the navy hued ocean and saluting the days surf with varied-themed yoga sessions, I found a special calmness in this unique spot of Africa, feeling both totally at peace and free.

MAD TO LIVE TIPS: AGADIR, MOROCCO

FITNESS

-SURF!!! (This will always be number one on my lists, ha!) Amouage make it super easy, you select what level you are at and are put in the according group, where they provide lessons and take you to suitable breaks

-Yoga:  Surf and yoga go hand in hand in Agadir, and with yoga and surf inclusive retreat packages at Amouage, you can choose whether you drop in at the morning or evening classes, or both if you're a real brother for yoga

-Paddle boarding across the clear waters on a day with smaller swell, you might be lucky and spot a dolphin

HEALTHY HOT SPOTS

-A trip to Paradise Valley, with it's rock pools and waterfalls in the Atlas Mountains

-Indulge in a hammam, where you will be steamed, scrubbed, masked, doused and cleaned to within an inch of your life.  I swear my skin reverted to back of that of a 12 year old after this! 😂

-Browse the Wednesday weekly souk market and pick up local spices, jewellery, goodies and more

Check out my full video edit of my trip to Morocco below !

With thanks to Surf Maroc and Amouage

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

WHY I: ANNA GLOWINSKI

Anna Glowinski is one of those women who has turned her back on following what is expected, what is convention, and pursued her passions and ambitions with an open heart and mind, and a voracious appetite.  Known for her life on two wheels, Anna is an enduro (mountain bike) racer, has presented the ITV Cycle Show, is a former team rider for women’s cycling team the Mule Bar Girls, winner of the RedBull Minidrome, and entrepreneur and founder of Anna’s Legs, a women’s specific cycling apparel brand. 

Anna has inspired me since when we first met 7 or so years ago, and I was eager to pin her down for a chat about her life on the bike, starting her own business and more.  Settle down for a WHY I read with the awesome Anna Glowinski, an all-round ardent champion of women leading active and creative lives.

Hailing from Croydon, South London, a place not perhaps known for being synonymous with the outdoors, Anna nevertheless had an active upbringing, thanks to her parents taking her “out into the mud, leaves, forests and pebbles in whatever weather, from a very young age.”  I was struck immedietley from when I first met Anna many years ago, of how contagiously inspiring her honest, real, and no bullsh*t approach to her desire to pursue and live and work for what she enjoys, and loves is.  A presenter on Sky Digital’s the Bike Channel, Anna has been a familiar and friendly face in the world of wheels for some time now.  From co-presenting ITV’s the Cycle Show, racing for the Mule Bar Girls women’s team, founding her first business, AnaNichoola, and now her new business, women’s specific cycling apparel brand Anna’s Legs, and taking in a podium or two including the RedBull Minidrome in London’s Eastend, Anna’s energy for her passions is pretty mind-boggling.

Anna presenting The Cycle Show

Anna presenting The Cycle Show

Now residing in the sunny shores of Spain, a place Anna clearly relishes for it’s incredible array of mountain bike and road trails, access to surf, and perhaps, a more quiet peaceful freedom from the hectic city life, though she admits she is “kind-of a city girl at heart, with a deep need for outdoorsy hobbies, a bit of a weird mix.”

Anna can’t remember a life “without riding”.  With her father's love of bikes, from 5 years old Anna was introduced to the world of wheels, with cyclo-cross racing dominating the winters, and road cycling in the summers.   Racing competatively as a child, as with most of us, the distractions of teenage life, and other sports led her to lose interest.  Later on, in her earlier twenties, picking up a mountain bike, Anna attests that

"It… changed my life, because now I am always pursuing a life in the mountains as much as I possibly can.”

Following her adventures on her social channels, it isn’t hard to be drawn into what is clearly is such an honest, and huge passion for a life of wheels outside.   Anna also rides road bikes, BMX, and actively practices and pushes, developing her skillset and capabilties as a rider.  Dipping her toe into many realms of riding, Anna suggests that her problem is that she “loves everything”.  Personally, I see her activism in wanting to experience, learn, and try different facets of life and adventure as incredibly inspiring.  She admits that “I wouldn’t swap the excitement of it all for the hum drum of pure focus on one thing and becoming an expert, it just doesn’t suit my nature.”

With her new business, women’s apparel brand Anna’s Legs, Anna has clearly identified a gaping gap in the market for women looking for performance led cycling product that 1) performs and 2) doesn’t look diabolical, which, for those of us looking for something slightly more style-led when out on our bikes, it typically has.

Annas Legs

Annas Legs

“I am just so damn proud of the product. I actually believe that the waistband of my leggings is the best on the market, and the fit and feel is designed with so many body shapes in mind. They are comfortable for hours in the saddle and have so many tiny little features that make them a pleasure to ride in. The prints are personal and fun too. I have just really enjoyed every aspect of the design process, there has been no pressure, no hurry, and I have had the time to develop products that I am proud of.”

Although Anna suggests she doesn’t “see myself as an entrepreneur”, I would argue otherwise.  

“I just want to make a living from doing the things I love and am passionate about. Sometimes I make money, sometimes I don’t. But my work is all my own, my successes and my mistakes, and I feel such a sense of freedom from being in control of my whole life.”

This freedom is something many of us aspire too.  We can often find ourselves somewhat flummoxed or discontent, maybe plateauing in a role where we perhaps aren’t doing quite what we want to, incorporating enough of our actual passions, or having enough freedom as we want.  Anna is a beacon to me of being tenacious in this respect, and equally, in that what you have always loved, from being a child, can actually lead to a professional rewarding and fulfilling working life if you do seek or create business opportunities around your passions.  I wonder what advice Anna would have for other budding entrepreneurs?  “Keep all your receipts, don’t use a Google Docs template for your invoices without saving them each time. Do believe you know everything, you don’t, but that belief will make you take the risks you need to take in order to push things to the next level…

“My advice would be to follow your heart. If you want to do something, whether it is from a business point of view, or simply a desire to travel or do something new, you should do it. There is literally no reason why not to. On my journey I have met so many people who have taken a plunge and every single time it has worked out. Even if it hasn’t financially! (Haha). Everyone who wants to do something and then goes and does it succeeds, because they are in control of their own life.”

As someone who also is foraging to live a life in the genuine persuit and existence of what I a creatively, professionally and emotively stimulated by, I can relate to this.  I think finding something that quite simply, excited you, stirs your soul and stimulates your mind can often be a great starting point, Anna adding that:

“I get so excited when I meet new people with new stories to tell, or people I follow on Instagram who are living life in a cool way, or making amazing things, or riding really well. I just want to experience as much as I can, whenever I see or hear something cool I want to have a go at it myself. I see people everywhere running their own businesses and I guess I see them and want to have a piece of it myself too.”

Amen to that.

Check out Anna's Legs, Anna Glowinski's range of cycling apparel for women available to buy in the link below.

https://www.velovixen.com/shop/legwear/cycling-tights-bib-tights/annas-legs.html

STAY TUNED FOR MORE WHY I INTERVIEWS!

Balinese Wanderings, Waves & Wanderlust

There seems to be little that gives me more joy these days then trussing up my backpack and hitting the road, surfboard bag under arm and a dog-eared map of the world stuffed down a pouch.  Setting off for another Indonesian oddessy this December, I was hungry to find somewhere that felt like a home-away-from-home, where I could mix my love of the yin of high-energy, outdoor pursuits in Bali like surfing, with the yang of needing (and wanting) r N r, chill time, and a place to maintain my healthy eating, love of yoga, and a place where you can make friends .

Enter The Chillhouse in Canngu.  Owned by the brilliant Alexander, a German surfer and stoker of life of the highest order, and armed with my best friend, radio presenter Georgie Rogers in tow, we set off for the secluded mecca that is The Chillhouse.   Nestled off of the hipster high-road Pantai Batu Balong leading to the seminal surf spot of Berawa, Batu Balong, The Chillhouse has a near Alice-In-Wonderland-esque feel as soon as you arrive, tumbling down the rabbit-hole through the lush and verdant pond-spotted paths to your room.  Exploring through our stay, we happily stumbled across the yoga studio, two swimming pools, massage spots and numerous chill-inducing dotted long beds.

Armed with the keys to our Treehouse canopy, the Gerry Lopez (an ICON of surfing, who near single-handedly put Bali on the map as a staple surfing destination) Treetop Canopy is a room that has both relaxation and fun written across it.  The turquoise painted (as is all the branding and decor of The Chillhouse, apparently it helps to open the lines of communication between the heart and the spoken word, and also reflects the colour of Bali's stunning Indian Ocean) retreat was so exciting to take our first steps into, climbing the stairs (heck, I always wanted my own tree house) to a beautifully nestled haven.

I loved the outdoor bathroom with double shower and double sink - perfect for couples, a laugh for two best friends, and balcony with long couch to toast a surf with a local Bintang beer looking across the pink and peach dappled sunset sky.    

Handily, The Chillhouse easily provides a full-run down of all the different activities they they organise daily, including surfing lessons, trips to dive with Manta rays, mountain biking, excursions to the centre of the Island (including the infamous Ubud), even PT sessions and grooming (manis and pedis) and of course, massages to sooth surf-weary bodies.  We had one thing on our minds, and surfed until our sun-scorched bodies couldn't take anymore.  Once at that point of exhaustion we both had incredibley soothing massages to sort our happily knackered bodies.

Even though I was travelling with a friend, I always love to meet people during my travels, and in my eyes, this is one of the highlights of travelling.  Communal-style long dining tables, epic barbecue evenings with freshly grilled fish. prawns and more, and coffees at breakfast made for a perfect setting to toast a cup of coffee to the surf ahead or bintang at the end of the day with newly made friends.  And with a menu selection bursting with healthy, nutritious meals, it is easy to keep up healthy habits, and try local specialities like dragon fruit smoothie bowls (drool).  

Check out my health-hot tips for visiting Canggu!

MAD TO LIVE TIPS: CANGGU

FITNESS

-Surfing is obviously activity number one once you hit the shred-heavy Indonesian island.  There are a multitude of incredible breaks to choose from, and Batu Balong, just a scoot down the road from The Chillhouse, is a notorious beginner friendly spot (once you've had a lesson on dealing with currents, etiquette and where the reef is!).  Can get PACKED but consistent, warm waves and a number of surf schools by the beach + rental make this a great choice.  I won't mention my other favourite breaks to let any secrets out!

-Working out whilst away on your holiday and maintaining your training routine is totally feasible thanks to numerous gyms dotted in and around Canggu.  Bali Fit boasts a number of awesome conditioning classes and surf-specific training.  Ask for trainer Claire, she is the BOMB

-Volcano hikes leaving in the dead of the night so you arrive as the sun is rising are sure to blow your mind and are a must-do

-Yoga is a huge draw for visitors to Bali.  If you aren't heading to Ubud, fear not, for there is a proliferation of brilliant yoga spots around the island.  Resort Desa Seni in Canngu right by the ocean front has some of the best classes in town

-Bike life:  You will notice an abundance of motorbikes and scooters zipping round: It is the best way to get around and avoid the traffic congestion, but be careful: accidents can be rife.  Go drool over the sexiest wheels in town at The Deus Temple Of Enthusiasm.

HEALTHY HOT SPOTS

-The Shady Shack is one to check out if you're feeling parched after a long morning surf: icy coolers, shakes (duh) and iced coffees in a cool and verging on too-trendy spot make for a chilled out stop-off

-Poke Poke is as the name states, a damn delicious poke-bowl (fresh raw fish layered over rice/veg + toppings) spot where you can stuff your shmoosh on these insanely good bowls of radness

-Having conducted extensive research on local massage spots (without complaining ;) ) I found my favourite spot for soothing out surfed-out muscles: Therapy by Echo Beach. Seriously, their masseuses have magic hands. Check. It. Out.

 

Check out the full adventure of my Balinese trip below!

With thanks to The Chillhouse, www.TheChillHouse.com