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

 

 

 

SHRED READY: SURF FITNESS DATES IN LONDON!

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Shred Ready: Surf Fitness is BACK for the 2017 season and I am so excited to announce the dates you can book now book on to!

Shred Ready: Surf Fit is a bespoke workout that will improve your stamina and conditioning with highly targeted movements that work to boost your performance and ultimately enjoyment in the water.  Focussing  on the critical factors crucial to developing your dynamic surfing ability, we will be looking at:

-Improving your dynamic surfing focussing on honing power movements including pop ups

-Flexibility - improving your range of movement and mobility and protecting against injury

-Balance - enhancing your ability to stabilise and maintain positions

-Understanding your surfing movements and the muscle groups that drive them- sharpening fast-twitch muscle fibres  and muscle memory

-Targeted strengthening exercises and movements to boost power and condition

-Aerobic fitness - conditioning the heart and muscle tone, paddle stronger and tire less

My friends over at Quiksilver and Roxy will be hosting us in their awesome digs in Shoreditch. Full details below:

DATES: 9TH MAY, 23RD MAY

LOCATION: Quiksilver & Roxy Showroom, Shoreditch *

TIME: Arrive 6:45pm for a 7:00pm start.  One hour workout, 15 minutes stretch, followed by drinks 

PRICE: £20 pre-pay via Bank Transfer

INCLUDED: One hour workout plus 15 minute stretching, a free drink (turbo-charged juice to replenish your body) all set to an awesome surf-infused playlist with big screen surf flicks playing in the background

BRING: Wear fitness gear/trainers, stoke and a smile, a water bottle

Email me at sophie@madtoliveblog.com to sign up - places are extremely limited so get in quick! Please specify which date you would like to attend,

* Full address disclosed after booking is complete

Cruise to my Instagram for more fitness, adventure, surfing and radness!

#ShredReadySurf

Thanks and see you soon! 

Fat Burning Workout for Grazia Magazine

The next workout I created for Grazia Magazine, 10 moves For Fat Burning, is now live!

Complete 8 repetitions of each then repeat 3 times

1. Goblet Squat
2. Swing
3. Dead Lift
4. Tuck Jump
5. Bear crawl
6. Walking Lunge
7. Explosive push up
8. Skaters
9. Plank thruster
10. One arm Sandbell snatch (repeat other side)

Threads: @nikelondon 
Kicks: @nikelondon Metcon 3

Killer Ab Workout for Grazia Magazine

Check out this workout I created for Grazia Magazine's #7in7 challenge at Another Space London, 7 killer moves for killer abs!

Moves 1-7 increase in difficulty, and repeat circuit 3 times:


1. Dead Bugs - 5 reps each side. As much of the spine on the ground as possible. Tuck the ribs down, chin down.
2. Bird Dogs: 5 reps each side
3. TRX roll out: 8 reps
4. Sandbell woodchop: 8 reps each side
5. Overhead slam: 8 reps
6. TRX anti rotation: 8 reps
7. Sandbell dragon flag: 5 reps


Threads: @nikelondon 
Kicks: @nikelondon Metcon 3

WHY I: OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST SNOWBOARDER JAMIE ANDERSON

I’m at the LAAX European Open Switzerland, a definitive stop on the World Snowboard Tour at the home of snowboard freestyle, LAAX.  Attracting the biggest names on the global tour, the LAAX Open has long been one of the most critical and enjoyed stops of the tour, with the riders stoking out on LAAX, which was purpose built for snowboarders.  It’s incredible facilities include the world’s biggest halfpipe, indoor training hubs, and of course, the unparalled and stunning riding terrain.  I’m here to see for myself the incredible highs snowboarding has come to in this leg of the European Open, and to chat to none other than slopestyle QUEEN, the reigning Olympic Gold slopestyle medallist, the incredible Miss Jamie Anderson.

A name that reached the mainstream consciousness following her crowning glory of winning the first ever slopestyle snowboarding competition at the last winter Olympics in Sochi Russia, 5  time X Games gold medallist, World Champion and all-round bastion of positivity, Jamie Anderson is a name both synonymous with being at the forefront of progression in snowboarding, and always doing it with an infectiously rad positive energy and unrelenting stoke and smiles.  After taking a podium spot at LAAX, I headed off with Jamie to chow down on some well-earned pad Thai and talk snowboarding, successes, mindfulness and what is next for the 10 year dominant force in women’s snowboarding.

Photo: jamie anderson instagram

Photo: jamie anderson instagram

If there is ever an athlete that not just is a beacon of showing what hard work and tenacity, combined with an unrelenting, clear, earnest, and honest love of her sport, it’s Tahoe-native Jamie Anderson.  26 year old Jamie has been been a stalwart of competitive snowboarding the last decade.  With her list of never-ending accolades, including of course, her Olympic Gold Medal in the last winter Olympics in Russia, Jamie has enjoyed a career of which her hard work and honest love for her sport has been steadily reflected in her haul of bullion in her trophy and medal cabinet.  Reflecting that she is “extremely thankful that I found snowboarding at such a young age…it’s the number one passion of my life. And it’s so fun because you have that fire to keep going and pursuing."

It’s clear that when talking to Jamie, it isn’t just competitive drive that has propelled her to such successful heights, but heck, it’s her genuine love of strapping onto her board and riding which is her driving force.  I wondered what, after such a long and steadily rewarding career which sees her on the top of podiums regularly some 10 years down the line, continues to spur her on, to motivate her, when she has conquered every competitive challenge on the snowboarding circuit?  “I think just personal perseverance.  My own challenges that I have, and trying to overcome them and not...let fear get in the way...I’ve been competing for like a solid 10 years, but I’m always inspired to learn more, grow, try new shit and progress, so I think that’s kind of the motivation to continue to do it.”

Many of us, when approaching a competitive sport, or any challenge for that matter, can focus on the want of that success and end goal.  Sage advice from the Olympic Champion, who suggests that:

“Instead of thinking about just being successful, think about finding something that really lights your heart on fire and makes you stoked to wake up every day and pursue it."

Seeing the unrelenting smile on her face when she is at the top of the park of any competition, it’s clear snowboarding sets Jamie’s heart on fire, and that these could be wise words to follow.  There are of course, challenges, difficult moments and testing times, especially in the fast-paced world of competitive sport.  What, I ask, does she do in those moments, to move past them?  “Those moments when you’re feeling discouraged or challenged… (I) usually try go back to gratitude, thinking of how lucky I am to get to do this and be in Switzerland, or Colorado, or wherever I’m at on the planet…I think that an attitude of gratitude is pretty powerful...remembering to stay humble and thankful for all the gifts”. 

"Learning to not let get your head in the way, women are like…we got crazy minds (laughs) so learning to…embrace that feminine power, but not let it… make me afraid, because that’s the only thing holding me back”. 

This makes me smile, for there is a beauty in our innate “feminine power” as Jamie attests, which surely when harnessed, makes us unstoppable forces.  I love Jamie for showing that to be at the top of your game in a sport, and not just from a female perspective, but both perspectives, it doesn’t have to be about being a testosterone charged individual.  Jamie embraces this feminine energy, and in my opinion, this is a critical, and highly important, influential ideal to share with women, with young girls, showing that it is possible to embrace this and be a champion, why the heck not?

Jamie in action at the LAAX open

Jamie in action at the LAAX open

Standing at the side of the slopestyle competitive at the LAAX open, it is clear to me, having worked in the action sports industry for some 12 years now, that women’s snowboarding is at an incredible juncture, whereby the athletes are embracing this power, where they are bonded by a love of their sport, of genuinely supporting each other and of welcoming progressive raw talent to the game.   It feels electric right now in women’s snowboarding, and Jamie is in the thick of it, agreeing that "Oh my gosh, it’s really cool... it has changed so much in the last couple of years with girls just getting inspired and tapping into their power and realising what they are capable of.  I think the number one thing that limits us is the mind and fear of course, but once you see your friends, going through and persevering with challenges, it is so enlightening.”

Younger girls looking to start a career in competitive snowboarding have some pretty powerful role models like Jamie Anderson to look up to at this point in time.  Though a difficult industry to truly make it to the top, Jamie shares some meaningful advice to younger girls, suggesting that :

"Make sure you’re down for the cause, have fun, be around good people that lift you up and trust yourself… Listen to your intuition most importantly. Don’t try too hard. Don’t listen to what other people say. Listen to yourself. “

Seeing Jamie on the podium with first place rider, the insanely talented Finish rider Enni Rukajarvi, and hot-new talent and new podium regular, Anna Gasser, cheering them on with genuine happiness for their successes, it is apparent that this field of support in women’s snowboarding is a powerful and potent field. 

Sitting with Jamie’s boyfriend, fellow rider and podium-placer, American Tyler Nicholson, I ask Jamie is she equally inspired by riding with her boyfriend?  “He definitely inspired me a lot when we first started dating he was the first one to really encourage me to do a lot of the new tricks I tried just because he had that belief…having someone give you that courage is what we need the most.   Just having someone actually believe in me, then I’m like yeah, I guess this is possible .and I can do it.”

With so many podium spots and so many wins, I wonder what in Jamie’s illustrious career has stood out as a moment that has perhaps meant the most to her?  “Getting to go ride Alaska even though it wasn’t obviously a contest, it was just to shred, it was so empowering just to be able to fight my fears and not be discouraged…the mountains are so powerful and it just inspires me to keep charging and even if it is not a competitive realm, snowboarding has so many different realms… it’s not all about double corks or 1080s and the Olympics…

"It’s just about being your true self and having fun and living for the moment and charging. Namaste!”.

With athletes like Jamie who have had such sustained and enduring success (when measured in terms of wins), I wonder what therefore can be defined as success to her now, and what are her hopes for the future?  “I look at older people and think I just think success is measured in happiness and groundedness and being…stoked on life every day, regardless of the situation.  Practicing that, (and) not being attached to always winning or doing a certain trick, just being okay with what what is, living in the moment, and embracing what is.  I hope to just like continue having fun hopefully land some new progressive tricks and make them look fossy and flow and with grace and then I want to make some films… I want to make some really cool like documentary films travelling around to cool places connecting culture, lifestyle and just spreading the love and epic vibes.  I’m so thankful to be in this epic industry...and the people in snowboarding…we are really lucky”. 

Even though Jamie is one of the most successful athletes ever to hail from the US, and whilst it could seem hard to relate to a champion of her level, I love having explored Jamie’s honest motivations, stoke, and love of her sport, and how, just like many of us when a snow day comes, she “just love(s) bundling up and being in the mountains. I’m definitely a mountain girl at heart I grew up in northern California just outside of lake Tahoe and we used to just jump off roofs into powder...

"Still to this day I’m 26 and I still go play in the snow every day and it’s so fun, it brings me so much joy".  

Myself, peacing out with Miss Anderson

Myself, peacing out with Miss Anderson

With thanks to Jamie Anderson, the LAAX Open and Canoe INC.

Stay tuned for the next WHY I interview!

 

 

 

 

Mad To Live Retreats Costa Rica Round-up & Wrap Video

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The latest leg of Mad To Live Retreats has just wrapped and I have waved off a group of some of the most incredible women I have been fortunate enough to spend time with, let alone be part of their adventure.  Experiencing the highs of catching waves, pushing their limits and more, in the wildly raw and beautiful Nosara, Costa Rica. 

With an all-time crew of ladies jetting in from around the world, the agenda was set, a full 10 days of heart-racing and stoke-inducing adventure in one of my favourite places in the world, Costa Rica, staying with my friends at Surf Bikini Retreat, who collaborated with me on Mad To Live Retreats.  A noted rare blue and green zone on the planet, I couldn’t wait to share the stunning natural beauty and adventure with the chicks, and for them to find out just why it’s one of the happiest places in the world.

The chicks arrived at the Retreat HQ to a bed of goodies courtesy of our awesome partners Roxy, Plenish Cleanse, SeaFolly Australia, Pip N Nut & Ombar Chocolate. 

Fuelled daily by wholesome and fresh meals sourced straight from the local organic farmers market, the ladies went head on into the adventure, embracing the awesomeness of the “Pura Vida” life, taking on their first 5k run of the week and stretching out travel-cramped limbs with a restorative sunset beach yoga session under peach melba dappled skies.

The Costa Rica leg of the Mad To Live retreats adventure sees our surfing instruction led by insatiable head coach Monty Murphy, who, with over 55 years surfing experience, has an incredible wealth of knowledge to share. 

Head Coach Monty Murphy

Head Coach Monty Murphy

 

Fellow head coach Adilia Zuniga and co-owner of Surf Bikini, a Vice President of the local surfing association, has long led the charge in Nosara for women’s surfing (you can read all about her and how she introduced surfing to the local female community here). 

Kicking off our surf sessions with a land-based in depth land training session, looking at the fundamental movements of surfing including the pop up, and how through land training you can better execute these movements on water, the ladies were fired up for their surf sessions.   

Shooting the girls for land analysis

Shooting the girls for land analysis

Later on in the week busting a sweat out with jungle-based HIIT classes, the women were pushed hard, training perched next to the jungles edge, exploring new training methods including tag-fit training and martial art/yoga fusion workouts.

One of the most rewarding parts of my creating the Mad To Live Retreats is by far, being a part of these ladies’ adventure, seeing the stoke on their faces when they catch their first wave, the reward of a hard climb up a hill or wall, conquering fears and realising just what they are capable of, and how incredibly rewarding it is for them.

The women charged at the waves all week, absorbing the in-depth coaching and I was so stoked to see their progression, from paddling into white water waves, popping up, and all of them scoring a head-high wave in the week.

Mad To Live Retreater Stephanie on a bomb

Mad To Live Retreater Stephanie on a bomb

Right on!  Surfing in an incredible sport in that it provides so many highs, no matter your level, whether its paddling into your first white-water wave, the first pop-up, or carving on clean green waves. 

The flora and fauna of Costa Rica is unparalleled, and setting off in kayaks later in the week, we headed deep into the mangroves of the Boca (river) of Nosara, meeting local wildlife including howler monkeys, herons, and wild horses, a few crocodile eyes may have even been spotted mid paddle.  Setting off on a nature hike to the local bio-park, the ladies darted amongst trees, climbing amongst the rough terrain to the sounds of bird song, monkeys playing and ancient trees rustling. 

The Surf Bikini HQ seemed to be the place though this trip for spotting wildlife – at the villa alone the ladies got up close and personal with some of the natives who tentatively crept over to us much to the chicks’ stoke, including both howler and white faced monkeys, an armadillo, a possum, iguanas, squirrels, pizotes (raccoons), and of course Pipeline, the camp sausage dog who rules the roost. 

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Embracing their inner monkey, the ladies were set loose on the local climbing walls, nestled on the side of the verdant jungle.  With the highest walls some 50 ft. tall, these challenging climbs were tackled by the crew,, surpassing a few fears along the way.  It was incredible to see the progression of the group, going from the first lower wall, to embracing the belief that they could and did boss the final steep ascent.  Tears, high fives, and a zangy margarita later to toast, this was one of many moments where I was so incredibly proud and inspired by this badass group of women.

Toasting the adventure with an epic sunset sky-dappled horse ride across the beaches, with hair flying, charging as the sunset, what a crew of women and what an adventure. Here is to your next one ladies.

Check out the full video re-cap of the Mad To Live Retreats Costa Rica adventure below, and let me know what you made of it in the comments!

Pura Vida!

Sophie x

With thanks to Roxy, Sea Folly Australia, Ombar Chocolate, Plenish and Pip N Nut

Mad To Live Retreats collaborated with Surf Bikini Retreat

Book now for the Portugal leg of Mad To Live Retreats here!

Follow the adventures on Instagram @SophieMadToLive #MadToLiveRetreats

YouTube Blogger Carly Rowena's Video Round-Up of Mad To Live Retreats Costa Rica!

We've just wrapped an incredible leg of Mad To Live Retreats Costa Rica.  Having just waved of an all-time crew of the most incredible women, guest and YouTube blogger and all-round righteous babe Carly Rowena has shared her round-up of the trip on her YouTube Channel!

Check out Carly's wrap-up of #MadToLiveRetreats Costa Rica for an in-depth look at what goes down at the Retreat, and what Carly made of it (hint: stoking out, monkeys, dancing around fires and adventuring your soul and heart out features!).

Thank you Carly we LOVED having you at Mad To Live Retreats, and also stay tuned everyone for my wrap-up of the action landing soon.

 

 

 

 

AN EPIC DAY EXPLORING NUSA DUA

Bali has stolen a little piece of my heart and on my last trip there in January this year I set off for a few days exploring the azure waters and cruisy waves of Nusa Dua.  I decided to try out the awesome new Chanel J12 watch, captured by my great friend and insanely talented photographer, Crille Rask.  This is the result of our day playing in the water.  

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Check out the dreamy video edit below of exploring and cruising the waves at Nusa Dua, Bali.

MAD TO LIVE RETREATS PORTUGAL DATES AVAILABLE TO BOOK!

SOUND THE CLAXON.  IT IS HERE.  I AM SO EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THE NEXT DATES OF MAD TO LIVE RETREATS PORTUGAL, AN INCREDIBLE COLLABORATION WITH EUROPE'S ORIGINAL SURF & LIFESTYLE COMPANY THE SURF EXPERIENCE!

Find out how YOU can join the adventure of a lifetime with 3 separate retreats happening over the summer - booking open now - all details below!

Always wanted to learn to surf or progress to the next level? Sun salute as it sets in front of you? Ride horses, scramble & charge up hills with the rising sun, get sweaty & stoked with tailored beach workouts, have the adventure of a lifetime with a group of like-minded souls?

Fitness instructor & lifestyle expert, Roxy ambassador, surfer and adventure-nut Sophie Everard of the Mad To Live blog is collaborating with the Surf Experience, the original surf & lifestyle company based in the heart of Europe's thriving summer surf scene, Lagos, Portugal, to create the ULTIMATE women's fitness, surf and adventure retreat in 2017.

Set to be a heart-racing, unforgettable adventure with a focus on physical and mental wellbeing and learning new skills to take home with you, you will immerse yourself in the vibrant Portuguese surf scene and culture and leave feeling charged, healthy and invigorated by the experience of a lifetime.

Hosted by fitness and sports coach Sophie Everard (CV includes Another Space, Move Your Frame & The Soho House Group), the retreats are a jam-packed 7 days of surfing with expert tuition, sunset beach yoga sessions, horseback riding and sunrise trail running through the rugged and stunning Roman and Moor-settled Algarvian landscape. Throughout the week enjoy outdoor fitness classes, including surf specific training, adrenaline-pumping mountain biking and the opportunity to have one on one training with Sophie.  The on-site chef will prepare locally-sourced nutritious meals at the luxurious boutique townhouse accommodation with free gifting from SeaFolly Australia, Plenish Cleanse, Roxy, Pip N Nut & more. You will also have the opportunity to kick back and relax, enjoy the Portuguese culture, beaches and beautiful surroundings.

Limited spacing to join this incredible adventure with Sophie and the Surf Experience is now open!

4 RETREAT DATES

3rd – 10th June 2017

10th – 17th June 2017

23rd September – 30th September 3 SPOTS LEFT

30th September - 7th October SOLD OUT

All the above are SELLING FAST book quick !

INCLUDED

  • 4 days surfing with expert tuition
  • Surf fitness focused workouts
  • Energising beach circuit sessions
  • Sunset yoga classes (dependent on weather)
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain Biking
  • Nutrition focused meals from the on-site chef: All meals except 2 nights out
  • Portuguese culture: Opportunity to visit local fort
  • 1 on 1 PT sessions with Sophie!

Free gifting from SeaFolly Australia, Roxy, Plenish Cleanse, The Raw Chocolate Co, Pip N Nut and more!

COST

£995 (Not including flights, and 2 dinners out)

Transport to and from Faro airport included free of charge

Please aim to arrive at Faro airport in the afternoon of the arrival date, and departure morning of departure day.  You will be greeted by the team at the airport, and taken straight to the accomodation, ready for the first welcome yoga session of the retreat!

 

ACCOMMODATION

Stunning luxury accommodation in the Surf Experience Mansions, a Portuguese townhouse in the heart of Lagos.

  • BATH TOWELS INCLUDED
  • WIFI AVAILABLE IN THE HOUSE
  • DOUBLE ROOMS AVAILABLE - PRIVATE FOR EXTRA COST 
  • TWINS AVAILABLE

BOOK NOW! EXTREMELY LIMITED SPACING, BOOK YOUR SPOT HERE AND SPECIFY IT IS FOR THE MAD TO LIVE RETREAT AND WHICH DATE OPTION.

Please email me sophie@madtoliveblog.com with any questions, or even a chat on +44 7803 628 736!

Need more convincing? Check out our testimonials here and check out a run down of a retreat last year below!

#MadToLiveRetreats

WHY I: TAHNEE SEAGRAVE

Competitive sport is an exciting arena.  Every so often a fresh and exciting, raw and disuptive talent emerges to shake the field up, and herald the arrival of a new crop of competitors vying for the top spot.  Enter Tahnée Seagrave, next up in the series of WHY I interviews delving into the minds, motivations and passions of a slew of diverse, talented, and highly inspiring women.  Downhill mountain bike racing could be fairly new to many of you, and with the first thing coming to mind normally being that this is one GNARLY sport, I was interested to chat to 21 year old Tahnée about her life in this adrenaline-charged world.  Kick back for a read with this progressive athlete, a young woman with a determination and focus of ferocity, balanced with a super approachable outlook that we can all relate to - heck, we all sometimes just need to just need to whack on the trackie bums and chill out on the sofa for days, right Tahnée? ;)

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21 year old downhill mountain bike rider Tahnée Seagrave, is, what some of us might describe, as “nails”.  If you’ve ever seen her in action during a competition or on video, the UK born, Wales-based rider’s raw talent has seen her demolish courses, be crowned the Junior World Champion and a regular face on the world-circuit podium.  As Tahnéeattests, downhill racing definitely isn’t for the faint hearted.  Hurling yourself down a mountain on a bike at high speed, dealing with jumps, sharp corners, rocks, roots, branches, trees and more makes for one of the most adrenaline-surging action sports out there, with, obviously, a high risk-rate of crashes, and perhaps injury.   Definitely not for the faint hearted then.  But for Tahnée, seeing her describe when she first started riding and how her passion was ignited at an early age at her family home at the time in Les Gets, France (a mountain biker’s mecca) it’s clear she loves this wild and challenging sport, that it gives her so much enjoyment and happiness, as well as a thrilling challenge to succeed.  Having been crowned the Junior World Champion in 2013 in Pietermaritzburg, I ask Tahnée what helps to continue to motivate her to up that title to World Champion, as she is now competing on the senior, world-circuit stage, and making quite a mark.

“I guess it's my thrill of giving my all, all the time, in everything I do, so I think tht really helps, the drive…”.

 

She has also helped to bring a more accessible, feminine and human side to the truthfully, male-dominated sport of downhill racing.  But hey , that is OK as she says, it isn’t a sport that’s for everyone because it IS “SO extreme”.  Rather than show or suggest that there are any extra pressures on her as a female athlete, Tahnée believes that actually

“If anything I like to push it forward and show girls that it's absolutely fine  and that it's not a a boys sport.  There’s no such thing as a “male sport”.

Self-admitting to be a “girly-girl”, which she “loves”, it provides an awesome constrast with battle-ready Tahnée on the world circuit, destroying the course and showing incredible levels iof strength, determination and talent in a quite frankly near-terrifying sport.    “It gives me a boost, I love being such a girly girl and then being like yeah I do that! To boys especially and it always intimidates them so it's quite funny”.

Following her racing and behind the scenes action on her Instagram account, it is clear she is a dedicated athlete, investing time into her progression through training, to reach her goal of being the World Champion.  

“The challenges in the gym are as good as the challenges on the bike, to feel the improvements is just a good a feeling.”

Taking some time out to recover after a few crashes on a busy season last year, it feels like even at her young age, Tahnée's maturaity in understanding when the body just sometimes says “hey, you know what? I need a rest right now, time to chill” is apparent, something some of us (ahemmmm…totally not myself included…ok yes me) who when we are older find hard to do. 

“It happened this year, I crashed race after race and my body was just getting worse and worse. I felt myself crumpling over like a little old lady race after race, it gets so emotional.  I honestly, don’t think I had any motivation towards the end which is why my results dropped…I got to a point where I was thinking god it isn’t worth it.  The body is like your most precious thing, you want to be fit and you’ve got to be fit for races…I took a month off, of nothing, (I) didn’t touch my bike, I didn’t see my bike, I didn’t want to talk about my bike.  It literally got to the point where if someone brought up bikes I would have to walk out the room.  If anyone talked about...Rache (Rachel Atherton, the dominant world Champion)…or her win, as much as I admire her…at the time I was so emotionally drained.   So yeah I think for me it's more time.   As soon as I have time to my self, and don’t touch a bike, I start to miss it…I miss the sport, and the competition…”. 

 

Ah yes, Rachel Atherton, the incredible force and dominant multi-world champion. One of the trio of the Atherton Racing family (brothers Dan and Gee), Tahnée’s greatest inspiration, and now, at this point, her biggest compeititon and hurdle to graduating from Junior to World Champion.  An indominable and highly progressive athlete, Rachel Atherton has been crowned Downhill World Champion no less than 4 times and been nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award for Action Sportsperson of the Year.  An athlete of precocious talent, who, now, has Tahnée Seagrave hot on her heels.  She clearly is a huge inspiration to Tahnée, who credits the fact that  

“You're not going to be a winner if you don't know what you want…She has just consistently won everything.  She can win on a bad day, and I think that’s what is so inspiring.  I want to be able to have a bad day and still win”. 

Tahnee on the podium with Rachel Atherton

Tahnee on the podium with Rachel Atherton

Tahnée clearly has a goal set in her sights, and after some time out from the circuit, has taken time to rest, reflect, grow stronger, and ready for action. 

“I want to dominate... I don’t want to just get one win... I want to consistently win”. 

With the talent pool of challengers to the illustrious Rachel Atherton a field that Tahnée has quickly progressed through, Tahnée despite her super-chilled demeanour and friendly attitude obviously is feeling the drive and has competitive motivation in abundance for her next stab at the title.

“I think that’s where my competitivenes comes from. I don't like losing, but more importantly, I don’t like underachieving by what I think I can do. For me its all in my head, its nothing to do with anyone else.”

It’s awesome to hear that when asked about what race in her career has meant the most to her, it is her fundraising work with the brilliant Coppa-Feel Charity that stands out.  Teaming up with the charity during a World Cup event, Tahnée and Coppa Feel created a limited edition bag, kit and helmet that she raced off, later raffling it, and the bike, towards the charity.  Raising £10,000 for the charity was “ really emotional…and that was my best World Cup race to date.  I got my first second place there so it was so hetic and so emotional, and the result wasn’t in my mind at all so to get second on top of all that was amazing.”

With such drive, determination, genuine positivity and raw talent, it’s clear Tahnée has been on an upward trajectory that is reflecting her hard work ethic and love of her sport.  

"I did get a lot of abuse when I was younger, saying I had all the gear and no idea, but I just kept to my gut feeling. I loved the sport, I didn’t care what people thought, and if you love it and have passion for it and are driven there's no reason you cant do it". 

Surpassing any hurdles coming her way, it’s clearly going to be an exciting future for Tahnée Seagrave.

With thanks to Tahnée and Richard King at Iconic Agency

Stay tuned, next up in WHY I, I speak to the incredible Jamie Anderson.  The reigning Olympic Gold Champion in Snowboard slopesyle, a multiple X Games Gold Medalist, Dew Tour winner, World Snowboard Tour champion, the list quite frankly, is endless with the Tahoe-native's accolades over her career.  Perhaps more so is her absolutely infectious positivity and down-to-earth, humble spirit, which exudes stoke and happiness.  Dropping in two weeks, do not miss this!

 

Jamie Anderson at the recent Laax Open Snowboard competition in Switzerland

Jamie Anderson at the recent Laax Open Snowboard competition in Switzerland