Overlooking the terraced forests in the cooler central region of Ubud in Bali, Como Shambhala Estate sits within one of the most serene locations I have ever experienced. With forest noises ranging from an evening frog chorus from the lily ponds to the robust chattering of the larger variety of gecko...
If you have ever spent 48 consecutive hours doing nothing but nourishing your body and soul, you know the value of stepping away from routine and taking a deep breath without the distraction of responsibility. A getaway built around an ambitious itinerary may be a great escape when you are looking to shatter monotony, but it can also leave you longing for a vacation from your vacation once you return home.
I was duped into going on the understanding I was tootling down to Devon for a spa break with a friend. I swear the first sentence of the email that came through from aforementioned friend, was along the lines of 'Conde Nast Traveller voted it best spa retreat in 2012'. There may have been other lines; I just didn't read them. So deposit paid, time booked off work, and then the kit-list arrived.
If you don't need a bit of a detox after a trip to Las Vegas then you aren't doing it right. But why not indulge in some TLC while you are still there? Aria is one of the newest five star hotels to land in the Nevada town and it is a tower of glamour, offering a huge menu of treatments in a vast luxury spa far, far away from the casino halls and neon lights.
It's far warmer than usual, I'm told, but even at the height of summer there's the cooling presence of a sheer caressing breeze. The sun beams brilliantly in the pure blue sky, illuminating the rich and vibrant colours of my surroundings; the olive green palm trees, the emerald lawns, the citrus hued flora and the dusky coral casitas.
But before you stop any good work and reach for the biscuits I'm not advocating sitting about and eating badly! Better to adopt a few healthy habits that you can bring about to nurture and restore yourself at this time of year, and save the more full-on cleansing till spring when you're more energetically able to cope with it.
Emotionally fraught after three days worth of calm self-reflection, women were not sleeping, having nightmares, leaving the room at 6am for calming swims, dozing off at 6pm, or haggling mindlessly over #firstworldproblems. It turns out that living with yourself is just about the hardest trip you'll ever take.
I love alcohol. There, I said it. It makes everything more enjoyable. It's been a big factor in some of my closest, most meaningful relationships. In fact, it's the main reason some girls even find me attractive enough to enter a relationship in the first place... So when the people at Dryathlon enlisted me for a month of sobriety in the name of raising money for Cancer Research UK, I felt a tad concerned.