Whole & Happy Yoga Retreat in Thailand!

Beyond excited to be teaming up with one of my favourite teachers to offer a 7-day yoga and meditation retreat in paradise!

Located at the breath-taking Faasai Resort and Spa in Chanthaburi, Thailand; nestled between lush mountain greenery and the clear, blue sea. I wrote about this place in a previous blog post after having spent two weeks there soaking up the healing energy.

Come and experience the power of nature, community, laughter and yoga in rejuvenating your mind, body and spirit! Delicious farm-to-table cuisine, luxury bungalow accommodation, and a beautiful seaside village to explore. Click here for more details.

Hope to see you all there!

Love & Light,

Rosie

Bean there…

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Lunch by the casita

I may be becoming a chickpea…

For lunches here we tend to forage in the garden, raid the retreat shop or scavenge from food that has been left by other guests. It’s delightful, but ingredients are limited so we’ve been eating a lot of beans. Lentils, chickpeas, broad beans, you name it. It gets a little repetitive.

So we’ve been getting a bit creative with our resources, and today for lunch we made chickpea burgers with salad from the garden. They were astoundingly scrumptious and healthy so I’m going to share…

2 garlic cloves
1 red onion (we used white onion because we are scavengers)
1 jar chickpeas, drained
1 handful parsley
Juice of one lemon
Handful of spinach
1 egg
1/2 cup rolled oats
Pinch of salt

Chop all of the vegetables up finely, add in the oats, chickpeas and egg, squeeze in the lemon and add the salt. You can either pulse it a few times In a food processor or just mash it aggressively with a fork, like we did. Make into four balls and fry in a pan of olive oil (we used the olive oil made at the retreat). Serve with pita breads or by themselves with some hummus and salad.

You like?

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Chickpea burgers!

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Zoe and Megan
Zoe and Megan

Last night we made daisy chains and drank some local red wine by the pool. Wine here is so cheap yet so good, it would be rude not to!

Megan gave me a poor travellers haircut of a remarkably high standard, we were both quite pleased. Just don’t look too closely…

In other news, in the last two days I have seen two snakes, and I genuinely had nightmares about snakes last night. They were everywhere I walked. Today I came across one basking in the sun in the courtyard, then it slithered into some bushes. It has made me think twice about weeding… Yesterday we went hiking and saw one on the road, I squealed loudly and probably interrupted it’s nap. I’ve never seen a snake in the wild before, it was alarming, and now we make sure to keep our tent firmly zipped…..

 

 

Wine and Spinach, Hand in Hand

I’ve been struggling over the past few days with the concept of all or nothing. Tonight is my last night at Cranleigh House, and this place has certainly changed my attitude towards food, eating animals in particular…. But I am never going to be a vegan. I would miss cheese too much. And meat. And cheese. Aaand cheese.

HOWEVER! I have done lots and lots of educational reading while I have been here, in particular a book called The China Study. If you have not read this book and want some pretty conclusive, solid scientific advice on why a plant-based, whole foods diet is better for you in every way than eating the standard western diet, read it!

Seriously, its kind of changing my life.

But, in saying that, I have this weird connection to eating meat and dairy, because I grew up on a farm and I feel it is basically in my DNA to eat meat. I feel like I would be betraying my childhood roots if I turned my back on all animal products. Also, I feel as though my family and friends would look at me with great disdain if I declared I no longer eat gluten or any animal products. No one would invite me to dinner.

And I am a firm believer these days in ‘everything in moderation’. Apart from foods containing gluten, because that shit makes me unpleasant to be around.

So I have decided to keep my focus on plant-based whole foods, because they make me feel amazing! But when I am offered meat and cheese, I am not going to say no, because I am poor and if someone is offering me food then I will gosh darn take it, and be grateful. And a little bit of meat and cheese makes life happy. Its when you are consuming large quantities of processed meat, pumped full of chemicals and hormones, every day, that you run into problems (see standard American diet).

My fellow HelpXer, Darryl, calls himself a ‘conscious eater’, which I think is a wonderful way to put it. Be aware of what you are eating, where it came from, how far it has travelled and how many chemicals have been sprayed on it. If your family chicken has passed a gentle death and wrote in his will that he wants his parts to be donated to your mouth, then you had best honour his wishes. Choose the foods that are closest to nature, and grown closest to home. Choose the foods that work for you, and recognise that only you can know what those foods are.

Kayla, my other HelpX buddy, is flirting with the term ‘Flexitarian’. Eat the way nature intended most of the time, but don’t be anal about it. Have cheese when you want it, and ENJOY IT SO MUCH.

There’s a whole lot of hate on vegetarians and vegans, and how they are pale fragile waifs, blown about in a gentle breeze. There is the impression that they are snooty, self-righteous protesters, that hate people who eat meat. I’m sure there are some like that. But the people I have met are people who are just figuring out what works for them and what is kindest to our animals and our earth. What is to hate about that? Animals are cute.

I love cows, I used to ride one called Mrs Brown. Rest in peace my noble steed.

Please note, I can eat plants on the reg, and still party like its 1999. That’s important for me, because I love to party. I am not turning into some weirdo who would rather stay at home and cook lentils and do ecstatic awakening dance in my living room…. Oh wait.

No seriously though… nobody will ever take away my right to party. I am not putting myself in a box, or giving myself a label. There is a belief that adopting a certain lifestyle means that you have to adopt a certain persona. Nah, I’m just doing ma thang.

Bye Cranleigh House, you’ve been weird. I fear my blog post material will become boring when I leave. All normal and no aliens makes Rosie a dull girl!

Farewell, alien mountain. I probably won't miss you.
Farewell, alien mountain. I probably won’t miss you.

It’s so awkward, it’s almost fun

It’s been another eventful weekend in the nuthouse. I had a VERY ROMANTIC Valentine’s evening watching a movie about an alien lady who lives on earth and can travel and read your mind. (I faked a phone call and ran away after about 20 minutes, and that was a long 20 minutes..)

On Saturday Kayla and I had a day off together so we decided to go on an adventure. We realized that, actually, the weather wasn’t terrible (meaning just a light drizzle), so we packed some nutritious fruits and ventured out into the wild, heading for Ilfracombe which is about 7 miles away.

BOOM hail storm. Soaked for the rest of the day.

We soldiered on, because we are strong like oxen.

Here are some pictures:

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We got to Ilfracombe, about two and a half hours later, smashed some jacket potatoes in a small vegetarian cafe and I read my book titled “A Guide to Naturopathy”. It was pretty cute.

Went to the charity shop, bought matching jumpers for £2.50, rejoiced at the warmth of an old man’s woollens then went to the health food shop and stared at the shelves for about half an hour. I realised I couldn’t justify spending any money on carob ginger, and decided I really didn’t want that anyway… If I’m going to eat chocolate it’s gonna be actual chocolate, DELICIOUS MILKY SLABS.

We then decided, having spent so much money on potatoes and things, (like 5 pounds but that’s so much in my mind), we would hitchhike home! Kayla had never hitchhiked before so it was all exciting. We trooped to the outskirts of town, stood in a lay by and waited. And waited. And….waited.

I think I probably looked a bit scary because I had so many layers on at that point, and also a large black hat that almost completely covered my face, so in hindsight I can see why no one was picking us up. Three cars pulled over, and every time we rejoiced and began walking towards them they would pull out, turn around and go back the other way. It was so mean of them, teasing like that.

We were about to start walking to find a bus stop (getting late in the day at this point), I said, “Let’s give it 2 more lucky minutes!!”, and a nice young sir picked us up. A kind local lad, not afraid of the crazy hobo ladies on the side of the road, said he would take us where we needed to go! The kindness of strangers.

In other news, today I had a fun experience. And by fun I mean SO AWKWARD I wanted to run away.

The lady of the house asked me to do some typing on the website for her, I was all like “Yeah sure I’m super speedy at the typing no probs mate!”…

She says “ok great, I’ll start this section off for you”, as she types “Jesus comes again….”

I say oh! Oh! Ok! Sure! I am so weak and I avoid confrontation at all costs. As anyone who knows me well will know. The stuff she had me typing was about how a man went up the mountain and was guided by a voice and a shadow, and then he saw Jesus pop out of a UFO and they had a chat and he fired some holy energy into his body with a wand…. And stuff.

So as I typed away, I realised that NO I DON’T WANT TO.

After lunch she asked me how I was getting on, and after a conversation we had earlier in the week about being open with our feelings (yuck) I said, well actually, I feel quite uncomfortable doing it to be honest. It makes me feel weird. I no like. I no do.

Rosie 1, crazy lady 0. I feel EMPOWERED, SISTERS!

Then I went for a run to clear my mind of the strangeness and E.T. by Katy Perry came onto my iPod.

The UFO Jesus is sending me signs…. Over to the dark side.

Just kidding guys! I’m still here! Haha!

A dinner party!

Last night we had a ‘bring and share’ dinner at the house, followed by movie night! Yippee!

I don’t think I have ever come across so many eccentric people in one room. Alongside myself, Kayla, Darryl (big interest in permaculture), and Katherine the healing yogi, came a Vegan couple Claire and Andrew, who brought a pot of dal and many interesting conversation topics such as common law… I had to go and google exactly what that meant because I didn’t have ANYTHING to contribute.

Then came Christopher (I think) who had eyes the size of spaceships (lol) and towered over us all. He did not speak much, just the occasional murmur. Mostly he just wandered with his eyes, I tried to avoid them because the pupils were significantly larger than your average pupil.

Then I opened the door to Deyn, who I met earlier in the week, when we went to visit his patch of land where he is building a straw bale house. He also grows cannabis plants in the garden next to his half-built straw bale house, and informed us that his son had partaken in some earlier in the day. I looked over and his son is wielding a chainsaw in the corner of the hay bale house. I stepped away.

I asked Deyn if he has eaten or if he would like some vegetables, he confided that he had just juiced some cannabis so he was really quite satisfied. I said, don’t you feel crazy now? He laughed and said I FEEL CRAZY ALWAYS. Then he said, no, it only gets you high if you heat it up. Gosh, I’m such a cannabis amateur.

Then arrived a lovely couple who were mostly normal and I got all excited. Eileen was a lovely, motherly figure who asked me normal questions such as where am I from, how long have I been here, am I enjoying it? I love Eileen.

We feasted upon brown rice salad, chickpea curry, lentil dal, cabbage salad, homemade chappatis and home brew nettle and ginger beer! I had a sip, but obviously didn’t want to ruin my no alcohol streak. Also, if I’m going to drink alcohol, it’s not going to be made from NETTLES.

Then we watched a film about Juliet of the Herbs, a kindred spirit who lives in the Mediterranean and keeps gardens for medicinal purposes, and heals animals with her treatments. She has written books about natural healing and all that jazz, I found it fascinating! I especially liked it when she talked to the olive tree, telling it she LOVED IT and would never take away all of it’s olives, promise.

So I feel pretty out of my comfort zone with 90 percent of the conversations that are held here, but I am learning a lot of things! Like what is common law, how do you heal gangrene with leaves, and not to throw away the leaves of the leek because that’s where all the nutrients are! I found the last one out the hard way, when Katherine dug the leaves out of the compost and made me put them in the soup. *shudder*.

Today I have escaped the house and am sitting in a cafe surrounded by normal people. It’s weird though, I had the option of coffee and a pie, but I went for a vegetarian jacket potato and PEPPERMINT TEA!

Who am I??

Combe Martians and Vegetable Pulp

There’s only one real way to say it, I’m pooped!

The EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL INTENSITY of every day leaves me worn out at 4pm, ready for a nanna nap.

There are three of us HelpXing here at the moment, and I honestly think if they weren’t here I might have left by now… The lady running the business is lovely and I can tell she has a good heart, but she also believes (no shit) that Jesus came down in a spaceship, and that there are people living on mars, building UFOs and trying to communicate with earth.

I KNOW.

Other than that it’s mostly fine, she has very particular ways that she likes things done, such as the blanket on the sofa must be aligned correctly, and one must not leave cups beside the sink in case they get knocked off.

Luckily, I’m not the only one that thinks it’s all a bit strange, so we are trying very hard to focus on the health benefits of being here, and let it all blow over our heads. She is a kind hearted person with good intentions so, as I am learning, each to their own!

Onto a more positive note…

This morning my roommate Kayla and I awoke early for activities! We went for a mildly strenuous jog down to the sea, came back and did our yoga, a meditation and THEN made a green juice for breakfast. I was so hungry by then I probably would have eaten cardboard.

Our green juice consisted of ginger, spinach, cucumber, water, apples, lemon… Maybe something else as well but after a while you can’t really tell. It was slightly more of a success than the previous days experiment, where we didn’t quite know how to use the vitamix and it came out like a cold, clumpy, vegetable breakfast soup in a glass. We ate it anyway, with spoons. MMMM.

Today’s work consisted of taking our gluten free, sugar free homemade banana bread down to the Combe Martin village coffee morning, where we all sat around and chatted about things. One of the ladies reads tarot cards, another works with therapy horses and can speak to them…. It is emerging that Combe Martin is quite the alternative town! They call themselves the “Combe Martians”. Giggle. Next week I’m going to meet the horses, excite!

Then I made soup for lunch, then I made vegetable curry for dinner, then I made a coleslaw for tomorrow with a huge cabbage that looked and felt like a brain, I did the dusting, the washing, the vacuuming……

Tomorrow and Saturday are my days off, I plan to do some sleeping in attempt to rid myself of the detox headache which has been a-lurking. Might even go outside if it would stop raining, what a novel idea!

Craving a gingernut biscuit. Maybe not a conventional craving, but let’s face it, nothing’s conventional around here….

Namaste bitches

I’m out of my comfort zone, they say this is where the magic happens

Today I awoke bright and early and flounced up to the Sanctuary, which is the yoga room above my bedroom, to partake in some early morning meditation. Was feeling so energised and productive, thinking YES ROSIE, GETTING SHIT DONE. But there was no-one there…

Apparently, Tuesdays and Thursdays they go up the mountain to send out love. I don’t even know what that means, and am probably not going to ask in case I get roped into joining.

Went for a gander outside, it’s one of those strange little villages where you will be walking along then all of a sudden the footpath disappears under you, so you have to cross the road and walk on the other side. I wove my way down to the sea like a drunkard, passing a lot of old men with plaid caps, walking their enormous dogs with staunch names like George and Alfred. Got to the end of the road, took a photo, saw a man taking pictures of things inside of a van with tinted windows and decided to go back to familiar territory.

I returned to the (gigantic) kitchen and familiarised myself with all of the weird and whacky ingredients. Every kind of health food imaginable, smashing.

I breakfasted on quinoa porridge with walnuts and organic elderflower honey. Accompanied by lemon juice in hot water. My tummy is feeling stunned and amazed.

Then I did the laundry, then I was shown how to scan things to the computer (‘you press this little blue button in the corner of the screen and it lights up, a true marvel!’), then I began to make luncheon for the household.

Now, millet. Never had cooked it before, wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, so I called upon old pal Google and he told me to make it into a pilaf because that is yummy. Millet, pilaf, come at me.

I made mushroom and leek pilaf, roasted butternut squash with cumin, and a green salad! And that was just luncheon. Am a little bit proud of myself.

Still could have put chicken on top.

This afternoon I will be doing some cleaning, deftly swerving around the enema table to get to the toilet, then crouching underneath the enema table to get a bucket to mop the floor. I don’t seem to be able to avoid the thing.

This evening I shall partake in a 2 hour yoga class, then we shall feast once more. But not until 9 o’clock, and I am already hungry! Oh no! It’s only 3!

Might go snack on a seed.