Ocean Soul Retreat - Bali

What they say

Our Bali women’s wellness retreat is a wonderfully rewarding experience.  Set in a beautiful space created just for you, for some well needed ‘me’ time, to enable you to reset and connect with your mind, body and soul.

Taking time out of your life to invest in you is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

What I say

If you know me, you'll know that the concept of "taking time out of your life" is a somewhat foreign concept . I always want to be on the go, always doing something, always trying to learn and achieve more.

The retreat


What I learned at Ocean Soul Retreat, however, is that "taking time out of your life" truly is the most valuable thing I could do - for myself, shutting off the busy London for a week of peace, tranquility, and reconnecting my mind and body. Whilst a stressful and pressurised environment has become something which I have become accustomed to, taking myself out of this for a week of rejuvenation, rest and recovery was invaluable for strengthening myself on a whole different level.


Poolside



So, what was so special about Ocean Soul Retreat, you might be asking? Following an all in-composing approach to health and well being, Ocean Soul aims to strengthen the physical, emotional, nutritional and spiritual elements of the body, mind and soul. Unlike some of the detox retreats or bootcamp holidays I'd investigated, Ocean Soul's holistic approach combines nourishing food, relaxing yoga, invigorating surfing, and a range of spiritual healing treatments to reset your system, and provide you with the tools and inspiration to lead a more balanced lifestyle.



The room

The Food

Ocean Soul truly was a refreshing and very welcome break from the faddy diets we are so bombarded with on a daily basis. As much as we can try avoid these messages encouraging unsustainable and under nourishing programs (Atkins, Paleo, Weight Watchers, 5/2, Slimfast, etc etc) , I doubt any woman can claim they have never been effected by false promises of an unattainable 'ideal' at some point or another, and suffered accordingly.

Ocean Soul, however, focuses not on diet, but on nutrition, provided in it's purest form. With an amazing wholefoods menu designed by an expert holistic nutritionist, each meal balanced protein, healthy fats and good quality carbohydrates, with locally sourced, nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. 

I cannot describe to you the shift this created. Rather than deprived and neglected, my body felt nourished and energised, ready from the word go.

Breakfasts were varied - green smoothie bowls, organic bean ratatouille and eggs, and overnight oats soaked in almond milk, served with berries and almond nuts. Always accompanied by wholesome homemade bread, nutty granola, exotic fruit salad and fresh green juice, we certainly never began the day hungry.


Smoothie bowl with nutty granola and green juice

Black rice pudding with coconut yoghurt and fruit

Healthy beans and fried eggs


Eggs, granola, fruit and bread - available every morning alongside the main dish 

Wholesome snacks, such as carrot cake bliss balls, organic fruit smoothies, fresh bean samosas and falafel slices with pesto kept us energised in between times.

Bliss Balls and Smoothies



Bean samosas and freshly squeezed orange juice

Raw chocolate tart and coconut water

Lunches and dinner again differed each day, yet always combined a balanced blend of protein, carbs and fats. One of the highlights of the trip was the anticipation and surprise of what would be served next! It would be too hard to pick my favourite - the thai green curry served with vermicelli noodles, miso glazed organic fish, even a deconstructed burrito bowl - we certainly never went hungry!

Lunch of rice kedgeree with mango salad


Dinner of smoked chicken with vegetable noodles and thai dressing

Lunch of egg frittata and beetroot kale salad

Dinner of thai green curry and noodles

Dinner of salmon, green beans and buckwheat noodles


Every dinner was even followed with a nutritious desert - all free from refined sugar, using maple syrup, dates and fruit as natural sweeteners. Ice cream made from nuts, fruit, and almond milk; dairy free raspberry panna cotta; and my ultimate favourite, the raw salted caramel slice - everything tasted even better knowing it was full of nutrition, vitamins and minerals, fueling our daily activities.



Raspberry panna cotta



Raw salted caramel slice

Whilst there was certainly an abundance of food and we were never hungry (quite the opposite infact!), although it is by no means a weight loss retreat, in leaving behind their previous diet of over processed convenience foods, a number of people actually lost a couple of pounds during the week. With convenience pre-packaged foods being largely stripped of nutritional value, more often than not they cause you to overeat yet remain unsatisfied; whereas returning to a wholefoods diet means eating less, but eating better, and feeling better.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, others came away from their usual everyday consumption of typical 'diet' foods - stripped of calories but also of nutrients - and actually gained a couple of pounds during the retreat, feeling all the better for it.

Regardless of where you are coming from, if you are looking to reset any sort of unhealthy relationship with food, this retreat will bring you back in balance, allowing you to see food not as the enemy, but as something to be enjoyed as a means of nourishing your body, mind and soul.

Our welcome meeting - coconut galore

The Exercise


With four different programs to choose from, whilst each program included daily yoga, my Mum and I decided on the Pilates scheme, which involved four Pilates sessions on different mornings - including Mat Pilates, Reformer Pilates, and Barre.


Robin,our instructor


Held at Bali Pilates Studio, our instructor Robin was probably one of the best instructors I have ever experienced (and I've done a lot of classes!). Not afraid to correct bad posture, but friendly, approachable and tough - she was great!

Surfs up!

We also squeezed in a surf lesson - an experience that I will never forget. Going down to the beach and put in the extremely capable hands of Carly and her team of professional instructors, having never surfed before I admit I was slightly nervous. However, working with me at my own pace, in absolutely no time I was up and riding the waves - the most exhilarating experience ever. Very rarely in our adult lives to we get the opportunity to learn to do something so wonderfully new and exciting for the first time, and this was truly unforgettable.


Riding that wave!


Finally, each evening comprised of a Yoga session with  Amanda - one of the most powerful and inspirational woman I have ever met. For the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed yoga. For the first time in my life, I was actually able to switch off, to not force myself, to just let myself be. This was truly a revelation for me, and I cannot thank Amanda enough for providing me with the tools, guidance and encouragement to allow myself to finally feel at peace.

Yoga in the complex


Sunset yoga on the beach



The Treatments

With a range of treatments on offer, everything from traditional Balinese healing, Reiki, Acupuncture, Reflexology, and many more, Ocean Soul handpick the best practitioners in Bali to assist you in your journey not only to physical health, but to spiritual health also.  

Our first night was celebrated with a traditional Balinese healing, a beautiful ceremony where we blessed with sacred water and flowers, serving to cleanse away any karma from past lives that may still be affecting us today, and preparing us for our week, and life, adventure.



Balinese opening ceremony
With the option to select from a number of additional treatments, I chose the Theta Healing, designed to release underlying negative emotions and memories, removing damaging belief systems to allow us to live our fullest lives. Meanwhile, most of the other girls selected the Craniosacral Therapy, a  hands-on technique using gentle, soft touches to release tensions in the soft tissues and allow your body to bring itself back into balance. Whilst this hadn't appealed to me initially, after hearing the amazing feedback from the other girls and meeting the healer (he was known between us a 'Jesus' due to his amazing presence - even walking past him made you shiver!) - I added this to my treatment menu - and would highly recommend it!


As an addition to my program, I chose to have a tarot card reading - something I have never tried before. Greeted by the amazing Sylvia, as soon as I sat down and she started telling me what she could see, I was immediately hooked. Her bright blue eyes, her gentle voice, her honest, truthful words - it was incredible the way she was able to read me inside out, providing me with the ultimate encouragement and self-belief to live my life to its full potential. I literally left in shivers - good shivers! 

The Balinese Spa

Alongside the spiritual treatments, also included in our program were two Balinese full body massages, held inside the retreat, perfect for releasing our hard worked muscles after daily yoga, pilates and surfing! Additionally, we went to a Balinese Spa to experience a four-hand massage - something I would recommend ANYONE and EVERYONE to add to their trip. With two therapists conducting synchronized moves to ease muscle tension all over the body, at first I found my mind trying to keep track of the therapists, wondering where each one was and what they were doing. However, struggling to keep it all in a logical order (it's virtually impossible when there's so much going on), very quickly my brain gave up,  something that has never happened to me in a regular massage, thus resulting in an extremely powerful mind and body treatment. 


The Friendships

The girls (completely coincidentally, on the final day we all appeared in monochrome. Those who were staying in Bali were dressed in white, those who were leaving in black. See, there are greater things at play here!)

Something that I didn't expect from this retreat was to build such strong relationships with people I would never have met otherwise, and I could not have asked for a better group of girls to share my experience with. Aside from the invaluable time I spent with my Mum, to connect with such an inspirational group of females from all over the world, from all different backgrounds, some there for a holiday, some there for a journey of self discovery and connection, the amazing bond we created over such a short period of time was incredible. We truly did become a family - Mum, Mandy, SJ, Amy, Nikki, Steph, Georgie and Paula -  I cannot thank you enough for enhancing my experience to such great measures.

Celebrating our final night

The Experience 

There was so much more that I could not even begin to go into detail - from the turn down gifts on our beds, to the cooking classes, to the NLP and goal setting workshop -  I actually can't believe just how much we fitted in to a week, and how rewarding, life changing, and simply unforgettable the experience was.


Some of the turn down gifts, all handpicked favorites of Georgie, who runs the retreat

Having created true changes in my mindset, experiencing a complete attitude shift to my health and wellbeing, I am so excited to set these healthy new practices into my life. 


Complete bliss

If you have been thinking about a retreat, all I can say is DO IT, and do Ocean Soul! As a blogger, it is my duty to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly, and you'll know from my previous reviews that I don't hold back - if something isn't right, I'll say.

But when it comes to Ocean Soul Retreat, I honestly only have good things to say. This is entirely down to the fantastic female who runs the retreat - Georgie, I cannot thank you enough for making this experience what it was. Every little thing was catered for, absolutely nothing was too much - and, particularly for the girls who experienced a more emotional journey, she became a mother figure - always knowing the exact things to do and say. It was her warmth, laughter, light  and ever caring attitude that made this retreat like no other. 

It turns out, there really is a heaven on earth, and I cannot wait to experience it all again.

If you too, would like a week of blissful relaxation and restoration, visit http://www.oceansoulretreat.com/ and reserve your space now. Book before Nov 30th using my code 'fashionlife' and you'll even save 500 USD of the price - that's nearly £400! 



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