One plane from sunny Spain and two trains down from London Euston, past miles of charming countryside and roaming cattle I finally arrived at my destination for the Zest Life yoga retreat in the north of Wales. As I disembarked I took a deep breath and settled onto the picturesque Isle of Anglesey for a yoga retreat that promised to replenish my soul. Ahhh, so here I finally was, deep down in the depths of the Welsh valley, overlooking the mountains of Snowdonia, I buttoned up my jacket, pulled on my beanie, jumped into a cab and headed to the unique private estate set within 200 acres of lush land; Plas Cadnant, possibly Wale’s best kept secret. As the driver pulled into a courtyard full of warm-hearted country cottages, cosily enveloped by the historical ‘Hidden Gardens’, parklands and waterfalls I knew I had discovered the perfect lair for a weekend of disconnection, rest and restoration.
Host, founder of The Zest Life lifestyle brand and retreats, yoga teacher and all-round wonder woman, Laura Bell, pulled off her pinny midst cooking kale and greeted me with a hug. As I’d arrived, only four hours late, (do check the Trainline.com for planned engineering works) I was quickly shown to my adorable room located in ‘The Dairy House’, dumped my rucksack and whisked off for dinner. Despite the swiftness I didn’t miss the opportunity to admire the smoky-oak flooring, four-poster doubles and pillowy single beds furnished with sumptuous draping curtains and heavy rugs. I envisioned a perfect night’s sleep on the horizon as the soothing traditional charm, planned double daily yoga session on Saturday, coastal walks and optional bubble baths ensnared me.
The smell of Laura’s homemade cooking combined with the comforting aroma of a burning-log fire filled the air and dinner was served around the grand dinning table, I wolfed down my gluten free pasta with fresh tomato sauce and relaxed into the company of a charming assortment of lovely ladies, I was especially delighted to see many girls on the retreat with their mums and made a hushed wish to do the same with my daughter one day. Fans of the Deliciously Ella and spiralizer revolution won’t be disappointed by Laura’s menu, as whole foods (mostly) free from meat, dairy, sugar and gluten are served in a variety of creative and appetising dishes; veggie chilli, chunky guacamole, beetroot hummus, vegan orange cake, raw chocolate slices and plates of crunchy crudités satisfied our hungry bellies throughout the weekend.
As I stirred in my snug bed on Saturday morning I felt like I’d left the world behind, surrounded by lush green gardens with secret pathways, royal flowers and nothing but bird song to disturb the nourishing silence, which was welcomingly intensified with the ‘please leave your phones in your bag and observe silence before yoga in the mornings’ request. During the weekend we practiced yoga in a little wooden out-house complete with heated flooring, enticing scents and herds of neighbouring sheep. The 1.5 hours morning session was a flow-style practice with a generous amount of core work thrown-in to help create stability in our lower backs while the 1 hour evening session was a candlelit yin class where guests also received a brief introduction to breathing meditation. The classes were soft, light and basic, perfect for beginners as Laura provided variations for anyone who needed with clear instructions given.
After breakfast Laura transformed into the perfect tour guide and treated us to a fresh and invigorating walk over blustering headland and stretches of empty sand, docking back at the estate two hours later all rosy-cheeked and bushy tailed. Piping-hot parsnip soup, lovingly made by Laura’s mum, warmed our cockles and then we all hunkered down by the fire and drifted off into the land of nod – the ultimate sign of a truly relaxing weekend.
Join The Zest Life on their next retreat over the bank holiday in May an enjoy Yoga, wild swimming and SUP. Bringing together our love of wild swimming and our new love, stand up paddle boarding. Come and join us for a memorable bank holiday retreat!