September saw the launch of the first Bodylicious Healthy Eating Weekend Retreat in the heart of the Cotswolds. Headed by Naomi Harris, Spoon My Curves is a compilation of everything Naomi has learned on her own health journey.
After overcoming thyroid cancer, which took having her thyroid removed, Naomi went on a mission to overhaul her life in the pursuit of optimal health – starting with nutrition. After wiping all dairy, sugar, gluten and frozen fish fingers from the diets of the entire family, she quickly came to realise that the mental toll of maintaining such a stringent regime was outweighing the benefits of such a clean diet. This was when she came to find the beauty and necessity of the seemingly elusive concept the whole wellness industry is touting right now: balance.
The resulting Spoon My Curves retreat is an amalgamation of Naomi’s journey back to health, her subsequent graduation from the Nutrition in Practice course at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, and a lesson for fellow health-conscious women in how to curate a lifestyle of thriving health and happiness.
The theme of balance runs to the very heart of Spoon My Curves. With a daily programme perfectly executing the fine line between scheduled cooking classes, yoga practice, workshops, and free time to lounge around, sleep, indulge in beauty treatments, read, go for a countryside stroll, get to know fellow retreatees, and even take some time in the hot tub or swimming pool. Indeed, at just two days and two nights in duration, it also lends itself to busy mums and business owners who perhaps need the break most but are unable to take weekdays away.
There’s a general supposition when it comes to the reputation of retreats as a concept that food is restricted and that you’ll leave a health retreat and fall straight into the nearest bakery for a binge to account for a weekend of caloric deprivation (balance right?). Spoon My Curves does away with deprivation – expect to fill yourself to the brim with heaped plates of Asian-inspired, plant-based dishes, multiple-course breakfasts of smoothies, porridge, avocado toast and eggs, all embellished with servings of wild salmon, fermented kefir, and some all-important, good quality wine and chocolate. ‘Eat for energy, not fullness,’ says Naomi, ‘learn to incorporate treat foods in moderation and watch your portion sizes’ and you can’t go far wrong.
Guests can expect to push their boundaries of comfort in a supportive environment as they’re encouraged to try new cooking methods, foods, ways of movement, communion with fellow guests and adaptation of learnings to life back home. Food is a focal point as Naomi brings in her Leith’s School training to teach guests how to cook healthy but simple food from scratch with readily-available, local ingredients. There is an opportunity to both nourish and challenge your body in experimental yoga practices with in-house yoga instructor, The Yogic Frog, who hosts morning and afternoon practices that challenge conventional styles of yoga to open neural pathways and welcome creativity while adapting for individual ability. There’s even a financial workshop thrown in, to prompt guests to assess their financial wellness and independence, especially as it relates to maintaining autonomy in an often male-dominated landscape.
What Naomi does perfectly is foster a guilt-free atmosphere; women, in particular, loathe to take mental and emotional time out, indulge in ‘me-time’ or treat themselves to ‘naughty’ treat foods and drink without being ravaged by feelings of guilt – which completely nullifies Naomi’s definition of holistic wellness. She, therefore, creates a sanctum of non-judgemental calm that allows guests to wrap themselves in a metaphorical blanket of acceptance and enjoy a stripped-back weekend free of emotional burden.
The retreat brings together a comfortable, natural environment and the space and support to explore the personal meaning of ‘wellness,’ to find solace amongst like-minded women, and the opportunity to reflect in relaxing cosy surroundings. Spoon My Curves unites nutrition, restoration, socialising and gentle movement for a weekend that adheres to each corner of health so that guests may return home re-energised and full of creative inspiration to live in optimal health in union with the throes of daily life.
Spoon My Curves, is for you if you’re ready to introduce healthier habits to your every day, have started on your journey and need the motivation to keep going, or even if you’re just looking for a sanctuary of peace to get some much-needed headspace and permission to rest.
Review by Rachel Bednarski.