If you follow me on social media, you will know that a few weeks ago I went away with some of my girl-friends to West Yorkshire, where we rented a stunning cottage via AirBnb.
Not just any girls, however. I met these chicks on Twitter, via this very blog, and they’re all like-minded ladies who share my passion for food and fun and who have inspired me to love fitness and health too. So Pamela, Katie, Vicki, Sophia and I all packed our bags and travelled up the hills to a little village called Slaithwaite. We stayed in a stunning cottage named ‘Swallow’s Nest’ – a beautifully renovated stone cottage with stunning views across the green and hilly peaks, and a wonderful kitchen.
Here’s a little snippet of what we got up to…
As we arrived on Friday afternoon, we were in full holiday-mode having been to the local Aldi to stock up on essentials. I’d bought along some food items from my local deli to try, so for our evening meal we teamed them with all sorts of deliciousness: baked Brie and Camembert, fresh crusty bread, pesto olives, a chickpea and paprika hummous we whizzed up in the Nutri Bullet and loads more. The Noureni (Bulgarian) dip from the deli was amazing; roasted peppers, feta, nutmeg and almond oil topped with chilli flakes. And I picked up a little pot of Lebanese halloumi salad too which was delicious.
To drink, we made cocktails with Rose Diamond, gin and tonic garnished with fresh mint and strawberries.
We also indulged in some homemade baklava from the deli (Park Lane Deli, Sandbach) which I took along with me for the girls to try as a treat. The traditional nut baklava was our favourite and washed down with the sharp rose water gin & tonic it was actually a match made in heaven.
Fitness (yes, you read that right)
I don’t usually exercise on holiday. Last year, in Tunisia I did the odd bit of yoga and stretching, which I must admit felt great. I always try to swim as much as possible when on a beach/pool holiday, but let’s face it: hols are about relaxation and indulgence for the most part which of course, means eating and drinking waaaay too much.
But on this getaway with the girls, we incorporated outdoor, active and fun workouts that we did together each day and boy oh boy, did it feel GOOD! It also meant feeling less guilty for over-indulging in food and drink, and, that we took in our stunning surroundings more. Win win win.
We did a biiiig hike around the hills, town, reservoir and woodlands which was fantastic. I really do love a good ramble.
One morning we got up early for an outdoor 30 minute HIIT session before breakfast; involving things like sumo squats, lunges and hill sprints. Fuelled by coffee, this intense workout was enough to energise us for the day. It also gave our metabolism a kick-up-the-arse meaning we could scoff more scran without the guilt. Which is, in all honestly, the main reason why I exercise.
We were also lucky enough to be invited to a local gym, to do a Les Mills “Body Balance” class; a mixture between yoga, tai chi and pilates. It was complimentary, as their manager came across on us on Twitter and saw we were in the area, which was awfully kind of him to reach out. All hail the mighty power of Twitter.
To refuel ourselves after our workouts, we made protein smoothies and brunch of smoked salmon, poached eggs, spinach and kale with chili flakes and smashed avocado with lime juice and sumac. Heavenly.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a holiday without exploring and getting booked into some of the local eateries. We discovered a cute little cafe called Vanilla Bean, had some lovely coffees there and realised they also served tapas style evening meals. The menu was full of gorgeous things like homemade falafel, deli boards, cicchetti, pizza and pasta. We booked in for the Saturday night and literally had a feast: a mixed deli board to start with fresh buffalo mozzerla, the finest quality Italian meats, delicious olives and balsamic dressed salad.
Then we went all-out and got a great selection of their cicchetti (Italian small plates) and shared them between us. We had everything from roast vegetables with goats cheese and breadcrumbs, king prawns with garlic butter, spicy chorizo sausage, Cajun French fries, chicken skewers and mixed salads. It was a truly delicious Mediterranean style feast and it really made us feel like we were somewhere a little more exotic.
It wouldn’t be a holiday with these girls if there wasn’t some truly delicious healthy treats involved too.
As planned, Spamellab donned her healthy baking apron and rustled up some delicious, healthy, dairy-free chocolate cookies topped with a nut butter drizzle made by Sophia. Unbelievable! Just look at them!
As well as our outdoor HIIT session and a full-in ramble we also did a 5k run around the local town and hill sprints next to the cottage.
Being outdoors so much really made me feel nostalgic. I love exploring, it reminds me of when I was younger, when my little sister, brother and I would go on adventures in the Welsh countryside whilst on holiday at my Nan’s caravan.
Exploring the local area and discovering things like Vanilla Bean café, the most amazing green grocers and taking in some of the best views I’ve seen in the UK really was a lot of fun. It’s times like this I really appreciate the UK and what it has to offer.
All in all the great company, location, consciousness to achieve balance and food made this a weekend to remember.
It’s so easy to over-indulge and get lost in drinking and eating: and I like nothing more than these two things, trust me. But, this weekend really showed me how easy it is to also strike a balance and make the most of your surroundings to stay feeling great.
The girls and I are planning some more trips in the future, so if you want to sign up for updates you can do so on the sidebar above, just under my profile picture. Or, give us all a follow on Twitter, using links at the top of the post. ❤️