Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Solar Springs Retreat - my 24 hr break.

Last week I was approached to see if I wanted to join a few other bloggers for a 24 hour break at a health retreat. 

I've never been away just on my own before but I felt it was something I really needed.
The rest and relaxation were calling me!

So on Thursday Sue from Solar Springs picked up myself, Rachel, Helen and Clare from the city and drove us the 2 hours to Solar Springs Retreat, located in Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands. Marcia met us down there.
(Solar Springs)
 Solar Springs is situated on beautifully landscaped grounds and the buildings nestle into the greenery. We were greeted by the friendly staff and shown to our rooms. I had a lovely, light filled spacious room to myself overlooking the gardens. The room was a great size, with its own bathroom and chair by the window. 
My room had a double bed but there are many room choices to suit your situation.

We arrived just in time for lunch and it was served buffet style in the dining room. The room has an amazing view over the back of the property and the National Park in the distance.
 Lunch on the first day was dahl, rice, various salads and the most delicious brown bread. Over lunch we were given our packs for our 24 hour break, giving us information on Solar Springs and the itinerary over the next 2 days. It was up to us how much we wanted to do. I loved the fact that you could do a little or a lot. There was no pressure.

After lunch everyone went their separate ways to explore Solar Springs and try out the various activities. I had an appointment with one of the Naturopaths that works at the retreat. 

Rebekah is a Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist. Iridology is included in the consultation and this is an important diagnostic tool for a Naturopath. Rebekah believes if everyone could take 1-2 nights away for themselves every 3 months this would make a huge difference to our health and stress levels. Along with a healthy diet and exercising at least 3 times a week.

 I know as mothers we never really take this time for ourselves but it is really important that we nurture ourselves too. I know I felt the difference after just 24 hours away.
After my appointment I took the time to explore the grounds and take some photos. Everything was so green and there were beautiful nooks and quiet spaces everywhere. 
It was my first real feel of Autumn as the air was cool, the leaves were falling and the heating and fires were on. The rooms were all cosy and the public areas were set up for lounging and relaxing. There were 2 main rooms. 1 - the quiet room overlooked the bush and was where you could read, do a puzzle or some other quiet activity. The second main room had lots of lounges, a little kitchenette with tea and coffee available at all times, a fruit bowl to snack on and was the place to catch up with everyone between activities or as a meeting spot.

There were so many activities to choose from-a tennis court, a bike shed full of bikes you could borrow, the heated indoor pool, spa, gym and the organised activities. That afternoon they included Archery, Bootcamp and the Flexibility Class.
After my walk around the grounds and into the tiny town of Bundanoon I tried the Flexibility class in the gym.

It was so relaxing and felt good for the body to stretch out with the Fitballs and Dynabands as the sun set. It was a great end to the afternoon. 
I did a quick couple of laps in the pool after the class and as I had it to myself it was so quiet and calming.
I had time for a quick shower before dinner and then it was back to the dining room for a 3 course dinner cooked by Francois Razavet, the Solar Springs Chef. Dinner was a delicious Carrot & Ginger Soup, Sous-vide Chicken, Pumpkin, Fondant Potato,Rocket Pesto and Olive. Dessert was Honey baked Ricotta and Apple Jelly. Unlike other health retreats wine was available at dinner and tea and coffee is available at all times. 
Solar Springs wants their healthy lifestyle to be achievable and something that you will be able to practice and maintain in your life back at home.

After dinner there was an hour and a half bush walk by torchlight to see the Glow Worms. The night was crisp but we warmed up quickly. It was so pretty to see the worms glowing together in the dark and to be outside under the stars which were so abundant and not something we see clearly in the city. The air smelt so fresh and clean.

When we got back it was time for a hot chocolate and then another shower before bed. I managed to flick through a magazine before I could feel my eyes closing and I gave into sleep. 
A double bed and 4 pillows to myself. Bliss!!

The next morning I chose a sleep in over the morning stretch class and met up with the other girls for breakfast. 
Breakfast runs from 8am - 9am and is buffet style with various cereals, breads, fruit and yoghurts, eggs, mushrooms,baked beans etc.

After breakfast was a bush walk in the Morton National Park Grand Canyon with one of the personal trainers. Part of the bush walk is in silence so you can truly take in the beauty of the environment around you.

When we got back we had appointments for our Body Care Treatments. I had the Solar Radiance facial and it was heavenly. I could feel myself drifting off to sleep towards the end.

If I was staying longer I would have definitely squeezed in more treatments. I'd love to try the Yin and Yang. You can also get Tinting and Waxing. Other Health & Fitness Services include -Personal Health Assessment, Personal Training, Bone Density tesing and BIA. Life Coaching is also available.

 We then had lunch (wraps & salad) in a relaxed haze and got ready for our trip back to Sydney. It was amazing how time seemed to stretch out and it felt like I had been away for a few days as I had got to sample various activities but managed to rest up as well.

I can definitely see myself going back to Solar Springs for a quick break. I think 2- 3 nights would enable me to relax and use all of the facilities. Although the staff can make up a package to suit you.
 This was my first time away by myself but I really feel it's important that I make the time for myself regularly.

It's been proven that switching off for 24 hours provides benefits in general health and well being, with improvements in sleep and a reduction in stress.

Solar Springs encourages guests to partake in as little or as much as they like. There was a great ambience at the retreat.
 It had a relaxed vibe and everyone was so friendly. New friends were made easily and while we were there we saw a group that had begun the week as strangers become great friends and sign up for another week together next year. It's that kind of place. Although your privacy is always respected and space given if that is what you want.

Solar Springs is an easy 2 hour drive from Sydney or you could catch the train to Bundanoon station and be picked up by the staff at Solar Springs.

I think it would be perfect for a Mother/Daughter getaway (ideal Mother's Day gift), a small group of girlfriends or even a relaxing weekend with your partner.

Can you see yourself taking a few days away to rest and recharge?
Have you done so before?

What are your tips to carve out a bit of time for yourself?


All photos are my own. I stayed as a guest of Solar Springs. 
All opinions are my own.

2 comments:

  1. Love your review and your photos! Gorgeous. So nice to meet you and we definitely must stay in touch. Rachel X

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Rachel, it was lovely to meet you too. All the best with the bub x

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