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The Chilled Blog

Welcome to our blog


The team at Chillout Retreats will help to inspire and chill you out with this blog...watch this space

By natalie smit-ash, Jan 25 2018 12:11PM

 Like the crocuses appearing from the earth, we too are beginning to emerge from the warmth and comfort of our wintry slumber and what better way to shed off our old skin than to de-clutter and spring clean our home spaces.

 It sounds easy enough, however we tend to grow attached to our 'stuff' to the point that it starts to own us, rather than the other way around!

Here's twelve top tips to help you in your quest for space...clean house, clear mind!

De-clutter for 15 minutes every day. It’s amazing how much you can get through if you just do it in small amounts like this

Donate stuff you’re de-cluttering, so you don’t feel bad about clearing it out.

Start at the corner by the door and move your way around the room, doing the superficial stuff first – surfaces, empty the bin etc. Repeat, but do more the second time around – i.e. Open the drawers and clear out.

Whenever you’re boiling the kettle for tea, tidy up the kitchen. If the kitchen is tidy, tidy up the next room – it’s only 5 minutes but it keeps you on top of everything.

Make your storage space smaller and more minimal. If you have lots of storage, you’ll fill it with stuff.

Clothing rule: If you haven’t worn an item in 6 months, sell or donate it.

The One-Year Box. Take all your items that you unsure about getting rid of as “I might need this someday”, put them in a box, seal it and date it for 1 year in the future. When the date comes, and you still didn’t need to open it to get anything, donate the box WITHOUT OPENING IT. You probably won’t even remember what there was in the box.

De-clutter one room before starting on the next one. Spending time in that room will feel really good, and it will be so easy to keep clean, that it will motivate you to do more!

Keep a list in your phone or diary labelled “Don’t Need It – Don’t Want It.” When you’re out shopping and run across some kind of gadget or other item you crave, note it down on the list. This will slow you down long enough to reconsider. Also, seeing the other things on the list that you nearly bought on impulse, really helps.

Internalise that your value is not in your “stuff”. It is just “stuff”, realise that your value grows when you share your “stuff”. Hoarding is a selfish act.

Have someone else (who you trust) help you go through things. They don’t have the emotional attachment that you might have, but can still recognise if something should be kept or left.

Gift everything. Books you’ve read immediately get recycled among friends, family or local libraries.

Less is more.....

By natalie smit-ash, Jan 25 2018 12:07PM

A summer meadow visualisation to refresh you and get you through any stresses that life may bring...

Take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Allow your body to just let go.

Become aware of any tension in your body and just breathe into that area for a moment.....

Now as you take in each breath say to yourself "I am.." and as you breathe out say to yourself "relaxed", in "I am"....out "relaxed", "I am....relaxed".

Just allow your mind and body to be peaceful, if thoughts come just let them pass and go back to focusing on your breath, as it now gently flows in through your nose notice the coolness of the air just as it enters your nostrils.............

"I am relaxed".......

now picture yourself in a beautiful meadow, surrounded by wildflowers, you can hear birds a little way off and you know that you are completely safe.

You can feel the warmth of the sun on your face and body. As you gently lay down on the soft grass and feel supported by the earth and warmed by the sun

you know that you have everything you need.

Your mind, body and spirit are happy healthy and relaxed......

just lie here for a moment and enjoy this wonderful place of peace and calm.

Now when you are ready just breathe a little more deeply, feel the vital flow of energy through your body as you gently come back to the room and continue on with your day refreshed and re-energised, knowing that you can return to your special place of calm anytime you want just by recalling it.

By natalie smit-ash, Nov 29 2017 05:18PM


250g caster sugar

2 ripe, juicy oranges, cut into quarters

6 whole cloves

6 allspice berries or 1 tbsp ground allspice

2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

2tsp freshly ground nutmeg

5cm fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced

750ml non-alcoholic red wine (Or regular red wine if you want the alcoholic version)

Fresh citrus slices


Put all the ingredients in a large pan with 1 litre cold water and bring to just below the boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Simmer gently to reduce by half.

Leave to cool, then strain through very fine muslin twice before bottling. Don’t worry about the finished syrup being slightly cloudy – this is normal and won’t show up once you heat it with the wine and fruit.

To serve, reheat the syrup with the non-alcoholic red wine and citrus slices.

Add a twist:

Serve in thick glass tumblers with cinnamon sticks to stir with.

Replace the wine with non-alcoholic cider.

By natalie smit-ash, Nov 29 2017 12:49PM

Our Sussex farm yoga & cooking retreat is a heartwarming & inspiring experience.. If it's 'authentic' that you are after, then this is it....from gathering your own freshly laid eggs from the free range hens to tasting the delights of an organic kitchen garden, then this retreat will not disappoint.

You will enjoy a weekend filled with gourmet vegetarian clean cooking workshops with Chillout Retreats very own nutritional chef, Lucie Simon and her passionate team.

Lucie is our unique onsite food expert and nutritional consultant, who freshly prepares all breakfasts, lunches and dinners whilst on many of our UK retreats. She is passionate about food and creates the heartiest dishes that are considerate to body and mind. Many retreaters return on the strength of her wonderful food...she really is like gold-dust and will happily share recipies and educate anyone on the art of her cooking. Lucie is also a central st.Martins degree level trained artist and offers art workshops on some retreats.

During the cooking workshops, you will be taught some of Lucie's signature dishes and be introduced to some culinary tips that can transform your eating habits so that you become happier and healthier. Lucie will be offering recipies that are vegan, wheat, gluten & processed sugar free.

In addition to learning lots, you will be able to really indulge in some 'me-time' in some of the most relaxing and inspiring surroundings that West Sussex has to offer.

By natalie smit-ash, Nov 15 2017 12:16PM

t goes without saying that Yoga and meditation, healthy food and taking time out on a daily basis is a great recipe for mental and physical health and wellbeing, but according the the charity 'Mind' there are also some very useful ways to keep yourself healthy and strong this winter, ways to keep the winter blues at bay and to love yourself at the same time.


There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.

It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

With this in mind, try to do something different today and make a connection.

Talk to someone instead of sending an email

Speak to someone new

Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you

Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is

Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them.

Be active

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.

Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being.

But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good - slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.

Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:

Take the stairs not the lift

Go for a walk at lunchtime

Walk into work - perhaps with a colleague – so you can ‘connect’ as well

Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to work

Organise a work sporting activity

Have a kick-about in a local park

Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, before you leave for work in the morning

Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing.

Take notice

Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness.

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.

Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.

Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:

Get a plant for your workspace

Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day

Take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting

Take a different route on your journey to or from work

Visit a new place for lunch.


Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift older people out of depression.

The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

Why not learn something new today? Here are a few more ideas:

Find out something about your colleagues

Sign up for a class

Read the news or a book

Set up a book club

Do a crossword or Sudoku

Research something you’ve always wondered about

Learn a new word.


Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research.

Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.

Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.

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