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Spa of the Week: Dharana at Shillim, India ~ For ES Magazine

Around the World, Commisions, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Natural Living, Pranayama, Review, Rituals, Summer, Sustainability, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Dubbed as “one of the most magical wellness destinations” in the world, Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa combines traditional therapies with advanced diagnostic technologies to help heal, prevent and transform.

The main pillars which underpin the Dharana wellness programmes at Shillim are preventative medicine, exercise, nutrition and dietetics, conflict resolution and spiritual wellbeing. The experts take time to look at both mental and physical health.

Tucked almost untouchably high up in the serene mountains of the Western Ghats, Shillim Retreat Estate and Spa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is recognised as one of the world’s top biological diversity hotspots.

Just a few hours from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, Shillim is a majestic paradise that feels like another world. Surrounded by forests, valleys, rice fields, bamboo plantations and nature like you’ve never seen before (especially during monsoon season), arriving at Shillim you are immediately grounded and centred by the surroundings, before you’ve even explored the resorts amenities or wellness packages.

Personalisation and Programmes

Ahead of my visit, I filled in an in-depth questionnaire covering a range of physical, mental and emotional topics. The Dharana team then decipher each guest’s unique current state of wellbeing ahead of their arrival, ensuring they put together an appropriate and entirely personalised programme tailored to each guests needs.

Specific results-driven programmes, such as de-stress, sleep, ayurvedic panchakarma, art of detox, sustainable weight management and many more, are available, the best part about Shillim is being able to work directly with the doctors and dieticians to set and reach your own goals.

This makes everyone’s experience at Shillim unique, and is more effective in providing not only short and long-term results, but also education, knowledge and lifestyle tools to take away with you, to incorporate into life back home.

Treatments

The therapies at Shillim were unlike any I have experienced elsewhere. Situated in private villas around the resort, each separate room was inexplicably tranquil. Like everything at Shillim, the treatments selected for you are also highly personalised to your needs, but range from a combination of deep tissue massage, Ayurvedic herbal oil massages, synchronized abhyanga massage, Indian third-eye head massage and much more - all of which are carried out using seeds, flowers, roots and oils grown and produced locally.

The benefits of each treatment varies, but each one helps to balance and align the body and mind, which I definitely experienced, drifting in and out of levels of consciousness and coming out of each treatment feeling simultaneously refreshed, awakened, buzzing and zen.

Beyond the treatment room

Treatments aside, all other aspects of Shillim support its wellness programmes, from the environment in which you live and sleep, the nature surrounding your every move, the food (all of which is made fresh, to your needs and requirements, with local and on-site produce) and the other amenities.

The efforts to balance, heal and transform goes well beyond the treatment rooms, with opportunities to experience mental and physical therapies in the form of meditation, mindfulness, movement (think yoga, hiking and pilates), sound healing, clay therapy and much more. It is, as they say, a way of life.

Verdict:

The approach to wellness at Shillim is refreshingly different. It is non-invasive, non-restrictive and the opposite of intense.

It is inspiring, then, just how powerful it is, and how transformative just a few days can be. It has the perfect balance of seriousness (working with on-site doctors to assess your health and develop your goals) and serenity, and the traditional Dharana teachings are accessible, non-intimidating and realistic. 

You’ll leave feeling...

Inspired, refreshed, cleansed, detoxified and lighter, both mentally and physically. You’ll enjoy reduced tension and mental clutter from all the treatments, improved digestion and enhanced energy levels from the clean and nourishing foods, sharper focus and concentration from self-development and meditation, and so much more. With the support of highly knowledgable and experiences doctors, therapists and other practitioners, specific ailments may be healed and personal issues overcome, simply after just a few days of deeply transformational TLC. 

The best part is that during your stay you truly learn so much – about yourself but also about wellbeing in general - and you adopt tools to take away with you, meaning you will leave feeling empowered to take control of your own life and capable to live much more fully. 

Why You Need to Visit Mumbai During Monsoon Season ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, Commisions, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Natural Living, Review, Rituals, Summer, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Last month I had the last minute pleasure of visiting India, somewhere I had always dreamed of visiting but just never quite gotten around to planning. It always seemed a bit daunting and something that would require a lot of meticulous organization and prior preparations. So, when I was invited to visit one of India’s “most magical wellness destinations” Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa, I jumped at the chance of experiencing India by following someone else’s lead and itinerary. 

Tucked almost untouchably high up in the serene mountains of the Western Ghats, Shillim Retreat Estate and Spa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is recognised as one of the world’s top biological diversity hotspots. Just a few hours from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, arriving the other side of the hectic traffic and manic energy of the city, Shillim is a majestic paradise that feels like another world. Surrounded by forests, valleys, rice fields, bamboo plantations and nature like you’ve never seen before (especially during monsoon season), I felt immediately grounded and centred by the surroundings even before exploring the resorts amenities or wellness packages.

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Pre-arrival

Ahead of my visit, I was asked to fill out an in-depth questionnaire by the team behind the resort’s life science wellness program, known as Dharana. The questionnaire explored a range of physical, mental and emotional topics, and I felt instantly more connected to myself and aware of how I was feeling and what I wanted to get out of my visit. Aside from that, the questionnaire is a chance for the Dharana team to decipher each guest’s unique current state of wellbeing ahead of their arrival, ensuring they can put together an appropriate and entirely personalised programme tailored to each guest.

Upon arrival

Upon arrival I was greeted by the entire Dharana team and introduced to everyone who would be taking care of me throughout the week, from my dieticians and doctors to the chefs and therapists. Our arrival ceremony then commenced, with a selection of welcome rituals, starting with energy clearing (using burning sage and a Tibetan singing bowl), followed by a detoxifying footbath of lemongrass, ginger and Himalayan pink salt. The entire experience was incredibly grounding and really helped me to ‘arrive’ and feel settled and present after the long journey, transitioning into a much slower and calmer state of mind and pace of living. 

During my stay

Visiting Shillim, guests have the chance to decide exactly what kind of experience they want, or need. The resort is separated, with the Dharana wellness program and accommodation sitting slightly apart from the main resort where the majority of the apartments, spas and restaurants are located for guests not enrolled in Dharana programs. This gives a sense of ease to the resort, in a way that health and wellness is not imposed upon anyone. But for those who are keen to heal, cleanse and detox, to work on self-development or to achieve weightloss goals, there are plenty of options for everyone. The main pillars of their programmes are preventative medicine, exercise physiology, nutrition and dietetics, conflict resolution and spiritual wellbeing. 

I was on a more wellness-oriented journey which started with some incredibly interesting and insightful tests and assessments looking at my physical and mental health, including traditional Ayurvedic and naturopathic analysis combined with advanced diagnostics technology, such as gene testing and Oligo scanning which help to establish what’s going on internally on a physiological level (for example, revealing nutrient, mineral and vitamin levels, as well as levels of metals and plastics found in the body). After these tests, the team curated a more detailed program specific to my needs and requirements, and the week's activities were focused around getting me physically and mentally back into balance with my natural state, whilst using preventative medicine and other natural remedies to cleanse and detoxify.

After our morning movement, we sat down to personalised breakfasts, created with our individual Ayurvedic types and dietary requirements in mind. Each morning began with a juice and the food was often a mixture of sweet and savoury dishes, all relatively small portions but with a lot of variety. It felt satisfying and filling but was at the same time light and incredibly nourishing.  

Throughout the day, myself and the other guests went about our own schedules, which involved a combination of movement classes, pranayama sessions, meditation sessions, hikes, nature workshops, foraging, crafts, pottery and clay therapy, sound therapy, local village tours, volunteering on local plantations and more - all accompanied by an abundance of on-site spa treatments and therapies everyday. We enjoyed a combination of treatments, from deep tissue massage, Ayurvedic herbal oil massages, synchronised abhyanga massage, Indian third-eye head massage and much more, all carried out using seeds, flowers, roots and oils grown and produced locally. The benefits of each treatment vary, and a combination of several treatments was key to overall wellbeing, to bring the body and mind back into balance.

Lunch and dinner each day was similar to breakfast; a combination of small portions of different dishes with mostly curries, dhals, grains and vegetables. All of the food is made on site using local ingredients, such as rice from neighbouring plantations, to vegetables grown on-site and fish from the forest streams. Everything was incredibly fresh and pure, but without feeling restrictive or too healthy. You wont find juice cleansing, raw foods or other fad’s at Shillim, but instead warming, nourishing and grounding foods based on the five elements of Ayurveda (water, air, fire, ether and wind), aimed at bringing the body back into balance. Each menu outlines the nutritional values of each meal, which is helpful and useful to know, but not something they are too fixated on. It is all about the ritual of eating and fuelling the body with functional foods to help it thrive and function fully. 

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Development and transformation

During my visit, I must say I felt several small transformations, some physically but mostly mentally. During several treatments, for example, I would find deep relaxation and many inspirational ideas began to flood to me. Other times, I felt moments of enlightenment - or realisation – and felt clarity in certain aspects of my life.

Physically, I felt lighter, more energised and deeply cleansed from the food we were eating. My digestion was smoother, and despite early wake up calls, I had consistent energy throughout the day. 

Being in nature, especially with non-stop monsoon downpours, was deeply grounding and cleansing. The staff mentioned how monsoon season is one of the most detoxifying times to visit India and I really felt the benefits of this, as if the rain was washing away mental and physical blockages and encouraging flow. The energy and the nutrients of the rainfall also felt incredibly nourishing and powerful, and I believe it helped with things like water retention and dehydration.Leaving ceremony and departure

On our last day, the team carried out a Shanti Homa and Dhyani ritual ceremony to mark the attainment of mastering the lessons of Dharana and adopting them as a way of life. It was amazing to bring our time to an end, celebrating the week with the staff and other locals. The ceremony is intended to cleanse negative energy and to attract peace and positive energy into ones life, helping to move things along when they seem difficult or stagnant.

Post-visit

For our arrival back home, we were given detailed prescriptions of Ayurvedic tonics and herbal remedies, aimed to pacify our needs and help us reach our goals. We were given a structured daily plan, outlining what to take and when, as well as dietary guidance for life, outlining what we should eat in line with our Ayurvedic types to enhance digestion, energy and overall wellbeing, and to prevent discomfort and disease. Having these remedies and this advice, alongside the daily rituals I had learned throughout my stay, I felt fully equipped to keep the regime up when I arrived home.

The traditional Dharana teachings are not inaccessible, intimidating or unrealistic. The rituals we picked up were simple and short to practice, and the foods and meal plans are focused around everyday essentials and mostly fruits and vegetables that are accessible almost anywhere, and which require minimal cooking and uncomplicated preparation. This kind of retreat is key to overall wellbeing, as you adopt tools and genuinely become educated about yourself and life in general, meaning you leave feeling empowered and inspired to take control of your life and live more fully, using natural resources and remedies and becoming more mindful about yourself and your surroundings in the process. It really is a way of life we should be exploring more and taking inspiration from in order to slowly and consciously adapt our own daily lives.

How to Stay Sustainable While Traveling ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Around the World, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Sustainability, Traveldanielle coppermanComment
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Right now, and more increasingly, travelling, and particularly flying, is raising a lot of eyebrows amongst the sustainably concerned. It’s been predicted that by 2050, tourism will be responsible for around 30%-40% of the world's carbon emissions, split between, transportation, accommodation other tourism activities.

Whilst travelling and flying is currently in the press, it is also important to remember that the choices we make once we’ve arrived at our chosen destinations are almost just as important and have just as much of an affect on the environment, too. In some cases, they might even have a more immediate and noticeable affect on the environment and local area than the carbon emissions of transportation.

While I travel a lot for work and am required to fly quite often, I emphasise the importance of doing my bit once I arrive at a destination, making sure I pack reusable essentials with me, buy and eat locally and support local businesses as much as possible. I also try to avoid cars and public transport as much as possible, trying to walk or cycle at any opportunity. In this post, I detail how I prepare and pack for a trip, how I travel and get around, where I stay (when this is within my control), and what I do during my stay to ensure I am acting consciously and as sustainably as possible.

What to pack

Your usual essentials should come with you to avoid any overconsumption of things like single-use plastics and other packaging. It’s sometimes a pain carrying a reusable water bottle, especially when space in your suitcase is limited, but it is so worth it. I suggest packing:

A water bottle;
bamboo or other reusable cutlery;
a small tupperware;
a tote bag;
a reusable make up wipe / muslin cloth;
moon cup and other hygiene essentials;

And also refillable cosmetics containers - especially useful for 100ml liquids, to ensure you can take from larger bottles just the amount you need, rather than buying specific ‘travel size’ products which means lots of extra packaging consumption (which is most often, plastic).

Getting there and getting around

Depending where you’re going, your only or best options may be to fly, drive or travel by train, coach or other public transport. Which is more the more sustainable and eco-friendly option is debatable and depends on several factors. If you’re travelling in a group, it makes more sense to drive, especially if the car is full. If you’re travelling on your own, though, it may be greener to fly or take the train or other public transport. Taking the train or bus is often the most sustainable option over flying or driving, but it sort of depends on the size of your group, and your route.

If you are flying, try to take direct flights rather than having stopovers and having to change, requiring more than one plane - as apparently take-offs and landings cause most of a plane’s carbon emissions. Also, search for the shortest plane journey possible.

It is also useful to think about how you fly. Flying in business class or first class means you have more space per passenger, and therefore a larger carbon footprint than if you were to fly economy. 

Once you arrive at your destination, try to avoid internal flights or too much travelling around to multiple places. As much as you can, move around by foot or by bike, as these are the greenest transport options out there. Use public transport, minibuses or car shares, too, instead of taxis (unless you are in a group size that justifies this) if you are keen to travel further.

This leads me on to the idea of ‘slow travelling’. Being a slow traveller means traveling to just one destination and spending more time there instead of moving around multiple places. Obviously if you want to explore further afield, that is totally understandable, but if you don’t need to or don’t have any real reason or desire to, then stay put and settle into one place for a little longer.

Where to stay

Your accommodation is also important to consider, and there are some options that are more environmentally, economically and socially beneficial.

An airbnb, B&B or guesthouse would be my preference always, mainly because I love meeting the owners and really feel like a bit of a local. They’re also more sustainable as they are not purpose-built resorts or tourism complexes, but instead reuses buildings that already exists. This option also helps give back to the local community and local businesses, rather than investing in huge corporations.

If staying in hotels, be sure to do some research ahead of booking and look for hotels that are transparant about their sustainability efforts and that have environmental / eco recognition or certifications. Nowadays, there are plenty of eco-hotels and organisations to choose from. Try to avoid huge hotels or commercial resorts that often damage or affect the local environment, and operate on such a large scale that their emissions and waste are likely to be uncomfortably high.

Whatever you do, try to avoid all-inclusive resorts, which are often owned by large corporations, which may not even be based in the country you are visiting - not to mention the waste generated from those all-you-can-eat buffets! Staying within a resort also means you are less likely to get out and explore, and therefore you won't be supporting other local businesses in the area that would benefit from tourism.

If you want to go really wild, opt for camping or glamping out in nature, which usually ends up being much less damaging to the local environment.

During your stay 

During your stay, try to keep conscious in everything you do - what you eat, buy and do can also have an impact on the environment and local area. Try to eat locally, visiting local restaurants (ideally that you can walk or cycle to) and preferably businesses that use local and seasonal suppliers and ingredients. Shop locally for things like your groceries, essentials and souvenirs. Visit food markets and flea markets, as well as local artisan stalls and boutiques. 

Do your bit to give back, too. Support local businesses, give to those in need (be it donating money or things that particular communities might desperately need). Remember, sustainability is not just about being environmentally-conscious, it’s also about doing your bit economically and socially too. You could also find initiatives and projects where you can volunteer with local communities. For example, during my recent trip to India I volunteered on a rice paddy plantation.

As you travel, always be mindful of your waste and try to refrain from buying things in single-use packaging if you can. Try to only buy what you really need, and what you will genuinely use or consume. If you need more inspiration or assistance, do a little more research and communicate with sustainable/eco-friendly tour operators to help you plan your trip.

Wellness at Six Senses Kaplankaya ~ For Evening Standard

Commisions, Around the World, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Review, Rituals, Summer, Sustainability, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Just visiting Six Senses Kaplankaya offers an abundance of wellbeing, regardless of whether you then participate in any of their additional programs, packages or treatments. By that, I mean that the fresh air, the ocean, the warm weather and sunshine, the food made almost entirely from produce grown in the resorts own gardens and the untouched nature for miles is enough to calm to the mind, nourish the body, nurture skin, hair and nails and get squeaky-clean vitamin and mineral rich oxygen flowing throughout the body. However, if you want or need more, you will find exactly the thing (or things) at Six Senses Wellness Center; all with the guidance and support of in-house and visiting practitioners from around the world.

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The wellness center at Six Senses Kaplankaya (which, by the way, is one of the biggest in Europe) is built around a variety of theories and practices, from clinical and scientific methods, to more Eastern and spiritual approaches. At the foundation of what they do is the understanding that each one of us is different, and that each individual should be observed holistically and treated in an entirely personalized way. For this reason, the resort offers things like wellness screenings and bodpods which take a detailed snapshot of your current health and composition and which they suggest you do on day one of your visit, so that you can spend the following days enjoying the most relevant areas of the resorts programs and treatments.

Following that, you can either choose to embark on whichever one of their pre-designed packages or programs fits your needs, or to design your own completely unique schedule. The programs (such as mental detox, sleep and eat with six senses) offer a selection of different results; some being more psychological, and others being perhaps solely food-oriented. Depending on what you need, and also how you want to spend your time at Six Senses (since you may prefer to holiday rather than to detox, or to combine both in a more relaxed and flexible way), you can choose what is right for you with the support of some of the world’s most renowned practitioners to guide you.

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For those looking to detox

For those looking for an intensive program and a wholly detoxifying experience, the option is there to work on all areas of your health. You can enjoy tailored menus (which offer options designed with specific results in mind, such as better sleep, better digestion, general healthiness or detoxing and weight loss) and daily exercise classes or one-to-one sessions. For deeper work, the spa treatments and entire spa area (complete with hydrotheraphy, salt rooms, hammam and much more) are there to enjoy at your leisure. Practitioners are also on hand, offering things like deep tissue massage and body scrubs for physical detoxing, as well as more spiritual treatments which help to unblock negative or stagnant energy and to encourage positivity and a sense of clarity and happiness.

For those looking for some gentle cleansing

For those who want to enjoy the indulgences of the hotel whilst also doing a bit of work on themselves, you can take and leave whatever you wish, to ensure you create an enjoyable and relaxed experience that doesn’t feel to restrictive. You might not choose to follow a set diet and you might not wish to workout at all, but you can book in as and when you like for things like one-off classes (perhaps the gentler options like yoga and Pilates) and massages and other treatments. You can also opt for activities that feel more like a good time than exercise, such as swimming (in one of their pools or the crystal-clear ocean), water sports (like their catamaran-bicycles), local walks and hikes, cycling and classes like zumba. You’ll also find healthy options in all of the hotels restaurants, so if you want a salad or a green juice whilst also enjoying some wine and dessert, you can have it all!

For those looking for enlightenment

For the more spiritual or curious, and for those looking for a deep journey into the self, to take things one step further than a short-term diet or fitness program, and to equip you with rituals and skills to take away and apply to life back home, the resort offers all kinds of treatments and therapies to encourage relaxation, clarity, positivity and more. From energy healing such as sound baths, reiki, watzu (basically water shiatsu which I cannot recommend enough) and shiatsu, to meditation, chakra aligning and ayurvedic massage. They also run workshops and as part of certain programs supply gratitude notebooks, to encourage journaling and writing down whatever comes up during treatments or just generally during your stay. If you want to go even further, some practitioners even offer training for certain treatments, such as reiki, in case you want to learn the tools to practice on yourself (or others) in future.

As you can see, there is without a doubt something for everybody at Six Senses Kaplankaya, whether you want to do some deep detoxifying and self-development or prefer some serious relaxation with a side of green juice or yoga every now and then. Find out more about their programs and packages here.

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Wake Up Here: Danai Resort & Villas ~ For Suitcase Magazine

Wake Up Here, Wellbeing, Travel, Summer, Lifestyle, Commisions, Around the Worlddanielle coppermanComment
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A haven of relaxation on the island of Halkidiki, Danai Beach Resort and Villas marries modern comforts with all the charm of an authentic Greek retreat. 

Surrounded by lush pine trees and sandy beaches, and perched atop the rich, earthy cliffs that line the Aegean coast, Danai Beach Resort and Villas is one-of-a-kind, to say the least. While nature itself is enough to bring a sense of calm and tranquility here, Danai’s beautiful design and architecture, private beach cabanas, award-winning gourmet restaurants, top-of-the-range spa treatments and staff that will feel like life-long friends by the time you leave, invite guests to experience a whole level of relaxation.

Located in the remote Greek peninsula of Sithonia on the island of Halkidiki, Danai began life as a modest family home. Today it’s full of character, combining refined modern interiors and accessories with an authentic Greek aesthetic. Thick white pillars and marble floors, which feature heavily across the resort, are brought to life with bright bougainvillea, rattan accessories and antique furnishings.

As a family-run business, Danai is on a mission to make you feel at home. Staff operate across different areas of the resort, so you’ll often come across the same friendly faces again and again. This sense of community is what makes Danai so special, and once you’re welcomed into it so warmly, you’ll find it harder than ever to leave.

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Rooms

At Danai, the mantra is to never, ever “copy and paste” anything, which is why you won’t find two rooms or villas the same. Each abode is a canvas of whites and creams, bathed in natural light that pours through floor-to-ceiling windows. Yet as modern-chic as that might sound, bohemian accents and local, artisan-made ornaments enhance the character and charm of each space.

Some rooms boast private pools, while others flaunt impressive balconies overlooking the resort, its gardens and the sea. Opt for Guest Rooms and Suites if you’re visiting alone, as a couple or for a short time only (also perfect if you’re on a budget). Deluxe Suites (often with two bedrooms and ocean vistas) are ideal for those who want something a little more spacious, while Pool Suites are ideal for honeymooners who want a private dip. Alternatively, splash out on a Villa if you’re travelling with a larger group, for a longer period of time or if you’re expecting guests.

What’s for breakfast?

Pretty much everything you’ll find in Danai to eat is either sourced locally (from neighbouring farms) or produced on site – you can really taste the difference.

For breakfast, head to the terrace of the open-air Andromeda Restaurant, which, situated on the edge of the bluffs, is prime territory for gazing across the still morning waters. The breakfast spread doesn’t look unlike an art installation, featuring a selection of bread and baked goods, cheeses, cold meats and fish, a hot food station, traditional pastries and a build-your-own-bowl area, complete with fresh and dried fruit, nuts, seeds, cereals and granolas. Plus, the selection of freshly made Greek yoghurt and local honey – varieties include pine, blossom, thyme and more – are the best you will ever try. If nothing takes your fancy, order à la carte and enjoy eggs with a Danai twist.

How about lunch and dinner?

With three restaurants to choose from, you wouldn’t get bored if you dined within Danai at every meal time. Enjoy fresh fish, seafood and daily barbecue specials at The Sea Horse Grill – it’s the most authentically Greek of the restaurant options and situated in a secluded terrace by the beach. You can also order any time of day to wherever you’ve set up camp on the beach.

For a more modern take on Mediterrenean cuisine, try Andromeda Restaurant, situated among the impressive pine trees – it offers an al fresco dining option on warmer evenings.

For special occasions or as a treat, experience the award-winning The Squirrel restaurant, considered one of the principle culinary hot-spots of Greece. Its tasting menu spans French and Mediterranean fare, served in multiple courses and paired with wines from Danai’s on-site wine cellar.

Suite service is also available, and if you’re staying in one of the larger rooms or villas and have a large party or outside guests to entertain, the staff will gladly arrange a bespoke dinner party.

Further afield, local road-side or sea-side tavernas offer quintessential Greek cuisine in a slightly more informal environment. Get stuck in to trays of taramasalata and fava, and enjoy fresh and simple dishes, including grilled fish, seafood paella, mussels soup and some of the most decadent desserts of your life.

Is there a bar?

On a lower tier of the resort, just beneath the restaurants and edging closer to the beach, you’ll find The Philosophy Seaside Bar. Lounge in bamboo armchairs and cushioned benches as the sun sets, and later gather around the communal table at the bar.

If that’s not your vibe, Danai also boasts one of the best wine cellars in Greece. Enjoy a tour or a wine tasting session, or casually converse with the wine cellar’s passionate sommeliers to choose a bottle that suits you, then enjoy from the comfort of your room, balcony, patio or, better yet, the beach.

Amenities

Danai is the ideal place for anyone who wants to wake up late and follow a long, lazy breakfast with an even longer, lazier day on the beach. Although, there is more than enough to keep you entertained if you’d like something a bit more lively, or if you’re travelling with friends, family or young children.

Aside from the private pools, you’ll find a communal outdoor pool at the centre of the resort, as well as an indoor pool inside the spa area. You will also find a selection of spa treatments (including massages, facials and a nail spa), relaxation facilities, a state-of-the-art gym complete with a timetable of yoga, pilates and fitness classes (during the busier months), a private tennis court and table tennis. The concierge can also organise bike rental and external sports such as golf, horse riding, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing.

As for watersports and beach activities, book out a private beach cabana or, for a more active day at the beach, enjoy access to paddleboards, catamarans, waterskis, canoes, banana boats, donuts, seabobs, windsurfing, and more. Go a step further and arrange a day out on Danai’s super yacht, known as The Bird. Available to rent for between four and eight hours with staff and catering (and the best Aperol spritz you’ll ever drink), The Bird is the most luxurious way to explore the coast. Discover hidden coves and stop by private beaches along the Sithonia coast and Mount Athos peninsula. (Shared yachts and speedboat tours are also available, departing from the private beach and heading Neos Marmaras or Mount Athos).

Danai also has its own quaint “high street” of boutiques, which you’ll pass by to get from your room to the restaurants and to the beach. Find clothing, accessories, holiday essentials, toys, gifts and more, from local, national and international labels.

If you fancy trying your hand at something new, too, perhaps dancing, painting or cooking, it’s useful to know that the team will gladly arrange a private instructor. Day trips and excursions are also available on request.

Things you should know

Nikiti is the nearest town to the resort. While Danai have drivers and The Bird, if you want to explore independently, hire a car. Enjoy walks in the hotel surrounds or, further afield, find a selection of towns and villages to explore within Sithonia, Kassandra and Athos.

Whether you’re on the beach or by the pool, if you’re prone to suncream-smeared sunnies or overheating, the beach staff are at your beck and call, popping by regularly to offer sunglass polishing and to hand out semi-frozen flannels infused with refreshing essential oils.

If you’re visiting for a special occasion, the staff are eager to get involved. They will enthusiastically curate a celebration or prepare a surprise to ensure your experience is unforgettable.

Within a short walk you’ll find

The beauty of Danai is its seclusion and the way it has pretty much anything you could need all in one place. Within a short walk, you can enjoy 320m of private beach and explore the resort’s farmland and herb gardens. Explore local nature trails, most of which are unofficial – so you almost have to pave your own path.

* Danai Beach Resort & Villas (www.danairesort.com/+30 2375 020400) offers junior suites from £375 on a B&B basis, based on 2 people sharing.
** Danai Beach Resort & Villas (www.danairesort.com/+30 2375 020400) will offer The Bird from 3,250€ for 4 hours and from 4,450€ for 8 hours.
*** Danai also has its own wedding planner.

Margate Beach Clean September 8th 2018 10am-12.30pm

Events, Sustainabilitydanielle copperman5 Comments
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I recently took part in my first beach clean in Hastings, and felt so inspired to organise one of my own. I really think there should be more opportunities to get involved, especially during the summer as it's actually just a really nice day out. I went with a friend and we basically just got an all-over tan, spent some quality time together not on our phones (apart from taking this photo) and did our part to help keep the planet clean and oceans healthy.

I'm going to be hosting a beach clean on September 8th, in Margate (just over 1 1/2 hours from London by train, and 2 hours by car), from 10am-12.30pm. Margate is brimming with really fun things to do too; from art galleries, vintage and boutique stores to amazing cafes and restaurants and, of course, Dreamland. So join us and make a day out of it. Get out of the city for a few hours and enjoy a day by the beach, helping us to keep the beaches and oceans clean.

We will be providing some all-natural snacks on the day, as well as some wonderful gifts from the likes of Qnola and Haeckels skincare (made in Margate!).

If you are coming, please let me know by simply leaving a comment on this blog post, including the number of friends you will be coming with.

We will meet near the Margate Clocktower - keep update on my instagram for exact details.

Hope you can join us! 

Sunlight Therapy and How To Have Safe Sun

Essentials, Beauty, Natural Living, Traveldanielle coppermanComment
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If you're anything like me, you'll have a tendency to gravitate outside at the first sight or sense of sunshine. I am a sun baby through and through; I could basque in it - literally soak it into every pore of my body - until it goes down. When it's not sunny, I feel low, but as it rises day in day out, I always tend to rise with it (regarding my sleeping patterns are as they should be and not disrupted by stress or other factors).

It fascinates me why we are all (mostly) drawn to and addicted to the Sun. It enlivens the senses; it governs many natural bodily functions, such as sweating, hydration, metabolism and mental wellbeing; and it permits more time outside, meaning more fresh air, more nature and more freedom out of the constant confines of an office and / or home. Our modern lifestyles are predominantly based inside, exposed to artificial lights and screens, and it's thought that these conditions may encourage and even worsen Seasonal Affective Disorder. So, seriously, make a conscious effort to get outside a few times a day (that doesn't include your commute).

The Pros

The sun triggers the production of endorphins, which just make us feel good.

Vitamin D. You all know about that.

The Sun is energising. Its rays and the frequency of its energy is absorbed into our cells and fuels our internal systems. In other words, it boosts the metabolism and feeds our internal processes.

A surge in metabolic power can have domino effects on nearly everything else going on within. From how we break down energy from food and how strong our immune systems are to the behaviour of brain chemicals and other substances that contribute to mood, weight, energy and more.

It increases positivity and elevate low moods. As well as endorphins, we produce higher levels of serotonin when exposed to more sunlight, a chemical / neurotransmitter believed to help regulate mood, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. It is known to reduce anxiety, stress and depression. Think of it as Sunlight Therapy.

It brings people together more. When the Sun is out - especially in the UK as it's so rare - there is a stronger sense of community and connection. People gather more frequently to and generally spend longer together, as the days are longer and lighter.

Sunlight can also help regulate sleeping patterns. With more exposure to light, the sleep hormone melatonin is more efficient and we tend to produce more of it, meaning we sleep better and at more natural times, which may mean we're able to wake more easily too.

The Cons

Over exposure to the Sun has been linked with accelerated aging.

Over exposure to the Sun has also been linked with risk of developing skin cancer.

In warm, humid climates, dehydration is a common side effect of too much time spent in the Sun. This includes dry skin as well as internal thirst. Drink more than you usually would and moisturise like you mean it.

Overuse of sun protection can lead to greasy, oily skin and clogged pores (choose a natural one, for this reason if nothing else).

Below are a few summertime beauty products I've tried and loved or have been recommended recently; most are natural, organic, free of parabens and other nasty chemicals and / or ethical in some way, but some are a little guiltier. I use a combination, depending on where I am, what my skin is doing and what kind of skincare support I need in each present moment.

A Few Skincare Brands You Should Know About

Prep

Decleor Aromessence Solaire Tan Activator

Holistica 'I Am Balanced' Crystal Mist with Orange Bloom and Smokey Quarts

Sukin Balancing Anti-Pollution Face Masque

Loli Beauty Purple Corn Grain Face Mask

Loli Beauty Plum Elixir

Madara Brightening Aha Peel Mask

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

Protection

Biosolis SPF 50 Solar Spray

Organii Sun Milk Cream SPF 50

Madara Plant Stem Cell Age Defying Face Sunscreen SPF 30

Kypris Pot of Shade

Green People's Organic Sun Cream SPF 30

Endota Spa Daily Defence Cream SPF 50

Darphin Soleil Plaisir SPF 30 

Susanne Kaufmann Sun Cream Cell Protection SPF 25

Acorelle 100% Natural Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30

Aethic Vegan and Eco Compatible Sunscreen

Hurraw SPF 15 Lip Balm

After Sun

+ Directly after exposure to the sun and / or if you have light burns or any sensitivity, try to avoid heavy creams or oily products and opt for lighter, more cooling treatments.

Vegan, Paraben-free Aloe Vera Gel / Organic Aloe Vera Gel or even better, fresh Aloe Vera gel scraped from the plant

Cucumber slices or natural cucumber water

Pure Organic / Raw / Manuka Honey face mask

Loli Beauty Aloe Blueberry Jelly

Loli Beauty Blue Cornflower Water / Chamomile Lavender Water / Rose Water

Espa Soothing Body Oil

Espa Regenerating Face Treatment

Organii After Sun Cream

Green People Hydrating After Sun

Biafine Emulsion Hydratante

Fake it

Luna Bronze Sunless Tanning Lotion

Luna Bronze Eclipse Tanning Moose

Tan Luxe Rejuvenating Anti-Age Self Tan Drops

Tan Luxe Tan Booster

Tan Luxe Hydrating Self Tan Water

Tan Luxe Illuminating Tanning Butter

Espa Gradual Tan Moisturiser

Espa Gradual Tan Face Concentrate

Lavera Self Tanning Lotion

Eco by Sonya Invisible Tan Cream

Tanorganic Certified Organic Self Tan Lotion

Kora Organics Gradual Self Tanning Lotion

Glossier Hydrating & Soothing Moon Mask Face Treatment

111 Skin Hydrating Sheet Masks or Khiel's Instant Renewal Concentrate Mask or Origins Soothing Lavendar Soothing Sheet Mask

May Essentials ~ 2018 (ft. Cannes and LA)

Travel, Monthly Essentialsdanielle coppermanComment

There's a fine line between healthy and too healthy.

Have just booked to take part in a beach clean up in July. This website has events all over the UK coastline; it's free, you'll get some fresh air and you'll make a big difference to the cleanliness of our oceans.

Michael Nau sings to my soooooul.

Crystal water bottles; perhaps a little extra but why not? One ~ Two.

This vegan backpack by Matt & Nat came with me on several trips and serves as a perfectly sized, simply designed and super chic carry on.

Everything from Lunya looks so idyllic. Not only beautiful but also designed to improve sleep. Get it here now.

I never sleep on planes but I took a dose (or 3) of this melatonin tincture - purchased from Erewhon - and, no word of a lie, I slept 9 hours straight on the flight from LA - LDN.

How and why to keep your bedding fresh during the summer.

These went down well on my instagram feed last week.

So into illustrated ceramics like this these days. And pretty much everything on Trouva tbf.

Major Summer Vibes.

Love love loved this on my long haul to LA. 

This dream dress.

My summer reading list: Anatomy of the SpiritMolecules of Emotion, Heart Talk, Jane, Why social media is ruining your life, Holding Up the Universe.

New favourite raw chocolate bar (spiked with maca and lucuma, holaaaa).

Haven't taken this or this off since I put them on. 

Willlllooowwwww.

Cannes

Toward the middle of May, I spent a couple of days in Cannes with Grey Goose. I'm not usually much of a drinker, but I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the inspiring brand and their unique products (all of which are made with single-origin French ingredients, traceable from field to table), all whilst celebrating the 71st Film Festival. Here's a few of my favourite discoveries from my time there:

The most idyllic lunch spot, we spent an afternoon on the island of Île Sainte-Marguerite. Definitely work a day trip into your visit if you're ever Cannes-bound.

Was spoilt with a new Away suitcase for the trip - my favourite carry on case due to its built-in charger.

Grey Goose on tap; sounds intense but actually served as such a light refreshment and, due to the purity of the recipe, I didn't feel hungover once. We were joined with Grey Goose global ambassadors who curated a selection of incredible cocktails throughout the weekend, which really inspired me to step up my beverage game this summer. 

LA

Finally had a flick through Cap Beauty's new book, made a visit to their store and discovered more about their Daily Hit cannabinoid and hemp oil - where all products are 100% natural and teeming with nutrition and life force. Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

Met the lovely Nitsa from Sunpotion and chatted all things tonic herbs, traceability and shaking up the supermarket shelves.

Using this Everyday Oil, well, everyday.

These helped me adjust to LA time, big time.

Loved Dang's Salted Caramel coconut chips when I last visited the US, and arrived to find they now do an even better Chocolate and Sea Salt blend. Dangerously good.

Made it to Sqirl on our last day for some pre-flight nourishment. Get the Sorrell Pesto bowl (and avoid mistaking their sugar syrup for olive oil and douse your meal in it like I did).

Def a fave. All dishes are natural, gluten free and made without refined sugar.

Gjelina never disappoints. When we rocked up at 11pm delirious from jet lag on our first day, their pea and burrata toast and mushroom pizza hit all the right spots.

Found the best dairy free coffee creamer.

Got me one of these and have been enjoying it on stressful days settling back into daily work-life.

My new forever scent.

Spent far too much time and money in The End.

Same goes for Passenger. Too many beautiful things in one beautiful place.

Obsessed with Sage Plant Based Bistro and their in-house vegan and sugar free ice cream concession, Kind Kreme.

A road trip to and through Joshua Tree is something I would do every weekend if I could.

Frontier Cafe do the best vegan tempeh BLT and I think I will struggle to ever find one that can compete with it.

Staying my friend Bonnie's apartment I fell in love with grinding coffee beans freshly each morning. Try it, you'll see.

Bamboo tea strainers! One. Two.

I love a copper straw but also giving these a go too.

Never going back to disposable cotton pads. Never ever.

Loving this site and I think you will to.

Full travel journal on LA coming soon.

Restorative rituals for on the road ~ for Suitcase Magazine

Commisions, Wellbeing, Travel, Rituals, Pranayamadanielle coppermanComment

 

If your lifestyle requires you to travel regularly, you’ll notice it taking a toll on you both mentally and physically. To help reduce the side effects of excessive travelling, I’ve come up with three simple meditations that can be done anytime and anywhere to decrease stress, improve sleep, increase energy and keep you balanced while on the road.

While you can’t be expected to do yoga in the airport or start chanting on a plane, you can always find a corner to close your eyes and turn inward for a moment, requiring nothing but the power of your mind and breath.

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Body scan: to encourage restful sleep

Body scanning is an easy mindfulness exercise to relax the body, calm the mind and shift attention away from overpowering thoughts. It involves spot relaxing each part of the body by focusing on it for a few moments. Practising this meditation in the evening is ideal as it is best performed lying down, encouraging the body and mind to transition from “doing” to “being”.

Method

1. Lie on your back on a comfortable surface with your legs slightly apart and your arms by your sides. If you are not in bed, place a blanket over your body if you tend to get cold easily.

2. Focus on the breath and notice any thoughts or feelings that arise. When they do, try to turn your attention back to your breath and how it feels moving through the body.

3. Start by focusing your attention on the toes on your right foot. Be aware of how they feel and gradually move your attention up the right side of your body right up to your head, before continuing down the other side.

4. Settle here and notice how your body feels, both part by part and as a whole, and notice how your mind now feels.

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Nadi shodanana pranayama: to increase energy levels

This is an energising, cleansing and detoxifying practice that enhances concentration. It involves alternating breathing through the nostrils to control the breath in a way that rejuvenates the nervous system and balances both sides of the brain.

Method

1. Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor with crossed legs or on a chair with your feet flat, ensuring that the head, neck and spine are aligned.

2. Decide how to use your hands to control the nostrils; one thumb to close off both nostrils, your thumb and index finger, or your thumb and ring finger (the vishnu mudra method).

3. Close your right nostril by pressing the thumb against it gently. Inhale deeply through the left nostril and hold your breath, then move your thumb to your left nostril and close it. Exhale through the right nostril. Keep the thumb on the left nostril and inhale deeply through your right. Hold the breath and then close your right nostril again. Exhale through the left. Repeat 10-20 times.

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Ideal destination visualisation: to reduce stress

Visualisation is a powerful tool for quietening the mind and instilling a sense of positivity within. It involves tuning in and blocking out external distractions and the noise of the mind in order to deeper into the subconscious. This reduces clutter in the mind which subsequently diminishes anxiety, giving more positive parts of the mind a chance to be active. Practise this on the plane or before bed to encourage sounder sleep.

Method

1. Sit or lie comfortably, somewhere private if possible.

2. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Take three long, deep breaths and then let it settle into a natural rhythm.

3. Focus on your third eye (the space between your eyes/eyebrows) and imagine you are arriving at your favourite destination or somewhere you would love to be. This could be a specific place or a vague environment, such as a mountain, a field or the beach.

4. Visualise yourself in these surroundings – how it looks, smells, feels. Are you alone or with people? What can you hear? How does it feel to be there in that moment?

5. Continue with this visualisation for as long as feels right. If your mind begins to wander, bring it back to this place and return to the scene in your mind, trying to notice new things each time. Let your mind wander without force or resistance.

6. Practise this ritual for 5-10 minutes. When you are ready, deepen your breath and start to make slow, subtle movements; wiggle your toes, move your fingers, roll your shoulders. Gently open your eyes if you have the space or privacy, take some gentle stretches.

 

April Essentials ~ 2018

Monthly Essentials, Lifestyle, Inspiration, Natural Living, Essentialsdanielle coppermanComment

Eco-friendly, biodegradable, plant-based phone cases, made from starch-based biopolymer, recycled materials and flax shive. And this bamboo phone case is also renewable and for each case bought the company plant a new tree. All shipped in plastic free packaging too 💯

Lily of The Detox Kitchen just released a new book, an homage to vegetables.

This app. I'm planning to start using it to recycle old or unwanted clothes that I don't have time to eBay or Depop, or that just aren't worth much anymore. 

My favourite smoothie just had an upgrade. I tend to make some variation of a banana, nut butter, spinach, innermost vegan protein, maca, rhodiola, ashwaganda, ice and a pinch of himalayan pink salt most days before or after a workout. Last month I got my hands on a batch of The Well Co's Super Elixir, and have been adding it to my daily smoothies, or stirring it into a glass of water if short of time. Hands down my favourite greens powder. Much lighter, more tasty and less earthy than the others I've tried.

A friend just introduced me to the idea of using one of these for lose leaf tea. 

Last week, I visited Santorini for the first time. It instantly became one of my favourite places, with its unique and effortlessly chic architecture, warm weather, beautiful views, black beaches and friendly locals, to name just a few pros. We stayed at the Santo Maris in Oia; an idyllic resort perched at the top edge of the island, with beautiful architechture, a spa, a buffet of fresh, local produce, 4 private pools and the best sunset watching spot on the island.

These swim pants.

Obsessed and can't wait for my next chance to wear mine.

This Artisan Artifacts ceramic pitcher with driftwood and cane handle. 

Rediscovered this song which was on my first ever ipod. Listening to the words properly now, it really resonates deeply and stands as a reminder to live fully and evade 'the system'.

This LNDR sports bra and shorts set doubles up as a swim suit. That means you can transition straight out of your workout into the ocean / pool.

Currently addicted to Equinox. Last week I joined their flagship gym in Kensington and have been navigating their huge selection of apparatus and other facilities every since. I also tried their WORKX class - a combination of treadmill intervals and weight work - which almost killed me. Full blog post to follow shortly.

Last week someone on Instagram asked me how I found time to read. My answer was, I make time. I rarely succeed, but recently I have become more conscious of taking time to do not only something for myself, not only something relaxing and meditative, but also something nourishing for the mind, brain and soul. Learning is expanding, and even if you prefer fiction to factual, reading stands as an (if only momentary) escape from the stresses of modern life. Do it! And if you're into spirituality, holistic teachings and traditions and the power to heal, I'd highly recommend this already and I'm only just past the preface.

Time to take a holiday and stop feeling bad for it.

Just finished reading 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle which I bought years ago and have only just gotten around to opening. Highly recommend it for anyone intrigued by or already embarking on a more spiritually influenced journey.

Finally got to wear this incredible swimsuit.

Mango Committed. Nice to finally see some high street / mainstream brands making small conscious changes. Hopefully it will help educate the masses about the ramifications of fast fashion, and evolve to make up the majority of their collections in the not too far future.

The Mind Body Green podcast; most recently enjoyed their episode The Biggest Myths About Gut Health with Dr Vincent Pedre.

Have loves incorporating Wild Nutrition supplements into my daily routines. Their Premenstrual complex is incredible for reducing PMS, and I've also been taking Magnesium to help sleep whilst travelling as well as Ashwaganda for general stress and tension reduction. 

I almost can't wait for some rain so I can wear these Ilse Jacobsen boots.

Living in these Zara jeans.

New natural beauty find.

My mum sent my sisters and I this a few weeks ago. Cheesy but thought provoking. Moral of the story: don't work your life away.

Since my agency decided I look much better with a tan, I've been working my way through some self tanning products; some more natural / organic or ethical than others. If you want a pre holiday glow, I've most enjoyed Tan Luxe / Espa / James Read Tanning Mist, so far.

Well Being Retreat at The BodyHoliday, St Lucia

Events, Traveldanielle coppermanComment

I'm super excited to finally announce my latest project, in collaboration with The Club CoastalI've curated an exclusive, completely one-off retreat experience at The BodyHoliday, St Lucia, from May 20th-27th.