health

Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chiang Mai

Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai
Exploring the Oasis Spa and Resort in Chang Mai

Right, so you find yourself in Chiang Mai Thailand and you are looking for the ultimate place to kick back and relax.

I have found the ultimate paradise. Oasis Spa Baan Saen Doi.

Located just outside of the city center of Chiang Mai with a round trip service this hotel and spa will leave your travel stress behind. Flying into Chiang Mai it's only a short 10-minute taxi ride to the hotel where you can offload and dive straight into relaxation (or the pool).

With one of the top Spa's in Chiang Mai and several branches across Thailand, the Oasis Spa will help you escape your busy lifestyle whether you are relaxing poolside or opting for a traditional hot compress massage.

The hotel has a striking interior with touches of the traditional hill tribe art throughout. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and water features the hotel offers privacy and elegance.

The rooms are large and spacious with a fully fitted mini bar and king-sized bed. (Yes Pease!!) The rooms are airconditioned and (my favourite part) offer a full sized spa bathtub. I couldn't resist having a giant bubble bath the second I arrived. Engulfed in luxury and pampering visiting the spa was high on my to-do list!

The Spa is one of the most professional spas I have ever visited with the most meticulous attention paid to every single detail. To ensure that you have an amazing experience you will be met by one of the staff that will walk you through your menu options whilst you sip on traditional tea. I can highly recommend the hot compress massage. This is a traditional wrap made of a mix of fresh ginger, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and peppermint, with additions such as camphor and a dab of essential oils to suit your needs. Receiving a massage with a hot compress made me feel like my body was surrendering to the relaxation and every bit of tension was being released. Drifting into heaven is an understatement.

Post massage you will be met with fresh fruits and tea to hydrate and nourish the body. If you are feeling adventurous you can take a walk up to the traditional rice fields that are part of the grounds and understand a little more about the rice they harvest or find your way poolside to soak up the final rays of the day.

The food is traditional and with beautiful flavours and a spice level that creates a perfect bite of Thai cuisine. I might have wanted to squirrel away the green curry and the spring rolls that accompanied it for a midnight snack attack.

In hindsight, I blame this notion on the euphoria of eating spicy food. The staff is attentive and nothing is too much effort.

Whether you stay poolside, adventure into town or simply melt into massages this establishment truly has something special to offer and I highly recommend that if you find yourself in Chiang Mai that you find your way there.

Did you know that there is a Thailand Tourism office located in Johannesburg? Don’t think only beaches (Phuket), as there is so much more to Thailand. So if you need info or digital brochures etc, be sure to contact them or better still follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

I would also like to give a big thank you to Singapore Airlines for flying me to this dream destination.

-Melissa

The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali

The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
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The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali
The Yoga Barn - Ubud Bali

I stumbled upon The Yoga Barn by chance. One of my followers sent me a message telling me that if I found myself in Ubud, a spiritual village nestled in the mountains of Bali, that I better head there because I would love it! Well, I am obsessed and will return.

Tucked away in the centre of town is a lush green, calming and beautiful property called The Yoga Barn. Centred around Yoga and Ayurveda this property is filled with all that you could ask for to the point that I didn't want to leave for a few days. It is silent and peaceful, you feel like you can exhale the second you walk in. Next time I visit I will definitely look into the accommodation that they offer and stay there as a retreat for a few days of Yoga and healthy eating.

The property has several cafes and juice stands which makes healthy eating so easy. I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable the food is and how tasty each meal was. Offering an Ayurvedic menu along with other healthy options that are plant-based, the cafes work together with the healers and ayurvedic doctors that also have rooms on the property. This means that you can see the practitioners and then follow their detox by getting the food at the cafe and stay in comfort. It is the perfect all in one offering. Easy, simple and delicious. The cafes are also open to the public so you can pop in even if you aren't catching a yoga class.

The Yoga Barn offers several options for Yoga and each class is different. You can choose a more advanced flow class or bring it back home with a beautiful Yin class by candlelight. Classes run throughout the day and I recommend popping onto their website or visiting them once you arrive at the Yoga Barn to book your classes. Whether sound healing or meditation is your thing you will find it there. It's like a cocoon of spiritual happiness.

The teachers are from all over the world and each class is longer than your normal 60 minutes in the city. Averaging 90 minutes. Allowing time for play and personal instruction. The venue is enclosed by nature and filled with yogis from all walks of life. I managed my first headstand with proper instruction and learned how important it is to trust myself. A rather big lesson I hope to carry on in my day to day life.

I got an appointment with a cranial sacral therapist who shed some light on my healing journey with Pcos. I highly recommend treating yourself to an appointment with a healer. It's a very precious self-love gift that can help you look deeper into your journey and understand more of yourself. Joining a sound healing class afterward by candlelight with the frogs chirping was perfection.

I am already planning my return to be honest. I dream of Ubud and most defiantly The Yoga Barn.

-Melissa

How moving my body for an hour a day has changed my life!

how moving my body for an hour a day has changed my life

I never used to be the type of person who LOVED exercise. You know, the type of person who wakes up at 5 am to be at the gym while the birds are still waking up. The type of person to push weights and run far and fast. It's just not for me. For most of my twenties, I spent a lot of time trying to be a 5 am'er and then beating myself up when I failed at being one. This resulted in me not exercising and making a million excuses as to why I can't. I also have the luck of being a competitive person. Not necessarily with someone else but with myself. This meant in my head that I was supposed to be the way I was in high school. I would keep referring to my "back in the day fitness" There was only one problem. My "back in the day fitness" was way gone and so was my perspective. Being 30 is not being 25 and being 25 isn't 16. I'm sure a few you of can relate. You look back and it feels like yesterday hence your body should be where your mind thinks it's at. It was all a big mess and to be honest just resulted in me failing. Time and time again. 

A year ago I moved to Sea Point. An area of Cape Town which is a stone's throw from the promenade. A gorgeous stretch of walkway that runs for kilometers along the shoreline. It's super inspiring because so many people are walking, running and generally getting fit. I realized because I lived so close - literally a block away that I no longer had an excuse. I tried. I found a million reasons as to why I shouldn't or couldn't. Sometimes I would even hit the prom and run. Then be in pain afterward and not do anything for two weeks even though my body clearly couldn't handle it. Eventually, something had to give. 

So I made myself a promise. A promise that for one hour a day I would just move my body. It didn't have to be with running, weights and at 5 am in the morning. It has to be on my terms. It was the only way I was going to succeed. So I found myself a pilates studio and I started with pilates. I committed to finding strength and alignment. To lay the foundations of fitness because let's get real, after years of not exercising it was all gone and I needed to start at the beginning. Coupled with the pilates I walked. I hit the prom and I just put one foot in front of another. Before I knew it a few weeks had gone by. I then started doing Yoga and more cardio building exercises. I then joined FITKEY (an amazing app) and started moving my body more based on what I felt it needed. Again there were rules. They were the following and I hope you can take something away from them. They certainly helped me find my way and still do today. They have become my mantras and my guidance to gaining strength and fitness. 

1- Show up. No matter what time suits you or what you have to do, show up. Take the time to see where you can fit your exercise into your schedule and do it. Put your running shoes on and get out the door before you come up with excuses on how to fail yourself. Honour that time slot for you because you are worthy of it. It is practicing self love. A critical important practice for all of us! 

2- Go slowly. It doesn't mean you are a failure if all you can do is go slowly. Your pace is all that matters. Be kind to yourself for how you are doing it because you already accomplished step 1. You showed up. 

3- Be gentle with yourself. This isn't about perfection and you don't have to get it right every single time. All you have to do is persevere and take it one day at a time. Before you know it a week will have gone by and you moved your body for an hour a day. It will add up. I promise.

4- Don't compare yourself to others. It is the death of joy. Just because your friends can go to a sweat 1000 class and run at full pace, doesn't mean you have to. Meet yourself where you are at and know that you are doing the best that you can. With time, you will run your own marathon. 

5- Keep swimming. There are going to be days where you will be tired and there are going to be days where your mind is tired. Know the difference. I believe you need to honour your body and know when to take a rest. I also believe that you need to push past the initial pain and not reward yourself for it. It is going to be hard in the beginning if your body isn't used to it. That is where the mental game comes in. Push past the pain and keep moving! You can do it!  

6- Be consistent. It doesn't help if you go to 4 yoga classes then you don't do anything for two weeks. Consistency is key and you will soon feel the difference. You build fitness with building blocks as you would a house, lay the foundations first. 

7- Take the time to get to know your body and what it is about. There is a lot of noise out there with people telling you what you should and shouldn't be doing. Your body knows best. If you are doing something and it hurts, back off and stop doing it. If it doesn't then keep going. Not all exercise is for everyone. I certainly know that ballistic exercise isn't my thing and I prefer walking and yoga. But that is me, you decide for you. Don't do it because of someone else's story or because you think you have to. 

8- Find your groove with your move! What moves you? Do you like being up early? Do you like calm exercise or a military muscle man shouting at you to go faster? Do you want to swim or walk? Find what makes you happy. Moving your body should be something to celebrate. It is a privilege not everyone has. Don't make celebrating your body a chore and something you dread. It really will make the process so much easier if you connect with this and do what works. 

9- Stop beating yourself up. Whether it is with the food that you have eaten or the walk that was slower than you wanted. You are not going to succeed by bullying yourself. Coulda shoulda woulda, the past is the past. Whatever wasn't 'right' just move on and try better the next day. You have got this! 

10- Be your biggest cheerleader. You can do this. You can move your body for one hour a day. You are a wonderful human being that has a beating heart and breathing lungs. You have two feet that can move and arms that can lift. You are made of stardust! So go and celebrate that! 

-Melissa

 

Vegan Dark Chocolate Bites

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I think in life you get certain people that you will encounter that just click with you. People you spend time with and that you feel you have know for a lifetime even if it has only been a day. One such person is Talya Goldberg from Shades of Gold. A fellow blogger whom I met over twitter and our encounter with me winning a Nifty250 voucher (You need to check them out here) I decided I wanted to meet the face behind the Vegan beauty and lifestyle blogger so I tweeted her that we needed coffee.

I must admit I wasn’t expecting the easy company that is Talya nor the fact that we both take coffee rather seriously. I once ordered decaf and I will never live it down! We ended up laughing and chatting away as if we had visited before and truth be told, I am a fan. She is a mover and a shaker. A young entrepreneur and co owner of Nifty250 and Talya tops it off with being vegan. All the while doing it in Prada sunglasses. I decided I wanted to do a simple vegan recipe that was both delicious and fun to make. This is the result of our collaboration!


serves 6

Ingredients:

2 cups desiccated coconut

4 tablespoons maple syrup

5 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

juice and pulp of 3 granadillas

2 tablespoons of chopped mint leaves

200 grams Lindt 85% dark chocolate (or any dark vegan friendly chocolate)


Instructions:

Line a baking tray with grease paper.

Pulse the coconut in a blender or food processor until the texture becomes like thick flour.

Add this to a bowl and mix in the maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. Mix until a thick paste forms.

Half the mixture and add the mint leave to one half and the granadilla pulp to another.

Using your hands, squeeze the mixture into about 18 small balls. The mixture should be sticky enough to roll into balls but if not squeeze between your palms and then shape them from there into rounder balls. Place the coconut balls in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until firm. If you can see a small white ring of coconut oil at the base then you know they are ready!

Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over some hot water. Do not let the water touch the chocolate as it can seize. I find it best to put the chocolate in the bowl and let it sit over the heat for at least 5 minutes before stirring.

Next is the fun part! You will probably get best results using two forks. Drop the coconut bites into the chocolate and roll them around using forks. Once completely covered in chocolate lift the balls out with the fork allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Place them on the grease paper and allow them to set. If the chocolate cools too quickly just pop it over the steam again.

Once all your balls have set they are ready to be enjoyed!

-Melissa

 

 

 

quinoa salad

This is one of my all time favourite party tricks. Yes, this salad. For those of you who are not that familiar with quinoa, it is a grain that is very high in protein, simply delicious and easy to make. It has a marvelous nutty flavour to it and it is tastier than most rice’s and healthier to serve. 

This salad is my go to salad when I have my vegetarian friends come over. When I make this salad I more often than not don't make meat, although you can serve it with pan-fried moist chicken breasts if you want. It’s beyond filling and decked out with so many flavours that it will leave you wanting more. It’s the salad I take with to a braai (South African barbecue) and impress everyone with, or it’s a great salad to make for lunch, work or to nibble on at home.

The amazing thing with this salad is that once you get the hang of it and its ingredients you can start playing around with what you add to it, making it your own symphony of flavours. 

Here is my version of this healthy, delicious and colourful salad! 


Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 butternut, medium, peeled and sliced
  • half a head of broccoli 
  • 1 red onion 
  • 1 baby red cabbage
  • 50g pine nuts 
  • 100g rocket 
  • 100ml balsamic vinegar
  • 100ml water 
  • olive oil to dress the salad 
  • 40g parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 180℃

Place your peeled and sliced butternut on a roasting tray and drizzle it with olive oil. Making sure all the pieces are covered. If you do not want them to char, cover with foil (shiny side down) and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. 

While your butternut is roasting slice your red onion into rings. If you find it easier you can also slice it in half and slice half rings from there. Put the water and balsamic into a pot over a low heat. Put the onions in and let them simmer and reduce. It should take about half an hour depending on your heat for them to become sticky and be fully reduced. Once the onions have reduced set them aside. 

In another pot put your one-cup of quinoa to two cups boiling water and a pinch of salt. Make sure the water is boiled before adding it. Cook over a low to medium heat for 30 minutes. If the water disappears before 30 minutes just turn the heat off and put the lid of the pot on. The moisture and residual heat will continue to cook the quinoa. Don’t add more water. Keep an eye on it so that the bottom doesn't burn. At the 25-minute mark just lightly fluff the quinoa with a fork. If you give the quinoa a taste it should still have some crunch but not be too hard-al dente one could say. Once ready set aside. 

In a large bowl grate the broccoli head (tree top bits), the Parmesan cheese and the baby red cabbage. Once they are all in add the rocket to mixture. 

Place your pine nuts in a small pan and over a low heat. Make sure you tend to them and watch them. When roasting nuts they can go from zero to burnt in two seconds. just keep turning them until they are golden brown and toasted. 

Grab your butternut out of the oven and add to your salad bowl. Add your quinoa and balsamic onions. Salt and pepper the salad to taste. Give the salad a good mix and drizzle with a great olive oil. My favourite is Rio Largo olive oil and you can shop it here. Once everything is mixed in and the salad is dressed, sprinkle the pine nuts on top.

This salad is great served hot but just as delicious cold! 

-Melissa