I found yoga heaven in the Spanish countryside


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Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, SpainI woke up in a panic. Have I missed yoga? Why am I in a tent? Man, I feel rough.

Oh that’s right, I drunk about two bottles of wine last night. I’m camping at a yoga retreat. And if I get up now I can make it to class at 8am.

After an hour and a half on the yoga deck surrounded by beautiful mountains, and a delicious breakfast buffet, my hangover was cured. This pretty much set the tone for the rest of the trip.

Let me clear one thing up. When I say yoga retreat, what I really mean is yoga holiday. You don’t have to become a tee-total vegan while you’re here. You can do what you like, eat what you like and drink what (and as much as) you like. When in Spain!

A yogi’s paradise

What better place to unwind than Casa de Carrasco, a yoga retreat – and olive farm – set deep in the Serra de Cardo national park. Pure zen.

Bumpy, meandering tracks lead you into this secluded yoga haven. Seriously, I still haven’t managed to pin point it on Google Maps! All I know is it’s a 45-minute drive from Reus airport.

It’s so remote they even have to get water brought in by lorry as there aren’t any pipes nearby. Nor are there any electric lines, so they generate all their energy by solar power. And you can forget wifi or phone signal!

But who needs that when you’ve got this view:

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, SpainAnd this hammock:

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, Spain

And Ruby the dog:

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, Spain

There are also 2 other dogs and 3 cats, and they often join you for yoga.


All this is the brainchild of Sarah Good, who’s been running the retreat with her partner, Martin, for the past 6 years.

An experienced Sivananda yoga teacher, she leads the classes each morning, which are an energising mix of sun salutations and flowing asanas. All levels are welcome as she offers easier alternatives for beginners and more challenging options for yoga pros.

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, Spain

Sarah demonstrating headstand

As well as being a yoga goddess, Sarah also gives fantastic massages using a blend of essential oils and organic olive oil from the grove. I had the detoxifying one and I practically floated for the rest of the day.

She is a true inspiration. Not only has she created this gem of a place, but she puts so much effort into the finer details. And makes it seem effortless.

The lone traveller

Just to give you some back story – when I found out I had a week’s break before I started my new job, I thought I’d jet off for some sunshine and chill time. Because it was so last minute, I decided to travel solo. I’d never been anywhere by myself…

I’d actually been to the retreat before with someone else, and found that a few people came on their own. So I knew it would be the perfect place to experience solo travelling.

And it was.

The place can accommodate up to 16 guests and it’s very much a community vibe. You cook together. Eat together. Do activities together. It’s so easy to chat to people.

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, Spain

Love Shack L-L-Love Shack

And then if you want some alone time, you can simply choose a hammock to relax in or watch a film in the Love Shack (best to go in the evening though as it becomes a sauna during the day).

Back to nature

If you like your mod cons, this probably isn’t the place for you. Straighteners and hairdryers are banned! But once you realise how beautiful this place is, all the things you used to be preoccupied with just melt away.

There are 4 safari tents to choose from – all very spacious and sleep up to 3 people. To save money, you can bring your own tent or stay in one of the pop-up tents. Or, if camping really isn’t your bag, you can stay in one of 2 lovely ensuite rooms adjacent to the house.

I went for a safari tent and it suited me just fine. If I could go back though I’d tell myself not to be alarmed if I hear a wild boar squealing and snuffling around my tent in the middle of the night. They’re just looking for fallen olives and almonds. Obv.

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, Spain

My tent

For those in tents, there’s a little shower block with 2 toilets, 2 showers and 2 sinks. As mentioned, there’s a limited amount of water, so they ask you to be sparing with it. A sign reads: “In this land of sun and fun, we rarely flush for number one!” You get used to it.

Breakfast is provided, but for everything else, there’s a little shop that Sarah stocks up with veg, salad, cheese, rice, pasta and even their own olive oil. There’s also stuff like suncream and toothpaste if you run out or forget.

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, SpainYou can either cook at Stella’s bar overlooking the pool, or in ‘The Casita’, where everyone eats breakfast. I preferred to cook at the bar. When else do you get to cook outside, surrounded by mountains?

Excursions and activities

When you’ve had enough of chilling by the pool, there’s plenty of other stuff to do. You can sign up for wine tasting, paella making and Ayurveda workshops at the retreat itself. I tried all 3 last time and they were such fun – especially the wine tasting. More like wine glugging.

For the more adventurous, there are a few different hiking trails. I tried one with a couple from the retreat. Now I’m not a hiker, so it was pretty hard to keep up with them, but it was an amazing feeling when I made it to the top of the mountain.

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, Spain

View of the retreat, from halfway up a mountain

A day trip to L’ampolla beach is a must. I went with a volunteer who was working at the retreat for a few weeks. We chatted, drank sangria, ate tapas, went paddleboarding, explored, found a bull fight (and snuck into the VIP area), ate churros and watched fireworks. And I thought I’d come to relax…

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, Spain

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, Spain

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, Spain

Another must-do is the kayak trip down the River Ebro. It was so good the first time, I had to go again. Just look at Miravet Castle…

Yoga retreat, Casa de Carrasco, Spain

Casa de Carrasco certainly did the trick. I came away feeling refreshed, revived and relaxed, despite all the exertion and lashings of vino.

It also made me appreciate a slower, more mindful way of life, which I’ve been trying to channel now I’m back in crazy ol’ London.


Yoga Panther x

What happened when I tried to have a totally healthy week



Dumb bells

Act like a lady, lift like a boss

Anyone who knows me will know I’ve become a bit of a health nerd of late.

Someone who opts for the superfood salad at a restaurant specialising in grilled meat. Someone who makes yoga videos, only drinks herbal tea and spends her spare time perfecting her power balls.

But it’s not all fun and games.

Being healthy can be a mighty blow to the bank balance. I shiver at the thought of how much I spend on yoga classes and avocados.

Also, cutting down on sugar means I’m craving the stuff even more. I won’t tell you about the time I binged on 3 Simpson-style doughnuts, an Oreo ice cream sandwich and a slab of homemade banana bread. In one evening.

And I often struggle to even find time to be healthy. You need to be super organised to plan and prepare meals and schedule in those work outs. A bit tricky when I spend all my time going to gigs, events or exhibitions. Because, London.

So, inspired by meeting health guru Madeleine Shaw the other week, and the fact that it was health and wellbeing week at work, I decided to have a totally wholesome, mindful and active week. While making time for my social commitments. Without spending an arm and a leg.

Here goes…


I definitely started with a bang. Monday involved healthy eats and hardcore work outs.

I picked up one of the free breakfast pots being given out at work – yoghurt topped with granola, blueberries and raspberries. Yum. I added some seeds and goji berries to mine for added goodness.

Added some seeds and goji berries to the breakfast pot

At lunch I went to Gymbox for the first time for my free trial day. I tried their ashtanga yoga session in this crazy-ass room overlooking the rest of the gym. Pretty fast-paced and I definitely worked up a sweat.

Gymbox trial

At lunch I got creative with some Ryvita, avocados, feta, tomatoes and cucumber.

Avocado, feta, tomato and cucumber Ryvitas for lunchAfter work I returned to Gymbox for their ‘Frame Fitness’ class. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so unfit. Like circuits on steroids, it was a blur of pull-ups, squats, press-ups, burpees, running planks, sit-ups and Russian twists. Whew!

I couldn’t believe it when I made it to the end of the 45-minute session. I got a bit of a runner’s high and somehow stayed at the gym for another hour of cross training, cycling and yoga. I just didn’t get tired.


The great thing about working out until 8.30pm is the half price sale at Itsu is on! So naturally I got my favourite – chicken teriyaki salad – at the reduced price of £2.50.

Healthy post workout meal from Itsu


After my insane workout yesterday, I thought it best to take it easy today. I made another tasty lunch with the same ingredients as yesterday, but this time I picked up a multigrain triangle roll from Tesco for 25p.


Next I had a ‘health MOT’ – another work perk. I was tested by a health specialist from Nuffield Health and found out that my blood pressure and glucose levels are normal, but my cholesterol was only JUST within the normal range. Need to keep off the cakes and biscuits…


I started the day with some Planet Organic grain-free granola featuring nuts, seeds, coconut, dried banana, raisins and spirulina (fancy word for algae). I added some goji berries and blueberries to make it colourful. You don’t want to know how much this costs. I got a cheeky one for free at the Madeleine Shaw event.


At lunch I decided to chill out and go to a FREE creative meditation session at Inner Space. A little too relaxing maybe, as I kept nodding off. But I managed to unwind as I visualised being on a tropical beach with white sand and turquoise sea.

I was going to do some yoga when I got home, but since it was two days after my hard core work out, I ached like crazy. So instead I made a batch of power bars. You literally chuck goji berries, sultanas, dates, chia seeds, almonds, cacao powder and coconut oil into food processor, mould it…and boom! Great alternative to a chocolate bar.


Everyone’s going on about matcha green tea at the moment. Apparently it’s the equivalent of drinking 10 cups of normal green tea. So I thought I’d see what all the fuss was about by trying a matcha latte at Salad Pride (sweet little cafe in Neal’s Yard). Let’s just say it won’t be my last…



For lunch I made a yummy wrap filled with cous cous, spinach, avocado, tomato and cucumber.

IMG_6115Later on I had a free chair massage at work, which eased me up after a stressful morning.


The key to a healthy mind is to keep exercising it by learning new things. So I forced myself out of bed to get to an all-day copywriting event at The Rag Factory. It was great to hear from my fellow copywriters and get some tips about freelancing.

On our break for lunch, I strolled down Brick Lane in search of healthy food. I was drawn to Suito, a swanky new place serving up delicious Japanese food. I went for the chicken teriyaki donburi with veg. Seriously good.



My body had finally recovered in time for Be:Fit London – an awesome little fitness festival for women. We started with a ‘Strala Yoga’ class from Tara Stiles. Pretty tough session, but it was so motivating being one of around 100 yogis doing their thang.


After swiping as many freebies from the stalls as we could, we went to a talk from Dame Kelly Holmes. So inspirational. It made me realise that settling goals to be fit isn’t a means to an end. It’s a journey. And the same goes for anything you want to achieve in life. Just enjoy the ride.

We finished with a mini trampoline class. SUCH FUN.

Just look at my haul (below)! The only things I actually bought were:

  • Vita Coco coconut water and oil: On offer for £5 together.
  • Teapigs matcha kit: A burn at £25, but it will be worth it!
  • Trek bars and Perkier bars: These were both on offer for 3 for like £2. Because you can never have too many bars.


I ended the week in style by dining at Jamie’s Italian with my other half. I had the best superfood salad of my entire life. Just look at that avocado and broccoli perched on top of that bed of kale, chicken, pulses and grains. Even my boyfriend (who went for the steak) had food envy.


So it is possible to stay fit and eat healthily with a busy lifestyle.

I ate healthily every day and didn’t eat a single sugary food. I did yoga (twice), hardcore circuits and even trampolining. I probably shouldn’t have exercised so much on the Monday though as I was out of action until Sunday. I didn’t stress about it though. I was mindful and I let my body unwind in the meantime with meditation and massage.

I managed to do everything I wanted to do, and still had time to chill out in the evenings. I didn’t spend too much either.

Admittedly I had a bit of help, what with all the freebies. But it’s allowed me to explore what I do and don’t like (matcha YES, hardcore circuits NOPE), so I can spend my money wisely. And I’m more motivated about being healthy than ever.

It’s all about planning, listening to your body and exercising your will power. Not forgetting to mix things up occasionally to keep things interesting!

Now where can I buy a trampoline…

Yoga Panther x

Getting my glow on for Madeleine Shaw’s book signing


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Madeleine Shaw, Ready Steady Glow, eat clean, healthy living, book signing, planet organic

As I took my seat at the back of Planet Organic in Westbourne Grove, I couldn’t help but notice how radiant she looked. Madeleine Shaw really does glow! I’ll have what she’s having…

And now I can.

To celebrate the launch of her second book ‘Ready Steady Glow‘, Madeleine showed us just how simple, healthy and delicious its recipes are, before passing on some of her nutritional wisdom in a Q&A.


Ready Steady Glow focuses on wholesome food for a busy lifestyle (so pretty much my ideal book). Split into 2 sections, it provides quick, easy recipes for the hectic weekdays and more involved recipes to take your time over at the weekend.

Because who has the time in the week to spend hours crafting an Instagram-ready superfood masterpiece? Just, no. She says we can all make a balanced, healthy meal in under 30 minutes. Faster than ordering a pizza.

Then, on the weekend, she reminds us to slow down and take some time to chill and unwind. Peruse your local market, select your ingredients and put together a nutritious dish at your leisure. Bliss.

Madeleine Shaw, Ready Steady Glow, eat clean, healthy living, book signing, planet organic

She demonstrated 3 recipes from the book – a spiced tomato soup, a mango and avocado salad and a key lime and avocado mousse. We sampled the first and the last. Scrumptious.

After the Q&A and meeting Madeleine afterwards, I learnt that I should:

  • Eat healthy protein in the morning for longer-lasting energy
  • Use the weekends to prep meals for the busy week ahead
  • Try turmeric (maybe in the form of turmeric milk), because it’s loaded with antioxidants
  • Take the time to chew food as it helps you feel fuller for longer and aids digestion
  • Snack on something healthy and easily digestible before working out, like carrot sticks dipped in hummus.

And that I should not:

  • Heat food in tupperware as the chemicals from the plastic can react with the food
  • Reuse water bottles – evil plastic again.

A truly inspirational evening for a budding health nerd like myself. Can’t wait to get stuck into the recipes from ‘Ready Steady Glow’…

Madeleine Shaw, Ready Steady Glow, eat clean, healthy living, book signing, planet organic

Waiting in line to get my copy signed



Guilt-free treats from my Planet Organic goodie bag


Welcome to Yoga Panther


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Hey guys,

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with you and you may have noticed some changes around here.

So I just wanted to introduce my rebranded blog – Yoga Panther!

Why I changed my blog

My old blog title, ‘To make each day count’, had served it’s purpose. It was more of a mantra to get me to blog regularly, and to inspire you to do something different every day.

However, it’s a bit of a mouthful, a bit vague, and I thought it was time to hone in my focus.

How I chose the look

I think symbols are very powerful. A simple image can signify so much and at the same time be very memorable. That’s why I wanted to create a logo for my blog. Something that would sum up ‘Yoga Panther’.

I went for a lotus flower as it’s often linked to yoga and spirituality. Each chakra is shown as a different kind of lotus and there’s even a lotus pose.

In Eastern religions it symbolises enlightenment – the lotus flower grows from the depths of muddy ponds, rises above the water and becomes a beautiful bloom. This also links to self-improvement, which is what this blog is about. To achieve something, you must put in the effort and go through the hardship. No mud, no lotus!

On a personal level, my one and only tattoo is a lotus symbol, so I designed a perfect line logo based on this. I placed this on top of a photo I’d taken of a beach sunset near my hometown. It’s a pretty background to represent my background🙂


I created my lotus logo using Illustrator. It’s perfectly proportioned, unlike my tattoo!


My Instagram snap of the stunning Hunstanton coastline, not far from my home town.


Combination of the two, along with the name in Century Gothic – a simple, airy typeface.

How I chose the name


If you hadn’t noticed already, I’m a massive yoga lover. I started practicing in 2013 and now I can’t imagine life without it.

And yoga doesn’t just mean throwing some shapes on the yoga mat. It encompasses healthy eating, mindfulness, self-improvement, meditation and generally looking after your wellbeing. The yoga lifestyle.

You can expect to see posts about these topics.


Not only is the panther fast acting, it is strong, stealthy and adventurous, while being able to adapt to different environments.

I think this sums up my writing style, as well as my yoga technique. Also, my name rhymes with Panther!

So there you have it.

Here’s to new beginnings!


How to make your own energy balls


It’s 4pm. You’re at work. And you’re craving a sugary snack. Chocolate? Mmm chocolate…But wait! You made a batch of energy balls and there’s one in the fridge with your name on it. YES. That’ll keep you going until dinner.

Not only is it a yummy, satisfying treat – it’s loaded with healthy plant protein and has no added sugar. You feel like you have a cheat to life that no one knows about.

So what’s in these bad boys? 

Energy balls, power balls, energy bites…call them what you will, these are tasty little balls of superfood goodness.

I know what you’re thinking. They look about as appetising as bird food. Until you realise they’re made of cacao powder, medjool dates, coconut oil, chia seeds, linseed, almonds, walnuts and hemp protein powder #EatClean.

And with DECHOX coming up (quitting chocolate for March), these are the perfect healthy substitue to a chocolate bar.

Ella’s delicious balls

I came across these nutritious balls at the Mae Deli – a guilt-free cafe created by healthy food guru Deliciously Ella. At just £1 a ball, I had to try one.

I took my first bite of the textured chocolatey dough. Oh my, that is scrumptious. Only there wasn’t any chocolate in it. Just good, healthy stuff rolled up in a ball.


Check out that power ball pyramid

Inspired by this spherical superfood, I sought out to make my own. Of course I tracked down Ella’s Ultimate Energy Bites recipe first.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll love quick and easy recipies. This is just that. There’s no cooking required. Just ingredients. And a food processor.

The hardest part is getting hold of all the stuff (and it’s not cheap). I raided Holland & Barret and managed to get the bulk of them, but I had to go to the supermarket for the medjool dates. I already had some coconut oil, which you can get on Amazon.


The back row of ingredients should last you a while.

Tell me how to make the goddamn balls already

Okay! If you have a diddy food processor like me, follow this recipe to make around 14 balls (as in the top photo). For the larger processor, just double up.

8 ingredients. 8 easy steps. Let’s go…


75g of almonds
75g of walnuts
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1 tablespoon of linseed
100g of medjool dates
1 heaped teaspoon of hemp protein powder
1 heaped teaspoon of raw cacao powder
1 heaped teaspoon of coconut oil


  1. Chuck the tough ingredients in the food processor first (these are in bold above).
  2. Grind for 30 seconds, or until they’re well and truly pulverised.
  3. De-seed and chop up the dates and whack them in with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Blend for 30 seconds, or until you’ve made a nice sticky dough.
  5. Carefully remove the blade and scrape out your mixture.
  6. Roll it into ping-pong-sized balls in your hands.
  7. Arrange on a plate (Instagram that shit) and place in the fridge.
  8. Grab one as and when you need a boost, and enjoy!

When can I eat them?

Like I said, they’re ideal for the afternoon munchies. They’re also great if you want a quick morning power up, instead of having your brekkie sloshing around inside you while you’re running or doing yoga.

Or you can munch on one before your evening exercise sesh to curb your hunger and keep you bouncing around until dinner.

I want more balls

Well you can have more balls! There are so many variations on this recipe. I bought the Energy Bites book for £3 on Amazon (I know right?!).

It’s packed with sweet and savoury options from Apple Pie Antioxidant Bites to Carrot and Beetroot Buckwheat Balls.

Energy bites



6 herbal teas you need in your life


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I’m a herbivore when it comes to tea – I only drink the herbal varieties.

One day I just decided that coffee and black tea were doing me no favours, so I gradually cut both out of my regimen. As soon as I started experimenting with the plethora of herbal flavours and researching their medicinal properties, I was hooked.

The great thing about herbal tea is it contains NO CAFFEINE. Coffee addicts not convinced? Well there are much better things in these dried herbs, spices and plants that can boost your energy, without the come down.

From short-term therapeutic effects like easing digestion, to long-term health benefits like reducing the risk of cancer, the list of ailments herbal teas can remedy goes on.

So, whether you’re new to all this or you want to find out more about the herbal boys, here are 6 essential teas and their healing powers…

Red Bush1) Rooibos
The morning tea

I always start the day with a red bush *giggle*. It’s one of the few herbals you can add milk to, so if you’re looking for a substitute for your first milky breakfast tea or coffee of the day, rooibos is your bag.

Why it’s awesome

  • Relieves stress and hypertension as it’s rich in antioxidants.
  • Keeps your teeth and bones healthy as it contains calcium, manganese and fluoride.
  • Balances blood sugar levels with the help of the rare antioxidant aspalathin.
  • Great for your skin due to the hydroxy acid and zinc.

Lemon2) Lemon and ginger
The cold buster

This sweet yet spicy drink is perfect for keeping illness at bay, as well as soothing a cold or flu – especially if you add a dash of honey as a natural antibiotic.

Why it’s awesome

  • Boosts your immune system due to the high levels of antioxidants and zinc in the ginger and Vitamin C in the lemon.
  • Relieves indigestion, heartburn and bloating as it helps your body absorb food better.
  • Promotes healthy skin, hair and teeth with its rich antioxidants and vitamins.
  • Great for weight loss as the ginger helps normalise sugar levels and improve fat absorption.

Peppermint3) Peppermint
The after-meal drink

You know that feeling when you’ve eaten a bit too much or been a tad ambitious with the spicy food? Enter peppermint. This is my go-to post-dinner tea if my stomach’s feeling dodgy. It even freshens your breath!

Why it’s awesome

  • Helps you digest food better as the bile flow is stimulated, while reducing digestive issues like IBS as it moves gas through the body.
  • Eases nausea and vomiting, especially if you suffer from motion sickness.
  • Reduces fever as the hotness of the tea causes sweating, while the menthol cools down your insides.
  • Clears congestion, mild coughs and asthma with its antispasmodic properties.

Ginseng4) Ginseng
The energy booster

This one has a heck of a lot of curative properties. That’s because it’s an adaptogen, which means it increases your body’s ability to adapt to changing situations. Pretty neat.

Why it’s awesome

  • Increases energy and alertness – as it’s an adaptogen, it heightens your resistance and helps eliminate fatigue.
  • Improves concentration and thinking capabilities as it’s a mild stimulant.
  • Aids weight loss by suppressing your appetite and regulating your metabolism.
  • Reduces risk of cancer due to ginsenosides it contains, which are believed to have anti-cancer properties.

Children, pregnant/breastfeeding women and those with high blood pressure should avoid ginseng tea.

Green5) Green
The king of teas

Okay, I lied. It’s not technically a herbal tea, and it contains some caffeine…but it’s hailed as one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.

Why it’s awesome

  • Increases concentration and gives you more stable energy due to the combination of L-theanine and a small dose of caffeine.
  • Aids weight loss by burning fat and boosting your metabolism.
  • Improves dental health with the help of catechins, which fight bacteria and plaque in your mouth. Good catechins!
  • Reduces risk of cancer as its loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols, which help suppress free radicals – those pesky things that cause ageing and disease. Bad free radicals!

Chamomile6) Chamomile
The sleep inducer

Everyone knows that if you struggle to get to sleep, a cup of chamomile tea is sure to send you right off. But that’s not all…

Why it’s awesome

  • Helps you sleep faster and better as it contains an amino acid called tryptophan, a mild sedative.
  • Calms stress and anxiety as it works as an antidepressant and relaxant.
  • Treats muscles spasms, IBS and menstrual cramps with its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Boosts your immunity – its antibacterial properties can prevent and sooth a cold or cough.


  • Everything in moderation.
  • Always check with your doctor before bringing a new herbal tea into your diet, especially if you want to use it to manage or heal a health condition or concern.
  • If you experience any side effects to these teas, stop drinking them and consult your doctor.

Happy herbal tea drinking!