Port Douglas Cottages and Lodge + Travel Guide

Written by Lee on . Posted in Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle

Welcome to Paradise!

If you’re looking for a holiday that feels akin to a home away from home, make your way to Port Douglas. I’d call it a DIY retreat; there’s plenty of delicious food markets, interesting tours, nature and yoga sessions. You'll come back feeling super refreshed and relaxed.

I stayed at the beautiful Port Douglas Cottage and I could not recommend it highly enough. It’s basically what you'd get if Notting Hill and a luxe beach-house had a baby.  It's absolutely magical. The cottage is beautifully furnished, clean and only a few minutes’ walk away from restaurants, shops and the beach. It’s relaxing, cute and totally not over the top, which means it ticks all my accommodation boxes.

The happiest bedroom you'll ever see

The best room in the house - the kitchen!

Some places just exude warmth, openness and happiness and this is one of those places. The bedroom was absolutely beach chic and included robes (I don’t know what it is but I love walking around the house on holiday in a fluffy robe – is anyone else the same?). The kitchen was light and felt like the center of the home; as it should be. There were also beautiful flowers everywhere that always brought a smile to my face.

Simple seasonal salad by the pool

My highlight was undoubtedly the private pool. That pool and I now share some seriously special memories!

The cottage is perfect for families, couples and solo travellers like myself. Graeme, the owner, was super lovely, friendly and accommodating too – what a bonus! I’m counting down the days till I can go back to Port Douglas and stay in the cottage again.  

Breakfast at the Little Larder

If you’re looking for some great restaurants in Port Douglas, these are some of my favourites:

Dinner at Salsa

Seabean Tapas

My top seven things to do in Port Douglas include:

  1. Get yourself a picnic blanket, pack your lunch and meet the locals while watching the beautiful sunset down at The Point in Rex Smeal Park
  2. No trip to Port Douglas is complete without going on a tour of the Daintree. I loved seeing the crocodiles and seeing swallows and native birds when birdwatching. Check out my review of the tours I went on below!

The Daintree River

3. Go to the jungle juice “hippie market”. Trust me. If you’re a spiced chai fan, like myself, and your mouth waters at the thought of almond falafels, you'll be in heaven. Make sure to stop by Kuranda markets to try it all!

4. While we’re talking about markets, don’t miss the Mossman Market on Saturday morning.

5. Get the train to Kuranda, to experience one of the most unique rail journeys in Australia. Get ready to bear witness to traditional Australian culture and deepen your knowledge of the Dreamtime legend of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people. The carriages date back to the early 1900’s so you know you’re in for a real treat. It’s even better than Harry Potter. It’s more than just a train-ride, it’s an educational experience not to be missed. Explore the spectacular views, look at the marvellous tunnels and visit Freshwater station.

Kuranda Railway

Oh, and definitely come back via the Sky rail. It’s a must-do. It’s a skyrail committed to environmentally-friendly tourism, protecting the environment and providing guests with an opportunity to challenge, learn and grow. You’ll glide just a few metres above the gorgeous world-heritage protected rainforest, see the real beauty behind the ancient tropics and learn all about one of the most diverse areas on earth! You’ll see, hear, smell and become part of the tropical rainforest. It’s a full-body experience.6. Eat lunch at Salsa in Port Douglas. Delicious.

7. Walk the lighthouse and do the heritage walk around the town. It's absolutely beautiful and so calming.

Being the homeboy that I am, the best part of the day was always coming back home to my little cottage. I would buy lots of delicious fruit during the day and dream of coming back to snack and lounge around by the pool. It felt like my home centre and the place where I could truly unwind.

If you’re a full-on yoga-lover like me, be sure to check out Deep Yoga Studio. It’s been voted as the number #1 yoga studio in Port Douglas and it has my Supercharged tick of approval. It’s a peaceful and beautiful studio with highly-skilled teachers who personalise classes phenomenally.  It’s super close to town and just five minutes from the beach – yoga and swim anyone?  They have a range of classes to suit everyone including dynamic and energising classes, introspective yin-style classes, warmer yoga classes and Pilates. If that doesn’t get you excited, they also have a massage retreat, sento bath and steamroom/sauna!

You can enjoy a 60 minute session in their Soaking Pool, combined steamroom/infrared sauna, followed by their Relaxation Studio. Any place which has a room called a Relaxation Studio is a place I want to be! They have cocoons (how cool is that?!), mats, massage balls,  band mats and more!


Daintree Discovery Tours

  • This tour well and truly has it all. Be whisked away along the beautiful Mossman gorge, experience a Daintree River Cruise, take Instagram pics (we all have our priorities) of the panoramic views of the Daintree river, walk the beach of Cape Tribulation and more! You can choose between a half-day or full-day tour depending on your preferences and personal schedule. I chose the morning tour and was not disappointed!  Grant Knight, will pick you up from your accomodation, (he is was one of the best tour guides I’ve had!) He's a legend of a guy and so passionate about everything he spoke about. The itinerary's pieced together beautifully and I was interested and engaged the whole time. Who needs to listen to the sounds of the Amazonian rainforest on an app when you can witness it in person?! Driving through the Daintree was magical. We saw crocs, snakes and birds.

Scarface the crocodile

  • Get ready to fall in love (see what I did there?) with these beautiful waterfalls. You can feed the fish and turtles, swim in this unique environment or just sit back and enjoy the wonderful view.
  • If you’re looking for a tour like no other, be sure to check out Brett’s Kuranda Day Tours. Brett picks you up from your accommodation and takes you on a lovely 7.5-hour tour of your choice, so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride! He’s friendly, funny, extremely helpful and knowledgable – what else can you ask for in a tour guide? He takes you through Kuranda via the Skyrail where you can see the beautiful village craft markets. You then travel up through the rainforest via the Kuranda Scenic Railway where you’ll enjoy breathtaking views and arrive in beautiful Palm Cove. At the end of the tour, Brett drops you back at your accommodation or a restaurant and you say bye after a fabulous day together! If you’re in for a food-venture (like me, always), you may want to check out his Outback Tasting Adventures. Enjoy a delicious range of food (and maybe a cheeky glass of wine), with beautiful backdrops of lush scenery and explore growing crops and dairyland. You’ll learn all about bananas, mangoes, avocadoes, macadamia nuts and more and taste them for yourself! If you’re a night-owl, Brett also takes night tours to Tjapukai. It’s a quick yet, luxe trip which involves delicious welcome drink and canapes, a live Didgeridoo tour, a sacred corroboree of the Aboriginal dreamtime, a lake-side fire ceremony, tropical dining and a fireside farewell. If you’re interested, be sure to call Brett at these numbers: 07 40985 059 or 0418 909 818, click on the links above or check out his Facebook page here.

To learn more about Port Douglas and experience it for yourself at the beautiful Port Douglas Cottage, click this link here.

Billabong Retreat Sydney

Written by Lee on . Posted in Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle


Ever feel the need to have a break from your crazy schedule, sit back, enjoy blissful early morning restorative yoga and indulge in organic meals prepared especially for you?  Beautiful Billabong Retreat will do just that.

Billabong is located only a smooth forty-five minute drive away from Sydney in a rural location called Maraylya.  The stunning wellness retreat offers amazing cuisine in a natural setting surrounded by scribbly gums, gulping frogs and chirpy birds; who needs an alarm clock anyway?

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days at the retreat in a homely lodge, overhearing the calming chorus of kookaburras nestled in the treetops by the lily-covered waterhole.

Set amongst the natural surroundings of the native Australian bush, the central point of the retreat is a beautiful billabong which is not only breathtaking but also brings wildlife straight to your door.  I guarantee after just a few hours of arriving, you’ll feel completely at home in the natural surroundings. Imagine a whole new world with no e-mails, no meetings, no distractions. Just you, a hug from mother-nature and a comforting cup of Chamomile.

During my stay I attended a three-day mindfulness retreat designed to take you out of your internal dialogue and chatter, bringing you back into the moment with practical tools to be at one with your thoughts. It’s the kind of retreat, run by Billabong’s founder Paul von Bergen that helps you to replace your “ugh’s” with “oms”  and understand that mindfulness is a practise which can be really beneficial when implemented into your daily life.  It’s a great retreat if you’re looking to improve your relationships, not only with yourself but with the people around you.

Billabong is a breath of fresh air, but just be warned, you’ll want to NamaSTAY there all year long.


Morning meditations with this guy and the best view – is there a nicer way to start the day?


Poolside.  Once you go magnesium, you can never go back. With every stroke you take, you can feel the difference as the magnesium pool helps you get rid of impurities and brings you back to your organic core.


This super clean, super green and super tasty plate of goodness. Picking up those little squares of lemon rind in olive oil with each delicious mouthful. YUM!


Breakfast in the Aussie bush. Chocolate chia pudding, cinnamon yoghurt and poached  pears sprinkled with coconut, walnuts and seeds. Delicious.


Scribbly gums and a chorus of kookaburras by the waterhole.

To learn more about Billabong Retreat visit:

OneWorld Ayurvedic and Yoga Retreat, Bali

Written by Lee on . Posted in Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle


If you’re looking for an experience beyond a handful of cheap sarongs and Bintang tanks, Oneworld Retreats in Bali may be just the ticket. Veering off the beaten track in Ubud the Ayurvedic Detox and Yoga retreat is located at Kumara, a centre which has been transformed by it’s vibrant and larger than life owner Claude Chouinard into a haven of relaxation surrounded by positive energy.

As soon as you arrive, the smell of frangipani fills the air and you’re offered a thirst-quenching welcome drink that tastes like it has only just fallen from the large coconut tree positioned beside the reception area. The pool is glistening and you are ready to jump in.


Once checked in, you’re guided down a set of stairs to reveal a gorgeous private room which instantly makes you feel comfortable and at home.


The accommodation is lush and traditionally minimalistic, each room having a large balcony overlooking Ubud’s green fields for an instant eye-popping nature-fix.


There are no televisions in the room but instead you’ll find water colours, paper and brushes, you don’t need to be an artist to get creative, it’s all about amusing yourself as a way of focusing on being in the NOW. There are also tools for mandala creation, incense sticks and pretty local flowers for mandala making.

A table and comfortable sink-into arm chair on the deck offers a cozy place to kick-back and relax, a tempting hang out area, particularly as the sun goes down, as you listen to the low hums, buzzes and chirps of the native wildlife.


In the morning, the aroma of Bali offerings and incense still lingers in the air, and a piping hot teapot with aromatic herbal blends arrives on your deck at rooster o’clock. It’s a welcome pick me up as you stumble out of bed, before ambling down the steps to the magnificent locally built yoga shala, complete with jungle backdrop, to salute the sun at a morning yoga session.

yoga hall

Wayan brings a unique teaching style to the yoga classes and has a gentle approach and nature which is soothing and nurturing.


The retreat is run by Dr Aparna and Dr Joshi who are experienced Ayurvedic practitioners from India. They are excellent facilitators and do a wonderful job in bringing Ayurveda to guests in an accessible way.


During the retreat you will partake in workshops which cover living the Ayurvedic way, principles and dietetics, daily rituals and also an introduction to the Panchakarma detox or PK as it is affectionately known. Each day is dedicated to an element, which allows you to appreciate, honour and become more aware of the earth, water, fire, air and space around you.


Do Go Chasing Waterfalls

Just beyond Ubud, Balinese worshippers have been gravitating towards Pura Tirta Empul which translates to Temple of the Holy Water, a place where the sacred springs are said to hold healing properties.  For centuries and still today, Balinese have been bathing and praying in the holy water. Oneworld Retreats offer you the chance to immerse yourself in this ancient ritual and leave with a lighter spirit and sense of peace.


After the bathing ritual we’re given a front row seat to a further purification situation, where a holy man presses rice on your forehead and secures pretty little flowers into your hair. You’re offered a cotton bracelet and instructed to wear it until it falls off.

What I loved about the retreat is that it feels like the real Bali, one that is steeped in rituals and where you are constantly engaging in the glorious rich culture.


Take a walk on the wild side

Pack your trainers for an approachable adventure into village life. We joined our guide Tokok, a Balinese local for a pied-piper inspired single-file walk through narrow rice paddy fields stopping as women rode side-saddle on motorbikes and a passing parade of smiling drivers carefully navigated the slim pathways.

Not so squeezy!


Weathered farmers in straw hats waded knee deep through water-logged rice plots anticipating their next harvest.


The sound of frogs and smell of rice and frangipani invaded your senses. I loved the look into village life that the nature walk provided.


During the Ayurvedic retreat you are given daily tonics, an Ayurvedic consultation with the doctors and two detoxing treatments which leads on to a fully supervised Ayurvedic detox day.

The day is a good opportunity to have a stay at home day as it involves taking Ayurvedic preparations and then staying close by a loo! The doctors monitor you every hour to make sure everything is running smoothly!

During the special detox day a digital detox is also recommended which serves as the perfect time to channel your inner Van Gogh utilizing the art supplies and flowers for creative play.


Throughout the retreat you’re tempted by beautifully crated Indian and Indonesian inspired dishes. This is paddy to plate eating at its best.


The retreat showcases local ingredients with generous amounts of flavour and freshness.


An instagrammer’s dream come true...


A trip to Oneworld Retreats Ayurvedic retreat will have you travelling home richly rewarded and rejuvenated.

Cleansing Ceremony


The retreat runs for seven days and six nights and includes healthy balanced meals, daily Ayurvedic tonics and herbals teas, an Ayurvedic consultation, two detoxing treatments, four Ayurvedic workshops, a cooking demonstration, a fire cleansing ceremony, nine yoga sessions, a nature walk, one fully supervised Ayurvedic detox day, an offering class and a guided nature walk.

You can find out more about Oneworld Retreats here.

Aro Ha Wellness Retreat

Written by Lee on . Posted in Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle


Arriving at Aro Ha wellness retreat in Glenorchy on the South Island of picturesque New Zealand and you may mistakenly think you’ve stepped into the pages of “Into the Wild”, the bestselling book about an adventurous seeker and hiker who’s escapades lead him into the remote Alaskan wilderness.

If the hustle and bustle of life has you craving a break and yearning for that blank spot on the map to truly immerse yourself into an unfiltered life experience, then Aro Ha may be just what the doctor ordered.

Imagine a wellness retreat that combines delicious organic food, soul-shifting mountain hikes with natural highs, relaxing daily massages and a environment where you can let go of decision making and fall into the art of complete surrender. Sound good?

From the moment you arrive, you're encouraged to renounce all pre-conceived ideas and expectations and hand over to the beauty and magnificence of the world around you. The comfortable drive to the popular wellness retreat is about a forty-five minute ride, which negotiates through spectacular hobbit and middle earth style rolling hills, surrounded by jaw-dropping backdrops featuring snow covered alps and glacial lakes. It envelopes you with all it’s chocolate box charm and magnetism.


I was lucky enough to visit Aro Ha last month and spent five days in this spirit-lifting place. Quite soon after arriving at the retreat, we are whisked off to sit in the gorgeous communal chill out lounge, the perfect location for mingling with other guests against the backdrop of panoramic views across Lake Wakatipu.

We plonked ourselves down on the oversized floppy couch and were introduced to the ethos and run down of the retreat whilst enjoying a raw food platter with freshly made crackers, delights from the organic onsite gardens and a warming herbal tea.


After a weigh in and checks and measuring session, we're guided through the stone pathways to our rooms and left to settle in and prepare for our first hike!  A little later, we meet in the designated hike area just outside the purpose built eco-designed accommodations where we gather up our allocated hiking gear and poles if required. Luckily I had my hiking pants sorted thanks to this link here


I’ve always had a love of nature and an adventurous spirit, but I am no mountaineer by any stretch of the imagination and as we ventured up the steep and craggy mountains on the first day, I wondered whether my jelly legs would see me through.  

I was half expecting to stumble upon Alexander Supertramp’s Magic Bus so I could sneak in for a rest and to get my breath back. But there were plenty of opportunities to stop and rest and breathe in the cooling clean air if need be, and I felt absolutely no pressure to be a speedy Gonzales on my way up, with guides at the front, middle and back of the group to encourage and help you along.

When I finally reached my very first summit, the view from the top was impressive and it was then that I noticed a renewed sense of achievement and purpose, filling my senses. 

Once back on ground level, we headed into the shared eating area to indulge in a picture perfect highly nutritious dinner.


This was a good time to chit-chat with fellow guests, and share experiences in a refined and natural setting, unencumbered by the usual belongings and trappings that sometimes accompany group gatherings.  We marvelled at the presentation of the fresh produce and delicious offerings.


After dinner it was time for a relatively early night and armed with a warming herbal tea I jumped into the crisp and luxurious white linen sheets ready for a sound sleep.

I knew as soon as my head hit the pillow I would be asleep snuggling into the warm woven blankets and wondering what tomorrow would bring.


As I nestled into the pillow, the mindfulness tip of the day on the bed was calling out to me, encouraging me to align my body and mind.  “This is going to be an interesting five days” I thought.

The paired-back décor of the cabin is restful and minimal with touches of nature weaved in from outside. I loved the natural flora and fauna that adorned the walls.


The whole retreat runs on hydro and solar power and is a welcome sustainable living approach, very much in-tune with its surroundings. The building materials are made from larch wood and local stone and blend in effortlessly with the outdoor terrain.

The yoga studio is minimal and inviting with a gorgeous opportunity to breathe in your surrounds.


The main community building houses the reception area and this is connected to a relaxing, lounge, dining room and open kitchen. The out buildings within the retreat comprise of a stunning spa area which is where the Zen-inducing treatments are carried out.

This flows through to an old school and infrared sauna, which then leads into an outdoor heated spa overlooking the sub-alpine mountains. I haven’t mentioned the icy plunge pool yet, but it's right there if you dare!


After a restful night I'm awakened by a retreat leader outside my doorway, as the chimes of a Tibetan bowl gently rouse me from sleep.  Stumbling up the stone pathway, I'm met by a magnificent wooden yoga hut, centered around a windowscape which captures the stunning beauty and tranquility of the misty lake.


Our yoga teacher Mike was there to greet us with a big warm knowing smile. He’s a beautiful soul and former adrenaline junkie, who brings the yin to many of the guest’s and retreat leader’s yangs as he gently takes us through a hatha-esque guided practice, to dust off the cobwebs and align the body and senses. This is where we are again encouraged to relinquish control and trust the process of the power of healing in nature.

By the time the class was over, breakfast was well and truly calling and this insta-worthy smoothie bowl had my name written all over it!  The nutritious bunch of ingredients blended and ready to set us up for the next hike of the day, three hours across country into the wilderness as far as the eye can see.


It was then that I knew it was truly time to wallow in the raw and wild surroundings and experience the pulse of life that only hiking can provide. Whilst at Aro Ha, each day a hike is undertaken, all with their own challenging elevations and distances and generally covering between 12 and 17 kms of dramatically changing Southern-Alp landscape.

Walking can do interesting things to your mind. What it evoked for me was the ability to be more open to new experiences and adventures and also to have the breathing space to be able to think more creatively and with a new perspective that the daily busyness of life sometimes overshadows.


By lunchtime, we are back at the retreat for more spectacular and empowering food, plated up with flowers from the garden and resembling the pot of gold that was at the end of the rainbow which had formed in the sky after a short rain shower, dazzling us as we ate and chatted, exchanging hiking stories from blisters to potential hamstring strains.


Afternoons at Aro Ha are packed with various classes such as cooking and horticulture, pilates and functional training and you can choose to do as much or little as you wish.

The horticulture class was fun and informative and we were invited into the world of permaculture and shown how to grow our own micro-herbs, followed by a tour of the magnificent indoor kitchen-greenhouse which captures just the right amount of light and warmth all year round for the herb, vegetable and fruit dwellers inside to flourish.


Restorative yoga kicks off at 6pm, connecting the group once again and lulling you into a soothing and nurturing space and time for reflection, much like the great lake view from the windows.

We run through a series of calming and soothing poses, the perfect antidote to an activity filled day. The class is closed with a mindfulness meditation as you melt your body even further into a deeper state of relaxation.


As you're gently encouraged to bring your thoughts back into reality, dinner is ready and it's a beautifully presented garden to plate nourishing meal.


Next it's time to head over to the sauna and spa area for chill out time, where you can gaze up at the stars and feel like you're in heaven.

Speaking of heaven, how gorgeous is this cacao breakfast pudding! 


I spent five days at Aro Ha and came away with a renewed level of health and fitness and a brand new outlook on life.

My biggest realisation was:

It’s the things that challenge us the most, that become the very challenges that enable us to grow as a person and evolve.

Aro Ha gave me the impetus to reignite my love of adventure and hiking and plan loads more hikes in the future. I’ve since implemented a morning walk around Centennial Park in Sydney and am keeping my steps up along the way.

Thank you Aro Ha for a uniquely life-changing experience.

For more information about Aro Ha Wellness Retreat visit:


Written by Lee on . Posted in Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle



Imagine a location that feels like another world away, but is in reality just a hop, skip and a jump from anywhere in Australia. A place where you can fly and flop all within the space of a few hours and feel like you’ve been transported to a parallel universe.

Located in Bali, nestled alongside the sacred Ayung River near Ubud, and beyond the hustle and bustle of Kuta and Seminyak lies Fivelements, an award winning eco-conscious wellness destination which is inspired by the natural and holistic Balinese way of life.

Fivelements encourages guests to nurture harmony of their spirit, the environment and with one another and tune-in to their physical, emotional and spiritual needs, allowing an organic healing process to naturally unfold.

Medicine cabinet love. My all time favourite ingredients ginger and turmeric.

Upon arrival I was greeted by warm Balinese smiles and given a refreshing coconut welcome drink before being led through pretty gardens and stone pathways to my private modern thatched hut. It literally felt like I had stepped into the colour and magic of a traditional Balinese painting.

My gorgeous hut away from home

Flinging open the wooden doors will reveal a surprising level of plushness and comfort. The beautiful rooms are peaceful and serene with jaw-dropping natural décor and attention to detail. With an emphasis on nature, the elements of timber, bamboo, stone, water and natural tones all meld comfortably within the space and open balmy air.

Sleeping tight under the net

Walking through into the bathroom my heart skipped a beat when I saw the liberal use of stone and wood, housed with bamboo to bring as much of the outside in, and create an ambience of being totally at one with nature.

Stone and Wood

And then there was THAT shower.

Forecast: Sunday morning showers

One of the other water highlights of Fivelements is the open-air bathtub which sits inside a private bamboo enclosure, enabling you to enjoy your surroundings during a relaxing salt water soak. It was perfect for soothing my weary yoga muscles after a big day of yoga the day before.

In the early evening, the girls from the spa popped around to offer me a revitalizing bath ritual composed of five powerful healing ingredients: lemongrass to activate blood circulation, aromatic Balinese orange and lime, and pandan leaves and ginger to awaken your senses and clear my mind.


Bath ingredients!  Orange, pandan, sea salt, ginger and lime.

Move over Vivid Sydney! The supernatural volcanic stone bath featured customised therapy lighting which showcased the seven colours of the chakras, and as you lay there it encouraged the unison of the mind, body and spirit and the connection with nature.

Each of the five residences at Fivelements features a private, hewn-boulder bath overlooking the Ayung River.

Each of the five residences at Fivelements features a private, hewn-boulder bath overlooking the Ayung River.

Post bath time bliss, I sat on the private deck, a wonderful place to unwind from any stresses in laid back style, and perused the menu which was prefaced as offering raw vegan living foods cuisine in celebration of our “aliveness.”

Long lunch with mountains of greens

When it comes to food at Fivelements their goal is simple; to allow mother-nature’s cuisine to shine with all her exciting tastes, textures, vibrant colors and pure flavours. It was evident to me that the food they serves was prepared with love, passion and attention to detail and each dish just oozed the feeling of being so healthy and full of energy-giving nutrients.

Living Foods

The menu is based around the concept of a fine-dining healing cuisine of ‘Living Foods' comprising of raw vegan fare, and other lightly-prepared plant-based dishes. As I like to have a mixture of cooked and raw foods this suited me perfectly.

You can choose to enjoy the refueling food either in your room or at Sakti dining room, which is a bamboo architectural masterpiece, topped off with a sweeping thatched roof in the shape of a banana leaf, a Balinese symbol of food. The restaurant overlooks a pretty lotus pond on one side and the mesmerizing Ayung River on the other.

Virtuous breakfast offerings

During my three day stay, I happily ate my way through their fantastic menu, at breakfast I enjoyed Coconut Chia Porridge with local Tulsi Seeds, Oats, Activated Seeds, Goji Berries and served with Coconut Milk, on day two I had a Superfood Dragon Bowl with Purple Dragonfruit, Banana, Coconut, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, Sprouted Nut Granola, Lime Yoghurt and Cinnamon and on my final day I enjoyed the Spiced Granola with Activated Nuts, Oats, Coconut Milk and Banana, which was my favourite!

Main meals always begun with a serve of Curried Kale Chips with Balinese Spices, and Coconut and one of the highlight meals was the South Indian Dahl with Coconut Yoghurt, Coriander and Chili, served with crunchy flaxseed crackers.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.16.36 pm

I made this raw zucchini pasta with marinara sauce during the cooking class

On the menu, there were mountains of zesty green salads to choose from featuring edible flowers, leaves and raw dressings, Balinese Green Urab-Urab with Organic Greens, Vegetables, Herbs, Coconut Bacon and Aromatic Balinese Dressing and one of the popular meals is a Shitake Mushroom Burger with Rice Bun, Caramelized Onions, Kimchi Mayonaise, Umami Ketchup, Pickles, Jicama Slaw, and yummy Sweet Potato Chips which I polished off for dinner.

Dessert was also a feast for the eyes not to mention the tummy, there’s nothing quite like experiencing the Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with White Chocolate Ice Cream, Raw Cacao Syrup and Chocolate Tuile with a side of Homemade Cashew coconut Ice Cream.

This really is clean eating at it’s finest.

Once you’ve had your fill of fruits and organic vegetables it’s time to relax by the pool on the comfy terry toweling lined day beds and indulge in an afternoon drink.

Lazy days by the pool

There are plenty of beverages to choose from; smoothies, juices and healing and comforting hot elixirs and tonics were all offered. I enjoyed the Bali Spiced raw hot Chocolate and Chai Latte made with locally sourced Tea and Spices, Coconut Milk, Coconut Sugar.

One of the major attractions of Fivelements is the spa which is central to the area and a place where you can not only be slathered in locally made ingredients and transported to a world of bliss but also experience energy healing, rejuvenating massages, deep bodywork, ultra-nourishing body care, local super food facials and unique water healing experiences.

Room with a view

Featuring nine private healing rooms for Balinese therapies, each has their own ensuite bathroom and bathhouse with a river stone healing bathtub.

All of the treatments at Fivelements embrace holistic Balinese-inspired therapies and are administered by traditional Balinese healers using ancient wisdoms passed down from direct lineage.

Following the Balinese principle of Sekala-Niskala, which holds that we all live equally in two worlds; the seen or conscious world Sekala, and the unseen or psychic world Niska- la, the Balinese healers engage the help of the higher divine source during each healing session.

Gorgeous foot soak bath with Balinese sea salt, petals and lime.


Whilst I was at Fivelements, I joined Chef Made Tantra for culinary training which was a fantastic experience, he certainly took me on an inspiring gastronomical journey! We created some absolutely delicious basics and dishes such as coconut milk, green juice, cashew dressing, and granola.

A man on a mission

Chef Tantra is a man on a mission with a passionate interest in local and native ingredients having worked in hotels across Bali and overseas.   During the class he showcased exciting and absolutely delicious vegan and vegetarian fare made with flare using aromatic herbs, vegetables, spices and a healthy dose of flavours.

Cooking class ingredients

During the class I had an introduction to living foods and the importance of using local and in season food sources and also picked up some great tips about quick and easy meal preparation, I shared with him some of my own cooking tips too as we had a mutual interest in simple and healthy recipes. He was most interested in nutritional yeast flakes and wheat free tamari!

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.12.59 pm

I learnt how to make a delicious garden blend soup with fields of greens, crushed garlic and orange, and also a marinara sauce that we had with the zucchini pasta that day for lunch.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.14.40 pm

Garden green soup with swirls

The soup was delicious and so energy boosting and I felt like a million dollars afterwards 🙂

I really enjoyed my time at Fivelements and came home refreshed and revitalized with a sense of peace and harmony.

To find out more about what they offer you can visit their website:

The Chopra Center Pryaderm System Review and Giveaway

Written by Lee on . Posted in Natural Products, Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle


The daily ritual of cleansing and nourishing my skin is such a special part of my day, and an important part of any self-care ritual.

Having travelled to India as inspiration for my Ayurvedic cookbook Eat Right for Your Shape, I found it so exciting when I stumbled across this beautiful Ayurvedic line of skin-care products. What is even more exciting is that it completely compliments my lifestyle and philosophies. 

The Chopra Center's PryaDerm System products are all natural and formulated with rejuvenating Ayurvedic herbs specifically selected for their successful ageing benefits.


Using the right skincare is imperative as you age because much like our digestive system, our skin absorbs every single bit of product that we smooth on top of it, and it heads directly into our bloodstream.

That's why I much prefer to indulge in skincare derived from a natural source. When we use skin care products with highly unnatural chemicals, our body has to absorb and process them. It makes sense that if we use natural products like these, our bodies find it much easier to assimilate and utilise the Ayurvedic herbs to build beautiful new skin cells and to moisturise, smooth and revitalise the skin. 

In Sanskrit, Prya means beloved while Derm derives from the Greek root for skin. This beloved skin care range contains a cleanser, facial mist, day lotion, night cream and hand salve and they smell absolutely heavenly.

The Rejuvenating Cleansing Mousse is light and airy and contains organic aloe, lavender and alma it glides over the skin and is effortless to wash off leaving your skin feeling fresh and cleansed. 


Use the Facial Mist next to tone and hydrate. It includes soothing organic aloe, fragrant lavender and salvia (not saliva which I read twice thinking SALIVA??? Whose saliva??. 

The Skin Brightening Day Lotion is used in the morning and contains saffron, a wonderful medicinal spice which has been used since ancient times to brighten and purify the skin. I also use it in my recipes one of my favourites being my gorgeous pumpkin and Saffron Soup. 

At night, the Rejuvenating Night Creme is wonderful for restoring your skin as you sleep.  It features Ayurvedic herbs such as Amla, Haritake and Turmeric that promote rejuvenation and regeneration.  

The Hand Salve is the final product in the system and it it wonderful on the skin.  I use this daily and I find it nourishes and protects my hands and after applying they feel richly moisturised but not sticky.  The salve blends into the skin really well.  This is a great product for the hands which often show the first signs of ageing when forgotten about. 


Fortunately, The Chopra Center is giving away a full Pryaderm System and you can enter here. The giveaway will end May 15th 11:59pm PDT.

If you want to get your hands on this beautiful skincare range now, or purchase any other goodies from The Chopra Center, they have kindly offered all members of the Supercharged community, 10% off items in the Chopra Center Store plus free shipping. This offer will expire May 15th 11:59pm PDT. All you need to do is use the coupon code Supercharged10 at the checkout.

Cork Leaf Yoga Mat

Written by Lee on . Posted in Natural Products, Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle


Being a Yoga instructor and a real believer in practicing yoga to improve health, yoga mats are a beloved tool of mine and one I like to use frequently in my weekly yoga teaching.

Cork Leaf Yoga mats are a new breed of mats and made from all natural resources; cork-backed with natural tree rubber and are 100% biodegradable. Eco, self-cleaning, biodegradable, non-slip, and natural, they are all the things you want a yoga mat to be; soft yet supportive and offering a whole host of wonderful attributes. 

The beautiful eco-friendly mat is made entirely from 100% natural cork, and constructed from natural Cork tree means that Cork Leaf mats naturally disinfect. Cork kills all bacteria growing on it, as well as mold, leaving your yoga mat smelling sweet and fragrant after every session of yoga.

Being a member of Carbon Neutral Plant-A-Tree Initiative shows how dedicated and committed Cork Leaf are to giving back and being as environmentally sustainable as possible.

This is a real bonus for me, as I love using equipment that is naturally sourced and working with manufacturers who are doing their bit with our precious planet preservation in mind.  

Although you may be sceptical about the comfort of a cork mat, as soon as you step on the mat, you can feel the slightly spongy support beneath your toes.

Boasting a robust organic build with heavenly comfort, you can feel that this yoga mat is meant to last and will. 

Step forth with the knowledge that you’re helping mother earth whilst you practice and that CORK LEAF is an initiative to help minimise the negative ecological impact of yoga in Australia.

Cork Leaf mats are a great go-to mat to cover all of your natural bases. 

Click here to find out more about a new way of moving. 

Barberyn Reef Resort Sri Lanka

Written by Lee on . Posted in Natural Products, Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle

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Barberyn Reef, a luxury resort set amidst a luscious and picture perfect island landscape has one major goal and that is to improve the health of its guests through authentic and traditional Ayurvedic practices.

Ayurveda, an ancient healing system, originating in India, takes
 a holistic approach to feeling well and living in harmony with yourself and your surroundings. Think of it as a union of the mind, body, senses and soul with three main objectives: to prevent disease, to encourage wellbeing and to promote longevity.

Conscious Cuisineimage9-1

Through nutrition, yoga and meditation, it focuses on treating the individual as a whole rather than a specific issue or disease, so that you can achieve balance and good health, not only in your physical body, but also in your mind and spirit.

Barberyn is a wonderful facilitator for the Ayurvedic way of life and an antidote to the fast paced world that many of us find ourselves living in. The sprawling resort, nestled quietly on the south east coast of Sri Lanka in Beruwala, is a purpose built “sanctuary for the soul” and a place where you can rejuvenate your mind body and spirit with undivided attention and without personal effort or trying. The only ‘doing’ required by you is to close your eyes and gently surrender to it’s all natural nurturing ways.

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At Barberyn Reef, four of the essential Ayurvedic healing philosophies are applied very simply and traditionally, giving you the opportunity to slow down and enjoy each enriching experience as a simple pleasure.

Simple, Traditional Decor


You’ll relish in the most wonderfully homegrown and delicious nourishing cuisine, tailor made to suit your unique dosha, you’ll engage in individualized cleansing and detoxification processes to purify the body, and enjoy warm oil massages administered by Ayurvedic nurses which not only melt away your tension but more deeply, eliminate energetic blockages in the body.

One of the more physical aspects to Barberyn are the healing yoga and meditation classes to help you to slip into a feeling of serenity and emerge with an insightful and multi-layered physical and emotional personal transformation.

Everything you experience at Barberyn, from the pulverised dahl body scrub to the healing herbal bath is delivered in the most traditional sense, allowing you to access your innate inner wisdom and feel very much in tune with yourself and your surroundings. It is in that moment when true transformation occurs. 

Floating Blossoms 

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One of my biggest discoveries was that there is a big difference between feeling refreshed and energized after experiencing a spa resort, compared to the treatment and nurturing that Barberyn is dedicated to offering every single one of its guests.  I hadn’t experienced anything on this level of genuine authenticity and for me Barberyn symbolises a profound and life changing environment and a place where true healing can be experienced on a number of different levels. The focus is not on pampering but more on therapeutic health results.

Ayurvedic Nurses in Uniform


Another impactful unearthing was being immersed in a structured and fully equipped Ayurvedic hospital which gave me a better insight and understanding of the workings of each practice on a variety of people with different conditions. I discovered these first hand and by talking to other guests.

The Herbal Pharmacy at Barberyn


An interesting eye-opening surprise from Barberyn was that I came away more comfortable in the knowledge that fifty percent of true health and healing comes from within and the remainder can be delivered in whatever form works within your own philosophies. Whether it is western medicine or alternative practices, it doesn’t matter. I believe personally that what has had the most impact on my health at a fundamental level is Ayurveda and so the whole experience completely resonated with me.

Natural Medicines


When you arrive at Barberyn, you’re given an in-depth consultation by an Ayurvedic doctor who remains your doctor for the duration of your stay. Your pulse will be checked and blood pressure monitored, your tongue will be inspected and a medical history taken and from there you’re placed onto a specific treatment plan to help you achieve balance and healing. You’re given herbal medications in the form of decoctions, potions, pills and powders concocted from the onsite herbal gardens and a list of treatments and your treatment times.

A typical day consists of a two-hour yoga class at 6am followed by a spectacular nutritious breakfast by the water, with Ayurvedic doctors milling around to help you with your food choices and further information sits beside each dish; a description of its Ayurvedic balancing attributes.

A Personally Aligned Ayurvedic Breakfast


Then it’s off to the treatment centre where you'll indulge in warm oil massages delivered by two skilful and nimble-fingered practitioners guaranteed to send you off into a sleepy, groggy, zombie-like trance.  Afterwards, you're given a variety of treatments designed specifically for you, I had a rice milk and herb heated herbal compress which soothed my tired and knotted muscles.  You'll almost certainly be given an eye treatment which after the initial gooiness from the ghee will leave your eyes sparkling and fresh. 

Warm Oil Massages


You’re then whisked off to lie in an atmospheric herbal garden where you're wrapped in sticky oil and herbal patches which are gently and carefully applied to different areas of your body, with fresh herbal cleansers applied to your face and cucumbers to your eyes.  Once you're covered in oil and herbs, you're then draped with muslin to allow everything to absorb to it's full potential, and it's right here where you find yourself succumbing to thoroughly relaxing and drifting off to sleep with the sounds of the birds in the garden.  Whilst still a little drowsy, a nurse will direct you to an area where you're bathed in a therapeutic herbal bath reminiscent of childhood bathing, the warm water flowing over you from the earthenware cup.  You're then patted-dry and wrapped carefully in a clean treatment cloth.

By now your tummy is grumbling and you're about ready for a delicious lunch in the communal lunch room overlooking the water.

Vata Balancing Lunch


This is followed by a daily acupuncture session based on your condition and then a swim in the generous salt water pool or if you prefer to laze on one of the loungers by the ocean as it laps gently against the shore lulling you into a state of complete relaxation, the choice is entirely yours.

Salt Water Pool


By the way if you’re feeling thirsty between meals there's a cute juice bar where you can order cucumber juices or drink tea and talk to other guests.

Cucumber Juice


At 4pm you have the opportunity to inhale deeply at another yoga class, or find yourself with turmeric stained hands in a cooking class with a couple of the chefs from the kitchen. I chose the cooking class which was fun and we made four or five very simple yet delicious dishes that I will most certainly be recreating at home. I still can't stop thinking about the garlic and fenugreek curry. That dish was mouth watering.

Guys, you had me at Garlic Curry!

Along with the treatments and activities, you might like to get out and about and sign up for one of the complimentary excursions into town or boat trip to the nearby river where you can spot some of the native wildlife.


After seven enriching and relaxing days at Barberyn my soul was doing cartwheels on the beach and I felt energized and restored.

Ideally you should spend at least ten days to really experience its healing benefits. I can’t wait to go back next year.

To find out more about Barberyn Ayurvedic resort visit

Natural Instinct Skincare

Written by Lee on . Posted in Natural Products, Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle


For me, the Natural Instinct skincare range ticks all the right boxes.

That’s because it's created entirely from certified organic extracts, pure essential oils and lovely plant derived, truly natural ingredients.

Considering the high quality of the products I’m also very surprised at how affordable they are. It's also pleasing to know that I’m supporting an environmentally conscious brand and one that takes its ingredients seriously.

The range is quite vast; with plenty of options targeting dry, normal and even sensitive skins.

The body washes, shampoo and conditioners come in handy pump bottles, and so far my skin and hair has rejoiced at the moisturising qualities. I’ve been using the products for four weeks now and have seen a difference to the shine and texture of my hair.

Many natural hair products are especially drying, but these products hit the mark. My hair is soft and silky without a greasy build up; exactly what I’m looking for in a shampoo and conditioner.

One of my all time favourite products in the skincare line includes the Replenishing Cream Cleanser; which effectively removes makeup and dirt, leaving my skin feeling clean and fresh but also well moisturised. Not only does it gently cleanse and moisturize, it also provides eight hours of continuous hydration.

The cleanser features ingredients such as Rosehip Oil to gently wash away impurities & improve the health of your skin. It’s also been enhanced with Kakadu Plum, an ingredient which is supercharged with Vitamin C and one I have used more frequently in the kitchen since discovering it’s unique qualities.

I recently added it to my ice cream when I was creating recipes for a Natural Instinct lunch and it tasted sensational! You can watch the video about how to make the yummy icecream here.   It’s the perfect ingredient for skin clarity and has powerful antioxidant qualities too.

I also love to use the Restoring Night Cream which is full of lovely anti-ageing essential oils, providing extra nourishment while I sleep. It provides twelve hours of continuous hydration and is antioxidant rich to deeply nourish and hydrate the skin, promoting healthy skin elasticity so when you wake up your skin feels totally replenished and has a radiant glow.

As well as Kakadu plum, moisturizing sweet almond oil is featured in the night cream which not only smells delicious but can help to firm up crow’s feet, wrinkles and any areas of pigmentation while you sleep!

To find out more about Natural Instinct skincare products you can visit their website here.

Did you know that Natural Instinct products are formulated free from over 400 potentially harmful ingredients? The full list of these ingredients can be found here.


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