Tuscany Wellness Retreat

 Set in olive groves and vineyards with the sight of Siena in the distance, it was a very special view that I woke up to on the first morning of  Emma’s Nutrition Retreat .

Set in olive groves and vineyards with the sight of Siena in the distance, it was a very special view that I woke up to on the first morning of Emma’s Nutrition Retreat.

 Having arrived late at night at Pisa airport and spent an hour or so in the car with Becky (Emma’s daughter who very kindly picked us up) we navigated the dark, narrow Italian streets to the sound of the slightly aggressive American Sat Nav lady.

Having arrived late at night at Pisa airport and spent an hour or so in the car with Becky (Emma’s daughter who very kindly picked us up) we navigated the dark, narrow Italian streets to the sound of the slightly aggressive American Sat Nav lady.

 Although our first impressions were in the dark, we could just tell that Le Tolfe would be incredibly impressive when bathed in golden, morning sunshine. The villa is vast but comfortably so, it’s beautifully restored with interesting local art and artifacts. Our room was large and comfortable with shuttered windows revealing the glorious view. There’s a swimming pool, two main areas to eat outside as well as a formal dining room should the weather not be accommodating.

Although our first impressions were in the dark, we could just tell that Le Tolfe would be incredibly impressive when bathed in golden, morning sunshine. The villa is vast but comfortably so, it’s beautifully restored with interesting local art and artifacts. Our room was large and comfortable with shuttered windows revealing the glorious view. There’s a swimming pool, two main areas to eat outside as well as a formal dining room should the weather not be accommodating.

 The schedule was loose, with plenty of free time and choice to join in with activities or not. The days started with organic coffee (me please!) or juice/smoothies. Followed by an hours walk with villa owner Mania (and as we found out this was a tough walk, up and down hills with no time to stop and take the photos!) or yoga which I also tried one morning and having fallen off the yoga wagon, it was lovely to spend a full hour reconnecting with myself.

The schedule was loose, with plenty of free time and choice to join in with activities or not. The days started with organic coffee (me please!) or juice/smoothies. Followed by an hours walk with villa owner Mania (and as we found out this was a tough walk, up and down hills with no time to stop and take the photos!) or yoga which I also tried one morning and having fallen off the yoga wagon, it was lovely to spend a full hour reconnecting with myself.

 Breakfast was waiting when we returned from our activities. Nut butters, local yoghurt and honey and freshly made flap jacks, made to order omelettes or breakfast muffins. All made by Emma.

Breakfast was waiting when we returned from our activities. Nut butters, local yoghurt and honey and freshly made flap jacks, made to order omelettes or breakfast muffins. All made by Emma.

Tuscany Wellness Retreat
Tuscany Wellness Retreat
 An activity was planned for mornings and afternoons, we had a very inspiring Extra Virgin Olive Oil talk with Elizabeth Berger. From learning about the magical properties that EVOO contains to tips to choosing wisely in the supermarket. Dark glass is a must as is checking the dates on the bottle. Who would have thought that there is a dark and murky side to the production and labeling of Extra Virgin Olive Oil! Either way since returning, I’ve bought the best I can and liberally drizzle it on everything applicable.  Elizabeth also provides a service that ensures you get the best, first press olive oil right at harvest, something I definitely want to do! You can find out more  here

An activity was planned for mornings and afternoons, we had a very inspiring Extra Virgin Olive Oil talk with Elizabeth Berger. From learning about the magical properties that EVOO contains to tips to choosing wisely in the supermarket. Dark glass is a must as is checking the dates on the bottle. Who would have thought that there is a dark and murky side to the production and labeling of Extra Virgin Olive Oil! Either way since returning, I’ve bought the best I can and liberally drizzle it on everything applicable.

Elizabeth also provides a service that ensures you get the best, first press olive oil right at harvest, something I definitely want to do! You can find out more here

Tuscany Wellness Retreat
Tuscany Wellness Retreat
Tuscany Wellness Retreat
 Emma also hosted cooking demonstrations, which I really loved, there was an Art Therapy class, which I initially wasn’t keen to join in with but thoroughly enjoyed it finding it incredibly meditative. One morning we asked if we could tag along to the farmers market where Emma was buying the daily supplies, it was small but I love seeing markets, then we tagged along to a local deli where I picked up some black chickpeas and chickpea pasta to bring home. A few of us syphoned off to take a peek inside the mighty walls of Siena. It would have been a shame to be so close and not see inside. And the taxi back was just 15 Euro.

Emma also hosted cooking demonstrations, which I really loved, there was an Art Therapy class, which I initially wasn’t keen to join in with but thoroughly enjoyed it finding it incredibly meditative. One morning we asked if we could tag along to the farmers market where Emma was buying the daily supplies, it was small but I love seeing markets, then we tagged along to a local deli where I picked up some black chickpeas and chickpea pasta to bring home. A few of us syphoned off to take a peek inside the mighty walls of Siena. It would have been a shame to be so close and not see inside. And the taxi back was just 15 Euro.

Tuscany Wellness Retreat
Tuscany Wellness Retreat
 Meals were eaten together, and the food was fresh, delicious and packed with all the local produce.

Meals were eaten together, and the food was fresh, delicious and packed with all the local produce.

Tuscany Wellness Retreat
Tuscany Wellness Retreat
 Emma kindly gifted my stay at the retreat and even if she hadn’t I really couldn’t recommend or praise this time away more highly. I find it so, so hard to relax and stop, to be honest I found myself photographing early and late and sleeping very little but little indulgences happened like sitting by the pool for 30 mins, READING! I read my first fiction book in years (The Places I stopped on the way home, I really enjoyed it but then felt a little disappointed by the end) and I swam, albeit just 10 lengths but outdoor swimming! And a whole hour of yoga! I haven’t done or indulged in that for such a long time. I ate well, I discussed my health issues one on one with Emma, I loved the group of women who attended. It was a diverse group, different ages, backgrounds and careers. It was gentle but enough for someone who is so restless not to feel bored or anxious that they should be doing something. It’s definitely ok to invest in yourself, there’s as much or as little of the ‘health’ side as you want but Emma’s approach is so practical so easy that for nearly 2 months I’ve been sugar free and eating an almost vegetarian diet and it has been so, so easy.

Emma kindly gifted my stay at the retreat and even if she hadn’t I really couldn’t recommend or praise this time away more highly. I find it so, so hard to relax and stop, to be honest I found myself photographing early and late and sleeping very little but little indulgences happened like sitting by the pool for 30 mins, READING! I read my first fiction book in years (The Places I stopped on the way home, I really enjoyed it but then felt a little disappointed by the end) and I swam, albeit just 10 lengths but outdoor swimming! And a whole hour of yoga! I haven’t done or indulged in that for such a long time. I ate well, I discussed my health issues one on one with Emma, I loved the group of women who attended. It was a diverse group, different ages, backgrounds and careers. It was gentle but enough for someone who is so restless not to feel bored or anxious that they should be doing something. It’s definitely ok to invest in yourself, there’s as much or as little of the ‘health’ side as you want but Emma’s approach is so practical so easy that for nearly 2 months I’ve been sugar free and eating an almost vegetarian diet and it has been so, so easy.

Tuscany Wellness Retreat
Tuscany Wellness Retreat
 I wasn’t asked to do this post but I really just wanted to share and visually this is beautiful part of the world.

I wasn’t asked to do this post but I really just wanted to share and visually this is beautiful part of the world.

Tuscany Wellness Retreat