Yoga for refugees – volunteering in Lebanon

lebanon refugee camps volunteering bekaa valley
Last year I spent a week in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley refugee camps on a yoga for refugees project with Tools for Inner Peace, a new charity which I’m now a trustee on, in collaboration with a local charity, Salam LADC 

Tools for Inner Peace is a long term project set up by Minna Järvenpää to enhance mental health and well-being among refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley through simple, gentle yoga and relaxation techniques. I became involved as one of the charity’s trustees in 2016 and visited Lebanon in April 2017 to see some of the projects in action.

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13 Holiday workouts, no equipment needed

best holiday workout no equipment needed blog
best holiday workout no equipment needed blog
My own holiday workout completed in a sweaty time of 13 minutes 22 seconds. Can you beat it?

I know working out on holiday isn’t top of most people’s agendas but occasionally you might feel like sweating it out to balance out the cocktail calories and clear away the cobwebs. If you don’t have access to a gym – say you’re doing a villa or apartment rental – it’s handy to have an arsenal of drills to dip into. That’s why I’ve collected and compiled this list of workouts that can be done any time, anywhere, quickly (because there’s a holiday to enjoy) and most importantly, with no equipment needed (so there really are no excuses). They are also accessible for any level of fitness which is also great.

The sequences on this list targets the whole body, strength, mobility and cardiovascular power in one swift session and mixing up high intensity and strength makes it super efficient. Most have been taken from CrossFit programming so for time means as fast as possible to get your best time – this definitely lends more intensity, as does the higher volume of reps. You can even then repeat your workout another day to see if you can beat your time.

AMRAP means as many rounds or reps as possible which also creates a sense of urgency. Having a rep scheme to work to – rather than simply working for 30-seconds – contributes to a more effective session as you have a specific volume of work to get through which creates more focus. This combination of time and reps pushes you further. Most of these are short, sharp and sweat-pouringly effective.

I recently did #2 and it took me 13 minutes 22 seconds. Can you beat it? Have a go and let me know!

TIP: When you see 100 reps, break it up which ever way want. So I did 10 rounds of 10 for workout #2. Five rounds of 20 is also doable, although you might find you slow down on the burpees if you have to do too many in a round.

13 best holiday workouts

#1. For time: 100 burpees

#2. For time:

  • 100 push ups
  • 100 squats (hip crease below knee)
  • 100 burpees

#3. 10 rounds for time:

  • 10 pushups
  • 10 sit-ups
  • 10 air squats

#4. As fast as possible for time: – this is a great warm up workout

  • 21 air squats (hip crease below knee)
  • 21 pushups
  • 15 air squats
  • 15 pushups
  • 9 air squats
  • 9 pushups

#5. 8 rounds for time:

  • 10 situps
  • 10 burpees

#6. For time: 

  • 75 air squats
  • 50 pushups
  • 25 burpees

#7. 10 rounds for time:

  • 10 air squats
  • 10 pushups
  • 10 situps
  • 10 dips

#8. 20 minute AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible):

  • 20 walking lunges
  • 20 situps
  • 20 pushups
  • 20 squats

#9. Go as fast as possible for time: (another great warm up workout)

  • 21 squats
  • 21 burpees
  • 15 squats
  • 15 burpees
  • 9 squats
  • 9 burpees

#10. 15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible)

  • 5 push-ups
  • 15 sit-ups
  • 30 squats

#11. 3 rounds for time:

  • Run a half mile
  • 30 burpees

#12. 4 rounds for time:

  • 20 burpees
  • 20 push ups
  • 20 sit ups
  • 20 squats

#13. Stabilisation / core work 

  • 30 second or 1 minute plank hold
  • straight into 25 sit ups
  • repeated 3-4 times

 

Review: Amchara Detox Retreat in Gozo, Malta

In August I visited Amchara Detox Retreat on Malta’s sister island, Gozo for a review in Health & Fitness magazine. I stayed for five sunny days, three of which I spent on a juice detox and two were spent on a raw food diet. After a summer of festivals, holidays and fun it was a welcome break but the no-food-only-juice days were a shock to the system, mainly mentally because I hate going hungry! But after day two I started to settle into the process and after a few treatments a more positive feeling took over. Amchara is a laid-back, down to earth, nurturing and the people (staff and guests) really make the stay extra special. If you’re a first-timer to detoxing or fancy a relaxed retreat this is a great place to start. Here are the highlights with snapshots of my stay…

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Pack It! Winter Sun Natural Mosquito Spray (that works)

mrs-whites-unstung-hero-insect-repellent-blog-review-natural mosquito spray

While everyone’s talking Christmas Eve Eve (a phrase which I’ve never heard before but is now strangely trending on Twitter right now), I’m talking insect sprays, because instead of packing presents I’m in battle against mosquitoes on holiday in Asia – a very un-Christmasy situation! (But trust me, I’m so not into Christmas I’d rather be waging war against mosquitos than fighting another kind of battle on Oxford Street).

Luckily I’d recently been sent some natural insect repellent to try. And luckily for me on this amazing winter sun holiday, it doesn’t just work but is genuinely gorgeous to use too. If you’re in a hotter climate that calls for mozzy spray but want to avoid the awful stench of deet (the most common ingredient used to ward off biting insects but so powerful it can send you dizzy too), then meet Mrs White’s Unstung Hero.

mrs-whites-unstung-hero-insect-repellent-blog-review-natural mosquito spray

 

A cologne that cleverly doubles up as a bug repellent but smells like a fragrance you might actually like to wear. It’s uplifting and citrusy – like a summer breeze blowing through a lemon orchard – and leaves skin lightly refreshed.

I love the vintage-style, apothecary-inspired glass bottle but as it’s not made for travel, sadly I have gone away with a decanted version in a far less-glamorous 100ml spray.

I’ve been splashing Mrs White’s religiously onto my ankles, legs and arms this holiday and remained bite-free for 10 days in India but as I hit destination no.2, Indonesia, I relaxed for one night only and took my eyes off the ball, or should I say the fragrance off my skin. I paid the price as I instantly became prime mozzie target and now have the war wounds to show for it.

If you want to avoid deet or even looking for an alternative to citronella, the most common botanical ingredient used in anti-mosquito spray (after travelling through Thailand ten years ago, the smell of citronella for me, is forever locked in with drunken nights on SangSom whiskey buckets) then what a find Mrs White’s Unstung Hero is. A cool cologne that takes the bite out of mozzy sprays. Don’t go away without her.

£20 for 250ml, roullierwhite.com