There is a definite change in atmosphere when Winter officially sets in. Gone are the lovely Autumn feels and it’s just so dark and cold! This is why Winter makes the perfect time for hosting my bi-annual Pilates Retreats. There is nothing better than a day to yourself to do lots of pilates, walk, swim and feel good, socialise, relax with refreshments with a group of like-minded people, eat delicious hotel-standard food, and cosy up to the warm fires in the luxury Ardoe House Hotel! Read to the end for my Winter self-care tips!


This event felt slightly different to all the others I have hosted. I have been running this Retreat event for around 6 years or so I think and it works so well that the format has not changed. Open to everyone, the event often brings in some familiar faces and some new people who have just heard through word of mouth or seen the advertising online. However this time the guest list and details made me both super proud, and somewhat nervous!

Firstly, I had several physiotherapists and pilates teachers also sign up! I’ve had maybe just one pilates teacher attend before but this event had quite a few of both! Some whom I also taught their pilates teacher training courses to. This is a huge compliment that they wanted to spend their day being taught by me when they themselves are also qualified teachers. I also had a friend from my first degree at university many moons ago who I haven’t seen forever, and all of these people travelled several hours to be there for the day.

Some of my dedicated regulars from my weekly pilates classes returned for yet another Retreat and I love that they continue to support me out with classes, attending “alone” but with the friends they have formed through my classes. There were “Retreat regulars” too; these people don’t attend my normal classes but they sign up for the events yearly or bi-annually and its great to have a catch up and see that they still enjoy pilates! There were also a couple of new mums seeking a restful day off of mum-life.

And finally, I brought in a photographer to capture some of the day and this happened to be one of my first childhood best friends! Although we lead different lives now it was lovely to share the day with her and combine her first love of photography with our shared love of pilates!

Business collaboration

This event also held our first major sponsor and big business collaboration. Each event I do has collaboration with a range of local and/or national companies that help form our goody bags. However this time around our goody bags were very kindly provided by Lululemon (Edinburgh), AND they travelled all the way up from Edinburgh with their pop-up shop for the event! We don’t have anything like this up in Aberdeen and our nearest store would be Edinburgh or Glasgow, so this gave my guests a brilliant, exclusive shopping experience right within our studio and a chance to chat properly with the Lululemon staff on what’s the best leggings and fitness accessories right now!

Goody bags

The goody bags are something I’ve done from the very start. The guests aren’t aware of it when signing up but I think it’s a nice extra touch! Having been running for a few years now though it’s getting harder and harder to source sponsors and different gifts! This time we had pilates socks gifted from APPI Health Group (thanks so much again!), plant-based protein balls from Deliciously Ella, gluten free chocolate oat biscuits from Nairns Oatcakes, a fruit piece from Bear Nibbles, and a spikey massage ball from Pilates Mad.

My next Pilates Retreat (January 2020) is sold out, however drop me an email for waiting list spaces or to be notified about future events! In the meantime, here are my top tips for some Winter self-care!

Winter self-care tips:

1.Slow down! Maybe this is just me but I feel I spend the whole year rushing about, cramming everything in, and then Winter hits and I’m rushing about to “finish things off” for the end of the year. Taking a day to slow down and just put everything on hold is good for the soul!

2.Keep up the exercise. Although the shorter days and cold weather may make for less motivation to work-out, you’ll feel a million times better for it and maintaining a level of fitness is easier than starting from scratch next year!

3.Use a SAD alarm. This has been a revelation for me these past few weeks! I was suddenly finding the dark mornings impossible to wake up to feeling refreshed. The SAD light gradually lights up from 30 minutes before the alarm time, so you are gradually woken up rather than to the sudden noise of your dreaded alarm! This is the one I use here and it’s currently reduced from £76.99 to £26.99! (Affiliate link).

4.Invest in serious winter warmers! Being cold is miserable! So having the right clothing makes the biggest difference and will ensure your mood stays lifted regardless of the temperature! I know this from the many dog walks I do daily! I just purchased this amazing headband and am returning to get these gloves too! (Not affiliated).