London is hardcore; it’s big, it’s brash and there’s always something to do, from bottomless brunches to midweek pints. It’s the kind of place where people wear their exhaustion with pride, a city where FOMO is rife and a night in is almost a badge of shame. While the buzz may be exhilarating, it’s important to take time out, both for your mental and physical health. Savse’s Winter Wellness Weekend offered a reset in time for the colder months with a mindfulness talk, a Virgin Active class and plenty of their madly healthy smoothies over three hours at The Hoxton Holborn.
The Hoxton in Holborn is full of fitties whenever you go; thick-wired bespectacled guys tap on their laptops next to cable-knitted sweater-clad girls. Deep grey armchairs and sofas fill the glass-fronted lobby giving the hotel reception a social, all-day hangout vibe and simplistic black and white prints decorate the bare walls.
Savse had chosen the perfect spot for a weekend of wellness. Hidden through the back of the lobby, a model kitchen's worktop was filled with plates of brightly coloured salad. From pomegranate seeds and sweet potato to spinach and bulgur wheat, the welcome snacks were a great light lunch as were Savse’s bottles of nutrient-filled smoothies which were available at every turn.
I love everything about London, I love the noise and the people; I love the endless parties and the constant stream of faces but there are days when I want to escape, when I want to shove the hapless tourist standing on the left down the escalator or push a cyclist who cuts me up on a pedestrian crossing off their bike. We all need a break, and with my spots getting spots and my eye bags resembling a shade of purple previously only seen on Barney the Dinosaur, I decided to give myself a weekend ‘off’.
Savse Winter Wellness Weekend billed itself as an ‘afternoon of uplifting activities to ease you into winter’, starting with a talk by Clare Barry, a former city-slicker now turned mindfulness guru, followed by a session with Virgin Active personal trainers.
After downing a Super Green Savse Smoothie (pear, broccoli, kiwi, lemon, banana, kale, spinach, apple) on arrival, (I can already feel the health benefits kicking in), we followed Clare through to her mindfulness talk. The Urban Curiosity Founder was far from the tie-dyed, dread-locked, ‘I spent one week in an Ashram’ mindfulness leader I had been expecting. She was an everyday Londoner, someone who had been there, done that and could talk to us without being condescending. ‘Mental health’ is still a scary phrase despite its obvious importance but the tips she gave us were easily applicable and relatable to everyday life. Rather than suggest we all give up our work phones and delete Facebook immediately (umm, hello how will I find all those hilarious pug videos?), she suggested simple things like not checking it the very moment you wake up and just before you go to sleep.
The talk was straightforward and full of practical advice to take away. We were given two exercises to do: write three things you hope to do before you die and three things that we could logically apply to our lives from the session, even if it was just as simple as not constantly having your headphones in while on the tube and engaging with our surroundings, no matter how terrifying that sounds.
After a session of looking at my mental health is was time to turn the attention to my body, simple right? WRONG, so very wrong. I had been warned the class was ‘intense’ but I went to a yoga class at 6.30 am once don’t ya know? No amount of yoga could have prepared me for the body-whipping our lovely Virgin Active instructors gave us. It was hard, the sort of leg-trembling, belly-aching workout that makes you question whether you will ever be able to walk again.
Our first session was a HIT class of thirty seconds of high intensity, followed by a thirty-second rest. I was determined to make-up for my week of tropical cocktail drinking and tequila shotting, and from burpees to jumping squats and back to mountain-climbing planks, I sweated and swore my way through the first half. About the a third of the class left before we could get started on the abs session, but I stayed, I did it and I like to think that I can now eat Stilton-smothered crackers guilt free for the rest of the week. Once the glorious end came, we hobbled out to pick up a goodie bag filled with smoothies, snacks and a Benefit beauty product.
Savse Winter Wellness Weekend was an excellent way to recharge and take some time out. The lunch was delicious, the smoothies were great and both classes left me feeling inspired. Clare’s advice was practical and easily applicable; her simple mantra - curiosity fuels the soul - made complete sense. The Virgin Active Class may have had me swearing like a sailor but ultimately left me feeling fitter and healthier.