Wednesday, 19 November 2014


After the success of our Tuscan Detox & Pilates retreat, nutritionist Natalia Otero Sancho and I are really excited to be hosting a Detox cleansing & dynamic Pilates retreat on Saturday 28th February 2015 at Bamford Haybarn, Daylesford, Gloucestershire…...

Monday, 10 November 2014


Alisa Burke helps professionals and entrepreneurs transform from drained to revitalised using mind and body techniques so that they can create and sustain positive change and lead a life they are excited about. Alisa’s experience and qualifications included working in an earlier high pressure finance career, as a qualified fitness professional, qualified transformational coach and embodiment trainer.

"Is age nothing but a mindset?  Here's 3 ways you can turn back the clock on your agility AND look and feel younger!

Do you sometimes wish you had the energy, flexibility, and looks of a decade or two ago?

What in your life acts as a trigger transporting you back to your childhood or time at college? Maybe you have kept an object from that time or find music from that era brings back vivid memories? Did you know that research is showing that this may be the clue to a powerful way we can turn back the clock to have more of that energy and youthfulness. Read on to find out how.

While I was on the recent detox retreat with Chloe and Natalia in Tuscany (it was truly fab!), Chloe took us through a Barre Pilates class. Standing there holding the Barre whilst doing side leg raises took me back to the fifteen years I practised ballet. It felt great and has inspired me to stay young in my approach to exercise. 

I was therefore intrigued when shortly after, as ever with my eye out for mind-body research, I came across an article about a series of experiments conducted by Langer and colleagues - a long serving professor of Psychology at Harvard. Many of her experiments manipulate how we perceive things, for example tricking participants as to how much sleep they'd actually had in order to test that a lot of our tiredness is in the mind.

The ones that stood out for me though had two tactics:

The first of these manipulated the environment around the participants by inviting them to stay in a resort where the decor, magazines, music and films etc were all from two decades earlier. They were not allowed mirrors, and photos in their rooms were of them 20 years younger.

The other tactic was asking participants to perceive they were young again and act like they were young again. Even though the group were elderly, they were treated like they were young again such as having to carry their own cases upstairs. A just get on with it approach! The results showed there were actual measurable improvements versus a control group (who merely reminisced about being younger).

Their sight improved, they sat taller, were more agile and looked younger.

Research studies like these above suggest three ways you can run your own experiment to turn back your clock:

1) Change gear in your mindset. Think back to a time in your life you enjoyed yourself, felt great and were happy. Can you try to recreate how that felt? Visualise yourself at that time and allow yourself to smile and feel the energy and lightness or whatever the feelings were you remember having at that time in your life. Is there a time of day such as travelling to work you can practise bringing back how this felt and visualise being that age again?

2) Is there a quality you had at that age that you would like more of again now? What change can you make to your environment that could trigger you to have more of that quality? If you want to have more fun and lightness again in your life, what fun object could you keep on your desk or fun piece of art for your wall? Heres a couple of bits of art in my house that make me grin when I see them:

 3) Could you choose a daily activity that you could practice in the manner of the quality that you would like to be able to access more - e.g. if you used to be calm and would like to have more calm back in your life now, you could walk your dog in a calm manner, or if you want to be more thoughtful, practice gratitude by acknowledging someone every day.

Try to pick just one quality for your experiment - your brain prefers to focus on creating one new pattern at time.

If you are interested in executive life coaching where you can gain a better understanding of how you can take advantage of the powerful mind-body connection, visit to find out more. There you can also subscribe to my mailing list and start to receive a free four part series on how to improve your sleep as well as access to a series of four short videos where you can learn how to switch off, overcome fears and worries, create greater clarity, build a healthier lifestyle and much more!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


Nutritionist Natalia Otero Sancho and Pilates teacher Chloe Hodgson have recently hosted a very successful Detox & Pilates retreat in Tuscany and we wanted to give you a little overview to tempt you into coming with us next time! We hope to hold another one next year so please get in touch with us now if you are interested as places are limited.  We also hope to host a Winter Detox & Pilates retreat in the UK in February 2015 so watch this space!

  • The retreat was held at the beautiful Poggio Piglia, a 150 year old boutique farm hotel set in the magical Tuscan hills.
  • Natalia met each one of our clients before the trip for a nutritional consultation to establish individual health concerns, food preferences and objectives for the detox plan. Natalia then carried out a further two consultations with each client over the weekend and a final review back in the UK to make sure everybody was sure of how to incorporate the detox principles in their daily routines.
  • A welcome Detox Pack with supplements formulated by one of the top Chinese herbalists in the UK was waiting for them on arrival. Medicinal mushrooms and herbs, CPTG essential oils (further info below) and a list of easy recipes were also included in our package.
  • Every day we went to the Terme Sensoriali at Chianciano Terme & Thermal pools and enjoyed the purifying mud treatment and massages.
  • Each morning we went for an invigorating walk in the wonderful Tuscan hills followed by a poolside Pilates class.  Chloe also held dynamic Pilates and barre classes in the afternoon followed by a sunset stretch and meditation before dinner. 
  • Delicious, liver friendly, vegan food was prepared by our Italian chef Salvatore, so no fasting was involved.  Throughout the day, we served many cleansing juices, with mushroom boosters and CPTG lemon oil.
  • Exclusivity is crucial for our clients so we can give them the best attention and service. We only have a maximum of 10 clients on each retreat. 

“It has been a great experience and I will certainly repeat it. I have learnt to take care of myself with food and exercise and I feel much younger now”
Rosy, Insurance Broker

“I loved our weekend, what a joy it was, so relaxing and interesting and delicious! My bum muscles were really sore on Monday!! I am feeling so good and energized, thanks to you!”
Sophie, Interior Designer 

“What a truly wonderful weekend in the Tuscan hills.  Incredible food and lots of it!  The Pilates and mediation really helped and felt very zen.  Thank you so much to all your team I couldn't have come home feeling more relaxed and inspired to be healthy.  I look forward to next year.”  Lucy, Property Search agent

“Thanks so much Natalia. You are so caring. I had the perfect time”
Alisa, Executive life coach

“Thanks! I feel so well and I started my week full of energy! Just a bit of good pain on my legs ;) but I am stretching every morning. Not to mention my husband complimenting my soft skin...thanks to the mud!”
Barbara, Architect

Medicinal mushrooms
Fungi secrete enzymes that literally chop toxins apart.  They can destroy some of the most potent carcinogenic chemicals including phthalates, polycyclic hydrocarbons, and aflatoxin.

We used four types of medicinal mushrooms:
  • Chaga booster - Internal colon cleanser
  • Snow fungus booster - Anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and depurative
  • Liver detox supplement: formulated with Antrodia camphorata, silybum marianum (known as milk thistle), curcuma longa (the active compound of turmeric) and camellia sinensis (green tea extract).
  • Lifestyle support: Cordyceps sinensis, ganoderma lucidum (reishi), panax ginseng (nervous system modulator), schizandra sinensis, panax quinquifollium.  
Essential oils
What are essential oils? Very powerful antioxidants, which prevent all mutations, work as free radical scavengers, prevent fungus, and prevent oxidation in cells.
Essential oils may detoxify the cells and blood in the body.

We choose three different oils that are very helpful for mind and body detox:
Lavender to help address nervous system and inflammation
Lemon to help boost liver cleanse and maintain normal blood pH levels
Peppermint to help with sugar cravings and stress

If you would like to enquire about future retreats, please get in touch with:
Chloe Hodgson 07748 654 999
or Natalia Otero Sancho 07881 820 241 


A 10 minute blast for tum, bum and bingo wings! Easy to do at home, the gym or even on your lunch hour.

1. TUM

Chloe's PIlates

  • Lying on your back with an imprinted spine (engage your core, draw your lower ribs down towards your hip bones, a very slight pelvic tilt so that your back is flat on the floor – avoid jamming the lower back into the mat)
  • Lift your legs up into a tabletop position (legs in a 90 degree angle, knees above hips) and your fingers to temples
  • Inhale to drop the chin, exhale and slowly lift your head and shoulders up off the mat.  Avoid jamming the chin to chest – look towards knees
  • Keeping your body still and chest open, exhale and slowly rotate and draw your left rib down towards your right hip and extend your left arm as you reach up towards the right knee.
  • Alternate sides. 

2. BUM

Chloes Pilates

  • Lying on your side with head on bottom arm. Make sure your heels, hip and shoulder are in line, with a gap between the waist and the mat. Knees bent to 45 degrees hip flexion, 90 degrees knee flexion
  • Squeeze the heels together and slowly lift the top knee to hip level.  Hold it at the top for at least 5 seconds and then slowly lower
  • Repeat for 1 minute with a 30 second hold at the top.


Chloes PIlates

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet on floor, hands on the floor below your shoulders with fingers pointing towards your body
  • Lift your hips off the floor and slowly bend your elbows straight behind you, hold at the bottom and slowly extend the arms back to straight (but don’t lock the elbows)
  • NOTE: keep your shoulders away from your ears
  • 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Monday, 3 November 2014


Chloe's pilates

Cashew lemon frosting:
1 1/2 cups cashews
Juice from 1 lemon  
2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw honey/date syrup or 1 teaspoon of xylitol  
Water, as needed 

Carrot cake:
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into small chunks 
1 1/2 cups oats 
2 cups dates
1/2 cup dried coconut 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 

To make the frosting: blend all ingredients in your blender until smooth, adding water as needed. Put in the fridge. 

To make the cake: process the oats into flour in your food processor then throw the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and process until it all begins to stick together. 

To assemble the cake, press half the cake mixture into a small spring form pan (about 4 inches). Gently take this out and put on a plate, then put in the freezer until it's solid. Do the same to the remaining half of the cake mixture. Spread about 1/3 of the frosting onto the top of one of the cake layers. Put it in the freezer until the layer of frosting is hard. Place on the other cake layer and frost the entire thing, I let it set in the fridge overnight.