I’m so excited! I’ve recently come back from Seville where I’ve been checking out venues for this years Retreat (20th – 27th September) and I am delighted to announce that I’ve found the perfect place!
It’s been very difficult to find somewhere that fulfilled all my very exacting requirements but the ‘Vinca Buenvino’
in the Sierra de Aracena Nature Park has done so (and some!). As soon as I walked into this beautiful country house, I felt as though I was arriving at the home of a favourite relative! Here are some teaser snapshots from memory: swimming in the saltwater infinity pool; walking along ancient drovers paths through the 150 acres of Sweet chestnut and Cork Oak woods. Relaxing in the Spa and dining on the terrace on incredible home cooked food made from fresh local ingredients by the amazing Jeannie Chesterton.
This is the balcony from my bedroom
Photograph : Tim Clinch
For more info and fabulous photos by Tim Cinch http://www.sarahmaxwell.co.uk/blog/?p=215
Happy 2015 lovely people,
At this time of year most people are not feeling at their physical best. We’ve all experienced this – over Christmas there is a tendency to eat more and move around less and by January we’re all feeling a bit unfit and bloated but determined to do something about it. It’s at this time of year that I get the most questions related to Celebrity Bodies – how do they manage to look fabulous all year round?
The answer is simple – they don’t!
Over my career I have been called on many times to get a notable person in shape in time for a major event. For celebrities it is their job to look fantastic – they spend huge amounts of time and money on it. The important thing to realize is that (apart from a few mad individuals), they don’t work at it for 52 weeks of the year! Most celebrities keep a diary of the major events during the year for which they need to look fabulous for example a Red Carpet event or a beach holiday when they know they’ll be papped.
Four weeks or more before the event the celebrity will call on the services of a team of experts for help. They will go on a really strict diet, they will start a punishing exercise routine, they will spend a fortune on beauty treatments and clothes. They will even FAKE IT – it’s a little known fact that a skilled spray tan technician can with the use of ‘dark contouring’ create abs on those without the perfect washboard stomach!
After the event the celebrity will drop all this extra work and their bodies will return to a near approximation of a mere mortals. Woe betide them if they get caught on camera in this point of their cycle – poor Leonardo di Caprio was caught out in this way – displaying a slight tummy on a family holiday for which he hadn’t prepped!
My point is that for the rest of us we shouldn’t beat ourselves up trying to achieve this level, remember how they look could make or break a career! Our goal should just be to be the best that we can be within the restraints of our daily life and budget!
I’m really excited this week as Debenhams are featuring my ‘Reebok Little Black Dress Workout’ for the next two weeks on their website. Specifically designed to get you in shape for the party dress season, they will also be featuring my hints and tips for surviving the lure of the buffet table!
Check it out here, http://thedailydebrief.debenhams.com/home-and-lifestyle/the-little-black-dress-workout/
After a very hectic July spent travelling round the country giving free fitness advice in the Reebok/Debenhams Fithubs, it was very tempting once the kids had broken up to just veg out for the whole of August! I know most mums feel like this once we’re not having to get up at the crack of dawn for the school run anymore – exercise can take a back seat for the summer sometimes -but not in the Maxwell household this year!
I decided that as the kids are older now, I was going to make this a bit more of a structured active summer. In true ‘Busman’s Holiday’ style I designed an individual programme for each member of the family including for the first time the youngest Maxwell. They loved it and we had great fun working out together in the shade of the garden. We also managed to involve exercise in other locations too – the best fun being had on the day we slid down sand dunes on bits of plastic!
We did manage to get away too and while we were there I managed a whole photoshoot of exercises for Reebok dressed in the great kit that they’d sent (now sadly stolen by the Maxwell teenager!)
Sadly, as they always do, the school summer holidays ended and I am now gearing myself up to return to the humiliation of Karate with the 7 year olds!!
I had a fantastic time most weekends throughout July this year when I took part in the Reebok / Debenhams Fithubs. Fithubs are basically a genius way of making fitness advice more accessible. Fitbars were set up in Debenhams where I would give a free fitness consultation to customers who were then able to go on and have a free massage plus 10% off Reebok clothing – what’s not to like!!
I had a wonderful time meeting lots of lovely people in Debenhams stores based in Essex, Bristol, Southampton, Newcastle and Manchester. It was also a non stop whirl of radio and magazine interviews handled by PR company lineupmedia.co.uk who were an absolute delight to work with!
The last few weeks have been very sad – Sophie, my grand old lady died on Easter Monday. She was nearly 15. We have all been slowly adjusting to life without her. Benson especially, has found it very hard and has taken to making a collection of dog shaped soft toys to cuddle up to. I’ve been trying to concentrate on the positive with him – after so many years of only going for short sedate walks he and I can now go off on long romps together around the surrounding woods and farmland.
I also had a lovely distraction in the shape of a trip to Jaipur in India. I’ve never been to India before and I fell totally in love with both the country and the people. Doing Meditation and Yoga there was altogether a far more authentic experience. I did consider going for a run but the traffic made that too scary a proposition plus I wasn’t really appropriately dressed. In the end I did lots of water fitness in the very warm water of the pool.
I’ve started Karate! Youngest Maxwell has talked me into signing up at his club and the first session was mortifying. I am the oldest by at least 25 years! 30 minutes of staring and giggling from the little ones until they finally accepted that I was ok.
I continue to enjoy my weekly coaching sessions at our local athletics club and am so excited by the start of the new Athletics season that I’m just about to invest in a pair of sprint blocks. I might even sneak them along for the ‘Mum’s Race’ on youngest Maxwell’s Sports Day – not that I’m competitive or anything!
Well, Spring seems to have sprung and along with it a sudden unexpected interest in gardening! This week has seen me out in the garden armed with secateurs hacking away at anything that didn’t move. My arms are certainly feeling as though they’ve had a good workout!
The only downside to all this lovely spring weather is the unwelcome return of my Hayfever and associated problems!
I’ve been bravely battling on though and have finally finished filming my new collection of Fitness DVDs. They’re now in Editing but I can’t wait to see the end results!
I’ve also been working on some personal fitness programmes for some lovely competition winners that I met recently in Prague
This weekend I had the honour of coaching young atheletes alongside Steve Green of stevegreenfitness.co.uk. I can honestly say that Steve is one of my all time heroes – a real coaching Guru who has become one of the top Conditioning coaches in the world.
Well, the kids broke up for Easter a few days ago and with the nice weather I can see that the local swimming pool and tennis courts are going to feature quite large. The youngest Maxwell is also booked onto a council run Cricket course which he’s really looking forward to.
I’ve also decided that we need to give out National Trust card a bit more of a bashing – we’re very lucky to have a few properties locally that are ideal for long family walks.
We’re also not too far from the wonderfully historic Penshurst Place and it’s lovely adventure playground. I took the youngest Maxwell there last week and me being me I couldn’t help ignoring the sign that says ‘under 16s’ only – I had a fantastic workout on the equipment! I was enthusing about it to my assistant Kate and she suggested that we build our own one at home using all the trees that blew down in the recent gales – food for thought!
Well we’ve actually done it! we’ve finally made a permanent move to the country! This week we moved into our new home (that we own rather than rent) – it’s been a long old process as I reminded Mr M last night when we watched an old DVD of us appearing on the BBC’s ‘Escape to the Country’. I’d secretly applied for us to be on the programme years ago when I wanted to move to the country but he didn’t – sneaky eh? Through the course of the programme we only viewed three country properties but by the third I’d won him round and many years of viewing properties in several different counties followed!
So our new home is hard won but worth it – I love waking up every morning looking out onto nothing but fields
My usual regime of fitting in exercise around all my other chores, has for the last week revolved around the lifting of an excessive amount of boxes. They may mostly contain rubbish but my arms are definitely ready for the shorter sleeves of summer!
In between the move I’ve thankfully still managed to put in my stint coaching at Tonbridge Athletics club. As always I’m in awe of the total dedication given by this amazing group of professionals. They give up their time, not for money but through a sheer love of sport and a desire to realise the dreams of the next generation of Sports men and women.
So after an exhausting week or so I’m very excited to be off on a trip to Berlin! I’ve never been before so I’d love to get some tweets from all you lovely people with ideas of places to visit – @SarahMax100