An invitation to a retreat in sunny Jersey
Travel and work, work and travel all take their toll and the body and mind soon become overwhelmed and stressed. The thought of a pampering whole week away at a world class spa in Jersey, a place renowned for it’s rich cuisine and ice cream what could be better.
Our first night on the sunny terrace surrounded by colourful gardens served delicious finely spiced dishes, delicate additions of herbs and vinaigrette followed by a a substantial tender flavored lamb, fantastic! Ok no wine but I can live without that.
The Ayurvedic Dr P waiting for us the following morning, both assessed, both stressed. Dr D’s adrenals so crashed that the previous evenings exposure to both the pollen and the tiny amount of dairy have triggered an allergy showing under her eyes and sneezes.
Vata & Pitta with a mix of kapha was the verdict from Dr P, “I will put you treatment programme together, Sheila this afternoon you must have a foot massage followed by a head and shoulder massage…..it will take 2 hours!” Oh yes please, this is heaven……..and then Dr D announces “Mung Bean Soup! Will you arrange for us to have it 4 times a day? We won’t be having anything else!”
So I am Vatta mung bean soup and Dr D is Pitta, after our two hour morning meeting with Dr P, our soup is served. The restaurant is peacefully busy with efficient activity and no hesitation at our order. The waiter graciously lays up dervishes spoon and knife, the knife soon becomes redundant as the wholesome seeded bread and deep yellow jersey butter is declined and taken away.
It’s actually delicious, has a creamy texture and enough protein to satisfy, it’s served in a generous bowl.
3.30 back in the restaurant, one Vatta and one Pitta mung bean soup please, it’s important to get them right as the herbs and spices are blended to effect changes.
The afternoon treatments are bliss, Abhyanga Oil Massage, a skillfully coordinated four hand massage designed to switch the left, right brain off and it does, followed by the signature Ayurvedic treatment Shirodhara, warm oil dripped into the forehead and run over the head. Seven o’clock Vatta & Pitta mung bean soup went down a treat, I was so chilled I really didn’t care what I was eating just ready to drop into bed!
As an already light sleeper I was able to appreciate the absolute silence of the night in Jersey, a contrast to the clatter and sirens of a busy city, so even as wakeful it was restful. I woke early and was out in the sunshine for a jiggle round the block. (jiggle is not jogging nor walking bit of both and aptly describes how my excess body fat moves.)
Mung bean soup is not available in the breakfast room, this may change, and so it is grandly delivered on a tray under a gleaming lid, to the room at 8.30. Tastes good and filling. The weather is beautiful and a walk into St Helier, to pick up a soup flask passes the morning.
The lunch restaurant is starting to get busy with guest inside and on the terrace, colourful salads and plentiful side orders of chips along with interesting meats and fish are being enjoyed. Couples sharing a bottle of wine enjoying the relaxed holiday atmosphere. A menu is promptly offered and without hesitation we order Mung Bean Soup, no bread, the waiter gives a questioning look but happily takes our order. We then advise him we will be back at 4 pm for another
After a swim 15 minutes in a sauna then back in the water, Dr D takes the cold plunge but I am- one, a Vatta – don’t like cold and two a woose!
More soup before our treatments, some of the waiters are getting the deal and as I have arrived first I am offered water as a starter……which I accept.
My head feels a little muzzy with a slight headache, also as so little is going in to my digestive system…..nothing coming out. I don’t feel hungry at all but decide to have breakfast the next day to add a little more bulk.
Shirodhara working at deep level to quiet the mind soothing the nervous system and hopefully inducing sleep.
A day out! The bus to the zoo stops right outside the hotel and we have been told to get there early, lots to see, can take all day…………hhmm an hour after paying our fee, saying hello to the birds and meerkats and taking plenty of photos of swampy water that seems to be part of all the animal enclosures we are back on the bus to the hotel. Swamps make the place feel lifeless and stagnant, a reminder of a lymph system that doesn’t move. This is reflected in the zoo, the animals were all still or sleeping!
As we are back early and our soup isn’t until 12.45 a shopping trip delights, particularly when Dr d has dropped a size in trousers!
Dressed for outside, not in the standard White spa robe, our regular waiter greets me and offers me the menu, I smile back and remind him it’s just mung bean soup, “oh it must be doing something I didn’t recognise you” he grins.
Reflexology finishes off the day!
I am having a light breakfast of prunes, berries and yoghurt and beans with egg & tomato for a little protein, it’s helping with the bowel situation. Dr d has room service arranged for her Pitta mung bean soup.
The gym is now part of the routine, the weather is changeable so jiggling is replaced by the cross trainer rowing machine and bike, a medium bowl of soup has only 35 calories, plenty of sustaining protein so add some exercise into the mix it has to start burning up the fat.
Feeling a little tired, not stopping me exercising but an easy day at the hotel with the bonus of sunshine in the garden feels good. The headache has completely gone and with a good Ayush body massage I am beginning to feel human again.
We are know known it the restaurant, not by our names, just Pitta & Vatta.
Still feeling a little tired and it’s raining, a little longer in the gym with aerobic and stretches, nice swim and into the sauna.
Bemused the head chef comes to meet us, he really understands food and lets us into the secret methods of the Hotel de France’s Mung Bean Soup. I make a mental note to come back to one of his cookery school (& wine tasting) with my husband.
This afternoon I have Shirodhara. The first time I had the treatment it was part of a full body massage, this time it’s the full version, starting with a neck & head massage followed by a soothing foot massage the warm oil poured delicately onto my forehead and through my hair, sending me to sleep!
It’s our last evening and we are going to Saffron, an elegant restaurant within the hotel. The food is beautifully presented and every mouthful savored and enjoyed.
For the first time this week I wake up during the night feeling a little hungry, must be missing my soup.
We have to check out by 11 so finally the restaurant manager has been able to organise mung bean soup in the breakfast room. We have access to the spa and so enjoy our last exercise session, Dr D has a couple of treatments to finish off and I head into town. The sale bargain dress I had spotted earlier in the week now slips on easily and there’s room in my case.
By know all the catering staff know Vatta & Pitta and as we wait for our final helping of soup a waiter carrying a large tray piled high with chips & burgers swerves toasted us asking if we would like to change our mind about or lunch, it’s easy to decline. He delivers it to the next table with a chuckle.
Having said all our thank yous and goodbyes we are airport bound. We both feel lighter, healthier and relaxed, our goal is to put some of our new habits into real life living and I can thoroughly recommend a week of Mung Bean soup!