SUNDAY 22 OCTOBER
The day has finally arrived - our 10 lovely guests touch down for the very first Luxe + Well retreat!
We are so pleased to welcome Meghan, Sue, Jaime, Tina, Rhonda, Marci, Aimee, Suzanne, Joanne and Anita - ten wonderful ladies visiting from various parts of Canada, to enjoy a very special vacation with Luxe + Well here in Grand Cayman!
All of the ladies arrive happy and well, sadly two of their bags do not, instead, choosing to vacation in St Lucia and never making it to Cayman.
*Insert borrowed clothing and some over-priced Cayman shopping to the rescue! *
Each one of the fabulous ladies is currently a client of Nadine's, working through their own journey into wellness, and it was so special to have them all come together for the very first Luxe + Well retreat.
After a quick tour to see the George Town harbor and their first exciting peek at our bright blue Caribbean waters, the guests arrived at their gorgeous new home - Point of View. This incredible, beach-front, luxury vacation rental located in South Sound was courtesy of our fantastic partners, Luxury Cayman Villas, who have over 19 uber-luxurious short-let properties in their portfolio. In the words of our guests "the photos just don't do it justice!"
Settling into the villa, the ladies helped themselves to some cold and delicious kombucha (courtesy of Saucha Conscious Living) before excitedly opening their jam-packed Camana Bay gift bags which included:
a Camana Bay water bottle, stylish cap and notepad
a cute t-shirt from Island Companies,
Magazines from Books & Books
Beauty products from Le Visage
Hair products from Eclipze Hair & Spa
and some Cayman sea salt to take home!
Our platinum sponsors Camana Bay and Luxury Cayman Villas really pulled out all the stops. The women were so amazed and grateful their new treats. As they toured their Luxury Cayman Villas home there were actual tears of joy and a tangible air of gratitude for all that was on offer.
It felt electric!
After settling in, we hosted a quick team meeting to introduce each other to the group and learn about each guest's reasons for attending this Luxe + Well retreat.
"I love working with Nadine and want to learn more whilst relaxing in the Caribbean!"
"My job is really stressful and I find it hard to maintain work-life balance. I really need this break!"
"I'm doing this for me!"
It felt great to hear the passion and excitement first hand from our wonderful guests.
After some relaxation and a quick dip in the beautiful pool it was time for dinner prepared by good friend and incredibly talented chef, Joe Hughes of the Kimpton Seafire Ave/Avecita restaurant, and his beautiful wife and sous chef for the evening, Sarah!
First up was a taste of local cuisine with a modern twist - oxtail croquettes followed by the freshest of snapper ceviche served with pomegranate and cilantro!
Mains included Best Dressed Chicken cooked sous-vide, roasted and then served over polenta with sides of roasted baby potatoes and basil, and heirloom tomato with roasted red onion, chives and croutons and tenderly cooked cod served over cannellini beans with jet black squid ink for drama - delicious and a real talking point!
To top off this delicious feast, we enjoyed a dessert of white chocolate mousse, meringue, raspberries and hazelnuts with a glass of 365 red wine thanks to Camana Bay.
After a full day of traveling, delicious food and great company - it was early to bed for all! A hot herbal tea from Tea Time In Cayman set us all up for a good nights sleep.
MONDAY 23 OCTOBER
After an early night, the fitness kicked off bright and early with the first workout of Luxe + Well retreat led by Nadine at 7am! After many years away from teaching a class, I think the ladies thought they'd get off lightly......not here!
A quick warm up run to the famous flip-flop tree set the tone followed by a variety of circuits including: walking lunges, hip openers, tip toes and heels, baby makers, scorpions, supermans, squats, pushups, mountain climbers, jump lunges, dips, planks and step ups!
The ladies quickly learnt that Cayman is HOT...even at 7am, and after 45 minutes of an intense first workout they were ready to unwind during their private dockside yoga class with the gorgeous Rachel Whitfield of Bliss Cayman!
After a morning of relaxing at the beautiful villa, Nadine hosted her first lunch and learn seminar on Mind-Body Nutrition where we learnt the fundamentals behind why you eat the way you do.
Lunch was provided by Bay Market and included the most delicious "Glory Bowl" which included sweet chili chicken, brown rice, grated carrot and beetroot, almonds, fresh spinach and light lemon dressing. It was incredible and easily one of the most popular meals of the retreat!
For the afternoon, some of our guests had their one-on-one private session with Nadine whilst Sophie took the rest of the group to enjoy a swim and walk along picture-perfect Seven Mile Beach.
Monday's dinner was enjoyed at Abacus thanks to the fantastic spread put on by Chef Will. The menu replicated Nadine's restaurant takeover with the meals are designed by Nadine and Chef Will. It was a night to show how you can go to a restaurant and eat out without the guilt by choosing lighter and healthier dishes that still taste great.
We showed our guests how to enjoy marinated conch as well as kale and watermelon salad, fresh snapper or organic chicken breast and local vegetable sides, finished with a trio of delicious and healthy desserts inspired by Nadine's recipes!
TUESDAY 24 OCTOBER
Day three of our retreat was started with another great beachside workout with Nadine before some incredible sweet potato frittatas provided by Bay Market.
Next up was an incredibile experience - a paddleboard yoga class with Kiristen of Vitamin Sea Cayman. If you haven't tried paddleboarding with Kiristen, we cannot recommend it enough! Our ladies loved the experience of being out on the crystal clear waters of Seven Mile Beach, doing some yoga moves and falling into the sea (voluntarily and involuntarily!)
After another yummy Bay Market lunch at the villa and an afternoon spent chilling out, it was time for a cooking class with Maureen "Mo" Cubbon and the team at Bon Vivant at Camana Bay!
Mo curated a wonderful evening of food that was equally delicious as it was healthy! The dinner included: Appetizers of Mediterranean quinoa salad and grilled fruit with ricotta, honey and fig balsamic drizzle. Mains of tasting plates including prosciutto and asparagus stuffed chicken, braised coconut chicken curry over brown rice, healthful chicken parmesan and beef roulade served with chimi churri sauce. Dessert combo of lemon and chocolate raw tarts finished us off nicely!
Nadine gave Maureen a list of what the ladies were wanting to learn by interviewing all of the ladies before they came. The focus was on what they wanted to learn that night and it was set around how to cook for family or guests and not have to feel like you have fallen off track with your healthy eating goals but still make tasty dishes that friends or family would like!
Mo taught us the importance of focusing on the quality of ingredients, particularly in things like olive oil and meats and to remove the unnecessary additives by swapping out ingredients like soy sauce for coconut aminos and white flour for gluten free flour! It was a pleasure to learn from such an inspiring woman and all of us left well fed and very inspired to get back in the kitchen and cook!
WEDNESDAY 25 OCTOBER
After getting a sweat on and having some fun too (who knew tic tack toe could be a workout?!) the women enjoyed an hour long kundalini yoga session with Janelle from Bliss Yoga Cayman - it really was bliss!
Green 2 Go smoothies and carrot cake baked oatmeal, another delicious breakfast from Bay Market, was a much needed nourishment after a busy morning!
Relaxation time by the pool was followed by a powerful lunch and learn on the topic of "Body Image & Writing Our Story". Bay Market pulled out all the stops again with a delicious and healthy burrito bowl - a must try dish!
After more one-on-ones with Nadine and an afternoon touring the island with Sophie, it was time to head to Camana Bay to enjoy the Flavor Tour!
A welcome glass of vino was enjoyed at West Indies Wine Company before the first stop at Mizu for miso soup with tofu, soba noodle, snow peas and spring onion with a lychee saketini. The newly established Indian restaurant, Pani, was the amazing second course of Malabar snapper with coconut rice and curry leaves with a calcutta cooler cocktail. Filling up now we moved onto Abacus for the third course of roasted chicken and cous cous salad served with beets, local tomatoes and pumpkin accompanied by a cold glass of Chardonnay. The final course was at the ever-delicious Gelato & Co for a scoop of gelato or sorbet before ending at The King's Head for a nightcap!
What a feast!
All this fun and we're only at the halfway point of our week long Luxe + Well retreat!
Stay tuned for part II of our Luxe + Well diary!