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How to be happy in 2019

New Year, new chance to give yourself a great big shot of positive energy with one of these 28 inspirational ideas.



Whether you’re a fan of New Year’s Resolutions (me! me!) or a non-believer, one thing is for sure – we’re now officially in 2019, and life’s early January lull is a big opportunity to rethink what we want from the year ahead. What’s on your mind? A better work-life balance? A career reboot? More energy? A new look? Whatever your goal, the Muddy editors have scoured their counties for the 28 best courses, retreats, boot camps and taster weekends to help you superboost your motivational mojo. Here’s to a happy 2019, because frankly, we’re worth it.



Cook with James Martin, The Kitchen, Christchurch

If you’re looking to give your kitchen skills that extra bit of flair and dazzle, then how about booking up for some tutelage from none other than celeb chef, James Martin? This half day course at Chewton Glen’s The Kitchen will get you perfecting a couple of seasonal dishes, guided by James’ expertise, that you can bring out at any dinner party you throw this year. £350 per person.


Start Yachting Taster Weekend, Hamble

If you’ve ever wanted to give yachting a try, then learn the basics and decide if you’ve got your sea legs on this weekend taster course in Hampshire. Who knows? Maybe you’ll sail around the world with the wind in your hair and salt on your lips, or just tootle along to the Med for a spot of sunbathing and sangria. From £210 per person.




Comedy Improv Retreat with Alison Goldie, The Grange, Fri 15 – Sun 17 Feb

Nip over to the Island for more than just a giggle. Skyros is a company that organise a number of learning retreats, including photography and writing, as well as comedy. In fact, its said that Jimmy Carr quit his corporate job inspired by one of their comedy retreats. Located at The Grange, a beautiful Georgian house near Shanklin, you will get expert help and guidance on taming your inner wit while getting the chance to discover the beautiful Island. £90 per person.




Brooklands Barn Wellbeing Retreats, Arundel

Set in countryside just a 15 minute walk from historic Arundel and boasting a suntrap courtyard, sauna and indoor pool, Brooklands Barn is the perfect place for a rural escape. The converted 19th century barns have ten bedrooms and host a packed programme of retreats from visiting specialists throughout the year, many with a focus on yoga, pilates and wellbeing. When you’re not stretching the stress away you can socialise in the stylish open plan living space with inglenook fireplace, or head to the treatment room. There are dates already for retreats as far as November, including an interesting sounding Creative Business Owners event, so there’s no excuse not to plan some restorative ‘me time’. Check out the video on the site.




The Amazons Bootcamp, High Wycombe, Amersham & Beaconsfield

These guys have had glowing reviews in Vogue, Grazia, Red and Elle, so they really know what busy women want out of a workout! Offering bootcamps, express 30 minute training and in High Wycombe, Amersham and Beaconsfield (as well in as Surrey and Berks), The Amazons Bootcamp also provides beginner runners and online courses – a cost-effective option that gives you top nutrition, exercise and mindset advice whatever your goal.




Creative Courses in The Old Kennels, Dunkeswell

barn house in field blue skies

Fancy zoning out of emails for a while and dusting off the brain cells to try something new? The Old Kennels is a fantastically rural retreat in East Devon, surrounded by the rolling Blackdown Hills, offering, literally, dozens of creative courses, across the arts and old heritage crafts.  Some, you’ll find are super-useful in your current world, like painting letters for funky signs, or perfecting a show stopping Christmas wreath; others are opportunities to pick up a completely fascinating skill, or learn a forgotten craft. The unifying thing, whatever the course you choose, is that they’re all taught by super-skilled tutors, in the most friendly and relaxing setting. And if you really feel like immersing yourself in the whole experience, you can, because you can book a room in the gorgeous Loft Apartment, above the artist’s studio.




Life Coaching Course

Got any dreams packed away that you’ve given up on? Well, get ready to unpack them with this magical life-coaching experience which quite literally can change your life. If you’ve ever thought, “What am I doing with my life? Is this as good as it gets?”, join the club. But now Spell Your Life is here, a remote life-coaching course designed to help you change your life for the better in 2019.


Cowley Manor Spa

Treat yourself this January at a contemporary take on the Cotswold country house hotel where chic modern interiors and stupendous surroundings equals 21st-century nirvana. Cowley’s amazing spa, C-Side, is an indulgent space with pools both indoors and out, with holistic and cutting edge treatments and a range of organic wonder products. New for January is a Revitalising Spa Day, all about detoxing and revitalising.




The Orange Grove Clinic Yoga Retreats in Thailand, Sardinia & Tuscany

Gift yourself the ultimate bit of ‘me’ time this year and join ZenMuma – Jackie Heffer-Cooke for one of her fabulous yoga retreats in Thailand, Sardinia or Tuscany. Beaches, forests and beautiful sunsets will be the backdrop to your downward dog as you discover your inner peace. The Yoga is a blend of Hatha, Vinyasa with a splash of sunset Yin and is suitable for all levels including beginners. If you fancy taking the kids with you on a retreat this summer holiday (they’re not mutually exclusive we promise) Jackie runs a family camping retreat in Tuscany. Wild play, family yoga, traditional Tuscan cooking, river swimming and gorge trekking fill the five days and it’s a breath of fresh air to watch the kids get back to nature.




Learn Transcendental Meditation in Stratford-upon-Avon

Feeling stressed out? Ever thought about trying Transcendental Meditation (TM)? Hugh Jackman swears by it, as do Liv Tyler, Ringo Starr and Ellen DeGeneres. And Manchester’s Tim Burgess, lead singer of The Charlatans, has talked openly of how drink and drugs have been replaced by TM. It’s a simple technique practised 20 minutes a day while sitting comfortably. Research studies have documented its effectiveness on stress and anxiety and cardiovascular health. Huw Meads, a media studies lecturer at Bournville College, Birmingham, has been teaching TM since 1990. He leads monthly Meditators’ meetings and offers one-2-one TM checking in Albany Road, Stratford-upon-Avon (CV37 6PG). New TM information sessions will take place on January 8, 17 and 28, all at 7.30pm. You can then enrol on the next courses which will start on January 12 and February 9.


Cotesbatch Educational Trust Foodie Workshops, Lutterworth

Midlands Heritage arts charity Cotesbatch Educational Trust, on the Leicestershire, Warwickshire, and Northamptonshire border, is running 5  fantastic ‘foodie’ workshops this year starting with a Pasta Making workshop led by Sam Rouse from The Cork and Fork Supper Club on Sun Jan 20 (10.30am-12.30pm), £35; followed by a Fruit Tree Pruning workshop on Sat Feb 2 (10am-3pm) including lunch, £40; Japanese Cookery with Yuko Nakayama, who creates authentic Japanese dinner parties through her own home dining service, omotenashidining, on Sun Feb 3 (10.30am-12.30pm), £35. Finally, there’s Chocolate Truffles with Nenette Chocolates on Sun March 10 (10.30am-12pm), £25, and Wild Food Foraging on Sun May 5 (10am-1pm) which will involve a foraging walk and cooking up a feast, £30.




Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa, Malmesbury

Looking for a Cotswold retreat where you can leave the world behind? Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa aces every base. The hotel’s impossibly lovely Aquarias Spa oozes wellness from its pores, with a hydrotherapy pool complete with airbed, air tub, neck massage jets and air bench; a tepidarium with heated stone recliners; salt scrub and experience showers; thermal cabins including a calidarium, steam grotto, laconium and sauna; a wave dream sensory room; and a VIP suite complete with its own hydrobath.


Verve Festival, Ebbesborne Wake, Sat 7 – Sun 8 Sep

Get your tickets now for this fab new wellness festival in Ebbesborne Wake on 7-8 Sept, celebrating health, fitness and the great outdoors. All ages welcome for a weekend of yoga, meditation, Pilates, exercise and guided farm runs. Enjoy foraging, bushcraft in the woods, silent walks or landscape drawing with a local artist. Oh, and there’s a Zest Spa, too.




Green Farm Spa, Ashford

The clue is in the name! Green Farm Kent is a ‘green’ place, from the lush rural fields to the home-made soup and yoga classes. It’s an eclectic mix of wonderful experiences and wellbeing treatments on a private farm that offers exclusive spa stays. Whether you’re visiting with just one friend or going away with the gang, there are various accommodation options to choose from. Found deep in the Kent countryside and focusing on the restorative powers of nature the small-but-perfectly-formed spa is run by husband and wife team MaryAnn and Martin who always go above and beyond to make their guests at home. For something different book in for the Singing With Nightingales experience where you will sit by the fireside and listen to some of the finest folk, classical and jazz musicians duet with the sweet sound of the nightingale.


Stede Court Private Fitness Retreat, Biddenden

Well hellooo a brand new me. Stede Court is an exclusive luxury fitness and wellbeing retreat near picturesque Biddenden, launched by Kathryn Freeland, who has over 20 years experience training private clients and celebrities including Cate Blanchett and Claudia Winkleman. On offer are residential retreats (stay in the beautiful bedrooms), as well as day retreats and Personal Training sessions – regardless of age or fitness level, Kathryn can create a bespoke exercise plan to suit your needs. There’s also a swimming pond with decking for meditating and relaxation, croquet and bowls lawn and an outdoor sauna opening in Spring 2019. Or make use of the bikes, go rowing or paddleboarding on the nearby river, float round their pond in a rowing boat or walk the dog with Kathryn. Fitness bliss.




Kaliyoga Retreats in Andalucia and Puglia

The experts at Kaliyoga will take you to your happy place (and keep you there after your return) at their truly transformative retreats in Spain and Italy. Yoga, meditation, holistic therapies, workshops, swimming, walks, delicious food – and more – at two picturesque farmhouses in the Alpujarra foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia and in Puglia in southern Italy.  Week-long retreats run throughout the year but we’re liking the sound of the Menopause & Hormone Balance (April),  Yoga and Walking (Feb to April), both in Andalucia, and Yoga and Cycling (May to October) in Puglia.  From £875.




New Year Yoga & Meditation Weekend, Braziers Park

New year, new reason to book yourself a break! Latitude Wellbeing has teamed up with beautiful 55 acre Braziers Park in South Oxfordshire to help reconnect you to your goals with a weekend of yoga, meditation and relaxation. Two-night accommodation (11-13 Jan) in a Gothic mansion (shared bathrooms just so you know), walks, workshops and stretching will get you in tip top shape to tackle 2019.




Buddhist Retreat, Hemel Hempstead

How’s this for a total detox? Head to the Amaravati Buddhist monastery in Hemel Hempstead for a weekend, five-day, ten-day, and thirteen-day retreat. The retreats are led by monks and nuns trained in the Ajahn Chah tradition, originating from the north-east of Thailand, and are held in Noble Silence (if you have children, you won’t have experienced this in years). There are no mobiles, laptops, ipods or ipads at any time, just time to yourself to meditate and rediscover your mojo.




Mindfully Happy Course, Twickenham and East Molesey

This six-week course is designed to give you the tools you need to bring mindful awareness to your life, de-stress and find some inner peace. It’s suitable for complete beginners or those who want to refresh their mindfulness practice. Mindfulness coach Frances Trussell has trained hundreds of people in mindfulness for wellbeing and released her first book on the subject, You Are Not Your Thoughts, in December. Courses start in Twickenham on Mon 7 Jan and in East Molesey on Tues 15 Jan. Cost is £175.


New Year Yin Detox Workshop, Guildford

Kick start the new year with an invigorating yin yoga workshop at Red Hot Yoga in Guildford to help cleanse, detox and refresh you for the year ahead. Yin yoga helps to restore the healthy flow of qi through the liver and gall bladder meridians, to support the body’s metabolism and its natural ability to eliminate unwanted toxins and waste products, and will leave you with a sense of calm, clarity and balance. It’s on from 10am-1pm on Sun 6 Jan. Cos is £35.


Transformational Breathing Workshop, Farnham

This 2.5 hour workshop by Michael Lowman will consist of an informative beginning, a breath analysis demonstrating the technique in action and then the group breathing session will begin, ending in a meditation and time for the group to share. Transformational breathing is natural, safe and healthy and can have many benefits, including increased energy, better immune response and increased ability to deal with stress in a healthy way. It’s on Sat 19 Jan. Cost is £45.




Get in the FitZone

Women in grey calvin klein sports bra and pants balancing on one hand stretching

Want to look and feel amazing but can’t drag your bottom off the sofa! Be stronger, fitter and leaner and stay in your PJs – you might want to pop on a sports bra though. MyFitZone is an online fitness and nutrition hub for real people with busy lives. No intimidating gyms or classes, just lots of workouts – 5 to 45mins long that you can do anytime, anywhere. PT and nutritionist Anna Cousins provides you with fully instructed workout videos every month (no boredom), individual programmes of you to follow, one-to-one Skype/Facetime sessions, live online fitness classes, challenges, healthy eating plans and loads of recipes. Now there really is no excuse.


Ultimate Bliss Workshop, Maidenhead

If you need to hit the reset button after the endurance test that is Christmas, I hear you sister. Muddy Award-winning yoga studio, Inspire Hot Yoga, is hosting the brilliant Lucy Jackson’s Ultimate Bliss workshop on Saturday 26 January. Spend a heavenly two hours indulging your mind and body in a relaxing Yin yoga sesh with lots of deep stretching, followed by 30 minutes meditation. You’ll come out feeling so light, it’ll feel like those mince pies never passed you lips.




Free Writing Courses at Writers HQ, Cambridge

There’s something massively refreshing about writing course whose tag line is ‘Stop F***king About And Start Writing!’ Try 2 weeks for free to get over your initial shyness/suspicion and if you like it you can pay-as-you-go for £30 a month for access to courses, 15% off retreats and all the help a budding smash-author requires. There are regular one day courses in Cambridge – next ones 19 Jan, 16 Feb and 16 Mar. Don’t forget me on your Acknowedgements page!




Mum’s Retreats by Horizon Inspired, near Watergate Bay, dates in Feb, Apr & May 

You survived Christmas by the skin of your teeth but it’s time for a break! Knackered mothers unite at Horizon Retreats (near Watergate Bay in Cornwall). Founder Joey and a team of local wellbeing pros, offer busy folk down-to-earth, uplifting and inspiring experiences to support them to pause, reset and to reconnect with themselves. On their Mum’s Retreat you can expect slow wake ups, breakfast in bed, pampering, yoga, meditation and healthy food – surrounded by beautiful Cornish countryside and sea. Sign. Me. Up!




Silversmithing Course, Market Harborough, Weds 13 March (5 week course) 

Didn’t get the Monica Vinader bracelet you had your eye on for Christmas? Well who needs it when you can design, and make your own one. During this five week course, you’ll learn a variety of techniques including cutting, etching, filing, soldering and engraving. Depending on your knowledge, you’ll be able to make anything from bracelets to rings and earrings. Cost includes two pieces of silver and unlimited brass and copper. £160


Painting and Prosecco Class, Leicester

You may have sworn off the booze after the festive period, but there’s no reason why you can’t unleash your inner Georgia O’Keeffe and join this brand spanking new painting class. Run by local artist Kirsteen Thomson who was a Wild Card on Landscape Artist of the Year, the classes take place in her home studio and are a fun way to get your creative juices flowing especially when you’re stuck in the January rut! £20 includes everything from paints to prosecco. Classes run from Thursday 17 Jan – Thur 14 Feb 7-9pm in Kirby Muxloe.




LG Beauty Suite Pamper Session, Wellingborough

Treat yourself to a pamper sesh as you girl, deserve it! LG Beauty Suite offers luxury holistic and grooming treatments for both ladies and gents so you can take that bloke along with you too. Sometimes you forget about looking after yourself but after the mayhem of Christmas this is something you need to indulge in.


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