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For countless people, visiting ‘Lapland’ is a bucket list destination most people are keen to tick off early. However, with this part of the Nordic region sparsely populated, it is hard to know where to start. If you are looking for an authentic nature adventure, look no further than Muonio. With around 2,300 residents and an area of 2,039.97 km², social distancing is never an issue there.

Muonio, Finland

What makes Muonio unique? You can breathe the purest certified air in the world. They have over 200 pristine lakes and over 20 fells, and only in Lapland will you experience eight different seasons.

Where to stay in Muonio?

A great base for your arctic adventures is Harriniva Adventure Resort. They’ve been established since 1973, on the edge of Muonio village. The hotel is synonymous with wilderness adventures. Their five decades of experience have meant they’ve fine-tuned the very best outdoor adventures for their guests. You can enjoy fast-paced action with their snowmobile and husky tours. You can go white-water rafting in Europe’s longest free-flowing river, the Tornion-Muonionjoki. You can go ice-fishing under the midnight sun. They offer multi-day wilderness tours for those who want to spot exotic wildlife. Alternatively, you can just enjoy a relaxing stroll on the frozen river and get inspired by the northern lights and the multitude of stars.

What is great about supporting Harriniva Adventure Resort is that you are supporting a third-generation family business who are passionate about the surroundings. Their restaurant serves up the best of local cuisine including toast Skagen with white fish roe and reindeer served with mushroom sauce. They also have a dedicated vegetarian menu. Their resort is also great for those seeking relaxation with two riverside saunas and outdoor jacuzzis, offering tremendous views of the locality.

Saunas in Muonio

Another place to consider visiting is Jeris Lakeside Resort. It is situated by the mystical lake of Lake Jerisjärvi. It is considered sacred in indigenous Sámi mythology. Snowmobile is a great option here through the snow-covered forest and to the lake. The jewel in their crown is Arctic Sauna World. Sauna is a religion to the Finns and this is the equivalent of a shrine for locals to worship in. 

Their saunas are named after Finnish folklore gods: Tapio, Ukko, Ilmatar and Vellamo. They represent the elements: earth, fire, wind and water. For example, the most traditional smoke sauna belongs to Ukko, which is the fire sauna. They also have a Northern Lights sauna, which includes a two-floor panorama view experience. In the winter, they have ice holes for you to take a dip in before, during and after your sauna experience. It is supposedly ideal for improving blood circulation and the suppleness of your skin.

Hunter experience

If you want to experience activities like ice fishing, you need experienced guides like the teams from Hunter of the North. You’ll be transported to your fishing spot by sleigh or snowmobile. There are numerous lakes in Muonio to choose from. They will provide all the equipment needed whether it is traps and nets or fishing rods. The kind of fish you can expect to catch include whitefish, perch, pike or burbot. They will also show you how to handle and prepare the fish, before savouring a homemade lunch by the campfire.

You can also try the reindeer herder experience. You’ll get to feed reindeer in the wilderness as well as learn invaluable knowledge about this majestic animal.

Animal farm

If you are thinking of tours with huskies, reindeer or horses, then you need to check out Polar Lights Tours. They are a family-run business and have designed these experiences for all seasons. They can be paired with other activities like picking berries or paddling through crystal clear waters. They even own an aurora wilderness cabin, where you will have a chance to observe the northern lights from the comfort of your bed.

Embracing nature

If you want to learn more about local nature and culture, you should pay a visit to the Nature Centre of Kellokas. They provide in-depth information about Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park and nearby is Finland’s oldest hiking trail. The exhibitions focus on how dependent people are on nature and promote respect for Finnish wildlife. The national park is Finland’s most popular national park and was established in 1938 and includes hiking trails of varying difficulty and atmospheric campfire areas.

Whether you are a winter or a summer person, Muonio has so much to offer for outdoor aficionados.

For more information, visit the website

If you’re looking for some book inspo to level up your wellbeing here’s my round up of the best of the best.  Whether you need tips to manage stress, make life changes or easy hacks to feel good, I’ve got you covered. 

Thrive, Richard Sutton

This perfect book for anyone feeling stuck right now.

Richard has worked with some of the world’s top sports stars such as Martina Navratilova and Maria Sharapova on performance and unlocking their full potential.  In this book he shares unique practical skills and tools that are easy to apply to help you develop and harness your resilience and to realise your fullest potential. 

Available from Watkins Publishing, RRP £18.99

Choosing Me, Kelly Weekers

This is for anyone who needs to take back control of aspects of their life.

Reading this book is like having a chat over a cuppa with a wise best friend.  Psychologist, Kelly Weekers who specialises in authenticity, shares her advice that not only will empower you, but remind you that you are allowed to put yourself first and are capable of living a life of greater fulfilment. However, in order to make the changes, you must first get clear on your true desires. Choosing Me is packed full of easy to digest tools and prompts to make the reader pause, reflect and self-enquire so they can move forward with clarity.  

Available from Amazon, RRP £18.24

The Queendom Within, Heidi Hauer

If you’ve fallen to the bottom of your ‘to-do-list’ you need this book.

Heidi Hauer is on a mission to help every woman realise that she has choices in her life and that everything she is seeking is already within her power to fulfil.   Heidi’s book, “The Queendom Within – Rewrite Your Fairy Tale and Create Your Own Happily Ever After” is a practical and explorative guide for women to reclaim their energy, rediscover who they are, decide what they really want and take tangible steps towards it, with or without a romantic partner by their side. Practical, reassuring and truly inspiring, Heidi’s book encourages you to invest your time and energy in yourself.

Available from Amazon, RRP £12.99

A Year to Change your Mind, Dr Lucy Maddox

Tips and advice from a therapist without getting on the couch.

Dr Lucy Maddox takes you through typical highs and lows of an average year, month by month introducing helpful ideas and tools to help you survive.  Whether you struggle with change in January or find the summer holiday season stressful, she provides solutions to manage everyday dilemmas, spot repeating patterns and make shifts to help us feel better and improve situations.

Available from Waterstones, £16.99 (Hardback)

Calmism, Dr Alex Willett

If life is getting on top of you this will give you solutions.

Dr Alex walks you through developing eight habits for complete rest and wellbeing, based on science and personal experiences.  Packed with simple activities, Calmism takes a fresh look at the essential habits for rest and offers a menu of easy-fit options to give you the variety that’s key to overall wellness. With just a few minutes’ attention each day, you can cultivate positive, daily habits that stick, to help you feel ultimately revitalised.

Available at Waterstones, RRP £12.99

Our adventure traveller and face-your-fears ambassador, Penny Lee Brown, finally faced her fears of the sea in gloriously relaxing Costa Rica. After many failed attempts at surfing in storm-battered Blighty, all it really took was one onsetting panic attack, a group of caring souls with good vibes, and micro dosing Pura Vida to get her up and smiling.

Micro-dosing Pura Vida Helped Me Surf, by Penny Lee Brown.


Firstly, “Pura vida” is a Costa Rican saying that encapsulates the essence of a simple, positive, and carefree life, literally translated to “pure life” or “simple life,” it embodies a philosophy of embracing joy, gratitude, and optimism.

A couple of years ago, lacking some of the above during a time when life felt like a series of one-day chapters, I wrote an article titled ‘Feel The Fear, Do The Things.’

In that piece, I delved into the importance of facing our fears head-on. However, one fear continued to elude my conquering… the fear of the sea. Not just sharks and faceless sea monsters, I’m referring to the overwhelming sensation of losing control, being battered by waves, and struggling for breath amid the chaos of the surf.

Feel The Fear, Do The Things

Reflecting on the way I’m able to vividly describe the fear, it’s no wonder I hesitated. Those daunting images flew around and around in my mind whenever I thought about trying again.

My fear of the sea doesn’t extend to messing around in the waves, swimming a fair bit out, but enough that if something were to graze my leg I could quickly swim, screaming, back to shore (unless the monster eats me, of course).

Well… if you’ve got this far, dear reader, I sense you’re invested in finding out if I did it or not.

So, here’s the great news, I eventually confronted that fear!

Micro dosing Pura Vida

It wasn’t easy. Salty tears were shed into saltier sea, on the beach, and onto the shoulders of the beautiful empathetic souls that were with me, with an impending panic attack lurking. Already struggling to breathe I didn’t think I could. But, I did it!

Costa Rica deserves the credit, specifically the renowned Santa Teresa Beach. The tranquil ambiance of our address for the week, Nantipa- A Tico Beach Experience, and the infectious energy from my surf instructor, Pablo (legend) played pivotal roles in this triumphant moment.

Nestled on the captivating Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa emerges as the ultimate haven for wave enthusiasts, drawing surf aficionados from around the world. Maintaining a sweet little hippy vibe, this Pacific gem caters to both novices and seasoned pros, offering pristine sandy stretches at Playa Santa Teresa and Playa Carmen, ideal canvases for whatever your surf day looks like.

For the laid back maestros, the nearby breaks of Mal País and Mar Azul are your playgrounds, offering challenging waves that dance to their own mesmerising rhythm. Amidst the rhythmic crashes, Santa Teresa encapsulates the spirit of Pura Vida living, where every swell is the start of a good story, and every ride becomes a sun-soaked adventure.

If you’re going to do it, my advice would be to make sure your instructor knows you’re scared. Tell them what you’re scared of and they’ll make you feel at ease. Actually, I’m not even sure if all instructors would, but I wholeheartedly recommend that if you’re on a trip to Costa Rica in 2024, put your trust in the instructors organised by Nantipa.

In fact, go ahead and just book your stay at Nantipa to live the dream for a few days. The villas and bungalows are nothing short of stunning, providing a private oasis with stylish decor that seamlessly blends with the natural surroundings. It felt like living in a Pinterest board, complete with dreamy sunsets and the soothing melody of waves just outside the window.

Nantipa’s beachfront, a sandy strip right outside your door, invites you to relax on the beds with a book, test the cocktails (purely for research purposes, of course), or stroll along the shoreline looking beautiful. The beachfront service is impeccable, allowing you to chill in a hammock and soak in the Pura Vida vibes.

After a day of surfing, horse-riding, shopping, or pretending-not-to-be-scared-of-the-sea-for-a-casual-swim, Nantipa offers the ultimate Costa Rican beach luxury with the guilt-free environmentally friendly ethos.

And yes, my dreams came true when I stood up on that surfboard! After tears, panic, and a stern pep talk, I did it. At the wave’s end, I jumped off, threw my arms into the air, and screamed with a mix of laughter and tears—finally conquering that lingering fear.

Just like my tears, the fear was but a drop in the ocean compared to the pride and joy I felt (still feel) for doing that.

Thank you, Nantipa, you absolute babe.

Hotel Nantipa (prices approx, conversion rate as of Jan ’24)

  • Nanku Suite – from £312 per night including breakfast
  • Manti Bungalow – from £355 per night including breakfast
  • Ninta Beachfront Bungalow – from £411 per night including breakfast
  • 3-bedroom Beachfront Villa – from £1,263 per night 

After a long day, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being able to unwind in the lap of luxury, surrounded by plush fabrics and a serene ambience. If you are looking to shed stress, eat clean and chill out then retreat to the secluded, less commercial south side of Mauritius for a rejuvenating wellness break at Anantara Iko Resort. With powder-white sandy beaches and lush tropical landscapes, guests seeking the ultimate wellness escape can take their foot of the gas, switch off and relax by taking full advantage of the three- and five-day wellness experiences.
This tranquil resort is located on the authentic, untouched southeast coast of the island which is a million miles away from the west coast where you’ll find back-to-back resorts and street vendors. Here the vibe is laid-back and serene, surrounded by the ocean and nature it’s the perfect place for weary travellers to unwind.

Inspired by nature, it has been designed to complement its stunning surroundings by using lots of natural, locally sourced materials around the property. Recycled stone, driftwood and water features set the calm tone and as soon as you arrive at Anantara you feel the pace of life slowing down.

The new wellness programmes use restorative Ayurveda treatments alongside local ingredients such as Tamarin salt from the village on the western coast and spices including turmeric and ginger. Self-healing, restoration, improved energy flow and calming rituals are the foundation of each wellness package, created with the health and well-being of conscientious travellers in mind.

The five-day wellness programme incorporates the following treatments:

Day 1:

Start the day with a traditional Tai Chi session to connect the body and mind. This moving meditation enhances muscular strength, and joint flexibility, calms the senses and soothes the soul.
Supporting the actions and benefits of Tai Chi, a restorative 90-minute Ayurveda massage follows. Benefits of Ayurvedic massages include improved blood circulation to help blood reach nerve endings, toning of muscles, calming the brain and body, lubricating and strengthening joints, and increased mental alertness.

Day 2:

Known for its self-healing benefits, the touch therapy of Abhyanga massage aims to balance dosha types using oils mixed with herbs for maximum benefits which stimulate the nervous system, and enhance coordination between sensory organs, while strengthening muscles. This massage supports healing, boosts energy, reduces recovery time after an injury, eases pain, and enhances relaxation, mood, and well-being.

Day 3:

The ancient self-healing practice of Qi Gong creates a calmness of the mind while powering the body with movements that improve joint flexibility and muscle strength. Qi Gong also supports balance and harmony within the body, improves digestion, and can be an effective treatment for insomnia and many other sleep disorders.

Day 4:

The Ayurvedic therapy Shirodhara, which is a Sanskrit word coming from shro (head) and dhara (flow), involves gently pouring herbal oils over the forehead. This is ideal for those with a vata-pitta imbalance as it can harmonise the body’s energy, awaken intuition, improve memory, support sleep, focus attention and improve concentration.

Day 5:

Round up the five-day programme with a choice of Tai Chi or Qi Gong to absorb and reinforce the full benefits of the wellness programme. Through moving meditation, you maximise the calming effects on the mind and physical benefits to the body.

Embrace the outstanding views of Le Chaland Beach and nourish your body with fresh, organic, vegan cuisine at Bon Manzer restaurant. This clean-eating restaurant will inject some joy and flavour into your palate. There’s an extensive offer of healthy dishes, all freshly prepared in front of you, using local, sustainable produce. Choose from wheat- and gluten-free options, as well as low-calorie wines, raw foods and nutritious smoothies and juices.

The stylish, contemporary, island-chic resort offers a range of activities outside of the programme so you can continue your wellness journey. Take a bike ride along the stunning, unspoilt coastline, soak up the sapphire hues of the ocean with a beach walk or if you‘d rather take some time out to relax then make the most of the hotel’s 30-metre ozone-based swimming pool, one of the many sustainability initiatives at the property.

Each of the 164 stylish rooms and suites is spacious and sophisticated with clean lines and minimal décor enhanced with a splash of ocean blue and wood making it feel relaxing and calm. Start your day taking in the views of the Indian Ocean or flourishing tropical gardens directly from your day bed on the balcony. Just 100m from the beach and with an array of facilities to help you dial it down a notch, Anantara is the ultimate chill-out destination.

A room at Anantara Iko Mauritius starts from £335 per room per night on a half-board basis. Wellness packages start at £330.
www.anantara.com/en/iko-mauritius

So, you were up until 2am scrolling through social media until you finally fell asleep. You missed your alarm, you skipped breakfast, had the quickest shower of all time, slapped on some makeup and didn’t have time to prepare your lunch. Now you’re almost late for work and look (as well as feel) a little worse for wear.

If this sounds a lot like your morning routine, then something needs to be done. When our mornings are rushed and frantic, it makes us stressed, anxious and frustrated with ourselves – hardly the best way to start a new day. So, with this in mind, I’ve come up with a simple yet successful morning routine.

Read on for 6 steps to help get you out of the door in the morning.

Prep the night before

The key to a successful morning is in the preparation the night before. So, lay out your work clothes, take off your makeup and have your beauty products ready to go in the morning – check out The POREfessional Primer by Benefit Cosmeticsfor flawless skin prep – know where your keys are, your work bag, your laptop, coat, and also prep your lunch the night before! It will save you loads of time and stress in the morning!

Have a good breakfast

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and it’s true! When you have a good breakfast, you’ll get to enjoy a slow energy release which will keep you feeling full, with bundles of energy. When you don’t have hunger pangs to deal with, you may find that lunchtime rolls around much quicker! Avoid sugary cereals and breakfast bars. Opt for a bowl of oatmeal topped with fruit or honey, avocado on toast with its healthy fats and high fibre content or enjoy a protein smoothie with additional greens and antioxidants. Make yourself a good breakfast – sit down and enjoy it!

Connect

When everything is rushed and frantic, we often neglect the loved ones in our lives. So, to help set you up mentally for the day ahead, take some time to connect with your partner, housemate, children or pet as part of your morning. We all lead busy lives so its important to make the effort and reach out to those we love the most.

Get moving

Fitting in a workout into your morning routine will certainly set you up for the day. Even if you don’t have time to hit the gym, you can still incorporate some movement into your morning – a brisk walk to the store to get some milk, a little yoga or pilates in the living room. Or a resistance band workout in your bedroom. Get your heart pumping and wake yourself up!

Get hydrated

It’s natural to reach for a much-needed cup of coffee but before you do, drink something that will rehydrate you after a long night of sleep. A glass of water is your friend here!

Keep it simple

Don’t try to cram too much into your morning routine. Often, trial and error is the best way to determine what helps get you out of the door in the morning!

1 – START YOUR DAY THE RIGHT WAY

Are you running around like a headless chicken every morning, gulping down your coffee with no time to even breathe? If this is you, girl, you need to get yourself a morning routine!

If you start your day off in a manic environment, your mindset will most likely feel the same throughout, and that’s no fun for anyone, especially you.

Try to create the perfect morning and night routine. Whether you set your alarm that little bit earlier, have a shower the night before or take some time for a little meditation, start to create small changes which can help you achieve a more slower and peaceful morning.

2 – TREAT YOUR BODY WITH RESPECT

Your body is your home and it’s the only one you have, so treating it right is important. From your sleeping pattern to your eating habits, everything you do has an effect on your mind, body and health. Sure, you don’t have to become health-obsessed, but just being aware of how you’re feeling and making sure that you’re taking good care of yourself is a step in the right direction. For example, I’ve eaten 8 Mr Kipling cakes within the space of 10 minutes… I need to sort that out!

Sleep and eat well, stay hydrated, stretch your body, meditate and most importantly, breathe. Making changes like these has magical benefits!

3 – DON’T JUST DREAM, TAKE ACTION

Having a dream is great, but why just let it be simply that, a dream? Go and make it a reality! It’s so easy for us to sit there with our heads in our hands, staring into space, daydreaming about all the things we wish we could do, be or have when really, we should be actively pursuing.

Putting pen to paper and writing down your goals is effective. In a sense, it makes them more real and achievable. Go and grab yourself a notepad, start writing down all your desires, begin the journey and put everything into motion.

4 – USE YOUR PASSPORT

Travel is such an incredible opportunity in itself and it’s something which can nourish our minds, bodies and souls. Travel gives us the chance to explore, meet new people and discover, not only new places but things about ourselves. So many experiences are out there waiting to be experienced, and stepping out of what you know and seeing different parts of the globe is one of the most enriching adventures.

Don’t let your passport gather dust, use it!

5 – ACTIVELY PURSUE SELF LOVE

Sadly, self-love is something which takes a back seat far too often and should be a priority for us all. We live by times, dates and schedules, with places to go and people to see. Understandably, it’s easy to get caught up in the routine of life, forgetting to stop and focus on our inner selves.

Taking the time to check in with how you’re feeling is so important. Whether you have a spa day, movie night or take a walk by yourself, making the effort to spend time with you and you alone is vital. Make it your mission to take a moment to focus on your energy, and give yourself some well-deserved TLC. Make these positive changes for YOU and enjoy immersing yourself in pure love!

Whether you decide to follow one of these steps or all 5, live to be the best version of you there can be and enjoy making positive changes!

Ah, the dreaded Monday morning blues. We’ve all had them and what an absolute nuisance they are. Here are five ways to beat the Monday Blues.

CHANGE YOUR MINDSET

The attitude you choose to have each morning does determine how your day will pan out.

Try to see Monday morning as a chance to work towards your dreams and goals. A new week is a new opportunity to discover, learn and hustle your way to what you want.

Rather than chasing the weekend and wishing the week away, use your time well by staying optimistic and productive while using your ambitions as fuel. Actively choose to get yourself out of the Monday slump and make your mindset a positive space.

Once you start to think this way and make the conscious decision to be a determined girl/guy boss, your view of Monday will change!

For insightful tips on maintaining your mental well-being, explore this post.

BODY CLOCK

If your body clock is an utter mess, you’re bound to feel tired and delirious, and there’s nothing worse than feeling this way on a Monday morning when you need to be on your A-game! Whether it’s putting down your phone an hour before bed, choosing water over caffeine or ditching the nighttime snacks, small changes like these could make all the difference to the quality of your sleep, resulting in you feeling much more ready and fabulous for a Monday.

Rather than scrolling through Instagram or watching God knows what on YouTube late at night (let’s be honest, it’s probably dancing cats or something ridiculous), run yourself a candle-lit bath, sip on a peppermint tea or delve deep into a book instead. A good amount of snooze time is crucial for a good mood!

CHANGE YOUR CAREER

When it comes to careers, people sometimes feel that due to age or certain circumstances, they have to settle for any old thing, which is so far from the truth!

If you’re unhappy in your job, why stay? You’re perfectly capable and allowed to hunt for something else which will satisfy you more. Our jobs take up the majority of our lives, so finding something which fuels us from the inside out and makes us feel content, driven and happy is REALLY important.

Making change is never negative and it’s never too late to start something new. Imagine how different Monday mornings would be if we all did something we love. With a bit of hard work and hustle, it’s perfectly doable.

DON’T LIVE FOR THE WEEKENDS

Getting excited for the weekends is something we all naturally do, and that’s okay, but why can’t we have a blast on the weekdays too? We all know that time is a precious thing, so why on earth do we wish it away and why do we feel that the real fun can only begin on a Friday night?

Rather than waiting for the weekend to roll around, try to live in the moment and make every day as exciting as it can be. You could arrange evening drinks with the girls, a pamper night for yourself or you could even get involved in some new hobbies, there’s plenty!

EAT BREAKFAST

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and making sure that our minds and bodies are prepared and ready for the morning ahead is key. Having a nibble in the early AM can help concentration and boost energy levels, all of which are pretty important for your morning routine. So whether you prepare a fruit salad, scramble some eggs or make a smoothie packed with goodness, don’t leave your tummy rumbling and start the day off right!

[Image source: https://www.instagram.com/gallery_legit/]

Our interviewee today, Camille, started her entrepreneurial journey how many of us do – working 9 to 5 (what a way to make a living). She knew she had a message and mission to share but was afraid to take the leap.

Since taking that leap, Camille has found the freedom that allows her to do great work with both Camille Marie Coaching and sister business Sacred Sensual Soul which focuses on human sexuality.

Camille, as you can imagine, is filled with great wisdom – so let’s get into it…

HOC: Great to meet you, Camille . You started your journey to being an entrepreneur while working 9-5, is that right?

Camille: You too! Yes, you’re right. I started toying with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur around the Summer of 2016. I knew I had a message and mission to share but I was scared to take the leap and go out on my own. I’d been struggling with loving the work I did at the agency I worked for, but hated having to answer to the bureaucracy of an employer and being required to work a set schedule while raising three little boys. I’ve never been one who has worked well with a set schedule and wanted more freedom.

Since 2008 I’ve worked in social services and found it frustrating to always be limited by policies and procedures that didn’t always fit every situation for the clients I worked with. I’m a very creative and innovative person and if I saw a way something could be done better and challenged it, I would often times hear the reply, “this is how it’s always been done and will continue to be done”. If upper management did agree that my recommended changes were reasonable, the policy or procedure in question would have to go to some type of human resources or quality control department to review and make changes themselves, who had limited knowledge of what they were even working with. It was so frustrating for me.

HOC: And where did you go from that point of frustration?

Camille: I started baby steps over the next year and a half by building my websites, getting my LLC and developing documents I would need to run my businesses. Sometime around Spring 2018 I was notified by my employer that they were shutting down the program I was a part of. I was offered a position in another department, but I knew I wanted to continue the work I had been doing, and that I could do it on my own. I saw it as a sign from the universe that it was go time; that was the push I needed to branch off and really launch.

In August 2018 Camille Marie Coaching, LLC officially opened. It was terrifying, and exhilarating. I’m not sure I would have done it, at least not that soon if I had not been laid off from the position I had. That was a huge lesson to me that the universe creates what looks like obstacles, but are really doors opening if we allow ourselves to get uncomfortable and move through it.

I launched my second business Sacred Sensual Soul shortly after. Initially, I was going to have them both under one business name but got market feedback in a soft launch that it was weird to people to have sex coaching and parent coaching under the same business, so split them up into two separate ones. They function completely separately although over time I’ve been getting moms I’ve worked with as a parent coach initially, who then become clients for sex coaching.

HOC: Such an amazing progression. How did you get your businesses off the ground, who were your first clients?

Camille: My first business, Camille Marie Coaching (CMC), LLC got a contract with Washington State’s Children’s Administration in August 2018 to teach evidence based parenting classes to parents involved with Child Protective Services. For this contract, we serve families who have lost custody of their children due to abuse or neglect and have been court ordered to attend parenting classes in attempts to regain custody of their children. At that same time CMC began offering the same classes to the public sector as well, both in person and online. The online classes have been awesome to launch because it allows parents from literally anywhere in the world connect with me and has allowed more families access because of the easy accessibility. I’ve also noticed that some people just engage better when they have that veil of the screen between you and them. It’s just the world we are in today with technology. My agency also started offering trainings to foster care agencies on topics related to children such as anxiety in children. Because I had been in the industry so long, word spread quickly that I had an agency offering these great parenting classes and trainings.

Soon after this, CMC started offering additional programming to support families who have children with learning disabilities such as Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, as well as other diagnoses such as Anxiety, ADHD and Autism. Most of these children need specific accommodations in their school setting to be successful, and CMC works with the school staff to ensure that there is written documentation of the accommodations that child needs. CMC also helps come up with behaviour intervention techniques that will help the child thrive in school settings as well as at home.

HOC: What amazing work to be doing, but quite different from the work you do with Sacred Sensual Soul, as you mentioned…

Camille: I guess so! I’ve always been comfortable talking about and learning about human sexuality. In 2016 I started a Masters Program in Human Sexuality which gave me a lot of detail about female anatomy I had NO idea about.

It fascinated me that I had so little knowledge about my own body, ( didn’t even know what I didn’t know, until I knew!) and realized many other women were in the same boat. I took courses on communication in sexuality. I began to learn about what my turn on was. I studied almost obsessively about mind-body connection and became incredibly familiar with the philosophy of Tantra (which I use in my work with women) and the importance of mindfulness. I read all things divine goddess.

In the process I came across exercises and techniques to get more and more in touch with the body which in the process, led to a deep understanding that the body is a vessel to my own divine goddess. I also began coming up with my own techniques to connect mind, body and soul which was incredibly healing. Throughout this process I developed a knowing that if I could tap into that energy, it could be an endless source of vitality. I began sharing my ideas with friends, asking them to apply some of my concepts and exercises and had such good feedback!

That was when it became clear to me that I wanted to bring this information to other women as a practice. To help women heal, to feel empowered, to find their voice for their body, their temple, their needs, wants and desires. And so, Sacred Sensual Soul opened for clients the summer of 2018 as well. I have been working on an interactive workbook for women putting all of these ideas to paper, that I hope to one day publish.

HOC: It’s a very interesting topic and not one we hear too much about here in the UK.

Camille: I work with women to help undo any stigma they may have around their sexuality that may have been placed by society, religion, family messaging, or experiences with partners they’ve had. It’s astounding, and sad to me how many women have rejected their own feelings and desires due to conditioning from these sources. It’s astounding to me how much emphasis there is on the man’s needs, wants and desires, and yet women feel uncomfortable even being curious about, or asking for their own. When I work with women, I really try to help them feel comfortable with identifying things like figuring out what their turn on is; kink, intellectual conversation, romance, physical touch, quality time. This is so important for a woman to know, because it’s an example of how her desire matters, and this knowledge can then give them a voice to ask for what they need to actually want to, or look forward to intimacy with their partner.

I teach women how to identify what about intimacy they enjoy, (and how to speak up about what they don’t!) and to practice that so that the focus isn’t on orgasm alone. Through this process I give them tools to learn how to embrace, honour and get in touch with their body, so that they learn that mind-body connection IS their source of their sexuality and it doesn’t have to come from someone else. Often times I will give women homework of doing some of the exercises I was talking about before to learn to connect with their body. For example, teaching women how to do breast massage. I will encourage them to make it a part of a routine in their day, such as after getting out of the shower. I’ll suggest they use a lotion or oil that smells good to them so that it is another way they are intentionally serving themselves. This may sound trivial, or nonsensical. However, the breasts are a beautiful gift to women that can be honored as a piece of their femininity. Not only is breast massage a way to take a moment to slow down and serve your inner goddess, it circulates the lymphatic system, and can also provide self pleasure. For women who are not comfortable with their bodies, this simple exercise, with the intentions can be helpful with that. I love that it requires no one else.

A huge part of the shift towards empowerment that sex coaching gives women, is to learn how to communicate with their partners. It is not uncommon that many couples can have sex, but are uncomfortable communicating about it which can result often times in a woman’s needs/wants/desires to go unmet. I’ve found often times that when a woman opens up communication with her partner about these things to honor herself, he is more than happy to oblige.

I also help women learn to turn within for their own sexual gratification, and power. Rather than relying on what family thinks, or even their partner. This helps women to learn to connect with their inner goddess and let her guide how they show up each day. The book, Pussy, A Reclamation by Regena Thmashauer is a great resource for more information about that.

HOC: Being someone that has worked in a number of fields, how did you know that what you do now was right for you?

Camille: I’ve always loved working with families and children. Even before college, I worked at a preschool and loved babysitting as a teenager. I always knew I would work with youth in some way. When I learned about the parenting classes curriculum I knew it would be perfect fit for me and have done it for the past 11 years. It’s been easy for me to continue that work in my own business.

For the work with Sacred Sensual Soul, as I mentioned, I’ve always been fascinated by human sexuality and comfortable talking about it. When I had my spiritual awakening start in 2016, I noticed that I started to let go of what society around me had told me I “should” feel, act, dress and respond in regard to my sexuality. And when I say sexuality, I mean my inner goddess, my divine soul, my true nature…I wanted all of me to be in alignment instead of how I thought I “should” be. As I began to educate myself on female anatomy, female orgasm and pleasure, societal conditioning, the trauma women endure from suppressing their truth, it all came down to this innate piece in women needing to be seen and understood; their sexuality. Because it can be the powerhouse of every female.

I learned through my awakening how powerful it can be to have a deeper understanding of all of those things and harness the power that comes from knowledge about one’s self in this area. I knew it was a calling to share this information with other women. It was like I HAD to do it.

That purpose gets stronger the more women I work with and, the more I learn about the different journeys that bring so many women to the same space of just craving a deeper understanding and knowing about their bodies and sexuality. So many women think there’s something wrong with them and a little education and undoing of social conforming goes a really long way! I’m still working on my interactive workbook that I know will be so educational and moving.

HOC: Really fascinating businesses you run. We imagine that it’s not always been smooth sailing; what challenges have you had to overcome to build your business?

Camille: One challenge I’ve had in being such a small agency, is that I’ve had to learn to do a lot of things that are not strengths of mine. If something is not a strength of mine, I tend to put off taking care of it which can have negative impacts.

To overcome this, I’ve really learned to hone in on what I can delegate to others, so things don’t pile up. I’ve hired an accountant to handle my billing and now have a virtual assistant to manage things that are just not in my wheelhouse.

At first it was hard for me to do, asking others to do things for me. But I’ve learned that it allows more creative space for me, and gives me the time and freedom to focus on what I am good at and can grow my businesses more. These investments have been tremendously helpful so that I don’t get bogged down on details that I’m not good at.

Another challenge I’ve had is that I’m a mom to 3 little boys who is driven by her career, and also doesn’t want to miss a moment of my children’s life. I have to constantly be weighing each day. This is where time blocking is helpful.

HOC: Great advice! For our readers looking to start out on their own, what would you say?

Camille: Know that it’s scary in the beginning. And you WILL get resistance. Lean into it. Don’t let the challenges convince you that it means you’re not doing what your soul knows is right for you. If you have passion burning inside of you for something, if you have an idea, you have the ability. The universe wouldn’t give you the idea if you couldn’t do it.

Don’t listen to the nay-sayers. There will always be someone who will try to convince you otherwise.

It is helpful to write out exactly what you want. Refer out work that is not in your wheelhouse as soon as you can, however you can, so that those things you suck at and put off don’t slow you down. Do this by hiring people, or if you can’t afford that yet, do a trade or find a high school or college student who will do it for low cost.

HOC: You have such an energy, where do you get your inspiration from?

Camille: I get my inspiration from women in my everyday life who are examples to me of shining their light. For example, my natural path doctor, Dr. Kellie Lawler who is fierce and knows how to be soft, and give tough love at the same time is an inspiration to me. Or my friend Michelle Green who is an empath, and amazing mother, is an inspiration to me.

There’s also my son’s 3rd grade teacher who embraced the challenges he put in front of her with love, is an inspiration to me. My mom, who always sees beauty in nature is an inspiration to me. My grandmother who was always good to everyone is an inspiration to me. And finally, my cousin Lysa who is always standing her ground is an inspiration to me.

I also get inspiration from nature. I always find peace, and inspiration in nature. I plan quarterly “mommycations” where I find a cabin in the mountains and go for a weekend, typically by myself to just connect with nature and unwind.

HOC: And finally, how do you get yourself out of a creative funk?

Camille: I tend to get in a funk when I have too much going on in my life and can’t get my head clear. When this happens I’ll look at my schedule and usually see I’ve gotten a bit sloppy about time blocking and will then work on making that a priority again.

I’ve learned that for me it is crucial that I have time in the morning to work out, meditate and be calm before I get my day going. Days that I start off like this are my most productive.

I think it’s important for someone to know when they do best with getting their creative juices flowing. For some people, it’s in the AM, and for others, it’s in the PM. I do best with creativity in the evening after my kids have gone to bed, with a glass of wine. I think this works best for me because I know that I have no time constraints and it’s a peaceful time in my home.

Find out more about Camille’s work at CamilleMarieCoaching.com and SacredSensualSoul.com

Have you been enjoying our #GirlBossesofGreatBritain interviews? One of the key themes we keep hearing about is how being your own boss involves a lot of learning. Whether you are your own boss, would like to be or simply want to channel your inner #GirlBoss when planning your next group holiday, we can help.

Welcome to the #GBOGB BootCamp, ladies!

Each week we’ll be sharing some top tips on places to go for more inspo and might even set you some homework, if you are up for it (get those gel pens at the ready!)

Workout One: Love Yourself!

Self-help has some seriously bad rap. Don’t get us wrong a lot of it is about as accomplished and meaningful as the guy spitting some bars on the back of the bus. But self-help is not all about crystals and chakras or power poses (while these things can help if you believe in them!) but finding that place, movie, playlist or book that says something to you.

Here are three of our top sources of ‘Love Yourself’ inspo, with snippy tweet length reviews to whet your appetite:

Love Yourself Reading:

Radical Self-Love by Gala Darling

Gala is a mystical being and self love is her bag. This means whatever you want: meditation, a great squad and the power of a good selfie.

Love Yourself Listening:

Venus Fly by Grimes and Janelle Monae

Oh this song. We hear girl gangs stomping against the male gaze. That may just be our interpretation. Blooming good song all the same.

Love Yourself Watching:

Begin Again, 2013

This is an unexpected, feel good delight discovered on Netflix. Watch and see another side of Keira. Glow inside. Then watch Chef. You are welcome.

What did we miss out? Join the conversation on Twitter and tell us your secret #GirlBoss weapons…

Anybody that has been a pet owner or played with a dog knows that interactions with animals have something magical. Spending some time with these creatures can even be a healing experience. Currently, animal-assisted therapy is being used to address the substance abuse issue. It can even help individuals find healing and hope during the intense process of recovery.

Animals have a healing impact that acts as a medicinal tool. And, it has been used by people across the world for centuries. Caring for a horse or basking with a loving dog can provide incredible psychological and emotional benefits. A person that is undergoing treatment for substance use disorder may find the incorporation of animal-assisted therapy in their treatment useful. The love and warmth of animals can aid their recovery journey significantly.

Animal-Assisted Therapy Explained

The first thing that comes to the mind of most people on realizing that they need help with addiction is finding free help for alcoholics. Although some of these individuals own pets, they don’t know that these animals can benefit them in their recovery process. However, the relationship that a person has with a pet is not what experts call animal-assisted therapy.

Animal-assisted therapy is a treatment method in the rehabilitation of different conditions and illnesses. When it comes to substance use disorders, AAT refers to the recreational or therapeutic activities that help a person to benefit from the healing power of the time spent with animals. Animal-assisted therapy shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone treatment. Instead, it should be used with other programs for addiction treatment and recovery.

Animal-Assisted Therapy’s Best Practices for Substance Abuse

The popularity of animal-assisted therapy is growing, especially the use of dogs in inpatient treatment facilities. However, it shouldn’t replace other evidence-based treatment programs like counseling and detoxification.

So, owning a dog shouldn’t mean that a person doesn’t need free addiction help. True animal-assisted therapy requires the help of a certified professional that has undergone specialized training. With proper training and experience of this professional, the safety of the dog and the patient is ensured. What’s more, a certified professional has the necessary skills and experience to make this therapy more effective. Additionally, AAT should be tied to the treatment progress of the patient and be goal-directed.

How Animal-Assisted Therapy Helps in the Recovery of Addicts

When recovering from drug addiction, individuals face several mental, emotional, and physical obstacles. Alcoholism or addiction changes how the brain functions. That’s because alcohol and drugs cause artificial stimulation of receptors and neurotransmitters.

AAT provides a natural and safe way of re-establishing the natural pathways of neuro-chemical in the brain. When a person rides a horse or plays with a pet like a dog, their brain pleasure receptors are stimulated by this interaction. This releases strong mood-enhancing chemicals. Consequently, a person develops good routines and habits that reduce their alcohol or drug dependence.

Some of the benefits that the recovering addicts and pets get from animal-assisted therapy sessions include:

● Reduction of anxiety, stress, and depression ​
​● Increased feelings of happiness and calm ​
​● Companionship ​​
​● Learning how to connect with other people ​
​● Opening up and addressing the hidden feelings ​
​● Enhanced physical activity ​
​● Learning to establish healthy interactions ​
​● Building trust ​

Different animals can be used for this therapy. Common among them include dogs, horses, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, pigs, Llamas, rats, and Alpacas. Nevertheless, the most popular animals for this therapy are dogs. Equine therapy is also becoming increasingly popular. This entails interactions with horses when undergoing treatment for substance abuse.

Most Effective Animals for AAT

No research has compared the effectiveness of various animals and recovering addicts. As such, there is no evidence showing that certain animals are more beneficial than others when used for AAT. Consequently, most individuals believe that every therapy animal is effective.

But, the incorporation of different animals into a free drug addiction treatment process has numerous advantages. Here are some of the popular animals for AAT and their benefits.

Canine-Assisted Therapy

Dogs are naturally interactive, gentle, and highly observant. The best dogs for this therapy are trained for this specific purpose. This makes them ideal for patients to play with, groom, and feed. When patients interact with these dogs, they confront past addictive behaviors. The presence of dogs relieves stress while helping them acquire communication skills and self-esteem.

Equine Therapy

This entails engaging in beneficial activities with a horse. Such activities include grooming, handling, riding, and walking. When a horse observes human emotions, they respond to different feelings, including anxiety, sadness, anger, and happiness. Thus, patients get immediate feedback regarding their state from their interaction with a horse. They also learn to address and confront negative feelings while developing healthy strategies for coping with triggers.

Feline-Facilitated Therapy

A cat is a companion animal. Having a cat during a therapy session, as well as, in a free drug rehabilitation center can reduce depression, anger, and other negative feelings. It can also help in the development of social skills. The presence of a cat can also make the recovering addict feel supported emotionally while undergoing treatment.

Are Animals the Best Therapists?

Research has shown that a therapy dog’s presence in psychiatric addiction ward influences treatment positively. Patients see a behavioral change possibility and the atmosphere gets more pleasant. The effectiveness of drug rehabilitation animal therapy has made some individuals believe that animals can be the best therapists. Nevertheless, a pet and a therapy animal are different.

The therapy animals that are used in AAT are trained, friendly, calm, and social. These animals are clean, well-groomed, and they undergo health checks regularly. They are also capable of adapting their behaviors to different environments. What’s more, they help patients experience the happiness that comes with having a pet without the stress of taking care of it full-time.

Having these animals comes with many benefits. For instance, a pet owner enjoys their companionship around the clock. This enables a recovering addict to avoid negative feelings of stress, depression, and loneliness. Nevertheless, owning a pet is not the same as getting the organized care that AAT animals and professionals provide.

The Bottom Line

Animal-assisted therapy shows the animals’ role in the prevention of addiction and recovery. However, AAT is not designed to work as a stand-alone therapy. It should be combined with the other treatments of free substance abuse programs. It should also be monitored by professionally trained and experienced experts to be effective.