After months of confinement and curfews, it seems to me the things we are all missing are not only the big things, like travel, but also simple pleasures like eating food someone else has prepared and spending time (like before) in the company of friends. Keeping ourselves well and boosting our immune systems should be top priority right now too.

Enter one minibreak: Winter Detox Weekend. 

Invited by a friend, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew I wanted to recharge and treat myself to a little Me Time without having to get on a train or to risk passing through an airport. 

Ahead of time, our host Christine explained we’d need to provide a negative PCR test in order to participate, which felt hugely reassuring. It also meant that when we arrived we could hug each other for the first time in nearly a year. The weekend had gotten off to a good start.

Christine welcomed us three with teas and treats and showed us to our crisp private-suite accommodation (the upside of a small group). She explained what was on offer each day and we changed clothes for our first Stretch Session, followed by Mindfulness. I’m not great at that and tend to write shopping lists in my head which I berate myself for – totally missing any calming effect. But this was different and the ten minutes was perfectly timed.

Two of us opted for soups at night – served by the fire. Food tastes better when someone else pays attention to those textures and flavours. I’m in heaven.

Saturday started with yoga, the sun flooded in on us and even the cat smiled.

After a nutritious breakfast / cookery demonstration we headed out for a hike and made the most of the fab weather. I had no idea this walk existed despite living only 8km away!

The views made us reach for our phone-cameras and suddenly 90 minutes had breezed by…

Hmmm must be time for lunch.

While our host rustled that up on the terrace, we investigated the pool (yes my bonkers buddies like cold-water swimming!) and for me the sauna. I’d forgotten how much I love a sauna. Without any planning we’d all packed a classic black one-piece and pretended to be the three wise monkeys before lunch. As you do.

A delicious selection of sliced, grated, soaked, chopped and colourful mixed vegetarian fare awaited us – a delight for the eyes and tastebuds. We talk about never leaving…

Our afternoon is spent alternating between the pool and sauna – I skip the cold water part in favour of a full-body massage indoors. My spa experience is complete.

A Stretch & Mindfulness session round off our activities for this day, and we enjoy a different soup, all cosy by the fire, with a few games of Rummikub to follow.

Pilates is a very civilized way to start a Sunday, and after breakfast a different hike, but the same perfect Riviera weather. We are blessed out in the fresh air and after a couple of hours we have worked up an appetite and saunter back for another al fresco lunch.

When I arrived I only knew one of the other ladies, but spending quality time together like this, I leave feeling like I’ve made friends too. We’ve shared a little bit of normal life in our healthy detox bubble. We’ve exercised and eaten well, we’ve told stories and swapped recipes and somehow a weekend away makes everything seem lighter and possible. 

We dragged our feet packing bags and leaving for the outside world. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat.