eATING FOR ENERGYAs I walked into Carpe Diem the brightly coloured book jumped out at me. As a book lover, I always find myself drawn to books. As a food lover, I always seem to spot the cookery ones. Carpe Diem is neither a book shop nor a restaurant. It’s a therapy centre on the outskirts of Bristol currently run by Amanda Staples and Liz Phillips.

I pick up the book and flick through the pages. Yummy recipes and delicious photos of cacao energy balls.  I know this is my kind of cookery book. It combines feel good healthy food with easy to make recipes.

Amanda's yummy energy balls

Amanda’s yummy energy balls

It strikes me that learning how to cook food that gives you energy might be a very good subject for a retreat. So, I make enquiries. The book has been written by Amanda Staples who is smiling out at me on the notice board from a clip in the local magazine The Downend Voice  where she was recently featured.

The story behind the book is intriguing. In 2009, not long after Amanda had launched Carpe Diem she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She had just opened her new business and was juggling the many plates business owners discover when working for themselves.

Carpe Diem Therapy Centre

Carpe Diem Therapy Centre

I arrange to meet Amanda. She comes into the room with a cacao energy ball in her hand and places it down in front of me to try. “I made them this morning before I came to work,” she says. I get the feeling that I am going to like this meeting. Any meeting with good chocolate usually goes down well. I am already impressed by the fact that Amanda has had the energy to do any cooking before starting work. I make a mental note to start using some of the recipes in her book.

I save my energy ball for the end of the meeting and start to talk to Amanda. She tells me how difficult it was to keep going when she was first diagnosed. Any new business owner will tell you how hard it is to start off. Combine that with a condition that makes you feel like you have no energy and it’s no easy feat. At first, Amanda started snacking to get rid of the tiredness caused by the condition and find the instant energy to keep her going while she taught Pilates and co-ran the therapy centre. She tried various techniques and therapies, trying to keep the condition under control.

Eventually, Amanda attended a retreat where she discovered that changing the way she ate made an enormous difference in managing the condition. For Amanda, there was no looking back. She began to experiment with food, cutting refined sugar, amongst other things, out of her diet. She used herself as a guinea pig and alongside her full time business, she began to explore, research and cook. As a result of changing her diet, Amanda found that she had more energy. She began to eat food that her body responded to.  Someone suggested she put her recipes into a book and Eating for Energy was born.  As well as an informative introduction that tells you why some foods are so much better for you than others,  Amanda’s recipes are free from refined sugar, dairy, wheat and meat. Although the recipes are all meat free, they are adaptable to add chicken and fish if required.

Now Amanda feels so much better that she classes herself as a ‘recovering fatiguer’. Sitting opposite this bright bubbly lady, I find it hard to imagine that she once had very little energy. She’s active and lively and even makes cacao energy balls before breakfast. It’s clear that what she does works.

We finish talking and I dive into my energy ball. I’ve been eyeing it up out of the corner of my eye during the meeting. It’s got a lot to live up to. I pop it into my mouth. I am not disappointed. The taste of cocao floods into my mouth, it’s sweet but I know it’s not refined sugar. I close my eyes and imagine I am somewhere exotic. When I’ve finished, I feel like I’m ready for the next challenge.


Amanda StaplesAs well as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Amanda is also a Pilates Instructor. She has worked in the complementary health sector since 2000 and has now decided to combine her skills to run Rejuvenation Retreats.

On these retreats, Amanda will be showing participants how to manage their energy levels through optional Pilates classes, eating the right food, colour breathing and meditation. Amanda knows the benefits of eating food that gives you real energy, rather than food that gives you a quick fix and will be sharing this knowledge with you.

woodland walk in the grounds

The retreat takes place at the beginning of March at the beautiful Penny Brohn Centre on the outskirts of Bristol. If you have never visited the Penny Brohn Centre, it’s one of those places that makes you feel relaxed almost as soon as you walk through the door.   They have created an amazing atmosphere of peace and calm that wipes away any stress you may have walked in with within minutes. The gardens are beautiful and if you fancy some time to yourself there’s a library where you can tuck yourself away to read, write or just simply chill out.

Time to relax in the library

Time for yourself in the library

Tea, coffee and caffeine free alternatives will be available.

And, you will have access to the beautiful grounds that are looked after and maintained by the many volunteers at the centre.


3rd – 5th March 2017

  • 2 nights full board accommodation in an en-suite room with a double bed
  • 2 days of activities*
  • Home cooked delicious energy-giving food including evening meal on arrival, breakfast, lunch and evening meal on Saturday, breakfast and lunch on Sunday
  • Expert tips and advice on how to eat for energy
  • Support from Amanda Staples, an experienced therapist
  • Time and space to relax
  • Tea, coffee and caffeine free alternatives
  • Use of the library, sanctuary room, gardens and other facilities at the Penny Brohn Centre
  • Membership of the private Facebook group

    Space to relax and just be

    Space to relax and just be

*Activities included:

  • Pilates,
  • Meditation,
  • Colour breathing
  • Mindfulness walk around the grounds (weather permitting),
  • Eating for Energy tips and technique
Take a walk in the grounds

Take a walk in the grounds


The total cost of the retreat is £395.00 inclusive of everything  outlined above.

Book today for the early bird price of £375.00

Payment options are also available

Additional treatments are available and can be pre-booked if required.

To book your place:

Call Amanda on 07815 88 67 98 or to email click here Contact Rebecca

You can find more information on the website  REJUVENATION RETREAT

This article first appeared on European Coaching Retreats