Meet the team

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The Shine Retreats Team - Co Founders

Shine Retreats is a collaboration of passions, we do this with a health, creativity and sustainability mindset. Balance is key, we work hard doing the stuff that brings us joy. As much as we are not a woman only team and do have men working behind the scenes, we are consciously in support of women and what we like to call a sustainable business model. Does our work look after us, our teams, our clients, our community, our planet? We make decisions looking into these factors, we do this with gentle care and communication.

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Carla Octigan
Carla is the founding owner of Shine Holistic in London, she created her first business in 2003 by combining her passion and belief in complimentary health with her skills as a hairdresser.

Qualifying as a Shiatsu Practitioner and opening Shine, London in 2003 allowed her to choose the best practitioners to work beside. Quality was the key ingredient, now, we invite our practitioners not only from Shine but from our wider health & wellness community. “Community is my passion, creating an authentic and sustainable business model is not an option but an absolute must for me”

The green heart of the Umbrian countryside and a lovingly restored farmhouse, ‘Siliano Alto’ have become home to her dream adventure. To have the opportunity to create this vision with her Bestie, Natalie has been the cherry on top of the icing on of the cake…

Carla is the ultimate host, a passionate foodie, she knows the best spots for ice cream, coffee and hot springs. Never a dull moment and always looking forward, you are in safe hands when in her company and she will be delighted to welcome you on retreat.


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Natalie Jackson
Natalie is the Co-Owner of Siliano Alto and one of the co-founders of Shine Retreats.
Natalie and Carla met on their first day of primary school and although oceans apart, they have been inseparable ever since.  Though having very different lives, they both developed interests in the complimentary health worlds. Joining forces to realise the dream of working side by side, she is the calm in Carla’s storm. The two make an unstoppable duo and they live this reality with gratitude and joy.
Natalie has an extensive background in corporate project management and staff wellbeing. She is a professional kinesiologist with over 15 years experience and enjoys assisting clients on their path towards physical and emotional wellness. She has recently trained as a yoga teacher, adding further depth to her modality and clinical protocols.
Natalie brings not only her organisational skills to the table but an incredible awareness of others. Her gentleness allows space for others to be, while constantly being a grounding presence.

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Sophie McNicholas
Sophie is the 3rd Co-founder of Shine Retreats along with Carla and Natalie.
Sophie met Carla when she began working at Shine London, firstly as part of the reception team but has now been managing our health clinics in London since 2015.

She began her journey in the Holistic health world in 2010 training as a massage practitioner, in 2012, she received a Distinction in her Practical for her level 4 Sports Massage Diploma. Later she qualified in Hydrotherm Massage, Reiki Level 2 and Myofascial Release. She intends to travel to Thailand soon, to get away from Swedish winters (where she lives) to study Thai Massage next.

With a creative background in singing, music and acting, she is curious as to how a creative process can be nurturing and healing. She is very much the driving force behind our creative retreats, bringing a genuine passion and openness to any process. Her daily commitment to journaling is visible in her clear headedness and thought processes and we are eagerly awaiting her first book. No pressure Sophie 😉

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Michelle McKenzie

Michelle has been connected to Shine, London for many years and although working remotely, she has remained one of our most popular nutritionists. This is due to her continued commitment into research and staying at the forefront of what is happening in the science and developments of the holistic health world.  

Food plays a major role in all our retreats but on our Regeneration Retreat, Michelle takes food and the role it plays in longevity and health to the next level.

She will gently guide you through making the changes needed to bring your body into balance, it's about understanding your body's responses to food and developing sustainable healthy habits.


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Rehana Kapadia

Rehana has been working alongside Shine for 20 years now, her thoughtful and considered words and actions bring a groundedness to her treatments as well as our shared, communal times.

The skills of a Cranial Osteopath may seem like magic to some but with a strong basis in medical science it is anything but. A treatment with Rehana is truly a holistic experience, treatments may appear gentle of touch but can help the body on many deeper levels.
Joining us in Italy allows Rehana to spend more therapeutic time with you, being able to work daily if needed to gently guide the body towards health.

She will also, always be up for a cold water dip before breakfast.

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Becky Clarke

We describe Becky as Pure Joy, she brings a light-hearted and playful energy to our team, open and kind, her laughter can often be heard coming through the windows.

With over 25 years of training and practice behind her, she brings a deep understanding of the body and is able to listen and respond to what is happening for you today. Blending elements of all the approaches she has learnt over the years, she approaches each massage as a conversation and a way to connect.

“The collaborative care of each guest is what makes this retreat so special”

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Aga Lesiewicz

Aga is our resident writer at Siliano Alto, joining our team almost from day one, her writing retreats have been super popular. In May 2024, she will be joining forces with Carla to host our first writing through cancer retreat.
Having worked in various creative industries within television and radio, it was a knee injury that forced a change of career and her life as a writer emerged.
Her two psychological thrillers ‘Rebound’ and ‘Exposure’ have been published by Pan Macmillan. A feature animated film based on her screenplay is currently in pre-production. She writes full time and is now working on her third London-based psychological thriller as well as a historical novel.

Aga has an MA in English from the University of Warsaw and an MPhil in English Literature from the University of Lancaster.

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Georgie Chester

Georgie has been part of the London Shine family for many years, upon hearing about our Italian retreat plans she jumped at the chance to join us in Italy.   Having both many years of bodywork training and Pilates, she has become a valuable member of Shine Retreats.

When on retreat she is usually first up, offering you a morning wake up class, her deep knowledge of the body  and it's movement allow her to tailor, not only your one to one massage sessions but also her Pilates and movement classes.

She has qualifications in Aromatherapy, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Pregnancy and Holistic Massage, alongside Reflexology, Reiki and Lymphatic Drainage. She is able to combine her decades of knowledge and skills into each treatment and find ways of reaching difficult to reach areas.


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Nicola Forward works with Aga on the Beautiful, Precious Me Retreat

Nicola, our Amatsu bodyworker and Tai Chi practitioner first met Aga post Aga’s initial surgery for breast cancer. Aga immediately felt the benefit of working with Nicola and thus we have chosen Nicola to be our bodywork and movement specialist on our cancer retreat.
She discovered the benefits of Tai Chi as a young mother with three energetic boys, the classes literally allowed her to feel and keep her feet grounded in the here and now. She graduated to teaching in 2015 receiving her Instructor Certificate and registered with Tai Chi Union of Great Britain (TCUGB). 
With both Tai Chi and Amatsu you are gently and slowly exploring the edges of our range of movement with interested curiosity.  Always staying within our comfort zone, easing into improved wellbeing.