After 6 years, Me Spot retreats are now rather infamous and lots of people ask what occurs during our weekends away. Our mantra is always ‘what happens on the retreat stays on the retreat’. So without giving everything away, here’s a rare insight into the fun, laughter and camaraderie, as well as some of the planning.
For the first time, I am writing this pretty much live as it happens.
Almost ready for the off!
There’s always a heart-in-the mouth moment when I wonder if everything will fit in to my little car: exercise mats, banners, cooking equipment, books blackboards, CD players (I’m old school)…the list is endless. Somehow we always manage it… although we have travelled with our knees to our chests on more than one occasion. Worcestershire here we come!
I love this bit. There’s nothing more exciting than arriving at a retreat property for the first time and exploring. This one is spectacular. It’s huge and so beautifully furnished with pretty colours, squidgy sofas and wonderful views. Claudia, our Me Spot chef, adores her kitchen and is even growing to love cooking on an aga. Marcia has her eye on the hot tub – I can see where that is going if past retreats are anything to go by. G & T anyone?
Never been happier!
After last year’s delivery turning up in London, 200 miles away from where I needed it, I am mightily relieved to see this….and there’s lots of it. 120 eggs, 14 pints of milk and 8 kilos of potatoes…it goes on! Just need to put it all away now and then Claudia will spring into action to produce something warming and wonderful ready for when everyone arrives. There’s a vegetarian cottage pie with winter greens on the menu for tonight followed by baked pineapple and salted caramel ice cream. Friday night comfort food of the highest order!
The big unwind.
It didn’t take long to settle in. This is what retreats are all about: relaxing and doing whatever you please in the company of some amazing women. The chatter is wonderful to hear and the laughter is infectious as it rings out through the house. One of the joys of the retreat is getting to know other like-minded women and discovering some of the amazing things they have done. It’s going to be another very special weekend.
Saturday morning at its best.
Stretch class complete and breakfast is ready. We’re fuelling up in anticipation of a bracing walk in the country. After torrential rain throughout the morning, the skies have cleared. As we head up and down dale, across fields, over stiles and through kissing gates (we took them at their word!) the sun shine breaks through. Once again the weather seems to be looking out for us and not a rain drop falls in the two hours we are out. I have certainly worked up an appetite.
Shopping or pampering or chilling – what will it be?
Exertion over, and after a lovely lunch, it’s time for the afternoon’s ‘activities’. Louise, our beauty therapist, has arrived ready to relax and rejuvenate our lovely ladies. No doubt curling up with a good book will be appealing to some while for others, there’s a bit of retail therapy. They are heading over to Pershore, a beautiful little village not far away, with its medieval abbey, founded in 689AD by King Oswald. Today it’s also apparently famous for its plums which are made into delicious chutney. I wonder how many shopping bags they will come back with today?
The fun starts here!
Pre-dinner drinks followed by a 4 course dinner and some riveting, and sometimes risqué, conversation is the perfect way to round off a perfect day. The ladies decide that tonight’s entertainment would be a quiz, lead by Marcia gameshow mistress extraordinaire. The ‘Worcester Sauces’ (TBH I think they should win on choice of name alone) headed up by Annie, are going head to head with the ‘Excelsior’, headed up by Debs. The competition is fierce and the quiz mistress extraordinaire was forced to maintain order by to resorting to issuing penalty points for unruly behaviour. In the end the Worcester Sauces spiced up proceedings by winning, leaving ‘ever upward’ Excelsior more than a bit deflated. They beat a hasty retreat in the bedroom direction.
Let’s hit the town.
Today it’s off to Stratford-on Avon with all of its culture and heritage. There’s also good shopping, pretty scenery: something for everyone in fact. I have it on good authority that there’s a great café culture too so I am sure there will be opportunities aplenty for coffee and cake.
As we wait for the ladies to return, the smell of Sunday roast is wafting around the kitchen. Claudia is finishing on a high with a yummy roast beef and all the trimmings. She has done such an incredible job this weekend as she always does, producing fresh, healthy food sprinkled with a little bit of naughtiness here and there of course! And all of that with lashings of humour – a rare combination – so happy to have her on board.
As I publish this, the weekend is drawing to a close. Just one more evening and we’ll be heading back to London. How quickly the weekend has passed but how long the memories will live on. The theme for the weekend was Moments of Meaning and from where I have been standing there have been those in abundance. A very special times with a very special group of ladies.