A few years ago, with 2 school age children, a lively and successful husband, a busy freelance career featuring a ‘World Summit’ to organise and Chair of the School Parent Association (a full-on role in its own right!), I recognised I needed some ‘ME’ time. So instead of doing something simple like booking myself in for a manicure or a massage, I decided I wanted to visit a country I’d never been to before, to learn something I’d never tried before, with a group of friends. Why not, I had plenty of time on my hands after all!
I bravely took a leap of faith and booked a Riad for 16 in the desert in Marrakech with yoga; culture; hammams; laughter and gin thrown in for good measure and I kept my fingers crossed. It sold out in less than 2 weeks and the weekend exceeded my expectations on so many levels and the feedback was truly wonderful - Unbeknown to be at the time that this would be the start of an amazing journey for me.
Over the last few years, I have come to realise that whilst my maths hasn’t improved with age... my love of researching beautiful retreat spaces; teachers and activities really excites me and seeing first hand the positive effects of connecting women with one-another has been incredibly rewarding. We’ve tried new things together; we’ve shared life stories (not obligatory of course), we’ve made time to re-evaluate where we’re at in our lives by discussing what really matters and reprioritising where necessary. We’ve also thought about what makes us feel at our happiest and how to ensure we make time for more of it. We’ve laughed lots, we’ve even cried on some occasions and one thing is for certain, we’ve made great friends and new connections on both personal and professional levels.
This isn’t just a ‘nice’ thing to do... (although it is really lovely that’s true) ... in my opinion, taking a short break, or slightly longer if you can, either by yourself, or with a friend or your sister or your mum should be an essential part of your wellbeing plan and this is a great way to start! As one of my brothers told me, Ruth “build the roof while the sun’s shining”, which is exactly what I’m trying to do for myself too through these retreats. Why not make yourself a priority today too, don’t wait for permission or the timing to be right, as it never will be - get something into your diary and start investing in your future self. I really hope you consider joining me on one of my forthcoming retreats – it would be lovely to welcome you.
My back story to add some gravitas, on the off chance you’re still reading this?!
My DREAM as a young girl from North Wales was to wear a navy blue suit and work in London – aspirational hey! I was offered my first job during a ‘Cowboys & Indians’ party with a starting date 3 days after my final exam. Suit required - TICK. This was at a London based (TICK) commercial conference company as a ‘temp’ marketer specialising in ‘cold calling & sending faxes’ (which bizarrely I enjoyed and was groundbreaking stuff back then!). I then moved on to become an Event Coordinator, sorting out the myriad of logistical challenges for over 40 events a year across the UK and abroad.
After a few years of crack of dawn starts and twit twoo finishes (oh to be young again), I moved into the Conference Production role. I loved the autonomy of researching my own events, seeking new themes and selecting compelling speakers – I eagerly listened to every talk and came away with new conference material and future speaker ideas almost every time. 11 years later, I achieved Divisional Director status at what was now a FTSE listed company (still is!), managing a team of marketers, producers and organisers in the Pharmaceutical Sector. I totally embraced the strategic and HR development side, but if I’m being honest, I dreaded the looming board meetings ... I’m better at words than figures!
On the arrival of my second child and weighing up the hours; the commuting, travelling to conferences; the childcare; the stress of relying on trains and the finances etc etc.. I recognised it was time to take stock and decide what was more important to me and our family and made the decision to move into a more flexible freelancing role, which comes with its own highs and lows, but was without question the best decision I have ever made.
My VISION going forward is RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW .... launching my own thing, yikes, ‘enthusiastic learner’ comes to mind! Whilst I’m not particularly good at blowing my own trumpet (I don’t know many women who are), but I’m working on it, I hope I’ve reassured you that I’ve got quite a bit of experience and that you can trust me to create a unique retreat experience with you in mind ... and now breathe x