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  • catherine

10 more things I learnt from hosting a retreat...

My intention with my previous post was very much a practical one, to share what we did on our week and entice you to joining the next one. But it all got rather deep and meaningful and … A cathartic reflection on what the week really brought me at a far deeper level.

So here are the practical bits!

1. I learnt that I know a lot about wild food. I may not have a bunch of certificates to prove that (although my Nutrition qualifications shouldn’t be overlooked in terms of knowing what all these nutrients actually do in the body and how and why we can use them!) For some reason I always assume that everyone knows at least half as much as I do, but actually they don’t. Petra and I taught people how to identify wild raspberries, nettles (excellent sources of nutrition by the way), yarrow, St John’s Wort, red clover and a multitude of other herbs. We identified edible (and inedible) mushrooms and berries and, you’ll be pleased to hear, stuck to only the edible varieties in our cooking!

2. I learned new skills for preserving, thanks to Petra. I often felt like a bit of a fraud when talking nutrition but using heaps of sugar in my own preserves (in my defence, no, all the goodness does not disappear and there are most definitely still health benefits to them) but now I can make them without and use that knowledge to help support my clients on their health journeys too.

3. I learned some new yoga from the fantastic Christa Maynard who took us through some routines almost daily. I (re)learned that I love yoga and must find a way to get it back into my life despite living literally miles away from a yoga studio.

4. I learned even more about herbs from our local herbalist, Sophie. Not only identifying new ones on our 500m walk from the door (do not be fooled, it took us hours as there is SO MUCH to see!) but also how to use them more effectively in teas and by making tinctures.

5. I learned about using essential oils from Alice, and Petra taught me how to use them as well as the herbs that surround us in salves and natural toiletries. My journey into non-toxic personal care products is strong, but I got to take yet another step forwards (and I hope that it will also be kinder to my purse in the long-run, once I have bought myself just a little more kit and supplies!)

6. I learned that I am better at survival skills than I realised. I watched others making fire using a flint and steel and natural fibres (and a few tampons – top tip for your wilderness adventuring!) and realised just how far I have come as I confidently lit the stove with speed and ease – not something I was capable of even one year ago.

7. I learned that it is difficult to cater (especially cater for specific dietary needs) when you have no reliable power source (we had solar panels, it rained a lot) and no dishwasher. It taught me patience and mindfulness and reminded me that I can be very resourceful and creative.

8. I learned that I get the BEST sleep in a tent where it’s cool and there is fresh air. Nothing quite like the sound of the wind in the trees and raindrops on the canvas. Perhaps because it was a safari tent with a proper bed, rather than festival-style camping, but still, it was beautifully restorative.

9. I learned that I can be flexible and read energy and hold space for others in a way that I had only aspired to. There’s a whole other side to my gifts that I have only just discovered and I am excited to be using and developing them.

10. I learned that I am truly blessed to live in this magical and special part of the world, with the people that have also been drawn here. This collaboration with my “big sister” Petra was such a beautiful experience and I have so much gratitude for what is and excitement for what is to come.

And one bonus one - I learned that we tried to do too much in one retreat. That there is room for more space. So, in 2024 we will hold two weeks. The first will incorporate all of the above, for those who want it, but with a focus on the restorative. Less focus on a foraging schedule and more time to flow with the rhythms of the group and the area. We will host a group of women who want to experience this beautiful Mother Nature and learn more about working with her energies and support to find their own inner wisdom. The Wild Wise Woman Retreat - 10-17 August 2024. There is a €200 early-bird discount for deposits paid by 29th Feb 2024 - book here!

And for those who want to learn foraging and experience the nature here but without the retreat focus, we will host a group from 17-25 Aug 2024 as a work-away experience. In exchange for food, accomodation, and the cultural exchange of living and working alongside us, you will help us to harvest our winter larder from the nature that surrounds us. Sounds interesting? Drop me a line to organise a chat.

With love, Catherine x


Phone +46 70 638 34 33


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