it’s been a while…

I just dropped in to say ‘hi’ & ‘I’m still here’ even though I have been pretty quiet since last November.

After the last take time retreat, life taught me just how much I needed to listen to my own advice, so I have been taking time since then, and I finally feel like I’m getting back to myself and almost ready to move forward again.

A couple of weeks before we hosted our retreat last November I found out that my Mum was seriously ill and although she carried on for  few more painful weeks, she passed away in early December. At the time I thought that there would be relief once she was out of pain, and that life would carry on pretty much as before.

How naïve I was!

After the funeral, and then Christmas, I thought I would start to feel better. But actually, I kept feeling worse. I feel lost without her voice at the end of the phone. I miss having her to care about me. I miss sharing my grand-daughters with her & I especially miss that she never got to see the beaming, joyful, cheeky smile of the newest one who was born just as my Mum started to fade.

I didn’t know that grief would feel so tangible.

But out of all the sadness and pain I have been repeatedly reminded of the importance of taking time and that is what I have been doing in recent weeks.

reflecting on life

Even before I realised how bad it would all feel, at the start of the year I set myself the goal of having one new thing to look forward to every month this year, to give me some stepping stones across this new landscape. So far there have been yoga workshops, creative activities and live music events as well as some new education. It has been my best decision this year and it is really helping me to look forward.

I have taken a step away from anything that unsettles my soul. Sometimes I worry that I am shutting myself off from the world, but I know that I can only cope with my own kind of crazy at times. When other peoples’ crazy is just too much, I have learnt to put my fingers in my ears and sing ‘la, la, la, la, la’ at the top of my voice! Sometimes it is the only way for me to get through the day.

When my energy fell through the floor a few weeks ago I dosed up on vitamins and looked after my nutrition & what a difference it has made! My head is clear, my energy is improving, my outlook is transformed and I’m nearly ready to set up the next take time retreat! I don’t know yet whether it will take place in late 2018 or early in 2019 because I want to make absolutely sure I’m back to full strength first, but it will happen, for sure.

If you’d like to be the first to know when the next take time retreat is good to go, please add your details here and I will keep you posted Jx



swimming pool

swimming pool

Exciting news!

I haven’t previously mentioned that our retreat venue has a beautiful outdoor pool because I was expecting it to be shut down for the winter when we’re there…but I had a phone call yesterday asking if we would like it to be available.

And I said YES.

swimming pool

So, now, as well as cookery workshops, pilates, yoga, massage, walking, raw chocolate, needle-felting, aromatherapy, sleeping & reading, you can also take a dip in the pool if you would like to.

A word of warning – it will be a little ‘fresh’ at about 27 degrees but if you’re a swimmer that won’t put you off at all and it could be the perfect way to wake yourself up after a long nights’ sleep in your luxurious super-king-sized bed!

If you’re already booked, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit.

swimming pool

If you really feel like you need & deserve 3 whole days and 3 whole nights of sleep, good food, great company, peace and quiet and no responsibilities whatsoever, add your name to the guest list by booking here. You can choose the luxury of a room to yourself or make a saving by booking a shared room – and if no-one else books a shared room you can have it to yourself anyway!!

There are literally just 3 days left to secure your space and only 2 rooms available so don’t hang about if you’d like to join us for this amazing experience, now with an added swimming pool!



plant-based people

I thought I’d write a quick post about our fabulous retreat meals, which are all vegetarian – or to use the newer name – plant-based! I guess that ‘plant-based’ doesn’t exclusively mean vegetarian, but all the same it has become a much more trendy name with a host of accompanying hashtags such as #plantbasedpeople

Whichever name you prefer, I just wanted to share my thoughts with you.


I am not vegetarian on moral grounds, although as I get older, and especially since my grand-daughter was born a couple of years ago, I definitely feel more strongly about not eating animals. For me though it has always been a health-based choice.

At the age of 16 I developed some issues with my digestion, issues which were still evident when I left home for university. Once there I met the love of my life and out of curiosity we decided to try being vegetarian for one week. Incredibly my digestive complications reduced and I stayed vegetarian (most of the time) for the next 20 years. The exceptions for me came each time I was pregnant, when my body just seemed to need more protein and I introduced bacon and fish to my diet.

My children were brought up initially with a vegetarian diet, but when my youngest (aged about 8) tried bacon at his Dad’s house and asked if we could have it at home too, we all gradually started eating meat on a regular basis, and they all eat meat and fish still now.

I was happy with a mixed diet until a few years ago when I once again experienced some digestive issues. I suspect my issues have always been hormonally influenced, but although no specific cause could be found, I noticed that they went away when I went back to a vegetarian diet and that is where I am today.

For lots of reasons, it makes perfect sense to me to offer vegetarian meals at my retreats:

  • from my own experience, I believe it places a lighter load on the digestive system – animal proteins are more complex and therefore it seems logical to me that they are more complex to break down; since you are on retreat it makes sense to give your digestive system a retreat of its own too
  • we can all benefit from increasing our intake of plant-matter, with its combination of soluble and insoluble fibres, and high nutritional content
  • I don’t like feeling that I’m the odd one out, always having a ‘lesser’ option at meal times, and I was conscious that I didn’t want anyone else to feel that way either – if we all eat vegetarian meals, hopefully we all feel equally included
  • with vegetarian meals there is such scope for flavour and colour and texture which we maybe forget when we eat vegetables purely as a side dish – I wanted to bring vegetables into centre-stage and make them the stars of the show
  • I hope that you will go away from the retreat with some inspiration to incorporate more vegetarian meals into your usual diet, as I do believe it is best for all of our bodies and also best for the planet

When I was setting up the website for take time retreats I almost opted not to mention that we would be serving vegetarian food, just to see how long it took for (or even whether) any of our guests even noticed! In the end I decided to highlight it as a positive part of the retreat, which I truly believe it is.

I know that you are going to love the meals that Leah prepares for you, and that you won’t feel as though you are missing anything at all. Leah and I have set up each day on retreat to follow the influence of a different culture, so there will be lots of variety and a wide range of tastes to all our meals.

& finally, I’ll leave you with a little anecdote from my grand-daughter, who had been discussing with me why I didn’t eat meat a few days before this exchange at her nursery! Matilda is coming up for 3 years and this really gladdened my heart:



PS as far as I know my university love is still vegetarian!

midweek escape

My original plan was to offer weekend retreats even though someone suggested that midweek was the way to go.

I wasn’t convinced at first but gradually the idea grew on me, and the more I thought about it, the more I realised it was the better option.

And then I found the perfect venue which was available at the right time, just after my newest grandchild was due and just before Leah sets off to climb a mountain (literally!) and it just kind of fell into place.

retreat here

So here we are, with our midweek retreat happening soon.

It falls right after the clocks go back, as we are starting to get used to the changes in daylight hours; right after half term so the kids (if you have them) are back at school; just after all the fireworks have ended; and enough in advance of Christmas that you won’t yet be swamped with festive planning…

What could be better than a mid-week retreat followed by a weekend back at home for you to absorb all the things you experienced while you were away, and take a bit more time before you have to get back to your usual routine?

And what could be worse than a full week doing what you usually do, followed by a dash to get to your retreat, and a dash back home on Sunday evening, ready to start right back into your usual routine again??

There is something very powerful about deciding that you deserve to take time away from your usual schedule, and I think women perhaps are not quite so good at doing it as men are!

Whatever you do with your day-to-day life, you deserve a break in the middle of your week.

It doesn’t matter whether you work in the home or outside the home; whether you have a part-time job or work 60 hours a week; whether you have kids at home or not. Regardless of how you spend your week, you no doubt invest much of your energy in supporting others, in one way or another, and it is just as important to invest time in yourself.

You deserve this time to reconnect with who you are when you get the chance to step away from all your responsibilities.

Of course it might take a bit more work to arrange time-off mid-week, and it might require a little bit more juggling or calling in a few favours, but I guarantee the benefits will be more than worth a little bit of shuffling beforehand.

You will be amazed at how good it feels to really put yourself at the top of your mid-week to-do list.




new package options

When I set up take time retreats I had a very clear vision about the accommodation I wanted to offer and it took my several months to find the venue I had been searching for.

One of the non-negotiables for me was that all the rooms would be of an equal standard, of similar size and all with en-suite facilities. Several of the venues I looked at had a fairly traditional layout, with one luxurious, en-suite master bedroom, one other en-suite room and then several smaller rooms, all of which had to share one bathroom.

Those venues were never an option for me.

I wanted to ensure that all guests felt equal so that the experience felt inclusive and cohesive for everyone involved, and that is what I found with our retreat venue.

The other factor which was really important for me was giving guests the option to have sole occupancy of their room rather than being obliged to share with a total stranger. For me there is nothing more annoying than having my sleep disturbed by the sound of another person breathing nearby!! So many retreat breaks that I have looked into for my own use do not offer single occupancy. Or if they do, it’s in a single bed, in the smallest room, tucked away in the darkest corner…which never feels like a great option either.

Anyway, enough about my sleeping preferences, the point of this post is to let you know that I have just added some extra package options because it seems that not everyone is quite so fussy as me… (who knew??!)



There is now the option to buy either our standard package or the original all-inclusive package so that you can choose whichever is best suited to your needs and your budget.

The all-inclusive package includes absolutely everything, with the added option of sole or shared occupancy. If you choose sole occupancy you can luxuriate in your large, spacious, light and airy room with luxury en-suite shower room all to yourself (my idea of heaven!) If you choose shared occupancy, we will allocate someone to share your room with you but you still get to enjoy a large, spacious, light and airy room with luxury en-suite shower room. Prices start at £480 per person.

The standard package excludes some of the luxurious features of the all-inclusive option and is only available with shared occupancy. However, the rooms are still exactly the same, the activities and workshops are no different and all the meals and drinks are the same too. It is a great option if you would like to enjoy a fabulous retreat experience but have a limited budget. Prices start at £330 per person.

Please know that you will be warmly welcomed whichever package you choose and that you will be fully included in all retreat activities so there is no reason for anyone to know which package you opted for.

Full details of all packages are available here

Himalayan singing bowl

The last date for bookings is Monday 30th October

If you have any questions at all about the packages available or anything else you would like to discuss before booking please email me: – I am happy to help in any way that I can Jx

baby distractions

Just a quick update on our ‘nominate a friend’ offer…

The closing date for nominations was Tuesday 17th October and I intended to make my selections and be in touch with you then, but this little monkey (my second grand daughter) chose that date as her birthday which has thrown my week into joyful chaos!

I had forgotten how much I fret when my daughter is in the late stages of pregnancy so I have been short on sleep & high on stress for the past few weeks…but now that she is here and all is well I am starting to relax a bit & get back into my rhythm with work.

So, slightly later than planned,  I will contact the two successful nominees this afternoon to let them know that they are on the guest list for the next take time retreat which is now less than 3 weeks away. If you nominated someone, or were nominated…watch this space!! Jx

nominate a friend for a FREE place

Nominate a friend for a FREE place on our next retreat!

hands on heart

Taking time away from what we usually do is so important for our sense of who we are because so often we become consumed in being there for other people (at work or at home) and we forget to be there for ourselves.

My goal with take time retreats is to create a space where busy women can let go of their day-to-day life and focus on themselves for a few days. We provide everything you need to do that – great food, luxurious accommodation, restorative movement & mindfulness sessions, massage and creative workshops – along with space and time to do your own thing if that’s what you need most.

At the same time, I know this is a luxury that not everyone can afford, which is why I have set aside a twin room for two women who deserve this, even if they are not in a position to fund it for themselves at the moment.

Which is where you come in…

Is there someone you know who would love to join us on our retreat & deserves to have some time to themselves, but would never think of spending money on themselves?

If you have a friend who fits the bill, you can nominate them for one of two FREE places in a shared twin-bedded room. If selected, they will receive the full retreat package, including:

  • 3 nights in a shared twin-room with luxury en-suite shower room & locally-sourced aromatherapy toiletries
  • welcome pack on arrival
  • luxury towelling robe and slippers which are theirs to take home at the end of their stay
  • a full-body relaxation massage with one of our Jing-trained therapists
  • all meals & drinks
  • all activities, workshops, classes, guided sessions and demonstrations
  • a recipe pack of all the dishes covered in the ‘cooking with spices’ and ‘raw chocolate’ workshops, along with some of the other recipes we use at the retreat
  • a take-home pack on departure

Before nominating your friend:

Please forward them the link to this page & ask them to have a look at all the retreat details, including the take time retreat information & terms and conditions.

When they’ve done that, check that they:

  • would love to join us
  • can be available to join us for the whole event, 7th-10th November 2017 in Goudhurst, Kent
  • feel comfortable sharing a room
  • are happy for you to nominate them

If they answer yes to all of the above, please nominate them by emailing me ( and telling me why they need or deserve this gift. Please summarise why you think they deserve a FREE place on our November retreat in no more than 150 words. You will also need to include their name and email address so that I can get in touch if they are selected. It’s as easy as that!

The closing date for nominations is 16th October 2017.

I look forward to hearing from you with your nomination.

Who will you nominate? Who do you know who really needs this?


A few terms & conditions:

  1. this prize represents my genuine wish to include two women who would otherwise not be able to attend the event and I trust that all nominations are made in respect of this
  2. the take time retreat is a women-only event, designed for women aged 45-60 – nominees will therefore need to fit these criteria
  3. two separate nominees will be chosen, by me, from email nominations received no later than 16th October 2017; nominations received after this date will not be considered
  4. my decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into
  5. the two successful nominees will share a twin room and will each receive the full retreat package with my compliments
  6. in accepting their place on the take time retreat, the successful nominees will be deemed to have accepted the terms and conditions for the event
  7. there is no cash alternative and the free place cannot be transferred or exchanged

moments for you


I attended an event on Saturday morning and had the privilege of hearing Dame Kelly Holmes speaking about her career and her mental health. What a humble & inspirational woman! I had goose-bumps watching her watch her own Olympic success when she finished her talk with a video of her double-gold medal achievement in 2004. I wonder if she gets goose-bumps too?!

What really hit home to me was when she spoke about how it felt for her to be living her dream life but not actually enjoying what she called ‘moments for me’. She spoke of how people would recognise her in the street and feel that they knew her, when all along she didn’t feel like she knew herself at all.

If we’re not public figures we might not feel it in quite the same way, but I think that feeling of being disconnected is huge for many of us, whether we recognise yet or not. Do you sometimes feel like you’re living on auto-pilot, going from one day to the next without taking time to check-in with yourself?

I definitely have this feeling at times and I know that I’m not alone.

Of course it is hard to find these ‘me-moments’ when we’re chasing our dreams/careers or in the thick of raising a family, but it’s these moments that help us to connect with who we are in the world and I think that’s so important.

When did you last take a moment for you?


I set up take time retreats because I had been looking for something like this for myself, but never found quite what I was looking for:

  • a place to escape and feel nurtured
  • a varied program covering a range of different activities
  • luxury bedrooms that I didn’t have to share with a stranger
  • great food and
  • the space to be with others or alone, depending on my mood.

I’d love to share all of this with you on our luxury retreat in November and there are still a few spaces available if you would love to join us.

You will go home feeling rested, nurtured, nourished & supported; reconnected to what is important in your life and re-energised for whatever comes next.

And (*whispers this*) you won’t have to think about Christmas for a few days either!!

Please contact me if you have any questions at all about take time retreats or click here to book now.

Jane x

PS there’s a split payment option until this Saturday so book before then to spread the cost of your booking


welcome to take time retreats

take time retreats

I launched take time retreats earlier this year as a means to create and hold space for women, like me, who sometimes forget how important it is to do this for ourselves.

I have spent the past 22 years working in all areas of health & fitness, starting as an exercise to music instructor, moving onto the gym floor, into leisure management, back to the gym, and 7 years ago into my own personal training and massage therapy business.

My thinking has evolved in that time along with my own fitness regime, which has softened and become more holistic in recent years. Instead of always pushing myself to the limits I now understand the value of time spent with my feet up the wall!

Take time retreats has been growing in my head for several years and I am really excited to bring it to you.

We offer busy women the chance to take time for themselves, with mindful movement, amazing food, plenty of time to catch up on sleep in our luxurious en-suite bedrooms, a creative focus, and the opportunity to reconnect through sound and massage therapy.

These are all elements that I have found to be truly important in my life, in helping me to manage my own mental health and learn to listen to my heartbeat, and I can’t wait to share them with you Jx