Creating a retreat at home

Every year I spend the equivalent of over a month on retreat. I am very fortunate that I get to volunteer at a retreat centre where I do two of the things I love the most – hang out with like minded, positive people who are committed to their own growth and cook! This enables me to go on far more retreats than I would otherwise, and although I am working, I get to hang out and learn from some of the best meditation teachers. I also go on one retreat a year as a punter so I can participate fully. I also get to spend more time than I would usually in nature, especially around trees.

I should have been away last week so now I am feeling in the need of that opportunity to reflect and go within. When I went on my first retreat 11 years ago, in 2009, I worried about being disconnected from the world. This was only a weekend! The longest retreat I have done so far is 12 days. Even a week doesn’t always seem long enough now.

As soon as I arrive on retreat I sense a slowing down. My mind stops racing, I stop worrying about messages and emails I haven’t replied to. There’s nothing that can’t wait. I rarely read on retreats now because that is just more input which is what I am trying to reduce, to detox my mind. It’s not easy because the mind always wants to be busy. It’s also tempting to find things to do to avoid being with my thoughts.

Sometimes a retreat will go swimmingly and I feel as if I’m on cloud 9 all week and could meditate for hours. Other times I will be dealing with difficult emotions – stuff that is happening in my life or has come up from the past. Over the years I’ve learned to use that as my material to work with. If something is presenting itself to me then unless I face it it’s only going to resurface at a later date.

When I came away from my first retreat I felt so blissed out I just wanted to hold onto that feeling for ever. However, trying to grasp onto pleasant emotions is only going to cause suffering because nothing is permanent. Sometimes it could be quite jarring to return to the ‘outside’ world among people who haven’t been on retreat. I would get frustrated at their lack of self-awareness. That presented more material for me to work with; developing compassion. After all you don’t know what you don’t know.

It’s now nearly 5 months since I was last on retreat so I feel I am well overdue. To that end I’ve decided to create my own retreat, here at home. Over the May bank holiday weekend I shall turn off my phone – or put it in airplane mode so I can still use the Insight Timer app. I shall start at 7pm on Friday evening and continue to lunchtime on Monday morning. I won’t watch TV, check my emails, make any phone calls, read anything other than poetry and definitely no social media!

I’ve planned out the schedule as follows:

Friday 1 May
7pm –  dedication ceremony and short meditation
Saturday 2 May
7.30 am – bodywork and meditation
10.30 am – meditation
4pm – relaxation and meditation
7pm – inspirational readings, meditation and chanting
Sunday 3 May
7.30 am – bodywork and meditation
10.30 am – meditation
4pm – relaxation and meditation
7pm – inspirational readings, meditation and chanting
Monday 4 May
7.30 am – bodywork and meditation
10.30 am – meditation and closing ceremony.

The body work will consist of either yoga, EFT or a do-in, depending whether anyone joins me. Each session will last between one and two hours.
If you like the sound of this and would like to join me I am happy to stream the meditations over Zoom, do some q&a to help you with your meditation whether you’re a beginner of if you’ve been doing it for years. If it’s the latter come and join in the power of collective meditation.

So how will I feel at the end of it? Of course that is unknown because I don’t know what will surface over the 4 days. One thing I do know though is that I will definitely feel better afterwards. My head will be clearer, I will feel refreshed and cleansed. I also won’t be drinking any alcohol or caffeine – I rarely drink these days anyway. I will still go for my daily walks and I may do a bit of gardening because that is my way of connecting with nature.

I’d love to invite you to join me. To make it affordable to everyone just pay what you can afford.

Click the link and pick your price!

See you there!





Helen and Bosh day 7 – Quick Puttanesca Spaghetti

Picture in the book

One week in already! Quick and easy to make and tasty too although next time I would use tinned tomatoes rather than passata for the texture. I added some mushrooms for extra bulk and flavour. Total cooking and preparation time was about 30 mins so ideal when you are short of time.





Skill level required: 3/10
Washing up generated: 8/10 2 saucepans, colander, chopping board and utensils
Portion size: 8/10
Tastiness: 8/10
Will I make it again? Yes.

Helen and Bosh day 5 – Sticky Shiitake Mushrooms

Picture in book

These were good! Thick tasty sauce and quick to prepare. You could probably use any type of mushrooms because the sauce has a lot of flavour. I had a mixture as I didn’t enough shiitake so I added some woodland mushrooms. Total preparation and cooking time was about 30 minutes and no fancy equipment needed.




Finished article


Skill level required: 1/10
Washing up generated: 10/10 wok, saucepan, bowl, chopping board and utensils
Portion size: 9/10
Tastiness: 10/10
Will I make it again? Definitely

A strong woman

Everyone knows a strong woman. The one who things always seem to happen to yet she copes just fine! You admire her and say things like ‘I don’t know how you do it.’

Well consider this. She doesn’t have any choice. Some days there is nothing she would like more than to have a breakdown but she can’t afford to because there is no one to pick her up. She doesn’t have the luxury of a husband to share responsibilities with. She might have had one once but he was constantly telling her how useless she was and a waste of space. It took a huge amount of strength to leave that marriage. Why did she stay so long? Apart from being afraid of what he would do she thought she would be viewed as a failure.

She’s probably always laughing and joking because if she didn’t she would constantly be crying. Perhaps when she was 11 years old, 4’6″ tall weighing 5 stone it was the only way to protect herself from being bullied when she started secondary school.

Dear universe…

It’s one year on since I put out my request to be united with my soulmate. You did good and sent me exactly what I asked for (including what I didn’t want) but I accept that’s my fault because I didn’t put it in the positive. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process and I now love myself a whole lot more. I also have more clarity about how I want my life to look and what my dealbreakers are. 

So here is my request again – tweaked. 

Now I’d like to be in a loving committed relationship with my soulmate.  Thanks universe. 

Love Helen x

Loving a woman who knows her worth

A woman who knows her worth she wants a man who has his stuff sorted, especially by the time he reaches his  40s or 50s. She has been through a lot and has possibly been abused too so she is not there to rescue him. She already has a busy and fulfilling life and wants a man who will add to that.

A woman who knows her worth can’t be fobbed off by saying he is too busy. She is busy too but she will make time for a man she likes. No one is too busy to make a quick phone call or send a text. She has a full diary so wants to make plans in advance. She knows things come up unexpectedly so if he has to change those plans she would like him to let her know as soon as possible so you can rearrange. She won’t be upset and will have to do the same herself from time to time.

A woman who knows her worth she will always treat a man with respect. She will give him a second chance because we aren’t perfect. She does not want dramas from him, she has had enough of her own. If he changes his mind she wants him to tell her. She is strong enough to cope so there is no need to try and spare her feelings. She will be direct and tell him how she feels because she has the emotional capacity to express her needs. If he is unable to meet those needs she will walk away.

A woman who knows her worth will love a man like he has never been loved before. She is not perfect but she loves and accepts herself completely. If he loves her back he will be rewarded in more ways than he ever dreamed of. It may not always be easy but I guarantee it will be worth it.

Wishing you all love beyond your wildest dreams.