A restorative and creative retreat in a beautiful location

The Nest of Gentle Makers joined us here at Boconnoc for a creative retreat in October. Charlotte explains below what to expect on their retreats and tells us about their experience at Boconnoc this year and how her past career and experiences have help shape her retreats: 

“I have been a doctor for the past 24 years and have worked in general medicine, palliative medicine and in general practice. Throughout this time I have always had a need to be creative. The need to be quiet and find space has been been really important to balance out the intensity of human interaction required as a doctor.

I took 18 months away from practising medicine in 2018 and have now returned part-time as a Specialty Doctor in Palliative Medicine at my local hospice. I am really enjoying both continuing to practise medicine and also developing the ANOGM retreats. We have had several doctors and allied professionals on the retreats so far and I hope that we can nurture and inspire them so they feel refreshed and able to continuing giving to their patients. And of course this is true for all of our retreat attendees, whatever their occupation or stage of life; I want them to feel restored and able to go back to their everyday lives with their cup ‘re-filled’. I have also been involved in providing well-being days for health professionals, providing creative activities and a supportive environment in which to reflect on issues around stress and burnout in the workplace.”

Tell us about your retreats and A Nest of Gentle Makers.

A Nest of Gentle Makers retreats are all about giving our participants space and time to feed their creativity. We work to provide restorative, creative retreats in beautiful locations. The emphasis is on our participants doing exactly what feels right for them. That could be joining in with the yoga, taking part in the creative workshops with talented teachers, or just having a lie-in, reading a good book, having a long bath or getting on with your own project- the choice is yours.

Why did you choose Boconnoc as your retreat venue? Was there anything in particular that caught your eye?

I was delighted that Boconnoc found me. I had considered a country house retreat but felt that the ethos of the place really needed to fit with my values too so I did not actively seek out a new venue. When I was approached and started to find out more about Boconnoc and the ethos of the place, I felt we were a really good fit.

Why do you think retreats are so popular now, and why do you think someone should book onto a retreat?

Going away ‘on retreat’ is not a new concept and is something that many traditions have been doing for centuries. I think we are just catching up with the idea and acknowledging its benefits. I have certainly benefitted from going away on creative weekends for many years, and feeding my soul with creativity has definitely helped me to sustain myself in a very busy medical career. Having attended several retreats I was inspired to start my own and so A Nest of Gentle Makers was born. I think that retreats can be beneficial to many different types of people: Those who crave some time away from the hustle and bustle of life, those seeking some company with like minded creative souls and people who want to learn a new creative skill. But the real joy comes from those unexpected moments of connection: with nature, with others and with oneself.

What was the highlight of the retreat for you and your guests?

There were many highlights. The staff were friendly and welcoming, the house was beautiful yet comfy and the location was stunning. It was wonderful to watch friendships blossom over the course of the week. The yoga got us all moving and ready to be creative and the creative classes- block textile printing, painting and weaving, each produced beautiful moments of concentration and absorption. Watching the moonrise by the fire on our final evening and then lake swimming on our final morning were both memories I will treasure.

Do you think that the retreat location has an important part to play in the overall experience?

Yes I do think that location is important. Boconnoc House is set in the most beautiful grounds on a large estate, so the opportunities to be out in nature are many and varied. There are many walks and swimming both coastal and in the lake, or you can just sit on a bench and admire the view. I have now spent a short family holiday and a week long retreat at Boconnoc and have only scratched the surface of my explorations of the estate and the surrounding areas.

What would you say to someone who was hesitant about booking a retreat, what can they expect and can anyone attend?

Please do book to come on a retreat at Boconnoc! Don’t worry about coming alone- people will totally respect your wishes, so if you prefer to quietly get on with things alone that is great, but there are lovely opportunities to chat and get to know people and make friends if you wish. That is one of the complete joys of organising retreats for me- seeing how the days unfold and all of the beautiful connections that take place. My retreats are open to all. On the last retreat we had all the decades represented from people in their 30’s through to their 70’s. We all have much to learn from each other.

Huge thanks to Charlotte for providing an insight into retreats here at Boconnoc. Keep up to date with future retreats by either signing up to our newsletter on the home page or following us on social media.