This year I’m making a very conscious decision to look after my health. I’ve realised that I’m important. I’m the cornerstone of my family. I need to treat myself with the respect I deserve. So I’m trying to make time for self-care. And back at the beginning of the year, I found the perfect place to escape for a few hours. At The Space Retreat, I was able to spend some time putting myself first.
The Space Retreat
In January, I started chatting with Onika Griffith-Elliott, the creator of The Space Retreat, on Instagram. She seemed lovely and so I went and had a look at The Space Retreat website. I was instantly captivated by the idea and by Onika’s reasons for setting up The Space Retreat.
“I set up The Space Retreat to provide a space for women where we could take some time to just be, to think and breathe, doing as much or as little as needed without having to ask for favours with childcare. This was something I needed a lot when my children were younger, a space where I could just take a short break to collect my thoughts, regroup and rebalance. It was difficult as taking time often meant asking someone to keep the kids and sometimes I just didn’t want to ask. After speaking to other mums and working women I realised so many others felt the same and it was time to create this space.”
Onika is a mother of two lively children. She’s gone through the various stages of Motherhood including joy, pride, sadness, loneliness, and above all tiredness. She wasn’t prepared for the journey of parenthood and the never-ending to-do list.
She understands how exhilarating and exhausting motherhood can be. And she gets that many mums desperately crave some time for themselves. A few hours where they can just breathe.
A Few Hours Of Self Care With Child Care
The Space Retreat is essentially a three-hour retreat for mums, set in a gorgeous location in Clapham, London. During those three-hours, there are no demands placed on you. All you need to do is relax and be.
The time at The Space Retreat includes a luxurious hand massage and manicure and a 30-minute group session. There is a nap space so that you can book some time to have an hours sleep. Then the rest of the time is yours to use as you wish. You can watch a movie, read, colour, listen to music, eat yummy snacks or simply breathe and think. It’s precious time for yourself. A time that is almost impossible to come by when you are a busy mum.
And the best thing about The Space Retreat is that there is childcare. You can book your children in to be looked after by DBS checked and experienced childcare professionals. They can occupy your children (from 2 months to 12 years of age) with a range of activities while you enjoy a few hours of self-care.
My Time At The Space Retreat
I felt very stressed when I headed into London for my session at The Space Retreat. It had been a difficult few weeks and I was desperate for some me-time and a bit of pampering.
From the moment, I arrived at The Space Retreat I felt calmer. Onika welcomed me with a warm hug and led me into The Old Laundry Building. I took off my shoes and put on a pair of comfy slippers. I then settled down on to a white sofa and just let myself be. Onika then came and gave me my relaxation pack. This included a postcard to colour in, some chocolate and an amazing self-heating eye mask.
I then sat and relaxed while we waited for a few more people to arrive. In the end, there were only six of us, which was a lovely number.
I enjoyed time colouring and drinking a warm cup of tea before the guided session began. I also picked up a copy of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s a book that I’d been meaning to read for a very long time. So it was wonderful to be able to have the time to read.
We then headed upstairs and sat in a fabulous space filled with squishy sofas. A lovely lady led our group session which was a guided meditation focusing on exhaling out 2017 and inhaling in 2018. This guided meditation and session was absolutely fantastic. It really helped me to put 2017 in the past and walk into 2018 feeling hopeful for the future.
I felt so relaxed after this group session. It allowed me to put a lot of my worries into context and gave me a sense of calm.
Once we headed downstairs after the group session, I grabbed some yummy snacks and another cuppa. Onika then encouraged us all to write a letter to ourselves. She told us to write everything that we wanted to achieve in 2018. All the little dreams and goals that we had. And we wrote this letter in the present tense as though it had already happened. I then placed the letter in an envelope and put it in my handbag. I will reread it as 2018 drawers to a close. It will be interesting to see how much of what I’ve written actually takes place.
Onika also encouraged us to take a heart from the tree in the centre of the table. Each heart contained a word and that word needed to be something that we wanted in our lives in 2018. I chose the word joy.
Lunch, A Luxurious Manicure & An Hour Of Sleep
While writing our letters, Onika brought out a yummy lunch and I ate that and then headed over to have my manicure. I was also given a luxurious hand massage that left my hands feeling lovely and soft. And I loved the manicure. I chose a deep plum colour by Essie and it looked fantastic.
I’d booked an hour’s sleep session, as I’d been sleep deprived and wanted to take advantage of being able to nap guilt free. So after my manicure, I headed up to the sleep space and settled down for an hour’s nap. And it was bliss. I don’t think I really slept. But just being able to lie down for an hour with my eyes closed was amazing.
After about an hour, I began to hear people making a move. And so I reluctantly pulled myself away from the comfy bed and headed downstairs. But before leaving I took a little look at the small shop there. I bought a couple of inspiring postcards and a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic.
I then placed my comfy slippers by the front door, put my big boots back on and wrapped myself up to head home. I’d had such a lovely and relaxing time at The Space Retreat and I was very reluctant to be leaving.
My Thoughts On The Space Retreat
I can’t rave about The Space Retreat enough. I work from home while trying to look after my two young children. As a result, I’m always knackered and stressed and I very rarely have time for self-care. But I’d decided at the beginning of 2018 that I wanted to make self-care one of my priorities. And attending The Space Retreat was a wonderful way to do this.
The Space Retreat is held in the Old Laundry Room in Clapham Junction; an absolutely stunning building. It’s beautifully decorated with big squishy sofas and clean white walls. Everything about the space is calming and relaxing and encourages you to talk quietly and slowly. As soon as I walked into The Space Retreat I felt peaceful and my stress lifted.
It’s clear that Onika has lovingly thought through every single detail of The Space Retreat. I thought that the word tree and writing a letter about our goals for 2018 were really lovely ideas that just made the group session extra special. And of course, it was wonderful to be pampered and to have a luxurious manicure.
I didn’t use the childcare, as Mr H was at home with the children. But I think that the provision of childcare is the most genius aspect of The Space Retreat. Paying £15.00 for 3 hours worth of experienced childcare seems to be amazing value. When I was there, all the children seemed to settle quickly. And at the end of the retreat, all of the mums seemed happy with the care that their children had received.
My Final Verdict
But the thing that I loved most about The Space Retreat was that for three hours I was allowed to just be. I wasn’t needed by anyone and I wasn’t expected to do anything. In fact, I could do whatever I wanted. Even if that was to curl up on the sofa and sleep.
It was a shame that The Space Retreat didn’t last for longer than three hours. The time went by so quickly. And I would have loved to have spent more time just relaxing and reading. I would have also enjoyed settling down on the sofa and watching the movie that Onika had picked out for us – Bridget Jones’ Baby.
It’s fair to say that my time at The Space Retreat was amazing. And I think that every mum should go and be treated to a few hours of self-care at The Space Retreat.
The next retreat, Put A Spring In It, is being held on Saturday 21st April 2018 in Clapham, London. There is a session at 12:00-15:00 and another at 15:30-18:30. It costs £45 and childcare for the three hours is an additional £15.00 per child.
If you are free that day and you are in need of some pampering then you really should book yourself in for a few hours of self-care at The Space Retreat.
I attended a session at The Space Retreat free of charge in order to be able to write this review. But as always all thoughts, words and opinions are 100% my own. I really believe that The Space Retreat is a genius initiative and I can’t thank Onika enough for creating this space and allowing me to attend. Thank you.