Mummy Tribe Retreat: The best of both worlds?
MummyTribe is a new concept of retreats for Mums whereby they can bring their babies along with them, and they are cared for in a crèche with their own assigned nanny shared with one other child. Perfect if you want some me time but don’t want to (or can’t) leave your little one behind. Great if you’re breastfeeding or going through one of those tricky attachment phases when they are bit older when they want to spend a lot of time with you, as I was with Leo when we went (he was 18 months old).
The Mummy Tribe website says:
“We believe that strong calm and knowledgeable mothers are powerful, and powerful mothers pass their power on to their children. At Mummy Tribe, we do everything we can to nurture that power. I guess you could say we take a tribal approach to looking after you, so you can look after yours.”
Three Day Retreat- February 2019
We opted for the 3 day, 2 night retreat and stayed an extra night beforehand in a nearby Premier Inn to avoid the early morning start on the first day! It wasn’t cheap with rates starting at £900, but when you consider this includes everything, it’s not bad i.e. the accommodation, day crèche, night listening service, exercise classes, workshops, all your food & drinks, snacks for your little one (if they are weaned), and a one hour spa treatment by Secret Spa. They only launched last year so likely prices will go up as this gets more popular which I think will definitely happen! I managed to afford it by using some savings and as an early birthday present my husband made a donation (I mean he gained from this too having 3 whole days of peace and quiet!)
The drive down the day before
We drove from Twickenham to East Sussex the day before and stayed in nearby Tonbridge. Since it started 9:30am on a Tuesday and I couldn’t face the M25 in rush hour! Totally worth it to have a more chilled out start to the day, and then didn’t need to set the alarm too early. It took about an hour and luckily Leo slept the whole way. It was then just half an hour in the morning over to the Mummy Tribe venue.
I booked the Grain Store which was a separate little barn a short walk from the main house. I had chosen this since there were two rooms within it- a lounge with a small kitchen area and separate bedroom. I find it hard to sleep in the same room as Leo now as he can be quite noisy and I wake up every time he stirs which means a bad night for me. When I arrived, the travel cot had been set up in the bedroom so I quickly moved it into the lounge area! It felt homely, comfortable and a great place to relax in.
We were welcomed by the Mummy Tribe team and shown to our room- I was able to dump all our luggage and head over to the main house and meet everyone else who had already arrived. I was immediately offered a coffee which was very appreciated!
I dropped Leo off into the crèche after meeting Jodie, his assigned Nanny for the retreat. He was quite happy to investigate all the new toys and books- having been going to nursery for 6 months already, he wasn’t too concerned about me leaving him.
Workshop - Pelvic Floor with Lulu Adams Fitness, Jenny of Holistic Core Restore & Claire Bourne
The workshop took place in the main barn just next door to the house. We learnt a bit about the biology of the pelvic area, how we need to be working it out- there’s more to it than simply clenching. In fact it’s quite common to clench too much and have everything in the area be constantly under tension which can actually be quite damaging. We then did some exercises to help tone the area and learnt how to use breathing techniques at the same time to deepen the exercise. Definitely worth taking time to focus on this area after having kids- and something they wanted to reinforce was that it’s never too late, and we shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about it. When you think about how much your body goes through to make another person, it’s obviously going to need some time to heal, and the best thing we can do is to be gentle and loving towards the body that grew our children. It was easy to tell that Lulu, Claire and Jenny were all very passionate and knowledgeable!
Claire (0f Claire Bourne Physio) also offered free pelvic floor checks for all the mums- similar to a smear test whereby she is able to check the health of the area, just as a dentist checks the health of your gums (well that’s the analogy I use!) I took advantage of this and it was great to have things properly checked since I had a traumatic birth and it took a while to heal, but it was good to know I’d got myself to a good place with the training I had been doing.
The food was all healthy and prepared on site by Food by Cassie - there was nothing I didn’t like- not that I’m a fussy eater, but I think everyone felt the same! Cassie did a great job catering for all of us and making sure everyone had what they wanted. Yummy wholesome breakfasts and brunches, light but filling lunches and salads, and hearty dinners. All presented beautifully!
Workouts & Yoga
I did two good work outs and two yoga sessions while there. I missed one of the workouts because there was so much going on, it was a case of picking and choosing which to participate in. The first work out was a lower body circuit with Lulu Adams fitness- I found it challenging but manageable and she was great at coming round checking everyone was doing it correctly and offering modifications where needed. The second work out was a mixed upper and lower body circuit. I’m sure if I regularly did these work outs, I’d be in better shape!
The yoga was with Richie a.k.a The Strength Temple on Instagram - loved his easy-going approach, and felt very refreshed after each session.
I’m not sure how I would have done had I gone when I was 4 or 5 months post partum - I think it would have been quite challenging as it took me quite a long time to regain my strength. As it was I was used to doing fairly intense exercise so found it all OK.
The other Mums on the Retreat
I was lucky enough to know one of the other mums very well- in fact she was the one who told me about Mummy Tribe! So I was very relaxed knowing that she would be around.
I did wonder what the other mums who came along would be like- would they only be there because of Binky, and obsessed with Made In Chelsea, would they be super fit with an amazing selection of gym gear?! Would they be madly trying to get back their pre-baby bodies?!
Actually everyone was very down-to-earth, easy-going and easy to talk to. I have been on a few health retreats before and know myself in that I am not going to make best friends with someone I have just met. Sometimes if you go to a retreat hoping to make great friends, as I did on my first yoga retreat a few years back, you will feel disappointed. It isn’t really long enough to properly connect with someone you’ve never met before and who you’ll likely not see again if they don’t live nearby. In this case even more so since we were also spending time with our kids whilst there too. So I went without any expectations of making new lifelong friends, but of being part of a community for 3 days of like-minded women at a similar stage in their motherhood journeys, as well as spending time with my lovely friend I already knew. All whilst learning from experts in the field of health and wellness. That is exactly what it was. Women at their core are designed to be sitting around in circles being a community so it’s like going back to our instincts.
It was run by The Wedding Crècherz and I instantly felt at ease with them. They were all dressed in beautiful 1940s style tea dresses (and the guy in the team in smart trousers and braces!) They were great when Leo got upset with me leaving, or when he saw me doing a workout and was frustrated he couldn’t come up and see me. The selection of toys they had was amazing- and you can tell they are all carefully hand-picked (and Instagram-friendly!) The crèche opened at 8am and went all the way through to 7pm. Once you’d put them to bed, it was a listening service by one of the nannies on site. It was so amazing to send a message to the group WhatsApp to say ‘send me a nanny’ and one would arrive less than 5 minutes later!
How I found being on a retreat with Leo (18 months at the time)
I did wonder how much I’d actually get to relax with Leo around, yet I was really excited that he was able to be a part of our little mini break. I loved having our own little ‘house’ for the time we were there and it worked well for bed time to have a bath together, put him down, then call one of the nannies to sit with him while the mums had dinner together.
It was slightly tricky during the day if he saw me when we walked past the crèche area as he’d think I’d come to pick him up and then get upset when I left again. He also went to sleep a bit later than was ideal (around 8pm) since most of the other babies were alseep by 7pm so I was later to dinner than most other mums there, so felt I missed out a bit, but wasn’t really anything I could do about it, apart from resolve to work towards earlier bedtimes when we got home!
Interested in going?
Overall, I would highly recommend it if you love the idea of going away with your little one in tow. If you like doing things a bit differently and love meeting other mums at a similar stage to you. My only feedback to them was that I’d have loved it to be a day or two longer- they squeezed a lot into the 3 days, and I’d have happily had it spread out over more days. Possibly even two shorter retreats for those wanting that and one longer retreat option to stay for 4-5 nights to get the most ‘value’ from all the packing and journey down. It’s obviously not cheap, but perhaps like me you can ask for ‘donations’ from family for a birthday present / treat. I have done a few retreats before and I am always SO glad I did them afterwards and think that taking time out for self-care is so important. And this way you also don’t get the dreaded ‘mum-guilt’ as you can still spend time with your little one while you are there. It was perfect for us with Leo at a very demanding age when he wants lots of reassurance and connection with me.
They tend to announce their retreats a couple of months in advance so watch out for dates later in the year if you’re interested. I would love to go again if the dates work out for us!
Have you been on a retreat with your kids? Interested in finding out more? Comment below or get in touch!