Trust in the journey – a yoga retreat


‘One of the BEST weekends of my life’

Beautiful location and great house to stay in.

The yoga was great. I was really looking to improve my practice so 10 plus hours was great – I think your yoga teaching approach is exceptional.

It was my first retreat and it was a wonderful experience

The yurts only adds to its beautiful peaceful surroundings; the silence and meditation worked really well out in the stunning Hampshire countryside.

Lovely! Superb atmosphere in the yurt, good classes that were a great mix of being relaxing yet encouraging you to advance your yoga

Love the flame session. Learned loads of different postures, and about deleting!!

Loved your energy Shelley!

Shelley organised the first Yoga Retreat at Riverside Cottage this July for 14 keen yogis. Only a few knew each other and the order of the weekend was to give something back to yourself. The weekend was structured but the idea was to get to know yourself ! to chill, to exercise & to have fun!

Reasons to treat yourself to a retreat:

Time out for yourself,         Deepen your own practice,

Meet like minded people,         Learn something new,

Detox your life,       You will gain a sense of mindfulness,

Feel energised and invigorated,       And .. Because you are worth it!

Everyone deserves to take time to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health. While some may fly out to exotic destinations around the world, a growing number of holidaymakers are opting to stay in the UK for a much-needed break. According to a study, there was a 23.8% rise in British holidaymakers planning UK stays this year, and over half of staycationers are planning a break of  approx. three days. Perfect for Shelley’s Retreat and If you’re looking for an idyllic place to go on a weekend retreat this year, then look no further than Riverside!

What you need to know about Riverside

Located in Hampshire, Riverside features a cottage, a lodge, and a contemporary yurt where you participate in your Yoga classes. Riverside is also a place where you can meditate and connect with nature during your stay. It sits in the countryside close to (so you don’t feel isolated) but far away from the ‘maddening crowd’

Looking over the field

What you need to know about Shelley’s Retreat

Whether you are a beginner or already practicing, Shelley’s classes adapt to all levels and abilities.

There are so many benefits to practicing Yoga on a physical and mental level.  Yoga enhances core strength, tones muscles, aids weight loss and increases flexibility.  Yoga does wonders for your circulation and nervous system, revitalizing and relaxing you!

The weekend has 10 hours of Yoga, Relaxation and Meditation as well as being fully catered with delightful healthy local foods. There will be time to relax in the beautiful Riverside surroundings including a heated swimming pool and scenic walks.  The weekend includes a Coaching workshop which gives you quality time to work on a personal goal, aim or aspiration.

You can get fit while away

Yoga, in particular, has long been a favourite workout for those who go on retreats as it not only enhances the body’s strength and flexibility, but it also quiets the mind. Shelley’s Yoga Retreats offer a mix of yoga practise, meditation, fun games, some outside exercise, Yoga in the Yurt and there is even a swimming pool at Riverside.

Research shows that there are between 300,000 and 460,000 people currently practicing yoga every day in the UK.

Being away gives you a chance to relax and attain inner peace

The pressures of work and home can pull you in so many different directions. The good thing about going on a retreat is that you get to have time to reflect and restore your energy as you connect with nature and your inner self. You can do this at Riverside by going for country walks, sitting by the river, or just curling up on a comfy chair with a good book and a nice cup of tea.

Being at a retreat encourages creativity

Shelley has all sorts of creative ways to get your creative juices flowing from deep discussions to early morning rounders’ ! Sometimes Shelley organises a visiting expert who provides a relaxation massage and other therapies, including sound healing.

Shelley will create plenty of activities that will make your stay an experience to be remembered in many ways. Be sure to check out the workshop and class dates so you can reserve your spot, and don’t forget to have fun while you’re on your retreat.


The Retreat

14 spaces available and accommodation is based on 2 people sharing 1 room (2 single beds and options for double beds).

Price – £400 (non refundable deposit of £180)

Prices may vary depending on the itinerary of the retreat.

The retreat requires a minimum 10 people to be able to run it.

To register your interest and obtain available dates please email Shelley on

It will be lovely to share a retreat with you!




Here are some very practical reasons to make the commitment to yourself, mind, body, and soul.

  1. You Can Do It All by Yourself

We all wish to be those adventurous types, travelling to Thailand alone or backpacking through Europe, but some of us are just not equipped for that kind of independence — yet. By going on a retreat, you are guaranteed a safe environment and great accommodations and amenities. Even better, you will be accompanied by like-minded people, potentially making friends that will last you a lifetime.

  1. By Experiencing New Things, You Change!

When you are put into an unfamiliar environment, you are given the opportunity for a new perspective.

  1. You Can Learn Something New

So much value in that, we are always learning and we can never know it all!

  1. You Can Never Have Too Many Friends!

It can be a little intimidating to meet new people, especially when you might be going to a retreat for healing or grief, but the fact that there are other people around you with similar fears can really serve you. Having your own time is fantastic and necessary, but secluding yourself from society may be limiting your potential to see things differently, leaving you feeling ‘stuck.

  1. Experience Real ‘Me Time’

So important, so much value and everyone around you benefits when you have some “me time” as it impacts in a very positive way.

Bottom of Form

  1. Look Around You

By going to a retreat, you are most likely going to be travelling far from home (or experiencing another awesome part of your country), so you’re giving yourself the opportunity to explore this world.  By putting yourself in a new place you are totally taking yourself out of anything negative you might be feeling, giving your eyes something new to look at.

  1. Ditch The Phone

So liberating! A Digital Detox is not that difficult either!

  1. You Can Allow Yourself to Be FREE

By making the choice to go on a retreat you have to learn to cede control to other people and to the moment. Drop your expectations and let yourself be totally immersed in your present! A retreat acts as an escape to some degree, so allow yourself to escape. The only schedule is the one you have signed up for.

  1. Do It for Yourself, And No One Else

Be selfish, or whatever you want to call it. If you feel a certain retreat resonates with you and you can’t get it off your mind, that’s a sure sign that the universe is telling you to do it, and do what you want

I have been on some lovely retreats and come back so renewed and energised.

  1. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

Most importantly, this is a time for you to explore yourself so you can grow; there is no sense in setting up expectations and pressure for sudden change to happen. In order to change, you have to be open to any possibility. Even if the changes don’t happen in one day, or five days, or two weeks, know that you have planted the seeds of change simply through your willingness to take a leap of faith into unknown territory. Take what you learn and bring it home by incorporating any new practice that you felt benefitted you the most. This is how change can continue to manifest.

What do you really have to lose? Through a retreat, you have the chance to devote yourself to yourself and your growth, trusting that your needs will be met. A retreat gives you the opportunity to trust your intuition, your teacher, your guide, and your fellow travellers.

Trust in the process of the journey.

Email Shelley now on

Just like some of the best retreat and spiritualist hotspots around the world, Riverside is also a place where you can meditate and connect with nature during your stay.

Yoga at Riverside Yurt

Olives in the Alpujarra

Riverside Lifestyle discovers the groves, the food and the culture of a beautiful Spanish region that’s off the beaten track. Their salty, oily tang makes them something of an acquired taste, but so is the sharpness of a crisp dry wine!

Not unlike wine, of course, it helps if you know what makes the olive taste so great. Riverside Lifestyle journeyed to deepest Spain so we could divulge the secrets of the best olives and olive oils. (And not so we could ski, sun ourselves and wander amongst the beautiful Moorish architecture. Honest.)

We hope you won’t mind us telling you that we also happened to stay at Riverside’s own olive grove in the Alpujarra, where the decades-old trees and ‘cortijo’ are looked after by our good friend John Paco, or JP as he is called! A dedicated olive aficionado, it just so happens that he was more than willing to share his know-how about the fruits, food and a few favourite must-dos of the little-travelled region with you.

A Working Olive Grove

“I have about 150 olive trees, which are harvested anytime between November and March. The longer you leave them, the sweeter the olives.”

JP’s trees have to be pruned every two years or so to encourage growth, and they’re watered once a month during the summer. So far, so simpler-life; but it does have its hardships: the olive fly is a major pest. One thing I can’t help loving about his sprawling grove is that he controls it the eco-friendly way: with pheromone traps instead of spraying.

Harvesting is a similar story. “It’s done by teams of people using large nets and bamboo poles,” he explains. “Once picked, the olives have to be pressed within days at the local olive mill, where it’s important to book the first press of the day.” The reason? “To get a cold press, and so your olives aren’t contaminated with other people’s; this gives extra virgin olive oil.”

As it turns out, making sure we get the best-tasting olives back home is a precise business in other ways, too. “It’s important to ensure that olives are picked before they become too saturated with water, or they’ll lose their flavour,” JP says. “Olives that are harvested black are used for oil, and olives that are for eating are picked earlier when they’re green. I harvest as late as possible to get the maximum oil, but it’s always a balance between losing olives to the wind and the fly and gaining the best possible flavour.”

Picking the Best of the Bunch

So what about when we’re choosing from the juicy fruits at our local deli: are there particular types of olive we should be on the lookout for?  “My main olive – the world’s most important, and Riverside Lifestyle’s olive of choice – is the picual, which goes to the mill and is used for cooking, dressing and a healthy diet,” JP recommends. “I also grow some Arbequina olive trees, which are smaller; these olives are bottled and used for eating.”

If it’s the table variety you’re after, tread carefully. “Table olives can be green or black. The green one in Spain is called the manzanilla, and is often stuffed with anchovies or chillies,” says JP. “Another table olive is the Sevillano, which has a low oil content and is only used for pickling.”

Tasty Olive Dishes

Spanish cuisine is the perfect way to introduce olives into your diet without overdoing it on the flavour front. “Spaniards use olive oil instead of butter or vegetable oils on the whole, and often enjoy tomato and olive oil on toast; called tostada con tomate,” JP enthuses. “I personally enjoy a small thimble of pure oil first thing in the morning.”

If a shot of the slick stuff doesn’t do it for you, there are subtler ways to get more of it on the go; and top of JP’s list is gazpacho. Originally a cold, white soup from Malaga served with garlic and almonds, he tells me that nowadays Andalusians often take it with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. “Allioli – also called aioli, and made with garlic, oil and eggs – makes a really strong mayonnaise,” he adds. “There’s also all manner of tapas that uses olive oil; I especially like fried fish dishes like whitebait, or ‘boquerones’ in Spanish.”

The Riverside Lifestyle in the Alpujarra

Okay, I hold my hands up: we didn’t spend the entire time we were in gorgeous Órgiva on the olive trail. But let’s be honest; it would have been a travesty to come all this way and miss out on the local area.

JP was attracted to the place by its history and architecture, and the desire for the ‘campo’—or countryside—lifestyle. But there’s more to it than the fertile, temperate land that so loves his olives.

“The Alpujarra is noted for the white villages with their Moorish architecture, and the large number of people who pursue an alternative lifestyle,” he explains. They’re a people after my own heart, finding their own balance between working and making the most of life. “There are all sorts of walks, monasteries and working artisanal farms nearby, and you can stay in anything from a bed-and-breakfast yurt to an alternative therapy centre or even a Buddhist community.” As soon as he mentioned it, I knew I had to visit one of these during my stay; namely the O Sel Ling Buddhist monastery in the mountains above Órgiva.

Setting off by car I wound up and up the mountain path, passing the pretty whitewashed villages of Bubión, Capileira and Pampaneira on my way. You can’t help but notice that despite their similarities, they all have their own character, from their artisanal stalls to the quirky cafes and restaurants.

Eventually my little car could take me no further, and I climbed higher and higher on foot. Up here in the remote peaks, I passed the occasional converted house and scenic wooded areas, finally reaching 1,600 metres and the palato of O Sel Ling itself. Serene and spiritual, there was no-one to be seen; but that didn’t matter with a view like this: the Tibetan-style building, the colourful bunting fluttering in the breeze, the delicately carved and painted artworks, and the misty mountain vista.

Beyond the Groves

It wasn’t just the monastery; from the Riverside plantation there was beauty in every direction: the snow-tipped Alpujarra mountains are flanked by the Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean coast.

“The mountains are perfect for skiing, trekking and horse-riding,” JP tells me; and he isn’t wrong. Later that day I find myself riding in the hills among the orange trees and olive groves, where views of the mountains and the sea are stunning. The pistes of the Sierra, meanwhile, are popular among locals, but a burgeoning discovery for outsiders, which means they’re free from the crush of tourism you might expect.

“Granada is only 45 minutes away, and the coast is about 30 minutes,” our olive gourmand promises, and sure enough, I’m just a short drive from the jaw-dropping beauty of the Islamic and Christian architecture and gardens that mingle in Granada and the Alhambra; a place where the light is especially striking at night. The Moorish poets mused that it was ‘a pearl set in emeralds’. And I have to admit, they have a point.