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"Stroke this, it's mink" Part One

…was one of the best/worst chat up lines I was subjected to during 2011. The requested stroking was of a suited forearm. I looked curiously at the chap as he thrust the aforementioned body part towards me, (slightly reminiscent of an elderly aunts’ proffered cheek awaiting a peck) to make the requested stroking a little easier for me. I obediently reached out my hand.  I obviously didn’t look convinced so he dove into his inside jacket pocket to show me the label and the ‘evidence’ of mink, clear to see, written on the label. How seductive, don’t you think? He will probably laugh too, until he realises, through cruel memory recall, that it is of him whom I write. In any case, let us not dwell too much on the amusing, that would be dreadful.

Evoke Your Senses

You may recall my mentioning Split Farthing Hall in a previous post – (In the raw…). I stayed with them for 48 hrs on my relocation south for a retreat they call ‘Evoke your Senses’  – it was a welcome respite between packing and unpacking and they said they’d have me on my way as ‘a new woman’ refreshed and renewed.  In 48 hrs?  I was dubious, I mean what are they, miracle workers? Anyway, it was excellent and they’ve only just opened for business, (a few months ago) it was two of the most productive and powerful days I have ever spent. The schedule was a packed one without feeling overwrought and one of the things I enjoyed the most was how purposeful each part of the retreat was. The perception and indeed the reality was one of value, progress and a powerful sense of transition.

The facts

Before I throw too many superlatives around let me give you the factual lowdown;

  • They opened in September 2011
  • They use raw food as a backdrop and a way of illustrating what an important role food plays in how we feel, our energy levels and how we look.
  • Run by a stepmother and daughter team, Andrea (stepmum) is an Aussie and Claire was shortlisted for coach of the year 2011 (she didn’t win last year but its just a matter of time)
  • They believe in balance and realness (women after my own heart).
  • They offer four different courses that range from internal and external facing journeys to bootcamp and general fitness.

The schedule

Friday night from 5pm;

  •  Canapés and a welcome drink (don’t expect a G&T)
  • Intro to the group – unthreatening,  introductions as you would expect when meeting new people
  • Dinner – gourmet raw – delicious, rich and filling!
  • Breath meditation and experience sharing (for me this was a wow, loved it)


  • Yoga
  • Brekkie (raw – no toast and no coffee offered (no full English either) but if you really want it they’ll do it for you (a full English might be a stretch) – deprivation isn’t their thing.
  • A self examination that is (in part) shared; your feelings, emotions, what matters the most to you (there wasn’t a dry eye in the house). Expertly orchestrated and supported.
  • Lunch – raw gourmet
  • ‘Pamper me perfectly’ – taking care of yourself, creating boundaries and priorities and ‘kitchen table’ care.  Had it been somewhere or something different (including the addition of males) this could have turned into a 9 ½ weeks rerun, crikey!
  • A bracing walk – it really was freezing.
  • Dinner – raw gourmet (of course)
  • EFT (emotional freedom technique) around the fire pit.  Now, this isn’t any old fire pit.  It’s huge and utterly captivating, both within the context of the program and the cold December night.  It was my favourite bit.


  • Yoga
  • Brekkie
  • A round robin of 121 coaching, massage and super smoothie making
  • Lunch – raw gourmet with a raw chocolate dessert that I pigged on all afternoon.
  • Wrap up and commitment to yourself to action your desires.

How it was

There were four of us, all with our own reasons to be there. Cracking girls with different lives, fears and hopes. This brought a terrific sense of liberty, only apparent when strangers collide with a common intention.  There was an immediate sense of camaraderie and trust, no hesitation in speaking frankly and openly and a feeling of connection that may or may not withstand the test of time.  I should tell you this is a ladies only venue.  I think that’s wise, the sense of openness would be undermined if the ‘opposite sex’ dynamic were introduced. See my retreat confidantes below – no that isn’t alcohol! My high points;

  • The fire pit – totally awesome!  EFT (emotional freedom technique) is a lesser known therapy but a hugely effective one.
  • The group itself, a flook, it couldn’t have been planned better; the characters contributed to a beautifully orchestrated sharing of minds and experiences.
  • The breath meditation – I loved this and the difference I saw in my facial skin was immediate (increased oxygen flow) I’m now a daily partaker.  I squeezed in an extra breath meditation on the Saturday night too.
  • The variability of the schedule- completely engaging at every turn
  • The food – delicious, tasty gourmet raw – also very rich (surprisingly) but not everyone’s cup of tea.

Liked to have seen included; ( I say this in slightly unrealistic terms as there was no spare time but an extra day with these things scheduled would be absolute bliss )

  • More massage and instruction on methods of detox ie skin brushing, Himalayan salt baths
  • A personalized therapeutic treatment as a result of the gathered info on each person during the retreat.
  • A ‘what to have’ list for the fridge and cupboards to be able to embrace a more raw food  lifestyle – even in part.
  • A spa tub beside the fire pit – oh my, that really would be the crowning glory!

There’s plenty more to tell so this is a two parter, I’ll try and include another ‘amusing’ tale.  Lord knows I have plenty. …and I haven’t forgotten, Happy New Year!  May it be filled with love, laughter and happiness and the odd mink suit, if you’re that way inclined.

With love,

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About Anni Hood

A sassie Brit from the north east of England, Anni left to explore the world many years ago and has spent recent years globetrotting for both work and pleasure. Somewhere in the melee of culture, inspiration and joie de vivre, she discovered a great passion not only for sport, fitness and activity, but also a zeal for all things healthy.

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