Female Empowerment Retreat in Portugal

Female Empowerment Retreat in Portugal

When you feel like you are losing your menopausal marbles, are about to turn 50, and working and parenting have become a little like groundhog day, sometimes it  is a good idea to plan something outside your comfort zone. When myself and my lovely friend Sheonad came across Tova Leigh on Instagram during mindless scrolling of photos and stories of perfect lives, we came across something that grabbed our attention. 

In need of recharge and looking for a little bit of adventure we spotted that Tova organised an annual retreat . Due to kid’s exams and work commitments, we were unable to make it in 2023 so decided to keep a look out for the 2024 release dates to see if it was a possibility. In the meantime we set to reading Tova’s book, Fucked at 40 ‘life beyond suburbia, monogamy and stretch marks which makes you realise that there is more life to be had than being stuck between four walls of home and mind. 

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Thankfully the days of the retreat the following year coincided with pre-GCSEs and A levels for the kids, and our husbands, possibly due to seeing the manic desperation in our eyes, agreed to let us escape.

We both quickly completed our applications as places are limited, and clearly you are only accepted if you are an exceptional human being and possibly a little bit mad because Tova quickly got in touch to offer us both a place. The gods were clearly smiling on us as  Ryanair then started to do flights from Norwich to Faro and what a tragedy that both our flights only went on Friday, meaning that we would have to have an extra 2 days suffering the sunshine in Faro prior to starting the retreat. Who knew it is faster and cheaper to fly to Faro than get a train to Glasgow to meet up?!

We stayed the extra 2 nights at the 3HB. A centrally located and very fabulous hotel with not only a rooftop pool but a spa pool in the basement and some very lovely Italian food and cocktails in the restaurant.

The retreat was set in a beautiful hillside location in a Quinta 25 minutes from Faro by taxi. We were allocated either individual or shared rooms which were simple but beautifully decorated. There was an outside kitchen area for meals and snacks, a beautiful platform for yoga and stunning building for workshops. There was a swimming pool of freshwater overlooking fantablous views of the local countryside.

Free time during the week allowed for a sneaky dip at dawn or dusk or a leisurely swim in the afternoon. Such was the uniqueness of this spot that we swam with a frog who we are convinced was a prince, and were accompanied by bats flying overhead in the evenings.The programme for the following day was released the night before which initially I found a little tricky as I am a complete control freak, but actually not knowing your week’s schedule in advance was quite liberating. 

Now to the retreat. Clearly I didn’t read any of the instructions and had focused more on the food by a private chef (phenomenal, varied, very healthy with meat and a chocolate dessert that I am still dreaming about,  what an incredible treat to be fed and watered for 5 days!) and that there was a goodie bag and massage ( heavenly, outdoors with bird song ) included.

Now what happens on a retreat stays on a retreat, so I need to be careful not to give any spoilers. There were 14 women who signed up and every one of them had their own reasons to do so. Myself and Sheonad were the only two who came together, and people had travelled from as far as  Canada, the States and Perth. Each one of them was  brave and spectacular with stories to tell to each fill a novel.  We met more medics ( they get everywhere) , a dairy cow beautician and an Irish author who escaped to Italy and had written 5 books about her adventures. 

Faye was our hostess with the mostess and there to meet our every need, provide ice cream and keep us organized! She even had essential oils on hand to battle mosquitos and help with nausea on the boat trip. If you would like to learn a little more about oils and their benefits you could check out her instagram account. There were workshops galore and I chanted, sang and danced my way through the week. There was emotional support on hand for anyone who needed some time out or who was feeling a little overwhelmed from Alicja and if you want to meet a Goddess of jaguars I suggest you take a look at what this inspiring lady Chiara, has to offer.

Overall I would say that this experience was a huge game changer for me. It enabled me to spend some much needed time reminding myself to take a leap.  So if you feel you want to say no, and doing something new feels uncomfortable and awkward, say yes anyway. Because you might just discover things about yourself you had forgotten; or something new that brings happiness and light. 

Female Empowerment Retreat in Portugal

So if you fancy meeting inspirational women, swimming with a frog,  or being out of your comfort zone, but saying yes regardless; check out next year’s adventure. You wont regret it.


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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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