Monday, 8 February 2010
I woke at 4.15am with a streaming cold and also by the giggling next door, Dulwichmum seemed to have hooked up with her 'Barrister', though she tells me she was having her daily pedicure from her personal masseuse (she brought a whole entourage of staff with her).
I felt rotten and wandered across my enormous room to find a Dualit Kettle and a whole array of choice hot drinks, even a cafetiere, brilliant. A few hot cups of tea later and I felt ready to sample the shower.
The bathroom adjoining my room was palatial, well designed and so relaxing. I also didn't have any visitors while I was in there which I'm sure any Mum will agree is quite a novelty.
The shower was fabulous, I loved the sink, the bath, I loved the taps (some guests had trouble with the plug functionality, though I won't mention anyone in particular from the Evening Standard).
I emerged from the bathroom and had more tea from the delightfully posh kettle and then climbed back into my enormous bed with crisp sheets and went back to sleep.
Quite frankly I felt like I'd had a fantastic break already and I hadn't even done anything yet!
I woke later, rang Bea and then it dawned on me how well insulated the rooms were(I lied abut the giggling), I couldn't hear the phone ring next door and she couldn't hear me wandering around and making a racket at a ridiculous time in the morning...thank goodness we had separate rooms!
Well the new day brought new challenges and little did I know when DM and I planned the weekend away, that author and life coach Nina Grunfeld would be helping us reconsider our life direction.
I ate my delicate breakfast of banana smoothie, fresh yogurt and muesli and then the most perfectly cooked pancakes
while Bea scoffed down an 16oz Rump topped with bacon, sausages and organic free range eggs (in a delicate and ladylike manner of course!). I pondered our day wanting to clonk Bea over the head for getting me into this 'life course' with people who were bound to be needy cranks and weirdos...oh how wrong I was!
DM fluttered her eyelashes at the concierge and demanded he take us across the grounds in the hotel limousine to meet with the Life Coach...and we met our group.
My old age prevents me from remembering everybody's name but there was Eugene, a fashion designer for some very cool labels, a lovely exciting lady who owns a swanky art gallery in Notting Hill, Liz, a tremendously fun lady who allows the London Evening Standard to publish her articles, Barry a song-writer and Becky a qualified NLP coach. I was really pleased to meet Lee-Anne, another Mum (though she was annoying because she has a career and good figure too). All these fabulous people together, no cranks, I shouldn't pre-judge.
Nina Grunfeld is a super nice lady, intelligent and fun.
She gave us a short introduction explaining that Life Clubs is about people helping people because it feels good to do so (a little like Blogging I thought).
We started by drawing circles to represent different parts of our lives, which I thought was weird, but yet again I need to be slapped about the head terribly nicely for being silly. We were put into pairs and once we looked at eachothers' circles questions were asked;
why is your mother at the centre? (not me obviously)
Why is there so much space around your circles?
Which circles would you like to make smaller?
What would happen if that one grew bigger?
It was fascinating.
We were fresh eyes to eachother's lives and how we perceive them. No-one was judgemental, we were all interested and surprised at what we'd drawn ourselves.
We moved on through the morning, writing down things we enjoyed, treats we'd like if we weren't restricted by money or commitments, a list of things we loved to do when we were little.
Dulwich Mum wrote an incredible list but I can't possibly repeat any of it (whisper.....you should have seen what she plans to buy with James' bonus!)
Over Saturday morning and the next morning every one of us in the room had 'lightbulb moments' from writing down thoughts and passions and through discussion. Relationships and friendships blossomed.
I saw one lady gain strength, determination and confidence to do what she'd always wanted to but was not confident enough to actually start. I know she now has.
I realised my passion in life is creativity. It doesn't mean I have to sell my business, wear a smock and be an artist, it means I need to bring something creative back into my life to make me feel balanced and give me pleasure.
I came home and booked myself into a Pottery Class with my old teacher and had the most fantastic time throwing pots last week!
The best thing Nina said was..'Don't feel guilty..if you don't want to do something, don't do it (she has some sort of explaining to do to Darling Husband about the laundry), pay someone else to do it and don't feel guilty about it.
I loved the Life Club and of course there's so much more to it than I've told you. But I have to say, I went to The Grove wanting to pamper myself in the Spa, drink cocktails and eat and sleep, and as much as I did all those things and loved it, the Life Club with Nina Grunfeld was without question the icing on the exquisite cake.
I was totally sceptical and thought I'd hate it.
I only went because Dulwich Mum is so dominating and threatened me with her Mulberry handbag while it contained the entire Estee Lauder range (very scary).
And I'm so, so delighted I went, I loved it and would love to go again.
I feel so much more satisfied with my life and I know my direction my clearly.
So I have decided that one of the things I must do in life is let the world see the real Dulwich Mum.
See her in the flesh, no more hiding behind a champagne glass on her capacious balcony. I'm sorry Bea, I love you dearly but it's time for the world to see you.
“Best Life” Retreats will take place on the following dates:
Friday 5 – Sunday 7 March
Friday 19 – Sunday 21 March
Friday 26 – Sunday 28 March
For £480 per person (based on two people sharing) the package includes:
•Two nights accommodation in the West Wing
•One hour treatment in Sequoia Spa
•Unlimited use of all the facilities with Sequoia Spa
•Two "Best Life" workshops and a copy of The Life Book
Try it and you too will walk out sighing with contentment, Bea and I were, it's fantastic!