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Moments to Savour: conscious cookery and mindful eating

Link mindfulness with harvesting, preparing, cooking and eating delicious vegetarian and vegan food on this popular retreat.

Experience mindful cooking and eating on meditation retreats at Sharpham

Bringing a mindful awareness to the foods we produce, prepare and eat nourishes us – and the world – in many ways.

 

When we eat with full awareness, we become increasingly mindful of all the elements and effort needed to make our meals a reality, and this in turn fosters our appreciation of the constant support we get from others and from nature.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Lilian Cheung in their book Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

 

This retreat is led by Janet Bird – the mindful cook responsible for many of Sharpham’s delicious vegetarian and vegan meals.

Here she talks about what happens on this retreat:

 

Eating with mindfulness

 


The food we serve on retreats at Sharpham is vegetarian and vegan – and delicious!

Many of the meals have been created by Janet Bird, who shares her conscious cookery and mindful eating techniques with participants on this retreat.

You can hear Janet leading a short food meditation here:

 

This retreat is for you if you:

 

  • Want to combine mindfulness teachings with making and eating vegetarian and vegan food
  • Want to develop mindful awareness of your relationship with and creativity around cooking and eating
  • Are aged 18 and above

Click here to find out why we serve vegan and vegetarian foods, and why our kitchens are meat and fish-free


There will be a maximum of 16 participants on this retreat.

There are periods of silence on each of our retreats.


Because Sharpham House is a Grade 1-listed mansion (with limits to the changes we are allowed to make to the building), few bedrooms come with an en-suite bathroom and toilet. There are shared bathrooms on every floor.

Experience mindful cooking and eating on meditation retreats at Sharpham

What you’ll experience on this retreat


During this retreat you’ll:

  • experience guided meditations, relaxation sessions and periods of silence and quiet contemplation
  • be living in community with like-minded people, sharing experiences and tasks, including the washing-up
  • be able to explore our tranquil Capability Brown-designed parkland and our Grade 2*-listed gardens designed by Percy Cane
  • have a single-occupancy room and your own space in which to rejuvenate, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself, far from the busy-ness of daily life. Click here to explore our rooms.
  • enjoy delicious, healthy, home-cooked vegetarian food that regularly receives rave reviews and have access to 24-hour hot teas, coffee & infusions in our Toasting Room
  • be cared for full-board in a Grade 1-listed Georgian House surrounded by history and art, with staff looking after you, in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to nature, amid breath-taking scenery on the banks of the River Dart

 

Whenever we eat or drink, we can engage all our senses in the eating and drinking experience. Eating and drinking like this, we not only feed our bodies and safeguard our physical health but also nurture our feelings, our mind and our consciousness”

Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Lilian Cheung in their book Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

 

Experience mindful cooking and eating on meditation retreats at Sharpham

Mindfulness in nature at Sharpham


When you experience Sharpham's inspiring and nourishing environment, we hope you'll connect spiritually with the natural world, so you’ll:

  • become aware of how we are all part of nature - not artificially separate from it
  • pay attention to and appreciate the natural world surrounding us
  • explore nature through your senses and your natural creativity
  • Tread more lightly on our finite planet, developing a respect and reverence for all living things

Click here to read our ethos and principles

Experience mindful cooking and eating on meditation retreats at Sharpham

What might you bring?


If you decide to stay with us, we’ll send you a list of what you need to bring for this retreat in your Welcome Letter. But you might consider the following:

  • Comfy clothes for meditation, movement and relaxation
  • Slippers (we supply some, but you might prefer your own)
  • A journal or notepad if you want to write or draw during your time here
  • Swimming gear – we have a small pool that’s open in summer. Click here to read more
  • Walking boots – we have wonderful footpaths and routes to explore
  • Running gear if you’re a jogger. Some participants love to run on the lanes and footpaths near Sharpham

Find out more about staying in Sharpham House on our Frequently Asked Questions page

 

Experience mindful cooking and eating on meditation retreats at Sharpham

Our food & your dietary needs


The retreat is full-board with delicious home-cooked vegetarian food. 

In line with sustainable practices across the Estate, our cooks produce seasonal, vegetarian food for our guests. We source food whenever possible from our kitchen garden and support local food suppliers. The Estate's farm tenants produce award-winning wine and cheese as well as organic eggs, meat and vegetables.

We can accommodate the following dietary needs: vegan, wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free as long as you have included these on your Booking Form. Please alert us to any food allergies you have. The booking form is sent as a link once you have booked and paid for a retreat.

 

Your physical and mental health


This retreat is suitable for you if you are new to mindfulness, or seeking to renew or reconnect with your practice.

Although meditation and mindfulness can be helpful in managing stress, depression and anxiety our retreats might not be suitable if you are experiencing major depression or other clinically diagnosed psychiatric illness such as bipolar disorder, psychosis or current self-harming. Click here for more information and for our booking process

We have an accessible en-suite bedroom The Clare Milne Room – click here for details on how to book this room

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact our Programme Administrator on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-served basis.

 

Savour every moment, every breath, every meal, every relationship, every action or non-action, every opportunity to maintain your well-being and the well-being of our world.”

Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Lilian Cheung in their book Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

 

Experience mindful cooking and eating on meditation retreats at Sharpham

 

The retreat schedule will include 2 half-hour guided meditation sessions per day with periods of silence to help strengthen the practice.  

Day 1: Arrive between 4-5pm for welcoming talk and settling in

The group will be divided into 2 for the following 2 days.  Below is the typical schedule for Day 2, with day 3 having Group B cooking in the morning.

7am

Wake up

7.30am

Sitting Meditation

guided on Day 1

(Octagonal Room)

8.00am

Breakfast and Tasks

10.00am

Group A: gathering food

Group B: preparing food

11.00am

Group A: Mindfulness and food practice

Group B: preparing food

12.00

Group A: Personal Time

1.00pm

Lunch

2.30pm

Meeting

(Groups A and B): Introduction to Mindfulness (practice + attitudinal qualities

3.30pm

Group A: preparing food Group B: gathering food

5.15pm

 

5.30pm

Group B: Personal time

6.30pm

Supper/tasks

7.45pm

Personal time

8.30pm

Body scan meditation

(Octagonal Room)

9.00pm

House moves into silence until 09.00am


Final day - Depart 11.45am

The retreat will move into silence each evening from 9.00pm – 9.00am

I loved learning more about vegetarian cookery and have lots of ideas now for my kitchen. To hear how Janet plans her meals in terms of colours, tastes, textures, balance between different elements, was truly inspirational”

 

I loved the variety of things that were included in the retreat alongside the cooking - mindful movement, yoga nidra and the walk. It felt as though Linda and Janet were really wanting to give us the best experience that they could”

 

I had a wonderful stay with delicious food, inspiring nature and people. It felt like a home from home”

 

Food for the body and soul”

 

As a first-time retreatant, having mindfulness combined with cooking (which I love) gave me the courage and interest to pursue a retreat”

 

I feel the retreat has nourished my soul and self through the beauty of the nature all around and the love, care, kindness of the people in the house. I came as a thread and feel I’m leaving as a fabric woven with lots of memories”

This retreat takes place in the beautiful and historic Grade 1-listed Sharpham House set in a Capability Brown-designed landscape with stunning views over the steeply-wooded River Dart.


Click here for our How to Find Us page on this website.

Click here to view, print or download directions and a map to Sharpham House

Click here view and download walking/cycling directions to Sharpham House

Aerial shot of Sharpham House

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact our Programme Administrator on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-served basis.


Just to let you know, we have poor mobile phone coverage – which we see as a virtue. While there is wi-fi in Sharpham House, we encourage you to disconnect from ‘the network’ so you can fully retreat when you’re here.


We are 3 miles from Totnes – famous for its Transition Town movement

We are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Sustainability

We take sustainability seriously.

All of the hot water and heating in the House is produced by a state-of-the-art biomass woodchip boiler and we have 2 large photo-voltaic solar panel arrays on barn rooftops.

Eco-gardens at Sharpham

Our gardens are managed organically and we only use bio-degradable cleaning products.

4 nights

£375 - Standard room, single occupancy, full-board

£425 - Premium room, single occupancy, full-board

£495 – Heritage room, single occupancy, full-board


Room types

Standard rooms
Our Standard rooms are smaller and cost less, but they’re still cosy and comfy. If you prefer a simpler or less expensive retreat experience, these rooms are for you.

Standard room at Sharpham House

Premium rooms
These are attractive rooms with good views of the stunning countryside that surrounds us. They are comfortable, giving you a restful environment in which to restore.

Premium room in Sharpham House

Heritage rooms
These are our most spacious & historic rooms, helping you deeply rest and rejuvenate in a nourishing and inspiring atmosphere surrounded by artworks and with river views.

Heritage room in Sharpham House

Bathrooms

Because Sharpham House is a Grade 1-listed mansion (with limits to the changes we are allowed to make to the building), few bedrooms come with an en-suite bathroom and toilet. There are shared bathrooms on every floor.

A shared bathroom at Sharpham

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact our Programme Administrator on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-served basis.


Our accessible rooms

We have an accessible en-suite bedroom The Clare Milne Room – click here for details on how to book this room


Bursaries

Limited bursaries offering reduced-price retreats are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Please contact the Programme Administrator at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.

Our bursary fund relies on donations. If you’d like to help another to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here


All rooms have tea & coffee-making facilities and towels are provided. Click here to see more about our rooms

 

 
Janet Bird

Janet Bird

Janet's passion is about nourishing and nurturing the body, whether it is through teaching, bodywork or cooking. She has over 30 years’ experience of working with movement as a massage therapist, studying many different forms.

Meditation and a devotional life have been integral in all she does, as has the ‘work is love in action’ ethos of the Findhorn Foundation where she has spent the last few years. Bringing these qualities into the kitchen is vital for healthy well-being, and Janet feels that it is from this place that we will be inspired to create colourful, simple, tasty food: well-balanced and full of goodness.

Janet loves to teach and share her knowledge of simple vegetarian cooking and how to bring more awareness of the body into our everyday lives as well as sharing the gifts learnt from being a nomad and living all over the world. 


Dr Jo Gosling.

Dr Jo Gosling.

Dr Jo Gosling has over 30 years’ experience in the NHS, initially as a Macmillan Nurse in cancer care then, after gaining a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in1996, as a Clinical Psychologist specialising in managing chronic pain and weight management.

In 2013, she became a Licensed Practitioner for the Understanding your Eating Programme and introduced mindfulness to the services she worked with. She has a longstanding mindfulness practice of 15+ years and trained as a Mindfulness Teacher with Bangor and Exeter Universities. She is listed with UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisation as meeting the UK Good Practice Guidance for Mindfulness-Based Teachers (undertaking regular supervision and a commitment to CPD).  Training to teach Mindful Self-Compassion (with Chris Germer and Kristin Neff) combined with a personal health crisis led to a change of direction in life and she now spends most of her time creating fibre art.

A natural follow-on has been to run workshops on ‘Mindfulness and Creativity-Working from the Heart.’ As a freelance mindfulness teacher she has delivered numerous MBCT groups for people with recurrent depression at the Mood Disorders Centre, University of Exeter, and is a tutor and supervisor on their post-graduate mindfulness-based cognitive therapies programme. Mindfulness, compassion and the cultivation of joy are her greatest supports on her journey to wholeness. 


Retreats & Events

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