A weekend of relaxation and respite for widowed parents

(and lots of fun for their children)


A relaxing weekend Retreat in Derbyshire, for widowed parents and their children

There is no need to find childcare, no cooking nor dishes to wash for the whole weekend, you don’t even need to think of how to keep your children amused – all of this will be done for you.

Amazing, hey?

For the first time in probably a long while, you get to simply be, to have that time with other parents where we will move gently and slowly with deeply relaxing and trauma releasing yoga and meditation. You will be comforted, cosy, and your body will love this caring treat – that self care time that is impossible to find at home – you will get it here.

There is such power in being with community who have the same lived experience as you  – it’s like a huge sigh of relief, a place to freely speak, to be heard and understood, to resonate with so many others – such a unique gathering, an experience for you and your children not to miss.

When & where?

DATES: Friday 4th to Sunday 6th October 2024

LOCATION: Mount Cook Adventure Centre, Matlock Derbyshire

Retreat for the widowed

I really enjoyed this weekend with Orla. She has such a calming affect and I loved this opportunity she gave to bring people together sharing in hope and wonder after such tragedy. Loved both the yoga and the activities my girls did ❤️❤️

Attendee, 2023 retreat

An excellent weekend away. I’m so glad that we went. It was fabulous to have time for me to relax whist kids were having fun. Orla was so welcoming and put everyone at ease. It’s been so lovely to meet others going through similar experiences. I would definitely recommend this break x

Attendee, 2023 retreat

The retreat was a happy place to be, whilst connecting with other bereaved families and sharing stories and thoughts on this life we didn’t choose.

Attendee, 2023 retreat

Orla did a magnificent job of combining adult time and children time that, whilst separate and enjoyable, meant I didn’t feel guilty spending a day doing something I love that recharged my battery knowing the kids were having fun and being looked after in a safe space.

Attendee, 2023 retreat

This was an amazing opportunity for me and my daughter to come away together and be with other families in our circumstances. Orla was calming patient and has encouraged me to fit yoga into my busy life so I can take some time for me!

Attendee, 2023 retreat

For you

An opportunity for you to simply be, to let go, to feel at ease.

Space to breathe. To allow tension and trauma a chance to release from the body. To give your mind a break from the relentless to-do’s.

This is about letting go of responsibility. To be you – the person who has become lost in grief and the relentless responsibilities of being a solo parent. To have a chance to be with your grief, a chance to be with others who understand your grief, a chance to release some of the tension of grief.

To achieve these desires we will be;

* Journaling to start the day

* As your children are bonding, having fun, exploring activities, you will experience gentle releasing yoga – easing out the tension and trauma held in our tissues – this feels so good

* Conversation and connection with people who get it, who understand – this feeling of community and support is priceless

* Guided deeply relaxing yoga Nidra (meditation)

* A mini workshop on how to guide yourself towards the future you want

Healing Yoga
children on high ropes

Adventure and friendship for the kids

An opportunity for your children to simply be, to let go, to feel at ease.

Last year, within minutes of everyone arriving, the magical bond between the children was clear to see – the children, ages between 6 and 14 dropped their usual defences and a giant game of hide and seek started within minutes. The teens got to form friendships with others who understand the complexities of feeling different to your peers. 

You will be nurtured and rested in the knowledge that your children will be well looked after by the activity staff at Mount Cook.

What do the children do whilst we melt into relaxation?

Challenging yet rewarding and exciting activities – zip wiring, high ropes, wall climbing, and other group activities.

Groups are split into ages so they get to interact with their peers and do activities that suit their abilities best.

There will always be a volunteer parent supervising each group of children. Your child will be safe and having fun whilst you get to let go of being responsible. 

If your child is has any additional needs, Mount Cook will most likely be able to accommodate their needs.


Mount Cook Activity Centre, where all the fun and rest will take place, is in Matlock, the County Town of Derbyshire and is located in the beautiful Derbyshire Dales. 

Each family has their own room and bathroom and can fit up to 5 occupants.

Although this is akin to an “all inclusive holiday”, do not expect 5 star (apart from the company you will keep of course). Think more comfy and practical – a hostel vibe – with bunkbeds and a bathroom in each family’s room, it’s a place to rest your head.

We are surrounded by nature and in a very safe and enclosed environment. Away from the beaten track. Blissful. 

Intinerary for parents

FRIDAY: Welcome
17.00 – Arrive after 5pm and check into rooms
18.00 – Hot dinner with everyone / sandwiches for later arrivals
19.00 – Welcome Greeting, bar is open! Let’s mingle.

SATURDAY: Respite, Connection, Relaxation
08.00 – Breakfast as one big happy family
09.00 – Yoga, Journaling, chat
12.00 – Lunch – we all join together to eat
13.45 – Yoga session (including deep guided meditation)
18.00 – Dinner – gathering together once more
19.00 – Bar is open! Fire Ceremony. Time for some great conversation – and relax, no dishes to clean

SUNDAY: Family activities
08.00 – Breakfast & checkout of rooms

9.30 –  Everyone gathers for short but sweet journaling, meditation and yoga
10.30 – Group walk in the Black Rock Hills or do your own thing
12.30 – Lunch

14.00 – Goodbyes

Intinerary for children

FRIDAY: Meeting new and not so new friends
17.00 – Arrive and check into bedrooms
18.00 – Dinner
19.00 – Free-for-all fun! Bring your favourite toys, frisbee, ball or play hide and seek

08.00 – Breakfast

09.00 – On-site activity TBC (wall climbing / high ropes / zip wire etc)
12.30 – Lunch – we all join together to eat
13.45 – On-site activity TBC
18.00 – Dinner
19.00 – Fire Ceremony with marshmallows!

08.00 – Breakfast & checkout of rooms

9.30 –  Everyone gathers for short but sweet journaling, meditation and yoga
10.30 – Group walk in the Black Rock Hills or do your own thing
12.30 – Lunch

14.00 – Goodbyes

Fire ceremony

the details


Children need to be over 6 to take part in activities. Unfortunately, there are no creche facilities or child-minders available so on this occasion, it will be over 6’s only.

Your payment includes:

✔️ Room for 2 nights
✔️ Breakfast, lunch, dinner for 2 full days (1 x full day, 2 x half days)
✔️ Kids activities Saturday
✔️ Adult yoga and meditation Saturday

✔️ Fire Ceremony Saturday

DATES: Friday 4th to Sunday 6th October 2024

LOCATION: Mount Cook Adventure Centre, Matlock, Derbyshire


Travel insurance is NOT included in the price of the retreat, and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. As we all know, things happen, children get bugs, so please do ensure you have insurance as I will not be able to reimburse you.

Should I need to cancel the retreat, you will be paid back in full.

This retreat sold out within 24 hours last year –  it is a first come, first served basis. Make sure you are not disappointed.

I will create a waiting list if needed.


You partake in events at your own risk and neither we or the event organiser can accept any liability for any issues that may arise in relation to the event (unless caused by our negligence or the negligence of the event organiser). If the activity is strenuous or involves risk you should ensure that you are medically able to participate and consider whether you should take out any insurances.

Meet Orla

Solo parenting is a hard journey.

Although in my early raw grief I would have been quite anxious about being on a retreat with people I don’t know, I know I would have jumped at the chance. 

The idea of holidaying, just the two of us, didn’t feel inviting, all the responsibilities were still mine. No sharing, no respite (I couldn’t afford an all-inclusive so that was out the window) and I also didn’t welcome the thought of having no adult conversation and of feeling very alone.

This would have been right up my street – but I didn’t see this offering anywhere. My son could be happy having fun with other children (we only got to have one child so he has no siblings to bounce off), and I actually got a chance to be still, to be with others who had an understanding of how impossible it all felt.

I have created several retreats for adults only (who are widowed) but I really wanted to cater for the knackered parents too. Lat year I finally found a way that would incorporate the many complexities of what I was trying to achieve. The very first Wids & Kids Retreat was born (although that name only came about whilst on the retreat).

Although last year was my first haphazard attempt, it was a triumph, and now back by popular demand. So here I am, with insights from my first attempt, and with little improvements here and there to make this year’s experience even better.

I know how how hard it is as a solo widowed parent – i’ve walked this path since 2018, my son was 4 back then. I know that finding time and space for yourself is hard to find, but it is also really important. During this weekend I hope to show you very small rituals and practices to add into your day, little 5 minute ways of grabbing some softness, clarity, calmness. From this place we get to be more present for ourselves, first and foremost, which then helps us to be more able and present for everyone else, especially our children.

I am a very time-strapped parent too, I know how impossible it can feel to fit in self care – so here is your chance to have a weekend away and enjoy being taken care of whilst seeing your children thrive and let down their barriers – there is such power in knowing they are not the only one with a parent who has died.

Absolutely no experience of yoga is needed to get involved.

If you want to know anything more about me before you commit to booking, please read my story here.

If you have specific queries about access at Mount cook – take a look at their website, I’m sure most answers will be on there.

orla blackburn, Holistic Widow Guide

Please email me if you have any queries. Mailto: hello@orlablackburn.com