“Desri and Robin,
“All good thoughts and ideas mean nothing without action” Ghandi.
I promise you both that I will succeed is that long list of actions!
Thank you both for your kindness, knowledge, understanding and drive to help me. I am leaving here refreshed, focused and with a greater understanding of who I am and how I react to situations and people. The food and advice on meals and cooking were astonishing and wonderful. Desri, Ilook forward to that book! ………what a wonderful gift you both have to make such life-altering changes for people. I will be forever grateful.”
Crossing over the bridge from La Rochelle to Isle de Re is akin to entering another world. There is a relaxation and calmness about the place which is only highlighted even more when you arrive at Robin and Desri’s. I have been to a number of spas over the years for various reasons including weight loss and stress. All of them were short-term fixes. I knew something needed to change and it did in Isle de Re.
I must mention the fabulous food. I imagined lots of chickpeas and plates of raw veg, I promise you nothing could be further from the truth. The depth and range of flavours are such that they would not be out of place in the finest Michelin-star establishments. I left with a deeper understanding of flavours and that raw vegan was definitely not deprivation, indeed it was luxury.
I spent some of my five days, cycling around the island, and walking by and swimming in the sea. These trips gave me the space to think about the work I had undertaken with Robin. He provided me with a greater understanding of why I found myself in the position I was in and helped me to find practical solutions to implement so that I can live my best life. It felt for the first time that someone was not simply pulling ideas from the hat of weight loss solutions.
I am grateful that I took a chance and found my answers in this cocoon of understanding in the beautiful Ile de Re.” F. 2022
“Well……when you know you need a reset and start plough through the 1000s of retreats available ~ you hope you’ve made the right choice! Well……I did!
I had no idea what to expect, or if I had chosen the right place but liked the sound of the one-to-one sessions which I felt would make a difference.
I could not have found two better people to help me achieve what I set out to do. I wanted to deal with issues that have had a detrimental effect on my life for a long time-I’m a private person, so did not relish the thought of doing this….but I did – under the direction and care of the most wonderful people that’s Robin and Desri. I’ve never opened up so much but hey, if you’re not honest with yourself – it’s never going to work. Robin and Desri got it just right! Not to mention the SUPERB food. Thank you so much.” D 2022
“Such an incredible retreat. It’s hard to put into words the profound effects that Desri & Robin’s healing retreat has had on me. I arrived feeling totally drained & fatigued and returned home feeling energised & revitalised both mentally & physically. Thank you both for such a transformative few days, it is a truly personalised retreat from the moment you arrive.
An unbelievable experience that has realigned my mindset; your enthusiasm has not only encouraged me to take positive steps towards my dream life but even my family have been inspired by my experience. How wonderful. #thisgirlcan.
I highly recommend, if you’re thinking of going but feel nervous; don’t be..just book! I would love to come back for round 2. Thank you both so much x”
Jessica B. 2019
“When I was diagnosed with a rare neurological muscle disorder, the first thing I had to face was there was (apparently) no effective treatment for it. This kind of news tends to sap you of the will to resist anything. I was at the point of not bothering to have shoes repaired or go to the dentist.
The Following year a friend introduced me to Desri and Robin. Some people have a life-enhancing quality you can’t really put a finger on, and in their case it’s backed up with practical technique, method and the endless patience required to apply it.
I’m not claiming they have found a cure where conventional science has failed. But there is such a thing as self-cure, and they have ways and means to unlock it. I don’t know if ‘making you better’ is valid clinical terminology. But that’s what they do.
L.M. France 2008
“I met Robin a few months ago doing our NLP Master Practitioner and had the chance to work with him closely being his coachee in some exercises and he is AMAZING!!!
Robin has a special gift as a coach. He has the ability to help people to overcome their difficulties and achieve their goals. He is gentle and patient. He stays totally focused on the coachee´s goal all time. He has a great ability to listen and to connect with the coachee. He is able to use the most powerful, useful and accurate questions you need at any given moment to help you to get awareness and progress to your objective. And finally he masters the use of feedback.”
Vicente, Madrid 2013
“I highly recommend this retreat for anyone wanting transformation and a different way of thinking and being. A brilliant opportunity to become more of your best self. From the minute you arrive to the minute you leave, Robin and Desri are both 100 percent committed to you and what is the right mix of inputs/interventions to get the best results. I arrived exhausted and with lots of chronic aches and pains, skin issues and unresolved grief and guilt from the death of my mum during the pandemic. A combination of the detoxification programme, including the amazing Michelin star vegan food that Desri prescribed for me and the interventions that Robin used, I left with 1) No chronic shoulder pain ( I had it for 2 years ) 2) A glowing complexion 3) A burn on my arm that had been angry and red when I arrived had healed as had the acne on my back 4) An inner peace and acceptance of mum’s death and the circumstances surrounding it 5) A commitment to living a peaceful and fulfilled life. That’s a work in progress but I have clarity on the issues that get in my way and tools to support me to do that now.” L 2022
“Desri, thank you for being you. You are a wonderful, inspirational lady. I have enjoyed working with you, and on a much more personal level have appreciated your knowledge and advice on all things nutritional. I have always worried that I have asked too much of you, and yet you have always been so lovely and helpful in your replies.
You have certainly helped our family to get through some difficult times over the last few years!”
Wendy, Bristol 2010
“Visiting Haven was a life-changing experience. I turned up, slightly nervous, hugely unsure about what Robin and Desri could do in three days. After settling into my beautiful room in a Manoir, I was ready for my long walk in the forest with the two of them. My sessions with Robin were amazing. One-to-one with a true expert who guides you beautifully into paths untrodden. We spoke about everything from childhood, to work, to relationships to managing life. He truly listens and everything I said felt like it was valid, even though I initially prefaced with “I only do this”, “I’m terrible at this”, “I don’t know if this is relevant”. Robin listened and carried out a robust plan of therapy including NLP, Omni Healing and various other techniques. Now, I have tried many types of holistic therapy and had great success with much of it, however, I will say that sitting in a room for hours per day with someone trustworthy and experienced like Robin is gold. The time with him changed me. As for Desri’s food, I can’t remember a time when I enjoyed food so much. Overall, if you’re unsure then book. If you are sure then book. Just book it. Do it for yourself, for people around you and leave feeling re-born.”
“It’s luxurious but laid back, comfort and balance truly are at its heart. The fire-pit upon arrival was a highlight, the atmosphere of outdoor eating and the simplicity of cooking on fire were such a change from the city life we lead! The rest of our stay was just as pleasantly surprising and enchanting. From (raw!) cooking lessons and chats with Desri (she is a nutritionist and helped me enormously with some health issues on the two afternoons I spent with her) to swimming in the warm pool and walks in the beautiful woods, we left truly reenergised and looking forward to coming back.”
Lady B 2017
“When I thought about going on a retreat, I never quite imagined this. Desri and Robin could not be more open, honest, understanding, kind and invested in the individuals that attend their retreat. I went from feeling alone and disconnected from myself and the people I love, to feeling happy and confident in my own skin with courage and faith. Desri and Robin’s home is just beautiful and the meals that Desri prepares are sensational. Not only this but my sessions with Robin really opened my eyes and help me find peace, I am now able to see the world in a different way and put myself first. They really do truly devote their time to you, making you feel safe and most importantly accepted. It really became a second home to me in just a few days. Thank you both so much.”
“This retreat has truly has been a life-changing experience and give it my highest recommendation. I felt totally supported, as if in a loving cocoon, by Desri and Robin throughout what I would now call an emotional transformation. I came to them feeling very unwell, full of anger, rage, sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety…so much so that, at the last minute, I felt unable to travel. I contacted Desri to let her know and she and Robin were so understanding and supportive and after I expressed that my main need from the retreat was the emotional therapy, we agreed to do the retreat via Skype. I do wish I had been well enough to experience Desri’s raw cuisine and the beautiful Chateau and grounds, but despite not physically being there, during my time with Robin and Desri each morning, I felt surrounded by the gentle and kind energy they both exude and really felt like I was there. Working with Robin was incredible. His calm and steady guidance through many difficult emotional processes kept me feeling safe and supported. As a result, I was able to go very deep and heal long-standing hurts and reframe these stories to allow me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Desri, then soothed and smoothed out the deep work that Robin did, which felt like having tea with a close, loving mentor who only had my best interest in mind. I worked through a colossal amount of issues in a week’s time and I really feel like I have come out on the other side. I can’t say enough about their kind, calm, and nurturing energy and how their care and genuine concern for me gave me the strength and support to tackle what was ailing me. I hope to be able to return and experience this retreat in all its splendor. Robin and Desri, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time, compassion, guidance and care. You have been a true blessing to me.”
C.R. 2020 Online Retreat.
“Intensive, one to one, daily emotional work for profound and long lasting results in a magical setting.” Queen of Retreats
“It has been an amazing experience, you have been so warm and welcoming – creating a safe space for me to recover and find myself. Robin you are a trance guru, Desri it has been a delight eating your yummy creations and lovely talking to you about food and life.
I feel like I came broken and have left feeling stronger and healthy with two new friends.
I look forward to seeing you again soon.”
“Three days and I felt like a new and better version of myself. Recharged, and detoxed from the stress of city life and not taking enough time for myself. The food is amazing, as is the setting. Pool, sauna, etc. The therapies enabled me to look within myself in ways I never had. Amazing experience and I will be back.”
Katy S. 2019
“Before I came to Chateau de Mouillac I felt truly hopeless and extremely depressed. I looked through hundreds of retreats to find something that would lift and improve me mentally and physically. I ended up deciding this was the best fit and I 100% made the right choice. I have been here for two out of my three weeks and already feel like a new person. Before I worked with Robin and Desri I felt small, sad, and anxious. Now I have plans to go see 3 large cities alone once I leave and move to a town I’ve always loved once I get home. My self-confidence and self-worth has skyrocketed and I truly couldn’t have chosen a better retreat. On top of that, the food is amazing and Desri is very receptive to your likes/dislikes and if you have a desire for weight loss she can cater to that too. Sessions with Robin have changed the way I view myself and my future possibilities for the better. They truly are a dynamic duo with a beautiful, peaceful home in the French countryside. If you are looking for a vacation combined with self improvement this is the place to go. I know I will always be thankful for the time I had here.”
What the Queen of Retreats’ reviewers had to say:
Our retreat at Haven-in-the-Vines began before we arrived, with us explaining to our hosts that we were in a pretty good space having just had a week of Dalmatian sun with our young children, and were looking forward to what would be our first “just us” break, save for the odd wedding or night away, in nearly 10 years. No emotion will ever come near to capturing this prospect.
We loved the idea of a place “where health meets holiday” and declared ourselves open to any therapy that might give us a boost for the remainder of the year and better equip us with the demands of our work (we both run our own businesses). And so it is that we now find ourselves bursting with positivity, fully-charged and ready for anything. It is safe to say we are not accustomed to feeling quite like this at the end of the school holidays.
Some of this is down to the basics, of course: five days being looked after in a beautiful house and gardens in the Bordeaux sunshine with no kids, thank you universe. But we knew that was coming. What we didn’t expect was to come back feeling completely nurtured from the inside out. And that is entirely down to Desri and Robin Goodwin, their food, company and hospitality, and the conversation and reflection they facilitated.
We arrived mid-afternoon and despite the warm exchanges that preceded our arrival, it was still a little disconcerting arriving in someone else’s space, even more so as it heralded what was to be an intimate shared experience with complete strangers. After a brief hello and a quick tour we were given space and time to digest our new surroundings. We took a swim in the pool and had a nose around. The nourishment began with a delicious green juice.
At this point at least of one of us should admit to being slightly concerned about the food situation. The magnificent house included a sizeable kitchen in which there was no food at all, save for a (fine) range of teas and some sparkling water. This was to be a raw organic vegan retreat and as genuinely delicious as the juice had been, and much as we knew Desri could cook, some concerns may have been forming in the subconscious. We try to eat as healthily as we can, but vegans we are not.
What came next blew us away. A mushroom and cognac pâté starter; a lasagna of courgette, tomato, green and red pesto and cashew cream; and a blueberry cheesecake – all of it uncooked yet perfectly formed, all of it with an incredible range and depth of flavour.
This set the tone for four more days in which we would eat a breakfast, lunch and dinner that showcased raw vegan cooking at its very best. Vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds – much of it from the garden and all of it as local as possible – lovingly-crafted and often dehydrated into awe-inspiring crackers and dips, turnip ravioli and (rice-less) truffle risottos, apple crumbles and coconut ice cream. So inspiring that we’ve already bought a dehydrator are now scoping out the ice cream maker.
Having each meal somewhere different – on the terrace, in the garden, under the roof of a converted barn, by the pool – also made us feel like we were eating at a series of private pop-up restaurants, establishments to which you would return time-and-time again if only you could.
“We awoke refreshed and already in no doubt that this was going to be amazing. We used the products we had been given upon arrival: tongue scrapers, pulling oil (a teeth and gum cleaning technique) and facial oils. We would later be treated to body scrapers and baths salts, raw papaya face masks and coconut hair treatments – everything made or sourced by Desri. We embraced it all and felt better with every intervention.
After more raw deliciousness Robin and Desri suggested a walk in the woods that border their home. This and subsequent walks, through beautiful forest, vineyards and the occasional sunflower crop was where we really bonded with our hosts, through conversations about our lives, their challenges and rewards. If the first walk was meant to set the tone for some of the treatments we would receive, those that followed provided inspiration and friendship that will outlast our time in France.
We walked a lot in those five days, on our own and with Robin and Desri. We felt the enchantment of the woods, the nobility of the vines, and the humility of the sunflowers. We immersed ourselves in the retreat and relaxed to the point that we would often find ourselves commenting on how nice it was: to have an uninterrupted conversation, not to have to think about preparing the next meal, to be able to process thoughts one-by-one, and to feel ourselves getting stronger each day.
No coffee, no alcohol, no stress, no desire to be anywhere else; just raw food and water. We did our own yoga practice each morning as the sun came up, and despite the perfect pool, swam infrequently. This was another sign of how relaxed we were: we usually feel compelled to overuse whatever facilities are at our disposal.
Perhaps the only interruption to an otherwise linear progression in how well we felt was the first NLP therapy session with Robin, a practitioner of almost 20 years. Neuro-Linguistic Programming was new to us and we experienced it as a means of accessing the subconscious and devising ways to cope better with difficult situations. We both found the introduction to be raw, vivid and at times emotional. But it was in no way upsetting or traumatising, and the only side effects were an early night and a long, deep sleep.
We each had two further sessions. These were light and restorative, with Robin focusing on workable techniques for decision-making and stress relief, among them the ability to retrieve the feeling of intense contentment from a place and time in the subconscious. And that sums-up what we’ll take with us from our experience: an overwhelming feeling that we’re better equipped to deal with whatever the future holds.
Visit this exquisite retreat in the south of France yourself” Ben and Gina 2018
“I’m a wellness practitioner and I needed help with implementing a new structure for my practice. Robin helped me notice where I was trying to think through what I needed to be feeling through and vice versa. I found Robin to be exceedingly patient and highly skilled in knowing when to encourage progress and at the same time confront anxiety in all the ways it can show up. I also appreciate his broad knowledge base and ability to work through the deeper psychological and philosophical aspects of my process. I highly recommend him to anyone needing to work through a specific emotional topic showing up in work or personal life.”
Randi K 2023
“The kindness and knowledge that my hosts imparted to me will always be treasured…”
Steve, Harrogate, 2016
“Staying at Desri and Robin’s is an amazing experience altogether…”
Nicolas. France 2017
“A few healing days at the Chateau de Mouillac, thanks to you, Desri and Robin”
Isabelle Adjani 2020
“Couldn’t have been more perfect”
“You have been an unbelievable source of stability….and the food was exceptional, a huge thank you!”
“You are unlikely to have experienced anything quite like this before. An incredible range of dishes with a mind-blowing depth of flavours and textures. Less a catered retreat than a raw fine-dining experience brought to you by a private chef. Eat like royalty and feel like a picture of health.”
Queen of Retreats
“I feel extremely blessed to have found you both and to have shared my journey with you. You have both nurtured parts of me that I didn’t know existed or needed the love and compassion you have shown towards me.
You are both SUPER brilliant, wonderful and very special. Thank you”
“I never sleep, I wake all night and sometimes lie awake for long hours. Here I slept 10 hours a night straight through! So comfortable, quite and the food is delicious”
“I am so grateful that I found you. You were truly a godsend to me during such a hard time for me. Thank you so much to you both for guiding me through it all.
You empowered me to start living again. What a miraculous gift that was” Cynthia, Canada, Online Retreat 2020
“I would like to thank you both from the very depths of my heart and soul for creating such a wonderful place that has enabled me to speak my truth without fear of judgement and to be present in a space that is gentle and peaceful allowing me to be vulnerable yet completely free.
Robin, you have opened me up to a new world full of wonderful possibilities and nurtured the child, me, within. I have a new confidence and belief in myself and you have shown me how to be proud of the person I am today. You have honoured and respected my family and especially my beautiful Mum throughout the time together which means the world to me and helped me look at them with new understanding. Your work will play a significant role in my journey and for this, I am eternally grateful. Desri your heart shines through and I felt this from the first moment I spoke with you, you have nurtured my soul completely with your kindness and compassion and gestures throughout. Your cooking has been the ultimate joy and thank you for sharing such knowledge and skill, it’s been delightful.”
“It was great to be coached by Robin. He created a very calming environment for me to open up about my ideas and emotions. His questions were thought-provoking and the process helped me to reframe situations and build compassion. He helped me explore areas I didn’t think about and I felt I had a clear action to move forward on after my sessions. Highly recommended.”
I travelled to Desri & Robin’s Retreat in October this year to – in my own nervous words in our first email exchange – “address what feels like a lifetime of traumatic experience and self-doubt.” This year I had lost my entire sense of self. I had dealt with anxiety, addiction, self-sabotage, self-doubt and had felt worthless for as long as I can remember. All of this was exacerbated after the unexpected death of a parent, worsening chronic illness and surgery, and the resulting nervous breakdown I experienced this year. After a particularly challenging paranoid episode (feeling unsafe was a common theme to my anxiety) I knew I had to get the help I desperately needed, and sooner than the UK’s public healthcare system could offer it.
From that first nervous email exchange, Desri and Robin nurtured and supported me in every way possible. Our communication was so comfortable it felt as though we already knew each other, and had been lifelong friends. Desri made everything feel easy, travelling to a different country after months of being housebound felt exciting and not worrying. Because of Desri, I had hope for the future.
I immediately felt safe when arriving at the homely, elegant cottage in France. I hadn’t felt safe for a long time, even in my own home, but in this beautiful cottage I did. The therapeutic sessions began with Robin the day after I arrived and after setting out what I had come to achieve. My aim for the retreat was to re-establish trust in myself and my intuition, and to make healthier, more positive decisions.
Our sessions ran from psychotherapy and hypnotherapy to uncover and work through deep emotions and difficult past trauma – through to honest, candid, positive life- coaching. (Thinking now about how I was able to forgive myself and let go of past hurt as I write this review is making me emotional!) The sessions were deep but never challenging, and I’m pretty sure always ended with a laugh or smile. Robin, I will remember ‘mascara disaster’! Emotional but enlightening sessions, revisiting a childhood memory and working through the feelings it would bring up, which Robin helped me to let go of, always ended with laughter and light-heartedness. I will also remember ‘the ability to wave my arms around whenever I like’! Robin has a presence and communication style to which you can’t help but sit, listen and absorb the information he shares and wisdom he imparts. There is no judgement, only compassion, care and undeniable expertise.
Between therapy sessions, Desri brought the most wonderful meals, smoothies and treats. Every meal was different and by the end of the week I craved the goodness that her meals brought rather than the processed snacks I was living off of before. Her dinners were my favourite and would always be accompanied by a magnificent creation of desert.
Desri’s intuition is beyond belief; from a casual conversation during our morning walk, Desri was able to identify areas of unhappiness or negativity in my life, and sat comfortably with me in the cottage to share her insight and offer practical guidance, unconditional support and her own life experiences. Our sessions were more like conversation between friends, though what I have learnt from these conversations has been absolutely indispensable in turning around my relationship and health – both of which seemed to be on their last legs before Desri’s food and conversation.
An incredible thing (one of them!) about Robin and Desri is that they don’t take credit for how much they change lives for the better. I left the retreat knowing that the work we had done and what I had achieved was down to me – my own strength and resources. I already had everything I needed to change my life for the letter – Desri and Robin simply helped bring it out.
“In the few weeks of being home, I am positive, confident, able to listen, know that I am worthy of happiness, a bad mood lasts only a few minutes instead of days or weeks, I’m not irritable, I’m not sharp or cruel to people close to me, I grieve my father but feel happiness about the love that still exists in me for him, I eat healthier than I ever have in my life (and enjoy doing so!), my partner trusts me enough to open up and communicate now and the distance between us is gone. I know what I am capable of, what I want out of life, and what I am going to do to get it.
I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to meet Robin and Desri and I cannot advocate their retreats enough. Thinking about them now and knowing that there are two people in the world as wonderful as they are, fills me with positivity. I am eternally grateful to you both.”
“I highly recommend this retreat for anyone wanting transformation and a different way of thinking and being . A brilliant opportunity to become more of your best self. From the minute you arrive to the minute you leave, Robin and Desri are both 100 percent committed to you and what is the right mix of inputs/interventions to get the best results.
Desri and Robin are both healers with different skills, and expertise that complement each other. They are both compassionate, kind and supportive but will gently encourage you to dig deep to live your best life.
I arrived exhausted and with lots of chronic aches and pains, skin issues and unresolved grief and guilt from the death of my mum during COVID. A combination of the detoxification programme including the amazing Michelin star vegan food that Desri prescribed for me and the interventions that Robin used I left with 1) No chronic shoulder pain ( I had it for 2 years ) 2) A glowing complexion 3) A burn on my arm that had been angry and red when I arrived had healed as had the acne on my back 4) An inner peace and acceptance of mum’s death and the circumstances surrounding it 5) A commitment to living a peaceful and fulfilled life. That’s a work in progress but I have clarity on the issues that get in my way and tools to support me to do that now.
I can only share my personal experiences and can’t say what will work for you but if you are feeling burnt out and would like to make positive lasting changes to your life and health then I would urge you to consider spending some time with this amazing couple in an amazing part of France” Louise 2021
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