We were recently featured on ITV’s This Morning with their fertility expert Dr Larissa Corda. Larissa brought three couples to Middle Piccadilly Rural Retreat where they enjoyed Fertility Yoga with Saira, ate delicious nutritious food and felt transformation through the retreat centres amazing array of Spiritual Therapies.
We had a lovely surprise when Round the World Magazine contacted us to say they had included us in their round up of Top Spiritual Retreats in the World! We are so pleased to have been included amongst some amazing global retreats and one right here in Dorset!
We had a visit from a lovely lady Claire who writes the amazing blog Weekend Candy in December 2018. She loved her retreat day with us, read her review for more and heres a little snippet:
“Saira has been running affordable yoga retreats since 2011 after Vinyasa yoga helped her overcome her own personal challenges – and it’s this deep sense of respect and love of the practice that shines through in her tuition. In fact, Saira’s natural charm and magnetism, coupled with her gentle teaching style, has brought her a healthy clutch of recognition: she has a loyal fan base and, for the second year running, Mellulah has won gold in the Dorset Tourism Awards.”
Now we have the complete set! 2 Golds, a Silver and now a Bronze award at the South West Tourism Awards. Saira and her husband Stoo spent a lovely evening at the glittery awards night in February at Bristol Aerospace and the night did not disappoint as Saira was handed yet another award for Mellulah Excellence in the Spa & Wellbeing Category for 5 counties in the South West, it has to be said we were beaming for days!
Wow! We’ve been included in The Guardian Christmas Gift Guide! They’ve created a Advent Calendar 24 day countdown with lots of amazing gift ideas and guess who comes in on day 24! A perfect gift idea for you and not just for Christmas!
For the second year running Mellulah won Gold at the Dorset Tourism Awards, we are simply delighted and honoured to have won again in the Spa & Wellbeing Experience Category once again!
We are very proud to have been reviewed by Queen of Retreats and listed on their website. Take a look and read about Sally Kirby’s experience on our Deep Transformational Residential Yoga Retreat at Middle Piccadilly in September.
A feature in Dorset Magazine included a piece about Mindfulness and Saira’s own use of the practice both personally and in her classes: ‘ Saira Francis runs the award winning Mellulah and teaches mindfulness in all her classes. “Mindfulness helped me to overcome serious anxiety and panic attacks back in my twenties” says Saira who is based in Milton Abbas. “I went on to use it when my children were young and life was complicated and stressful, I now include the techniques in all my teaching”. Saira runs weekly yoga classes, incorporating mindfulness at a number of Dorset venues.’
The Mellulah Team were delighted to be awarded Silver at the South West Tourism Awards in Torquay this February. Alongside some major business from Cornwall & Devon, Saira was over the moon to be there and collect this prestigious accolade.
‘We find inner peace at healthy house party of Mellulah Retreats in Dorset. Huddled around a countryside kitchen table with my fellow retreaters, I’m cooing over a mug of infused stickyweed. I found this hedgerow herb, reputed to remove toxins from the blood and ease skin irritations like eczema, in the sprawling garden just minutes ago. I do wonder, though, if I’m only enjoying this bitter herbal elixir because it’s the last morning of our retreat and I am marvelling at the beauty of everything.
Mellulah Retreats, near Blandford Forum, is the work of yoga teacher and holistic therapist Saira Francis and I’ve joined her retreat at the delightful seven-bed Springfield cottage, surrounded by green hills that roll through to the Dorset Gap, a track crossing dating from the Middle Ages…..’
Visit Britain Industry Magazine Issue 24 January 2017
‘Peace, calm and tranquillity are all words that holiday-make use to describe their aspirations for that mini break or week away. But have you noticed the growth in tourism circles of a very 21st century buzzword: wellness?
‘It’s nice to be able to say that this bread is from down the road, and the stew was made from veg in the farm shop,’ says Saira Francis, who organises the retreats. ‘People enjoy that, especially when they come down from London. They really like that everything’s local and healthy.
Guests can take part in on-site therapies and yoga retreats, and enjoy superb vegetarian food. Working with a local caterer and farm shop owner enhances the experience.’
‘Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been standing on your head for years, this is amazing…’
‘Saira is the queen bee when it comes to creating a relaxing, healing environment, we are counting the days until we go back. We all commented on how amazing it is that you can feel so blissed out in such a short space of time.’
All our customer feedback and reviews can now be seen on Tripadvisor! If you need help deciding if you should choose us, we are ranked 5th out of 68 Spas in Dorset and we’ve only been on there a few months!
It was so lovely to meet you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for a wonderful retreat. Everything about it was perfect and it exceeded my expectations in every way. I absolutely loved every single minute and I will definitely be back, possibly in September. After my first day back at work and being stuck in traffic for nearly an hour on my way home, I can honestly say yes, I am still holding onto that feeling of inner peace! You have clearly put so much thought and love into the schedule, getting the balance right between yoga time, time to be alone if you want, the one to ones, sound healing and visiting therapists.
I keep saying thank you for the retreat I know but I honestly feel it has changed me so much. I feel more love for myself and I’m speaking more kindly to myself in my head for probably the first time in my life which I never thought I would. Tracy Chivers April 2019
I just wanted to.email to say thank you for the retreat today. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got a lot from it, it both reassured me of things I do to help me manage stress as well as giving me new strategies. The setting, activities and lunch were really perfect for a day of relaxing. Naomi Lewis April 2019
Transformative as described! J.B April 2019
I think that retreat, peace feeling actually stayed with me for a while!
We really loved your teaching style, the venue, food and the beach walk so thank you to you and your team. Will definitely be joining you on a future retreat. Caroline Gitsham April 2019
I signed up for a day’s retreat yoga not thinking I had the time for it. What time well spent it was. Saira is an excellent yoga teacher who takes a wonderfully holistic approach to her practice. The yoga, mindful walk and unexpectedly and extraordinary sound healing with Preet left me feeling completely relaxed, recharged and recalibrated. Time with Saira is a thoroughly worthwhile investment in your wellbeing – mind, body, spirit. Andrew Hick April 2019
From my first weekend retreat back in September 2017 I fell in love with the whole experience, the yoga, the location, the food but mainly Saira, she is what makes these retreats so special and sometimes life changing for people. She has the warmest heart and passion for what she loves doing and you take that feeling away with you after every retreat. Sarah Barnes, March 2019
I attended one of the weekend retreats at Symondsbury Manor and found it to be a perfect balance of yoga, mindfulness, and relaxation. The sound healing and yoga nidra were really great touches, as well as the very filling and delicious nourishing food. I left feeling relaxed and charged up. I highly recommend it to others, regardless of level of yoga, meditation, etc (I’ve attended quite a few retreats and silent meditation but there were also relative beginners at the retreat and we all left feeling uplifted) Athena Michaelides, March 2019
We just wanted to say how much Karen and I enjoyed (and benefitted) from the weekend retreat – it was truly wonderful and something we will definitely do again. A lovely group of people in a truly relaxing environment – we both managed to shut ourselves off from the world for those few days which feels like quite a feat with all that is going on in both of our lives. Thank you for all the hard work you put into organising and making sure everything went to plan. Sarah Trenchard March 2019
The Vinyasa flow was perfect, well paced, offered the right amount of variations to allow you to deepen the pose to your own ability. Saira was an excellent teacher, explained it well, filled me with confidence that she knows her stuff and was very welcoming. The setting was beautiful, I loved it. Preet – well, what can I say, I’m in love!!! Her sound healing was something new to me but I adored it! I could listen to her singing and banging gongs all day long (in fact I can now, I bought a CD from her website) And such a great bunch there on the day too, I didn’t feel at all scared being there on my own. I will be back. Rachael Gilles, January 2019
I just wanted to say how I’ve had hip issues for the last year and half (linked to my running and cycling) but since starting yoga with you, my hip is the best it’s been for a long long time and i’m walking up and down stairs without a horrible pain /discomfort and clicking! AND…. despite the viruses I’ve had of late, I’m running better and faster than ever before! Half marathon now booked in for March (alongside duathlons through the year) and I’m excited about all the goals I may achieve this year! I’m sure it’s the yoga that’s helped me! Sarah Wise, December 2018
Sarah is a pro! Very well organised, super chilled and delicious food. A perfect break from city life. Zoe B, November 2018
Thank you so much for the yoga retreat at Symondsbury. Helen and I really enjoyed it once again – your wonderful yoga sessions, the food and smoothies, the gong bath and meditation, the amazing location and the walk on the beach. It was all very memorable and we returned to work feeling much refreshed. We do hope you weren’t too tired afterwards and would like to thank you so much for all you excellent teaching and organisation. Also please say thank you from us to your lovely daughter who worked so hard. With love and thanks, Mary and Helen Gryspeerdt, November 2018
A BIG thank you for such a wonderful retreat last weekend. It was a wonderful experience and it totally exceeded my expectations. The food was lovely, the location perfect and the yoga was wonderful. You have mastered being totally in control whilst it all looking effortless! Your daughter Betsy was a star too. She worked very hard all weekend.
Thank you for a wonderful experience and one that I will never forget.
I hope to see you on another retreat soon. Rachael Giordani November 2018
Still processing last weekends three day retreat, such a magical weekend of natural healing, incorporating yoga, meditation, sound and energy work, and rest, lots of rest! Delicious food and laughter, Saira is a real life angel if/when you are ready to look inward, I highly recommend having her by your side, I am blessed. Sally K, Lymington, Sept 2018
Thank you once again for the most amazing weekend.
I feel really fantastic and the powerful healing that took place over the weekend is really evident, since I’ve returned home to busy life with kids and a 2 year old who doesn’t sleep!
I feel so much more accepting and balanced to what is and am carrying on with the nurturing, healthy eating which is giving me so much energy.I’m feel so blessed to have been sent in your direction and experience the amazing work you do. You’re an absolute star.Rachel M, Bournemouth, Sept 2018
Thank you for providing a wonderful day for the team on Monday. We all benefited positively from the experience and it was also good to be together somewhere and not talk about work the whole time. I certainly felt taller the next day and have been more aware of my posture and balance, internally as well as externally. Will H, Senior Lecturer, Bournemouth Arts University, Dorset, July 2018
Thank you and your wonderful team for a truly inspiring weekend. Never having been on a retreat I really didn’t know what to expect but it didn’t disappoint! The weekend had a very calming effect, helped by our silent day of reflection. I found the noises/demands of normal life at home quite disturbing and so I hid in my book for a few hours more! Thank you for your generous offer of discount on your next retreat, I will give it some serious thought. Thank you all again for a spiritually uplifting weekend with the most delicious food. Jill D, Dorset, March 2018
I just wanted to say a massive thank you for the most wonderful weekend – and to Stoo and Anita too! The yoga was fantastic along with all of the sound healing and meditation, the food was amazing and the hospitality was just lovely. I want to do it all over again!
I’d love to take you up on the offer of 15% off the next retreat in November and get that booked up.
Thank you again – it was my first retreat and definitely not my last! Jade H, Hertfordshire, March 2018
Thank you for a wonderful weekend, I do feel restored and refreshed. I feel that your retreat will become an essential part of my diary over the next few years. Tamsin A, Bristol, March 2018
My Mum kindly booked me to have a ‘ Soul Replenish Massage’ winter special with Saira and it was incredible!!
The treatment was incredible, I have never ever felt so relaxed in my life. Saira herself is also genuinely a really wonderful person and helped me in so many ways.
I highly recommend and thank you so much and I will be returning for sure at a later date! 🙂 Lucie R, Dorset, March 2018
Had another great retreat day at Mellulah, this time at the gorgeous Whitemoor farm Hazelbury Bryan.
Loved it, so cosy in the converted barn with the wood burner, great yoga, 3 meditations , a sound bath & chanting . I’ve been to about 5 soundbaths but not with Preet who has the most amazing voice for the chants.
Can’t wait to go again in the Spring with friends & hopefully yoga class mates from Bournemouth. Sharon E, Dorset, February 2018
Thanks for a brilliant weekend! I think you are very inspiring, in tune with whats going on for people and the passion for what you do shines through. Claire B, London, November 2017
I really enjoy Saira’s yoga classes and find them so beneficial. Sometimes I arrive absolutely exhausted and by the end of the session feel as restored as if I’d had a good night’s sleep! I find Vinyasa flow yoga perfect for me, I have attended other classes over the years and Saira’s are undoubtedly the best. It is the combination of the mindfulness meditation, the flow, the breathing and the relaxation at the end that I find so beneficial. I come away rejuvenated and calmer which helps me deal with the pressures and stresses of everyday life. Saira is a wonderful teacher, she explains and demonstrates what we have to do so well and varies the sessions. I find a real sense of continuing development and improvement during the classes, so I find it challenging which I enjoy. In addition, Saira is empathic and calm and the whole atmosphere in the room with fellow yogis is one of calm and peace and we can each work at our own pace. Also the venues are restorative and in lovely places. Thank you so much Saira! X Sarah Thomas, Dorset, November 2017
I recently attended a one day retreat. I have very little experience of yoga. Saira was fantastic and offered a whole body holistic experience for the day. I felt I had my eyes opened on vegan food, loved the energy balls and home made chai tea. The vinyasa flow yoga felt amazing and the next day I ached in all the right places. An afternoon of meditation was interesting, it definitely requires practice, we went through chakra meditation and yoga nidra. As a beginner I found chakra meditation easier to follow. Would I do another retreat with Saira?……YES! Vix Gillet, Sturminster Newton, July 2017
So yesterday I gave myself a treat. I gifted myself a retreat day with Mellulah in North Dorset. It was blissful time to switch off, a day full of Yoga, nourishing food (by the amazing Feed The Soul), meditation, mindfulness and yoga nidra. Time to switch off and just be for 6 whole hours. If you haven’t heard of Mellulah check out the website https://mellulah.co.uk and upcoming retreat days and weekends. I totally recommend. Saira teaches from a place of experience and dedicated practice – conveying both the depth and the simplicity of yoga, mindfulness and meditation in her words and teachings. Yoga with Alice, Bridport July 2017
Thank you so much for the most wonderful retreat weekend, I loved it and feel so much more balanced, I really enjoyed the nurturing atmosphere, the incredible venue and delicious food and juices, hope to be back soon, everyone was so hospitable and friendly, a joyous occasion. Love x Liz Mar, Salisbury, Wilts, July 2017
I am still relishing the high from last weekends retreat. Have had hot water and lemon instead of coffee every day! Vanessa Cardwell, Kingston Upon Thames, July 2017
So happy with my Reiki treatments I have been having with Saira. She is so welcoming and kind, always making me feel at ease. I have found the treatment a huge help, getting my mind, body and spirit back on track following any stressful periods in life, and also as ‘maintenance’ to keep myself grounded and peaceful. I would not hesitate to recommend Saira and I look forward to trying some other therapies in the future. XX Kerrie Matthews May 2017
I had the most magical and relaxing session with you. Thank you so much. I feel very lucky to have met you. Eleanor P April 2017
Reiki treatments with you, Saira, are always so nurturing and restorative. Jane Taylor, Bridport April 2017
Saira is a gifted masseuse and healer and I feel blessed to have found her. I am a therapist myself and find it extrememly difficult to find a therapist of this calibre. Annabel Fox, Dewlish, March 2017
What a great retreat day at Ibberton . Everything was perfectly planned, really enjoyed it & such great food too! Friends who have been to similar events said we were spoiled at they’ve not had such good value /varied days. A friend & i went to a yoga & sound healing /gong last week locally & definitely did not compare! Hope to see you at another event soon. Sharon Etherington, Bournemouth, March 2017
Just wanted to thank you for a lovely day of yoga and blissful time out. I really enjoy your classes, and your energy with a nice mix of different yogic /meditation elements.. I was completely zen-ed out. Clare Pollard, NZ, February 2017
Thank you so much to you and your family for a wonderful retreat. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to come back to the next one! Please put our names down for May! Vanessa Cardwell, Kingston Upon Thames, November 2017
Thanks for the lovely day today. A gorgeous venue and great classes. The yoga in the morning had the right level of challenge with variations for those that couldn’t manage everything. The meditation class was informative and useful and the relaxation session was.. Well… Relaxing. John Weets, Hants, September 2016
Mellulah yoga is some of best yoga I have found anywhere . I have been lucky enough to practice yoga all over the world with some wonderful yogis. Saira is unquestionably one of the best teachers I’ve encountered. She has huge integrity and humility. How lucky I am to have found her. X Catty Lowsley-Williams, London, August 2016
A big thank you! I slept better last night than I have in as long as I can remember. Wonderful Indian Head Massage. I have woken so refreshed. See you again soon! Tiggy Greenwood, Dorset, May 2016
I have been having regular holistic therapy treatments with Saira for the last two years. Her treatment room is a cosy oasis of tranquility which allows you to thoroughly relax and unwind. Any worries and troubles drain away within minutes to be replaced by a sense of wellbeing induced by Saira’s ever-present smile and highly-infectious laughter. Saira takes great care in preparing for each treatment session; nothing is ever rushed and nothing is ever overlooked. She is a very knowledgeable and highly experienced therapist. I would thoroughly recommend Saira to anyone who needs a physical or an emotional pick-me-up or both! N Harrison, London, March 2016
Saira’s yoga classes are beyond fantastic. I discovered Mellulah at the end of last year and Saira has been my first yoga teacher, what a wonderful introduction! The place is so very beautiful (I’m so looking forward to seeing it in the spring and summer), Saira is so very welcoming, the classes are relaxed yet challenging and after every class I come away feeling ready to embrace the challenges of the week ahead. Dominic Ellis, Dorset, March 2016
I have been going to yoga with Saira for eight months. I have had such a wonderful experience, Yoga is something I have been meaning to ‘treat’ myself to for a very long time. The moment you walk in the door you feel relaxed. Saira creates a wonderful atmosphere with candles and lighting and of course her soothing and encouraging voice. You come away feeling loved. I sit dazed for a while after a class as I am always transported and left feeling utterly chilled! Oh as well as stretched! Thank you Saira. Tina Damon Sparks, Dorset, March 2016
I regularly attend Saira’s fantastic yoga classes. An hour and a half of total peace, relaxation and time for yourself. There is a lovely calming environment created by candles and incense which helps to ease away the stresses of everyday life. Each class is slightly different to the last, building on previous weeks and you come away feeling really well stretched in all your muscles. I love it and would highly recommend it. Katie Leitgerwood, Dorset, March 2016
I love this place! The yoga classes are challenging, rewarding, relaxing and reviving. I recommend to everyone I know. I always leave calmer, happier and more at peace. Also thanks for the amazing Chakra Massage Saira – wonderful profound experience. Jemma Lewis, Dorset, March 2016
I’ve been visiting Mellulah Yoga for about a year and a half now, and Saira really is one of those special yogis that just makes you feel amazing! The classes are widely varied every week, and you always come away feeling healed in some kind of way. Saira takes care to really understand what is going on with your body currently and always has the time to make adjustments to poses so that the each individual gets the most out of their practice. I adore going each week, and if you are even just thinking about going to a yoga class – come along here, you will love it! Laura Tait, Dorset, March 2016
Amazing!!! Seeing results already from yoga!! Flexibility and strength improving massively! Holly Auger, Dorset, February 2016
A wonderful find in the Dorset countryside. Saira offers the perfect therapy for busy lives. Her yoga sessions are rewarding for both body and mind. It’s a weekly indulgent treat. Charlotte Bentley / The Hambledon Gallery Blandford February 2016
A charming, peaceful location set in beautiful countryside. Saira is a welcoming host and the food is delicious and wholesome. The sound healing workshop is especially wonderful. And the treatments available make the retreat and a very calm and relaxing experience. Jodi Sanders, Purbecks, November 2015
Just returned from two wonderful days of deep peace and relaxation. Everything about the retreat was perfect. Thank you for being a wonderful guide.Florence Kiff, Reading, September 2015
My friend and I returned for the second year running to Luccombe Farm to experience one of Saira’s lovely Yoga Retreats. Relaxation, rejuvenation and stress- relief from our busy lives were what we wanted.. and this is exactly what you get with her retreat days, and more! We left feeling completely zoned out and relaxed. The Yoga, meditation, food, environment and overall setting of the farm are just perfect. Saira is friendly and welcoming, inviting everyone to eat together in her tranquil home was also a lovely touch. Thank you again and we”ll be back! Natasha Way, Dorset June 2015
I visited Mellulah and Saira for the first time yesterday and it certainly won’t be the last. The retreat is situated in very picturesque and calming surroundings and as I entered the treatment room I very quickly felt at ease. I had booked in for some reflexology and after a quick check into my history Saira started with a brief bit of healing and then having picked some appropriate essential oils Saira went on to begin the reflexology. The treatment was great and Saira picked up on some old and more current ailments. I would without hesitation recommend Saira and I can’t wait for my next visit. Chris Hillyard / Complete Health Osteopathy Blandford March 2015
I love this place! If you’re looking for peacefulness then come here. I’ve been here a couple of times and everyone is always really friendly. Saira is so welcoming and knows how to make the retreats special. The yoga classes are great and cater for all levels of experience, the food is amazing and as an added bonus there’s a lovely pool and sauna to make use of. You’ll come away feeling blissed out! Jill Booth, Hants, February 2015
My friend and I from London, were in need of a complete break, as our stress levels were at saturation point! We had three glorious days of treatments, with Saira. Both of us had shared yoga and ‘Mindfulness’ sessions.
Singularly we both made the exceptional choice of an Holistic massage, an Angel aromatherapy massage and Archangel Healing.
We loved the way Saira spent plenty of time getting to know us individually, no rushing, so we received the very best out of our treatments.
We would have no hesitation going back and we will definitely be doing so this year.
Saira has a beautiful soulful way, with magic hands! See you soon Saira. Love ‘n’ blessings Lisa & Adrienne, London, February 2015
I have visited Saira regularly for a couple of years. I suffer from ME/Cronic Fatigue Syndrome and found the treatments helped with the physical exhaustion, mental confusion and lack of concentration that is part of the illness. Saira was able to quickly understand the changing needs of my state of illness and vary the treatments required (reflexology, massage, aromatherapy) for the best effect. Saira’s warm personality, approachability and friendship created a trusting, comfortable and easy atmosphere throughout the treatments. Every session was pleasurable experience that left me with renewed strength and more positive outlook. Helen Marsden, Finland, March 2014
After my first Angel Aromatherapy massage with Saira I knew something amazing had happened and so began my journey into deepening my spirituality, learning Reiki and taking time out for myself. Saira has a way of making you feel pampered, relaxed and special. I can’t recommend her massages highly enough and the healing she gives is out of this world……literally!! In 2013 I did both the Reiki 1 and 2 workshops in her beautiful home and I have to say they are some of the most enlightening days of my life. Vikki Seymour, Dorset, January 2014
Saira is more than just someone who can deliver a wonderfully relaxing massage or treatment (which she does), she has an energy that heals you from the moment you first see her. Saira has the ability to gently understand what you need and give you more than you could ever expect. I have had both massages and healing with Saira (sometimes both) and I always come away feeling like I have been given a wonderful gift. She is skilled, empathetic, knowledgable and intuitive. You always feel like you are in the safest hands possible with both your body and your spirit. it’s like stepping into a space that safely cocoons you and then sets you free as a butterfly. Nova Woodrow, Herts, December 2013
Nicky from Suhka Yoga recently sent a newsletter to her clients mentioning us, thank you Nicky!: I have been privileged to take part in two autumn retreats with Saira over the past couple of years. The weekends are filled with yoga, meditation, gong bath, Ayurvedic treatments, long walks and this year we were treated to Spiritual Balance Counselling. The food is wonderful and the welcome is as warm as Saira’s wood burning stove. I would recommend anyone wanting to escape the hustle and bustle for a couple of days to take a look at Mellulah. A real gem 🙂
Thank you for a lovely yoga retreat at Mellulah. It was really special – the location, setting, buildings, treatments, yoga sessions etc. etc. You have created a lovely, spiritual sanctuary and gathered around you some very special people to facilitate all the treatments and sessions you offer. The weather also decided to play it’s part, so my memory will be of beautiful golden days that soothed jagged edges in peaceful surroundings. P. Dealtry after her Stillness Retreat in October’13
Spent last weekend on a Mellulah Yoga Retreat and it was very special. Everything was wonderful – the yoga sessions with Sharon, the treatments, Marcia’s food and the accommodation. I hope to be able to return before too long. Sandy Heady after her Stillness Retreat in April ’13