We were invited to stay at The Shepherd’s Rest Retreat Centre nestled in the stunning mountains and sunny countryside of Andulucia.
We arrived in Oria, after an hour and a half drive north from the city of Almería, winding along the gentle foothill roads brimming with lemon trees, whitewashed houses, wandering sheep and sleepy olive groves. Andulucia is the beauty of rustic Spain I remember from holidays as a young child.
The Shepherd’s Rest is a family run hub of creativity and well-being offering three rustic Spanish farmhouse apartments, offering a choice of flexible sleeping arrangements perfect for families.
Our apartment came with two double bedrooms, one of which had a sofa bed and a pull out single bed on rollers underneath which was great for our little ones.
The kitchen equipped is equipped with a fridge-freezer, oven, hob, toaster and microwave which made it perfect for keeping the children fuelled up with snacks and munch throughout the day.
However we mainly eat downstairs with Joel and Corriander as we were lucky enough to sample the delicious home cooking from Joel’s kitchen and the newly opened Maggie Mae’s Diner.
Oven baked croissants & jam for breakfast washed down with chai tea, pancakes and honey for the little ones. Chilli and rice, gently spiced vegetable curry, handcut chips and cheese toasties… The perfect grub for all palettes, big and small.
It was such a relief to be on holiday somewhere where the kids could just hang out and be themselves and try different foods than the usual ‘something and chips’ that most restaurants seem to only think of as an option for children.
Maggie Mae’s caters beautifully for the whole family because it is run by a family. They know exactly the kind of recipes that appeal most to the young ones… Healthy, home-made, tasty food without any of the washing up! Top tip: You must try out Joel’s homemade falafel and tequila burgers suitable for veggies and vegans… So amazing!
If you want you can even bring your own alcohol, bottles of Rioja cost just €2 and beers are from €1 for a 6-pack at the local mercado in Spain, so what’s not to love!
On the Wednesday morning we were invited to a Craft & Chat session. The amazing teacher Helen taught me how to crochet a dish cloth for my first craft project in years! We drank endless cups of tea, talked about life and left on a massive high with my new skills.
The children were welcomed in by Austin and invited to paint pebbles in an eye catching aboriginal style.
The village is lovely, a tapas bar, shop, cash point and children’s park all within a 10 minute walk.
On Saturday there is a market in a town Albox with stalls selling super cheap local fruit and veg, clothes, shoes, home wares, jewellery and homemade crafts.
We stocked up on two huge bags of mangoes, oranges, plums and bananas for €6.00. The children even negotiated their own small bag of pic’n’mix for €1.70.
The stall holders were super helpful and very patient with our hilariously non-existent Spanish.
We also bumped into a lovely lady and her daughter selling natural soaps and essential oils, we bought a huge jar of morrocan argan oil from them for €10.00, perfect for tackling those curls.
Most days we would pop out for a walk with the dog (there’s a beautiful walk towards the almond groves along a dried up river bed), read books from their inspiring guest library, hang out at Maggie Mae’s Diner or relax in the garden.
They have a fire pit for evening socials, Joel offers poi workshops and fire poi for the brave!
The highlights for the children were definitely eating pancakes for breakfast everyday and being allowed free range on all the garden toys, ranking up some serious bounce time on the trampoline.
We loved the whole atmosphere of the Shepherd’s Rest. They have created a place with cheer and soul, surrounded by nature, the perfect place to relax and unwind as a family.
The Shepherd’s Rest offer long term Winter Rentals for Van People and Travellers at discount rates, with free WiFi, utilities and even a regular supply of logs for the burner.
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