WeekendIN Retreat at Elmley Nature Reserve

 Whenever I think of Slow Living, it makes my shoulders drop from their semi-permanant scrunched up location somewhere near my ears and I long for quiet and stillness, with no one asking me for something every few seconds... oh and good, hot coffee, that I get to drink all the way through without interruption.  So I was thrilled to be invited to  Weekend:IN's  retreat, run by Olivia Tripp who does an incredible job of bringing together creatives and inspiring, independent businesses in a really natural way.

Whenever I think of Slow Living, it makes my shoulders drop from their semi-permanant scrunched up location somewhere near my ears and I long for quiet and stillness, with no one asking me for something every few seconds... oh and good, hot coffee, that I get to drink all the way through without interruption.

So I was thrilled to be invited to Weekend:IN's retreat, run by Olivia Tripp who does an incredible job of bringing together creatives and inspiring, independent businesses in a really natural way.

 The retreat was hosted by  Canopy & Stars  who have curated around 600 small, unique and independent places to stay from bee hives, to a crane tree house overlooking the docks in Bristol. The venue for the retreat was the beautiful  Elmley Nature Reserve , that is both a conservation area and working family farm. The farm is off grid, powered by a solar array and generator. There are huts dotted around the reserve, the one I stayed in with Julia (from  @humphreyandgrace ) was beautifully crafted from natural materials, the shower had the prettiest corrugated iron I've seen! The attention to detail is incredible, everything we needed was provided and clever storage was factored into a fairly compact space, sliding doors on the bed base revealed a handy space for luggage, high shelving for all the kitchenette essentials meant the room still felt spacious. There's a gas stove, kettle for the necessary morning coffee and a cool box and all the utensils you could need if you fancied cooking. One end of the hut is a bi-fold door when open it just perfectly frames the reserve view. Our hut seemed to be on a wildlife route and we sat watching hares, ducks and other birds hurry past in single file.  Our morning began in the big black and very photogenic barn with an introduction to  Aerende  and  Juta Shoes . Aerende is an online shop selling beautiful products made in the UK by those who are facing social challenges. We saw their handmade ceramics and had a go at making our own pair of shoes under the careful guidance of Joanna. I'm so pleased with mine, I can't believe I made shoes!

The retreat was hosted by Canopy & Stars who have curated around 600 small, unique and independent places to stay from bee hives, to a crane tree house overlooking the docks in Bristol. The venue for the retreat was the beautiful Elmley Nature Reserve, that is both a conservation area and working family farm. The farm is off grid, powered by a solar array and generator. There are huts dotted around the reserve, the one I stayed in with Julia (from @humphreyandgrace) was beautifully crafted from natural materials, the shower had the prettiest corrugated iron I've seen! The attention to detail is incredible, everything we needed was provided and clever storage was factored into a fairly compact space, sliding doors on the bed base revealed a handy space for luggage, high shelving for all the kitchenette essentials meant the room still felt spacious. There's a gas stove, kettle for the necessary morning coffee and a cool box and all the utensils you could need if you fancied cooking. One end of the hut is a bi-fold door when open it just perfectly frames the reserve view. Our hut seemed to be on a wildlife route and we sat watching hares, ducks and other birds hurry past in single file.

Our morning began in the big black and very photogenic barn with an introduction to Aerende and Juta Shoes. Aerende is an online shop selling beautiful products made in the UK by those who are facing social challenges. We saw their handmade ceramics and had a go at making our own pair of shoes under the careful guidance of Joanna. I'm so pleased with mine, I can't believe I made shoes!

Elmley Nature Reserve
Elmley Nature Reserve
 We were very well looked after with lunch provided on both days by  Abel & Cole

We were very well looked after with lunch provided on both days by Abel & Cole

Elmley Nature Reserve
 Next we met Syreeta from MOSS |  Moments of Sense and Style , what an inspiring story she shared, we saw the beautiful products all laid out but then the why behind the brand was so personal and inspiring. You can read about it on Syreeta's blog but in short 3 years ago, whilst living in Hong Kong and holidaying in Sydney, Syreeta's partner Rob, suffered a brain hemorrhage changing their lives completely. Too sick to move, they spent three months in Sydney and instead of going home to Hong Kong, they landed in Lincoln where they still live and from this complete life change they created these very beautiful products. Currently there are three scents in both candles and room spray, the first capturing the exoticness of Hong Kong, the second capturing Sydney in spring time and the third Doddington on an autumn morning. To compliment there is a range of notebooks in the colours of those three countries, and giant match boxes emblazoned with their motto 'choose light'. The scents particularly are incredible as they truly capture those cities and those seasons.

Next we met Syreeta from MOSS | Moments of Sense and Style, what an inspiring story she shared, we saw the beautiful products all laid out but then the why behind the brand was so personal and inspiring. You can read about it on Syreeta's blog but in short 3 years ago, whilst living in Hong Kong and holidaying in Sydney, Syreeta's partner Rob, suffered a brain hemorrhage changing their lives completely. Too sick to move, they spent three months in Sydney and instead of going home to Hong Kong, they landed in Lincoln where they still live and from this complete life change they created these very beautiful products. Currently there are three scents in both candles and room spray, the first capturing the exoticness of Hong Kong, the second capturing Sydney in spring time and the third Doddington on an autumn morning. To compliment there is a range of notebooks in the colours of those three countries, and giant match boxes emblazoned with their motto 'choose light'. The scents particularly are incredible as they truly capture those cities and those seasons.

Elmley Nature Reserve
Elmley Nature Reserve
Elmley Nature Reserve
 Dinner was a real treat, prepared by  Tom Herbet  a fifth generation baker, we also received a copy of his book  DO / Wild Baking  to take away too. He made a bean stew and padron peppers on the camp fire and served it with his famous sour dough bread, everything always tastes so much better when cooked outside don't you think?

Dinner was a real treat, prepared by Tom Herbet a fifth generation baker, we also received a copy of his book DO / Wild Baking to take away too. He made a bean stew and padron peppers on the camp fire and served it with his famous sour dough bread, everything always tastes so much better when cooked outside don't you think?

Elmley Nature Reserve
 All the meals were styled by  Hannah Bullivant  and she had the brilliant foresight to bring branches of magnolia with her which transformed the setting and was very much appreciated by everyone! Thank you Han x

All the meals were styled by Hannah Bullivant and she had the brilliant foresight to bring branches of magnolia with her which transformed the setting and was very much appreciated by everyone! Thank you Han x

Elmley Nature Reserve
Elmley Nature Reserve
Elmley Nature Reserve
Elmley Nature Reserve
   It was a rainy evening and morning so unfortunately (or fortunately) no early morning sunrise to wake and capture so we had a slow start before our yoga and mediation session with Melanie from  Geoffery & Grace , someone I've followed for ages on Instagram but didn't know about her previous years of yoga and mediation teaching it was a really lovely way to start the day it's been ages since I did a full yoga class.  We then met back at the barn for a workshop with Kate from  The Owl & The Apothecary . Oh I loved this workshop, we made our own smudge sticks, we learnt about colours, and different stones and what the different herbs represent.  I chose yellow for creativity & inspiration, a clear quartz stone for Energy & Clarity and all the herbs (a foodie after all) but chose a main word which each symbolise, Sage is cleansing, Rosemary gives clarity and Lavender for Love. The smudge sticks take a few weeks to dry out before carrying out a cleansing ritual but it's already in my studio waiting for just the right time to make the space feel even better than it does. Kate has two ritual kits available aWellbeing one and an Abundance one, I will be treating myself to both very soon!

It was a rainy evening and morning so unfortunately (or fortunately) no early morning sunrise to wake and capture so we had a slow start before our yoga and mediation session with Melanie from Geoffery & Grace, someone I've followed for ages on Instagram but didn't know about her previous years of yoga and mediation teaching it was a really lovely way to start the day it's been ages since I did a full yoga class.

We then met back at the barn for a workshop with Kate from The Owl & The Apothecary. Oh I loved this workshop, we made our own smudge sticks, we learnt about colours, and different stones and what the different herbs represent.

I chose yellow for creativity & inspiration, a clear quartz stone for Energy & Clarity and all the herbs (a foodie after all) but chose a main word which each symbolise, Sage is cleansing, Rosemary gives clarity and Lavender for Love. The smudge sticks take a few weeks to dry out before carrying out a cleansing ritual but it's already in my studio waiting for just the right time to make the space feel even better than it does. Kate has two ritual kits available aWellbeing one and an Abundance one, I will be treating myself to both very soon!

Elmley Nature Reserve
Elmley Nature Reserve
 And then can you believe it? It was time to go home. It was hard to wrench ourselves from this wonderful stay but thank you everyone for making it so amazing. I just have a few thank you's to those who left us gifts on the day...  Blankets from  The British Blanket Co

And then can you believe it? It was time to go home. It was hard to wrench ourselves from this wonderful stay but thank you everyone for making it so amazing. I just have a few thank you's to those who left us gifts on the day...

Blankets from The British Blanket Co

 Personalised socks from Genevieve Sweeney - funny story, I randomly met Genevieve a few years ago when we went to visit the Sugar House Studios you can read about it  here . So I was really delighted to find this gift in our hut. Thank you Genevieve!

Personalised socks from Genevieve Sweeney - funny story, I randomly met Genevieve a few years ago when we went to visit the Sugar House Studios you can read about it here. So I was really delighted to find this gift in our hut. Thank you Genevieve!

Elmley Nature Reserve
Elmley Nature Reserve
Elmley Nature Reserve