In Preparation For Our Retreat to Romania

One day a friend and I were discussing how some people still practice traditional crafts to earn a living. She told me that this is still widely practiced in Romania. We were talking about how inspiring it would be to visit Romania... the seed was planted. That night I searched for accommodation that would facilitate such a retreat.

 Retreat accommodation.

Retreat accommodation.

We found a stunning house in the Putnei Valley, surrounded by forests and mountains.  The owners of the house are committed to preserving Romania's history and heritage.  The house is tastefully furnished with hand crafted items and salvaged vintage finds.

 Old traditionally built house.

Old traditionally built house.

 Breakfast bar made out of the corner of an old house that had been destroyed.

Breakfast bar made out of the corner of an old house that had been destroyed.

It felt like a perfect collaboration.  I booked it and decided to jump in at the deep end as usual. I do not have a ready market or audience to fill this retreat, I just took a leap of faith. Also I desperately wanted to go there myself.

Last weekend we flew to Romania to finalise the details for the retreat. We landed at Cluj Napoca airport at midnight. In the dark, I could not see what Romania had in store for me.  At 5:00am the sun came up around us. This is the view that met us.

 Breathtaking.

Breathtaking.

My heart began to skip with anticipation.

When we finally arrived at the retreat accommodation , I found it to be perfect. This house has clearly been designed with love and care. At the back of the house, there is a river and a forest. Within the grounds is a kitchen garden for use by retreat guests.  The decor consists of hand crafted furniture, knitted blankets and woven rugs.  A perfect nest from which to explore the countryside.

We had a busy day ahead of us. Firstly we visited a local weaver. She has her own sheep, sheers them and washes the wool in the river. Thereafter she spins it by hand and dyes it (when necessary) with locally foraged plants.  She then uses the yarn to weave gorgeous rugs.  I bought a rug, feeling completely honoured to have had the opportunity.

We visited a number of other awe inspiring crafters and makers. I was completely taken aback by the simple lifestyle and subsistence living still in practice to this day. 

The workshops included on the retreat are photography and styling with Dean and Jeska Hearne from The Future Kept and Lobster and Swan Blog. Renee from East London Knits will be teaching us how to knit top down sweaters. We will learn to spin too.

The itinerary is made up as follows: Mornings will be spent exploring and adventuring. Afternoons will be whiled away participating in workshops. The evenings will be spent by the fire knitting, spinning, crocheting and weaving in the company of inspiring people.

Our retreat to Romania will be the experience of a lifetime. It will take place between the 24-28 October 2016. Accommodation, food, airport transfers to Cluj Napoca airport, trips and workshops are included in the price.  Each attendee will also receive the most exquisite gifts.

If you would like to join us please follow this link to book.  I promise that you will not be disappointed.

 

 

A Change of Direction

I have not been blogging for a few months now. In that time I have been thinking about the things that are really important to me. Life has a way of making you stop and reconsider sometimes.  In July I was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma ( Breast Cancer). It happened very suddenly... I felt a lump, thought nothing of it. I have been told that its normal for women to develop lumps sometimes. I thought I should check it out, only to have peace of mind. Listening to the doctor confirm what it is was, was surreal... surely it can't be true!!!!!

Just like that, instantly my life and the lives of my children and my husband changed. Instantly I knew the only thing that mattered was that I see my children grow up, that I be around to be in their lives for as long as I can.

 Ireland 2015

Ireland 2015

Everything has settled down now. I am having chemotherapy and I am grateful that my situation is not as bad as other people's.  Now I have begun to think about ME, what about my life. How would I like to live? Many of us forget about ourselves when we are busy with our families. I now know that I need to find time to do what I enjoy too. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love my children, I love my husband. However, I am a person and I need to take a moment in time to do some things that are just for me.

This is how the weekend retreats were born. For the past two years I have run workshops for yarn lovers that lasted only for a day. It is great fun, but after the busyness of the workshops were over, everyone left to go home. There was no time to sit and enjoy a meal together, to talk about our lives and our interests, to listen to what is happening in the lives of others.  This, I feel, is really missing in today's society for some of us. After all, talking, eating and enjoying a meal, getting to know another person better, whilst enjoying crafts and activities together... surely these are life's memorable moments too? Surely when we go back home to our busy lives of caring for others, of working, of being the responsible adult...we will do it so much better? Refuelled by inspiration , relaxation, laughter...a moment in time to be YOU.

Life is too short, in my opinion. I can't sit around waiting. The first retreat is planned for 10-13 June 2016. It's in a beautiful house in Rye, Sussex.  There is a heated pool, a Hamman steam room and a view of the sea.  More details of the house can be found here.  There will be two workshops on Saturday and one on Sunday. Details of the workshops will follow, but I guarantee they will inspiring.  A cast on party on Friday night will kick start events ( Crocheters and beginner knitters will be catered for too). All meals are included, and of course delicious cakes will be enticing us throughout the weekend.  The retreat is for three nights, check in on Friday evening and check out on Monday morning.  Prices and booking will be available soon. However, if you are keen to find out more, visit my Facebook page here .