I've loved writing this blog during 2016, sharing snippets from our family life and the odd adventure here and there. One of the absolute highlights of my blogging journey this year has been the opportunity, on a couple of occasions, to meet up with other bloggers in 'real life.'
Tapping away at a computer screen and publishing posts, in itself, can feel a bit lonely at times. So getting the chance to meet other creatives to chat, inspire and encourage each other in a non competitive environment has been such a treat. One such occasion was at an event hosted last month by a lovely lady called Olivia Tripp.
Aptly named the Weekend:In the event was held at The Chickenshed, a stunning building tucked away in the Monmouthshire countryside. As I wove my way through single track roads to find it, I vowed that I'd return soon with Sam and the kids to explore this pocket of my home country a little more.
As usual I was pushed for time leaving the house in the morning and, as usual, arrived feeling flustered and apologetic for being a bit late (it's a state of affairs I'm well versed in.) I was welcomed in to the beautiful space, with views of fields as far as your eye could see, and instantly relaxed as we enjoyed a delicious breakfast, thanks to Pinkmans Bakery. Note to self, search them out for a croissant next time I'm in Bristol.
We were then treated to some amazing workshops from some truly inspirational businesses. We had a chance to hear some of their stories of how they'd got to where they are. I came away thouroughly inspired to stick at doing what I love and to graft hard to see my business flourish. As you can see (and might imagine) the stationery session with Papersmiths and wreath making with Talullah Rose Flower School were both right up my street!
Playing with paper and pens, wrapping gifts and making cards whilst chatting to new friends over cups of tea, has got to be one of the most relaxing Saturday mornings I've spent in a long time.
If I wasn't feeling festive enough already, after a delicious lunch we moved on to wreath making, which got me there quicker than you can say 'holly berry.' We were utterly spoilt for choice on the foliage front and each picked out different combinations from what was on offer. I was amazed at how completely individual everyone's wreaths were, it was wonderful. If you're looking for a little last minute inspiration for making one of your own then check out the #wkndin hashtag on instagram, where you'll find a wreath line up like no other.
It was one of those afternoons where you look at your watch and wish for time to stand still because you don't want it to be over. In fact, I was enjoying myself so much that I quite forgot to take my camera out again and instead soaked up the lovely company, conversation and atmosphere that Olivia had brought together.
The afternoon finished with a really interesting talk from Caro Somerset, a shop and B&B in Someset, another place I've since added to the visit list (perhaps just a visit with Sam for that one though!) If that wasn't enough we were also treated to some wine tasting from More Wine. We were introduced to sparkling wine in tins and my thoughts of wine in a bag have changed forever (for the good!) Did you know they're more cost effective and keep the wine for longer as you don't end up with big gaps of air like you do in a half finished bottle.
Sadly I had to stay restrained and say no to more wine (after a few sips) as I was driving. I could very easily have cosied in and spent the evening chatting away.
I felt very lucky to have been invited to such a well thought out and special day. To also have made new friends and been introduced to some great independent businesses along the way was just the icing on the cake.