This weekend was a little different, I headed off to Somerset on my own. The only other time I’ve been away was for my best friends hen weekend a couple of years ago! I was so excited but also very nervous! 

I have only been on one big blog event and that was only for a day. So to book one that was 2 nights away and residential was pretty brave of me. When I booked it I just didn’t think about it, I just pressed book now! 

The Flea Retreat was arranged by Sally who runs Flea Enterprises. Along with her team she arranged a 2 night weekend away at Croydon Hall in Somerset. It was a huge house that slept so many people, with stunning gardens, a spa, outside swimming pool and a large kitchen to cater for everyone.

Croydon Hall isn’t a super luxury 5* property, the rooms were basic. Our room was made up of 4 people, each with a bed, beside table, lamp and towels provided. We had a en-suite bathroom in the room and a lovely view over the garden. It was more than suitable for us who just wanted to use their rooms as a base.  The main downstairs spaces were perfect and they even hired out massive bean bags for us to use in the garden and around the house. 

I got the train down with Sara-Jayne from Keep Up With The Jones Family and Grace from Eats Amazing. Both lovely people and put up with me being nervous and not knowing anyone! Thank You girls! 

Arrival 

When we arrived at Croydon Hall we had a welcoming session. We ended up all doing a guided yoga and relaxation breathing exercise with Rachel from Rachel Smithbone Yoga. I must admit I was quite happy to sit at the back for this one so people couldn’t watch me easily, as I had a back op in October and knew I wouldn’t be able to do everything she wanted us to do. However she was very insistent and did make me come forward in front of other people but I didn’t want to make a fuss in front of people, so just did it! Although the Yoga wasn’t hard it was more of a relaxation and de-stress. Which was lovely as the weather was amazing and we were in this stunning garden relaxing.

They had arranged a scavenger hunt around the garden finding letters in hidden envelopes. Each one then made a word that featured in a film that we could watch that night! This was a great way to get people to join in together and chat to each other.  

Photography 

Photography is something I want to work hard on currently. Not only is it something that is great for the blog, I really enjoy taking photos. So I signed myself up to quite a few of the workshops that Tom Arber was running across the weekend. These were the ones I took part in. 

Golden Light – Taking photos with the lovely golden light time of the day. I didn’t get involved with this one much in the end as I ended up posing for a group hoodie photo! They had provided us hoodies for us all to wear which was super comfy. I am looking forward to seeing that golden light photo in front of the house. 

Photo Credit To Victoria Welton 

Night Time – This one was unexpected as Tom went outside on Friday evening. I have never tried to take night time shots, so this was a great opportunity to play around.

 Sunrise – which everyone thought I wouldn’t get up for………..
Which as you can see I did and it was SO worth it. The sunrise was amazing 
Tom was very helpful and didn’t make you feel silly for asking what settings or how to help get the shot. Thanks for your help and patience Tom!  He also ran a Lightroom  photo editing training session which he taught me some fantastic shortcuts for uploading and sorting images quickly. This is going to save me so much time and might make me slightly organised! 
 
On Sunday I booked into the Portraits session. Wow I was so inspired by Sarah from Sarah Mason Photography. She produces the most stunning images of children and families using as much natural light as possible. This is something I have struggled to work with. But Sarah and Suzie didn’t make you feel silly for struggling with settings, or anything. She gave all of us time and help to create these stunning images.
 
We started off with inside images using natural light, which is usually so hard to work with for me but I took these images below! Thanks for Victoria from Verily Victoria Vocalises for being my model Isn’t she beautiful.
Next up Sarah took us outside to look for frames and leading lines. She was a good model for me too, and I was really proud of this image. 
I want to say Thank You to Sarah for really inspiring me to believe in myself and giving me some amazing tips.  I need to book up for one of her retreats she does in Yorkshire! 

Video 

I started adding more content to my YouTube channel this year,  and it’s something I love doing. The videos are time con-summing but when I get the final video together I love it. I also love how much the children love the videos and you can often find my girls watching our past videos of our outings! 

So I took part in a couple of video workshops.  Travel Video with Alister and Robert for Before The Shoot both from Somerset Film who showed us some of the equipment he uses to create videos, tips on making the content and then allowing us to have a go with the equipment. This was fantastic for me as I have been thinking about purchasing a Gimbal for my camera but wasn’t 100% sure if it would be worth it for me or not. It’s worth it! I quickly took a video on my Samsung S8 around the garden to show my husband that I needed one and what a difference it makes!!! 

I took part in the Confidence on Camera workshop with Aspire TV presenter training. Darren and Sean were fantastic, we had a good giggle in our session and by having a giggle it really did make you feel at ease. I took part in this session so that I could feel happier talking on the camera in my videos as I really struggle with this. When it comes to chatting on videos to the camera I just freeze, stumble and can’t get my words out! Darren and Sean did a great job at explaining how to make you feel more at ease and look your best, however I froze when it came to my turn! They got us to have a go at introducing ourselves on camera whilst they recorded us…….I mucked it up. However lovely Jo from Slummy Single Mummy said to me ‘If it was a big thing for you to get up in front of the camera then you have achieved something good for you’ It was a well needed boost at that time, and she was right, Thank You!  

Friendliness 

Which leads me on perfectly to how friendly Flea Retreat was. From someone who has never done this before and therefore didn’t know anyone, I was so nervous I would be left alone in a corner somewhere! Everyone was so lovely, friendly and helpful. The blogging community is so supportive and we all shared ideas and tips on how to do things. 

I also enjoyed chilling out for a bit in the hot tub with Alina from We Made This Life and having a good old chat! I mean how often do you get to go to a blogging event with a spa!? 

Confidence 

By joining in with the Flea Retreat it has given me a big boost of confidence, stepping out of my comfort zone and learning new skills. I am now very excited to be able to start bringing those new skills into my blog and also the confidence to push myself out into the big wide world more! 
 
If you’re worried about attending something like this then don’t, give yourself a push and go for it! 
 Thank you to the amazing team and volunteers who pulled this retreat together. It was fantastic and I wouldn’t hesitate to book another one if they do it again…..fingers crossed!  Sarah from Toby Goes Bananas – Lindy from SquidgyBoo – Louise From Pink Pear Bear – Monika from Mum On The Brink – Sally from Mum On The Brink
 

 

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54 Comments

  1. Spectacular sunrise photos! I did manage to watch it, but not take photos sadly, but these are gorgeous x Thanks so much for coming along 😉

    • I was so glad I got up for the sunrise, it was a fantastic weekend and so glad I was brave enough to come along.

  2. Kicking myself that I wasn’t aware of it earlier and booked myself a place. It sounds like you gained a lot from the retreat. and your photos are lovely. #ablogginggoodtime

  3. I was watching as things popped up from the weekend. I really wanted to go but the weekend was Isaac’s birthday weekend so couldn’t. Glad to see she is running another one

    • Oh yes it’s my twins birthday on Blogon and everyone is saying how good that one is to visit but I’m not going. Hopefully you can make the next one

  4. It was just the best weekend, wasn’t it? It was so nice to finally meet you properly and share a room with you. You’re so lovely and I’m glad you woke me up on the Saturday morning, otherwise I would have missed the sunrise… and probably the yoga session too! The confidence on camera session was quite simply outstanding. I didn’t take any notes (my phone’s battery had died and I didn’t bring my notebook – typical!), but most things they said have stuck and I already feel more empowered to speak and smile more in my Insta Stories. Next: conquer that talking to my lens business for YouTube 🙂 xxx

    • Ah thank you, your so kind and friendly. Feel silly now I was too worried to approach you at Cozmo event!!! lol! It was so nice to experience the sunrise wasn’t it, loved having those photos. Yes I didn’t take any notes either, too busy laughing with them! They were so funny. Keep going with your confidence on camera, I think once we keep practising more and more we will be OK…..I hope!!

  5. Hazel Newhouse Reply

    Oh my goodness, that sunrise shot is amazing!! You look like you had a fab break away, and much deserved too! x

  6. I’d be nervous too! But great to hear that it was such a positive experience, and the workshops sound really useful as well xx

  7. Blogging conferences, or in this case retreats can give you much needed space to validate yourself and what your doing. I’m so pleased to read this event has inspired you

  8. Sounds like you all had a wonderful, inspiring time! Croyden Hall looks like a superb venue, and your photos are stunning!

  9. It sounds like you had an amazing time. I would have loved to have come but being heavily pregnant I don’t think I would have been able to keep up. Maybe next year

    • It was very chilled but yes hard work carrying a baby tummy around! Maybe next year x

  10. What a truly incredible retreat you went on and that sunrise picture makes it all worth it getting up early

  11. WOW! This looks like an amazing retreat for all involved. Your photos are stunning! Thank you for sharing it all with us! <3 #pointshoot xoxo

    • Ah that was a shame, it was expensive for one weekend but when you counted up what we got and all food and drink included it was quite good value. Hope you can make it if theres another one

    • Yes I was glad this one was down South! Although still about 3-4 hours travelling but worth it

    • It was lovely, I haven’t seen such a lovely sunrise like that from behind the hills. Stunning

  12. I really hope this is on next year as I would really love to go! I couldn’t this year because we are travelling, but it looks like you got so much out of it. I really want to work on my nighttime photography, it is an area of photography that I’m really weak at! The yoga sounds amazing as well!

    • As long as you have a solid base or a tripod to sit the camera on the night shots come out OK. Hope you can make it if it’s on next year!

  13. That retreat sounds amazing. I’d love to attend something like this. Your pictures are stunning and I’m off to Google what a Gimble is (in case I need one in my life)!

    • It was lots of fun, Thank you. I have just added a video in to show you the Gimbal in action!

  14. This looked such a good weekend and I am super tempted if Sally runs another one. Everything about it appealed to me, from the relaxed atmosphere, to the sessions, to the fabulous down-to-earth bloggers who went. Mich x

    • Yes it was 100% like that, the experts were fantastic at showing us everything too and I learnt so much. Do go if she does it again!

  15. This sounds so amazing, well done for going. I have my first blogging event next week and I am so nervous! Beautiful pictures, the sun rise is amazing! #pointshoot

    • Thank you, it’s OK to be nervous but everyone is so nice and friendly. Your be OK!

  16. Was lovely to see you briefly but I wish we’d had more chance to chat! I loved the weekend and the sessions I did too, wish I could have done more (except sunrise. I mean I’m envious of your pics, but don’t think I could ever make it up that early without needing a nana nap later!). Maybe see you on the next one?!

    • Hi Steph! Yes shame we didn’t get to chat, it’s hard when there is so much going isn’t it. I can’t believe I made it up for the sunrise one either!!! I would love to go again, so hopefully then!

  17. It was such an amazing weekend wasn’t it Steph! Loved seeing your photo here especially the sunrise photography ones x

    • Yes it was fantastic fun! I can’t believe I got up for it but SO glad I managed it!

    • Thank you, it was nice to have a go at night time shot. might have to venture out and get some practising

  18. What a brilliant retreat. I would love to attend something like this and I would have definitely signed up to the photo sessions with you. I love your daffodil shot and the hoodie shot too. Thank you for linking up to #pointshoot

    • Thank you, it was good fun and learnt so much. keep an eye out in case she does another one!!

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