10 July 2017


A few months ago I opened up an email from Donna - What the redhead said and it was inviting me to join her and 8 other incredible bloggers in a few days get away to The riverside lifestyle cottage.
Now my first thoughts were this is a joke, there is no way. Now these bloggers are incredible, they write well, photograph well, have great stats and follower counts and are just lovely, popular people. Then there is me.  I battled with my anxiety before having a "JUST DO IT" attitude and replying instantly with yes; Then realising i'd have to sort out childcare, which was easier than anticipated.

Anyway, I grabbed a lift with Sara-Jayne - Keep up with the jones family and we arrived together, which was lovely as it took the edge off the nerves as it meant I didn't arrive alone and the fact she is lovely made a huge difference too. No awkwardness on the journey and easy to talk to too.

When we arrived it was clear what a beautiful place we were staying was. It was quiet and just so beautiful. You could hear birds and all you could see was miles of fields and trees. The smell of countryside, lavender and wild flowers was amazing. I am a complete sucker for the country side.

We headed over to the house after introducing ourselves to each other and paired up for room sharing! I paired up with the lovely Lauren - A scrapbook of our lives and we all made ourselves at home. Then once settled in we all changed into our swimwear and headed over to the pool.

The pool was heated, so although it was warm and not boiling, you could still use the pool. The pool is attached onto a second little house, which is usually only rented out alongside the cottage and not by itself.
There is something about having a little swim in the middle of nowhere and just bobbing along chatting away and having a nice cold drink that is just so relaxing and delightful.
I think I needed a huge flamingo rubber ring to bounce around in though!

Once finished at the pool, we headed back and got dry and changed. We then went for a little walk by the river before heading back  to the house for some blogging and laptop crew time. Then it was time for dinner.

Riverside cottage is self catering but you do have the option to have someone come to the house and cook for you. They're called "The little kitchen Company" and we had a 3 course meal and paid £40 per head.
I mean whats better than someone cooking you dinner and then filling up your dishwasher for you afterwards?
We also enjoyed some family made champagne by Mel - Le coin de mel.

For starters: Salmon roulade & flatbread crackers
Main: Chicken and wild mushroom in a creamy sauce
Dessert: Eton Mess

After dinner we enjoyed some cocktails and then finished off as typical Mum's around 11pm with a cuppa and headed up to bed around midnight.

The next morning we woke up early and headed over to the yurt for some yoga. Now if you've been reading my blog for a while you'd have read that I am suffering with PND and also anxiety. I was very sceptical about yoga as I suffer with a bad back and other aches and pains, because I'm in a 90 year old's body and I don't like feeling watched. I had packed my active wear and was ready for business and I found myself really relaxing and enjoying yoga. At the end when you lay like a dead body and focus on your breathing was the turning point. I got up and I felt like a different person in a completely different headspace. It was wonderful. I paid £10 for the hour and it was so worth it.
I think yoga is something i'll look up doing at home. I need to find a youtube video or DVD I think.

After yoga I spent sometime in the shower. Showering without children screaming "MUM, MUM, MUM" and pulling at the shower curtain is literally bliss. The shower head was like a tropical rainstorm, so powerful and lovely. I also love my showers like skin burning temperature and this shower did not let me down.

That afternoon we headed over in the rain to the yurt where we were joined by Judith Searles a local florist and tried a spot of flower arranging. Well, I was terrible and mine looked like a bad attempt at a funeral wreath but it was fun. I had fun. A lot of fun. It was therapeutic and was really nice to see others in the group we're actually really bloody good at it too.
I learnt a lot though and loved that it included eucalyptus as I love eucalyptus.
Judith has worked at numerous big parties, events and clearly knew what she was doing. I was rather impressed.

I thought the flower arranging was a really nice touch to the few days and we got to bring something home with us too. Mine sat and died on my dining room table but looked pretty for a good week and a half. I forgot the tip of an ice cube on the flowers to keep them watered until it was too late. Whoops. There is a top tip for you if you have a wreath though.

Once back at the cottage we enjoyed a pizza hut and then finished off again with cocktails from 31 dover in the rain. It was amazing. I love a good cocktail. I was very glad to have my fellow ginger drinking buddy.

I am a huge pina colada, mojito and pimms drinker so the summer colada vodka was literally amazing. I did have to behave myself around the tequila in order not to make a fool of myself around new friends. I do end up breaking out the 90's tunes and dancing on tables. I'll save that for the next retreat.

Overall it was one of the best experiences and hands down the best thing i've done since blogging. Blogging and photography have become my jobs and I cannot be happier with that. I love what I do and I love the opportunities and friends it has given me. I walked away from those few days with motivation, tips, positivity and 9 new friends. Thats all I could want out of the blogging world.
So a massive thanks to Donna for organising it, Lauren for an incredible goody bag (pictured and listed below) Claire the owner of Riverside lifestyle for having us and to the other 7 lovely ladies for the belly laughs and great company.

You can check out their blogs at ...
Donna - What the redhead said,
Lauren - A scrapbook of our lives,
Clare - Mudpie Fridays,
Mel - Le coin de mel, 
Rosie - Mummy and Boo,
Laura - Dear bear and beany,
Laura - Five little doves
Bridget - Bridie by the sea
Sara-Jayne - Keep up with the Jones Family

Below is more pictures and also a flatlay of the lovely goody bags! We got and some amazing rain jackets too.
Print: Alex Foster 
Tea towel: Softer & Wild
Reed diffuser: Harley and Lola
Sun moose: EVY
RainMacs: Your Shores
Toothpaste: Beverly Hills
Body Scrub: Anatomicals

My favourites from the goody bag are the print, reed diffuser, tea towel and rain mac! I just think they're so me and so cute.

The few days was so much fun and all I know is I cannot wait for our next adventure. BRING ON JANUARY!

*We were given the few days in the cottage in return for an honest blog post. All words and opinions are my own. We also had a flower arranging class too. Everything else was paid extra*