Being relatively new to the world of blogging, I’m still finding my feet and getting my head around all the different aspects involved. So when I saw an opportunity come up to spend a weekend away getting to know some lovely faces from the world of blogging and learn a pile of new skills, I jumped at the chance. I literally pulled over in a pub car park after discussing with Mr Mack to book my ticket, I was so excited.
The FleaRetreat was organised by Sally from Whosthemummy and the rest of the fantastic team at Tots100. The weekend was based at Croydon Hall near Minehead, Somerset and was just such a beautiful, tranquil setting to be in.
Ahead of the weekend we were able to access Sched to book onto our chosen sessions from a wide range of topics including photography, videography and creative writing as well as more active sessions such as yoga, bike riding and paddle boarding. I decided to try to get a good mix of workshops covering each of the topics.
As I set off on the sunny Friday afternoon, my nerves started to kick in. I was anxious about the people I may meet and feeling like I fitted in as I knew that there were going to be bloggers there that were an awful lot more experienced and established than I was. However, I found that I really didn’t need to worry at all. Everybody at the event was approachable, friendly and supportive of each other, it really was such a lovely atmosphere to meet and get to know new people and make new friendships.
When we arrived I checked out my room and got to know my two room mates, who were both lovely and very easy to get on with, which helped put me at ease. For our welcome session we all had a group yoga class led by the wonderfully funny Rachel. It was great to be able to do the class outside in the sun and get to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. We then had fun with a photography scavenger hunt to get to know each other followed by a photography walk with Tom Arber taking advantage of the low light from the sun set. I went to bed with a full tummy, happy and buzzing from the first day and looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
Saturday kicked off with an early morning yoga session with Rachel again, I found it to be a great way to kick start the day and help get the creativity flowing. I then did a creative writing workshop with Kirstie from Family Adventure Project. Kirstie guided us through some simple yet effective exercises to help us think about the surrounding that we were in as inspiration for our writing. I took away some great hints and tips and hope to put them into practice with my blog posts going forward.
In the afternoon I joined a group of bloggers for a confidence on camera workshop with Darren and Sean from Aspire. I have done a few Instagram stories but not felt very confident so was really hoping to get a lot out of this workshop. We all had an opportunity to get in front of the camera and get personal feedback which really gave me a boost and definitely plan to put what I learnt into action.
I then joined Tom Arber again, this time for a beach photography walk in the beautiful harbour town of Porlock Weir. I enjoyed exploring the area and having a play with the different settings on my camera, something I’d not really had the confidence to do before.
For dinner we had a delicious meal made by external caterers and had plenty of opportunity to relax and spend more time chatting with all the other bloggers. I can honestly say that everyone I met was welcoming and interested in me and what I do, I loved hearing others’ stories of their blogging adventures and finding out more about their journey.
I managed to get a bit more of a lie in on Sunday, which was very welcomed. My session for the morning for learning how to make short travel videos with Alister from Somerset Film, I’ve not ventured into vlogging or videography yet but was interested to pick up some hints and tips. Alister gave us some really practical ideas and made it all sound manageable, I’ll let you know how I feel after I’ve tried editing my first video though. He had lots of gadgets that we had the opportunity to play with to help making videos easier and to help get some great effects. I think this was my favourite session of the whole weekend and I’m looking forward to making my first travel video of our weekend away in Scarborough in a few weeks time.
The weekend closed with a positivity workshop where we each took the time to provide each other with words to describe us, which was really lovely to receive from people I’d only met days before.
I set off on the journey home feeling energised and motivated to put more energies into my blog and my head was buzzing with ideas. Thank you to Sally and the whole team for all the effort and special care and attention that went into planning the event and I can’t wait to see if there will be a retreat next year.