When an unexpected invite popped up in my inbox a few months ago, I was very excited and a little bit scared after I said – yes. Friday the 29th of May, the husband and I hit the road at 6am and headed to north Devon, him to spend a couple of days away from the computer and in the wild and me to spend time with twenty five other creative women at Sisterhood Camp.More and more I have been saying yes to invitations that come my way and this one was from the lovely Lou so of course it was a yes. I am shy, not once I know people, but painfully so before – unless you’ve seen me after a glass or two of something stronger than herbal tea, and that’s a different story. I do not make friends easily, or quickly, my confidence stays hidden and in large groups I often lose my voice or take a step back. So I said yes fast, like ripping off a plaster, and did the worrying about being in a group of 25 women after I had paid for my ticket! I know I am not the only one that felt like this, so that eased the rising anxiety inside somewhat, and arriving to the beautiful scenes and smiling faces that you will see in this post melted all my fears away.After dropping off my bags a few of us first arrivers, made our way down to the coast to take in some sea breeze at Hartland Quay, paddling in the sea, taking pictures and marvelling at the beautiful clusters of alpine flowers that were growing against all the odds on the jagged cliff faces. This is such a breathtaking part of the UK, and I cannot wait to go back.Back at Loveland Farm, we settled into the eco pods that were to be our communal home for the next two days. Decorated with flowers by the lovely Heather of Church Park Flowers, and lots of squishy cushions and flickering lanterns from Toast. I went snap happy for the pretty flower posies on all our tables, feathers and ferns were mixed with aquilegia and pine sprigs, and bright buttercups glowed alongside purple statice.The pods were lovely and hot like greenhouses in the day and cool in the evening, with one clear side where the moon and stars shone in at night. On our first evening we made our way down the country lanes to a beautiful field overlooking the glittering sea. There, a golden hour photo shoot led by the wonderful Xanthe saw us all swaddled in blankets and Toast clothing in the warm haze of the setting sun.Saturday started with Melanie’s relaxing Yoga class and then we spent an hour learning Shibori Dying techniques with Heather and Bethan, everyone had a different style of tying their fabric and the patterns were the cause for much joy when finally revealed and hour later. Other workshops included leather wristband making with Louise and flower crowns with Heather. I made a wristband for the husband to say thank you for shlepping me all the way to north Devon, and a spiky floral crown in greens for myself. I think floristry is definitely a weak link in my making skills, there was way to much wire visible for my liking, everyone else’s crowns were stunning though!I was afraid that I would lose my voice with so many other women but I did okay. Everyone was of course so friendly and in the same boat. I do still find it hard to convey what I want to say when panicked by shyness, feel my answers are unconfident and I deflect a lot. I find it easier to write things down, answer deeper questions by email or to speak to people one to one etc. I think it must be something to do with my unpredictable, detached Aquarius star sign – ‘with an inability to open up emotionally too soon, not many people can relate to them’. I am quite a private person, that might sound crazy as I am a blogger, sharing my words with you here but you can’t actually see and watch me, that’s why I started blogging in the first place.
I felt this weekend under the stars with new friends would alter me somehow and I think it has. My blogging path seems clearer, what I want to share about my new life being carved out as a business owner, how I might help you with any advice I can give as a creative business owning woman, share my processes and more. I feel a shift in my writing and postings ahead, I hope you will stick with me.Right, back to the weekend, this is Charlie Brown, my favourite farm family member. He trotted around the perimeter of Loveland all day and night with his furry doggy pal Luke Skywalker and made us all smile. The lanes leading to the coast were a riot of colour, valerian growing out of walls and cow parsley and other wild flowers decorating the hedgerow in jewel brights. I have to admit, I spent so much time enjoying all the experiences of Sisterhood that I neglected to take pictures of lots of stuff, like our stunning cliff top picnic, where this lovely wandering folk duo below got roped into playing a few songs for us in exchange for cake and quiche.My favourite view from the whole weekend (apart from the shibori unveiling) was this V of sea through the cliff tops all shimmering with alpine flower in the breeze. The blue and pink, grass and stone, were simply magic.I have noticed a theme in my pictures, I rarely seem to capture movement or people, I hope it doesn’t give the impression I am alone at all these events?! I am just ultra aware of my surroundings, the small details and the wonderful feelings they give me. We spent the Saturday evening all together at a beautiful table set by Lou and Hannah and a stunning feast of Moroccan food, the camera never made it to catch any pictures of the food which I regret, but I was way too busy eating, sorry! I had an amazing time and cannot wait to find out what magic next years Sisterhood will hold. The experience was just fantastic, I haven’t been camping since I was 14 years old, so pooling resources and helping each other out was a welcomed part of our shared adventure. Kindness, encouragement, inspiration and creativity are the feelings I left Hartland with, and I can’t thank Lou enough for bringing us all together. Please see below for all the other amazing women that were at Sisterhood and links to the fantastic brands that helped add some extra magic to the weekend. All my lovely sisters from this years event – Lou, Hannah, Xanthe, Heather, Sarah-Lou, Katy, Alexis, Kerry, Emma, Laura, Sara, Francesca, Emma, Hannah, Melanie, Louise, Caroline, Karen, Kat, Camilla, Bethan, Flora, Hels and Amy. Sign up for updates below as I hope I might see you there too next year!Sisterhood was founded by the amazing Lou Archell, with help from the lovely Hannah and Toast. Hosted in the awesome eco pods at Loveland Farm in North Devon, with amazingly delicious Moroccan food by the amazing Two Birds Kitchen. The gorgeous decor was made possible by Lights4fun, Linen Me and Church Park Flowers. A big thank you also to the wandering musicians Woof and Wilde who entertained our picnic, making queens Bethan & Heather, Golden Bear Belts and Heather for the lovely workshops, and to Hels of Lionheart Magazine and Emma of Silverpebble for our thoughtful gifts.
If you’d like to be on the mailing list for Sisterhood 2016, you can sign up here, I cannot wait until Lou’s next inspirational gathering!