Last year I spent a fabulous weekend in Somerset for the Flea Retreat 2018. I had such a wonderful time I couldn’t wait to sign up for this years Retreat in Wales. We stayed at the lovely Tynrhyd Retreat which was situated near Devil’s Bridge, Ceredigion.
What is the Flea Retreat?
Well, it’s the gathering of a small group of bloggers for a weekend of fun and learning. It starts on Friday afternoon and finishes after lunch on Sunday and all food and refreshments are provided. (Although if you like to drink you may wish to bring your own alcohol)
There are a wide range of bloggers that attend, some old, some new but you are guaranteed to go away with a few more blogger friends than before. It’s also so lovely to meet bloggers that you may normally only interact with online.
Activities range from canoeing, gorge walking, bushcraft, photography groups, photography walks, writing groups and video workshops. You pick which you want to do and you can do as much or as little as you like.
How My Weekend Went
I arrived on Sunday to find that, although the venue was beautiful, I knew access in wheelchair was going to be difficult. After trying to navigate my chair on some scary ramps I was moved to another bedroom which involved less steps. I won’t lie, I did find the whole accessibility thing a little upsetting. Everyone was so kind and helpful though and I bet a few gained some extra muscles carrying my wheelchair up and down steps for me.
My room was lovely though and I had my own en-suite bathroom. It wasn’t a disabled toilet or bathroom, but I could manage. I had easy access to a kitchen where I could make tea and coffee and a dining room and lounge where I could interact with other bloggers and take part in workshops. The larger dining room involved one step which I eventually decided to walk down and abandon my chair. On the last day I even managed to navigate across the dining room into the other kitchen, involving a short walk with my sticks. (I paid for that later!)
What I got up to
Well, I avoided all the water activities which is probably wise seeing as I can’t swim. But there were plenty of other bloggers left behind that I was able to interact with and I had a lovely evening .
After breakfast I was lucky enough to have my nails done by the lovely Jaime using her fabulous Bio Sculpture products.
Then I had a session on Fairy Tale writing with the lovely Kirstie Pelling. She’s generally a travel writer but also writes poetry at Poet in Motion. I was inspired to continue writing my poetry now. I have a small collection over on Poetry in Stitches.
After lunch I did more writing in a workshop with the Rachael Lucas. It was really interesting, and I’ve just received on of her new books from Amazon.
Then, I did a photography workshop with Derek Lomas Who is incredibly creative and can make the most simple product look totally amazing. We had some fun with some Bio Sculpture Gemini nail polish.
Dinner on Saturday was more formal and we also had a birthday girl in our midst, the lovely Victoria from Verily Victoria Vocalises. I hope she had a lovely day.
Sunday I was a little frustrated as I’d planned some sessions which caused me problems with accessibility. This left me stuck in my own corner of the venue with a video session. Arrgh, I cringe at being on film, but the session turned out to be really good. I learnt a lot from Tony, and watching my video back was not as cringy as I was expecting it to be. We were all able to give constructive opinions on each other’s videos and Tony helped us with pointers on how we could improve. It actually gave me some inspiration and confidence in making some more video content.
Tony from Chefs Training also ran some food based video workshops as he trains Social Media chefs on camera skills.
Then we had another session with Rachael Lucas which helped inspire us and build our confidence. Rachael is a joy to listen to and I learnt so much from her.
Then it was time for our group photo before heading in for our last lunch together.
My husband decided to take the scenic route home through the Elan Valley, which was absolutely stunning although a little too high for my liking at certain points. I’ve since learnt it’s where we get our water from here in Birmingham.
What Makes a Flea Retreat Different?
If you are a blogger then you’ve probably heard of tons of different blogger events, whether they are for one day or a whole weekend. You go along, learn a lot, meet up with PR agencies and brands that may want to work with you, chat with tons of other bloggers, make new friends etc.
The Flea retreat is much more relaxed. There is a lot to do, but you do not feel obliged to do everything and sitting around chatting, or even going to your room for a nap, is perfectly fine. Because it’s just a small amount of bloggers it’s easy to fit in and make new friends or catch up with old friends. Everyone is friendly and the staff working there are super helpful and lots of fun. Because the venue is out of the way, you get to see some beautiful views and photo opportunities. You may also get the opportunity to do something new or different, like canoeing or gorge walking. Both events so far have involved a hot tub. The one this year looked super amazing and really wished I’d been able to jump in too.
The next Retreat I believe is going to be a winter one, so I’m thinking it’s going to be a little different. It’s well worth grabbing a place though.
The retreat wouldn’t be the same without it’s wonderful team of organisers and helpers. I have to end with a big thank you and a shout out to the team.
|Sally – https://www.whosthemummy.co.uk/ |
Jen – https://www.muminthemadhouse.com/
Sarah – https://tobygoesbananas.co.uk/
Jess – https://jessicainyourear.com/
N.B. I do not in any way hold Flea Enterprises responsible for my accessibility problems. The venue had claimed to have the necessary ramps and facilities but were greatly lacking. Flea Enterprises have given them feedback on the issues I faced. These days, it’s really easy to provide decent ramps and aids for disabled visitors and hopefully they will be more aware in the future.
EDIT: Exciting News!!
I’ve just heard that the Tynrhyd Retreat has now sorted out the correct ramps for future visitors. This makes me very happy 🙂