I’ve always wanted to be able to have a week away,  at a Design Retreat, without the family. I didn’t expect it to happen when and how it did. We had booked 2 weeks away in Cornwall, last week of November, first week of December. Unfortunately due to overloaded work commitments, between us, we weren’t able to take the two weeks, but we knew we needed the break. So we decided we would just take days adhoc, as and when we could and if any coincideded… well it would be just nice to spend them together! Just before we were due to go we learned of two family deaths (my side). My husband managed to get a day (at least he managed a Spa Treatment on that day) with an overnight stay, in the first week, whilst I was hosting my regular workshop, but then I had to attend a funeral. I returned home for work commitments and thought about the waste of not using the lodge. Knowing how much I needed to update my portfolios and guessing it wasn’t going to happen easily, in my studio at home, I made the decision to use the second week as a Design Retreat. I sorted a mini studio into the back of my van; very organised I thought!

I’d arranged to meet my eldest daughter at the lodge in Cornwall for late breakfast-time, so up with the birds,  off I set. We arrived at the same time, so after unloading my van, very methodically, we headed to the supermarket for supplies for the two of us for the weekend, and for me for the rest of the week, ending up in a nice pub for lunch!

On our return, we went for a windy and bracing walk around the grounds and took in the breathtaking views.

3. View from the Manor House

3. View from the Manor House

1. View from the grounds

1. View from the grounds

Bunnies in the gardens

2. Bunnies in the gardens

We discovered the Pool/Spa and the Restaurant, where we booked a table for the following evening. We returned to the lodge, energised and went for a swim before dinnner. The following day we took a look around the beautiful fishing village of Fowey, buying traditional Cornish Pasties to take back for our lunch.

4. Fowey from the Harbourmasters

4. Fowey from the Harbourmasters

After lunch we visited the local market then returned to the lodge going for a swim before dinner. At dinner, my daughter informed me that my husband had booked a surprise Spa Treatment for the two of us, the following day. A perfect end to a perfect day!   

Feeling refreshed we were up early on the Sunday. We went for a stroll along the deserted beach and returned for our Spa Treatment.

Remote little beach - stunning

5. Remote little beach – stunning

It was an idyllic and inspiring palce to be, the treatment ending the weekend perfectly and after a late lunch together my daughter had to leave, as she had to be back at work the next day.

For an hour or so I felt a little bereft, but after a flavoured black tea from my advent calendar, and some mustered determination, I set to organising my “Studio” in the lodge.

6. After "Studio" Installed

7. After “Studio” Installed

5. Before "Studio" installed!

5. Before “Studio” installed!

I made a few notes and then cooked my dinner. It felt strange cooking for one – I don’t think I’d done that since I was a student!  I curled up on the sofa for the evening, with my laptop, searching through my collected ideas and inspirations, whist listening to the wind picking up outside. It was a strange feeling being there alone, but strangely peaceful and exactly what I’d hoped for. I had an early night with no alarm set and planned a nice lie in. I slept well but not till as late as I might have wanted, probably because  I was eager to make the most of my time there!

I began a bit of a routine which I followed daily: breakfast, shower, work, lunch, walk or swim, work, dinner, wash-up, work, early to bed.  I had taken time to source a craft shop in St. Austell – in the end there were two – and spent a couple of hours with Ruth, the lady who owned both of them; a kindred spirit! I loved it.

7. Prototype - Waterfall book

7. Prototype – Waterfall book invitation

By the end of the week I had prototyped 4 or 5 designs from around 15 new designs using some of the papers I had bought from there.

I knew I had a little bit of space in the following week to make up the designs I’d prototyped, so I packed up my things just as carefully, to return home, so I could continue in the same vain (even though wifely and maternal duties would be at the fore!)

The Lodge

8. The Lodge

Definitely time well spent, both for the production of some new designs and for the R&R I managed to get from it, too. Design Retreat? You bet! Regular thing to do? You bet, again!!