Last May, for the second year running I attended Sisterhood Camp. A creative retreat for women, a chance to gather, to feast, to laugh, to create, to find community. A chance to escape from it all for a whole weekend and dedicate time just to you and your well being.
The weekend took place in one of my favourite bits of the country, West Wales. Fforest Farm and Manorafon is somewhere I have always wanted to stay, partly because I love that bit of coastline, and partly because the campsites that Sian and her husband James have created look so wonderful. They cater for all types of camping, from the more hardcore, to those seeking a little more comfort. It’s clear that they have poured themselves and their hearts into ‘Cold At Night’, and that makes it a really special place to spend some time.
Friday evening saw a wonderful super, and a book-group led by Laura from Circle of Pines. We sat round the crackling fire as Laura read aloud the first chapter of ‘A Quiet Life’ by Natasha Walter. My daughter and I look at books every night, but it’s not often that I am read to. Laura’s calm tones washed over me as I listened to the story and gazed into the fire – it was a lovely end to a Friday evening, and a perfect start to the weekend ahead.
In the morning, I was woken by the sound of rain pitter-pattering overhead. It was so cosy in my sleeping bag that it took me a while to climb out and greet the day. After filling up on some farm-fresh eggs for breakfast, I was ready to head off to a flower arranging workshop and tips on floral foraging by Erin.
Having been outside for a while, we were all ready to head into the barn for the next session. The fire was lit, and there were blankets and cushions everywhere, and the space felt so inviting. Everyone huddled in, and the barn was packed full. A hush fell over the room as Sas (a creative coach) began to talk. She shared a meditation which helped us all be present and connect to our bodies, and then a visualisation to access what our ‘yes’ and what our ‘no’ feels like.
I am finding it hard to find the words for what I experienced in her session (and that’s not something a writer likes to admit). Profound is one word that springs to mind, however there was also a lightness to the work she shared. Sas herself is very funny, and has an infectious joy for what she does. Her grounded and ‘real’ approach was refreshing, and I found her words to be wise and digestible.
I actually took myself off to be alone for a while after the session with Sas so missed some of Elinor from Beach Hut Cook demonstrating how we too could have a go at making Shakshuka over a camp fire. She cooked as she talked, and the smells were amazing. Luckily she was making our lunch, and it was mouthwateringly good.
Whilst lunch was being finished off Emma ran a pebble painting session. My pebble sits on my desk at home still, and if I am having a difficult day I often pick it up and hold in my hand for a while. It’s as if the stone absorbed some of the goodness from that day, and simply by touching it I feel calm.
Later that afternoon, if you wanted more creative inspiration, you could choose from a clay workshop with ceramicist Katie Robbins or Loom building with Karen Baldry. I took part in Katie’s lesson, and while we were rolling out clay and finding bits of nature to make impressions in our creations, there were the busy, happy sounds of hammering and sawing from out on the deck.
Come suppertime we were all ready for another feast. The tables were beautifully laid and styled by Hannah and florist Erin. All weekend the food was so tasty and wonderfully presented. Often as a vegetarian (and I’m sure others with specific dietary requirements will agree) you can feel a bit overlooked – like the one veggie option that is available was a bit of an after thought. This was not the case at Sisterhood Camp, and Sian and the team at Fforest did an incredible job. I think between all forty-plus of us, we covered all dietary needs; vegetarians, vegans, no gluten, no dairy, no wheat!
To bring the day to a close we all huddled around the campfire and basked in the slivery light of a full moon. For those that wanted to, Sas helped us with a little full moon ritual. We were witness to the setting of intentions and we discarded unwanted habits into the flames of the fire.
The activities and workshops were all wonderful, but the thing that I loved most about Sisterhood Camp (this year and last year) was that feeling of a true sense of Sisterhood. I don’t know about you, but it isn’t something I have encountered much in my grownup life. It was so refreshing to feel that support, and that everyone was open to share and learn from one another. (You can read more about this in my post from last year).
It was brilliant to be able to talk to like minded women about the complexities of pursuing a living from following our creative hearts.
I left full of confidence, with a real sense that anything is possible, and it’s okay to dream big. Sure hard work, determination, and a bit of luck are required, but you CAN make stuff happen. Most importantly though what I took with me from the weekend was the knowledge that there is a team of womenfolk out there that have my back, and more than that, they are cheering me on.
If you would like to attend this years Sisterhood Camp, there are some tickets left, hop over to Lou’s blog for further details, prices and availability.