A couple of weeks ago on a foggy autumn morning Emma from A Quiet Style and I made our way deep into the Sussex countryside with a basket full of pumpkins and a boot full of the most beautiful flowers for our first ever slow living day retreat, Gather and Tend.

On our arrival at Tilton House we crunched our way across the gravel to be met by lit candles and the steam from a freshly boiled kettle.

All was quiet… all was calm…   we gave ourselves time to drink in our beautiful surroundings and made some herbal tea whilst we set up for the day ahead.

slow living retreat nature walk

A lot of preparation had gone into the event so we were of course both excited and anxious in equal measure, but there is something about being surrounded by nature which is instantly relaxing and so very grounding that it didn’t take long before we both felt at ease.

At about 9.30 am folk started to arrive… We welcomed them into the farmhouse kitchen and said our hellos. We then all headed across to the Library to sit around the fire with cups of tea. Emma and I spoke a little about the plans for the day ahead and then we listened as each individual spoke about what they hoped to get from the retreat.

For the first workshop of the day – a mindful walk-shop, we padded outside into the garden. As we stood at the foot of the downs I gathered everyone in a circle to lead the group in a little mindful exercise. We dropped into our bodies and our breath and began noticing all the little details around us… Amongst the quiet was the glorious sound of a woodpecker, each peck amplified by the fog.

We then took a stroll up into the downs, foraging as we went for bits of nature for the floral displays we would make later.

slow living retreat - gather and tend
slow living retreat - gather and tend - nature walk
slow living retreat - gather and tend - nature walk

Noticing all the seasonal details as we walked… the rosehips on the bushes, the beautiful milky brown colour of the patchwork fields below…. chatting and taking photos as we walked.

On our return it was time for Emma to demonstrate and explain how she creates a wild and natural floral arrangement. Whilst this session took place, I was finishing setting up the table for lunch but it was wonderful to see everyones arrangements coming together.

They were all so different, from the choice of colours and textures. The thing I always find difficult when creating an arrangement at home is the overall shape and how to build it up. Emma taught this brilliantly and everyones arrangements had a beautiful structure to them.


The fabulous flowers were supplied by The Real Flower Company.

Emma had a fun morning earlier in the week where she got to visit The Real Flower Company and pick the flowers… We had a gorgeous selection of Dahlias, Roses, Hydrangeas, grasses and foliage for everyone to play with.

Thank you so much to our wonderful friend and talented photographer Sarah-Lou from Wildblume Imagery for coming and capturing the day for us.

There are so many pictures from the day and I was struggling to get my final edit under 40 images with both of our photos combined! So rather than do one massive post, or not share all the beautiful moments captured I thought I would break the post into two.

Back soon with part two where there will be photos from our glorious lunch and all the afternoon workshops.


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A big thank you to the The Real Flower Company for gifting us the flowers for the days workshops.

Melanie BarnesComment