Phewey lewey, Im just coming down from a retreat high.
Its Monday morning and my bags are still in the hallway, untouched and in need of a good sorting. I hate putting my stuff away when I come back from a few days from home. After I have had my morning e-mail catch up, coffee and doggy snuggles - Im going to go through those bags like a Tasmanian devil and get back to a routine. Belles went back to school this morning after her school break too so I have the house to myself to get back into shape. Bless my sweet darling girl, though. On the way to school we pass several tree's, all of them abundant with colours of red, orange and yellow and sadly most of them have shed their leaves. She said to me "I feel so sad when the trees lose their leaves" and I could actually see her bottom lip quivering. Oh how she stole my heart this morning. But as she exited the car at the school entrance, I could see she was dying to get into school and share the leftover trick or treats with her bezzy pals, Amy and Beth (we got one set of three treaters last night, according to Mark).
So I gets home last night from car journey from hell. I often don't mind jams because when Im in the car I do a lot of thinking and a LOT of singing! The M25 was chocky chocky chick chock as was the first 10 miles of the M1 north. I was expecting the same at that hideous intersection we love and know as the M6/M5 merger off. But that was deathly quiet which eased some pain! That was the only rue of the weekend as from Friday pm to Sunday 5pm - it was retreat heaven. From start to finish the entire event was perfectly organised and immensely pleasurable to be a part of and really, my part was teeny in comparison. The entire team at Scrapagogo went to great lengths to not only ensure their delegates had a fantastic experience but also allowed me to feel incredibly welcome.
I met and chatted to as many of the delegates as I could and of course photographed half of them on the largest client shoot list in my life over the space of three days. Day 1 and Day three meant a lot of indoor by bright lit window shot but day 2 was perfectly autumnal. It meant I could take pictures like this
This is Lorraine and her girls in a carpet of beautiful fallen leaves. It is one of my favourites but I did find favourites in each client shoot.
One of the delegates is studying for a degree in photography and offered to take a picture of me with my camera. Well, I was over the moon. Hardly ever do people take pictures of me and as Ive lot weight recently, I wanted to treat myself to feeling good. Candace ended up taking two pictures of me which are my favourite ever, ever, ever. Thank you so much Candace, you have made a very busy and often overworked girl feel very happy.
So over the weekend there were 21 classes for delegates to take of which each of them too seven. I was in love with every single contribution to the classes and learned some great techniques too. Ive never seen a retreat offer so many classes with so much choice. And whilst classes took place, I took more photoshop/hybrid shortcuts from Vicky who kindly let me take her picture even though she said she wasn't that photogenic. Erm, excuse me??!!
The Mansion part of the hotel where we stayed is notoriously haunted. Google Theobalds Park to read what is written about the spooky stuff that happens here. Both Friday and Saturday night, Sarah Youde and Vicki Parker went on ghost hunts ourselves thinking we were brave but actually inside I was scared to death. We didn't encounter anything, even when Friday night was paranormal night for another event at the hotel. On Saturday we were joined by other inquisitive ladies in the Boardroom, sat in the dark and literally calling the dead thinking it might be kind of cool buut inside I was like "Please don't come but if you do, be nice!"......YEEPS! We did laugh, though and it added to the adventure of the whole weekend. HOWEVER on Sunday afternoon other delegates visited the board room and one of the ladies took a picture of her friend by the fireplace. When she looked back at her photo there was a lit candle on the mantle piece but in real life, there was nothing on the mantle piece - I SWEAR THIS IS TRUE! I saw it with my own eyes and I screamed!
Eventually on the Sunday I taught a hybrid class using elements I had brought together in brown to be printed onto Kraft. This meant that any photo for the class would have been suitable as of the neutral tones. Its one of my favourite layouts this year. And even though it was relatively simple to build, it just shows you that you can work with hybrids and still make them look proper scrapbooky once you add a little bling and ribbon.
Thank you to Lorraine and Janice for hosting a smooth running laugh-a-minute event that I will very much look forward to the events next March and October. And yes, I will make my proton pack in preparation for the next ghost hunt - hope I don't get slimed ;)