#BloggersPitB - Blogging Staycation Photo Diary. *
How it's been a whole week since our bloggers weekend away is beyond me. You know when you've been planning something for so long and all of a sudden it's over and you don't know what you did before? That's how I feel now it's done.
I thought today I'd offer you up a lil photo diary and a bit of an explanation on what I did on my weekend away with 4 bloggers.
The weekend had been an idea we'd had for ages and actually booked for about 2 or 3 months before we left in September (my theory being the weather is always nice that week, oh how wrong I was). For some context I went away with Mel, Hannah, Effi and Sarah, a pre exsiting Whatsapp group (and Nina but she was on a hen when we went away) and we're all spread around the English countryside. We tried to pick somewhere that was reasonably central and easy to get to so we picked the Hampshire/Sussex border making it a mere hour or so for the gals on the trains, around 2 and a bit hours for Sarah and Hannah and a cool 4 hours 10 for me. Luckily I am a fan of a good old fashioned road trip and I had Sarah with me from Bristol too.
We stayed in the cutest Air B&B in the middle of the countryside near Bighton and New Alresford which you can book into here. This is in no way an ad, we all paid for our stay we just genuinely loved it and the host was fabulous so it comes highly recommended.
After many many many hours of travelling and a cheeky trip to the supermarket we finally made it to the barn which we'd secretly decorated for Mel's surprise birthday. You can read all about how we planned a secret party and set up and allll the decorations over here.
Friday night was filled with photo taking of all the decorations, lighting a LOT of strings of fairy lights and a rolling load of oven food. None of us had eaten properly so we cooked veggie sausages, sausage rolls, nachos and god knows what else and the girls played Prosecco Pong. It worked out really well as I don't drink so it meant they had equal numbers on the teams and I became official photographer and videographer, a job I v much enjoyed. Hannah is hopefully going to compile all the footage together and although I missed anyone actually getting a ball in a glass, I hope there's something worthy on there.
We went to bed about 1am I think when the travelling and the excitement of the day really caught up on us.
Saturday morning we all woke in intervals and found our way from our rooms (FYI Sarah, Effi and I shared one and Hannah & Mel shared the other) to the main room and settled down for coffee and tea and a variety of breakfasts. Sarah and I had a brew and warm buttery toast with my Mum's homemade bramble jam on it - featured in the top photo - and it was as yummy as it was Instagrammable.
We had loosely made plans to go out for a walk in the countryside so we donned varying levels of countrywear (think some in leather jackets, some in wooly jumpers, some in wellies, all just as unsuitable for the weather as the last). Where we were staying was barely a village, just a few beautiful houses so we turned left and went for a wander. I think we were out for about 2 hours exploring the village of Bighton and the surrounding farmland and we walked a coupla miles, stopping every 5 minutes for photos. Between trying to sneak off from the group to take photos of the group to amateur wildlife photography to a lovely point where my camera broke and Sarah had to take photos of me blackberry picking, we had a laff. The weather was one of them days where we were BOILING one second and wishing we'd brought wooly hats the second and the lanes were the type that involved a lot of running back to passing places when a car came. Sarah also had a close call with a bicycle too which is always fun - nothing like a near death experience to top off a lovely walk.
We didn't take a map, we didn't follow a route, we just wandered and eventually found our way back to the cottage - just as the heavens opened, literally as we walked in the door, and the storm rolled in for the afternoon.
The afternoon and evening of Saturday was my favourite bit of the weekend, as much as I enjoyed the whole weekend. We cooked up a big tray of garlic bread and sausage rolls which we munched when we got back from our walk and then the rain set in good and proper. We all changed into our comfies, fluffy socks and pj bottoms and we set up a work station on the big wood table (which FYI we all wanted to take home). After some photo taking we all set about with our laptops and our bullet journals, with some music and a big bowl of carrot sticks and some popcorn and crisps and we spent the afternoon blogging and chatting and Instagramming and it was so motivating. To bounce ideas off each other, to pre read each other's content, to moan about Insta and to get advice on Christmas content (yes really) was soooo lovely and we all came back feeling so motivated.
In the evening when the fairy lights were on we set about making a big batch of fajitas as the only meal we thought we could all feasibly tree. With one veggie, one vegan, an allergy and two fussy eaters (guess who's who) it seemed like the most logical meal to rustle up in instalments so we ended up a table loaded with plates and bowls to choose from. From spicy veggies to plain chicken, spicy chicken, cheese, wedges and a butt load of salad we all had the bits we liked or could eat and we spent the meal and it's aftermath talking. We talked about life, we talked about families, we talked about our deepest darkest secrets and all the bits of our lives you don't see online and it's amazing how a group of effective strangers can come together like that.
Later in the night to cheer up the tone after our heart to hearts we turned off the lights and lit the candles on Mel's cake and then re lit them no less than three times to get the perfect Boomerang (which I nailed FYI). We spent the night curled up on the sofas with the lights off writing blog posts and talking about bloggers we love and Instagram feeds we lust over and eating the cake....which was as good as it looked.
Sunday morning we set alarms as we wanted to make the most of our time together before we had to check out at midday. We had breakfast and quickly hopped into our swim suits (yes me and Sarah bought matching, yes we also had matching towels) and went into the private pool the owners have. We were sent inflatables by Talking Tables so a lot of time was spent snapping those, creating videos and taking 'candid' shots of eachother - very little actual swimming was done tbf. Luckily though our lovely host popped her head in to say there was nobody staying after us so we could check out when we wanted which made the morning rush much more manageable.
After faffing about pretending to swim we had quick showers and aired our costumes (before it rained and they all had to come back in) and then dressed and took some group shots before we left. Effi made the mistake of arranging to see her Mum on the Sunday afternoon - obvs thought we wouldn't be as great as we are - so I took her to Petersfield train station and left the rest of the girls in the cottage. By the time I came back they were nearly packed and had also made a big tray of popcorn chicken and cheesy chips which were divine and the perfect thing to pick at as we were taking all the decorations down.
After we'd packed up, popped all the balloons and had one last cup of tea we set off to Basingstoke in search of a roast dinner Sarah had been hankering for since we'd left Bristol on the Friday. We ended up having the yummiest Toby Carvery in the rain before saying our goodbyes, giving our hugs, promising to do it again soon and off we went in our opposite directions and headed home.
Can we plz do it all again now?
*Some of the items in this post were gifted to us for free by Talking Tables but all decor wizardry and love is as always very much our own.