Wednesday, 22 April 2009

I'm here and i'm back.

Yeah - I'm back!!!!

How bad a blogger have i been, 3 whole months, but where has the time gone. Its going so incredibly fast this year but it has been fun.

I have so much to share with you all, it's hard to know where to start.

I think the greatest aspect of the last 3 months for me has been my first ever retreat back in April to N.Ireland. The retreat had been organised by Cleo Crafts who i am a current Design Team Member for - so really 'had' to go (lol).
The weekend got of to a bumpy start as the weather had been bad that week. Now i am not one for flying, so was a little apprehensive to start with - thinking everything would be ok.

Well how wrong was i. From the minute the wheels left the ground we bumped all the way over to Ireland - i swear we had a trainee pilot, but safe to say we landed in one piece and now the fun could begin.
Tara was at the airport to meet us in the mini van - which we soon filled with our luggage of course most of it was stash. We had to collect 2 fellow passengers from Belfast City Centre, Diane and Nicole which gave us the opportunity of a little sight seeing.

We started our tour by driving through the Falls Road and Shankhill Road, 2 famous roads in Belfast that holds much History

We had a pleasant journey onwards to Port Stewart going through many wee towns but we all had to laugh at the town called 'Bally Bogey'. Unfortunately due to the weather we couldn't stop for a snap.

We arrived in good time at our accommodation - which was fab - nothing quite like what we expected. We thought we might be staying in bunk beds, much to our relief.

I was staying in a chalet with Denise, Bridget, Lorraine and Kate - but for some unknown reason we were also known as the 'Rowdy Bunch'...................... Still to this day i am unsure (lol).

We stayed in the Ulster Chalet.

Friday night got under way with a lovely meal (all hand made) and then the scrapping commenced. A few of us stayed up until the early hour of the morning completing challenges and LO's along with much chatter and laughter.

Saturday got off to an early start with the lovely Alison demonstrating a beautiful stamping class, the results were stunning

The day continued with much scrapping, stash buying, chatting and laughter. The lunch and afternoon tea was lovely, so nice not to have to cook for a whole weekend.

The hall we were using was to be used by another function in the evening, which meant we had to pack our things up, but not all was lost as Tara (aka Edie Mccready) was taking us on a little sightseeing tour - The Beach!!! I couldn't wait, something about the beach which is so calm and tranquil - even if it's cold and windy. So we all hopped aboard the Cleo Tour bus and off we went.

All aboard for Tara's Tours

Although very cold at the beach, and a little windy it was wonderful to be near the sea again - it was very peaceful. Now i do love the beach but given it was still winter i wouldn't actually go in the sea - unlike Diane and Nicole, they couldn't wait to catch the waves, the shoes were off and they were gone.................................... the rest of us just looked on in amazement, but they enjoyed it albeit having frozen toes.

We stayed at the beach for awhile, when Tara decided to practise her curly Font in the sand - and what a good job she done. We all had to have our picture taken

We then headed straight back to the chalets to get changed as we were hitting the town for a lovely meal and entertainment. The food was wonderful.

Tara and Louise finished off the evening with a little award ceremony for the various challenges/classes held over the weekend. I think we all done very well.

I had had a wonderful day and couldn't believe how quick the day had gone and Sunday we were heading home already. The night finished late after a sneaky glass of wine (Thanks Bridget!!!) and we all just fell into bed.

Sunday was an early start, packing which was a squeeze with more new stash on board - we only had a 20kg weight allowance for the plane. Then we had a traditional Irish breakfast, an Ulster Fry! Yum.

It was time to pack up the mini van and be on our way. We were going sight seeing on Tara's Tours. The Giants Causeway and The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge were on the agenda.

We were so lucky with the weather as although it was cold and windy the rain held of for the entire morning - enabling us to get some pictures of the beautiful landscapes of Ireland.
We all enjoyed The Giants Causeway, but a lot of walking and climbing was involved.

Group photo at Giants Causeway.

Next stop was the rope bridge. Now this was going to be a challenge for me as i am petrified of heights but even more so cliffs. I have had this fear ever since a little girl - i can remember where it all stemmed from.

So was i going to be brave and go or stay back and wait for everybody?

I thought about it along the way and came to the decision that i would at least try, after all i never know when i might get another opportunity. I was kind of hoping the National Trust might of had the bridge closed due to high winds, then the choice is taken from me.
We got there - and the bridge was open. We had a long walk along the cliff edge - with lots of steps along the route. There were only 6 of us who made it to the bridge from the group and I was one of them.

Well i saw the bridge and felt sick. I had a wave of panic come over me - it was high and over the sea!!! Gulp.

One by one we walked across the bridge and then it was my turn. I couldn't let the group down, so went for it. It was windy and the bridge was bouncing, but i done it - i was ever so proud of myself, i had conquered one of my fears. If it hadn't been for the other girls i probably would of not done it.

This photo is taken the other side of the bridge - all pleased with ourselves.

Now that we had walked the bridge - we then had to get back to the other side. I had to face my fear again. We decided to all walk the bridge together to get a group photo - this was very bumpy and i was at the back - i couldn't wait to get on to safe land. It was an incredible experience and now looking back i am really pleased i made it across.

We then had a long walk back to the mini van where our Tara Tours had ended. It was now time to set off to the airport for us all to catch our flights home.

I can't believe what an incredible weekend this was. Having never been on a retreat before and spending a weekend with ladies i had never met in person just via the UKS forum i was nervous.
All these fears were soon banished. Everybody was so warm and welcoming. I truly had a fantastic time, i laughed so much - in fact i didn't stop all weekend.

Louise and Tara done a fantastic job organising the whole weekend and it was lovely to meet them both finally.

As the weekend was such a success Louise and Tara have now arranged another retreat.
6th November 2009!!!! My name is down and i really cannot wait.

Now, for some more recent news.

Its almost reveal time for the May Cleo Craft monthly kit. Here is the last sneak peak before the final reveal this coming weekend.

I hope to update my blog on a daily basis now, i won't leave it soooooo long.
Hoping your having a lovely day
Take care


Cleo Crafts said...

WOW - what a fab review of our retreat! Thanks for all your lovely kind words - can't wait for our next one now! Yeeehaaaaa

Louise xx

Diane said...

Lovely review, Sarah! And some great pictures as well :)

Looking forward to the next one!


Kerry said...

Looks like you had a fantastic time.

Loving the sneek peeks.

Hello! said...

It sounds like you had a lovely time in Ireland Sarah. The photos are lovely and WELL DONE you for crossing that bridge...not sure I would have made it!