The Brand Stylist Retreat•
I have known Fiona since 2009 when she was a guest at a wedding I planned. I was an Independent Wedding Planner back then! We got chatting the day after and we talked about our businesses. We communicated over email over the years (no instagram in those days!) and I booked on one of her early workshops with her previous company, always following her work. When she wrote her first book, ‘How to Style Your Brand’, I didn’t hesitate when she asked me if I’d provide furniture for her book launch with my hire company Vintage Style Hire. So I’ve definitely been a huge advocate of her work.
So before we knew it, I had persuaded Kate to join me and we had pressed BOOK NOW on the retreat, wondering how we would explain the expense to our husbands! Nine long months later, the gestation of a whole human, we were on our way to the airport, our cases bulging with clothes for every occasion and a vast collection of tassel earrings!
The taxi drove down a dusty track and we could see the impressive facade of Cal Reiet in front of us. Through the gates and onto the cobbles, the taxi swept round to the entrance. The doors swished open and we were shown to our room by a dashing man in white linen trousers and crisp white shirt. He wafted us around the grounds and to the pool. I have never seen anything quite like it. The grounds not the man in white linen!
We gravitated towards the bar and joined a group of girls who had just arrived too and enjoyed a glass of wine on the terrace. I thought this might be our first and only glass! We were on a retreat after all!
I’m not going to go into the details of each session, but looking back at my notes in my beautifully presented journal, it starts with ‘Be Brilliant’, well that’s a good start! I will say that both Fiona and Elizabeth are very engaging and I never felt that anything they had to say wasn’t interesting and meaningful. On the contrary, I was transfixed!
After our first session which was late in the afternoon, we had some free time to enjoy before getting ready for dinner. That in itself for me is a real treat! I don’t go out that often or spend much time getting ready, I just apply another coat of lipstick! So Kate and I enjoyed a waterfall shower (not together!) choosing an outfit from our extensive wardrobe. We joked that if we decided not to go home, we would certainly have enough clothes to wear!
We met by the pool and greeted with a glass of Champagne. Phew! My fears of an alcohol free break were put to rest and we started to get to know each other. There were women from all over the world, America, Uruguay, Europe and it was a small group of just 21! I went to bed that evening excited about the morning.
Our first full day started early with a yoga session. I was slightly regretting my last glass of wine as I was downward dogging at 8am! It was a great way to start the day and I was certainly ready for breakfast. The breakfasts really were a feast for the eyes. Delicious pressed juices, bite sized cakes, healthy granola, Chia puddings, fresh fruit, breads and local cheese. I think I enjoyed the breakfasts more than anything.
Wednesday in Santanyi is market day, so after breakfast we made our way into town to shop! This was going to be my kind of retreat! Gorgeous fresh fruit and vegetables, cured meats, stalls selling wicker bags, leather goods, jewellery, flavoured salts, gorgeous bowls.
My only regret was walking away from a lovely yellow and navy leather lattice bag! Made that little bit worse when I saw Rebecca modelling one beautifully a day later! Kate and I spent a little too long trying on sunglasses in the most stunning shop. Cacti to die for and vignettes at every turn. We had a slight panic when we realised we had ten minutes to get back before our first session. We dashed through the packed streets, hoping we weren’t getting hopelessly lost and heading in the right direction. Between the two of us, we navigated our way out of the crowds and back to the dusty track!
Day two started with ‘Magic of your Muse’. I’ve done this exercise before, but it really is an amazing way to tap into who your ideal customer. All our sessions included time out to write down our thoughts, in the shade around the mosaic tables or on a sun lounger, it was the perfect setting for reflection and to get your ideas flowing. Wednesday's lunch was memorable! A delicious Butternut Squash Curry. There was so much more, always an amazing colourful offering, although the curry was worthy of a second helping!
The retreat was enjoyable in so many ways. Whilst it was quite intense and there was so much information to absorb, there was always time to breath, to relax and literally retreat! Taking time out to sit on a lounger on your own, writing down your thoughts on paper (real paper!), it was extremely cathartic. That night at dinner, you could tell the energy had increased. Maybe because we knew each other a bit better, but mainly due to the information Fiona and Elizabeth imparted. I went to bed feeling happy and for the first time in a very long while, slept without waking multiple times throughout the night.
Our last full day, how was that possible? The format was the same, but the content was ramping up! ‘Raise Your Game’ was our first session! Some pretty big decisions were made by me that day and I’ll be sharing with them with you soon. After an early dinner, we hopped on a coach to photograph the beautiful fishing village, Cala Figuera at sunset.
As the plane descends over the UK and my journey to Majorca comes to an end, I feel I’m arriving home a very different person to the one who left four days earlier. Until next year!
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