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On Friday 9th November, myself and the lovely Jenny (from Jenny In Neverland) went on a road trip all the way to Norfolk together to experience our first ever yoga retreat. (Big thanks to my dad and Jenny’s dad for kindly getting us there!). We knew it was going to be a weekend of being all healthy, so the night before we had a girly sleepover involving pizza and Disney (yay!) to mentally prepare us for the retreat.

The retreat was a Women’s Autumn Weekend Yoga Retreat ran by Tiffany Bown, which involved gentle and empowering yoga, the Chinese healing art of Qigong, meditation, self-care practices, relaxing and re-balancing Shiatsu massage, walking, resting, napping and wonderful home-cooked food (honestly, the food was amazinggg!). It was based in the beautiful and peaceful Norfolk countryside in a place called Fishley Hall, which was absolutely gorgeous. It was a bit like stepping into a copy of a posh Interior Design Magazine.

Fishley Hall, Norfolk

Jenny and I shared a room with Ryta the writer (an incredible lady who is 71 and a teaches yoga!)

You know you have made it in life when the bath is no longer attached to the wall.

We arrived before everyone else, so had a little nosey around. Fishley Hall is a 17th-century manor house near the village of Fishley, just 10 miles from the Norfolk coast. Interestingly, it was derelict since the 1980’s with no roof and was only recently brought back to life in 2016. It has 8 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms (some bathrooms even had TVs in) and sleeps up to 16. It is the most perfect location for a relaxing yoga retreat.

I need one of these fancy tables for my laptop when I’m blogging in the soft office (my bed).

Jenny and I were fascinated how these baths worked, like where does the water go?

Downstairs there were two large living rooms, a dining area and a hugeeee spacious kitchen.

The house was full of beautiful fresh flowers, books and gorgeous trinkets. It was clean and spacious yet cosy and homely at the same time. The attention to detail was incredible.

Whilst exploring the house, we discovered this cosy little secret reading room which is complete with a TV and comfy chair. This is such a cool space and ideal if you just want to hide away for a while.

The Yoga:

Over the weekend, there were 4 two-hour yoga sessions and 2 early morning meditations. The whole retreat was so chilled, there was no pressure to turn up to every session if you weren’t feeling it. We practiced yoga in a light and airy conservatory surrounded by blankets, blocks, cushions and eye masks to make it super cosy and restorative. The yoga was gentle and calming and Tiffany shared teachings on Autumnal energy and female health and well-being. At anytime if you just wanted to lie on the mat, rest and absorb the peaceful and soothing atmosphere, that was also cool too. It was all very laid back.

The Women:

One of the things I was feeling most anxious about was who else would be going on the retreat. This was a BIG step out of my comfort zone and considering I only ever talk to about 4 people and 3 cats, socializing is not one of my strong points. Thankfully, I didn’t need to feel worried for long as it turned out everyone was so warm and friendly. We first met our room mate Ryta who is such a fascinating lady, having written an autobiography (kindly giving Jenny and myself a copy to read), a series of children’s books with another book in progress and is also a yoga teacher at 71, I was amazed. Click here to see Ryta’s website.

The thing I noticed straight away was wow, everyone is so interesting. All the women had different backgrounds and stories to tell and each conversation left me feeling uplifted and inspired. I enjoyed a long chat with Wendy, a Chartered Psychologist who has developed her own app called My Power Bar – a clever way to check in with our own energy levels (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical) throughout the day. The app helps you to record and analyse what is boosting or zapping your energy and offers practical suggestions on how to improve each one. It’s pretty smart if you ask me.

Norfolk Countryside:

Saturday morning 7:30am sunrise.

On Saturday afternoon, we had a couple of hours free time so Jenny, Ryta and I went for a little walk in the countryside. Fishley Hall is about 10 minutes from the Norfolk Broads so we followed a muddy path towards the River Bure spotting tons of pheasants on the way. Norfolk is such a pretty place.

The Food & Henry The Chef: 

For the whole weekend, we were lucky to have Henry The Chef on site preparing the most delicious and nutritious home cooked food. Seriously, the food was out of this world, everything was bursting with colour and flavour and Henry always made time to stop and chat with everyone that passed the kitchen. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was vegetarian, verging on vegan with nourishing snacks and lots of teas in between (the chai tea was so nice!).  My favourite meal was the Thai Vegetable and Coconut Curry with Teriyaki Broccoli and Jasmine Rice followed by a Chocolate Brownie and Vegan Ice Cream (wow!).

Everyone needs a Henry in their kitchen.

A selection of tarts and salad for lunch.

The very photogenic fruit platter.

The Overall Experience:

Having never been on a yoga retreat before, I really didn’t know what to expect. So, this was definitely an unforgettable experience and one I am really glad I have done. I got to spend time with the lovely Jenny, meet so many other interesting women, eat delicious food, practice gentle and calming yoga, all in a beautiful house situated in a peaceful and tranquil location. What an incredible thing to do! So thank you so much to the wonderful Tiffany for hosting such a brilliant weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment and would 100% recommend it to anyone who just wants to take some time out from their everyday lives, switch off, nourish, rest and restore. Click here to visit Nurture Works Yoga and find out more.

Have you ever been to a yoga retreat? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

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In August, I blogged about a very exciting parcel arriving though my letterbox from The YAY MakersIt was so bright, colourful and fun, I knew I needed to order myself another dose of happy as soon as possible. Fast forward two months, I now have another fantastic box to share with you all, and again it is packed with 100% cuteness and colorfulness. YAY!

The YAY Makers is ran by Kate and her husband Stuart who have had six years experience working on a craft and vintage market in Aberdeen meeting fantastically talented people. They now bring the market to you by showcasing colourful exciting products from creative indie makers and designers from all around the world in their monthly subscription boxes.

To keep your social media bright and happy you can follow The YAY Makers on Instagram.

As soon as the subscription box arrived again, I did a little happy dance. How fun is this packaging!

Inside the box: Limited Edition Pin by Nuck Faye, Nail Art by ThriftboxUK, Unicorn & Rainbow Notebook by Half Pint Home, Rainbow Wrapping Paper by Half Pint Home and a Star Garland DIY Kit.

The first thing which caught my attention was this Unicorn & Rainbow Notebook. It is created by talented illustrator and designer Frances Chalet, who runs Half Pint Home – a shop which is bursting with rainbows, colour, adorable cushions, fun wrapping paper and cute cards. This is such a sweet notebook and it is perfect for jotting down creative ideas. I mean, what is more inspirational than stars, rainbows and unicorns. I love that there is an explosion of colourful stars on the back too!

To fill your social media with all the colours, follow Half Pint Home on Facebook / Twitter.

The YAY Makers have also included a second item from Half Pint Home: Rainbow Wrapping Paper! This box is a bloggers dream! I always use gift wrap and patterned paper in my photos so I know this rainbow design will be making an appearance again soon. Let me know when you spot it in a future blog post!

Other cool gift wrap designs from Half Pint Home inc. unicorns, flamingos, ladybirds, and stars.

I’m always so excited when this box arrives as I know there is going to be a surprise enamel pin to add to my collection. This month there is a beautiful limited edition contemporary pin designed by Naomi at Nuck Faye. Whilst stalking Naomi, I read this in her About Me which I absolutely love: “Being creative is essential to living a long and happy life (or so I believe!) Art doesn’t always have to be amazing, or even suitable for sale but it’s definitely soul cleansing.” So true, and you don’t need to be an artist to be creative.

Nuck Faye is all about colour, collage and design and if you are an art fan like me, I encourage you to add the talented Naomi to your social media: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram.

I absolutely adore these little designs for your nails by ThriftboxUK. How fun are these! Lauren is the Girl Boss behind Thriftbox, who creates handmade, colourful and sassy gifts and treasures for all. From super cute pin badges, to motivational mugs and these amazing nail decals, there is really something everyone. If you like bold statements and quirky designs on notebooks, prints and cards then Thriftbox is for you.

For everything sassy, cool and colourful you can follow Lauren on  Instagram and Facebook.

The YAY Makers have also included this awesome Star Garland so you can get all creative! Personally, I love the stars so much that I’m going to use them as blog props in my photos. The garland looks pretty easy to create if you want to add a splash of colour to your home or desk area.

Subscription boxes can be a bit hit or miss at times, but I’m pleased to say The YAY Makers never disappoint. I love that in every box you have the opportunity to discover awesome independent businesses and find your new favourite shops.  If you would like your own box of happy, you can sign up here.

Share your boxes on Instagram tagging #YAYmakersmail and the best pic will win a YAY prize!

Which item is your favourite? Feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

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As I was browsing Etsy the other week, looking for new and inventive ways to spend my money, these cute little pastel Halloween themed pins appeared on my screen. I’m not really into the creepy and spooky side of Halloween, but pastel pumpkins with pretty flowers and cupcakes with bats and stars I can do. Last week, I enjoyed Ruth’s post: 11 of the Cutest Halloween Items on Etsy (click & prepare yourself for all the cuteness) so I thought I would do my own cute Halloween pin edition.

If this is the first time on my blog: Hi, I’m Bexa and I’m a pin addict. If Halloween (even cute Halloween) isn’t your style, why not check out my Inspirational Pins or my Creative & Colourful Pins?

Flower Pumpkin: This pretty little guy is from Glitter Punk – a sparkly and punky shop created by Sarah who makes fun statement jewellery and pins for glitter addicts. Sarah describes Glitter Punk as independent, bolshy, colourful, made in the UK, homegrown, organic and additive-free. And if you’ve got a twinkle in your eye and glitter in your soul, you’re in the right place.

For pin lovers, there is something for everyone! It’s packed with punkyness, pastelness (new word) and prettiness. Other pins I’m loving right now are: Envelope Cat and Halloween Cat. You can follow Sarah and add some sparkles and glitter to your social media: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Halloween Cupcake: There are two versions of this pin – one pastel and one not pastel. For me, pastel is always the answer. It is designed by Louisette from LittleLeftyLou a graphic designer with a passion for snail mail from the Netherlands. Louisette stocks so many awesome things from postcards, stationery and washi tape in a variety of gorgeous designs (can I buy them all please?) everything is so so adorably cute.

Whilst I was admiring all the pins in Louisette’s shop, another one mysteriously fell into my basket. It’s not Halloween themed but perfect for this cosy season: Nothing Better Than Sweater Weather. This pin is available in either pink, dark blue or light blue. Which colour would you choose?

For regular installments of cuteness, you can follow Louisette on Instagram / Facebook

Pink Glitter Potion Bottle: Last but my no means least is this pretty little potion bottle. What makes this pin even more special is that it is limited edition, once they are sold out they are gone forever! They are designed by Nina from Nikury – a designer and illustrator, guinea pig mother & cat enthusiast from the Netherlands who loves all things related to art, games, witches and Japan. This is the perfect shop for cute purple Halloweeny things, I’m also loving the Purple Glitter Bat and Cat Spell Book pins.

To add a splash of purpleness and prettiness to your social media, follow Nikury on Twitter / Instagram

I hope you enjoyed my Halloween pin special! Are you into cute Halloween, spooky Halloween or neither? Which pin is your favourite? I’d love to hear from you!

*This post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small percentage on every purchase at no extra cost to you (which I will most probably spend on more pins). 

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In the photo: Notebooks by Pastel Elixir

If you ever catch me with a book in my hand, chances are it is going to be a self-development book. So when I was asked if I wanted to review 365 Days Of Happiness by Jacqueline Pirtle – a book which I would most definitely buy for myself, I jumped at the opportunity. The fact it had a tasty looking cupcake on the front cover only further added to my enthusiasm.

Jacqueline aka FreakyHealer is a mindfulness & happiness coach who spent every single day of 2017 devoted to her own happiness. In this book, she shares her wisdom in daily bite-size chunks, giving you positive thoughts to take with you into your new day. Jacqueline combines her background in health and wellness with her passion for happiness to bring to you a 365 day step-by-step guide containing light and bubbly passages to help you live a more mindful, joyful and fun-filled life.

I’ve read this book in a week for review purposes, but intend to go back and start at Day 1 and spend longer absorbing the thoughts and ideas from each page. Jacqueline encourages us to find our “high for life” frequency by appreciating the beauty in everyday, spreading positive energy, finding peace, taking opportunities, showing love & gratitude to the world around us and living life to the fullest.

I found the energy and enthusiasm in this book contagious. It’s designed to be read every morning to sprinkle a little happiness onto your day which is a fab idea. How often do we mindlessly scroll through social media, allowing what we read to impact our mood & set the tone for the day. It’s hit or miss whether we will see something positive and uplifting or something negative and draining. However, by reaching for this book first thing, we can guarantee 100% positivity and that’s an awesome way to start the day.

Life can get so busy and overwhelming, and this book is packed with gentle reminders to slow down, acknowledge your thoughts, accept your feelings, be kind to yourself and others, delight in the ordinary, be curious and adventurous, and don’t take life so seriously.

My favourite thought from the book: So what could you share today? A smile, a hug, a compliment, kindness, compassion, appreciation, gratitude, laughter and happiness, your time, thoughts or feelings, your heart and love, your listening ear or wise words, your lunch, a story, a joke, your success and knowledge, clothing, a blanket, your home, car, money… be generous and make it a sharing, caring day!

Thank you Jacqueline for sending me this joyful and uplifting book. I know I am going to enjoy reading it regularly to add some happiness, positivity and inspiration into my day. Have you read 365 Days Of Happiness? You can pick up your copy here. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

You can follow Jacqueline on Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

*This is a sponsored post which means I received a product/payment in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own.

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