A little while back, I had the pleasure of spending a weekend on a yoga retreat with my mum. I know, it’s such a hippie thing to do! I was pretty nervous about sharing a house and a room with strangers, but luckily everyone on the retreat was just the right amount of friendly. There were group activities planned, but also plenty of scheduled alone time, and the option to do your own thing. Whilst the yoga was (of course!) lovely, I most enjoyed being unplugged for a weekend. I spent hours reading! It’s not something that’s a part of my routine at home, I use my evenings to catch up with the internet instead. I got really stuck into the Book of English Magic at the retreat – I think magic is often thought of as “new age” when really it’s been an important part of our history for millennia and it’s fascinating to learn about the ways it’s been used, forgotten and misunderstood. The house that we stayed in definitely added to the magic of the trip, with floor to ceiling living room windows looking out over the rolling hills of Derbyshire. At dusk and in the early morning, sheep wandered over to graze on the lawn. I loved spending time with the sheep, watching the lambs play from my perch on the garden wall, but it breaks my heart to know they’ll soon meet a sticky end on someone’s dinner plate.
The Peak District isn’t too far from my childhood home in Leicestershire, so I’ve actually spent a bit of time here before. I’ve been on school trips to Castleton, and camping trips with friends. I think I did my Duke of Edinburgh expedition here too, although I have to confess I can’t remember. We bumped into plenty of grumpy looking teenagers with maps and backpacks so I suspect it’s still a popular D of E location. It’s a beautiful place to stay although it’s incredibly popular, so driving in and out took a lifetime in the weekend traffic. Derbyshire has a picturesque, manicured English countryside feel to it, which I like. It reminds me of picnics in vintage cars, bunting and afternoon tea, unlike the ruggedness of the Scottish countryside which I’ve become accustomed to. After a couple of very stressful weeks at work (preparing to go away is never something I enjoy) it was exactly the sort of relaxing weekend I needed. Have you been anywhere nice recently, friends?