Busy resting

It seems something of a paradox that you can be very busy but resting at the same time.  However, that’s the weekend that we’ve had for the last three years at big daughter’s Fearless Yoga retreat in Coniston in the Lake District, and last weekend was no exception.

A view across Coniston water to the hills beyond. There is an abundance of green in the fields and the trees

This is the view from the garden over Lake Coniston.  During the day, you can see people using the lake with boats, kayaks and paddleboards, you can see across to where Coniston Old Man rises above the other hills and you can hear the birds – oh, so many birds! – sheep, cows and church bells … this is my favourite place to be in the early morning before the yoga retreat guests come out of the studio for breakfast.

A view across a gravel area bordered by a dry stone wall to the mountains beyond. A partly-knitted sock and a white mug of tea are balanced on the arm of an outdoor chair

It wasn’t as sunny this year has it has been in previous years – well, it was a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK which generally means that the weather won’t be as nice as you’re hoping it will be for a long weekend 🙂 – but the Lakes are beautiful in any weather and there’s something about this particular place that we stay that’s just magic so it’s always a wonderful time, even if it’s raining!

A closer view across a dry stone wall to the mountains beyond. The clouds above the mountains are very low.

Fortunately for the yoga retreat guests, the studio where the classes and workshops take place is warm and dry – it’s the perfect space to relax and make the most of the opportunity to nurture yourself.

A view across a yoga studio laid out ready for a class. There are mats, bolsters, blankets and tennis ball accessories on the floor. The back wall is blue.

This was a photo from last year as I forgot to take one this year, but you can see what a lovely space it is.  I went to the evening class on the Saturday; it was yin yoga which means that you hold a single pose for longer rather than move poses more often as you might do in a regular yoga class, and one of big daughter’s colleagues had come up for the evening to create a “sound bath” using crystal singing bowls.  It was so calming, but thought-provoking as well, as with each pose big daughter asked a question: “What do you do to nurture yourself?”, “What have you done that makes you feel good about yourself?” and more that I found surprisingly difficult to answer.  I never realised until I started going to big daughter’s yoga classes (and I only go every once in a blue moon, my husband is the one who regularly attends her classes) that it could be so emotional, and she says it’s not uncommon for people to find themselves in tears as they are able to release tensions and stresses that they didn’t know they were holding onto.

That was the only class I went to this year.  Big daughter’s boyfriend and I spend our time in the kitchen – we’re the catering and general make-sure-everything-runs-smoothly crew and we have a great time doing it!

A catering kitchen in use

Yes, I know the box shouldn’t be there – we’d just finished prepping and I’d been in the process of moving the box when I stopped to take the photo to send to my husband in a message and I put the box on the counter whilst I did it 🙂

There’s something quite different about cooking for retreat guests to the everyday family cooking that I do, and I really enjoy the time we spend in the kitchen.  I’d been busy the week before baking bread and biscuits (cookies) to take, thinking that they would last the weekend but they didn’t so I ended up making more – I took that as a compliment and didn’t mind the extra work at all! 🙂

A pile of star-shaped biscuits (cookies) on a wire cooling rack next to a freshly-baked loaf of bread A stack of three plastic transparent storage boxes containing biscuits (cookies) sitting on a wooden table

I even had a go at gluten-free bread and biscuits this year – it’s not something that I’ve tried before but we had a need for them, so I made ginger biscuits using this fab recipe

Rows of round biscuits (cookies) on a wire cooling rack

and bread using the recipe posted by Great British Bake Off winner, Nancy Birtwhistle, on Instagram.  The recipe suggested using an oven from cold and then turning it on to help the bread rise which doesn’t work in an Aga that’s always on, but I was pleased with the way it turned out and the lady who ate it said it tasted like bread so that was good enough for me!

A slice of bread on a wooden bread board

All the meals we prepare are vegan … I did wonder the first year what that was going to entail as big daughter decides the menu and I had visions of complicated dishes using ingredients that I’d never heard of, but it turned out that the meals weren’t that different to what we might eat at home.  Big pans of soup, curries, casseroles and tagines with salads and breads – plenty to go around and we all eat together in the big dining room, chatting about the day and as we get to know each other better over the weekend, about ourselves and our lives outside of the retreat.  Meal times are amongst my favourite times of the day!

On the Saturday, the sun shone!

A view across a lawn to the hills beyond. A tree is in the centre of the view. The sky is blue and the sun is shining.

There was time for a walk down to the lake between classes and meals, and quite a few of the guests were regular wild water swimmers so they were keen to make the most of the chance to get into the water.

A view across a lake to the hills beyond. There are people swimming in the lake. The sky is blue and bright

In the end, everybody was in except me – well, someone had to take the photos and I’m sticking to that as my excuse, but wild horses would not have encouraged me into that cold, wild water 🤣  I’m glad everyone else enjoyed it, though!

This was much more up my street … a seat with my name on it (or rather, my sock bag) …

A window seat in a round bay window. There are square cushions on the seat and a round leather sock project bag

and I was very happy here for half an hour or so before big daughter’s boyfriend and I headed back into the kitchen to start on dinner.

Christine is sitting on a window seat with her feet up on the cushions. Her feet are bare and crossed at the ankle. There is a round leather project bag and partly knitted sock on the seat next to her, and through the window you can see across the lawn to the hills beyond.

That’s not so small daughter’s sock in progress.  It’s only just over a month till she goes to Nepal now and I’ve promised her two pairs of socks, plus you may remember I’ve mentioned a couple of times now that I have a pattern to release as well – I have no idea where the time is going and I really need to pull my socks up (pardon the pun) and get a move on!  I’m in the middle of having the pattern checked (hooray for tech editors who find all kinds of daft things that you miss) and I’m half-way down the foot of that sock now so it’s all ticking along – I maybe just need it to tick faster!

Anyway, here we are at another weekend and that seems like the perfect opportunity to be getting on with a bit of knitting so I’ll hope to have more sock photos to show you soon.

For now, I’ll leave you with one last photo of Coniston, another favourite time of the day … you know, it was all my favourite, I loved every minute of it – and I can’t wait for next year!

A small fire burns in a fire basket with a view across a gravel area bordered by a dry stone wall to the mountains beyond.


If you’d like to see more photos of the Fearless Yoga retreats from previous years, you can find those here and here.  If you think you’d like to come with us on the next one, then the best thing to do is to sign up for big daughter’s yoga newsletter where she’ll have details of her next retreat when they become available (she doesn’t send her newsletters very often so don’t worry that you’ll get bombarded).  You can sign up for that here, and get a free sleep guide and meditation too.



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4 Responses

  1. Audrey says:

    what a relaxing time you’ve had .I’m sitting in the sun enjoying our local village gala

  2. Brenda Burke says:

    Wow!! The Yoga Retreat looked amazingly relaxing!!! Thank you for the blog-it let me enjoy your trip with you —and I really needed that break!!! Just love your site and hearing your stories and about your days… it really makes my day better!B

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