Retreat to a beachside paradise with conversation and craft.
A few years ago I spent a glorious weekend at Milestone Cottages in Mangawhai, in the company of the delightful Gael Milestone as she hosted a group of like-minded people through a weekend of yoga, meditation, fabulous wining and dining, plenty of lazing around and lots of laughter.
We stayed in the Schooner Cottage - one of five available; fell asleep each night to the distant crashing of waves and woke each morning to the sound of birds and the sparking blue waters of the nearby estuary. It was an invigorating and inspiring weekend.
Now the innovative Gael has tapped into the growing trend for handcrafts and sewing and designed a series of Creative Textiles Retreat weekends. For the first, she plans to team up with local seamstress, quilter and crafter Ngaire Williams.
Ngaire owns the delightful Apple Basket Shop, situated in an old villa on State Highway 1 near Kaiwaka, and a superb source of patterns, sewing, knitting, embroidery and patchwork kits plus a colourful array of fabrics by the likes of Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, Phillip Jacobs and more.
During the retreat, Ngaire will be leading the craft sessions which see participants creating a colourful "Lionel Lizard' stuffed toy following a design by Melanie Hirston of Melly and Me, plus designing a fabric handbag.
"This weekend is for everybody really," explains Gael, "whether you're a novice or experienced. It's a chance to hang out with like-minded people, relax, and learn new skills. It's a return, in a way, to the old days when people spent quality time together sharing conversation and slowing down, really.
"When people aren't in the classes there will be the opportunity to explore Mangawhai, walk along the beach, enjoy our home baking and dine out at local restaurants."
* Creative Textile Retreat, 9-10 July, Milestone Cottages, 27 Moir Point Rd, Mangawhai. To find out more, (ph) 09 431 4018.