Thursday, March 13, 2014


It's so hard to believe, but this time last week we were heading back to the Lion's Hostel after a meal out with our teachers and retailers. Our decorations were 95% done and the main jobs left to do were a million little ones.

They say time flies when you are having fun, but sometimes it feels that the e2c weekend just goes by in a blink of an eye… even with an extra day thrown in.

The whole e2c weekend kicked off for us last Thursday. After giving the kids a little hug goodbye and seeing them onto the buses, Meredith, John, Greg and I drove to North Shields. We had a super team behind us this year, knowing that i was a bit limited in the lifting department. Sandra W and Trish S were also heading over the hill to meet us there and were the most amazing, instrumental help in getting set up.

The first job was a bit of a clean up, then onto construction of our decorations. Usually the trestles are the first thing to get put up, but knowing that we had to do some elaborate ceiling bizzo they were going to be one of the very last jobs this year. I think this added a bit of a panicky feeling as Meredith and I felt behind in the setup all day… even though we were really right on track, just doing some things in different order.

via meredithtrel on Instagram

Before long we had some more amazing helpers arrive - Kim M, Kathryn D, Sue and Lauren. We all fluffed pom poms and constructed lanterns and fans and then took a very long time trying to work out how to tie them all together!! (insert slight 'running out of time' panic at this stage by Meredith).

via auntylauren on Instagram

 via bronzewing on Instagram

Our retailers had arrived by now and had started the HUGE task of setting up their shops. We cannot thank them enough for coming along and making such a massive effort of bringing all their wares for our shopping delight.

Then it was time to meet our teachers!! Meredith and I met Natalie Elphinstone and Gina Rodgersat the airport and even though we were all nervous, it was brilliant to meet these wonderfully inspiring ladies in person. We just love how our teachers are always so down to earth and humble of their talents. E2C is definitely a diva free zone.

Later we picked up Celeste Vermeend and Mardi Winen from the plane - more beautiful, down to earth  people, and arrived back from the airport to meet Kim Archer in the car park. And just like that all our teachers were here, all excited and looking forward to seeing what e2c was all about.

via bronzewing on Instagram

via natalieelph on Instagram

A little more fiddling with the decorations and then out to tea at the Marina. It was wonderful to sit and relax, eat and drink and get to know our teachers a little more.

Before long we headed back to the hostel to pack goodie bags and do some of the small fiddly last minute type jobs. (and hang some last minute decorations that i had actually forgotten - the hot air balloons that had taken me all day to make, and the table allocations that were a nightmare to print!)

Finally it was time to hit the sack and get a bit of rest before e2c really kicked off.

Friday was THE day and I woke and got ready for the day with butterflies in my tummy. Friday is always my most favourite day of the retreat… seeing everyone arrive, and watching their faces as they walk into the shed is just so rewarding and exciting. The teachers put the finishing touches on their kits

via kim__archer on Instagram

via celestejanev on Instagram

via natalieelph on Instagram

via kim__archer on Instagram

while Meredith and I put the finishing touches on other areas. Sandra and Trish were busy little bees chauffeuring people to and from the airport to the central meeting spot of the Port Lincoln Hotel.

Last minute jobs included filling the lolly table :
via natalieelph on Instagram

via meredithtrel on Instagram

via raquelp on Instagram

It seemed like no time at all and it was 12.50pm. Cars had been arriving since 12.15 (as usual) and the crowd was getting anxious to come in. We opened the door and it had begun!!

The rest of the long weekend passed in a blur - a good blur but way too fast. There were tears, laughter, creativeness, new skills and just a general *sigh* of ladies having time to themselves to do something that they love with some like minded women.

Every single class was amazing - in fact there were so many compliments on the classes it was crazy! All 4 of our teachers were brilliant - stepping us through their layouts and projects with ease. It's so good to see everyone with their heads down, really embracing the guest teachers techniques and learning something new. It's also really rewarding seeing the attendees coming up and thanking the teachers personally for the class.

The QR readers made it so much easier to view the step by step classes and we received many positive comments in our feedback forms on this.

Saturday flew by - with a VERY long winded prize table thrown in the mix (however where else does everyone EVERYONE win a prize!), and then it was Sunday… and next minute it was Monday.

4pm seemed to roll around very quickly and before we knew it people were hugging goodbye, with a few teary thank yous. Our families arrived, ready to help with the dismantling of the decorations, tables and general (but very large)  tidy up. Again Sandra and Trish were amazing helpers. Absolutely amazing right to the very last thing put in the car they were there. Many other ladies also pitched in this year and we feel so very grateful to each and everyone of you. I'm sure you can imagine that it's a huge job to tackle with only our family to help. Every single person who helped us was brilliant and we appreciate it so much.

Crazy to think that all that planning is all done - all gone for another year. Yes it is a lot of work, that can often be overwhelming but our reward is seeing 78 other ladies have the time of their life during the e2c experience. When people say goodbye to us and get emotional about how much this time out means to them - THAT is our reward and reason for doing it.

A beautiful thank you card made for us by the attendees via meredithtrel on Instagram

In the past two days I have had someone say to me that e2c has created a 'community' which actually made me cry - it felt so true! There is such a warm-ness, a togetherness and yes, a sense of community.

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