RIverside Lifestyle: Bloggers Retreat

Blogging has given me so many amazing opportunities over the last two years. It has given me a platform to raise awareness of the subjects close to my heart, to gain back my confidence through my love of writing, and to experience so many lovely things together as a family. And yet one of my favourite things about blogging will always be the friends I have made. For that reason, when I was invited to a retreat with nine other bloggers, I jumped at the chance!

The lovely owners of Riverside Lifestyle offered to host the retreat at Riverside Cottage, tucked away in leafy Hampshire, and although it was a bit of a trek down from Lancashire, it was totally and utterly worth it!!

Riverside Cottage is a five bedroomed property available for hire throughout the year with the added bonus of a separate two bedroomed lodge, perfect for extended family. The cottage was everything I had hoped it would be – picturesque, quirky, and with the most gorgeous traditional features.

Despite being a cottage, something which usually conjures images of something very quaint, and rather small, Riverside cottage is BIG! Even with the ten of us in there it felt so spacious, and with so many rooms there were some that we didn’t even sit in over the three days of our stay!

With traditional open beams and grand fireplaces, the cottage is so full of character. Everywhere you turn there is something new to look at, such as the beautiful rocking horse that sits in the hall, the artwork that lines the walls and the unusual hand painted rug on the dining room floor. 

One thing that I was really looking forward to was heading over to the lodge to take a dip in the heated swimming pool. We were very lucky that the weather was so lovely and it wasn’t long before we had all dived in, and I’ll be honest with you, being child free has never felt so good!

The gardens at Riverside cottage are gorgeous, all well kept with seasonal blooms, lavender fields and vineyards. I can imagine that should the children have been there they would have loved running wild, clambering all over the play ground and watching in amazement as the beekeeper collected the honey. Without the children I was happy to simply sit back, breathe in the fresh air, and RELAX!!

To the side of the cottage is the Riverside Yurt cafe, open to members of the public as well as residents.

They have the most delicious assortment of sweet and savoury, ice creams, drinks and jam made from their very own lavender! And although, being gluten free, I couldn’t try one of the scones, I was told by the others that they were absolutely delicious!

I love that Riverside Lifestyle thinks of everything to make your holiday as wonderful as possible. There are options to purchase additional add ons such as Yoga and Pilates classes in the yurt, plus a visit from Holistic Hens for a range of beauty treatments, including massages, facials and hot stone treatments.

My favourite add on was the option of an in house chef, brought to us by The Little Kitchen Company and cooked by the lovely Steve.

Our menu consisted of salmon roulade or goats cheese for starter, chicken with a mushroom and cream sauce for main and a fruit and cream meringue dessert. For £40 per person it was worth it to sit back, watch somebody else do the cooking and even better, no washing up!

This was washed down with a range of cocktails courtesy of 31 Dover, and let me tell you….they went down a treat!

We had such a great night sitting around chatting and getting to know each other, but after a long day it wasn’t long before we were ready for bed, set for another busy day the next morning.

Being unfamiliar with the surrounding area, it was lovely to have a walk into the nearest village the next morning. There is a road which follows the river and I imagine that there are lots of lovely country walks branching off which would be fun to explore.

That afternoon we were very fortunate to have a visit from the lovely Judith Searles who came to give us a lesson in flower arranging. Judith is amazing at what she does, and her work has been widely recognised, so I was very much looking forward to learning under her expertise!

Having never tried flower arranging before I was a little nervous about just how successful my attempt to make a floral wreath would be, and yet once I started I realised that it didn’t matter whether my wreath was quite as perfect as Judith’s, it was just lovely to be creative without the “helpful” hands of my children!

I was actually very proud of my finished wreath and decided that I would attempt to take it home for Joseph the following day. After eleven years of shop bought flowers it meant a lot to me to have made something special to brighten up his grave and I intend to draw from Judith’s advice and do the same in the coming months.

We had such a lovely time at Riverside Cottage and I genuinely couldn’t have chosen a more relaxing or charismatic setting, or better company than the lovely Donna of What The Redhead Said, Laura of Dear Bear and Beany, Bridget of Bridie By The Sea, Claire of Mudpie Fridays, Rosie of Mummy and Boo, Lauren of Scrapbook Blog, Nicole of The Littlest Darlings, Mel of Le Coin De Mel and Sara-Jayne of Keeping Up With The Jones Family.



  1. July 20, 2017 / 4:30 pm

    Wow that looks wonderful. What a great thing to do with so many like minded people. I really wish I lived closer to be able to attend these things. I know I don’t live a million miles away, but with work, etc, it’s hard. This looks bliss x

    • Laura Dove
      July 21, 2017 / 1:50 pm

      Yes travel is hard work when you’re juggling everything. I was lucky that my parents stepped in to help out! Xx

  2. July 20, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    I had the best time and I was so pleased that you made the trek down for it. I needed my room mate 🙂 Lets hope we have more adventures together x

    • Laura Dove
      July 21, 2017 / 1:49 pm

      Ahh me too Laura. Won’t be long until our next adventure, bring it on! Xx

  3. July 20, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    I’m so glad you all had a wonderful time. It looks like a lovely cottage, that rocking horse is a beauty!

    • Laura Dove
      July 21, 2017 / 1:41 pm

      It’s such a lovely cottage, We had such a fab time! Xx

  4. Besties Notepad
    July 20, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    That looks wonderful!
    Will definitely want to stay here 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      July 21, 2017 / 1:41 pm

      It’s such a great venue! Xx

  5. July 21, 2017 / 9:14 am

    Oh what a charming place – it looks like the perfect venue for a house part, or a very classy hen weekend 🙂 Love that painted on rug!

    • Laura Dove
      July 21, 2017 / 1:35 pm

      I totally agree, it’s a gorgeous place and I’d love to go back too! Xx

  6. July 21, 2017 / 9:27 am

    Oh my goodness my dream! Would love to go on a bloggers retreat 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      July 21, 2017 / 1:34 pm

      It really was amazing, we had a great time! Xx

  7. July 21, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    I saw photos of this event all over Instagram and it looked like so much fun! Riverside Cottage looks so homely and all of the little extras make all the difference 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      July 21, 2017 / 1:21 pm

      It was so much fun! I felt so relaxed the whole time, sometimes a couple of child free days are much needed!!

  8. July 21, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    Wow! I would love to do this sometime with the fellow bloggers in Singapore. Such vibrant and happy pictures!

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:57 pm

      Oh that would be an amazing retreat! I’d go, haha! xx

  9. July 21, 2017 / 7:44 pm

    Love the sound of a cafe in a yurt, wish we lived closer so we could visit!

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:53 pm

      I know me too, it was a long way from home! xx

  10. July 21, 2017 / 10:49 pm

    What a lovely experience for you all. The cottage looks so BEAUTIFUL. My dream home xx

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:51 pm

      Mine too Sarah, I love anything like that with character. xx

  11. July 21, 2017 / 10:57 pm

    Wow this looks like the perfect getaway location. The cottage is nice and has a pool too!! I can totally see myself relaxing there.

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:51 pm

      Yes and the pool was lovely and heated! perfect! xx

  12. Sierra
    July 21, 2017 / 11:28 pm

    The cottage looks absolutely beautiful and your pictures were stunning It looked like you had an amazing time on your retreat!

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:51 pm

      Thank you Sierra, we had the best time! xx

  13. July 21, 2017 / 11:45 pm

    This retreat looks like such a lovely place to stay. I love how you described it as spacious because so many simply are not. The photos show the place to be really so welcoming and well kept. A great place to get away from it all, relax and recharge. I love the wreath making also and it is wonderful that you were able to make one for Joseph. A really lovely post.

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:50 pm

      Thank you Nicole. I think when a property sleeps so many, there should be ample space for each person and yet so many rentals don’t have that luxury. We barely even sat in some rooms it was so big, I would love to go here with my children, I’d be able to find lots of quiet corners to hide from them! xx

  14. July 22, 2017 / 3:46 am

    This is a beautiful place. I love the sign, “come as strangers, leave as friends.” And I got a few home décor ideas. What a lovely experience.

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:49 pm

      Me too! It’s such a gorgeous sign, it was the quirkiest cottage! xx

  15. July 22, 2017 / 11:06 am

    I would love to go on a bloggers retreat. This event looks amazing, everything from the location, decoration, to those tasty looking cocktails. I wish I went 🙂 Glad you had a blast.

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:47 pm

      It was perfect, I just wish it could have lasted for a few more days! xx

  16. July 22, 2017 / 2:31 pm

    What a beautiful little cottage. Looks like you guys had ana amazing time.

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:45 pm

      We really did! It’s an amazing venue! xx

  17. July 22, 2017 / 4:44 pm

    It looks like a beautiful place to stay. Glad you had a good time

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:44 pm

      It’s a gorgeous location! I’d love to take my family! xx

  18. July 22, 2017 / 5:29 pm

    Ahhhh amazing looks like you all had a wonderful day so gutted I didn’t come to this!!! Xx

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:42 pm

      Ahh it would have been lovely to see you there! xx

  19. July 22, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    Wow what an amazing opportunity, no wonder you had a fabulous time!

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      It was amazing, and the perfect location! xx

  20. July 22, 2017 / 6:06 pm

    This looks so stunning! I love old style cottages with thatched roofs they are so scenic! I haven’t seen one this big before though

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      Nor me! It actually used to be three cottages and they made it into one huge one! xx

  21. July 22, 2017 / 6:46 pm

    Looks like you guys had a great time. I would love to join you guys. A beautiful house, luscious food, great company and scenic surroundings. Love it.

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      It was amazing, I can’t wait to do it all over again! xx

  22. July 22, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    Wow! That looks like a beautiful place. I like that they know to put the jam on the scones before the cream! #Cornwall

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:40 pm

      I would always put the jam on first, I find it so strange when people do it the other way round! xx

  23. July 23, 2017 / 7:07 am

    wow, this looks so much fun!! I bet you had a wonderful time!! would love to spend time in this cottage!! Those photos look amazing!! what a nice experience!! have fun 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:35 pm

      We had such a great time, than you! xx

  24. July 23, 2017 / 9:34 am

    Wow this sounds absolute bliss ♥

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:33 pm

      It was amazing Kirsty! xx

  25. July 23, 2017 / 9:58 am

    That cottage looks beautiful but I certainly wouldn’t want to come home. I am so glad that you had a lovely time x

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:33 pm

      Haha I know, that’s always the worst part having to leave! x

  26. Elizabeth o
    July 23, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    What a beautiful setting and treat for you all. I loved reading about your getaway and the fantastic place you ended up. Two thumbs up!

  27. July 23, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    What a fab little getaway – it’s so lovely the opportunities that blogging can create right? So many new people and experiences to enjoy! Love the look and sound of Riverside and really like the sound of all the optional extras like the yoga in the yurt, the pampering and of course, the cook!!!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN x

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:30 pm

      Yes the extras really make it extra special don’t they? Its a gorgeous venue, we had a great time! xx

  28. July 23, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    The cottage looks amazing and so great to have the chef! I would love to meet up with other bloggers, I feel like I know so many well because of all I have read!

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:28 pm

      Yes me too! It’s funny isn’t it, you know so much about each others lives but are technically strangers! It felt like meeting up with old friends which was lovely! xx

  29. July 24, 2017 / 2:45 am

    Looks like such a cool retreat. Would love to be a part of something like that. Meeting other bloggers and communicating as well as exploring opportunities for growth would be awesome.

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:27 pm

      I agree, it’s lovely to be around like minded people, we had a great time! xx

  30. July 24, 2017 / 2:49 am

    The property and scenery look beautiful!! The food doesn’t look to bad either! Glad you enjoyed yourself, it looks like a great experience!.

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:27 pm

      It was SUCH a gorgeous setting, so peaceful and relaxing! xx

  31. July 24, 2017 / 6:08 am

    Wow how fabulous. It looks like such an amazing time was had by you all. What a fab way to spend your weekend. It looks beautiful at Riverside cottage and the chef sounds amazing. xx

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:25 pm

      Oh the chef was amazing! To have a hot meal served up without the children screaming and a million and one things to do – perfect!! xx

  32. July 24, 2017 / 9:50 am

    What a fantastic time!! Great set of bloggers, and everything looked great fun too

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:24 pm

      So much fun! We had a blast! xx

  33. July 24, 2017 / 7:04 pm

    Looks amazing! Blogging can be so wonderful! Riverside Cottage looks like an perfect retreat location and perfect for a family staycation or a weekend away with friends. I’m not jealous at all! 😉

    Kat x

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:23 pm

      Hehe it was amazing I can’t lie! The perfect company and the perfect venue, even better to have some child free time! xx

  34. July 24, 2017 / 7:30 pm

    Wow, looks like it was an absolute blast! The food looks like it was incredible, and I bet making a floral arrangement is fun and rewarding 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:22 pm

      Oh that was so much fun, I’ve never done flower arranging before but I loved it! xx

  35. July 24, 2017 / 7:49 pm

    Look like you had an amazing time there, the place is so nice and relax. I would love to go there myself!

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:22 pm

      It’s gorgeous, I’d recommend it if you’re ever staying that way! xx

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:21 pm

      Definitely, they really had thought of everything! xx

  36. July 25, 2017 / 6:43 pm

    Oh babe!
    You were treated so well, it looks like such a beautiful place to stay :O
    I’m jealous xo

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 5:20 pm

      It was amazing, I’d recommend the venue to anyone! xx

  37. July 26, 2017 / 9:14 am

    The cottage is beautiful and a bloggers retreat sounds wonderful. I would love to spend some time with some like minded friends

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 4:41 pm

      It was so lovely to spend time with people who just GET IT!! xx

  38. Claire
    July 27, 2017 / 10:07 pm

    Omg how fun! Always love spending time with like minded people!

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 4:39 pm

      So much fun! We had a great time! xx

  39. July 29, 2017 / 11:48 pm

    I was convinced I’d commented on your post, but clearly I must have read it and forgotten to write a little note, sorry! It was really great getting to know you and having you as my mini road trip companion on that sunny Monday morning 🙂 I really loved everything about our little retreat and can’t wait for the next one!

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 4:38 pm

      Oh don’t worry, I have yet to comment on them all too, where have the days gone? It’s on my to do list, along with every task in the history of man, haha! It was so lovely spending time with you and I cant wait for January to do it all over again. xx

  40. July 30, 2017 / 6:33 pm

    This is really close to where is live! I am going to go and try the public cafe 👍🏻

    • Laura Dove
      July 30, 2017 / 9:09 pm

      Oh you should!! The scones looked absolutely delicious!!! xx

  41. Sonia
    July 31, 2017 / 8:45 am

    I am so totally jealous of this event it looks amazing!! Wow is all I can say! How lucky to get to spend time with some fab bloggers in such a gorgeous location x

    • Laura Dove
      July 31, 2017 / 1:07 pm

      It was amazing Sonia, we really had the best time! xx

  42. July 31, 2017 / 4:45 pm

    Wow! What a beautiful cottage and amazing experience. It sounds and looks like you had a fab time! Making friends is always magical and the memories you have must be fantastic.

    • Laura Dove
      August 1, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      I agree, nothing beats making friends with like minded people! xx

  43. August 1, 2017 / 12:14 pm

    Oh my god! How amazing that you got a chance to spend time in a retreat away from the home. The fact that it has a heated swimming pool is so cool x

    • Laura Dove
      August 1, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      I know!! No kids too – amazing!!! xx

  44. August 5, 2017 / 8:04 pm

    This looked like so much fun, I wish I could have gone! Sometimes it’s just nice to get away for a little while and to be around likeminded people who understand. x

    • Laura Dove
      August 6, 2017 / 5:57 pm

      I agree, it was so lovely and much needed! Feels like a long time ago right now! xx

  45. August 15, 2017 / 11:47 am

    WOW what a gorgeous place, I would love to stay there. Glad you had such a good time and that you got a little break away too xx

    • Laura Dove
      August 15, 2017 / 7:21 pm

      It was lovely Laura, and so nice to just relax! xx

  46. August 17, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    That cottage is simply stunning, so quintessentially British with the thatched roof! And the Yurt as a cafe, that;’s unique. Looks like you all had a fabulous time! x

    • Laura Dove
      August 17, 2017 / 6:10 pm

      It was amazing! Such a gorgeous setting, I’m a sucker for a thatched roof! xx

  47. August 24, 2017 / 5:34 am

    I need to get to one such place as well. Would motivate me to finish up on that book. The drafts are catching dust now. Heading off soon:)

    • Laura Dove
      August 24, 2017 / 6:08 pm

      Oh me too! I’m stuck on chapter 7! xx

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