You can read Part 1 of this story here.
In all honesty, when it comes down to what matters most, for me, the greatest asset gained from this wondrous workshop is undoubtedly the people. Oh, the people! What a marvellous and remarkable group of creatives I was blessed to be surrounded by for the duration of those short but ever-so-sweet three days.
You see, I have this fear. I have a terrible mistrust of social media appearances. Due to a few unfortunate incidents, I have this constant fear that the people I follow and love on instagram, whose work I admire so greatly and who are my constant inspiration, will turn out to be not so wonderful in real life. I know, it’s terrible…but I can’t help but wonder if it is all just for show, or if people are using the platform to paint a certain well-curated picture that is often quite far from reality. I am now happy to say, that not only were my fears completely banished during this workshop, but everyone I got to finally meet in person exceeded my wildest expectations of what I thought they would be like in real life. Never could I have imagined that so many people could turn out to be so wonderful and that I would end up loving each of them so wholeheartedly.
Get ready to listen to me shamelessly gush over everyone.
A more generous, warm and welcoming host you will not find. Annie moved to the countryside a few years ago, after being a city girl for most of her life. She started her blog, The Dailys, to find the beauty in everyday life and to rekindle her love for writing, and the result is one of the most beautiful little corners of the internet you will ever see. She decided to invite a group of people to her little patch of magical rural New South Wales to host the first Daily Plenty workshop, and I am so eternally grateful that she did! From the very first moment, Annie made us all feel right at home. She has this indescribable warmth and effortless beauty, which makes it impossible not to fall instantly in love with her! She welcomed every one of us with open arms and was always so genuinely enthusiastic about showing us her world.
Just a tiny example of her impossible hospitality; upon hearing that I was terribly cold at night in my room (being the desert-dwelling Egyptian wuss that I am), she proceeded to bring me not one, not two, not even three…but SIX extra blankets and literally wanted to tuck me in! I mean, talk about spoiling her guests! And yes, in case you were wondering, she has a heart-melting rescued baby roo living with her at home, and her name is Honey. Have you ever heard of anything more Australian?
more about Annabelle HERE.
I can’t quite recall who said it, but on our very last day at Moorabinda station, someone said “it takes a lot of energy to be Luisa Brimble!”…and it is just spot on. Luisa, who is hands-down the most brilliantly talented food and lifestyle photographer in Australia, is just this larger-than-life human being. She is constantly overflowing with beautiful energy, enthusiasm and she has the most infectious and gloriously loud laugh I’ve ever come across. You cannot help but feel happy and cheerful in her presence, and I was blown away with how generous she was with her vast knowledge and how endlessly encouraging she is with everyone she teaches. She tirelessly explained all the technical and practical, and patiently answered all our continuous streams of questions without hesitation. Her passion and love for her work and for sharing and community is evident in everything she does, and the result is that she makes epic gatherings like these come to life, and her bubbly soul fills the air and all those around her with joy and fun and pure elation.
more about Luisa HERE.
The moment I met her, I instantly felt like I’ve know her for years. She has this familiarity and humbleness that makes it just so easy to be around her. Other than being an immensely talented photographer and blogger, Lean is one of the sweetest, most gentle spirits I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and I am just so delighted to now call her my friend. I was amazed at her genuine interest to really get to know all the attendees, and how kind and helpful she was with teaching us about photography and styling. Lean is simply a ray of sunshine. She also happens to double as a terribly photogenic and willing model, not to mention her spontaneous tendency to bust out some hilarious dance moves. Also, wherever Lean goes, Taj the German Shepherd is sure to follow a few steps behind. They make a fabulous team.
more about Lean HERE.
This lady is just a superstar. I am still utterly dumbfounded at how she was able to seemingly effortlessly feed a small army of constantly hungry people for three whole days, aided only by an 1800’s wood-fired oven, a tiny and charmingly old kitchen, and an open fire. The part that amazes me is just how stunningly beautiful and creative the menu was, despite the very limited resources! From impossibly fluffy and buttery blood orange cinnamon rolls, to perfectly tender fall-off-the-bone whole lamb cooked on the campfire, and everything in between (more on the food in my next post), each creation was nothing short of a work of art. Sarah managed to pull it all off with seamless grace and flawless timing, while remaining calm, cool and totally in control, and looking like total rockstar to boot. If that isn’t the definition of a great cook, I don’t know what is!
more about Sarah HERE.
Stylist extraordinaire, this wonderful lady is the reason why everything you see in these photos looks so breathtakingly gorgeous. The way she managed to transform every scene, from basic and bare and rough, to luscious, luxurious and brimming with otherworldly, ethereal beauty is just astounding. She works with a quiet yet purposeful focus, gently and constantly shuffling in the background to create wondrous settings that are almost painfully beautiful, with her positively magical touch. Caitlin, like all the other creative giants who were present, was so generous and giving with her tremendous knowledge and talent and taught us so wholeheartedly.
more about Caitlin HERE.
One of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met, Megan Trousdale of Exchange Stores in Nundle (I want to buy EVERYTHING in her shop!), was an invaluable part of the workshop by supplying lots of her gorgeous enamelware, linens and utensils, as well as helping out with setting everything up and being generally wonderful, and so was the lovely Hannah McCowatt, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes helping out Sarah in the kitchen and Luisa with the photography, in addition to acting as model on several occasions.
I would like to also thank the fabulous owners of the property, Julia and Phillip Harpham, who welcomed us to stay at their quarters and freely roam their grounds and were simply the most hospitable hosts possible. Same goes to the remarkable families and farmers who let us into their homes and allowed us a glimpse into their unique lives, as well as supplying us with heaps of the beautiful local produce they grow and raise, which we ate and thoroughly enjoyed during the trip.
As for the fellow attendees, what a fabulous bunch of people! I am thrilled and feel so blessed to have met and connected with so many like-minded individuals, and who I can now confidently call my friends. The fact that there wasn’t a drop of mobile service for the entire trip turned out to be a blessing in disguise! As Luisa said, it forced us to REALLY talk to each other. There wasn’t a single distraction in sight (I’m looking at you, instagram), and everyone was just so fully present, it was incredibly refreshing and truly liberating to experience. There were so many meaningful conversations, so much heartfelt laughter, so many true friendships built, so many precious moments and shared sentiments that I feel so grateful to have experienced with these wonderful and sincere human beings.
It has to be said though, that despite being glad that we had no access to it during the workshop, how AMAZING is it that all this MAGIC came into existence purely because of Instagram?? I am just in love with the sense of community on this social platform and how it is enabling so many authentic connections and completely changing the shape of the world we live in and the way new relationships are being formed. What a powerful little app it is.
Everyone came from different backgrounds and for varied reasons, and each person had a fascinating story to tell, but our interests were all the same. Climbing on top of chairs was highly encouraged, getting out of each others light was a mutual understanding and it was never necessary to explain that food was simply not to be eaten until the perfect shot was taken. No one batted an eye if you were caught in an odd position with a prop or a plate of food, and trying to balance your camera to get the perfect overhead ‘blind’ tablescape was common practice.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at home.