Welcome to The Secret Garden - A Creative Retreat
I have always dreamt of hosting retreats based on my favourite books or movies. I love the idea of transporting ourselves to another world that is enchanting but showing you that you are able to recreate this no matter where you are, using the right tools, knowledge and ways of seeing. I chose The Secret Garden as I adored this book and the 1993 movie as a child growing up, wishing that I had a secret garden of my own. Now I have finally made that dream come true and I cannot wait to share it with you!
Join us as we wine and dine French delicacies, indulge in local Champagne, float through overgrown gardens, foraging and capturing as we share trade secrets, stories, laugh, relax and enjoy our time together.
About the retreat
Laetitia from Florésie and I decided to come together after meeting last year at Sinclair & Moore’s real wedding workshop. I knew straight away that we had similar goals, aesthetics and got on really well.
Laetitia is an incredibly talented florist who has the ability to capture the essence of nature and reignite that natural, untouched, wild beauty into gorgeous arrangements, installations, bouquets and more for her lucky clients. I knew we had to come together in order to bring the vision I had of The Secret Garden, to life.
This retreat will allow you to take time out from your busy schedules and relax, meeting like-minded people. Laetitia will be teaching you all she knows about floral design. I will be taking you on a sensory journey, showing you how to use the beauty of what's around you, to see the world in a new way, use natural light and capturing all of this to complete an overall story.
I recently coined a new concept I call Hikarui which you can read more about here on my blog, but essentially it is a concept revolving around how to create a lifestyle that is simplified, lightweight, as stress-free as possible and using what is around you such as natural light, your environment, the natural world, objects you already own and so on. It is the art of extracting the beauty that already exists around us that is so often overlooked.
Meet your hosts
When Laetitia was a child, she was good at math, so naturally, she became an engineer! However after 10 years as a project manager, she realised that she was bored with solving equations and needed more beauty in her life. She decided to enroll in the floral design school of Paris and created the first french blog dedicated to floral art called Florésie in 2010. Now a mother, Laetitia has turned her blog into a design studio serving brides and grooms, specialising in wedding and family events, flourishing with a delicate and wild garden style. Also working as floral editor for a Swiss magazine, she is able to do all of this from her studio based in France, growing her own flowers and teaching floral art in a secret garden situated in the Champagne countryside but also reaching the regions of Burgundy and Picardy, known for historical venues and vineyards.
Florésie is a living space, gentle and joyful where creativity is drawn from the laughter of children, the softness of chicken feathers, the singing snails, the surrounding cracked old stone walls and the scents of garden flowers, varieties often old, adorable in every stage of life that Laetitia learns every season to succeed a little better.
Laetitia loves to travel, but her favourite playground remains in France where she can be found before sunrise every Thursday wandering at Paris flower market, selecting flowers for her brides among the most fragrant and charming garden roses of the Grand Paris heritage growers.
Click here for the Florésie website.
Chikae started floral design company Okishima & Simmonds in 2013, and recently started her second business focusing on photography, visual storytelling and creative consulting.
Photography was always her first love. Self-taught and having been fascinated with it from a young age, she shoots both digital and film photography.
Her style of photography is based around her concept Hikarui where she travels lightweight, carrying as little gear as possible, using what already exists around her. This enables her to travel anywhere, be free-spirited and adapt to any situation allowing her to capture visual stories that are real, raw and enchanting. Beauty exists all around us, yet we choose to seek it elsewhere. Starting with the fundamentals above, this allows you to bring in more props if necessary and is adaptable to each person. Her way of teaching ensures that you come away learning the basics and how to see the world in a new way that you can adapt to your own lifestyle and avoid replicating others. Chikae's knowledge of flowers means she is able to capture the beauty of flowers and foliage in a way that other photographers are not able to.
Chikae loves to travel. Being half Japanese half American but born and raised in the UK, and having lived in Japan and Hong Kong, means that home is essentially wherever she is at any given time. Her ability to travel lightweight and use only the essentials in both her travels and her photography gives way to a more stress-free lifestyle and appreciating the things that truly matter.
Monday September 25th:
We will welcome you at the venue at 2 pm. The first after-noon and evening will be dedicated to getting to know each other and get comfy in the environment that will be calling our creative quiet cave and home for the three days to come: exploring, foraging and laughing will be our goals for that day that will end by creating a pretty table for a delicious dinner complimented by local bubbly champagne.
After breakfast, we will drive through the Champagne countryside to a pretty garden grown and curated by two passionate growers that dedicate their work to ancient rose varieties. We will then head to Laetitia’s own garden for a picnic and an afternoon class about centerpiece arrangements with garden flowers. Your creations will be used to decorate our dinner table, which Chikae will use to introduce you to styling and photography à la “Hikarui”.
In the morning, Chikae will let you in on her creative process for photography, editing and visual storytelling, you will have opportunities to put your skills into practice as we follow the natural light surrounding us and use the decor that we will explore together using what our venue has to offer. After a refreshing lunch, we will stretch our creative muscles around a class about floral installation taught by Laetitia. You will have the opportunity to learn both her creative process and technical skills while creating an installation together.
After breakfast, Chikae and Laetitia will welcome you for 1:1 sessions where you will have the opportunity to talk about everything you want with the hosts in private. We will then have to say goodbye and farewell…
This schedule is just to give you an idea of what will be happening over the course of the retreat and is subject to change as we allow things to happen organically depending on weather and what people want to focus on.
This retreat is for:
- Seek guidance in how to start your brand
- Are in a job you hate and are thinking of pursuing a creative career
- Want to meet like-minded creative people who will become friends for life
- Wish to learn floral design and styling, all levels welcome
- Wish to learn photography skills, all levels welcome
- Wish to learn photography editing skills
- Want to talk about social media and how to use it
- Want images and create work for your portfolio or website
- Want to relax and take a well deserved holiday for yourself
- Love to eat yummy French food
- If you have wanted to visit the Champagne Region of France
- Want to learn how to like the Hikarui Lifestyle
Price for the three days: 1390 £
Limited to 7 places
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner on each day in accordance with the schedule
- Accommodation in shared double bed-rooms (one bathroom per room)
- Transportation to and from Reims main train station
- Flowers and vessels for the floral classes
- Discussions / teaching from Chikae and Laetitia
- Visit to a botanical garden
- Travel to and from the retreat location
- Film rolls. Should you wish to shoot in film, please bring your own.
Once you have reserved your spot by purchasing a spot using the button below, you will receive a confirmation email. We will be sending out details about the retreat closer to the time.
Due to logistics, the people involved and hotel cancellation policies, this is a non refundable retreat. You will be able to transfer your spot to someone else should you find someone to take your place. We would like to recommend organising travel insurance to cover any unlikely events.
Le Clos de la Robe, Vandeuil, Champagne, France
You can come to Reims in 45 minutes by high-speed train from Paris (Gare de l’Est). We will come and pick you up at the Reims train station if you need a lift to Vandeuil.