Vancouver Island Getaway: A Night at Hummingbird Haven B and B

When I think of Vancouver Island I think of slowing down, Island time, of art, culture, and a way of life that’s unique from anywhere on the Mainland. Even though I was born and raised in the Lower Mainland, I haven’t spent a lot of time on Vancouver Island, but any time I’ve spent there has been memorable. Last month  I had the chance to travel to Vancouver Island with one of my best friends, Janette from Ava to Zoe, and enjoyed a night at the lovely Hummingbird Haven B and B. Our little two-night getaway ended at this charming B and B located in Chemanis and the owners made us feel warm and welcome, like we were family visiting rather than B and B guests.
 

The idea behind this getaway to Vancouver Island was to relax before the busy-ness of Sumer Vacation.

I was grateful that Janette invited me on this girls getaway and we made the most of our time to relax and unwind. I had never been to Duncan or Chemanis, so I was looking forward to visiting these places that hold a special place in Janette’s heart (her Grandmother used to live there). If you are looking for quaint charm for your next visit to Vancouver Island, Hummingbird Haven is a perfect location, a combination of artsy charm and cozy. The owners Peggy and Brad are both working artists, and it was really interesting having the opportunity to chat with them about what they do- Peggy creates pottery and Brad creates digital art.
 

These B and B owners have a kind, warm spirit that makes you feel at home and welcome.

 
After arrivng and settling in, we enjoyed a chat with Peggy in her garden, learning about how she and Brad came to live on Vancouver Island and how their creative journies brought them there, along with their vision to create a sustainable accommodation option for visitors to the area. As we talked, we enjoyed walking through her garden where some of her pieces are on display, as well as getting a tour of her and Brad’s studios. It was interesting to hear about their artistic backgrounds and both shared with us their respective processes from start to finish. 
 
 
 
 
While we were chatting, we learned about their recent opening of the B and B (it’s only been open since the Spring) and their hopes for what they want to offer to guests: a unique experience where guests can indulge in the local art scene while staying somewhere focused on sustainability. Peggy and Brad are both plant-based, and provide delicious plant-based options for their guests (our breakfast while staying there was a yummy homemade meal, all plant-based and made by Peggy herself). When our conversation turned to food, it was insightful hearing their approach to food and the efforts they make to offer an eco-friendly experience for guests. To build on this vision they are also hoping to add Tesla art and wine tours later this Summer and Brad gave us a ride in his Tesla so we could see for ourselves what they have in mind; something fun and unique that future guests will get to enjoy.
 
Both Peggy and Brad are active in the local community and art scene and are a wealth of knowledge for visitors looking to make the most out of their time there. Ask them for a restaurant recommendation, local attractions, or places to visit and they will point you in the right direction. Part of the appeal of a B and B is the unique charm and atmosphere, and Hummingbird Haven B and B delivers this on all fronts.
    
 
After enjoying our breakfast with the hummingbirds (the B and B lives up to its name!) the morning we were leaving, Peggy was opening her kiln and it was the perfect finishing touch to our visit getting to see her take out the most recent finished pieces. As a souvenir of our time there I bought one of them, a green plate made using a special technique, something I’ll enjoy as a reminder of our time there. To say that Peggy and Brad are warm hosts is an understatement and their hospitality elevates the time spent at Hummingbird B and B, making it a lovely option for anyone planning a visit to the area.
 
If you are planning a trip to Vancouver Island, a visit to this small town is a perfect place to slow down and unwind. The area surrounding Hummingbird Haven B and B is scenic and serene, minutes from the water and close to amenities such as restaurants, shops, and artist studios. And if soaking in the local culture and atmosphere is something you hope to do, a stay at Hummingbird Haven B and B won’t leave you disappointed. If you go, tell them Kat and Janette sent you. ūüėČ
 
 
If you would like to learn more about Hummingbird Haven B and B, make sure to visit their website and find them on social media: Instagram | Facebook
 
Photo credit: Janette Shearer, Ava to Zoe

What to Pack for a Yoga Getaway

Sometimes you just to need to stop. Step back. Breath. And last month I was given the chance to do just that. Thanks to my friend Janette of Ava to Zoe, a group of us ladies got away for 2 blissful nights at¬†Nectar Yoga B & B¬†on Bowen Island. We enjoyed some yoga & meditation, sipped some wine, and enjoyed slowing down and coming off of our busy routines. I shared about our time at Nectar in this post and today I wanted to share about some the other details from the trip. Not only did Janette organize the whole thing, she spoiled us with some amazing swag bags loaded with everything we’d need for our time away- including the clothes we’d wear while we got our yoga on.
She did such an amazing job bringing together everything we’d need that I thought it would be good to share about it for anyone else thinking about planning a yoga getaway with the girls. I’ve also given some extra info about the items she picked out for the getaway throughout the post, so if you see something you like you can check out the amazing brands behind the item.
So what to bring when you’re planning a well- deserved yoga getaway? Here’s what I’d suggest based on our 2 days away.
Yoga Getaway Packing List
yoga apparel
think: comfortable/ doesn’t restrict movement
hat & warm clothes
if planning a getaway in the cooler months, or pack according to the season
dress clothes & heels
in case you want a night out
wine 
no explanation needed!
water bottle 
to stay hydrated after enjoying that wine… and yoga of course
hair ties/ hair bands 
seems simple enough, but having your hair falling all over your face while doing downward facing dog can be annoying
bag to carry yoga gear in 
many places will supply you with mats, blocks, etc, but it’s good to know if these are supplied- especially if you’re organizing your own retreat
yoga gear 
if needed, see above
healthy snacks
and some not so healthy, because what’s a girls trip without treats?
toiletries
maybe splurge on some nice soap & lotion to give yourself some TLC after your yoga session
candles, movies & magazines
basically, whatever else you’d like to bring to treat yourself and set the mood for a few days of R &R
don’t forget things like your pjs, a good pair of athletic shoes, and anything else you might need depending on time of year & where you’re going (ie a bathing suit for Summer)

 

Thanks to RYU, we each received two tops and a pair of pants, so we’d be all set when we arrived and have less to pack ¬†(but let’s be honest, I just filled that extra space in my bags with more shoes ūüėČ ). When you learn about the mantra this brand has towards it’s apparel and those who wear it, you can see why it was a perfect fit for a trip like this. In an email we received from the brand that they send out to the athletes who wear their clothes, they speak of the ‘beautiful tough’ and that despite the challenges we face, to always look for the beauty in life. Not just with the aesthetics, but through things like actions, thoughts, and deeds. I loved this idea of the ‘beautiful tough’ and as the time on Bowen unfolded, I could see how each of us had our own challenges we were facing, but how we were pushing through them, each showing strength in our own way.

 

When it came time to enjoy the yoga sessions with Andria at Nectar, having pieces that were comfortable and moved with us was much appreciated. When you’re stretching and moving your body into different positions, having clothes that work with you rather than restrict you can make a big difference. Janette really thought of everything we would need and made sure we stayed hydrated with beautiful water bottles from Free Reign¬†(the story behind this brand and it’s owner Melanie is an inspiring one), hair accessories from¬†Goody, zipper pouches from¬†From the Seeds¬†for things like lipgloss and other girlie items, and wine (yes to wine!!!) from¬†Evolve Cellars. If you know me, you know I love my wine, and the Pinot Blanc & Pinot Noir we got to enjoy were the perfect ending to our days on Bowen. And I just have to mention how perfect I thought the name was- ‘Evolve’- to come along on our trip that included reflection and moving forward in new directions.
Janette pulled everything together in beautiful tote bags from Oh My Dear Loves (which feature original artwork by the owner all created by hand either through screen printing or linocut stamps), and it was like kids on Christmas morning as we opened our bags of goodies. There were also items from Karma & Soul (love my beanie!), a yoga care kit from Sage, and a hand- poured candle from Free Reign. We seriously got spoiled and all appreciated how much time and effort Janette put into organizing everything.

 

 

Life can get busy. Crazy. Chaotic. It’s important that we find time to slow it down and reset. Time is finite and memories are priceless, so let’s make our time here as good as we can. Thanks Janette for pulling together this crazy group of gals and to Heyde & Kristy for being the ladies I shared this time with (and bonus thanks to Kristy for capturing the beautiful photos!). If you want more info about the brands Janette included in our yoga getaway bags, see below for a full list.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this getaway so special:
Photo credit: Kristy Powers

Nectar Yoga B & B
Facebook: Nectar Yoga B&B Bowen Island
Twitter: @NectarYogaBnB
Instagram: @nectaryogabnb

Ryu Apparel
Facebook: RYU Apparel Inc.
Instagram: @ryu_apparel
Twitter: @RYU_apparel

Karma & Soul
Facebook: Karma & Soul
Instagram: @karmaandsoul
Twitter: @karmaandsoul

Free Reign
Facebook: FREE REIGN
Instagram: @thefreereignlife

Oh My Dear Loves
Facebook: Ohmydearloves
Instagram: @ohmydearloves
Twitter: @ohmydearloves


From the Seeds
Instagram: @fromtheseeds
Facebook: From the Seeds

Evolve Cellars
Facebook: Evolve Cellars
Instagram: @evolvecellars

Sage
Facebook: Sage Wellness
Instagram: @sajewellness

Goody
Facebook: GOODY
Twitter: @goodyhair

I Heart Nectar Yoga B & B

Last month I enjoyed a yoga getaway with 3 other lovely ladies organized by my good friend Janette of Ave to Zoe; it was my first yoga retreat and it was everything I had been hoping for, looking for, and more. I remember getting her text at the end of Summer: Want to go back to Bowen? Um, yeah I do! I laugh a little thinking that before this year I had never been to Bowen Island and somehow ended up there twice in less than 3 months. Safe to say I’ve fallen in love and it’s been a reminder how beautiful this place we call home is and that I need to play tourist in the province I was born and raised in more often. 

This beautiful B&B is tucked away in the trees 5 minutes from the ferry when you arrive on the island, and even though you’re only a 15 minute ferry ride from Vancouver, you feel so removed from the hustle of the city. There are signs throughout the island reminding you ‘you’re not on the mainland’ and to slow down, take everything in, and enjoy yourself. This mantra sinks in and you quickly find yourself forgetting your daily stresses and routine in exchange for a sense of calm.

The story behind Nectar Yoga B & B is as beautiful as the place itself and owner Andrea has created her own little paradise where she teaches yoga and meditation, hosts retreats, and serves the loveliest breakfasts to her B&B guests. For 2 years, she has been welcoming guests to Nectar and helping them find inner calm through yoga and meditation. To be in Andrea’s presence is calming and uplifting, you get the sense that she is in her happy place; living, breathing proof that dreams do come true, if not without some hard work and soul searching.
Andrea’s hope is to send guests home more in touch with themselves, feeling better than when they arrived, and breathing a little deeper as they go through their daily lives; in some way transformed for the better. And that’s how I felt arriving home after the 2 days spent there: rested and calmer than when I left. For readers of the blog, you might have seen me share about some personal things I’ve been working through the past few months (you can see those posts here and here), and yoga has become one of the things I’ve turned to, to help me feel fulfilled both inside and out. This two- day retreat was a beautiful experience that had us exploring the practice of yoga combined with meditation, and enjoying some fun girl time as well. 
In 2 days we enjoyed 3 yoga/ meditation sessions led by Andrea in the yoga dome she has built on the property. Looking through the clear panels that overlook the property, it is such a unique and beautiful way to enjoy yoga and meditation. With the air scented with incense, candles, and the cedar plank floors, it’s an experience for all the senses, and one that will have you feeling instantly relaxed. You don’t have to be an experienced yogi to visit, and Andrea leads the hour- long sessions mindful of what her guests are looking for from the practice- are you seeking something more intense and challenging or relaxing and reflective?

We were lucky to enjoy a bit of both, leaving one session in particular feeling rather stretched and flexed from the poses with the other two a little less intense; we got to explore the best of both worlds. During our sessions Andrea led us through the poses and meditation giving suggestions to help improve our form, make them more/ less intense, and how they were beneficial to our bodies (bonus points for learning while relaxing!). I’d say the poses that worked on the hips were the toughest for me- apparently this is quite common- and I’m going to be working more poses into my yoga routine that help with this area. Stretching and staying flexible as we get older isn’t something we necessarily focus on, but there are countless long- term benefits and yoga definitely helps.

As our time came to an end, the four of us reflected on our time there, the fun we’d had, and how amazing the experience had been. This retreat brought the four of us together- some as friends, some as strangers at the beginning- but we all left feeling like we’d shared in something special, appreciating the experience, and how it had impacted all of us. It was a reminder that we’re all on our own journeys, with different challenges and victories, but coming together in a positive, safe place, we felt no judgement or fear. Just peace, calm, and appreciation. Memories were made, friendships formed and strengthened, and a few more laugh lines added to our faces. I’d say that’s a pretty good time, no?

As I mentioned earlier in the post, Bowen really is a special place. Time seems to slow down there. There’s a different vibe there than here on the mainland, and the locals all seem to share in this, including Andrea. If you haven’t been, go. And if you’re looking for a little R & R, some time for yourself, maybe a girls getaway like ours, definitely include Nectar Yoga B & B on your list. Believe me when I say you’re not the same when you leave as when you arrived. Just go there and be, whatever that means to you.

Namaste.

See the other posts about our stay at Nectar Yoga B & B:
Janette- Ava to Zoe (including a beautiful video of our time there)

About Nectar Yoga B & B
Located on Bowen Island, Nectar opened in 2014 and has welcomed guests from around the world. B & B facilities include 2 cottages where guests can stay, with the main house available for rental as well, with room for a total of 12 guests. Yoga and meditation is offered in the Geodesic Yoga Dome located on the property. For rental inquiries please contact Nectar directly at info@nectaryogabnb.ca

A very special thank you to Andrea for welcoming us girls to Nectar and to my friend Janette for inviting me to be a part of this trip. The experience was amazing beyond words. 

Want to visit Nectar Yoga B&B? Visit their website to check availability & book your own yoga getaway. And make sure to follow them on social media:

Facebook: Nectar Yoga B&B Bowen Island
Twitter: @NectarYogaBnB
Instagram: @nectaryogabnb

Photo credit: Kristy Powers

5 Reasons to go on a Girl’s Getaway

OK ladies, confession time: when was the last time you got away with the girls? For me it was about 5 years ago (!!!) and so much life has happened since then. It can be tough to get away when you’ve got kids, but even a few hours can make such a difference and remind you why you’ve got the tribe that you do. Last week I shared about some struggles I recently faced (see that post here) and the experience has made me love & appreciate my friends even more. I’m lucky and they’re amazing. Friends are the people you choose to include in your life and they can sometimes be just what you need to refresh & unwind. I’m looking forward to spending a few days away with friends this weekend for the first time since becoming a Mom and I’m beyond excited. I know I’ll have mixed emotions and miss my 3 blondes, but the timing couldn’t be better with how I’ve been feeling. Who else can relate? I’m sharing my 5 reasons to go on a girl’s getaway and I’m curious to see if/ what I’d change on this list after this weekend. See below for my 5, what would yours be?
1. You deserve it. Let’s just get the obvious answer out there first. You work hard everyday to be the best you that you can be to the people in your life and wear a variety of hats in a day. Even if it doesn’t look like you’ve achieved much at the end of the day- the house is a total mess but the kids are alive!- you’re working your booty off and it’s rarely glamorous juggling all that we do. Also, you probably don’t get a lot of time to yourself (anyone else have an audience when they go the bathroom?!), meaning you deserve a break even more!
2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sound familiar? Stepping away from the daily routine and those in it can be what you need to recharge and actually miss those crazy little people (and big people- I can’t forget about the hubbies!) and come back refreshed and ready to tackle everything head- on. It can be a chance to reflect on what you love and appreciate about your kids and husband, which you can draw upon during those times they’re driving you crazy later.
3. Friends are the family you choose. Are they ever! Getting married and having a family can have a big impact on your life, including the people you choose to spend time with. Just like any other relationship, friendships need nurturing too and enjoying a couple days- even a couple of hours!- spending time with friends and reconnecting is important. These are the people who are there for you on the bad days, have probably seen you at your worst, and love you anyways. Where else in life do you find people like that? And let’s face it, if I’m going to let people in my house while I’m sleep- deprived, in need of coffee and sans makeup/ hair done, these people get me at some of my (ahem) finest moments, so it’s nice to spend quality grown up time with them too (and without constant interruption!).
4. Feel like you again. I’m not sure when this happened, but I became a grown-up. I’m not sure that I’m a stellar example, but here we are with a house, 2 kids, and the stress and messes to go with it. It’s a beautiful mess, but somedays you can get lost in the mix. I don’t have a problem skipping my makeup and throwing my hair into a ponytail or topknot, but somedays I crave putting on a pair of heels and getting dressed up in clothes that aren’t kid-friendly (!!!). Having the chance to sleep in, drink a hot cup of coffee and do whatever you want when you want becomes a novelty as a Mom and slowing right down so you can enjoy a day off or two can do wonders for your well being. Doing this somewhere truly glorious like by the Caribbean Sea in an Exceptional Villas property is the ultimate escape from the daily grind. Indulge in your hobbies, read a book, or do something a little crazy that you can’t do with the kids around. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you need a break until you get one, so go for it!
5. Make memories. Ok, so I’m ending this on a sentimental note, but really this is so true (see #3). Make sure that you make the time count, whatever that may look like. You might not know when you’ll get the chance to get away again, so enjoy it. Organize an activity, open a few bottles of wine, go out for dinner… just have a blast! Maybe even think about going for a wine weekend away! There are so many Winery Tours that you could go on and have fun with your friends, you’ll be having the best time and you’ll feel so relaxed being catered too! This is your chance to unwind and have some fun with people you care about, so make some good memories while you’re at it. Take photos, have fun, and most importantly, enjoy yourself! Life’s too short not to enjoy it, so just go have fun!
What would you add? I’d love to hear what your favourite things to do are on a girls getaway!

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