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Creativity breaks

NATUREWORKS: CREATIVITY BREAKS

We sent creative types to our inspected and selected spaces across the UK to give them a chance to experience what we’ve known for years. Getting away from it all, taking time out and immersing oneself in nature really does give the brain the wakeup call and creative refresh it so desperately needs sometimes. From PR companies in yurts to world famous animators in treehouses, they ‘nature-tested’ our spaces and here they give you the run down… 

Aardman at Uplands Treehouse

Ngaio & Steve | Development Producer & Creative Director | Uplands Treehouse

Gorgeous wall of a window that overlooks the Mendips

We stayed at the blissful Uplands in Somerset. A perfect location only 30-minutes from the office. The treehouse has a gorgeous wall of a window that overlooks the Mendips, so we could really savour waking up in the countryside with an amazing view that you don't get in a city. Whilst in nature we worked on two separate projects: Steve had an important story-board to crack for an animated commercial and I was working on a live event concept involving Shaun the Sheep (particularly appropriate when you think of the place we were staying). 

 

A deeper feeling of satisfaction

It was great to get out of the office because it got us back to basics. Aardman is a very creative place but it’s also a very busy environment with much constant distraction. Replacing it with calm, peace and quiet and being in the middle of nature was hugely productive. I also found that doing something single-mindedly and whole-heartedly gave a much deeper feeling of satisfaction. 

 

Clarity of mind

Our highlight was watching the sunset, it was beautiful early autumnal weather so the setting sun was gorgeous and inspirational. In the morning because we were quite high, looking down on this wonderful early morning misty cotton-wool blanket, it almost felt like we were floating above the clouds. It really brought a clarity of mind too, which was one of the main reasons for the trip. 

 

Life to be so simple

The biggest surprise was the recurring thought and surprise; how pleasurable it is for life to be so simple. It's not the first time I've felt this but it was a wonderful reminder of an important quality anybody can tap into, if they can get away for a bit. 

 

Would we go again? In a heartbeat.

A Sunday night away from it all and starting Monday morning waking up somewhere like Uplands Treehouse was a real pleasure. It really set us up for the working week. 

 

The city just seeps away

One moment which sticks in mind would be after arrival, having unpacked, looked in all the cupboards and got our bearings, we quickly tapped into the place and its possibilities for quiet reflection and thought. The nature of the place meant as soon as you stepped outside on the terrace you began to feel the city just seep away, soon we were in the rhythm of the place. What's lovely about it is that it's so simple, all the chores and realities are stripped away.

 

Peace and quiet

My dream creative space would be a kind of balance between being stimulated by your environment which is really important for creativity and having the opportunity to find some space with peace and quiet to think deeply as we did, just when we needed it. 

 

Ngaio and Steve work at Aardman Animations, an award winning studio creating film, broadcast, advertising and entertainment.

Aardman

Ngaio and Steve achieved 360° inspiration at Uplands Treehouse. Discover cabins, safari tents and more all within two hours of Bristol. 

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Wonderland PR in the house-box

Alison Weir | Managing Director | The House-Box

Free from distractions

Whilst in nature we worked on an important piece of work. One of the services our company offers is to help clients define their brand positioning. In this case we'd facilitated an in-depth workshop at our client’s HQ which generated a ton of data, insights and aspirations. We had to put on our thinking caps and make sense of the masses of notes to produce a report and road-map. We had a serious amount of processing to get through in a very short period of time. It just seemed obvious to us that getting out of the office, and thinking through the solution, free from distractions was a no-brainer

 

A mid-week brainstorming (and barn-storming) getaway

We stayed at The House-Box. It was a very quick trip, we arrived late morning and left 9.30am the next day. It was just a 90-minute drive up to Wales from where we’re based, perfect. 

  

Time to allow for inspiration

Getting out in nature had a real effect; an office can be quite a restrictive environment that can bring all kinds of challenges when you need your creative brain to kick in. Being in nature meant we had time to filter through all the information and allow for inspiration. 

 

A kind of time machine for us to solve the problem

We didn’t so much have a creative hurdle, but a timing hurdle. In a very short period, we had to devise and create a bunch of key narratives in response to some considerable challenges. A really important project, our brains had to kick in. We're an incredibly 'quality-led' agency; everything that leaves our door has to amazing. To get away and sit, walk and free-think about our client’s missions, vision, and values was a kind of a time-machine for us to solve the problem, our secret-weapon.

 

Shocks your brain into kind of immediately responding

It was great to get out of the office and we got in the flow pretty quickly; the environment had an effect on our productivity fairly immediately and I think that's the real power of doing something like this. It's such an unusual working environment for agencies such as ours, the ability to get out somewhere like that - to such a different environment to produce work in, it almost shocks your brain into kind of immediately responding.

 

It was good work, really good work

The biggest surprise was that this process would normally take us a full day or more. But the thing that I found astonishing was that it took us a third of the time that it normally does. It was good work, really good work and in three hours flat, we were done. 

 

Luxury of relaxing

One moment which sticks in mind was sitting in front of the fire in the evening, knowing we'd achieved what we'd come to do. We had the luxury of relaxing knowing we only had to check our thinking the next day to see if it survived the overnight test. 

 

A different perspective

A highlight was the morning after, we walked to a secluded corner of this wonderful space to get a different perspective on the project in our heads. We went through it again and in that moment had complete confidence that it was the best work that it possibly could be. And that was a really lovely feeling. A real highlight amongst many of our stay.

 

My dream creative space

I think I've found it: It's Frankie Duckworth’s beautiful, converted horse-box looking over those amazing hills in Wales.

 

Alison is the Managing Director of Wonderland Communications, a lifestyle, brand and communications agency specialising in creative companies. 

Wonderland

Explore boats, log studios and wagons a two-hour drive from Cardiff or like Wonderland Communications achieve blue sky thinking at The House-Box.

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Now Go Create at Coracle the Yurt

Claire | Author & Founder | Coracle The Yurt

Kind of in the middle of nowhere

Whilst in nature I worked on ideas and inspirational ways that might be useful to support the launch of my new book In your Creative Element. I stayed at the wonderful Coracle the Yurt in Dorset. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere, which was a real plus for us.

 

The opportunity to just be still

It was great to get out of the office; being out in nature provides the opportunity to just be still. Appreciating the beauty of what's around you. Where we were staying was almost jungle-like but beautiful, the wonderful undergrowth and vines. At this time of year it's really wild, lush, green and such a contrast to being in the city

 

The unknown

A really profound moment for me was the first night. Wrapped in darkness I felt a little bit out of my comfort zone, but this was such a good thing for my creative thinking. A slight element of the unknown, the exciting, the yet-to-be-discovered - which is EXACTLY like the creative process.

 

Nature invites you

My highlight was being out in nature. We also saw a supermoon! This was a great metaphor for creativity, often we literally 'look down' too much of the time; head in a book, watching TV, staring at our mobile devices. But when you 'look up' - as nature often invites you to do - you notice more and you’re often inspired, so your creativity 'looks up' too. We would have missed the supermoon if we'd been ‘looking down’.

 

Recharging creative juices

The most inspiring part was the woodworking class led by Owner Guy, it had such unexpected creative benefits. We started with a piece of wood called a blank, which to me brought the image of a blank page to mind. It was very satisfying to start with nothing, then in an hour and half have created something beautiful. It certainly recharged my creative juices. 

 

Claire Bridges is the author and founder of creativity training company Now Go Create, a company offering creativity workshops and problem solving training. 

Now Go Create

Get outside the box like Claire Bridges after her stay at Coracle the Yurt. If your creative team is more than four you can stay in a working microbrewery, a pair of vintage caravans or in geopods.  

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Breathe Sync at Bramblewood Yurt

Michael Townsend Williams | Zentrepreneur | Bramblewood Yurt

Getting away from it all

I stayed at Bramblewood Yurt, easy to get to but still felt I was getting away from it all. I stayed one night in the amazing space and would have loved to have stayed longer, though even the short break definitely restored and revived me. By the time I left my Wellbeing Quotient score, a key feature on my Breathe Sync app, had increased. A good thing, a very good thing.

 

Slowing the mind down  

It was great to get out of the office because it gave me peace. Don't take this the wrong way, but I loved being away from people for a bit. And actually, being away from buildings. I liked being surrounded by trees. Getting out in nature allowed my mind to slow down. And this happened really, I'd even say surprisingly, quickly.

 

A hell of a lot of ducks

Whilst in nature I worked on coalescing a virtual team around a new brand and business and thought about themes to create cohesion and variety for Breathe Sync across communication channels. As a founder you have a lot of plates to spin and a lot of ducks to get in a row.

 

The 3Ws

The biggest surprise was how quickly I got into the groove; slowed down. And making use of the space and time to reflect, think, plan and strategize. (But also being able to get 4G when I needed it.) My highlightwas a hot shower looking out into the woods and just being able to walk, wander and wonder.

 

Many benefits stayed with me

I loved being in a circle (in the yurt.) So much of our lives are lived in rectangular boxes. I also wrote some Haikus which helped me focus too. I noticed that when I got back to ‘civilisation’ many of the benefits stayed with me. One moment which sticks in mind is the moment I realised I could run my global business from the woods.

 

One room in the woods

My dream creative space would be one room in the woods. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson says; “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

 

Michael Townsend Williams is founder of Breathe Sync, a breathing app that helps users reduce stress, increase focus and relax the body and mind.  

Breathe Sync

Maximise your wellbeing quota out in the sticks at Bramblewood Yurt or find other spaces that ensure you’re the only ones around. 

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Win your creativity break

WANT TO WIN YOUR OWN CREATIVE BREAK?

Do you have a creative problem to solve? Do you need the chance to get away from the 9 to 5? Do you want to achieve contemplation, relaxation and inspiration? We’re giving four lucky folk a two-night stay at Puckshipton Ark; a hand built haven nestled in the corner of a Wiltshire farm. Winners will get full use of The Ark, and its sister wagon The Arkette. You can host your morning meeting around the wood burner, work from under the willow tree then take a break to pick some wild strawberries or swim in the outdoor pool. This competition has been extended until 30 October 2017 – good luck folks! 

Enter now