I felt so happy to have won a place at this inspiring creative summer workshop in idyllic Farnham in Surrey. It was a warm, balmy day and an opportunity to meet Instagram friends Bex from Botanical Tales and Becca from Cherry Rebecca. The location was perfect, wildflowers surrounding a colourful hut just big enough for us to learn our new skills - modern calligraphy and flower crown making. We arrived to a glass of elderflower cordial and I met some other inspiring ladies some of whom I have come across on Instagram and some I met for the first time (I tagged them on yesterdays post if you want to take a look at who they are).
We began after a few obligatory snaps with a workshop with Becca, who taught us the fine art of modern calligraphy. This is my unfinished final piece, I just wrote the summer bit and it isn't so amazing but it looks alright I guess! I found the pen quite scratchy at first and then realized it was because I was holding it wrong....!
After a break for tea and gooseberry cake, make with gooseberries from Bex's allotment, and delicious biscuits decorated with flower petals (naturally...!) we wandered around the grounds, the place was practically magical. Bex and Becca made it feel so relaxed and easy.
Most of the flowers came from Bex's allotment and Kim @pigpenflowers flower patch provided those stunning blue cornflowers. After refreshments we settled on rugs outside to begin our flower crown making, a Swedish midsummer tradition. Bex showed us the technique and we got to work. It was warm and hazy with a light breeze, we chatted and laughed, relaxing in the hidden idyll - such an easy place to be.
We look ready for anything don't you think? I love that each of our crowns came out so differently. Multi-talented Bex then put on a lovely midsummers eve supper for us - she used to be a chef so of course it was delicious.
For me it has become important to make the effort to see the people behind the squares where possible and take opportunities for magical days like this. Thank you ladies for such a wonderful time - Happy midsummer everyone!
I took this recipe directly from Sara Taskers blog here, I trust most things she says so this one was no different. You could use any kind of gin, I chose Hortus as it’s award winning and they sell it in Lidl (yes, Lidl!) nearby, not to mention the lovely label. I halved the recipe so I could save the rest for other experiments! If you’d like to see my other post with an elderflower cordial recipe click here.
By Me & Orla
Sara suggests serving with mint, I’m going to try it with classic tonic. While you’re enjoying your drink visit this page to learn more about the folklore associated with the elder.
Let me know how you get on!
Watching the plants and trees burst into life in May and June is one of the great pleasures of the whole year. I saw the first elderflowers starting to bloom only a week ago and some are already turning brown so I thought I had better get these simple recipes up straight away. I walk past around fifty elderflower trees on my daily dog walk, which sounds like a lot but they are everywhere in this part of the UK as they are native here. You can find out more about elder folklore here.
Last year was my first time making elderflower cordial and I made too much and had to throw some away as we got sick of it and it started to look a bit dodgy! Sarah Becvar recommended freezing elderflower cordial in ice cube trays which is a genius idea, then add to water, still or sparkling, or to a glass of prosecco for those balmy summer evenings. I took this recipe (different to last years recipe) from the Country Living Magazine and used lemon juice instead of citric acid, and I used a Kilner jar which I sterilised with boiling water. Look out for the separate elderflower gin recipe for added punch!
I had to remove three bugs and a snail, I didn’t think they would add much flavour. I hope you’ll give it a try, or if you know another way of making this let us know in the comments, thanks for reading! See the separate blog post about elderflower gin.
And come and say hello at Instagram!
P.S. that’s the new rose gold dragonfly wing ring, perfect for summer!