Dorset Arts Festival at Sculpture By The Lakes [AD Press Trip]

Dorset Arts Festival at Sculpture By The Lakes [AD Press Trip]

This review of Sculpture by the Lakes is so kindly courtesy of Darren North East PR

A visit to Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset is always a peaceful and inspirational experience so if you add to the landscape many local artists, you create a vibrant buzzing atmosphere of creativity and talent.

Last year, in September, I spent a wonderful day at Sculpture by the Lakes for Wellbeing By The Lakes, a 3-day wellness festival. This was truly one of my highlights of last year so it was so lovely to be able to return this year albeit with the world feeling very different from last year.

Most recently, my visit was thanks to both Sculpture by the Lakes and Darren Northeast PR to attend the Dorset Arts Festival.

wellbeing-by-the-lakes

Since their re-opening on June 3rd of this year since the Covid-19 lockdown, Sculpture by the Lakes offers local visitors a safe escape and a warm welcome with the much-needed experience of being surrounded by nature and beauty once again.

The Dorset Arts Festival is one of the very few events that was able to be hosted this 2020 year. The intention of the event was to celebrate a small showcase of the best artists and makers in Dorset.

Across the vast, tranquil landscape of Sculpture by the Lakes over 50 artists and crafters gathered together to demonstrate their skills.

The Dorset Arts Festival was a beautiful opportunity to witness paintings being created beside the lakes, to pots being thrown in other spots, to watch baskets being weaved, and a whole range of other arts and crafts disciplines being demonstrated at a social distance.

The aim of the festival was to see artists and crafters from a variety of creative backgrounds to demonstrate their skills and exhibit their work so you can see and understand the process. 

Sculpture by the Lakes is a 26-acre sculpture park, created by the renowned sculptor Simon Gudgeon.

The concept behind Sculpture by the Lakes was to showcase inspiring works of art in a naturally beautiful setting as opposed to the artificial constraints of a gallery with its enclosed spaces.

What makes Sculpture by the Lakes so special is that each sculpture has been meticulously positioned in just the right place in the grounds to enhance the aesthetic qualities of each piece.

Any visitor is left with the experience of walking around a work of art as the sculptures and the environment exist in a unique symbiotic relationship.

It is little wonder therefore that it has become a magnet for creative talents and artists to come to enjoy the peace and tranquillity and to be inspired.

Normally there are numerous classes to nurture the creativity of novices and experienced artists alike however these are currently postponed due to Covid-19.

In normal times, work is exhibited from various artists in the on-site gallery, and themed events such as Wellbeing By The Lakes that draw huge crowds. As a result of current events, sadly the 2020 festival has had to be cancelled this year.

Due to its more modest size, thankfully the Dorset Arts Festival was able to proceed with ample social distancing and hand sanitizers we all take for normal now.

One of the many quotes I spotted around the grounds (in the above photo) was incredibly pertinent to this event: “Use what talents you possess, the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best”.

Creativity in all its forms can be something sacred to lean into, no matter how crowded we believe the arena to be.

Learning a new craft and creative hobby isn’t just fun at the best of times, it can also be the solace we need in these uncertain times as a deep practice of mindfulness.

Here are some of just some of the artists I witnessed that struck a chord in particular.

Dorset Buttons and Textile Artist Anna McDowell

One of the first crafts to capture my attention was textile artist Anna McDowell whose work exhibits the Dorset Button Industry by Henry’s Buttons.

Dorset button is a style of craft-made button originating in Dorset.

The manufacture of Dorset Buttons was at a peak between 1622 and 1850, after which they were overtaken by machine-made buttons from factories in the developing industries of Birmingham and other growing cities.

Like so many heritage crafts and skills, information on how to make Dorset Buttons was passed down from generation to generation and this cottage industry would impact the lives of hundreds of families in Dorset for more than 200 years.

It was so wonderful to meet Anna and learn more about this fascinating heritage craft with such poignant links to the landscape it was being exhibited in.

The precision and detail in each and every single Dorset Button is so spectacular. I was in such awe of the myriad of effects that can be created.

In 2017, the Heritage Crafts Association included Dorset Button making as one of their list of endangered heritage crafts and I am so passionate to learn how to create some of my own after this event.

If you’d like to find more about Dorset Buttons and download some templates of your own, click here.

Times To Treasure Silverclay Jewellery

The next stall I visited was the Silverclay jewellery collection from Times To Treasure by Grainne.

Silverclay is a wonderfully versatile substance that is relatively new to the field of jewellery making. And one that has truly sparked curiosity for me!

It is a simple material to use and because of that, it enables people to make beautiful jewellery without many years of training as silversmiths!

Silverclay consists of minute particles of pure silver mixed with a non-toxic organic binder, which binds the silver particles together to form a clay-like substance. In this clay form, it can be manipulated just like normal clay.

As Grainne demonstrated, the clay can be rolled, flattened, cut with a blade, pressed into moulds or impressed with shapes and textures. There were many examples on the Times To Treasure stall and I loved the dainty star earrings in little jars.

After Silverclay has been left to dry it is fired (either in a kiln or with a simple gas torch) which turns it into pure silver. 

The whole process of witnessing the magic behind Silverclay has only made me want to dive into this craft even more!

Moreover, because the end product is pure silver, Silverclay can be used in the same way as any other precious metal. So it can be filed, sanded, textured, burnished and polished.

I can’t wait to explore Silverclay in more detail and it was so wonderful to see the demonstrations from Grainne. 

Click here to find more about Silver Clay Workshops in Dorset.

The Mouse Hole Woolery

The next stall that truly captured my heart and imagination was The Mouse Hole Woolery who is the maker of needle felted animal sculptures inspired by the animals, landscape and conservation of the British Countryside.

​The ethos of The Mouse Hole Woolery is: “Take time for yourself, connect with the raw materials and create your own individual piece of nature.”

As we all find ourselves spending more time in our homes, it’s healing for some of us to have ideas to keep us busy and our minds active but also be connected to nature. This is exactly why I was so enamoured by The Mouse Hole Woolery.

Carla Taylor’s majestic animal sculptures at The Mouse Hole Woolery are created using the time-consuming, but most rewarding, process of needle felting.

Needle felting is a craft created where the artist repeatedly stabs at loose wool fibres with a barbed needle where you can then shape, re-shape, and create life-like animals (or other objects) with incredible attention to detail.

Needle felting until not so long ago was a relatively unknown art form, however, it has now become one of the most in-demand crafts.

Carla’s own journey into needle felting was inspired by her Dorset countryside surroundings.

Carla’s partner is a farmer and whilst he was working on a rare breed farm, Carla was helping out get the sheep ready for shearing, and that’s when she fell in love with wool!

Carla recalls how the lanolin felt on her hands and that the textures were fascinating to her.

Now Carla is an official supporter of the Campaign for Wool, where she likes to work closely with local Dorset farmers promoting the use of local and British wool and will often refer to conservation awareness within her sculptures as well as incorporating vintage pieces into her work.

Outside of creating her own spectacular felted creations, Carla also runs a number of workshops throughout the year where you can create your own little piece of nature. I would love nothing more than to attend one as soon as restrictions allow me to do so.

Meanwhile, you can click here to visit The Mouse Hole Woolery workshops page for more information on the classes and products that she offers.

Raffia Craft by Clairedoescraft

Finally, we have the beautiful timeless work of Rafia Craft by Clairedoescraft.

Raffia is the most sustainable type of palm known to hat and accessories makers. The palms on this tree can grow from 60 to 80 feet and can be harvested without damage to the plant itself.

Claire first began working with raffia in 1993. Since then, Claire has expanded her craft by creating a range of bags and kits to make your own raffia products. 

Straw hats and bags are a common sight in the summer period, especially in our high street shops, but seeing first-hand the artistry of how they are made has made me want to explore this craft more deeply.

Moreover, it was so important for me to witness how important it is to find sustainable alternatives to the high-street models and raffia is a fascinating medium to work with.

As well as these beautiful products of raffia on display, from bags to hats, Claire is also the author of ‘Raffia: The Arts of Crafts’, the complete guide to working with raffia.

In this book, Claire offers different dyeing and colouring methods and plaiting and sewing techniques for a variety of items such as sun hats, dried flower baskets, candlestick holders and picture frames. What a dreamy project for the summer this would be!

Click here to find out more about Claire’s book and products.

Whilst this year’s Dorset Arts Festival event had to take place against the background of a global pandemic that has changed our lives for now and possibly in some ways forever, it still remained so special.

During this period, many of us have reignited, or perhaps found for the first time, the pleasures associated by awakening our hidden creativities and the advantages that this brings to our wellbeing.

The Dorset Arts Festival, that was located at Sculpture by the Lakes, provided the perfect oasis for artists and art lovers and as another of the quotations from the gardens says: “Time spent in nature heals your Body, Mind and Spirit”. How true this is.

Thank you so much again to Sculpture by the Lakes and Darren Northeast PR for allowing me to attend the Dorset Arts Festival.

I will certainly be revisiting this idyllic treasured spot in Dorset soon with my journal or sketchbook to bathe in the creativity this tranquil spot is so stimulating and invigorating for.

How many of you have been to Sculpture by the Lakes? How have you been nourishing your creativity whilst in lockdown? Have you ever tried any of the above crafts? I’d love to know by chatting in the comments below.

Details

Sculpture by the Lakes is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Book tickets in advance here.

Sculpture by the Lakes, Pallington, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8QU

Click here for more information about Sculpture By The Lakes

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Wellbeing By The Lakes, Dorset, September 2019

Wellbeing By The Lakes, Dorset, September 2019

It’s a busy world out there. We plan our day while simultaneously scrolling on our phone and prepare and rush our meals to get to the next task.

But in the rush to accomplish our daily routine, we may find ourselves losing our connection with the present moment and living mindfully.

Well, this past Thursday I enjoyed a day of divine serenity and total mindfulness at Wellbeing by the Lakes hosted at the stunning Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset in nearby Dorchester.

Wellbeing By The Lakes is a 3-day festival exploring what it means to be mindful and how to live well in this fast-paced modern world.

These 3-days of mindfulness are a curated blend of experts talks, meditation, movement sessions, art, live performance and healing therapies that will open your eyes to fresh experiences for wellbeing.

Wellbeing By The Lakes also happens to be set in a true natural haven of peace and reflection at the picturesque Sculpture by the Lakes nestled in 26 acres of breathtaking countryside just outside of Dorchester in Dorset.

This post is reflecting on Thursday, the first day, that I attended however altogether the 3-day pass would have been such a dream in hindsight as each day contained a wide-ranging programme that is each as inspiring as the next. But until next year, here’s everything I got up to on Thursday alone!

Main Stage

The Main Stage at Wellbeing By The Lakes was the hub of inspiring talks and a wealth of wisdom from a variety of daily experts. This included a curated blend of expert talks from authors, academics and professionals to help you explore the many facets of wellbeing.

The talks covered everything from mindfulness, holistic wellbeing and healing, creative journaling, Chinese Medicine, food and nutrition, aromatherapy and so much more.

The first talk I enjoyed was by the Herbalist and Naturopath Rachel Shackleton called ‘The Energetics of Dis-ease, Creating Balance‘. This enlightening discussion by Rachel discussed how that in our societies today, the system of our bodies are constantly challenged by internal factors, such as stress and diet, as well as external factors, including electromagnetic radiation, pollutants in the air and water as well as toxic ingredients found in plastics, household chemicals and others.

In Rachel’s experience as a Herbalist and Naturopath, Rachel examines the structure of ‘dis-ease’, that includes a balanced look at the physical, emotional and spiritual body, and then provides naturopathic tips for creating and restoring balance, health and wellbeing.

As someone who suffers from a variety of chronic illnesses, I found Rachel’s discussion so helpful and inspiring with a truly rich discussion of how I can achieve more balance in my life, and thus giving me the knowledge that I can implement immediately. If you’d like to find out more about Rachel’s work head here.

The next talk was titled, ‘Creative Writing for Healing and Meaning’ with poet, author, radio dramatist, journalist, award-winning filmmaker Caspar Walsh.

The discussion on the power of writing was so inspiring for me, as a writer myself, and it was so special to be in the presence of other writers also feeling the spiritual and healing effect it has.

Caspar’s own story is incredibly inspiring, and one of true strength, perseverance and courage who has been involved in the British prison system since he was a child; as a visitor to his father, an inmate and finally, a highly regarded and skilled workshop facilitator. Caspar pours these experiences onto page in his writing, who has regularly written for the BBC and The Guardian on life in the criminal justice system.

In 2008 Caspar founded the award-winning charity ‘Write to Freedom’ working with young men whilst supporting them in their ‘rite of passage’ into adulthood. His powerful work ‘Tribe Warrior’ was written in collaboration with hundreds of serving prisoners and is an evocative exploration of dark, contemporary issues through the long lens of history.

Caspar believes the answer to our current crisis in youth crime and addiction can be healed through a unique mix nature connection, sharing personal stories and building resilient, accountable communities. As a result, Caspar sustains his love for sharing the power of writing for wellbeing, mindfulness and healing in workshops such as Words From The Earth.

The final talk I went to was Essential Oils for Mindfulness & Meditation by the author Heather Dawn Godfrey. I’m hugely passionate about essential oils and aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is a powerful bond that can directly impact your overall well-being and has a variety of therapeutic and a multitude of healing benefits. Holistic healers such as Heather have been using the powers of specific aromas from nature’s flowers and herbs for centuries in order to enhance health and well-being.

And in this talk, with Heather’s passion and wisdom, I experienced the scent dynamics of serenity essential oils who explored the use of essential oils to support meditation. Through this discussion, Heather explained their influence on the limbic system, on concentration, memory, mood and emotion, as described in her book Essential Oils for Mindfulness and Meditation, that afterwards, I was able to get signed by Heather herself.

Marketplace

As you entered Wellbeing By The Lakes you were greeted by the Marketplace that was home to a vibrant collection of pop-up stalls, food and drink vendors all focussed on enhancing your experience of peace and serenity. From a fantastic range of wellness books, natural cosmetics, local artisans, eco-fashion and delicious plant-based focussed healing foods.

As you relax and browse the stalls your senses will also delight in hearing live acoustic and instrumental music, inspiring talks, and hands-on workshops.

Some of my favourite sellers included Freddie’s Flowers, with their bloomin’ beautiful stall that are a subscription service with a difference that chooses the best flowers for you and then delivers them each week.

Another subscription box with a different in attendance was ‘The Sunshine Box’, a monthly wellbeing box using techniques from mindfulness, meditation and positive psychology that was a dream stallholder for Wellbeing By The Lakes. Each month ‘The Sunshine Box’ has a theme where you receive at least 5 wellbeing products and two techniques to try out.

One of my favourite stalls was The Owl & Apothecary who create a unique range of wellbeing products designed to help you live a happy,
high-vibe life. Blended and dreamt up in Dorset, I particularly loved their expertly blended oil blends. Created with the purest essential oils to help you balance hormones, stay calm and stress less or boost your energy and lift your mood all of their products are also 100% organic, vegan and cruelty-free.

It was also so lovely to see Green & Grainy, who I spy at a lot of wellness and vegan in Dorset and who produce such divine healthy and sustainable food that is all gluten and wheatfree and 100% Vegan.

Healing Hands Tents

A truly lovely, sacred part of Wellbeing By The Lakes was the ‘Healing Hands Tents’ created for the experience of deep relaxation at the hands of experienced therapists in a dreamy dedicated healing zone about 5 minutes walk from the main marketplace.

As you walked into this sequestered secret garden esque environment with prayer flags and a line of white glamping sized tents, you will be able to listen to the birds singing and the river flowing and feel such peace and serenity.

Treatments included Shiatsu Massage, Reflexology, Emotional Freedom Technique, Deep tissue massage with vibrations of Singing Bowls, and Flower Essence Therapy which was the treatment I picked.

Flower Essence Therapy Treatment

After browsing through treatment options, there was just something about Flower Essence Therapy lead by Emma Dixon that truly held so much intrigue for me. Seeing as I’m already so passionate about essential oils and aromatherapy, I thought this would be a wonderful area to explore.

Flower Essence Therapy (by the way, if you know of Bach’s Rescue Remedy then you will already be aware what this is!) is a gentle way of releasing blocks in your life by clearing the path for realignment with your authentic self, in balance and harmony. And this in itself was everything I was seeking.

Another reason why Flower Essence Therapy interested me so much is because of the amount of daily medication I need, I was seeking something that wouldn’t disrupt that. And because Flower Essences does not contain any physical part of a flower, plant, tree, mineral in them, it is therefore completely safe to use, whilst being extremely effective. They can also be used by all ages, during pregnancy and alongside medication.

I truly don’t think I could begin to capture how special I found Flower Essence Therapy in this post alone lead so beautifully by Emma. Not only just simply recommending flower essences for the individual, but it also has such profound issues of emotional well-being, soul development, and mind-body health and I am in a total state of awe about how much this all resonated with me. So special in fact that it truly does deserve a post of its own I’ll work on very soon!

The Retreat

The final part to Wellbeing By The Lakes that I experienced was The Retreat, an intimate sanctuary of stillness overlooking the water where you can try sound bathing, meditation or mindfulness practices with experienced practitioners and teachers. 

On my wellness journey, these are all practises that I really want to pour my heart and soul more into, and indeed this festival was the perfect opportunity to dive into this light, healing and medicine. It was truly the perfect opportunity for me to explore what it’s all about and experience the benefits for myself.

Because meditation is something, in particular, that I really want to dive into more, I attended the Guided Meditation led by Lama Chodrak. In 45 minute session, I learnt the basic aspects of posture and a variety of techniques that truly helped me to work with my thoughts and emotions, enabling me to transfer these skills to deal with the challenges and stresses of modern living.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

My day at Wellbeing By The Lakes came and went so quickly but I left with an abundance of serenity, peace, wisdom and understanding that I will continue to shape into my daily life.

If you weren’t able to attend this year and would like to, it’s probably no surprise to hear how much I would recommend this experience. Whether it’s trying a new fitness class, seeking support on a health issue, broaden your knowledge on wellness, sample innovative and traditional practices for wellbeing and to enjoy a playful, restorative day out then this is the festival for you. 

Wellbeing By The Lakes offers a truly unique experience for you to explore every area of health and wellness in the most tranquil spot imaginable at Sculpture By The Lakes and I’m so thankful I got to experience at least one day of it this year alone.

The way we feel, both physically and mentally, is the essence of living. After all, it is our perception and our ability to observe our thoughts and feelings is what makes us human and separates us from other creatures. We truly owe it to ourselves to nourish our soul, mind and body in the most healing and special ways we can and I couldn’t recommend Wellbeing By The Lakes for this more.

Sculpture by the Lakes, Pallington, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8QU

Click here for more info about Wellbeing By the Lakes and dates for 2020

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Honey Honey x Spiritual Fem Rising Woman Flower Remedies Set

Priestess Leneth Witte who is the owner of The Spiritual Fem (I very recently had the blessed opportunity to interview Leneth here) has recently teamed up to create floral alchemy alongside Honey Honey with a Flower Remedy Set.

This gorgeous set includes the Rising Woman Flower Remedy, a Rising Woman journal (hand-stamped by Leneth) as well as a loving Rose Quartz crystal in a drawstring bag.

This beautiful set is described by Leneth and Honey Honey as:

a magical potion brewed and infused with the utmost love and care to support you on your spiritual journey. This set is going to be your number one ally on your spiritual path to true empowerment. This remedy loves you in all your beautiful uncertainty and you are going to love her right back!

As I press into this season of solitude and restoration after a heavy June and early July, this magical set is something I cherish as I invite joy, happiness and new beginnings to rise and blossom.

From as early as I can remember I have counted on flower remedies to get me through so many exams and times when I have needed warm-hearted, and useful results for calming and nourishing my nervous system.

I became even more infatuated with flower remedies when I was at the Wellbeing Festival at Sculpture by the Lakes last September. You can read all about my experience of that truly divine event here.

Meanwhile, let’s dive into why I adore flower remedies, and how they are another aid I use to seek everyday wonder and whimsy.

What are Flower Remedies?

Flower Essence Therapy (have you heard of Bach’s Rescue Remedy? If so, then you will already be aware what this is!) is a gentle way of releasing blocks in your life by clearing the path for realignment with your authentic self, in balance and harmony.

And so it was in the 1920s and 1930s that British doctor and bacteriologist Edward Bach (hence Bach’s Remedies!) developed a set of 38 flower remedies.

Flower remedies are essentially diluted extracts from the flowers of wild plants.

To create Bach’s potent potions flower extracts, flowers are mixed into natural spring water. They are then exposed to the sun or boiled. It is said that by doing this, the sun releases the healing power of the flowers.

The next stage is to filter the liquid. The liquid is called ‘the mother tincture’. It is then mixed with Brandy as Brandy preserves the liquid.

It was Bach’s belief that illness occurs when the mind and body aren’t in tune with each other. He strongly believed that our emotions influenced our overall health.

Bach then defined 38 emotional states that he felt made up the human condition. From there, he then designed each remedy to help a person balance a specific mood or emotion.

From here, Bach created a combination of essences, called ‘a rescue remedy’ to use during emotionally difficult times.

It was thanks to Bach’s theories that led to the creation of hundreds of new essences by producers all over the world. This included essences from crystals and gems, non-flowering plants and other natural elements of nature.

One of the (many!) reasons I have become so passionate about Flower Essence Therapy is because of the amount of daily medication I need to take.

Because Flower Essences don’t contain any physical part of a flower, plant, tree, mineral in them, they are completely safe to use, whilst being extremely effective. They can also be used by all ages, during pregnancy and alongside medication.

About Honey Honey

Now introducing Mayke from my beloved Netherlands, just like Leneth, who is the founder of honey honey healing.

Mayke takes this sacred wisdom from the foundation of Bach’s methods and pours it into her own magical floral potions.

Mayke’s unique story for bringing her gifts and talents to flower remedies emerged from her struggles with anxiety, stress and burn out.

After feverishly trying to seek comfort with only lacklustre results, Mayke decided to take a more holistic approach to healing.

It was when a spiritual healer recommended flower remedies to Mayke that it uncovered a hopeful spark, an open heart and lightness that she hadn’t felt for a long time.

It was from this experience of exploring one of Earth’s soul medicines that Mayke became more interested in flower remedies.

Several courses and experimenting with all kinds of flowers essences later, Mayke decided to make her own flower remedies for herself and her friends and family.

However, it was at this point in her journey that Mayke slowly realised how much she loved helping people discover nature’s medicine through flower remedies and decided to expand her mission so that everyone can explore the magic of flower essences.

About The Spiritual Fem

The embodiment of the feminine soul of nature through flower remedies is beautifully complemented by a collaboration from honey honey healing and Leneth who is the founder of the Spiritual Fem.

As a Spiritual Fem(inist), Leneth believes that by connecting to our innate spirituality it allows us to dig our roots deeper into our own sacred soil to reclaim our authentic essence. This is perfectly mirrored in the sacred nature of flower remedies.

The Spiritual Fem is an online platform nurtured by Leneth that is a safe space for women who’d like to dive deeper into feminism, spirituality and womanhood but simply don’t know where to begin.

I recently had the honour to explore Leneth’s wisdom in an interview you can read here.

The Rising Woman Set

As Leneth discusses so poignantly in our interview: “There’s no rising without discomfort, and there’s no stepping into new things and new roles without imposter-syndrome and anxiety coming up. And that’s all part of the journey, which I try to honour. Every growing pain means I’m moving forward!”

There’s something so symbolic to me about the process of this sacred plant spirit medicine which involves meeting the plant that rises from its grounded roots to form into the potency for these remedies.

The ‘Rising Woman Set’ is a trio of loving vibrational energies that will allow you to feel supported, and help you as you articulate your emotions which are of utmost importance as we rise into higher consciousness.

Each of honey honey’s healing flower remedies is attuned with careful analysis in order to ensure a harmonic resonance with the chosen flowers that have been included in each remedy.

There are so many ways that this Rising Woman remedy can serve you as you rise into the priestess of your authentic essence.

Mayke recommends starting with 4 drops a day. These drops can be placed under your tongue, in water, your tea, face products, your bath and many other endless options. In terms of duration, my previous custom-made flower remedy lasted 2 months and I expect this to last a similar period of time.

In order to embrace and love every single part of our unique self, this set also features a beautiful Rose Quartz crystal and an eco-journal to truly dig deeper into your fearless creativity and inspiration.

Rose Quartz is the stone of self-love and compassion and its inclusion here truly serves to amplify the magic of your flower remedy. Coupled with the grounding, deeply transformative practice of journaling, it will truly unleash your intuitive magic that will illuminate your ability to rise further.

My next post will be on the impact journaling has had on my life ever since childhood so I’ll be sure to reveal more insights into the power of writing then. For now, I plan to savour this journal for musings on my journey with this powerful remedy.

Meanwhile, I can honestly say, with my hand deeply on my heart, that flower essence therapy has been one of the main catalysts I have utilised to increase my self-love and appreciation.

How many of you have heard of Flower Essence Therapy? Have you heard of Bach’s Rescue Remedy? If you haven’t tried flower remedies before, would you like to try some?

Finally, do you have any questions about flower remedies? Mayke is so kindly blessing me with some of her time so that I can interview her.

This is a really powerful time to leave any questions you have about flower essence therapy so I can share her sacred wisdom with you all. Please leave all your questions below and look out for that post in the future here.

Shop Honey Honey x Spiritual Fem Here

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Jólagarðurinn, Akureyri Christmas House, Iceland

The fire glows and crackles in the fireplace, and Christmas melodies and aromas fill the air, not just at Christmas but all year round at the magical spot that is Jólagarðurinn (Christmas garden) just outside of Akureyri in Iceland.

Inside the red house, that resembles a cookie house you can discover two floors packed full of Christmas trinkets that include decorations, food, music, artworks, books, toys, homeware and ornaments.

It truly is the most magical and wonderful time of year when you visit Jólagarðurinn. And how gorgeous it looks in the deepest of snow that makes it ever more charming.

Many of the yuletide treats you can find at the Christmas shop are international, representing how cultures around the world celebrate Christmas.

However, what is particular special to see are the Icelandic products, with many authentic local handicrafts for sale.

Iceland Christmas Traditions

Whilst visiting Jólagarðurinn, it was also wonderful to explore Icelandic Christmas traditions. They surely are amongst the world’s most interesting and unusual!

Christmas is often known as ‘Jól’ (Yule) in Iceland and also includes the New Year celebrations. This Icelandic Christmas period is an intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, beginning on the 23rd December and ending on Epiphany, the 6th January.

As many countries do, Iceland celebrates Chrismas with good food and gifts to loved ones, but unlike most countries that have a single Father Christmas character, Icelandic children are fortunate enough to be visited by 13 Yule Lads. 

Other Christmas stories are rather bleak in nature, perhaps reflecting the harshness of winter and the isolation of the community in previous centuries. 

One such story that Icelandic children are told is the story of Grýla, the ogress who lives in the Icelandic mountains. Grýla is a dreadful character, described as part troll and part animal and the mother of 13 precocious boys (the Yule Lads). 

Every night one of these Yuletide lad visits, leaving sweets and small gifts or rotting potatoes, depending on how that particular child has behaved on the preceding day. Each Yuletide lad has a specific idiosyncrasy and will, therefore, behave in a particular manner.

Finally, there is the story of ‘The Christmas Cat’. Old Icelandic folklore states that every Icelander must receive a new piece of clothing for Christmas or they will find themselves in mortal danger. The tale also says that an enormous black cat prowls Iceland on Christmas Eve and eats anyone who doesn’t follow this simple rule!!

At Jólagarðurinn there are plenty of souvenirs that represent these fascinating Christmas traditions, and a cave on the ground floor with a sculpture of Grýla. The staff are also experts on Icelandic folklore and how it relates to the festive season, and are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Besides the Christmas Shop, you can find a tower with what is said to be the world’s largest advent calendar! The windows are numbered to reflect the days leading up to the 25th December with stunning walls that are beautifully painted with fairytale images, created by Icelandic artist Sunna Björk Hreiðarsdóttir.

Close by is then the ‘Eplakofin’, or the Apple Shed as pictured below where you can buy sugar glazed apples to help get into the festive season.

And if you’re sweet tooth is wanting more, you can find more sweet treats at Svarta Húsið, otherwise known as ‘The Black House’. This shop also sells a range of Nordic products, although they are not all Christmas themed. As an example of treats you can find, I picked up some magical Moomin sweets! Oh how magical this part of the world is.

The Christmas House is also home to the Christmas Garden, a truly beautiful festive space that looked so enchanting in a sheet of snow.

The garden has a miniature replica of an Icelandic turf church, recreated to represent how buildings looked across the country before industrialisation. It is also home to the Wishing Well of Unborn Children, where guests are encouraged to make a wish for future generations.

This darling spot in Northern Iceland holds so many treasures and I will forever remember my trip with such a heart full of enchanting memories.

Other than the town of Akureyri itself, there are a wealth of attractions in the North of Iceland that can be visited alongside the Christmas House.

One of the most well-known of these is Mývatn, a beautiful region of lakes, geological marvels and volcanic activity. It’s also where many of the scenes from ‘Game Of Thrones’ were filmed. There are also some stunning waterfalls, such as the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss, and the historic Goðafoss.

I’ll be gradually adding to my Iceland tab full of my adventures. But until then, I’m wishing you all the most magical Christmas from snowy Iceland holding the traditions that you cherish the most.

For all my travel adventures across the world head here.

How to reach the Christmas Shop from Akureyri:

To reach the Christmas Shop from Akureyri simply take Route 821 south from Akureyri, and you’ll find it to your left after about 10 minutes of driving. If you reach the village of Hrafnagil, you’ve gone slightly too far.

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