Elderflowers, the scent of Spring

* These items were gifted by I Love Cosmetics

There’s certain scents that immediately bring the current season to life, whether it’s cinnamon at Christmas, wet leaves in Autumn, freshly cut grass in Summer and for me what screams Spring is getting a whiff of Elderflower. In previous years we’ve been on holiday in France, luckily with the car, staying in quite a fancy hotel close to Lumbres in Northern France. The country lanes around the hotel were jam packed full of elderflowers in flower, so I had the bright idea that we should forage while we were there, and so we arrived home with a bagful of elderflowers ready to turn into our own elderflower fizz.

At times you have to feel sorry for MOH don’t you? Not too much, mind you…

We have our own elderflower plant in the garden, but it’s a plant that loves the sun and often it’s flowers sulk and face our neighbour’s garden. When we got back from Portugal this was all that was left of one of the few flowerheads that remained. I wasn’t going to get my Spring elderflower fix from that, now was I?

where's my elderflowers?

But luckily, this year I didn’t have to as I received a range of Elderflower Fizz products from I Love Cosmetics to try out. And after a day of gardening there’s nothing more welcoming than a hot and fragrant bath. On Sunday evening that’s just what happened, and it’s been a long, long while since I’ve had bath salts. They have a bit of an old-lady reputation don’t they? And they do remind me of my nan, who by very definition was an older lady. Hers were in square packages though and I remember being very strongly scented, these are quite different to those memories.

Elderflower fizz by I love cosmetics

As well as the elderflower, there’s also jasmine, apple and cucumber. We’ve jasmine in our garden too, and I’ve written before about its heady scent and how a holiday in Seville, where I learnt that smell. The apple brings freshness and the cucumber its cooling properties, and for someone with an often missing ‘nose’ I’m pretty impressed with myself.

Philadelphus and Elderflower Fizz

While my elderflower in the garden is sadly absent and my jasmine has yet to flower, we are enjoying another strong scent: the mock orange, or philadelphus. That too has its own scent story. It was in full flower on our wedding day, and we held our wedding reception in our garden with the tables for the sit down at the rear of the garden. Our table was next to the mock orange, and that’s when we learnt it’s one of the plants in our garden that makes MOH sneeze and wheeze, cue hayfever tablets for him!

Elderflower fizz body butter from I love cosmetics
I love cosmetics elderflower fizz hand and nail cream

It’s not just me though.  I’ve placed the reed diffuser on our bookcase, replacing the one that has long lost its smell.  After a day or so, MOH commented on the scent, not realising that I’d put the new one there.  He was trying to place the scent, his words:  fresh, summery and something he’d smelt before.  He wasn’t wrong, he was probably recalling that car journey home from France! 

He’s lucky, it wasn’t the one where the car smelt of goats cheese - but that’s a story for another day.

* These elderflower items were gifted by I Love Cosmetics to review here on my blog, as usual all views and opinions shared are my own.


Enjoy your sunset

* This item was gifted.
When I brought this gerbera home at the end of February, I didn’t have high hopes for it or my green fingered skills if I’m honest. The blurb promised me that it would be in flower by the time of Gardeners’ World Live, which takes place in mid-June. And I was, as it turned out, unnecessarily skeptical.



The new variety is called “Sweet Sunset” and it’s planned to be introduced at Gardeners World Live in June on the spectacular pyramid display. I’m not planning to go to this show this year - we went last year for the first time, and it was great, but I figured that I have plenty of content to share here already, and as the show is straight on the back of our holiday, I could use the leave more efficiently this year.

the sweet sunset gerbera in flower

I’ll be sorry to have missed this plant there though, as despite my misgivings it’s a bright and cheery plant. And I am rather partial to orange it seems, this year even more than before it’s creeping more into my wardrobe.

I’m supposed to have repotted it, but given my general lack of gardening enthusiasm in the early part of this year, that hasn’t happened yet, but even so it’s flowering. And I quite like the clash with the red background of plates on the dresser in the photo above.



It’s since moved from there though, and found a new home on our drinks trolley as you’ll have seen earlier this week. And while we’ve been away I’ve needed to find it yet another home, as leaving it to try and survive in the conservatory without help, wasn’t going to be my best plan.

* Although this item was gifted during my visit to the Garden Press Event in February, I was under no obligation to share it here on my blog.

Assembling our Von Haus Copper Rim Fire Pit

* This item was gifted by Von Haus UK

When this fire pit arrived earlier in May the weather wasn’t so good, and it wasn’t looking as if there’d be any improvement to it any time soon, so it was looking like that a fire pit could be a good addition to our garden for the “summer” ahead. In truth, I’m still convinced about the heatwave that the forecasters are continuing to predict, and I’ve a feeling (which I’m happy to be wrong about) that the summer ahead of us may not live up to summers of recent memories.

Unpacking the fire pit started to reveal its beauty

But there’s something magical about spending more time outside, equally after a hard days gardening or a hard day relaxing. It’s even better when you don’t have to wrap up like it’s the middle of winter too, or huddle under blankets. And that’s where I hope this fire pit will come into its own, especially if the weather doesn’t deliver - I’ve already got some marshmallows at the ready for toasting, but first we needed to put it together.

On the Von Haus website, it says that “simple assembly” is needed, and that usually worries me. As usually it’s not that simple. So with a jobs that needed jobbing well underway, this was the perfect job to end the weekend. I’d hoped to put those marshmallows to the test, but in the end that wasn’t to be.

Was it easy - and simple - to put together?

Quite simply, yes it was. It needs two people for part of it as it’s quite a large fire pit at just under a metre in diameter and it’s not easy for one short person to hold the rim up on both sides and attach the leg. And he needed supervising to ensure the legs didn’t go on the wrong way round.

taking a quick look at the assembly instructions

But he is methodical, and with the pieces laid out and checked against what we should have (which is always worth doing to avoid a potential headache later on) and the instructions briefly perused we were good to go. The instructions were the visual sort, which remove the need for lots of words and multiple translations, which are both good and bad. Good that it removes the need for over complicated and lengthy instructions, there’s nothing more off putting than a thick instruction booklet is there? But not so good, because I’m one of those people that struggle with the visual instructions, I’m the person that couldn’t do the picture crosswords as a child, because I had no idea what the picture was much of the time.

laying out the parts for the copper rim fire pit from von haus
assembling the outer copper ring and attaching the legs

We assembled the rim and the legs first, and set that aside in an upturned kind of beetle way while we attached the brackets for the grill. That’s easily doable by one person, and very little supervision is needed at this point.

it wasn't long before the legs were on
next up attaching the brackets for the grill

The trickiest bit, but still not hard, was attaching the legs complete with rim to the actual fire pit. It’s not heavy, I’d call it sturdy rather than heavy, but it’s wide. The copper rim is decorative - and looks great - but I suspect is also functional in that you can’t get close to the sides, and so prevents an unwanted singe.

It really was that easy to assemble

As well as the grill, it also comes with a protective mesh spark guard and a heat resistant poker, all shown in the picture below. From start to finish once we’d started to assemble the fire pit, I’d say it took us just over quarter of an hour, which is much less time than we’d anticipated.

the copper rim fire pit and accessories from von haus

So yes, I’d agree that the assembly was simple. Now all I need is some time to be able to enjoy some evenings watching the embers die down.

* This firepit was gifted by Von Haus UK to review here on my blog, as usual all views and opinions shared here and in my future posts are and will be my own.