Summer afternoons picking elderflowers

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up on a Sunday morning convinced I had missed the elderflower season this year. I dashed out as soon as I was up, sure that I would have missed the best of the crop! I find time every year to make elderflower cordial, even the summer when Joe was born (full heartfelt story here).

A busy couple of weeks had meant that the elderflowers had to wait this year, but luckily opposite our house is the perfect lane for picking them. It’s quite shaded by lots of other trees, so a week or so behind the main season, and I was so happy to find that there were hundreds still in bloom, calming the elderflower anxiety (first world drama crisis, ahem).

It was also the perfect opportunity to try out my new to me Bobbin bike (committed eBay searching does pay off eventually!) and so I combined a cycle ride with elderflower collecting. The bike’s lovely wicker basket was the perfect thing for collecting and transporting the flowers safely home. Even if my family all laughed at me for being a massive blogger/IG cliche!

I hadn’t ridden a bike for over ten years and had forgotten how much fun it is; just complete exhilerating freedom, cycling down a country lane in the sunshine…it was a complete rediscovered childhood pleasure, just blissful. As Mia accurately summed up the moment, ‘oh Mummy, I didn’t know you could ride a bike…now we can cycle to the cafe together!’ She has only just learned to ride her bike after a long-standing lack of cycling confidence and some previous nasty falls. So we cycled along, collecting elderflowers like something from an Enid Blyton novel, wishing that every day could be like this. But if it was we would end up with a large amount of elderflower cordial and really achey legs!


Let’s Talk About Chocolate

It seems like a good idea to talk about chocolate today; not only is it Monday (and quite frankly chocolate should be compulsory), but we are also only a couple a weeks away from Easter. A very brief interlude between the Spring festivities that begin with Valentines and pancake day and include my birthday and Mother’s Day.

The lovely people at Chocolate & Love were kind enough to send my some of their organic swiss chocolate to try out. Whilst becoming a chocolate taste tester for an afternoon sounds like the dream job, I did hesitate for a moment before agreeing! I am really fussy about chocolate and never really vary my choices; I’m very loyal to only a couple of brands of extra dark chocolate…one with added chilli, one without. So, I was kind of broadening my foodie horizons.

First impressions are very important, and as I unwrapped the Chocolate & Love gift box I was struck by just how incredibly pretty it was. Really distinctive packaging with gorgeous illustrations in a rainforest theme; like a beautiful picture book I would be tempted to buy in a bookshop (you know, for the children)!

Four flavours are included in the gift box, and they are also available separately in larger single bars;

Panama – 80% cocoa

Orange – 65% cocoa

Rich Dark – 71% cocoa

Sea Salt – 55% cocoa

My favourite was no surprise to me, the Panama, the 80% chocolate bar – it was deliciously bitter and smooth, and had a really pleasing snap when broken. Completely delicious with a cup of coffee! My second favourite was the Orange, which also had a nice high cocoa solids percentage. It had the lovely taste and scent of ‘proper’ oranges, thanks to the cold pressed natural orange oil added to the chocolate.

Mia and Joe loved the Sea Salt chocolate which surprsied me a little, as it has a strong distinctive flavour; not one you would necessarily think children would like. It would be really good for after dinner, as just a tiny piece has loads of flavour. It just proves that children should get to try as many flavours as possible, and the Sea Salt chocolate was a great hit. They have been pestering me for some for Easter!

Take a look at Chocolate & Love’s site for details about the love story that led to the founding of the company and for more about their excellent ethical organic values.


Chocolate & Love were kind enough to send me a gift box to review. All opinions and words are my own.