Kinfolk meets Willowdene

1I2A3595I responded to Greta’s invitation to Freshen Up with – oh yes, this is certainly a bit of me, more than a bit of me in fact. Google stalking Kinfolk had me in jubilation. Kinfolk’s intention was the harmony to wild & grace’s melody. I love to orchestrate simple ways to spend time together. wild & grace’s events to learn, to eat and to be together are all about encouraging the good life – one with balance, one with presence and one with joy.

T’was a glorious afternoon in the autumn caramel of May in Bethlehem, Bay of Plenty, the Land of  the Long White Cloud.

The glossy lipstick red zephyr greeted me before the checkerboard entrance before the oil portraits of Ariki in the foyer before the sweeping staircase to the french inspired bedrooms a B & B visitor can indulge in.
Sigh. Willowdene.
storyboard053The scent and chatter of women and blooms met me next and the beauty that is Sue Harrison. I oohed and aahed beside Mamma Cle and Kimberley at the fabrics, the bright backed books, the muted colours, the baby grand, the comfort and visual feast that is Sue and Colin (and a touch of Marilyn Cleland Interior’s) creation.

Greta and Shaye had prepared the kitchen and dining space impeccably. There was a soft theme of dusky pink, next to antique kitchen wares and bulbous bottles for us to pharmacy our room mists (as Mamma Cle coined them).

storyboardcomp004I made a bee-line for the water urns with homemade lemonade to sip in wee bottles with candy striped straws – it’s the little things.
We didn’t sit down quick enough at the two tables I yearned to make bread on like in the kinfolk films, so Mamma Cle, Kimberley, Sue and I clucked like hens on our perch beside the french door open to the autumn lit garden.
We had premium seats when it came to watching our soap teacher tend to the bubbling nuts, to pour, to strain and to drop ingredients and fragrance into…

My favourite bit, was making infantile jokes about nipping the vodka as we collectively learned to make room mist with vodka and rose water finished with the scent of our choice. Inhaling the fragrance sent me to Morocco and the dark aisles of the Medina looking for the lady who sold the orange blossom oil to perfume my wrists and ankles through the season to follow.
Greta and Shaye’s love of the beautiful catered for small delights such as the cloud-shaped-recycled-paper-labels for our mists and hand cleansers, which unfortunately induced creative envy at the sight of the Cleland girls’ handwriting.


I was a bit over-excited by 3 o’clock (not cos it was home time) but because it was Spongedrop hour. The two plump pink rose petaled sponges were a little and big girls’ dream. The beetroot and goats cheese tarts were a surprise hit. And the old fashioned jar of buttery cookies a delight for the child within. And I almost forgot le the du citron. Verveine. Oh la la. What a sensation.
I felt a little sad I had to leave prematurely to tend to our Esther and also a little sad I didn’t get to meet the other women gathered to Freshen Up. I had the sense Greta, Shaye, Wiilowdene, Spongedrop and Kinfolk had attracted a fairly impressive two fists full of women in that dusk pink flowered kitchen and I wanted to know them – all. Next time perhaps?

Written by Emily of wild & grace. Winter event: eat move make – bay of plenty – 22 june 2013. Photography by Greta Kenyon of Vela Images.

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