ASSEMBLY SPRING/SUMMER GATHERING 2019

Another Assembly Gathering has come and gone and I can’t wait to tell you all about it…

These Gatherings are like markers in the year for me - signifying the beginning of a season, a punctuation mark to welcome in something new. They take months to plan and it feels like they are over so quickly so I love to be able to record it all here and keep the memories of these special days alive.

This year for our Spring Summer Gathering I wanted to host it somewhere fresh, somewhere peaceful, somewhere that immediately felt like a retreat from the daily grind and the chaos of life. It didn’t take me long to know that Origin Community Farm was going to be that space. From the very first time we went to check out Origin as a family - a working flower and vegetable farm, cafe and community space - I felt at home. The team that run the space are some of the very best people you could know. They care deeply about what they do, they are creative, insightful, welcoming and generous and the space they have created was just the ticket for gathering almost 30 women together to eat, drink and escape routine for a while.

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I’ll give you a quick overview of the day, but really these pictures from Ruth of Native Ivy do the talking for me. It’s so special to have the moments captured by such a brilliant photographer - I’m sure you’ll agree…

Everyone arrived to Origin and were welcomed with a seasonal botanical cocktail, mixed up by our in house mixologist for the day - Laura Turley. We had beautiful fresh canapes from The Edible Flower and settled into chatting to new people, bathing in the sunshine of the garden and getting familiar with the goats and chickens in the yard.

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That’s me giving important information like who to talk to if the bog roll runs out…

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Then everyone split off into two workshop spaces - half the group heading into the cafe space for a floral crown workshop with the lovely Vicky from Origin and the other half heading into the flower polytunnel with Laura to mix up some botanical cocktails. The groups then switched over so everyone had a chance to do both workshops. Everyone immersed themselves fully and it was so great to see all the variations of beautiful floral crown creations - from big Frida Kahlo style headdresses to dainty earthy crowns; it was pretty stunning! Even those that came thinking they didn’t have a creative bone in their body soon left chuffed with what they put together when they had the right tools and time to get on with it. Sometimes that’s all we need eh? The foraged cocktail class was a big hit too - lots of homemade garnishes and infusions were sampled and Laura was a wealth of knowledge on how simple it is to create impressive cocktails from natures bounty.

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After the workshops and JUST as the rain and wind began to howl, we crowded into the polytunnel to sit down for dinner. We dined on three incredible courses put together by The Edible Flower - each one sublime. Nettle and nutmeg soup, dulse soda bread with local Abernethy butter, all the seasonal salads loaded with colour and flavour and the most delicious carrot and goats cheese tart tatin. The wine flowed and we finished up with a dreamy summer fruit pudding and geranium cream, lounging around the big table like the Floral Queens that we are. It was so lovely (and my favourite moment of these events) to look up and down the table at the diverse group of women gathered - many strangers before this day - all making connections and finding common ground.

I’m so grateful to have had a BRILLIANT team to help me put this Gathering together - especially the amazing Steph from This Old Home who took care of all the details, knew exactly how and when and what to get to bring my ideas to life. Steph worked really hard to source the right stuff and make sure everything looked and felt beautiful - from the styling of the workshop spaces to the tablescape and outdoor areas. I’m so grateful to get to work with women who are creative, warm and dedicated.

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All the little details matter and we had beautiful linen napkins in a gorgeous light grey provided by Magic Linen and they set the tone of the earthy table so perfectly. The little linen goodie bags were an extra treat and were filled with organic, eco toiletries from local eco retailer Bamboo & Beeswax and a beautiful organic cotton food bag provided by Tracy from BTS Concept Store in Coleraine. Menu’s were designed and printed by Natalie at Keady Row.

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The beautiful hand-painted ‘Gather’ banner was made by Kate Morrison and pulled the whole space together, dontcha think?

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The night was coming to a close before we knew it and we huddled around the firepit with mint tea and lavender biscuits. One by one, everyone headed home, taxi’s arrive and just like that it was over!

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A huge thank you to everyone who helped out, especially the magnificent team at Origin who let us have full run of their space for the day. And to the women who came to the Gathering, and the women who continually support Assembly in many many ways - thank you. YOU are the heart and soul of Assembly.