Syjunta : A Weekend to Glow at FForest
When I wrote my intentions for this year, one of the things I wanted to focus more on was spending time with other women who inspire and motivate me. I also knew that taking small pockets of time for myself had to be a priority this year, So when a lovely friend told me they were off to Fforest in Wales for a weekend of Syjunta, I knew I had to join them.
FForest is the most wonderful place tucked away in a faraway corner of West Wales. I’ve visited a few times, staying both at Fforest and at nearby site Manorafon and both are wonderful. Arriving on a cold and dark March evening I was glad we were based in the main farmhouse, which is cosy and welcoming and full of the most beautiful Welsh spun blankets and a constantly lit fire. I stayed in a crog, a lovely little unit with a mezzanine level double bed and a pair of cute bunk beds downstairs, plus a seating area. Outside there’s an undercover cooking area and everything we would have needed if we had been self catering, plus a few extras too like candles and home made granola. This would be the perfect place to stay with a small family, its just the right balance of comfort, simple living with enough space for everyone whilst still feeling close together.
Syjunta is a Swedish concept of coming together over good foods in a cosy place to share crafts with friends, so the weekend was full of workshops and crafts we could join in with if we wanted to. We started with a foraging walk to collect edible plants to make our own wild tea, and explore some of the wonderful woods and fields at Fforest. Some of the plants were familiar to me but it was great to see new ones and learn new uses for them too.
Over the weekend we filled the hours with relaxing, chatting and laughing as we played with flowers and clay, collected leaves to print with and made porcelain spoons. There was a chance to make twig pencils, relax with guided mediation and for those feeling more adventurous even some axe throwing lessons. I dipped in and out of workshops as I wanted to, and made an amazing spring floral sculpture with the wonderful Alice of All in One Season and finally got to make a clay house with Amanda Banham – something I have wanted to do since I first discovered Amanda runs workshops, but have never been able to manage due to the distance from me in Devon. The print making was a real highlight for me as I really had to push myself to find a printing style I liked, I was all ready to give up and put it down to a fun experience, then something clicked and I found a way of printing that I was happy with.
But of course, as so often is the case, the magic happens in the spaces between. In the chats around the fireplace, the walks to the river, learning to sing Amazing Grace in acapella around a fire well into the early hours of the morning with the brightest stars shining over head, with women who had come from America, and Switzerland and all corners of the UK bringing all their stories and their crafts with them ( and a cake – everyone bought a cake, can you imagine how may wonderful cakes we shared?) . Having the time and head space to just be, to be free of the mental load of running a house and looking after four boys, and to be able to sit in a wood fires sauna in the woods in the dark was just magic. The weekend just happened to fall over Mothers Day in the UK, and I can honestly say these three days at Glow were the best Mothers Day treat I have ever had!
Sian and her wonderful team are planning to run more of these weekends, you can find out more on the FForest website, maybe I will see you there next time?