The term “Like Mother, like Daughter” couldn’t be more true when it comes to my Mom and I sharing the love for simple pleasures in life. In fact, adopting the joie de vivre philosophy in my life was always been influenced by her – she’s always taught me to be humble, present, appreciative and grateful.
Part of the (many) simple delights that we share in common is the love we have for nature, gardens, flowers, and for our favourite flower, lavender. Our sentimental attachment to lavender brings us back to our hometown, which is filled with this fragrant purple flower. Every time I smell fresh fragrant lavender, I immediately get transported to my childhood summers back home, playing outside in our terrace that was surrounded by lavender.
Growing up, my Mom always tucked little sachets of lavender buds in my drawers that left fragrant traces on my clothes. As an adult, I’ve proudly carried on the tradition, and I tend to breathe in my clothes a little more than I need to before putting them on. It’s just that nothing makes me happier than smelling clean, fresh linen that carry subtle traces of that sentimental purple flower.
So when my Mom’s milestone birthday was coming up, I knew I wanted to honour our favourite flower and make it lavender-themed. I put together a bouquet of fragrant dried lavender, made her a card, and I baked her a delicious lavender cake (which was such a huge hit that I was requested to bake this cake again for my boyfriend’s Mom’s birthday. This is the recipe I followed). Naturally, she was so delighted and appreciative of these simple treats, but I had more planned for her.
Provence and its renowned lavender fields have always been a bucket-list dream vacation for my mom and I. We haven’t had the chance to cross this dream trip off our list yet, but I still wanted to plan a birthday experience for her that she’d really enjoy, and that was tied to the lavender theme. Since Provence wasn’t an option just yet, we brought her to the next best thing: Terre Bleu Lavender Farm.
Only an hour away from Toronto lies a family-run farm where lavender is grown and products like lavender honey, lavender essential oil, lavender bath products and lavender treats are made from these freshly grown purple flowers. Visitors can drop by and walk through the rows of purple stretched out on this beautiful farm land.
The moment we arrived, we were greeted by the fragrant aroma that danced in the air. Luckily, we arrived before the farm opened so it was quiet enough to really enjoy the open fields, as I imagine its meant to. We leisurely walked down the lavender rows, taking in the sounds, scents and sights and were were pleasantly greeted by fluttering friends who were hard at work.
Things To See
There were other simple sights and activities to enjoy other than “just” the lavender fields. The farm had traditional lavender oil distillery and a small bee farm. There was also an adorable little Herb Bar where you could purchase some fresh herbs, like mint and rosemary, and they even had an actual bar there where smiling staff could whip you up a refreshing drink.
Things to Do
If you want to partake in a meditative yoga class or galavant on a horse amongst the lavender, that was all available to do at Terre Bleu. Aside from these leisurely outdoor activities, there was a secondary lavender field where their iconic big yellow door graced the horizon. There was a really big line up to take photos of that door, so we skipped that part (it was a heaping 41 degrees with humidity that day), and instead we strolled around their shaded hiking trail to keep cool under the forgiving trees towering over us.
Things to Eat
No visit to a farm is complete without tasting the fruit of their labour. Refreshing lavender lemonade and lavender ice cream were the perfect refreshment on this hot day. We opted for their homemade lavender ice cream which was beautifully delicious with subtle traces of lavender, reminiscent of my lavender cake. Their shop had more freshly made farm-to-table lavender treats, like lavender honey, lavender macarons and lavender gouda cheese.
And of course, I couldn’t leave this purple paradise without having a mini photoshoot. I opted for a yellow dress at the last minute, and I’m so happy I did. There was a little girl walking alongside us who kept staring and smiling at me, but she was too shy to say hi when I waved at her. Her mother told me: “She thinks you’re Princess Belle because of your yellow dress”. That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard, and such a simple comment meant everything to me.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve embraced celebrating special events through meaningful experiences (no matter how simple they are) rather than with materialistic gifts. There is no price tag on enjoying a sunny day trip with the family and enjoying the natural beauty of our favourite flower, with my favourite person. After all, the best things in life aren’t things.