Showing posts with label ww. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ww. Show all posts

Apr 19, 2015

Welsh Week: I love Personalised Jewellery / Jewelry Personalized! + Giveaway

I love Personalised Jewellery and Jewelry Personalized. I like the huge collection of pretty jewelry. Most of it is sterling silver and some things are gold plated or gold. I also like the combination of gold and the use of gemstones. A lot of the jewelry can be personalized. That's something else I think is brilliant. There's so much choice for both men and women and there's a children's section filled with many cute pieces.

The jewelry is well made and I love the designs. Everything comes in a lovely box and it's easy to find the perfect gift in this webshop.

It's not hard to find the pieces that can be personalized as they all have a clear indication. I think these hearts are so romantic. I also love the idea to combine them with a pretty key. Being able to create something with your own name or message is wonderful. It makes a gift much more personal and thoughtful.

There are dozens of items in this shop that I like. I tried to make a selection to show as much of it as possible, to give an idea of the variety of what's being offered. It's something that makes this shop stand out, the selection of beautifully designed rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc. 

If you're in Wales you can visit Personalised Jewellery, it's in Conwy.

The Welsh jewelry is fantastic. There's a great selection of all kinds of fabulous pieces. Here you can find the entire Welsh dragon collection. One lucky reader of my blog will receive an amazing prize. A pair of sterling silver Welsh dragon earrings and a matching sterling silver necklace will be for the winner of this giveaway. 

Enjoy shopping and good luck!

   I will contact the winner via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  

Welsh Week: An Interview with J. Anderson Coats

1) Could you tell a bit more about yourself?
I own over two hundred books about the middle ages. I’ve dug for crystals, held Lewis and Clark’s original hand-written journal, and been a mile underground. I have a cool surgery scar unrelated to childbirth, I read Latin, and I’ve been given the curse of Cromwell on a back-road in Connemara.
2) You've studied history. How do you use that in your stories?

Historians are trained to be part garbage collector, part treasure hunter, part psychologist, and part microfilm wrestler. Since so much of what interests me hasn’t been recorded or has been lost, I often have to read between the lines of the sources I do have access to and make inferences and educated guesses when there are gaps. I’ve also been taught how to behave myself in Special Collections and the archives.

3) What's your favourite Welsh legend?

I like the story of Bedd Gelert. It goes like this: Prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth had a beloved dog named Gelert. One day, he went hunting without Gelert, and when he came home, Gelert ran to greet him covered in blood. Alarmed, Llywelyn searched the castle and found his infant son’s cradle overturned and blood all over the linens and floor. The little boy was nowhere in sight, and Llywelyn freaked out, assuming Gelert had killed and eaten the baby.
Llywelyn went into a rage and killed the dog on the spot, and only when Gelert was dead did a child start crying. When he searched, Llywelyn found his son alive and well, and also the body of a wolf that Gelert had slain to protect the baby. Llywelyn was grief-stricken with what he’d done so heedlessly, and he buried the faithful dog in a beautiful, peaceful spot that became known as Bedd Gelert - the grave of Gelert. It still exists and there’s a little monument there.

4) Could you tell a bit more about the history of the Welsh language?

Welsh is a Celtic language sprung from the Indo-European family, strongly influenced by the Brythonic languages of the native British tribes. It developed along a chronological timeline like English did (having Early, Old, Middle, Early Modern, and Modern incarnations), and became standardized in written form in the 1580s. The spoken language struggled during industrialization and the introduction of compulsory education taught in English, but Sunday schools taught in Welsh helped keep the language vibrant well into the modern day. Right now, the language is a required subject in Welsh schools, and the internet has connected active communities of learners and speakers worldwide.
In spoken form there are a number of local variants, but for simplicity’s sake these can be roughly grouped into regions: Northwest (Gwynedd), Northeast and Mid-Wales (Powys), Southwest (Ceredigion and Dyfed), and Southeast (Gwent and Morgannwg).

  © Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Wrecsam

5) What inspired you to write The Wicked and the Just?

Medieval Wales doesn’t get a lot of attention despite the fact that it was a complicated, dynamic place. The native rulers managed to resist outright conquest by their English neighbors until 1283, but then the victorious English fast-tracked a series of castles and walled towns to maintain control of the area and the people.
What interested me were these questions: Even when granted a lot of special privileges - including significant tax breaks - how did English settlers live in a place where they were outnumbered twenty to one by a hostile, recently-subjugated population, and how did the Welsh live so close to people who’d done the subjugating, especially given the burdens placed on them by their new masters?

6) Without too many spoilers, tell us about the book.

The Wicked and the Just takes place in 1293-1294 in north Wales, ten years into English rule. Cecily is an unwilling transplant to the English walled town of Caernarvon, and she’d like nothing better than to go home. Gwenhwyfar, a Welsh servant in Cecily’s new house, would like nothing better than to see all the English go home. The ruling English impose harsh restrictions and taxation on the Welsh, and conditions in the countryside are growing desperate. The rumors of rebellion might be Gwenhwyfar’s only salvation – and the last thing Cecily ever hears.

7) How were the Middle Ages in Wales?

It very much depended on when and who you were. Cecily’s Wales was a pretty attractive place. English burgesses who were citizens of the town of Caernarvon didn’t have to pay any taxes, and the rents for the houses and lands were very low. There were all kinds of special privileges attached to being a burgess, too. Gwenhwyfar’s Wales, on the other hand, wasn’t so nice. The Welsh had to make up for the taxes that the burgesses didn’t pay, and they had a lot of restrictions placed on what they could do and say and where they could go. Life in north Wales in 1293 was pretty good. If you were English.

8) In a lot of books Welsh weather has been used as an important element of the story. Has it always been an important part of Welsh history and stories?

The weather certainly played a part in Welsh history, especially before the fall of native government, and there are a number of instances where Welsh princes and barons withdrew to the mountainous interior to let snow and storms dissuade their enemies from advancing. Medieval warfare was very much a summer sport.

9) In your book nothing is certain. Roles can shift. What's the message that you want to give people who are in similar situations?

Be kind, be strong, and do the right thing. We’re all humans in the world, and most of us are trying to do the best we can with what we have.

10) You started writing at a very young age. Is there any advice you can give young people who want to write?

Read. Read widely. Read new books, old books, articles. Read the back of the cereal box. Immerse yourself in language. Listen for how different writers sound in your head. Read in the genre you want to write in. Read outside of it. Read things that are praised and things that are panned. Read. Everything. It all has something to teach you.
Write. Write every day, even if it’s a scribble on a grocery store receipt you pull out of the bottom of your backpack. Give yourself permission to write crap. Everyone’s first drafts suck. Your favorite writer? Her first drafts suck. Your other favorite writer? His first drafts suck. It’s more important to just write. Get it on the page and repeat after me: “It’s a first draft. It’s supposed to suck.” You can fix things in a crappily-written first draft, but it’s impossible to fix what doesn’t exist.

Her book - The Wicked and the Just - will be reviewed tomorrow.

Welsh Week: We Love Penlanlas Cymru Soaps! & Giveaway

Tanya has tried the wonderful Penlanlas Cymru soaps and she's interviewed the owner of the shop.


Suzanne asked me to try these soaps for her and I was so pleased to help. I spoke to Kate, the owner, on the phone.  She is lovely to chat to and you can hear in her voice her passion for her products and belief in them. She very kindly sent me quite a few samples and I'm going to give some of them away to a reader of this blog.
My oldest daughter decided we should use the Strawberry one first and WOW it is lovely. You get a lot of lather from a little bit and the smell is divine. My skin felt so soft after using it and the scent of the strawberries lasted for ages.  When you walk into the bathroom it reminds me of a lovely bowl of strawberries although I don’t recommend you actually eat the soap!
The oat and honey is also gorgeous and has a much more masculine smell and my husband likes this one the best. I have to say that I like both equally. I am looking forward to trying the seaweed and sea salt one knowing it is all locally sourced and will be very good for my skin. I think this would be the one I put in my caravan as it will be such a great smell in there. 
Kate also sent me a beautiful rose scented bath creamer and my youngest, Ffion, used this as I can’t get in the bath easily with me disability. As you unwrap it from its beautiful packaging you are immediately hit by the gentle smell and an attractive glittery item with a dried miniature rose on the top.  We enjoyed feeling it fizz in the water and watching the water turn all sparkly. Ffion’s skin after the bath felt smooth and soft but not greasy like some bath products can leave it. We loved how her skin and mine, when I dipped my hand in, glittered.  She has already told me that she is putting this on her Christmas list as she wants the party skin again.  I really want to try this for myself and think it would be worth the pain of getting in and out of the bath. 
I am certainly going to buy these items for myself and as gifts for my family. In fact I would love to arrange to go to Aberystwyth and see the farm and buy some from Kate direct. Her postal service is quick and the items were packaged really well.

About Penlanlas farm

by Kate

I was brought up on Penlanlas farm and spent an idyllic childhood roaming the fields and exploring hedgerows. I am married with two children and now divide my time between London and Wales. However my ties to Wales remain as strong as ever.

Penlanlas farm which is farmed by my brother is managed using environmentally responsible methods and aims to provide a more natural and unspoilt habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. We decided to produce artisanal soap as a way to diversify the farm and make the most of the fantastic natural ingredients growing around us.  

The pure local ingredients that go into Penlanlas Cymru soaps include: spring water from our own bore hole, home grown strawberries, lavender, calendula, chamomile, honey from beehives on the farm and seaweed gathered by hand from nearby beaches. The natural botanical oils used in the soaps are infused with dried flower petals and fragranced with pure essential oils. All the soaps are 100% natural and not tested on animals.

All our packaging is as environmentally clean as the soap it wraps - made from recycled and recyclable materials.

Our mission statement is: Home grown, handmade … and 100% naturally gorgeous

I am working on expanding the range of soaps, for instance - a new Goats Milk Soap with lavender and chamomile will be available shortly - however the soap is handmade in small batches to maintain the highest quality.  I also make 100% natural bath creamers - rose and lavender which are embellished with dried pressed flowers.

I would not consider moving anywhere else - I have a strong heritage from this part of Wales and the ethos of Penlanlas Cymru Soaps is based around the farm itself and its abundant natural resources.


One very lucky reader will receive two delicious Penlanlas Cymru soaps

 I will contact the winner via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  

Welsh Week: In a Foreign Country by Hilary Shepherd

Amazon US Amazon UK

The 22 year old Anne travels to Ghana to stay with her father. Dick has lived in Ghana ever since his daughter was little and they don't know each other very well. Anne is supposed to stay for six months and has an open ticket, so she can stay with her father even longer if she likes. The first days are going well, but then Moses returns. Moses is the houseboy, who doesn't like it that she's invaded his territory. He's openly hostile towards her and Anne has no idea why. Her father spends more time with Moses than with her and she doesn't feel very wanted. Anne can't help but wonder what the real connection is between Moses and her father.

She applies for a job and starts teaching at the local Catholic school. She loves it there, both the children and the men she's working with. There's one person in particular she really likes. Michael is a priest, he's a little bit older and he treats her with kindness and wise advice. She sees him as a good friend and her feelings keep developing until she's very much in love with him. She doesn't know if Michael feels the same way, but she has her suspicions. Because of him Anne's slowly starting to feel at home and she's building a life for herself. Until something horrible happens...

In a Foreign Country is a beautiful story about a young girl who travels to an unknown country. Anne's father is living a simple life. He's never shared much with his daughter and that doesn't really change while she's there. Michael makes sure Anne isn't lonely and in him she finds something she's never had before, a sense of belonging. I loved to see how their connection developed.

 Every relationship in this book has its own difficulties. I liked how the author used them to tell a complicated, but beautiful story. I kept hoping Anne would be all right, she certainly doesn't have an easy time while she's in Ghana and she has to grow up pretty quickly. Anne's stay in Ghana isn't what she wanted it to be, it's something completely different and she has to deal with it the best way she can. Her struggles are making the story interesting and In a Foreign Country is certainly a compelling read. I loved this book, it's really good.

Welsh Week: From Dentist to Jeweler, an Interview with Menna Lloyd

Changing career gave me a new start

What made you change career?

After a successful career as a dentist, it is a cliché, but I had always wanted to do something creative. I had thought about Art School in my teens, but my dad didn’t see it that way! Three years ago I decided to take the plunge, did a Diploma at The London Jewellery School in Hatton Garden, London’s jewellery quarter, and I haven’t looked back!

What makes your jewellery different?

All my pieces are wearable art, and tell a story. Most have a Welsh or Celtic influence. Several of my collections are based on Ancient Welsh tales such as the Mabinogion. In this way, I can bring Ancient Welsh heritage to life. I use fine and sterling silver, 24 carat gold foil and various semi precious stones

I use special techniques that allow me to transfer drawings and text into the pieces. I transfer digital imagery onto the surface of silver by using a special silver clay. I also transfer colour images onto a special clay, coated with resin. I am always looking for different techniques to give my collections that extra dimension…

What have been your main inspirations?

Without a doubt my late mother’s love of Welsh poetry and history. I was also very fortunate in being asked by the National Library of Wales to be part of a special project. I was able to get the rights to use an amazing collections of drawings, paintings and ancient manuscripts to create my jewellery. This has been vital in allowing me to develop my own distinctive style of jewellery. One of my collections features in a major exhibition at the National Library and is now for sale on their website. There are many more in the pipeline!

What would be your Top Tips for someone wishing to set up a new business as you have done?

Get sound business advice at the very start to develop your Business Plan
Get to know your customer base like the back of your hand
Take an hour out every Monday morning in a coffee shop to plan plan plan
If you need to develop new skills get the right training
Make sure your product or service makes you stand out from the crowd
Go with your gut instinct!

Welsh Week: I Love Angelic Hen! + Giveaway

I love Angelic Hen. It's a shop filled with fabulous signs, peg boards, door hangers, key chains and other wonderful wooden items.

Everything has been handmade by Mari Hutchings and her team.

I like the beautiful colorful designs and the funny and inspiring texts.

Mari started in her garage and her work was an instant success. Now she has a workplace and a whole team of creative people to help her.

I like that there are so many original items in this shop, the quality is great and the result is amazing.

There is something for everyone and these little works of arts will brighten up a house, shed or room.

Of course hens are an important part of this shop.

I love them all.

There are separate sections for men and women and for boys and girls.

Everything has been made with care and dedication.

I really like the fact that there are both English and Welsh signs.

Everything in this shop is cheerful and I love that happy vibe.

It's still possible to visit Angelic Hen. They can be found in the Wye Valley.

I love the idea of the wooden postcards. 

This original mail will be a joy to receive.

The items in this shop is very reasonably priced.

Visit the wonderful Angelic Hen and enjoy shopping!

Three very lucky readers of my blog will each receive an Angelic Hen prize. Enter the giveaway to win one of these three Welsh beauties. 
Good luck!

  I will contact the winner via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  

Welsh Week: I Love Maggie Jones Enamels! + Giveaway

I love Maggie Jones Enamels. Her enamel jewelry is fantastic.

I can't stop admiring the amount of detail and the beautiful patterns.

I like the use of shapes and the way everything flows.

Even though every piece is different Maggie's has her own recognizable style.

I love the color combinations she makes.

Maggie has been asked for various exhibitions already. To show her work she has also traveled abroad.

She's doing really well in Wales, but also in other countries, for example the Netherlands.

What I like about this jewelry is that it's wearable art.

Everything about it works and the result is something amazing.

This is jewelry that just has to be noticed.

Maggie uses both copper and silver which she enamels with layers in different colors. 

I love it that every product description contains information about how it has been made. 

Visit this fantastic Etsy store and enjoy this stunning jewelry.

Looking at it will make your day.

Happy shopping!

One very lucky reader of my blog will receive this beautiful green summer pendant necklace. Enter the giveaway to win it. Good luck!

  I will contact the winner via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  
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