10 Welsh Makers and Brands to Watch

With St David’s Day literally just around the corner, I thought I’d give a lil’ shout out to some local brands, creators and amazing entrepreneurial babes.  There’s so much creative talent here in Wales that we’re almost spoilt for choice!  So, if you’re on the hunt for a present for someone, or fancy treating yourself to a little somethin’ somethin’, you can’t go wrong with these fab local brands. 🙂

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Cymraes Badge from Dyfal Donc, Jumper from Oliver Bonas.

1. Dyfal Donc

I get a little misty-eyed seeing all the traditional welsh dress costumes in the kids section this time of year because it reminds me of wearing one myself as a kid.  So, instead of pinning an oh so traditional daffodil on my jumper this St David’s Day, I’ll be wearing my new ‘Cymraes’ (Welsh Woman) pin from Dyfal Donc to remember my Welsh Hat wearing days as a kid!  If you’re up on your Welsh proverbs you’ll recognise Dyfal Donc from that old phrase “dyfal donc a dyr y garreg” (Steady tapping breaks the stone – hard work always pays off in the end).  I love the saying, and I love almost everything in Dyfal Donc’s colourful online store, selling bilingual stationary, mugs, cards, pins (I’ve got my eye on their pink “Hogan Ddrwg” pin) and children’s clothing. 🙂

2. Liz Mosley

I first came across Liz’s beautiful hand drawn and lettered stationary over on Instagram and had total handwriting envy (yes, that’s a thing!).  From enamel pins and washi-tape to cards, gift wrap and prints she’s got your next birthday covered, and also does branding design and custom orders.  (And she also blogs 🙂 )

3. Welsh Girl Problems

My “Don’tcha” mug is my Monday Morning “let’s do this” mug (and also a sneaky reminder to my English husband that he bagged a good ‘un when he put a ring on this Welsh gal’s finger 😉 ). But there’s more than a cheeky mug or two in the Welsh Girl Problems online shop; the Rugby and Chill and Brenhines (Queen) jumpers are essential Six Nations wear for every Cymraes in the crowd.

4. Gold Freckles

A while back I noticed one of my favourite American Instagrammers wearing a lovely hand-knitted jumper and did the usual tag trawl to find out where it was from and couldn’t believe it when I found out it was handmade in Wales.  Goldfreckles is run by Saskia Thomas, who’s taken her hobby for knitting and opened up a made to order shop selling her gorgeous bell sleeved chunky knits.

5. Miss Patisserie

If you’re a Cardiff local and haven’t dropped by the Miss Patisserie store in High Street Arcade (right opposite another of my Cardiff faves, Barker Tea House), then you need to stop by pronto tonto as the products are just as sweet and as indulgent as the name suggests.  If not, fear not because you can also find their gorgeous Vegan Bath and Body products in Boots.

Miss Patisserie “Rosie” Bath Bomb

6. Maykher

“Be Bold, Brave, Bright and Kind for Womankind.”  I love the story behind Maykher.  Based in Cardiff Bay, ethical fashion brand Maykher sells women’s accessories created by “makers not machines” (from fabrics and materials traditionally created by makers in India, Haiti and Guatemala) and donate 10% of their profits to educating girls in poverty around the world.  ❤

7. Rhian Kate Makes

You all know how much I love my yellow tassel earrings from Rhian Kate Makes; I’ve barely taken them out since I got them.  As well as tassel earrings in every shade, Rhian creates beautiful pendants, necklaces and earrings each with her unique, handmade textured pewter moons.

Yellow Tassel Earrings by Rhian Kate Makes

8. Spectrum

Run by sisters Sophie and Hannah, Spectrum Brushes started up in a garage in Barry and now roll around the makeup bags of the rich and famous!  Their super-soft synthetic makeup brushes are not only vegan and cruelty-free (with handles made from FSC-certified wood), but are also the most colourful brushes you’ll ever own.

9. Sadler Jones

Created by designer Cath Jones and based in Cardiff, Sadler Jones is definitely one to watch if you’re a full-on stationary nerd like me! 😉  I’ve got a few of their cute cards in a drawer in my office for whenever a card-emergency arises!  But, they don’t only sell greeting cards, notebooks and gift wrap, they also sell pins, beautiful makeup bags and children’s clothes too.

10. Delicious Monster Tee

Run by Claire, Delicious Monster Tee sells oh so Instagrammable hand-embroidered T Shirts with slogans like “I’d rather be in Ibiza” and “Sorry, not sorry”, with even the option to create your own!

Who are your favourite Welsh designers and brands? 🙂

*What’s in my Christmas Stocking?

Everyone does Christmas differently, and one of the toughest things about being married is choosing which family traditions to keep, and which ones to toss.  When I found out that Sunny and his family never had Christmas Stockings I was stunned and a little gutted as it’s probably my favourite part of Christmas!  As kids, my brother and I shared a bedroom wall so whoever woke up first on Christmas morning would knock (/hammer down) the wall to wake the other and then we’d head straight to my Mum and Dad’s bedroom with our stockings.  We’d take it in turns dunking for gifts until there was a pile of wrapping paper in the middle of the bed and four empty stockings.

So if you’ve never done the whole Christmas Stocking thing (or have a nagging wife like me who’s insisting on keeping the tradition…!), here are a few tips on what to put inside 🙂

My brother always used to pick the biggest stocking from our family pile because, naturally, he thought big stocking = more gifts.  Well, I’ve taken a tip from my brother this year; this 100% wool fairisle stocking from Woolovers is huge!  And I called it – see, it’s got my initials just so there’s no confusion.


Something to Drink

Tea, Coffee and miniatures make ideal stocking fillers – especially if you can find a festive blend for that first Christmas cup.  I’m already a big fan of Teapigs’ Darjeeling Earl Grey blend, so I’m looking forward to trying this Spiced Winter Red Tea on Christmas morning.

Lavender & Geranium Shower Gel & Bath Foam (£5.60 Faith in Nature), Pure English Lavender Bubble Bath (C/O Little Soap Company) and Daisy Chain Bath Ball (£3.90 Miss Patisserie)

Something to Relax

For me there’s no gift better than the promise of peace and quiet for a good ole pamper-sesh, so I always tend to get a couple of toiletries and beauty products in my stocking; ones you can smell before you’ve even unwrapped them.  They fuel me through those dark and gloomy January nights.

7th Heaven Face Masks are only usually around £1 each are great to keep handy in the bathroom cupboard.

Something Warm

Socks, scarves, hats, hand warmers are just the right size to wrap and stuff in a stocking.  I’m always losing my gloves (if you see one waving at you from a park railing then it’s probably one of mine) so I’ll never say no to a new pair!  These Grey Cashmere ones are from Woolovers; they’re soft and also nice and long on the wrist so there’ll be no up-the-sleeve draughts!

Something to Scoff

Chocolate coins, chocolate snowmen, tubes of smarties… The first thing I eat on Christmas day has usually come from my stocking and that usually means that it’s chocolate.  This Green & Blacks Miniature Collection could be shared around several stockings – but, then you could keep them all for yourself…

Something to Read

You wouldn’t think it, but magazines make great stocking fillers; they’re cheap and easily rolled (usually!) and wrapped.  Perfect for flicking through while you enjoy your Christmas breakfast or wait for the turkey to cook.

The Simple Things Magazine

Something Silly!

My Mum is the Queen of silly gifts.  We’ve had lottery tickets and scratch cards wrapped up in our stockings in the past, and a stocking wouldn’t be a stocking in our family if it didn’t have a satsuma rolling around in the toe!

What little gifts do you always love finding in your stocking? 🙂

*A great big thank you to Woolovers for sending me such a lovely early Christmas surprise!

Base + Barley (and shopping…)

I ♡ Cardiff shopping.  I loved it back when Queen Street was where things were happening (and when the Capitol wasn’t a wasteland of empty shops and shutters – can’t someone do something about that?  It’s looking so sad!) and I love it even more nowadays.  Sure there are all the High Street names you’d expect to see – but it’s the huge variety of independent shops and the gorgeous Victorian Arcades that really set my heart purse a-flutter… *ahem*

Before my reusable bags could be filled with shopping swag though, I met up with Sunny for lunch and we tried out Base + Barley which recently opened up at the bottom end of Queen Street (a couple of doors down from Office – *ahem* more on that later…) – home of glorious sourdough pizzas which I’ve been craving like crazy since leaving London and my BAE Franco Manca.
We were not disappointed.  Their lunch menu is seriously good, and reasonable too – a great spot for a shopping pit-stop.  We both ordered one of their sourdough pizzas; I went for No.3 – Prosciutto Ham and Portobello Mushrooms, while my lovely, bearded lunch date went for No.6 – fiery ‘nduja sausage paste, salami + roquito peppers.  Both were the perfect size for lunch and even came with a cute lil’ salad bowl.  We polished off the whole thing and left with the sort of sloppy, satisfied smirk you only get after scoffing really good pizza.

Also on the lunch menu were sourdough sandwiches, which caught our eye when they were delivered to a couple sitting opposite us.  They were thick, door-stopper style sandwiches with plenty of filling.  But there’s more than just sandwiches and pizzas; they also do handmade gourmet burgers and have a great drinks menu full of cocktails and craft beer.

Stomach filled, I went for a wander through the Arcades… If the numerous Victorian Arcades dotted around the Hayes and St Mary’s Street aren’t part of your usual shopping strategy, then you’re missing out!  Just look at Coffee Barker looking all beautiful and spring-like 🙂
I dropped in on Miss Patisserie to pick up a little something to enjoy later, once my feet and legs were limp from wandering…


Yr Hen Lyfrgell (the old library) has had a bit of work done and reopened a couple of weeks ago.  It’s so lovely inside now – and there’s plenty to do and see.  Operating as a Cultural Centre you can learn about the history of Cardiff and take lessons in Welsh (ardderchog!), there’s even a Cafe upstairs, I’m told… but, you know me, I got snared by the shop on the ground floor didn’t I?  Shelves full of Welsh-made products, from Welsh language cards, to paintings, to love spoons and kitchenware 🙂 In a separate room there’s even quirky women’s boutique, LAN LLOFFT.

Managed to track down a copy of this month’s CDF; my snap of Penarth Pier made the #CDFviews page!
I only bought three things; a love spoon for an English family friend who loved the ones we gave out at our wedding and was curious to learn more, a calming bath bomb from Miss P and a new pair of flats that were on sale in Office.  I have size 7 feet, finding shoes in my size on sale is the shopping alternative to finding Bigfoot (…which I get called by Sunny anyway, pfft!).

Where are your favourite places to shop in Cardiff?