Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Random Likings - the Welsh edition

1. Shop Cwtch

Shop Cwtch* is what looks like a fab shop in Anglesey which sells a gorgeous range of local produce. I found their site when I was looking at Halen Mon salt (a delicious addition to your seasoning - you'll be amazed at the difference. It's so soft and gentle and nothing at all like harsh abrasive table salt). They don't sell online yet but hopefully will soon, but if you're in the area then check them out and let me know if the shop is as lovely as it looks.
*Cwtch is an awesome Welsh word that has no direct English translation but means to wrap someone up in a big enveloping hug and make them feel all safe and warm. It's better than a hug and more than a cuddle.

2. Cardiff Half Marathon
I did this last weekend. I am not going to pretend I ran it, because I walked about three quarters of it but even though it was a long hard slog, the atmosphere was fantastic. Crowds lined the streets the whole way around and were so friendly. Even though I was at the tail end of the 18,500 odd starters they didn't seem to flag, always offering support, high fives, chocolates, and plenty of encouragement. From students hanging out of their windows to families and children in random dress-up cheering the participants on it was really fantastic and Cardiff locals should feel proud. Big up all the volunteers, especially the St John's Ambulance brigade who were (reassuringly) everywhere, the charity volunteers manning the water stations and all the participants who were really friendly. I suspect it was more heads down and get on with it at the front, but at the back there was a real spirit of camaraderie and it was awesome.

3. Bara Brith

Bara Brith is on my to bake list at the moment. I love it. It's a lovely light fruit cake that is deliciously moist because the fruit is soaked in tea overnight. I'm going to try this BBC Food recipe as I can't find the one I used last time. Some recipes use yeast, marmalade and a lot more ingredients but this one is simple, which is just the way I like it.It's really easy and delicious and perfect for autumn.

4. Stereophonics - Violins and Tambourines

Finally the 'Phonics have got a new album coming out. Their last two albums have been pretty rubbish but they're now on their own record label and have been able to take more time over this one. I am a bit on the fence - an own label can either mean great things or total self-indulgent tosh. The first video has been released and it's a grower for me. Started slow but builds well and has a fab dramatic cinematic quality. I hope the rest of the album has more of the same.

5. Show Me Wales App

A new mobile site and App was launched earlier this month to help people make the most of their time in Wales, whether they're visiting or live here. It shows things to do, places to go, events and places to stay. The website is http://m.showmewales.co.uk and you can download more information there. It looks pretty comprehensive but there is a contact link so you can feed back to the Mid Wales Tourist Board (who developed it).