Monday, 15 February 2016

Junk n Disorderly

Set just off the main road that runs through the Victorian Spa town of Llandrindod Wells is one of the top ten voted vintage shops in Wales; Junk n Disorderly.

Junk n Disorderly

As the name suggests, Junk n Disorderly, located in Unit 1 of the Old Town Hall Workshops, is a shop with a vintage and retro vibe achieved by the many quirky, unique items up for sale. It is just one of a number of small independent shops that are available to the community of the central town of Powys. The shop is run by local man Patrick Sheehy and he will be celebrating its third birthday this month. The shop was recently voted one of the best in Wales by Wales Online which described the classic shop as "cute".
"Junk n Disorderly has up-cycled vintage furniture and simple retro pieces, you can kit your whole house out here."~Wales Online 
Junk n Disorderly evolves every week with different quirky, one off items up for sale each time you visit.
“Whether you are looking for that finishing touch to enhance a room or to completely furnish your home, you will find it all at Junk n Disorderly.”
Here is just a flavour of some of the really cool, retro items that have been sold in Junk n Disorderly recently.

A cool clock
The meaning behind palm lines


 















A clock made from a bike chain
LED lights















One of the items Patrick was keen to highlight when I met with him was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™which he stocks and sells in his shop. It does not require any sanding prior to use and despite this, your painting will always be free from grease and dirt. Two coats should be sufficient to fully cover the item you are painting. A single colour creates a beautiful simple look but by adding a second colour and sanding it back, you can create a naturally unique distressed look. By mixing two colours of the Chalk Paint together, you can create your own custom colour. The Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax also available in Junk n Disorderly will help to protect and give a rich velvety finish to your work, whilst the Dark Soft Wax helps to bring out the texture and detail of the item you have painted.
 
Junk n Disorderly is a Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™stockist

You can also use the Chalk Paintto add a splash of colour to any walls or floors within the home. By using one of the stronger colours in the range such as Aubusson, Greek Blue, or Graphite you can paint blackboards. This will require three coats and you have to allow it to dry thoroughly. Afterwards you can write on the surface with a stick of chalk.

Patrick believes he is helping to put Llandrindod back on the map by selling this product as it has become a world wide phenomenon, recognised by lots of people due to its ease of use. Patrick is particularly happy to sell this brilliant paint as it is only supplied to a few outlets throughout the country and people from all over Powys visit Llandrindod just to buy it from Junk n Disorderly.
  
You can buy the famous Chalk paint™at Junk n Disorderly
Chalk paint™colour chart

Patrick uses the famous Chalk Paint™to hand-paint and "upcycle" furniture to then sell in the shop. No two pieces of furniture will be the same and this just adds to the magic. When you buy some furniture you can request a colour that you want it to be painted to make the piece of furniture unique to your needs.
A chest of drawers Patrick painted using the Chalk paint™: 
florence with gold highlights and a waxed top


Did you also know, Patrick runs Chalk Paint™workshop classes in order to help the community to get creative and understand how to upcycle using the Chalk Paint™? If you would like further information about this, get in contact with Patrick.

The upstairs of Junk n Disorderly has a large collection of vintage clothing for women and men. Here's a sneak peak at some of the clothes that have been for sale recently.

A vintage blue dress
Some lovely patterned material

Another vintage dress
 
Patrick used to work with and show horses but always enjoyed getting creative and buying lots of cool items at Hay on Wye Vintage Fayre; Hay Does Vintage.  When his job with horses came to an end, Patrick decided to make a go of opening up a vintage shop and selling and getting creative with admirable pieces of furniture and small retro items. This has obviously proved highly successful as the business is still going strong in this old spa town of Llandrindod Wells three years after opening.

Patrick demonstrated even more of his creativeness recently with his shop window display at Christmas which was voted the best in Llandrindod by the town council.

Christmas window display
 
Patrick enjoys living and working in Llandrindod and recognises there are a large range of diverse independent shops available to the community. He also appreciates the history of these businesses and he highlights the fact Llandrindod plays host to the first whole food independent shop along Middleton Street; Vans Good Food.  The community of Llandrindod Wells is very friendly so Patrick finds it quite funny when people from cities visit his shop and seem surprised when he talks to them as they're not used to shop owners passing the time of day with any of their costumers.
“Good things are happening here in Llandrindod Wells now. Just look at the Pavilion which has recently come back into the hands of the community and will reopen in March. Llandrindod needs those sorts of places to help bring the strong community together.”
Here is what some of the community of Llandrindod Wells have had to say about Junk n Disorderly on their Facebook page.
"Wow!!! Fantastic shop, a 'Real Hidden Gem'..
The owner Patrick is just amazing.. Full of great advice and so friendly.."~Sarah Duggan
"Fab shop!! Well worth a visit for retro and vintage treasure. Love it."~Jo Hodges
"A big thank you to Patrick for supplying Christmas garlands to a The Llanerch Inn, at a fantastic price."~Terri Jones
There are lots of quirky items for sale in Junk n Disorderly

You can follow Junk n Disorderly on Facebook, Instagram, on their website and now on Twitter. Patrick shares some really cool pictures on all of these outlets, helping people understand how the shop is evolving on a day to day basis. 

Junk:
1. Discarded material, such as glass, rags, paper, or metal, some of which may be reused in some form.
Disorderly:
1. Lacking regular or logical order or arrangement.

That's just an attempt at describing the vintage shop, Junk n Disorderly. If you want to discover for yourself what the shop is all about, go and check it out. I can assure you; you won't be disappointed! 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Happy Home Gift Company

Happy Home Gift Company is a family-run local business owned by John Knill and Gemma Staton. The business location at 5 Middleton Street has meaning to John as it used to be his grandfather's butchers shop before it was passed down to his father when John was growing up in the town. The shop was sold out of the family and John moved away.

Find happy gifts in Llandrindod

When John discovered that the shop was up for sale once again, he and Gemma decided to take the plunge at making a successful business within the old family location, with Gemma leaving her teaching job in Dorset. Happy Home Gift Company opened up their doors to the community of Llandrindod Wells on October 2nd 2015 and they haven't looked back since.

It is demonstrated on a sign outside the shop that Happy Home is a place of happiness away from the monotony of every day life. When you enter the shop, this is certainly clear and is one of the many things that draws shoppers in.

Every time I walk into the haven of Happy Home Gift Company, the wonderful aroma of unique candles always seems to hit me first and creates an eruption of scents in my nose. (Look out for the source of this later in the blog post.)

The next thing to strike me is the friendliness and the way in which Gemma and John seem to go out of their way to make everyone feel so welcome.

Find happiness at Happy Home
Strolling into the happy haven

Happy Home sell a wide range of gifts, such as scarves, jewellery, kitchen and bakeware, an enormous collection of cards to suit any occasion, teddies, mirrors, clocks and many many more items. 

A perfect gift for a loved one
Another cute wall hang





Happy Home has an extensive variety of happy gifts suiting everyones' needs. To highlight this, Gemma told me lots of people recently have asked for umbrellas to be sold as we have been experiencing very wet Welsh weather here in Llandrindod. So she spent some time searching around to find some that were a bit quirky, unique and different in order to suit the vibe of the shop.
 
There are lots of gifts available to buy at Happy Home

Little Hotties are the source of the lovely smell that hits you as soon as you walk off of the street and into Happy Home. These are a varied range of exclusive, unique candles that you can fill a box with to burn on your oil burner and tea light warmers at home. The boxes are £6.50 each and you can fill them with as many of the little Home Fragrance Melters/candles as you can. The selection of candles sold in the shop change throughout the year to fit the seasons and when they are mixed on the oil burner it creates an amazing intermingled scent that will never be the same twice. Fresh Fruit Salad, Rain Soaked Lawn, Cheery Bakewell and Fairy Dust are just some examples detailed within the little booklet of the smells that you can create by adding the Melters together. 

The source of the wonderful smell

Over the coming few weeks, Happy Home will become even happier (if that is even possible!) with about a thousand more gifts being added to the shop. This ranges from scarves, jewellery, baby clothing (which will be suitable from birth), foot and hand cream to a world exclusive of some superhero posters that are designed by Gemma's friend. The list is almost endless and there is so much to look forward to.

These unique pens are for sale in the shop and 
are made by Gemma's Dad...no two are the same
I LOVE my lunch box purchased from Happy Home

As well as selling these special gifts, Happy Home Gift Company also provides services to the community such as picture framing, key cutting, fine art and vehicle graphics. When the shop first opened these services were not advertised to the community but now lots of people are hearing about them and it is bringing many different people in that would not often visit a gift shop. Ladies are bringing their partners in to get their keys cut and the fact they can have a browse around the shop when John is carrying out the process is definitely benefiting the company and their sales, whilst also helping to spread the happiness vibe. 

There are lots of framed to choose from

Did you know, you can get your keys cut at Happy Home?

In the near future, Happy Home will be expanding with the development of a website from which they will be selling their gifts to the whole of mainland UK.  The shop is flourishing in the old spa town of Llandrindod Wells, being open 9am until 5pm, Monday to Saturday and I cannot wait to see the advancement of the website which will help to unfurl happiness out all over the country.

Here is what some of the community of Llandrindod Wells have had to say about the shop on their Facebook page. (You can also follow Happy Home Gift Company on Twitter.)
"Lovely shop, just what Llandod needed. Fantastic products and a very welcoming feel as soon as you walk through the door. Good luck to you both."~Donna Jones
"Fab cards, gifts and friendly service. Highly recommended!"~Sian Pugh
"Lovely atmosphere, friendly smiling staff, beautiful stock. Definitely worth taking a look. Wishing the Happy Home Gift Company every success."~Jan Bowen
 "Great shop with some lovely things at good prices too, I bought a lovely dog cushion and can't wait to buy another one too!"~Diane Jackson
"Great shop, gorgeous products and lovely friendly staff. A little gem in Llandod!"~Helen Baynham

A collection of teddies on sale

Just one of Gemma's favourite cards on sale

John and Gemma see Llandrindod as a supporting, independent town that is very family orientated with a real feel of community. John and Gemma love that everyone is so friendly and they can have a proper conversation and get to know other business owners in the town. They also value the abundance of places to walk in the local area and being able to get outside and see wildlife on the doorstep.

The shop's owners also believe some locals do not realise or appreciate how well the old spa town is doing in the 21st Century.
"When people come to the town from a city on holiday or are just passing through; they love it here."
This has been demonstrated recently by Andrea Cremer, New York Times and international bestselling author of the Nightshade series, who enjoyed a short visit to Llandrindod Wells. During her time here she found the town struck her as, "idyllic, beautiful and delightful".

I challenged John and Gemma to describe Llandrindod in one word. John felt when he was younger he would have described the town as "quiet" but in a negative way as there was little for him to do. Nevertheless, now having returned to the location of Mid Wales after living in cities, he would describe the town as "beautiful" and has learned to appreciate the local area.

Gemma describes the town as "quaint and quiet" but in a positive way, as like John, she has learned to appreciate living in the heart of Wales surrounded by wildlife and such a friendly community after living in cities for most of her life.  

I think it is only fair I challenge myself to describe Happy Home Gift Company in one word; except it is not really a challenge and relatively simple...

"blissful"

If you want a little dose of happiness in your life, get over to Happy Home where I am sure they will be able to fix you up. (The only problem is you probably will not want to leave!) 

John & Gemma outside Happy Home

Below is a slideshow telling the story of Happy Home Gift Company Ltd.

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Monday, 1 February 2016

It's Panto time!

"Oh no it isn't!"
"Oh yes it is!"

This past weekend marked the return of Llandrindod Wells Theatre Company's long anticipated pantomime.  This time it was the turn of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to be performed over two days at Llandrindod's very own respected and well known Albert Hall Theatre. 

After discovering from one of my friends at school who was performing in the panto that each show had almost sold out, I hurried up to Coversure earlier in the week to grab some tickets and ensure that I wouldn't miss this fabulous event. Settled in my seat on Saturday night in a packed Albert Hall, I was excited for the show to come. 
"Hello Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls! Welcome to this year's Pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! Brought to you by Llandrindod Wells Theatre Company, your friendly bunch of local amateur performers, musicians, technicians and theatre lovers. We are here because we really enjoy what we do, from the tea and biscuit fueled rehearsals right up to putting a massive smile on all of your faces come the performance. And that is why we would firstly like to thank you, our wonderful audience, for coming out to see us once again and supporting us while getting a cracking bit of entertainment along the way. Please, SHOUT...BOO...HISS...CHEER...SING.. We love to hear you, so make some noise!"
Beginning with a prologue to the background of the character Snow White, introduced by Fairy Fortune; it was clear from that moment everyone within the theatre was engaged with what was happening and we were all drawn into the tale. 

Swiftly lots more characters were introduced and the singing and dancing commenced with all the audience humming along. The show was filled with jokes and funny lines that made us all chuckle...especially with the appearance of the wicked Queen Avarice's jester, Chuckles. Every time he came on the stage the audience had to shout; "Make us chuckle, Chuckles!" and he would tell a joke to make us smile. 

Two other characters that were particularly comical together were Justice Quill and his helper Scribbles, as Justice Quill fought to try and bring Scribbles into the 21st Century with the onset of technology. Nevertheless this always turned out badly as Scribbles would get the wrong end of the stick and confuse what was meant. For example, Scribbles was told to find an 'iPad' but mistakenly came back with an 'eye patch' over his eye. 

And of course, Llandrindod's pantomime would not be complete without a dame and this came in the form of Edna Bucket who provided us with lots of giggles. (Especially when she helped Chuckles receive a cream cake in the face; and not once, but twice!)

The seven dwarfs looked absolutely super with their costumes making them seem like real dwarfs. What was strikingly clever was the way in which their voices were pre-recorded and they were able to sync their actions and movements with the tape.

The mean Queen Avarice was Snow White's evil step mother and was "the meanest queen you've ever seen". She was striving to kill Snow White as after her 18 birthday the young adult would be legally able to take the throne from her.

You all know how the story of Snow White goes...the evil Queen killed Snow White with her magic poisoned apple. Fairy Fortune brought her back to life but with a cost as she was cursed in a deep sleep which could only be broken by a trueloves kiss. 

To save the day, Prince Ferdinand kissed Snow White and she awoke to the revelation that they could marry and take over the kingdom from "the meanest Queen you've ever seen". Wicked Avarice had to face the rest of her life cleaning the toilets and working as a slave.

And so, they all lived happily ever after. 


When I was watching the Panto with cheers, boos and laughter all around, there was such a feeling of community. Everyone was happy. Everyone was excited to see what would happen next and where the next joke came from. Everyone was celebrating the fact the Llandrindod Theatre Company could produce such a successful Pantomime and it was an overwhelming reflection of some of the impressive things this small town can produce. 

I can also tell you I felt proud to be part of this community. Proud everyone could pull together. Proud all the seats were sold out. I felt it was very clear evidence of the strong community we have here in Llandrindod Wells. Every member of the cast, the chorus, the band and the production team of this years pantomime deserved every single round of applause they received over the weekend as they were able to prove to the community successful and amazing things can happen here in Llandrindod Wells.

Congratulations to all involved in creating such a brilliant event. I'm already looking forward to the next one!

~

Cast
Snow White~Sammy Pearce
Queen Avarice~Ros Thomas
Edna Bucket~Mike Gough
Chuckles~Abi Evans
Prince Ferdinand~Lianne Thomas
Fairy Fortune~Lorraine Cadwallader-Jones 
Merlin of the Mirror~Toby Tattersall
Justice Quill~Phil Evans
Scribbles~Ezra Tattersall
Slurp~Andrew Morgan
Brainy~Emma Davies
Smiley~Kate Woosnam
Dozy~Emma Kolamo
Grumbly~Ella Price
Blushful~Danielle Moore
Snoozy~Gemma Halstead
Sniffle~Rhys Gough

Adult Chorus~Claire Bailey, Sian Baynham, Jane Blees, Laura Duggan, Tracey Evans, Hayley Heard, Sue Jackman, Julie Knill, Becki Moore, Kate Rothman, Alison Swabey, Adam Thomas

Junior Chorus~Angharad Edwards, Rhiannon Everett, Cerys Gough, Ellie Mae-Morgan, Amelia Oglethorpe, Millie Price, Sophie Price, Emily Proudman, Jess Swabey

The Poison Apple Band

Keys~Zak Mountford
Lead Guitar~Joel Metcalf
Bass Guitar~Rob Lewis
Drums~John Kerr

Production Team
     
Stage Manager~Jemma & Mike Thomas
Assisted by~Kay Francis, Calum Morgan & Carys Power
Lighting~Phil Hobbs
Assisted by~Robert Moore & Ffion Morris
Sound Technician~Stephen Leadbetter
Assisted by~Joe Pugh
Wardrobe~Mandy Davies
Props~Strathmore Productions
Press Publicity~Ernie Husson 
Publicity~Jemma & Lianne Thomas
Front of House~Keith Davies
Assisted by~members of the theatre company, family & friends
Musical Director~Zak Mountford
Choreographer~Jemma Thomas
Director~Phil Evans
Producer~Lianne Thomas