art and soule

A massive thank you to Dan and Beth over at Art and Soule for sending me several of their stunning products to try. I am in love with everything, and love flaunting my new pieces.

The ring is hands down (pun not intended) my favourite piece out of them all, merely because I'm amazed by the fact that something this intricate could genuinely be handmade. Even upon inspecting it closely, you can't see any lines or other giveaway signs that it was manufactured and not just pooped out of a resin tree. It's made from cherry wood and resin, and looks like absolutely nothing else on the market. Each ring is utterly unique as the materials of recycled resin used in each one changes. For every product in their store, they custom cut, design, and finish it all by hand, with no outside help. The values of traditional jewellery making are still very much present - and the hard work and eye for art both come together to create this truly stunning little piece.

I am going to come straight out and say that this is now one of my favourite rings, and I wear it every day. The design is flawless, and I absolutely adore all of the sharp bursts of colour within the resin. They change as my lighting status changes, and show off the classic Cosmo and Wanda colours well. The sizing is perfect, after advice from Dan and Beth, and communication was so easy and straight-forward - it's not hard to see that they've had years of customer service. The ring came wrapped in fluff in a little box, and had been extremely carefully packaged in order to avoid any worry about it not arriving in perfect condition.

The necklace is gorgeous, and can easily become a real centre piece of any look. The colours are all well-balanced and complement everything surrounding them, held on as a pendant by stainless silver that doesn't irritate or stain the skin. The quality is outstanding, with not a single blip or error.

The earrings are the perfect piece to complement the necklace, and are made from high-quality sterling silver and resin. It amazes me how each item is geometrically perfect - it's rare to see such high standards with a family-run business. The earrings are the sort that hang from the ear, which I would usually find uncomfortable - but not with these. Like the necklace, it is intricate and detailed, without being so defined it becomes overcomplicated. 

This set would be brilliant for a gift to a loved one (I would be incredibly grateful if someone were to give me something as purely gorgeous as this), or even as a gift for yourself to flaunt. Everything really is adorable and so nicely made - I'm extremely glad that I have been lucky enough to feature them.

The business itself it an inspiration - it all took off merely because of their strong family values. Taking care of their respective fathers' and homeschooling their child, their business is held in the heart of strong family values, love, and art. A business that flourishes in order to sustain their family is one business that I feel good about supporting.

To check out their products for yourself, head over to Art and Soule and say hi!

how to take better photographs

I once knew a guy who took the worst photos I've ever seen in my life - and he did it as a profession. He would spend thousands on equipment without knowing a single thing about how to actually capture good images, and his work suffered badly for it. Considering he'd quit his job to do it full-time, his family expected him to actually be able to make an income from it - and yet, most of his work would be unpaid and unwanted, and most importantly, goddam awful. Whilst good equipment is great, being able to take photos people actually want to spend time looking at is so much better - and so, I've pulled together some ways in which you can make your photos more unique and, more importantly, not absolute crap like that photographer.

how to stay safe with airbnb

On my recent post about Adeje, you guys were all so shocked about my Airbnb host and how they treated us, with y'all wanting advice on how to avoid having the same fate. Nearly being left stranded and homeless on a foreign island is something no one should have to go through with such a trusted home-sharing site, and so I feel as if I am now qualified enough to give you guys tips on how to avoid getting left in the dark like we were.

how to live like a local in callao salvaje, adeje

One four-hour flight and three-hour coach ride later, we had finally made it to Adeje. Exhausted and hungry, my travel companion and I just wanted nothing more than to sit back and relax in our Airbnb. It was a last minute trip abroad, and despite hearing horror story after horror story about the company, we were willing to give it a go for the sake of having somewhere to stay. And so, we trek up the hill to our temporary apartment, try to get into reception, and - there is no Airbnb waiting. Ringing our host and conversing in Spanish, we were just able to pick out six simple words - "I don't have anywhere for you". With our host suddenly refusing to take us in, despite paying for the week in advance, we were left with nowhere to stay - quite fitting at Christmas with the whole Mary and Joseph no room at the Inn sorta thing. No hotels, no bed and breakfasts. By that point, it felt like we needed another holiday to recover from this one. Luckily, my family lived here for many years so were known by the locals, and after several hours of temporarily being homeless in Playa Paraiso, a bar-owning couple in Callao were able to take us in. Promoted from tourist to temporary local, we were ready to fully indulge in the sunny, slow-paced life of Adeje.

how i overcame my fear of flying

For those of y'all who don't know, I'm the worst when it comes to flying. Not because I still have a debilitating fear, but because my main coping mechanism is to ask questions and thoroughly understand everything that is going on around me. This sounds like a great anti-fear technique, but recently, I was sat in an airport departure lounge and was asking about what would happen if the plane got hijacked, and who takes over if the pilot got shot? A woman shaking out of her skin ended up approaching me and begging me to stop nattering about Final Destination-esque scenarios, because she has agonising aviophobia and what I was saying put her on the verge of throwing up. It turns out that there are actually a bunch of ways to deal with a fear of flying, and what may work for some may send others into full panic mode. Regardless, I've mentioned some of the best ways to deal with a fear of flying, and how I personally overcame mine.

why you should explore your town at night

Considering I've only lived in the student town of Aberystwyth for a couple of months, I'd say I've fallen in love with the place pretty quickly. Filled with history and stories and nationalism (and Vodka Tuesdays), Aber tends to draw you in completely. In some ways, it's relatively similar to my hometown of Swansea with its beaches and hills and castles, but something about this sleepy seaside makes it completely foreign. So far, I've basically only been out during daylight to go to lectures or to walk back home after a long night out, but I wouldn't have it any other way as I've had some of the best adventures at midnight. From stargazing to skinny dipping, towns like this are so much better when darkness falls.

my favourite myths and legends (and bath bombs)

For those of y'all who don't know, I'm completely obsessed with folklore. Just give me a book on Greek gods or European legends and I will be gone for hours, engrossed and absent from the real world. Having recently started university in my favourite country in the world, Wales, I'm pretty damn hyped to spend my time doing modules on Greek and Roman epic and drama and the like, wasting nine grand a year on doodling little Kronos' and Zeus' in textbooks. Strangely enough, at the same time that all this is happening, my dear friend Michelle at Ascent Bath and Body released a new box all based around myths and legends.  The set is completely perfect, and gives me an excuse to rant about some of the best lore around.

why cold countries are underrated

Here I am in London, where we've only just reached fall (although it’s hard to tell as it's already pouring with rain and freezing) and yet I can’t stop myself from reminiscing the days last winter when I was back in Poland. It's a pretty random place to miss when you think about it, especially as I slept in the tiniest dingy little room with my newly demoted ex-boyfriend, only $200 to my name and without any grasp of the language - or warm gloves. It was a massive culture shock being served vodka and blocks of butter with my lunch, with the flight home consisting of the plane falling out of the sky several times as it fought against a storm with everyone on board screaming. It's the sort of trip most people would look back on and grimace, and yet here I am craving the disorientation, the new language, the beautiful backdrops, and just how everything completely disconnected me from the stresses of home life. If I'm completely honest with you, this one wacky little sojourn introduced me to the wonders of cold countries, and may have even started to turn me from a summer person to a cold, wrap-up-warm-lest-you-freeze-your-arse-off person - and here's why.