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A blog with news, long waited for...!

Bonsoir. It is a bit late to write some text now, but l had "Sunday" in mind after coming back from holiday, and l wanted to keep my promise and get to reopen the website. l will sleep well tonight after having done this, updated the website, and still enjoying the memory of my holiday in Cornwall with Barry, on the Lizard. Sarah G., a very good customer, messaged me wishing me happy lizard hunting there, which was very kind of her. It is nice when others show an interest in our pass-times! However, l didn't meet any lizards, not even semblants of such creatures. We still found a place where they may gather, an enormous black rock at the end of a field, surrounded by nettles and luscious wild flowers. We sat on this enormous stone for a while, doing tones, imagining it could be a portal to another world, invisible to the human eyes, taking us to the parallel world, into the other reality. Cornwall is a special place, with its dinosaur-like seagulls, fighting among each other, with no indication of size to show which was the top alpha one. We saw a young mottled one, chasing off a fully grown seagull! And many adults chasing each other, chasing young ones, chasing jackdaws, and then the biggest seagull of all, the lonely one with the black wings, whom all the other seagulls stayed cleared of. He had a funny song, "pat pat pat" very low tone, unlike the others who have varied screeches and hilarious sounds.

CHOCOLATE NEWS: l better start or else l will be telling you my day-to-day occupations on holiday, which are no interest to anyone wanting to know about chocolate. Actually, to close the Cornish time, l will mention an interesting chocolate maker there, bean-to-bar, called Chocolarder, who do a bar of milk chocolate with gorse flowers - those are powdered and blended into the chocolate, and they have a very curious coconut-like flavour, which is delicious. The most exciting news l wanted to share with you since 2 months, and didn't get the time to do because l was so busy building back-stock up before going away, was that my artwork of the Pot-Lucks was selected to enter an art competition at the Crickhowell Open Studios, which took place the 26th and 27th May. l had never visited this gallery but when we went to drop the artwork, l was amazed by the variety and style of the art on exhibition there.

l entered back in February on the advice of Patricia Kelly, a very quirky and slightly controversial artist who has been a customer since the business started in Llandod in 2013. Patricia was selling her artwork at the WI market when we were selling our 2 boxes of stuffed prunes, and she has always encouraged me to draw, to make more of my "art", and at Christmas, advised me to enter this competition, after ordering the Pot-Lucks poster artwork.

Patricia Kelly, artist
Patricia Kelly's small selection of clay figurines

We were unable to come for the open evening before the open studios started, but received an email from Suzette, telling me that my artwork had sold and if l wanted to see it in the gallery, it had to be before Monday afternoon! l was thrilled to hear my artwork had found a seller, and so was Barry. My second artwork sold, only in 2 days of it being on show! So, we went to have a look...

My picture was just next to the door, alongside other artists whom l appreciated the colourful images of. There were amazing art there.

Barry 's encouragements are much valued...

l won't say how many pieces had sold when we visited on Monday, or else you may think l am just showing off and exaggerating, but mine was one of the few. l was very happy. And, they wrote the text themselves, which saved me the mental headache of trying to find something to say. Inner packaging news: Since 3 months, l have been seeking for better packaging for the chocolate. l have had enough of using the greaseproof parchment sheets as they show any amounts of oil from nuts or ingredients, and l was finding it harder to find good quality greaseproof. l looked everywhere and decided to go for foil-backed paper: a look l like when buying chocolate, the foil protects the chocolate better and the paper makes the foil less fragile for packing. The issue with it is it means the packaging isn't compostable - foil will eventually degrade back into soil but remain there as aluminium. As l found out, most chocolatiers in the UK seem to pack bars in card, or printed cellulose, simple foil, or card board boxes (or plastic boxes). Foil-backed paper is very hard to find, it must not be fashionable at the moment as packaging. All l could find was on Amazon but it was too small, or on Ebay and it was silver and it was too large, made to wrap burgers. (you may know how much headache it is, to search for particular packaging! it takes many hours of computer research...) . l went for the silver burger foil, but as l started using it for the Albi and the Cardamom, l found it strenuous to wrap bars with as it was so hard and stiff, and slightly springy as well. A week later, still looking for my ideal foil-backed paper, l found on something called "Ali something" an offer of gold foil backed paper, and even though the transport was very pricey, as they were sending it from China, l went ahead with it. It took 3 weeks to arrive, and as l was still heated up about not finding the right size, l carried on searching and found a good communicator who replied to my enquiery (many l contacted didn't contact me back) and O wonder, he had the right size gold-backed-foil lined paper in stock! Again, the postage was high, and l asked him before hand if they were treating the paper or foil with solvents and he did answer that they didn't. Unlike Ali-something, this package arrived only 4 days after l had ordered it, so l was able to look at this packaging, smell it (no smell, which is a good sign for me) and wrap a few bars with it. l love it... l hope you will like it also. As my bars and tablettes are often knobbly, it doesn't wrap making a smooth bar like in the shops, but this is what one gets when buying artisan-made chocolate. In my case, it is rustic. Here is the result!

The gold foil wrapping, and the underside which is definitely looking rustic with the nuts peering through

The silver foil which l won't use again, and the gold foil

Bag news, now this is very exciting at this time: as you will read on this page (which l cannot link, sorry, this is meant to go to the shop page and the "gift bags" page), l am now making fabric bags to sell, to make the packaging even more unique. l used to make bags for my market customers, but had stopped due to lack of time, putting away my joy of looking for fabrics and making silly or beautiful bags for customers to take away their presents in. No more waiting, this is now happening again!

The 2 sizes of lined bags, medium and large, made with vintage cotton fabric (the blue is silk)

The small random bags, not lined, any fabric. The blue, green and white ones are actually my vintage bags from 2014, l wasn't able to make more as the machine forced me to stop, by breaking the thread continuously! What a pity, if it hadn't broken l would sitll be sewing now and not writing this blog past 11.30pm!

The last news for today: and this is unwelcome news on my side. l got a warning email from my chocolate providers who sent this to all their customers, about the price increase in chocolate. They had already sent one in January and had increased the chocolate prices then by 10%, which l was able to absorb (l dislike changing prices). But this time, my favourite Belcolade organic (and many other makes like Callebaut) are increasing between 30 AND 40% IN JULY! This is due to bad harvest in Africa l think (l haven't properly read about it yet) affecting the world's market and increasing prices enormously. l will not be able to absorb such increase, and will have to change my prices in July when it happens. So what l will say to you, is, particularly if you do not have large amounts of disposable cash, buy now before the prices change. If something runs out of stock, email me and l will see if l have more for you. l might do another blog a week before l change the price, to remind everyone who hasn't had the time to order before it changes. One thing l much appreciated from the chocolate company l buy from, is they told us that they have had to reject new customers who are panicking and trying to get on their books, and they have secured an amount of stock for their regular and faithful customers. It is really nice to feel valued... l know many who wouldn't bother. Raise your hand if you can think of some who wouldn't do this and leave you dangling... ! WARNING: END OF CHOCOLATE BLOG HERE Well, this is all for tonight, l wish you all well and are enjoying the climate global warming rain, hail and snow that some of us have had a lot of lately. And don't forget, if you see the sun,(which is fortunately very rare since the last 6 months) hide as fast as you can, we all know now they told us, that the sun is extremely dangerous and bad for us, (it is probably the cause of mental health disease, or is it global warming they are blaming for the heart failures?) and we will be eating insect steaks and lab-grown never-dying meat very soon, so why not start your own cricket farm now before it becomes trendy? Oh, and watch out for bird-flu as this is also coming to get you, or is it Disease X from the lab-monkeys in Africa? l have lost track of what to be scared of, now. They are trying their best to come up with something that eradicates the human sheep gene... Will l now get a banner from Google saying "Visit the NHS for all information about covid 19, click here" ? This isn't social media, so probably not. Hum, l couldn't help myself... l said l wouldn't!! oops End of globalist-friendly rant.

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What a lot of catch up news, very exciting and now these lovely bags. No wonder you took a break!

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