This week I pottered off to Ynyslas,, to visit Zana who runs Blue Island Ceramics for a spot of ceramic painting.. Paint Your Own Pottery is a great activity to do with children, but to be honest I enjoyed it just as much as my children.
Upon arrival I was welcomed by Zana and a big friendly smile. In her small and busy pottery studio there are lots of examples or work and ideas for painting pottery. I spied a lovely plate that had been created to commemorate someone’s wedding day. This lovely commemorative plate had been signed by all the guests in attendance and then acted as a lasting keepsake.
I went to pottery painting in order to get six month old Rosaleigh’s handprint and foot print placed on a plaque, it’s something that I have done with my other two children and I really like seeing how their handprints have grown over the years. The idea of getting a handprint from a little one is always quite a nice one although the reality is that you will be embarking on a small scale battle with your infant and it is one that they will ultimately win. Yes, indeed whilst in my mind I would be spending a wonderful afternoon gaining the little hand and foot print of my precious cherub that would yield lasting memories, in reality it yielded lovely memories of a fight to get a handprint on the plate rather than on my leg, face or indeed hers.
Hattie, Libby and Rosa all got there handprints put onto a plate and it was well worth the battle with little Rosaleigh because a week later and the painted plate arrived back glazed and looking fantastic.
Zana offers all sorts of pottery painting experiences from children’s Birthday parties, where you can can take your own food and drink to enjoy once you’ve finished painting; to hen parties where you can create lasting memories whilst sipping glass of something sparkling.
As well as being able to create unique designs on plates, mugs and cake stands there is also a great selection of lovely pottery to paint all year round, Easter eggs to fill with little chocolate eggs, Spooky Halloween Witches, Skulls and Pumpkins, really cute Christmas Ornaments, Baubles and Christmas Figures.
Blue Island Ceramics is situated in a very beautiful part of West Wales called Ynyslas, (which means Blue Island in Welsh), though as a local I am really pleased that Zana has opened up something to entertain my children; if you’re visiting the beautiful area, I would imagine it to be a great idea to paint a holiday souvenir to remind you of the lovely beach and sand dunes that the area boats.
I shall be returning to Blue Island Ceramics next week to create a christening plate for baby Rosaleigh and I can’t wait to get creative. If you fancy a creative afternoon then take look at the website http://blueislandceramics.co.uk/cms/ .
Food has always been of great importance to Seren and despite her being renowned for her historical recipe recreations, her culinary skills were not honed, in the kitchens of top restaurants, but in the home kitchen from the age of being able to hold a wooden spoon.
When Seren was born her mother was taken ill and so she spent her early years being cared for by her grandmother, Minnie. This was to prove instrumental in the development of Seren’s love of cooking, for her grandmother was an accomplished cook, who’s kitchen was always awash with terrine’s, home-made pastry and traditional puddings. Minnie’s love of good food and her zest for life meant Seren’s childhood was filled with days of hedgerow picking, baking, traditional preserving and cooking recipes from the depths of a family copy of, Mrs. Beeton. She learned from an early age how to make Victorian puddings alongside elaborate noble pies and perhaps this explains her love of pastry making and the reason she won an accolade from The Great British Pie Awards this year.
Today Seren has great skill in bringing historical food to life and making it accessible and understandable to the modern cook and diner. Her enthusiasm and love of historical food and British cooking is evident in her presentations and she loves to revive forgotten recipes. She recently took part in ITV1’s Country House Sunday and has given live cookery demonstrations across the country at food festivals, historical houses and castles.
Trained as a herbalist and nutritionist, she has a deep understanding of improving health through food. Her interest in historic remedies and herbal folklore eventually extended to researching British food history, and reignited her early passion for cooking. Fifteen years on and Seren has amassed extensive knowledge and is now renowned for her historical food recreations and interpretations.
Seren’s interest in food history does not just extend to old recipes and cooking techniques, but to ingredients and manufacturers. From the age of fourteen Seren has collected food and drink packaging from early Victorian to the 1960’s. Her collection is now extensive and provides a wonderful snapshot in time that accompanies her vast knowledge of the development of British food and drink companies throughout history. She also has a huge collection of antique kitchenalia and moulds which she uses to replicate historical recipes and portray past eras.
Her training in herbalism and nutrition has not been wasted for despite her merits as a food historian and period cook she also delights in creating British Classic dishes for those with food allergies and intolerances (such as gluten and dairy intolerant). Her botanical knowledge has made her a keen wild food educator and forager that lends unusual as well as historical twists to all her cooking. There are also many points at which food and medicine intertwine throughout history and Seren is able to portray these developments and has also undertaken a lot of research into the British spice trade.
To Seren historical food is not a job, but a way of life.
Visit Seren's blog: Serenity Kitchen