Writer Wednesday: Gareth Wiles

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On Wednesdays on social media, people use the hashtag #WriterWednesday to chat about all things author, book and writing, including authors promoting their own work. As we love to support self-published authors, we thought we’d join in and we will be featuring a UK self-published author every Wednesday on the website. This week, we met Gareth Wiles to find out more about him…

You can read the full interview over at Merryn Books:
https://merrynbooks.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/writer-wednesday-gareth-wiles/

Writer Wednesday: Rob Keeley

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On Wednesdays on social media, people use the hashtag #WriterWednesday to chat about all things author, book and writing, including authors promoting their own work. As we love to support self-published authors, we thought we’d join in and we will be featuring a UK self-published author every Wednesday on the website. This week, we met Rob Keeley to find out more…

You can read the full interview over at Merryn Books:
https://merrynbooks.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/writer-wednesday-rob-keeley/

19th July is Daiquiri Day

Daiquiri Day

According to Days of the Year, today (19th July) is Daiquiri Day. Lovely, lovely daiquiris were invented in the early 1900’s by an engineer called Jennings Stockton Cox. He was looking for something cool to drink through the hot summer months, and decided to mix together lime juice, sugar and local Bacardi rum, which went on to be named Daiquiri after the small mining town he was in near Santiago, Cuba. It seemed to please the local miners and unsurprisingly the tasty drink boosted morale! We thank you Mr Cox for your truly marvellous invention! These are our 8 favourite daiquiri related goodies online 🙂

Top row (left to right)

Strawberry Daiquiri Cocktail Candle from Kiss Air Candles
The Daiquiri Box from TASTE cocktails

Personalised Daiquiri Cocktail Kit from Blue Pony Co Shop

Middle row (left to right)

Strawberry Daiquiri Chocolate Truffle Gift Box from The London Chocolate Co.
Pineapple Daiquiri Tea Caddy Gift Set from PostTEA

Bottom row (left to right)
All Shook Up Strawberry Daiquiri Bubble Bath from Lisa Angel
Alcoholic Strawberry Daiquiri Lollipops from Holly’s Lollies
Daiquiri Cocktail Gift Set from Rose & Grey

Charity Tuesday: Doing It For Dylan

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Up and down the country, there are thousands of people doing good deeds every day, and we decided to celebrate the great work that charities and campaigns undergo with a regular feature on Tuesdays, to tie-in with #CharityTuesday on Twitter.

This week we found out all about Doing It For Dylan, a campaign started up by Dylan’s mum, Rebecca Ramsay. Sadly, Dylan lost his life in 2011 while swimming in open water. Rebecca noticed that there was a need for education with regards to open water swimming and started the campaign to raise awareness.

You can read the full interview over at Merryn Charity:
https://merryncharity.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/charity-tuesday-doing-it-for-dylan/

Independent Music Monday: Laura White

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Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature.

This week, we caught up with Laura White who we first saw in 2008 when she was a contestant on The X Factor and shockingly went out in the sing-off against Ruth Lorenzo. We are so pleased that she didn’t give up on singing and we are really looking forward to her new album in 2017!

You can read the full interview over at Merryn Music:
https://merrynmusicblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/independent-music-monday-laura-white-2/

Shops We Love: hope the black dog

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We are always on the look out for new favourite shops, and recently we have added another fab shop to our list. hope the black dog is an Etsy shop where there is a £1 donation to Mind for every sale. They are all about promoting positive mental health and well-being. We caught up with founder Amy Donoghue to find out more.

Hi Amy, please can you tell us more about yourself and how you came to set up hope the black dog?
I started hope the black dog in January 2016 when I was suffering with a bout of depression. I have always suffered from Anxiety, but with work stress and heightened anxiety, my mental health was not good at all. I have always had to challenge myself out of these dark spells by setting goals or learning new skills. I have always loved crafting, and I’d found a cross stitch that was half finished from about ten years previous, I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do more and more. Eventually I had way too many things and not enough space, so I wanted to make for others too. I also wanted to primarily focus on craft kits so that other people can benefit from the therapeutic goodness of creating. I also donate £1 to Mind for every sale because I really wanted to make a difference and help others.

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We love your Hug Box! How did you come up with the idea for it?
Thank you! I love my hug box too! I remember seeing someone saying on social media that all their friends weren’t around and they needed a hug. At first I thought about just making small embroideries saying “hug” and then I got carried away with the idea! Apparently, hugs that last longer than 20 seconds have an euphoric effect on the body, releasing the body’s natural antidepressants. I wanted to try and recreate those feelings so I gathered some thoughts and some scientific research to collate some lovely surprises that mimic those endorphins! I’ve had such a good response so far, it really seems to work!

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Do you have any new products or ranges in the pipeline?
My newest products are a range of “bopo” or body positive pants. I know from my own experience that when you’re wearing nice underwear, your whole day just feels better! These pants are super comfy and also hand embroidered with statements of empowerment on them to give you that boost in the morning!

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We think hope the black dog is a great idea, and we definitely need a hug box!

You can find out more about hope the black dog below:
Website
Etsy shop
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Twitter

Writer Wednesday: Laura Barnard

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On Wednesdays on social media, people use the hashtag #WriterWednesday to chat about all things author, book and writing, including authors promoting their own work. As we love to support self-published authors, we thought we’d join in and we will be featuring a UK self-published author every Wednesday on the website. This week, we met Laura Barnard to find out more…

You can read the full interview over at Merryn Books:
https://merrynbooks.wordpress.com/2016/07/13/writer-wednesday-laura-barnard/

13th July is French Fries Day

French Fries Day

According to Days of the Year, today (13th July) is French Fries Day. We are big big fans of all things potato, and French Fries are one of our favourites. Cheesy chips are the best! With that in mind, we are proud to bring you 9 delicious chip-dipping options from fabulous independent retailers, whether you’re a ketchup, chutney or mayonnaise fan. Happy dipping!

Top row (left to right)

Hot Chilli Pepper Table Sauce from Pepper Coast
Lemon Mayonnaise from Stokes Sauces
Red Onion Kickin Hot Chutney from Rob’s Homemade

Middle row (left to right)

Spiced Pineapple & Nigella Seed Chutney from The Smokey Carter
Cayenne Chilli Relish from Chilli Relish
Henderson’s Relish Traditional Bottle from Henderson’s

Bottom row (left to right)
Ballymaloe Country Relish from Ballymaloe Foods
Garlic Mayonnaise from The Condiment Co
Billy’s Champion Chilli Jam from Scarlett & Mustard

Charity Tuesday: Rosie’s Helping Hands

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Up and down the country, there are thousands of people doing good deeds every day, and we decided to celebrate the great work that charities undergo with a regular feature on Tuesdays, to tie-in with #CharityTuesday on Twitter. We caught up with Karen Ross to find out more about Aldridge charity Rosie’s Helping Hands.

You can read the full interview over at Merryn Charity:
https://merryncharity.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/charity-tuesday-rosies-helping-hands/

Independent Music Monday: Naropa

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Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature.

This week, we caught up with London/Kent band Naropa to find out more about them…

You can read the full interview over at Merryn Music:
https://merrynmusicblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/independent-music-monday-naropa/