Saturday, 13 October 2012

21 years at Afonwen Craft & Antique centre

Since I last blogged we have celebrated our 21st Anniversary, so proud to say we have been here since 1991. I can still remember our first day. What a manic day that was. People everywhere, the centre was so busy - we ran out of scones and our cakes were very much diminished!! so it was straight to baking again....
We have definitely learnt a lot since then and done a whole lot of growing up, made a lot of friends along the way and created a life for ourselves.

To celebrate we baked an extra large chocolate cake and shared it will all the staff and a few of our lovely customers. Maryrose pictured here with me has been coming to see us since practically the beginning, before Adrian and I were married, before  we had children and before we had as many staff as we do today. Sometimes I can't quite believe its been so long but every now and again something happens to remind me how time just goes on.
Today we had a visit from Georgina an old  member of staff, she just popped in with a friend for lunch and cake. George said the nicest thing that really made me smile and feel very proud of what Adrian and I do here. She said even 13 years on from leaving us, it was still the best job she has ever had and our training and standards have helped her right up to today. We have seen many wonderful young members of our team come and then go, as they progress on to University and their chosen jobs path.  All of them take with them some strong work ethics - the simple one that you can be average at your job or great! and great is what we always want here.
Thank you George that was a really lovely thing to hear and not only reflects on Adrian and I but the whole team.

This  gorgeous bunch of flowers was from one of our team - Ben who was going off to uni. We will miss him after three years, but of course look forward to holidays when he may be back on the team or at least pop in and see us. Good luck Ben.

Supporting Local in every way has always been important, whether that simply means more to me now or whether it is actually more important than ever I am not sure. The links we have made with other businesses over the years seem just so much more essential now. Its great to appreciate what we have here in Wales and even more so in both Denbighshire and Flintshire. I think we are very lucky to be located in such a fantastic spot with the Clwydian ranges behind us and the A55 only 5 minutes away. It seems like we have the best of both worlds - a fast and easy road system and the peace and quite and of course beauty of the rural area we are in.

Some fabulous vintage tins, a little loved from before but definitely still gorgeous.

They just don't make them like this anymore, just look at the detail.
Another classic piece for making butter. I can imagine this sitting in someones kitchen now looking splendid and being a real talking point.

                                                   Lots of new stock arriving in the gift shop

Gorgeous Ness Bags - fantastic quality and such wonderful colours

These have been selling so well, Tribal bracelets. Something for the gents and ladies.

Autumn is well and truly here now with the chilly morning and nights, pretty colours coming on the trees and that mist that sits over the fields on the way into work as the sun shines through the trees. Time to start thinking about our Christmas cakes and soaking the fruits. Christmas menu is now out and we will be starting to gather our orders for fresh homemade foods ready for Christmas.  Our homemade sausage rolls and quiche are always a winner along with all the fresh cakes, gateaux and caramels you can order.  Gosh where does time go.....

Well I think its time for me to say thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed all of our pictures . Until next time.

Love Janet , Adrian and all the team xx

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Hello from Afonwen Craft & Antique centre

We had this gorgeous bunch of roses off a lovely customer - such a sweet thing to do. xx

Well I can't quite believe we have been using facebook now for just over a year and blogging since last year..... Our plan was to hopefully give you the same warm and friendly feeling that you get when you visit the centre. As you know Adrian and I are always around and here to have a chat to, as are our fab staff. We wanted to give you a little bit of us without visiting, and keep you up to date with whats going on. Our new website is all about this, giving you a little bit more, a little of us. We are getting closer and have even booked a little photo shoot with the wonderful Holly Edwards so we can have our pictures on the website !! ( That really is a huge deal for us both). However we are doing it.  We have also been working with Daydream Designs, a fabulous  local design company ran by Sian and Rob Saunders, Sian has been very patient with us and has created a wonderful leaflet - something that fits with the website and is a new and exciting look for us. Can't wait till it all comes together now. 

This is one of our new pictures - i just love it. Antiques and vintage is just so special, we have such wonderful finds and hidden treasures, things you can have at home, things to use and bits to love with a past and a life.

How sweet is this, and antique dolls pram. Someone very special would have owned this, and completely adored it.

The last few weeks have been a really busy with lots of stock arriving, some lovely gifts, stunning pine furniture and still we have more to come next week.

These are so lovely, not only practical but pretty also.

We also had some gorgeous mirrors delivered, completely different for us. Simple classic mirrors with a hand finished design to finish them off. 

Mango Wood, this has such warm colours, a hard wood that will last for years and years to come.

Lavender always looks so homely to me, something comforting about it.

Last weekend we had another cupcake decorating workshop, and again we had some fabulous people join in thefun.

Everyone can have fun and not only do you get to take it home and eat it, you can't make a mistake everyone is individual and a unique creation..... .  

Well that's nearly it for this time, but I feel like I really have to end with more cake.

Thank you for reading, hope you have enjoyed our tales from the centre, I will hopefully be back soon with more news.

Until then, Love from Janet, Adrian and All the team xx

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Whats been going on at Afonwe craft & Antique centre

Since we last blogged I just don't know where time has gone. Life seems to get fuller and fuller. Running a business and family keeps both Adrian and I very busy. This year we thought end of school term would be a bit easier with none of our four children moving school and going up to high school..... but not sure what happened- it was still really full on.

We snuck in a visit to Harrogate trade show and Manchester Furniture show. Harrogate was a really long day starting at 5.00am and back home at 9.15pm. We walked our little feet till they could walk no more!!

This sadly was our lunch break at 5.30 when we took our first break since arriving, by this time a packed of crisps and cup of tea was the best we could do.  We didn't find quite what we wanted at the show, sometimes everything all looks the same and we really wanted to find new and exciting for you all. We did however order some really cute bags from Ness - such a lovely company with gorgeous stock.

These are so sweet, they have such lovely accessories to go with the range.

More of the things we saw

Day Two at Manchester Furniture show was not as fabulous as we hoped. Think we are getting very fussy and really only want the best we can find for you all. We did bump into our Pine company and order some more beautiful Seattle's and quirky pieces with them and found a new mirror supplier - so all wasn't lost.

A spot of decorating in the restaurant, I love this painted green, its amazing how something so simple can make such a change. We have been thinking about changing our tables for a while now and taking the table cloths off, but after a lot of discussion and looking at alternatives we came back to the fact actually we like the cloths and so do all of our customers - so they are staying.

And we've even had some wonderful Ice cream weather....... at last.

                             Time to use the flowers from our garden area,  they are so beautiful xx

Hopefully I will be back blogging soon again and sharing all our news with you. Thank you for reading from Adrian and I and All the Team xx

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sun shines at Afonwen Craft & Antique centre

Wow how beautiful the weather is this week, after all our rain and cooler days I think we are all ready for some sun shine. We have been waiting and waiting for the warmer times to get all our plants in for summer - its so pretty here when the flowers grow and sun shines.

some of the plants arriving, can't wait till they all get planted.

Dave has such a great way with the plants, he is in charge of all the planting and care for these. They always look so beautiful in the summer. In fact I think we are looking pretty good already.

We have been doing a little extra work in the Vintage & Antiques department, some painting, a little rearranging - here is stage 1. Really pleased with this, this room is magnificent, bright and airy and has some huge windows. This was a dark wall and a little hidden - we love the changes.

I just love these, they remind me of a real cosy home, where things are care free and quite simple.

As things progress I will keep you up to date with all our changes, it may just take a little while so please be patient, I will post pictures.

Lots of our lovely customers have been enjoying this gorgeous weather and making the most of it eating outside.
We are so proud to be located in an Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty, with the river in front and the Clwydian Ranges behind it is so peaceful and relaxing sitting outside.

 Ice cream Sundae, one of Adrian's favourite things, with fabulous Cheshire farm ice cream, whipped cream, sauce, flake and homemade biscuit to finish...... pure heaven on a hot day.

Last of all we are open all over the Jubilee, our bunting will be up and flags flying in honour of the celebrations. We have something going everyday throughout the week and will be serving a special Jubilee Afternoon Tea with Coronation Chicken sandwiches, delicious scones with whipped cream, Victoria sponge and a Delicious fresh strawberry and cream tartlet, or even come and join us for a glass of Pimms and sit outside - hopefully  in the sun . What ever you do, have fun, rest and relax and spend time with loved ones.

Thank you for reading, until next time.
Love  Janet, Adrian and All the Team XXX

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Cupcake workshop at Afonwen Craft & Antique centre

Back at the beginning of the year I had the idea of running a cupcake workshop here in the centre. It should be simple, fun and hopefully encourage people of all ages to have a go.  We set the date for the Easter Bank holiday weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Not knowing how this would work, would people come? would they even like it! it  was all a bit little scary; but the idea was a good one and really just needed some thought to make it a success.

We were very proud to have two of our children helping on the days. As a child growing up I was very lucky to live on a farm and work in the family business. This gave me many skills from simply talking to people, to serving, and as I got older dealing with the till. Mainly it gave me a sense of responsibility that I was being relied upon to do a job - and do it properly. Of course we never got the best jobs, my older brother and I got the muckiest, the dirtiest and the most repetitive jobs on many occasions!!.   For Ethan and Phoebe there were no mucky jobs, no dirty jobs just good old fashioned serving and some cake decorating to be done. 

The children did extremely well. They helped with greeting people, getting the cake toppings and cake boxes and serving on the till. This was a wonderful experience and in short spells they both enjoyed it very much.  In fact it was a delight to spend this time with them - completely different to anything else they have done before, it let them see us at work, and us see them behaving so fantastically. We were very proud of them both for being so fabulous. 

Table set with cutters, boards and rolling pins. Ready to go.

 we baked extra cakes for customers to buy and take home. They looked so good and the samples went down fantastically.

The cake topping were displayed in jars for all to see and select from. From silver ball, to green and blue ones, chocolate buttons, sprinkles, glitter and marshmallows, mini eggs and sugar glitter.... so much to choose from. We cut our butterflies and flowers, adding glitter for the finishing touches. All ready for the workshop to begin.
Our very first customer made these three beautiful cakes. It amazed me how different every one was throughout the whole three days.
concentration ! this cake decorating is serious work......

Adding fairy dust glitter to the finished cake......

"Wow just look at my fabulous cakes" - these truly were so pretty.

We had boys and girls having a go and even a few big ones came.  Hopefully we showed them its not difficult, its all about having some fun. With a little bit of spending you can get all  the basic equipment and ingredients to play for hours and hours.

Ethan busy at work making monsters! in between helping with the workshop

The work shop was a great success, in fact due to so many people asking us to do it again we are busy trying to schedule in another day. Adrian and I were so pleased - it was something different for the centre, something we have never done before and it made new people come into the centre and see what we are all about. The weekend was full of happy smiling faces.