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valley mill

Gifts

10 Father’s Day Gifts That Are All Made in Wales

May 4, 2022

We know how difficult it can be to find the perfect present to show your Dad how much his love, guidance and embarrassing jokes are appreciated. This Father’s day, 19th June, why not step away from the socks and have a look at the top 10 Father’s day gifts we stock.

All of our gift ideas are lovingly handcrafted in Wales and is guaranteed to be as unique as your Dad (and Grandads). They will not only show him how much he is loved, but also make him proud to be Welsh!

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Current Events

Earth Day 2022 | It’s Time For Change

April 18, 2022

Here at Valley Mill we are committed to reducing the catastrophic effect man has had on our climate. We believe we all have a part to play in reducing the impact on our environment. We want to share with you not only our own beliefs but also the history of Earth Day and ways YOU can help. Together we can create a better world.

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day is an annual event which marks the birth of the modern environmental movement

Origins of Earth Day 

Earth Day was born on 22nd April 1970 in America.   A junior senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson was troubled by the increased impact we were having on the worsening state of the environment in the United States.  The seriousness of the crumbling effect we were having on our climate was a challenge for the activists, as this was a time of environmental change doubters.  

Watch the original broadcast of the CBS News Special Report about the first Earth Day, 1970.

Valley Mill’s Beliefs

When Valley Mill started in 2007, Kevin Thomas wanted the company to be eco-friendly and materials to be sourced locally providing a low carbon footprint.  From day 1 Kevin knew that not only do the products need to be natural but also packaging must be recyclable.  

It’s not just our own amazing products that are made from natural raw materials, but all of the new products we source are environmentally-friendly and locally made in the UK. 

Battle Green

One of the incredible companies we work with is Battle Green. They offer a range of plastic-free gifts and zero waste every day items.

Our Products

Up until early 2020 we only sold products that were made in Wales and in turn mainly supporting small local businesses.  Since then, we have branched out to UK made & UK designed and are only working with businesses who have the same ethos and beliefs as ourselves.  

Is Slate Environmentally Friendly?

Slate has a low carbon footprint due to the manufacturing and working processes. It’s a ‘green’ material due to its endurance so will last for longer than many other materials. 

We source our slate from Blanenau Ffestiniog which means delivery is much more eco-friendly than slates that have been imported from outside the UK. E.G. China and Spain.  Supporting us also means you are supporting the local economy.

Did you know that Spanish Slate is very often being passed off and sold as Scottish slate? There are several Scottish companies that use Spanish slate to manufacture their homeware products. Their homeware products will say ‘Made in Scotland’, so we all assume that it is actually Scottish slate. Sadly, this means the carbon footprint is higher without the consumer knowing.

Refill and Reuse

Since Valley Mill was founded in 2007, we have always strived to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. We’re always looking for new alternatives to non-recyclable packaging and products.

One of the worst single-use plastics for our environment is plastic water bottles. So we wanted to create and encourage an alternative solution; one that is simple and cost-effective for our customers, whilst making a positive impact on our environment.

Stay hydrated with our new environmentally-friendly water bottles

These refillable stainless steel water bottles are very durable and last longer than glass and reusable plastic options. They will help you save money long-term, whilst also helping you to do your bit for the planet. Their leak-proof screw top caps make them incredibly practical whilst on the go. Plus, their double-wall insulation keeps your favourite refreshment at the perfect temperature for longer. They are BPA and phthalate-free, so you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals being released into your drink.

Apart from the fragrance in the candles, all materials that we use for our products are 100% natural.  Our Welsh slate travels only 130 miles from Snowdonia. 

Recycled Wool

We also sell recycled wool blankets. These environmentally friendly blankets are created from wool that would otherwise be wasted in the textile industry. Blanket colours are completely random as they are made from recycled wool from the mill, hence why they are such a great price. No two blankets will be the same.

Packaging

We have never used plastic in our products packaging and we use mainly recycled cardboard. In 2020 we also banned plastic bags from our stores.  

Employee Incentives

At Valley Mill it’s not only our products that we want to be eco-friendly, but our staff too.  To strive for sustainable living, we offer our team a car share scheme with a monetary bonus to reduce the amount of cars used to travel to work.  We also encourage working from home whenever possible.  In May 2020 we  started a cycle to work scheme.  

Earth Day Going Global

In 1990, Earth Day went global.  141 countries with over 200 million people were assembled to boost environmental issues worldwide.  

By 2000, there were over 5,000 environmental groups in 184 countries focusing on the impact our ways were having worldwide.  A clear message was now being sent and the inhabitants of Earth wanting action on global warming.  

Climate Heroes | Sir David Attenborough

One of the UK’s most famous naturalists Sir David Attenborough has inspired so many of us by bringing the worlds habitats in to our homes.  Broadcaster Sir David has travelled the world for decades.  He has not only captured the wonders of Earth but also been an advocate for climate change and why it’s up to us to us to save ourselves.  

Through these years of travelling, Sir David has witnessed the decline of our planet and knows first-hand the responsibility we have to slow down the decline.   

A classic quote from Sir David Attenborough’s documentary ‘Life On Earth – Life In The Trees’ that describes how dangerous man can be; “It’s really very unfair that man should have chosen the gorilla to symbolize all that is aggressive and violent, when that’s the one thing the gorilla is not and that we are”.   

Speaking on 60 minutes,  the legendary wildlife filmmaker tells Anderson Cooper why urgent action on climate change is crucial and why we need to save nature in order to save ourselves. 

How Can You Make A Change For Earth Day?

It’s your actions that can make a change. At home, work, school etc we should all be recycling.

TerraCycle

TerraCycle are an innovative recycling company that has become a global leader in recycling typically hard-to-recycle waste.  For Earth Day, TerraCycle are asking us all to take the pledge to recycle more.

TerraCycle offers free recycling programmes funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers around the world to help you collect and recycle your hard-to-recycle waste. Simply choose the programmes you’d like to join; start collecting in your home, school, or office; download free shipping labels; and send us your waste to be recycled. You can even earn rewards for your school or favourite non-profit! Find out more here.

Where Can I Recycle?

Whether your a business, household or school, we can all do our bit to help. We can drive the change for better living.

If you aren’t sure or need more information of not only where you can recycle but also how we can all minimise the effect we are having on our environment.

A great organisation who can not only tell you where you can recycle but which materials too. They are Recycle More and you find out more details for your business, home or school here.

Take Action

EarthDay.org are giving us all small examples and ways of how we can ‘Try a Simple Act of Green’. These include adding reusable eating utensils to our every day carry, always carrying a reusable bag and making your next meal plant-based.

Eat More Plants For Earth Day

There are many arguments for and against whether becoming a vegan is really better for the environment. This video explores the impact some of the most popular vegan foods have on our planet, comparing them to the farming industry.

So it’s true! Food production and consumption is pushing the planet to breaking point.

You may not be ready to become a Vegan but small changes can help. Why not make your next meal plant-based? Even in schools they have days like ‘Meat-Free Monday’.

Earth Day | Plant-Based Inspiration

Need some climate-friendly recipes? Check out these from EarthDay.org.

This video shows you 5 easy, healthy and budget-friendly vegan recipes.

Together we can make a better world.

New Product Launch

NEW IN | Autumn Collection

September 22, 2021

We love the sound of leaves crunching under foot, the colours of red, gold and orange, toasting marshmallows with friends, blackberry and apple picking. Our new autumn mug collection has arrived and we totally have those autumn vibes here at Valley Mill.

Autumn gives us those feelings of getting snuggled up on the sofa with a cosy blanket, a good book and a cuppa.

autumn enamel mug design of a cute hedgehog wearing a scarf

Who doesn’t love a hedgehog wearing a scarf? Each mug is hand printed and designed by our in-house team exclusively for Valley Mill.

Now the question is whether to treat a friend with this mug or treat you!

Ceramic white mug with an illustration of a pumpkin and the words autumn leaves and pumpkins please

This Valley Mill white ceramic mug is printed with a beautiful autumn design. ‘Autumn Leaves & Pumpkins Please’.

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

It’s all about comfort food in autumn. Why not try this delicious pumpkin soup recipe?

Bowl of pumpkin soup served in a blue bowl with crusty bread and a spoon

Ingredients

Large knob of butter (we prefer Welsh salted butter)

1 very large or 2 medium sized white onions (chop them finely)

3 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Approx. 850g of prepared, deseeded & chopped pumpkin (or any kind of squash)

1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock

120ml double cream

Method

Place the finely chopped onions, garlic, butter and 1 tbsp of the olive oil in to a large pan. Cook on a medium heat for approx 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Now add the chopped pumpkin and cook for a further 8-10 minutes.

Add the stock and the rest of the extra virgin olive oil to the pan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 20 – 40 minutes or until the pumpkin is nice and soft.

Take the pan off the heat and add the double cream (save a couple of tbsp for serving). Mix well and using a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth.

Serve in to bowls or a new autumn mug. Drizzle a splash of the remaining cream. Eat with crusty bread and lashings of Welsh salted butter.

White ceramic mug with the words hello pumpkin and an illustration of a pumkin

This Valley Mill white ceramic mug is printed with a beautiful autumn design. ‘Hello Pumpkin’.

White enamel camping mug with autumn inpsired designs

Our in-house designer took the teams favourite autumn inspirations and created this incredible enamel mug design.

Is It October Yet?

Is it october yet printed on a white ceramic mug as part of valley mills autumn mug range

Why not try this no alcohol fun fruity and warm punch the whole family can enjoy. Serve in a Valley Mill autumn mug.

Non-Alcoholic Mulled Cider Punch

Ingredients:

3 pints of apple juice

3 apples

Cloves

Cinnamon Sticks

Zest of 1 large orange

Method:

Stud the apples with around 2-4 cloves.

Add juice, apples, cinnamon sticks and the orange zest in to a large pan.

Simmer gently on a low setting for approximately 30 minutes. Be careful not to let it boil.

Serve with some fresh apple slices and perhaps a stick of cinnamon.

Getting Cosy

Autumn nights are drawing in so why not get cosy with your cuppa with one of our Valley Mill Welsh woollen blankets.

Red, white, green, yellow and blue checked woollen blanket

A traditional Welsh blanket is a simple home addition that can transform a room. Choose from our range of woollen blankets and throws which are handmade in North Wales and come in a variety of different colours and weaves.

white ceramic mug with the words falling leave, cosy jumpes, hot chocolate and more autumn inspired things

What’s YOUR favourite things about the autumn season? We’ve made a list of some of our favourites and put in on a mug. Falling leaves, cosy jumpers, hot chocolate, scented candles and pumpkin spice.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

This warming and comforting drink only takes 10 minutes to create. Totally worth it!

White enamel mug filled with pumpkin spice latte topped with cream and grated cinnamon

Ingredients:

2 tbsp pumpkin puree (you can buy this in cans in supermarkets)

Pinch of ground nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger

1 tbsp vanilla extract

30ml strong coffee

250ml of any milk

Whipped cream

Method:

In a saucepan add the milk, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and spices. Whisk and heat to make a hot ‘pumpkin milk’.

Add your strong coffee, mix and serve in to mugs. To serve top with whipped cream. YSprinkle some ‘pumpkin spice’ or ground cinnamon over the cream.

If you are looking for a stronger pumpkin flavour then add a couple more tbsp of pumpkin puree.

Mood Maker

Why not cosy up those evenings with our scented candles and tealights?

welsh slate 5 light tealight holder with lit candles

Apple & Blackberry Crumble

Autumn means comfort food. There is nothing more comforting then picking your own blackberries and baking them in a crumble. Sat in front of the tele with the family and bowl of apple and blackberry crumble with custard. Yum!

We’ve got two alternative recipes for you. One vegetarian and one vegan. Hope you enjoy!

blackberry and apple crumble served in a denby halo bowl

Ingredients

Crumble Topping: 120g plain flour, 60g caster sugar and 60g butter (we prefer salted but the general rule seems to be unsalted). You can also up these amounts depending on how much crumble you like on your dessert. Alternatively you can also add some porridge oats to the mixture for extra texture.

Fruity Filling: 300g apples (we recommend Pink Ladies, Braeburn or Granny Smith), 115g blackberries, 30g butter, 30g brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

Method

Preheat oven to gas mark 5. Check out oven temperature conversions here.

In a large bowl place your flour, sugar and butter to make the crumble topping. Rub the butter in to your flour and sugar to create a breadcrumb texture.

To make sure your crumble topping is extra crispy and crumbly, we recommend you spread your mixture on to a baking tray or sheet and cook in the oven for around 15 minutes.

Whilst your crumble topping is crisping, core, peel and chop your apples in to small cubes.

Over a low heat, melt your butter and brown sugar in a saucepan until it turns all caramelly.

Now add your chopped apples and cinnamon and cook for a further 4 minutes.

Finally, add your blackberries to this mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more.

Pour your mixture carefully in to your pie/crumble dish. Top with your crumble mixture and place in the oven for around 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.

Time For Tea

LIGA have a beautiful range of Scandinavian inspired homeware pieces. Serve up a pot of tea with your crumble and in your new autumn mug.

large cream and cork teapot from eco friendly business LIGA

Need a smaller teapot? Why not try this two cup teapot from Denby’s Studio Blue Brew range.

small blue teapot from Denb which holds two cups of tea

Hydrate Your Skin

Cooler autumn weather means we have to take more care to nourish and hydrate our skin. Farmers make a stunning range of face, hand & foot creams to keep the hardest working hands super soft.

Keep Out The Chill

If you love the outdoors then why not keep yourself warm with a Valley Mill 100% wool scarf. Did you know that wool is a natural insulator helping to stay at a comfortable heat level whether it’s summer or winter? So, no sweaty necks with a woollen scarf.

Luxurious Lips

If luscious lips are your goal then we have your winner.  

Battle Greens lip balms are not only PETA certified vegan friendly and cruelty-free but also packed full of the most beautiful products to keep your lips soft, moisturised and protected.  The balms are also packed with quality natural ingredients, and free from synthetic colours and fragrances.  

Each balm comes in a plastic-free and biodegradable cardboard tube that can be recycled when it’s all used up – an eco-friendly alternative to so many plastic lip balm tubes and pots that sit in the landfill for decades (after all, only 9% of plastic ends up being recycled). 

To use, evenly push up the cardboard disk at the base of the tube to reveal your desired amount of balm – only a little is needed – and apply to your lips as usual.

Banner saying Halloween 2021 coming soon to valley mill
Current Events Gifts Home New Product Launch Our Suppliers Recipes Valley Mill

Love Eco Living? Then You Will LOVE LIGA

June 25, 2021

We want to introduce you to an amazing new brand here at Valley Mill. Meet LIGA. Once you’ve met them we are sure you will LOVE LIGA.

Why LIGA?

We love to work with like-minded small businesses; that have their own unique story. They care about the products that they make and the effect they have on you as a customer, as well as the environment. So let’s find out more about this amazing company LIGA.

Love Liga?  Yes we do!  Look at this beautiful cream ceramic and cork homeware.
LIGA’s ceramic and cork cream ceramics are now available at Valley Mill online and instore.

Who Are LIGA?

LIGA are based in Cornwall and are a family run business who want to provide affordable and stylish homeware whilst also looking after the planet. The team draw inspiration from nature to design eco homewares that use only sustainable materials. Not only are they eco-friendly but their products are simply stunning too. Imagine serving up your outdoor dining with these? We are pretty sure your guests will be handing out a lot of compliments.

Keep your oil & vingear fresh and hygienic by storing them in this Scandanavian inspired Liga cream oil bottle. Strong, practical, stylish and a great quality dispenser for everyday use. Easy pouring for oil, balsamic or vinegar.

Working Together

There is so much to do to look after our planet better, and we can only begin to make a change by working together.

LIGA uses beautiful materials such as Ethically sourced Cork, Organic unbleached cotton, recycled papers, vegan wax, compostable cloth, bamboo, recycled EVA plastics and ceramics to create their sustainable collections. Ethically sourced from around the world with the hand printing, making and finishing carefully done in Cornwall. 

We Are Passionate About Eco Living

LIGA are committed and passionate about using sustainable materials in creative ways to make eco products affordable and useable for everyday living.

We love this cork and ceramic teapot from LIGA.  Pours beautifully and looks stunning too.
Update your kitchen homeware with this Scandanavian inspired Liga cream teapot. Strong, practical, stylish and a great quality teapot for everyday use. Serve up tea for two or for the whole family. This Liga teapot give a fabulous pour and can be used with tea bags or loose tea.

Our Ethos

Up until early 2020 we only sold products that were made in Wales and in turn, mainly supporting small local businesses.  Since then, we have branched out to UK made and UK designed and are only working with businesses who have the same ethos and beliefs as ourselves.  

Whilst the majority of our products are made in Wales, some of our suppliers products are mainly handmade in the UK or designed in the UK with materials sourced sustainably from outside of the UK.

Carbon Footprint

Our Welsh slate travels only 130 miles from Snowdonia.    At Valley Mill it’s not only our products that we want to be eco-friendly, but our staff too.  To strive for sustainable living, we offer our team a car share scheme with a monetary bonus to reduce the amount of cars used to travel to work.  

We also encourage working from home whenever possible.  This May we were proud to start a cycle to work scheme.  Want to find out more about educating yourselves and others? Take a look at the United Nations goals to help transform our world and protect our planet.

Update your kitchen homeware with this Scandanavian inspired Liga cream coffee mug. Strong, practical, stylish and a great quality mug for everyday use. A beautiful luxury mug for lattes, hot chocolate, coffee, iced tea and more.

When Valley Mill started in 2007, Kevin Thomas wanted the company to be eco-friendly and materials to be sourced locally providing a low carbon footprint.  From day 1 Kevin knew that not only do the products need to be natural but also packaging must be recyclable.  

Love LIGA

When searching for new companies to work with, it’s important to us at Valley Mill to find people with similar values to our own. When we were introduced to LIGA we instantly fell in love and we are pretty sure you will too.

Take a look at this YouTube video from LIGA. We just adore these mugs.

Geeky Cork Facts

LIGA have given us some amazing geeky cork facts.

  • Cork is such a perfect raw material that no industrial or technological processes have yet been able to replicate its features.
    • Excellent thermal & acoustic insulation
      • Impermeability to liquids & gases
    • Excellent elasticity, compressibility & resilience
      • Hypoallergenic
    • Soft to touch
      • Lightness
    • Cork tress & cork products absorb CO2

How Is Cork Harvested?

Have you ever wondered how cork is actually harvested? LIGA have created this YouTube video to show how the cork they use for their products is extrated.

Every nine years the cork is harvested from the Cork Oak tree without harming it.  Did you know that cork trees live for more than 200 years and the more LIGA use cork then the more trees are planted.  Take a look below to see how it all happens.

We adore this cream ceramic and cork bowl from LIGA. Yes we, LOVE LIGA!
Add a contemporary look to your style dining, with these Scandanavian inspired Liga cream salt and pepper shakers. Strong, practical, stylish and a great quality dispenser set for everyday use. Not only a necessity for your dinner table but they look stunning too. Also great to take on your picnics and outdoor adventures.

So now you have met LIGA and now you can understand why Valley Mill LOVE LIGA.

Shop their latest cream ceramic and cork homeware here.