Pancakes and hairdryers

It just turned midnight on Shrove Tuesday which means that for most of us, we are stuffed all the way up to the tippy top with pancakes. Shrove Tuesday is paradoxical, it brings two things- an excuse to gorge on pancakes and an attempt at self-control. By the time Ash Wednesday rolls around, most of us have already broken our new year’s resolutions. In the last few weeks springtime has crept up on Cardiff, making my friends and I feeling a bit fresher and lighter. The feeling of new-ness turns our attention into thinking about all the great ambitions we had made in January. Even if you are not religious, lent is an opportunity to test yourself. It need not just be about restriction though, lent can provide an opportunity to take up a good habit.

You could try eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day or start exercising. If you’re a writer then lent is a really good motivation to start writing for 5 or 10 minutes a day. Or, maybe you could finally start that hobby you’ve been planning on.

When I was trying to think up ideas of what to give up for lent, I came across an ehow article which gave some good hints. If you’re stuck for ideas then try thinking about giving up an activity, maybe watching telly or checking Facebook. I know someone who gave up shopping for non-necessity things- that is a toughie. Or you could try swapping, so you could watch half an hour less of telly or using the internet and spend that time reading a novel.

Whatever you pick, do something which will actually challenge you. I tried to give up chocolate many times. One year I did finally manage to achieve what many had thought impossible- I have to say, I did feel pretty good. If you manage to stick to lent, then you do get a feeling of self-achievement. And, if you give up chocolate, you have a reason to eat lots of Easter eggs come Easter Sunday. This year I am going to give up all electrical hair stylers- my straightners, my hair dryer and my curling tongs, in the hope that my hair might actually recover a bit from years and years of daily being twisted, pulled and generally burnt.

What are you going to give up?

St. Dwynwen’s Day

You probably have never heard of St. Dwynwen, she is Wales’ patron saint of love. Dydd Santes Dwywen (St. Dwynwen’s day) is celebrated on the 25th of January. Like Valentine’s day, cards and gifts are given by people to their loves.

St. Dwynwen’s story is mainly known through folktales and Celtic stories. People did not write her story down because it was thought to be a virtue to pass the tale through word of mouth- isn’t that romantic?  You can read four different versions of Dynwen’s story on Wikipedia (link below), but the essence of her story is that she wasn’t able to marry the man she loved. She begged an angel to thaw her love because it hurt so much; Mealon (her lover) was frozen in a block of ice by the angel. But God gave her three wishes, she asked for to unfreeze Maelon and for him to be happy, and, lastly, that she would never marry. All three were granted. Dynwen became a nun and left her island (Anglesey) to devote her life to helping others through love and sadness.

Celebrating St. Dwynwen’s day has risen in popularity lately, even Tesco have started printing welsh cards for the day! You don’t have to wait until Valentine’s day to spread the love, tell someone you love them today.

You can even learn to say it in welsh: Dw i’n caru ti, or download a card to give them from here:

Wikipedia page: