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Video: Lake District

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Some time ago we spent 5 days walking and wild camping in the Lake District and totally forgot that we’d filmed the whole thing! Alas, we introduce a rather belated video from a trip last summer. We hope this video will give you an insight into the ever changing weather, sheer beauty and the day-to-day walking lifestyle of the Lakes. Not to mentioned the huge cream teas that we devoured in every village!

If you’ve never wild camped before it’s a truly liberating way of getting face to face with the great outdoors, but with most of life’s little luxuries stripped away. It teaches you to really consider your needs against your wants, how to improvise and makes each day an adventure. Some days we walked for 10 hours while others were more like 4 but after some dinner cooked up on a stove and good nights sleep next to a lake you’re always ready for a big hike the next day.

Anyhow, here’s the video:

We wrote a whole article about wild camping in the Lake District, which is the perfect companion piece for planning and budgeting for a loop around the lakes. Here it is:

 
 

Travel: 5 Day Wild Camping Loop In The Lake District

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The roasting sun had been shining in London for months, our flat was dry, creaky and sun bleached.  Parks were bursting at the seams and my tan was reaching it’s Mediterranean limit.

So, we jested, why not ditch the the hottest heatwave since the 70s for some of England’s tallest mountains, largest lakes and most glorious countryside during its wettest month of the year! Welcome to the Lake District, a place whose precipitous weather predictions were correct. Despite the wet weather we had a fantastic time exploring lakes by foot, which was made all the more adventurous by wild camping.

 

Derwent Water

Derwent Water

We were drawn to the lakes after a short trip in May offered by Ali’s family. The Lake District provides many activities and it does so across a relatively small area of land. We saw potential for a walking adventure, so we arranged a trip back a few months later, oblivious to how wet it might be. Our plan was to take our camping equipment and wild camp our way between as many of the northern lakes (the quieter ones) as possible. We didn’t plan the route and did most of our mapping via Maps.me, deciding as we went where we’d go next. We also opted to keep this trip budget, aiming to spend £25 a day, we’ll let you know how we got on.

 

Travel

We travelled to Penrith from London via National Express on a night bus, acquiring £10 tickets pp per way.  We slept on the bus and set alarms for 5am when we arrived at Penrith. Luckily there’s a 24hr McDonald’s next to the bus stop were we could wait until 7am when the first bus (X5) to Keswick arrives. The bus takes about 45 minutes and costs £7.40 pp. For the rest of our visit we would be walking, so pack your boots!

Lake Buttermere

Lake Buttermere

Planning

There aren’t many places to restock your food provisions once you leave Keswick. So if you’re planning on walking the route, make sure you’ve thought about your supplies for the amount of days you'll be camping for. The following supplies lasted us for 4 days. We carried cheese, which could pose a few health risks if it gets hot, luckily for us the environment was cool and the cheese lasted well in the depths of our bags. Our food cost £22 for 4 days.

 

Breakfast

  • Instant Coffee

  • Milk powder

  • Porridge

  • Cinnamon

Snacks

  • Biscuits

  • Nuts

  • Bananas

  • Apples

Lunch

Sandwich made from:

  • Cheese

  • Bread

  • Spicy Chipotle Paste

  • Tomato

Or

  • Noodles

  • Spicy paste

Dinner

  • Salt & Pepper (brought from home)

  • Olive oil (brought from home)

  • Garlic

  • Pasta

  • Courgette

  • Tomato purée and water

  • Cheese

Those homemade sandwiches....

Those homemade sandwiches....

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Water

This was the trickiest part because people we chatted too were iffy on if we chould drink from the streams as there’s so much livestock. We didn't take any risks and filled up at pubs, cafes, campsites and even knocked on someone’s door. Everyone was happy to help us. We left London with 2 x 1 litre bottles and scavenged 2 x 500ml plastic water bottles, which we cleaned and reused. This was enough for half a day, with water for drinking and water for cooking with. We brought water purification tabs with us too but didn’t use them.

 

Equipment

We didn’t buy anything new for this trip, opting to use our beaten old equipment that wasn’t very expensive in the first place. Point being, you don’t need fancy equipment to get your camp on...you will find a link to our living in a tent post at the bottom of this article.

 

  • 2 person lightweight Berghaus tent - 2kg

  • sleeping bag (1 per person)

  • hob

  • gas

  • pots, pans and lids

  • small wooden spoon

  • 1 litre water bottle (1 per person)

  • penknife

  • cup (1 per person)

  • spork (1 per person)

  • waterproof jacket

  • decent hiking boots

  • gaffa tape

  • first aid kit

  • quick dry towel

  • torch

  • waterproof trousers

  • warm clothes, hat, gloves

  • phone charger / battery charger for emergencies

  • entertainment - ebook, cards, music etc

  • suncream and hat

Optional luxuries

  • roll mat

  • blow up pillow

  • dry bag

 

Map

Here is the route we took on our wild camp adventure...

Here is the route we took on our wild camp adventure...

 

Walking Route

The walk up to Castle Crag

The walk up to Castle Crag

Day 1 /  10 hours walking 

This was longest walk of the loop as we wanted to wake up somewhere new for day 2. Arriving in Keswick at 8am we started by stocking up on food at the Co-op and set off clockwise around lake Derwent aiming for the Chinese bridge. You’ll pass the Lodore Falls Hotel where you can restock your water. From the Chinese bridge we skirted south around the fell towards Manesty and then Castle Crag, these are clearly signposted. If you’re feeling tired you could camp at Rosthwaite or Borrowdale, which lie at the bottom of the Honister pass. If you’ve still got the beans head up to the Honister pass along the roadside path where you’ll soon see a YHA hostel and slate mine with cafe. We were tired so it would have been rude not enjoy a cake, or two (£4.50) and a free hot water!

With our sugars replenished we set off down the western side of the pass towards Gatesgarth aiming for Buttermere lake. Unfortunately, the only route available, short of tackling the Great Gable, is along the road or an easily missed mountain pass (which we did miss). The surroundings are stunning and this particular road is often cited as one of the most beautiful in the country, so walking it ain’t so bad. After 2 hours the lake becomes visible and we trace around the right of lake to find a secluded spot under large trees just below the huge rough ramblers house. Camp setup, we continue along Buttermere for another 30 mins into the village to restock our water and enjoy a swift half at the The Fish Inn. The sun shines at 5pm and we smile contently in the beer garden before heading back to the tent for supper with aching legs.

 

Sunset at Lake Derwent

Sunset at Lake Derwent

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Day 2 / 7 hours walking

It’s very wet the next morning so rather than tackle the Hay Stacks, a high fell overlooking Buttermere, we decide to walk the opposite way around the lake into Buttermere villlage. A whole circuit of Buttermere will take 2hrs. We arrive completely soaked and hit up the Skye Farm Tea Room for cream tea, which costs £4.50 per person and fills us up like Popeye and spinach. A rest bite from the elements is welcomed as we plan the remainder of the day. Rather ignorantly, we failed to notice the huge lake nestled above Buttermere! So spend the rest of the day enjoying a circuit around lake Crummock, which is a far quieter and larger excursion than Buttermere. The walk is lovely and changes across the circuit, and the sun even comes out towards the end.  Ali returns to camp to find she has a burnt nose, that sneaky afternoon sun can catch you off guard so pack your suncream!

On the way to a rosey nose!

On the way to a rosey nose!

A circuit around Crummock takes 4 hours at a leisurely pace. Wild camping makes washing difficult so we decide to dunk ourselves in the ice cold lake in our underwear.  The French tourists laughed furiously as we flapped about in the water, it was worth it to hit the sleeping bag so fresh and so clean (yeah, think Outkast!).

Alternatively, if the weather is dry and mountains clear you could enjoy a day walk up Hay Stacks /Scarth Gap/ High Crag peaks.

 

On the way up Hay Stacks

On the way up Hay Stacks

Day 3 / 10 hours walking

The day started sunny with clear mountain peaks so we set off early and restocked our water with some kind rough ramblers staying in the house above our camp spot. Destination.... Hay Stacks. On a sunny day this is a relatively accessible climb to 600 meters. But on our trek the rain clouds returned, the wind picks up and we get drenched. The peak includes a scramble and the high winds put us off, so we found another route to the top around the back of the peak. This secondary route gave us a pretty sweet view of lake Ennerdale further east. The rain clouds were so misty that we couldn’t see any of the lakes to the north, so we go for a quick dash down. From the top of Hay Stacks it’s a clearly routed, if rather slippery, path that returns you to the farmhouse near Buttermere. We heard this walk should take 3 hours but it took us nearer 4.

 

Praying for some sun, we packed down camp and trekked to Buttermere village again and enjoyed another round of cream tea, at £4.50 each.  We just can't get enough of those warm scones!  Plus we need the calories with this much walking.  We had heard there was a shop at Lorton so we set off north along the road running parallel to lake Crummock. What Google suggested was a two hour walk was, in reality, a 4 hour one. Especially as we took a scenic path on a national cycle route via Thackthwaite. Although preferable to the road, it took far longer. If you’re tired then just stay on the main road. We checked out a few of the campsites nearby but they were pretty grotty and overpriced. So we headed to the hills behind the Wheatsheaf Inn for a wild camp spot, finding a secluded pitch about 10-15 mins from the pub. We enjoyed a rather lavish supper at the Wheatsheaf and slept like stones (or maybe scones) after the 10 hours of walking!

 

Walking to Lorton

Walking to Lorton

Day 4 / 5 hours walking 

We awoke early to a spritely farmer rounding his sheep in the next field, so we decided to do a runner before he told us off for camping there! At 8am we stomped into High Lorton and onto a country lane that would later join onto the B5292 via Whinlatter forest, heading east to Keswick. Finally the sun that the rest of country and had been enjoying all week hit the Lake District and we wonder through pine forests for 3 hours in beautiful sunshine. Although a lightly busy road, the fine views more than make up for the cars. We stop for some more cream scones (£5 for 2) in Braithwaite and arrive back in Keswick for lunch, cheap homemade Mali sandwiches of course! 

 

We doze in the Lower Fitz park all afternoon and set off around the Derwent for our final camping spot in the sun overlooking the lake. We find an absolute beauty about 40 mins in and watch an incredible sundown in surely the most stunning camping spot we’ve ever christened! A weather app makes us very aware that the forecast is awful for the whole next day. Enjoy it while it lasts, as they say.

 

Day 5

For our final day we had planned a hike up Skiddaw, north east of Keswick, but the weather was awful again. Think torrential rain until 12pm. Plans dashed, we moved to Weatherspoons to enjoy unlimited refills on hot drinks that fuelled the writing of this post. Later we jump on a bus (£7.40pp) back to Penrith before our night bus back to London (£10pp), with a few pints to inebriate the evening, ready for solid if awkward sleep on the bus. Last stop, the big smoke.

 

£4.50 Cream tea, get in!

£4.50 Cream tea, get in!

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Cost

Well our target for this trip was £25 a day, borrowed from the type of spending normally associated with Asia! We just about did it, averaging £22 (for two people) including travel and food. By wild camping we saved £75 and also gained the satisfaction of sleeping in some really interesting places, away from the often noisy hubbub of a campsite. We have omitted some of the luxuries like pints and cream teas because they’re not essential for the trip. If you were to add them in it will take our total up to £38 a day (for two people) which still ain’t bad for a trip in pricey old Blighty.

If you get a chance to trek up Cat Bells by Derwent Water on a clear day then you won't be disappointed by the views!

If you get a chance to trek up Cat Bells by Derwent Water on a clear day then you won't be disappointed by the views!

Video

 

With a bit of planning, the right equipment and the will to go against the grain a little, you can have a wild low cost adventure in one of the most beautiful spots in the country. We hope you feel Inspired to get out there and start your own exploration! It’s so much easier than you think...

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Travel - 5 Day Wild Camping Loop In The Lake District, By Studio Mali
 

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Lifestyle: Why I Gave Up My Career In Fashion For The Unknown

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There's 26 year old me, a Senior Designer in my company, designing fast fashion clothing for some of the biggest brands on the highstreet (names of which I probably shouldn’t mention). 

On busy months I'd design hundreds of items, maybe 30 styles of which got booked, and of those 30 styles, maybe a couple of hundred thousand units of garments would have been produced in factories and shipped into store. To give you an idea of the scale of the production, I could walk around a festival and every few hours probably point out someone who was wearing something that I had designed.  It was a crazy business.  You could literally have an idea, sketch it out, get a sample made in a day, and within 6 weeks it would be in someones shopping bag.  

 

For the first few years of doing this I was living the dream.  The company I worked for gave me so much responsibility and creative freedom, and looked after me well to keep me there.  It was very much a sales job too, we would have to pitch our styles to our clients every few weeks and try to convince them to buy our product over someone elses.  The people buying had such huge budgets due to good sales, that sometimes you could walk away from a meeting knowing that they had just ordered 200,000 units worth of clothing.  Occasionally a buyer would ring up our office and say “I have 2 million pounds to spend on blouses this week, what can you deliver into store quickly?”  

 

That was really the heyday of highstreet fashion where almost everyone was doing well.  Customers just seemed happy to fill up their baskets with any old stuff because it was cheap and accessible.  People were proud to have found the cheapest possible item going; tops for £2, shoes for £5, and there seemed like no limit for how cheap it could be.  When I was younger I was definitely guilty of shopping in that way too, it was the rise of the cheap highstreet brands.  But after some time I sort of realised that I didn’t value cheap clothing and my respect grew for skills found in the manufacture of vintage or second hand clothing.  I didn’t want to wear the same thing as everyone else, and also maybe I started to know a bit too much about the industry and the consequences of this kind of mass production.

 

A few years later, we had a few seasons of bad trading and had to let a few people go in our company.  We had predicted that sales were going to continue at the rate we had been used to but for whatever reason it didn’t happen and we were scraping by.  The work days seemed to get slower and longer, and I had a lot more time to think things over.  I always loved working at our office because the people made it amazing.  We had our own little family there where we looked out for each other, people of all ages and all backgrounds were friends, all working together in this funny melting pot.  Some of the older ladies would cook lunch for us on almost a daily basis, and we called them ‘mummy’ because they really treated us like their kids.

Me and the oldest employee there, Pat who's a staggering 75 and got more energy than anyone on the team!

Me and the oldest employee there, Pat who's a staggering 75 and got more energy than anyone on the team!

 

That’s one of the reasons I stayed at my job for such a long time, because I couldn’t bare to leave the work family.  It breaks my heart a bit now to think that I won’t be working with them anymore, but I knew that I couldn’t stay forever for that reason.

 

Anyway, so trading seemed to be getting progressively worse, and there was a lot of pressure to get right the orders that we did have.  Sometimes if sales weren’t good in store, we would be waiting for some sort of ‘mistake’ to be found on one of our garments so that they could be sent back to us, to get them out of badly-trading stores and to claw back some money for the client.  These sort of tactics are all part and parcel in the business but it’s obviously not a very ethical way to trade.  There was also a lot of pressure from the clients to get product made very quickly based on demand.  In effect, that would put a lot of pressure on the factories, and if they were late for whatever reason then we would get fined.  It can almost be like a lose lose situation in our industry at times; if you say you can’t get something made quick enough then you don’t get the order, or if you say you can do it and are late then you get fined.  It seems pretty tough going to me, especially when we are talking about investing hundreds of thousands worth of pounds in product, and the welfare of everyone working in the factories.

 

And then there’s the wastage.  These clothes that we are making here aren’t exactly designed and made to stand the test of time.  These clothes have been manufactured as quickly as physically possible using fabrics that have been engineered to be made in the cheapest possible way.  You will be lucky if they last a few years at most.  Some of them will shrink beyond wear on the first time you wash them, or the dye will run into your other clothes in the wash.  The fact that we are making ‘fast fashion’ clothing means that they will probably go off trend within a couple of months.  And even if there is nothing wrong with the garments, who wants to wear something that is out of fashion?  I mean the scale and quantity that we are talking here is just sickening.  It’s not just my company doing this, we are talking about hundreds, maybe even thousands of suppliers all making product in this way. 

 

On a weekly basis I would go to the shops and have a look at new garments in on the highstreet.  There were hundreds of new styles in store every week and regardless of whether the old stuff on the shop floor has sold or not, they have to make space for the new.  We are talking constant change, and constant marking down of clothes into sale.  And then there is wastage in all aspects of the chain….. garments that have been made wrong, garments that aren’t selling, fabric that has been produced incorrectly….. the list goes on.

 
This is probably where half the clothes I have designed end up, in a trash heap or floating in the sea.

This is probably where half the clothes I have designed end up, in a trash heap or floating in the sea.

 

 

Sometimes when I did my weekly trip to the highstreet I would look around in despair at the sheer scale of the industry and physically feel sick.  I knew that I was contributing to this mass global consumerism, and I was responsible for this enormous unnecessary waste.  The fact that I wasn’t the one buying these clothes was no comfort to me any more, because I was doing an even worse thing.  I was the one designing the stuff purely to sell on a mass scale and the guilt was too much to bare.

 

I stayed at my workplace another few years before I found the courage to leave.  It has been an 8 and a half year rollercoaster of success, then realisation, but all made bearable because of the amazing team that I worked with, which made day to day life enjoyable.  In the end, I had stayed such a long time because it was the easier thing to do then to confront my morals and find a new path.  Me leaving was never anything personal against my company because they had always looked after me so well, but I was having problems with the industry as a whole, it’s ethics and it’s wastefulness.

 

In the summer of 2017, I left my workplace to go long-term travelling with Mark.  A 10 month adventure that gave me the time and space to fully think about what I was doing in life and where it could take me.  I had done the hard bit, leaving not only a career but a family behind.  And now that the first steps had been taken, the opportunities seemed endless.  I can’t believe I hadn’t done it before now!

On the road to nowhere...

On the road to nowhere...

 

Travelling for 10 months was probably the best choice we ever made, in some ways even exceeding our decision to get married.  We realised that we could have quite easily stayed on the treadmill of living to work, without ever stepping back to think about whether it was truly what we wanted to do or not.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what you are doing, and I knew deep down that designing mass-produced clothing in the fast fashion industry wasn’t right for me any more, but I couldn’t see a path outside of it.  

 

Whilst we were in minus 15 degree weather in a yurt in Mongolia, Mark and I came up with an idea.  “Why don’t we set up a yurt camp of our own back at home.  We could make a really cool experience for people; we could design and make all the furniture, curate all the textiles from our travels, prepare some homemade foods and just give something back to others.”  We had experienced a warming openness from the Mongolian people and wanted to share the ethos back at home.  Although the yurt camp is still our ultimate goal (a very small one mind you with only about 3 yurts in a back garden), it’s going to be a long while before we get there mostly because it’s a big thing to set up, and we currently live in a flat in London.  We would need to sell up, have enough equity to buy a property with some land, and start building some yurts (along with a load of legal jargon that we haven’t even looked into yet!).  So to make this happen in small steps, we first want to set up a furniture/ product business, making and selling things that we have crafted by-hand, that we care about.  These pieces of furniture will hopefully work in our yurt camp one day, or we would have gained enough experience to design and make some new things to go in there anyway.  We want to try to make a living out of making things, and for us it’s not just about the products but the process too.  It’s the opportunity to experiment, to develop our skills and to be creative, maybe to end up as a skillful craftsman, who knows!

Where the idea started..... in a yurt in minus 15 conditions!

Where the idea started..... in a yurt in minus 15 conditions!

 

Ultimately, we are trying to get out of the constraints of working full time for someone else.  We figure that if we have our own business, then maybe we can break out of some of the norms, ie if we want to take a month off to go travelling then we can do that, and hopefully we can find a bit more balance in our day to day lives.  Maybe when we have kids we will both get to spend more time with them, and they will see us being creative at home.  It’s also important to us to be working on something that we both care about that is in line with our moral values.  Surely hand-crafting 30 products a month is much more sustainable then producing 200,000 of them that fewer people care about. 

 

I’m not saying that I have all the answers yet for how I can sustain this ideology, because I am only at the very beginning stages of setting up a business and it’s not currently sustainable (financially anyway), but at least I have the confidence in knowing that I tried to step away from something I didn’t believe in and changed my path.  

 

We’ve got a hell of a long way to go.  Many many hours of working to make this business a success, and hours of doing all the boring stuff that comes with it too like tax returns and paperwork.  But there is also a lot of amazing stuff to look forward….. like being in control of what my day looks like, and having the time to be creative and experiment with cool materials.  I can take time off when I want to, no more holiday approvals or just the statutory 20 days off a year.  Hopefully I will have the satisfaction of knowing that my products are giving someone joy to use, or that our blog is inspiring someone to make those changes too.

 
The first product I have designed and made to sell in our shop!

The first product I have designed and made to sell in our shop!

 

 

I’m not saying this sort of lifestyle is possible for everyone because not everyone is in exactly the same situation as me.  But I do ask you this.... are you happy with your life?  Are there any small changes that you could make to find a more balanced lifestyle?  Perhaps you could work a 4 day week and spend the other day doing something that you truly love, or you could try something new that you have always wanted to do like a course in carpentry.  And even if you don't know what that thing is yet, why don't you give yourself some time to figure it out.  Sometimes the idea of making a change can be scary, or can overwhelmingly take you into a dark hole of anxiety, but I assure you that when you come out the other side there is light and freedom.  You just need to find the courage and believe in yourself to take those first difficult steps……

 

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Kate Trouw: Modernist Jewellery Shaped By Hand

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Imagine beautifully hand-crafted pieces of jewellery, sculptural in form and lightly textured in surface, inspired by architectural modernism.  Well this is the work of architect turned jewellery designer Kate Trouw, one of my favourite U.K. makers.  Geometric and organic shapes are combined to create a contemporary and clean aesthetic, whilst colours are soft creating a lightness to each piece. 

 
Wiggle earrings £35

Wiggle earrings £35

 

Trouw’s background in architecture shines through in each design.  When you are holding a piece of her jewellery it’s as though you are holding a piece of the city in your hand, a construction material. But it’s more than that. Each piece is light, it’s warm to touch.  It feels strong and yet incredibly delicate.  She has sculpted this material into a shape, giving it form with purpose and natural beauty.  With her vision it transcends into a hand-crafted sculpture, a little work of art to wear around your neck.

 
Bound Necklace £120

Bound Necklace £120

 

 

Trouw works primarily with polymer clay, a malleable material which is shaped by hand and set by heat, and the best thing about it is that it’s free of harmful toxins.  The properties of polymer clay is that it’s soft against the skin and, quite beautifully, the material is matt with a sort of egg-shell finish.  The polymer clay gives each piece a hand-produced element to it, rather than being too industrial or too heavy.  The same piece made in a plastic for instance would change the essence entirely.

 

Trouw has a small collection of jewellery pieces available online, which are hand-made to order so there is little wastage involved.  She has recently relocated her studio from London to Scotland, where all items are now made and posted to the U.K. or internationally.  Prices are reasonable, ranging from £15 for small earrings to £120 for a statement necklace, but mostly prices sit somewhere in between.  

 
Amaris £20

Amaris £20

 

 

I own a piece of Trouw’s jewellery myself, with the appeal that it won’t go out of fashion because it’s classically modern in design.  It can be worn on a daily basis and it’s something I take pleasure in wearing.  Mark and I are trying to be more conscious in our decisions of consumption, and believe that buying something that’s environmentally considered and from a local start up designer is a better way to make purchasing choices.  So much of what is available to us on the high street is trend-led so will go out of fashion, and is cheap so will break in a short amount of time, so for me, purchasing items that you care about and that are hand-crafted is surely better for a more sustainable future.  Buy less, and make what you do buy have a purpose.

 
My very own piece of Trouw!  Double barrel necklace £50

My very own piece of Trouw!  Double barrel necklace £50

 

 

You can see Kate Trouw’s jewellery on her website:

www.katetrouw.com

 

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Kate Trouw - Modernist Jewellery Shaped By Hand
 

 

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