DIY Pressed Flower Manicure

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Here’s something I didn’t mess up this week, because let me tell you – it’s been a corker!  I’ve burned food, dropped things, walked into things, banged my head… Oh!  And I set my hair alight with a kitchen blowtorch.  I’m so relieved it’s the weekend!  And aside from the singed eyebrows and burnt hair, at least my nails are looking good!

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was really clever, but you know how it goes – when it comes to Pinterest; recreating what you see there’s always a bit of a gamble.  Either it works out, or it’s a disaster (and I’ve plenty of those this week…).  But this worked out!  It’s so easy to do; all you need are some small flowers, a pair of tweezers and some clear nail polish.  Perfect to celebrate the arrival of Spring! 🙂

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Pressed Flower Manicure

The first thing you need to do is harvest some small flowers.  Forget-Me-Nots are just starting to bloom and work perfectly, but any small flowers or colourful petals will do.

  1. Sandwich the flowers in a sheet of grease proof paper, then wedge them in a large, heavy book or catalogue.  You need to leave them for about a week to fully flatten out and dry out before using them on your nails.
  2. Prepare your nails; trim them, file them, you do what you gotta do.  You’ll want a nice smooth surface to arrange the pressed flowers on.
  3. Keep the flowers you’re going to use close to hand, then apply your base coat of polish.  I pretty much exclusively use Essie polishes (I love the pigments and formula – you won’t see me wearing anything else!), but any neutral base colour will do.
  4. Whilst the polish is still tacky, use the tweezers to arrange the flowers on the nail – pressing gently.
  5. Next you’re going to add as many clear top coats of polish as it takes to fully seal in the flowers.  And that’s it!

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Have a great weekend! 🌼🌼🌼

Easy Sticky Honey Chicken

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How’s your head, Wales?  Is your hangover still ragin’ after grand-slamming a few celebratory shots on Saturday night?  Sworn off drinking forever?  Sad that the Six Nations are done and dusted for another year?  But what a weekend of Rugby!  If you’re still feeling a bit hanging and wobbling over the idea of just giving in and getting in a takeaway tonight, then have I got the recipe for you – perfect for the Monday after the weekend before. 😉

I’ve been on a kick recently of upping my midweek meal game – particularly when it comes to takeaway dupes – and this sticky honey and sesame chicken is a winner (-winner chicken dinner).  Nail the sauce and the rest is history.  You can either batter your own chicken or pop some chicken dippers (or Quorn Nuggets) in the oven, and then serve it up with some egg fried rice, a sprinkling of sesame seeds and some chopped spring onions.  So easy!

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Easy Sticky Honey Chicken

Ingredients

  • 100ml runny honey
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 125ml water

to serve:

  • a handful battered chicken nuggets
  • sesame seeds
  • chopped spring onions
  1. Whilst your chicken nuggets are cooking, make up the sauce. Pour all the ingredients – except the water – into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.  Then, add the water and stir.
  2. Pour into a saucepan and bring to the boil; stir until the sauce starts to thicken up, then remove it from the heat.
  3. Drizzle it all over your cooked chicken nuggets, then sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions.  Serve with egg fried rice and scoff! 🙂

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Have a great week! 🙂

*Welsh Lamb and Halloumi Salad with a Whiskey Drizzle

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Happy Friday!  A couple of weeks ago Marks and Spencer treated me for St David’s Day and gave me a lovely hamper full of their favourite Welsh products – from meat and cheese, to welshcakes and booze – to enjoy.  And enjoy, I did.  I set myself a little bit of a Ready, Steady Cook challenge and tried to whip up an easy lunch using some of the products in the hamper and whatever I had banging about in my kitchen cupboard, and this is what I came up with!

I’m not the biggest fan of salad – there needs to be a little something-something more than just leaves for me to dive into one – but the halloumi and lamb are the stars here, as well as the sweet whiskey drizzle I whipped up to go on top.  It’s the perfect companion to the salty halloumi.  Very easy to make and a lil’ bit boozy – once you’ve got the base down, you can use it to make any flavour of dressing you like. 🙂

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Welsh Lamb and Halloumi Salad with Whiskey Drizzle (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 lamb leg steaks*, diced
  • 1 block of halloumi, diced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • spring greens (I used peas, shredded beetroot, spinach, tender leaf salad and spring onions)

For the Drizzle:

  • 50ml whiskey (I used “Myth” by Penderyn Distillery*)
  • 125ml water
  • 1tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 100ml runny honey
  • 1/2 tbsp of tomato ketchup
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • couple of drops of liquid smoke
  • pinch of salt
  1. Fry up your garlic, onion and whiskey with a little oil in a frying pan – until the onion browns slightly. Remove from the heat.
  2. In a separate saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, cornflour, salt, ketchup, liquid smoke and honey until combined.  Pour in the whiskey, onion and garlic mix and gently heat until the drizzle begins to thicken.
  3. Sieve the sauce into a bottle or jug, and set aside to cool.
  4. Lightly fry the diced lamb and halloumi with the dried thyme until cooked, then toss with your salad leaves and veg.  Drizzle that shizzle, then scoff. 😉

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Thanks to Marks and Spencer for spoiling me once again – all gifted items have been marked with a *.  Have a great weekend! 🙂

*Furbo: The Treat Dispensing Dog Cam

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(*This post is sponsored by Furbo)

The absolute worst thing about having Bungle (besides when he wipes his butt on my lovely, white bed sheets…), is having to leave him!  He really is part of the family – he pretty much demands to be, it’s what Golden Retrievers are all about – and honestly I wouldn’t have him any other way and I’d take him everywhere with me if I could.  Sunny and I are really lucky that he’s never alone for too long, but then – y’know – sometimes, it happens.  As much as I’d like to wheel him around in the trolley while I do my weekly food shop (…he’d love that!), it just isn’t going to happen, but do you know what? He might as well be there with me because I never stop thinking about him and worrying that he’s okay at home on his own and isn’t wrecking the place while I’m out.

Enter the pet cam!  I used to think they were a bit of a gimmick until my parents got us a Vimtag camera for Christmas.  The idea is that you set it up in a room where you tend to leave your pet while you’re out, then basically link up to your phone via an app, and – via video link – it allows you check in on your pet while you’re out.  We were pretty much instant converts; we never have to worry about rushing back home, we just pop onto the app, make sure that Bungle’s behaving himself (…he’s usually just fast asleep!), and that gives us the option to stay out a little longer! So when Furbo got in touch and asked if Bungle would like to try out their pet cam, I wondered how it could possibly improve on the camera that we already had – what else could it possibly offer?

Well, in a word… TREATS!

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How it works…

One of the many things that sets Furbo aside from other dog cameras on the market is the fact that it allows you to toss treats!  Once you’ve set up the camera (which is super easy – just plug it into the wall, download the free, accompanying app and connect to it once via Bluetooth) you can check in on your pet at any time – day or night – and from anywhere in the world (provided you’re on wifi!).  You can talk to them through the video link (“Get off the sofa!”), hear them respond (“No, it’s comfy!”), record them, photograph them and even flick/swipe the screen to send a treat!  The Furbo will spit a couple of small treats out through the hole in its base, rewarding doggo for being “a very good boy” while you’re out and about doing your thing! 🙂

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The Good

Bark Alerts

As well as the ability to send treats, one of the best things about Furbo – and something that really sets it aside from other cameras – is the fact that the app will send an alert to your phone if it hears your dog barking.  Bungle only tends to bark when he’s frustrated or if someone comes to the door, so having a camera that listens out for that is awesome; if we get an alert, we know we need to check in pronto tonto.

Design

Another thing I really like about the Furbo as opposed to other cameras is its design – it actually looks good!  While our Vimtag camera looks a little bit like a 90s webcam, the Furbo is easy on the eyes by comparison.  It’s a little bit bigger, sure, (obviously it needs to be to hold a decent bank of treats), but sleeker, and with the trendy and kinda Scandi bambo lid it blends really well with the other furniture in our lounge.  The light on the front changes during different modes of operation – yellow when it’s on standby, blue when you’re using the app, and purple when it’s struggling to find a WIFI signal.

Treat Tossing

I mean, obviously, the main draw is the treat tossing function.  It’s great fun!  But what makes it even better is the fact that you can record your own message to accompany the treat toss – a “snack call” – so doggo knows he’s about to get a treat!

Super Wide Lens

One of the only things our Vimtag camera can do that Furbo can’t is the ability to move the camera via the app and follow Bungle’s movements around the room.  Furbo‘s lens is fixed, but, the good news is that it’s a wide-angle lens that has no trouble keeping an eye on the whole room. 🙂

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The Not so Good

The Noise

One of the only gripes I have about Furbo – and there aren’t many at all – is the noise the mechanism makes as it spits out a treat.  It’s a little bit noisy.  I mean, nothing to us humans, but by the way Bungle first reacted to it you’d think the sky was about to cave in!  He’s a slightly skittish dog anyway – he’s never liked sudden noises – and so it took him quite a while to get used to the sounds Furbo makes, even the snack call.  The good thing is that there are plenty of training videos and tips within the app that will help you properly introduce your pup to Furbo that’ll have them loving it in no time!

Depends on the Dog!

Here’s the stickler.  All dogs are completely different.  Some love watching the TV and others barely notice that it’s even there!  Bungle falls into the second category – he always has!  He’s never been bothered about the TV and has never reacted to Facetime or phone calls.  He’s a Golden Retriever with a very finely tuned nose; it’s part of the breed.  So while he’ll always appear behind me when I’m grating cheese on the other side of the house, he won’t react to me if I’m on a screen because he can’t smell me there.  The same applies to talking to him over the camera; he can hear me speaking to him through the Furbo, but won’t really recognise the sound as me because he can’t smell me.  So some of those features – as fantastic as they are – are a bit lost on him.  It’s just a lot of strange noise, and when we first set the camera up it tended to stress him out rather than comfort him.

I suppose what I’m getting at is that not all dogs are going to react to Furbo in the same way.  It depends on how they’re wired!  So if you’ve got a very skittish dog, then it might be worth looking at a more basic camera without all the bells and whistles.  You can always use the training videos of course, but it’s always going to be a bit of a gamble.

Aside from that, as pet cams go Furbo really is top of the pops.  Other than the treat tossing feature, the bark alerts alone are such a simple but really useful feature and it’s the best looking camera on the market by a long way. 🙂

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Big thanks to Karkalis Communications for sending over the Furbo!  Have a great week everyone! 🙂

(This is a sponsored post, you can read more about what that means right here.)

Women’s Guide to Cardiff

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Last month I completely freaked out when I had a little flick through my diary and realised that I was long overdue for a smear test (Cervical Cancer was in the news, screenings are at 20 year low, I’d missed a period and I’m generally just a bit of an anxious wreck when it comes to my health).  I booked in pronto-tonto, got it done, a letter dropped on my doorstep a week or so later letting me know that everything was hunky dory (phew!) and so I took to Instagram to encourage everyone else to do the same.  When a follower messaged me off the cuff to ask where the nearest Family Planning Clinic in Cardiff was – so they could ring up and book their own screening – I came up completely empty.  I had absolutely no idea!

But not just that, when I sat down and thought about it, I realised that I’m a bit clueless in general when it comes to services in Cardiff that are available to women.  You know, for example: where do you go when you’re looking for a bit of careers advice?  What sports teams are there?  Are there any open mic events?  There needs to be a Women’s Guide to Cardiff – a Little Black Book for women of The ‘Diff to stay clued up.  A directory of listings for local networking events, places to go for advice, the morning after pill, or when you’re just in a jam and desperately need a bit of help – whether that’s for mental health counselling or refuge from violence.  Let’s stay safe and in the know, ladies.

And so, here it is.  Or the beta version, anyway.  I’m going to keep adding to it to keep it fresh and as up to date as possible; so if you’ve got any ideas or suggestions I want to hear them.  I’m a woman and I live in Cardiff, but I’m not an authority on the matter.  You are.  Got any recommendations?  Know of a service that the women of Cardiff need to know exists? Just send me a message or let me know in the comments section below. 🙂

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Health

Need to book in your smear test?  Need the morning after pill or some advice on contraception?  Trying for a baby?  Here’s where to look.

Sexual Health Clinics:

♥ Butetown Health Centre
02921 833257
♥ Cardiff Royal Infirmary
02920 33 5355
♥ Park Place Surgery
029 2087 0660

*Don’t forget that you can book in smear tests at your local Doctor Surgery as well as chat to the nurse about contraception and other women’s health issues/concerns.

Family Planning:

♥ LWC Cardiff
02920 236 301
♥ Centre for Reproduction and Gynaecology Wales
01443 443 999
♥ BPAS Cardiff
03457 304 030

Postnatal and Antenatal Support for Mums and Mums to be:

Parentline Plus
PANDAs Foundation
(support for pre and post natal depression)
Listing of local Mother and Toddler Groups in Cardiff
♥ SANDS (Cardiff’s Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity

Networking

If you’re thinking of starting your own business or a blog, or just want to meet some like-minded ladies then there are so many incredible networking events in and around Cardiff.  Just check the Cardiff Eventbrite Listings to see what’s happening, or snag some tickets to one of these!

♥ House 21 Events
Workshop and Brunch for Bloggers and Brands.
♥ The Wonders Of
Networking events for local bloggers, creatives and business owners.
♥ The Monday Club
Weekly newsletter and networking events for women bossing it in and around Cardiff.
♥ Warrior Women Events
Monthly meetups to inspire and empower local women.
Little Birdie Events
Networking events and workshops for women and small businesses in Cardiff and South Wales.

Arts and Crafts

If you’re a creative gal and fancy putting your artistic eye to good use, then check out some of these events, groups and classes.

♥ Twinmade Workshops
♥ Cardiff Illustration Club
♥ Cardiff Book Festival
♥ Milieu Spoken Poetry and Fiction Sessions
♥ Ignite Cardiff (5 minutes of fame!)
♥ National Museum of Wales Drawing Group
♥ Cardiff National Novel Writing Month Boards (November)
♥ Llanover Hall Arts Centre (run looooads of classes!)
♥ Cardiff Writer’s Circle

Sport

There are so many women’s sports teams in the capital (including the awesome Tiger Bay Brawlers!) – so if you’re interested in signing up with a new squad, just check the list below.

♥ Cardiff Athletic’s Club
♥ Cardiff Basketball Club
♥ Badminton Clubs in Cardiff
♥ Tiger Bay Brawlers Roller Derby
♥ Cardiff AJAX Cycling Club
♥ The Cardiff Valkyries (Women’s American Football)
♥ Cardiff Bluebells Women’s Football
♥ Cardiff Golf Club’s “Ladies New2Golf”
♥ Cardiff Comet’s (Women’s Ice Hockey)
♥ Whitchurch Hockey Club
♥ Cardiff Harlequins Lacrosse Club
♥ Play Netball
♥ Llandaff Rowing Club
♥ CDF Runners
♥ Cardiff Ski and Snowboard Centre
♥ Cardiff Ice Skating Club
♥ Cardiff Lawn Tennis Club

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Careers Advice and Guidance

Everything you need to get your career moving in the right direction, from advice to working spaces and where to look if you fancy doing a bit of volunteering.

Where to go for careers advice and help with job searches and CVs:

♥ Careers Wales
♥ Women’s Equality Network Wales (WEN)
♥ Chwarae Teg
Women Connect First (Advice and support for Black and Minority Ethnic Women in and around Cardiff.)
♥ Big Ideas Wales
(supports anyone interested in starting up their own business!)
♥ Young Women’s Trust (women in Wales can access their free careers coaching sessions as long as they’re under 30)

Creative hubs and co-working spaces for freelancers:

♥ Rabble Studio
♥ The Sustainable Studio
♥ Tramshed

Volunteering Opportunities:

♥ Volunteer Cardiff
♥ Volunteering Wales
♥ New Link Wales

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Magazines and Podcasts

If you’ve been living in Cardiff for a while then you’re bound to have come across some of the local mags hanging around on the window sills in coffee shops and in the waiting rooms of local salons.  They’re full of information about special offers and events in and around the city. 🙂

Podcasts:

♥ Wicked Women’s Institute
“Real conversations by strong, brave, empowered women on topics from body, relationships, to sex.”
♥ Hank
Monthly podcast exploring the Welsh capital’s food and drink scene!

Magazines:

♥ Buzz Mag
Cardiff’s What’s On Guide. Find a copy @ Central Library, The Hayes
♥ Cardiff Life
Lifestyle magazine showcasing life in Cardiff and the Bay
♥ Style of the City
Fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazine for Welsh Women.

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Help and Support

If you’re struggling, whatever the circumstances, there are plenty of amazing charities and services in Cardiff and South Wales that can help.  Dewis Wales is a good place to start – they have an online database of local organisations and services that focus on well being.

Help for Women suffering domestic abuse and sexual violence:

♥ Cardiff Women’s Aid Resource and Recovery Centre
Counseling, support, accommodation and recovery services for women experiencing domestic and sexual violence.
BAWSO
Specialist support and intervention for Black and Minority Ethic Women in Cardiff and South Wales, including victims of trafficking, forced marriage and FGM.
♥ Hafan Cymru
Floating “in home” support, housing and refuge for vulnerable women and families.

Counselling and Mental Health Services:

♥ Cardiff Concern
Free charity counselling service run by christian volunteers, offering a listening ear and helping people in need regardless of their religious views.
 Relate Cymru
Relationship counselling and therapy.
♥ Breathe
Created by mental health charity Gofal, Breathe offers talking therapies, counselling and mental health workplace training.
♥ YCS Wales
Affordable counselling sessions in Cardiff and Bridgend.
♥ Kooth
Anonymous support for 11-18 year olds.
♥ Meic
24/7 support line for under 25 year olds

Support for homeless and at risk women:

 Llamau
Help and support for young people and women who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
♥ Shelter Cymru

Support for those in financial difficulty:

♥ The Discretionary Assistance Fund
The DAF gives a one-off grant to anyone of 16 who is in immediate financial difficulty and meets their criteria.
♥ Margaret’s Fund
Not sure this one’s Wales-based, but it’s worth mentioning.  It’s a charity that offers financial help to women struggling due to illness.
♥ The Speakeasy

Offers free and impartial legal advice to anyone struggling with social welfare issues including debt.
♥ Turn2us
A national charity helping people to get back on their feet financially.

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Useful Websites and Blogs

I could spend all day listing the many, many amazing local bloggers based in the Welsh Capital, but if you’re looking for something or someone super specific then check out the Wales Blog Network. (And if you’re a local blogger yourself, make sure you sign up!) 🙂

Websites About Cardiff:

We Are Cardiff
Website sharing interesting stories, arts and culture from in and around Cardiff.
♥ Visit Cardiff
Visitor Information site showcasing what’s on and what’s to see in and around The ‘Diff.

 

Phew!  What a list!  And honestly, I really want it to keep on growing; so if there’s anything you think the women of Cardiff really need to know about, comment below or send me a message so I can get it added to the list (similarly, if there’s anything you think shouldn’t be on the list, do let me know).  Happy #InternationalWomensDay you beautiful lot! ♡♡♡