What I Wore: Midnight

Last Wednesday the hubs and I planned to meet in town after work for dinner, so I ditched the hoodie and holy yoga pants (there’s nothing sacred about them, they’re just full of holes from Bungle nipping at them!) and with Christmas on the brain decided it was worth getting a little dressed up.  But, our fancy dinner out ended up turning into a couple of hours of soggy, impromptu Christmas Shopping followed by a cheeky Chinese Takeaway on the way home instead (hands down the classiest takeaway I’ve ever had 😉).

I wore my new lace dress from Coast which kind of reminds me a little bit of Self Portrait and a little bit of a flamenco dancer because of the dropped hem.  It’s so comfortable to wear (no worries about scoffing too many mince pies and turkey at the Christmas Party) and the skirt has a lovely shape and movement to it.


Dress – C/O Coast (*My Cardiff readers can get 20% off at the checkout in Coast Cardiff if you mention “The Cardiff Cwtch”).  Bag – Primark (in stores now).  Shoes – ASOS (Similar Here).  Earrings – H&M (Similar Here).






Big cheers to the hubs for the photographs (…and the Takeaway!). Who else is excited for party season? Have a great week everyone! 🌠

Chocolate Orange Welsh Cakes

No that we’re officially a week into December (coupled with the fact that it actually snowed this morning!  Not for long… but still!) I declare it officially safe to bring on the Christmas baking.  I’m easing you in gently though with these Chocolate Orange flavoured Welsh Cakes.  I LOVE Welsh Cakes, not only because I’m Welsh and it’s practically criminal not to love them, but also because they’re so easy to play around with!  If you’re not a fan of the traditional mixed fruit filling, then just swap it out with something you fancy – like chocolate! 🙂

Bonus Bungle snap 😉  Isn’t he handsome?

Chocolate Orange Welsh Cakes

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 50g caster sugar (+20g for dusting)
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g chopped pieces of orange-flavoured chocolate
  • 110g butter/margarine (+ a little extra to grease the pan/skillet)
  • 1 large egg
  • a splash of milk if the dough is too dry

1. Sift together the dry ingredients into a bowl, then rub in the butter/margarine (get in there with your fingers and rub until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs).
2. Stir in the chocolate.
3. Mix in the egg until the dough comes together (if it’s too dry, add a splash of milk).
4. Roll out and cut into rounds.
5. If you haven’t got a skillet, a greased, level frying pan will do; cook the cakes for 3 minutes on each side (low heat), or until golden brown.
6. While still warm, sprinkle with a little caster sugar and then scoff!

Have a great weekend everyone! x

What I Did Last Weekend: Christmas Shopping and Country Walks

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Last weekend started off a little earlier than usual because Sunny’s little sister came to stay with us.  On Friday I took her into Cardiff for some Christmas Shopping, which started off with breakfast at my favourite cosy nook, Barker Tea House.  Tina had a massive bowl dog dish of porridge, and I went for their blueberry and bacon pancake stack. 🙂



Here’s one of the weirdest things I did last weekend; I had my face turned into chocolate!  I mean, I have chocolate on my face all the time, so when Candy Mechanics asked if I wanted to be temporarily immortalised as chocolate lollipop – it was just too weird an opportunity to pass up!  They’ve set up shop outside Debenhams in St David’s until the 23rd of December, and for £7 you can create a chocolate selfie!  A perfect stocking filler, don’t ya think?



You can also create your own Chocolate Christmas Cards to send to your favourite people… or you, know, just to scoff yourself 🙂

I think almost everyone put their decorations up last weekend, us included!  Sunny hates doing it (apparently I’m really fussy about it!  Pfft!), so he very kindly enlisted Tina to help out instead.  We got the tree and all the other bits up in record time; what took longest was convincing Bungle that the tinsel, fir and fairy light invaders weren’t scary.  He barked at the wreath on the door all afternoon and still won’t go near the tree.  What a wimp!


On Sunday, I took a couple of birthday presents out for a spin (The Oliver Bonas Jumper is hands down the cosiest, fluffiest jumper I’ve ever owned) and went out for a wintery walk.


We parked up in the tiny village of Michaelston-Le-Pit and picked up the Salmon Leap Trail, which follows Wrinstone Brook and is apparently full of Salmon in the spring.  It’s amazing how many lovely walks there are out in the Vale; now that Bungle’s able to walk a bit further it’ll fun to go exploring next year 🙂








Have a lovely week everyone! x

Cardiff Christmas Shopping Guide

Happy December 1st!  It finally feels like Christmas is on its way, and I LOVE Cardiff at Christmas.  I popped in last week for my first bit of festive shopping and now I’m all excited for Christmas – bring on the Mince Pies, Queen’s Speech and Brussell Sprouts please!  It’s hands down my favourite time of year to potter around town (even if you’ve got to be up at the crack of dawn to have any hope of getting a parking space… pfft!).  The arcades suddenly look like something out of Harry Potter and the smell of bratwurst burning can only ever be a wonderful thing.  I put together a little Christmas Shopping Guide like this full of my favourite places in Cardiff to prowl for gifts last year, but here’s the new and improved edition! 🙂

Homeware & Gifts

Flying Tiger (St Davids Centre)

Perfect for: Quirky homeware, stationary and stocking fillers.  Tiger is one of my favourite places to hit if I’m having people over because they’ve always got the best (and cheapest!) party supplies.  When it comes to banners, cake decorations, candles, napkins and nick nacks Tiger is the place to go, and at the moment they’ve got some great Christmas themed decorations and party bits and bobs.

Illustrate (Morgan Arcade)

Perfect for: Graphic prints, T Shirts and artwork.  Sunny and I absolutely love Illustrate’s geometric animal prints – we’ve got a whole gallery of them!

Miss Patisserie (7, High Street Arcade)

Perfect for: Handmade Cosmetics, Bath Bombs, Candles. Tucked away in one of the Victorian Arcades (just off St John Street) Miss Patisserie is my go-to if I’ve got a pamper session planned – their bath balls are the bomb-diggity (much slower to fizzle out than, y’know, that *other* highstreet handmade cosmetics brand, and they create beautiful tie-dye swirls in the tub).  All their products are handmade, vegan and cruelty free and downright gorgeous.

The Joke Shop (24, High Street Arcade)

Perfect for: Fancy Dress Costumes and practical jokes.  My brother and I used to love hitting up the joke shop when we were kids – it’s perfect if you’re planning a fancy dress night out at Christmas, or you’ve got pranks planned around the Christmas dinner table, or for fun stocking fillers.

Home byKirsty (16, Castle Arcade)

Perfect for: Scandi-style homeware and stationary.  Awarded best new business in the 2015 Cardiff Life Awards, Home byKirsty showcases statement pieces like lights, cushions, mugs and other accessories for the home.  Definitely worth a look if you’re looking to buy a present for someone who’s just moved house!

Cardiff Outdoor Christmas Market (The Hayes)

Perfect for: Unique handmade gifts, artwork and food.  If there’s someone on your gift list that’s impossible to buy for and you’re tearing your hair out over them then a stroll around the stalls should do the trick.  I took my friend Missy there the other day and she bought a lovely clock made from a melted down bottle of Bombay Sapphire (GiftGlass), and then Sunny and I treated ourselves to a few prints we liked for the house from Illustrate.  You can find a directory of all this year’s stalls here.

Cardiff Indoor (Central) Market (St Mary Street)

Perfect for: Foodie gifts (welshcakes!) and vegetables for Christmas dinner, homeware, sewing and crafty gifts, vinyl records.

Forbidden Planet (Duke Street)

Perfect for: Comic books, cult action figures and collectibles.  If you’ve got a Sheldon Cooper to buy for then you’ll already know about Forbidden Planet and are probably a frequent visitor. 🙂

Oliver Bonas (St David’s 2 – The Hayes)

Perfect for: Bright and colourful shop offering quirky homeware and gifts – also fashion and accesories.  I wrote a whole post about it here.

The Pen & Paper (Morgan Arcade)

Perfect for: Pens and Paper!  The best place to go for ink, card, pens, notebooks and diaries.

Kitchens Cookshop (High Street – castle end of St Mary Street)

Perfect for: Everything kitchen, cooking and baking related.  Guaranteed if I get a strange utensil or quirky cooking-related item from my Mum at Christmas time (and I always do!) then this is the shop it’s most likely come from.

Rules of Play (Castle Arcade)

Perfect for: Board games, Role Playing Games etc.

Castle Emporium (Womanby Street)

Perfect for: Market full of independent retailers.

Fashion & Jewellery

Coast (St David’s 2 – downstairs)

Perfect for: Jewellery, accessories and Christmas Party outfits.  Remember, Coast are currently offering all my readers 20% off – just mention “The Cardiff Cwtch” at the checkout!

Hobos (High Street Arcade)

Perfect for: Vintage and secondhand fashion.

Two Seasons (Queens Arcade)

Perfect for: Ski, skate and surf shop selling main brands of clothing and equipment for adults and kids.

Food & Drink

Wally’s Delicatessen (Morgan Arcade)

Perfect for: Foodie gifts.  Wally’s has its own unique aroma, you’ll smell the spices and cured meat long before you step inside.  It’s definitely the place to go if you’re looking for things to go into a Christmas hamper as well as hot sauces, biscuits, chocolates, cheeses, pannettone and Christmas pudding.

Wally’s Drinks (Castle Arcade)

Perfect for: Wines, drinks and spirits.  I was strolling through Castle Arcade the other day and stumbled across this new (new to me anyway!) branch of Wally’s.  Perfect if you’re looking to gift some quirky drinks or liquors, or stock up for New Year’s Eve!

Bean Freaks (St Mary’s Street)

Perfect for: Natural foods, remedies and beauty products.

Madame Fromage (Castle Arcade)

Perfect for: Cheesy gifts, literally!  Specialty cheeses and hampers.

Books & Music

Spillers (Morgan Arcade)

Perfect for: CDs and Vinyl.  The world’s oldest record shop and a Cardiff institution.  ‘Nuff said.

Cranes (High Street – castle end of St Mary Street)

Perfect for: Gifts for musicians.  Cranes is the Mecca for Cardiff Musicians and the place to go to buy instruments and accessories.

Troutmark Books (Castle Arcade)

Perfect for: Lovely secondhand book store tucked away in Castle Arcade.

Welsh-themed Gifts

Bodlon (Yr Hen Lyfrgell, The Hayes – and also 12 Park Road, Whitchurch)

Perfect for: Welsh-themed gifts.  Beautiful homeware, welsh language books, prints and stationary by welsh artists, toys and locally produced chocolates and alcohol.  They’ve also got some beautiful tree ornaments and decorations at the moment.

Castle Welsh Crafts (Castle Street – opposite Cardiff Castle)

Perfect for: Welsh themed gifts, love spoons, slate and souvenirs.  Castle Crafts has been around for donkey’s years and it’s no wonder because it’s the best place to go for all things Wales – especially love spoons.

Pitstops

Because all that Christmas Shopping is nackering!  It’s nice to have somewhere to go for coffee and a snack!

Barker Tea House (High Street Arcade)

Crumb’s (Morgan Arcade)

The Plan (Morgan Arcade)

Llaeth a Siwgr (Yr Hen Llyfrgell)

Uncommon Ground (Morgan Arcade)

The New York Deli (High Street Arcade)

 

If you’ve got any Cardiff Christmas Shopping suggestions then I’d love to hear them – I’m always discovering new favourites! 🙂

November Favourites

November is easily my favourite month of the year (everyone’s got a soft spot for their birthday month!) and easily the busiest, and this November didn’t disappoint on either end!  I got stuck in to my fifth NaNoWriMo, celebrated four birthdays, and had a very blogging month.  I had an absolute blast from beginning to end, and it’s got me all excited for Christmas and the New Year! 🙂

Cardiff

There was so much going on in Cardiff during November!  Winter Wonderland opened up on the 9th of November and I was lucky enough to get invited along to their sneaky peek press night which involved freaking out at the top of the massive Ferris Wheel, scoffing German hot dogs and swigging hot chocolate.

The following week Canadian Coffee and Doughnut chain Tim Horton’s opened up on Queen Street and you know me, along with Cinnamon Buns and Bacon, Doughnuts make up a large part of diet – so I was super excited to see what all the fuss was about.  I can confirm that Tim Bits will be keeping me fuelled through Christmas, as well as all their other goodies. 🙂



Fashion

I’ve been so busy this month that I almost managed #NoSpendNovember!  But, it was my birthday half way through the month and I maybe hinted a little bit too hard about the Oliver Bonas Dream Blouse, because not only did Sunny buy it for me, but so did my Mum and Dad!  I love it!


Christmas Outfit sorted!  Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to Coast’s Christmas Blogger event in Cardiff and had a lovely evening trying on lots and lots of Bond Girl Ballgowns.  I was also lucky enough to win one of their gorgeous dresses!  It was a total pinch me moment – and just in time for my birthday too!  I chose their Candice Lace Dress, which has a lovely hi-lo hem and has a definite Self Portrait vibe to it.

*Also, if you’re still looking for something to wear for the party season, you can get 20% off at Coast if you quote “The Cardiff Cwtch” at the checkout (Cardiff only!).

Food

Milgi’s breakfast has to take the top food spot this month.  They serve breakfast every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to midday I’ll definitely be going back for their Lavabread-fried Potatos.  Yum!


Also, if you haven’t checked it out already, I wrote a post full of Hot Choc-tails.  I made myself a Irish one the other night with a bit of Merlin (if you’ve never tried Wales’ answer to Baileys from the Penderyn Distillery then you need to – it’s a stunner!).  I might have gone a bit overboard though and added too much – I was a bit sloshed by the time Blue Planet came on.

TV

Peak Blinders is back!  And every time Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds comes up on my Spotify, I get excited for Wednesday nights.  If you’ve never watched before it’s into its fourth season now and follows the Peaky Blinders, a real Birmingham gang from the 1920s.  If you’re a fan of Boardwalk Empire and other such gangster historical drama then it’ll be right up your street.

How can I not mention Blue Planet?  Every episode has been amazing, and I genuinely got all soppy when the whales and dolphins had a little reunion.  Also, the Portugese Man of War terrified me, and more so when someone posted a picture online of one that had washed up on Barry Island Beach (and others across The Vale)!?  So if you take your dog walking on the beach in South Wales, keep an eye out!

Online

I started re-watching Reign this month (…I love it, it’s my thing, let it go), and was busy adding songs from the series to my Spotify when I cam across Vitamin String Quartet.  They’re a string quartet that basically create covers of pop songs and their backlist has completely taken over my Spotify.  I love their cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and Lorde’s “Royals”.  So worth checking out!

How was your November?  What have you been enjoying this month?  🙂