What I Did: Blossom Walk through Bute Park

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I knew it!  Warm weather in April (in Wales…) can never be trusted; I had a feeling I’d be back to wearing a jumper on Monday, and whaddya know?  Here I am bundled up and slurping hot chocolate like my life depends on it. Still, I packed in as much of summer as I could into last weekend.  I had my first Strawberry ‘Shake from McDonalds (yum), I actually squeezed my Daz white pins into some shorts (not so yum), and we had a barbecue (yum yum).  Although, just as the hot dogs finished cooking the black clouds burst and we ended up having to eat inside (not before I got soaked taking Bungle for his evening walk though…).  Oh well.

On Sunday, we braved the weather and went for a walk in Bute Park to see the blossom (and pet cute dogs…).  🙂


We parked up on Cathedral Road and then cut through Sophia Gardens, crossing the Taff (where Bungle met Bella the St Bernard) and heading into Bute Park right next to The Summer House.  We walked a loop alongside the Taff, turning just before we reached the Rugby fields and walking back down past the College of Music and Drama, the Castle and then back across the bridge.  Bute Park never feels that big – it doesn’t take long to walk around it  – but it’s not small either, and so never feels too busy.  The perfect place for a Spring walk. 🙂








Come back soon summer! 🙏

 

A Lingering Winter

It’s almost hard to believe it’s April; it seems like just yesterday that everyone was moaning about how January was dragging into its third millennium – and yet, here we are!  Although, the weather still doesn’t seem to have gotten the message and most days it feels a lot more like February.  Over Easter, I made the decision to step away from the computer for a bit and because Sunny had a week off we both got really excited about getting out and about together. But – surprise, surprise – it pretty much rained ALL WEEK.  In the end, we managed a trip to Costco (…fair play, their hot dogs are banging) and a run down to Penarth to take Bungle for a bath.  I mean, we also got some major adulting done around the house like washing curtains and painting skirting boards (…and also got very close to completing Assassin’s Creed Origins.  Priorities people, come on.).  But, that’s it.  We got rained off.  And although that’s kind of expected when you live in Wales, there are limits.

It’s funny.  I’ve always thought of myself as an autumn/winter kinda gal, but this year?   The endless darkness and the lingering cold and wet and not being able to get out has made me miserable.  I’ve really, honestly struggled.  It’s been hard being cooped up and old anxieties have at times really gotten the better of me.  I’ve felt tired constantly, haven’t been eating well and have found it really hard to feel inspired.  And while the weather always seems like an easy scapegoat when it comes to finding a reason for feeling blue, it’s contributed massively.

But!  Yesterday the sun came out and I actually put the air con on my car for all of ten minutes (…until my fingers froze and my eyeliner started to run down my face…), so I’ll take that!  Spring is on it’s way and there are loads of exciting things ahead, so onwards and upwards! 🙂


Anyway, it’s always great taking Bungle down to Penarth.  You might laugh about the whole bathing him in the sea thing, but actually it really works!  Salt water is great for his coat and because Penarth has a pebble beach, he doesn’t get any sand stuck in his fur.  Plus, he LOVES the sea and swimming.  Just look at his happy little face! 🙂





Once Bungle had shaken off and was rocking some beachy blonde waves, we went onto the pier and stopped in Waterloo Tea for a cuppa and a cake.  🙂

Have a great weekend everyone!  Hopefully the sunshine will finally make a comeback, eh?  🙂

 

What I Did: New Kicks and Cocktails at the Celtic Manor

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Happy Friday everyone!  Here’s another What I Did post, this time all about what I got up to yesterday.  It was a long one, which all started with Bungle barking at 5.30am.  I’ve got no idea why he’s waking up so early at the moment, but it’s driving me nuts!  Apparently a Golden Retriever in Australia holds the world record for the loudest bark and I can bloody believe it.  Once Bungle’s awake he barks and barks and barks until one of us crawls out of bed and goes downstairs to see him – and at the moment, that’s happening most mornings at the arse crack of dawn.  *sigh*  He’s such a brat!

Look at that innocent face.  Ugh!  🙂


After breakfast (and Bungle’s morning walk), I got dressed.  I put on my cosiest jumper (it’s been absolutely freezing in Cardiff this week!) and decided to give Benefit’s *Bad Gal Bang a road test.  The verdict?  Well, I applied it at 9am, absolutely loved the lift and volume that it gave my stubby little lashes and was amazed that they stayed in place right through until 11pm when I took my makeup off (Apparently it’s capable of lasting 36 hours, but honestly who on earth wears mascara for 36 hours?!).  I was able to avoid clumpy, tarantula eyes because the wand is easy to manouvre; so big tick on that one.

Now, it claims to be smudge proof, but alas I was panda’d up as usual by the afternoon, and I did have quite a bit of smudging by the end of the night under and above my lashes – so wah-wah on that one.  Buuuut, the lift and volume you get is pretty epic.


I popped into town to run a few errands… aaaaaand – like a Magpie with a one track mind – ended up in Skinny Dip looking at all the shiny, pretty things, and then H&M, where I bagged a new pair of trainers for £9 in the sale.



In the afternoon I worked on my book (fuelled by some fresh Welsh Cakes that I picked up from Bakestones in Cardiff Market), and then after dinner, Sunny and I drove up to the Celtic Manor.  I’ve passed by it so many times in the car on the way to and from London  – you can’t miss it towering over the M4 on the hillside near junction 24 – and I’ve always wanted to visit.  So I was very excited when I was invited along to the launch of its brand new cocktail lounge; The Mulberry.



Decorated with gold paint, dark marble and plenty of velvet, it was like stepping between the pages of The Great Gatsby, and the cocktails didn’t disappoint either.  Far from a bit of ice, fruit juice and gin shaken together, The Mulberry‘s cocktails are like a performance in a glass.  For example, their champagne cocktail, the Candy Floss Royal comes straight up with a cloud of pink candy floss in a martini glass, which melts when you pour over the muscat and champagne mix. And their Tom Collins?  They aerate it at the table with Laughing Gas.  Actual Laughing Gas, you guys.


I took my brand new Skinny Dip clutch out for a spin, which looked very much at home in the glitzy surroundings 🙂

Time to check in with Bungle.  My Mum and Dad bought us one of those Pet Cams for Christmas and it’s seriously amazing!  We’ve got it set up in the kitchen so every time we go out we can check in on Bungle and see whether he’s sleeping (unlikely…) or getting up to mischief (more likely!).  Last night he spent most of the time lying on his bed looking sorry for himself, poor guy. 😦  It’s nice to be able to check in with him and see whether we need to hurry back to him or can stay out a bit longer – plus, we can actually talk to him through it if we want to (…which he hates!  It really confuses him!).

Hooray for the weekend! Have a good one, whatever you’re up to! 🙂

*Through the Keyhole: The Panache

Who else loves snooping around show homes?  When I was a kid my parents used to drag me and my brother around Cardiff on a Saturday to sniff out new developments.  At the time I didn’t get it; I spent most of my childhood convinced that we were about to up sticks and move at any second.  Now, I get it though.  In those days before Pinterest came along, that was how you got a little “home inspo”.  Well… that and the many, many back editions of House Beautiful stacked under the coffee table (Mum, you need to recognise that you have a problem…).

Anyway, these days I LOVE snooping around show homes, and whaddya know?  A couple of years ago Sunny and I actually ended up buying a new build ourselves when we moved back to Wales.  It’s funny because we’d always ruled them out as being bland and boxy, but there are some out there that break the mould and punch above the rest with something a little special.

Last week I was invited along to have a look at The Panache, Crest Nicholson’s newest addition to their colourful and quirky Penarth Heights development.  I’ve been watching the development grow ever since they knocked down the old Billybanks (a ramshackle, concrete council estate that boasted the best views in Wales), so I was excited to go along and have a good old snoop. 🙂


Built over three floors – from the garden, garage, open plan kitchen, lounge and dining room on the ground floor, to the huge roof terrace at the very top – The Panache has a kind of art deco feel to it, with its white, curved walls, metallics and picture windows that all look out onto Cardiff and the Bay.  A very different look and feel to other new builds.  With the views and the decor, it reminded me a little bit of Tracey Island (although, I don’t think Thunderbird 2 would fit on the driveway!).


The Master Suite on the first floor had all his and hers fittings, including a dressing area with a wardrobe each (happy couples all have separate things – I’d love to have a separate sink and wardrobe to Sunny).  Also, this cute little glasses rest – which I’m definitely going to have to track down for myself since I’m always forgetting where I put mine! 🙂



The best part though was the view, which really is the best in Cardiff.  From the roof terrace you can see the whole city, the Bay, and the Bristol Channel. And on a very clear day you can usually give Castle Coch a little wave and see up to Valleys beyond it.  Thankfully, last Thursday summer decided to put in a rare appearance so we could really enjoy the roof terrace, the views and the drinks – which had all been created with The Panache and its views in mind.



It’s definitely worth popping over to Penarth Heights for a look – especially if you’re into interiors or thinking about moving.  Couple it in with a walk over the barrage to Cardiff Bay if you’re feeling fit! 😉

Have a great week everyone!

Nash Point

When I lived in London, I lived in a flat overlooking the Thames near Dartford Bridge (believe me, not as glamorous as it sounds – although it did mean that when I sang along to London Calling by the Clash I could actually mean the words “I live by the river!”  Which I thought was stupidly cool).  Anyway, even though I loved watching the ships going up and down the Thames while I was doing the washing up, in winter – when the London fog arrived – it was a pain.  We’d be woken up in the middle of the night by the fog horn warning ships off the mud.  A sporadic – but annoyingly predictable – double honk every thirty seconds or so.

Anyway, when we went for a walk along the cliffs at Nash Point and came face to face with the fog horn it brought all those memories back.  Lucky for everyone sleeping nearby (the cottages around the lighthouse are available to rent), the fog horn isn’t in use anymore – and only sounds for tourists on the first Saturday and third Sunday of every month.  The Lighthouse itself at Trwyn yr As – or Nash Point – was actually the last manned lighthouse in Wales, but is still used to warn ships away from Nash Sands.

It’s a lovely place for a cup of coffee (there’s a small cafe opposite the car park) and a short walk over the cliffs, or – if you’re up for it – a long walk to Llantwit Major along the coast.  🙂