*Bill’s Summer of Music

I can’t remember the last time Sunny and I had a date night.  We’ll be celebrating our fourth (wait…is that right?) wedding anniversary at the end of August (…is it the 26th or 27th…?) and we’ve never really done the whole date thing, even BC (Before Canine!).

Anyway, a few weeks ago Bill’s got in touch and asked if I’d like to come along and sample their new summer menu.  They also said I could bring along a guest – so, I said, “Yes please!” and brought along Sunny for a little pre-wedding anniversary date night 🙂


Throughout June, July and August, Bill’s has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with live music events in its restaurants up and down the country, and on the 27th of July it arrived at their Cardiff Bay Restaurant – which not only meant a lovely meal for us but also an evening of live music.  They had Malaika (above), who sang some of her jazz and blues songs, as well as some covers, as well as Millie Jane Franks, who sung a beautiful cover of Fix You by Coldplay.


I’d never been to Bill’s before – but have no idea why, because the food was absolutely lush from the first course (these breaded halloumi sticks and pork dumplings) right through to dessert (by which time I completely stuffed and had to waddle back to the car – and we’d parked all the way up by the Norweigan Church too, pfft!).






Thanks to Bill’s for such a lovely night of food and music! ♡

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.  🙂






The Vegetarian Food Studio

In case you didn’t know, my mother-in-law is Indian (…Gotta be careful what I write next, I know she’s reading!  Hey Mum!).  Before I met Sunny, I could probably count on one hand how many times I’d eaten Indian Food.  I just didn’t get it, but then my only experience of the stuff was sloppy school dinner curry (Which had raisins in it…?  What even?  That still wrecks my head!) and the tinned curry my Dad used to buy.  Fast-forward ten years and it’s hand on heart some of my favourite food (…not that I had much choice in the matter!).

My mother-in-law knows good Indian Food (particularly Vegetarian Indian Food as a strict veggie herself) and isn’t afraid to speak up when she’s served something that isn’t up to snuff.  So, when she came down to visit a few weeks ago and we decided to take her to one of the top-rated Vegetarian restaurants in Cardiff, I was a little nervous.  Also, as a meat eater who’d never set foot in a Vegetarian Restaurant before, I wasn’t sure what I’d even order.

Honestly?  The only criticism we had was of ourselves – that we hadn’t visited sooner!  Sometimes it’s hit and miss with Indian Restaurants, a bit of a balancing act; the food can sometimes be too spicy, or not spicy enough, or too oily, or too expensive, or lacking flavour.  But the food at Vegetarian Food Studio was spot on and very reasonably priced – and the service friendly.  The menu was absolutely massive, with plenty of choices and meal options.  I quickly picked out a couple of favourites (Channa – chickpeas – and Aloo Parantha – a potato stuffed flatbread), while Sunny picked out a couple of childhood favourites and when they came we weren’t disappointed in either the portion size or the flavour.  Yum!  No wonder this place takes evening bookings for four weeks in advance!

They also offer takeaway food – including Indian sweets and light bites.  Definitely worth checking out if you’re Vegetarian or a fan of Indian Food. 🙂




Vegetarian Food Studio
115-117 Penarth Rd, Cardiff CF11 6JU

*Creams

A couple of weeks ago I was walking down St Mary’s Street for the first time in a long time – actually looking around instead of at my feet for a change! – and I couldn’t believe how many ice cream places have popped up.  Back in the day, my mates and I only had the unlimited ice cream bowl from Pizza Hut to tickle our taste-buds if we fancied something cool and sweet to finish our weekly trips into town.  Oh, how times have changed!  How come places like Creams didn’t exist back then?!  Can you imagine if they had?

So you can imagine how excited this lady was when Creams got in touch and asked if I fancied coming along to get the scoop on their new summer menu (…see what I did there 😉 ).

As well as their usual mix of sundaes, crepes and waffles is their new Bubble Waffle range – which is basically a sundae wrapped in a hot waffle.  Sunny – who didn’t need much convincing to come along and join me for a cheeky ice cream lunch – couldn’t believe the size of it when it landed on our table, but easily managed to polish it off.  Due to their shape and texture, Bubbles Waffles are much less filling than their traditional counterparts, but just as good!



I went for their After Eight Sundae (I’m a huge fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream) and loved every bite.




Have you ever been to Creams?  What’s your favourite ice cream flavour? 🙂

Dear Graduate

Last week my brother’s girlfriend graduated from Cardiff University after three years of placements, practicals and poring over ol’ Grey’s Anatomy (…I meant the book, but I know she’s a fan of the show too! 🙂 ). I promised to take some pictures of her once she’d emerged from the ceremony in St David’s Hall, and as she posed in her gown and we snapped a boomerang of her throwing her cap up into the air I couldn’t help think back to my own graduation a whopping 10 whole years ago and the difficult year that followed it.

Because for me, what was supposed to be the happy climax and payoff of four years of hard work turned into one of the worst years of my life. Unfortunately, the timing of my graduation couldn’t have been worse; that year, thousands of graduates threw up their caps and then watched them fall synchronously with the world’s markets. It was the year that Lehman Brothers went bust and sparked the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

No one was hiring.

Applying for jobs – whilst exciting at first – became steadily more depressing. I must have sent out hundreds and hundreds of applications, cover letters and CVs proudly boasting my new qualifications, only to never hear back. I signed up to every job website I could find and scoured them for new listings every day (Annoyingly, I still get emails from some of them!). I went back and forth to the job centre, whose ‘sign this then sod off’ regime didn’t help either my job prospects or my confidence.

I felt completely alone. My carefree little University Life bubble had burst and all the people I’d spent 24 hours with every day for the past 4 years – my best friends, my boyfriend – had scattered across the country and life was suddenly very quiet and very lonely. Without the safety and structure of full time education and without any money, job prospects or friends, I quickly began to lose all that fresh, graduate optimism – you know – that world is your oyster sense of hope and excitement. Sure, I tried to take it all on the chin, but after months and months of no success I boiled everything down to the fact that there must be something wrong with me. I felt like all that hard work (and debt!) had been for nothing and quickly became very depressed.

I’m not trying to cast a cloud over those of you who’ve just graduated, believe me. The truth is that the majority of graduates will leave University and be lucky enough to stroll right into their dream job (or at the very least get their foot up on that first rung of the ladder that will get them their dream job in a couple of years time). But with more and more graduates leaving University than ever before, and a record number leaving with firsts, there will be some fresh graduates out there who have a tough year full of tough decisions ahead of them.

If that’s you, graduate, then believe me, I know it sucks and I’m sorry.  I’m sorry you feel like all that hard work was for nothing, and that all those doors that were supposed to open for you remain firmly shut – locking you in limbo.  It might take some time but believe me, things will get better and sooner or later you’ll find your place and purpose.  But until then, here are ten things to remember:

1. Rome wasn’t built in a day

These days, a University degree doesn’t automatically guarantee a dream graduate job or an entry level position in a chosen career. Perhaps it used to, but these days – with more graduates than ever before – competition is fierce. A real life Hunger Games. Nothing’s impossible though, it just means you’ll need to go that extra mile to tip those odds in your favour – and that can take time.

2. “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” – Don’t let the bastards grind you down!

Get ready for a whole load of rejection. Be prepared to spend hours and hours tweaking you CV, filling out endless application forms and writing hundreds of tailor-made cover letters only to never hear a single word back. And be prepared to be grilled by strangers during interviews. I had an interview with a Media Agency in London where the manager smirked and nodded along to all my carefully thought out answers to his questions only to shrug his lips at the end of the interview and tell me that I hadn’t believed a word I’d said and not to expect a call any time soon. Yeah, he was a total dick. Nowadays I laugh when I think about it, but back then I was mortified and it knocked my confidence at a time when it was pretty much as low as it could go.

3. Try everything and anything once

Keep and open mind as to which route you’re going to take next and don’t make the mistake of thinking that there’s only one way to go. Now’s the perfect time to try new things and put yourself out there in as many different ways as possible. Seriously, for your own sanity! Take up a new hobby or start a side hustle, intern, temp, volunteer. If your CV is looking a bit spare, now’s the time to bulk it out.

4. Nothing worth doing was ever easy

Job hunting is practically a full time job in itself. Each application or query – if done properly – takes a lot of time. It’s not easy, but put in the extra effort and eventually it’ll all pay off.

5. Keep your friends close

It’s tough moving back home after three years plus of living independently with your mates. There are going to be times when you’ll miss those Two for Tuesday Dominos Pizza nights and being able to just knock on the door of the bedroom next to yours and rant and laugh and spill your guts out to someone who gets you and gets what you’re going through. Don’t let the sudden distance stop you from making plans. You need your mates now more than ever.

6. Make the most out of being in limbo

Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making the most out of being unemployed! It’s probably the most time off with the least amount of responsibility that you’re going to get until you RETIRE. How scary is that? So if you can – go travelling, take a year off and enjoy your freedom for a little longer.

7. Learn when to compromise

So you can’t get the dream job right now. Eventually, you have to make the decision to move on and open up your options. Sometimes taking a job in a career or field you never considered can lead to amazing opportunities. A lot of graduates end up in jobs that are completely unrelated to their degrees. Don’t ever settle, but don’t be fussy either.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you’re struggling – whether that’s with the job hunting process or your mental health – don’t be afraid to talk to someone. Visit your local careers advisor (yep, that’s not just a school thing!), ask for feedback when you get rejected so you can learn from your mistakes, and tell your friends and family if you’re feeling low.

9. Be kind to yourself

Give yourself a break once in a while, and remember that there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s hard applying for hundreds of jobs and getting nowhere, but keep your chin up and try to remember that you only need ONE person to see your potential and say yes.

10. Don’t give up hope

After months of getting nowhere it’s easy to suddenly feel like it’s just not worth the effort and throw in the towel. Don’t! You got this.