Bank Holiday down The Bay and around Bute Park

DSC_0029

It’s that time of year when practically every other weekend is a Bank Holiday – which is amazing, but sometimes I do wonder why they’re all shoved together during April, May and June rather than being spread out over the whole year.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a couple in October and November, and January? (ugh, January)  I mean, obviously they wouldn’t be for sunning yourself in a beer garden or on a beach (or down The Bay, as us Cardiff lot tend to do) – but for curling up in bed and on the sofa and watching TV and just vegging out… A Great British Bingewatch Bank Holiday.  Think about it.  Maybe I should start a petition or something…

Anyway, I didn’t spend last Bank Holiday weekend binge watching, I spent it walking nine miles around Cardiff Bay and Bute Park and back again.  The weather was absolutely beautiful and it was nice to get out and be a bit of a tourist in my hometown with my favorite people… and dog. 🙂

DSC_0001DSC_0068DSC_0066

You know the drill, I’ve done the barrage walk to Cardiff Bay about a zillion times.  We usually park up in Penarth Heights and then walk down the hill past the Custom House, across the barrage and into The Bay.  We always have a pitstop in Coffi Co in Mermaid Quay because they’re dog friendly and serve up the most incredible hot chocolates.  This time I went for their After Eight one… 🙂

DSC_0037DSC_0070DSC_0074

So, the plan was to catch the Aqua Bus from The Bay to Bute Park, but someone was too busy swigging on their hot chocolate and we missed it (naming no names, but it was me, obviously…).  So we walked there instead.  I’d always thought it was a bit of a trek, but actually, it only took about twenty minutes – and we saw a few buildings and corners of the capital that I’ve never seen before.

…Some better than others.  There’s been a massive surge in student accommodation blocks popping up in and around the town centre and – while I get that accommodation is needed – I don’t get why it has to be so damned ugly.  I mean, the new Zenith building looks straight out of the Eastern Bloc.  Who the hell in the planning department is signing off on these???

DSC_0077DSC_0080DSC_0084DSC_0122

Next we had a lovely stroll around Bute Park – which is beautiful any time of the year, but definitely at its best during the Spring and Summer when all the blossom and flowers are out and everyone’s either barbecuing or sun bathing on the lawn.

DSC_0162DSC_0198DSC_0207DSC_0215

Finally, we hopped on the Aqua Bus to head back to The Bay.  Poor Bungle was absolutely knackered; it’s the longest walk he’s done in a while!  If you’re in Cardiff then it’s definitely something to tick off your list of things to do; the boat heads down the River Taff from Bute Park and out into Cardiff Bay, finally docking up in Mermaid Quay.  It sails right past the Principality Stadium (although, I think you’d get a better view of it if you did the trip in reverse) and there’s a voice over telling you all about the history of Cardiff and the docks, as well as a few interesting facts.

DSC_0223DSC_0237DSC_0241DSC_0284DSC_0328

Back in The Bay we stumbled on a Welsh Armed Forced event – with the Royal Welsh band playing.  I don’t think you can claim to be a Cardiff resident until you spot their mascot – Goat Fusilier Shenkin IV – out and about!  He’s a bit of a legend.

DSC_0334DSC_0335DSC_0352DSC_0353

Have a lovely weekend! 🙂

What I did: The Bank Holiday Edition

It’s the afternoon of #FakeMonday as I’m writing this, it’s grey outside and honestly?  I still can’t quite believe just how beautiful the Bank Holiday weekend was.  I can’t remember a Bank Holiday where it didn’t rain on at least one of the days, especially here in Wales, let alone a a whole three days without a single cloud in the sky.  I got my pasty, penne pasta legs out, ate barbecued(/burnt) hot dogs, dipped my feet in the freezing Bristol Channel, resembled a lobster after sitting in the sun for too long and it was bloody brilliant.  Well… except for the sunburn bit – slip, slop, slap everyone, always!

Anyway, I’m sad it’s over, but happy that I did pretty much manage to cram an entire summer into one weekend. 🙂




On Saturday we had a Barbecue in our back garden where we sat out in the sunshine, scoffed hot dogs and got through a handful of these very grown up ice lollies from Aldi which come in loads of different flavours from Gin and Tonic to Peach Bellini – definitely worth stocking up on ready for the next heatwave 😉


I also made these spicy potato chunks which are really easy and go really well with barbecue food.  All you need to do is cut the potatoes into chunks, boil them until tender, drain them and rough them up a bit in a colander, and then spread them out in a baking dish.  Add a knob of butter, some chopped chives and chilli jam (you can find my recipe here) and then bake for about 30 minutes at 180°.  Yum!



On Sunday we took Bungle to Porthkerry Park on the outskirts of Barry which is one of my favourite summery spots.  The main lawn was full of people having picnics and barbecues, and yet there’s so much space there that it never really feels busy.


We took Bungle for a bath in the sea and then went for an ice cream.  When it was time to leave, we packed Bungle into the boot of the car and took off his lead and just as we were shutting the boot he decided that he wasn’t ready to leave, jumped out and went running off on his own.  He went blasting off down the lawn and trampled three picnics while we tried to chase him down and wrangle him.  Oh the shame.



We finished off the weekend with a walk around Bute Park on Monday afternoon, and listened to some pretty hardcore music students practicing with the windows open at the Welsh College of Music and Drama.




Can’t wait for an encore at the end of the month!  Have a lovely weekend guys! ♡

What I Did: Blossom Walk through Bute Park

DSC_0043

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! 🙏

 

Hello Autumn

I can’t believe we’re already over halfway through October – which means that almost a year has passed since moving back home to Cardiff.  It’s crazy, in some ways it feels like we’ve been here forever and yet in other ways it still feels like we’ve only just arrived.  I mean yeah, there are still a fair few boxes in the garage (how the hell we managed to cram everything into our London flat, I’ll never know…) and the argument about which pictures to hang and where is ongoing… but on the flip side, we’ve found our favourite Chinese Takeaway – the one! – we’ve got a favourite spot down the local pub, have handful of favourite walks and green spaces and have sort of slipped into a happy new routine 🙂  We’re definitely here to stay.

Saying that, we’re still discovering our faves around the city, and last week when the hubs needed to have dental work on Cathedral Road, I dropped him off and went exploring for an hour.  It was one of those crisp, sunny days that lure you into believing that Autumn is the best season of all (…before you remember that they’re rare and real Autumn days are just damp and dreary).  I took a shortcut through Sophia Gardens and went for a walk in Bute Park.

I stopped in at the Summer House Cafe on the edge of the river for a toasted teacake (obviously…) and one of their “extra special” hot chocolates and sat out in the sun for a while. 🙂


I have to say I’ve been fighting off the arrival of Autumn – even though it’s technically my favourite season! – I just wasn’t ready for summer to go.  I think probably because summer seems to arrive so late these days that once it’s here you’ve got to grab onto it and refuse to let it go.  But that was the day I gave in and dragged one of my scarves out from the back of the cupboard.  As soon as I threw it around my neck and snuggled down, I immediately forgot about summer 🙂  Scarf season, yay!

I watched a Mexican Standoff between a dog and a squirrel… which the squirrel won.



What are you looking forward to this Autumn?

 

Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields

Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com

London’s got Hyde Park, New York’s got Central Park, and Cardiff?  Well, Cardiff’s got Bute Park – and what a beaut it is 🙂 

I’m pretty sure the last time I set foot in Bute Park I was eighteen.  I went with with some friends after school armed with a couple of party-size bottles of Reef (Oh God, remember Reef?) and we swigged them under a tree and thought we were really cool.  One of the surprising things about Bute Park is how huge it is; tucked away between North Road, Cardiff Castle and Cathedral Road it’s easy to forget that it’s there at all, and similarly while you’re wandering along the paths between the trees it’s easy to forget that you’re in the middle of the city.

Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
The pretty roof of the Angel Hotel peekin over the tops of the trees.

Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
Spotted plenty of chubby squirrels springing across the grass and up the trees…
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
Hey there chubs!

Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
When the weather changed we hurried into Pettrigrew Tearooms for a cuppa and a cake… only to find they were booked out. Pfft! I’ll be back for you next time, PT.
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
The sun did come back out – lighting up the back of the Castle. What a stunner 🙂

Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
I did Year 10 work experience at The Welsh College of Music and Drama (many moons ago and well before it had a facelift). I broke the office shredder on the first day and had to suffer through seeing the big sign they slapped to it for the rest of the two weeks. Oops!

Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
We crossed the Taff into Pontcanna Fields…

Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
…Made a few friends…
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
…and walked through the rugby fields.
Bute Park to Pontcanna Fields - theCardiffCwtch.com
We spotted plenty of pretty purple Crocuses piercing through the soil 🙂

We finished up near the riding school off Western Avenue (between the WJEC and Tesco Extra).  During the middle of the week it was so quiet – not to mention the fact that you can park up at Pontcanna fields for free for the first two hours (with three hours for only £1). The short walk into town – past Sophia Gardens and ending up outside the castle – takes about half an hour on foot, whereas the longer route over the Taff takes at least an hour.