What I Did: Sunday Lunch at Llanerch Vineyard

It was my Mum’s birthday a few weeks ago.  We’d just got back from Canada and struggled to quickly come up with a plan of where to take her on a Sunday for a chilled but fancy afternoon meal out that wasn’t going to be just a bog standard Roast.  It was also hot, like – even my knees are sweating – blazing hot, so the chance to sit outside instead of crammed into some dark and muggy corner of a restaurant would be a bonus.  And so, we booked a table at beautiful Llanerch Vineyard 🙂

Any other year it would seem absolutely ridiculous that there’s fully functional vineyard just outside of Cardiff, but apparently the usually mild and drizzly weather we (usually!) get around here is perfect for making the French and German hybrid wine (labelled “Cariad”) that Llanerch produces.  Apparently they fill up to 10,000 bottles of the stuff every year, so there you go!  Anyway, as well as offering up vineyard tours and wine tasting classes, it’s a lovely place to go for dinner or afternoon tea – especially on a Sunday when the Cariad Bistro offers up an Al Fresco Sunday lunch.



The way it works is that you can choose from either a two or three course meal with various options for starter, main and dessert.  We went for the two course option, forgoing the starters in favour of dessert (obviously!).  I went for a good old roast chicken with all the trimmings, which included fresh, seasonal vegetables, with plenty of extra ones on the side, lots of thick gravy and cauliflower cheese.  It was yum!



For dessert I went for the coconut panna cotta with mango sorbet, which was gorgeous – and perfect because I was about ready to melt by then, it was so hot outside!  But, it was a really lovely afternoon sitting out in the sunshine looking out over the vines – you could almost pretend you were in the South of France or the middle of Tuscany 🙂

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Have a great week everyone! 🙂

What I Did: Cardiff Bay Beach

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And so the heatwave blazes on here in Cardiff (it’s set to get up to 27° again later on this week – phew!) which is great because it means there’s plenty of chance to get out and enjoy all the summery things on offer in the city in the weather they were actually intended for!  Case and point: The Cardiff Bay Beach Festival, which runs every year from July to early September.  It’s moved from its usual spot on Plas Roald Dahl right in the heart of The Bay to a bigger, breezier spot up by The Barrage – a genius decision as it means there’s plenty more to see, do and eat!  I popped down on Saturday evening for a drink and stroll around the funfair, and thanks to the beautiful weather and even more beautiful sunset it really felt like I was on holiday somewhere far away.  Hello Cardiffornia! 🙂


If I hadn’t stuffed my face at Vegetarian Food Studio earlier that day then I’d have absolutely filled up on the Milkshakes, Halloumi Fries, Candifloss and Churros on offer – but I was full, so I had a sunset slushie instead 🙂








Have a great week! 🙂

What I Did: Paddling Pools and *Bistrot Pierre

High five for Friday!  Hope you’ve had a lovely week, whatever you’ve been up to.  Hands up who’s excited about tomorrow’s royal wedding?  Up, down, up, down?  I wasn’t bothered at all, but I got really into Suits early this year and now I’m kind of… interested.  “Interested” is probably the most excitement you’ll get out of me on this one, but the more I read about Meghan Markle, the more I really like her (…I’ve been trying so hard to separate her from Rachel Zane).  Have you seen the video of her speaking out against sexist advertising when she was just 11?  She also used to blog (aside from “The Tig“, she’s also rumoured to be behind “The Working Actress”) and side-hustled as a calligraphist, and – let’s get trivial, shall we? – she and I share the same first name… which we don’t go by.  It’s Rachel, in case you’re wondering. 😉

Anyway, I want to see the dress so I’ll be tuning in for a bit at least.  So, other than stalking the soon to be Duchess of Sussex, what have I been up to?

Earlier in the week I popped to Home Bargains for a few cupboard essentials and came away with a £2 paddling pool instead (*eyeroll* it’s always the way, right?).  The weather’s been so lovely that we’ve been out in the garden whenever we’ve had the chance, but – bless him – Bungle struggles a bit in the heat, y’know, due to the fact that he’s off the scale on the fluff-o-meter.  So I thought it’d be fun for him to have somewhere to cool off.  🙂  I kind of underestimated how bloody big he’s gotten though, I should have gotten a bigger one!



French restaurant chain, Bistrot Pierre, sent me an invite a few weeks ago to sample their new summer menu – so I met up with Sunny after work one evening and we hustled over to The Brewery Quarter (just off Caroline Street), excited to fill our empty stomachs with some lovely French Food and mon dieu, did we fill them alright. 🙂

For starter, I had Calamari with a lovely garlic aioli dip, while Sunny opted for deep-fried brie – which I kind of wish I’d ordered – not because the calamari wasn’t delicious, but because why would anyone pass up the opportunity for deep fried brie!?  It was stunning, especially coupled with the spiced pear chutney.  Yum!


I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to order an Orangina.  Sunny rolled his eyes and called it “Cheap French Tango” which honestly made me want to throw my wedding ring at him.  I used to drink gallons of the stuff when I went on holidays to France as a kid – and to this day I can’t see a bottle without having a lame Proustian Moment of some of my favourite summers. 🙂

For main I had the Burger Maison which was huge and delicious and came with a bucket of pomme frites (très bonne), whilst Sunny was very happy with his choice of the Médaillons de porc which came with plenty of vegetables on the side (…although he couldn’t help sneaking a few of my chips, grrr).




For afters Sunny bagged a winner again with the Gâteau au miel – a traditional Burgundian Honey cake – which, although it doesn’t look much on the plate, Sunny said was the best dessert he’d ever had and practically demanded that I learn how to make it.   I went for the classic Crème brûlée – I mean you’ve gotta, right? 😉

Huge thanks to Bistrot Pierre for the invite, we had a fantastique time and the food was absolutely banging.  I’d totally recommend if you’ve got a craving for some French fare – it made me desperately want to whizz down to Portsmouth and hop on a ferry to France 🙂  I’ve definitely got my eye on trying one of their gastronomy nights!  You can book a table at one of their many restaurants across the UK here.  I also have a code (LBP8X87H) which entitles each member of your booking group to a free drink with their meal (You can read the Terms and Conditions here). Nice!

Have a lovely weekend guys! 🙂

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: ¡April Feria!

Well, while the weather over the weekend was more murky than Mediterranean here in Cardiff (it was absolutely freezing when I went out to walk the dog this morning!), it didn’t stop us from at least pretending that we were in Spain.  On Saturday Sunny and I popped down to Tramshed for its annual Spanish Fiesta – April Feria – a whole day celebrating Spanish music, dancing, and – more importantly – foooooood.  I suppose it’s Cardiff’s nod to the famous Feria De Abril in Seville which lasts for six whole days every year around this time – six whole days of flamenco dancing, bullfighting and scoffing paella.  Well, April Feria only lasted the one day, so, the way I saw it, I had to cram six days worth of paella and churros scoffing into one.  Challenge accepted.

Fair warning; there are photographs of me stuffing my face coming right up… 😉


Inside Tramshed, the main room was fiesta ready – with streamers and lanterns and red carnations, and there were Flamenco Dancing Workshops going on on the main stage.  There was live music and Spanish dancing all day, as well as an after party in the basement of Jacob’s Market.


By far the best thing on the menu though was the paella by Riceminster – three massive pans of vegan, chicken and rabbit (a traditional Valencian) paella.  I’ve tried making paella so many times at home by it always ends up a gloopy mess which I brush off by just calling it risotto instead (oh the shame!).  So it was nice to get schooled by the masters!  Traditionally you’re not supposed to season paella with chilli, just a squirt of lemon juice and I can confirm that the chicken paella was an absolute stunner. 👌

🙂 🙂 🙂


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Also, you can’t go to a fiesta and not have Churros.  Those are the rules!  If you don’t come away licking cinnamon sugar off your lips (or brushing it out of your beard if you’re anything like Sunny) then you’ve gone wrong.




If only the weather had joined in, but then this is Cardiff after all!  Have a fantástico week everyone! 😉