Bank Holiday down The Bay and around Bute Park

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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. 🙂

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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… 🙂

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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???

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Have a lovely weekend! 🙂

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: The Volvo Ocean Race Cardiff Stopover

I’ve got to be honest, I’m not that bothered about boats.  I’ve manned a boat maybe three times in my life, and none of those voyages were particularly successful.  Two of them involved getting tangled in some pretty thick pond weed under a willow on Roath Park Lake, and the other time was on honeymoon when Sunny decided that he wanted to try a two-man kayak.  Honestly?  I was absolutely knackered from rowing before we’d even made it out of the dock and whinged the whole way round (“Can we pleeeeease go back to the beach now?”).

So when Sunny suggested we pop down to Cardiff Bay to see the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover, I agreed to go on the proviso that we’d have our own stopover in Compass Coffee for breakfast Cronuts. 🙂

Sunny went for the Eggs Hebredian (Eggs Benedict with some added juicy black pudding), I had the Sticky Toffee and Custard Cronut and can confirm that it was 👌👌👌



After breakfast we walked over the Barrage towards The Boatyard.  I didn’t know much about the actual race before I got there, but it’s been running since the seventies.  Back in October, the boats weighed anchor in Alicante and set off on a nine month race around the world, with stopovers in just twelve cities.  And this year, Cardiff was picked as the stopping port after the tiring Atlantic leg.  Unfortunately, the boats hadn’t actually arrived when we were there on Sunday (they came in very early on Tuesday morning after being slowed down by some bad weather – welcome to Wales!), but there was more than enough to see and do (and eat!).  They’re docked in Cardiff until the 10th of June, when they’ll set off for Gothenburg.  While they’re here there’s plenty going on in and around The Bay, including workshops, demonstrations and a couple of races on Friday the 8th and Saturday the 9th of June (you can find out a bit more about what’s on here).


Despite being “not bothered about boats” the workshops and stalls were actually really interesting – particularly the Volvo Building; you can learn more about the race, the boats and how bloody hard the teams work during each leg.  You can also hop into a replica of one of the actual racing boats, and even attempt to dock one using a simulator.  Lots of cool stuff to do.  We got down there at about 11 in the morning and before we knew it, it was pushing 4!


As well as the stalls devoted to the race, there were also a few flying the flag for Wales (including some fab local food stalls), like Visit Wales, where you can try out a Virtual Reality version of some activities and experiences on offer around the country – like rocketing down the side of Snowdon on a Zip Line and diving with dolphins. 🙂





I’ll never complain about rowing around Roath Park again!  Definitely worth heading down to Cardiff Bay and checking out the Stopover while it’s in town – the boats are shipping off on the 10th of June.

Have a great weekend! 🙂

What I did last weekend: Our Anniversary

On Saturday, Sunny and I celebrated 4 years of being hitched!  I feel like I should say that it’s gone quickly, but so much has happened in those four years that it feels like it might as well have been a century.  Anyway, we’re usually quite low-key when it comes to romance, but we did end up doing a few things to celebrate. ♡

We started the day off with a lazy breakfast with cards, and one of my favourite quick and easy weekend breakfasts is egg in the hole with streaky, crispy bacon.  🙂  Then ended up taking Bungle to the beach for the morning since the weather was so nice.  It’s been the soggiest August since I can remember, and yet summer officially stopped by for the bank holiday weekend.  I can’t decide whether I’m happy about the sudden warm weather, or irritated by it (you had your chance summer and you blew it!) – but it least it gave me the chance to take my new Zara top out for a spin when we went out to dinner in the evening.

Top – Zara, Skirt – H&M (old, similar here), Bag – TK Maxx (similar here), Earrings – H&M (out of stock 😦), Shoes – ASOS (old, similar here)

We went to the Custom House for dinner which, in case you’ve never been or heard of it, is literally right on the edge of Cardiff Bay’s barrage.  It’s one of those market-style restaurants where you go up to a kind of butcher’s counter and pick your meat – which is always top quality.  Sunny went for some venison and I went for some posh fish (sea bass) and chips.  Would definitely recommend if you love seafood, and/or are a rampant carnivore 😉

After dinner we went for a quick walk over the barrage and watched the sun set over the Bay, which was lovely… until Sunny got bitten/stung by something lurking near the water.

On the way back Sunny drove me to two McDonald’s drive-ins to track down a strawberry milkshake for afters… and then we got up at 4am to the sound of Bungle barking at the mess he’d made in his bed (doggy diarrhea – great!).  Not the stuff of storybook romances, but definitely of lasting love.  ♡

How was your weekend? 

*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! ♡