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 🙂
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? 🙂
Last weekend started off a little earlier than usual because Sunny’s little sister came to stay with us. On Friday I took her into Cardiff for some Christmas Shopping, which started off with breakfast at my favourite cosy nook, Barker Tea House. Tina had a massive bowl dog dish of porridge, and I went for their blueberry and bacon pancake stack. 🙂
Here’s one of the weirdest things I did last weekend; I had my face turned into chocolate! I mean, I have chocolate on my face all the time, so when Candy Mechanics asked if I wanted to be temporarily immortalised as chocolate lollipop – it was just too weird an opportunity to pass up! They’ve set up shop outside Debenhams in St David’s until the 23rd of December, and for £7 you can create a chocolate selfie! A perfect stocking filler, don’t ya think?
I think almost everyone put their decorations up last weekend, us included! Sunny hates doing it (apparently I’m really fussy about it! Pfft!), so he very kindly enlisted Tina to help out instead. We got the tree and all the other bits up in record time; what took longest was convincing Bungle that the tinsel, fir and fairy light invaders weren’t scary. He barked at the wreath on the door all afternoon and still won’t go near the tree. What a wimp!
On Sunday, I took a couple of birthday presents out for a spin (The Oliver Bonas Jumper is hands down the cosiest, fluffiest jumper I’ve ever owned) and went out for a wintery walk.
We parked up in the tiny village of Michaelston-Le-Pit and picked up the Salmon Leap Trail, which follows Wrinstone Brook and is apparently full of Salmon in the spring. It’s amazing how many lovely walks there are out in the Vale; now that Bungle’s able to walk a bit further it’ll fun to go exploring next year 🙂
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. 🙂
After last year’s visit to Isle of Fire I had high expectations for this year’s event (it’s definitely become one of those must-see things on my Around Cardiff Calendar), and honestly? I was a little unsure when we did our usual walk over the cliffs from Jackson Bay and found the promenade completely empty – as last year that seemed to be where all the fire sculptures and entertainment was. This year it had all been moved up onto the gardens and around the old band stand, and even though the fire sculptures were just as cool as last year it wasn’t quite as magical. The entertainment though, as always, was fantastic!
We went hoping to see the light drummers from last year but this year’s headline act was Mr Wilson’s Second Liners – an ecclectic New Orleans Jazz Band dressed like Sergeant Pepper who played all the old 90s Club Classics like Rhythm is Dancer. They were awesome, and definitely sax-ed up this Isle of Fire. 😉
Did you see this year’s Isle of Fire? What did you think?