Greek dips at the Hellenic Eatery / Hulk Smash! at the Early Bird / Anniversary meal at Cen at the Celtic Manor / Vanilla Pannacotta at our anniversary lunch at Porro, Llandaff / A couple of locally-produced beers from Pipes and the Roath Brewery and / Blas y Mor pizza at Dusty Knuckle / nurturing yoga at the hot pod / Lightning on a grey day in Cardiff / Veggie Hula burger at The Grazing Shed
G and I each had a cheeky day off work last Friday, as it was our wedding anniversary (more on that later!). We decided to start the day off with a leisurely brunch at the Early Bird in Cathays.
Does anyone else love breakfast as much as me? It’s the best meal of the day. Eggs, toast, coffee, pastries……sometimes alcohol….what’s not to like?!
I’d seen a few people tweeting about the Early Bird, a new bakery/cafe in the heart of studentville on Woodville Road, so that’s where we headed.
The cafe itself is rustic; exposed brick and woodwork, an open kitchen, mismatched crockery and very cool staff mean it’s a hipsters paradise. G and I were definitely the oldest – and least cool – people there.
We both went for the Hulk Smash (what a name!); toasted sourdough topped with smashed avocado, a perfect poached egg and lashings of chipotle sauce. (Loads of sauce. Seriously, don’t order this if you’re not into spicy food. Luckily, I like it).
The breakfast was accompanied by a very strong black Americano, just how I like it.
As we left we couldn’t resist the amazing-looking pastries, so took a cinnamon swirl and a brownie to go.
The picture below was after a trip down the M4 and does not do justice to the swirl, which was rather squashed by the time I ate it. But it still tasted absolutely lush. Yum yum yum.
We paid in full for our food and drinks at The Early Bird and the cafe was not aware I’d be blogging about them.
My lovely friends Kath and Nikki and I are always up for trying new places to eat in Cardiff. We’d seen a few other bloggers posting about Hellenic and it looked yummy, so we decided it would be our next catch-up destination.
We booked a table, even though we weren’t sure we would need to, being a cold Thursday night on Crwys Road, but it was a good job we did – the place was packed! They were actually turning people away.
The restaurant is extremely casual, it’s a no-frills place and other diners ranged from couples, families with young children and groups of friends. It had a really nice neighbourhood vibe. The glass front of the restaurant opens right onto the street though, so it was a little chilly. Serves me right for wearing a short-sleeved top on a chilly February evening.
We started off with a couple of dishes to share. The mixed dips with pitta bread ‘Tzatzikohoumotyrokafteri’ (£6.50) was my favourite dish of the night, a solid tzatziki and delicious authentic hummus was joined by kafteri – a dip of feta and peppers. I’d never tried kafteri before and it was really good, I’m definitely going to try recreating this at home. We had to ask for extra pitta bread to mop it all up.
We also shared some Kolokithia – fried courgettes served with more tzatziki (£4.30).
On to mains and I went for The Cypriot salad (£7.00). Spinach, grilled peppers and tomatoes, grilled halloumi with sesame seeds and a honey dressing. Delicious. Kath and Nikki both went for the pitta wraps, which they said were yummy, but possibly a bit of a bread overload, considering the extra pittas we’d eaten with our starter. In hindsight, we should’ve just gone for a load of sharing plates and created our own mezze. Next time…..
I’m also keen to head back with the kids. I know five-year-old J would love the pitta wraps stuffed with meat and chips!
We paid in full for our meals plus tip at the Hellenic Eatery and the restaurant wasn’t aware I’d be blogging about them.
We had a babysitter on Saturday night (whoop!) so decided to get the train into town for dinner, something we haven’t done, just the two of us, in a loooong time.
Cardiff City Centre can be crazy this time of year. Groups of blokes wearing cheap Christmas jumpers, girls with flimsy dresses and no coats (not hating, been there myself, I’m just old now) and not-always-friendly door staff mean we usually avoid parts of town such as Mill Lane and St Mary’s Street. But on Saturday we found a gorgeous little safe-haven at Waterloo Tea in Wyndham Arcade.
The night started off with a less than successful trip to The Depot (I had a good moan about it on Twitter if you want to see). We decided to head back into town to grab a warming drink before getting the train home. I’d seen on Twitter that Wyndham Tea would be open so we popped in.
I’m sure you know about Waterloo Tea – the independent tea room has venues in Wyndham Arcade and Penylan in Cardiff and at Washington Tea in Penarth. I’ve written before about how much I love their cakes and afternoon teas.
Their new Saturday night pop-ups are being run in conjunction with The Dead Canary, the secret bar at the end of Barrack Lane (although it’s not so secret any more, last time I went it was PACKED). Waterloo tea’s own staff are providing the food while The Dead Canary works its magic on the cocktails.
We had already eaten, so we just went for drinks. G had a good American IPA while I went for a ‘winter’ cocktail; Penderyn whisky, Vermouth and bitters. It was lovely, definitely a winter warmer and not one to have if you’re driving!
There was a gorgeously chilled jazz duo providing live background music and the quiet arcade (It’s entry for Waterloo Tea customers only, via the gates on Mill Lane) made it feel as though we were in a real haven from the hustle and bustle of the city centre at this time of year.
We’ll be back for food next time!
We paid in full for our drinks at Waterloo Tea in Wyndham arcade and the staff were not told I’d be blogging about them.
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I realise I am extremely late to the party on this one! Brød, the Danish bakery, opened in Pontcanna/Canton a year ago and people were queuing out the door to try their wares. We talked about going but for one reason or another never went.
Depending on the route I take to work, I often pass Brød and on Friday thought I’d pop in to buy some pastries for the office.
I was amazed at how big the place is inside, there’s room for a good few tables, they do breakfast and lunch as well as the array of baked goods on offer.
I was offered a selection box of five pastries for £10, I could either pick the ones I wanted or they would give me a mixture, so I opted to let the lady choose for me. I thought £10 seemed a bit steep for five pastries but these were not your bog-standard croissants!
I have no idea what they were called but most of the pastries seemed to be a take on Kanel Snegl (cinnamon bun) The one I went for was a huge cinnamon swirl with custard in the middle and drizzled with chocolate. It was the nicest pastry I’ve eaten in Cardiff.
My colleagues raved about them too, the box was empty by 9.30am!
I’m already planning a trip back for lunch. Yum.
I paid in full for my box of pastries from Brød, and the bakery was not aware that I’d be blogging about them.
Did you know that there’s a beauty treatment room at John Lewis in Cardiff? I had no idea! It’s tucked away behind the perfume department and is available for all of the store’s beauty counters to use.
At the moment it’s been taken over by La Prairie, the luxury skincare brand from Switzerland, who’re currently offering free facials to anyone who buys one (or more!) of their products.
La Prairie has been stocked in John Lewis, Cardiff since May, but you’d be forgiven for not realising as it’s tucked away right at the back of the beauty department.
I met Kate, La Prairie’s beauty therapist, at the counter and she took me over to the beauty room where she asked me about my skincare regime and what I would like to improve about my skin.
With the weather turning colder, I’ve definitely noticed by skin looks a little dull, so Kate recommended using the ‘White Caviar‘ products during my facial, which are supposed to firm and brighten.
The facial was wonderful, a full cleanse, exfoliate, mask, tone and moisturise, with a lovely hand, neck and arm massage thrown in too. Bliss. The treatment lasted just under an hour and I left feeling very relaxed with ultra-glowy skin.
Kate very kindly gave me a few samples of the White Caviar range to take away. I’ve been using it for a few days and I must say my skin feels amazing. However, with the creams and serums retailing between £180-£320, this is definitely a luxury brand and not one I could personally afford for everyday use!
As well as the facial, La Prairie are also offering a free gift of cellular power charge night and cellular power infusion with purchase. I’m saving mine for the Christmas party season, when my skin is bound to be in need of a boost.
I was invited for a free facial at La Prairie, John Lewis. However, this is an honest review.
After running/hobbling the Cardiff Half last month, I was determined to continue running, at least once a week. I’ve fallen into a routine of one hot yoga class a week (this is my current favourite) and Parkrun every Saturday. I should probably be doing more exercise than this, but with two young children, a job and loads of Netflix to watch, this works for me at the moment.
You probably know that Parkrun is a free, weekly, timed 5k/3mile run at 9am on a Saturday, in various parks around the world. It’s operated by volunteers and is a great way to give you the motivation to get out of bed and go for a run, particularly on those chilly winter mornings!
I usually do the Cardiff/Blackweir Parkrun (you can read my post about it here), which is a beautiful route starting on the Taff Trail, just off Western Avenue and moving along the River Taff. But my running buddy suggested we try Grangemoor in the Bay for a change this week.
We parked at the drive-through Starbucks and had a brisk walk down to the start, which is located in Grangemoor Park, under the A4232 and next to the marina.
Luckily the weather was beautiful, very sunny and crisp, which always makes running a pleasure.
The volunteers at Grangemoor were great and really took the time to explain the course to any newcomers.
The course itself is flat and tarmac all the way. It’s a ‘Y’ shape, with two out and back sections, which you do two laps of. The course itself is pretty uninspiring, with a few power stations and the backs of industrial units forming the main view along the route, with some nice views of the River Ely on the other side. I’m not a massive fan of two lap courses. It’s always a battle with myself to actually do a second lap and not just stop after one! However the Marshals on this course were fantastic and really kept the runners smiling.
If you’re looking to improve your time, Grangemoor is a good option. There are less runners than Blackweir (130 at Grangemoor compared to the 764 that ran Blackweir yesterday!), which means you can get off to a good start and really push your time. Also the path at Grangemoor was very quiet, so you don’t have to worry about other runners, dog walkers and cyclists, unlike Blackweir (“BIIIIKE!”).
I did do a PB at Grangemoor too – 31.50. Until recently I was languishing around the 34 minute mark, so I’m pretty chuffed with that. Now that the Cardiff Half is out of the way, I can concentrate on my speed, rather than distance.
Massive thanks to all the volunteers that give up their Saturday mornings to keep us running at Parkrun! 👏🏻
Parkrun is a free event and the organisers were not aware I’d be blogging about it.
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