Burger and Lobster

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard that Burger and Lobster Cardiff launched their new menu last week. Most of Cardiff seems to have been invited to try the new additions. As G said; “I’m surprised there’s any lobster left in the sea” – insert laughing emoji here. 

Burger & Lobster Cardiff has been open a while but until last week we’d never been. I think the limited menu (a burger, a half lobster or a lobster roll was originally all they had available) put me off. Added to this, G is a vegetarian who eats fish (the proper name for this is pescetarian, but I just say ‘picky’) and although he does eat fish, he’d never tried lobster. So it would’ve been quite a gamble to visit. 

Luckily the new menu helps with our quandary. They’ve kept their original menu items but added a few more including various lobster and brisket rolls, smaller ‘chick’ lobsters and a larger selection of burgers, including a kids burger. 


We started off with a few drinks – cwtch beer for G and a ‘velour tracksuit’ for me – which went down easily but was very sweet. One of those was more than enough! 

The Velour Tracksuit cocktail at Burger & Lobster, Cardiff

G decided to go the whole hog and ordered the half lobster (£24 – comes with fries and salad) while I went for the smack brisket brioche roll (£8) and side of lobster mac & cheese (£5). The server told me that the brisket was the best thing on the menu – high praise indeed. 

Half a lobster at Burger & Lobster, Cardiff
Brisket brioche roll and lobster mac & cheese
Both my main and my side were delicious, but the mac & cheese was weirdly really sweet. Teamed with the brioche bun of the brisket and the very sweet cocktail I’d just drunk, everything  was a bit too much on the sweet side for me. 

The lobster was definitely the stand-out dish of the evening. It was delicious. It’s a little daunting to crack the shells etc if you’ve never eaten lobster before and I’m sure there’s a ‘right’ way of doing so, but we just went for it! 


We also had a side of Crazy Blooming Onion (£4), a kind of take on onion rings. The way it was cooked meant the outside of it was lovely, but the inside was almost raw onion. If definitely cut through the sweetness of my meal though.


I was too full for dessert, but G ordered the chocolate brownie sundae (£3), which we only realised was a kids dessert when the bill arrived (!) He said it was really nice with large chunks of gooey chocolate brownies – the perfect size after our mains. 

Overall I enjoyed Burger & Lobster. The restaurant had a lively atmosphere and the DJ and cocktail menu make it a good place to start a night out or celebrate a birthday.

We were invited to try the food at Burger & Lobster for free, in exchange for an honest review. We paid in full for our drinks. 

Cardiff Story Museum

We were really stuck for something to do on a wet Monday recently. J’s school was having an inset day and our usual rainy day venue (the museum) was closed. 

A friend had previously recommended the Cardiff Story Museum on The Hayes in town so that’s where we headed. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much (from the outside the building looks like a small gift shop) but we were all pleasantly surprised! 

Life in 70s Cardiff
 

The museum is spread over two floors so we visited the street-level first. J loved the moving models of the houses on Cathedral Road, which showed how the way we live has changed over the years. 


There were loads of other interactive exhibits on this floor too – J’s favourites were the animal wall models and build your own Cardiff, where he spent aaaaages! 

Every day is a school day….

There was loads for me to look at while J played and baby F slept in her pram, I learned quite a bit about Cardiff that I didn’t know. Every day’s a school day eh? …..

Downstairs in the basement there was loads more to do, including dressing up, a well-equipped play area and loads of interactive activities. There was plenty for kids of all ages. In fact, I wouldn’t mind going without the kids to do some exploring of my own!

If you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day I would really recommend a visit to the Cardiff Story Museum. 

The Cardiff Story is free to enter. The museum  staff were not aware I’d be blogging about it. 

Puzzlewood – day out near Cardiff

This weekend we went to Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean. 

Sounds ages away doesn’t it? The Forest of Dean is in Gloucestershire after all. But Puzzlewood is actually only an hour away from Cardiff. A few minutes outside of Monmouth. If you’re looking for something to do this summer I would really recommend spending the day here. 

Walking in Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

Puzzlewood is basically a forest. But it’s like an enchanted forest from a fairytale. In fact Puzzlewood is said to have inspired JRR Tolkein in his descriptions of Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings. It’s also been used to film loads of films and TV programmes, including Star Wars, Dr Who and Merlin. My little Jedi had a great time playing with his Star Wars figures while we were there. He also loved finding the hidden wicker seats, lookouts and the ‘magic door’ hidden in the wood. 

Exploring Puzzlewood

Puzzlewood covers around a mile and we spent almost two hours exploring all the nooks and crannies. A word of warning though, no pushchairs are allowed (we took the baby carrier) and it’s very uneven and quite muddy in places so wear sensible shoes. 

Puzzlewood also has a small petting zoo, a wicker maze, a small cafe and loads of picnic benches. It’s really worth checking out if you’re looking for a day out.

Entry to Puzzlewood costs £6.50 for adults and £5.50 for children aged 3-16. Under twos are free. 

Spot the Stormtrooper

We paid in full for our entry to Puzzlewood and the venue was not aware I’d be blogging about them. 

The Pickled Radish, Llandaff

Earlier this week I had the most delicious dinner at The Pickled Radish in Llandaff. 

If you read my last post, you’ll know that I went there for lunch last week and had an amazing Welsh rarebit mac and cheese.  A couple of friends and I already had a table booked for this week and after seeing the menu last week I was so excited to return. 

This time we started off with a plate of olives before ordering the lobster pie (£17.50) for my main. If I’m honest I spied this last time and knew I’d order it before I even looked at the menu. Lobster, haddock and salmon in a creamy sauce, topped with truffle puff pastry and accompanied by a cheesy mash – it was as delicious as it sounds.

Delicious lobster pie at The Pickled Radish, Llandaff

My friends both ordered the burger which they said was really tasty too. I don’t think there was a crumb left on our plates. Although they weren’t served on plates, they were served on wooden boards. Jay Rayner would be horrified. 

For dessert we all went for the maple glazed popcorn brownie with salted caramel dressing (£7.25). It was lush. Decadent and gooey and the presentation was fab, (almost) too good to eat.  It was topped with what looked like micro salad leaves, but the waitress told us it was ‘lemon balm’, a refreshing lemon-flavour herb. Yum.
 

Decadent chocolate popcorn brownie at The Pickled Radish, Cardiff
 

I’ve really enjoyed the food, service and atmosphere both times I’ve been to The Pickled Radish now. I’m already planning my next visit.

We paid in full for our meals at The Pickled Radish and the restaurant wasn’t told I’d be blogging about them. 

What we’ve been up to this week….

This week didn’t start off too well, I was struck down with the horrible 24hour sickness bug going around. Luckily the little ones didn’t catch it, but it meant all plans for the start of the week went out the window. 

My Waterloo Tea explorer card. Bring on the free cake!

When I was fully recovered Baby F and I ventured over to Penarth for lunch with my Mum in Washington Tea. It’s important to build your strength up with cake after being ill, isn’t it? I’ve now filled my Waterloo Tea explorers card so there’s a free slice of cake with my name on it next time. Who says maternity leave isn’t productive?!

Welsh rarebit macaroni cheese at The Pickled Radish, Llandaff

We went for lunch at the new Pickled Radish in Llandaff on Friday. I’m still dreaming about the Welsh rarebit macaroni cheese with Pembrokeshire ham and a brioche crumb. Delicious. The decor and service were great too. Looking forward to going back for an evening meal next week. 

Great view from our table at The Dock, Cardiff Bay

Friday night we had a babysitter so went for a quick bite to eat at The Dock in Cardiff Bay, the old Terra Nova pub. The refurb looks great, it’s light and airy and makes the most of the fantastic views of the bay. 
 

A mediocre salad at The Dock
 

We both ordered the superfood salad, which was pretty disappointing, I wouldn’t order that again. There are so many other lovely places to eat in the Bay. I’d go back to The Dock for drinks though, especially on a warm summer evening. Then we went over to the Odeon to watch the new Captain America film in the IMAX, it was awesome!

On Saturday my usual hot yoga class wasn’t on so I went across town to Yoga Fever. Mark’s classes are always really strong and I felt great afterwards. 

Cardiff 5k start line in Whitchurch village

Yesterday I did the Race for Victory Cardiff 5k run in Whitchurch, along with 799 other people. I was quite nervous about it! Even though I’ve been jogging with the buggy, this was the last time I actually ran 5k. I really enjoyed it though and completed it in 35 minutes, which I was pretty happy with. The race was brilliantly organised and it was great to run around my old stomping ground of Whitchurch. It also meant that there were loads of familiar faces cheering me on along the route. In fact the crowd and atmosphere was awesome, despite the rain!  

My only criticism is that we didn’t get a medal. I wanted a medal selfie! But the T-shirts are pretty nice, so that’s a great momento. 

Hope you’re having a relaxing bank holiday. Keeping everything crossed that the weather warms up a bit this week as the forecast is promising. 

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Getting in my comfort zone at Mecure Holland House

Last week I had the best facial of my life. My skin was glowing for days! I was invited to try the new Comfort Zone treatments at the Spa at Mecure Holland House Hotel on Newport Road. 

Comfort Zone is a European brand and Holland House is the first place in Cardiff to offer their treatments and products. 

The brand promises a ‘complete system of care for the skin, body and soul’. The lady from Comfort Zone analysed my skin  while telling me about the brand’s scientific approach to skincare. They even have a neurologist studying the way changes in our brains are evidenced on the skin – intelligent stuff! Of course, I watch a lot of Greys Anatomy so I knew *exactly* what she meant……ha ha.

The brand also promotes healthy and sustainable lifestyles; for example using natural products on the skin, eating healthily and exercising. A very holistic approach to skincare. 

So after a glass of Prosecco (whoops there goes the healthy eating part) and skin analysis (apparently I’m more wrinkly on the left side my face than the right, possibly because I sleep on my left side) it was on to the treatments.

  

We started off with a Himalayan Salt Massage (55mins £60). I lay face down on the (heated) bed, and the wonderful therapist, Liga, started off massaging me with warm Himalayan salt stones, before exfoliating me with a salt scrub. This does not sound relaxing, but it really was. I nodded off, which I’m told is the ultimate compliment to a beauty therapist (!).

Liga then wrapped me in a cocoon of blankets where I was left to relax while the oils sunk in, before all the salt was buffed off.

The salt scrub is said to completely detoxify the body and while I’m not sure whether it did that, my skin felt lovely and soft for days afterwards, especially on my back. I kept thinking that this would be a perfect pre-holiday or pre-event treatment to get your skin looking fab. 

Next it was on to the Comfort Zone Skin Regimen facial (30 minutes £45) Here comes the science; ‘Supreme Nutricosmeceutical System targets primary causes of accelerated cellular ageing reflected in the skin – inflammation, glycation, oxidation and methylation.’ Got it? What you need to know is that it promises an intensive anti-aging treatment with visible results in just half the time of a traditional facial.

The facial starts in the usual way with cleansing, toning etc. Then Liga applied an acid peel to my face (I kept thinking of that scene in Sex and the City when Samantha has a chemical peel, luckily it was nothing like that), my skin was tingling like mad, I could really feel it doing something.

The treatment also used the Kabat massage technique which involved moving my arms around in certain ways and at one point being told to push my hand against Liga’s hand. It was supposed to align my mind and body but felt a little strange – like doing a bit of yoga mid-facial. Not necessarily a bad thing, just different.

I love facials but often come out feeling a bit disappointed that you can’t see visible results, apart from slightly oily skin. Not this time!  

I hate taking selfies but how amazing does my skin look?!? I had no makeup on in this pic, apart from a bit of staining on my lips from the red lippy I had been wearing earlier. 

Holland House would never have been my first port of call when looking for a city centre spa. But with 13 lovely-sized treatment rooms and the most gorgeous relaxation area – I’ve been missing out. 

 

After our treatments we were treated to wine tasting, canapés and an evening meal in the newly refurbished upstairs bar and restaurant. It’s been well done out, creating a modern, relaxed space – a far cry from how it looked before and perfect for people watching over Newport Road. 

The Comfort Zone treatments will be available mid-May. I’ll definitely be going back! 

I was invited to try the new treatments at Mecure Holland House for free, in return for an honest review. 

Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival 

  
We had a fun morning at Cardiff Central Library. As part of Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival we went to hear professional storyteller Vanessa Woolf read Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy. (Professional Storyteller – how amazing does that job sound?!)

Five Minutes Peace was a favourite of mine and my sisters when growing up so I was excited to introduce it to five-year-old J.

The session was fun and interactive with songs, actions and sensory materials to help the children really get into the book. It was only £3 too – bargain! 
 

 

I was invited to attend a session at Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival for free.