November highlights

Top row (L-R); The best margaritas in Cardiff* at Wahaca / mouthwatering halloumi ‘fries’** at the Brass Beetle on Whitchurch Road / Stunning autumnal runs along the Taff

Middle row; We travelled around Cardiff and the Vale hunting down the 43 snowdogs and during November we ticked the last few off our list! This was our final one – Chocolate Sundae at Penarth Pier. If you didn’t manage to catch all of the snowdogs, they’re on display in the Capitol Centre from this weekend (8-10 December). Details here.

Bottom row; Getting our hygge on with a delicious brunch at Brød bakery. Their coffee is AMAZING.

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*in my opinion. And I’ve tried a fair few in my time…..

**lets not kid ourselves, it’s just fried cheese. Delicious gooey fried cheese. Calling them fries is just a way to make myself feel better about ordering (and finishing) them AND a full pizza.

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October highlights

Phew it’s been a busy month! And not with blog-related stuff; I’ve been busy with work; travelled to London and Mid Wales a couple of times during October, and family stuff has been hectic too, our youngest turned two this month and our eldest had half term, with all the juggling and planning that goes into that. 

Needless to say the blog has suffered a little, but here’s a brief round up of what I’ve enjoyed and would’ve blogged about, if I’d have had a bit more time! 

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that my eldest is well into collecting the snowdogs around Cardiff. We’ve been using the app and are currently at 54! Top left is Mccoo – captured on a grey day at Roath Park lake. Bottom right is Anthem. It took us a while to find him as he’s been moved away from the stadium in preparation for the autumn rugby games. But we spotted him at his new home further along Wood Street. 

Fairy Forest at Mountain View Ranch, Caerphilly
As I said, our youngest turned two this month. She’s really into the Gruffalo books at the moment so we spent the day before her birthday at Mountain View Ranch, doing the Gruffalo Trail, toasting marshmallows, finding fairies in the forest and getting muddy on roly poly hill. I love it at Mountain View Ranch, it’s so well done and there’s something new to see each time we visit. 

Because who doesn’t want a John Lewis cactus on their Christmas tree?!?

I was invited for an early peek at John Lewis’ Christmas department and picked up this cute cactus for our tree (it won’t be going up until December, but no harm in getting into the spirit!). The cactus is from their Peruvian-inspired range; think colourful string lights, poms poms and even a Santa riding a Llama!

I had a fun night with old school friends, seeing Cabaret at the New Theatre (which was great, Will Young in particular was fantastic) before heading over to Penny Royal for Prosecco and cocktails. We couldn’t find Penny Royal at first, we even asked in Barker two doors down who had no clue! But we soon spotted the gold embossed black door and were shown in by the friendly door staff. The bar staff were great too, so knowledgeable. These are ‘real’ cocktails, made with passion. There are no pre-mixes here! The menu is laid out apothecary style, so you choose your drink depending on how you feel (there were ‘relaxers’, ‘revitalisers’ and ‘aphrodisiacs’ among others – oooh er!) It was a lovely place to have a good chat too, no pumping music here (yes, I’m old). If you’re a fan of the Dead Canary, this will be right up your street. 

Middle right is a shot from a very windy Barry Island Parkrun during Storm Brian. The lashing wind and sea spray hitting my face definitely blew the cobwebs away that Saturday! You can read more of my Parkrun posts here and here

Gingerbread cappuccino at Coffi Co, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay

We were meant to be away for a few days over half term but an issue with our car put paid to that (let’s just say spending 4 hours on a lay-by off the M4 and being towed home isn’t my idea of a good Friday night) so we’ve been having a ‘staycation’ instead. Luckily the weather has been gorgeous, perfect for walks (and snowdog spotting!) over the Cardiff Bay Barrage and along the Taff Trail. We also tried Coffi Co’s new location in Mermaid Quay; on the site of the old Bosporus Turkish restaurant. The location and drinks were stunning. Mine was a coconut milk chai latte. Delicious. 

The Christmas bauble was gifted to me at a John Lewis blogger event. Everything else was paid for from my own pocket. This is an honest review of my month in and around Cardiff. 

For more pictures, recommendations and inane ramblings about Cardiff, follow me on Instagram

September highlights 

Loads of fun snowdog-hunting (get the app here) / gorgeous food from Masterchef contestant Imran Nathoo at Lost Lands outdoor cinema, (check his upcoming events here) / getting sweaty at hotpod’s new studio in Canton / addicted to Milgi Market’s salad bowls – find them inside Cardiff Market / sad to see trees down everywhere along the Taff Trail in the wind / ran our first ever family race at the Cardiff Half Marathon festival of running 

Hot pod yoga Canton and #yogaeverydamnday

If you know me in Real Life, you’ll know that I’m currently in the throes of a yoga challenge; I’ve (stupidly?) committed to do yoga every day throughout September and post a picture each day using #yogaeverydamnday
I’ll admit that it’s not a huge challenge. I love doing yoga but, like most people, I’m guilty of being ‘too busy’. So this challenge has been great at making me find at least 20 mins each day to practice.

I don’t push myself when I’m doing yoga at home though; gentle stretches and my favourite poses are the order of the day, so I’ve been trying to mix it up with a few classes thrown in. So what perfect timing for a new hot yoga studio to open in Cardiff?!

Hot Pod Yoga, Canton, Cardiff

I’ve written before about how much I love Hot Pod Yoga. The heated pod means your muscles are warm and stretchy, but the pod feels clean and cosy; not sweaty and stinky like some gyms or hot yoga studios. 

I’ve been going to their classes on Ocean Way most weeks and now they’ve opened another studio in Canton, giving me even more options. 

The pod is located in the Compound Gym, which was difficult to find first time, in an industrial estate off Sanatorium Road. If you’ve been to the Ocean Way pod, there’s much less space in the room in Canton to get changed and store your belongings, but once you’re inside the purple glow of the pod, it’s calm and cosy. 

The pod

Aaron Marqua was our teacher for opening weekend and he was awesome! Funny, yet stern, he got us all doing copious amounts of one-legged push ups and yogi bicycle crunches – my shoulders and stomach muscles were aching for days afterwards! The good thing about hot pod’s range of teachers mean if you don’t feel like being that challenged, you can find a gentler teacher (try Scarlett’s classes if you want to feel more nourished). 

Classes at hot pod are £10 each, but they do various class passes and membership options which bring the cost down and can be used between both Canton and Ocean Way – convenient if you work near one and live near another, like me. 

https://hotpodyoga.com/uk/

This is an honest review. I honestly love hot pod yoga! I had a free class as part of the Canton launch weekend and won another class place through HungryCityHippy’s social media competition, but I was under no obligation to say nice things and the hot pod team wasn’t aware I’d be blogging about them. 

Outdoor swimming at Lido Ponty

Shortly before the summer holidays, six-year-old J had an inset day off from school, so we were looking for something to do. One-year-old F was going to be in nursery all day, which meant swimming was a good idea (there’s no way I can manage two non-swimmers on my own!) I’d recently seen Cardiff Mummy’s review of the newly-renovated Lido in Pontypridd, so one week beforehand I went online and booked our places.

At that point I had no idea what the weather would be like. However, the pool is free for children and only £1 for adults. Such a bloomin’ bargain! At that price it was no great loss if we needed to ditch the idea. Luckily as the day arrived it was dry, if a little overcast. 

Lido Ponty

The Lido is situated in YnysAngharad Park, in Pontypridd town centre. It’s just off the A470 and there are loads of reasonably priced car parks in the area. 

We parked at Gas Road, which was £2.50 for 4 hours. I heard someone moaning that it was really expensive. They’ve obviously never parked at the NCP on Westgate Street! 

J learning about the history of the Lido

We wandered through town to get to the Lido and had fun checking out some of the history beforehand. 

The Lido has recently been restored thanks to a £6.3million investment from the local council and charitable funds. 

The history of the building is reflected in the upgrade, with restoration of the 1920s turnstiles and wind-up machines outside which feature locals talking about their memories of the outdoor pools. 

Outdoor swimming pools at Pontypridd Lido

The Lido has three heated swimming pools, but as it was mid-week only two were open on the day we went; a lane pool (with space for non-serious swimmers) and the toddler splash pool. 

We changed in one of the outdoor wooden cubicles, which was a novelty in itself, and stored our belongings in a locker; there are plenty available. There are also loads of sunloungers for you to leave your stuff if you want and we left our towels here for quick post-swim warm ups.

Retro changing cabins at Pontypridd Lido

The pools were heated which meant we stayed in for ages and when our session was up we changed in the indoor facilities to keep warm. 
When we left the Lido J spent some time at Lido Play, the fab outdoor adventure play area, while I set up our picnic nearby. All in all it was a great, and very cheap, day out! 

It’s worth checking the Lido website for opening times and activities, as these change at weekends and in school holidays. And definitely book in advance if you can, although there are tickets kept aside for sale on the day. 

We paid in full for our entry to The Lido and the staff at venue were not aware I’d be blogging about it. 

July Instagram highlights

Top row (L-R) Picnic weather at Llandaff Cathedral / Shakespeare at Cardiff Castle / Sweaty Selfie at Tramshred

Middle (L-R) All the tapas at Curado Bar / Coldplay at the Millennium Stadium / Spa day at St David’s Hotel

Bottom (L-R) Veggie burger at the Smokehouse, Pontcanna / Lunch at the Hardwick, Abergavenny / Cheese and wine at Veeno, Cardiff Bay

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Class and a glass at Tramshred 

I used to love clubbing. During the late 90s my Saturday nights would involve house music, Hooch and big-box-little-boxing to Josh Wink.

Nowadays my Saturdays usually involve House of Cards, a glass of wine and trying to get my kids to stay in bed. 

I wouldn’t go back to my clubbing days, but sometimes I do miss really letting loose on the dancefloor. 

So when I saw the new Tramshred workouts at the Tramshed (see what they did there?!) in Grangetown, it looked right up my street. 

Tramshred is a series of dance themed exercise classes, with a live DJ, followed by …….wait for it……..a prosecco brunch! Genius 

Nat and I before Tramshred

My friend Nat and I arrived just before 11am on the Sunday wearing our best work-out gear. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a gym session or a party! About 40 people were there, mainly women, in fact there were only two men taking part. Not sure why, but possibly the disparaging assumption that it was ‘just’ an aerobics class.

Instructor Steve doing his thing at Class and a Glass

The session was actually quite challenging. Steve, the instructor, used boxercise-style high-impact exercises to encourage weight loss, muscle toning and cardio vascular endurance. Not a ‘grapevine’ in sight! 

The live DJ pumped out amazing tunes while we punched, kicked and jumped (last week was drum & bass week. They also do dance and house week and 90s R&B which is next on my list). By far my favourite parts were when Steve encouraged us to ‘free-style’. It was hilarious bouncing around and raving in a nightclub on a Sunday morning. I loved it.

After – a very sweaty selfie!

When we cooled down it was time to reward ourselves with a glass of prosecco in the Waiting Room, the bar at the Tramshed. 

The bar also serves a brunch menu, so we ordered a couple of avo toasts (£5) and some coffees and spent a good couple of hours catching up. A lovely way to spend a Sunday. Although my legs were aching for days!

Avocado on toast brunch at Tramshed

The next three Tramshred Class and a Glass sessions take place on 30 July, 6 August and 13 August. 
Tickets are priced at £12.50 or £7.50 without the glass of fizz (but why wouldn’t you?) www.classandaglass.co.uk/tickets

Tramshed Cardiff, Clare Rd, Cardiff CF11 6QP.

I was given two free class and a glass tickets for Tramshed. I paid in full for my breakfast and coffee. This is an honest review. My legs are honestly still aching!