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 

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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

Follow me on Instagram @CardiffGirlBlog

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! 

May Instagram highlights

(Top row L-R) Delicious salad from Milgi Market / wild garlic on the Taff Trail / admiring the Lego inspired artwork at Bricks at Home

(Middle row L-R) Manning my marshalling spot at Cardiff Parkrun / pretty cocktails at the Revolution Bar reopening / barriers everywhere for the Champions League in Cardiff

(Bottom row L-R) Getting very sweaty at hot pod yoga / enjoying the sun at Barry Island (aka Barrybados) / delicious birthday meal at Cafe Citta 

Follow me on Instagram @CardiffGirlBlog 

Junior Parkrun and Cardiff 5k

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that we had an active Sunday over the bank holiday weekend. I ran the Cardiff 5k in Whitchurch on Sunday night and in the morning, my eldest ran Junior Parkrun. 

I’m a huge fan of the Parkrun concept, weekly volunteer-run 5k runs that are free to enter. And for younger runners there’s Junior Parkrun, every Sunday 9.30am at Llandaff Fields.

Junior Parkrun is a 2k course for 4-14 year olds, and adults can run along with them (no buggies allowed though). 

My eldest (who’s just turned six) has been taking part for a few months now and he absolutely loves it. As with the adult Parkrun it’s free to join, but you do need to register and print off a bar code beforehand. Here’s my Instagram story from the day;

I’m not always the spectator though, on Sunday night it was my chance to get active by taking part in the Cardiff 5k in Whitchurch. 

This is the second year the race has taken place and I definitely noticed an increase in both runner and spectator numbers.

The atmosphere in the village was brilliant and really made up for the horrible drizzle. 


The route took us from Whitchurch village, around Heol Don, into Llandaff North, past the library, over the horrible railway hill (known as Crown Hill to us locals in honour  of the old Crown Pub) and back to the village via the common. 

The end of the route was pure evil; even though you are in touching distance of the finish line it takes you around the corner for another couple of hundred yards, before heading back to the finish. I remembered this from last year so was prepared but there were a few runners around me who were fooled into thinking it was almost over! 

The start line of the Cardiff 5k in Whitchurch

I grew up in Whitchurch so loved running around my old stomping ground. There were plenty of familiar faces along the route and having my Mum and Dad cheering me on at separate points along the route was brilliant. 

I finished in 31 mins and was happy with that. I’m not speedy!

There was a great party atmosphere at the finish, with a live band, food and drink stalls and plenty of food and drink options open in the village to celebrate. A great way to spend a rainy bank holiday Sunday. 

I paid the full £15 for my entry to the Cardiff 5k and neither they or Parkrun Junior were aware I’d be blogging about them.