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

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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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Grangemoor Parkrun, Cardiff Bay

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. 

Grangemoor Parkrun race director giving us all the info at the start line

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. 

At the start – beautiful morning for it

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!”). 

This is my ‘Im-not-wearing-makeup-please-dont-take-my-picture face’

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. 

Follow my new CardiffGirlBlog account on Instagram for regular Cardiff-related witterings! 

Life’s a Cardiff Bay Beach

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Cardiff Bay beach opened in the Oval Basin last weekend, as part of Cardiff Festival, so we popped along to see what it’s like. We got there early to avoid the crowds, but that plan was foiled when we were told it didn’t open until 11am! However, a stroll around the Bay and a coffee later and we were on the ‘beach’.

The beach is essentially a funfair with a few rides, a bar (with food outlet) and coffee shop. But there’s also a mini beach with real sand and deckchairs (all occupied by about 11.01am!) and a good-sized paddling pool.

The rides were pretty good, there’s a helter skelter, giant swing ride (which our 8-year old nephew loved) paddle boats, inflatable orbs and a Cars ride (equally loved by our two-year old). Take some cash with you, as the rides aren’t cheap so if you have a few kids (or big kids!) it soon adds up. For example it was £2 a go on the Cars ride and adults must pay too, £4 for the swing. But it was good fun, for the younger visitors in particular.

Lets hope the good weather returns before the beach closes on 1 September! We’re already planning another trip back.

As usual, we paid in full for everything at the beach and the organisers did not know I’d be writing a review.

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