Celebrating our anniversary…..part one

I’ve briefly mentioned that last month was our wedding anniversary. Ten years we’ve been married. That makes me sound quite old…..But we were only 16 when we got married. (Not really).

Anyway, ten years seems like a good reason to celebrate and my Mum kindly offered to take the kids so we could have a night away. Hurrah! 

After a bit of searching we found a great deal at the Celtic Manor; £180 for bed, breakfast, a three-course meal for two in any of the resorts four restaurants and use of the gym, spa and pool. 

After a delicious brunch at the Early Bird, we took the short trip down the M4, arriving at the Celtic Manor late morning. 

We spent a few hours in the gym, pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi etc, before heading up to our room. We were staying in the Manor House, the original part of the resort, where Cen restaurant is located – where we’d booked a table for dinner. 

The room was modern and spacious with fluffy dressing gowns and slippers (the sign of a good hotel in my book) and the perfect place to chill-out before heading down to dinner.

Salt and Chilli Calamari at Cen, Celtic Manor
Cen is the Celtic Manor’s Asian restaurant, headed up by Larkin Cen, MasterChef finalist and previous owner of the much-missed Hokkei Box. 

The food was absolutely wonderful and staff were so attentive. 

I started with delicious Salt and Chilli Squid (£9) before moving on to the Miso Cured Black Cod (£26), which was the flakiest, most delicately flavoured cod I’d ever had. 

Miso cured black cod

For dessert I went for Coffee and Coconut (£7) – coconut ice cream, almond dacquoise, coffee gel and Thai basil. Yum

Dessert at Cen, coffee and coconut
The staff generously gave us a couple of complimentary glasses of bubbles as they knew it was our anniversary, which was a really lovely way to round off a delicious meal. 

Anniversary bubbles!
The final bill came to almost £100 but, because the food was included in our hotel stay, we only had to pay for our drinks. It really was a fantastic deal. 

I would definitely recommend Cen for a special occasion, the food was fantastic and staff wonderful. Thanks for a lovely night! 

We paid in full for our stay at the Celtic Manor and the hotel and Cen restaurant were not aware I’d be blogging about them. 

February Instagram highlights 

Lots of food and not much else last month……


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

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Greek dining at the Hellenic Eatery

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen that I went for a delicious Greek feast at the Hellenic Eatery last week. 

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. 

www.thehelleniceatery.co.uk

Highlights from last week

Well the sun has been shining (on a bank holiday and everything!) and the world seems a little better doesn’t it? We had a lush weekend filled with bubbles (of the Prosecco variety), a BBQ, a birthday (mine!) and books. Here are a few of our highlights from the last week. 


We were invited to try the new menu at Burger & Lobster last week. You can read all about it here


I’ve wanted to visit the Hay festival for ages and on Saturday we finally did it! It’s only an hour away from Cardiff and, as a book lover, it’s crazy that I’ve never been. We spent a good few hours at the venue and wandered into Hay town which was so pretty. Next year I’m going without the kids though – there wasn’t enough to keep them entertained all day. Full disclosure; we had tickets to see Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson first thing on Saturday morning but we got lost on our way there (human error not the sat nav’s fault) and missed it. Gutted. Ice cream cheered us up. 


We tried the new breakfast menu at the Grazing Shed on Sunday. I went for the kale and egg fritter (£4.50) which was yum and I could trick myself into thinking it was healthy as it had kale in it.

G and J both went for the waffles (Also £4.50 each) and G and I had lovely smooth Americanos from the Handle Bar Barista on site. We’re huge fans of The Grazing Shed anyway and these breakfasts are a good addition. 

Have a good week everyone – sending lots of coffee and sunshine wishes if you’re off with the kids for half term, like me.

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. 

What we’ve been up to this week…..

Baby F has hit a few milestones this week, she turned five months and had her first taste of solid food. I love this stage.   

I’ve been marking her milestones by taking pictures with these cute cards from Little Maldod. The results make a great record for the future and are very Instagram-able. Little Maldod is a website run by a Mum from Cardiff, do check it out if you’re looking for baby gifts, there are some gorgeous things on there. 

  
As usual, I’ve spent most of the week in various coffee shops, I’m making the most of baby still being happy to sit or sleep in her pram. I had a stunning chickpea and chorizo soup at The Orchard (above) and a delicious courgette and mint soup at Wyndham Tea. (Soup is healthy and means there’s also room for cake, OK?) 


Bought this lush coffee from Wally’s deli. Baby F and four-year-old J seem to think 5-6am is the perfect time to wake up at the moment. A good black coffee is the only thing that makes this semi-acceptable.

  
Made the most of the nice weather and went for another brisk walk / jog with the pram along the Taff Trail this week. The Cardiff half in October is definitely in my sights now.

  
On Friday night I went out. Out, out! I wore heels and lipstick and everything. The girls and I started with a few proseccos in Bill’s (I also ate a stunning beef burger and sweet potato fries) then we went on to Be At One on St Mary’s Street for cocktails. The espresso martini was stunning. I was home by 12.30. My clubbing days are definitely behind me. But it was so good to go out! 

   
 On Saturday we blew the cobwebs away with a walk along the beach at Barry Island. J had a go at the climbing wall and we stopped for a coffee and cake at Bay 5, a really lovely cafe overlooking the beach. It’s reasonably priced too, considering the location and view. Two coffees and three cakes was less than £15. 

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