What we’ve been up to this week

There’s a bit of a change to the blog this week. As you probably know, I’ve recently had a baby girl. Life with a baby and a four-year-old is busy! As I’m on maternity leave, baby F and I have been getting out and about in Cardiff most days, but I’m too knackered to properly blog about what we’ve been doing. 

So instead I’m going to start doing weekly roundups, with quick snippets of what we’ve been up to. I’m also planning to make the blog a bit more personal. Please let me know what you think. Here goes….

  
I met up with a friend who’s also on maternity leave this week and we took our babies for lunch at Wyndham Tea in town. Pictured above is my sticky Asian chicken salad. Yum! Their lunches are always healthy and delicious.  I’m also loving Waterloo Tea’s loyalty cards – do pick one up if you’re in any of their shops. I’m one visit away from a free slice of cake. Result! 

  
Baby F and I have been going to Rhymetime at Radyr Library in Tuesdays from 2.15pm.  The free class starts with a story, then songs and rhymes and there’s always a craft and toys for older children. Most of Cardiff’s local libraries run Rhymetime classes. I’d definitely recommend going along if you have a pre-school child.

My lovely Mum looked after F for a few hours so I could sort myself out and get my eyebrows and hair done at Salon Nia. You can read more about their HD brows treatments here. I’m too embarrassed to do a before/after selfie. But believe me, there’s a huge improvement!

I’ve been trying to get back into fitness after giving birth. I’m *thinking* of running the Cardiff Half in October, but time will tell if I’m really up to it! Luckily the weather was good enough on Friday morning to take the buggy for a gentle jog along the Taff Trail after the school run. I always stop at the bridge at Gelynis Fruit Farm to take in one of my favourite views of Castell Coch. 

  
I’ve also been going back to Hot Yoga at Elite Fitness in Fairwater. I’m loving Diana’s classes on a Saturday morning. 

The four-year-old has been a bit poorly this week but he was well enough on Saturday afternoon to take a trip to Caerphilly Castle to see The Dragon/Y Ddraig. You can see a video of The Dragon here. Please do click the link as we couldn’t get close enough to take a decent picture. The queue to get up-close was ridiculous. Look at it!

  
The Dragon moves inside the castle this week and will be there until the summer so we’re planning to go back in the Easter holidays for a proper look.

It was my sister’s birthday this week so on Saturday night we went for a family meal at the Happy Gathering Cantonese restaurant in Canton. I’ve been going there for around 20 Years. I don’t think the decor or menu have changed at all during that time. The service certainly leaves a lot to be desired but the food was great as usual and the place was packed with families. The children’s menu is really reasonable and J enjoyed his first ever BBQ spare ribs!  

So today is Mothers Day. G joined 1,500 other people to run the Newport half marathon this morning and got a pretty stunning medal for his efforts, but the little ones and I stayed home and had a relaxing morning with coffee, croissants and cuddles. 

  
Have a great week, whatever you have in store…..

Hot yoga studios in Cardiff

Hot Yoga is growing in popularity. It’s said to be a favourite workout of Madonna and Andy Murray, among others, and is supposed to assist stretching, remove toxins from your body and help weight loss.

I’ve been taking various yoga courses in and around Cardiff for years, and had always wanted to try hot yoga, but there was never anywhere offering classes. That has changed in the last two years or so and now it seems hot yoga studios are popping up all over the place.

Not to be confused with Bikram Yoga (Bikram classes consist of the same 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises each time) Hot Yoga is a more traditional hatha yoga practice, in a room heated to around 38 C.

My favourites are Elite Fitness in Fairwater and Yoga Fever in Adamsdown. In particular I love Ashley’s Monday night class at Elite, where the practice is a challenging vinyasa flow, with a short relaxation at the end. Sharon’s classes at Yoga Fever are great too.

hot yoga

Since doing regular hot yoga classes I feel stronger and more flexible. I absolutely love it.

A few words of warning though, hot yoga is unsafe for anyone who is pregnant or suffering from certain medical conditions such as those with high blood pressure. As with all new exercise – check with your doctor and the teacher first.

Wear tight fitting clothes such as leggings or capris (make sure they’re thick leggings especially for sport and not see-through when bending over!) and a vest top. Loose clothes and cotton t-shirts will trap heat and feel clammy. Sports bras are a must for the ladies too.

Enjoy!

My #ShopCardiff week

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Last week I took on the Shop Cardiff challenge.

It was a really fun week and looking at my Twitter stream, lots of people were getting involved. Here are some of my highlights;

Fitness
I’m not currently a member of a gym, when I exercise I use council-run leisure centres or independent yoga studios. So hot yoga at Elite Fitness in Fairwater on Monday and another class at Yoga Fever on Saturday wasn’t that unusual for me. However, I hadn’t been to the former since their studio relocated from the city centre to Splott a few months ago and I’d forgotten how good Sharon’s classes really were.

Eating out
This is where Shop Cardiff really came into its own. On Thursday I met up with a friend for dinner. This friend and I meet up quite regularly, so to keep costs down we usually hunt out a 2-for-1 deal or some other voucher, mostly in chain restaurants. But I suggested that on this occasion we meet at the Smoke House in Pontcanna, a new restaurant which I’d already heard good things about. I’m so glad we did. The food was perfect (see the pulled pork above – yum), the staff incredibly friendly and it wasn’t even that expensive – under £15 a head for a main course and a beer was much better than a chain deal, when you consider the service and quality of the food.

I also ventured back to Pontcanna on the Saturday night with my husband, for dinner at Fish at 85. Again the quality of the food and the service was a cut above what you’d expect in a chain. This meal was more pricey, but we were celebrating my new job and his birthday so it was what we’d expect to pay for a special night out.

Shopping
This is where I fell down. Being a full-time working Mum means I stuck to my once-weekly supermarket shop, which I get delivered to the house. For convenience and price it is one thing that really helps me juggle my time.

However I made the effort to head over to Wally’s Deli for Easter chocolate treats after work one evening (my boss sent us home early on the Thursday before bank holiday – whoo hoo – otherwise it would have been closed by the time I’d got out of the office and walked there.)

I also needed to buy some birthday balloons so rather than heading to a supermarket I popped into the party supplies shop in Llandaff North at the weekend. I’ve used it before and it’s great, they’ve got loads of party stuff and its easy to park.

Others
During the week I also visited Salon Nia in Radyr for eyebrow threading and we took our little boy to Gelynis Farm for the Easter Egg Hunt, which was really fun and only £3 per child. You can see a pic of the bunny doing her thing below. Although these are both things I would have done despite it being Shop Cardiff week.

Overall I was surprised at how much it wasn’t actually that much of a challenge for me, as I regularly use independents. However where I failed during the week (supermarket shopping and two Brains pub lunches) it was purely down to convenience – particularly as I don’t work in the city centre.

What struck me is that what you get with independents is personality and customer service. When chains expand they seem to employ larger amounts of low-paid staff, who don’t really buy into the ethos of the company.

Perhaps next year I’d organise my time better and stock up on fruit, veg and food for the week at one of the Riverside markets rather than using a supermarket.

I hope Shop Cardiff continues to build on its success. I’m looking forward to #ShopCardiff2014 already.

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