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. 


Along the M4 to Newport Food Festival 2012


We went to Newport Food Festival today. And what a gorgeous autumnal day it was for it.

I believe this is the second year the festival has taken place and we really enjoyed our first visit. The stalls were well spread out along Newport’s main shopping street and onto the riverside so there wasn’t the scrum for a free cheese sample that you usually get at say, Cardiff Bay food festival. In fact, our longest queue was for the Back Yard Company’s jerk chicken, which was sooooo worth the wait (see the picture below for a not very flattering pic of me devouring it!)

The point that really sets this festival aside though is the chef demonstrations, which took place on stages in the high street and in the market hall. There were big names such as Bryn Williams from Odettes, James Sommerin from the Crown at Whitebrook and Anand George of Cardiff’s Purple Poppadom. The Riverfront theatre also hosted cookery workshops for children over 8, which is a fantastic idea.

The only negative is the city centre location, which I thought felt quite disjointed. I noticed a few bemused looks from local shoppers, perhaps wondering where all these foodies had come from. However, I’m expecting big things from this food festival.

And hopefully more jerk chicken.