What we’ve been up to this week….

This week didn’t start off too well, I was struck down with the horrible 24hour sickness bug going around. Luckily the little ones didn’t catch it, but it meant all plans for the start of the week went out the window. 

My Waterloo Tea explorer card. Bring on the free cake!

When I was fully recovered Baby F and I ventured over to Penarth for lunch with my Mum in Washington Tea. It’s important to build your strength up with cake after being ill, isn’t it? I’ve now filled my Waterloo Tea explorers card so there’s a free slice of cake with my name on it next time. Who says maternity leave isn’t productive?!

Welsh rarebit macaroni cheese at The Pickled Radish, Llandaff

We went for lunch at the new Pickled Radish in Llandaff on Friday. I’m still dreaming about the Welsh rarebit macaroni cheese with Pembrokeshire ham and a brioche crumb. Delicious. The decor and service were great too. Looking forward to going back for an evening meal next week. 

Great view from our table at The Dock, Cardiff Bay

Friday night we had a babysitter so went for a quick bite to eat at The Dock in Cardiff Bay, the old Terra Nova pub. The refurb looks great, it’s light and airy and makes the most of the fantastic views of the bay. 
 

A mediocre salad at The Dock
 

We both ordered the superfood salad, which was pretty disappointing, I wouldn’t order that again. There are so many other lovely places to eat in the Bay. I’d go back to The Dock for drinks though, especially on a warm summer evening. Then we went over to the Odeon to watch the new Captain America film in the IMAX, it was awesome!

On Saturday my usual hot yoga class wasn’t on so I went across town to Yoga Fever. Mark’s classes are always really strong and I felt great afterwards. 

Cardiff 5k start line in Whitchurch village

Yesterday I did the Race for Victory Cardiff 5k run in Whitchurch, along with 799 other people. I was quite nervous about it! Even though I’ve been jogging with the buggy, this was the last time I actually ran 5k. I really enjoyed it though and completed it in 35 minutes, which I was pretty happy with. The race was brilliantly organised and it was great to run around my old stomping ground of Whitchurch. It also meant that there were loads of familiar faces cheering me on along the route. In fact the crowd and atmosphere was awesome, despite the rain!  

My only criticism is that we didn’t get a medal. I wanted a medal selfie! But the T-shirts are pretty nice, so that’s a great momento. 

Hope you’re having a relaxing bank holiday. Keeping everything crossed that the weather warms up a bit this week as the forecast is promising. 

Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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. 

 Follow me on Twitter @CardiffGirlBlog or @Katie_Chappelle

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…..

The Cardiff Bucket list

I’ve been thinking recently about writing a ‘bucket list’ – a list of things I want to do before I’m 40 (less than five years people! Eeek) Most of them are Cardiff or South Wales related so I thought it might make a nice challenge for the blog. The list is below and I plan to cross each one off and review it as I go. They’re all pretty achievable, so don’t expect any bungee jumping! I’ll also be tweeting about the challenge using #CardiffBucketList. And I’ll be taking suggestions too – what am I missing? What would be on your Cardiff Bucket List? Tweet me @CardiffGirlBlog using #CardiffBucketList and I might add it. So here we go;

So what would be on your list?

A festive afternoon tea at Pettigrew tea rooms

20121210-133636.jpg

I do enjoy afternoon tea, in fact my post on places to go for afternoon tea in Cardiff is the most popular on this blog.

When Pettigrew Tearooms in Bute Park opened about 18 months ago, I really wanted to try their afternoon tea, but until last Saturday had only made it there for a single slice of cake.

A friend and I booked a table for their festive afternoon tea (£15pp) ages ago and I had high hopes. And it didn’t disappoint.

Owner David greeted us with a teacup of non-alcoholic mulled wine and a mini mince pie each on arrival and we were then treated to endless pots of tea (we went for the Christmas blend, a black tea very similar to Chai with warming Christmas spices) finger sandwiches, cranberry scones and a slab of cake of our choice. Luckily they are equipped with plenty of cake boxes for you to take home whatever you can’t manage!

The food and drinks were faultless and the setting of the tea room makes it really special (it’s right inside Cardiff Castle walls, at the entrance to Bute Park). The interior has been cleverly designed too, with authentic tiling on the floor and lovely mismatched vintage china.

This place is a must-visit in Cardiff. But if you’re planning to enjoy the festive tea, book soon – David told me Saturday was their busiest ever day, with 40 covers pre-booked for afternoon tea. I can see why it’s so popular.

www.pettigrew-tearooms.com

20121210-133705.jpg

Place to visit – Cardiff Castle

It’s been a long time since I’d been inside Cardiff Castle. When I was young, my parents took me there as they tried to find new ways to entertain me during numerous school holidays. I have particularly fond memories of getting up very early one Sunday to see hundreds of giant hot air balloons take off from the castle grounds. But since then Cardiff Castle had become one of those ‘places that’s just there’ for me – yes it’s pretty and a great tourist attraction, but I never really paid much attention to it.

A few years ago I went to see The Lord Chamberlain’s Men’s performance of Much Ado About Nothing inside the Castle. The performance was wonderful, but the evening also made me realise how beautiful the castle actually is. Perhaps it’s due to seeing the place through adult eyes, or the atmosphere at the play, but I vowed I’d come back for a proper visit soon.

Then, when a friend pointed out that visiting Cardiff Castle is free for people who live or work in the city, I could resist no longer.

The Animal Wall at Cardiff Castle

So on a sunny afternoon last summer, my other half and I took our filled-out forms, passport photos and our proof of living in Cardiff (council tax bill was fine) and claimed our residents cards.

The card entitles you to free entry to the Castle, grounds and an audio tour. We spent a lovely few hours listening to the BBC’s Huw Edwards guide us around, using what looked like a mobile phone circa 1996 to listen to his facts.

The card also allows you entry to the opulent Castle apartments, which were vastly refurbished in the Gothic Victorian style in the 19th Century and just breathtaking – all gold and marble ceilings and ornate carvings.

However, my favourite part of the Castle is the Norman Keep in the centre of the grounds. Not one for the faint hearted, the steep steps are worth negotiating for the fantastic views of Cardiff from the top. The masthead at the head of this blog was actually taken from the top of the Keep during our visit.

The Keep at Cardiff Castle

The outside of the Castle is also wonderful, and well-worth a closer look if you don’t have the time to go inside. The lavish decor of the Clock tower is actually rather breathtaking and the iconic animal wall outside is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s also currently under refurbishment, so expect the animal collection to start looking even better soon.

Now is a perfect time to visit the Castle, with the autumn colours of Bute Park in full fire. Have a look at Lee Smith’s blog for some wonderful images of the Castle in Autumn. Or, if shopping or eating is more your thing, Cardiff Castle has the benefit of being right in the heart of the city centre. What’s not to love?