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

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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