How I Kept It Welsh

For so long it was my dream to move to Cardiff and 2 years ago I achieved that dream and made the move from Reading to start my new job here. It’s been the best couple of years of my whole life and I have made the most amazing friends who I am going to be very sad to say goodbye to when I start my new job in Reading in a couple of weeks.

When I started looking back at the things I’ve had the chance to do since living here it made me realise just how lucky I have been to have so many opportunities to get involved in exciting things.

So these are the highlights of my time in Cardiff…this is how I spent my time… Keeping It Welsh!

Welsh Flag

Welsh Varsity is a grudge match of epic proportions. Cardiff vs Swansea it’s all or nothing!

Varsity 2013 was the night I met the beautiful Ieva! On a night out a couple of months after I moved to Cardiff, Ieva was bartending at what used to be Pica Pica. I stayed until closing and she came out partying with me for the rest of the night. We ended up in Live Lounge and I acquired a Varsity t-shirt from a random man in the street!

This year Sarah and I actually went to watch the match at the Millennium Stadium. There was such an electrifying atmosphere with all the rivalry banter and drunken shouting. As it’s typically a student event we thought we would feel a bit out of place but there were plenty of other ‘gatecrashers’ and we drank so much cider that we just made friends with everyone there.

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Cardiff Retail Awards 2013 was the professional highlight of my career. With the awards ceremony taking place on my birthday I was excited to say the least and knew there was some really stiff competition in our category. We had a champagne reception and a beautifully cooked dinner and then as the awards came around it was my turn to go on stage and find out my fate. Beating out several other retailers including John Lewis; they announced that my store had won Best Customer Service in Cardiff which was an absolute dream come true and was so rewarding after all the hard work myself and my team had put in.

Retail Awards

St David’s Shopping Centre put a call out for entries for their new blogging team in early 2013 and having just started up my own blog properly I jumped at the chance to get involved. I sent off a mock post to them and got an email the following week saying I had been chosen to be their resident Food & Drinks Blogger. I’ve been to so many amazing restaurants and met some outstanding people including some of my fellow resident bloggers Steph, Joshwa and Eve.

Blog Events

Photography was always something I’d been interested in but always felt unless I really knew what I was doing and had a top-notch camera that I had no business trying to showcase my photos. Over the last year however I have posted many of them on Twitter and had so much positive feedback that it’s really encouraged me to keep going.

Photography

In May this year I was given the massive responsibility of holding the ‘keys’ to Cardiff on the ‘Cardiff Is Yours’ Twitter account. I spent a week tweeting about where I liked going and what I was doing and essentially shared ‘My Cardiff’ with everyone. It was a pleasure to have the chance to get to know so many people through it and I was able to write a blog post for the masterminds behind ‘Cardiff Is Yours’  and also one for Citysocializer.

The one and only Jamie Laing…

Back in October last year I attended the Student Lock-In where I interviewed the one and only Jamie Laing from Made In Chelsea. As a die-hard fan of the show I was pretty much incapable of shaking while I was talking to him but he put me at ease and answered the questions I had for him. We didn’t talk for very long as he had a queue of people waiting to meet him but it was still amazing fun and he’s such a great guy!

Jamie

When I first moved to Cardiff I was finding it difficult to meet people outside of work so I joined Citysocializer which is essentially a local social networking group. Throughout my time with them I became a Community Host and helped to build up the Cardiff base to a team of almost 15 hosts with on average 4 socials every day. Some of the highlights for me were hosting the Halloween party last year, Mexican Night at the flat which I share with my flatmate (who I met through CS) & the Valentines Mingle at Vodka Revs which saw over 30 single Citysocializers descend for cocktails.

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I’ve been to some amazing gigs since living in Cardiff but my favourites have to be Our Last Night (Clwb Ifor Bach), Daytona Lights (Buffalo Bar) & Young Kato (Clwb Ifor Bach). They are both great venues and I had the chance to mix with all of the bands once they had finished. I ended up doing shots with the lead guitarist from Daytona Lights…Total hottie!

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I have made some of the most exceptional people living in Cardiff and have friends for life in them! Whether it’s a been a fellow blogger, people I’ve dated or my flatmate they have each contributed to making me the person I am today.

I have to say though, the biggest achievement for me has been this… my own blog. Something I started as more of a journal when I first moved here has now become an outlet for my passions. A place for people to read what’s hot and what’s not and actually want to know my opinion. It’s amazing to have such an influence and I have been presented with exceptional opportunities to attend events which has helped me grow my blog and develop my writing style. What began as a humble WordPress page is now a fully fledged ‘.com’ and my reviews can be found on sites all over the internet which I never thought would happen.

Cardiff…you have been amazing!

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Poem of the day

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool,

To weep is to risk being called sentimental,

To reach out to another is to risk involvement,

To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self,

To place your ideas… Your dreams in front of a crowd is to risk being called naive,

To try is to risk failure,

To live… is to risk dying.

But the greatest risk in life, is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing and becomes nothing.

Only the person who risks is truly free

Elf is for life not just for Christmas!

So the lovely people at Elf Cosmetics set me a challenge to create a Valentine’s Look fit for my singleton status.

I’d already been sent a dress to wear so I gave them a photo and they helped me create an amazing look which carried me through the whole evening.

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I started by applying my regular Elf Primer all over although I did top my eyelids up with a bit of my Urban Decay lid primer.

I started by using the HD Mattifying Cream Foundation and then I topped with the Mineral Personal Blend Foundation powder… both of these are now staple items in my daily routine!

Once I had my base sorted I then moved onto my eyes, using 3 shades from the palette I had been sent I swept the gold over my lids and over my browbone, I then used the dark brown shade to identify my crease and add definition to the lid. I finished with the almost white glitter shade just under my eyebrows, in the corner of my eye  and swept ever so lightly in the middle of my eyelid to give a very subtle highlight.

With each of these products I used the lock and seal, this is my new miracle product! It doesn’t matter what texture your eyeshadows are or even if they are not that strong. Use this and the colour will pop and you almost feel it drying onto your skin, meaning it stays in place all night. (I actually accidentally rubbed my eye without thinking and it didn’t budge an inch!)

Next, onto the Mascara! Now the lovely ladies at Elf sent me the Volume Pumping Mascara and the definition you get with it is great, however my lashes are quite thin so I ended up topping this up with the ELF Eye Enhancing Mascara which did the trick beautifully. I didn’t want to layer too much on though as afterwards I carefully applied the eyelashes which have definitely landed in my top 5 False Eyelash sets for ease of application and level of comfort once applied.

As I moved onto the contouring set I was a little nervous as I’ve never really had a go at it but my, oh my… the definition of my cheekbones, the slimming effect on my face and the highlighting of my best features has definitely turned me into a convert!

For the lips, I was well prepared as I’m a bit of a lipstick addict… I carefully lined my lips with the deep crimson pencil and then topped with the lipstick in shade ‘RED CARPET’ and then blended the two together. Normally, I’m a bit advocate of the ‘Eyes OR Lips, but never both’, so I was a bit worried how this would turn out. I needn’t have worried… It was a vampy, sexy look without looking trashy or overdone.

To finish everything off, a hint of the Mist & Set pack that I had been set. Judging by the fact that everything, except my dress, was still intact by the time I got home I’d say that was a result.

Fun Fact: The dress started unravelling on the straps half way through the night…I wasn’t pleased!

I ran an ELF Giveaway over Valentine’s weekend and the lucky winner was chosen on Twitter who has received a goody bag of all the products I used for this look.

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Stay tuned for more looks over the coming weeks

XOXO

Looking ahead to the 2014 madness…

As promised, here is my list of things I would like to do in 2014.

This works so much better for me than a New Year’s Resolution as it’s much more specific than simply ‘Go travelling’ or ‘Lose weight’

I’ve already had some great help and suggestions from people on Twitter and Facebook on how I can accomplish most of these.

If you have any suggestions or recommendations be sure to email them to me… likewise if you’d to come with me or offer to help that’s even better!

You’ll notice that the list doesn’t contain any crazy travel plans… at the moment I’m not in the position to go very far. I have a demanding job and am currently paying off my last holiday so would rather get the things closer to home done this year so that I can go all out next year!

– Make Keeping It Welsh a dot.com    DONE

– Learn to play the piano

– Take the next step in my career

– Move back into a flat on my own

– Get a cover up tattoo on my wrist + one new tattoo

– Become a British Heart Foundation volunteer

– Run the Cardiff Half Marathon

– Go to the MTV EMAs 2014 in Glasgow

– Learn sign language

– Go camping (I’ve never been…)

– Give blood

– Fall in love

– Go to 10 gigs/concerts/shows

Jan 2nd- Smokin Aces    DONE

Feb 3rd- Our Last Night

Feb 16th- George Ezra

March 26th- Josh Widdicombe

– Eat at 20 new places

– Bake at least once a month

– Visit 5 places on my UK list

Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye ( Scotland)

Whitby, North Yorkshire (England)

Clovelly, Devon (England)

Giants Causeway (Northern Ireland)

Fingals Cave (Scotland)

– Try a new sport

Learning to surf in August

– Do something that scares me

Learning how to crew a hot air balloon in March

 

 

 

Making Friends In A New City and The Big Apple Competition

The end of December officially marked 1 year in Cardiff for me, which is insane because it feels like only yesterday that I packed up my life and moved here with 3 weeks notice before opening my own store. At the same time, though, it feels like a lifetime ago that I was living in Reading with my mum and sister. So, so many things in my life have changed. My life in Cardiff is a world away now from the one I used to lead. 

Since moving here, I’ve had a lot of requests for a post on how to make friends in a new city. And while I, by no means, consider myself a pro, I thought I might as well share what I have learnt.

Now don’t get me wrong… I wasn’t trying to replace the friends I already had.

The problem when you move is that you begin to realise that we’re not all the same. When you’re not living the same life as you did with your friends [wake up, go to work, go to the gym, dating, eat, go out.], priorities become very real.

There are people that will still go out every night, rolling into work hungover but somehow magically presentable.

There are people that get married and have babies right away.

There are those that fly through work, pouring themselves into everything, climbing and climbing… This is the category I fall into at the moment!

Then there are those who are slowly trying to figure it out – manage a balance of work life and  enjoying adulthood.

My life in Cardiff really began though, when I discovered Citysocializer…

When I first moved here, my life was so busy that I couldn’t always rely on my friends being free to visit and to do what I wanted with, when I wanted. So often I found myself missing out and staying in when all I wanted to do was go out and let my hair down.

Whether you’re new in town, or your friends are out of town, Citysocializer lets you enjoy a great social life without the pain of organizing one. An easy way to fill in those last minute moments when you feel like going out.

Members are fun-loving and sociable people…like me… who organize cool nights out and activities for the rest of us to join in with- from after-work drinks and checking out the latest pop-up restaurants, to running groups, book clubs, festivals, holidays and everything in between.

Once you’ve been to a few you’re encouraged to host your own social to pay back to your local community… I’m now an official host and regularly host socials each month, including my regular Tapas Tuesday night and Breakfast Club.

Citysocializer is a subscription-based social networking website. The mobile and web-based service helps you tap into local social scenes and has now announced that it’s going freemium as it looks to drive growth in cities across the UK.

Founded in 2007 as Citysocialising by former BBC producer Sanchita Saha, the app rebranded as Citysocializer back in June just as it rolled out its first native mobile app (iOS). Though it’s currently very UK-centric, Citysocializer has been looking to push into the broader social sphere with a subscription-based approach to finding new friends anywhere in the world. Citysocializer’s app even plots social gatherings on a map to let you see local activities at a glance.

To announce the exciting launch of Citysocializer being launched in New York you can join Citysocializer using my unique link below which will give you 10 free credits when you sign up, giving you the chance to join a social for free and see what it’s all about.

To make this launch even more exciting, if you join using the link below you will be entered into a fantastic competition…

Citysocializer are giving you and a friend a chance the chance to discover The Big Apple in 5*style!

Win a 3 night break* including return flights and…

  • – 3 nights at 5* Soho Grand Hotel
  • – A helicopter tour of NYC
  • – Tickets to the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty
  • – Tickets to top of the world famous Rockafeller Centre
  • – Hop on Hop off Buss Passes for 3 days
  • – Return private car transfers

https://www.citysocializer.com/invite/237087

Made In Chelsea Special: Jamie Laing

It’s that time of year again… the leaves have started falling, the temperature is dropping and once again St David’s Shopping Centre played host to the ever popular Student Lock In.

Thousands of students queued up for several hours in order to spend their newly acquired student loans on everything from new shoes to bespoke jewellery.

In between all the discounts and free alcohol, I got to catch up with E4’s resident heartbreaker…Jamie Laing!

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The Made In Chelsea star visited St David’s Shopping Centre in Cardiff, for the Welsh leg of his Candy Cruise…an interactive trip around the UK which has seen Jamie and his Candy Kittens team releasing clues and asking people to come and find them! Promoting his exclusive range of sweets this is a confectionary brand like no other, fashion forward and innovative…and of course super yummy!

Full of energy Jamie greeted me warmly and we began chatting in between him posing for photos and signing autographs.

When asked for the gossip on the latest series Jamie immediately let slip that Spencer comes out as gay…that’s a new one on me!

When pressed for a more serious answer Jamie graciously admitted to now being single and that means he can kiss as many lovely ladies as he wants…Me first!

Jamie’s brand of merchandise used to feature in Kingdom of Sweets which is no longer there. When asked whether he is planning on finding another stockist for his products he was incredibly enthusiastic, explaining how great Cardiff was and that if he can find the right brand and it works then definitely!

Realising I was stealing important one on one time with Jamie and his fans I said goodbye Chelsea-style… kiss kiss darling!

We love the brand and we love the man behind it!

You can catch the new season of Made In Chelsea on 14th October at 10pm on E4.

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