2015 Goals

So now that I have closed the door on 2014… and the first part of 2015, it’s time for me to look forward to what I want to achieve next. I’ve decided to make my goals a bit more realistic and time-efficient this time around so that hopefully when I’m writing my next one I can fist pump the air because I’m one hot ticket who actually did everything I said I would!

So here’s to you 2015… Let’s be having you! #THISGIRLCAN

– Take the next step in my career

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

– Personal training session at least once a week

– Get fit & healthy

– Win another Retail Award

– Dye my hair back to red

– Treat my mum to a day out at least twice a month

– Clean out my wardrobe and donate everything I haven’t worn in six months to charity

– Learn how to make my own soup

– Pass my driving test

– Make an ‘Epic Meal Time’ style dish

My Cardiff

As many of you know I have landed myself an amazing new job, however it’s in Reading which means I will be leaving Cardiff in a couple of weeks time.

Cardiff has introduced me to so many hidden gems so I thought it only fair to share my absolute favourites with you all and a few photo memories from my adventures in these wonderful places!

Breakfast

Cafe Pure is by far the best place to grab a healthy and super yummy breakfast.  They have lots of options to choose from and has fantastic views overlooking Cardiff Bay. They pride themselves on their ‘clean-eating’ options and make the most amazing healthy, fruity and fizzy drinks in the summer.

Cafe Pure

Lunch

The Deck is my Cardiff Bay haven! Tucked away down a small road opposite Cardiff Bay Police Station they serve up meals that taste ‘just like mum makes it’. Everything from comforting lasagne to the Mother Omelette stacked with various toppings. I always popped in for their famous bacon & brie baguette with cranberry sauce. They are also the best place in Cardiff to get cupcakes and brownies, with different flavours every day.

NY Deli is my guilty pleasure for a day when I just don’t feel like being healthy. This small cafe nestled in High Street Arcade offers up the most amazing selection with everything from bagels to hoagies. My favourite is the Richie Parks Special; mountains of salt beef and pastrami stacked on top of a layer of sweet gherkins with lashings of French mustard…mmm!

NYDELI

Richie Park’s Special at NY Deli

Dinner

Gourmet Burger Kitchen was a place I had never heard of before I moved to Cardiff… I’m so glad I discovered it though as it has everything that I look for in a brilliant restaurant. Superb staff, banging tunes, delicious food and of course great value for money too. GBK make the most refreshing Strawberry milkshakes and of course you can get grilled halloumi as a side dish so naturally this was going to be a winner for me.

GBK

Cocktails

Cosy Club is my favourite place to drink in all of Cardiff! The prices are a little on the steep side but when you try the concoctions on offer you will be pleased with every penny spent. My two signature favourites have always been the Lemon Drizzle Cake and the Cherry Bakewell… No these aren’t cakes, they are drinks, but my oh my they taste like alcoholic, liquidised cake…Mr Kipling would be proud!

Cosy Cocktails

Salt is another place I love drinking in as it’s so close to my flat in the bay and the flavour combinations in their cocktails are just crazy. From their espresso martinis to the candy-tasting Jolly Rancher there is something for everyone here. They have spectacular views of Cardiff Bay from their rooftop terrace which is a lush setting to sit and eat dinner in the summer. It’s also a great place if there’s a large group of you, with the option to reserve an area upstairs. They have brilliant live music nights too, be sure to catch ‘Salvation’ playing there.

Salt

Sarah and I on New Year’s Eve

Nightlife

Peppermint is the place to be on Mill Lane! With cool decor, cheap drinks deals and varied music across two floors, it’s always the best bar on a Friday or Saturday night. It can get very busy in here but that just adds to the atmosphere. Their outside seating area is beautiful to enjoy in the summer and they always put on great entertainment throughout the year and on key dates such as the Six Nations.

Brewhouse is the best place for live music in Cardiff in my opinion. Spread across a large venue on multiple levels it’s a lovely place to grab something to eat and listen to chilled musicians during the day, but by night it turns into a hive of energy with the dance floor full every night. Check their website before you go as they always have great deals on food and drink that you can take advantage of.

Live Lounge had to be mentioned! Simply because it’s a rite of passage to go there at least once during your time in Cardiff and it’s the place to end your night. Open until 4am, people pour into this venue already completely intoxicated but that’s why it makes for such a great venue. Everyone is in such a good mood from their night out that everyone is just really friendly to each other. There is nothing pretentious about Live Lounge, quite the opposite actually; but the music and atmosphere can’t be beaten on a night out in Cardiff.

LL

Ieva & I at Live Lounge after Varsity 2013

Baileys Chocolat Luxe

So I was recently sent this gorgeous beauty from the nice people at Baileys to celebrate their new Chocolat Luxe flavour.

Mixing real layers of Belgian chocolate with their luxurious Irish cream liqueur the flavour is unforgettable.

Baileys Photo

My flatmate and I sat down with the intention of merely sampling it one evening… yeah right!

Needless to say within the hour the whole bottle had been drunk! It was smooth, creamy, undeniably decadent and turned what can sometimes be a pretty bland flavour into a very grown up drink indeed.

Baileys Chocolat Luxe is now a staple item in my shopping basket and it should be in yours too

http://www.baileys.com

*Drink Responsibly*

Gourmet Burger Kitchen- The Review

With Mumma Wicks coming to visit me I knew I needed to take her somewhere which would satisfy her fussy taste-buds and Gourmet Burger Kitchen fits the bill. It sits along what I like to call ‘Restaurant Row’ in Cardiff City Centre and has a unique Kiwi vibe which spans across the decor to the food.

Image

We were greeted warmly by General Manager Jordan and ordered some Halloumi Bites to start and we both had a Strawberry Milkshake. Let me just start by saying that although you may have a heart attack when you see the price of this milkshake… It’s SO worth it! Made using real fruit and thick ice cream it’s possibly made it to my top 5 milkshakes ever!

For our mains I had a Camemburger and mum had a Satay Chicken Burger- NAKED (I will explain this more below), we also shared some skinny fries which came with…wait for it… Baconnaise!

Here was my burger…

Image

100% prime British beef, Camembert, hash brown, truffle mayo, onion jam, relish and a brioche bun

My only complaint with this burger would be that all the sauce made the bun quite soggy on the bottom, but I overlooked this due to the amazingness of the burger as a whole.

Mum opted for the Chicken Satay… Now let me explain that with any of the burgers you can ‘Go Naked’ which means you can have it bun-less with a side salad instead.

Image

Chargrilled Chicken, Satay sauce, house mayo, relish, tomato, red onion, alfalfa sprouts & a green salad

The satay was fantastic, if not a little bit too spicy, but combined with relish and green salad it made for a perfect summer lunch.

The skinny fries were gorgeous and yes… they came with a bacon-flavoured mayonnaise with small bacon bits in as well.Image

 

The meal was so good that I sent GBK a message on Twitter… I thought you’d all like to see their response!

Image

Try not to be too jealous guys… This meal gets a 9 out of 10 from me!

Website: www.gbk.co.uk 

Summer Has Arrived at Marks & Spencer

Last week, Marks & Spencer sent me some goodies from their new Summer Range and oh my, they didn’t disappoint.

I indulged in the tapas selection in one sitting… Spanish Meatballs, Chorizo & Cheese empanadas and Garlic Mushrooms.

Image

*Spoiler* All of the Summer Tapas range is 3 for £6 until the 20th May

My only mistake was not checking the packaging first, both the mushrooms and meatballs can be quickly heated up the microwave in a minute each, however the empanadas needed 12 minutes in the oven, not a very long wait but next time I would just do the oven ones first so it’s all ready at once.

Image

Image

The mushrooms were fairly salty but that’s kind of how I like them, with huge chunks of roasted garlic all over them I was in a sort of mushroom-heaven. The meatballs had a gorgeous tomato sauce on them and their texture was soft, but they didn’t fall apart when you put your fork into them. The empanadas were the real highlight… oozing soft, gooey cheese and then you get the salty, spicy chorizo which works really well with the buttery pastry.

Next up…Dessert!

I was lucky enough to be given two different ones to try… A Coconut Milk dessert with a Pineapple & Chilli salsa and also a Milk Chocolate & Salted Caramel Dulce de Leche dessert

Image

I LOVED the Coconut dessert! It was soft, creamy and mixed with the pineapple beautifully. I can’t begin to describe how utterly delicious this was, it was like eating a fluffy cloud and then adding a layer of citrusy gold to it. The chilli salsa was great for flavour but the texture of it really was like salsa and the chunks were just too big for a dessert that small, in my opinion.

Image

The milk chocolate & dulce de leche was a weird texture. It was kind of like a sponge cake, but a really wet sponge cake, like a moist, chocolatey sponge cake…but not a sponge cake! It had a crunchy salted caramel layer running through it too which I could have quite easily eaten on its own. It was rather rich though, and like an idiot I ate both so as you can imagine I was going into dessert-overload at this point.

Overall, I’d give this Summer Range a 9 out of 10!

Get yourself down to Marks & Spencer in St David’s Shopping Centre and grab some ready for the Bank Holiday!

Club Platinum at La Tasca

This week Team Awesome headed to La Tasca for the launch of Club Platinum, their new and exclusive corporate loyalty card.

Image

We were greeted with Jäger Mojitos when we arrived which were absolutely AMAZING! They were quite sweet but had an incredibly citrusy tang that kept it from being undrinkable.

Image

Then we moved onto Posh Sangria made using Cava and an Orange Liqueur…

…at this point my head was beginning to spin.

Image

Bring on the food!

A mixture of continental meats, traditional Spanish omelette and olives kept us all from acting like a pack of ravenous dogs… for a while, but we caved and bought more ourselves in attempt t absorb some of the alcohol.

Image

The benefits of a Platinum Card are:

–          25% off food and drink

–          Exclusive booking line for members

–          Free rental space for meetings or party

–          Personalised service to organise your company dinner or special event

If you work in Cardiff, be sure to get in touch with the guys at Fiesta Nights by emailing enquiries@fiesta-nights.com

Easter Traybake

So I came across a blog on Twitter over the weekend where Blogger Natasha had made a beautiful Easter Traybake which I simply had to try!

It tastes absolutely beautiful! It took me about 20 minutes to prepare in total and then about 4 hours in the fridge to set. I used Maltesers instead of Mini Eggs as Tesco had sold out… No surprise on Easter weekend!

For the full recipe and ingredients visit Natasha’s blog here…
http://thebarefootbaker.net/2014/04/19/easter-rocky-road-tray-bake/

20140421-191954.jpg

20140421-192031.jpg