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

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Pancake Wars at Crepe Affaire!

Due to a pretty poor visit when they first opened, I hadn’t been back to Crêpe Affaire in some time. However, after hearing about my visit the manager, Ash, invited me to come back in to look at the improvements they’ve made since they opened last year and to sample the new-look menu.

I naturally had to practically drag my friend Sian along with me for moral…and edible…support.

It’s funny…I have a lot more friends now than when I wasn’t a food blogger…weird I know!

It’s rather a spectacle when you first walk in to Crêpe Affaire ; with so much yellow everywhere I felt like Dorothy on my way to Oz.

With the open-plan seating, theatre-style Crepe Machine that you can watch work it’s magic and art deco furnishings you could forgive yourself for thinking you were sitting in a modern cafe in Amsterdam.

I was a little bit disappointed to see their grand chalk board/wall only half finished and a bit messy where things had been rubbed out. Like anything, if you’re going to make something a feature then it needs to be spectacular!

We were greeted warmly by Manageress Kam, who also happens to be Ash’s wife, and she settled us in so we felt completely at ease.

We thought we’d work our way slowly through the weary travellers’ day and start with breakfast!

LONDON VS CANADA

The Londoner- Free range scrambled egg, cheese and sausage (or you can have it with bacon)

The Canadian- Canadian maple syrup and bacon

We were both in agreement that London was the winner for breakfast for us. The sausage was flavoursome and cooked to perfection, all the flavours just married together very well and it was rather filling. Unfortunately for Canada, although the thought of maple syrup for breakfast made us jump for joy, the ratio of bacon wasn’t nearly enough for us to contemplate it being the first meal of the day and satisfying our inevitable hunger pains until lunch.

Next stop for the hungry food tourist…Lunch!

NEW YORK VS …A GOAT?

New York Deli- Salmon, cream cheese & chives

Le Goat Deluxe- Goats & Cheddar cheese, caramelised onion, red onion & spinach

 The New York Deli had been allowed to cool just slightly so that the cream cheese did not melt and the smoked salmon tasted light and fresh. It could probably do with the addition of an extra subtle flavour hint…Naturally salmon and cream cheese are quite bland and the chives were lifted it but still more could be done to improve this dish. I was a little disappointed at how much salmon was in the dish, although being a franchise I fear that ingredients proportions guidelines are probably given to them from the ‘powers-that-be’.

The Le Goat Deluxe, the one we chose as our favourite, really did tick every box. Flavoursome melted cheese, hot & sticky onions and strong, wilted spinach which just added another dimension to the whole dish. Incredibly filling and also suitable for Vegetarians, this dish got a thumbs up from us.

By this point we were what some people refer to as ‘food drunk’…For those of you who don’t know what this means…I am referring to that point in the evening when you’ve eaten so much food that you start talking nonsense and giggling for no apparent reason and want to take a really long nap.

And breathe…Last course…Dessert!

BANANA VS APPLE… Okay, I know, these are like the weirdest fights ever!

Bananalicious- Banana & Nutella

Apple Crumble- Apple, cinnamon, sultanas, crumble, butterscotch sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

We agreed on a draw for these two dishes, as they were both sublime with their flavour combinations. The Nutella had melted just a little which mixed with the banana to give a fruity yet decadent dish. The Apple Crumble was rather rich as it was a little cinnamon-heavy but with the addition of the sultanas and the ice cream it made it light enough to trick yourself into thinking it was a ‘healthy’ option.

During our visit Sian enjoyed a mango, passionfruit & pineapple smoothie whilst I stuck with a French vanilla latte, loaded with brown sugar cubes.

So…overall verdict…

I do feel as though the brand are missing a trick in terms of their in-store offerings for customers. As somewhere that primarily will either serve food for takeaway or have customers in for an average of half an hour eating one dish, I really think that the unit would benefit from a computer bar or even adding Ipads to their kitchen-esque dining table…a sort of crêperie come internet cafe.

However, they do offer free wifi, which isn’t really advertised anywhere, but with the space they have could provide a unique informal meeting space.

They also run monthly promotions, usually coinciding with what’s going on in the world or Cardiff at the time.

Ash and Kam have really turned this place around, having themselves gone through a rather large change going from office desks to crêpe domination I’d say they’re doing a great job.

After a great evening and several long chats with Kam later, we said our farewell…

I have to say my mind has been well and truly changed on Crêpe Affaire! A great venue with superb staff and well cooked food… Will be visiting again!

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