PLACES OF INTEREST

  • AFTERNOON TEA AT THE CELTIC MANOR

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: afternoon tea, Places I've been, places of interest

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    I was lucky enough to be invited for afternoon tea by my lovely friend, Mel. We’re both mums of two small children and so when she suggested a Monday afternoon get together involving tea and cake that would be just for us and not to share with any little ones, you can imagine how excited I was!

    Mel picked me up and we drove down the M4, chatting all the way about how nice it was to have an uninterrupted conversation and how much we were looking forward to an afternoon of sweet treats.

    Upon arrival we were taken to our seats, a great spot in the conservatory of the Olive Tree restaurant on the ground floor. It was a gloriously sunny day and we had a great view of the gardens and of people lazing around in their dressing gowns enjoying a spa day!

    When we were asked if we would like some Prosecco with our afternoon tea, we obviously said yes, and the fizz proved to be an excellent amuse bouche! Mel doesn’t drink tea (I know!) so she had a refreshing glass of orange juice and I enjoyed a pot of Darjeeling.

    When the tiered cake stand was brought over to our table, it was definitely a feast for the eyes. We were presented with crust-less finger sandwiches with a delicious range of fillings including coronation chicken, Hafod cheese and pickle, cucumber with lemon and mint mayo, honey roasted ham and wholegrain mustard and a mini brioche roll with egg mayo and cress. I liked the fact there were two of each, so no fighting over who got left with the cucumber one! Actually, I’m always pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy a cucumber sandwich as part of an afternoon tea, although it would never occur to me to make one at home for my lunch. I would definitely recommend the lemon and mint mayo for an extra boost of flavour.

    We moved onto the cakes quite quickly. I started my dessert course with the Jammie Dodger shortbread tartlet. It was amazing! I think Mel ‘s favourite was the raspberry and elderflower macaroon which she said was the right balance of sweet and chewy, to which I agreed! The strawberry and white chocolate mousse was tasty too, as was the pressed summer Pimm’s slice.

    The pace definitely slowed at this point as we had to sit back and rest between each mouthful. Sensing we were reaching the point we couldn’t eat or drink anymore, the waitress kindly offered to bring the scones out to us in a box we could take home.

    We left the restaurant with full tummies and a handbag full of scones, jam and cream which we were looking forward to sharing with our families when we got home. I think the doggy bag made us feel less guilty for indulging and we knew our little ones would appreciate a little treat too.

    I’m already looking forward to the next time I can enjoy some civilised cake eating and tea drinking…

    Thanks Mel – let’s do it again soon!

    We had the Summer Berry afternoon tea which is available until the end of September 2014. Menu here: http://www.celtic-manor.com/resort-afternoon-teas

  • SEW EXCITED!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Cardiff, Inspiration, places of interest

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    As we were enjoying a family dinner together on Monday evening, my lovely husband handed me a white envelope and a brown paper package tied with a stripy red and white ribbon.

    Intrigued and pleasantly surprised (it wasn’t my birthday or any special occasion), I opened them up to reveal I’d be starting a course at Venn Tailoring in Canton, Cardiff on February 14th. An early Valentiine’s Day present. How exciting!

    My mum bought me a sewing machine for Christmas a couple of years ago and since then I’ve built up a stash of fabric from projects I’ve planned to start, but have struggled to find the time to.

    I am ashamed to admit it but I studied A Level Textiles in sixth form but since then I’ve only accomplished a few minor projects as I’m still a little bit scared of the sewing machine. Especially threading the bobbin – it always seems to go wrong no matter which way I wind it and insert the case into the machine.

    Now a mother to a busy 18-month-old who loves joining in with anything I’m doing, I really value any time I can manage to myself. There never seems to be an ideal moment to get the machine out and start a project. Eating and sleeping seem to take priority most of the time!

    But this is about to change…Thanks to my darling husband (who’s probably heard me whine one too many times about not having any time to do anything anymore) I’m really looking forward to spending the next few Saturday mornings dedicating just a few hours reigniting my passion for all things fabric and sewing.

    For inspiration, he also bought me Cath Kidston’s Sewing Book which is jam-packed full of lovely projects including bags, decorations, kids’ toys and home decor, all designed to build your sewing techniques.

    The ‘Sew Your Own Project’ course is every Saturday for six weeks at Venn in Canton. The next challenge for me is deciding on just one thing I want to make….

  • CARDIFF INDOOR FLEA MARKET

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Cardiff, Inspiration, places of interest

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    I’ve just read about Cardiff Flea Market on We Are Cardiff and have decided it’s a must-visit this Christmas! I’m tempted by the late night opening this Thursday as there is mulled wine and music – it sounds brilliant. Saying that, I’m usually house-bound post 7pm with my one year old, so I’ll have to find some time on a weekend to stop by instead!

    The stall that immediately caught my eye from reading more about it was the Art of Vintage Souk – a beautiful looking collection of vintage inspired wares with a Moroccan theme. I went to Marrakesh with one of my best friends two years ago for a New Year break and we had so much fun wandering around the souks and looking at millions of lanterns, textiles and sparkly trinkets. Having a Moroccan-inspired rug in my new home would definitely brighten up the room and be a reminder of all the colours, textures and scents we experienced during our little holiday.

    When I get around to visiting the indoor flea market I’ll do a more detailed post about the other stalls I encounter there and if I’m really organised, share some pics of the highlights too.