Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Belated tribute to My Chemical Romance

I know this is a bit late, but I was gutted when I heard the news that My Chemical Romance were splitting up. I haven't been a fan since the beginning, just because I hadn't come across their music, but I've been listening to their music for the last five or six years and own all their albums. I went to see them in February 2011 and thought they put on an amazing live show. Gerard Way is a fantastic front man and vocalist, and the rest of the band are brilliant too. All the albums tell their own story when you listen to them in sequence, and a lot of the lyrics really resonate with me. I love a bit of emo music. Is that even what it's called these days?

Anyway, as a belated tribute, here's my MCR top 6. Some of these are live recordings, so they take a while to get going!

I'm not Okay (I Promise)

It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Death Wish 

This is How I Disappear

The Sharpest Lives

Bulletproof Heart

Planetary (GO!)

What's your favourite My Chemical Romance song?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

A weekend fuelled by sugar

There's no point beating about the bush... I've eaten a LOT of sugar this weekend. My boyfriend decided to cook summer fruit drizzle cake and Smarties cookies especially for the weekend, and I can confirm that both were scrumptious. He used strawberries and raspberries to make the cake, and I could quite honestly have eaten the whole thing in one sitting. It was lovely and moist, with just the right level of sweetness. Luckily, I managed to show a small (ish) level of restraint. The cookies were adapted from a chocolate cookie recipe in 'The Boy Who Bakes' cookbook, and possibly tasted even better with the Smarties than they do with the chocolate chunks. The cookbook was a Christmas present from me, and Neil is quite literally turning into the boy who bakes. This was obviously my intention all along.

Cake and cookie... the Smarties cookies matched my polka dot plates!

Lunch, cake and the cookie did keep me full for most of the day. After seeing Iron Man 3 (which was brilliant, in case you were wondering), we went to Pizza Express with Liz and I ordered the Pomodoro Pesto pizza. By this time, I'd fully acknowledged that the weekend was a diet write-off.

At least I got some of my 5 a day...

The amazing cake and cookies have inspired me to bake some kind of cake after I've finished my assignments. I'm considering a carrot cake... what do people think?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Q&A every day, for the next 5 years...

Don't worry, I haven't agreed to some crazy challenge where I set myself a question every day for the next five years. This post is actually a raving review of the brilliant Q&A Five Year Journal. I first heard about the journal on Cat's blog, and went straight on Amazon to order one as it sounded perfect for me. It was actually out of stock so I had to wait a month before it was delivered, but it was well worth the wait.

The journal starts on 1 January (logically), and each date has its own page. On each page, there are five blank sections so that you can fill in the journal every day for the next five years. This means that you don't actually have to start writing in the journal on 1 January, as you'll fill up all the spaces eventually whenever you begin. Each day has a different question, ranging from simple queries about the day's events to more philosophical questions. I'm really looking forward to looking back at my answers over the next few years to see how my attitudes, habits, tastes and thoughts develop over the next few years.

The book is beautifully presented and is conveniently small too.

You can buy the journal from Amazon here. It's well worth £7.46, believe me!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The New York Deli

That's right... it's another food post. I went to the New York Deli in one of Cardiff's arcades for the first time yesterday, and absolutely had to blog about it in case people aren't aware of its existence yet. I was pretty overwhelmed by the huge menu, and finally decided on a New York Hoagie. It contained pastrami, lettuce, tomatoes, gherkins, swiss cheese, thousand island dressing and coleslaw, encased in a baguette. I'd heard amazing things about this place, but I didn't think the baguettes would be THIS big:

It felt like a Man v Food challenge...

I had to eat a lot of the toppings with a fork because the baguette wouldn't even close properly, and I wanted to pretend to be as ladylike as possible. I didn't quite manage to finish it unfortunately, but let it be known that it's one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. I ate this at 3pm and didn't need to eat again for the rest of the day. I also still felt slightly full when I woke up the next day... that almost never happens to me.

We sat on the window seats to eat our baguettes, and passers-by were actually stopping and staring with faces full of food envy. Lots of people stopped to look at the menu, and there was a huge queue when we eventually left after eating ourselves silly. The Deli also offers a 10% discount for students, which is always a good marketing ploy in any university city.

Has anyone else been to the New York Deli? What did you think? I think I'll try one of their bagels next time... Yes, I'm already thinking about the next time.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Patatas bravas with chorizo

As you probably already know, I am a big fan of chorizo as it somehow makes every meal taste better. So, last night, I tried out the 'patatas bravas with chorizo' recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I made quite a lot of modifications, but followed the basic gist of the recipe. The quantities I used made enough for two portions.

500g new potatoes
50g chorizo
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Squirt of tomato puree
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
Pinch of chilli powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of smoked paprika
Lots of Frylite!

I didn't follow the method on the BBC website to the letter, mostly because I've only got one frying pan. So here's what I did:

1. Chop the new potatoes into quarters and steam them for ten minutes
2. Chop the chorizo into chunks and put the chunks in the frying pan along with the Frylite, onions and garlic
3. Once the onions begin to soften, add the chilli powder, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika
4. Then add the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree, and let the mixture simmer for ten minutes
5. Meanwhile, drain the potatoes and add them to the mixture for 5 minutes
6. Serve and eat!


Really easy to make, super tasty, and very healthy as I didn't use much chorizo. What more could you ask for?

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Frantic about Florida #1

It's been a tough few months, for many reasons. However, I have got a holiday to Florida to look forward to  in September with my boyfriend. In light of this, I'm going to start a new series of blog posts to remind myself what I'm looking forward to most about going back to Florida. I went for the first time last year and had an amazing time, so I really can't wait to go back.

Every month I'm going to post 5 things I'm looking forward to, just as a little reminder that there are lots of things to be excited about!

1. Strawberry ice cream at The Magic Kingdom

The best strawberry ice cream I've ever tasted. 
And I've eaten a lot of ice cream. 

2. Cheetah at Busch Gardens

Brilliant rollercoaster ride... it's fast, as the name suggests!

3. Shopping in Downtown Disney

The biggest Disney store in the world! 

4. The Epcot night show

One of the best sights I've ever experienced. 

5. Entering the magic!

It's like a whole different world after you pass this sign...

More exciting things to follow in the next post... 143 days to go!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Body Shop's Satsuma shower gel

I am madly in love with The Body Shop's Satsuma shower gel. I had a big 750ml bottle of it for Christmas and have only just started using it, and I want it to last for ever. I can't even describe how good it smells, but it definitely smells 100 times better than any satsuma I've ever had. It creates lots of bubbles too and makes my whole flat smell amazing for hours after I've used it.

As if the smell wasn't good enough, it also makes your skin feel beautifully soft, especially when you follow it up with some Body Shop body butter. Although I haven't got the Satsuma body butter in my collection, I'm seriously tempted to buy it if it smells half as good as the shower gel does.

My giant bottle!

I'm pretty sure this bottle will last for months, and I've got a Lemon one of the same size to use after I've finished this one. No need to buy shower gel for a while!

Has anyone else tried this shower gel? Do you love it as much as I do?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

11 random facts... getting to know you!

I've been nominated for the awards above by the lovely Rebecca from All About U... How exciting! It's so nice to know that others read and enjoy my blog. These awards are a great way to share favourite blogs, give recognition to other bloggers and hopefully gain some new contacts. Here are the rules:

1. Each blogger posts 11 random facts about themselves
2. Each blogger nominates up to 11 blogs (with links)
3. The tagged (that's me) tells the nominees
4. Copy the Award pictures above into your post and you can display on your blog elsewhere too, if you wish

So here are my 11 random facts...

1. When I was younger, I used to fancy fictional characters such as Little Cousin Scampy and James from Fireman Sam. 
2. I'm currently obsessed with marshmallows and think about them far too much. 
3. I would love to live in America if I could swap their gun laws, health care system and toilet seats for the British equivalents.
4. I didn't try any kind of curry until I was 19.
5. I love things with stars on, especially if they're pink stars. 
6. Following on from the last point, I have a silver Ford Ka called Bobby. He's decorated with some pink stars I bought off the internet.
7. I love my Tesco Clubcard and am always a bit gutted when I have to shop anywhere else. 
8. I am a big fan of carbohydrates... my diet mainly consists of bread, beans, pasta, noodles and rice.
9. I proofread everything in sight. Absolutely everything. 
10. I didn't get a passport until I was 21. 
11. I am a fluent Welsh speaker. 

Aaaaand here are the blogs I nominate... these are just a few of the blogs I'm enjoying at the moment. Sorry to anyone I've left out!

Catherine - It's all about me
Emma Louise - Not your average
Nikki - The Lunar Lights 


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tim and Jen's wedding

I love a good wedding. My boyfriend and I travelled to Twickenham yesterday for Tim and Jen's wedding, and the weather was perfect for once. Neil has known Tim and Jen for years, and I first met them after we'd been together for a few months. They're a lovely couple and we were really looking forward to sharing their day with them. I didn't buy a new dress for the occasion as funds are tight at the moment, so I went with one of my favourite dresses which I've only ever had the chance to wear once before, and a little lacy shrug thing which I've never worn. I don't get out much.

My dress got a bit creased after sitting in the car for nearly 3 hours...

We had an easy drive up to London and got there with an hour to spare, so we met up with a few of Neil's friends in the local pub before going into the church. The church was very pretty with bridal flowers everywhere, and I was getting choked up before the ceremony even started. In a happy way, obviously. The service was lovely and meaningful, and the bride looked really beautiful. After the photographs were taken at the end of the service, a weddinged-up London bus came to take the guests to the reception in Windsor.

Amazing idea!

The reception venue was opposite Windsor Castle 

The venue for the reception was very grand and classy, and again the colour scheme and the flowers worked really well. I love a bit of colour coordination. Absolutely everything was colour coordinated and had the same theme from start to finish, from the invitations to the Order of Service leaflet to the ribbons on the little gift boxes left by everyone's place setting. I strive for this level of coordination and consistency!

Now THAT'S what I call organisation

The ballroom, all laid out for the Wedding Breakfast

After dinner chocolates!

The food was great, particularly the rather spectacular dessert... Caramelised apples with vanilla ice cream and panacotta. I could seriously have eaten that dessert about three times over, it really was that good. Who knew that caramelised apple slices could taste so good? I certainly didn't. After dessert, it was time for the cutting of the cake and the first dance. The cake was definitely the most impressive wedding cake I've ever seen, and tasted very impressive too. Yes that's right, I did manage to fit in some cake a couple of hours after my dessert. It would have been rude not to. I also managed to fit in some chorizo and a bread roll from the evening buffet... I'm just an eating machine. 

The picture quality doesn't do it justice!

The evening atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, and it was lovely to catch up with people and to take part in the general happiness of the big day. Unfortunately we couldn't stay the night in London due to other commitments today, so we left at 10pm to drive back to Cardiff. It was an easy drive again, and it was nice to reminisce about the day and to rave some more about the dessert and the cake. 

There are no other weddings on the horizon at the moment as far as I know, but I'm hoping there'll be a few more in the next few years. Have anyone else been to any good weddings lately? Feel free to leave links to your weddings posts, I love reading about them and seeing different people's ideas! Especially if they're nicely colour coordinated. 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate

I can quite easily go without chocolate for weeks if it's not put in front of me. I don't buy any for myself as I don't like keeping junk food in my flat, and it's quite rare for me to crave chocolate. However, if it's bought for me or is part of some kind of buffet, I can't get enough of the stuff.

Here's some of the chocolate I had for Easter... miraculously, I haven't eaten it all yet.

Disney chocolates from Venice, from my boyfriend's parents

Easter chocolates from my boyfriend

So pretty!

Everyone loves a 'MaltEaster' bunny, especially mini ones

Unsurprisingly, I've been to the gym every evening this week. Damage control! 

What are your favourite Easter chocolates?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Date day :)

I love date days. I've been with my boyfriend for nearly two years and I'm a firm believer in going on frequent dates, however long you've been together for. We hadn't spent much quality time together recently due to our busy lives, so we scheduled in a date day for Easter Sunday.

All ready and smiley!

Date days always seem so much more appealing when the weather is nice. It was a bit cold which meant it was the perfect weather to wear my Ugg boots, but sunny enough for my new sunglasses from New York!

Scarf and sunglasses... that works, right?

First of all, we took a trip to Wellfield Road to the brand new Joe's Ice Cream parlour. We're big fans of Joe's and usually drive all the way to Swansea for it, so it's pretty exciting that the real thing is now being sold in Cardiff. For those of you who have never tasted Joe's Ice Cream, you really need to. As their slogan rightly states, everything else is just ice cream!

It might sound dull, but you can't beat their vanilla ice cream!

After enjoying our ice cream in the flashy new parlour, we drove into town and parked by the museum. I wish every Sunday was like Easter Sunday... it was blissfully quiet. Not many of the shops were open, but it was still nice to have a wander without being accosted by various people and/or random novelty acts every five minutes.

After buying some Haribo Jelly Babies (a cinema essential), we went to see the 3:15pm showing of The Croods in Cineworld. We're big fans of childish films, and this one was no exception. I won't write a review of it here, but it was a lovely film with some very funny moments.

We then went for a sneaky hot chocolate in Caffe Nero, then went back to the cinema to watch Trance at 6:30pm. We have Cineworld Unlimited cards, so it makes sense to see as many films as we can when we have the opportunity. It was a pretty traumatising film, but very clever. However, I did think of numerous plot holes after having some time to piece it all together. I won't mention them on here in case any of you decide to see it. I would definitely recommend it, despite the apparent plot holes, and I'd be very interested in hearing other people's views on it. Thankfully I was able to anticipate the overly gory bits and closed my eyes in time... I suggest that you do the same if you're a bit squeamish.

Our double cinema date had worked up an appetite, so we went to Pizza Express in St Davids 2 for our Easter meal. Pizza Express never disappoints! I had the Pollo ad Astra romana pizza, which was deliciously scrumptious. Garlic oil is just amazing.

Feeling very full, we drove back to my flat to watch some Outnumbered. This has to be one of my favourite sitcoms, ever.

Perfect date day :)

Monday, 1 April 2013

Easter in Watchet

I drove to Watchet on Good Friday to meet up with my uni friends and to celebrate Liz's birthday (read Liz's blog here). Watchet is in West Somerset, and the first time I visited there was with my family about eighteen years ago. That experience was a bit traumatic as I dropped an ornament in one of the charity shops and broke it, but didn't tell anyone. This resulted in resounding feelings of guilt for the rest of the holiday. Sadly, that is a true story..

Anyway... Watchet has changed a lot since my guilt-ridden childhood visit. It's got lots of unusual little shops and cosy coffee shops, and is generally a nice place to walk around and have a wander. I also like it that people can take their dogs into shops and pubs and no one bats an eyelid. This definitely wouldn't be popular in Cardiff. It wouldn't have been popular with me either when I was terrified of dogs, but thankfully I got over that slightly crippling fear. We went to Chives on our first afternoon, and I had my first ever cream tea! Without the tea, obviously. I can confirm that it certainly won't be my last.

Best scones I've ever had!

The evening consisted of a trip to the local pub, a Chinese takeaway and setting up a profile for one of my friends on an online dating site which resulted in much hilarity. I met my boyfriend on a dating site two years ago, and I'd forgotten how ridiculous some people's profiles are. Bad spelling, punctuation and grammar never fail to both baffle and irritate me, not to mention the dreadfully unflattering photos and phrases such as 'I want a nice chilled out gal who won't stress me out'. However, if you're patient enough to sift through the ridiculousness, you'll find a gem. I am a big advocate of online dating (obviously).

We drove to Minehead on Saturday for yet more food in a beautiful little place called The Creamery, where I had a rather immense ham, cheese and pineapple toasted sandwich and a hot chocolate. The cakes looked absolutely amazing, but I managed to resist seeing as I'd eaten so much Chinese food the night before and the food guilt was kicking in. The decor was cosy, authentic and inviting. Unfortunately I was too busy eating to take any photos of the place itself, but you can see Liz's photos of The Creamery here.

I then drove back to Cardiff on Saturday night in preparation for 'date day' on Sunday, which I'll blog about soon. Thankfully the traffic was non existent so I had a nice relaxing drive home, apart from having to pay £6.20 at the Severn Bridge tolls to get back into my own country. That will never fail to annoy me.

What did everyone else get up to over the Easter weekend?