Thursday, 30 May 2013

Idyllic Images #2

This Springer Spaniel was randomly lying outside Tesco in Penarth. Beautiful dog!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Restaurant review: T.G.I. Friday's

I love the food in T.G.I. Friday's, but don't go there very often due to long queues, price and the high calorie factor. The restaurant in St David's 2 is always surrounded by groups of people waiting for a table, and it's usually easier to choose somewhere else to eat rather than wait an hour to be seated. For those of you who don't know, T.G.I. Friday's is an American themed bar and restaurant which is highly popular in the UK. We'd been craving a T.G.I. Friday's fix for a while so we decided to go last Sunday as town was pretty quiet. We only had to wait 5 minutes for a table, which is probably the quickest we've ever been seated.

The menu is basically made up of starters, burgers, grilled stuff, fajitas, ciabattas, salads and quesadillas. So not a huge variation, but plenty to keep you staring at the menu for a while. I was torn between a burger and a ciabatta. For those of you who have never had one, TGI burgers are amazing. However, they're even better in the TGI restaurants in America. Cheaper, too...! Anyway, I decided to have a ciabatta as I've never tried one of those. I went for the Chicken Finger BLT, which came with TGI's scrumptious fries. We only had to wait 10-15 minutes for our food, and it was fantastically fantastic as usual.

I didn't expect my meal to be this big...

My ciabatta was cooked to perfection, and the chicken strips were beautifully tasty. The Monteray Jack cheese was lovely too, and I'm not even a big cheese fan. The ciabatta itself was slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside... I could seriously have eaten this meal about three times over. It was THAT GOOD. 

This meal cost £9.45, which isn't bad at all for TGI prices. Soft drinks are refillable too, so you can get your money's worth on those if you ask for top ups. The staff are usually very attentive and regularly make sure that your drink is topped up and that you're happy with your food. The only complaint I ever have about TGI is that their music is slightly too loud... that probably makes me sound like an old lady, but I don't like having to shout across the table when I'm eating. 

What do other people think of T.G.I. Friday's? Too expensive, or worth every penny? 

Monday, 27 May 2013

Climbing Pen y Fan

My boyfriend and I decided to climb Pen y Fan on Saturday, which is apparently the highest peak in South Wales. It's situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park and is surrounded by beautiful scenic views. We've been meaning to climb it for months, but have never had the time or the weather to do it. We thought the bank holiday weekend would be a great opportunity, so we armed ourselves with water and sun cream and went for it.

Firstly, of course, we had to make sure we had enough energy to actually complete the climb...

Neil's home made jambalaya!

After filling ourselves with jambalaya, we drove to Brecon in the sunshine and parked in a very full car park. Obviously a lot of people had the same idea as we did. The climb presented lots of opportunities for me to use my new phone camera, as there were amazing views every step of the way. I go to the gym three or four times a week, but still found the climb pretty strenuous as I've never climbed any kind of peak before. However, I was spurred on by the fact that numerous children and dogs were bounding up and down without a care in the world. We kept going at a steady pace and completed the climb in about 40 minutes. The view at the top was very rewarding!

I took loads of photos during the climb and at the top, but here are the best of the bunch... 

Climbing back down was possibly harder than climbing up, due to the uneven cobbled path. Luckily, I didn't fall and only had one minor skid. An impressive amount of exercise for a Saturday!

We obviously worked up an appetite, so went to Pizza Hut a few hours later then went to see The Great Gatsby. Blog post to follow on that!

Hawaiian pizza with a bit of red onion thrown in... old school. 

Has anyone else climbed Pen y Fan? I would like to tackle Snowdon next... I'll keep you posted. 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Idyllic Images #1

I'm always taking photographs of pretty things, but am never quite sure what to do with them. Consequently, they end up clogging up my phone/camera. So... I'm starting the Idyllic Images series as a way of collecting and documenting my random photographs. Also, I love alliteration.

Here's the first photo, taken in the park next to Cardiff's City Hall last Saturday:

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Restaurant review: Chiquito

Mexican food is just amazing, isn't it? It definitely features in my top 5 cuisines. However, I don't tend to eat in Mexican restaurants very often for some reason. Possibly this is because my boyfriend and I like to cook Mexican meals such as chilli con carne and fajitas, so we like to try different cuisines when we go out to eat. The main Mexican restaurants I know of in Cardiff are Chiquito and Chimichanga, and I've only been to them a handful of times. However, we hadn't cooked Mexican food for a while and we fancied a change on Saturday, so we went to Chiquito in the Brewery Quarter. We went at 5pm so it was beautifully quiet. No queues in sight!

It took me ages to decide what I wanted... the huge range of burgers were very tempting, as were the fajitas. I eventually decided on the beef chilli enchiladas as I've never tried enchiladas before and I thought they wouldn't be too much of a diet fail. I'm well aware that they were still a diet fail, but a massive burger and chips would have made me feel much more guilty! The enchiladas were also one of the more reasonably priced items on the menu. 

A bowl full of enchilada goodness!

The food came really quickly, and my enchiladas were amazing. They came with sour cream, salsa, guacamole and cheese, along with Chiquito's signature tomato sauce. The wraps were just the right size, and the beef chilli was very tasty too. One satisfied customer!

Chiquito is fairly expensive (by my standards), but I think it's fine for the occasional treat. You do get masses of food and good service, and I've never been disappointed when I've eaten there. 

What do other people think of Chiquito?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

My latest craze... playsuits!

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm a big fan of playsuits at the moment. I always thought they'd look unflattering on me and that they'd be uncomfortable because of the shorts element. I have several issues when it comes to shorts... maybe that's a topic for another blog post. However, I've bought two playsuits in the last few months and they're actually very slimming and very comfy. They're not restrictive at all and there's loads of room in the leg area, so you actually feel as if you're wearing a dress rather than a playsuit.

I bought the playsuits with the intention of wearing them on holiday, but they also look nice with leggings and my Ugg boots so I can wear them in this country too without flashing too much bare leg. Bonus!

The first is from New Look and the second is from Debenhams

Has anyone else discovered playsuits this spring/summer? Can anyone recommend any more nice ones for me?

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Too many teddies?

I have a small obsession with teddies. This refers to all cuddly toys, not just the bear variety. I've been collecting them since I was tiny, and it's definitely not a hobby I've grown out of. Also, a substantial percentage of my collection has actually been given to me by other people as my love of teddies is so well documented.

I usually buy a teddy (or two) as a souvenir when I visit a new place. Consequently, I have teddies from Florida, New York, Kefalonia and Edinburgh to name just a few. I'm particularly fond of collecting Disney teddies... This should come as no surprise to those of you who know me well or are regular readers of my blog.

I keep a few teddies on my bed and a few on my sofa, but they're mostly just on display for me to look at and to make me smile. Some people might think teddies are silly things to collect, but everyone has different tastes and different things they like to hoard. My hobby is quite cheap in comparison to others I know of, especially as a lot of my teddies have been given to me as gifts.

My teddy collection, excluding those I left behind in my parents' house...

My favourites at the moment are my giant Pluto, the Nemo cushion/pyjama case, Bolt, Dumbo, Mr Pricklepants, Lotso, Duffy, Eeyore... I should stop there before I end up naming them all. 

Disney teddies I'm still trying to afford/track down include Thumper from Bambi, Lady from Lady and The Tramp, Todd and Copper from Fox and the Hound, Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Flounder from The Little Mermaid and Gus from Cinderella. A few trips to Florida should hopefully go some way towards finding these additions!

Does anyone else (my age...) love teddies as much as I do? Please share!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Frantic about Florida #3

This is the third post in my Frantic about Florida series - you can read the first two posts here and here. I get a little bit more excited every time I write one and look through all my photos from last year. Eep!

Here are another 5 things I'm looking forward to:

1. The Magic Kingdom night show

This show was well worth queuing for and gave me goosebumps! 
Brilliant parades, atmosphere, lighting and fireworks. 

2. Eating a churro 

Cinnamon and sugary goodness!

3. The tigers in Busch Gardens 

Up close and personal!

4. Hogwarts at Universal's Islands of Adventure

There's also a brilliant ride inside the castle, as if the visual element wasn't enough!

5. Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom

Amazing ride which sends you hurtling backwards down the mountain!

Hope you enjoyed the third instalment... look out for the fourth one in a few weeks!

Monday, 13 May 2013

McFly rock my socks

Regular readers of my blog will already know that I was given tickets to see McFly last Friday night as a reward for passing my exams in December. Definitely the best reward I've ever had for passing exams... I think I should take exams more often. The gig was almost worth all the stress! Almost. It was the eighth time I'd seen them, and they just keep getting better. Amazing, I tell you.

Do you like my McFly tshirt?

They opened with That Girl, an amazing song from their first album, and finished with The Heart Never Lies. My throat actually hurt for two days after the gig because I sang and screeched so loudly. Always a sign that you've had a good time!

Seeing McFly is always a great experience as the band members are all very funny and enjoy chatting to the audience. Don't you just hate it when you go to a gig and leave feeling as if you could have just listened to their album and it wouldn't have been any different? McFly always go the extra mile to get the audience involved and to make sure everyone is having a good time. They even attempted to mimic the Welsh accent (badly) and commented on how much they love the Welsh flag... 'All the other countries thought a lot about design, sat down and decided logically which colours would look best in each stripe. The Welsh just said, "Sod it, we're having a dragon!"'

All grown up in waistcoats and dicky bows!

The tour is called 'Memory Lane', and was basically a summary of all McFly's greatest hits over the last ten years. I know... TEN YEARS! It was a good indication of how much the band's music has changed over the last ten years, and I loved hearing the old favourites like Room on the Third Floor, Lies, Obviously and One for the Radio. They really have got an impressive back catalogue of tracks. They even had to leave some out (such as Party Girl and Baby's Coming Back) because they couldn't possibly have sung them all. 

Has anyone else seen McFly on their Memory Lane tour? What did you think?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Bank Holiday Monday

I still can't quite believe that we actually had some sun on Bank Holiday Monday. I put sun cream on and wore flip flops for the first time this year, which was highly exciting. We had a barbecue at my boyfriend's parents' house, then went for a walk around Cosmeston Lakes. We stopped for a lollipop on the way back, then went back to the house to book lunch reservations at the Plaza in the Magic Kingdom ready for our holiday in September. Super organised, I know. We then watched two episodes of Castle before I drove back to Carmarthenshire to visit my parents and my nephew. Lovely bank holiday Monday!

Here are some photos of the beautiful Cosmeston Lakes:

What did everyone else get up to on Bank Holiday Monday? I'm already looking forward to the next one!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

My love of Pinterest

Pinterest is absolutely brilliant. It's a combination of organisation and categorisation, along with pictures of food, lovely places, home decor, crafts, clothes, and anything else you can think of. What's not to like? I treat it as an online scrapbook where I can 'pin' recipes I spot on various websites, keep photos from places I've been to or places I want to visit, and just generally store photos/ideas I like.

I have 26 different boards at the moment, and the Food and Dessert boards are the most populated. I bet you're not surprised by this. My Animal, Things I Like and House boards are also very full of a huge variety of different pins. Here are some of my favourite pins:

I don't actually use Pinterest as often as I use other social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, but it's very satisfying and difficult to stop when I do decide to have a 'binge'. It's very addictive... don't say I didn't warn you!

You can also use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog, by 'pinning' all the images from your blog onto your Pinterest boards. Every pin on Pinterest directs you back to its original source, so it gives you some extra exposure on a different channel. I love a bit of streamlining. 

I'll be researching Pinterest for businesses over the few weeks and would be really interested in hearing from anyone who is already using Pinterest as part of their organisation's social media strategy.

You can view my boards and pins here. Enjoy!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

May's wishlist

There are lots of items I want at the moment which I can't justify buying, so I'm compiling a wishlist to keep track just in case I suddenly find some spare money. Unfortunately, this is unlikely when grown-up things like rent need to be paid. I did the same thing in February, and still haven't bought any of the items featured on the list. This doesn't bode well for May's wishlist... never mind. I can dream!

This is in the sale but I still cant bring myself to pay £30 for a bag!

This hoodie is just beautiful... but also very pricey.

Brilliant film!

So pretty...

Pretty shorts for my holiday

Wrong time of year, I know. But look how nice it is!

There are plenty of other things I could add to the list, but I'll keep it to a manageable length for now before I give in and start buying things. I will now continue in my endless hunt for a money tree...

Friday, 3 May 2013

Frantic about Florida #2

This is the second post in my 'Frantic about Florida' series... I know I said in the first instalment that the series would be monthly, but I might actually post more frequently than that as there really are so many things I'm excited about.

The photos I'm posting are all my own photos which I took on my holiday last year... I took well over a thousand.

So here's Round 2 of things I'm looking forward to!

1. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios

Brilliant ride, brilliant soundtrack!

2. Earl of Sandwich

Best sandwiches ever. Even better than the New York Deli!

3. The Magic Kingdom daytime parade

Beautifully cheesy, with a High School Musical-esque soundtrack. 

4. Disney buses

Free for anyone staying in a Disney resort. Makes everything a bit more magical!

5. The killer whale show at Sea World

There aren't enough superlatives in the world to describe this show.

Eeep! I'm already thinking about instalment number three...