Saturday, 31 May 2014

Outfit of the Day: Little Black Dress, Cricieth style!

Everyone loves a little black dress, yes?

I've been a bit obsessed with New Look lately and have treated myself to a few things from there ready for my honeymoon. I decided to take one of my new New Look outfits away with me to Cricieth as I wanted to wear something new and the weather forecast was promising. I also wanted to practice wearing my rather lovely new heels!

Dress - New Look
Bag - New Look (out of stock)
Shoes - New Look 

I'd be grateful if you could ignore my pasty white legs!

The dress is very simple and is in my beloved skater style. I genuinely don't think skater dresses look bad on anyone. It has a delicate daisy trim around the neckline and is just the right length for my extremely short legs. The accompanying floral bag is just beautiful and is the perfect size for going out in the evening. I could comfortably fit my phone, camera, keys and evening purse into the little bag. As for the shoes... I love these shoes! The heel is around 2.5 inches tall so they're not too high (even for me), and the slingback design means they can't fall off my feet. This is a problem I frequently experience while wearing heels, so the little strap at the back helps a lot and makes me feel a lot more confident that I won't fall over and break my ankle in an embarrassing manner. 

I teamed the dress with a black short sleeved bolero cardigan for our walk into town as it was a bit chilly. The cardigan is from Amazon and was only £4... I've also bought it in stone, white and cerise ready for our honeymoon! I couldn't resist getting some other colours at that bargain price. The crochet detail is really pretty and the 8/10 size is a perfect fit. 

What's your favourite little black dress?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Cricieth... the food edition!

Yes that's right, I'm still raving about my weekend in Cricieth! You won't be surprised to hear that we ate a lot of food so I thought I should dedicate a whole blog post to the various snacks and meals we had during the holiday.

I should probably start with confessing how many times we went to Cadwaladers during our holiday... we went for an ice cream on the Friday evening after we arrived, went for another ice cream on the Saturday afternoon and went again for lunch and dessert on the Sunday afternoon. Obviously I just can't resist their amazing ice cream! The Cadwaladers restaurant in Cricieth is lovely and has a beautiful view of the seaside at the back of the restaurant. We were lucky enough to find a table overlooking the sea on all three occasions!

First ice cream - sticky toffee pudding and caramel pecan

Second ice cream - strawberry and honeycomb

Neil's lunch... chilli con carne in a bread bowl! I had food envy as my 
barbecue chicken panin didn't look this good. 

Food envy disappeared when my amazing dessert
turned up... strawberry meringue tower. A tidy Eton Mess!

Don't panic, we did eat in other places apart from Cadwaladers. On our first evening, after having our ice cream, we went to the Prince of Wales pub for some food and a few drinks as we'd read lots of positive reviews on Trip Advisor and we didn't fancy eating in an upmarket restaurant on our first night. I ordered the chilli con carne with half rice and half chips, expecting something similar to the chilli I've experienced in Wetherspoons... nice, but nothing spectacular. However, independent pubs in North Wales obviously put a lot more effort into their food and presentation! The chilli was lovely and clearly wasn't a microwaveable meal, the chips were chunky and tasty, and even the 'wild rice' was extra nice! 

We had breakfast every day in our little guesthouse... I'll be writing a separate blog post about Bron Rhiw but here's a preview of the breakfast I decided to have on our first morning!

We went to an Indian restaurant called the Spice Bank on the Saturday evening. We originally wanted to go to the Poachers restaurant on the High Street but they were fully booked, and Indian is always a good alternative. I went for the keema byriani as I've never tried it before and wanted to try something different as we were in a new place. It was served with half a boiled egg which I've never experienced with a byriani before... the whole thing was delicious! We had the usual poppadoms and chutneys which weren't too impressive and probably came out of a jar (the chutneys, not the poppadoms!, but my main meal more than made up for that. 

I've already blogged about our visit to Caffi Cwrt so I won't expand on that here, but here's a picture that pretty much sums up how amazing it was! 

No trip to the seaside is complete without fish and chips so, on our last evening in Cricieth, we visited the local fish and chip shop and ate our dinner on the sea front surrounded by fellow tourists, pet dogs and seagulls. Thankfully the seagulls aren't as aggressive in Cricieth as they are in Cardiff... they left us well alone. I'm not a big fan of fish so I had a battered sausage and chips instead. I haven't had a battered sausage in years! It was a lovely simple meal and a great way to finish off the weekend. 

Are you concerned about my eating habits yet? Don't worry, I do go to the gym a lot,  honestly! 

Have you eaten in any of the restaurants featured above? Let me know! 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Café review: Caffi Cwrt

Although you might already have read my blog post about our weekend in Cricieth, no series of blog posts about Cricieth would be complete without a review of the lovely Caffi Cwrt!

I'd already read great things about Caffi Cwrt on Trip Advisor before travelling to Cricieth so I couldn't wait to try it out. We spotted it snuggled in a corner on our first evening and vowed to try it out the next day after our morning walk. Just look how pretty and bright it is! 

The café was quiet when we arrived at lunchtime and we were directed into a lovely quaint room next to the front window. It was so homely and felt like being in someone's dining room. The huge effort the owner has put in to decorating the café and putting their own unique stamp on it is amazing! The little touches just add so much character and authenticity. I also love the fact that absolutely everything is bilingual... a rarity in South Wales these days, unfortunately. 

We were expecting a limited choice of a few sandwiches and cakes based on previous experiences in similar establishments, so we were pleasantly surprised when we looked at the menu and feasted our eyes on the vast variety of food and drinks available. There were lots of different types of tea and coffee, hot chocolate, a huge variety of milkshakes and smoothies along with the usual juices and squash. As for the food, there was a good choice of sandwiches, light bites, pastries, scones and cakes!

After jumping between about ten different options and wondering if it was acceptable to order both a piece of cake and scones, I decided to order a strawberry milkshake, cinnamon toast and scones with butter and jam. When did I ever pretend that this was a healthy weekend away? Neil ordered a pot of tea, a cheese and pickle sandwich, and lemon sponge with lemon curd and buttercream. We asked if we could sit outside in the sun and were promptly escorted to a shaded spot outside the café where we could people-watch and enjoy the view. 

Our drinks were brought out first... I was almost gutted that I hadn't ordered tea as the set up was so pretty. Unfortunately, I despise tea. I've never been for a proper afternoon tea, but this felt like such an authentic experience with the vintage crockery and the knitted touches. My parents used to own this crockery set about 20 years ago!

I thought I was impressed with the drinks, but my eyes nearly popped out of my head when our food was brought out. Wait for it... 

Neil's sandwich was on a different plate... it didn't look as appetising or exciting as this platter so I didn't photograph it! As you can see, Neil's slab of cake was huge and my scones already had a generous helping of butter and had lots of currants, which is just the way I like them. I was also excited about trying out the large inviting dollop of strawberry jam! As for the cinnamon toast, I've never tried it before and really enjoyed it. Toast, butter, cinnamon and sugar... what is there not to like?

I tucked in to my scones after finishing my cinnamon toast... so good. The strawberry jam was clearly homemade and was the best jam I've ever had in my life. I even wanted to eat it out of the container with my spoon when I'd finished my scones. If I'm totally honest, I did eat quite a bit in this manner even though I was full to bursting after finishing my food. Although the scones weren't very big, they were really delicious and were the perfect texture. I love a good quality scone!

Our whole meal cost £13.55 which was very reasonable, in my opinion. Neil had about three cups of tea out of his pot, my milkshake was pretty big and the scones and cake alone would have cost a fortune in a chain café like Costa. The service was friendly and efficient, the location was ideal and the decor was definitely one-of-a-kind and very welcoming. No complaints! 

Have you been anywhere that rivals Caffi Cwrt? Send me your links, I'd love to read about similar places! 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Weekend away in Cricieth

Neil and I have been talking about going away for a long weekend since Christmas, and we finally had our little break last weekend. We wanted to go somewhere affordable, quiet and relaxing where we could forget about wedding planning and furnishing our house for a few days. Cricieth was the perfect place!

'Cricieth' is the Welsh spelling and 'Criccieth' is the English spelling, just in case you think I'm spelling the location incorrectly. I insist on spelling places in the Welsh way, especially when the English version has just added a pointless 'c' in the middle!

North West Wales is really beautiful and I think it's often overlooked when people are looking for short breaks in the UK. People always want to visit South West Wales (Pembrokeshire, the Gower etc) but no one seems to rave about the North half as much. Although most of Wales is beautiful (I'm not biased at all), I do think this particular corner of North Wales is prettier than most. Its beauty is totally natural and unspoiled, and I could gaze at the unique views for hours at a time. The scenic drive up to North Wales is also breathtaking, even if it does take approximately 4 hours.

We did originally want to climb Snowdon while we were in the Snowdonia region, but we decided against it as we were only spending two full days in Cricieth. Climbing Snowdon would have taken up a whole day and wouldn't have been very relaxing for our supposedly relaxing break. Instead, we went for long walks along the coastal path on Saturday and Sunday and saw some amazing views. We walked for miles and even got a bit sunburnt on the Saturday morning... I burnt my feet! The walks were so varied and included unforgettable views of the sea, mountains, the beach, railway track and stunning views of the horizon.

We stayed in a lovely little B&B called Bron Rhiw... blog post to follow on that! We had a massive breakfast every morning and it was only a 5 minute walk away from the sea front. It was a great place to base ourselves for the weekend and was in the ideal location. 

Although Cricieth is very small, it had everything we needed to have a relaxing and tranquil weekend... just what the doctor ordered! Beautiful views, several long walks along the coastal path, lovely places to eat, strikingly blue sea, a castle and a few quirky little shops on the high street. It really did feel as if we had the time to properly relax and unwind and to spend some very welcome quality time together.

In the evenings, we went for a meal between 6 and 7pm then went for a wander along the sea front before walking back to the B&B. There's something so peaceful about an evening stroll beside the sea! We were fortunate enough to have nice weather for the whole weekend... I don't think the sea front would have looked this inviting if the weather was bad. 

As you've probably gathered, I would highly recommend this little seaside town if you're planning a long weekend in North Wales, or if you're simply looking for somewhere to base yourselves in the Snowdonia area while you do lots of climbing. It's just so pretty! 

More blog posts will follow in the next week or so on the copious amount of food we ate in Cricieth, as well as a more detailed review of the B&B and an Outfit of the Day post from the weekend. Come back soon! 

Has anyone else been to Cricieth? What did you think?

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The joys of wedding colour schemes...

I haven't written a wedding post for a while, so I thought I'd write a quick blog post about the colour scheme we've chosen for our wedding. It's not as simple as it sounds, believe me!

Our secondary colour is ivory, so that's nice and straightforward. Ivory roses for the bouquets, an ivory theme for the table centrepieces, ivory waistcoats for the men... lovely. However, our main colour is turquoise and this is where the confusion comes in.

Is it really turquoise, or is it teal? Does anyone actually know what the difference is between the two colours, or are the words just interchangeable? Who decides what's turquoise and what's teal? Should aqua be brought into the mix too just to confuse matters further? The colour we've chosen changes drastically depending on the lighting in the room (although this is generally the case with most colours), and we haven't been able to get a spool of ribbon which exactly matches the colour of the bridesmaids' dresses or the ribbon on the invitations. I've never thought so much about colours in my entire life! I'm possibly being extra fussy about the colours as I work in communications so thinking about complementary colours is a big part of my day job... I just want everything to match perfectly.

However, I have now decided (grudgingly) that no one cares about the colours half as much as Neil and I care about them, so it's probably not worth spending hours getting stressed about the colour scheme. Yes, it's important, but it's certainly not the most important factor. I need to remember that the most important factor is the actual marriage part, and everything else will fall in around that. Easier said than done, but I need to stop worrying about the little things!

We managed to find some ribbon on Amazon which is the exact shade we were looking for, so we've worked around that for the rest of the coloured products for the wedding. The bridesmaids' dresses are slightly darker than this shade, but I don't think anyone will be comparing the pantone reference of each and every colour on the day itself. Although that does sound like something I would do... hopefully none of my guests are as pedantic as I am.

Getting different things to match has been a bit of a nightmare but I think everything will look lovely and bright on the day. Teal/turquoise and ivory really complement each other and they'll look great at a summer wedding. I can't wait to see the wedding breakfast room all kitted out in our colours and decorations, and the bridesmaids' dresses will look so beautiful in the photos. I'm just hoping it'll be sunny as the colour will look even more vibrant in the sunlight, but the weather is the one thing I unfortunately can't control.

Fingers crossed!

Monday, 12 May 2014

McBusted... best gig ever!

I'm still slowly coming back down to earth after seeing McBusted last week. Neil bought me tickets for Christmas, so I've been looking forward to this gig since the end of last year. It was everything I dreamed of, and more!

Although I'd already seen McFly eight times before this gig, I'd never seen Busted. I was a pretty big fan of theirs back in the day, but never to the same slightly obsessive extent as my love for McFly. However, there are lots of catchy Busted songs I absolutely love so I couldn't wait to hear some of the old classics. I was also excited about hearing a few early McFly songs, obviously. See what I did there? You'd have to be a bit of a closet McFly fan to get that one...

I've had this McFly tshirt since I was about 19!

We got to the CIA at about 7:30pm and it was already pretty full... I'm assuming people had been queuing all day to get in. As much as I'd have liked to be on the front barrier, it definitely wouldn't have been fair to subject poor Neil to that! We managed to get a good spot on the left hand side of the stage, directly in front of one of the big screens. It's essential that I can see a screen when I'm at a gig as I'm too short to be able to see over people's heads. Short girl problems. 

McBusted had three support acts at their show. Yes, three. One of them was pretty good, one of them was alright, and one of them was dire. The average age of the support act band members was approximately 15... they made me feel quite old, to put it mildly. I get so impatient during the support acts, particularly if I'm waiting for a band I really love. Get on with the main event!  

I got so excited once the sequence started on the screens to signal McBusted's grand arrival. I won't go into detail as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't been yet, but the way they open the show is amazing. All I'll say is that it has a Back to the Future theme... unsurprising, seeing as both bands love the trilogy so much. McFly even named themselves after one of the protagonists!

It was great to see all six super group members on stage singing along to each other's songs and having an amazing time. I hadn't listened to Busted as much as I should have in the months leading up to the gig, so I'd forgotten all about lyrically hilarious songs such as 'You Said No' and 'Nerdy'. They also played lots of early McFly tunes, as expected, so I was in my absolute element. 'Five Colours in her Hair' was one of my highlights, and everyone loves a bit of 'Star Girl'. My throat was sore by the end of the gig due to shouting/screaming along to every song and my ears were totally busted (couldn't help myself!), but the pain was definitely worth it. I also loved the way they actually interacted with the audience during the show rather than just singing back to back songs the whole way through. Their childish humour is very humorous and I love it! 

They even managed to fit Tom's wedding speech in to the show... I love that man so much. He was my least favourite band member back in 2005, but he's now firmly at the top of the tree for me. I'll let you guess what song followed the reference to Tom's speech... it's a Busted humdinger! 

Here are some photos taken by my official photographer (Neil): 

Have you been to see McBusted yet, or do you have tickets for one of their later shows? Send me your links!