Friday, 27 June 2014

Celebrating our third anniversary

Neil and I celebrated our third anniversary last weekend. This anniversary was extra significant as it's the last one we'll celebrate before our wedding in August! It definitely doesn't seem as if a year has passed since our second anniversary... time is moving far too quickly these days.

I decided to try out my new Barry M Limited Edition Carousel nail varnish on our anniversary as I'd bought it with my birthday money and it went perfectly with the dress I decided to wear. I love it!

We decided not to buy each other presents this year as we're saving money for the wedding and spending a lot on our new house. Both very expensive things, I think you'll agree. However, we did buy each other a card and, if I'm honest, we do have very good taste in cards. Who doesn't love a card with fluffy teddies/dogs on it?

I usually have Weetabix and semi skimmed milk for breakfast every day, even on weekends, but Neil brought big thick rolls and bacon from the butchers with him as a surprise so I had a bit more of a hearty breakfast on our anniversary. With lashings of ketchup, of course! 

After exchanging cards and eating our rather large breakfast, we headed in to town for our usual Saturday wander. However, we had a bit more of a purpose to our trip this time... we went to choose our wedding rings! I won't be posting a photo of my ring here as I want to keep it a secret until we're married, but I'm so excited about the beautiful wedding ring I've chosen. It'll definitely feature in lots of my post wedding blog posts in September/October, so keep a look out for it. We went for our usual Caffe Nero fix while we mulled over our wedding ring options, and I ordered my customary skinny hot chocolate. 

After deciding on our wedding rings and going to the jewellers to place our order, we popped to the Sidoli's hut in the Hayes for a cheeky ice cream. I've already blogged about my love for Sidoli's ice cream. They have such a wide variety of flavours! I went for Creme Caramel Fudge and Strawberries & Cream on this occasion. 

We continued to wander around town after eating our ice cream and I successfully spent the last of my birthday money... blog post to follow next week on what I bought! Unsurprisingly, the post will involve items from New Look and the Disney Store. 

I mentioned in my last restaurant review blog post that we ate at Prezzo last Saturday for our anniversary meal so I won't elaborate on that here, but our amazing bread board deserves to be featured again!

After finishing our food, we headed to the cinema to see 3 Days to Kill. I'll write about it in more detail in my monthly cinema round up, but I thought it was a great film. I shouldn't enjoy films with lots of shooting and bombing as I'm so paranoid about crime and violence, but I really do for some reason. I'm sure a psychologist would have a field day trying to analyse that. 

There was one more surprise on Sunday... Neil had bought a beautiful lemon cake from Costco! The topping was basically a layer of lemon sugary goodness and the cake itself was lovely and light. Although I do want to bake a cake again soon, Costco is a good alternative when we don't have time to bake! 

So, to sum up, we had a lovely anniversary and ate a lot of food, as is our custom. Next time we celebrate our anniversary, we'll be married! 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Restaurant review: Prezzo

Neil and I went to Prezzo for dinner last Saturday night to celebrate our third anniversary. We went to Prezzo on our very first date in 2011 and again to celebrate our first anniversary, so we thought it was about time we went back for another special occasion.

We decided to go to the Prezzo restaurant in St David's 2 (Cardiff's newest shopping centre and food court) and booked a table for 6pm. As it happens, we needn't have booked as it was very quiet, but it's always best to be safe when you want to eat out promptly in Cardiff on a Saturday night. We didn't want to be hanging around for an hour waiting to be seated on our anniversary, and I don't deal well with waiting for food when I'm hungry!

We ordered a diet Coke each to start... we would usually splash out on some wine but we were going to the cinema after the meal and we're also busy saving money. Why does diet Coke always taste so much nicer when it's come from a posh glass bottle? Much more refreshing than a glass of wine on a hot day!

We always order a bread board to start in Prezzo as it's amazing, quite frankly. However, it does fill us up very quickly if we're not really starving before we start. Luckily, we were ravenous on Saturday so we relished the challenge of the bread board. 

The pesto and tomato bread is probably my favourite, but I also love the mozzarella and garlic pizza bread and the plain ciabatta with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The dips are so simple, but you can't beat a piece of plain ciabatta dipped in oil and balsamic. I just love bread! 

I love Prezzo's oven-baked Al Forno dishes so I chose the pollo carbonara for my main meal. I was a bit worried that it would be overly creamy as I'm not a big fan of carbonara that's been made with too much cream, but it was just right. It was a massive portion so I couldn't eat it all, but I really enjoyed it. It also made a nice change as I usually order pizza or tomato-based meals in Italian restaurants. There was loads of chicken in it... it's always nice when restaurants don't skimp on chicken! The cheese on the top was mild enough to complement the overall flavour rather than overpower it, and the spaghetti was lovely and tender. Thumbs up!

We decided against ordering dessert as we were both so full... the gelato burger did sound intriguing though! Maybe next time. 

Although Prezzo is slightly more expensive on average than some of the other Italian restaurants in Cardiff, it is a lovely restaurant with an upmarket feel to it so I think the price is justified for a special occasion. Our meal cost approximately £34 for two diet Cokes, a sharing starter and two main meals. This might be on the expensive side for our normal Saturday meals, but some would probably consider this quite a cheap meal for an anniversary!

Have you ever been to Prezzo? What did you think? 

Friday, 20 June 2014

My very first guest blog post!

So something exciting happened recently... Danielle asked me to write a guest blog post for her lovely blog, Underland to Wonderland.

I've never written a guest blog post before so I was really excited to be given this opportunity, especially as I'm an avid reader of Danielle's blog. I think guest blog posts are a great way to populate your blog while you're busy as they provide some variety and take off the pressure of creating content during these busy times. We both thought a Disney themed post would be appropriate so I got my thinking cap on...

I decided my post just had to focus on my love for Florida's Walt Disney World and why no other holiday will ever live up to this amazing place.

Here's a little snippet...

'I first visited Florida’s Walt Disney World in April 2012. I’ve always been a big Disney fan and have been watching classic Disney films such as The Lion King and 101 Dalmatians ever since I can remember, but I’d never been to a Disney park before 2012. My fiancĂ© convinced me to go as he’d been with his family so many times and he was convinced that I’d love it there. After much deliberation and dithering, I agreed to go. Although I was very excited about the prospect of going all the way to Florida, I insisted that it would be a once in a lifetime thing as it was quite pricey compared to my usual holidays. After our very first evening in Walt Disney World, I was hooked and definitely needed to re think my ‘once in a lifetime’ stance!'

You can head over to Danielle's blog to read the rest of the post, and to see lots of photos from my two trips to Walt Disney World. 

Has anyone else written a guest blog post recently? Let me know, I love reading them! 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Walt Disney World Photo a Day Challenge

I know May seems like ages ago now (I ask again, where is this year going?), but I thought I'd write a quick blog post on the Walt Disney World Photo a Day challenge I took part in throughout the month of May on Instagram.

The challenge gave me a chance to relive my two amazing holidays to Walt Disney World and brought a bit of daily Disney magic to my Instagram profile. I love looking back at my photos from Florida so it was a great opportunity to search for specific themes and to reacquaint myself with some beautiful photos I'd forgotten about.

Here are my favourite five photos from the challenge:

Cinderella's Castle, just before the night show

Duffy and I met the real Duffy the Disney Bear!

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival - Lady and the Tramp

Neil proposed to me in this little pavilion! Read all about it here

With Duffy in Downtown Disney, outside the biggest Disney Store in the world

Did anyone else take part in the Walt Disney World Photo a Day challenge? Please send me your Instagram links! 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

(Cheap) summer shoes!

I love a bargain, especially when it comes to summer shoes. I've bought a few lovely pairs so far this summer, all for under £10. I also had two beautiful pairs for my birthday so I've featured those in this post too.

See below for a clockwise description of each pair, starting with the floral trainers at the top!

Floral trainers - These beauties are from Primark and only cost £4. No, they weren't in the sale... they were just £4! They have pretty pink and green detailing as well as the navy and white stripes, so they're very versatile and can be worn with loads of different colours. 

Floral green flip flops - These are from O'Neill and cost £9.99. This is the highest price I'm willing to pay for flip flops. I love the colour and the design, and they're super comfortable. 

Turquoise flip flops - Another Primark purchase... £2.50! I have a few dresses and vest tops in this exact colour so I'll be wearing these a lot this summer. 

Coral flip flops - These were a birthday present from Neil's parents. I love the vibrant colour and the little studs on the bow are so pretty. 

Coral sandals - These were also a birthday present from Neil's parents. I'm a big fan of the double ankle strap and they're beautifully sparkly. I like sparkly things, in case you didn't already know. 

Yellow ballet pumps - These were £6 from Amazon. They were originally bought for my Minnie Mouse fancy dress costume but they weren't quite the right colour. I won't be returning them as they'll be perfect for the summer. The postage to send them back would probably cost me £6 so I didn't see the point in returning them!

Black pointy shoes -  I've seen photos of loads of people wearing these shoes on Instagram so I couldn't wait to get my hands on a pair. I had to go in to Primark three times before they eventually had my size (4) in stock, but I finally found a pair last weekend. These smart but comfy shoes were £6, so yet another bargain. 

Have you bought any of these shoes? Can you recommend any other summer shoe bargains? 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Monthly cinema round up: May

It's hard to believe that this is my fifth cinema round up of the year... this year is flying by in a haze of wedding planning and general tasks which mostly involve me running around like a headless chicken. In spite of the hectic nature of the last few weeks, I still managed to fit in five trips to the cinema with my Cineworld Unlimited card.

Here's what I saw in May:

The Other Woman
The trailers for this film looked hilarious so I was a bit worried about seeing it in case they'd put all the funny bits in the trailer in order to mask a generally awful film (like they did with Bad Teacher). However, after a slightly slow and cringeworthy start, this is a genuinely funny film with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. It won't win any Oscars but it wasn't a bad way to spend two hours. Cameron Diaz is still beautiful, in case you were wondering.

Bad Neighbours (twice)
Bad Neighbours is the first film I've seen twice in the cinema this year... probably because it's the funniest film I've seen all year. Seth Rogen and Zac Efron are both excellent and this is definitely one I'll be buying on DVD. Although the topic of the film (bad neighbours!) is actually my worst nightmare, it was very funny to objectively watch other (fictional) people suffering from the mishaps caused by partying student neighbours. Zac Efron even does a bit of dancing which reminded me of his High School Musical days. Oh, and there's a cute baby in it. Everyone loves a cute baby.

Probably the weirdest film I've ever seen. Yes, I know it's supposed to be a weird film, but it wasn't my thing at all. Just plain weird. However, I did appreciate the frequent references to social media marketing as I actually understood those. I liked the general message the film was trying to portray, but it was just a bit too odd for me I'm afraid.

X-Men: Days of Future Past 
Loved this film. Star studded cast, brilliant acting and some amazing visual effects. I haven't seen the original X-Men trilogy but I didn't feel lost or confused during the film at all. This is a great stand alone film, in my humble opinion. It has made me want to watch all the X-Men films now though... that was probably their intention all along. Marvel excels again!

And in May, my favourite film was... Bad Neighbours! Why else would I have gone to see it twice?

Check back in a few weeks to find out what films I watched in June. I've already seen two films this month so I suspect it'll be a longer update!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

My pet gym class peeves!

You'll already know that I have a mild obsession with the gym if you follow me on Twitter or on Instagram. Don't be fooled too much by my complaining... I do love it really!

I've started altering my routine and going to more gym classes during the last six months as I was getting bored of doing the same old workout every time I went to the gym and not seeing transformational results. I now go to Spin, Body Pump and Body Combat every week. Although I'm pleased that my gym visits are a lot more varied and I've seen a real difference in my body shape since I started doing regular classes, I do have some pet peeves about gym classes which I thought I'd share on my blog. I'm writing this post after a particularly annoying Body Combat class so I have plenty of ammunition!

1. The space invader

I always get to my classes early to make sure I get a good space. This is especially important for Body Pump as there's a lot of equipment to collect and set up before you even start the class. It's also important for Body Combat as you need lots of room to perfect your side kicks and jump kicks. I walk in, choose my spot, make sure I've got lots of space around me... then at the last minute, someone comes and plonks themselves right next to me/in front of me/behind me. They're clearly going to be in my way for the entire class, and by this time there's nowhere else for me to move to as the room is full. I then spend the entire class dangerously close to the wall and can't put too much effort into my side kicks in case I accidentally kick something/someone. So irritating!

2. The supermodel 

This particular gym type will strut into the studio with perfect hair, perfect make up and a brand new outfit. Lo and behold, they'll also leave the studio an hour later with perfect hair, perfect make up and a brand new (not sweaty) outfit. This is particularly irritating when I leave every class with a red face and curly hair... please bear in mind that my hair is always poker straight when I enter the studio. I'd like to think I worked harder than they did, but possibly some people do really look that perfect all the time. I dislike those people.

2. The clique 

You know when you thought you'd left 'the clique' behind when you left secondary school? You didn't. 'The clique' is present in all its horrible glory in every gym class. These irritating gaggles will giggle for the entire class, won't take the class seriously, will blankly stare at anyone outside of the 'the clique' who dares to look their way or step into their circle, and will suck up to the instructor as if there's no tomorrow. They will occasionally increase their giggles to cackles if they feel that they haven't quite made their presence felt. You're usually only permitted to join 'the clique' if you're a supermodel.

4. The arrogant expert

You'll get one of these (or more than one, if you're unlucky)  in every gym class. They'll march straight to the front to the space they've stood in for the last year, even if they're late and there's already someone in their space... yes, the arrogant expert can also be a space invader. They'll then proceed to make every move a split second before the instructor does in order to prove that they know the entire routine off by heart. All their moves will be executed with a slightly too enthusiastic flourish. The arrogant expert also enjoys sucking up to the instructors, even though they probably irritate the instructors more than they irritate me. The arrogant expert usually yearns to be a member of 'the clique' but can't bring themselves to giggle and mess around during the class as this would tarnish their 'expert' status.  

Have you come across any of these people in your gym classes? Please let me know that I'm not alone in my frustrations!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Bed and Breakfast review: Bron Rhiw

Welcome to the last of my Cricieth blog posts! I just had to finish with a review of the lovely B&B we stayed in during our trip.

Bron Rhiw is situated a 2 minute walk away from Cricieth town centre, and we chose to stay there based on its excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. It was also one of the more reasonable options we found in the Snowdonia region at £77 per room per night for bed and breakfast.

Bron Rhiw was easy to find and we were able to park easily in the building's little car park which was tucked away from the main road. We were greeted by one of the friendly owners straight away who made us feel very welcome. When I mentioned that I was pleased that they provided hot chocolate sachets in the rooms as I don't drink tea or coffee, she promptly brought me another four! I was correct in thinking that this personalised service was a good indication as to how the rest of the weekend would pan out.

The rooms at Bron Rhiw are lovely and homely and contain everything you could possibly need for a little holiday. They even supply a hairdryer in each room which can be rare in bed and breakfast establishments, and certainly very rare in a budget hotel. Everything was absolutely pristine, and my bathroom was gleaming. Just how I like it! I was also very impressed with how soft and fluffy the towels were... I know I know, I'm easily pleased.

I was very excited about trying the breakfast at Bron Rhiw as we'd read such good reviews on Trip Advisor. Breakfast was served between 8 and 9am, and we could choose whatever we fancied from their breakfast menu. They also had a selection of cereals, fruit and juices available for guests. I loved their little dining room and all the unique touches that made it so welcoming. Again, everything about the room and its set up was immaculate!

I'm a bit awkward when it comes to a full English breakfast as I don't like mushrooms, tomatoes or black pudding. I therefore chose to have various combinations of bacon, eggs, beans and sausage on the three days. All the food was sourced from local suppliers and you could really taste the superior quality... I especially loved the bacon. We had the choice to have our eggs fried, scrambled or poached and could also choose white or wholemeal toast. I had Weetabix as well as my cooked breakfast on the second and third mornings... I just love food (and Weetabix) too much. Neil tried their smoked salmon and scrambled eggs combination twice and loved it. It did look amazing in terms of its presentation, but unfortunately I can't stand salmon!

Bron Rhiw didn't just look impressive inside... the exterior was also very pretty and welcoming, and the owners clearly put a lot of effort into the upkeep of the building. I loved the flower boxes and I always think white buildings look extra sparkly and accommodating if they're taken good care of. The view from the road outside the B&B was also beautiful and made me feel really peaceful and a million miles away from city life whenever I saw it!

We spoke to the owners, Claire and Sian, quite a few times during our stay. They were so friendly and knowledgeable about the area, as well as being able to cook an amazing breakfast! I actually prefer to stay in a B&B / guesthouse rather than a hotel as it's quite rare to experience this attentive and homely service in a hotel.

I would definitely recommend this B&B to everyone and would certainly consider staying there again if we go back to North West Wales in the future. Has anyone stayed at Bron Rhiw? What did you think?