Friday, 27 February 2015

Restaurant review: Wahaca

I visited Wahaca for the first time last weekend after hearing countless positive reviews... I can confirm that I wasn't disappointed.

I've heard loads about Wahaca over the last few months from various sources all over the country. A branch has recently opened in Cardiff so we decided to pop in for an early dinner last Saturday afternoon. The restaurant looked busy at first glance but we were seated straight away in the bright and airy ground floor area.

Wahaca has a massive menu with a range of large dishes and smaller dishes of Mexican street food to share. As it was my first visit, I decided to order one big main dish rather than lots of smaller ones as I didn't want to confuse myself too much... I was also very hungry (as usual) so didn't want to waste lots of time deciding on various combinations. However, Neil ordered some chicken taquitos to go with his burrito so I did sample some of those. The taquitos arrived about 20 seconds after Neil ordered them and were very tasty.

I decided to go for the Mexico City Board as it sounded aaaamazing. I love fajitas at the best of times, but I especially loved the variety of unique fillings offered at Wahaca. The chicken and bacon concoction sounded really delicious so I decided to give it a try. The menu states that the Mexico City Board is 'generous for one'... they're not wrong! 

My meal came with four little tortilla wraps, a generous helping of the divine chicken and bacon filling, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce and tortilla chips. The chicken and bacon had been cooked in lime and oregano and this is definitely the best fajita filling I've ever had at any restaurant. The whole meal was really delicious and I can't fault it at all. Even the salsa was out of this world, and I don't even like salsa as a general rule. Everything was just so tasty and cooked to perfection. No bland food in sight! 

I love the interior of Wahaca and the Cardiff branch is absolutely huge with three floors. The restaurant has a very relaxed vibe and is obviously popular with big parties of people as well as for couples. The staff were friendly and informative and our food arrived much quicker than you'd usually expect. Everything was fresh and colourful, and I particularly liked the pretty lights. 

The prices at Wahaca are very reasonable for the sheer amount of food you get. Neil's copious burrito was £6.95 and my meal was £10.25, which is considerably cheaper than the equivalent meal at Chimichanga or TGI Friday's. Although the soft drinks are expensive at £2.50 for a small bottle, this now seems to be the case in most restaurants. I definitely want to try a mocktail or cocktail next time we go to Wahaca, and we might try the Wahaca Selection to sample a few different dishes. I can't wait until our next visit!

Have you been to Wahaca? What did you think? 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

New pink trainers!

I haven't bought new trainers since 2010. Seeing as I spend half my life in the gym, this is a very long time.

I've needed new trainers for about two years but hadn't got around to buying them... common excuses have included 'I can't afford them', 'I'm too busy to go looking for trainers', 'it doesn't really matter what I wear to the gym' and 'there's too much choice'. My obsession with losing weight and toning up is enough motivation to send me to the gym so I've never been one to buy lots of different gym clothes, but lately I've just been craving a new pair of pink trainers. Let's be honest, who doesn't want a pretty pair of pink trainers? Lots of people? Oh, ok then... moving swiftly on.

I popped in to Sports Direct last Sunday to see what they had in stock and to gauge their prices. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found there and decided to buy the first pink pair I cast my eyes on. They were £29.99 reduced from £37.99 which I was pretty pleased with. I did also fall in love with a pair of pink Nike trainers but they were out of my price range unfortunately... maybe next time! Although I spend lots of time in the gym, I can't justify spending a fortune on trainers as I don't go running so don't need to worry too much about impact.

Can't get much more pink than this! 

Do you also love pink trainers? Have you blogged about a new pair lately, or do you blog about more interesting things than new trainers...?

Friday, 20 February 2015

So I REALLY like hot chocolate...

It's well documented that I hate tea and coffee but love hot chocolate. There's just no contest in my mind... why on earth would you choose tea or coffee when you could have a hot chocolate?

I happen to meet friends in coffee shops on quite a frequent basis which means that I drink a LOT of hot chocolate. Neil and I also like relaxing in a coffee shop for half an hour or so when we're out and about over the weekend... he drinks coffee, I drink hot chocolate. I was looking through my recent phone photos a few days ago and realised that I'd had six hot chocolates within the space of ten days. This doesn't even include the hot chocolates I've made for myself in my own house! I do nearly always order a skinny hot chocolate, but still... that's a lot of chocolatey goodness in a short space of time.

As hot chocolate looks so much more attractive than tea or coffee, I thought I'd post photos of my recent beverages for you to feast your eyes on. That's just the kind of thing I do, in case you hadn't already noticed.


Valentine's Day hot chocolate in Coffee #1 

Skinny hot chocolate in Caffe Nero 

Hot chocolate with all the trimmings in work (for charity!)

Skinny hot chocolate in Starbucks

Afternoon tea in Pettigrew Tea Rooms

Yet another skinny hot chocolate from Caffe Nero 

I'm fully expecting to have another hot chocolate (or three) over the weekend and I'm already excited. Do you love hot chocolate as much as I do? Is this even possible? Let me know! 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Top ten beauty picks

I hardly ever write beauty posts but I've found a few excellent products lately which I just had to share with the blogging world. I do actually own quite a few beauty products, despite not seeing myself as a 'beauty person', so I'm making a conscious effort to use up what I have before buying anything new. I'm not giving up any food for Lent (why on earth would I do that?), but I am giving up buying beauty products which I don't need.

So here goes... here are my top ten beauty products!

1. Max Factor Whipped Creme Foundation
I bought this foundation at half price from Tesco a few weeks ago and it's quite honestly the best foundation I've ever used in my life. It glides on smoothly and flawlessly like nothing I've ever used before and gives a lovely coverage which lasts all day. You only need to use a little bit each time so this pot should last for ages. This is definitely something I'll be purchasing again once it runs out. 

2. Avon Shimmer Block
I'd grown tired of using shimmer blocks as they left my cheeks looking too glitzy and glittery. However, my new shimmer block from Avon is truly beautiful. It leaves a natural sheen which can be as light or as dark as you want it to be, depending on which end of the compact you sweep your brush through. It's very pigmented so I only need to use a few sweeps at a time. This product has restored my faith in shimmer blocks!

3. Rimmel Eyeshadow Quartet
I've had this eyeshadow quartet for a few years but it's still going strong. I don't tend to experiment much with eyeshadow colours so this is always my go-to compact. I don't use the highlighter shade much but the other three shades are very well worn. I have a similar quartet from Max Factor but this one is far superior in terms of pigmentation and durability. 

4. Maybelline Big Eyes Mascara
This mascara has a brush on either end - one mega brush for your upper lashes and a little one for your lower lashes. The little brush is very handy for someone like me who is still very clumsy when applying mascara! This mascara makes my lashes look twice as thick and it's definitely my best mascara purchase of recent years. 

5. Barry M Bold Gun Metal Eyeliner 
I can't use liquid eyeliner (see above... too clumsy!) so this eyeliner pencil is an absolute lifesaver. I love the dark grey shade and it's very easy to apply. It frames my eyes beautifully and I've already stocked up on a few more in case they ever stop making this product. I haven't tried any other colours in this range but I don't think I'll ever stray away from the Gun Metal shade. 

6. No7 Gentle Toner
I can't believe it's taken me this long to discover No7's skincare range. I always used to use a face wash to get rid of my make up but noticed that there were still traces of make up on my towel however long I scrubbed my face for. Enter No7's gentle toner... it soothes and cools my skin and removes every last trace of make up. A must have product!

7. Avon Heat Protection Spray
This is definitely the best heat protection spray I've ever tried (and I've tried a lot!). It smells lovely and I can notice a difference in the quality of my hair after only using it a few times. My hair feels softer, thicker and stronger... I've finally found a heat protection spray which can control my unruly tresses. Happy days. 

8. No7 Eye Make Up Remover
Another fantastic product from the No7 skincare range. This product has had a lot of negative reviews but I really can't understand why as it removes every trace of eye make up like magic after just one application. Also, just as importantly, it looks lovely on my bathroom shelf! 

9. Soap & Glory Dr Spot
Although I fortunately don't get many spots, Dr Spot comes to my aid very swiftly when the worst happens. If I put a dab of Dr Spot on a spot before going to bed, it's already dried out by the time I wake up. I have no idea what on earth they've put in this product as it smells awful, but I'm convinced that it has some kind of magical secret ingredient. 

10. Collection de Paris 
I bought this perfume at Charles de Gaulle airport and it's currently my favourite perfume. I'm really quite rubbish at describing perfume scents... this one is lovely and fruity (I think). I can't seem to find it anywhere else so I think it's exclusive to Paris, or possibly even exclusive to the airport itself. This makes me sad! 

Does anyone else love any of these products? If not, what are your favourite beauty products? 

Friday, 13 February 2015

Isn't the sky beautiful?

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll already be aware that I'm a bit obsessed with the sky. I've taken some lovely photos of the sky during the last few weeks so I thought I'd share them on my blog.

These photos were all taken on various days at around 5pm when I got to the gym (apart from the last one)... I'm sure fellow gym goers must think I'm crazy when I stand in the middle of the car park and photograph the sky. However, these photographic opportunities were too good to miss and I never cared much about my street cred.

I just love all the different hues and the vast differences in the sky from one day to the next. In my (non expert) opinion, sunset is probably the prettiest time of day. I also think clouds enhance the sky rather than blotting it. We all love a pure blue sky, but it looks pretty boring without a few clouds artistically dotted around to add a splash of contrast.

Do you also love taking photos of the sky? Please reassure me that I'm not alone in this! 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Social media objectives... a review of 2014 and new goals for 2015!

I wrote a blog post on my social media objectives for 2014 back in January 2014, and posted a 'halfway through the year' progress checker last July. Now that 2015 has arrived and it's already February (how did that happen?), I thought I'd take a final look at last year's objectives and set some new ones for the year ahead.

It might seem a bit OTT to set myself objectives for my personal social media presence... I really am that organised and like a challenge!

Blog objectives - 2014
  • To revamp and rename my blog by April 2014. Done!
  • To set up a Google Analytics account for my blog by April 2014. Done!
  • To reach 100 followers on Bloglovin by the end of the year. I have 35, so not even halfway there!
  • To ensure that I read other blogs and comment on them for at least half an hour every week throughout the year. I think I managed this most weeks. 
  • To take part in at least two blogger chats per month throughout the year. I've given up on blogger chats if I'm honest... I find that they're very cliquey and quite critical, and not always in a constructive way. 
  • To attend at least one blogger meet-up before the end of the year. Still no progress here!

Blog objectives - 2015

I do get quite demoralised with my blog at times as I put a lot of time into writing my posts and my follower base isn't really growing. However, if I enjoy writing (which I do), does it really matter if I haven't got hundreds of followers? My friends and family enjoy reading my blog, and I've made some great friends on Twitter who are also regular readers. I don't interact with other bloggers as much as I could as the blogging world can be so cliquey at times (see above). However, on the other hand, I think my blog would be slightly more successful if it was more professionally designed. Bearing all this in mind, I've only made a few objectives this year and I believe that they're achievable:
  • To reach 50 followers on Bloglovin by the end of the year. 
  • To post twice a week.
  • To get my blog professionally designed by the end of the year... need to do some Twitter research for this one.  

Twitter objectives - 2014
  • To reach 350 Twitter followers by the end of the year. I have 342... so close! However, I do have 624 followers on my professional account
  • To ensure that I engage with at least 5 new people on Twitter every week throughout the year. I've managed this most weeks, between my personal account and my professional one. 
  • To ensure that at least 40% of traffic to my blog is driven there from Twitter. The figure is actually 12% but I'm quite pleased with this as I'm also having a decent amount of traffic to my blog from Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. 

Twitter objectives - 2015

I really love Twitter and use it extensively in a professional and a personal context. When it comes to the apparent battle between Twitter and Facebook, Twitter is king!
  • To reach 400 followers by the end of the year. 
  • To increase my blog traffic from Twitter to 25%.

Pinterest objectives - 2014
  • To reach 100 followers by the end of the year. I have 53... I didn't spend enough time on Pinterest last year!
  • To follow at least 100 new people/boards by the end of the year. I'm following 55, so again this was over ambitious. 
  • To have at least one Pinterest 'binge' per week! I've had quite a few binges recently... hopefully this will continue. 
  • To comment on at least 5 pins per week as well as re-pin. I haven't done much commenting, just re-pinning!

Pinterest objectives - 2015

Pinterest is my 'go to' place when I'm planning a holiday, looking for a new hairstyle, looking for colour inspiration and so on. It's not a site I use daily so it's unrealistic to expect big numbers from this one.
  • To reach 100 followers by the end of the year. 
  • To follow 100 boards by the end of the year.
  • To continue to pin every image from my blog on a relevant Pinterest board.

Instagram objectives - 2014
  • To reach 150 followers by the end of the year. Done, I have 244! 
  • To follow 100 new people by the end of the year. Done, I'm following 392...
  • To make better links between Instagram and my blog by promoting at least one photo from my blog on Instagram every week. I do this for every blog post which contains photos. 
  • To have an Instagram 'binge' at least once per week where I like and comment on other people's photos. This is a daily thing... I love Instagram!

Instagram objectives - 2015

It's safe to say that Instagram is my fastest growing social network, and it's quickly becoming my favourite. It's such a simple concept but I absolutely love it. Consequently, this is one social network where I think it's safe for me to set ambitious objectives!
  • To reach 400 followers by the end of the year.
  • To ensure that 5% of traffic to my blog is driven there from Instagram (currently 2%). 

LinkedIn objectives - 2014
  • To reach 300 connections by the end of the year. Done, I have 346!
  • To follow 10 new company pages before the end of the year. Done!
  • To join 5 new LinkedIn groups before the end of the year, and to engage with these groups as and when interesting topics arise. Haven't had time for this one!

LinkedIn objectives - 2015

LinkedIn definitely isn't anywhere near my list of top five social networking sites, but it does serve a purpose so it's useful to have a presence on there.
  • To reach 450 connections by the end of the year

I know some people think setting objectives for personal social media sites is silly and a bit overly meticulous, but I like having something to aim for and to benchmark myself against. 

Here's to more social media obsession in 2015! 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Florida 2015

I have some exciting news... we've booked our summer holiday for this year!

It won't come as a surprise when you learn that we're going back to Florida's Walt Disney World in September. People ask why we keep going back, and the answer is very simple... we love it there. Why stop going to a place we love so much? The theme parks are like nothing I've ever seen in this country, the food is out of this world and the general atmosphere is just indescribable. And of course, there's the Disney factor. It's my dream holiday! It's also the place where we got engaged, so our return visit will be extra special.

We've decided to stay in Port Orleans French Quarter this year, after previously staying in Coronado Springs and Old Key West. The resort is much smaller than the ones we're used to so it'll be a nice change. It also looks really beautiful, something every Disney resort has in common. The resort is situated in a great area (near Downtown Disney) and has had oodles of positive reviews on Trip Advisor.

Images from Pinterest - here, here and here

I've started planning our trip on Pinterest and have already written a list of new places we'd like to eat during this year's trip. Is it too early to buy some new summer clothes...?

208 days to go!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Outfit of the Day - brisk walk!

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll probably know that I recently had a wisdom tooth taken out. I consequently felt sorry for myself for a few days, mostly because I couldn't eat properly which is really quite catastrophic in my world. We decided to go for a walk the day after the traumatising event just to get out of the house for some fresh air. It was bitterly cold so I wrapped up in a cosy outfit...

Gilet - Tesco (last year)
Hoodie - Animal (last year)
Skirt - New Look (last year)
Boots - Fat Face (last year)
Scarf - Debenhams (this year, but out of stock!)

As you can see, I've had all these clothes for a while (apart from the scarf). I like digging out my old clothes and wearing them season after season as I feel as if I've got my money's worth out of them, and I can't bear to get rid of clothes that I really love just because they're not brand new. 

The gilet was an absolute bargain at £8 in last year's Tesco winter sale... I love gilets and I love pink, so this is the perfect combination. The denim skirt was a sale item last summer from New Look (also £8, I believe), as was the Animal hoodie... I rarely pay full price for anything, as you've probably gathered by now. Continuing in the same vein, the pink scarf is from Red Herring at Debenhams and I bought it a few weeks ago for £4.80. It was supposed to be £16 so I was very pleased with that particular bargain. 

The boots are probably my favourite part of this outfit and they were a Christmas present from my parents in 2013. They're lined with thick fur and I love the little buttons on the sides. These are ideal for cold walks, as long as it's dry! They're very comfortable too so can be worn for long periods of time without making my feet ache. 

In case you're interested, here's a photo from our walk... such a beautiful day. 

What's your favourite 'brisk walk' outfit? Send me links to your cosy Outfit of the Day posts (please)!