And the weekend went…where exactly?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term ”Weekend” is defined as:

Noun

Saturday and Sunday, especially regarded as a time for leisure:

“She spent the weekend camping”

Verb

[no object, with adverbial] informal; spend a weekend somewhere:

“He was weekending in the country”

Now, neither did I spend the weekend camping, good God no (imagine my forlorn self wandering around a tent looking for a socket to plug my hair straighteners into), and neither did I “weekend” in the country. In fact, both these definitions couldn’t be further away from the truth. Quite the opposite actually!

Saturday was spent with the girls in the capital city of our home nation, eating Latin American and drinking cocktails (no tent or rolling hillsides in sight). I’m pleased to report that the closest we came to anything to do with the great outdoors was walking within a two hundred yard distance to the Cotswold Outdoor store.

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It was simply a great day. It started well with a few preambulatory glasses (slightly pushing it there as they were actually plastic) of bucks fizz on the train followed by a leisurely stroll into the city centre for a little window shopping… I challenge any fashion loving female to resist the lure of the window displays of Kurt Geiger and Reiss.

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An hour later and we were all gossiping with the accompaniment of some very sensible coffees, or Mocha in my case (hit of caffeine without the calories of a hot chocolate…perfect) before hitting Las Iguanas. And this is where it went slightly awry…through no fault of our own of course, but more due to the buy one get one free offer on the cocktail menu. Let’s just say that a significant proportion of the final bill was taken up by Cherry Fizz cocktails…

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Following a short peregrination of Cardiff’s finest drinking establishments, we ended up sampling some absolutely delicious cocktails…I can highly recommend a strawberry and vanilla daiquiri should you ever come across it.

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No w as I read over what I’ve already written, our jaunt to Cardiff comes across as quite a tame, respectable affair, and indeed it was until our final stop…Caroline Street aka “Chip Alley”. For those of you unaccustomed with the cultured streets of Cardiff, Caroline Street is a side street with more fish and chip shops and take-away outlets than you would care to imagine, hence “Chip Alley”. BUT, as much as one may disparage and admonish such a spectacle, I am 100% sure that this little transgression from the norm was our saving grace come Sunday morning…sans hangover!

We took the short walk back to the train station…we were tired, we had aching feet, but we’d all thoroughly enjoyed. The conversation on the journey home included lots of “pyjama” and “cup of tea” and “collapsing in front of the tv” references and this is exactly what I did: I got home, I put on my pyjamas, made a cup of tea and promptly fell asleep on the sofa before I’d even drunk it…I think it’s a cert that the Rock’n’Roll lifestyle just isn’t for me!

On Sunday morning, boy was I glad that the hangover haze didn’t feature…it was an early start to get two dozen cupcakes made for a party that afternoon. The KitchenAid was at full speed by half past eight and 100 royal icing flowers had already been prepped (organised, I know) ready for the decoration. I can’t say hand on heart that they were the most complicated cupcakes that I’ve ever made, but they certainly looked very pretty! Pretty that is, until PSB (perfect second born) got his hands on them…I’d put them on the dining room table so that I could clean the disaster zone that was the kitchen and ten minutes later, it occurred to me PSB was being unusually quiet. Although I seriously hoped that he was entertaining himself with toy cars in the conservatory (not likely) I knew in my heart of hearts what he was up to…he was redecorating my cupcakes! The cupcakes that I had painstakingly decorated to make sure that all the flowers faced the same way and were of equal height. The cupcakes that had caused serious tendon damage in my hand from a way too full piping bag and even harder butter icing. The cupcakes that were due to be delivered to a party in around an hour.

I was almost afraid to look but when I eventually did, a very proud looking PSB was sitting on a dining room chair, carefully removing small icing flowers and placing them tidily in a row and not so carefully squashing the larger flowers into the actual cupcakes, completely wrecking my carefully piped butter icing grass effect. Cue frantic retrieval of piping bag, removal of all cupcake decoration, re-piping of the grass and replacing of the flowers. Crisis averted. (NB…I negated to tell anyone of this heart attack inducing moment on arrival to the party…so Mel, now you know what I had to deal with!)

All things considered, I think the cupcakes were a hit and in the end, they did look party-worthy!

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The party was a lovely ensemble of pinkness with nail painting, dancing and butterfly tattoo application with a handful of boys, including my own, refuting any form of girlyness by playing the Xbox for the duration, only looking up to collect the coveted party bag at the end. My face painting efforts were a hit too and to be honest, I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in pink, purple and silver butterflies instead of the usual tigers and pirates that tend to be the norm at home.

And then it was home and feet up.

Last night, I sat on the sofa wondering how it was possible for a weekend to pass so quickly. But then, that’s the way isn’t it: on a “quiet” weekend, you desperately look for something to do to occupy the children and on a “busy” weekend, you covet a “quiet” one. Seriously though, if next weekend is as busy as this one has been, I think I’ll be incapable of functioning in a logical and rational manner.

Needless to say, it’s an early night tonight (if only to stop me from me from eating anymore…I’ve managed to scoff my way through an industrial sized bag of popcorn whilst writing this)…nos da pawb x

Cardiff, Cobbles and Calonnau

Well, what a lovely weekend it’s been…for various reasons, my birthday celebrations were brought forward by a week this year and what with a distinct lack of child free nights out since the birth of PSB (perfect second born) it was decided that a night in the Welsh capital was in order. Cue the frantic making of child care arrangements, the digging out of long forgotten “night out” clothes and shoes and the abandonment of all the usual responsibilities…for Cardiff beckoned.

For me, getting ready to go out has always been almost as pleasurable as the night out itself. I get lost in the make-up, the hair products, the heated rollers and the false eyelashes; it’s a total escape from normality, although I’m slightly out of practice, as I am with walking in sky-scraping heels on cobble stones as I found out to my detriment on Saturday night (the decision to install cobble stones within a 100 metre radius of any venue frequented by women in the evening  must have been made by a man, as any woman would have realised the potential for an expensive pair of high heels to be irreparably damaged by the offending choice of paving). I have to say, it was an extremely pleasurable evening away even if it was only a 24 hour break away from the children. To conclude…great food, great champagne and a late check-out allowed for the watching of the Australian Open final!

Speaking of “check-outs”, this brings me to my rant of the week…5* hotels (as classified by various hotel booking websites). Well , more specifically, a rant about a certain 5* hotel which shall remain nameless…but I will say that its located in the capital, in the area of the city where there’s quite a bit of water and is near the home of the Welsh Assembly. I was “fortunate” enough to stay at this hotel-which-shall-remain-nameless recently. Yes, it was a traditionally busy time, but that doesn’t make up for a number of misgivings. This is in complete contrast to my experience at The Hilton over this past weekend. So if any of you are torn over the decision with regards to which 5* Cardiff hotel to stay at, here’s a rundown of my experience:

  Hotel   which shall remain nameless but regularly frequented by Assembly Members The   Hilton Cardiff
Car Parking Left to our own devices, had to trudge from car park via muddy pathway to hotel. Parked outside, greeted by Concierge who helped with luggage and   parked the car.
Greeting A greeting of sorts by a less than helpful member of staff who   informed us on our request to dine at the hotel restaurant that evening, that   is was full…really?! Surely, you would expect a hotel of this calibre to be   factoring in hotel guests to their restaurant reservations…or is it just   me! Greeted by the Hilton “Employee of the Year” who just couldn’t do   enough to help. I happened to mention to her that we were celebrating my   birthday and within 2 minutes of arriving in our room, a plate of chocolates   emblazoned with a chocolate-piped “Happy Birthday” was delivered.
Food and Drinks No food…no room at the inn! The bar area was very nice though and we   did return at the end of the evening for a bottle of champagne rather than   face Cardiff’s madding, and increasingly rowdy, crowds. BUT, breakfast was an   altogether more chaotic affair with having to queue for a table and queue for   the buffet only to face rather a bland breakfast. Also had a nice bar area (but the same bottle of champagne came in at   around ten pounds cheaper!) Enough said…

So there we go, I hope it’s pretty obvious which hotel wins my vote…the AM’s can keep their alleged modernist opulence. (Having re-read this rant, I fear that I may come across as some kind of 5* hotel connoisseur …please be safe in the knowledge that I’m really not, it’s just that we’ve had a couple of “big” birthdays to celebrate recently: some “bigger” than others!)

Now, I would imagine that some of you lovely readers may be booking into hotels of your choosing within the next few weeks, what with V-Day approaching. Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is inescapable. I can’t say that I’m a big fan and with the Welsh equivalent, Diwrnod Santes Dwynwen, being celebrated not long before it on the 25th January, by the time it actually comes around, I’ve hit V-Day overload. Whilst I appreciate that some people may well like the plastic roses, heart confetti filled snow-globes and the other general tat that is farmed out at this time of year, I’ve been on a mission…oops, you’ll have to excuse me whilst I clear up a generous amount of apple juice that has been spilled on my freshly washed cream carpet by PFB. How two small children can create such devastation is beyond me, anyway, I digress…as I was saying, I’ve been on a mission to find some gorgeousness amongst the tat and the best thing about it, is that they’re all from Welsh companies. So here they are for your viewing pleasure (disclaimer: I possess no guilt whatsoever for featuring products from my own business, after all, if I didn’t think they were utterly lovely, I wouldn’t make them…enjoy)

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1. Kate Hamilton Hunter Vintage Heart Rose Necklace, £28.50, available at http://www.medi-gifts.com

2. Vintage Love Bird Wedding Cake, price on request, http://www.littleblackhen.com

3. Caru Ti love you soap, £4.50, available at http://www.adrahome.com

4. Modern Welsh Love Spoon, £9.95 each or £17.95 a pair, available at http://www.adrahome.com

5. Small Welsh Love Heart, £8.50, available at http://www.medi-gifts.com

6. Gingham Fabric Roses, £10.00, available at http://www.calonogi.co.uk

7. Clay Love Token Magnets, £6.50, available at http://www.calonogi.co.uk

8. Love Heart Cushions, £25.00, available at www.calonogi.co.uk

9. “Cariad” Silver Pendant, £45.00, available at www.adrahome.com

I have to finish with a quick shout out to the absolutely amazing initiative that is Little Angels Cakes. I can’t sum it up better than they have themselves on their facebook  page, so here you go…

“Little Angels Cakes is no ordinary cake page, we are suppliers of free beautiful cakes using cake makers across the UK to make cakes for children with life threatening conditions and their siblings.”

So take a look at the amazing work that this not-for-profit organisation does by following this link www.facebook.com/LittleAngelsCakes (and I’m sure they’d appreciate a few more “likes” on their page!) Well done ladies x

So there we go, that’s quite enough from me on this rainy, windy Monday evening.

Over and out…