Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Best Places in South Wales to have Afternoon Tea

I absolutely adore going for Afternoon Tea as a special treat. We are very lucky in South Wales as there are plenty of venues that provide different and unique takes on the traditional Afternoon Tea. With Mother's Day coming up, I've listed the best places in the South Wales to treat your loved ones.


We recently had the pleasure of reviewing afternoon tea at the Vale Resort which you can read here, An Overnight Stay at the Vale Resort

It is served in their restaurant and we were lucky enough to sit in their conservatory which has sweeping views across their beautiful grounds and golf course.

The sandwiches and cakes were all light and refreshing which is exactly what you want out of a spring afternoon tea. The Welsh Cakes were a fab touch, after all we are in Wales so it was lovely to see the items being Welsh themed.


My daughters also had their own smaller sized portion to share which they enjoyed.


It is priced at £35 for two people which I think is fantastic value for money. You can also add a glass of Champagne for £6 or Proscecco for £4.50.


To see more of the Afternoon Tea then take a look at my youtube video of our stay https://youtu.be/T_RGetX4Qlw.


On Monday I was able to review the brand new Afternoon Tea menu at The Celtic Manor. The Celtic Manor is one of my favourite hotels in South Wales and is certainly one of my top picks for Afternoon Tea.


There was a great selection of savouries followed by hand made cakes and pastries and freshly baked scones.


The savoury selection was my favourite part of the Afternoon Tea. The whipped pate on brioche left my mouth salivating. The flavours were all perfectly matched for spring and were  light and refreshing on the palette. 


The sweet offering was lovely. There was a handmade chocolate on the plate that was divine. I bit into it and felt an explosion of orange and lime. I could've eaten about a 100 of them. 


We were also treated to a glass of Proscecco which made the Afternoon Tea even more special.

I haven't written my full review yet so pop back in a few days to read it. This is a very old review I wrote of a Christmas Afternoon Tea there if you'd like to read that one, Christmas Afternoon Tea.

This Afternoon Tea is £21.50 per person Monday - Friday and £29.50 on the weekend. I will be returning with hubby and the girls asap as I know they'd love it.


Afternoon Tea at the Laguna Restaurant located in the Park Plaza hotel is wonderful. I've tried various menus here and none have disappointed. My favourite one at the moment is the Gentlemen's Afternoon Tea. The savoury offerings are a far cry from the traditional sandwiches but the selection is mouthwatering. Their Scotch Egg with Bloody Mary sauce is the best one i've ever eaten. This costs £19.95 per person Monday - Friday and £22.95 per person on the weekend.

Throughout the year they do themed Afternoon Tea's. One of their popular menus has been their Hendrick's themed Afternoon Tea. You can read a review of that particular one here by blogger 'Explore with Ed', Hendrick's Afternoon Tea.



Tempus at Tides is not somewhere I have tried but I have heard fantastic things about their various Afternoon Tea menus. They currently offer a traditional, gentlemen's and a children's menu. 

I love the idea of going for a children's Afternoon Tea. It's very rare that i'm not with my children so to be able to take them for a themed tea catered for their needs would be ideal. This costs £14.50 per child. Local blogger Cardiff Mummy Says has reviewed this tea over on her blog which you can read here, Magical Marvellous Afternoon Tea



I have only had the pleasure of this Afternoon Tea once and it was the beautiful setting that was the highlight for me. The weather was sunny and we were able to sit outside and enjoy the views of the vineyard whilst basking in the rays. 

You can read a review of their Afternoon Tea by blogger 'Porcelina's World' here, Llanerch Vineyard.


I am ashamed to say I still haven't tried the Afternoon Tea at The Angel. As an Afternoon Tea lover this really is sacrilegious as their tea is legendary. I haven't come across anyone who hasn't enjoyed it. It's my birthday next month so perhaps i'll finally get to go then.

They also have a Mad Hatter themed Afternoon Tea on certain dates this year which I can imagine is spectacular. 

Blogger 'A Slice of my life Wales' has reviewed their tea on her blog which you can read here, Afternoon Tea at The Angel.


What are your favourite places to have Afternoon Tea? 



SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave
SHARE:

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A day out at Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World

During the last half term we decided to have a day out at Paultons Park. We have visited once before but that was when I was pregnant with Ophelia so Eva would have been around 2.5 years old. Eva is now 4 and Ophelia is 15 months old. Both girls love watching Peppa Pig so we thought this would be the perfect family day out.



We chose to go on the Sunday during half term. We had all our fingers and toes crossed that it was going to be quiet. It's about a 2 hour drive from our house so we booked into a hotel close by the night before so that we could arrive early the next day.

We arrived about half an hour after it opened and decided we'd head straight to Peppa Pig World and do as many rides as we could there. Ophelia had been asleep but woke up once we got into Peppa Pig World and I wish i'd filmed her reaction as she woke up. It was priceless. I think she thought she was dreaming. It was a mixture of sheer happiness, shock and laughter. 

The first ride we headed to was George's dinosaur adventure ride. Ophelia was so desperate to go on but unfortunately she was too small. Eva thought it was fab.




Most of the rides in Peppa Pig World were tame and both girls were able to ride on them. Their favourite ride was the cars. 







After about an hour both hubby and I needed a rest so we took the kids into the indoor play zone. It was fairly chaotic in there as it had just started raining outside but it was a great place to take shelter and let the girls run wild. 




The girls really enjoyed having their photo taken inside the nursery. Their faces were super cute. 

Once it stopped raining Eva had a play in the outdoor play area which she thought was fantastic. She could've spent hours there. 




We took a packed lunch with us so we sat on a bench and watched the penguins whilst we tucked in. There were plenty of places where you could buy food and drink but we'd chosen to bring our own. 



We'd been on everything we wanted to in Peppa Pig World so we then headed over to the other areas in the park. The last time we visited we hadn't managed to get around the whole park so this was a new experience for all of us.

We finished the day in The Lost Kingdom which is dinosaur themed. Hubby took Eva on a ride called the dinosaur tour and she hated it and cried. Whoops bad parents!!! There were a couple of thrill rides there which Arwyn and I went on. It was nice to feel an adrenaline rush after all the tame rides we had already been on.

The last ride Eva went on was a digger ride. There wasn't any queue at all so she must've rode it about 10 times. 



Overall, we had a fantastic family day out. There are plenty of things there for young children. They enjoyed all the rides and indoor and outdoor play areas. The wet weather didn't stop us having a good time. 

It's a great park for children of all ages. I think it's particularly good for younger children but if you have a mixture of older and younger children then there are plenty of more fast paced attractions available.



We were able to see and get on everything we wanted to that day but I think that's because it wasn't during peak season. If you are going to go during the summer months I would recommend getting a 2 day ticket. 



Here's our vlog of our day there so you can get a better glimpse of the park.



*Thank you to Paultons Park for providing us with day tickets in return for our honest review*



SHARE:

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A Mother's Day Treat at East Gate Llanelli

I was recently invited to receive a Mother's Day treat of a day out at East Gate Llanelli. Naturally, I decided it should be a family affair so myself, hubby and the girls all headed there to enjoy some time out. I couldn't wait for a day off from my mum duties of cooking dinner etc.

We were catching a morning film, then having a family lunch before finishing off with some ice cream.

There's plenty of parking available which is next to the Travelodge. It's very reasonably priced but you can only put a maximum limit of 4 hours on a ticket so we had to pop back and get another ticket when our time ran out. It's literally a couple of minutes walk away from the facilities so that wasn't an issue for us.

As a family we love a trip to the cinema. Even little Ophelia enjoys it. Odeon always have a great choice of kids films as they have current films and also older films showing during their  kids screening times. We decided to watch 'Ballerina'. The girls had a children's box and a pic and mix whilst hubby and I enjoyed a coffee and a cake from Costa.
The film was actually really good. All of us liked it especially Eva. All she's been doing since is dancing and singing the songs from the film and asking to watch it again.

Next we headed to Red 10 American Diner. As it's name suggests Red 10 serves a range of American inspired food such as burgers, wings and fried chicken. 


The diner has a relaxed and informal setting which is ideal for family dining. The staff were all attentive and friendly. The girls were given paper and colouring pens to keep them entertained whilst waiting for their food. Families are definitely made to feel welcome here which is fab as I do find eating out with the girls can be quite a stressful experience. This was such a chilled out environment with plenty of lights, sounds and features to keep the kids occupied. 


There was a lot to choose from on the menu. After much deliberation I decided to have fried chicken, Eva had corn dogs and Ophelia had macaroni cheese. Hubby chose the sloppy Joe burger which was made with bbq pulled pork. All of us really enjoyed our food. Both girls shared their dinner with each other (a first, they normally don't share). What's great about the diner is that the portion sizes are huge. You certainly get value for money. 



The diner has a great deal on for Mother's Day. If you prebook your table then mum can eat for free. There must be one other full paying person so that you qualify for the free meal. You can book by calling 01554 777628 or visiting their facebook page here, Red 10. This is such a good offer and it's an ideal place if you are looking for a good family meal this Mother's Day.


Last up we headed to Joe's Ice Cream. With our bellies full from our lunch we were worried if we'd actually fit anything else in but there's always room for ice cream. There is a lot of choice at the parlour from a traditional ice cream in a cone or tub to something more special like a sundae or a north pole.


I shared a tub of ice cream with Ophelia. Needless to say she ended up eating most of it. Hubby had his own and Eva had an ice cream in a cone. As you can see from the pictures, she loved it.



Overall, we had a lovely day out. It was fab to relax for the day and enjoying being a mum with my family.





SHARE:

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Why Can't I Accept My Post Baby Body?

It's taken me a while to decide to write this post as I wasn't sure whether people would understand. There are so many body positive people around and I hate to admit it but I still can't get on board with loving my post baby body. In fact I hate it. I am the least body positive person you will find and when I see people loving their post baby shape and embracing their bodies, i'm jealous. I want to feel like that. So why can't I?


This is a question i've been asking myself for a long time. I see images on instagram of amazing mums embracing their shape, going to the gym, the healthy eating images, mums eating boxes of chocolates etc and they are all confident and happy with the way they look. However, when I take a picture I can honestly tell you I scrutinise it for about an hour. Millions of silly questions and thoughts pop in to my self doubted mind. Do I look fat in it? Oh my god look at my chin! My legs look massive. I look huge in that coat. I am never, ever wearing that again. Why can't I just look at the picture and be happy? Why do I sit there and tear myself apart like some deranged, hormonal, high school chick. I thought the days of worrying over how other people view me were left at the school gates 15 years ago. 

It doesn't just stop at photos. We have a long mirror in our bedroom. Every time I walk past it, I stand there and analyse myself, from the front, side and back. Why do I keep doing that? Nothing will have changed in the couple of hours since I last checked. I'll get dressed in the morning (which by the way takes ages as i'll have spent the best part of half an hour finding something that covers my mum tum and jumping up and down to squeeze into my jeans) and then I stand there and criticise myself from top to bottom. My husband constantly tells me off about this and has threatened to remove the mirror as he's sick of seeing me body shame myself on a daily basis. 

Here's how I view other mummies and their take on their post baby bodies. You either get the chai eating, smoothie drinking, in the gym 24/7 mummies or the I am embracing my curves and scars and my body is beautiful mummies. Why can I not be in either of these categories? So as a nearly 32 year old mum of 2, one naturally and one through caesarean I am the mummy who hates my stretch marks and scars, hates my curves and hates my extra weight gain. There i've said it and I feel better for saying it. 


I've written this post to hopefully show other mums who feel like me that it is actually ok to say it. It is ok to say you know what, I feel and look like shit. I bet there are other mums out there who put on a front but deep down they feel like shit. I'm saying it's ok to say it as I've honestly come to the point where now I've said it out loud i'm going to start making a change to help me learn to love myself.

But back to the original part. Why haven't I been able to accept my post baby body? When I sit down and really think about why i'm so unhappy it's pretty clear that I had very unrealistic expectations of what I'd be like after having kids.

I'm not gonna lie, I expected to look like an instant milf after giving birth. I imagined the photos of me holding my newborn with a bouncy blow dry and glowing skin with make up on. I imagine waltzing out of the hospital, holding on to the car seat and owning the corridor like it was a catwalk. In reality the glow on my face was sweat, I had a nighty on from Primark with was a size 16 and something that my great nan would have worn back in the day and my outfit for leaving hospital resembled the tracksuit trend from the 90's. Don't even get me started on the walk. The only thing I was owning was a John Wayne impression. Not to worry, i'll be in the gym in no time and sipping coffees with my friends in my skinny jeans wearing my sunnies. Wrong!!

I wasn't expecting to still be in maternity jeans for months down the line or hideous over sized nursing clothes. This is not what I imagined. I was expecting to have the sass and confidence that matched Kim Kardashian. When we went to a wedding I was expecting look as elegant and graceful as Kate Middleton, truth be told I looked more like Mrs Blobby. 



And that is where the problem lies. The expectation and the pressure that is put on us by the media and every day life to bounce back into shape and look as good as you did 9 months previously. Our cultures obsession with weight is draining. It makes me so angry that I've spent the best part of four years obsessing over something that is insignificant. I should be focusing on motherhood and setting an example to my girls. Do I want them to scrutinise themselves over their weight the way I do? Hell No!!! It would break my heart if I saw either of them analysing themselves in the mirror. It's time to change.

Nobody tells you how hard motherhood is going to be. How tiring it's going to be. How somedays you won't even be able to leave the house, let alone get dressed and look and feel a million dollars.

Don't get me wrong I love exercise and healthy eating but I should be doing that because I want to do it not because i'm hoping it'll make me some sort of size 6 queen. 

It's going to take a while but eventually I will be a body positive mum. I will embrace my curves and I will find myself sexy again. I've just got to remember that very point. It will take time!! 

I've got to stop being so hard on myself and realise that my truly amazing body not only grew, developed and looked after 2 babies, it then managed to safely bring them into the world. It has also never failed me during my years of motherhood. Ok there have been some blips and a couple of minor operations but it managed to feed the girls, get me up in the middle of the night, carry them when my arms were exhausted and keep me going when I was sleep deprived. Having a mummy body is a miracle really when you think about it! Mum bodies are awesome!


So there you have it. Four years down the line my journey to accepting my post baby body has just begun. 










SHARE:

Sunday, 12 March 2017

5 pieces of Gym Equipment to consider for a home gym

Have you grown tired of waiting in long queues just to use a rusty and sweaty training equipment in a cheap local gym? Are you spending hundreds of bucks each month for an upscale gym membership and still end up unsatisfied for getting less than what you paid for? If you answered yes to either questions, then it may be time for you to consider setting up your own gym at home. Not only it can save you a lot of money in the long run, but it also boosts your focus and motivation more consistently.

Space is an important consideration in setting up a personal home gym. Of course, the larger you have, the more training equipment can fit in. But if you have at least some space where you can stand or lie down comfortably, then you are good to go. You may need to invest a fair amount of money for the gym equipment. But the savings that you can get from avoiding an expensive gym membership and eliminating the need to use your car to go to a local gym, plus the improved quality of training that you can get at home, are all worth more than what you invested for.

To start with, here are five of the recommended pieces of gym equipment that you can buy when setting up a personal gym at home. As your space and budget increases, you may gradually add more training equipment into your collection.

TRX Suspension System

TRX, which stands for total body resistance, is a popular training system originally used in the US Navy Seals. The concept of the TRX Suspension System involves the use of body weight to generate resistance and improve balance and stability. The equipment consists of a pair of durable straps with handles, and accessories for suspending the straps from the ceiling, a wall, or a stable door. If you have a pull-up bar, you can attach the suspension straps instead.  Perform a wide range of exercises including squats, dips, presses, extensions, rows, and so much more with a TRX suspension system.

Power Rack

A power rack is a versatile gym equipment that makes weightlifting routines safer and more efficient. It eliminates the need for a spotter and it allows you to perform different workouts such as squats, bench presses, and deadlift, with a limited space at home. Click here for a complete Power Rack guide.

Barbell and Plate Set

A barbell and plate set is perhaps the most important component of a great home gym. It is used to train virtually all muscle groups including the arms, shoulders, chest, back, and legs. For a more efficient training, consider buying a 7-foot Olympic bar and rubber-coated bumper plates of standard sizes.

Bench

To maximize the advantages of a barbell and plate set, complement it with a sturdy bench. If budget is not an issue, consider buying an adjustable bench instead. It allows you to add variability to your regular exercises such as the inclined chest press and shoulder press.

Treadmill

A fitness program will never be complete without doing a couple of cardiovascular exercises. And a treadmill is just the perfect equipment for that. It strengths the lower body while improving overall endurance. It also allows you to burn calories and lose weight faster.



*This is a collaborative post*

SHARE:

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Getting excited about the final of The Jump

If there's one thing I love doing, it is watching celebrities on reality TV shows. My latest favourite show is The Jump. If you haven't watched it before it is a series whereby celebrities attempt various winter sports. 

It is now in its 4th series with the final coming up this weekend. There have been some great celebrity contestants on there this year which has made the show thrilling to watch. I'm routing for Lydia Bright who originally stared in The Only Way Is Essex. She has such a likeable personality and I think she has been doing really well.

Whilst watching the last show with my husband, we ended up talking about how much the celebrities got paid for taking part. We figured it must be quite a bit for shows such as this one where they could potentially seriously injure themselves. Winter sports aren't exactly the safest things to be taking part in. We were throwing random numbers at each other and spent ages guessing and speculating. 

It then got us talking for a while about other prgrammes such as Celebrity Big Brother, Bake Off and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. We managed to find an infographic that Cash Lady wrote which has been picked up here, https://www.unrealitytv.co.uk/reality-tv/strictly-come-dancing-im-celebrity-celebrity-big-brother-fees-revealed-cash-cow/




We were gobsmacked by some of the figures. Can you believe that Spencer Matthews from Made in Chelsea got paid over £300,000 to take part in I'm A Celebrity? That's a staggering amount of money. I'm clearly in the wrong job.

Samantha Fox is rumoured to have been paid £110,00 for Celebrity Big Brother and Christopher Biggens was paid £150,00. Based on the infographic I think I'm a Celebrity seems to be the better paid reality show.

What did you think of these figures? Do you watch The Jump? If so who do you think will win?


SHARE:

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

An Overnight Stay at The Vale Resort - Review

Is there anything better than having a night away from your home and enjoying an overnight stay at a hotel? We were recently invited to review a dinner, bed and breakfast package at The Vale Resort so naturally we jumped at the chance. I couldn't wait to not have to think about washing up, cleaning, ironing or feeding the girls. We were having a well deserved night off. 



I've been to the Vale Resort quite a few times before but I'd never actually stayed in the hotel. I've used their spa and I can't recommend it enough. It's my favourite one in South Wales. They do the most incredible hot stone massage. I also used to be a member of their gym which I loved.

When we arrived at the hotel, I was delighted to see that parking was free. This is a fab as there are hotels in South Wales that do charge you to park even if you are guests at the hotel which I don't agree with.

Check in was quick and easy. The girls were presented with a kids pack which contained a cute dragon teddy and some colouring paper and pencils. Eva loved this touch. We then headed off to our Junior Suite.

The suite absolutely blew us away. It was gorgeous. The bathroom was my favourite part of the room. It made me feel like I was staying in a spa. It had a large double sink, walk in shower and a bath that you just didn't want to get out of. I could've quite happily slept in there. There were White Company toiletries which is one of my favourite shops so I was very pleased to see those. There was plenty of room to bath both children and get them dressed for bed without feeling squashed in.





The bedroom was also a fantastic size. There was a lot of wardrobe and drawer space available which is a must when travelling with a family as we always have so much stuff. I adored the colour scheme of the room. It felt very inviting. The bed and pillows were comfortable. Our heads and bodies just sank into them.



The living room included a dining table, side table, sofa, sofa bed and tea and coffee making facilities. There was some chocolates and cookies which the girls thoroughly enjoyed. We also had a terrace. I popped out and had a cup of tea on it in the morning. It was cold but it was lovely and peaceful. I can imagine it would be a wonderful feature in the summer months.



I can't recommend the room enough. It's luxurious but also feels like a home away from home if you are staying with children. It had everything we needed and we didn't feel cramped at all.


For dinner we sat in the conservatory which was lovely. There was an extensive menu to choose from for both us and the girls. Ophelia had a selection of mini pizzas and Eva had Spaghetti Bolognese  Both of them enjoyed their dinner. I chose to have the steak which was cooked to perfection. The chips were also delicious. I'm salivating just remembering them. Hubby had the duck which he thought was great. We all managed to squeeze in a dessert. The girls had ice-cream and we had a fantastic cheeseboard. The waiter we had for the evening was wonderful. He was attentive, knowledgeable and excellent with the girls. I always find dining out with the girls quite stressful but he made us feel very welcome.





After a good nights sleep we headed for breakfast. Again we sat in the conservatory and we were able to absorb the breathtaking views. In the buffet there was a wide selection of hot and cold items to choose from. It was all very tasty and set us up nicely for our swim.


The swimming pool area is great. I was already familiar with it from previously having a gym membership there but that was before I had children. The changing facilities are great if you have a family. There was a separate family area which had a playpen. This is so handy when you're trying to get yourself changed and you have a baby or a young toddler. 

After a swim we relaxed back in our suite for a couple of hours. It was wonderful to just switch off and forget about everything.

We then headed for Afternoon Tea. This is one of my favourite things to do as a special treat. We tried the new spring menu which is perfect for Mother's Day and Easter. The girls were given their own smaller sized afternoon tea to share which I thought was a great touch.      All the flavours complimented each other and the desserts were light and refreshing as opposed to rich and sickly. Hubby and I also had a glass of champagne with ours which really made it special. 






Before heading home we enjoyed a cup of tea whilst the girls played in the play area which is located in the bar.


Overall, our stay was amazing. Eva said it was the best hotel ever and she cried when we left. She really didn't want to go. Hubby and I found it a wonderful experience and incredibly relaxing. The suite was exquisite, the food was all tasty and the staff were all outstanding. We can't recommend it enough. The resort is perfect for a family getaway. You can watch a video of our time there over on youtube.


We barely even scratched the surface of exploring all the wonderful facilities the resort has to offer so we are already planning our next stay. We are hoping to go again during easter half term.

If you are looking for a Mother's Day gift then the afternoon tea is ideal. Have a read about it on their website here, Afternoon Tea. There are also lots of other gift ideas over on their website, Mother's Day. I've got my eye on their spa package. If you're looking for something special and unique to do for easter then have a look at their chocolate making and cupcake making stays. Hubby always makes his own chocolate truffles so I think he'd really enjoy that stay, Chocolate Lovers StayCupcake Break.

*Thank you to the Vale for inviting us to stay. All our opinions are our own honest thoughts*




SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig