A Guide to a Weekend in Cardiff

street style
Enjoying a lazy weekend in the city with the family 

There are various cities in the UK which provide the perfect place for a weekend break. With the country’s rich history, excellent cultural resources and the fact it is finally catching up with the rest of Europe in the food stakes, Britain’s cities have a broad range of things to see and do for everyone. Cardiff, the newest capital is up there with the best with it’s regeneration, wealth of sports and places of historic interest. A weekend in Cardiff can be spent enjoying a range of fulfilling pursuits while holiday providers like UK Breakaways run mid-week murder mystery trips which are also a lot of fun. Here’s a suggested guide to what you could do with a weekend in Cardiff.


Street Food Cardiff
Street Food Sundays on St Mary's street during the summer


Friday

Friday afternoon and evening is best spent exploring Cardiff Bay, said to be the largest waterfront development in Europe. There’s a broad range of things to see in this district including a Science Discovery Centre, a variety of arts and crafts centres and galleries as well as bars, restaurants and hotels. In terms of cuisine there is plenty to choose from with Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Mexican and Chinese all on offer.


Science Centre Cardiff
Mr A at the Science Centre - Techniquest 


Saturday

A saunter down the Hayes is the best way to spend Saturday morning. This scenic shopping street has some great designer and boutique stores as well as a few cafes to have a pit stop if the retail therapy is getting a bit much.  After seeing some of Cardiff’s oldest buildings including St John’s Church and Howell’s Department Store (not House of Fraser), you’ll need a spot of lunch. A short walk towards the River Taff will bring you to a nice place called Pettigrew Tea Rooms. This a nice place if you want to push the boat out a little bit.


Pettigrew Tea Rooms
The lovely Afternoon Tea at Pettigrew Tea Rooms


Now you are at the edge of Bute Park you are also close to Cardiff Castle. The castle is a must-see while in Cardiff with Roman and Norman elements it is a fantastic lesson in Welsh history. Take the 50-minute guided tour. After all that education you may feel you have earned yourself a drink and a bit to eat. The Migli Lounge on City Road is great for local produce in a relaxed environment.



Bute Park Cardiff
Get some fresh air in Bute Park

Sunday

After shopping, taking in some culture and enjoying the culinary offer, you have Sunday to explore Cardiff’s sporting heritage. If there is not any live action on you still have a choice of activity. Just outside the city is a Go Ape adventure playground in Margam, there is also Cottrell Park Golf resort or you could go on self-guided walking tour of Cardiff’s sporting heritage or take a tour of the Millenium Stadium.

 

Orangery Margam Park
The Orangery at Margam Park

Celebrating Christmas with Celtic Manor

Christmas tree


You may have read recently about the amazing Afternoon tea I attended at the Celtic Manor in Newport last month (high recommended) and I am all about celebrating and supporting amazing local business especially when everything they do is so high-end such as the Celtic Manor, a 5 star resort 20min from Cardiff. They also offer a Gourmet To Go Christmas Lunch menu - which really does make your life easier, and with the table set ready for entertaining I was over the moon to do a review.


Setting the Christmas table


So what is the Gourmet To Go Christmas Lunch - well it's basically everything you need with all the trimmings, already cooked (except for the locally sourced Free-range turkey which is the only thing you need to prepare yourself) to make your big day run more smoothly and make you appear like the calmest hostess ever.


Cranberry compote
Really loved the Cranberry Compote and fresh veggies


What I was nervous about was that it wouldn't fit both our needs - John is a meat eater and I am a Veggie but at Christmas we usually have family over and do the whole bells and whistles with a special veggie dish prepared on the side so it was great to see that the Carrots & Brussels sprouts, Roasted Parsnips, Red Cabbage and Apple and Cranberry Compote was veggie friendly and also meant less preparation for me and I loved the Red Cabbage and Apple. For the meat eaters there are also a extras onto of the Turkey and include the Roasties, Sage and Onion sausages wrapped in Bacon and Bread, Sage, Onion and Pork Stuffing balls and a Turkey Jus. The Gourmet lunch is for 10 people and the portions are really good - no skimping there and it costs £145 but for 10 people and the highest quality ingredients all cooked for you I think this is a really good price.


Christmas Kingdom Celtic Manor


As I mentioned earlier in this post we also decided to take Mr A to the Christmas Kingdom to meet the man in red. We had been debating a few places but the fact that the Celtic Manor had two reindeer  in nice open stables for the kids to see after Santa is what swayed us as well as making a gingerbread tree with Mrs Clause when you arrive as well as having a quite space to write a letter to Santa which you could either post or hand to him in person, it just made the whole experience a little bit more magical and I can see why it get's fully booked each year.

Christmas fun
Christmas at Celtic manor

Santa's Grotto Celtic Manor

Christmas Kingdom Celtic Manor

Coping when things go wrong in the home

festive jumper


Being parents we want to try and make the home environment as comfortable and safe as possible but just like driving a car, which needs to be MOT'd each year a house requires some maintenance as well. It's typical for things to go awry at the wrong time of year, such as just before Christmas - which is what has happened to us.


Our recently re-tiled bathroom in the eaves 

I had run the little man a bath, nothing unusual there except when John came home from work and ran up the stairs telling me water was running out through a light in the lounge - not good! We have been doing some renovation work on the house but were hoping to keep the original bath which was in all accounts in good condition and having recently re-tiled the floor in the bathroom this was not something we wanted to pull out. The next day we had the plumber come out who suspected the sealant around the bath had worn away causing the leak, although it also appears the grouting used for the wall tiles (not the ones we recently replaced) may not be suitable for a bathroom, so instead of doing a little patch up job we have decided to replace the bath altogether, as in the longterm it's better for selling the house anyway.


free standing bath
I would love to replace our bath with a free standing one (image)

Luckily we discovered the leak before we had made any huge purchases for Christmas and even though we were planning a fairly frugal festive holiday it's made it even more so but thankfully as we had been saving up we will be abel to manage with this big outlay in January although with a new baby on the way it's still not ideal. It made me think about what would happen if you simply could not afford these kind of emergencies and what you can do to better prepare yourself...here are few things we try to live by

1. Always put away a little bit of money for a rainy day as you never know when you may be in a pickle and having something to at least contribute towards some kind of house/car/living emergency really will help in any stressful event

2. Less is more - just because it's pay day it doesn't mean you "have" to spend your money. I always ask myself if I really need something before purchasing it - this even applies to things like groceries.

3. Live within your means - something which seems hard for people to do when there is so much temptation in the world at the moment, but we need to be realistic with ourselves as over spending will only cause stress in the future.

Another thing to consider is having something like a credit card from a reputable bank such as Santander to fall back on strictly for emergencies which is what we have - we only have the one and has only very rarely been used. Once when we were travelling and the bank put a temporary block on our cards as we used them overseas (which was annoying as we told them before we left we were going away) but the credit card came in handy. We also used it when moving into our new home to buy a much needed sofa as we had used our budget on things like re-carpeting, plastering etc.


chic simple bathroom
Love this light and airy bathroom - I want (image)

Becoming parents and homeowners has really matured us in terms of responsibility and have fall back plans and contingencies and like I said the important thing is to live within your means but knowing that we do have something for those times when things go wrong is good to know.


In association with Santander 

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