A review of the newly refurbished Ty Mawr Pub, Lisvane

24/01/2023

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Ty Mawr Pub

*Ty Mawr kindly invited us along to the press night. I've not been paid for this review & all words are 100% my own

On the mountainside, overlooking Cardiff, with the Severen Estuary in the distance sits the beautiful Ty Mawr Pub. Having been closed recently for refurbishment, it reopened just before Christmas, looking and feeling more wonderful than ever. 

I had been long overdue a child-free evening out with my mum, so I organised childcare for the kids and she and I set off to see what the new menu was all about. On arrival, the pub had a lovely festive atmosphere and the staff were very welcoming, taking us to our seats near the warm wood fire. 


Mocktail


The Ty Mawr has a very impressive drinks selection, not only do they have an array of cask ale and beers but also a variety of wines, gin, whiskey, cocktails and mocktails to try out.  As it must have been at least 5yrs since my mum and I have had an evening out without the kids, we started the night with a small glass of Prosecco, as I was driving this was my only alcoholic drink of the evening but a perfect one.

The food menu, along with the whole of the pub has had a refresh and offers a mixture of pub classics with some more modern and contemporary dishes. For starters, I went with the Breaded Garlic Mushrooms with chive aioli. I love breaded mushrooms but they can be hard to get right, in the past, I've had a few hit-and-miss versions while eating out as they can easily be overcooked and become dry but these were lovely and moist and had just the right amount of garlic.


Garlic mushrooms


While waiting for our main courses I was keen to explore their drinks menu more although being the designated driver I opted for one of their mocktails,  Just Peachy, a refreshing blend of white peach, ginger beer and fresh mint, while my mother had a classic G&T. 

When it came to the main course, firstly there is plenty of choice for both vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters alike and the menu is clearly labelled, they also have an NGCI (non-gluten) menu available. After a little bit of back and forth, as I was very tempted by their feel-good salads, I decided to order the Veggie burger in a fresh brioche bun with melted cheddar cheese, roasted peppers and crispy onions with seasoned fries and slaw. Again veggie burgers can be a tricky one to get right but this was delicious and very filling as they don't hold back on the proportions of the main courses. 


Classic G&T


My mother went for the Goat's Cheese Lasagne, another great vegetarian option and the flavour combinations were just perfect (yes I had a taste) this is definitely something I would order on another visit. 

By this point, both my mother and I were feeling rather full but didn't want to leave without sampling a dish from the dessert menu. While both the melting chocolate dome and espresso martini tiramisu sounded amazing we went for a traditional Apple & Pear Crumble which was lovely on a cold winter's night, especially topped with warm custard. 

Overall there was a lovely family-friendly atmosphere and the interior of the pub is as beautiful and the exterior, with cosy little nooks and roaring fires. The staff are also attentive while not making you feel rushed in any way. They also have a children's menu and is a very family-friendly pub. The location on the mountainside makes this place that little bit extra special and I'm sure we will be back again, especially in summer to soak up the views across the countryside and city. 


Apple and pear crumble


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When to access help during a relationship breakdown

16/01/2023

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Divorce


While this may be different to my usual content, I've seen so many women, including friends, in less-than-ideal situations once their relationships have broken down, some even being subjected to harassment or abuse from their partner or ex-partner.

The cost of living crisis and the pandemic has worsened many people's living arrangements, I know so many people who are having to share their home with an ex-partner as neither can afford to live separately. I've also seen mothers who have young children being forced to leave their marital home and move in with their parents or friends - however this should always be out of choice, especially if you are a co-owner, there are many legalities that need to be taken into account and if you share a home, especially if there are children involved than the decision of who leaves needs to be well considered and fair. 

When a relationship breaks down it's very easy for the shared home to become somewhat of a toxic space, especially if there are extenuating circumstances that contributed to the breakdown. Even the most civil of breakups can take a toll on people & it's easy to start the blame game, while we all can bare grudges or keep communication to the minimum, it's very easy for this to develop into a form of emotional abuse. 

Often the main child carer will have taken a career break after having children, leaving them possibly more financially vulnerable than their partners, coupled with how expensive childcare is, this can mean during a breakup there can be fewer resources available for women or simply being able to pack up and rent a new place an impossibility. I've witnessed friends in this position and it's hard, even harder when ex-partners are making life hard at home with emotional put-downs, not pulling their weight in the home or causing tension, and rows and having an effect on one's self-esteem. 



arm tattoo


Relationship breakdowns are also of course even more complicated when shared children are involved and even the most rational and compassionate of couples will struggle, there will often be heated debates over shared custody or rights. Divorce and child custody cases may be stressful and emotional, and things can get out of hand if one spouse becomes fixated on hurting the other.

That is why it's really important to get in contact with agencies or legal groups that will give you clear straightforward advice when it comes to your rights. 

1. Know your rights - Rights of Woman is a website packed with free legal advice and have a section dedicated to Rights to your Home and a Guide to Divorce 

2. Deciding what to do when you separate - you may be able to come to an arrangement that works for both parties, perhaps you don't mind coinhabiting for a while or your breakup was mutual. Either way, Citizens Advice can give you advice on your rights, managing money, what to do with your house etc

3. If you are subject to any form of abuse and need to move out urgently for the safety of you and your children then do get in touch with Women's Aid. They can offer advice and help for all aspects of domestic abuse, housing, safety planning and dealing with the police. 

4. If you are really struggling to find a way to move forward and divide your assets or start the divorce procedures and then you need up-to-date advice from a legal professional. Or if have been the victim of a more serious domestic abuse crime then it may be crucial or get legal representation from reputable sex crime attorneys who have experience handling similar cases and can protect your interests.

Any kind of relationship breakdown can be stressful and compounded by how expensive life is at the moment, with the cost of living crisis meaning many couples are forced to live together, whether or not it's for the best. The main thing is that everyone is safe, that the atmosphere is still nurturing for children and that it's a mutual and workable arrangement, however, if it's not then active steps need

There is also a helpline setup specifically for men who are struggling during relationship breakdowns mensadviceline.org.uk

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Exploring Melincourt Falls in Neath Port Talbot

08/01/2023

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Melincourt Waterfalls


One of our favourite things to do is discover what is on our doorstep and while Resolven in Neath Port Talbot may not be just around the corner, the 45min drive over the Rhigos mountain was very scenic and the Neath Valley, in general, is one I want to explore more. 

I often feel that the South Wales Valleys are overlooked in general, which is a shame as they are packed with fantastic hikes, mountains and hidden gems, although the plus side to that is it's usually very quiet, unlike parts of the Brecon Beacons, Cardiff of the welsh coastline. 

While many will know of the famous waterfall walk in the Brecon Beacons there are some equally impressive waterfalls just outside of the national park, Melincourt being one of them and is more family-friendly than some which require a bit more endurance. Melincourt is only a few minutes away from the town of Resolven, which you drive through en route to the free public car park off the B4434 road. Do not take the Waterfall road on a steep incline, which your GPS may send you on, the carpark is just off the main road past Resolven and you do not need to turn off it.  

Once you have parked up, you cross the road and follow a footpath up beside a small white building, it is signposted so you shouldn't have an issue getting started in the right direction. From the car park to the falls only takes around 15 min along this footpath which is flat in most parts with only a gentle incline. While it is suitable for all ages including younger children, please be aware there are some steep drops down the gorge, which follows the Melincour brook,  so make sure to hold tight to younger children at these points. I would also advise decent walking boots or wellies especially if it's been raining as it will be muddy in parts. 


Melincourt Waterfall


The trail is very pretty, surrounded by luscious welsh woodland and forest and with the stream running right next to you, it makes for a lovely family walk, especially as it's not too taxing on the young or old. Around halfway towards the falls, the path will split into two, one will be stairs heading to the top of the gorge and the one you are on straight towards the falls. 

As you get closer to the falls you will start to hear the roar of the water as this 80 feet (24 m) high falls is impressive, to say the least. I would recommend going just after it's rained as you will be in for a real treat as the power from these falls is quite incredible, even standing at quite a distance it sends out some serious spray. 

If you. like Geocaching there are also two geocaches nearby and you can also extend your walk by taking the path upwards at the halfway point or walking along the tow path in Resolven.


Melincourt Falls


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Travelling With Friends? Here's How to Balance Fun and Safety

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Travelling with friends

*This post contains affiliate links


Planning a trip with your friends as opposed to just your immediate family sounds like an exciting process and honestly, group trips are great for encouraging new friendships and strengthening your bond while travelling around the world.  It can be an amazing fun-filled adventure but that often comes down to how well-prepared and planned you are.

One should never compromise safety for the sake of fun. There are a few things that you should always keep in mind while on a long trip. So, if you're going on a trip to, let's say, Paris or even further afield like Florida, here are a few safety tips you should follow

Stay Connected With Each Other

While it may sound very basic, many people forget to carry their phones at all times when travelling with their group. And that can put that person at risk just in case he or she gets lost along the way. So, before you head out to explore, pair up each traveller. Make sure everybody has each other's numbers to stay connected and, if possible, always travel in a group, especially if you've decided to head out at night.


Stay connected

 

Share Your Location With Family Members

If you're on a long travel schedule, it is advised to give your family members an idea of where you're going and when. When we recently headed on our interrail I printed out my rough itinerary & accommodation booking details for my mother so she had some idea of our location, both for her peace of mind as well as an extra level of safety. This is especially important when you are travelling with a group that also has additional people joining you at a later point or if you're going to a place that you have never been to before.

Pick Hotels Smartly

Being safe on your trip starts before you fly out. Choose a reliable and safe hotel or a rental property that has real customer reviews and a good cancellation policy. Before you book rooms, make sure you carefully research the hotel and its neighbourhood area and depending on your location avoid booking outside of established companies. As said make sure you read online reviews on different websites for the hotel or rental property you plan to book and talk to your friends and extended family members to get recommendations for reliable accommodation places. Also, try to book rooms in a group so that you get rooms on the same floor.


travel friends



Balance Fun & Safety

Most group trips are incomplete without some planned activities, eating out, and perhaps even some partying, especially in a group of younger friends. It goes without saying that it is vital to watch your alcohol intake or any drugs you're consuming to ensure things don't get out of hand and be sure not to travel under the influence of alcohol or any other drug as you can get charged with a DUI case. Any kind of mishap, an argument with locals or a driving issue can seriously spoil your trip. Just in case you get in such a situation, have contacts of the local embassy which will get you in touch with criminal defense attorneys who will fight for you in case you have some kind of legal issues while away from home. These professionals also offer free consultations if you just want to discuss your case and get an overview of the entire legal process.

Have Emergency Contacts

Anytime you are travelling overseas or away from home, to a completely different place, it is important to be safe and alert at all times and always take out travel insurance, do not skimp on that. Also having some emergency contacts such as the local police or hospital number on hand is key in order to handle any last-minute changes or issues.

Final Word

Travelling with friends can be such a fun and even life-changing experience. It is a great way to bridge the gap between enjoying the feel of a solo trip and the package of a group's safety and security. Yet, everyone in the group needs to ensure that they take proper safety precautions along the way. This way, not only will you have peace of mind, but you will also be able to enjoy your trip more. So, next time you head on to another trip, consider the above-mentioned tips to strike the perfect balance of fun and safety.


travel friends



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5 Reasons Why Your Energy is So Low & What to do About it

05/01/2023

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hiking wales

*This post contains affiliate links 


We all like to start the New Year on a positive footing but what if your energy level is persistently low? Well, you are not alone! Many people experience low energy levels characterized by other symptoms like brain fog, moodiness, irritability, sore and achy muscles, dizziness, and headaches. 

The energy decline could result from lifestyle factors or underlying health conditions. It is normal to feel tired, but chronic fatigue can affect the quality of your life. It might hurt your productivity levels in your daily routine plus you might not do the things you have always enjoyed doing. You will need to find the root cause to deal with your low energy levels. I personally find my energy levels dip in Winter, this may be due to less daylight/sunshine hours and last year my Vitamin D was affected badly, but I'm glad that I was able to pinpoint the issue somewhat and that has allowed me to make changes this year, that is helping. 

Here are some common reasons why your energy level is so low and the possible remedies.

You're More Sedentary than Usual

While your day-to-day errands can wear you out, so can being more inactive than usual. Sedentary habits decondition your body and result in muscle loss. This could be why you are feeling so tired with low energy levels and if you don't make changes it can become a constant cycle of feeling exhausted, both mentally and physically. 


Remedies: The solution to low energy levels resulting from a sedentary lifestyle can be quite simple, engage in regular physical activity that you enjoy. I"m not saying join a gym (I haven't been to a gym in years) but why not try fit in a daily walk or go swimming or perhaps take up a new hobby like rollerskating.

In the long term, you want to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity on a weekly basis as long as you are able. Regular physical activity will spike your energy levels to help you carry out your daily activities without feeling like a zombie and even something as simple as a daily walk can have a real positive impact on your overall well-being.



kayaking



You're Not Getting Enough Sleep

An adult should get at least 7 hours of high-quality sleep every night for optimal health. From a scientific perspective, your body undergoes critical processes during sleep, like regenerating and repairing cells. This is why you should be feeling energized, refreshed, and more alert after a good night's sleep. If you don’t sleep well because of poor sleeping habits, psychological stress, or short-term/chronic insomnia, then you will likely experience low energy levels during the day. 

Remedies: The baseline solution is to try and get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Try and address the culprit of your poor sleeping patterns, such as stress, excessive screen time, or poor sleeping environment. If you have insomnia, it would be best to talk to your doctor. You can also take some supplements that can help with sleep such as CBD which you can get from https://perfectplantmarket.com/


You're Testosterone Hormone Level is Low

Testosterone, a primary male sex hormone, is vital in maintaining physical and mental energy levels. The body naturally produces the hormone in males, but the amount secreted reduces with age. Thus, low testosterone levels are common in older men leading to low energy levels and constant fatigue. Other common symptoms include irritability, depression, erectile dysfunction, weight gain, decrease in muscles, and loss of bone mass, to mention a few. If you are feeling like this could be the issue then getting your hormones tested is very important to avoid further issues. Fortunately, there are plenty of clinics that can provide this service, such as this ED Clinic Palm Beach Gardens. Once the cause has been established, you'll be able to work with medical professionals to create a remedy that works for you.

Remedies: If you are experiencing low energy levels, you should consult your doctor for lab testing to determine if the symptoms are related to low testosterone. If so, the health provider will put you under a tailored testosterone replacement therapy. The therapy will restore the hormone to normal levels and spike your energy levels. Your sex drive will also increase plus you will have better sleep!



hiking wales



You constantly feel stressed

Chronic stress causes stress-related exhaustion disorder. This condition causes physical and psychological burnout. It might also cause chronic inflammation, which may lead to frequent fatigue.

Remedies: The best way out is to address the root cause of your stress. Try to manage your stress levels by meditating, walking, or bathing. You can also talk to a mental health professional to help you learn stress-coping skills and how to process emotions better.


You're Consuming Too Much Sugar or caffeine

Consuming too much sugar or caffeine can lead to a spike in blood sugar. It might make you feel energized in the moment but unfortunately, once the sugar level goes down, you feel crushed and wiped. It is also worth noting that taking in too much sugar overload might also cause issues like insulin resistance which may potentially lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

Remedies: You can cut back on the sugar and refined carbohydrates you consume, of course, don't cut them out completely but have a more moderate approach. 

Wrapping up

Experiencing low energy levels is not normal. So, don’t ignore it! You ought to identify the underlying cause and make adjustments to improve the quality of your life. You can try making tweaks to your lifestyle but it is crucial to talk to your doctor for assistance if symptoms persist.

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