Welsh and Wonderful

A lifestyle blog written by a Welsh lady living in Wales.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Oxwich Bay

Hello jet lag, my old friend! 😴 One of my least favourite things about travelling is the jet lag when you get back home...it's not much fun to be honest. On Monday we thought we'd chase away the cobwebs with a trip to Oxwich Bay, a large sandy stretch in Gower. The weather was glorious! It was cold yet clear, and we had a beautiful sunset to enjoy 😊 It's good to be back in Wales!
We walked the entire length of the golden sands as the sun went down, and after our rather long walk we rewarded ourselves with a bite to eat at the Oxwich Bay Hotel, which has an open fire and is especially cosy at this time of year. I think these photos capture the natural beauty of Oxwich Bay and show how Wales is such a fantastic country!
Have a great weekend! Thank you for reading, Angharad x
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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

10 Photos to Inspire you to Visit Barbados

I've just got back from such a lovely break in Barbados, and I'm so excited to show you some of the best parts of this amazing island. Barbados is a wonderful place to celebrate the new year, and it's the perfect place to beat the January blues. From the glamour of the 5 star hotels and swish restaurants on the island's West Coast, to the beautiful and relaxed area of St. Lawrence Gap, Barbados can be whatever you want it to be. Welcome to the tropical paradise of Barbados!

Alleynes Bay is situated on the West Coast of Barbados, and it's so pretty! Imagine dreamy expanses of the softest sand, swaying palm trees and warm turquoise waters which are perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Alleynes Bay is the ideal place to spend a lazy day relaxing in the sun.

The Lone Star is one of my favourite restaurants on the West Coast...it really has one of the best outlooks, and the white interior is uber stylish and glamorous. It doesn't look particularly special from the roadside, but as soon as you you walk through the main entrance and stand at the top of the steps overlooking the restaurant, you are literally blown away by the stunning view. On this occasion we made a reservation for breakfast and we enjoyed the lovely eggs benedict and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs. I think that The Lone Star is best enjoyed in the day time, so you can fully appreciate the gorgeous view of the beach and the ocean.

St. Lawrence Gap is one of my favourite areas of the island. I actually prefer it to the West Coast because there are more bars and restaurants which you can walk to within close proximity. It's less pretentious than the West Coast, but it's certainly not tacky, which can be difficult to find in some holiday locations. On our last night we saw the most beautiful sunset which coincided with happy hour (yay!). If you fancy a rum punch or an exotic cocktail at sundown then head to one of the lovely bars and restaurants in The Gap!

Dover Beach is my favourite beach on the whole island. It's much bigger than the beaches on the West Coast, and there is plenty of space for sun beds, so it never feels crowded. The sand is powder white, and the sea is such a fabulous colour; I love how it has different shades of turquoise, according to how deep the waters are. It was lots of fun swimming here, and we even saw turtles bob their heads up in the waves! My boyfriend enjoyed water sports such as surfing, paddle boarding, and windsurfing, whilst I read my book on a sun lounger under a palm tree :-)

Our visit to Bottom Bay made us feel like we'd been shipwrecked on a desert island; it's so sheltered and hidden away. We hired a car and drove to the beach on a cloudy day, so this photo doesn't capture it at it's best, but it's semi enclosed by high coral cliffs and a small cluster of tall, leaning palm trees, making it very picturesque. A local guy sat at the top of the steps leading down to the beach, and offered to make us homemade cocktails served in fresh coconuts (he told us that one of them was called the Rihanna, which I thought was pretty cool!).
Foul Bay is so beautiful, quiet, and unspoilt. We literally had the entire beach to ourselves, and all we could hear was the sound of the waves as the tide came in, which was really special. Again, we visited on a cloudy day, so I'd imagine it to look absolutely stunning when the sun is out. The natural beauty of the beach actually reminded us of Broad Haven South Beach in West Wales, with the addition of a few palm trees!
Castaways Bar & Grill was one of our favourite casual lunch spots in St. Lawrence Gap. Just look at the view! The beautiful shallow waters actually looked like a blue lagoon, and it was great fun watching a small fishing boat bringing in the daily catch which was prepared and barbecued at the waters edge.
Bathsheba is on the East Coast and it's more rugged and wild. It's very popular with surfers and offers a great change of scenery to the calmer and more serene areas of the island. We enjoyed watching the surfers take on the impressive waves in the famous Soup Bowl.
The surf! Here's my boyfriend enjoying the surf :-D There are some good surf spots which offer consistent swells, and the water is so warm and clean; it's the perfect temperature to take a dip and cool down on a hot day.
The Crane Beach is best viewed from The Crane Hotel, which is high up on the cliff edge. It's a large and impressive beach, and the sea has powerful waves. We enjoyed lunch at L'Azure, which has a beautiful cliff-side view of the beach.

I really hope that you've enjoyed these photos!
 As always, thank you for reading, and Happy New Year :) Angharad x


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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Life is better at the beach

The lead up to Christmas can be so busy; David and I recently decided to get away from it all and relax and unwind at the beach. We visited Pobbles and Three Cliffs Bay in Gower, and it was so beautiful! The sky was brilliant blue, and it was actually warm in the sun; it really didn't feel like it was so close to Christmas. When you've had a busy week, it's so lovely to head to the beach. Days like this make me feel so fortunate to live in Wales. Life is better at the beach!

Pobbles
Three Cliffs Bay

We love the beach!

Thank you for reading! Angharad x
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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Christmas Cocktails at Dirty Martini

Source: Dirty Martini
The 2016 Christmas Cocktail Collection has officially launched at Dirty Martini, so what better way to familiarise myself with these beauties than by attending a cocktail making masterclass?! I  had the pleasure of attending this event at the recently opened Dirty Martini in Cardiff, along with other bloggers from the South Wales area, and it was so much fun!


On arrival I was welcomed with a lovely Christmas Bellini, which was full of festive fizz. Next, our private bartender expertly demonstrated how to make the perfect cocktail, and then it was our turn to get behind the bar and have a go ourselves. I've never worked behind a bar before, so this was a novelty. We measured, we poured, we chilled our glasses with crushed ice, we learnt about the different spirits, we shook our shakers, and we even spray painted a cherry with edible gold paint. There is certainly a science and an art to concocting the perfect cocktail!

My finished creation was the Christmas Cheer, which consists of Bols Genever, Tanqueray Gin, and Cherry Heering liqueur, shaken with raspberry syrup, Luxardo Maraschino, pomegranate juice and a dash of orange bitters. Needless to say, this was very strong!  I sadly wasn't able to stay for the second half of the masterclass, but I've been reliably informed that it involved creating the Mince Chai, which looked very festive indeed!

During the Christmas Cocktail Masterclass, we tried the delicious sharing platters, which each serve 2-3 people. My favourite was the Distinctively Dirty platter, which has the signature Dirty Martini beef and cheese sliders, fried buttermilk chicken with buffalo hot sauce, grilled chicken korma skewers with coriander and spices, Korean vegetable samosas, grilled flatbreads with mint yogurts, and spinach and Italian cheese dips.


I loved the luxurious interior, with bespoke murals and mood lighting. This is the first Dirty Martini cocktail bar outside London, and no expense has been spared with creating the perfect atmosphere for a fun night out.

The Christmas Cocktail Masterclass costs £30 per person, and here's what you can expect if you're thinking of making a booking at Dirty Martini, Cardiff:

- Christmas Bellini on arrival
- Make 2 of their fabulous cocktails
- Enjoy some their delicious Christmas food platter (one platter per 3 people)
- Your own private bartender for the duration of the class

For more information or to plan your party, please contact 0207 632 2080 or email bookings@dirtymartini.uk.com

Link: dirtymartini.uk.com/

 
Cheers!🍸 Angharad  x

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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Escape to Elan Valley

Elan Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Mid Wales, nestled in the Cambrian Mountains. It is situated to the west of Rhayader, and is sometimes referred to as the Welsh Lake District. It has no less than 72 square miles of unspoilt nature, reservoirs and magnificent dams, and makes for a fantastic day out.

David and I drove to Elan Valley on a cold, crisp day in November. Upon our arrival, we could see a dusting of snow on the mountains, which made it look all the more beautiful. We enjoyed a leisurely drive around the reservoirs, stopping off occasionally to stretch our legs, and had some lunch at the Visitor Centre. I love it here because it feels so isolated, but it's close enough for a day trip (it's just a couple of hours from Cardiff and Birmingham). David said that the area reminded him of Scotland and Canada, and I can see why; it's a wonderfully remote and rugged landscape. Click here for directions to Elan Valley.
Did I mention that we have lots of sheep in Wales?!
The dams were built over a hundred years ago to supply clean water to Birmingham. It was an epic feat of civil engineering, and they really are amazing to see close up.

I hope you've enjoyed the photos! Thank you for reading, Angharad x

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Monday, 21 November 2016

Christmas Blogger Event at the Grape & Olive

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas? Of course not! One of my favourite things about Christmas is all the lovely food and drink, so you can imagine how much I was looking forward to sampling the brand new Christmas menu at the blogger and press event at the Grape & Olive in Swansea.

The restaurant is situated on the 28th floor of the Meridian Tower, which is the tallest building in Wales. I've been to the Grape & Olive a couple of times before (you can read my previous blog post here), but I'd never actually tried out their Christmas menu, so I had a feeling that this was going to be fun.



Upon arrival we were given a glass of bubbly and had the chance to mingle with other bloggers from South Wales. Everyone was really friendly and it was lovely to get to know each other better. We were each given copies of the Christmas celebration menus (Christmas Festive Menu, Christmas Day Menu, and the New Year's Eve Menu) to take a look at, and Gavin the General Manager welcomed us and explained the menu concept and told us a bit more about the Grape & Olive.

The starters were delicious, and my personal favourite was the deep fried camembert, which was really indulgent. I enjoyed trying the pheasant and cured pork terrine, and the fig and goats' cheese tart was also lovely.
The mains were gorgeous, and I loved tucking into the pastry parcel of the beef wellington, which was accompanied by crisp goose fat roasted potatoes and rich beef gravy. The roasted fillet of hake rarebit had a delicate flavour and was also very moreish.
The desserts were definitely the highlight for me; the mulled berry brulée was full of festive flavours, and the treacle tart with fresh raspberries and lemon curd and clotted cream ice cream was extremely sweet and scrumptious! I really enjoyed the mulled wine poached pear with mulled berries and clotted cream (it had cooled down by the time I tried it, but it was still delicious). However, the real winner for me was the chocolate and orange fondant with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce! This was rich, chocolate-orangey, and luscious 😍

The Grape & Olive is in a fantastic location, and the views over Swansea Bay and the city are spectacular. The food was absolutely gorgeous, and the general ambience was wonderful...so much so that I've booked a table for the girls and I to enjoy a festive get together in the run up to Christmas!

Thank you for reading! Angharad x

Grape & Olive
Meridian Quay
Maritime Quarter
Swansea, SA1 1JW 


Phone: 01792 462617
Website: Click here

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Friday, 18 November 2016

You, Me and the Sea!

If you've been following my blog then you'll know just how much I love going to the beach, and how I said that I wanted to go there more often...so last weekend, we did just that! I really love visiting the beach in Autumn, and Wales has so many beautiful beaches that we really are spoilt for choice.

We drove to West Wales and parked up at Bosherston, before heading out on a lovely walk to the beach at Broad Haven South. These are two of my favourite places in the world; naturally beautiful, peaceful, with lots of lovely views...gorgeous!

Bosherston has a series of freshwater lakes which are part of a National Nature Reserve, and is home to lots of wildlife. The footpath took us along the water's edge and over a couple of wooden bridges, before ending up at the beach at Broad Haven South.

Bosherston Lily Ponds

Taking off my bobble hat!
Bosherston Lily Ponds
Red berries
Broad Haven South beach is a really special place. It's quite isolated, so there weren't that many people there, and all we could hear was the sea and a couple of dogs barking in the distance. It was so nice to walk along the sand, take lots of lovely photos and enjoy each other's company.
This little dog came running up to me on the beach...he was so cute! I enjoyed taking some photos of him on his big day out :)
We walked back at dusk, and it was so beautiful seeing the reflection of the sky in the water. We had such a lovely day!

I hope you've enjoyed these photos. Have a great weekend! Angharad x

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