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

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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Friday, 11 November 2016

Hello, dear!

Dinefwr Park is one of my favourite places in West Wales. I recently discovered this hidden treasure a few weeks ago, and I've already been there twice! I love it because it's home to lots of beautiful fallow deer, and has plenty of scenic walks throughout its 800-acre estate. I was so pleased that I was able to get some close-up photos of the deer...they're such elegant creatures (and looking at these photos of them makes me feel a bit Christmassy!).
We visited on a crisp Autumn day, and enjoyed a long walk through the woodland. There's nothing better than wrapping up warm and walking through a carpet of leaves, enjoying the nature and wildlife.
Have a great weekend and thank you for reading! Angharad x

Dinefwr Park & Castle
Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire SA19 6RT
nationaltrust.org.uk
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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Dior Cardiff Blogger Event

I was recently given the wonderful opportunity to attend the Dior Cardiff Bloggers Event at Debenhams, Cardiff. This was my very first bloggers event, so I was rather excited!  I love the Dior brand, so naturally this was something that I didn't want to miss. I arrived at the Dior counter, along with several other South Wales based bloggers, and we were warmly welcomed by Anthony, Dior Colour Stylist, who hosted the event. Anthony then took us behind the scenes to a room filled with Dior cosmetics, champagne, vases of white roses and afternoon tea-style cakes (😍).


Anthony told us a bit more about himself and took us on a journey into the luxurious world of Christian Dior. We learnt about the fascinating history of the brand, and how Christian Dior was a master at creating shapes and silhouettes, and making women look fabulous. Anthony encouraged everyone to ask questions, and was keen to hear what our favourite Dior products were. His passion, pride and enthusiasm for the brand really shone through!
Anthony then gave us a masterclass on creating the perfect Dior look, and we were able to try the products as he told us more about them. It was great to learn about the innovative, luxurious cosmetics and skincare and pick up some techniques to get the flawless Dior finish. My favourite products in the masterclass were the Diorskin Forever Fluid Foundation (everlasting wear, pore-refining effect, shine control, SPF 35), and the Diorshow Maximizer 3D Lash Primer (this coats each lash with a dense, lightweight layer to intensify the effects of your favourite mascara). 
Diorskin Forever
Perfecting the Dior look!
Dior 'Diorific Vernis' nail lacquer

At the end of the masterclass, we were taken back downstairs to the Dior counter, where we had the chance to purchase some Dior products and take home an elegant Dior VIP goodie bag, filled with Dior fragrance and cosmetic samples. I purchased a couple of gorgeous Christmas gifts for my friends...I'd love to tell you what I got them but that would ruin the surprise!

I have a very special treat for all my readers of welshandwonderful.com, courtesy of Dior at Debenhams, Cardiff. Pop along to the Dior counter in Debenhams, Cardiff, and you can book a complimentary makeup lesson worth £50 throughout January 2017! Just quote New Start Dior 2017 to take advantage of this fantastic offer (must be booked in advance) 😄

Thank you to Anthony for hosting the event, and the rest of the team at Dior, Debenhams Cardiff! Angharad x


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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

10 Photos to Inspire you to Visit Wales

Wales is a fantastic country for so many different reasons; we have beautiful mountain ranges, lush green valleys, gorgeous beaches, ancient castles, friendly people(!)...I could go on. There are so many places in the world that I'd love to visit, and yet, having lived in Wales all my life, it's easy to forget what's on your doorstep and miss some of its hidden treasures. Here are a few of my favourite photos I've taken to inspire you to visit this wonderful country!

Llansteffan is situated on the coast of Carmarthenshire in south-west Wales, and it's such a lovely place to visit. It overlooks the River Tywi estuary, and has a castle which was built by the Normans in the 12th Century. It's a peaceful place with miles and miles of sand and beautiful countryside. You can read more about Llansteffan in my blog post here.

Nestled in the Cambrian Mountains in mid Wales, Elan Valley is a beautiful area made up of large dams and reservoirs, which were built 100 years ago to supply clean water to Birmingham. I've visited Elan Valley many times over the years, and I'm always enchanted by its natural beauty and tranquility. I can't wait to go back!

Cardiff Bay is Europe's largest waterfront development, and is home to a number of attractions including the Welsh Assembly, Wales Millennium Centre, hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops. I love Cardiff Bay because it's a great place to meet up with friends and family, and it has a great holiday atmosphere.

Castell Coch (Red Castle) is something straight out of a fairy tale! You can see the pretty castle on the hillside as you drive past on the A470 below; I think it looks magical! It's a wonderful place to visit, and there are some lovely walks in the surrounding area. 

Sgwd yr Eira (falls of snow) is a stunning waterfall in the Vale of Neath in South Wales. You can actually walk behind the waterfall, which makes it all the more special! You can read more about Sgwd yr Eira in my blog post here.

Mumbles is the beginning of the Gower Peninsula's coastline, and has a lovely beach, pier, and castle. There are also lots of restaurants, bars, and shops. It's a great place to enjoy a walk along the beach, find a bench, and enjoy some fish and chips on the seafront!

Wales has lots of lovely bluebell woods to visit during the Springtime. You can read about my visit to one near Swansea in my blog post here. If you're looking for ideas for other bluebell woods to visit in Wales then check this out.

The Brecon Beacons is a mountain range in South Wales, and it's a beautiful place to visit in all seasons. David and I took a visit there on my birthday last year, and it looked so lovely in the snow! The National Park Visitor Centre is a great spot to enjoy lunch with a view, and go on one of the many walking trails.

Set in the South Wales valleys, Caerphilly Castle looks like something straight out of Game Of Thrones. Caerphilly Castle was built in the second half of the 13th century, and has a sophisticated defence network of moats and dams. The largest castle in Wales,  Caerphilly Castle dominates the small town of Caerphilly and is a memorable day out.

Rhossili is on the southwestern tip of the Gower Peninsula in Swansea, and it is home to a fantastic beach and rugged limestone cliffs. It's a great place to enjoy a walk along the headland to enjoy the dramatic views, and watch the sun going down over the ocean.

Are you inspired to visit Wales?
Where's your favourite place? I'd love to hear!

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