Thursday, 25 May 2017

We Loves the 'Diff

When my Dad dropped me off at my university accommodation when I was 18, I never thought that Cardiff was going to be my permanent home.

I'd come to university with my suitcase and the thought that Cardiff was just a temporary stop over. But instead it's become my home, a place that's adopted and loved me as if I was a real Cardiffian. I have my routine, I'm a regular in coffee shops and farmers markets where people will speak with me and truly know me. It's a true community and I love this city with all my German heart.

Print by I Loves the 'Diff

What I love most about Cardiff is what an amazing and caring city it is.

Cult local superstars I Loves the 'Diff have partnered with St. David's Shopping Centre to come together and raise money for 3 local charities that work tirelessly with the homeless of Cardiff, providing support and care - the Huggard, Llamau and The Wallich.

They've done this by creating a run of limited edition Cardiff based prints, my favourites are Chippy Lane which brings back fond (but hazy) memories of chips at 3am whilst holding my heels in my hand. The other favourite is the red Cardiff Skyline, there's a little nod to so many Cardiff landmarks that every Cardiffian, where born and bred or adopted like me will recognise and know immediately.

So how do you get your hands on the final Cardiff Skyline print?

Easy - just head to St. David's on Saturday for the chance to get your hands on an exclusive, limited edition print. In return all you have to do is drop in a donation of at least £3 and you're good to go. You get a beautiful print and do some good. Win win! There are still some of the other prints left so just ask!

Prints are limited to a run of 1,000 and it's first come first served so make sure you get there early.

If you can't make it to pick up a print you can donate online via the GoFund me link which is here. All donations are greatly appreciated and will truly make a difference, the target to hit is £20,000 so please make it happen!

Diloch in advance for all the support!

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Sunday, 7 May 2017

First Dates: The Worst One Yet

I don’t think I’m particularly high maintenance. 

Feel free to ask those who know me. They’ll say that I like to talk a lot and that I like nice things, but I don’t think they would say that I’m high maintenance.

In as far as first dates go, I’m not expecting to be picked up in a helicopter or a fancy car before being whisked away to a Michelin starred restaurant in a different country. Although that would be nice. In fact the truth of the matter is that since the last date I went on, I’ve now learnt that it’s best to go into a date with zero expectations because otherwise you will just end up severely disappointed.

So let me tell you about the worst date that I have been on so far. 

I know that I said I’ve deleted my dating apps, but in a fit of loneliness I re-downloaded Bumble in the high hopes that everything people said about the app was true. Namely that the standard of men was higher. 

Well let me just nip this story in the bud, the above rumour is a lie. Or maybe it’s just a lie in Cardiff.

Bob (not his real name) and I had been chatting on Bumble for a few days. He was receptive to what I said and made smart references to what was on my profile, or references to things I’d mentioned in passing. He didn’t use text speak and didn’t seem like a weirdo. Result, I thought. Even if this doesn’t become ‘a thing’, it might result in a good first date.

We’d talked about meeting up and going for a drink, our schedules didn’t match up much so we ended up agreeing to a drink on a ‘school night’. This doesn’t actually bother me because it stops me getting overeager with the wine and getting accidentally drunk. But we didn’t actually discuss where we were going for a drink. With hindsight that was already a warning sign. He also mentioned playing pool, which at the time I didn’t pay too much attention to. Also a mistake I would later learn.

So the night of the date rolls around, I get ready listening to my ‘Single Ladies’ playlist on Spotify. Again with hindsight this was me foreshadowing my own date. Dressing for dates is hard, but I go for trusty all black with leopard print boots and my bright pink ‘Jackie Kennedy when JFK got shot’ coat. Classic with a dash of ‘fun’.

Despite my German-ness which means I have to get everywhere exactly at the time I’m supposed to be there for, or be there early, I deliberately arrive 10 minutes late. He tells me that he’s outside of Live Lounge (if you’re from Cardiff or have visited this will be extremely telling to you), this makes my heart sink a little. When we do meet in person I know instantly that I don’t fancy him, and I accept that I just have to get through the first round of drinks. There’s a couple of nice places near to us so how bad can it get?


“So where are we going for a drink?”

“I was thinking Wetherspoons.”

I want to die on the spot and run after my taxi that’s already halfway down the road. I ask if he’s being serious. He is. I start wondering at what point I can make a getaway. But I hate being rude. It’s a conundrum of epic proportions. If you know anything about Cardiff, or even any city, it’s that there is always a better bar for drinks. Wetherspoons is the kind of place I used to go for a £5 bottle of wine before a student night. Now as someone in their mid to late 20’s this is not a place I choose to frequent. 

So fine we make it to Wetherspoons. I deliberately order an expensive gin, because if I’m going to be here I might as well get something out of it. He orders a pint of cider. When it comes to choosing seats I pick the tall tables with high chairs located in the middle of the floor. The last thing I want is to be sat in a cosy booth. Personal space is everything.

We make some small talk, he shows me photos of his family holiday to one of those islands in the Med. He’s using a Blackberry and for some irrational reason I have a mistrust of anyone who still uses a Blackberry.

Whilst talking he either over gestures or tries to reach for his more than half full pint of cider. For whatever reason, instead of picking it up he knocks it over. 

The cider goes all over the table and all over me. From my shoes to my coat that’s hanging up on the back of my chair, nothing is spared. A small pool of Mangers cider collects at the base of my chair. 

I’m not often speechless but in this case I am. He stammers out an apology and I ask him to bring some napkins. Whilst he makes a quick dash, I do my best to mop up the damage and look around to assess if everyone in the pub saw. They did, the old man sat directly behind me is shaking his head as I get up to wipe down myself and the chair I’m sat on.

Bob comes back with the napkins. I resume my seat on the now dry chair and down what’s left of my gin, we make some more painful small talk.

“Do you want another drink?”

I have never wanted another drink less in my whole entire life.

“No thanks, it’s a school night and I have to be up early for work.”

We wrap things up in Wetherspoons and to my dismay he reminds me that we said we’d play pool. I curse myself for wanting to be polite, but find myself saying: “Sure, let’s.”

We walk two doors down to the rock bar. If anyone knows anything about me then it’s that my rock bar days are long gone. I’m not even sure if I ever had ‘rock bar days’.

The saving grace of the rock bar is that it’s loud so we don’t have to talk much. As it turns out he’s pretty much a pro-pool player whilst I miss the ball on my first couple of attempts. I worry he thinks that this is cute, whilst the reality is that I just hate being shit at things. He sinks the balls in a rapid game that couldn’t have lasted more than a couple of minutes. 


“Sure.” Why do I keep trying to be polite??

This game he let’s me win, he’s so good that it’s painfully obvious what he’s doing. When I had the customary date debrief, some of my friends thought this sweet. As I was standing in the rock bar, still stinking of cider, sweet was the last thing I thought this whole thing was.

I take my victory, pretend that I get an emergency text from my Mum (not actually a lie - I did get some bad news that evening) and plead out of having another drink somewhere else.

He escorts me to a taxi and to my great great relief doesn’t try for a kiss. I make it home in time to take off my carefully applied make up and double cleanse my face. I’m in bed with my teeth flossed by 10:30, fuming that I went on such a grim date when I could have stayed home watching Netflix in my pants.

The next day as I regale the office with my date story I get a text:

“Hey :) So apart from me knocking my drink on to you I think it went well last night, would you like to go on a 2nd Bumble date.”

I know ghosting is the worst but I couldn’t even bring myself to reply. My favourite colleague tells me that I need to find someone normal to date, let alone somebody good.

The result of my date: a pair of jeans which even after a wash still smelt faintly of cider and the fact that I haven’t been able to bring myself to go on another date since.

I’m not even wanting to go on a good date at this point, I just want to stop going on disastrous dates.

If there’s anything to be learnt from this: don’t take your date to Wetherspoons and be extremely careful when gesturing.

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Truly Tried and Tested with M&S

Easter eggs provided by M&S

Each year we start January with the best intentions, it's all 'new year. new me, new body'. Well by the time easter rolls around those good intentions are best thrown out of the window. It's all about the hot crossed buns, racks of lamb and of course eating all the chocolate known to man.

There's something I absolutely love about easter, maybe it's all those fond childhood memories of egg hunting and getting carried away stuffing chocolate in my face, but that easter excitement has stayed with me well into my late twenties.

So when Marks and Spencer invited me to test some of their special easter eggs, how was I to say no?

First up to the taste test was 'Bendy Bob'.

Bendy Bob is clearly the egg aimed at the kids in your life but that didn't stop this 26 year old tearing into him. Bob is a hollowed out egg decorated with strawberry laces connecting his little limbs. The sugary bendy laces add a new element to the easter egg that I've not seen before. It makes it fun to eat and actually breaks up the eating process so he wasn't gone within the blink of an eye.

Next was the 'Dark Chocolate Quirky Bunny', who was almost too beautiful to eat. The key word being almost. This gorgeous little bunny is made from single origin chocolate and has a modern edge to it. I really enjoyed having this displayed in my house until it was socially acceptable to crack in to it. 

I feel like it's quite hard to find Easter chocolate that isn't tacky and which can look beautiful amongst other easter decoration. Well this little fella certainly has added some class to my easter decor. The other plus side is that because the bunny is made out of dark chocolate you take your time eating it as dark chocolate is that little bit richer. I quite like dark chocolate as the bitterness comes as a bit of relief when you're eating sweet all the time.

I've saved the best for last because trust me, this is the most amazing easter egg I've ever had. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Who cares when you can get your hands on this?

The egg is made up of half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate - perfect for sharing when you're either indecisive or when the person your sharing with prefers a different type of chocolate to you. The milk chocolate is from Ecuador and the dark chocolate is from the Dominican Republic. Then once you crack the egg open a special little golden chicken reveals it's self. Hidden centres are a pretty popular theme at the moment with easter eggs and when the finished product looks like this it's easy to see why.

I'm still coming down from a sugar high from testing all of these, but it was all worth it. Get yourself to Marks and Spencer before the easter weekend and get stocked up on your easter eggs, these will go down a storm with friends and family.

Hope you all have a wonderful easter!

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