Friday, 28 March 2014

Powis Castle

A few weeks I popped over the boarder to England and met up with my parents who were visiting the UK.  We wanted to spend a nice day together and thankfully we had the best weather for it.  Even though I took the train over to England we actually ended up taking a 20 minute drive back to Wales to check out the stunning Powis castle.

A very wise welsh girl once told me that "Wales contrains more castles per square mile than any other country in the world.  So we're all basically princesses" and visiting Powis castle certainly made me feel like a princess even though I'm not a Welsh babe!

Construction on the castle began circa 1200 and it began life as a medieval fortress.  It's been remodelled and embellished for more then 400 years, reflecting the ambitions of the Herbert family.

We didn't have enough time to check out the castle itself but we were quite happy to walk around the stunning garden.  Some of the trees planted closest to the castle were planted in the 1800s which just blows my mind!

There are some amazing Edwardian cottages located on the grounds which you can actually rent and stay in and I imagine it would be the perfect get away! The countryside surrounding the castle is absolutely breathtaking and it would be the perfect place to get away and just relax and go for long walks around the grounds.  I felt like I was walking around in the setting of ony of my gloriously tacky historical novels (a girl's got to read something mind numbing when she's studying!).  I love visiting places like this, you're walking around history.  Generations of the Herbert family have lived and worked here, the family name originates from 1461 so there's a great big chunk of history to explore!

After our walk we grabbed some food from the cafe.  What's great about the National Trust is that it's all about promoting local history and food.  My brother and I inhaled our pork and apple burgers with relish.   We were sat inside so we didn't have to put up with sneaky peacocks trying to steal our food.  Other visitors weren't so lucky!

If you're in the Welshpool area I can't recommend Powis castle enough.  But I also highly recommend checking out the National Trust near you.  You can sign up to be a National Trust member, you pay an annual fee but then you have free entry to ALL National Trust sites across the UK.  If you're 25 and under it only costs you £20.50 which is such a steal! If I had a car I'd sign up to the Trust straightaway and take a weekend trip somewhere new every weekend.

Hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!

More soon

Powis Castle
Welshpool, Powys, SY21 8RF
Telephone: 01938 551944

Castle opening times: 12:30 - 16:00 (depends on the time of year I think)
Castle tours: by tour 11:00 - 12:30
Museum: 12:00 - 16:00
Garden: 11:00 - 16:00

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Nina Eats - Stag Coffee

I know I'm getting repetitive but seriously guys good food things are happening to Cardiff! When I started university here in 2009 (god already that long ago? CRY) there weren't the many great independent coffee shops or restaurants.  Then bam I come back from my year abroad and I can't seem to go a week without finding something new! Hence why there's almost a new Nina Eats post every week.

So Helen coaxed me out into the rain on a dull Thursday to explore a new coffee shop that has only been open for about five weeks.  It was worth getting caught in the rain (I forgot my umbrella that day, rookie error in Wales), trust me.

Stag Coffee (85 Crwys Road) is a brand spanking new coffee shop run by a previous manager of the student classic The Woodville.  This place is small but super inviting and the decor is ON POINT.  Quirky but not overwhelmingly so.  Everything has it's place and is chosen with so much care but all put together it looks effortless.  I can only dream of my house looking like this one day.  I went with Helen on Thursday and came back the next day with my friend Fiona so I think that vouches for how much I love this place! It's situated right on the heaving Crwys Road and is a quirky oasis of calm.

On my first visit Helen and me just had tea and chips.  I'm not even ashamed to say so. Helen recommended the chips saying they were the best she'd ever eaten and I'm inclined to agree.  Served in an enamel cup and with 'secret seasoning' they were a super tasty naughty treat.  It's also worth noting that all the tea served here is Teapigs.  Other drinks include milkshakes and chai lattes.  They also serve 'proper' food at Stag Coffee, on my second visit Fiona had a burger whilst I opted for a salad to counteract my chip binge the day before.  My salad was as to be expected (you can't really go wrong with a greek salad) and Fiona said her burger was excellent, all the food was also very reasonably priced! Both our bills including drinks came to £8.  You really can't complain.  Stag Coffee also do breakfasts so it's invariable that I'll drag someone else there at some point during the weekend to test that out.  I have high hopes.  

The service here is also really friendly, we sat down and were seen to very quickly but not rushed which was great as there were a lot of options to consider before we ordered!

I feel like I'm gushing but this is a very lovely little place that should be on your list of places to check out ASAP if you live in Cardiff.  I can see myself living here when revision and dissertation season kick in.

Get yourself to Stag Coffee guys!


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Monday, 24 March 2014

Review | Avène Soothing Hydrating Serum

Avène Soothing Hydrating Serum
Avène Soothing Hydrating Serum
Avène Soothing Hydrating Serum
Avène Soothing Hydrating Serum
Avène Soothing Hydrating Serum* RRP £17 but £12.50 at the moment via Escentual

I was delighted when a package from Escentual came through my postbox.  Set up in 2000 Escentual is a Cardiff based premier beauty destination, and to make a good thing even better Escentual stock a huge selection of French Pharmacy goodies.  I lived in France for nine months and trust me whatever those ladies use on their skin - it works!  You will also know this by now that I am a huge advocate of supporting anything that is based in Wales so this was a win win situation for me.

This Avène Soothing Hydrating Serum is the latest addition to my growing skin care products. The serum is designed to combat and sooth skin that gets weakened by things such as pollution and stress so it's perfect for you constantly on the go ladies.  On the bottle it suggests that this serum is for sensitive skin and I tend to have combination skin with a bit of dry forehead syndrome but still I think this is a product for everyone.

This product is high in spring water (as the French name suggests) and once on your skin it calms and soothes leaving your face refreshed and calmed.  Since using this I feel like my skin has never looked better, it feels more supple and smoother.  The 30ml bottle may look small but you only need the smallest amount.  You apply this in the morning and evening after cleansing and then you can get on with your usual skincare routine.  When I'm at home and not wearing any make up I like to use this as a little pick me up during the day, it really makes all the difference.

You skincare junkies will be thrilled to know that Escentual are currently offering a third off French Pharmacy brands until the end of March so you have a few days left to stock up. Escentual stock brands such as my holy grail product: Bioderma and the much talked about La Roche-Posay.  Happy shopping!

You can find Escentual here:

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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Nina Eats - La Vita

Last Friday night I had a hot date with my favourite Welsh baban - Welsh Girl Problems (her real identity is a secret sorry guys!).  You guys need to get over onto her Twitter.  Trust me.

I have suddenly developed a social life and so to celebrate WGP and myself hit up an Italian restaurant on Wellfield Road called La Vita.  La Vita used to be located right in the city centre but moved into my neighbourhood.  And thank my lucky stars.  Italian food is my favourite ever cuisine (German comes in on second, sorry not sorry).  This place is BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) and it's a £2.50 corkage charge.  Seems fair enough, wine and alcohol is normally what drives up the final bill price.

My dinner date was far more sensible than I was and went for a vegetable salad and I had pasta with a creamy sausage sauce.  My pasta was slightly overcooked which is a massive pet hate for me. But then again I'm quite fussy and like it super 'al dente'.  But other than that my meal was very tasty.  A nice bite of chilly and fresh basil is always good in my book.

Dessert was where it got really good.  WGP and myself were torn about what to get so got a different dessert each and shared.  The panna cotta with strawberry sauce was super tasty and a very light way to round things off.  The tiramisu was great too, not overwhelmingly coffee based and the portion size was good - not too little not too much.  I walked away from this meal pleasantly full but not stuffed, the best way to leave a meal!

La Vita has an open kitchen which is great because you can see the chef working again, but the downside of this is that it is boiling in the restaurant as you can see from the steamed up windows.  No need to wrap up warm here guys!  They're also open for lunch and have pizzas from as little as £5 so perfect if you're up and about in Roath.

Price: ££
5 Wellfield Road
Telephone: 02920480161
Also open for lunch

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Friday, 21 March 2014

Review | Urban Decay NAKED Flushed

Urban Decay NAKED Flushed
Urban Decay NAKED Flushed
Urban Decay NAKED Flushed
Urban Decay NAKED Flushed
Urban Decay NAKED Flushed
Urban Decay Naked Flushed C/O Urband Decay | £20

This Urban Decay palette was in my goodie bag that I received after the event I attended.  I was absolutely thrilled when I saw this.

This palette contains a bronzer, highlighter and blusher.  You can use these silky pressed powders on their own or blend them together for what UD describe as a 'colour love fest'.  I thinking these will be perfect to use for anyone heading into the world of contouring.

I love the packaging, the compact is magnetic so it opens super easy.  It's also very slim so it will fit into your handbag or clutch bag on nights out.  The big mirror is very useful when it comes to helping you apply your make up or for checking.  The colour of the packaging matches my NAKED basics palette which I really like.  It sticks with the whole NAKED products theme.

I've been road testing this and am really loving it but be warned, you need a light hand because I accidentally over loaded my blusher brush and was a little too heavy handed and ended up with clown face.  These powders, especially the blusher are extremely pigmented, give your brush a hearty tap once you have product on it, you really only need a little which in terms of price is pretty great.

For those of you wary of the colours or for those ladies with different skin tones, fear not! Urban Decay will be launching more Flushed palettes so there should be something out there for everyone.  Be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

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