High Tea at Jolyons No. 10

Since Luke and I moved into the new house I seem to be busier doing everything other than sorting out the house. Four weeks in and we still have a few boxes dotted around and rooms with stripped back walls waiting for some attention. One ‘other thing’ I have been getting up to was planning a lovely visit for my best friend which included an afternoon of High Tea at Jolyons at No 10 in Cardiff.

Jolyons at No 10 is a four star, boutique hotel located not too far from Cardiff City Centre. Since launching in 2011, Joylon’s at No 10 has been ‘treating guests to sheer luxury accommodation’ as well as food and drinks in restaurant come bar, Cwtch Mawr.

Despite being a particularly rainy day in South Wales my friend and I boarded the train and headed for Joylons. I must say I was particularly looking forward to a scone! The scone can be a making or breaking of an afternoon tea in my opinion.

Image: tripadvisor.co.uk

Image: tripadvisor.co.uk

On arrival we were greeted by a lovely gentleman from behind the bar who showed us to our seats beside the window. The whole feel of the place was very ‘boutiquey’ and shabby chic as we sat on throne style and quirky coloured chairs at our table. The distressed floor boards and beautiful fire place really gave the place a unique but welcoming feel.

We had pre-booked High Tea which was accompanied with a glass of either white or pink processo (a deal we got on Living social). After selecting our pink Prosecco we very soon there-after heard the pop of a bubbly bottle from behind the bar over out chat and minutes later we were presented with our drinks alongside our cake stand of High Tea treats.

The High Tea at Jolyons looked delicious to begin with but in what seemed to be true style of Joylon’s with unique differences. The bottom layer was the traditional sandwiches filled with salmon, cucumber and cheese on varying white and brown bread. The middle was filled with two giant home-made scones, jam and clotted cream alongside four small pieces of ooey-gooey chocolate brownie and two squares of ginger cake. Finally the top layer held two homemade welsh cakes and two shot glasses filled with jelly and cream, topped with sprinkles (this was the unusual addition.)

Instead of going into detail on each and every item I can say that collectively everything was delicious, that being said I feel like the scone needs a special mention for being extra delicious and the little jelly shot glass was unusual, we were not sure how we felt about it but needless to say it went down easy enough!


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I felt that as well as the High Tea being great, the thing I really enjoyed about Joylons was the chilled out and relaxed atmosphere. Being a Saturday afternoon there was a steady flow of people coming and going from both the hotel as well as people having food and drinks though we never felt rushed or pushed for time, instead really relaxed and welcomed.

So who wouldn’t stay for a while longer in this atmosphere? And with us both thinking the same we polished off our High Tea, ordered another bottle of pink Prosecco from the bar, settled ourselves into our comfy chairs even more than we already had and spent the next couple of hours avoiding the rain in Jolyon’s No 10.

 

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A Sunday Afternoon at Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair Cardiff

I recently visited Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair in Cardiff with a friend. Having never been to a vintage fair before to say I was excited would be a bit of an understatement.

Despite it being a rainy and miserable day, the Town Hall in Cardiff was the ideal setting to make me forget about my soaking wet clothes and dishevelled ‘hair-do’. I had high expectations as soon as I arrived and it seemed I was not alone as a long and laborious queue of vintage lovers waited eagerly to enter the room accommodating the fair. Paying just £2 for entry we were also told of the next event to be held there the following month. A stamp on our hand and we were on our way past the desk ready for a good rummage.

From reading the website Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair usually visits Cardiff four times a year however with two being held in the space of two month demand must have been high. When we got into the room (after a short wait due to some very efficient Lou Lou workers) the high demand was certainly apparent. I was quite staggered by the busyness, the crowds and the amount of vintage attire and items in what felt to be a small space. My initial thoughts were that a bigger room may have been a bit more comfortable and easier to shop, there were some dancers with not much space to dance and quite often myself and my friend found ourselves lost in the crowds or straining our necks to get a good view at stalls. Despite this in a sense it did add to the atmosphere and the buzz of the day and it wasn’t too far from a usual Saturday shopping day in the City Centre.

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That room had everything you can imagine. It was literally a treasure trove of all things vintage. I wish I had taken more photos but quite honestly and despite my good intentions for the purpose of this blog I was too wrapped up in gazing at the reasonably prices goods that the various stalls at Lou Lou’s Vintage fair had to offer. I was particularly attracted to the Welsh wools and with a trip coming up to Berlin thought it a ‘sensible’ purchase. Being a ‘sensible’ purchase of course made it a perfect excuse to whip out the credit card however I couldn’t find any left in my size much to my actually sensible minds relief. Tip to any future visitors of Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair, get there early!

Though I describe the room as ‘small’ this was certainly not the case on reflection. We managed to spend a good 2 and a half hour rooting around often finding that stalls had replenished sold items with new vintage gems. This was the case when I found the leather, vintage bag which is now in its rightful place, where it should have been for a long time prior….on my arm.

Bag purchased from Little Old Me, a vintage boutique based in Birmingham. (http://littleoldmevintage.com/)

Bag purchased from Little Old Me, a vintage boutique based in Birmingham. (littleoldmevintage.com)

If there was one thing missing from my day it was the chance to sit with a cup of tea and some delicious cupcakes. I perhaps put myself under the impression that there would be a chance to do so there and don’t get me wrong there was a stall selling very tempting looking cupcakes but I imagine walking around the Fair on that day with a hot cuppa in hand would be a serious health and safety hazard. A spot to sit and reflect with tea in one hand and cake in another would have topped the day off perfectly.

Overall we had a lovely day at Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair in Cardiff. The perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in my opinion and we will definitely be returning in the near future to get our vintage on again!

Over-Coming the Challenges of Civilian Life

An article from Hire A Hero blog –

Joining the civilian world is never easy and you will face obstacles that you need to overcome but as a service leaver this isn’t anything you haven’t had to do before. You just need to work out how best to do it in a new environment…..

Read more at http://ow.ly/kJ9nD

Naked Bakes Cupcake Masterclass

What could be more tempting on a sunny, Sunday afternoon than a delicious cupcake…or 4? Nothing as far as I’m concerned and these are even no guilt cupcakes as the diet always starts first thing Monday morning.

My sister and I always have difficulty in choosing birthday gifts for mum. She is one of those difficult people to buy for who never has any idea what they want or doesn’t really need anything. Any random items we do buy are pretty much forgotten about a few weeks later. Where’s the sentiment in that? My mum does however always say she would like to spend more time with her favourite daughters, ‘just the three of us’.

While desperately browsing online for a birthday gift idea I came across Blytheswood Square Hotel’s Cupcake Masterclass. The perfect gift! combining the three B’s: Baking, Bonding and Butter Icing.  What more could three ladies want?

As you will know from one of my previous blog entries; A Stay At The Blytheswood  I have had an amazing experience at the Blytheswood once before so to say my expectations of events promoted and held within the hotel would be an understatement. They have a standard which is impeccable. I expected a lot.

The event host Pauline runs her own business Naked Bakes. They use only the finest ingredients with no colouring, additives or flavour enhancing chemicals. The purest of pure cupcakes! That is what makes them so guilt free (please ignore calorie content) or as Naked Bakes put it ;

No Gunk! No Junk! Just Love!

And once again I have to give a great review to the Blytheswood and most of all to Naked Bakes.

The class, which lasted about an hour and a half, started with a glass of Prosecco on arrival and we were all invited to take our seats. With just enough people in the class to feel like you were not being constantly under observation by cupcake decorating pro Pauline, though not too many that you felt like you couldn’t have one on one time and ask questions, the balance was just right.

Being unusual as always I seemed to find the simplest decorations the most difficult and the most difficult the easiest. I must say I managed a pretty impressive rose cupcake as my final masterpiece. Too good to eat and what’s even better is that you didn’t have to (well not till later that day anyway once you cave into the butter icing temptation) as after the class a delicious afternoon tea was served along with Pauline’s very own cupcakes. Absolutely delicious and without a doubt some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted! (and I’ve eaten a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery in New York!).

So, be it to spend time with the girls, bond with family or to curb the ultimate sweet tooth, I would really recommend the Naked Bakes Cupcake Masterclass.

The Daily Deal Phenomenon – How These Websites Can Work For You and Your Company

It’s happened. I have become a daily deal addict.
Groupon, Living Social and Wowcher tempt me to part with my money on a daily basis for things that I may not necessarily need but at such hugely discounted prices, who can say no?!
It’s only January and I’ve already purchased my Mother’s Day present as well as treating myself and one other lucky individual to a massage and facial deal with a price that was just too good to be true.
To be honest I am amazed that many companies make money from the daily deals they offer through promotion websites. A full Swedish massage, Indian head massage and facial for two cost me £38. A saving of 76% on the usual price though surprisingly companies really do benefit. Between 55% and 61% of businesses running daily deals do make money on their promotions despite the huge discount (Rice University study 25/06/2012).
At my time of purchase 98 other coupons had been purchased from Groupon for this particular deal which had only been online for 48 hours (you do the math). I also know that particularly with beauty parlors and hairdressers you are very likely to return or even become a regular client if you are happy with the service. Even if next time round you have to fork out the extra 76%.
This has also happened to me. A great daily deal appeared in my inbox for a cut and blow dry (which I was desperately in need of I told myself) and saving me 60%. After my visit to the hairdressers I was impressed and have since returned to pay the full price. Of course companies could not always offer such hugely discounted rates, they rely on good service and word of mouth the promote them after their daily deal has expired. So, if you are running a good, honest service then it’s win win.
It really is a great promotional tool particularly for smaller companies to get their name out there and to get people in the door.
One particular start up company I have spoken to and done promotion work for listed themselves on Groupon towards the end of last year. As a gift wrapping company it was a great way for them to pull in business when they were going through a quiet spell before Christmas. It allowed them to raise their profile as well as bring in some all important revenue.
23 million Groupon subscribers worldwide purchased at least one deal in 2011. A customer getting those daily emails and paying for those hugely discounted deals really turns into a once you start you just can’t stop. Everyone loves a bargain, particularly a very high quality one and I say this from first hand experience.