Monday, October 25, 2010

Sushi Chef

On Sunday I attended a sushi making class with Jo from my office.  Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures during the class, as my hands were covered in sticky rice most of the time, but I did take some pictures of the finished product.  Can you believe I prepared and rolled all this sushi by myself?  I was quite impressed if I do say so myself ;)

These are the California rolls I made and also the smoked salmon, crab and cucumber rolls:

These are more California rolls and also sashimi, which is basically rice wrapped in salmon:

I displayed the fruits of my labor beside the red roses Ben surprised me with that day:

We sat around the table on pillows, Japanese style and ate every last bit of sushi:


I might just bring my sushi skills back to the US and make some sushi for the friends and family :)

Movie Time!

Normally going to the movies doesn't warrant a photography session, however since this is our first movie in Cardiff, I thought we should take few pictures for the event.

Here we are at the the theatre by Cardiff Bay, the Odeon:

I thought the class ceiling was quite impressive and you know I love to take ceiling shots!

Ben buying tickets, he was quite annoyed at me for running late, better get used to it though!  ;)

Just like Tampa I continue to bring my own popcorn to the movies, only here in Cardiff Ben pops fresh popcorn on the stove straight from the kernels, which I of course love!  No wine being sneaked in this time though ;)

Yes, I was loving purple that day with my purple shirt and purple tights.

Ben enjoyed the photo session as well, striking a debonair pose for the camera:

Yay for the movies!

After we watched RED (which was cute), we came out of the theatre only to see a bunch of owls on display, typical for Cardiff maybe?

While in the movies Ben learned he could have the night off, which we celebrated with a nice bottle of wine at Pica Pica restaurant by Cardiff Castle, what a great way to end our very first trip to the movies!

Pica Pica is becoming my new favorite place because they have 2 for 1 martinis everyday till 8pm, could spell trouble for me!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More flowers for me!!!

It must have been my lucky day yesterday, because not only did I receive beautiful flowers delivered to my office from the Tampa group, but I came home to half a dozen pink roses from Ben!

Here they are displayed on the dinning room table:

and here we both are enjoying another wonderful dinner prepared by Ben, steak and au gratin potatoes and asparagus, yum!

Gotta love the self timer on the camera ;)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Flowers from Florida!

A warm and special thank you to the amazing and sorely missed Tampa HR group who sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers this morning to the Cardiff office, for no reason other than to be sweet and kind!

So thank you to Don, Julia, Laurel, Maria and Donna for being so generous and thoughtful, miss you all!!!

The Wharf

Sadly there were no castles or museums to explore this weekend, as Ben had to work both Saturday and Sunday, however we did find some time on Sunday to explore the restaurant literally steps from our place, The Wharf.

As Sunday was another beautiful day, we thought it a perfect day to finally visit the cool, new restaurant/pub right behind our flat, you can just spot it on the far left hand corner, look for the boat right ahead of the white building:

The boat is just for show, as it's no longer used, but gives a neat historical touch!

Here's a shot right below our balcony, to give an idea of how close The Wharf is to our place:

We actually picked a horrible day to finally eat at The Wharf as there had been a huge marathon run that day and the restaurant was PACKED with runners, having a beer after the race.  However we did manage to find a table outside in the sunshine, right by the anchored boat:

Now by this point I was starving and ready to destroy a lamb and rosemary burger and tall brewski, so Ben went inside to order only to find three people working in the entire restaurant and fully packed to capacity with customers!  We were told it would be 40-60 minutes before food would arrive, so we decided to head to the bay and brave the crowds there with a more equipped restaurant :)

So, we went to Mimosa and no, we did not have champagne, we had our favorite, BEER!

Here I am sporting a Brains Beer mustache, Brains is a local Welsh brewer and oh so yummy!

What a nice way to end the day!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

St. Fagan's Castle

Sunday was a beautiful day and of course a beautiful day deserves a trip to a castle and I must say St. Fagan's is my new favorite!

Not so much for the castle itself, which was grand, but I must say was more of a manor house, but for the exquisite grounds which lay on 100 acres and included stunning gardens, fountains and even an entire village! 

To start, here is the impressive entrance to the castle, I just love those tree lined drives!

however Ben and I actually started at the back of the castle, which is even more impressive than the front with multiple stone stairs, waterways, gardens and sculptures all the way up the back:

beginning the ascent:

admiring the view:

taking a rest from the climb:

Once we finally made our way to the top, St. Fagan's Castle awaited our exploration:

Here are the rooms we discovered inside, please excuse the darkness, as all historic home explorers know, flash photography is strictly forbidden!

Butler's pantry:

Gentleman's study, that chair was made from a tree off St. Fagan's own property:

Ditto with the rabbit ;)

Entertainment room:

Impressive tapestries:

impressive fireplace (though not nearly as elaborate as Cardiff Castle's):

Stately bed:

View of the gardens from the bedroom:

Sitting room/Library:

Another bedroom:

Women's sitting room:

Impressive bed, wish it were lighter so you could see the details of the carvings!

Light, airy and huge kitchen! The window looking down on the kitchen is where the cook lived:

After we thoroughly explored the castle, we moved onto the gardens surrounding the castle.


The former stables:

Walls outside the stables, I loved the colors of the leaves coming down the walls:

Gardens currently in the process of replanting, hence all the soil and lack of flowers, I'm sure it's stunning in the springtime!

Vine covered walkway:

More gardens in bloom, it was if each garden had it's own private room:

Garden gates:

Another garden filled with shapes:

Ben relaxing:

View of the shapes garden from above:

front yard of St. Fagan's taken from a secret gate outside the garden:

the first palm tree I've seen in Wales!

beautiful flowers in bloom:

Ben contemplating life:

and figuring it out:

more flowers:

another separate 'garden room' consisting of a huge topiary surrounded by it's own little moat filled with floating lily pads:

pub right outside the castle walls:

forests surrounding the castle:

carriage house;

Mill room:

another separate garden room containing a fountain:

Ben strolling down the forest paths:

river running through the castle grounds:

Boat house:

Outside view of the boathouses:

Barn dating back to 1508!

more beautiful forest trees:

Secret garden wall:

The village located within the castle grounds, it came complete with individual houses and general store:

more sheep!

There is no better way to celebrate another successful castle exploration than a cold drink: