Love in All the Right Places.

Love in All the Right Places.

As the plane dipped through the clouds and the miles and miles of British greenery all of a sudden spun out into the horizon, it finally hit me. That I was coming home. That, for now, my travels had been folded away neatly into my diary, pinned to the pages as a memory. A surreal picture of my past.

I didn’t know how I would feel. Would I be sad? Deflated? Numb? Would I cry? Would it even feel real at all?

Continue reading “Love in All the Right Places.”

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Hiraeth

Hiraeth

A homesickness for a place you can never return to, a place which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places on your past.

It’s funny the impact a handful of words can have sometimes, isn’t it? The immediate, punch to the gut, “this is it” feeling, hitting you with an overwhelming sense of relief and, at the same time, sadness.

Relief that you’re not the only one.

Sadness that you’re not the only one.

Relief that your heart is still searching for its home.

Sadness that your heart is still searching for its home.

It goes on.

Continue reading “Hiraeth”

What I’m going to miss most about Cardiff.

What I’m going to miss most about Cardiff.

It’s funny isn’t it?  Five months ago I felt like I would never feel happy or comfortable in Cardiff ever again.  I couldn’t wait for that moment I packed up all my things and said “ta-ra” for the final time.  It genuinely couldn’t come soon enough.

Everything about the city plagued me with the memories that I was desperately trying to forget.  Things that I used to adore were suddenly tainted by the negativity I just couldn’t shake off.

And yet here I am, my final day with WNO, and I can’t quite put into words how much I am going to miss my adopted home.

Because the past couple of months have been incredible.  I’ve fallen back in love with this beautiful city and everything in it.  I’ve made new friends, grown closer to old ones and just loved every second of it.  I’ve had some of the funniest nights out since my mental fresher days (and some of the most drama filled) and have pretty much done what I wanted when I wanted.

So the thought of leaving my little Welsh home for the final time in four days is starting to really, really hit hard.

It was the same when I left Southampton for University.  I’d been counting the days for such a long time and then BOOM, I had the best Summer ever with the most amazing people.  The day I left I cried and cried and cried.

The thing is, I hate saying goodbye.  I remember when I was younger and I’d go on family holidays; I’d make a ton of friends (as you do) with all the other kids there and then weep like a little baby when I left.  It’s the thought of never, ever seeing someone again.  I hate it.

But what I keep telling myself… is it’s a good thing.  I’m leaving on a high.  I’m leaving with all the hilarious, beautiful, ridiculous memories rather than the shitty ones.  I’m leaving knowing that despite recent events, these really have been the best four years of my life.

It’s hard to whittle it down to the ten things I’ll miss most… or rather, the ten things I’ve loved the most about living in this perfect little place.  So after much deliberation (and many tears) here are the ten things that have made Cardiff so damn special for me:

10) How I’ve had so many different homes here and they’ve all been brilliant in their own way.

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I’ve lived in scabby halls with seven of the funniest girls I’ll probably ever meet, a house drenched in mold and infested with slugs, another little house where my room was so princessy it gives me butterflies, my first home with a boy, my second home with a boy and finally a huge house with another awesome bunch of girls.  And I’ve loved every single one.  And I’m learning to remember them all for the positive memories only.

9) How ridiculously gorgeous it is.

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The bay, the castle, Roath Park, Llandaff fields, Bute Park, City Hall… I could go on and on.  Every single time I walk through the city I can’t get over how stunning it really is.  And I’ll always remember the simplest memories like rowing on Roath Park lake (and shitting myself thanks to all the demon swans), eating lunch outside the Senedd and having picnics in the castle grounds.

8) The character of it all and how despite being a capital city it’s full of quaint features.

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One of my favourite things about Cardiff is how it doesn’t even feel like a capital city.  Sure it’s got the big clubs and the amazing shopping, but what I really love are the cute things “off the beaten track”.  The little coffee shops, the arcades, rooftop cinema, Ignite… these are the things that make Cardiff truly memorable for me.

7) The nightlife and how nobody ever judges you.

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No matter what, you’ll never be the drunkest person out (apart from this night – this night I was definitely the drunkest person that ever existed ANYWHERE).  But seriously, my nights are always pretty crazy; but unlike other places I’ve been, everyone is crazy here.  No judging, just absolute tears with laughter the next day about everyone’s foolish life choices.

6) Cardiff in the Summer.

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Everything’s prettier in the sunshine… but there’s just something about Cardiff in the Summer.  Days are spent with cider and picnics in any of the stunning parks across the city.  There are so many beautiful places to just walk around.  You don’t need to do anything else.  It’s all there, just waiting for you.

5) Cardiff in the Winter.

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If we ignore the rain for a minute, Cardiff in the Winter is also an absolute joy.  Our little version of Winter Wonderland, the Christmas markets, the lights around the castle, that crisp, fresh feeling in the air.  There’s nothing I love more than plonking myself next to the ice rink with a mug of mulled wine just waiting for all the brilliant falls from show off skaters.  Classic.

4) How you can be a big fish in a small pond.

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Working in PR and then in a more corporate role I have loved how easy it is to get your name out there in Cardiff.  Like, what?  I’m a 22 year old Disney mad graduate yet people actually know (and care) about who I am?  That’s mad.  But I bloody lav it.

3) The fact that I’ve had some of the best days of my life here.

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How can you ever forget the place that gave you some of the happiest days of your life?  So many of the huge events in my life I associate with Cardiff.  And that’s pretty awesome.

2) The arts and culture scene and the fact I work in one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.

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Being able to walk into this beautiful building and think “yeah, I’m a part of this” is one of the best feelings ever.  Even after a year I never take for granted how lucky I am to be involved with such an iconic organisation.  I can’t express how much I will miss being able to sit at my desk and listen to such incredible productions rehearsing or how much I’ll miss sitting in the green room brushing shoulders with the talented folk that grace the Donald Gordon stage.

1) The people.

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Because what would Cardiff be without the amazing people in it?

Big love,

BB x

Facing your fears.

Facing your fears.

Most of my Cardiff readers will have heard of Ignite Cardiff.  For those who haven’t, picture this.  A sweaty bar on a Wednesday evening, free drinks, 200 + guests and 9 speakers presenting about whatever really gets their juices flowing (absolutely hate that expression – big apology).

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It might not sound like a killer event, but somehow it just works.  Maybe it’s the friendly, albeit slightly drunk atmosphere.  Maybe it’s the banter from speakers and hosts alike.  Or maybe it’s the way you can leave feeling inspired, delirious from laughing so much as well as pretty educated.

Either way, I love it.  And this month I decided to take the plunge and apply to be a speaker.  What did I speak about, you might be wondering?  What is it I feel more passionately about than anything in the whole entire world?

Well, the answer’s simple.  Disney.

Disney is, without doubt, my biggest obsession.  It totally hangs over my life, affecting each and every day in some sparkly way.  And I have no regrets.  I have no shame.  I am a happy, self-diagnosed Disneyaholic.

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And yes, whilst I can speak about Disney for hours at a time with flair, confidence and poise (LOL JK), I was pretty terrified to speak about it in front of over 200 strangers.  And not just strangers; you get some pretty big Cardiff industry names coming along to these events.  Was I really ready to make a total fool of myself in front of all of them – would this really be a good first impression?

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After watching the video (you can check it out at the bottom of this post), the answer should be a loud, echoing NO!  Yet, somehow I managed to make some good connections in that room that night (after apologising for my post-talk wine induced state).  God knows how, and god knows why, but there you have it.

Doing the Ignite talk (despite it being on a pretty ridiculous *cough amazing cough* topic) has given me a buzz.  It’s made me think, well if you can do that what’s stopping you conquering your other fears?

I’m currently in a position where a lot is changing in my life.  It’s scary, it’s exciting, but it’s hopefully going to lead to something amazing.  I’m now ready to face the fears associated with it head on and push forward full throttle.  This change might not work (in fact, it might go disastrously wrong) but if I don’t try, if I don’t face my fear, I’ll never know.

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What I’m trying to say is TAKE THE RISK.  Do something mad, whacky, out of the ordinary.  A five minute presentation on my Disney dependency might not sound like a big deal, but I really do feel as if I have achieved something I’ve never done before in my life.  And I love it.

Ignite Cardiff – Why Disney set me up with false expectations of adulthood.

Warning – swearing and a pink fluffy tiara are heavily involved.

My Big Fat Welsh Bucket List

My Big Fat Welsh Bucket List

I’ve lived in Wales for four years.  To me, that’s quite a long time.  I’ve lived in the depths of Cathays, the Chelsea-wannabe Pontcanna and now the vibrant Bay.  And I absolutely love it.  To me, Cardiff is the perfect city.  Beautiful scenery but still incredible shopping life.  Delicious independent cafes and restaurants whilst still maintaining the infamous bars from the UK clubbing scene.  For business especially I adore how much of a small town it is; everyone knows everyone.  It makes networking and meeting the “right” people so much easier.

Despite all this, I have one huge regret of my time so far.  I’ve found myself encased in this little Cardiff bubble… the furthest I’ve really travelled is to Barry to sample the drool worthy fish and chips (oh how I miss the grease) and risk my life on the gypsy-esque fairground rides.  Sure, I’ve taken a pedalo out on Roath Park lake, I’ve been to every theatre and touring company that graces the city.  I’ve tried pretty much every take out in Cathays and endulged on Fat Pig wine and paella.

But what about all the other incredible things Cardiff and Wales has to offer?  There are so many beautiful sights that I still haven’t seen… so much old school cider I still haven’t tasted… so much carborrific afternoon tea I haven’t gorged on.

And with that sudden realisation (as well as inspiration from the fabulous Lindsey Frodsham’s Cardiff bucket list) I decided to create my own.  23 things to do in Wales before I turn 23 (that’s November 25th for those of y’all that want to start planning my gifts early).  I’m also hoping it’ll be a positive way to get myself off of my fat arse and exploring a bit more.  For each I tick off I’ll be taking a snapshot to pull together a big old collage at the end.  Probably a bit bold, but a challenge always gives me such a buzz!

My Big Fat Welsh Bucket List:

1 – Cycle to Castle Coch and have a picnic

2 – Visit the Hay Festival 

3 – Run a Cardiff 10K 

4 – Run the Cardiff Half

5 – Go for Afternoon Tea at Gliffaes County House in Abergavenny and explore the Brecon Beacons

6 – Have a pint in the Skirrid Mountain Inn (the oldest public house in Wales) in Abergavenny

7 – Watch a sunset film in Jacob’s Roof Top Cinema 

8 – Go to a food festival outside of Cardiff

9 – Explore Snowdonia

10 – Taste Joe’s Ice Cream in the Mumbles

11 – Present at Ignite Cardiff 

12 – Go on a Cardiff Castle Ghost Tour at night

13 – Take a tram up the Great Orme

14 – Explore the Pembrokeshire beaches and bays

15 – Spend the day at Chepstow races

16 – Rummage inside the Dan Yr Ogof caves

17 – Go Coasteering in Anglesey

18 – Go to Oakwood theme park

19 – Eat a full Welsh breakfast 

20 – Go to the Royal Welsh Show

21 – Experience the Neath Valley waterfalls

22 – Buy a pack of Fabulous Welsh Cakes and eat them in the sun outside the Sennedd

23 – Learn at least 23 words in Welsh!

Big love,

BB x

What about you?  Do you have any Welsh musts that I should add to the list?

Cardiff goes green!

Cardiff goes green!

After a long weekend of eating absolutely everything in my path (bank holiday belly alert) and returning back to Cardiff to find nothing except questionable soft cheese in the fridge, I made the very wise decision of taking myself out for a bite to eat this lunch time.

Being one of the only keen beans to come back into work today, that bite was going to be a solo one.  So, armed with this month’s book club book, I made my way over to Café Pure; a place I have been dying to go to for some time now.

For those who don’t already know, Café Pure is located ideally on Cardiff Bay, opposite Wales Millennium Centre and right next to the Bay fountains.  A fresh, glass walled building, it sits perfectly in its idyllic surroundings.

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So I’d found the place (a feat that might seem easy, but clever old me only a few days ago   realised where it actually was… classic), now I just had to pick something off of the ridiculous drool-worthy menu.  Café Pure prides itself on being Cardiff’s 1st healthy food restaurant.  Its nutritious menu boasts food rich in protein and fresh ingredients, all broken down into calorie count, fat etc etc.  Basically, my dream restaurant.

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In the end I went for The Anti-Oxidant; a dreamy concoction of tuna, leaves, blueberries, raspberries, kale, halloumi, walnuts, quinoa, avocado and bean mix.  It sounded absolutely delightful, and sent the old cogs spinning with ideas of new lunches I could make myself (I’m one of those people who gets so sick and tired of meals after a week of eating the same meal that the thought of eating it for one more day makes me want to vomit).

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Sure enough, it was totally en pointe.  At £6.99, I did originally feel it was a bit steep for what I assumed to be a salad… when it arrived, those thoughts were blown out of the park.  A huge bowl of food-porn was placed in front of my greedy eyes.  I felt my shoulders slump, my mouth hang open and a teeny tiny bit of drool escape.  It looked amazing; and sure enough, it tasted amazing as well.  The perfect blend of flavours, every individual component was complemented by the tastes surrounding it.  I could feel myself filling with energy (which, let’s face it, was pretty lacking after a heavy weekend of alcohol, chocolate and carby joy) and knew this was going to be my new favourite hotspot.

To top it off, the staff were friendly, helpful and cheerful, and the general atmosphere was relaxed and, well, spot on.

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To finish it off I treated myself to The Life-Line Smoothie: a vitamin explosion of mixed berries, bananas, orange, low fat live yoghurt, fresh orange juice and crushed ice.  At £3.49 I doubt this is going to be my daily morning juice, but it’s amazing for that quick-fix health kick.  I’m excited to try all the other smoothies from the menu; all specifically made with some sort of boost in mind.

Overall, it’s safe to say I have found a new love in my life.  The perfect way to ease myself back into my healthy regime; here’s to trying the rest of the menu!

Big love,

BB x

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