Sunday, 23 October 2011

A weekend with no puddle hopping involved!

Last weekend Mara came to visit us from London...and yes you read right - it didn't rain once!  We did a little bit of exploring but started off the weekend in the town just next to us which is Conwy.  It has a pretty historic castle that was built by Edward I during the 1200s. 

It is also a classic walled town, so we walked the walls...

snapping lots of pics along the way.

That tiny red house you see in the far left of the picture is actually the smallest house in Britain, at only 1.8  metres wide.  Ironically, it's last occupant was 6'3''. 

There are 22 towers that were built to protect the castle, here's one of them.

Of course no time that us foodies spend together is complete without good food.  Unfortunately North Wales is seriously lacking in that department, as was evidenced by the 'ice cream' milkshakes we tried in Conwy.  They were a big let down...but we did track down one good little spot for tasty treats in Beaumaris, Anglesey.

The Red Boat Ice Cream Parlour not only sells proper milkshakes (if only we'd known!) but also has the yummiest gelato flavours like...

They even let you try before you buy so we got to sample all sorts of flavours.

In the end we settled for tropical mango, chocolate flake and raspberry and white chocolate truffle! 

Eating good food is when we are at our happiest! 

The lady in the ice cream shop recommended Newborough as a nice local beach to check out...

Mara forgot we're not in Turks and Caicos anymore and this sludgy sand doesn't feel quite as nice between your toes...not that she seemed to care! 

Last time the two of us were on a beach together we were certainly not in coats and the water was a shade more turquoise!!

Luckily we woke up on Saturday morning to find much bluer skies! 

So we made the most of it and headed to Llandudno...

because I'd heard about the cable cars and they sounded like fun! 

We found this compass thing at the top of the Great Orme, which told us we were 5 miles from our home in Penmaenmawr.

Everything seems better in Wales when the sun shines! 

So apparently these cable cars are pretty special! 

and from the smile on my face it appears I would agree! 

I love this picture, that's the little cable car carriage we were riding that's in shadow...

and a one legged seagull just for fun! 

After our morning in Llandudno, we headed back inland towards Snowdonia and after passing some amazing scenery we ended up at this glacial valley known as Cwm Idwal...

After a mini hike we finished our day by walking around this rather picturesque lake.

It was great to explore a few new areas...

and to be reminded that there are a few good things about North Wales after all! 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Croeso i Gymru!

This post has been a long time coming!! Sorry to all those eagerly awaiting it! I have been trying to take everything in for the past 4 weeks before I pass judgement on Wales! but to be honest anywhere we moved in the world was going to be a hard transition when you've come from somewhere as beautiful as this...

Yes, we're certainly not in Turks and Caicos anymore!

Although we do still have a sea view, it isn't quite as turquoise as the one we had in the Caribbean but it's a sea view all the same and I do love waking up to it each morning!

and we manage to catch a few cool sunsets every once in a while too!

Our little village of Penmaenmawr is situated perfectly between the mountains and the sea, so one day when we went down to the promenade to check out the little skate park I managed to snap this pic of By in action, complete with some rather nice scenery in the background!

Remember those few days of Summer we had at the beginning of September!! Well, we wasted no time in busting out our shorts and flip flops and heading to the beach! but after testing out the temperature of the water...

we realised maybe we wouldn't be going for a swim after all! so we strolled the length of the beach instead...

One evening we went for a walk along The Synchant Pass - the northernmost pass in Snowdonia National Park.  It was so windy! We could almost lean into the wind and not fall over! but there's some amazing views and is apparently one of Conwy's best kept secrets which is great because it's less than 5 minutes from our house!

One of the most exciting things about moving to Wales is having our own place again and being reunited with all our belongings! I was especially excited about having my own baking cupboard again (I'm pretty sure that was the first thing I unpacked!)

and being reunited with all my baking books was fun too! (this is just a small selection!)

and of course all of my cupcake goodies! I'm pretty sure you could walk into every single room of our house and know that a cupcake lover lives here!!

Like in the Kitchen for example, there's the giant cupcake cookie jar and of course my KitchenAid - no baker is complete without one of those!

There's also a worktop saver, some little magnets and a cute lil cupcake plate all the way from California (courtesy of Mel)!

and every cupcake baker has to have a rack full of sprinkles!

There's even a cupcake towel in the bathroom!

and a few earring holders and make up bags in the bedroom!

...and some super cute little cupcake coasters in the lounge that were a birthday present from Mara!

It was exciting to finally get to display all our Caribbean souvenirs like the shells we had collected from our local beach and wrapped so carefully to bring back in our cases to England! I'm so impressed we had no breakages!

and this beautiful picture was from our best friends on island - The Behlmaiers.  They gave us this lovely gift at our farewell dinner.

I made this shadow box to remember all the fun times.

I had fun hanging up all our pictures again too, they definitely make a house feel like a home!

I am a little bit in love with the lovely floor in our lounge...

and the colour scheme worked perfectly with an awesome cushion my mom bought me a while back!

Being the big colour co-ordination fan I am, I was also pleased to find this little photo frame at the bottom of one of our boxes as it was a perfect match for the colour scheme!

and I thought the pink of our conch shell made the perfect pairing with the super cool strawberry milkshake candle my mom sent us last week!

I'd also like to draw attention to our new family motto - 'We can do hard things', and explain why it is hanging above our wedding pictures! I realise it makes it sound like our marriage is the hard thing! but actually it was the only free nail left and we couldn't put another one in the wall!! It actually refers to us both being students again this year...we were feeling a bit daunted by all that lies ahead of us, especially me - if you know me well you'll know that pulling all nighters to get an essay done is what I do best but I know this year is going to require much more effort than that so that little plaque is going to be our motivator!

So now we begin our new life in Wales.  I think the outdoor side of things will be great here, which is just as well because there's not much of an 'indoor' scene! A while back I decided I needed 6 things in any town I lived to keep me happy...

1. A Cupcakery
2. Ikea
3. Costco
4. Shakeaway
5. Krispy Kreme
6.  A Mexican restaurant

Milton Keynes, Reading and London all scored a 5/6 and...North Wales scores a grand total of 0/6 

So you see the problem here! but I'm willing to give it a chance!