Thursday, 30 January 2020

Top Local Bakers in Cardiff

I've neglected my blog for a while and now I find myself in a certain predicament (unable to post on Instagram for at least a week - long story - first world problems),  so I thought I'd spend an hour or so talking to you about some of the best bakers available to you, if you live in Cardiff and the surrounding areas.

I'm not a huge 'cake' person and I often skip dessert, so to impress me with something I don't often want must mean that they're some top quality sweet treats. Which all of the below are :D

*Post contains 100% of my own imagery, products gifted for review between 2019-2020*

Welsh Picnic Pantry


IG: @WelshPicnicPantry

  • Based in Cardiff
  • DM or email to enquire


WPP make artisan preserves, handmade in the heart of Wales. They also do brownies, scones, baked treats and celebration cakes. The salted caramel and peanut butter brownies - my god!! They’re so decadent, ultra fudgy and rich. The box I tried also contained strawberries covered in a thick white chocolate which were bliss too. Seriously impressed, highly recommend.

Currently doing Valentines specials, I also tried a super sweet, massive cookie (available in different designs!).




FamishedBakehouse



  • Based in Cardiff
  • DM or email to enquire


Baking unique, incredible, deep fill cookie cupcakes; Alannah is one of the most talented local bakers I know, with such a strong eye for detail, I always adore the way she decorates things, they always come out looking so classy. The Halloween cookies I tried were full of choc chips, filled with either caramel or nutella and, topped with buttercream. Go on her page and have a look at the Valentines selection, they're just lush! I think she's sold out now but will be keeping some of the designs as staples as they went down so well with customers.




Artisan Baker Cardiff



  • Based in Cyncoed, Cardiff
  • DM, text or email to enquire


Without a doubt the best cupcakes I had last year. I remember eating one gave me a huge craving for cupcakes, went to a local chain patisserie and I was bitterly disappointed eating their's so soon after this one. I was also fortunate enough to have some cupcakes personalised for a blogger social I hosted, everybody loved them...I would one billion percent recommend them if you're looking for cupcakes for a special occasion. They're massive as well!





Emily's Kitchen Bakes


  • Based in Roath, Cardiff
  • Order by Etsy, enquire by Facebook, email or website enquiry form

My friend Sophie was super kind and brought a box of these with us on our trip to Bristol Zoo last year. As you can see the decoration of the brownies is absolutely spot on. I loved the taste and texture of these brownies and her blondies are great too. If you browse Emily's IG or website you'll see she's absolutely spectacular at creating show stopping, bespoke buttercream drip cakes too. One to check out if you're looking for a wedding cake too, the ones I've seen from her look stunning.





Bakes By Cakes




  • Based in Cardiff
  • DM or email to enquire



One of the first local bakers I had the pleasure of sampling sweet treats from, Caitlin's stunning handmade cakes and cupcakes set a high standard for the calibre of bakers we have around here. I tried cupcakes and a victoria sponge with a generous amount of buttercream. It's really worth checking out her page as she can bake really intricate, colourful cakes which would steal the show at a party.



Clares Home Bakes


IG: @clares_home_bakes
  • Based in Newport
  • Enquire by DM or email, more details on website


Website: http://clareshomebakes.co.uk/


I recently had a box of treats sent to me from Clare and I will remember this for a long time, thanks to the epic coffee, walnut and caramel cake. I'm trying to cut down but part of me wants to order an entire cake right now, must restrain myself!!! Right up my street because with many other cakes, I'm usually the one weirdo who doesn't eat much because it's too sweet. This cake was the perfect fluffy texture and the amount of sweetness was just right. Clare also specialises in lovely mini welsh cakes, which would be lovely for a party or baby shower!


Photo credit instagram.com/cardifffoodiefan - thank you!!!!

Sueperlicious Bakery  


IG: @superlicious_bakery

  • Based in Cardiff
  • Enquire by DM or use website




Last but not least, if you like wonderfully creative and exciting desserts, you absolutely have to check out Sue! I first tried her pandan salted caramel blondies from the Sunday Riverside Market in Cardiff and I was hooked. Sue brings authentic Malaysian home baking to Cardiff, with baked and steamed treats and desserts such as tarts, cakes and cookies. Give these a try for something a bit different.


So there you have it :) next time you have an occasion coming up or fancy getting an edible gift (or just want to try something new yourself) consider some of the fab bakers we have in Cardiff, rather than getting something boring from a supermarket. Yes, it will cost more - but it's supporting local and it's likely to taste a lot better!

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Review: The King and I at Wales Millennium Centre

*Invited - Press night*



My first musical of 2020 brought me back to one of my favourite places in Cardiff, The Wales Millennium Centre, to watch The King and I. I know the film adaptation of the classic musical has been popular for years, but I've never actually seen it. I was interested to learn that the show is based on the real memoirs of Anna Leowens, who became the teacher to a Siamese King's children in 1852. It was during a period where great threats of colonisation inspired the King to hire a Western schoolteacher to help modernise his country and teach his wives and their children.

Bartlett Sher's revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein production felt very traditional from the offset, as opening music played for a little while before the curtain went up. As the show went on, I didn't respond that well to the slower pacing and how the story was told. I think the more shows I go to, the more I learn about what I like most. I do feel the more contemporary musicals keep me entertained throughout, whereas some of the older ones can have gripping moments but then drag and my attention wanes.


Performances, though, were fantastic. Jose Llana as the King of Siam brought a fitting sense of humour to the role. He perfectly conveyed this real sense of silliness and mischievousness which balanced out the King's fiercer traits. There was good chemistry with Anna as well, played by Maria Coyne in last Thursday's performance. She was simply delightful; a fantastic actress with a perfectly smooth, clear voice which was well suited to the score. Anna is warm, empathetic, strong-minded and intelligent - exactly the sort of person the King needed to meet to help him become a better person and leader. I loved her feminist attitude and how outspoken she was about equality for women.

The songs were pleasant enough, but other than the familiar "Getting to Know You", I didn't really care for them - they just weren't to my taste. Jessica Gomes-Ng gave the most memorable vocal performances with her unique voice as the tragic, inspiring character of Tuptim, a slave girl sent from Burma as a gift to the King, who is secretly in love with another man. Cezarah Bonner as Lady Thiang was my favourite to watch, I found her hugely charismatic, regal and elegant, one of those where you just keep looking at them and look forward to seeing them come on stage. The Royal children were also very sweet. So although the show wasn't my cup of tea on the whole, all of these cast members gave performances that did keep my eyes glued to them at certain points.


The set design was extremely opulent and detailed, as was the costume design. I did expect more dancing and more of a lively vibe to it all, I think that would have been amazing with such lavish surroundings - I suppose some of the promotional images lead me to assume wrongly about that. The part with the most dancing was "The Small House of Uncle Thomas", a show within a show which  was not a part of the musical I enjoyed, sadly. The choreography was well done and the costumes were outstanding, but it was incredibly bizarre and not in a good way, I just found it grating on my ears. Again, that's just my opinion. I know it's a hugely well-regarded production and I can appreciate that. I must remind you all that I have not studied musical theatre and I merely offer my thoughts as an honest local blogger who just really loves doing to shows. A large portion of any audience will be be made up of people like myself, so I think my opinion is just as valid as anyone's, right?

So ultimately, it was a show full of immense talent, but one that I did find quite tedious to get through and I didn't love it. If you're familiar with the film, I've been told that the musical is super close to it, so you'll probably get on a lot better with the show. than I did. People who responded to my Instagram story told me they loved it and there are so many stellar reviews for it, I'm clearly in the minority. So please do go and see it if you like a more classical musical and don't be put off by me! 

The King and I is showing at the Wales Millennium Centre from the 8th – 18th January 2020 and you can purhase tickets here:  https://www.wmc.org.uk/en/whats-on/2020/the-king-and-i/


Top Local Bakers in Cardiff

I've neglected my blog for a while and now I find myself in a certain predicament (unable to post on Instagram for at least a week - lon...