Friday, 16 February 2018

Celtic Manor Resort - The Mulberry Bar review

The Celtic Manor is a five star luxury travel destination which is just a short drive from my house. Obama stayed there during the NATO summit hosted in the UK a few years ago (super fancy) and I have visited the resort previously for an afternoon tea and a spa treatment. 

Last Thursday I was lucky enough to attend the launch of The Mulberry Bar which is the latest  addition to the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. The Celtic Manor hope the new bar will be an exclusive stop off for a pre-dinner cocktail, the perfect spot for an evening hideaway, or the ideal excuse for a glass of champagne for those staying at the resort. 

The bar is hidden away from the main atrium of the hotel and has a plush décor, subtle lighting and comfy corners to settle into and enjoy a tipple or two.  When we arrived my friend and I were greeted by friendly and knowledgable staff who proceeded to explain the variety of drinks on offer from Champagne and gin to creative cocktails, made the bar's mixology experts. 

The drinks we enjoyed were not your high street pre-mixed affair, these cocktails all had an element of performance and drama. 


The first drink we tried was the house special - a Mulberry Spritz. The drink contained vodka infused mulberries, mulberry jam, Blackberry Pimm’s, a hint of elderflower and wine which was added to the mix by being poured through the ice cuvée. This was delicious and light and I could easily have had three. 

I loved the spritz but the champagne cocktail, the Candy Floss Royal was equally as tasty. It came served with a fluffy cloud of pink candy floss in a martini glass, which melts when you pour over the dessert wine and champagne mix revealing strawberries underneath. I was worried this drink would be too sweet but it was just right. 

One drink I would love to return to try is the Tom Collins which comes served with laughing gas!









I was really impressed with the extensive list of spirits available at the bar including Welsh and Japanese whiskey but as a gin lover the sight of the well stocked gin cart made me very excited indeed. They had a selection of gins from all over the world which included my all time favourite Rock Rose gin from the Scottish highlands. 

The staff took the time to explain all the different gins to us and were able to recommend the perfect gin and tonic combinations based on our tastes and I tried the really unique Gabriel Boudier Saffron Gin. This French gin is handcrafted in small batches only being made from the finest botanicals including saffron, one of the most expensive botanicals on the planet. The amber colour of the gin was really eye catching and the main taste was still juniper and I'm glad the saffron was a more subtle taste and scent and wasn't too overbearing. This would be perfect paired with a classic Indian tonic water and orange peel. 


I really enjoyed my evening at the new Mulberry Bar and would definitely return for a special occasion. A visit wouldn't be a regular occurrence as these cocktails are certainly not 2 for £10 but I wouldn't mind splashing out and treating myself to delicious drinks, in relaxed surroundings all whilst being accompanied by a pianist that formerly performed at the Dorchester.


*Our drinks were complimentary in return for an honest review. All words and thought are my own. 
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Gemma
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Sunday, 4 February 2018

Our Cardiff Wedding - The Reception

picture of a three tier wedding cake, white with one gold glitter layer and pink ribbon

I had originally wanted an outdoorsy, forest or seaside wedding but anything coastal seemed to come at a premium and getting all my friends and family to a rural location would have been a logistical nightmare. Options closer to home seemed to consist of barns or conference rooms in hotels and neither of those really appealed to me. I started to be come frustrated with the process of finding venues but when I discovered you could have a Sunday ceremony in the National Museum Cardiff my mind focussed on a city wedding with a laid back feel.  (Notice there are a lot of I's there? Martyn is extremely relaxed and let me get on with planning but looked after the transport and liaising with some of the vendors)

We were so lucky to find Chapel 1877 for our wedding reception venue. It is a converted former chapel which is now a restaurant and bar in the heart of Cardiff.  It was an ideal location as it was only 5 minutes away from our ceremony venue and close to hotels for guests that were staying in the city after the reception. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff at Chapel 1877. The team did flowers for the tables, place settings and decorated everything for us. They added extra vegan and vegetarian options to the menu and offered a great value package as we got married outside the peak wedding season and on a Sunday. 

picture of a sweet table at a wedding, glass jars with pink and white sweets

a picture of a cheese tower dressed with figs and grapes


picture of an acrylic wedding talk plan with white chalk text





picture of my first dance at chapel 1877




I was originally going to bake my own cake but decided against it as I didn’t want any last minute stress. I went a little mad and opted for a glittery extravaganza with layers of salted caramel, lemon drizzle and chocolate marble.  I also had a cheese tower cake featuring lots of cheeses from Wales and the south West. I also had a selection of vegan cupcakes and doughnuts. So much for a home baked naked sponge... 

I hit a wedding decoration jackpot in TK Maxx. I found a huge selection of decorations from brands like Ginger Ray in my colour scheme and bought the lot including paper fans and table confetti. As the venue was so ornate I kept decorations simple which meant no last minute DIY decoration stress. I was going to attempt to make my own seating plan but my handwriting is a messy scrawl and I'm not particularly crafty so Lumi event designs were called in at the last minute to create a modern acrylic seating plan which I thought complimented the surroundings.  

After an emotional wedding ceremony, panic about the traffic and a drawn out build up to a 5pm ceremony I had a bit of a crash at the reception. Martyn and I had our meal in a booth on our own and I really valued this time together. I felt incredibly drained and tired during the meal and like I was being pulled in all directions with my mad nan trying to take photos of me once we headed to the bar area after the meal. A quick five minutes alone outside to cool down, have an espresso martini and compose myself made the world of difference and I was able to relax and get into the party mood. 

Our first dance was to The Ramones - Baby, I love you, which we listened to on our long drives to Austria for our holidays and reminded us of our trip to The Ramones museum during our trip to Berlin.

By the time the meal was over, we had cut the cake and had our first dance it was nearly 9.30pm. The whole evening passed by in a flash and is a blur of espresso martinis, cake, a GLC singalong and dancing. I feel truly lucky that Martyn and I were able to have such a perfect day with all of our favourite people. It's a bit of a cliche but the whole day went far too quickly, I barely had time to speak to all the guests and it was exhausting but thoroughly enjoyable.



Suppliers

Venue - Chapel 1877 | Cake - Cardiff Cakery | Cheese - Cheese Pantry
Table Plan - Lumi Event Design | Sweet jars - Home Bargains | Sweet bags - eBay
Vegan cupcakes & doughnuts - Blanche Bakery | Magic Mirror and Love lights - iDoo 

My other wedding posts





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Gemma
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