Sunday, 25 January 2015

Jesus take the wheel


You can't come to Rio de Janeiro and not go see this handsome chap. Cristo Redentor stands tall and proud and looks out onto the great city of Rio de Janeiro at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest which I think is the highest point in Rio but feel free to correct me. Christ himself is 30 metres tall and his arms stretch 28 metres wide. This is probably the most iconic statue in the world and has been on my 'to see list' for years.

There are two ways to get up to the Corcovado. You can either get a train from the centre of Rio de Janeiro or you can do what we did, which is hitch a lift with our driver Sergio. You can only got up halfway and the rest of the trip you have to take a scheduled bus. It's fairly straight forward. When I go back in December I'm hoping to take the train up, you go through the jungle and it's meant to be beautiful.


You can either take the lift or escalator up, but we braved it and took the steps. This isn't actually as bad as you'd think. It's actually quite impressive as you really get the build up to the statue, as you go higher he comes closer and closer. Once you reach the top of the mountain it's actually quite overwhelming, seeing something you've only ever seen on television in person is very moving. 

A word to the wise (which should be daily obvious): get here early because this is THE highlight for many tourists. It was already fairly busy when we were there around 10am. Also wearing bug repellent there were loads of flying ants everywhere. Slather up in sun cream and stay hydrated!


On the way back from Christ the Redeemer we drove through the Tijuca Forest. The Tijuca Forest which is claimed to be the world's largest urban forest, covering some 32 km². It was stunning and honestly breath taking. You feel like you're deep in the Amazon forest with no one around you, but in reality you're in one of Brazil's most populated cities. It was amazing to see flowers and plants that I had never seen before and loads of exotic wildlife like monkeys.

I'm still dreaming of this holiday, I still have a few exciting posts to share with you. Bare with me!



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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Nina Eats - Penylan Pantry


As I've said previously, there are very few things in this world worth getting up early for. But brunch with my favourite ladies is certainly one of them. Hopefully this is the start of more fabulous breakfast clubs. Keen not to have to go too far we settled down into Penylan Pantry which is pretty much local to all of us. 

Penylan Pantry is a foodie's dream specifically if you're into seasonal and local produce. Bonus if you're super into healthy eating and fair trade produce. If you've read my blog for a while you'll know I'm very passionate about supporting Welsh produce and it's great to see another independent doing that.


I of course ate far too much and am paying for my cheese sins since joining a gym (I'm in so much pain). Having scouted the menu and seen the tasty treats on offer I thought I'd start off 'light' and go for the avocado on toast (£4.50). It could have done with a squeeze more of lemon but otherwise it was perfect. Served on a gloriously thick chunk of bread and with chilli salt on the side, it was definitely a good start to the morning. We shared a cafetiere (£2) and gossiped away. Hanging out with the girls always leaves me with a sore belly from laughing so much. 

You can get a cheeseboard for a fairly decent price of £8.50, but the one WGP and me is for two people so if you were to order on for yourself you'd get a little bit less. I let WGP as the Welsh princess choose our cheeses and she did a good job. I'm obsessed with Perl Las cheese (a blue cheese, I do love a smelly cheese), so of course that was slathered onto the fresh bread.

The ladies at the Penylan Pantry are all very helpful and it's worth a visit. If only for a cup of tea in the lovely surroundings. I'm sure the ladies and me will be back soon.


Penylan Pantry, 72 Kimberly Road, CF23 5DN
Price: ££½ 
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Opening hours: 

Tues - Sat:
10:00–18:00
Sun:
10:00–16:00

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Romance & Love For Beginners: Independent Woman


I like to think that I am very much an independent woman of the 21st century. I'm educated (BA, MSc if we're really going to go into it), I live alone, I have a job, my rent gets paid, my bills get paid on time (more or less) and I buy all my own shoes.

I feel very strongly about advocating for the independent ladies of this world and it's more than just being financially dependent on yourself, although that's probably a great place to start. As someone who has always relied too much on a boyfriend to complete me I honestly stand firmly by being an independent women. There's a great sense of freedom that comes with being able to support and take care of yourself. I'm very proud of the fact that after, what was for me quite a traumatic break up, I managed to pick myself up and carry on with my life. During the week I am up at 6:30am, I do my job to the best of my ability and make plans with friends. It's such a satisfying feeling not having to depend on anyone else for your happiness. You're giving someone else a great deal of power by handing them the key to your contentment and confidence. 

There are times however where living alone and being a strong independent woman is hard. I battle with opening jars, I battle with the cap opener (which for some bizarre reason is for left handed people) and I can't put things on high shelves because I can never reach anything. I have to deal with power cuts by myself including googling 'fuse box - where?' using my pitiful 3G. Having no one help you with changing bedding is also traumatic.

Being an independent woman doesn't mean hating men or not wanting a boyfriend. I of course miss having someone in my life whom I share everything with and with whom I share a closeness (and occasionally cry on when life gets overwhelming). When I'm pitifully trying to open a can or figure out how to reconnect the u-bend pipe under my kitchen sink, I sometimes wish I had a boyfriend that I could call and who would take some of life's burdens off my shoulders. But then I think back to the times where I've compromised or ignored issues just because I didn't want to be alone, and how much misery that caused me. 

So right now it's better for me to be alone dealing with power cuts and broken kitchen pipes than to settle for some mediocre guy who's just going to disappoint me somewhere down the line. In the meantime, my landlord has become the most stable man in my life. I may not have a boyfriend on speed dial to fix my kitchen pipe, but I always have Richard.

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