The Emerald Dove


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Exploring Devon's Coastline

There are many things in Britain that are pretty much guaranteed. Queues, a Greggs on every corner, and someone trying to push a cup of tea on you are just a handful of examples. What cannot be guaranteed is the weather. Planning a day out in Britain is like trying to tame a bull. Just when you think the weather has been nice, the temperature plummets down to 8 degrees and you are frantically pulling the contents of your handbag out to find your umbrella (spoiler alert: you only find sunglasses and suncream). 

So, way back in May when we decided to take a little trip to the beach, I wasn't shocked to be met with gale force winds. But what that did mean was an afternoon spent on a pretty much empty beach. Which was favourable because we got slightly over-excited at the prospect of penny slots, ice cream, fish and chips, and rock pooling for a group of adults with only one child in the party. 

Westward Ho! has always been one of my favourite seaside destinations. Not only does it's name have buckets of comedic potential, it has all the trappings of a cute, British seaside town. It has the typical tourist gift shops, a few cute caf├ęs and fish and chip shops, as much  Hockings ice cream as anyone can stomach, and a lovely beach that has mixture of pebbles, rock pool areas, and sand. For this reason, it is super busy in the summer. And lots of jelly fish tend to wash up there which freaks me out.

But the best time, in my opinion, to go to the beach is in the evening. Nothing beats a walk along the sand once the weather has cooled a little. Especially if fish and chips is involved and, of course, fish and chips is always involved if you're with me.

Have you ever visited any of the beaches in Devon? Where would you recommend I travel to next?

Monday, 19 June 2017

Moving Outside Your Comfort Zone This Summer


Sometimes in life, things can get in the way of us being happy. Sometimes we can't control these things. I am a firm believer in weathering the storm in order to fully appreciate the sunshine that will inevitably follow. But there are also times when we create our own storms. We set ourselves up to fall. I know this because I spent most of my teenage years doing just that.

As a teenager, I was fairly preoccupied with my appearance. I had huge self confidence issues. For that reason, I hated summer. Well, I didn't hate summer, I hated what summer brought with it. I loved (and still love) long summer days; flowers blooming in every field; the smell of opening a new bottle of suncream; days at the beach filled with icecream and penny slots; and going on adventures with a picnic on your back. I hated the expectation of having to wear shorts; I hated swimming in public; I hated the jealousy I always felt seeing countless tanned, flat stomachs in crop tops. I hated that summer made me feel this way. I hate all the opportunities I missed because of it.

But I am now 21 and I swim in a bikini. I wear dresses and skirts. I don't waste my time anymore worrying if someone thinks my stomach is a bit podgy or if my arms wobble when I move them. Not everyone is made the same. So, look at these pictures as a protest against my own self doubt. It is warm so I am wearing a dress. Summers will no longer be spent in jeans and baggy jumpers.

It is not easy to work through your self-made storms. It takes a lot of time to find the cause(s) of the problem. For me, I took time off of Twitter as I found myself becoming more and more jealous of the women posting pictures on there. I stopped following insta fitness gurus and replaced them with body posi warriors. I pushed myself to wear things that scared me. Some days I wanted to run home and change back into a jumper and jeans but that is all part of the process. The first day that you wear a bodycon dress or a short skirt out, you probably won't feel amazing. Liberated, perhaps, but also quite scared. But as you keep pushing yourself, it gets easier.

My body is now celebrating. My shoulders and upper arms barely saw the light of day for about 6 years. My legs had never even heard of vitamin D. It took a lot of work but we are finally getting somewhere. And I am happy.

Dress: Topshop (here)
Bag: Primark (similar)
Sandals: New Look (here)
Sunglasses: H&M (similar)
Watch: Accurist (similar)


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Things I Miss About Country Living

It is coming up to three years that I have lived in Cardiff and I'd be lying if I said I'm still as in love with this city as I first was. The trouble is, I'm a village girl through and through. I grew up living in small villages in Somerset and Devon. As much as the buzz of the city is fun, it can become a bit tiresome. Sometimes you just want to be away from the cars and people. I have a friend who tells me the smell of silage makes her feel nostalgic - I'm starting to understand this. So, I decided to put together everything I miss about village life into one post so any other country bumpkins can reminisce with me.

The hour walk to the village shop
OK, the shop wasn't an hour away - it was probably about 15 mins at most - but you met so many people you knew on the way that it took that long to get there. Everyone knows each other in a village and they're always interested in how you're doing (or maybe they just want to gossip...).

Summer fetes
The village fete is something that you just can't recreate in a city. The home-made jams, the chocolate tombola, the cakes, the raffle.

Farmers markets held by actual farmers
Before it was hipster and cool, village people got their veg from farmers markets. And they didn't even need to have man buns and ironic slogan t-shirts to do so.

Foraging for fruit
It sounds like something out of an Enid Blyton book but a sunny day spent picking blackberries is the best. I always feel annoyed having to pay £2 in Tesco for a punnet. Also pick your own farms are the actual best ever.

Parties in fields
Sipping Sheppys cider around a bonfire in your friend's field beats clubbing hands down.

Country pubs
Lazy Sundays in the pub drinking cider in the beer garden or munching through a huge roast. Who doesn't want that?

The shopping trip to the big city
You gather your girls together. You all travel to the city. Maybe you have a party coming up or a big date. You make a day out of finding an outfit.

The quiet
I love the buzz of the city but sometimes you just want to go and walk down a little lane beside a stream and only be able to hear the stream and some birds singing.

Everyone knows everyone
Dating someone new? Guaranteed your friend's sister dated his brother and has the low-down on everything about him, his parents, his grandparents, and the pedigree of their dog. The city is scary - these are actual strangers. The closest thing there is to a stranger in a village is when a rival ice-cream van man pitches up in the summer.

Are you a country bumpkin or a city slicker? Which do you prefer?

Disclaimer: don't own this picture.


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A Very Long Walk To Castell Coch

If you're not from Cardiff then you may not aware that walking from Cardiff to Castell Coch is equivalent to running a marathon or swimming the channel. We walked for two hours there then two hours back. I am writing this a day on and my feet still ache. But we did it! I'm shocked that I even managed it in all honesty.

I can hear you asking 'what would inspire such craziness to spend a beautiful day walking for miles and miles?'. The answer: I had just handed in my final ever uni assignments and I wanted to do something to celebrate. Any normal person would, at this point, suggest going out for drinks or having a night of takeaway pizza and rewatching Orange Is The New Black. Not us. We decided this was the perfect opportunity to get out in the sun and explore our surroundings. And explore we did. Ok, the walk was pretty unspectacular. We walked beside the motorway for about 80% of the journey but it did become the perfect opportunity to introduce my husband to the game 'yellow car'. For anyone who doesn't know this game, you punch whoever you're with anytime you see a yellow car. It is basically an excuse to thump your husband as hard as possible without getting into trouble or being given a restraining order. Perfect, right?

Armed with just a bag of Doritos, Google Maps, and a wealth of 'coch' jokes (I was originally going to entitled this post 'The Biggest Coch In Wales'), we made it. It was like we had reached the Pearly Gates when we finally saw the sign for the castle. The only problem: we arrived at 4:50pm and they shut at 5pm. Oops. So, we didn't get to see inside but the outside was lovely enough. It had mega Hogwarts vibes. I would love to go back with a picnic and see inside though. Maybe I'll get the bus there next time.

There was some lovely woodland around and the flowers were all blooming. I just wanted to lie in them Snow White style but I had to control myself.

We then headed on to the pub we had seen in the village because we had really worked up big appetites. I kinda wanted to just order giant sundae but my husband talked me into getting something a little more substantial. So, in true West Country style, I got the Cornish pasty with chips, peas, and gravy. Gravy and chips, yum! My husband went for sausage and mash. It was 2 for 1 one on selected meals so, including our drinks, it came to just £10. Could you believe it?! I got a mocktail which was just cranberry and orange juice with a slice of lime - it really worked well though!

I would highly recommend taking a little trip to Castell Coch if you're ever in the area. But just don't walk it. Don't do that to yourself.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Pink To Make The Boys Wink

I have not been very active in the blogosphere for a couple of weeks. I'd like to give some awesome excuse here like I had adopted a bunch of orphan kittens and I was preoccupied with bottle feeding them. But no, I was busy lazing around watching daytime TV and eating chocolate. But the kitten thing would have been much better - PR request maybe? Please?

 But, since the weather has brightened up and I have finished lectures now forever (yaaas!), I have been leaving the house occasionally. Although I've been told going into the garden to take outfit pics doesn't really count - um, what?
So, in the spirit of all things spring, I have donned a lot of pink instead of my usual full black outfits and it feels very summery and fun (and a little weird). I have even been playing around with accessories! I love silver jewellery and when Jewellery Box got in touch with me, I fell deeply in love with this mother of pearl necklace. It is such a great length and a great price - what more could you ask for?
Shirt - Topshop (old)
Jeans - New Look (here)
Shoes - New Look (old)
Necklace - Jewellery Box (here)*

Jewellery Box have a tonne of awesome jewellery to choose from and it is all super pretty. I'm not biased here, their selection is massive but I was shook by the prices. They have dinosaur style necklaces too! Seriously, check them out!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Cheesy Linguine With Heck Paprika Sausages*

There are two food groups that every meal should fall into: fattening and delicious. This meal fits both of those criteria. As my doughy thighs will tell you, there is nothing I love more than a bit of comfort food. If it contains cheese and carbs, it is going in my mouth. No questions asked.

The company Heck very kindly sent me a massive package full of their products. In all honesty, I got rather excited and called my flatmates to peer at the giant meat box. My husband's eyes went like saucers when he saw all the different varieties of sausages. And with the realisation that this means I actually will be cooking rather than leaving him to cook for us both.

One thing that I really like about Heck's products is the high meat percentage. I am haunted by those horror stories about what goes into low meat percentage sausages. But these are so flavoursome and you can rest assured that they are full of goodness and deliciousness.

They also have a range of vegetarian meatballs for all you veggies out there!


1. Boil a handful of linguine with a little bit of salt.
2. Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan
3. Mix in plain flour until is turns slightly lumpy
4. Slowly add milk a small amount at a time whilst stirring on a low heat
5. Once it has formed the required consistency, add a teaspoon of nutmeg and a teaspoon of English mustard and season with salt and pepper
6. Add a couple of handfuls of grated cheese and stir. Then put to the side
7. Fry sausages on a low heat in a frying pan
8. Remove sausages and let them cool
9. Once linguine is cooked through and is soft, drain
10. Slice sausages into small chunks
11. Combine everything in a saucepan on a low heat
12. Serve with fresh tomatoes

Have you ever tried Heck products?

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Burgundy Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas

If anyone tells you that burgundy isn't a spring colour, cut them off. You don't need that kinda negativity in your life. Burgundy and black are my two go-to colours all year round. Lately, I have been living in this black heart print shirt that I got in the New Look sale for just £8 (who could resist such a bargain?). But I wanted to jazz up my usual uniform of this shirt, black jeans, boots, and a leather jacket by adding a dash of burgundy into the mix. That's when I found this gilet in the back of my wardrobe from last autumn and I was delighted. I also found these old peep-toe Primark heeled mules I bought last spring - I actually wore these to my wedding reception and they made my feet bleed (what woman doesn't want to spend her wedding day putting plasters on her toes??). They weren't quite as painful as before but the memories still haunt me every time I put these shoes on.

It may be clear to see that I am still searching for a good place to take outfit pictures in Cardiff. And I am also still searching for the confidence to not spend the whole time awkwardly laughing as my husband shouts 'do a sexy face!!' at me in our garden. The fact that one of our housemates were watching out the window didn't make it any easier. My face has two moods - either overexcited pre-teen or disgusted. As is evident from these pictures.


Shirt - New Look (old)
Gilet - Primark (old)
Jeans - Primark
Shoes - Primark (old)
I promise I will feature something new one day (but maybe don't hold your breath).
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