My first time at Bafta Cymru Awards in Cardiff

Bafta Cymru lights at St Davids Hall 2018

It’s definitely been a year to remember, when it comes to Welsh TV programs. Apart from Stella and Gavin and Stacey, unless you’re a Welsh speaker, I can’t really recall any memorable Welsh TV programs off the top of my head.

This year, there had been two that I can think of that started life as a Welsh language series that proved so popular, it was remade entirely into English too. These being “Keeping Faith” and “Hidden”. The later I was hooked on but the former I still need to catch up with, as the other half watched it in Welsh before it was decided it was going out in English too.

The other two gripping but very dark shows, being set in and around Wales were “Born to kill” and “Kiri”, which I watched religiously each week when it aired.

I’ve definitely seen more Welsh based TV programs this year than any year before it, so I was chuffed when I had the chance to attend my very first Bafta Cymru Awards Ceremony in Cardiff last weekend. It was a bit last minute, well about 5 hours before the event, so massive panic soon set in for my first stroll up the red carpet in front of the paps.

What to wear

The event was black tie, of course and me being the short arse I am, I was filled with dread trying to find a pair of trousers to fit me on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon in the Diff. I always need all my trousers taken up, seeing that the shortest adult male trousers you can buy are 30″ even though i’m a 29″ with my high heels on. It gets even worse, when some shops sell the trousers in the same length as the waist, and that’s constantly stretching. I’m looking at you ZARA!!

Bafta Cymru 2018 black tie outfit

Luckily, I’d randomly bought a black velvet jacket just after Christmas this year at Hawkes Bespoke in Cardiff for no apparent reason, but it was my saving grace that day, so I just needed to accessorise.

Not having been to a black tie event since my Xmas ball back about 10 years, I had to do a last minute research on etiquette and fashion faux pas, so I wasn’t turfed off the red carpet, before I even made it to the box office to pick our tickets up.

I managed to pick a pair of skinny trousers up for cheap in Topman that meant they weren’t dangling like a wind sock around my skinny ankles, seeing that there was no place open to make last minute alterations. This was paired with a plain white Hugo Boss shirt.

Having done a stalk of the previous year’s event, I noticed it was only the actual stars and nominees who seemed to go for full black tie, with us general public and civilians, opting for a more relaxed approach. There were still a few rules I was going to stick too though. I was going full monochrome, but sticking to the no belt rule and no flashing of ankle skin, that I normally flout with my comfy black leather tassel loafers.

Opinion was divided on my choice of footwear in the house, with Llio opting for a black leather Chelsea boot, but I thought they looked a bit like workmen boots, so I stuck to my guns with the loafers. I picked these Italian hand made shoes from Yoox, where I’ve bought quite a lot of footwear from, over the years.

Her mother did randomly buy me some braces for my birthday this year, which I wasn’t initially sure if / when I would wear them. I don’t tend to have that many formal events to attend, but the time was nye, to add them to the last minute Bafta outfit.

Getting ready for Bafta Cymru 2018

Next up was choosing what neck tie to go for. Black tie, usually dictates a bow tie, but as a lot of people in last year’s insta pics opted for a tie, I didn’t want to look over dressed in with the rest of the rabble, in the top tiers. I’d spotted a knit tie in T.M Lewin a while back, but I wasn’t forking out £30, without anything being lined up. I managed to spot one similar for just £12 in M & S on my initial scout for trousers and a pocket square. I had a skinny black tie in the house, but it had a bit of a sheen to it and I liked the change of texture and matte look of the knitted tie.

Talking about pocket squares, this was the last thing on the list. All the places I’d called into had some scabby, tacky white thing for a pocket square. I would of preferred a cotton or linen one so it wasn’t so shinny, but I was out of luck.

The last shop I called in, happened to be Moss Bros. in St David’s 2, which I thought had closed down, due to it being on the hayes the last time i shopped there, about two years ago. Again, it was a shinny number, if I wanted to go plain white. After a few fuck, fuck, fucks under my breath, I noticed a houndstooth white and black pocket square, half hidden under a glass cabinet and beneath a load of cuff links. Wanting to a tiny bit of escape from the block monochrome ensemble, this was the one.

After it taking about a month to decide on an outfit for weddings in the past, I was pretty pleased with my 2 hour sprint around Cardiff, clutching all I needed for a night of glitz and glamour in the St David’s Hall Awards Ceremony and after party back at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

The Event

As we didn’t have our tickets to hand, much to my disappointment or the disappointment of the waiting crowd and paps we headed straight in to sort them out rather than stop and pose for pictures (not that anyone would of wanted them but I’m just trying to save face).

We did manage to get a pic alongside the Bafta heads on the way up to the reception though.

Taitinger Champagne reception at Bafta Cymru 2018

Inside, a Champagne reception awaited. Sponsored by Tatinger Champange, which I don’t think i’ve tried previously, the bubbles were free flowing from 6pm to just after 7pm, when we were required to find our seats. Not usually a fan of champs, as I find it too dry but this one for Tatinger was bloody lovely to be fair, hence the further 3 or 4 glasses.

We were seated above the main ground seating, where the nominees seamed to be seated, but we were two rows from the front and there were another 2 tiers above us, so we had a pretty good view of the whole stage and audience.

Presenting the awards again this year was Radio 1 DJ, Huw Stevens. I’d been in his company a few times during the Welsh Language Music Day and SHWSH events held over the Eisteddfod in Cardiff and he’s a pretty sound guy. I think he did an excellent job of comparing through the event too.

I tried to get a snap of the stage, but hawk eyed stewards put a stop to that as we weren’t allowed to take photos or recordings of the event sadly. I did manage to take one of the stage, just before it started.

Bafta Cymru Awards 2018

The awards themselves were scheduled to be on for two hours, and were being broadcasted live across the world to those who wanted to tap in, so there was a tight schedule on speeches, thank god.

It was great to see some of the well known faces in Welsh TV and big screen such as Ioan Gruffyd who presented the first award to rugby legend Gareth Thomas. It was also heartwarming to see some of the awards for longstanding achievement too.

Recapping over with snippets of the shows, I forgot how many amazing TV shows that have come out of Wales over the past 12 months. They kept the best male and female actor awards till last, to stop people shooting off early for the buffet over at the after party.

The male actor award going to the disturbed portrayal of schoolboy murderer and psychopath from “Born to kill”. I think it was all but certain who the winner of the female actor of the year was going to be, although there was a Stellar line up (and I don’t just mean the show with the namesake). After learning a new language in order to play the leading character, it was no wonder Eve Miles of “Keeping Fath” pipped the winning spot, to make it to the stage.

The After Party

I was surprised by the choice of venue for the after party, which was Radisson Blu. Not that I’ve ever been there but having had to walk past the eye sore they’ve created outside the hotel for over a year on my way to work with scaffholding and half finished repairs, it’s always put me off entering through the makeshift like tunnel outside the hotel reception. I thought they would of had it at somewhere like Park Plaza myself.

Luckily they’d packed away the scaffholding and metal jungle that’s adhored the high rise hotel since I can remember just last week. Coincidence? I think not. I just hope they don’t bring it back after last night’s even is over.

Inside though, I was more than impressed with the setup of the after party. You know what they say about not judging a book by it’s cover.

After flashing my ticket for the after party, we were ushered up to the 1st floor, where tables of wine and bowls full of hotel chocolat awaited. They do know how to turn someones first impressions around after all. I’d demolished a feast of a lunch at Grazing Shed earlier in the day, but if someone mutters the word buffet, all self control goes out the window.

 

With two buffet stations located either end of the first floor, this allowed a better flow of traffic to the savoury delights on offer. Red wine in tow, we managed to get to the hotel a bit swifter than the majority (not planned at all) so we managed to get a plate and table to nibble on quite easily. The whole floor space occupied by the awards was quite impressive though with main room featuring complimentary Da Mhile Gin bar and dj, adjacent buffet, Welsh beer and photo booth then out into another room with the wine and hotel chocolat, a main paying bar and relaxed seating / booths, which then led onto a lounge room with the second buffet station and paying bar.

Da Mhile Welsh Gin Bar at Bafta Cymru afterparty 2018

For those who wanted to get their monies worth, if you were paying for the £98 ticket then you could make do with the Da Mhile seaweed gin and tonic bar, Welsh beer or the wine sponsors red and white wine. Coupled free flowing champagne reception, buffet, entry to the awards and entertainment, I think it was excellent value for money. I just wish I took a doggy bag of the hotel chocolat home with me.

Having not had chance to book Monday off work, I had my sensible head on and did a Cinderella and left before midnight. I bet there were a few sore heads from those who stayed till the 2am closing time.

The Verdict

I really enjoyed my first outting to the Bafta Cymru awards. It was all last minute, so if I was to book again next year I’d make sure i book the Monday off to make the most of the event because I knew I’d be struggling all week if I went overboard on a Sunday evening.

There was a right mixture of attendees there too. From the cast, stars, award winners, directors and partners to your Jo average. We left just before midnight, so I would of loved to have seen what direction the event took, after a few more gin’s and wine had been consumed.

The food was lovely too, which is always on my top 3 scoring factors of a good party. I was also impressed with the inside of the after party venue, after it’s wound me up having to pass a building site for the past two years working in town as it was such an eyesore.

With ticket prices just shy of £100, I was skeptical at first as to whether you’re normal member of public would see much benefit, but I thought it was excellent value for money if you were thinking of buying a ticket.

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