Dragon

Window Flowers

Castle

Flowers

Umbrellas

Back at the start of September my boyfriend and I were slightly at a loss for what to do. This is unlike us as there’s pretty much always something one of us has in mind, or needs to pick up, or wants to visit – you get the idea. This weekend though the sun was shining and nothing was springing to mind. The thought of getting out of town for a little bit was too good to ignore, so we hopped on a train and were fast outta here.

To be honest I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get to Cardiff – it was a very simple and inexpensive train journey to the central station and the journey was nothing but lush green fields to watch as they fly by. I will admit we definitely could have picked a better day considering there was a pretty major Rugby game on and the town was just heaving with people clad in red jerseys and Welsh dragons painted on their faces. Once the match had started though, the town cleared and we saw what was really on offer. I wasn’t expecting such a lovely, traffic free town centre, not to mention the Castle situated so close to everything else.

A few places we visited were Coffee Barker for a bit of lunch, conveniently found in Castle Parade which is also conveniently full of cute, independent shops. There’s the Castle as I already mentioned – we didn’t get a chance to look around as it requires a bit more time that an hour or so. But after just a little bit of wandering we also found the National Museum of Cardiff, which has a fairly decent Natural History section and also a cracking NME Photography exhibition on at the moment.

So what seemed like it was going to be nothing but an undecided chill day, turned into an afternoon exploring a fab city. Cardiff, you were lovely and I’ll be pleased to make a return visit soon!

Glass roof

Antlers

Clock

Sofa

Stairs

Museum

Ice coffee

I distinctly remember hating coffee. I tried a sip of my mum’s latte, hated the bitterness and vowed never to try it again. At the tender age of 16 I started my first job, trained as a barista in a local coffee shop and so began my love story with flat white’s. And latte’s. And the occasional cappuccino. Having now worked in a number of coffee joints and sampled a lot of free coffees, my aversion to the beverage went out the window pretty quickly. My favourite kind of caffeinated beverage often comes from the independent places, rather than your usual high street chain numbers, and Bristol is just full of options. Here are a few of my faves:

Paper Gallery

Star Wars cups

Coffee

Co-LAB – Paper Gallery:

Co-LAB is a coffee shop with a bit of a difference. Firstly it’s a collaboration with Paper Gallery, a creative enterprise to set up to create and enhance new opportunities for creatives. They have a pretty cool set up going on, with half the shop selling pieces by local businesses and half creative space used by local artists and for workshops. Sitting pretty in the corner is a little coffee shop, ready to convert the shopping masses away from their chain coffee. Until recently Ape About Coffee has been in residence – not worry though, they may be moving on but CoLab will still be there providing for all your caffeine needs.

Crazy Fox front

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The Crazy Fox:

The Crazy Fox is another central place saving us from the evil high street giants (that’s a joke btw, I have been known to visit Costa once or twice). At the moment they’re serving Roasted Rituals coffee, a locally sourced and very popular coffee served at various spots across Bristol. Situated right in the centre of the shopping area with a nice little seating area outside, it’s the perfect spot for a well-earned retail break or a bit of people watching.

Small St

Small St Inside

Small St Coffee

Small St. Espresso:

Small St is small. It’s a genius name really. Found on Small Street in the old town, and housed in a tiny cavernous little shop, it definitely lives up to it’s name. Small St is fast becoming one of my new faves, partly due to the fab coffee and wooden interiors, but also because if you pick the right time of day you can grab a little corner seat where the bright sunlight pours through the massive windows.

Decking

Toast

Tradewind

Tradewind Espresso:

The newest recruit to the Bristol coffee scene is Tradewind, high up on Whiteladies road. They are the original inventors of Roasted Rituals coffee, and having served the coffee shops of the South West for too long, they’ve now (thankfully) decided to join in. I’ve spoken their praises before over on my Instagram @becca_cart93 but they’re worth a mention here too. They have a beautiful shop front with original stained-glass windows and a great little decking area out back. I sampled the French toast topped with peaches on my visit, whilst my boyf went for a savoury option that gave me serious ordering envy. Oh my lordy is a return visit needed.

Dino

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Playground Coffee

Playground Coffee:

Playground Coffee intrigued me for a long time before I made my first visit. The reason I held off for so long is purely because I always found myself there around lunch time when I needed something a little more than a flat white to keep me going. Once I did finally make it, it was fully worth the wait and finding myself there on a rainy Sunday afternoon meant I had full choice of which swing seat to sit it. Yes, a swing seat. The coffee was so smooth and gently rocking on an inside swing might sound a bit odd, but was actually very therapeutic and enjoyable. And it’s not just the swings that call for the name Playground coffee, but more to do with the games room found on the second level.

This is just a quick round up of the places I end up visiting most often, but I’m always on the lookout for somewhere new. Any other places I should add to my list, just lemme know!

Bristol Cable

Butter

Three bowls

Egg

Empty bowls

In the UK it’s currently the time of year where you can spend the majority of your evenings outside in the open – providing it’s not raining of course. But with it being light until at least 9pm, there’s not really any excuse not to take the opportunity while it’s here.

Except… now there’s a huge reason to ignore the evening light, get yourself home and settle in on the sofa. And that’s Bake Off season. Yes, the GBBO is back and I’m as excited as I am every summer. There’s cake, there’s Paul and his icy stare, Mary Berry being all cheeky. And the ultimate duo of Mel and Sue as the cherry on top, full of fresh witty cake puns. At University it was an official night ‘Bake for Bake Off’. Every week we ate cake and we watched cake. Now unless I’m super organised, I don’t think I’ll have time to bake on a weekly basis, but to ring in the new series I thought I’d make a batch of little almond-y biscuits and share them with you.

For those with a keen eye, you’ll notice that the recipe I’m using here is actually for some very chocolatey biscuits, but unless it’s an actual piece of chocolate, I’m not too hot on the flavoured kinds. So for now I’ve substituted the cocoa for some ground almonds, and I think it might actually be worth it!

Cookie dough

Lemon

Rack

Flowers

Tea

Eaten

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Other than my one time three-week-long foray into vegetarianism, my eating habits have been very normal. I’m not particularly fussy and I don’t have any weird habits – I’m fairly average when it comes to consumption. However as I said in my previous post, Bristol has a habit of opening your eyes to different ways of life that you wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to in other cities. Now I’m not talking anything ground breaking in this case, it’s only the local vegan café down the road.

Café Kino is a vegan cooperative run by a very dedicated team of local Bristolians. Every part of Kino is exactly on point. From the décor, to the community style tables, the tiled floor (I can never resist!) to the fab range of salads. They have almost every type of milk under the sun including almond, soya and oat which I’m yet to try but have high hopes for. I’m a fan of a flat white, especially one that has the sweet and nutty taste of almond milk. Should you happen to want something more substantial then I cannot even tell you what the falafel is like. UH-mazing.

What’s great about Kino is the amount of light it lets in. The huge clear windows at the front that open out onto the heart of Stokes Croft make it possibly the best people watching spot. The café also has its fingers on the pulse of the community and has a downstairs space that is used by local groups and the odd bit Life Drawing; something I’m very keen to get back into after my A-Level art days gone by.

I think I’ve gone to town singing the praises of this little local gem, probably in a manner that’s not all that cool and definitely a bit nerdy. But ya know what? Chilling in Kino kinda makes me feel cool. And that’s that really.

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It’s come to my attention recently that, although I bang on about seeing different places and itching to see more, I have completely neglected my current hometown – Bristol, in the south west of Britain. My life hasn’t been based here all that long but Bristol is not a place that takes time to make an impression. Pretty much on the very first day here, I got a feel for the area that I live in, and the area that neighbours it, and the town centre, and the Harbourside. And every other area here, to be honest!

I can tell you straight up that there is no place quite like this city. Each individual area or neighbourhood is so different from the next. And the exact same goes for the people that live here. While I can’t say for definite that where I live is ‘Home Sweet Home’ forever, nor can I say that I fit in to a Tee around my present digs, but Bristol can only be described as an experience.

It’s for sure a lively place, there’s pretty much something going on all the time. I have a feeling that something’s bubbling away and ol’ Brizzle, as the locals call it and it’s going to explode in the summertime. Stay tuned, there is a good few posts in the making on this topic…

Clifton Bridge