Tag Archives: Coffee

Artel: Small Coffee Heaven

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How many times have I spoken about coffee on here? Probably far too many already, but I will whole heartedly admit that I’ve fully jumped on the artisan, flashy, hipster coffee scene despite being none of those things myself. Let’s just call it one of the simple pleasures that help my week run smoothly.

For a fairly small city Norwich sure has an abundance of independent coffee shops to choose from. I mentioned that Strangers Coffee House was a good place to head to, but the newest of the scene is Artel. Not only is it the newest, it’s also the smallest – possibly ever! With room enough for about four/five/six people and serving only the freshest roasts from Nude Espresso, Artel know they’re coffee craft. It’s quite a treat of a coffee shop, offering a cosy spot, a friendly barista and even  a selection of pastries and donut’s to choose from. I know my boyf would fully recommend the salted caramel.

A friend of mine actually helped out with the branding which is just as much of a treat to look at – note the stamp card featuring hanging plants, just like the ones hanging from the ceiling. Genius! If you’re in the area, pop in for a little caffeinated beverage, squeeze on into the little bench seat and make some new friends. It’s worth it.

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The Doors of Norwich

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As I mentioned I was going to in a post not so long ago, I recently paid a little visit to the main city of Norfolk, Norwich. Having not visited before I didn’t really know what to expect, and since coming home I still can’t quite put my finger on the general vibe of Norwich. I liked it for sure, the town centre is a lovely mix of green squares and little lanes, like Brighton but on a larger scale. I think it’s the outer edges that confused me, they seem to turn into countryside much quicker than other cities, especially London or Bristol. A more country-fied city, if there is such a thing.

However small a city it might be there are still so many great places to visit. My trip was mainly to visit a friend so involved a lot of eating and drinking and catching up, so the vast majority of happened to be bars, coffee shops and restaurants, just as a little warning. If you’re looking for some really good coffee then Strangers Coffee and Artel (more to come on this!) are both excellent choices. For a nice casual pint I recommend Playhouse, but be prepared to sit outside whatever the weather. In terms of food we popped into Franks for some dinner – great for a large range from big meals, fab salads and smaller tapsa-y dishes. Just down the road there’s a classic fish and chip shop, famous for doing deliveries to the pub next door, so you can enjoy your cod with a nice pint.

In terms of things to see and do Norwich is the perfect size for a little weekend roadtrip. There’s a castle for something that takes up a bit more time, and also a cathedral that’s well worth a look. Mousehold Heath is slightly out of town but fab for a walk in the woods and great panorama of the city. As you can see from these photos I was rather taken with exploring the older side of the city and took a fancy to many of the doors and shop fronts.

If you have a car then head out to the beach to spot a few seal puppys. The weather prevented us from doing so, but word is that you can get pretty close without them flopping back out to sea. Observe responsibly though, it’s their home after all. No doubt I’ll definitely be back to see them…

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Four Ways To Enjoy An Autumn Weekend.

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Are you sick of Autumn based posts yet? I know I’ve read my fair share of them, but since this is only my second seasonal post I figured you’d all forgive me, right? I always feel that the weekends in Autumn are slightly different to other seasons of the year, especially now that the clocks have changed. Having a shorter amount of daylight makes me want to get up and run around trying to fit everything in, because once it gets to four o’clock it’s just a race to get home and into the warm before it’s dark once again. So I’ve come up with a few ideas to help make the most of the shorter hours and of course, the colder air and crispy orange leaves.

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  1. Lunchin’ and Brunchin’

Brunch is actually one of my favourite mealtimes, if it even counts as an official mealtime. Man, I just love anything where eggs on toast is a firm favourite. And possibly pancakes too. But soon it wont be getting light until about eight thirty in the morning, which on a weekday is more OH MA GAAD WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, but on a weekend simply means you’re not allowed to get up until you can see sun in the sky. The next appropriate meal after that is brunch; one to enjoy while catching up with friends and coffee just tastes so much better when you don’t have to throw in back and run back to the office.

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2. Countryside Walks

Lets be clear here – I’m not a hiker. In terms of exercise I like it to be short and sweet and I tend to be in and out of the gym in about 45mins. So a long, drawn out climb up a mountain is not really the one for me. BUT who doesn’t want to run like a child through piles of fallen leaves? Autumn is the perfect time to really enjoy what the countryside has to offer. There’s no high sun turning you into a sweaty mess after the first mile, and the leaves are still around rather than the spindle-y stumps that are left in winter.

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3. Carve a lil Pumpkin

Whether you have embraced Halloween into your life as a full on holiday to celebrate, or you aren’t really that bothered about the scariest day of the year there’s no way to avoid the mountains of pumpkins dotted around every supermarket in the country. It’s the perfect way to dip a toe in the day if your not that bothered, and get a little craft action going on. One year when I was still a student, my friends and I left it too late for a pumpkin and had to resort to carving a face in a melon instead. Has to be said, it was a lot tastier…

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4. Pay a Visit

This is not strictly an Autumn weekend activity but I get excited about day trips at any time of the year. I tend to get a bit restless by the end of the day if I haven’t got out for some air and seen a few things, so day trips are a regular feature for me. My recent one to London included the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy. I would highly recommend a visit and it’s right across the street from Fortnum & Maison, perfect for a little post-exhibition snoop around their pretty displays.

These are just a few ideas of what I like to get up to while it’s not so cold you need five layers on before leaving the house. I’m always up for trying something new though, so let me know if there’s something to add!

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Where to Have Your Cake and Eat It: Bristol

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I don’t think I have ever lived in a place where literally every culinary need and desire is pretty much taken care of. In Bristol you can find such an array of cuisines that even the fussiest of eaters can find something really good. It almost makes me long for the days when Pizza Express was the only place in my repertoire and budget. St Nicks market in the Old Town is a lunch time delight for the hard working people of Bristol. Under the glass arcade is an abundance of stalls all serving the freshest of food from falafel, to sausages, to flatbreads and hummus.

But what about if you need something a little sweeter to get you through the afternoon back at the office? This is where Ahh Toots come in to save your sweet tooth from a miserable afternoon. They’re nestled amongst the other stalls, they have a cart full of different flavoured cake. They have some really unique creations such as Croissant cake (sign me up right here) and even an ombre cake. They cater for intolerances with a selection of gluten free choices and each is decorated so beautifully it makes you wonder how they can slice into them every day. They have a small seating area if you’ve got some time to sit and watch the hustle and bustle of St Nicks market or just take your cake to-go and watch the office jealousy unfurl.

If like me, you often spend your lunch times running around dealing with errands that you CBA with after work, and then enjoy a sorry looking sandwich back at your desk, then maybe you’ll be looking for a little summin’ summin’ at the weekend? Harbourside market takes place every Saturday and Sunday and they seem to have expanded slightly in recent weeks. Included in this mini-expansion is The Big O Donut Co. selling, you guessed it, donuts! They have a slightly different Polish dough recipe which I’m not sure how it makes them different, but the proof is literally in the pudding. The blackberry and almond was pretty damn tasty.

This post was mostly produced out sadness at the loss of the Bake Off (what am I supposed to do with my evening now!) but if there are any other places I should take my sweet tooth for a visit, just lemme know…

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One Afternoon in Cardiff.

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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!

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Bristol Coffee Guide

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Cafe Kino – The Vegan Dream

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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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New Toys and Weekend Fun

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It’s been a long time since I posted around here and although I have no decent excuse to disclose, I have come back with an exciting post that’s been in the making for a good few months. That makes it sound a whole lot bigger and more important than it actually is, but for me it IS exciting. For longer than my close family and friends care to remember I’ve been banging on about getting myself a nice little camera, and today I can tell you that it’s finally happened!

It’s taken some time to find the right one for me, but eventually I made the choice of the small but mighty Panasonic Lumix GM1 and I’m thrilled to pieces. Of course after purchasing my long awaited new companion, I immediately had to give it a run around the block, which brings me onto the second part of this post: Papersmiths. I don’t think I’ve expressed my love of stationery on here before, but it’s right up there on my list of favourite things to browse and buy. As if my habit needed a helping hand in any way, I’ve found a haven of all things paper and pens. Nestled away in Clifton is Papersmiths, a stationery boutique if you fancy. Stocking all things niche and independent, I mentally wrote my next shopping list as I wandered around. We happened to arrive just as the sun was starting to go down and had turned that beautiful golden colour that makes all photos look fab, even though I’m definitely still learning what all the different buttons do! All in all it was a very successful day and I can’t wait to get snapping some more. And ya know, buy some more pens and pencils. Don’t even get me started on the Washi tape choices!

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Edinburgh’s Edible Hotspots.

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Living in Bristol there is an absolute abundance of small independent eateries around pretty much every corner. It makes choosing where to go a pretty tricky affair. Do you try somewhere new, or pay another visit to somewhere that was such a pleasure last time? My God, the decisions I have to make…

In Edinburgh we had a whole spectrum of different places to test out. With ‘independence’ in mind we opted for small businesses, local favourites and one that I’d had my Instagram-trained eye on for awhile.

One super cool place we visited was the Royal Mile Market, which was a bit of a clever find as we were just strolling by. I was expecting just a small market selling little bits and bobs and pretty things, but this renovated church also housed a sweet little cafe offering some amazing looking sandwiches and the like. It was slightly chilly, but eating lunch under a beautiful stained glass window made up for it!

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A few other places worth a mention are The Dogs Restaurant, and as I said in my last post, it was very tasty. They had a small but perfectly formed menu and some interesting, very dog-orientated décor! Slightly odd name for a restaurant perhaps. I did accidentally call it The Dogs Dinner on a few occasions (I can assure you, a dogs dinner it is not!).

Pete’s Yard is another cracking place that Edinburgh has to offer. Primarily a bakery, it has a bright and airy cafe offering breakfasts and lunches complete with their fresh, fresh bread. It’s not the cheapest of places but it’s worth a visit, and we definitely left with a few extra bits for later!

Love Crumbs have made a name for themselves with their unusual but fabulous flavour combinations (rose and rhubarb – don’t mind if I do!) and for their wardrobe full of cake. Wardrobes are good for storage, so why not put your cake in there. As I said before they have a pretty tempting Instagram feed, that’s worth checking out, just in case their wardrobe display wasn’t enough for you.

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Let’s Be Friends

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Central Perk

While I was in Chester and had my own personal tour around the city, my tour guide friend let me in on a little local gem; Chester’s very own Central Perk! I’m a big lover of Friends (along with most of the world) so I practically threw myself in the door and into one of the squishy sofas.

There’s something about the 90’s, early 00’s nostalgia that will always be comforting and funny. The Chester replica of Central Perk was just what we needed after the chilly morning and if I was ever a character of Friends (I was obviously Jenifer Aniston in a former life) I would probably have spent the majority of my time in there sipping a cappuccino too. I wouldn’t recommend having any deep, meaningful conversations in there though; the TV’s replaying old episodes were a massive distraction!

A nice cup of coffee was much needed after our brisk and chilly walk around the old Roman city walls (read: it’s ALWAYS needed). Although if I thought it was a bit frosty in Chester, then the wind in Liverpool nearly created an icicle out of me, but there’ll be more on that soon!

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