Cardiff

The Best Coffee Shops In Cardiff

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If there’s only one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I’m totally obsessed, probably addicted and very much in love with coffee. I don’t think I’ve gone a single day without a cup since I was about 15, and I don’t plan on doing that soon either. Coffee is just a great excuse to catch up, take some time out or just get out of the house. As it’s such a big thing for me, I thought I would share a few of my favourite coffee shops in Cardiff, incase you wanted to try them out too.

 

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UNCOMMON GROUND

I love this coffee shop! It’s one of my absolute faves, it’s right in the centre and a great space to work or catch up. They have loads of tables and you have the choice of sitting inside or out in the arcade. It’s also quite dimly light which makes it feel cosy and if you love the coffee you can buy a bag of beans to take home.

 

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200 DEGREES

This quirky coffee shop on Queen Street has its own roastery and is perfect if you consider yourself a real coffee connoisseur.  They invited me for a blogger event over Christmas and their chai latte is particularly amazing. They use a special syrup from Jeeves & Jericho that makes it taste absolutely incredible.

 

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BLANCHE BAKERY

If you’re looking to take Instagram pictures then this is THE best place to go, as it was designed for getting likes. From the leafy wall, to the neon sign and the perfectly decorated doughnuts there are so many picture opportunities it’s unreal. Blanche is also vegan so if you have friends with different requirements it’s an easy place to go.

 

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COFFEE BARKER

This is a favourite of all the bloggers in Cardiff because it’s so Instagrammable outside, think Parisienne vibes. They also do great coffee, fancy milkshakes and food so it covers all bases. I particularly love going for breakfast though as they do the best egg and avocado on toast. It’s also in Castle Arcade, which is stunning as it has all its original features and an upper level with cute shops.

 

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HARD LINES

Hard Lines gives me New York vibes and it’s definitely the coolest and most hipster of all the coffee shops. They have a stall in Cardiff market which is the one I go to the most and their coffee tastes really, really good. They also do a beetroot latte which is bright pink if you wanted to push the boat out.

 

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HANDLEBAR BARISTA

If you don’t have time to sit in then the Handlebar Barista will be your go-to guy. This super clever coffee cart is built onto a bike so it moves around the city, which is so perfect if you commute in the morning. As a heads up he’s often outside Queen Street Station!

 

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BIG MOOSE COFFEE CO

I’m so in love with this coffee shop, it’s beautiful inside, has great food and helps to support homeless people in Cardiff. It’s also just off Queen Street, on a really quiet street so it’s nice to get away from the busyness. They do really great cakes if you have a sweet tooth and have a great breakfast and lunch menu, including vegan and gluten free options.

If I’ve missed anywhere make sure to let me know in the comments, I’m always up for discovering new places. Any excuse for a coffee, right?

The Marine Spa At St. David’s Hotel

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So a few weeks ago I turned 27 and not only was I stressing about getting old but also that I didn’t have any plans. I had booked some time off, but as it was a Tuesday I was pretty sure everyone else would be at work. So it was the luckiest coincidence that St. David’s Hotel reached out about reviewing their Marine Spa and totally saved me from a boring birthday.

The spa has been ranked one of the top 5 in the UK by Condé Nast Traveller, so I knew it was going to be amazing. I was also excited because I really love the hotel, the decor is beautiful and it has some of the best views over Cardiff Bay. I highly recommend grabbing a drink at the bar and sitting on the balcony if you don’t believe me!

As part of my day the team booked me in for a facial at 2pm so I decided to head to the pool for a few hours before, to make the most of my day pass. When I got to the front desk the girls gave me a key for my locker which was stocked up with my robe, towels, flip flops and some skincare goodies from the spa. How amazing is that? It was such a nice touch and it made me feel really welcome right from the get-go. It’s that insane attention to detail, from the moment you get there that makes the whole experience really special.

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You need to try the hydrotherapy pools…

Once I was ready and feeling super glam in my spa dressing gown, I hit the pool. It’s in the most gorgeous location, right on the top of the hotel and overlooking the bay. There are two hydrotherapy pools, as well as an exercise pool and a sauna, alongside loads of lounge chairs for ultimate relaxation. I decided to head to the hydrotherapy pool with the fountains first as it had the best views. The water in these pools has been treated to replicate seawater so it’s rich in minerals and sea salts. These are really beneficial to your skin and help to plump, hydrate and detoxify while you relax. So not only do you feel better when you get out but you look amazing too.

You can literally lay in the hydrotherapy pool and watch the boats sail by, it’s like a movie and so relaxing. The way the two pools are laid out there’s loads of room too and plenty of privacy, so you don’t feel like you have to wait for a space. My favourite spot was in the main pool at the end as the seats are way bigger, you can lay down and totally relax. It was so peaceful and it was lovely to have a swim or just sit in the bubbles for a few hours and think about nothing.

After I was feeling totally zen, I decided to hit the sauna to give my skin a boost. There was loads of room which is perfect as I love laying down and letting the dry heat work its magic. It’s great for rejuvenating your skin and perfect if you’ve been to the gym as it’ll relax your muscles, ease joint pain and improve blood flow.

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What treatment did you go for?

They have 10 treatment rooms upstairs, a relaxation room and spots to get your nails done for a total body pamper. I was booked in for the Ishga facial with a super relaxing neck and shoulder massage followed by a facial using their organic seaweed based products. The Ishga brand was actually founded in Scotland by a husband and wife team. They use organic seaweed to make skincare products which harness the anti-oxidant and healing powers of the seaweed. I was so excited to try this as I love discovering new brands and it was a great introduction.

My facial was amazing, the products were really gentle on my skin and it even included the mask where they pour the product onto your face. The products were mainly oil based and as my skin was quite dry it was a total godsend. My favourites in particular were the Regenerating Organic Face Serum and the Nourishing Facial Oil which you could easily work into your skincare routine. 

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I need to go back…

This day was such a nice treat and it made me realise how important it is to take a break from reality. I’m actually thinking of becoming a member, as it’s really close to the office and would be a great way to unwind after a long day. If you’re feeling the same and would love a pamper then you can check out their spa menu here for a full list of treatments. It was a great experience and I’m so grateful, what a birthday to remember!

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Making Coffee With 200 Degrees

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So if you watched the second episode of vlogmas (I’ll pop it at the end of this post if you missed it) then you’ll know that last weekend I went to a blogger event at 200 Degrees. It’s a really cute little coffee shop on Queen Street and I’ve walked passed it so many times but have never been before.

The plan for the day was to try lots of coffee and learn a little more about the process of making it. The craziest thing is that despite drinking it all the time I didn’t actually know that much about it before last Sunday. I definitely didn’t know where it came from, like if it grew on trees? Which it does or that there’s a coffee fruit which apparently tastes like a soft peach. As much as I was embarrassed that I didn’t know this it was beyond fascinating to learn more about it and the history of coffee.

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If you haven’t heard of 200 Degrees before it’s a relatively new coffee shop that started in Nottingham. It was founded by two bar owners who bought a coffee roaster for their garage when they couldn’t find a good coffee shop. They grew this into six stores, one of which is in Cardiff and they all have a really cool, rustic vibe. The name 200 Degrees comes from the temperature they roast their coffee at which is slightly lower than other places to give it a smoother taste. Fascinating, right?

We started off the day with the history of coffee and how it goes from bean to cup while trying their cappuccino (yes I’m basic and I love a cappuccino) it was amazing. We also had some cakes and sandwiches made by their chef Rhian which were so delicious and really beautiful. This would definitely be the best spot for a coffee and cake catch up with your friends!

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Lastly we got to watch the beans being roasted in the machine which is in the middle of the shop. I’ve only ever seen a coffee shop with a roastery in Berlin but it gives it such a cool vibe and it was really interesting to learn about the process. When the coffee beans come in they’re a light green/grey colour and need to be roasted until they’re brown so that we can drink them. The beans take around 15 minutes to roast and it’s quite a sciency process to make sure they taste good at the end. When the beans come out they smell a lot like toast and it takes around two days for them to mature into the classic coffee taste. It’s crazy to think that all that time and effort goes into each cup!

I also forgot to mention that we tried out their chai latte which Alex recommended and it was insane. Definitely the best I’ve ever tasted and he put it down to the specific syrup they use which you can buy to take home. It’s by a company called Jeeves and Jericho and it’s their Spiced Bombay Chai syrup made with specifically sourced spices. It would make the best Christmas gift and I really need to get some so that I can make my own at home.

I’ve popped some more snaps of the store below but if you want to go and check it out yourself it’s at the end of Queen Street opposite the Capitol shopping centre. Let me know if you go and definitely try out the chai latte!

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Chalkie Davies at Cardiff Museum

So today I went to see a Chalkie Davies photography exhibition in Cardiff. Davies was a photographer for NME and shot some of the most famous and influential musicians of the 70s and 80s. Working only in black and white film, his pictures have a lovely grainy quality to them and are often posed in unique locations. Many of the photographs on display are unseen, a test devised by Davies years ago to see whether his pictures would still be culturally relevant, decades after they were taken.

I thought I would share some examples of his work on here and if your in Cardiff you have till September 6th to check them out first hand.c1 c2 c5 c4 c3

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