Side Street Style

Side Street Style

Side Street Style

A family travel and lifestyle blog

22/04/2018

Cardiff Coffee - 5 Places you need to try this month

Hard lines coffee


So like many people in the UK I like my coffee and the ritual that goes behind each cup. That quiet calm before you have to set off for work or that 5 minutes of rest in a busy day, an artisan cup in a cool cafe while you getting work done or having it in hand as you walk through the city. Coffee to me can be a moment of self care or belly laughs with a friend, either way the connotations are positive. With so many new independent cafes popping up all over Cardiff I thought I would start a monthly post of ones you should check out in and around the city. As this is my first post in the series I thought I would share some of the better known ones to get started, the ones that you know you are going to be guaranteed a good cup.

1. Little Man

Little Man coffee has been a favourite of mine for a while as it's centrally located but off the busy high street and sort of hidden away in a more quite location. The interior is simple with a touch of scandi chic and they take their coffee seriously, certainly one of the best Cortado's in town. They also have a simple but beautifully formed menu, I recommend the smashed avocado or homemade granola with the green smoothie. Also their homemade cakes are delicious, plus they have super fast wifi, support local producers and hold some fantastic events, so do check them out!


Beautiful coffee
Little Man Coffee


2. 200 Degrees

200 Degrees is right in the heart of the city but it's large open space means there is always somewhere to sit and attracting a friendly millennial clientele but also very family friendly at the same time. It is actually part of a small chain but it certainly doesn't feel like it and has a stylish minimalist interior with some very capable barista's and some impressive latte art. In fact there is a barista school upstairs if you want to have a go at making your own understanding the guidance of one of their qualified team members.


Cortado
200 Degrees

3. The Earlybird

The Earlybird is one of our favourite breakfast and brunch spots just out of the centre and is located in the vibrant and creative Cathays area. The only problem is its not very big so you may have to wait to get a seat as it's popular for a good reason and is well worth it especially as they have their own bakery on site and their sourdough topped with avocado, poached egg and chilli is amazing as is their danish pastries the size of your face. The coffee is also excellent and the atmosphere friendly and welcoming, perfect place to start the day and when the sun is out you can enjoy the small garden patio out the back.


Danish pastry
The Early Bird


4. The Potting Shed

Another independent coffeeshop just outside of the city centre in Llandaff in the grounds of Insole court. Their coffee may not be as refined or perfected as the others on this list but they do a very decent Flat White and they support local coffee companies plus their homemade cakes are not only pretty to look at but delicious too. The Potting shed is a lovely little gem in beautiful grounds and after a bite to eat I recommend taking a walk in the community allotments right next door as well as the well kept gardens of Insole Court. This cafe is also dog friendly and has a small kids table with books and crayons, an adjoining small art gallery space and yes fast wifi too!


The Potting Shed Cardiff


5. Hard Lines

If your looking for the most instagrammable coffee then you have to head to hardlines which now has two locations, a little pop up style booth inside Cardiff market and the other in the Castle Emporium with both serving up some of the best speciality coffee, made with care, love and a high level of hipsterism (yes I made that word up but the description fits). They also have a pink, yes pink coffee called the Dirty Barb and while you may be skeptical you really shouldn't be as it's delicious. Made with a dash of beetroot and argave with coffee running through it's smooth, sweet and of course pink!


Coffee Cardiff


A lot of locals will already have visited these places but if your heading to Cardiff for a weekend break do check them out. I will also be creating a monthly series of my 5 favourite coffee shops to visit each month so do come back and see what's on the list next month. From small to big and everything in between and with so many new places popping up in the city I am looking froward to discovering the best of what Cardiff has to offer when it comes to coffee. 



17/04/2018

What we are looking for in our next family home

Milk and Sugar Cardiff



I have spoken a few times about how we are nearing the end of our (somewhat slow) renovation of our current home and will be fingers crossed putting it on the market this year so we can move. This has got me thinking a lot about what we are looking for in our next home, nothing lavish or anything but for a variety of reasons our current house really doesn't tick our boxes and was always bought as an investment to do up and then sell. While our current home does have some pros such as a nice sized garden and a light and airy kitchen extension I do have a list of things I would love to see in our next property although of course we are realistic about the fact there is never a perfect home and you do have to compromise somewhere but not on everything.

Character over a New Build

I'm just putting this out there but I am not a huge fan of new builds, I certainly wont discount them altogether because at this point we have to consider all our options but we have always lived in period style properties or cosy welsh cottages and I do love original features in a home but with a modern refresh. I am really hoping with our next home we can get a small Bay fronted Victorian property or if not just a nice terrace that hasn't been stripe of all it's original character.


stylish home


Good size bedrooms

At the moment we have a really large lounge and kitchen diner which is great but our bedrooms are very small, in fact I'm not even sure if my youngest will be able to fit a proper single bed in his room to replace his toddler bed. We would actually take a two bed house that offers double sized rooms over three tiny bedrooms so size proportion is important for our next purchase.

Garden space is a must

We had a wonderful garden at the moment that has enough space for a small vegetable patch, play area and social area with under cover seating and lovely green grass for the kids to run on. I know moving more into the city we are probably going to have to sacrifice this space but I don't want to replace it for a yard so some kind of outdoor space is important to us even if it has to be a little smaller.

wooden floor boards


Wooden flooring

I grew up in a house that had exposed wooden flooring through out and I just love it. In our lounge we had parquet flooring, which I loved and in my childhood kitchen we had beautiful original floor boards so finding a home that either has that or we can lay it down would be a massive bonus especially as it's something I don't really want to compromise on. Like I said we are happy to get some solid wood flooring laid down but in our current home thats just not possible. Not only is wood flooring easy to clean but it's also warming under your feet and very stylish. There is also a lot of research to say that the more natural products we have in our home creates a more happier and more calm environment to live in.

Roll Top Bath

For me this is another must have but doesn't need to be there when we buy but as long as it's possible to get one put in. The thing is we are hoping to spend a couple of years in our next home and I want to very much make it feel like a home and to me that means having a nice bathroom and a roll top bath. We have re-done our bathroom in our current home but in a very practical way to resell so I am hoping to make our next one much more personal to our tastes.


vintage bath


Location 

Well they do say that when it comes to finding a new home the location is the most important. We are currently a fair drive away from my sons school, in bad traffic it can take an hour and in no traffic less than 20minutes but it's just a commute I don't want to do any more and as he is very happy and settled there moving him to another school is not an option. We need a house that offers easy public transport to the city for my partner as well as a quicker commute (and preferably even be able to walk).

Are you planning moving soon and if so what are you looking for in your next home?


eating melon

*collaborated

16/04/2018

5 Ways to Save Money for a Family Holiday


Family holiday



Are you long over due a family holiday? Even if it's just a weekend camping trip, staycation or you have dreams of a long haul destinations it can be hard if you don't have some kind of budgeting plan in place especially if you have children. Life in general can be so busy, hectic and draining finically but it's also really important to step away from it all every now and then so having a travel kitty you can contribute towards to during the year is key and really will add up over a period of time and take the stress off planning a trip away. I thought I would share 5 easy ways to help save for that family holiday so do check it out even if you have already paid for most of it in advance it's always good to have some extra spending money. If you already know where your going check out my other post about how preparation and booking at the right time can save you loads.


1. Declutter and Ebay what you don't need

I often do this before we are going away somewhere. I am constantly minimising what we don't need in the home and I often do a big drop off at a local charity store and what I can Ebay or put on Gumtree I do because it can really add up and it's a great way to declutter your home but also make a little bit of extra money to go towards any family travels we have planned.

2. Reevaluated any memberships or subscriptions you have

Review any memberships, subscriptions or services you're paying for to see which you could do without. Remember that you may only need to suspend these luxuries for a few months to pad your savings account. You could drop a gym membership, for example, in exchange for running and other free exercises you can do at home or at local parks such as yoga. Review your TV provider and package - you maybe able to reduce it down to a basic package and add a cheaper streaming service instead, an easy swap but will save you money monthly.

3. Stop Eating out 

Buying groceries and cooking at home, especially if you have a family, can literally save you hundreds of pounds. If you enjoy eating our regularly you may initially find this hard or tedious but its a great way to save money as well as eat a little healthier and why not get the kids involved with the cookie. Also, try to cut morning coffee from coffee shops and cafes from your morning routine and rather brew your own at home.


kids in the kitchen
Make eating at home fun

4. Trim Other Monthly Expenses

Expand your budget trimming to your other monthly expenses as well. For instance, you could dial back your central heating now we are going into summer and if you can adjust the temperature by a few degrees a day you'll save 10% on your energy bill in one year. Combine this with other utility-conscious adjustments, like taking colder showers and using less water, and you can reward yourself with more money to spend on your adventures.

Also, if you have debt, you can look into refinancing options to lower what you owe each month or taking out an interest free credit card and transferring your current balance which could provide you a breather. You could also consider student loan consolidation which can be an excellent money-saving option if you have multiple student loans with different interest rates. By refinancing your student loans, you can bundle these expenses, leaving you with a lower interest rate overall.


5. Use Your Credit Card to Accumulate Travel Points

If you have a credit card with cashback rewards, use it wisely to accumulate points that can be redeemed for airfare. Whatever purchases you have to make, put them on the credit card. This is like earning free money. Just remember to pay off the balance completely every month so you don't accumulate debt.

If you have six months to a year to prepare, you could save thousands of pounds for your holiday by following these and other money-saving tips. Though you might have to make a few short-term changes, you can look forward to a trip you've earned by being frugal.



travel savings

*Associated