Good coffee at Academy Espresso Bar – Barry

I function on coffee. I wish it weren’t true. I’m weak like that.
Although I guess it’s another sign that I’m getting old that I drink herbal tea in the afternoon, more than ever appreciating the effect of caffeine.
But good coffee, well, it’s a holy grail.
So discovering a new place locally that meets the brief. It deserves a little happy dance (no doubt caffeine induced).Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good CoffeeBarry’s pumping station has seen a complete overhaul, and now features Academy Espresso Bar. Within this grade II listed building, the decor of the place instantly makes me feel happy.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good CoffeeWith the kind of leather armchairs I always imagined having in my home thanks to Carrie Bradshaw, the industrial flooring not only is in keeping with the design but also serves an additional function, in making the place very pooch friendly.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good CoffeeIt’s also very parent friendly, I had to recite “do not approach the mum of twins” over and over as I people-watched so many parents enjoying a bit of time in these gorgeous surroundings.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good Coffee Because as you sit, you are able to take the time to breathe it all in.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good CoffeeThese features which only serve to make you happy.
Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good Coffee And I have never tasted an almond croissant quite as delicious.Latte & Almond Croissant With coffee which more than stands up to the mark.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good Coffee And great company, of course.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good CoffeeNow, I just need to find out if there’s wi-fi. 

And if they’ll put up with me working there every once in a while*.

(*Which probably means at least once a week).


Jamie’s Italian Super Lunch Menu Review

When the sun is shining and you get to spend time with friends and/ or family, I’d have to say I enjoy nothing more than sitting down with good food and drinks to while away some time. And this week I got to spend some time with my best girls at Jamie’s Italian in Cardiff to enjoy the super lunch menu.Jamie's Italian CardiffWe really couldn’t have planned it better to take advantage of the half term good weather, and we were able to enjoy watching the world go by as we dined on The Hayes in Cardiff. And whilst it couldn’t have been more perfect for four women and a baby, I couldn’t help but think eating inside or out, the atmosphere created really works.Jamie's Italian CardiffWith enough time to while away the afternoon we managed to get through the three courses of the Super Lunch Menu. Available between 12.00-18.00 Monday to Friday, and priced £10.95 for two courses or £12.95 for three, it really does offer value for money, especially in the city centre. 

For starters we went for the Fritto Misto and Pâté Bruschetta. As a huge lover of fish (and mocked in work for my tendency to always go for squid in restaurants), the Fritto Misto was perfect, the garlic and lemon aioli was a great accompaniment and the batter was so light it didn’t overwhelm or over-faze. Jamie's Italian Fritto MistoThe Pâté Bruschetta was picture perfect, with pancetta, vin santo & Parmesan it didn’t last long. Jamie's Italian Pate BruschettaFor mains we went with Spaghetti Primavera and the Superfood Salad. Jamie's Italian Spaghetti PrimaveraThe superfood salad featured roasted beets, fennel, quinoa, black rice, curly kale, sprouting broccoli and  pomegranate and was perfect and similar to the favourite salads I pick up on lunch breaks when working away. It was accompanied with avocado and spicy harissa & creamy cottage cheese, at this point I wished I had read the menu more closely, I don’t do spicy and wished I had the foresight to have requested it without the harissa, as it was one of those things I kept eating because it was delicious… as my senses streamed.Jamie's Italian Super Food SaladIt’s fair to see we’re all dessert girls, and unlike our mains we ended up selecting one of each from the menu: chocolate orange cheesecake (Brownies were off, but it was great to have an alternative option offered); orange blossom polenta cake; strawberries and frozen yoghurt; and chocolate ice-cream with berry compote and smashed honeycomb.
And they were, of course, absolutely lush.Jamie's Italian Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Jamie's Italian Chocolate Ice-cream, Berry Compote, Smashed Honeycomb Jamie's Italian Strawberries & Frozen Yoghurt Jamie's Italian Orange Blossom Polenta CakeThe three courses were delicious, more than filling, they definitely offered value for money. The service was prompt without being overbearing, and as my latest bugbear in restaurants is how long it takes to pay, I was really impressed that from beginning to end there was no waiting around. The relaxed atmosphere of summer days was definitely achieved and enjoyed.

Disclosure: We were invited to try the Super Lunch Menu by Jamie’s Italian, Cardiff. All views and opinions contained are our own.

Mila & Pheebs Kids Subscription Box

Mila & Pheebs Subscription BoxI can only start this post by saying I can’t believe how fantastic the Mila & Pheebs subscription box is. 
I went through a massive phase of subscription boxes for me,  until I realised that I know what I like and that’s for a reason. Because the subscription boxes I bought were just like “here’s some of what you might like”, and some would be ok, some would be put in one of my many storage boxes as there might possibly be a point in the future when I would like to use it, or I’d re-gift some of the contents. I came to realise I wasn’t getting my monies worth. So I stopped, and just bought the make-up/ stationery/ food that I wanted or that I wanted to try.

When CM was invited to try a subscription box for children, focused on crafts and stationery, well I couldn’t help but think it was perfectly suited.

I think I’ve previously written about how difficult my daughter is to buy for, having never been particularly enamoured with teddies or dolls, she usually ends up with everything on her birthday and Christmas lists because she likes so little- My Little Pony/ Monster High/ Shopkins – that’s it.

But creating. Creating has always been her thing. The mainstream things mentioned are top-ups for notebooks, crayons, paints and crafts. She loves to draw, to write, well, to be.

And so Mila & Pheebs subscription box couldn’t have been more perfect:Mila & Pheebs Woodland Themed Subscription BoxI’d love to tell you at £9.99 I think it’s pricey. 
I don’t.
The other day, as a treat, I bought one of the boys a magazine. Even the woman on the checkout commented how expensive it was.
With this subscription box you could feel the quality in each item. 
I’d love to think about how much I’d pay for the Bark Colouring Pencils alone. Mila & Pheebs Subscription BoxI love that everything keeps to a theme. 
That is encourages CM to ask questions.
That it’s not a load of random things which you might like.
But there is the common thread running through. Mila & Pheebs Subscription BoxAnd as is CM’s nature, everything became about someone else.

She created the most creative cards for her friends.

I tried not to get too cross when I collected her from school to find one of her friends with the hedgehog craft kit. It had been a stowaway with her that morning, she and him had taken the time to create it perfectly, and it was her gift to him.

That feeling of being cross because I couldn’t take a photograph of it, and just feeling the love of how proud they were that he got to take it home. Money really can’t buy those moments.

CM also gifted her brothers. The boys and I are making our way through the Roald Dahl collection, and the Fox paperclip made the most perfect bookmark as we made our way through ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’.
Mila & Pheebs Subscription BoxSo, what of the £9.99? 

Well, it depends on what you’re likely to spend on your child each month, but I think at seven years-old CM is now at the age to earn things rather than having random treats based on behaviour or chores.

I love the idea that this constitutes quality and learning, rather than acquiring more blind bags.

And before it becomes about me, the enjoyment she got from her subscription box was (and is) fantastic. Unlike the Shopkins which I tread on like Lego. The subscription box on the other hand is kept where mummy keeps all her theatre programmes (the shelf which should not be touched). The contents are removed, used, and returned. I am tempting fate, but I have never seen CM look after something so well.

Saving up her points each month to deserve a subscription box? I think this is something to which she and I would be happy to commit.

So… worth £9.99.. yes. And, like any good subscription box, by prepaying, the boxes can become £8.33 per month,  and there’s no postage fee on subscription boxes if you’re in the UK.

Perfect for the 6+ year old it’s aiming at, Mila and Pheebs have designed this box perfectly.

And, if there was anything else to convince me of why this box is perfect, Mila & Pheebs is a family run business and with a name inspired by  the couple’s 21 old twins Milena and Phoebe (enough said really!).
Based in Cardiff, Mila & Pheebs create themed stationery and activity boxes for kids. A new box is released each month and includes items such as stickers, notebooks, pencils, word searches and a collectible iwako eraser. 

Subscribe at Mila & Pheebs by the 19th of the month to get a perfectly creative subscription box for your primary school aged child.

Disclosure: We received a subscription box for the purpose of this review. All opinions and views contained are our own.