All I want is a garden.
We live in a third-floor flat. It’s got an enormous living room, it’s five minutes from work/town/some epic Danish pastries. It’s the longest we’ve ever lived at the same address and it really feels like home. It’s lovely, it really is.
But it doesn’t have a garden.
It doesn’t have a balcony, not even one of those annoying “Juliette” ones that estate agents big up but are really just French doors with a gate across. It doesn’t even have a window ledge I could attempt to grow some herbs on. I’m not asking for acres; a lawn is just something to mow. I’d take a patio. Hey, at this point, I’d take a walled-in square-metre of concrete if it meant I had a little sliver of Outside to sit in, with a cup of coffee and the Sunday papers. Concrete’s very 2018, after all, and looks great with some fairy lights…
However, if Kirstie and Phil have taught me anything over the years, it’s #locationlocationlocation. So: the compromise. We have Bute Park just a couple of minutes away, less than that if the traffic lights are on your side, and – even closer than that – we have Kin & Ilk.
Kin & Ilk is our saving grace, especially at this time of year when, “I wish we had a garden” passes my lips almost daily. When it’s hotter than a pizza oven chez nous, or Rob’s getting cabin fever working from home, we will quite happily park ourselves for a couple of hours at a table on its shady front patio or, preferably, bang in the breezy centre of its bi-fold doors (it’s “my spot”; if I turn up and someone else is sat there, I’m genuinely annoyed).
It’s in such a great location – but apart from the Sport Wales crowd who from what I can tell use it almost as a staff canteen, people don’t really seem to know about it! Whether I’m there for a pre-work flat white, weekday lunch date or weekend chill, there’s always a table and rarely a queue. Your order never takes long to appear and the staff are super friendly. When I popped in at opening time a couple of weeks ago, cupboards bare after a weekend away and facing a day of back-to-back meetings, they even stopped preparing that day’s sarnie offering to make me a “whatever we can do” salad! Thanks, guys!
It’s got a bit of a digital nomad / business meeting vibe, but equally we’ve taken the in-laws there for some tasty flatbreads and I spent most of my month off work last May (remember that heatwave? Great timing or what?!) reading The Handmaid’s Tale on the terrace without feeling out of place. It showcases local artists’ work in rotating gallery slots, hosts pop-up street food events – and even serves booze (go for Pipes, brewed literally around the corner in Pontcanna).
I definitely still pop in in the colder months (they have a dark hot chocolate which is to die for, and their soups are tasty too) but it’s during the summer that it really comes into its own. That patio!
I killed time after work last week, putting off heading back to the heat of the flat, and tried one of their peppermint, orange and Rooibos iced teas. YUM! Last year was all about the iced latte but after rediscovering it on our travels in Malaysia, this year I am going hard on the iced tea. It’s not squash (makes me feel like a child) or a soft drink (makes me feel like I’m destroying my teeth); i.e. perfect for a heatwave.
Rooibos (aka Redbush; nope I can’t pronounce it either) is my favourite tea and the added mint made this so refreshing. The orange gave it a bit of a twist – I’d never had orange with mint before. And if you don’t love a stripy straw, then I’m sorry, but we can’t be friends. I’m definitely going to be back for another before this glorious weather breaks.
Ok, so this isn’t a coffee post. Strictly speaking, Rooibos isn’t even caffeinated. But it’s a love letter to one of my top Cardiff coffee spots! Don’t let the stroll out of town put you off. But that said… don’t sit in my spot.