My Little Duke

coffee

Our Best Coffee Hangs ( Portadown + Misc )

Coffee Hangs, Motherhood, TravelSteph DukeComment

Finally, our last instalment in the Coffee Hang Series! This one's a bit more random (location-wise.) You'll find some incredible local (I use this term very loosely!!) coffee hangs, including my absolute favourite ... let's get going!

NEWRY AREA

1. Finegan & Son, Newry - @fineganandson

From my first visit here, I was hooked. The vibe is relaxed and chilled. The staff are friendly and welcoming. The coffee is spot on and the doughnuts are UNREAL. Finegan & Son is the one place I keep coming back to, time and time again. I've gone solo, with my mum, my husband, my family and had a mummy/daughter date with Phoebe. I'm back again this Saturday for doughnuts and hangs with @motherbeastie! I simply cannot recommend this place highly enough. It's the kind of place, with the kind of people who keep your favourite doughnut for you so you don't miss out! Thanks guys!

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2. Strandfield, Dundalk - @strandfield 

My mum and I visited Strandfield for the first time this Autumn. I literally can't wait to go back. This beauty is a Cafe / Florist / Grocer all in one. It's super handy off the motorway and a must visit if you're ever in that area. The coffee was delicious and our sweet treats were divine. My coconut macaroon was incredible. I've been well informed too that the food is excellent (it's a vegan menu) and I'm sure to be back to try some first hand. 

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MOIRA

3. The Fat Gherkin (affectionately known as 'The Gherk'), Moira - @thefatgherkin 

I have such a soft spot for this cosy nook on main street Moira. Always made to feel so welcome and looked after, especially when I've visited solo. They have the most delicious menu and their breakfast is superb. They also happen to have created my favourite sweet treat of all time - the 'everything bun.' This dreamy concoction includes mars bar, cranberry, coconut, fudge, marshmallow, biscuit and more! Simply perfect with a wee sneaky flat white! 

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Portadown

4. Ground, The Pumphouse - @groundespressopumphouse 

I've always loved the old Pumphouse at the bottom of town. It just oozes history and charm and I'd kind of hoped that I'd turn it into a coffee hang myself one day! Never mind. Now that Ground has moved in, I couldn't love it any more. It's quaint, the custard tarts are unbelievable and the view is beautiful. The fact that I've been able to stop after a cycle for a flat white to go is pretty much perfection. With fast wifi and a great loyalty card scheme, what's not to love?! 

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5. Bob + Berts, Portadown - @bobandbertscoffee 

We have been really spoiled in Portadown with the opening of both Ground and B + B in the same week! Bob and Berts has been the meeting place of choice recently for some local insta-mums and it's a class spot. Big and spacious - perfect for all the buggies and babies! The menu is huge, with something for everyone, including gluten-free options. The staff I've met so far have been wonderful, really accommodating and helpful. They have been super generous too, treating us to a free coffee for our meet-up just today! Thank you so much again. There's a real community atmosphere, brightening up the main street, bringing a real buzz back to town. If you want a festive coffee hang over the next few weeks, this one hits the spot. 

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Gorgeous mamas and littles  @the_tales_of_us  +  @mindfulnessmumma

Gorgeous mamas and littles @the_tales_of_us + @mindfulnessmumma

They sure enjoyed their visit :)

They sure enjoyed their visit :)

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And that's all my lovelies. I really hope you enjoyed our little coffee hang tour of sorts! I'm so loving all the festive combinations out there at the moment, lots of cinnamon and gingerbread feels!

Here's to the weekend and some Christmassy coffee hangs!

Steph xox

Our Best Coffee Hangs ( North Coast Edit )

Coffee Hangs, Food, TravelSteph Duke1 Comment

Who doesn't love a day to the North Coast?! For us, it doesn't happen often enough! Our days headed to the sea usually mean a few stops on the way and a few detours to visit some of our absolute favourite coffee hangs. I've 5 beauties for you this time, so let's get started:

1. Middletown Coffee Co, Ballymena - @mtowncoffee 

An absolute gem in Ballymena. No journey up North for us would be complete without a wee pit-stop at M'Town. N. Ireland Aeropress Champion in 2015 and with the friendliest service around, they are hard to beat! Their sweet selection is always stunning and we always grab a box for the road.  

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2. Ursa Minor Bakehouse, Ballycastle - @ursaminorbakehouse

When we first discovered Ursa Minor, we were hooked. There was something about this visionary husband and wife team that resonated with our hearts - Dara and Ciara welcomed us in on our first visit and the homely atmosphere has kept us returning ever since. Their passion and drive sees them going from strength to strength. The breads, sweet bakes and vegetarian savoury dishes that these guys create are incredible. GO and visit, seriously! 

The old premises @ Ballycastle Garden Centre

The old premises @ Ballycastle Garden Centre

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The new digs 

The new digs 

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3. Lost + Found, Coleraine - @wearelostfound

One of my all time favourites is L + F. Nestled in the heart of Coleraine is this wonderful little coffee hang. Excellent food and super coffee make it a must visit. They even won best cafe in Ireland this year at the Irish Restaurant Awards! For us, no North Coast adventure would be complete without a stop here.

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Illustration by the super talented  @zoebarkerdraws

Illustration by the super talented @zoebarkerdraws

4. Bothy, White Park Bay - @bothywhiteparkbay

Next up ... a shelter and haven from those Atlantic gales ... is Bothy. I LOVE this place. In summer, you can sit outside (in the front porch or back garden) and enjoy the BBQ grill or pizza oven delights. In winter, you can cosy up and feel like you are home from home. 

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If you do swing by Bothy, be sure to check out Ballintoy Harbour ( think Game of Thrones ) and White Park Bay too. A special place for us ( Matt and I shared our first kiss there!! ) and beautiful scenery as you make your way down to the gorgeous beach. 

Ballintoy

Ballintoy

Ballintoy

Ballintoy

White Park Bay

White Park Bay

5. Babushka, Portrush - @babushkaportrush 

Our last coffee hang up North goes to Babushka, who sits proudly on the South Pier of Portrush Harbour. It really is a prime location, facing the West Strand Beach. There's such a cosy and chilled vibe here, with great coffee and a homemade, locally sourced menu of goodness! 

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Much like Belfast, if you're headed up North, there are some class places to coffee hang. These are, again, just some of our favourites at the moment.

Can't wait to check out:

Sea Shed Coffee + Surf, Benone - @seashedcoffee

Feeling the North Coast pull? I think I am! 

Wherever you are drinking your coffee this week, hoping it's just how you like it!

Steph xo

 

 

So tell me about ... The Yard Portadown

Travel, FaithSteph DukeComment
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Hello my lovelies. If you are one of my Instagram buds you will know that since The Yard opened in Portadown, I've been a pretty regular customer! Suffice to say, I simply cannot visit without coming home with something! For me, I knew that The Yard would be a special place right from the get go. Being a Portadown gal myself, having attended Portadown Elim Church many years ago and knowing the lovely Laura (@havenonahilltop) from her creative days in local business, I was sure to be intrigued from the beginning.

So, what exactly is The Yard, Portadown? Here's Laura (a creative mastermind at The Yard)  to tell you a little bit more in our Q+A*:

1. Can you tell readers what The Yard is all about? What's the vision?

The Yard is a new endeavour - a social enterprise element of Helping Hands Community Outreach Project. 'The Yard' incorporates a practical workshop space, offering new interests and skills for people recovering from life controlling circumstances, but also, providing opportunities for skilled trades people to serve alongside them. Their products are then showcased in the Gift Shop, where you will find a group of very creative ladies who are dreaming up and presenting quality gift ideas at brilliant prices! (Honestly, you have to visit just to see the amazing items these girls are creating. Such talent and creative heart!) Our kitchen and coffee house provide tasty treats in a tranquil environment, while you can browse for gifts. (Or a treat for yourself! Or 2, or 3 ... !!)

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2. How / Why did the idea of The Yard happen?

The Yard happened as part of the development and expansion of Helping Hands Community Outreach Project - a family support ministry/charity of Portadown Elim Church. Due to the complex issues faced by our local community on a daily basis, we became aware of the need to spend quality time with those people, in order to make a real positive and practical impact on their lives. We developed a training room with a counselling room beside it called 'The War Room.' This name is one that really resonates with us as we feel like we too, are battling through the challenges and issues with the people we work with. The name is also influenced by the film of the same name! 

In addition, we set up a workshop for upscaling furniture, but also to assist in bringing structure and improving employability for those who have been out of work for some time. We hope and pray that this space might ignite new interests, develop skills and confidence in those who are involved, but also enhancing self worth where needed.

Another space was created for a mini laundrette/shower room to assist those who are homeless or those who are housed yet find themselves without electric, unable to wash clothes or shower at home. During these encounters, conversations around life choices can happen and budgeting advice is offered. For those who have limited skills to manage a household budget, or have difficulty with cookery skills, we can offer relevant training around basic, healthy, nutritional and affordable meals. This transferable skill can then be used back at home. 

This work incurs costs, and the social enterprise side of our work helps to meet those costs (the kitchen, workshop, coffee house and gift shop.) 

The name 'The Yard' was simply chosen because we always say, 'I'm away to the yard' or 'I'm down at the yard.'

Our hope and vision is that many would come to The Yard and find warmth, welcome, friendship, purpose, freedom, forgiveness and love - as that is the life experience of our staff. Our motto is from Philippians 2:4 which says:

'Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.'

This is what we do daily. That 'helping hand' is extended to anyone in genuine need, regardless of their class, creed, gender, culture, nationality, race, religion (or none.)

~

Amazing.

That verse gets me every single time. What a challenge! To live a life of service to others; for as you do to the least of them, you do for Him!

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3. What's your own personal involvement with The Yard? What do you love most?

I started working at The Yard in March this year, with the primary focus on upcycling and designing furniture and other gift items (like our own unique candle range and fresh flowers/plants). I wanted to bring a fresh and youthful appeal to The Yard, yet also use the skills I've developed over the last few years of running my own creative business. 

Another major direction I'd love for us to grow in is ... fresh posies and plants! (HURRAH!) We have a huge poly tunnel at Helping Hands that normally only gets used in the summer for hanging baskets and pots, but it's my aim to get using it in the winter months for indoor plants and floral arrangements. 

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I most definitely have nothing to do with all the yummy food treats ... that's all down to Heather! (I can confirm that Heather's baking skills are on point! UN-REAL.)

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I feel so blessed that I have been given this position, as it is the perfect outlet for my creativity, plus it also feeds my passion for people! I love seeing people transform before my eyes ... and, I think they also get excited when they start to get involved in anything creative. Creativity can bring so much healing into people's lives. I think most of all, I love that I'm using my talents to bless the people of our community, while bringing glory to God in doing so.

4. How best can readers get involved in supporting or helping at The Yard?

People can support us in a lot of ways:

  • If you can't support financially, by purchasing from our shop or having the odd cuppa, you can most certainly uplift us in prayer. 
  • If you do purchase from our shop please tag us or give us a mention on social media!
  • If you have a unique skill or craft that you would like to come and teach or show our creative team, please come down and say hello ... we are always on the lookout for new ideas! 
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* There may be slight alterations to the speaker's original wording.

Thanks so much to Laura for agreeing to have a bit of a chat about this new venture.

~

I hope you now have a little flavour of what The Yard is offering. I've been in and out numerous times now and trust me, if you make a visit, you will leave feeling blessed. The Gift Shop itself is visually beautiful. What a stunning array of posies and planters, homemade candles, vintage bits n bobs, local artists' prints, unique crafts, seasonal items and MORE for you to hunt through. Such a little treasure trove with such an anointed atmosphere. The girls serving there are real gems. No false friendliness or fakery! Just genuine servant hearts and a passion for seeing God's Kingdom come - a little Heaven touching Earth. Such a joy!

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Then, nestled neatly at one end of the Gift Shop you'll find the cosiest coffee corner. You have to go just to sample Heather's baking brilliance! Every time I've been in, I've been tempted by the aroma of freshly made scones ... and not just your plain old, same old type. No. No! How about banana and salted caramel?! Yes PLEASE! Scones not your thing? Never fear! There's a whole host of other goodies for you to choose from ... and again, all freshly baked and always looking delicious. Homemade soup for lunch? Sorted. Good coffee. Tick again. Like, do I need to say much more here ... just go! Already, in just the few short weeks since opening, I've had some wonderfully blessed times at The Yard. I've had inspired, creative conversations and precious mummy daughter time and treats.  I've met some amazing ladies who are also looking forward to meeting and serving you.  You can visit The Yard every Thurs + Fri from 10am-2pm, 15 Woodview Avenue, Portadown, BT62 3BR. Don't be surprised if you see me there! 

Bless you,

S

Ps. Give them a wee follow on IG - @the_yard_portadown.

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Called to be Creative. Nic  @thebrightsidediary , Ydele  @ourlifeatthewhitehouse  + me  @mylittleduke

Called to be Creative. Nic @thebrightsidediary, Ydele @ourlifeatthewhitehouse + me @mylittleduke

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John 13:35

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Our Best Coffee Hangs ( Belfast Edit )

Coffee Hangs, Food, TravelSteph DukeComment

There are countless options for a sweet coffee hang in Belfast these days. We're just going to share our four faves at the moment!  To find out more, be sure to check out @belfastcoffeemap. This class fold out map gives you the inside scoop on the buzzing Belfast coffee scene and more places to try.  

Pie + Drip Sunday @ Established, Belfast, coupled with BCM

Pie + Drip Sunday @ Established, Belfast, coupled with BCM

1. The Pocket - @thepocketcoffee

Nestled in amongst the red brick terraces opposite Queen's University, The Pocket is a nook worth checking out - especially on a Friday when the donuts are rolled out! Excuse the pun!! Grab a perch at the window and watch the world go by while enjoying their awesome menu and coffee. It's a tight squeeze when it's busy ... but, that's why I love it so much! 

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Literally no words for this waffle...

Literally no words for this waffle...

The Pocket is a great spot for refuelling before or after checking out Queen's University, Botanic Gardens, The Palm House and The Ulster Museum (all of which are FREE to visit!) Hurrah!

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2. Guilt Trip - @guilttripcoffee

This new coffee and donut joint is one of the coolest coffee hangs we've had. Awesome coffee and cracking donuts - although, be warned, they usually sell out fast so best not to visit late afternoon if you're after a donut!

Guilt Trip isn't in central Belfast, but it's definitely worth the trip to go and see what the fuss is all about! Their branding is super sweet and they've even got their own merch, if that's your jam.

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3. Established - @establishedcoffee

Next up is Established, a true gem! If you are ever milling around Cathedral Quarter, get yourself over to Established ... pronto. Even better, if you're in the area around 3pm on a Sunday, be sure to stop by here for their weekly 'Pie + Drip' combos - incredible. (see first image)

You will never be disappointed with a visit here. Check out their IG here to whet your appetite for their signature pancakes and waffle creations.

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Last Christmas when I had super long hair! 

Last Christmas when I had super long hair! 

4. General Merchants - @generalmerchants

Our final Belfast Coffee Edit goes to our most recent coffee hang. On Thursday we visited General Merchants ( the one on the Newtonards Rd ) and I was super impressed. The decor is so lush! Plus, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I tasted their custard bun ... oh heck yeah! Well worth a visit if you're in the area or well worth it for a solo trip. The selection on the menu is superb and one of the best Cortado coffees I've had yet. 

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So, there you have it. There is simply no excuse not to enjoy good coffee in Belfast these days. Seriously. No excuses! Get yourself a copy of a @belfastcoffeemap and get out there and drink some exceptional coffee. If you're out and about Belfast this week and you snap your coffee hang using #MLDcoffeehang, you could be in with a chance of winning your very own Belfast Coffee Map! Our favourite picture will be chosen next Sunday 22nd October, so get sharing!

 

Still looking forward to checking out:

1. Haptik - @wearehaptik

2. 5a - @5acafe

3. Root & Branch - @rootandbranchcoffee

 

Have an awesome week guys, wherever you drink your coffee!

S xo