Pedal power in a cup @thehub

Pedal power in a cup @thehub

@the hub - cycles and coffee

@the hub – cycles and coffee

Hello listeners. Here’s the latest post in the Swindon in Business section of Born again Swindonian. This time we hear from three ex-IT people who have made the move from Java software to Java beans via Outset Swindon – those splendid facilitators of new businesses in Swindon.  Thanks to the help of the Outset team the hub team of Steve, Chris and Kerry have been able to create the perfect blend of cycles and coffee, bikes and beans in their new coffee shop on Fleet Street: @thehub where they offer a cycle shop for youngsters and adults and a bike repair clinic – oh and coffee of course.

As it says on their Twitter feed: “Whether you want a new bike, to fix or upgrade your bike or just want to meet with friends over a cup of excellent coffee, just call in for a warm welcome.”

Find them on Faceboook: and make contact in the Twittersphere: @thehubswindon

Their website: – and read about them in the Swindon Advertiser.

So for all you cyclists out there this sounds like the place to be. Me personally? I prefer to keep my feet on terra firm and I have enough trouble with that as is evidenced the various losing arguments I have with pavements! 🙁 However,  though I haven’t as yet been in to sample the coffee I’ll do so soon. And I’ll probably blog about it too in this section of Born again Swindonian:

Experience a professional, friendly service and taste great coffee in a unique environment new to Swindon.
Now – over to them:

“We are Steve, Chris and Kerry and @the hub is Swindon town centres first independent cycle cafe. We sell quality bicycles, parts and accessories and also service and repair. The shop also incorporates a quality coffee shop serving locally sourced snacks and sandwiches. Our aim is to  provide a place where people can meet in a relaxed and comfortable environment and have an opportunity to share passions in all things bike and beans (coffee) related.

 The three of us were colleagues at Zurich Insurance in excess of 10 years, and with over 60 years cumulative IT experience, who were then transferred to CSC when Zurich outsourced their IT to the global outsourcing company. From then it was just a matter of time until they off-shored our job roles. And indeed we we were made redundant at the beginning of 2014. 

 So at this point we decided to get out of the IT rat race and start our own business. We set about looking for opportunities in growth industries in sectors we were interested in, and decided a cycle cafe was the way forward. So here we are, a cycle cafe, keen to give a great service and grow our business.

We completed various courses provided by Outset, which gave us a great grounding (no pun intended) understanding, and self confidence, to progress our business idea into a feasible working model. All the staff members we came across very friendly, approachable and professional and they continued to give invaluable help and advice as we completed the courses and pushed forward with the business plan.
For three novices, we found many aspects of trying to get our business off the ground very challenging. We were self funding the entire project in an attempt to lower costs and this meant we had to control every step in the process.  Securing premises proved to be a very frustrating adventure, mostly due to estate agents and landlords seeming lack of interest and even getting a business bank account proved to be a long and painful process.
Outset helped us register and open the company, advised on recomended accountants and generally provided a shoulder to cry on when things weren’t going our way. As part of our 5 year plan, and as one of us is Welsh, we are aiming at a second store in Wales, probably around Newport.”
E2 unwrapped!

E2 unwrapped!

Friday 3rd October

Eggelicious, that purveyor of  wraptastic #slowfoodfast, in the covered market is expanding and their new outlet, E2, in Wood Street will soon be open. And Old Town is, I gather from social media, pretty eggcited about it. I was delighted to be invited to an open evening last night at E2 so this post is largely by way of sharing some photographs of the evening which was great fun.

Eggelicious and E2 is very much a family affair with everyone in the family being involved in the business one way and another. Whether it’s fish marinading, designing flyers or being behind the stove they all contribute to it. Which I think is really, rather great. They are lovely people all of them and they have a lovely team of staff working with them so I’m sure E2 will be a huge success. I certainly hope so. It will certainly add another dimension to the already varied food and drink available in Old Town.

E2 is not quite finished yet but my really rather terrible photos will give you a flavour of what we can all look forward to. The evening concluded with the cutting of yet another fabulous cakey creation from the mixing bowl of Little Miss Cakemaker.

It’s a wrap Jim: but not as we know it!  it's a wrap jim


#swindon #wiltshire #magicroundabout #swindonmagicroundabout #swindonblog #swindon blog #thingstodoinswindon #thingstoseeinswindon #swindonia #swindoniablog #hiddenswindon #aaedits #aaeditorialservices #proofread #proofreading #proofreadingservices #eggelicious #e2 #streetfoodswindon #eggeliciouscoveredmarket #slowfoodfast #slowfoodfast


Wraptastic Eggelicious hatches expansion!

Tuesday 23rd September

I popped into Eggelicious today, as is my wont,  and fell into conversation with an interesting chap who works at the royal commission for hysterical monuments over near STEAM and the Outlet Centre – and there may well be a blog post in there somewhere – but to return to the raison d’être of this particular blog post… Sharing the counter and ‘breaking bread’ with your neighbour is very much what Eggelicious and its new sister ship E2, soon to open in Wood Street, is all about. If you haven’t yet eaten at this establishment and you are more of a frequenter of Old Town than the town centre then you will soon get the Eggelicous experience up there.  If you can’t wait till then – get down to the covered market. You’re unlikely to regret it.

There was a printout of a recent Trip Advisor review of the establishment left on the counter and this very insightful reviewer described the food in Eggelicious as, and I quote, “great fresh soulfull street food priced accordingly, not heartless cheap fast food prepared by robots from a soul-less conglomerate served by zombies who really don’t want to be there”.  Awesome. And so true. Bogbadger you have a great way with words. I salute you!

I’m not going to quote the review word for word – you can find it on Trip Advisor if you’re interested – but suffice to say that it was very well written, insightful and even entertaining.  He/she even brilliantly addressed a couple of previous reviewers, who had, shall we say, been a little less than flattering in their observations about Eggelicious. I particularly liked the cutting riposte to the reviewer who had clearly complained that Ash (the owner) and his staff weren’t wearing gloves to prepare and serve the food. Co-incidentally, wearing my other hat as AA Editorial Services*, I’ve recently been doing some research on food related quotations and who do I find that wrote something oh so very appropriate for this situation? None other than R Will of course:

Romeo and Juliet: Act 4, Scene 2: Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers.

NOT that Ash and his crew lick their fingers! Heaven forfend that anyone think I’m suggesting they do or that they should.  The point being that it’s not a crime against humanity of epic proportions to cook food with bare hands. Does anyone think that, when receiving a plate of exquisitely arranged food in a smart restaurant, it’s been acheived with utensils? Clearly the reviewer in question leaned to that train of thought.

Anyway, the news that we can enjoy Ash’s wraptastic street-food fayre at either end of town has to be good. His garam masala chicken is, quite simply, Ambrosia. I love all his food but that one is my absolute fave flavour. It’s worthy of a last meal for a condemned man.

So all best wishes to Ash and his team with the opening of E2. It will be eggstraordinary I have no doubt. 😉

*Okay, brace yourselves listeners, shameless plug coming up: As I totter around the town visiting and passing by cafes, pubs and what-not I come across – with all-too-depressing frequency – on menus, leaflets, blackboards and the like – apostrophe atrocities, grammar gremlins and punctuation paucity.  Now these may be typos or it  may be that English is not the originator’s first language – there may be all sorts of perfectly good reasons for the errors. But whatever the reasons might be – it doesn’t look good and it really doesn’t give the best impression. So before you send that leaflet to the printer why don’t you get it proofread? It’ll be cheaper in the long-run. Have a look at my website ––  for more information on how I might help you with my proofreading services. Don’t be the restaurant that describes themselves as a ‘dinning experience like no other’. And yes, I’ve actually seen that.


#swindon #wiltshire #magicroundabout #swindonmagicroundabout #swindonblog #swindon blog #thingstodoinswindon #thingstoseeinswindon #swindonia #swindoniablog #hiddenswindon #aaedits #aaeditorialservices #proofread #proofreading #proofreadingservices #eggelicious #e2 #streetfoodswindon #eggeliciouscoveredmarket #slowfoodfast


Dark Room Espresso gaining ground

I have previously mentioned Dark Room Espresso in a recent overview of coffee in Swindon so this post is mainly by way of photos and a shout-out – I know it’s gaining a good reputation. There’s certainly much to delight the coffee lover here and in the plethora of coffee shops around Swindon generally. As they promote themselves as a speciality coffee shop here for the unenlightened – me – is a definition of speciality coffee from SCAE (Speciality coffee association of Europe): “Speciality coffee is defined as a crafted quality coffee-based beverage, which is judged by the consumer (in a limited marketplace at a given time) to have a unique quality, a distinct taste and personality different from, and superior to, the common coffee beverages offered. The beverage is based on beans that have been grown in an accurately defined area, and which meet the highest standards for green coffee and for its roasting, storage and brewing.” 

The coffee shop is located down on Faringdon Rd. It’s a sizeable place having plenty of room for a pushchair or a bike. I really like the style of the place – it’s sort of pared back and stripped down yet still has a cosy feel to it with clever use of lighting and plants. No mean feat that.

The young couple who own and run it are very lovely and friendly. I went in with a friend on their first day of opening and they gave us a particular kind of coffee to sample. Now I rejected this sample immediately as it had liquorice notes to it – and liquorice is one of the few things I absolutely can’t abide. Along with aniseed. *shudders*.  Years ago I recall seeing boiled sweets made of both those things. Really? Why? Anyway, interestingly my friend could not detect the liquorice at all. Andy (I think that’s his name) was telling us they hope to get some papers in (kind of litmus papers I suppose but for tasting) that one puts on the tongue so see what sort of taste buds one has and what flavours one is most likely to pick up. Which would be interesting. I’m sure they could explain the concept much better.

Beyond a croissant I haven’t eaten anything in here as yet so can’t comment personally on the sandwiches and what not on offer but I see favourable comments on social media. Nor do I drink anything other than black coffee – and that’s good – so again can’t comment on any of the other varieties of hot drinks.

The only gripe I have about this cafe, and it’s an age and a personal thing, is that all the seats are hard – and I’m a big fan of some cushioning in a place. 😉  As uber cool as old church pews and wooden stools and all the rest of it are – they aren’t very comfortable. 🙁   The cafe has this fab white-painted table in the window and I love that spot cos it’s light and airy and you can watch the world go by. But oh those stools are hard on the posterior and the spine!  But hey – this is just my personal view and other than that I like it very much.  So all power to their coffee cup! But if they could see their way to installing a comfy chair or two….

Prompted by a comment left on this blog post I asked Darkroom Espresso how they came by the rather intriguing name. Here’s what they said: “we were thinking about the “developing” of various things: community, flavour, ideas. Darkroom cropped up and seemed to stick.”  So there you have it – straight from the Barista’s machine as it were.  I rather like it. The name and the notion behind it. So here’s to their development – preferably with some cushions and comfy chairs for the not so young and not-at-all-cool that still appreciate a good cup of coffee.  😉

But lack of cushions and comfy chairs apart at least I didn’t notice any unfortunate grammatical/spelling/punctuation errors around the place as happens all too often. I’ve always been a tad irritated by such things but, since leaving university and starting my proofreading business, AA Editorial Services, I’ve started to get even more attuned to erroneous apostrophes or even worse, missing apostrophes! It’s enough to put one off one’s Cafe Noir for sure.

#coffee #swindon #coffeeshops #darkroomespresso  #cafeculture # cafelife #swindon #scae #wiltshire #magicroundabout #swindonmagicroundabout #swindonblog #swindon blog #thingstodoinswindon #thingstoseeinswindon #swindonia #swindoniablog #hiddenswindon #aaedits #proofreading #aaeditorialservices

There’s an awful lot of coffee …

… not in Brazil but here in Swindon it seems. There’s bean (see what I did there?) a fair amount of coverage in the local media recently about the number of coffee shops appearing in Swindon. There’s certainly a plethora of Costa outlets. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against Costa and do use them – though I don’t think the coffee is as good as it was when they first appeared on our High Streets – but they’ve sure as hell become ubiquitous. I’m even partial to a McDonald’s coffee if that’s what’s on offer – it’s really not at all bad. But wherever possible I’d rather support an independent. And in such establishments Swindon is especially blessed.

My absolute fave in the town centre for years now has been the Piri Piri on Havelock Street. Now this place has recently changed hands and name and is now called Luso Cafe. It’s still Portuguese and the coffee is still damn good but I’m not entirely sure it’s quite as good as it was. But don’t take my word for it – do try it yourself. I’m also sad that the wonderful Portuguese tapas are no longer available. It seems to be more main meals at lunchtime and that’s it. 🙁   However, everything is a trade-off is it not and the place has had a lovely piff-up and I won’t deny it needed it. It now looks so much smarter. AND there’s a bigger choice of cakes available – not just the Natas – AND they do the Portuguese bread roll thing stuffed with chorizo which I love. Plus the prices are very reasonable. A large black Americano is £1.80 and a Natas is £1.20. Jolly good value indeed methinks.

Another favourite of mine when I’m over near the Outlet Centre is the 2Wins on Rodbourne Road. Another Portuguese establishment, this place has a wonderful selection of home-made (not bought in) Portugues baked goods. It’s worth making the effort to get to.

Currently creating a stir in Old Town is the groovy and hipster Baila Coffee and Vinyl and now we have the newest kid on the block Dark Room Espresso on Faringdon Rd. I haven’t as yet done a proper blog post about them but below are a few photos to give you a flavour. The couple running it are very lovely and I wish them every success.

But of course there are many,many more. Cafe Gusto and Cafe Art in Old Town both have their charms. As do them all and no doubt you’ve all got your own favourites. So here’s to  your coffee cup! May they all flourish and keep Swindon’s ever growing coffee scene full of beans!

Sunday 21st September – Bargain of the week

Yesterday I was out and about roaming around town and Old Town . I’d walked into town from home, a good hour’s walk, so was ready for a cup of coffee by the time I got there. Having heard from a friend that da Paolo Italian delicatessen on Commercial Rd did a good coffee I decided to head there and give it a go. She wasn’t wrong. Now as the name implies this place isn’t a cafe or a coffee shop but an Italian delicatessen selling all sorts of wonderful things. I bought a lovely roll there to take away with me which was stuffed with Parma ham and sun dried tomatoes and lots of splendid things. But as an extra service they do coffee. There’s a little table out on the pavement – okay it’s Commercial Rd not Brussesls but hey – so I sat there with a VERY nice coffee and two delicious little pastry things – see the pictures below – for £1.70. For everything. Yes listeners you heard that correctly. £1.70. So that was £1 for the coffee and £0.70 for the two sweet titbits. Is that great value or is that great value? I am in awe.

 May 2015: and now there’s another new kid on the coffee block in the form of @TheHub  – also clients of Outset Swindon these guys offer a different experience as they are also a cycle repair and retail ship. You’ll find them down on Fleet Street. putting pedal power into your cup:

#coffee, #coffeeshopsswindon #dapaolo #italiandeicatessen

All Natural Aspirations: The Core Kitchen – Raw Menu Taster Evening

All Natural Aspirations: The Core Kitchen – Raw Menu Taster Evening

Well dear listeners, what we have here is a hybrid: a sort of guest post combined with a ‘Press this’ from Rachel’s blog. I recently put out one of my intermittent calls for guest posts for Born again Swindonian to which Rachel responded suggesting I might share this post from her blog about a raw food evening at The Core in Old Town which, according to their website, is a beacon of health and nutrition. I couldn’t possibly comment as I’ve never been – you can make your own mind up about that. Anyway, I digress. As Rachel is local and a blogger and the post in question featured a local, independent establishment – and I’m all for those, I could see no reason why not. So below you will find a link to Rachel’s blog post about the raw food taster evening at The Core.

Rachel is, as the bio on her website explains, a married mum of one with a beautiful little girl who has inspired Rachel to try and live more naturally. It goes on to say:  “I want to keep her away from chemicals and that means we (myself, my husband and my daughter) all try to be as natural as possible! I started this blog and my YouTube channel in early 2013 with this .com website going live at the end of 2013!

I am a very normal person with a reasonably low budget – I pride myself on being completely honest and I will only ever suggest a DIY or more natural option if it is the same or better than the ‘standard’ option.

I don’t think that being GREEN should involve any kind of compromise! I started writing my ideas down because I would tell my friends all about my great findings and they would always want to know more, so I thought why not share it with a wider circle of friends?! Aka the internet!

So, if you are just starting out or are a bit of an ‘expert’ about more natural living you will hopefully find something to interest you here. I am always learning and adapting… Please join me on my journey if you also have All Natural Aspirations!”

And now for the link to Rachel’s blog posts:

All Natural Aspirations: The Core Kitchen – Raw Menu Taster Evening.

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And also:



#swindon #wiltshire #swindonblog  #thingstodoinswindon #thingstoseeinswindon #whattodoinswindon #swindonia #swindoniablog #hiddenswindon #swindonian #swindonia #BAS #bornagainswindonian #thecore #rawfood #juices