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The simplicity of coffee and a cake

I love a coffee and a cake.  That is one of the main reason I started this blog.

I have always had a fairly busy life, working long hours during the week, trying to fill up every weekday evening as much as possible and making the most of every single minute at the weekend.  For me, this works, and I have found a balance between, work, play and me-time, but for a while, my lifestyle was unsustainable.  I would be on the go so much that I would find myself just unable to cope with life because I was so tired, so I would  retreat into myself for a while, before jumping back wholeheartedly into the same lifestyle.  I found that for me it wasn’t that I was working too much or that I was doing too many activities, but that I was getting enough time to myself.  Yes, I would sleep and if I didn’t get enough sleep one night, I would have caught up by the end of the week, but I wouldn’t have just 45 minutes to myself to sit and think.  I was missing out on me-time, to plan things, to set goals, to realise how much I had achieved, to be happy about the small things.  When I was at school studying for my GCSE’s and then my AS and A levels, if I ever got stressed about either studying, or just with noise in the house (generally from my little sister he he), my Mum would suggest that I go to our local village hotel and sit in the cafe attached to the gym and study there with a hot chocolate – or two or three; she would send me there with some change for hot chocolates and I found this environment strangely conducive to being productive.  This, I think is where my love for cafe culture began to grow.

A few years ago I bought myself a notebook and vowed to book in more time for me and not feel guilty about it.  Now, I always have loved a cafe, from when I was young and my Mum, for a treat, used to take my sister and I into Druckers in Coventry for a gingerbread man and Mum would have a cup of tea and a nibble of our gingerbread men.

For me, cafes are a safe, relaxed environment where you can spend time in a group chatting, but wont look out of place alone, reading a book.  There has been increasing evolution within the cafe industry over the last decade; cafes have become a much more fashionable hangout than when I was younger, when the average client would be popping in before they collected their pension for a cup of tea and a slice of Victoria sponge cake.

Gone are the days when the only place you could get a takeaway coffee from would be a large chain like Starbucks or Costa; Now, independent coffee shops are springing up all over the place, each with their own unique identity and this is what I like to explore.  Some have book swaps available or just shelves full of books that you can read whilst you cosy up with a drink and a cake.  Other cafes have board games (I love this!), or vintage posters, intriguing decor, some have shops attached and may sell crystals or something completely unrelated to coffee, some are  part of grand stately homes, like the one at Highclere House (Where Downton Abbey was filmed), some cafes have the friendliest or most knowledgable barristers and for some cafes, their unique selling point is the coffee itself, be that fully fair trade, organic or super strong; my point is that all cafes have their own unique culture and deserve to be explored.  And it’s not just the independent cafes and smaller chains that I love; I love a Starbucks for the music and atmosphere, a Costa for their aromatic coffee or a Cafe Nero for their Banana and walnut loaf cake like the next person, I just try to choose smaller chains or independent cafes over these large chains.

I always want a cafe to be a place that a young man can sit in alone and work, that my Nan could go to alone and feel at ease, that a group of schoolchildren can enjoy a fruit smoothie in, that businessmen and women can pop to at lunch time.  For me, the best type of cafe is one that is completely inclusive and of course sells great coffee and cakes!

My relaxation time is a trip to a cafe and the indulgence of a coffee and a cake.  The stronger the coffee, the better 🙂  What are your opinions of a coffee and a cake?  Do you like to work in cafes from time to time or do you find them distracting? Id love to hear!

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