Common Ground

There is an unsaid common ground that comes from the bitterness of a morning coffee, something that people who would otherwise be miles apart can find solidarity in. It is the mundane of the daily routine, of the commute or the school run or the library session. It springs to the forefront of people’s minds as they awake to the world. It connects you to strangers, to the neighbour you see through their kitchen window as they finish their final sip before rushing out the door, to the person sat next to you on the train with their takeaway cup as you hurtle towards the city, to the barista you see every morning in all of your moods as they hand over your steaming lifeline.

It’s simplicity brings us together beyond the mornings, past the sleepy thoughts and into the challenges of the day. Into the afternoon meetings, the catch up with an old friend, the ‘would anyone like a coffee?’ at the end of a dinner party. It’s an ongoing feature, a comfort, a necessity, a habit, a treat. Communities form themselves around it as though it’s the heart, it pulls people towards a fleeting shared moment in the madness of their days.

I know I’m romanticising again but I’m in awe of the abundance of something so simple, of the daily presence of it in the lives of so many, lives that are so individual and far apart but not really. I’ve been thinking about this on my morning tube journey, we get the same trains, shop at the same places, cook the same things, read, watch and listen to the same things, drink the same things. There is simultaneously a world of similarities and differences within all of us. How wonderful.

Coffee

I like coffee. I’ve mentioned this before, but now I’m doing a whole post on it. You’ve been warned.

I thought I’d share some of my favourite coffee spots in Leeds and slightly beyond. I’m surprised I’m doing this, I remember a time when we’d moan as mum dragged my siblings and I from cafe to cafe for ‘research’, but here we are.

North Star Coffee Shop and General Store

North Star – Leeds

Slightly out of the city centre, North Star is down by the docks. They roast their own beans and send them out across the city but it is worth visiting their shop. I’d recommend the cardamon and caramel blondie (trust me) and getting there and back via the free water taxi from the train station.

Kapow – LeedsScreenshot 2018-10-26 at 21.31.33

Tucked away in Thorntons Arcade is Kapow coffee, small but very very good coffee, they know what they’re doing. Everytime.

LS6 – Leeds

Primarily known for it’s brunch, LS6 is popular among students, so it can be heaving at midday on a Saturday. However, the coffee is not to be overlooked, rich, but not bitter, and very creamy.

IMG_2665Cafe 164 – Leeds

Again, slightly out of the way, Cafe 164 is down past the bus station and connected to the much loved Bakery 164. Cafe 164 hosts North Star beans and always has an exhibition going on inside, the coffee is good too (obviously). They’ve worked out ways to be one of the best, for example, they froth their almond milk with the coffee to avoid curdling, clever stuff.

Wolfox – Leeds

Down by the train station, Wolfox are another one who roast their own beans. They’ve got a nice big space, lovely staff and some great food too.

Locke’s – Jersey

New to the coffee shop scene in Jersey this summer, Locke’s is owned by a local couple who are making sure Jersey can compete with the mainland’s coffee shops. And they’re succeeding. Great crockery, great people and obviously, great coffee.

IMG_2287

The Kiosk – Bedford

Last but by no means least, The Kiosk, where I was introduced to coffee. The reason for all mum’s ‘research’. Small but lovely, especially when I’m working. If the weather is too rubbish there’s always The Pavilion near by.

So there are my recommendations, if you’ve got any of your own please send them my way.

Instagram: @IndiaGarrett

Twitter: @IndiaGarrett

 

Work

I write to you from the other side of summer. Where alarms go off at 7.30 and coats are worn and day drinking is met with a more hostile attitude. For the past week I have been a working girl, spending my days gaining experience and insight of the real world, and I shall continue to do so for the next two weeks. Because there is barely anyone around to share the events of my days with, I thought I’d do so with you.

Some people say knowledge is power. I disagree. Having a recognisable company’s email domain is power. I get great joy from sitting at my desk writing adult emails knowing the reader has no idea that, despite the official looking signature and my sassy tone, I have no authority and my account will in fact be deleted in two weeks. I’ve had people give me their ‘sincerest apologies’ and tell me ‘not to hesitate to contact them with any further queries’. Sometimes I reply just to say ‘many thanks’. It is amazing how much more respect you’re given when people can’t see that you actually look like a fifteen year old.

The lunch break is a tricky area to navigate. Firstly there is the issue of when you take it. I’m normally ready at about 11.30 but I feel like I’d get a few judgemental looks from the rest of the office if they saw me heading off with my sandwich at that time. The difficult decision comes at 12ish. I have to choose whether I want to have lunch then and return to a longer, sometimes seemingly endless, afternoon or whether to push through until 1 so that I can return to my desk knowing that only a few short hours remain. In my experience the latter option is the one to go for. And remember, snacks are your friend. Secondly comes the issue of what to have. I would love to skip off to Pret everyday but unfortunately my bank balance doesn’t allow it. Instead I make a sandwich the night before and grab an apple, not quite the same but does the job. If you find it’s not filling enough, drink plenty of water. Your colleagues may become concerned about how often your toilet breaks are but at least you’re not hungry.

I’m now prepared for the question that’ll come twice a day, mid-morning and mid-afternoon like clockwork. ‘Do you want a cuppa?’. Entirely well meant, but for someone who is quite fussy with their tea (only green or mint, two thirds hot water, a third cold) it can cause mild anxiety. I find it best to assume that the only tea on offer is breakfast so in my case, I politely decline the offer. However as the week went on and the declines mounted up, I felt an air of curiousity surround my neighbouring desks, as if my colleagues had met someone from a strange land, and I knew there would be a follow up question the next time I declined. ‘So, do you not like hot drinks?’. I find it best to just say ‘not really’ rather than ‘I do, I’m just high maintenance’ and proceed to bore them with my beverage preferences (please see a picture of said preference in the header image).

The biggest hurdle of the day actually comes after I leave the office. On my walk home, I pass right through the town centre…not ideal for someone with no money and limited self control. I don’t think there was one day this week when I was home on time. I don’t know why, the shops were the same everyday.

So far it’s gone well, nice people and no major disasters, but I’ll keep you updated….

Instagram: @IndiaGarrett

Twitter: @IndiaGarrett

P.S Apologies for the lack of pictures, the only thing I could think of that would be relevant was iStock images of offices and no one wants to see that.