Category Archives: Manchester

Coffee and The Kings Ov Leon..Festwich 2012

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Festwich Festival, Manchester

Sunday September 2nd

Joining me- Catherine and Jane

Tip- when drinking out of a plastic cup take the lid off as the heat creates toxins in the condensation which drip back into the cup  ( tip from Jane, backed up with- ‘not an ideal tip when driving down the M25’)

To confirm my point that cappuccino and lattes are common place coffees I saw a coffee stand at Festwich, Sunday. So coffee is now festival chic accompanying Hunter wellies. The last time I went to a festival it would have been a run of the mill filter coffee or tea on a greasy spoon type burger van. Not anymore. Coffee machine and danish pastries.

As bog standard coffees go this was ok and to the masses it was everything a cappuccino should be. It was even described on the chalk board as the ‘frothy’ one. Which as you all know from following me is not what should be there-foam. While waiting a girl walked by with a tasty looking cake. I had to have one with my cuppa.

I hunted out the cake stall. Cake stalls at festivals, who knew coffee and cake was trendy? Apparently at Glastonbury you can even order pots of tea.

Cupcake and cappuccino, sun shining and the dulcet tones of Whole Lotta Led, (a Led Zeppelin tribute band). It had looked like rain so I had layered up with a faux leather jacket. I was sweating! Coffee, sun and pvc don’t mix=sticky.

We made our way into the crowd to see the bands close up . A tribute band festival run every year in St Marys Park. It was hit and miss that we’d even get there when I realised that morning I’d lost the tickets. Not looking like a rowdy bunch they let us in. We eagerly awaited the more up to date generation of music,especially as the members looked pretty dishy. The scruffy student types but the kind who’d show you a good time.

I laughed at times til my cheeks hurt as the conversation deteriorated to the bottomless pits of singledom (too rude to mention) whilst ogling the singer. We decided that we would make great cover band groupies and pledged a promise to following them. One friend has already friend requested Kings Ov Leon on face book texting me at 8.30 this morning with excitement they’d accepted. We thought following cover bands would get us out more and would be much cheaper than the real thing. For me the Frankie Cocozza look a like made me realise this was the way forward. Being with someone with hair like his I wouldn’t worry about looking bad the next morning (my hair has a mind of its own).

A sign of the times however is when one of you wouldn’t be able to head bang due to a ‘bad back’. We won’t be good groupies if one of us puts our back out every time! She knows to wear the back brace next time.

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Single coffee snob…

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As my summer holidays draw to a close I’d like to say a big thank you to all the people who have supported my blog through viewing posts /recommending.  I am currently close to 1000 views which is amazing!

Something which started off as a means of passing my summer holidays has now become a kind of hobby as it  has  opened doors to a whole little coffee world out there.  I had no idea so many people are interested in coffee or coffee shops (they serve tea too!) So what should be drawing to an end is actually only really the start. The  list of coffee places to visit that I  write is ever growing, with more interesting places popping up all of the time. 

I have also become a coffee snob. 6 weeks ago a cappuccino consisted of 1/3 coffee,  the rest froth and topped with a sprinkling of chocolate. And I accepted this. Not now. Not now I have tasted real, delicious coffee, made by people who love making coffee. Do I get impatient if it takes a while to get my coffee? No, because I know that a decent cappuccino is on its way.

So far I have found out

  • chocolate spoils the taste of the coffee-a true barista won’t sprinkle chocolate on top            
  • a great cappuccino fills a cup
  • great coffees have interesting foam art
  • good baristas let the milk settle before adding to the coffee
  • barista is the name of a coffee bar tender.

We drink coffee

  • whilst reading-morning papers, 50 shades, chick lits, emails
  • as a rest bite
  • to pass time whilst waiting for someone
  • to wake up
  • to keep going
  • as a premis for a first date
  • while catching up with friends.

A while ago most cafes sold regular coffee, now a days most sell cappucinos and lattes. It seems that by doing so they can label themselves as a coffee house. Don’t be fooled by this! Some are great little cafes but they don’t sell truly great coffee. Some are not great cafes but have become glorified greasy spoons by the fact they sell cappuccinos and lattes. The real coffee houses are places that serve up great coffee and even specialised tea.  

I started this blog to find interesting cafes/places to have coffee and catch ups. This has changed without me even realising it to finding places which serve great coffee. So because of this I have put 2 categories on my blog-

  1. Recommended- this is for great little cafes/coffee shops

Teacup, NQ, Manchester/Ivy Deli, Monton/Central Perk, Liverpool

  1. Great coffee- this is for places which serve great coffee

HomeSweetHome, NQ, Manchester/ Laynes Espresso, Leeds/ Franco’s Saltaire/North Tea power, NQ, Manchester

There are places I visited that I would not recommend so they did not make it on my blog.

So far top of my list is North tea Power in the Northern Quarter, Manchester. It has a loft apartment feel to it with the stripped floor boards and steel beams. People sip coffee at leisure while chatting, meeting, using lap tops or admiring the latest art gracing the walls. I met my mum and niece in the week and took them there for a brew stop pre shopping spree. My niece’s hot chocolate didn’t last long, the florentine met all of our approval and as always the coffee made me say ‘that’s a great coffee’. My mum liked the place (it was busy inside and out ) and asked me  ‘Have you not pulled here ?’ Even my mum noticed the amount of men who frequent here!

So,  it seems find yourself a great coffee place and men appreciate it too. I’m  thinking drinking coffee while perving over men may be added to the above list soon…who’s joining me?

You’ve been dumped…

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Sunday 26th August

Edge Street Party, Northern Quarter, Manchester.

Joining me-Catherine

I woke to a text from a friend asking if I fancied coffee, cake and a catch up. As if I was going to say no. I knew there was a street party happening in the Northern Quarter Manchester and considering they have great cafes this seemed a good place to meet. A quick stop for food at Simple (fry up) and then into Tib Street. Luckily at this point the rain had stopped and people had began to surface. Gazebos, tables, benches, buskers, buntin, bars, food stalls and dj’s were all out in force. The NQ was not going to be beaten by the rain!

The clouds clearedhref=”https://coffeecakeandme.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/img_0866.jpg”> the roads dried and the sound of funk, soul and dance classics coming from various dj stands dominated the streets. Taking advantage of the sun we sat amongst the crowd and opted for cold fruit cider. It’s through my new venture in the cafe world that I have found out about things going on in cities. You would never think that the places we pop in for a coffee are part of a sub culture of events, art, music and gatherings. I have decided I am part of the foodie/coffee group and it tastes good! With only one week of my holidays left so far following the bean has taken me to cities, street parties, spending time with friends, finding new places and a few dates. It has also turned me into a coffee snob!

Being with someone who doesn’t drink hot drinks places such as Home Sweet Home are perfect. Having a bar in a cafe/coffee shop is a perfect idea. While Catherine opted for a wine I managed to get my coffee fix. Due to the set up of the day cakes were limited. Having spotted someone on another table with what looked like small cakes on a chopping board I thought I’d have what they’re having.

A great coffee arrived and a wooden board, on it a glass of milk and 5 freshly made to order choc chip cookies. Random sized they looked and smelled delicious. They did not disappoint. Warm with crunchy edges and soft moist centres they went down a treat! Milkshakes were popular and looked thick and tasty.

Both being single our meets always involve a catch up on the dating front and familiar situations always crop up. The mobile phone generation has made texting the most common way of communicating. It also makes things very easy. Like rejecting someone. It avoids confrontation or even having to verbally say it to someone or having to get into a conversation about it. But that’s if you’re lucky.

I say this because despite the fact texting makes difficult situations very easy it is growing ever more common to suddenly hear nothing. One minute you’re planning when you’re next seeing them or a first date, the next you send a text and in return you get nothing. Not a cancellation, let’s rearrange or a sorry but I’ve changed my mind. All of those things easy to do over a text or so you’d think but, apparantly not. Or is it? I think it is if you’ve got manners. Ignoring texts is rude and leaves someone on the other end wondering what is going on. This type of behaviour goes on from men despite their age. Not something exclusive to young guys and boys, surely you would expect better from a man in his 40’s? Infact it appears the older the man the worse the problem. This usually is the case when some sort of ‘situation’ is going on at their end. Instead of communicating this with you the contact stops. So, if one minute you’re getting lovely texts but the next you don’t hear from them consider yourself ‘dumped’!

Coffee with Ted and Mark Wahlberg…

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August 19th 2012

Cinema-Ted

The sun had vanished behind clouds and the rain was not for stopping. What to do on a wet Sunday afternoon? Cinema. I would have chosen the new Bourne film but most female friends do not support my love for action. So I agreed to watch Ted. Deciding what refreshments to take in with us the general consensus was coffee.

Most cinemas now have a coffee chain on or next to their premises. I opted for a soya cappuccino and biscuits. While Becky chose nachos and latte, despite the comment ”my ass will regret this tomorrow”. And with that the decorum went out of the window for the next 2 hours.

We took our seats, put drinks in holders (take away coffee fits) and sat in the dark waiting for the film to start. I took these pictures in the dark so couldn’t see what I was taking!

There had been a preview for a new film about a girl getting possessed. It looks good but due to it being a true story it would freak me out but, Becky said she’d love to see it. We all have our own tastes. Then when I saw the picture ( to the left), I was a little taken back . Is it me or is there evil in the eyes? Should I start to get worried? Especially after the conversation on Friday in teacup!

Ted started. I must admit I thought it was going to be one of those films were you’ve seen all the best bits in the trailer but, boy was I wrong. It’s brilliant, none stop laughing out loud from start to finish. Well it was for us. Is it because our sense of humour is completely childish or unacceptable that we found it so funny? I say this because during the whole film there was only me and Becky laughing out loud. The rest of the audience had small sniggers at certain parts. I’m sorry but Marky Mark having his bare ass whipped with a t.v aerial by a teddy is funny. Or maybe it’s because Ted takes things too far that me and my friend related so well with the film.

There’s something about certain friendships where people have a bond and things sometimes just go ‘too far’. Highly amusing to you, possibly not to others. Going ‘too far’ is a catch phrase used often amongst my friends and we all have people as our bars to make us feel better after a ‘too far’ situation. It’s always reassuring to know there’s always someone worse than you. Sometimes it’s from drunken nights, sometimes jokes or going into too much detail about things, or sometimes with the opposite sex. And that’s what happens with John and Ted. Cleverly done, Ted manages to get away with all things un pc and crude. That said, I’d like to clarfiy I’ve never whipped any friends’ ass with a t.v aerial!

Take breaking wind (this pops up a number of times in the film). Everybody does it, but not everybody a) talks about it, b) does it in public or c) does it infront of their other halves. Yet, it’s nothing amongst true friends. And that’s what the film is about, friendship. Good long lasting friendship, that stands the test of time and the ups and downs. There is a part where Ted draws on a body, which is no shock to John. This reminded me of one time at school when me and Becky went too far with luminous pink nail polish and drew pink dots all over our faces and hands. This was nothing to us two, quite funny at the time. Not funny to our teacher , or us for that matter when we realised it would not wash off!.

Iv’e never laughed so much at a film in a long time, it really is a laugh a minute. So badly that I needed a loo break but was frightened I’d miss another good bit (when Mila goes to the coffee shop is your quick 2 minutes only). When we got in the car there was the sound of thunder coming from the seat to my right. I glanced at my friend with the knowing look and carried on talking. And there it is, friendship.

Plucking where at Teacup?…

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August 17th 2012

Thomas Teacup.

Joining me-Tannie and Becky.

A quick walk round the corner and we were at Teacup. My last visit was at the Jubilee party and although it was quiet indoors it was manic outside. The service was shocking -getting our drinks (after asking for them 3 times) after we had eaten and a carrot cake that was dry and crumbled so much it was difficult to eat. But it comes highly recommended and so I was open to try again on an average day.

The large counter adorned with cakes on stands is a feast for the eyes. My picture only shows half of the counter! They even have a cake menu-yes a menu just with cakes, even more than on the counter. No wonder cake lovers love it here.

The service was immediate and helpful. Only serving a one sized cup, which is large, I needed something smaller ie less caffeine. The waitress recommended a one shot flat white. Standard is 2 shots in a small glass with a layer of foamy milk. Ordered with pear cake.

It was just what I needed. Served in a small glass was like a cross between a latte and an americano. To be honest it didn’t taste much different from a latte but I’m sure it would with the standard 2 shots in it. One to try earlier in the day. The pear cake didn’t last long . You know when something is good, it goes quiet. Tannie was happy. I was much more impressed this time now Teacup goes into my recommended category.

Becky joined us and somehow the conversation got onto the subject of murderers. I should have known mixing someone studying forensic psychology and someone with an obsession of notorious murderers was going to lead to table talk delving in sexual depravity. How could I not ? This conversation went on a while (we needed to eat again so moved to an eatery down the road). What was worrying was the fact the obsessive knew more than the one studying. She even proudly spoke of how she has visited areas linked to some murders. Thankfully she went on to discuss her fascination was with why people do these horrific crimes. O.k she did also talk knowledgeably about what they did, but I’m not feeling scared in her presence , just yet. From the conversation what I did realise about my friend is that 1) she knows what not to do (so you don’t get caught) 2) she’d plea mentally insane and 3) she reads some twisted articles before she goes to sleep.

From murderers the conversation shifted to the topic of hair removal. Becky explained the procedure she’s recently had for permanent hair removal. Tears to eyes springs to mind, apparently it’s sensitive on the shin area. I didn’t like the sound of having to pluck the dying hairs. Sorry but the thought of tweezers in the nether regions does not appeal to me. Becky had a simpler solution, sellotape. Easier to find than masking tape but not as harsh. I suppose it’s waxing with sellotape. Like de fuzzing clothes but de fluffing the body.

As the numbers start to rise you want to keep yourself nice and neat and not just for the obvious reasons,. Keeping on top of your game, being prepared is paramount. Hair goes grey everywhere. ”I’m not putting nice and easy there” and with that we all nodded. Well what can you say?

And that is the beauty of women’s conversations-the ability to one minute be talking about murderers and the next be talking bikini waxing!

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Florentine heaven at North Tea Power…

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August 17th 2012

Joining me-Tannie

North Tea Power, Northern Quarter, Manchester

Friday coffee and cake is becoming the new friday club. It used to consist of 4 of us meeting for tea and then ending up in a late one and a bad head the following morning. Now it’s become a civilised affair with a love of feeling ‘normal’ the next day, that’s not to say wine won’t be involved again. Tonight North Tea Power was on the agenda to try.

A comfortably sized coffee shop with an urban feel of steel posts and large wooden tables. I really like the feel of the place as although it wasn’t busy you could imagine it as a great place to get chatting to people due to its sociable layout-benches, large central wooden table and outdoor seating. The previous night it had showcased an artist’s pictures ( I found this out through following NTP on twitter) which tells me this is not just your run of the mill 9-5 coffee shop.

To Tannie’s disappointment the cake options were very slim, just the remains of the day on the counter. I on the other hand was not ,large florentines were staring right at me! A choice of alcoholic drinks also available and a light bites chalk board. I ordered my usual (cappuccino) and a florentine and Tannie opted for a sandwich and a small latte. She needed to re fuel after an afternoon exam (psychology, so not so easy-going). The drinks took a short while to arrive which was a good sign as the longer it takes to make a drink the better it tastes. I realised I had not said I didn’t want chocolate on but when the coffee came none had been put on, again a good sign.

The coffees were lush, falling into my great coffee category, which fills the criteria of no bitter afer taste, dense foam like topping and a full cup. The florentine was the best I’ve ever tasted and plenty of it. There are a number of people who choose to sit outdoors so, being checked on by staff could tempt people to have more than the one cup.

We had one small problem. Tannie hadn’t had her cake fix and considering she had just finished her exams she deserved a little of what she wanted. I agreed to give Teacup another try.

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Getting caught short on the way to Home Sweet Home

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Joining me-Tannie, Wirish

Home Sweet Home

Tip-If in Italy and you want your cappuccino hot instead of luke warm you ask…’troppo caldo’

My cake friend was around and my plans were cancelled -it was my mum’s 60th but she cancelled going out as her dog has been sick and she now thinks it’s dying and wanted to look after it 😦 It was a warm relaxed evening and due to the amount of rain we have been getting I wanted somewhere to ‘sit out’. I met friends at a large bar and after having some food we all agreed we wanted afters.

As we walked to an area where we would be likely to get this we passed a small clothes shop. Wirish spotted a bargain pair of shoes in the window and in seconds we were in. We easily got carried away on the bargain rails and before you could say grab a bargain we were in the changing rooms. There was a dress for £20 which in my local shop is selling for 3.5 times that price! Wirish struck up conversation with the shop owner , we knew she was after something, having got him on side she then laid it on him-she needed the ladies. He looked a little taken back but knew he was in a loose loose situation. She then disappeared through hanging clothes to a door to his make shift loo. It reminded me of a scene from Mr Ben. When ya gotta go you gotta go. Hand sanitiser was needed!

If this wasn’t bad enough for the poor guy after rummaging through our purses we then didn’t have enough money for the cost of the items! The very nice man let us have them at discount, or should I say at the money we had, I think he wanted us out of the shop asap. I didn’t feel too bad as I think he was making the prices up as he went along. How do you end up going for a brew at 8pm and end up with shoes, playsuits, jeans and dresess by 8.20pm?

Our requirements were possibly wine , cake, tea and coffee and only one place came to mind…Home Sweet Home. This week it was less busy and the music was more obvious but still there was a nice laid back atmosphere. We found out it serves food til 10pm and is open til 12 so a great all-rounder for food and drinks. Wirish highly recommended the sweet potato fries and the milkshakes.

A large pot of tea, cappuccino, carrot cake and brownies later and the conversation had moved onto Wirish telling us about a wine tasting experience. Now Wirish likes her wine so being sent there didn’t feel like work to her. With 52 types on offer she was in her element. In her words ”it did not end good”. This reminded me of something else which had variety and wasn’t going to end good. 50 shades. We thought her blog could be 52 shades of red..I’m sure it would be just as entertaining!!

We left bags in hand, pleased with our little purchases and ready for a weekend in the sun. This evening the bean led me to a cute little playsuit and jeans and the best cappuccino anywhere (so far). Where will it lead me next?