Category Archives: Recommended

The dating game…

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A lovely afternoon was planned to be spent on the park joining in the celebrations in Preston of Guild 2012. Blaze festival on Miller Park was one of many events of the past week. Prepared with 3 different outfits (I’d stayed at Catherine’s) due to the ever changing weather, I’d decided on the wrong one. Shorts and T didn’t match the clouds and breeze! It had been a fantastic week of events ( so everyone said) including opera, music, drama, vintage and outdoor cinema. This was the final day and was a small affair. Getting hungry we ventured for food.

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I felt a little out of place when we decided on moka for food and drinks. The shorts were pretty short and not helped by faux leather seats under the bottom.. Sweating makes denim stick! A modern cafe bar serving the usual sandwich meals and a glass cake display which got our attention straight away. We were hungry so we were staying.

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As we sat eating our food we caught up on the latest from the dating websites. Both on a very large, free dating site there is always something to talk about. The fact it’s free means it attracts all sorts, which is what provides the topics of conversation.

This means it does 4 things for your confidence-
1. Demoralises it as people so unsuited to you get in touch and leaves you wondering.. why?
2. Boosts it because there’s a handsome man messaging you
3. Plummets it again when you realise they’re far too young -you then see further pictures of them amidst a group of young boys on a night out looking like they’re waiting to be picked up by their dad!
4. Freaks you out when you get abuse from strangers or end up with a certified stalker like my sister (thankfully he’s now been arrested!)

Today I hadn’t checked in in a while so I did it so we could both see. This is what awaited me…

Ridiculous names
This is popular in my inbox. Recents have been called
Div head,
Mr Magoo,
Nohillbilly,
Oosohot,
Nuttynuke,
Geebies,

Any grown man who chooses such names are deleted without reading. I’m sorry but how grown up are these guys with names like these?

Repeat offenders

These men have messaged me, then again, then again, then again etc. I have a note on my profile saying ‘ if I don’t reply happy fishing and please don’t contact me again’. So why do they message again? One guy has sent 8 up to now, his last one asking ‘ am I not right for you?’.. Erm what do you think?! I’ve had the experience of being polite and saying thanks but no thanks and guys saw that as a response. So it’s best not to respond , not out of rudeness but avoidance tactics.

Varied choice of photos

Men don’t see themselves as women see them. This is obvious by the choice of photos they choose to sell themselves. I’m sure lots of women want to see a toned body and some (including myself) like tatoos but close ups? Not needed. Neither do I want to date a crayon, dog or a car!

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Randoms
Then there’s the ones who want to-dominate, a slave, be dominated or have issues and want to watch you with someone else. One thing these guys have is honesty. At least you know what they’re after and time wasting is avoided.

cheesy messages

The initial message. I’m happy with a simple hi. It breaks the ice and gets the ball rolling although some object to the simplicity. I on the other hand object to-
You fancy a grizzle bear?
Ooo nice,
Yes please,
Not bad last prize,
Hmmm grrrr.

We laughed so much I spat coffee, which in Catherine’s words- “I felt that”,landed on her chin! What’s a droplet of coffee between friends laughing so much our cheeks hurt?

Thank goodness the food was great and the cake even better! Just the thing to make you feel better and get your priorities in order.

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Sefton Park Food Festival 2012…

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Saturday 1st September

Sefton Park, Liverpool

Following the bean is turning me into a bit of a foodie. Drinks and food kinda go hand in hand hence coffee and cake. Following this rule I am starting to take note of food festivals which are cropping up all over the place.

My first of the year (I say first as I intend there to be more) was Sefton Park Food festival 2012. I first came across Sefton park a few months ago while dating someone who lived in close proximity to said park. Just out of Liverpool centre it is a lovely place to go walking, sit and while away the hours in the sun (when we get it!) or sit and hear a band playing in the band stand. On a weekend there is 2 little cafes open by the lake, today the fields behind were sectioned off and rife with people all ready for a day of eating and drinking in the sun.

There were stands from all kinds of eateries in the Liverpool area such as Bem Brazil and Jamie’s, mixed in with stands with wine, local produce and spirits, all with reasonable prices. Just shows the difference having your food served up on a paper plate makes! Samples of wine, chocolate, bread and oils, cheese and old school cordials were sampled with no arm twisting involved! The chocolates tasted as good as they looked. The detail on them was beautiful making them too nice to eat… but that’s what they’re there for!

A singer had no problem getting the crowd to sing along to classics from the likes of snow patrol. I think at this point in the day the wine and cider consumed was helping. Behind, a small central section was devoted to coffee houses. Back to back stands, anyone in the coffee culture was there. Our friends at Central Perk had their quirky personalised cups while Bold Street Coffee had their unique brownies.

As Bold Street Coffee is said to be THE place to get coffee in Liverpool I thought I would get my cappuccino there. While waiting I was intrigued by their selection of brownies on the counter- goats cheese, pistachio and even topped with bacon! Not appealing but Tannie wanted to try something new so opted for the goats cheese. The Barista informed me it was raspberry flavoured, this still did not tempt me and bacon on top, wrong!

I must say the fact my cappuccino came in a paper cup and was one of the best coffees I’ve ever had says a lot. The care was still there even down to the foam art. We sat in the sun amidst others enjoying their food and drinks and tucked into our purchased cakes and satisfying coffees. Discussing trying new foods Tannie told me of her experience with a truffle salad in Milan. Chocolate in salad? I asked. No- an expensive salad due to the fact the truffle is from inside a tree trunk which has to be sniffed out by dogs. I had never heard of this but eating bits of bark in my leaves was not something I would be trying. What I found out the next day is that truffle is a delicacy and is actually a fungus on trees and is sniffed out by a pig. I don’t know what sounds worse Tannie’s version of truffle or the real one!

The day drew to a close at 6pm. Not quite ready for evening food and not ready to call it a day there was only one thing to do…go for a coffee!

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’!

Toy boy anyone?…

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25th August 2012

Saturday morning and there’s only one thing that will do…a good cup of coffee and a bacon buttie. It was a sunny morning so I took a walk  and ordered my coffee and bacon roll. The deli was busy and the smell of fresh coffee and the sound of the coffee machine filled the air. I selected a magazine from the rack and took a seat outside . It was one of those gossipy mags which one minute is saying someone has a great figure and the next is saying they’re fat. You know the type, we all loathe them really as they’re bitchy and selling a lifestyle which is unrealistic to most ‘normal’ people yet we succumb to them.

While I waited for my breakfast I read the usual tripe that is probably untrue. The bit that caught my attention was a small piece about Jude Law 39 dating a model who’s 26. Then there was an interview with Peter Andre (39) gushing about how great his 23 year old girlfriend is and what interesting conversations they have. As I tucked into my food I thought- Why is it totally acceptable for a man to date a younger woman, in some cases much younger? Yet, there are plenty of raised eyebrows when it’s the other way round.

Having said that the real issue for me is I don’t understand why they want to date someone so much younger. Take away the obvious- the girls look good, their skin is tighter and it give the guys an ego boost, what do they actually have in common?

I mean I couldn’t imagine turning up to meet friends with a 23 year old man in tow. Yes I’m sure he’d look good and I’d expect his stomach to be toned and trim but conversation mmm that’s a different matter. I would be dreading what he might come out with!

I’m not being judgemental I’m actually speaking from experience. Having been on the singles scene (well am) I see many young people out and about. The girls are very pretty with the barbie doll look and the boys look after themselves, were many men over 35 fail to do so. So what do you do when you’re the wrong side of 35 (ahem) amidst handsome young men? You think why not.

I went through a phase were I thought it would be rude to not enjoy myself . So depending on my age at the time I would minus an average of say 15 years (age old enough to have a baby) and I’d get my lowest age for a man I could date. And with that I had some dates with men in their early 20’s, mid 20’s and late 20’s. They were nice to look at but conversation proved hard work at times.

  • I realised songs they liked I’d heard first time around.
  • I’d sit thinking eg when I was 18 experiencing Ibiza playing Adamski and Seal you were just starting primary school.
  • I’d look around their eyes at their line free face and then be conscious of mine.
  • I hated being called ‘babe’ or ‘baby girl’. Cringe.
  • It bugged me how much time they spent texting.
  • Most lived at home with their mums still. Turn off. What do you do, go round and sit in with their mums?
  • When they talked about their weekends I’d remember doing those things but now would have a 3 day hanogover or I’d rather be sick through my eyes than do it.
  • One kissed me like he was trying to get something out of the back of my throat. His tongue was hard and like a snakes, it was truly awful. I pulled away with a look of ‘what are you doing?’
  • They just came across ‘young’.

I honestly don’t know how Caroline Flack did it. And I know boys are more immature than girls but having male single friends and seeing what they go through then I really can’t see much difference. If they’re playing games , wanting lots of wining and dining, turning up for a dvd night in heels and a dress or coming round but spending nearly all night on their phone , then they’re a young girl. You can spot it a mile off (there are always exceptions).

So what do these older men and young women talk about? I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the Peter Andres house. Or do they not care? In a world were we hear more and more that age is just a number, is it really? More women are dating younger men and why not? But is it not nice to have things in common with a partner? Or at least know most things they are talking about. Would a date who’s 25 share my love of Mork and Mindy or be able to sing along to The best of Tear for Fears? I know you don’t have to have everything in common but you get my point?

If anyone has a younger other half and it works I’d love to hear or just share your stories…
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Coffee with ‘Friends’ at Central Perk…

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 20th August 2012

Central Perk, Liverpool

Joining me- Tannie

Having a longing to go to New York and yes do the sights I was looking forward to my cake and coffee at Central Perk. Arranged like the cafe in the Friends series, this is a novelty to visit and meets the requirements of my friend-comfy sofas. 2 satisfied customers should be leaving!

We took our places on a large comfy sofa and armchair. Arranged in sections with tall tables and stools, reminiscent of the sit com. There was a relaxed vibe with an American feel. Links were everywhere to the characters such as Chandlers classic- a speciality coffee and the wifi password- smelly cat. Our latte, cappuccino (sm, med and lg options) chocolate button cupcake and white chocolate cheese cake arrived. They looked great. It wasn’t long after the plates were empty. Tannie let out a ‘mmmm’ as she delved into the cheesecake, one spoonful later and I knew why. They were delicious. Moist, melt in the mouth and moreish. The coffees were also satisfying without being bitter and a full cup.

There was a buzz around us as young coffee enthusiasts, couples and friends all relaxed whilst tucking into their refreshments. It seems that coffee and cake go hand in hand here. Refreshments are written on chalk boards and in keeping with the American feel soda, Hershey bars and cupcakes are on the menu. While Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe and Ross go about their business on  the 2 large tv screens in frames on opposite walls.

It was a very hot afternoon but the cafe was cooled with drawn back windows. This place does not feel like your usual coffee shop. It is very informal and different. There didn’t seem much else happening outside around it but it definitely is attracting attention.

For an hour I pretended  New York had come to me. A lovely time was spent here and I would call again . Central Perk goes on my recommended list. If you’re a Friends fan you should try it at least once.

One of my other reasons for visiting Liverpool was to see the Monet exhibition at the Tate Gallery. Let’s be honest there was really only one picture I had in mind that I wanted to see. The Water Lilies. This is one of the pictures as a student I had on my walls in my grotty student digs. I was excited to ‘see it in the flesh’ so to speak.  As I walked to the gallery I sat on a bench facing the Mersey and thought what a great city. The hustle and bustle a stones throw away from the docks filled with culture and the Liver Building stand proud in the sunshine.

The last  time I visited the Tate there was an exhibition of a video of someone being sick. This is called modern art. I don’t understand it. Each to their own but there’s something about this type of modern art that I think is a little pretentious and I’m sorry but I don’t get the appeal. Today did not persuade me otherwise. On the first floor I saw small Monet paintings the rest was on the 4th floor so,  I worked my way up through the gallery. On floors 2 and 3 Conversation pieces was the title. One picture was a red square on white canvas. That’s it. Would it be on a wall if I’d painted it? Which I could have.  I work with primary children and they could do that .  The information said ‘colour takes on a life of its own’, really? It’s still just a red square on a white canvas. Another piece was a coat hanger covered in mod roc, surely not difficult? And the pier de resistance- a pile of clothes and personal belongings (phone, money)in a corner. Apparently an artist stripped naked and someone collected his clothes. Now they are ‘art’. In that case I have a great deal of fortune in my bedroom as I leave a pile of clothes on my floor on a regular basis. And I would advise anybody to keep random drawings your children do as you will find some very similar basic representations hanging from walls in established galleries. Frame them and sell them!

Isn’t art open to interpretation? Then mine is that sometimes people make something out of something it’s not. As I reached the final floor I truly appreciated art. There before me were beautiful works of art.  First Irises,  tall and strong then,  as I turned the corner, Water Lilies. Covering an entire section of wall in all its glory. Not hiding behind a frame I went as close as I possibly could. Able to see the raised movements of the paint it was so tempting to feel and had there not been so many people around I think I may have tried to get a quick sneaky touch. It was calming and soothing. I sat on a bench facing and admired. And to my right and my rear further smaller Lilies pieces.

Now that’s art.

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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