A Devil Of An Idea

After attending my Cocktails in Care-homes induction last night (more to come on that after my 1st party next week) it felt fitting to go have a drink, the first place my gal pal and I came across in Bethnal Green happened to be called Satan’s Whiskers, so this triggered a memory of some fab coffee in Barcelona at Satan’s Coffee Corner and another of a rooftop bar I happened across on Instagram last week; they liked a pic, I liked their name – Naked for Satan.

So what’s with all these satanically named hipster joints? Is it now cutting-edge-cool to stroll over to the dark side sipping a Manhattan or organic coffee? It got me thinking, and Googling. When I searched more broadly, using names affiliated with the devil and Lucifer, the food and beverage offerings are (almost) eternal.

Hmmm I’m curious? Is it just a backlash to the terror most of us were instilled with as kids, face the fear and give it the finger by naming a bar, beverage or food joint after it? Am I drawn to such irreverent establishments because I’ve unwittingly signed up to burn in hell through some mean thought or perhaps because I swear too much?

What worries me is that I’ve really enjoyed my libations within Satans not-so-fiery abodes.  Am I a bad bad girl?  Oh well, I think the damage is probably done now so no point worrying about it.

There are pages and pages of venue’s on t’internet but these are my favorites:

  • Lucifer Fondue – Great idea, fondue is probably what every tortured soul in Belgium needs.
  • Naked for Satan – ‘Er, it’s not what it looks like, I’m naked for Satan!’ Read the story behind the name on their website its totes endearing. Oh and if you’re in Melbourne, check it out!
  • Satans Whiskers – no witty segue just lovely staff, gorgeous cocktails, uber cool vibe.  #IheartLondon
  • …and of course, the one that started all this Satan’s Coffee Corner in Barcelona

For the record, I’m not into satanic worship and no cute fury animals were sacrificed in the writing of this post – although there was that chicken, for lunch.

Laters navigators. x

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Bathing in the Waves

I took a chance and dipped my toes into the new experience pool with this novel way to spend a Friday night:

When life permits a Vinyasa Yoga class at Islington’s Life Centre floats my boat, and whilst perusing a recent newsletter  an advert for ‘Oasis of Sound with Anne Malone and guests’ tweaked my interest button.

After a beautiful stroll from work on a lovely spring evening I was already in a pretty happy place but new things still give me a flutter of apprehension. I entered the class dressed in loose stretchy clothing with newby-dither, Anne noticed and greeted me with soft words, held hands and warmth – ok, tone set.

First task was getting as comfortable as I could with the aid of bolsters, blankets and wheat filled eye masks on the double layered yoga matts that were pre-laid; one couple even made a bed with a layer of bolsters – proper chill-fest, this I can handle.

After that Ann had us all group around the singing bowl which was filled with water and ‘sung’ to indicate what happens to the water within your body when you add sound vibrations. Basically, it’s a bit of a shakeup of those negative tense parts that should settle back down in to a more relaxed mode after a loosen up. We dipped our finger in the bowl to feel the vibes – hmmm, I’m thinking this could be ‘interesting’ but I’m still not sure if that a good or meh? thing.

Right, now down to business – lay back, relax, eye mask on and cosy toasty. Soothing wide spectrum sounds piped through the high-quality speakers, gorgeous Sanskrit vocal layers, sub bass rumbles, mid and high tones loud enough to feel through your body. This class is aptly named, it feels like a sound bath, my head and hands were tingling.

With senses heightened though lack of sight and the music and vibrations cascading around and through me I let go of the week, my worries, my insecurities and let myself be everything and nothing in the moment. After a while (I lost all sense of time) one of the guest helpers laid her hands on my shoulder’s and performed Reiki. It was a loving and gentle experience, an exchange of energy, though if I’m honest I’m probably a little uptight and on the fence to fully appreciate its benefits. In my head I was thinking ‘am I doing this right? What’s expected of me right now?’. Touch, like massage, is intimate and this was pure and lovely. That’s all you really need to know, whether you’re a believer in reiki or not.

Anyhoo, I digress. Throughout the first part of the class each person had the singing bowl laid upon their chest or solar plexus area and sung to with it. It’s a unique and wonderful experience to have the vibrations move so directly through you. I don’t think it would be right to go into too much detail about the rest of the class, part of the joy is in the unexpected sound sensations, but there were lots of lovely surprises.

I’m not sure if this resonated so profoundly with me because I’m a singer and I was really impressed on that level or because of latent hippy tendencies but I guarantee this wont be my last fix.

I left feeling like I’d had a tune up – completely chilled, uplifted and open. There was a nice mix of first timers and regulars; afterwards I forgot my usual reticence and chatted with my fellow soundscape travellers, sharing a complimentary gluten free brownie and a cuppa.

Going in my fears were ‘what if this is one of those cringe-worthy experiences where we dance around singing, clapping and chanting’ Well, it was kinda like that (though no dancing – phew!) except all the things that I’d feared were nothing to be afraid of and felt right at the time.

A couple of days later and I’m still feeling the benefits. Long may they last.

Have a listen to Anne’s Soundcloud page and there’s even an App (just look up Anne Malone in iTunes), if you’re truly converted Anne teaches at Yoga Campus.

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Holy Heck, What a Coffee Spot!

Is that the face of Jesus in my cuppa? Nah, its just divine coffee.

I was waxing lyrical to a colleague about my amazing experience @ MacIntyres, one thing lead to another and the very next lunch break I’m on the discovery trail. Hello Host!

Granted it’s not quite in the same artisan coffee realm as Mac’s, but for unique gorgeousness, zen vibes, bloody decent coffee in a quiet spot in the middle of the city…well, I think you’d be hard pushed to beat Host…and if you can I would LOVE to hear from you.

Set in the beautiful St Mary Aldermay Church (which I’ve walked straight past dozens of times on the way to Jetmans work place) Host gives new meaning to contemplative cuppa.

From the outside you’d be forgiven for confusion, perhaps assuming it was a mothers group type hang out with watered down insipid offerings, but you’d be the loser for being so judgy.

Artisan Cakes, great coffee, nice staff, the smell of old wood that’s like a hug from the big man Himself (kinda), stained glass windows, soaring ornate ceilings and one mighty organ – I’m sold.

This stressed out city worker has found a new hideaway. Try it! …or don’t, I’m happy to keep this haven for those in-the-know select few.

Laters navigators. x

Host Address: St Mary Aldermary Church, Watling St, London EC4M 9BW
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 07.30 – 16.30 (closed Saturday/Sunday)

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Like many antipodeans I love a good flat white (or macchiato, when feeling in need of a proper kick) so great coffee shops are like….I’m sitting here stumped trying to find appropriately effusive language to convey how much they mean to me, let’s just say they are better than gold, diamond’s and pearls. That good.

While on my way to the hairdressers in Islington I came across Macintyre Coffee.  It had the right look, industrial pop up, simple, coffee-serious, so I thought I’d give it a go.

My Flat White was served in a nice small take away cup (anyone who knows anything about flat white’s knows they only come in one size and its ‘small  but perfectly formed’.   The taste was so good (an impeccable mouthful of nippy tang with a dash of well-rounded mellow on the side) and the feel-good factor was such that I went back for another cup straight after my hair appointment, at which point I got chatting with the Barista….hmm unexpectedly chatty, that’s a good sign.

So, here are a few titbits for you – Macintyre Coffee was started by Alex Macintyre (a coffee fiend from Newcastle Australia) 18 months ago.  They have the latest brew-gadgetry from San Francisco, being the first coffee shop in the UK to install a Modbar (if you’re curious here’s a great review on the system) Seeing is believing, tasting is even better, oh and the menu is projected on to the wall. Nifty!

Macintyre’s whilst centrally located in Islington, is a bit out of the way for me but I reckon it’s defo worth a side trip.

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Review: La Esquina

Address: Calle Bergara, 2 | En la esquina de Balmes/Bergara, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

Phone: +34 937 68 72 42

Website: http://laesquinabarcelona.com/en/

Visited: March 2017

Sadly we didn’t have much time here, it was a munch and run job due to a photography tour we had to leave for in 40 minutes. We turned up @ 08.55 and the lady setting up made us sit outside for 5 minutes, not on the sheltered tables (we would be in the way apparently) but on a bench in the sun, did I mention we’d been out until 3.00am and whilst friendly, were not what you’d call perky….ok so not a great start. Eventually we were allowed inside and the sullen one came over with menu’s and water.

Inside the décor is rustic hip with chilled music, there’s plenty of room between tables so you don’t feel like you’re on top of each other and there are lots of shaded tables outside as well.

We went for a tried and tested hangover-cure special of eggs benedict, flat white and freshly squeezed orange juice. It’s not stretching the foodie palate but was what we needed at the time – perfectly poached eggs, a delicious buttery hollandaise on ham with crispy pancetta bacon on top; my only slight meh(?) was the muffin on which it all sat would’ve been nice toasted – it’s a personal textural preference.

There were other interesting brunch things that I’d have loved to try (if we had a few more days in Barcelona) like the toast of caramelized onions roast tomatoes and goats cheese or the poached eggs with avocado goats cheese and dill.

I would definitely recommend La Esquina despite getting off on the wrong foot with the sullen girl, the rest of the staff were great as was the environment and food.

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