Caffeine Tour of Sheffield

Let me start off by saying, I can never finish a cup of coffee, if I can’t find a corner to sit in I feel uncomfortable… I am not a coffee pro by any means. If I’m honest, I’m not sure I actually like coffee at all (mostly because of the effect it has on my stomach). I have an odd hobby/obsession/current ‘profession’ of going to coffee shops. I even had the opportunity to work at an espresso bar in Seattle last summer. Anyhow, I’m currently unemployed and a tourist here in Sheffield for the next 2 months, so I’m working my way around different cafe’s to develop my art portfolio and a few other things.  Thought it might be fun to do little reviews of these unique places. Sad I missed out a few years back when I spent all my time in cafe Nero.

Some creations by me at Jibe:

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Steamyard Coffee Co was my first glimpse into Sheffield coffee life last May, and probably still my favorite. Whenever I go I tend to feel pretty badass, and although the guys behind the marzocco have tough exteriors, they are always so friendly. They always come out with beautifully effortless coffee presentations that taste perfect too. I was drawn there originally by the hand painted lettering pointing you in. There is always good music playing, and if you don’t go during the lunch rush you can probably find a seat. I finally made my way down for breakfast the other weekend and was not disappointed by the bagel with gherkins.

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Ink + Water– These were the second guys I found in Sheffield, via instagram. They have a really simple stunning interior and, for real, an amazing flat white. I haven’t had a chance to go back, so I’m short on information and will update soon.

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Upshot Espresso– which I believe has been there for awhile, but in the past I did not feel kewl enough to enter. Now I have a fringe, so things are great. They have delicious things like aeropress, pour over coffee and peanut butter brownies to die for. As well as hip music and some ace feng shui. (I heard the guy there say ace once, so I’m now using the word ace.)

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Tamper  (near west street)- At first felt cramped and small, but that became part of it’s charm. A warm cozy wood setting and a bold Americano. The late afternoon condensation on the window helped with the view of Nandos. The tamper on Arundelgate had a completely different feel, more lively and inspiring. Full of plants and paintings on the wall.That did not distract them from making superb coffee though.

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Cocoa Wonderland– A  change of pace from the typical cafe. They specialize in chocolate and it definitely shows. You walk in to the divine smell of cocoa cooking and are hit with a bunch of eye candy. Truffles, marshmallow cups, bars with the prettiest packaging and some really nice ladies. Their taste in music is so jazzy and I felt like I was at home (or what I would like to be my home). Upstairs was a room with pillows where you could just relax, downstairs there was more atmosphere and you could even see the girls making the chocolate. I only tried their teas, which were fragrant and amazing. Saving their “thick” hot chocolate for a birthday treat, because I’m sure it’s better than cake.

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Interval- A student pub/cafe. Since I have not had Cocoa’s hot chocolate yet, I will still say they have the best hot chocolate in the land. Interval also has a changing menu throughout the day with substantial, affordable meals or beer if you are looking for a change of pace/had too much coffee already.

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Way better pics can be found in the links of each cafe. I would definitely recommend going to any of these if you find the time and depending on your mood. There are still a few more places on my list, feel free to make suggestions below. I will leave you with some shameless self promotion of work I’ve created this past year in many different cafes. If you’re interested in any of my work, shoot me an email. documentingsunshine(at)gmail(dot)com, as my Etsy is currently on holiday.

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Long Way: From the Arizona desert to the temperate Washington rainforest

This post is dedicated to, or inspired by my favorite singer/songwriter Antje Duvekot. I’ve seen her both in Michigan and Washington and she is so brilliant, she’s a beautiful singer and also pretty funny. Check her out if she’s playing near you

I drove across the country 4 times between 2011 and 2013 for different seasonal jobs, this trip being the second and taking about 7 days. I listened to the song Long Way each trip, and cried every damn time.  I learned that it is truly a long way, to (Michigan) and back. This particular trip I drove from Phoenix, AZ up Pacific Highway 1 to Orcas Island, Wa

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“In the Arizona desert, the sky goes on forever, you’ve never seen a thing as grand”P1010314 P1010315

My first stop along the way was in Fullerton, CA. I met up with my friend Jenny who I had met previously on a European adventure. This girl is so unique, hilarious and another inspiring beautiful musician. She even took me to Disney Land, well, we stood in front of the signs. Good enough for me to count it on the old list.P1010339

“Out in California, we touched the other ocean, and I still have that jar of sand”

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Elephant Seals are the babes of the beaches without a doubt. They were so funny to watch and would move every 3 or 4 minutes with all of their effort and then collapse sprawled out, just catching some rays.P1010513 

At my original hostel in San Louis Obispo, I met this lady, Sara. She was from Switzerland and traveling all over the country by bus or train and had asked to hitch a ride with me up the coast. It was the best thing that could’ve happened for both of us, by bus she would’ve missed all of the coast ride and I wouldn’t have had anyone to talk to or makes stops with through the 90 mile stretch of Big Sur views and photo opportunities.

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We stopped for lunch in Monterey at a place called Crystal Fish. Lawd have mercy, it was the best sushi I have ever had. I always tell Tom we have to go to Monterey, CA because there is word of an otter sanctuary, but secretly I just want to frequent this restaurant and die from a seafood overdose.

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Back by myself, had to resort to self timers on top of rocks.

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San Francisco was sunny for a few minutes, then the fog took over and the photos I have of the bridge don’t really exist.

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So here is a picture of another bridge in California. A sun dial of sorts, makes for a dramatic stormy photo.

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The Oregon Sea Lion Caves. A little family owned cave on the coast where you take an elevator down to a dark room with a view of these wild sea lions. They come in on their own and aren’t bothered by onlookers hidden up the rocks. It was a really cool unique experience and the owners were friendly. I left my car lights on and they were kind enough to have someone jump the battery for me out in the rain.

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Multnomah Falls in the rain continuing my Pacific Northwest wet welcome.

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My first ferry experience through the San Juans.

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And it’s a long way to Washington and back 

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? … A morning check-in

Happy Mardi Gras reader!

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Listening to: Louis Armstrong, The Definitive Collection. Setting the mood.

Reminiscing about: My trip to New Orleans in 2011 where I did tree planting to help restore Bald Cypress forests, natural buffers, outside of the Levees in the bayou. I also participated in Camp Restore and worked on repairing a woman’s home that had been destroyed in Hurricane Katrina  who had then been taken advantage of by a contractor who did a terrible job. Many people were left with no choice, but to have poor repair jobs and were in need again just a few years later.

We were lucky enough to go the same week as Mardi Gras. The old lady we were working with, Miss Collins, invited us to the parades with her under one condition, we had to get there at 5 am so we could get the perfect seats. This was before I discovered coffee, man I wish I had discovered coffee by that point. We got there and it was still dark, but Miss Collins had her portable grill and was cooking us up a shrimp Jambalaya. Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French influence originating from the Caribbean Islands. The spice got me through the day. The parades started and we became covered in beads, no flashing necessary. That is a rumor and although we saw a lot of topless women, we were still able to get beads. If you weren’t careful or aware, you would get smacked in the face with a pile of them. Advice: Watch out, but hold onto those lovely beads and feel like a queen. 

Now onto the Fat Tuesday part. Cafe du Monde is a must go. Warm Beignets covered in powdered sugar are dreamy. That is what it means for me to miss New Orleans. They apparently have amazing coffee too, I wouldn’t know. ^^(See earlier where I haven’t yet realized I was a non-coffee drinking loser)

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sugar feind This may have been the best day of my life up to that point, and I may have gotten carried away with the leftover powdered sugar.

images The architecture in New Orleans is stunning. I think the fond memories I have of New Orleans is what made me love the architecture in France so much.

“Many historic structures have been threatened with demolition. During Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, several historic New Orleans neighborhoods were flooded, and numerous historic buildings were severely damaged. However, there is a general notion by both rebuilders and new developers to preserve the architectural integrity of the city.

Creole Townhouses are perhaps the most iconic pieces of architecture in the city of New Orleans, comprising a large portion of the French Quarter and the neighboring Faubourg Marigny. Creole Townhouses were built after the Great New Orleans Fire (1788) until the mid-19th century. The previous wooden buildings were replaced with structures with courtyards, thick walls, arcades, and wrought iron balconies.”

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Eating: Nothing currently, but thinking about…

  • Beignets.
  • The fact that I ate alligator while I was down there, and I still dont know how I feel about it.
  • Catfish Po-boys. Go to Cafe Reconcile, they provide workforce development for people trying to escape poverty, prejudice and fear.
  • Beignets.

Drinking: Water. In New Orleans you can bring your beverage of choice throughout the streets. Get a little crazy and grab a “Hurricane” (too soon?) on Bourbon Street.

All joking aside, hurricane season begins in June and goes through November. I hope for the best for New Orleans, it is a city full of so much culture and history. If you haven’t done so, watch the film Beasts of the Southern Wild . A beautiful portrayal of life beyond the Levees.

Je t’aime, Paris

This guy met me as I landed in London and was like, “We’re not going to Camden Market because were going to Paris instead.” This is our story of how we saw ALL the things in Paris, in two days. Side note: He told me not to “over-pack”, and I guess I don’t know what that means, because I still brought way too much. Let me just tell you, those were heavy bags and everyone stared. Helpful hint: If your boyfriend tells you not to pack too much, pack too much anyway because even though you will be embarrassed and tired carrying around 2 giant backpacks, you will look so cute when you are standing underneath the Eiffel Tower.

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We took the Eurostar to Gare du Nord and then walked to our luxurious hotel room upon arrival, Liberty Hotel Paris. When I say luxurious, I mean the cheapest room available in France.  But it had a view of the Parisian roofs which I had always imagined in my fancy french dreams and it was all we needed.

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One of our first stops the morning of September 24, 2013, in all of my jet-lag glory was Notre Dame. We like to wear adventure (steampunk) goggles when we go new places. It makes me feel like I’m a time traveller.

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And then onto relax in the Jardin du Luxembourg. We picked up some Orangina on the way. There were lots of chairs everywhere with flowers, trees and fountains, a nice little getaway within the city. Ladies sat chatting away and it looked like fun so we took a seat as well. A good spot to re-energize because we still had a lot of walking to get done if we wanted to see it all.

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Paris is a very walk able city, everything is close knit inside of a circle and if you are ever lost you can head for the river, La Seine. It was nice walking through tiny streets admiring architecture and color.

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Paris top tourist attractions detailed map

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Up to this point we hadn’t been to the Eiffel Tower, but we kept getting little glimpses throughout the city and it felt as romantic as it seems in the movies.

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After strolling along the streets, we picked up a baguette and some brie and made our way, very aware of how touristy and cliche we were being.

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After spending some of our afternoon at the Tour Eiffel, we headed to L’arc de Triomphe. The traffic there was unbelievable and I was glad I wasn’t driving, I think I would’ve been stuck in a never ending circle. We then walked down the Champs Elysees, but it really was not our style. Paris in general was different than our typical outdoor adventures, but this street was full of all things rich and materialistic so we headed onward. P1030012

The outside of the Louvre was probably one of my favorite places that day. It was evening so the colors became vibrant. It had such interesting architecture we spent our evening outside just admiring it all and taking in all the beauty. We didn’t even go into the museum. 2013-09-25 17.52.11

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After it started getting dark we were tired and hungry, but decided it best not to go back to our hotel because we would probably fall asleep and miss out on the nightlife, so we started walking again and found some dinner and drinks to revive us. Someone told us about a building called Montparnasse. You can get a ride up to the top and view all of Paris. It was so nice at night, uncrowded and the air was calm and cool. We held hands and looked over “La Ville-Lumière”, then laid on the roof staring up into the night, all very romantic and perfect.

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Day Two

We made the mistake of bringing a bag with us this day and could not get into any museums so we climbed up to Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur and enjoyed street art, views of the city and more architecture.

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We didn’t actually see ALL of Paris, but got a good taste and I got to practice some of my French from school.

–A thank you to Tom for being so thoughtful and taking me on this romantic trip I had (always/never) dreamed of. x

England; an intro to tea

January 2012 was my first trip to England. I literally had no expectations. This left for lots of room for me to be amazed.

If there was only one thing I learned this trip, it was how to drink a cuppa. Cup of tea that is. I had never liked tea before, but by the end of my trip I was transformed. I had at least 17 different photos of me drinking tea out of the dozens of cups I let warm and awaken my soul.

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you get the picture…

There’s something about a cup of tea that makes any situation better. Every household you visited the first thing they asked was, “cup of tea?” At almost no cost to the host, it is the perfect way to welcome a guest into your home. It cures a horrible hangover (just kidding it doesn’t, but it goes down smooth). It warms you up after a cold day out walking on the rolling british hills. It also goes GREAT with biscuits. Hob nobs, digestives, rocky bars, bourbons, in that order, are the greatest inventions on earth, chocolaty, crunchy goodness that compliment any cup of tea. If you have never had these, go to the UK as soon as you can. If you cannot, go to an international isle and pick up a pack, you will thank yourself. I have had many other adventures in the UK, but that will be saved for another Thursday.

I love to travel! I love exploring new places, trying to live how locals do and learning about different ways of living life. The world is so beautiful. I think it’s time for me to start planning, (and saving) for another grand adventure! I’m thinking Asia, to discover a completely new way of life, learn about the spirituality and whatever else I may discover

A friend showed me some really cool agencies I might look into and if you are interested you should look too!

http://www.straytravel.com/

http://www.gadventures.com/

Travel by train in Scotland

Travel by train in Scotland