Why Coffee Shops Are Amazing Meeting Places

The past decade has been undoubtedly good for coffee culture. City streets are now dotted with coffee shops featuring outdoor terraces where sun-kissed people hang out in the warm season, surrounded by small shops decorated with outdoor warm lighting in the winter. It’s indeed fascinating to observe how coffee culture and its physical manifestation – the coffee shops – has fast covered an important role in the city landscape. By reclaiming hidden backyards and attracting masses to relatively remote locations, these so-called third places (Oldenburg, 1989) play a pivotal role for cities around the globe turning food culture into the ideal soft-power tool.

Operating under the mantra of “we serve only good coffee and something else”, the new generation of coffee shops like cocoagrindernyc.com not only offer freshly roasted good quality coffee, directly sourced from the farmers in Guatemala or Ethiopia just to name a few, but also a comfortable ambience with locally designed and crafted furniture, smart lighting system, white tiles decorating the walls, staff that enjoy their work- wearing a tailor-made apron most of the times and carefully handpicked magazines (Monocle, Kinfolk and Cereal are must have). Some also retail equipment to brew coffee and branded items, such as cups from where the customer can sip their freshly brewed coffee whether from the speedy Aeropress or the more leisurely V60. Not to mention the range of their own branded coffee, in the case of roasteries, displayed on wooden shelves and usually wrapped in detailed designed crafted bags available for the customer who wants to replicate the experience at home. Coffee shops offer an egalitarian space.

Customers are there for business, dates, surfing the free wifi or idling before a train. Coffee places are where love begins and love ends. Coffee shops offer company and conversation but also solitude when needed.

Customers witness a dedication from coffee professionals that is not often found in commercial spaces and that goes from bean to cup. The dedication and passion of the barista and/or roaster leads to the desire to educate the consumer. If the coffee shop is annexed to the roastery, personnel can organize tours to give the opportunity to learn about the process of roasting and discovery of their roasting philosophy. Coffee shops attract and gather innovators, designers and creatives in general. These folks regularly visit the coffee shop not only for meetings and relaxed hangs-out with friends but often they become part of the experience as a whole. It’s not a rarity to encounter collaborations – long and short term – that goes beyond and across creative disciplines. For instance, tailor-made aprons, unique crafted pottery or chalk boards that change every week in look that are designed by the artist who drops by every morning for an espresso.

DIY Wedding Flower Tips

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a DIY wedding, you get to personalise your big day with special touches, involve your family and friends, use home-made crafts and where possible, save money.

When considering flowers for your wedding, it is important to understand the pros and cons of trying to do it yourself, how much of the work you should take on and when you should seek the help of a professional.

As a bride, you will probably have an idea about the style of flowers you would like to use for your wedding. You may have specific colours in mind, or know the type of arrangements you prefer. Not only will these flowers decorate your venue, but they will be carried with you down the aisle and will feature in the majority of your wedding photos. Flowers are one of the most effective and beautiful ways of styling your special day, so getting the right mix is important and the expertise and knowledge required should not be underestimated.

Quality vs. quantity
If you do choose to DIY your bridal blooms, keep in mind that you will need to allocate time (often more than you think) and you will need a certain level of knowledge in both selecting the flowers and arranging them.

Using cheaper flowers can actually require more skill; after all, if you are using stunning Grade A David Austin roses in full bloom it is easier to make a lovely posy than with a handful of Grade B pin-head tight roses from a supermarket.

An insider fact – when flowers are sold to suppliers, they are graded on quality, stem length and head size, all important factors in the final look of the arrangements and florists will usually order the best but more expensive ones for wedding work.

Be realistic about your abilities
Why not enrol in a wedding floristry course? Many florists run these courses as a one-day, fun and stress-free workshop, where you get shown how to make a bouquet, a table arrangement, a floral headdress and a buttonhole.

In addition to being taught the technical stuff, like how to wire a flower head and spiral your bouquet, you will also learn which flowers work well together and how to look after your flowers once you have got them home.

Ask for help
Florists are usually a very friendly bunch and don’t mind sharing information if you plan on buying stock from them. However, marching into a flower shop and announcing that you would rather spend money on champagne than their expertise, then proceeding to ask for advice on how to arrange the flowers you have grown at home won’t go down so well!

Insider knowledge
If you decide to do the floral table arrangements yourself, but think that the bouquets and buttonholes might be too much for you, then be honest and tell the florist that. If you are already ordering bouquets, the florist most likely won’t mind ordering some extra loose flowers for you.

Bear in mind, when shopping at wholesale flower markets, flowers are bought in wraps of multiple stems – and wraps can’t be broken up, so you may have to buy 20 or 50 stems of one type of flower. Florists usually buy more stock than they need for a wedding to allow for damaged heads, or flowers just not opening in time.

Timing is everything
Timing and seasonality of flowers is also crucial.  A gerbera or lisianthus doesn’t need time to bloom, but a rose can take three days to reach perfection and a lily up to a week.

Consider doing a trial run a few weeks before to avoid any potential nasty shocks, and then factor in time to make more than one trip over the course of your wedding week to buy stock.

As for cost, buying flowers in season means they are at their best and cheapest. Peonies in June are great, but in April they can be tiny and twice the price!

If in doubt – work with a florist
A florist like http://www.lilyjonesflowers.co.uk not only has buying power with a supplier, but knowledge of what is in season. We have time to dedicate to your big day and work within your budget, providing a full financial breakdown so that you know exactly how much it will cost and where your money is going.

We also bring experience and creativity to the mix. We will visit your venue to get a feel for what would work well and where and can advise you where to spend your money to maximise the ‘wow factor’ on the day. We know how long it takes to set a wedding up, how to pack a van, what needs to be done on site and what may take too long if the venue operate a strict turnaround policy during busy periods.

We are passionate about what we do and have a seemingly never ending list of ideas, not to mention props that can be hired – saving you the need to buy ten matching vases or 50 tea lights! In addition to this, we source beautiful ribbons and candles – all extra bits that you might not think of until you are trying to do it yourself.

If you do make the choice to DIY your bridal blooms, please take these points into consideration and remember to plan a colour scheme, source your props and flowers, allow a timetable, budget, ask for help when you need it and leave plenty of time to relax the night before your big day!

Top Tips for Travelling By Coach

Considering taking your first coach holiday? Perhaps you have just booked one, we know how excited you must feel! The prospect of visiting so many spectacular destinations in one holiday is an exciting one but you’re probably wondering just what you’ve set yourself up for! What will it be like to be on a coach? Will I enjoy it? These questions are probably running round your head but never fear: we’ve put together a guide for your peace of mind with our best tips for you as a first time coach traveller. If you’ve booked yourself a holiday with a company like door2tour.com then you will already be in great hands. You’ll likely have been told that your drivers will always be around to assist you with any questions you may have. Listen to your driver and you won’t go wrong. They do all the journeys week in, week out and there are very professional. They can often advise on option excursions that are around and you can relax and enjoy the holiday ahead of you knowing you’ve had some sage advice.

Companies like door2tour.com will advise you to do as many optional excursions as you can! Treat yourself on your ferry crossing if there is one included in your trip and book a table at the restaurant there. You can book a table in advance as it tends to get very busy and you should be able to do that on your operator website. Remember that you are sharing the coach with other people and it’s important that you think before acting.

As a general rule, minimising loud activities and stinky food and take care of the passengers around you if they’re asleep. It’s nice to get to know the people you are travelling with but controversial topics on a coach can create conflict so keep conversation light. Most coach companies don’t allow people to eat on a coach but to eat on a break – and almost all coach holidays have breaks along the way! If you do want a snack and you are allowed to eat then choosing to eat something less likely to spill are the best things to do. If you are stopping to look at a site, be back on time!

The best thing you can do is not hold other people up. Coach holidays aren’t for everyone but ensuring your comfort on your coach holiday is the most important thing that your holiday company will do for you. You must remember to love the experience! You’re about to explore more than one destination and visit different places with your family.

It’s exciting to travel around and if you are travelling with children be aware of their surroundings and how to keep them comfortable. Stay considerate of your other passengers on board and ultimately, enjoy yourself! There’s nothing worse than crying children on a coach with fifty people so stay smiling!

DIY Wedding Flower Tips

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a DIY wedding, you get to personalise your big day with special touches, involve your family and friends, use home-made crafts and where possible, save money.

When considering flowers for your wedding, it is important to understand the pros and cons of trying to do it yourself, how much of the work you should take on and when you should seek the help of a professional.

As a bride, you will probably have an idea about the style of flowers you would like to use for your wedding. You may have specific colours in mind, or know the type of arrangements you prefer. Not only will these flowers decorate your venue, but they will be carried with you down the aisle and will feature in the majority of your wedding photos. Flowers are one of the most effective and beautiful ways of styling your special day, so getting the right mix is important and the expertise and knowledge required should not be underestimated.

Quality vs. quantity
If you do choose to DIY your bridal blooms, keep in mind that you will need to allocate time (often more than you think) and you will need a certain level of knowledge in both selecting the flowers and arranging them.

Using cheaper flowers can actually require more skill; after all, if you are using stunning Grade A David Austin roses in full bloom it is easier to make a lovely posy than with a handful of Grade B pin-head tight roses from a supermarket.

An insider fact – when flowers are sold to suppliers, they are graded on quality, stem length and head size, all important factors in the final look of the arrangements and florists will usually order the best but more expensive ones for wedding work.

Be realistic about your abilities
Why not enrol in a wedding floristry course? Many florists run these courses as a one-day, fun and stress-free workshop, where you get shown how to make a bouquet, a table arrangement, a floral headdress and a buttonhole.

In addition to being taught the technical stuff, like how to wire a flower head and spiral your bouquet, you will also learn which flowers work well together and how to look after your flowers once you have got them home.

Ask for help
Florists are usually a very friendly bunch and don’t mind sharing information if you plan on buying stock from them. However, marching into a flower shop and announcing that you would rather spend money on champagne than their expertise, then proceeding to ask for advice on how to arrange the flowers you have grown at home won’t go down so well!

Insider knowledge
If you decide to do the floral table arrangements yourself, but think that the bouquets and buttonholes might be too much for you, then be honest and tell the florist that. If you are already ordering bouquets, the florist most likely won’t mind ordering some extra loose flowers for you.

Bear in mind, when shopping at wholesale flower markets, flowers are bought in wraps of multiple stems – and wraps can’t be broken up, so you may have to buy 20 or 50 stems of one type of flower. Florists usually buy more stock than they need for a wedding to allow for damaged heads, or flowers just not opening in time.

Timing is everything
Timing and seasonality of flowers is also crucial.  A gerbera or lisianthus doesn’t need time to bloom, but a rose can take three days to reach perfection and a lily up to a week.

Consider doing a trial run a few weeks before to avoid any potential nasty shocks, and then factor in time to make more than one trip over the course of your wedding week to buy stock.

As for cost, buying flowers in season means they are at their best and cheapest. Peonies in June are great, but in April they can be tiny and twice the price!

If in doubt – work with a florist
A florist like http://www.lilyjonesflowers.co.uk not only has buying power with a supplier, but knowledge of what is in season. We have time to dedicate to your big day and work within your budget, providing a full financial breakdown so that you know exactly how much it will cost and where your money is going.

We also bring experience and creativity to the mix. We will visit your venue to get a feel for what would work well and where and can advise you where to spend your money to maximise the ‘wow factor’ on the day. We know how long it takes to set a wedding up, how to pack a van, what needs to be done on site and what may take too long if the venue operate a strict turnaround policy during busy periods.

We are passionate about what we do and have a seemingly never ending list of ideas, not to mention props that can be hired – saving you the need to buy ten matching vases or 50 tea lights! In addition to this, we source beautiful ribbons and candles – all extra bits that you might not think of until you are trying to do it yourself.

If you do make the choice to DIY your bridal blooms, please take these points into consideration and remember to plan a colour scheme, source your props and flowers, allow a timetable, budget, ask for help when you need it and leave plenty of time to relax the night before your big day!